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Court Strikes Down Biden's Student Debt Forgiveness; Plaintiff Had PPP Loan Forgiven
Plaintiff had a PPP loan forgiven and it was worth over twice the maximum amount of debt cancellation that was available to student borrowers.
Last night, a federal judge struck down President Biden’s student debt forgiveness program. In the lawsuit, two plaintiffs alleged harm due to not qualifying for student loan cancelation. What the suit didn’t mention — nor major media coverage — was the fact that one of the plaintiffs, a business owner, had $47,996 in PPP loans forgiven in 2020, as I reported in The Intercept.
When I contacted the plaintiff, Myra Brown, for comment, her response was strange but telling of the powerful forces that orchestrated the lawsuit: she texted me a photo printout referring me to a spokesperson at Job Creators Network Foundation, a right wing billionaire-funded organization that bankrolled the lawsuit. I also received a email from a TJ Winer who identified himself as a representative of the Job Creators Network but whose email address contained the domain name “CRC Advisors,” the infamous right-wing crisis communications firm. During Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, CRC worked to fight allegations of sexual misconduct by Christine Blasey Ford. After coordinating with conservative legal activist Ed Whelan to advance the bizarre theory that Blasey Ford mistook Kavanaugh for a doppelganger, Whelan apologized for “an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment.”
Winer subsequently disclosed to me that the Job Creators Network is a CRC client, which is interesting because CRC’s top donor is the Federalist Society, the powerful conservative legal group of which the judge hearing this case is a prominent member. The judge, Mark T. Pittman, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, was a founding member of the Tarrant County Federalist Society, where he remains as vice president. Probably nothing!
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Feel Like This Should Be a Bigger Story
A regular focus of my newsletter is going to be stories of consequence that major media overlooked. Here are some of the most egregious cases this week.
The Department of Homeland Security produced dossiers on countless protesters in Portland amid the George Floyd unrest in the summer of 2020. During the Trump administration, DHS’s top intelligence official resigned after it was reported that the department’s Office of Intelligence & Analysis had produced several intelligence reports on two journalists who published leaked documents. DHS sources at the time expressed skepticism that that was the full extent of the scandal, and it appears they were right. The dossiers, or “baseball cards” as spook world calls them, resemble the reports generated by the War on Terror of high-value terrorist targets. Would’ve been nice to know these details during the Trump administration! An earlier version of the report was already public but would it surprise you that the most embarrassing details described here were redacted? (Credit to Sen. Ron Wyden for getting those redactions lifted.) DHS has long not been forthcoming to Congress about the nature of their intelligence operations in Portland that summer, as Spencer Ackerman reports. My recent story on DHS’ role in policing misinformation made some people big mad but sorry, I don’t think the department described here should have a role in that stuff! Dell Cameron has a helpful summary of the report here.
The Biden administration declassified post-9/11 interviews with Bush and Cheney by the 9/11 commission. Saudi Arabia, one of major media’s least favorite subjects, is referenced throughout the document, with President Bush awkardly leaping to their defense. “The President said he did not want to justify their actions,” the report states. “But he said the Commission should also look at Saudi cooperation against al Qaeda inside their country.”
Pharma titan Eli Lily clarifies that Twitter rumors of free insulin are greatly exaggerated. New Twitter owner Elon Musk’s decision to sell blue check verification badges has predictably turned the website into something like a Hieronymus Bosch painting of now verified accounts spoofing political leaders and megacorporations. Some hero created a fake Eli Lily account, tweeting, “We are excited to announce insulin is free tomorrow.” Several hours and many, many retweets later, the real Eli Lily apologized for the “misleading” post — but not for price gouging a lifesaving medication that over 1 million Americans were forced to ration this year alone!