The Roundup with Teddy Jack: Volume 1, Issue 5


George Santos

George Santos was elected to New York’s 3rd Congressional District in the 2022 midterm election. He claimed that he had graduated with honors from Baruch College, and worked for CitiGroup and Goldman Sachs. All have denied any connection to him. Santos has admitted to embellishing [his] résumé”. Santos has a long history of lying and fraud; including taking money from a fundraiser for a vetern’s dog; a now-revived fraud case in Brazil, which was previously closed because they could not find him and potentially lying about his Jewish heritage. He is facing a House Ethics Committee investigation, and on the 31st resigned from his committee assignments. A video online has said that Santos has performed in drag during his time in Brazil, leading to calls of hypocrisy over membership of an increasingly anti-queer GOP, but he has denied ever doing drag.


Sweden and Finland’s Accession to NATO

Referred to as the “Swinland” deal, the potential new members have been approved by all member countries but Hungry, which plans to ratify the deal soon. However, Türkiye (previously referred to as Turkey) has held up the deal due to issues of extradition of Kurdish PKK militia members, which is designated a terrorist organization by the Turkish government. The extradition has been blocked by Sweden’s supreme court, which cannot be overruled. Turkish objections have become stronger after a far-right politician burned a Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Sweden. While there is less opposition to Finland’s accession, the two countries have agreed to stick together in the joining process. Türkiye’s opposition is often believed to be a political football in domestic Türkiye politics, with the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, using his obstinance to appeal to his conservative, fundamentalist base. The entrance of the two new members would substantially increase NATO’s deterrence in the Baltic Sea and on the Russian Federation’s border.


Tyre Nichols and Cop City

After a brutal beating by cops after a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee, Tyre Nichols died. Unlike other incidents of police brutality, the response to the incident was quick, with immediate arrest of the officers involved and firing on EMTs who stood by. This may indicate a change in how police brutality incidents are handled. Protests have broken out throughout the country, but they have remained almost entirely nonviolent.


In another incident of police brutality, a protester against “Cop City”, a massive police training compound that would devastate local ecosystems, was shot and killed by police in Atlanta, Georgia. The protestor, Tortuguita, was 26 and shot and killed after police fired in “self-defense”. Police have also been criticized for use of a controversial domestic terror law against anti-Cop City activists, which are largely nonviolent.


Florida Book Removals

As a result of new Florida laws regarding teaching of LGBTQ+ issues, several schools are removing all books until they can be reviewed by a board to prove they do not contain “indecent content”. The new laws would charge teachers with Class C felonies if there is a non-sanctioned book present in their classroom. 


Israeli Protests

Large protests in Israeli cities broke out over the incumbent, right-wing government’s attempt to undermine the independence of the judicial system, as a result of corruption and other charges faced by the PM and other cabinet members. The judicial reforms would allow the constitution to be overruled by a simple majority in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and make it easier to pack the supreme court. Experts have suggested that the reforms would be a grave blow to democracy. Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the Supreme Court of excessive interference in political affairs. Some protestors have also criticized the government’s policy on Palestine, which is very hawkish. 


Zahawi Scandal

The chairman of the British Conservative Party, Nadhim Zahawi, was fired on Sunday, after he broke the Ministerial Code over an affair revolving around tax evasion. 


Petr Pavel

In the Czech elections, ex-NATO general Petr Pavel beat his oligarch opponent Andrej Babis with 58% of the vote, the largest ever in a Czech presidential election. Pavel ran a campaign portraying his opponent as an enemy of liberal democracy and corrupt (Babis has been found by the EU to have used public funds to support his private business). Babis has attacked his opponent as a dangerous militarist who will lead the country to war. Pavel’s win was celebrated by many, including Ukraine, Slovakia and the United States, as a sign of resilience for Czech democracy against right-wing populism. Pavel has taken a strong Pro-EU and NATO stance, and called for sending more military aid to Ukraine, whilst Babis has insinuated he would not defend other NATO members if attacked, though he has since publicly reversed his stance on the issue. The Czech president is mostly symbolic, although it does have some powers in foreign policy. Pavel will replace outgoing President Zeman, an ally of Babis.