Evangelical Pastor Loran Livingston Condemns Trump’s “God Bless the USA Bible” as “disgusting,” “blasphemous,” and a “cheap ploy”  

Loran Livingston.  Courtesy of YouTube/Central Church.

Dear Commons Community,

Pastor Loran Livingston ripped Trump’s $59.99 Bible during a sermon at the Central Church of North Carolina in Charlotte  as “disgusting,” “blasphemous,” and a “cheap ploy”

Livingston also made anti-LGBTQ+ comments, described abortion as “murder” and the “premeditated termination of innocent human life” and slammed people who “get politics mixed up with church” in the lead-up to his attack on the Trump-endorsed holy book.

Then he said, “When you don’t read and pray. You say, ‘Wow, there’s a Bible out now that includes the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, isn’t that wonderful?’ No, no. It’s disgusting. It’s blasphemous. It’s a ploy.”

“Are you kidding me? Some of you are so encouraged by that. Let me tell you something. The gospel is not an American gospel. It is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Livingston added. He didn’t name the Trump Bible explicitly, but his references were apparent.

The Trump-promoted Bible combines the text of the King James Bible with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and handwritten lyrics to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”

Trump, who is the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, began hawking the book back in March, garnering widespread mockery and brutal reminders of his less-than-religious lifestyle.

Evangelicals proved pivotal to Trump for his 2016 election victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Leading figures in the movement have since claimed, however, to have cut ties with the four-times-indicted ex-POTUS.

More evangelicals have to come out and speak the truth about Trump hawking a bible.


Trump-RFK Jr. feud heats up as polls tighten!

Dear Commons Community,

“RFK Jr. is a Democrat ‘Plant,’ a Radical Left Liberal who’s been put in place in order to help Crooked Joe Biden, get Re-Elected,” Trump wrote on Truth Social last week.

“A Vote for Junior’ would essentially be a WASTED PROTEST VOTE, that could swing either way, but would only swing against the Democrats if Republicans knew the true story about him,” Trump added.

“When frightened men take to social media they risk descending into vitriol, which makes them sound unhinged,” Kennedy fired back at Trump on Saturday in a post on the social platform X. “President Trump’s rant against me is a barely coherent barrage of wild and inaccurate claims that should best be resolved in the American tradition of presidential debate.”  As reported by The Hill.

The conventional wisdom for months has been that while Kennedy’s third-party bid could be a spoiler for both Trump and Biden, it bore more risks to the Democrat given Kennedy’s family name.

But Decision Desk HQ’s aggregate of polling over the last few weeks paints a much more complicated picture. While Trump at times sees his lead over Biden grow with Kennedy is also included in polls, the gap was narrowing last week, and at one point Biden and Trump were in a dead heat in a three-way race with Kennedy.

Some Trump allies who know the former president’s operating style downplayed last week’s attacks, saying they were off-the-cuff and not part of a coordinated strategy against Kennedy.

“He’s pretty much predictable and tribal in his response to anybody and everybody,” a former Trump campaign adviser in a battleground state told The Hill. “I don’t know that we can put a measure on that.”

Still, other Republicans say it’s clear that concerns are growing in Trumpland about Kennedy.

“You don’t attack somebody you’re not at all worried about,” GOP strategist Alex Conant said.

“If you look at the sort of media RFK does, you look at his very populist message, his history of embracing conspiracy theories — there’s a lot there to make Trump World nervous.”

Democrats and Republicans are both “in a race to define Kennedy,” because in a tight race, his supporters could be crucial, Conant said.

GOP strategist Brian Seitchik, a former Trump campaign staffer, said “the real barometer” will be whether Trump escalates his criticisms.

“More than just tweets and Truth Socials and things like that, is there going to be a concerted effort to spend against him in key states and try to push the share of the vote down?” Seitchik said.

Democrats have been the party more preoccupied by Kennedy, with the environmental lawyer’s own family sounding alarms that he could siphon votes from Biden. More than a dozen members of the Kennedy clan earlier this month backed the president in a high-profile rebuke of their relative.

But a new NBC News poll showed Kennedy could actually dent Trump more than Biden.

While the Republican was 2 points up in a head-to-head match-up, Biden jumped to a 2-point advantage with third-party candidates in the mix.

Jim Messina, who led former President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, said in a recent MSNBC interview that the latest polling around Kennedy is a promising sign for Democrats.

“They say he hurts Biden. I think I’m not sure that that’s true. I think he probably hurts [us] both,” Trump said in a radio appearance with conservative John Fredericks last week. “But he might hurt Biden a little bit more, you don’t know.”

Republicans, including Trump himself, have at times offered positive views of Kennedy.

Not anymore. Earlier this month, the pro-Trump PAC Make America Great Again Inc. launched a website mocking “Radical F***ing Kennedy” and pitching the independent as a “friend of left-wing extremists.”

Reached by The Hill for comment Monday, Kennedy campaign spokesperson Stefanie Spear pointed to the candidate’s remarks about Trump on X.

Republicans are generally cautious about speculating how Kennedy’s bid could play out.

“Depending on what poll you look at, Kennedy poses problems for either one of them,” Republican strategist Doug Heye said of Biden and Trump.

“This is one of the reasons that trying to really try to accurately forecast 2024 is going to be very difficult, because it is going to come down to a handful of states, and that means a handful of voters. And what RFK means to either candidate in any of those states, I just don’t think we know yet,” Heye said.

Democrats are worried about how Kennedy could hurt Biden in various swing states.

Party officials and organizers have been working alongside political operatives to get the word out about what they see as his candidacy’s problems, including how he could help Trump win back the White House.

Democrats have referenced the 2016 presidential race, when Green Party candidate Jill Stein won enough voters in swing states that arguably helped Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“When it comes to Mr. Kennedy in particular, you think about the positions he’s taken and the things he’d advocated for and quite frankly the things he’s advocated against, it should scare the hell out of every person who is thinking about participating in this election,” said Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist based in South Carolina.

Democrats have been critical about his views questioning vaccine science and have increasingly drawn attention toward his wavering sentiments around abortion and in vitro fertilization, in which he has offered mixed stances. He has also issued what many Democrats considered a lukewarm rebuke of the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Some in the party have also sought to showcase that he is aligned with Trump’s donors after it became known that GOP financier Timothy Mellon has supported his super PAC.

I don’t think anyone knows how Kennedy will affect the election.


U.S. Intelligence Official Say Putin likely didn’t order death of Russian opposition leader Navalny!

(Courtesy of Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Dear Commons Community,

 U.S. intelligence has determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin likely didn’t order the death of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny in February, according to an official familiar with the determination.

While U.S. officials believe Putin was ultimately responsible for the death of Navalny, who endured brutal conditions during his confinement, the intelligence community has found “no smoking gun” that Putin was aware of the timing of Navalny’s death — which came soon before the Russian president’s reelection — or directly ordered it, according to the official. AS reported by The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

Soon after Navalny’s death, U.S. President Joe Biden said Putin was ultimately responsible but did not accuse the Russian president of directly ordering it.

At the time, Biden said the U.S. did not know exactly what had happened to Navalny but that “there is no doubt” that his death “was the consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did.”

Navalny, 47, Russia’s best-known opposition politician and Putin’s most persistent foe, died Feb. 16 in a remote penal colony above the Arctic Circle while serving a 19-year sentence on extremism charges that he rejected as politically motivated.

He had been behind bars since January 2021 after returning to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blamed on the Kremlin.

Russian officials have said only that Navalny died of natural causes and have vehemently denied involvement both in the poisoning and in his death.

In March, a month after Navalny’s death, Putin won a landslide reelection for a fifth term, an outcome that was never in doubt.


Athletic director used AI software to create a racist and antisemitic audio clip impersonating the school’s principal!

Courtesy of ArtemisDiana via Getty Images

Dear Commons Community,

A high school athletic director in the Baltimore area was arrested on Thursday after he used artificial intelligence software, the police said, to manufacture a racist and antisemitic audio clip that impersonated the school’s principal. 

Dazhon Darien, the athletic director of Pikesville High School, fabricated the recording — including a tirade about “ungrateful Black kids who can’t test their way out of a paper bag” — in an effort to smear the principal, Eric Eiswert, according to the Baltimore County Police Department.

The faked recording, which was posted on Instagram in mid-January, quickly spread, roiling Baltimore County Public Schools, which is the nation’s 22nd-largest school district and serves more than 100,000 students. While the district investigated, Mr. Eiswert, who denied making the comments, was inundated with threats to his safety, the police said. He was also placed on administrative leave, the school district said.

Now Mr. Darien is facing charges including disrupting school operations and stalking the principal.  As reported by The New York Times.

Mr. Eiswert referred a request for comment to a trade group for principals, the Council of Administrative and Supervisory Employees, which did not return a call from a reporter. Mr. Darien, who posted bond on Thursday, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Baltimore County case is just the latest indication of an escalation of AI abuse in schools. Many cases include deepfakes, or digitally altered video, audio or images that can appear convincingly real.

Since last fall, schools across the United States have been scrambling to address troubling deepfake incidents in which male students used A.I. “nudification” apps to create fake unclothed images of their female classmates, some of them middle school students as young as 12. Now the Baltimore County deepfake voice incident points to another A.I. risk to schools nationwide — this time to veteran educators and district leaders.

Deepfake revenge slander could happen in any workplace, but it is a particularly disturbing specter to school officials entrusted with safeguarding and educating children. One Baltimore County official warned on Thursday that the fast spread of new generative A.I. tools was outstripping school protections and state laws.

“We are also entering a new, deeply concerning frontier,” Johnny Olszewski, the Baltimore County executive, said during public comments about the arrest on Thursday. He added that community leaders needed “to take a broader look at how this technology can be used and abused to harm other people.”

The police account of the Baltimore County case shows how quickly pernicious deepfake disinformation can spread in schools, causing lasting damage to educators, students and families.

According to police documents, Mr. Darien developed a grievance against Mr. Eiswert in December after the principal began investigating him. Mr. Darien had authorized a district payment of $1,916 to his roommate, police said, “under the pretense” that the roommate was working as an assistant coach for the Pikesville girls’ soccer team.

Soon after, police said, Mr. Darien used school district internet services to search for artificial intelligence tools, including from OpenAI, the developer of the ChatGPT chatbot, and Microsoft’s Bing Chat.

In mid-January, Mr. Darien emailed a deepfake audio clip impersonating the principal to himself and two other employees at the high school, according to the police. The email, with the subject line “Pikesville Principal — Disturbing Recording,” was sent from a Gmail account that appeared to belong to an unknown third party but was tied to Mr. Darien’s cellphone number, according to the police documents.

One of those school employees then sent the fabricated recording to news organizations and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, police documents say. She also forwarded it to a student who “she knew would rapidly spread the message around various social media outlets and throughout the school,” the documents say.

Soon, an Instagram account that follows local crime posted the racist fake audio, saying it was a “rant about Black students” and naming the principal as the speaker. The audio clip, which lasts less than a minute, was shared more than 27,000 times and generated more than 2,800 comments, many calling for the principal to be fired.

Police say the deepfake rant had “profound repercussions,” straining trust among families, teachers and administrators at Pikesville High.

Upset and angry parents and students flooded the school with calls. Some teachers, the police said, feared “recording devices could have been planted in various places in the school.” To address safety concerns, the Police Department increased its presence at the school.

The police also provided some safety monitoring for Mr. Eiswert, who received a barrage of harassing messages and phone calls, some threatening him and his family with violence.

In public comments during a school board meeting in January, William Burke, the executive director for the Council of Administrative and Supervisory Employees, which represents the principal, said social media and news media had allowed commentators to condemn Mr. Eiswert with “no evidence and no accountability.”

“Please don’t rush to judgment,” Mr. Burke pleaded. “Please make the investigation safe and fair.”

Two outside experts who later analyzed the recording for the Baltimore County Police Department concluded that the audio clip was manipulated. One expert said it contained “traces of A.I.-generated content with human editing after the fact,” police documents say.

One more thing to be concerned about!


The five top mega donors backing Trump – Mellon, Perlmutter, McMahon, Bigelow, Duggan!

Dear Commons Community,

Reuters this morning published a list of the top five donors to Donald Trump’s campaign, collectively  donating more than $50 million to support his candidacy against Democratic incumbent Joe Biden.

With Trump’s small dollar donations slowing and some major Republican benefactors snubbing him, a clutch of prominent wealthy Americans have become crucial to bankrolling his candidacy.

Below are five of the top donors, including one couple, that are backing Trump, based on a Reuters analysis of campaign finance disclosures to the Federal Election Commission.




Timothy Mellon, an 81-year-old heir of the Pittsburgh-based Mellon banking family, has given the pro-Trump super PAC known as MAGA Inc at least $16.5 million since 2022. He also gave at least $20 million to a pro-Trump super PAC called America First Action Inc during the 2020 presidential election.

The hyper-private Mellon, who lives in Wyoming and is rarely photographed, is an amateur pilot who has invested in and led transport-related companies. Forbes estimates that the Mellon family is worth some $14.1 billion.

Mellon is also the biggest donor supporting independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., giving the pro-Kennedy super PAC American Values at least $20 million. Polls have shown Kennedy’s presence on the ticket could siphon votes from both Biden and Trump in their Nov. 5 match-up.

Mellon has also donated to a raft of anti-immigration measures, and was a major contributor to a Texas-led fund to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico.

Efforts by Reuters to contact Mellon through a publisher and a family foundation he was previously affiliated with were unsuccessful.


Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, the former chairman of Marvel Entertainment, and his wife Laura Perlmutter have donated more than $10 million in this election cycle to a new pro-Trump fundraising super PAC called Right for America. Perlmutter has been a regular at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida and has been a longtime contributor to Trump’s campaigns. The Perlmutters gave at least $21 million to America First Action Inc in 2020.

Last year, Walt Disney Co laid off Perlmutter as chairman of Marvel Entertainment, a small division within the company responsible for comic book publishing and some consumer products, as part of a cost-cutting campaign.

Israeli-born Perlmutter, who Forbes says is 81 years old and worth around $4.4 billion, is known for being very private and is rarely photographed.

His wife Laura, who also has a low profile, is a director at the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Foundation, which says it focuses on health care and community initiatives.

Reached by phone, Isaac Perlmutter’s lawyer John Turitzin said he did not want to speak to the media and hung up.


Former professional wrestling entrepreneur, Linda McMahon, a longtime Trump donor who headed the Small Business Administration during the Trump administration, has donated more than $10 million to MAGA Inc in this cycle. McMahon gave more than $15 million in 2019 and 2020 to America First Action Inc, which she chaired ahead of the 2020 election.

Until 2009, she ran World Wrestling Entertainment with her husband Vince McMahon, who bought the company from his father in the 1980s. Earlier this year, Vince McMahon resigned from wrestling giant TKO Group and the subsidiary WWE that he founded following a lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault and trafficking, which he denies. Forbes puts his net worth at around $2.7 billion.

Linda McMahon, 75, ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut twice. She is now the chair of the pro-Trump America First Policy Institute think tank in Washington D.C., which says it advocates for “free enterprise, national greatness, American military superiority … and the primacy of American workers, families, and communities.”

AFPI did not respond to requests for comment from McMahon.


Nevada budget hotel tycoon Robert Bigelow, 79, has given MAGA Inc over $9 million in this cycle. Bigelow told Reuters in January he had pledged to give the pro-Trump group a total of $20 million.

Bigelow, who has a fascination with UFOs and space and funds various research efforts, has dined with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Bigelow says he donated $1 million for Trump’s legal funds.

In 2011, Forbes estimated Bigelow’s real estate holdings were worth around $700 million.


Patricia Duggan, a major donor to the Church of Scientology, has given MAGA Inc more than $5 million this election cycle.

Her ex-husband Robert Duggan is an investor and entrepreneur whose fortunes were boosted by the 2015 sale of cancer drug maker Pharmacyclics to AbbVie for $21 billion. Forbes puts his net worth at about $3.3 billion.

The Duggans, who met at the University of California at Santa Barbara and have eight children, divorced in 2017. They each gave America First Action Inc at least $4 million in 2020.

Patricia Duggan’s personal website describes her as an artist passionate about glass art. She lives in Clearwater, Florida.

Duggan did not respond to a request for information.



Anchor Poppy Harlow is leaving CNN!

Dear Commons Community,

Poppy Harlow, who joined CNN in 2008 and most recently co-hosted “CNN This Morning,” announced she will be leaving the network in an email to colleagues.

She called her time at CNN “a gift.”

“I have been inspired by you and learned so much from you – who are (and will remain) dear friends,” Harlow wrote. “This place has shaped me as a leader, taught me resilience, shown me the value of perspective and how to make hard decisions.”

At CNN, Harlow reported on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and the 2015 Paris terror attacks, among other stories.

“I got to experience what makes this country great,” Harlow wrote in her email. “I sat with people in their best moments and in their hardest. They taught me about the human condition and what binds us.”

Earlier this year, CNN announced changes to the time slot for “CNN This Morning” and moved it to Washington.

CNN Chief Executive Mark Thompson lauded Harlow’s time at the network.

“Poppy is a unique talent who combines formidable reporting and interviewing prowess with a human touch that audiences have always responded to,” Thompson said.

Harlow previously worked as an anchor for the Forbes Video Network and was an anchor and reporter for NY1 News, according to her bio on CNN’s website.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University and a master’s degree in Studies of Law from Yale Law School.

I enjoyed tuning into her  show and thought she was a good anchor for the early morning news. I hope she does well in her next endeavor.


Careful planning fueled a national student “encampment” movement!

Pro-Palestinian encampment at Columbia University in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Dear Commons Community,

As student “encampments” spread to colleges and universities around the country, the planning and organization of these protests are becoming evident.   As reported by The Associated Press.

Months before they pitched their tents on Columbia University’s main lawn, inspiring a wave of protest encampments at college campuses nationwide, a small group of pro-Palestinian student activists met privately to sketch out the logistical details of a round-the-clock occupation.

In hours of planning sessions, they discussed communications strategies and their willingness to risk arrest, along with the more prosaic questions of bathroom access and trash removal. Then, after scouring online retailers and Craigslist for the most affordable options, they ordered the tents.

“There’s been a lot of work, a lot of meetings that went into it, and when we finally pulled it off, we had no idea how it would go,” said Columbia graduate student Elea Sun. “I don’t think anyone imagined it would take off like it did.”

Inspired by the protests at Columbia, hundreds of students have set up protest encampments on at least a dozen other college campuses across the country to protest lsrael’s actions in the war with Hamas. Among other demands, they are calling for their schools to cut financial ties with Israel and the companies supporting the conflict. The protests come as universities are winding up the spring semester and preparing for graduation ceremonies.

Those involved with the Columbia protest, also known as the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” describe their organizing efforts as both meticulously planned and heavily improvised. They say the university’s aggressive tactics to quell the movement have only lent it more momentum.

Basil Rodriguez, a Columbia student affiliated with Students for Justice in Palestine, a group the university suspended in November, said organizers had been in touch with students at other schools about how to erect their own encampments. About 200 people joined one call with students on other campuses.

To attract the most news media attention, the organizers timed the Columbia encampment to coincide with university president Minouche Shafik’s testimony last Wednesday to a congressional panel investigating concerns about antisemitism at elite colleges.

The following day, officers with the New York police department flooded the campus, dismantled the tents, arrested more than 100 activists, and threw out their food and water. Shafik said she had taken the “extraordinary step” of requesting police intervention because the encampment had disrupted campus life and created a “harassing and intimidating environment” for many students.

That decision fueled currents of rage that quickly washed across the country, prompting students at other college campuses to set up their own protest encampments.

“We’re standing here today because we’re inspired by the students at Columbia, who we consider to be the heart of the student movement,” Malak Afaneh, a law student and spokesperson for the 100-student-strong encampment at the University of California, Berkeley, said Tuesday.

For those of us who were around, it seems like 1968 all over again!


Get Ready for Trillions of Cicadas – See Map!

Click to enlarge.

Dear Commons Community,

Trillions of periodical cicadas will emerge from the ground this spring, bringing with them their buzzing and molted exoskeletons. The map above shows where you will be able to see cicadas in the U.S.  As reported by CBS News.

There are two groups of periodical cicadas — those that emerge every 13 years and those that emerge every 17 years. For most of their lives, cicadas live underground and then emerge once the soil reaches 64 degrees.

This year, both the 13-year and the 17-year cicadas will emerge, arriving in numbers that have not been seen in generations.

Because they are temperature-dependent, their emergences may vary depending on the location. In 2024, they are expected sometime in May or early June, according to Ken Johnson, a horticulture educator at the University of Illinois.

Since it may warm up faster in southern states, such as South Carolina, the cicadas might emerge as soon as April, while in cooler states, such as those in the upper Midwest, they might not emerge until June.

CBS News National Correspondent Dave Malkoff went searching for cicadas near the Georgia-South Carolina border on April 25 and it was immediately apparent the brood had already surfaced there. A prominent loud buzzing filled the air and Malkoff found thousands of cicadas on a tree – some of them molting.

“They take a while to turn into their full adult bodies,” Malkoff said, holding a cicada. “They have to dry out and then they get their wings.”

They then fly to the treetops where they can safely mate away from predators, Malkoff reports.

Only a small part of Illinois will see both broods converge this year. CBS Chicago’s Maddie Weirus went on the hunt for nymphs – or baby cicadas – in Champaign, Illinois with University of Illinois entomologist Katie Dana last week, and digging in the dirt, they collected samples of small cicadas.

The cicadas aren’t expected to be out in full effect there until May, but they could come sooner.

After they emerge, the cicadas will mate, molt and then die, leaving behind their offspring to bury themselves into the soil and lay dormant until their brood’s next cycle. They only last about a month above ground, and no, they aren’t dangerous. Unlike locusts, which eat plants, cicadas get their nutrients from small branches. Most trees, however, will remain unharmed.

Still, Johnson advises not planting any new trees ahead of a periodical cicada emergence. You can put netting around small trees and shrubs to keep them away, making sure openings are no larger than 1/4 of an inch so the bugs can’t get in.

Where will cicadas be in 2024?

The 13-year cicadas, called Brood XIX, will emerge in Georgia and the Southeast. The 17-year cicadas, called Brood XIII, will appear in Illinois. This will be the first time since 1803 that two broods emerged at the same time. The next time this happens will be 2037.

The overlap of these two broods has been dubbed by an expert as “cicada-geddon” — but it won’t be the biggest cicada event. In 2076, the two largest broods –XIX and XIV – will come out together. “That is the cicada-palooza,” University of Connecticut cicada expert John Cooley said.

The broods will emerge peacefully, but Cooley said hundreds of trillions, or even quadrillions, of cicadas are expected. That’s an average of 1 million per acre over millions of acres.

Some of the cicadas, however, may have come in contact with a fungal pathogen called Massospora cicadina, which makes them hyper-sexual. The sexually transmitted fungal infection turns them into so-called “zombie cicadas,” with a chalky, white plug erupting out of their bodies and making their genitals fall off. Cicada expert Matthew Kasson says it’s not yet clear how the fungus impacts other wildlife, animals or humans.

“The cicada continues to participate in normal activities, like it would if it was healthy,” Kasson, an associate professor of Mycology and Forest Pathology at West Virginia University, told CBS News. “Like it tries to mate, it flies around, it walks on plants. Yet, a third of its body has been replaced by fungus. That’s really kind of bizarre.”

The dual cicada brood emergence will primarily be seen in parts of Illinois and Iowa, as well as parts of Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

The two broods will co-emerge in north-central Illinois for the first time since 1803.

It will be a noisy spring and summer!



George Will Scorches GOP’s Anti-Ukraine Wing as “the cabal of grotesques”


George Will.  Courtesy of The Hoover Institution.

Dear Commons Community,

Conservative commentator George Will pulled no punches as he tore into who he described as the “112 ignoble House Republicans” who voted over the weekend against sending aid to Ukraine.

Instead, they voted “to endanger civilization,” Will wrote in his latest column for The Washington Post published Wednesday.

“Hoping to enhance their political security in their mostly safe seats, and for the infantile satisfaction of populist naughtiness (insulting a mostly fictitious ‘establishment’), they voted to assure [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s attempt to erase a European nation,” Will fumed.

The bill was passed this week after months of deadlock.

But despite its eventual success, Will warned the “cabal of grotesques [in the GOP] might yet predominate.’”

Among that so-called cabal of Donald Trump-devoted Republicans, he named and shamed Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). They have staunchly opposed the funding of Ukraine’s defense from Russia’s ongoing invasion. Greene even threatened to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) over his support for the bill.

Will ended his essay with an ominous thought.

“Today’s Moscow-Beijing-Tehran axis is, as the 1930s Axis was, watching,” he wrote, adding: “We can now see that the great unraveling that was World War II perhaps began with Japan’s 1931 invasion of Manchuria. Without the benefit of retrospection, we cannot be certain that World War III has not begun.”

Will knows about which he writes!  “Grotesques” is a good word for this GOP crew!




Student Protesters Demanding Divestment from Israel Spreading across the Country (see map)

Map of Where Students Are Protesting.  Courtesy of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dear Commons Community,

The anti-Israel protests are spreading throughout the country with students demanding that their colleges cut ties with weapons manufacturers that are supplying arms to the Israeli government. Many student protests are taking the form of “Gaza solidarity encampments” or “liberated zones,” inspired by pro-Palestinian student protesters at Columbia University.

The Columbia arrests came one day after its president, Nemat (Minouche) Shafik, testified at a congressional hearing about her administration’s response to campus antisemitism since the Israel-Hamas war began.

The surge in activism comes at the end of the spring semester for most colleges. The central demands of each protest are the same: Institutions should divest their endowments from companies with ties to Israel and its military, as well as call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

See the map above for where encampments, multi-day protests, and sit-ins have appeared on campuses.

It is my sense that the protests will be expanding through the end of the Spring Semester. As we have seen at Columbia University in New York, these protests will challenge the wherewithal of university leadership.