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A high school senior is proud of having ruined a classmate’s life by posting a three-second video clip the classmate had long since forgotten about. In fact, he thinks of it as a learning moment, and he’s happy about it. So is The New York Times.

In an article that went viral over the weekend, Times writer Dan Levin walked readers through the triumphant tale of Jimmy Galligan, who last year in history class clicked on a message that featured a video of a “white classmate looking into the camera and uttering an anti-Black racial slur.” He saved the video. He bided his time.

The student went to his school. They’d even been friendly over the years. Yet this video, four years old at the time he first viewed it, struck a nerve. Perhaps deciding that revenge is a dish best served cold, he held onto it and waited for his moment.

That moment came after the classmate, Mimi Groves, got into college with a spot on the cheer team at the University of Tennessee. When Groves posted her support for Black Lives Matter on social media after her admission, and after George Floyd’s death in May, she was confronted with a barrage of responses from people claiming her advocacy was hypocrisy.

Levin wrote that one message, from someone Groves “said she did not know,” read: “You have the audacity to post this, after saying the N-word.” Groves was horrified. Galligan was pleased. This was the kind of lesson he was looking to teach. In fact, when Levin dug into why Galligan didn’t say something to the school administration, or to Groves, it turned out that Galligan had, in the past, attempted to remedy things in that way and got no results of the kind he was apparently looking for.

Once Groves was schooled in the error of her ways through public revenge-taking, the results Galligan longed for came quickly. Groves was publicly shamed, her admission to her dream school rescinded, and her plans for the future sacked.

The University of Tennessee posted their own tirade against Groves, saying they had “received several reports of racist remarks and actions on social media by past, present, and future members of our community.” They specified that “We have a responsibility to support our black students and create a place where all Vols feel safe.”

They tweeted “following a racist video and photo surfacing on social media, Athletics made the decision not to allow a prospective student to join the Spirit Program. She will not be attending the university this fall.”

Levin writes Galligan now says he had “no regrets,” quoting Galligan as saying, “If I never posted that video, nothing would have ever happened.” Galligan wants to remember this moment of destruction, telling Levin “I’m going to remind myself, you started something. You taught someone a lesson.”

In that, Levin let Galligan have the last word. For Galligan, Levin, and The New York Times, this outcome was a boon. A privileged white girl learned her lesson and lost her entitlement. A community realized how truly racist they are, and a boy on the brink of adulthood was able to serve lessons in social justice that will last him a lifetime.

There are more than just a few problems with this whole story, however. As Jesse Singal notes:

The kid who held on to the recording for years, also a teen when all this went down, will now be subjected to a nationwide outrage wave himself. This culture of surveillance and public humiliation is just exhausting and endless.

“What is telling,” Singal writes, “is how people on one side can’t imagine how a teen who wasn’t deep-down evil could possibly use a racial slur at 15, and people on the other can’t imagine how a teen who wasn’t deep-down evil could be so calculating and vindictive with the recording.”

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While he’s not wrong, much of the issue also has to do with the decision by Levin and the New York Times to make this international news and essentially cheer Galligan on. Undoubtedly, Galligan will see this article as a vote of approval from grown-ups in positions of power who are proud of his efforts to behave as though he were one of the errant teens in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”

Writing for Reason, Robby Soave comments that “Like most people with a vaguely functioning moral compass,” he was “horrified” by the story, writing he doesn’t “blame the teen who publicized the video,” but “the NYT editors who lionized him for it.” He continues:

There’s nothing unusual about teenagers being extremely cruel to each other … Young people say and do awful things to each other. The point of school is to socialize them out of this, to teach better behavior, to allow them to fail, to learn, to grow. That’s why it’s wrong to expect perfect behavior from a 15-year-old. No one can pass this standard.

As he points out, the real problem is that the kind of behavior Galligan behaved in was praised by the paper of record. “The country’s most important newspaper decided that normal teen misbehavior deserved name-and-shame coverage,” says Soave, “The Times made Galligan a hero for this. That’s on them.”

Honestly, it is somewhat absurd that a girl’s future was stolen from her because a vindictive classmate planned her downfall and that this fellow classmate has been praised for it in the national press. Katie Herzog, Singal’s co-host on their “Blocked and Reported” podcast, disagrees:

This is a rare case in which I disagree with Robby on a culture war issue. You may not like the piece’s framing (I don’t), but I would still write this story. The subjects clearly agreed to be a part of it and it illustrates a very real phenomenon and one worth highlighting.

Herzog goes on to say, “I’m not sure how this is any different from the multitude of other cancelation stories other than the characters’ ages.”In many ways, it isn’t, and yes, it’s a story worth writing. But the glaring truth remains: after years of cancellations, online mobbings, and shamings, we’ve learned absolutely nothing.

Groves was not outing herself as a Nazi. The word she uttered, so incredibly off-limits for white folks, so incredibly acceptable for black folks, is pervasive in pop culture. Groves said the word in an attempt to be “cool,” and the video sat. Indeed, it was meaningless for four years. It wasn’t until it was weaponized against her that anyone cared at all.



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Convicted fundraiser who tried to work his way into Biden’s inner circle sentenced to prison

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Amajor Democratic bundler, who raised large sums for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and consorted with Joe Biden, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for what prosecutors said was a “mercenary” political influence scheme.

Imaad Zuberi, a Californian businessman was sentenced Thursday for schemes to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns, then take millions of dollars for himself.

The Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Assistant Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien said Zuberi was “purely a mercenary, funneling money to whomever he believed would do his bidding.”

Among the many unsealed court records, Zuberi was seen photographed with Joe Biden and Barack Obama when they were Vice President and President. He was also pictured with former President Bill Clinton and former presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. He took pictures with former Republican Rep. Paul Ryan when he was speaker of the House as well as the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Also included in the Times report was a hacked email chain released on WikiLeaks. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook messaged colleagues saying, “I’m OK taking the money and dealing with any attacks.” Jennifer Palmieri responded saying, “Take the money!”

He also attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in New York City in 2016 as well as serving as a co-chair of The Trump Presidential Inauguration Committee.

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Zuberi made more than $950,000 in unlawful donations to the political committees of Obama, Clinton, McCain and others. Zuberi’s activities extended as far as a recent attempt to work his way into the Biden circle, according to Politico.  

In addition to the money he made, Zuberi also raised $270,000 for Hillary Clinton and $1.3 million for President Obama.

Zuberi, 50, pleaded guilty to a “three-count information charging with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)” for making false statements on a FARA filing as well as tax evasion and illegal contributions to political campaigns. He also pleaded guilty in a separate case earlier in June 2020 to a count of obstruction of justice.

“Zuberi turned acting as an unregistered foreign agent into a business enterprise,” Assistant Attorney General for National Secretary John C. Demers said in a Department of Justice news release.

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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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