Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022

U.S. & World and Wisconsin trending headlines, and the meme of the day.

Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022

U.S. and World Headlines

Midterms Deliver One Last Trump Loss: 3 Takeaways From Georgia's Senate Runoff

Herschel Walker’s defeat in Georgia marked the final indignity of the midterms for former President Donald Trump. Democrats improved their position heading into a brutal 2024 Senate election cycle, while one Democratic senator — Joe Manchin of West Virginia — will likely see his influence diminish in a Senate soon to be controlled by a true Democratic majority.

The Senate runoff result in Georgia, following a night of see-sawing returns, ended largely in line with expectations — a win for the incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock — with major implications for both parties as they barrel into 2024.

Here are three takeaways from the final election night of 2022.

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Germany Arrests 25 Suspected Far-Right Extremists For Plotting To Overthrow Government

German officials arrested 22 suspected members and three suspected supporters of a far-right terrorist organization across the country on Wednesday on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government.

In a statement, the German federal prosecutor’s office said an estimated 50 people were suspected to have been part of the group called Reich Citizens movement, founded no later than November 2021, who were plotting to overthrow the government and replace it with their own order.

“The accused are united by a deep rejection of state institutions and the free democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany, which over time has led to their decision to participate in their violent elimination and to engage in concrete preparatory actions for this purpose,” the statement said.

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Twitter Ablaze As Elon Musk Fires Lawyer Involved In Suppressing Laptop Story, ‘Russian Collusion Hoax’

Twitter ignited upon the news Tuesday that CEO Elon Musk booted former FBI general counsel James Baker from the company for "suppression" of information.

Journalist Matt Taibbi, who revealed the "Twitter Files" on Friday, shared an article about the now-ousted Twitter deputy general counsel Baker's connections to FBI controversies involving the Trump-Russia probe. 

The article, from New York Post opinion writer Jonathan Turley, said that Baker was "at the center of the Twitter suppression scandal." Turley also observed, "Baker has been featured repeatedly in the Russian investigations launched by the Justice Department, including the hoax involving the Russian Alfa Bank."

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Social Media Seen As Mostly Good For Democracy Across Many Nations, But U.S. Is A Major Outlier

As people across the globe have increasingly turned to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other platforms to get their news and express their opinions, the sphere of social media has become a new public space for discussing – and often arguing bitterly – about political and social issues. And in the mind of many analysts, social media is one of the major reasons for the declining health of democracy in nations around the world.

However, as a new Pew Research Center survey of 19 advanced economies shows, ordinary citizens see social media as both a constructive and destructive component of political life, and overall most believe it has actually had a positive impact on democracy. Across the countries polled, a median of 57% say social media has been more of a good thing for their democracy, with 35% saying it is has been a bad thing.

There are substantial cross-national differences on this question, however, and the United States is a clear outlier: Just 34% of U.S. adults think social media has been good for democracy, while 64% say it has had a bad impact. In fact, the U.S. is an outlier on a number of measures, with larger shares of Americans seeing social media as divisive.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Indonesia's New Sex Laws And What They Could Mean For Tourism

Tourism operators in Indonesia are still trying to recover from the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now the country's parliament has passed new laws that some fear could turn tourists away once again - because having sex out of wedlock is set to be outlawed.

The controversial laws, which critics have labelled a "disaster" for human rights, also ban unmarried couples from living together and restrict political and religious freedoms. There were protests in Jakarta this week, and the laws are expected to be challenged in court.

The new criminal code is set to take effect in three years and apply to Indonesians and foreigners living in the country, as well as visitors.

It has been widely reported in nearby Australia, where some newspapers have dubbed it the "Bali bonk ban".

Some observers say the new criminal code is unlikely to affect tourists in part because any prosecution would require a complaint filed by the children, parents or spouse of the accused couple.

But a researcher with Human Rights Watch said there could be circumstances where the new code "will be a problem".

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GOP Members Of Congress Call For Evers To Ban TikTok

Wisconsin's Republicans in Congress called on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers Tuesday to delete his TikTok account and ban the popular social media app from all state devices.

Conservatives have pushed for the ban, citing ties between the platform's owner and the Chinese government.

The state's five House Republicans and GOP Senator Ron Johnson all signed the letter, but Rep. Mike Gallagher of Green Bay led the charge, calling the app a national security threat.

"The app can track data, keystrokes, and locations of anyone who has the apps on their phones, even if they're on other websites, it can do that," Gallagher said in an interview Tuesday. "That means the Chinese Communist Party has the ability to collect sensitive information from our citizens, whether it's kids or high-ranking state government officials."

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DOJ Subpoenas Wisconsin Election Officials Over Trump Docs, Jan. 6 Attack

Wisconsin officials are among the first people to receive subpoenas about former President Donald Trump and his failed attempt to overturn the election as part of a new investigation from the Department of Justice.

Newly appointed special counsel Jack Smith subpoenaed officials in Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona. Requests for records arrived in Milwaukee on Monday and in Dane County, Wisconsin, Maricopa County, Arizona and Wayne County, Michigan last week.

The Washington Post was first to report the news on Tuesday. TMJ4 News confirmed the information with the Milwaukee County Clerk's office, who tells us "there is speculation that the subpoena concerns the matters involving fake electors, as well as the January 6 insurrection."

Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November to lead the Department of Justice's investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and Trump's alleged mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

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A CAFO, Contractors Lied About How Much Manure They Spread On Fields. Now The State Is Suing Them

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is suing a large dairy farm, a manure hauler and a crop consultant for falsifying a report to cover up overspreading of manure. Some environmental advocates say the case highlights the state’s over reliance on self-reporting for regulating concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.

According to the criminal complaint filed on Friday, an investigation by the state Department of Natural Resources found that Johannes Wakker of Wakker Dairy in Kewaunee County had too much manure in storage in late 2019. Wakker hired Gregory Stodola, owner of Stodola Ag. Transport, to spread the excess manure in an effort to meet a Nov. 30 deadline required by the farm’s permit.

The criminal complaint says Stodola overapplied manure on the fields surrounding Wakker Dairy and then created a fake document to hide the actual amount spread. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources investigation found the document underreported the total by over 1.9 million gallons of manure. Stodola then sent an invoice to Wakker for the real amount spread.

Wakker sent the fake document to the farm’s crop consultant, Benjamin Koss, and acknowledged in an email that Stodola was underreporting the numbers. Koss then further altered the data to allow the farm to meet their permit requirements for an annual nutrient management report required by the DNR.

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Wisconsin-Based Slaughterhouse Cleaner Ordered Not To Hire Minors

A federal judge ordered a Wisconsin company that cleans hundreds of slaughterhouses nationwide to ensure it is complying with child labor laws after investigators identified at least 50 minors scrubbing and sanitizing dangerous equipment at five different meatpacking plants in Nebraska, Minnesota and Arkansas.

Packers Sanitation Services Inc. also entered into an agreement with the Labor Department that was announced Tuesday. As part of that, the company promised to hire an outside consultant to review its hiring policies and provide additional training for its managers.

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Puerto Rico Man Sentenced To Ten Years’ Imprisonment As Member Of Maritime Cocaine-Trafficking Conspiracy

Gregory J. Haanstad, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on December 2, 2022, Jose Crespo-Lorenzo, a/k/a “El Colombiano” (age: 60) of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, was sentenced to ten years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, in violation of Title 46, United States Code, Section 70506(b).

According to court documents, beginning around October 2019, Crespo-Lorenzo and others sought to coordinate the maritime shipment of bulk quantities of cocaine from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico.  Crespo-Lorenzo, who was in the Dominican Republic at the time, and his Dominican-based associates planned to release a cocaine-laden vessel near Miches, Dominican Republic. The vessel would meet a maritime crew sent by David Quinones-Quinones, a Puerto Rican-based cocaine trafficker, at agreed coordinates, which corresponded to a location approximately seven miles southwest of the Desecheo National Wildlife Refuge. At the designated meet location, Crespo-Lorenzo’s crew planned an at-sea transfer of 100 kilograms (approximately 220 pounds) of cocaine with Quinones-Quinones’s crew. Quinones-Quinones would supply other Puerto Rican-based traffickers who were responsible for sending kilogram-quantities of cocaine to various locations in the continental United States, including Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Last Update: Dec 07, 2022 6:57 am CST

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