Dr. Mehmet Oz, who announced his GOP candidacy for U.S. Senate last week, has a long history of donating to Democratic campaigns.
Oz, a celebrity TV doctor, announced that he is running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania as a Republican on Tuesday. Oz is running for the seat Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is vacating at the end of this term in January 2023.
The former frontrunner in the GOP primary, Sean Parnell, suspended his campaign last month after losing a custody battle to his estranged wife, who accused him of spousal and child abuse. Toomey’s seat must be held by Republicans in the battleground state as the GOP pushes to win control of Congress in 2022.
Oz, apparently sensing opportunity with Parnell’s exit, is making his Senate bid as a Republican after decades of contributing to notable Democrats such as John Kerry. Logan Ratick, Newsmax’s national correspondent, listed some of Oz’s past political donations in a Twitter thread Thursday. Oz donated to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in 2011, former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles’ losing 2004 campaign for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, former New York Rep. Charlie Rangel in 2001, and to U.S. Climate Czar John Kerry’s 2001 U.S. Senate campaign in Massachusetts.
In an interview on Fox News after announcing his run, Oz elaborated on his friendship with Oprah Winfrey, a well-known Democrat. Oz said he asked Winfrey for advice on his decision to run.
“She told me to follow my heart,” Oz said. “She’s been a wonderful mentor to me, fairest woman I’ve ever worked with, and a great, sage adviser of mine.”
“I don’t want her to get involved in any way,” he added. “I don’t want to hurt her … I don’t want people to have to take bullets when I should be taking them myself.”
He added that he would be calling and asking her for advice, however. “I’ll be calling her and asking her for advice and [be] interested in her comments,” he said.
Oz announced his run in an op-ed for The Washington Examiner on Tuesday.
“We are angry at our government and at each other,” he wrote. “We have not managed our crises as effectively as past generations. During the pandemic, I learned that when you mix politics and medicine, you get politics instead of solutions. That’s why I am running for the U.S. Senate: to help fix the problems and to help us heal.”
Throughout the piece, Oz ripped into the government’s response to the pandemic, claiming that government mandates caused unnecessary suffering and death. Oz wrote:
The reality of our challenges has crystallized during the pandemic. Over 750,000 in the United States have died from the virus, a devastating toll for families and communities. Many of those deaths were preventable. COVID-19 became an excuse for the government and elite thinkers who controlled the means of communication to suspend debate. Dissenting opinions from leading scholars were ridiculed and canceled so their ideas could not be disseminated.
Instead, the government mandated policies that caused unnecessary suffering. The public was patronized and misled instead of empowered. We were told to lock down quietly and let those in charge take care of the rest. When we tested positive for the virus, we were also told to wait at home until our lips turned blue and we got sick enough to warrant hospitalization. To be clear, this is not a typical medical protocol. Elites with yards told those without yards to stay inside, where the virus was more likely to spread. And the arrogant, closed-minded people in charge closed our parks, shuttered our schools, shut down our businesses, and took away our freedom.
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NUJ condoles Sen Folarin over wife’s death
From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, on Friday condoled Senator Teslim Folarin, representing Oyo Central in the National Assembly, over the death of his wife, Angela Nwaka.
The condolence message was contained in a statement signed by the Secretary of the Union, Sola Oladapo, quoted the union’s chairman in the state, Demola Babalola, as expressing sadness over the death of Angela.
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Oladapo stated that Babalola had since called Folarin, who was on his way to catch flight to the UK around 4pm Friday, minutes after the unfortunate news of his wife’s death was broken.
Babalola, in the brief chat on phone with Folarin said Angela’s death was shocking and one death too many to bear, saying: “Distinguished Senator, this is sad and devastating. May Allah comfort you; the children and all the family members of the deceased.”
Alleged N544m contract scam: Again, Court rejects EFCC’S exhibits against Ex-SGF, Babachir Lawal
From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
For the second consecutive time, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Friday rejected computer generated exhibits sought to be tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Dr Babachir Lawal in his trial on alleged N544M contract scam.
The court held that the exbibits extracted from iphone 7 of one Musa Bulani, an associate of the former SGF failed admissibility test as conditions precedent stipulated by law for their admission were not met by the anti graft agency.
EFCC had on January 24, 2021 suffered the same fate following the rejection of its computer generated forensic report report by the same court on the same grounds.
Delivering ruling in an objection by Babachir Lawal against set of computer generated exhibits, Justice Charles Agbaza threw out the exhibits on the reason that the provisions of the Evidence Act on such documents admissibility were not met.
The computer generated documents were sought to be tendered by EFCC through its 8th witness, Mr Dare Folarin, an EFCC operative who had in his evidence in chief informed the court on how the documents were shown to him when he was invited to a laboratory during their analysis.
Counsel to the anti graft agency, Mr Ofem Uket had applied to tender the exhibits but the application was vehemently opposed by Chief Akin Olujimi SAN on various grounds.
Olujimi asked the court to reject the exhibits on the ground that what the EFCC wanted to do through Folarin was to smuggle into the court, exhibits earlier rejected by the same court when it ruled against admitting a Compact Disc on the said iPhone.
The senior lawyer informed the court that EFCC had already filed an appeal against the ruling of the court on the rejection of the computer generated exhibits at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
However in his ruling, Justice Agbaza agreed that his court had last year rejected similar exhibits and that the EFCC was only attempting to bring into the court records, exhibits already marked rejected.
Apart from the exhibits admission not conforrming with law, the Judge held that any oral evidence of the EFCC’S witness will amount to hearsay since he was not the maker and did not sign them.
“I have carefully examined the foundation of arguments for and against the admissibility of the exhibits in dispute and found only two issues for determination.
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“The first issue is on whether the evidence of the prosecution witness falls on hearsay in respect of the exhibits while the second issue is on whether this court has once rejected the exhibits sought to be tendered.
“On issue one, the witness on his own informed the court of how he was invited into the EFCC laboratory and was shown information extracted from a iphone 7.
“On this, Iam satisfied that the witness is not the maker of the exhibits in dispute. They were only shown to him according to his oral evidence here.
“Therefore, anything said or to be said by the witness is nothing but hearsay and for this reason, I resolve this issue in favour of the defendants.
“On the second issue, there is no dispute that the exhibits were earlier sought to be tendered but they were turned down and marked rejected and even, the rejection is a subject of appeal at the Court of Appeal.
“For this reason, I agree that the exhibits cannot be admitted having been earlier rejected and marked rejected.
However, trial of the defendants could not proceed as the EFCC counsel told the court that his witness, Dare Folarin p was indisposed and cannot make it to court and applied for an adjustment.
Due to no objection from the defense team, Justice Agbaza fixed February 16 and 17 for continuation of trial.
The former SGF is facing a 10-count charge the EFCC filed against him but however pleaded not guilty.
The charge borders on alleged diversion of funds, criminal conspiracy, and official corruption.
Those standing trial along with him are his younger brother, Hamidu Lawal; Suleiman Abubakar, Apeh Monday, and two companies, Rholavision Engineering (fifth defendant) and Josmon Technologies (sixth defendant).
Major crypto exchange mulls Russia expansion despite looming ban
The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, wants to expand to Russia despite a proposed crypto ban in the country.
According to Binance Eastern European Director Gleb Kostarev, expansion to Russia is strategically important for the growth of the crypto exchange.
“Our goal is to obtain a license and conduct legal business where the regulation allows,” Kostarev told Reuters, noting that Binance is expecting to see a progressive regulatory approach from Russia that could also set a precedent for similar regulations in neighboring states.
Russia has been eager to regulate its growing crypto market.
According to the central bank, the country’s annual volume of cryptocurrency transactions is near $5 billion.
The regulator, which has been increasingly critical of cryptocurrencies for the past several years, recently proposed a complete ban on crypto trading and mining in the country.
ALSO READ: Russia set for complete ban on cryptocurrencies
The proposal, however, has been met with opposition from both the public and other government ministries; who called for a more moderate approach, and regulation instead of prohibition.
The Ministry of Finance said this week that regulations of this kind are already in the works; noting that crypto technologies “should get a chance to develop.”
Kostarev called the ban proposal “harsh,” but noted that “for now, we consider this as an invitation to dialogue with the regulator.”
He also said that the course Russia takes in regulating crypto may impact its neighbors.
“In Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan they are more loyal to cryptocurrencies and are taking steps towards liberalization, rather than restriction. But local regulators are taking these steps with an eye on Russia.”
Cryptocurrencies are for now largely allowed in Russia and can be used for financial transactions; but their use for purchasing goods or services is prohibited.
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