This month, Popular Information broke the news that Koch Industries continues to operate in Russia (prompting an avalanche of national coverage), revealed that Disney donated nearly $300,000 to supporters of Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill (compelling the company to suspend its political donations), and exposed how oil industry lobbyists are attempting to exploit Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Today, however, I want to hear from you. What's on your mind? What topics would you like to see Popular Information take on in the weeks ahead?
You can leave your thoughts in the discussion thread linked below, starting now. I’ll be dropping by to participate in the discussion and answer your questions at 1 PM Eastern, for about an hour.
UPDATE (2:08 PM): I wish I had more time to respond to everyone. So many great suggestions. But I need to work on tomorrow’s newsletter! — Judd
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Why it appears Merrick Garland is so slow to move on top individuals of the January 6th
I repeat: I want to know exactly what are the subsidies and supports that the fossil fuel industries already receive from the US government and how long have they been receiving them? We in the US have always had the cheapest gas globally for our cars due to such subsidies; resulting in strong public support for our automoblie industry and the expasion of our highway system. In Europe, where gas prices have always been high, commuter trains and subways have been accepted, resulting in less dependence on individual transportation and more support for public transportation.
Ginni Thomas deep dive. Dems need to put pressure on Thomas and demand his resignation. If he doesn't resign they should impeach.
The extent to which Russian propaganda is behind our global social division... the same people -- many of which are friends and family -- that support the 'Freedom' convoy, also support Putin. This initiative has been ongoing for decades and is probably the most successful enterprise Putin's engaged in. Divide and conquer, it adheres perfectly to Putin influencer, Aleksandr Dugin's philosophy.
It's global, it's directly related to QAnon, the Freedom Convoy, vaccine skepticism, Trumpism-- I'd like to know how deeply Russian propaganda was identified in Brexit and other geopolitical shifts, particularly toward authoritarianism and social intolerance-- exploiting fear to gain support. I suspect there isn't a continent that was untouched. The reporting so far has been disjointed and I don't think the scale of this has been adequately acknowledged.
thanks for your great work, I'm glad I subscribed.
Thank you for the investigations and writing you’re doing.
The money behind the CRT push. Who is really funding it and why? What are the benefits of getting parents riled up at their local school boards? What larger purpose does it serve?
Accountability for the now 780 billion we will spend on "defense". Does it worry anyone that Russia which is suppose to be a considerable threat has almost been roundly defeated by Ukraine. Sort of begs the question on why we spend so much. Also the US has lost the last 3 wars they were involved in. If the US defense budget rises at its current last 3 year rate how long will it take to bankrupt the US. Probably much sooner than Social Security.
Just want to commend you on your fabulous work.
WHY is the USPS still so screwed up, why is DeJoy still around, and why are they purchasing thousands more of the terrible old mail trucks they've been using instead of being forced to buy electric?
Veterans Homelessness a big problem. Why can't the Armed Services do more to help Veterans as they leave military life? Surely, they can provide a week or two of preparation for civilian life, educational opportunities, counseling etc. This should not be the VA's mission.
More news about the FACT that there really isn't a reason for the inflation. Companies are making record profits!!!
With all the due attention to events of January 4-7 by the Committee & DOJ and others, I REALLY think some attention must be paid back to 2020 when DJT first started to float the 'worry' the election would be stolen...The more facts can be brought to light to establish early planning stages, the more the prosecution of the 1/6 miscreants will be helped. And even if those facts are being developed already by 1/6 & DOJ, maybe there is enough in the public domain [or findable] to warrant an early 'expose'??
I don't know if t can be investigated, but I'd love to know what members of the pro-Russia Sedition Caucus can be tied directly to Russia.
So many good suggestions here, and I don't envy you having to pick. I love the way you drill down, though, and you often uncover what the three major papers I subscribe to either miss or ignore. Maybe our future depends on not having to trust large corporate entities for our news.
I live in Florida. Ron DeSantis appears to be running a pay to play operation. Examples that are documented.
1. Joe Walsh, Key West businessman, contributed $1,000,000 to Ron’s campaign. Afterward Ron and his Republican followers in the legislature passes a convoluted bill gutting Key West’s voter referendum controlling cruise ship traffic. Cruise ships are back, benefiting Joe Walsh financially, and against the will over the voters.
2. When Covid vaccines were 1st available and in short supply, DeSantis steered the initial vaccines to Ocean Edge in the Florida Keys, home to wealthy Republicans. DeSantis received two $250,000 donations from two residents within the month.
3. Florida has lots of Russian property owners and business people. DeSantis has refused to divest Florida from any Russian investments. It is known that Russians support Ron DeSantis. In 2018 after supporting DeSantis there is documentation from Russians wanting to know when they would get there business related licenses. Pay to play.
4. DeSantis is visibly a right wing culture warrior, but his real story is power and money. As Popular Information does so well, please follow the money supporting DeSantis’ political aspirations. My opinion is that DeSantis cares little for the public. Thank you.
Social media and the spread of disinformation. This is poisoning the foundations of our society, not to mention cultural norms. It's always "follow the money" in our exploitative form of capitalism, and I suspect the same is true in social media corporations. How much are they crossing the line for more viewers with scandalous, wild conspiracy rhetoric, etc. Corrupt social media has clearly shaped the "thinking" of trumpers, for example. Capitalism has become "bent" when large multi-national corporations became the norm. I was an entrepreneur and am a capitalist but with a belief in the safety net and rule of law. [The huge amounts made by CEOs and top executives, even when they screw up, is obscene.] But I don't think it's only about money, but also power.
The liquefied natural gas lobby. Why are we talking about new infrastructure
to deliver LNG to Europe when it won't come online for another 5 years? The IAC says we should build no new fossil fuel infrastructure, and Europe should be focused on renewable energy. It appears the US is being greedy and short sighted and I'm curious what the lobbies and representatives are behind that push.
I read that all of Brett Kavanaugh's debt was mysteriously paid off before Supreme Court nomination. I believe he answered a few questions about it, but I don't think the money trail was ever truly investigated. Not sure if it's even possible to find out.
Mitch McConnell -- he is behind a lot of the damage to our country, yet gets to hide in the background. How has he built up so much power? Who funds him, did he really win the last election, what about his wife's global business, how he delays and obstructs the business of Congress getting done, how many bills sit on his desk, enabling of Trump, etc.
How common is it for elected officials to delay reporting to prison after being sentenced? In Fall River, former mayor Jasiel Correia was sentenced to serve six years for corruption. This sentence was handed down in September 2021. He has yet to be sent to prison. He has received multiple extensions and people are getting frustrated. The longer he stays out of prison, the bigger the belief that he will never go, thus never having to pay for his crimes. Is this common? Or is justice for the victims of governmental corruption really about who you know?
The kochtapus has bought my county, Douglas County, Colorado. They poured hundreds of thousands into a non-partisan school board race, taking over our school board in an election based on mask mandates and CRT. I know this is happening all over the country. We have no liberal barrel of money to fight them at the ballot box, however, we have dug deep to launch legal challenges to some of their malfeasance since getting into office, most notably so far by winning a lawsuit against the new board members for violating the Colorado Open Meetings Law.
The Supreme Court & use of shadow docket/per curiam often decisions w/o arguement, few opinions
BuckleyV Valeo decided this way, money & politics, fractured ruling but clear push of $$ as speech - anti- constitutional concept. Also elimination of forced labor in prisons
Why is AG Merrick Garland not doing his job? Why is he dragging his feet about the jan6 committee's charges of contempt when they refuse to comply with the subpoenas that they were issued by the committee???
Merrick Garland and DOJ are conspicuously quiet regarding actions they could be taking on Jan 6 conspirators AND the results of the Mueller report. In fact, statute of limitations has expired on one of Mueller’s items. Where is MG and DOJ?
Why can’t we as a nation treat our animals better specially turn all our shelters to no kill It says so much about us being careless about life
It appears that PI excels at recognizing emergent negativity to respond quickly and effectively. I have read the comments and suggestions that were here when I arrived, and agree with Ed Konikowski about homeless vets. Much of the rest is exasperation based on a failure to understand or accept American politics, which will not change any time soon. I would recommend investigation the far right, Q-Anon, ammosexuality, armed "militias," child abuse, domestic violence, killer cops, and much more, but this will likely lead nowhere. These people are intellectually deficient, emotionally disturbed, and morally bankrupt; their behavior will never change. Keep doing the great work you're already doing, and know that your efforts are worthwhile, effective, and appreciated.
Let’s do a deep dive into DA Alvin Bragg and why he decided not to prosecute Trump and his organization for fraud. Someone got to him for him to make those 2 well respected lawyers to quit.
I agree with Phil. I would love to understand what's up with Garland and the DOJ and what looks like their complete disregard for the evidence that exists that the former president (and his minions) attempted to overturn a free and fair election. It makes no sense to me. Without a federal legal pushback on what took place, we open ourselves up to another coup in the future and the end of a democratic government as we know it.
Judd, so many comments I wandered off the rails - honestly, the thing that has been bothering me the most in the last many months is the lack of support for Biden...yes he speaks from the heart... because he HAS one, unlike too many of our politicians in office. He is getting blamed for a ton of shit that is not his fault. EVen the CNN team seems to look at him with critical eyes most of the time. It is making me weary and frustrated. Thanks for listening.
So every now and then, I download the Monthly Energy Review from the US Dept of Energy and try to turn it into a readable Sources and Uses Map of the US Energy System. My most recent version comes from the 2019 data. I picked the most recent non-Covid year. And here's the most interesting part of what I find.
Our electricity generation sector is powered 60% by fossil fuels, 40% by Nukes and Renewables.
Our Household Sector is still powered 77% by Fossil Fuels.
Our Commercial Sector is still powered 77% by Fossil Fuels.
Our Industrial Sector gets 85% of its energy from Fossil Fuels.
And our Transportation Sector gets 95% of its energy from Fossil Fuels.
Doesn't sound like very rapid progress, does it? Glacial progress might be a better description.
And here's the thing. The household sector doesn't use fossil fuels because it has to. It uses fossil fuels simply because its installed appliances require fossil fuels. My wife and I got our Annapolis home completely off fossil fuels in 2015. Our gas furnace was dying and we replaced it with an electricity powered geothermal heat pump. The hot water heater was electric from the start. We put in an electric oven and magnetic induction stovetop - great temp control and no gas fumes! And our second floor was heated and cooled with an air source heat pump that sat outside. We signed on with BGE for an All Wind Electricity Generation contract. We disconnected our gas line at the end of June 2015. Our 2015-2016 utility billing was a bit lower than our 2014-2015 billing had been.
But here's the simple point almost no one talks about. For both the residential and the commecial sectors, the only thing that has to happen to eliminate the consumption of fossil fuels is the replacement of gas-fueled appliances with electric appliances. That's it. There are long-team leasing funders that will help homeowners do this. But I do have a caution. I used to be a union officer in an 800 member cab driver's union in Denver. Listening to our members was always vital to the success of anything we tried to do. I've heard Senator Coons at Brookings pitch the merits of Carbon Taxes, and it's plain to me that he's never done any focus groups with housewives on what it takes to convert our homes from fossil fuels to electric power. Quite frankly, our side is not being led by people who've really taken the time to understand the guts of the clean energy journey. The other side doesn't want it, but our side doesn't know how to think about it, or how to do it. So, Judd, I recommend that you also spend some time on our side's superficiality weaknesses. -Steve Johnson
With all of these suggestions, you're going to be busy for a while. Nothing more to add except that you are an amazing journalist and I really appreciate what you do.
Many corporations are raking in record profits that go right in the pockets of ownership. At the same time, they're complaining about supply chain woes, stoking inflation fears, and pushing blame onto union members. (See NYT supply-chain-woes article full of anti-dockworker propaganda yesterday.) Why aren't companies making record profits investing them to make supply chains more resilient?
Robert Reich published a short video about Centi-Billionaires, since we now have at least 7 individuals who have a net worth over 100 billion dollars. The rapidity with which individuals and corporations have massively increased their profit (many 3 time higher than pre-pandemic) is astounding. This has been going on for too many decades, and the right is clearly in favor of its continuation. I'm interested in ideas and policies that will reverse this seemingly inevitable trend and in finding ways to pass policies that treat all with dignity and respect.
There continues to be an attack from conservatives and the Right against public schools. The motives appear to allow the private sector be to get a piece of the large dollars allocated for public education while being able to gain control over how and what is being taught. It does not appear that these efforts are in the publics best interest.
What always makes me mad is companies like AT&T, Comcast (which has a virtual monopoly) and Puget Sound Energy (which has an actual monopoly) spend money to lobby state legislatures, Congress and federal and state regulatory bodies for policies that are against their customers' interests, and they pay for it with money their customers pay. I get why they do it -- because they can -- but it's really crappy. And because a lot of it is state-level, tracking it is a big lift, even for outlets like this one, trying to track for 50 states. David Cay Johnston has done a lot of work on power companies controlling the California Public Utilities Commission (is that what it's called? I forget) but there are many more.
I want to understand what are the forces behind the push to ban abortion and criminalize abortion doctors and punish those who help a woman get an abortion. Who is gaining from this and what are they gaining? It is such a coordinated attack that there must be some very organized and well-funded forces behind it and at least a few whose pockets are being lined.
I just wanted to say you guys ran a GREAT article yesterday on the military-industrial complex. Please keep on this!
Former Sen. David Perdue’s name is on several large corporate and individual donor lists from his (failed) re-election, he comes up again on the list of people Trump spoke to on 1/6. His was a huge money campaign. What’s with Perdue?
I would like to hear more about the funding and planning of the 1/6 insurrection going back to early 2020 when they were putting it out there that the election would be rigged if he lost. Also, is DOJ doing anything about all of this?
What the hell is going on with DOJ and Alvin Bragg and the Jan 6 Committee? Is anybody ever going to be indicted for anything, or dragged into Congress to face contempt charges? It's getting late!
The Council for National Policy (CNP) as reported in Anne Nelson’s groundbreaking book SHADOW NETWORK needs to be examined for its likely connection to 1/6 and especially Ginni T.
What is the biggest national funded program or mandate that really serves no purpose?
Why is Leonard Peltier, the longest serving Indigenous political prisoner in the US, whose prosecuting attorney has admitted was wrongfully convicted, not been granted clemency?
Can you discuss Medicare for All and why proposals such as this keep getting shut down because of lobbying efforts by insurance/healthcare lobby? Additionally, why we continue to fund war and the military-industrial-corporate-Congress machine with no concern for deficits and policies that benefit people get shut down.
trump is endorsing State Officials who are challenging GOP politicians who refused to overturn the election. These offices are important if the next Presidential Election is disputed. i.e. Sec of State, Attorney Gen, Gov, State Legislators. Watch OUT!
Many pesticides banned in other countries are still being used in the US (see: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/united-states-pesticides-banned-other-countries). The question is why. None of the articles I have surfaced source the suppliers/manufacturers of these pesticides. If I could, I would try to surface the big money and corporate interests that are lobbying to keep these pesticides in use. Is this something that Popular would be interested in taking on?
Holding the Biden admin accountable for their actively broken promises (ex. deportations, student debt cancellation) and hypocritical lip service (ex. claiming to care about climate change while expanding offshore drilling and pipeline construction)
Two things I'd love to see: (1) a report on groups that are organizing boycotts of/divestment from the companies you've been reporting on and (2) reporting on social-media activism (i.e., FaceBook/Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, other message platforms) that examines what actually works and what doesn't (for some context, there was an article in the New Yorker about 15 years ago--more or less!--that compared social-media activism to the civil-rights activism of the 1950s-1960s and, more recently, an op-ed in the NY Times called "Elon Musk, Vladimir Putin, and the Insidious Meme-ification of War"--https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/26/opinion/culture/social-media-war-ukraine.html). Also, I second the idea about a report on the US Postal Service & DeJoy. Thanks so much for what you do!
Kim (founding member, Hold the Line Maryland: www.holdthelinemaryland.org, where democracy activists from anywhere can find useful resources).
After reading through a lot of the thread, I would love to learn these top three:
1. The juxtaposition of oil companies’ profits and subsidies
2. Who funds Mitch McConnell’s power
3. Deep dive into Ginni and Clarence Thomas
Can’t thank you enough for the work you all do. Today’s question prompted me to make an extra donation
My State (Tennessee) is proposing all kinds of crazy legislation i.e. '
Tenn. legislation would withhold funds for schools who don’t prove student athletes are cisgender' (from the Boston Globe. Who is funding these state legislators? 20% of them are currently under investigation or indictment.