The most consequential election in American history

 

This is the most consequential election, perhaps in American history. What is paramount is that the Democrats win the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives if we have any hope of reigning in this runaway Supreme Court and the dismantlement of nearly 300 years of the development of this nation.

Whether Biden stays in the race or withdraws, what is tantamount in importance that the Democrats weather this critical juncture in American history.

I was imbued with a sense of national pride and purpose in grade school and from my parents. Never – never – could I imagine Americans choosing a felon to become an American dictator.

This is the most fateful decision Biden can make.

The King Can Do No Wrong

You’ve heard by now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Trump in his immunity case. How bad is this?  It reverses the Revolutionary War and what George Washington gave to make this nation possible. May this Independence not be our last.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has come out punching like the new RBG, wrote the main dissent, and holy moly, is that woman freaked out. There’s not a whole lot more I can add that she didn’t say:

“A President’s use of any official power for any purpose, even the most corrupt, is immune from prosecution. That is just as bad as it sounds,” she wrote.

Then, “In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law.”

But wait, there’s more:

“Today’s decision to grant former Presidents criminal immunity reshapes the institution of the Presidency. It makes a mockery of the principle, foundational to our Constitution and system of Government, that no man is above the law.”

Ash Bhagwat, a professor and expert in constitutional law at UC Davis, told me none of that was an exaggeration. The office of the president is now weaponized for personal use — as long as the president can claim some sort of official connection.

He brought up Trump’s famous line: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”

“After this decision, if he did it, he’d be in trouble,” Bhagwat said. “But if he ordered the Army to do it, he’s immune.”

And if you aren’t scared enough, let me bring up another Supreme Court decision last week: Chevron vs. Natural Resources Defense Council.

For 40 years, the legal precedent has largely given power to federal agencies to determine how best to regulate industries that don’t like to be regulated but that Congress has ordered be watched.

The Supreme Court overturned that precedent and said if Congress didn’t spell out every itty-bitty detail on something like, say, what constitutes polluting our water supply, then the agency in question can’t decide for itself.

Basically, it guts federal regulation — all of it, across the board — by making it subject to court interpretation. This has long been a dream of ultra-conservatives and goes hand-in-hand with Trump/Project 2025 threats to fire civil servants if elected.

So little things like how Medicare and Medicaid health plans are administered, how clean air and water rules are implemented and how tobacco sales are regulated are all up for grabs. If any industry doesn’t like it, it need only find a like-minded judge.

A president who can do whatever he wants and new power for corporations to do whatever they want. What could go wrong?

Bhagwat told me he’s less worried about it than I am, because courts can be pretty good at figuring these things out.

But he’s got a bigger worry. Over the past decade, he said, there have been a series of rulings giving the executive office greater power over the federal bureaucracy.

Combine that increase in power with today’s immunity ruling — and top it off with the purge of civil servants Trump has promised if elected, the last line of defense of anyone willing to argue with him — and we are a democracy in name only.

The national nervous breakdown

Which brings us to the debate, also known as the national nervous breakdown. It wasn’t just hard to watch Biden stumble and fumble — it hurt our collective, democracy-loving psyche. If we can’t have clean water, can we at least replace the fluoride with Prozac?

Rightfully, Biden’s disturbing performance has led to endless calls for him to step aside and let another candidate take over. The somewhat hilarious part of that is that Vice President Kamala Harris’ name is, for most people, about fifth on the list of possible replacements, even though obviously she would be next in line and is polling the same or better than any other. More on that below.

Reversing Roe Deletes Rights It Took a Century to Achieve

In overturning Roe, the Supreme Court’s case relied on  the 1873 Comstock Act, officially titled “An Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use.” This law explicitly prohibited materials related to abortion and imposed severe penalties for their dissemination. Despite subsequent amendments, the Act’s original language remains intact, fueled by a 1930 court ruling that seemingly rendered it obsolete.

Over decades, Comstock zealously pursued pornography across the country, sharing his findings with members of Congress and targeting women he deemed promiscuous.

Senate Republicans recently blocked a bill that aimed to protect women’s right to travel from one state to another for medical abortion care. This raises the question: Is a ban on interstate travel for this purpose constitutional?

Determining the constitutionality of such a ban is complex. The US Supreme Court’s recent lack of respect for precedent and consistency makes predictions difficult. Historically, however, the Supreme Court has upheld the principle that citizens must be able to move freely between states without losing federally protected rights. The 1868 Crandall v. Nevada case and later rulings affirm that freedom of movement is essential for maintaining a democratic republic.

Anti-abortionists may argue that since abortion is not a federally protected right, restricting travel for this purpose does not violate these principles. However, various legal perspectives suggest that banning interstate travel for any lawful activity is generally considered wrong, both morally and legally. This essay explores how freedom of movement, the 14th Amendment, and interstate commerce laws relate to this issue, focusing first on the freedom of movement.

Jonathan F. Mitchell, a prominent anti-abortion lawyer who represented Trump before the Supreme Court this year, told Lerer and Dias in February that the 920-page blueprint for a second Trump administration, created by Project 2025, a coalition of conservative organizations, advocates for enforcing Comstock’s criminal prohibitions. These include restricting the use of the mail — including common carriers like UPS and FedEx — for distributing abortion pills. Some MAGA legal minds also argue that Comstock could be used to prevent the transportation of tools used in surgical abortions via mail. Mitchell emphasized, “We don’t need a federal ban when we have Comstock on the books.”

Sara Rosenbaum, a health law and policy professor at George Washington University, described how pregnant patients have faced neglect in emergency departments due to extreme abortion restrictions in certain states. She recounted incidents where pregnant individuals were turned away or provided inadequate care, leading to dire consequences.

For example, at Falls Community Hospital in Texas, a woman nine months pregnant was refused care by the doctor on duty, who claimed the hospital lacked obstetric services. Federal investigators later concluded that the hospital violated the law. Similarly, at Sacred Heart Emergency Center in Houston, staff refused to help a woman in labor, resulting in a miscarriage in the emergency room lobby.

These cases are part of a larger pattern revealed in documents obtained from Freedom of Information Act requests. Despite federal laws mandating emergency care for pregnant patients, numerous complaints were lodged against hospitals for failing to provide adequate treatment. The penalties for such violations, including hefty fines and potential loss of Medicare funding, serve as deterrents, but enforcement varies.

The number of people traveling across state lines to get abortions nearly doubled in 2023, the first full year without Roe v. Wade protections. This is according to new data by the Guttmacher Institute. The overturned precedent left abortion rights up to individual states, with many enacting stricter laws or total bans. As a result, people are traveling long distances to access abortion services, causing a significant burden.

States with abortion bans or stricter regulations have seen residents travel to neighboring states with more lenient laws. Illinois and North Carolina were popular destinations in 2023. Texas saw the most residents leaving the state for abortions, with many going to New Mexico.

Abortion rights advocates are frustrated by the situation. They point out the long distances people travel for a quick medical procedure and the clustering of bans in the Southern US. There are challenges to these restrictions ongoing, with some states including abortion rights measures on their fall ballots.

The Biden administration has pledged to uphold these laws, emphasizing the importance of emergency medical care for all individuals, including pregnant patients. However, ongoing legal battles and the potential weakening of these protections could exacerbate the problem, leading to more instances of neglect and denial of care.

A survey by “Redbook” magazine and the Gallup Organization in January showed that 80% of Americans support legal abortion in all or some circumstances, up from 77% in 1977. Additionally, 70% believe Medicaid should fund at least some abortions despite the Hyde Amendment’s restriction on federal abortion funding since 1977. Support for the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion increased to a 60-37% majority from a 53-40% majority in 1977.

An NBC News-Associated Press National Poll in October 1978 revealed differing opinions on Medicaid funding for abortions, with 48% of 1600 adults supporting federal assistance for poor women seeking abortions, 44% opposed, and 8% undecided. The February Harris Survey indicated that 60% of a representative sample of 1199 adults supported legal abortions, the highest level recorded in their series. Notably, 39% of Americans would vote against a candidate solely based on their stance on abortion.

A record 69% of Americans in a recent Gallup poll said abortion should be legal in the first trimester, with support for second and third-trimester abortions reaching 37% and 22%, respectively. A slight majority of 52% identified as pro-choice, and an equal percentage viewed abortion as morally acceptable. More than half of Americans opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to end constitutional abortion protections, and research by the Economic Policy Institute indicated that denying abortions can negatively impact women’s financial security, increasing poverty and financial distress.

Forbidding abortion undermines the financial security of women. The Economic Policy Institute has found that women denied an abortion have a higher chance of living in poverty, a lower possibility of full-time employment, and an increase in unpaid debt and financial distress.

Middle-class families can expect to spend more than $230,000 on food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child through the age of 17, according to data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the end of Roe v. Wade represents a “major loss of rights” for women, a Washington Post-Schar School poll finds. A large and bipartisan majority of Americans, about 8 in 10 overall, say states that ban abortion should not be allowed to outlaw people from traveling elsewhere to access the procedure — an idea gaining steam among some antiabortion groups and Republican lawmakers. Those opposed include 64 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of independents .and 89 percent of Democrats.

Another indication of how a large segment of the American population is that pro-abortion-rights posts get more views than antiabortion videos on TikTok.

Nearly two years after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the majority of Americans continue to support access to abortion.

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, about 6 in 10 Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. This marks a 4 percentage point increase since 2021.

The survey reveals a stark contrast in views between Democrats and Republicans. A significant 85 percent of individuals identifying as Democrats or leaning towards the Democratic Party support legal abortion in all or most cases. Conversely, just over 40 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning respondents hold the same view.

However, there has been a gradual rise in support for abortion across the political spectrum over the years. In 2007, 63 percent of Democrats or Democratic-leaning individuals and 39 percent of Republicans or Republican-leaning individuals believed abortion should be legal in all or almost all cases.

The survey also highlights that a sizable portion of Americans have strong opinions on abortion. Roughly two-thirds express absolute views, with 38 percent in favor of abortion being legal in most cases and 28 percent advocating for it to be illegal in most cases.

Regarding the decision-making process, a majority of Americans (54 percent) believe that the decision about whether to have an abortion should rest solely with the pregnant woman. On the other hand, 35 percent subscribe to the belief that human life begins at conception, thus granting embryos personhood rights.

Interestingly, Pew found that 32 percent of Americans see merit in both statements, suggesting a nuanced perspective on the issue.

Despite political differences, approximately 6 in 10 Americans perceive obtaining an abortion in their area to be relatively easy, while 4 in 10 consider it to be challenging.

About 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their lifetime. It’s not surprising that forty percent of Americans list abortion as one of the most important issues in the country, according to a Marquette Law School Poll.  U.S. Catholics are majority pro-choice according to many polls!

Few Americans hold absolutist views on abortion: Only about 1 in 5 say it should be legal in all cases, and fewer than 1 in 10 say it should be illegal without exception, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

A USA Today-Suffolk poll found that 31 percent of American voters said a state banning abortion would make the state less desirable to live in; 5 percent said it would be more desirable. 6 in 10 voters said a state abortion ban would not affect their thinking on a state’s desirability as a place to live.

Overwhelmingly, Americans support people’s right to cross state lines for an abortion, polls are finding.. One showed 77 percent of Americans and even 64 percent of Republicans oppose laws that would ban residents from traveling to another state for an abortion. Another showed even more resistance to such laws: 78 percent overall, and 73 percent among Republicans.

Throwback Republicans

Republicans were not always anti-choice. California Governor Ronald Reagan signed into law the nation’s most permissive abortion regulation in 1967, six years before the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision.  Reagan’s 1980 running mate, former Texas Congressman George HW Bush, had supported Planned Parenthood — including abortion rights — all the way back to the 1960s.

Then Reagan discovered a growing backlash to Roe v Wade and led the Republicans to victory, capitalizing on general Republican mistrust of the Supreme Court dating back to the 1954 Brown v Board decision desegregating public schools.  This locked Republican candidates into an anti-choice position, appeasing the prejudices of angry Americans.

Blake Masters, a Republican candidate for the Senate in Arizona, wants a national abortion ban, women to stay home from work, and a federal law that says life begins at conception.

The Maga Republicans’ zeal to pass stringent forced-birth laws and their pining for a national abortion ban — as the party’s candidates scramble to erase evidence of their antiabortion views from their campaign websites — reveal how little they think of women.

Women are supposed to forget that Republican candidates have been at the forefront of the effort to deny them personal agency and to intrude on their most intimate healthcare decisions. They’re supposed to forget which party has consigned pregnant people to physical and mental suffering.

Sending America Back 70 Years

By reversing Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court takes America back 70 years. Health and Human Services Sec. Xavier Becerra insists that the country “can no longer trust” the Supreme Court. America is moving toward an abortion regime that brutalizes and sometimes kills pregnant women while ignoring the most promising opportunities to prevent abortions.

The reversal of Roe produced cognitive dissonance in a generation that grew up when abortion was legal. It was a shock to our collective intelligence when this was released, and it likely accounts for some of the divisiveness and disaffection in today’s population.

Alioto’s opinion is dangerously wrong on its face and when extended, could end many of the rights we take for granted. Alioto asserts, “For the first 185 years after the adoption of the Constitution, each State was permitted to address this issue in accordance with the views of its citizens.” To put this another way, abortion was not illegal in some states until the 1800s.

To reach his conclusion, Alioto reached back to English common law, relying on Sir Matthew Hale, an influential 17th Century jurist who is best remembered for his belief that women could be witches, assumed women were liars, and thought husbands owned their wives’ bodies. He permitted the execution of two women accused as witches. Even then, Alioto misconstrues Hale, who wrote abortion was a crime “if a woman be quick or great with child.” Note Hale used the conditional precedent of “if.” Quickening is the moment when a pregnant woman first detects fetal movement, which can happen as late as 25 weeks into pregnancy.
Except for misogynists, what sense is there in giving credence to a jurist whose views of women are as dated as lobotomies? By roughly a margin of 2-to-1, Americans want women to have the right to bring or not bring a child into the world. It’s not surprising that Roe v. Wade was decided with a 7-2 majority.

The ninth amendment states: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other retained by the people.” The plain meaning of this is that a right, such as the right to marry, does not need to be enumerated to be recognized.

The Roe decision was in line with earlier decisions of the Court. For decades before Roe, the Supreme Court held that the Ninth Amendment granted rights such as the right to marry, the right to procreate, the right to use contraception, the right to control the upbringing of children, and the right of every person to choose “whether to bear or beget a child.”
So a fair question is the U.S. Constitution a living document? A living constitution evolves and adapts to new circumstances, without being formally amended. It’s been calculated that the rate of change accelerates every decade. So, 20 years from now, the rate of change will be 4x what it is today.

Common sense tells us there is no realistic alternative to a living constitution in a rapidly changing world.  Does it make sense for the technologies of everyday life to change but our personal liberties will shrink? Will Alioto’s decision pave the way to abrogating other rights that are not explicitly stated, as Clarence Thomas stated, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

  • The right to marry
  • The right to have children
  • The right to travel
  •  The right to a fair trial
  •  The right to a jury of your peers
  • The right to have judicial review
  • The right to privacy includes the right to be left alone, to the care of your body, and, the right not to have your health information made public.
  • The right to health care has gained the support of 70.1% of the American public. COVID-19 and the probability of other pandemics to come have made explicit the need for health care.
  • Right to contraceptives
  • LGBTQ rights

An indication of this throwback court’s limited concept of our rights is contained in the words of Justice Kavanaugh, “For example, may a state bar a resident of that state from traveling to another state to obtain an abortion? In my view, the answer is no based on the constitutional right to interstate travel.”

The Supreme Court as now constituted does not reflect the values of most Americans. In another blog, I propose that Justice Thomas be forced to resign. This can be the beginning of changing the direction of the Supreme Court.

13 GOP AGs want a ‘fugitive slave act’ to track their states’ abortion and trans felons.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has plans to add $57 million to his proposed state budget in preparation for a possible influx of out-of-state patients who are seeking abortions (Axios). Pro-choice states, including New York, are budgeting accordingly.

The draft ruling published by Politico in May would give individual states authority over abortion access. According to the abortion rights advocacy group Guttmacher Institute:

Abortion is now banned (or close to it) in 15 states, according to a Washington Post abortion tracker.

In the United States, 58 percent of women of reproductive age live in states taking away abortion rights, according to the Guttmacher Institute (The Guardian).

The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country. In total, about 700 women die every year of pregnancy-related complications in the U.S., and about 3 in 5 of those deaths are preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A University of Colorado study found there will be abortion a 21% increase in the number of pregnancy-related deaths overall and a 33% increase among Black women, simply because staying pregnant is more dangerous than having an abortion. Back alley” abortions will be the last resource for women with no access to safe and legal services, and the horrific consequences of such abortions will become a major cause of death and severe health complications for some of the most vulnerable women in this country.

All across the nation, people are voicing their anxieties about a right that for decades has been taken for granted.  In cities across the country, thousands of Americans have turned out to rally for abortion rights in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin,  Cleveland, St. Louis, Denver, St. Peterburg, Florida, and 200 communities across the country.

Men have a stake in Roe vs. Wade.  Abortion is usually a joint decision between a man and a woman. With earning a living an ever-present challenge, one in five men have been involved in an abortion, as men have been involved in an abortion, one study finds.

The Washington Post has reported that Republicans plan to pass a national ban on abortion if they win back control of Congress. This would include even the blue states where abortion rights remain legal and protected. And if the Supreme Court gets away with overturning Roe v. Wade, it means the odds are they would let Congressional Republicans get away with banning abortion nationwide. America is out-of-step with reproductive rights being recognized by more nations.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has said he will oppose a Democratic bill to guarantee abortion access nationwide, indicating that it was too broad to get his vote. Manchin proves himself once more to be a  demi-Democrat.

Meanwhile, opponents of abortion are already using methods like license plate tracking, body cam recordings, and Wi-Fi networks designed to find people so they can direct them to anti-abortion arguments and if states to criminalize abortion, this data could be used by anti-abortion activists to try to prosecute people seeking abortions.

As the dissenting judges said, reversing Roe vs. Waderemoves a right nearly 50 years old and is at odds with polls that show consistent public support for Roe.

But more, the dissenting justices said, the opinion “breaches a core rule-of-law principle, designed to promote constancy in the law … It places in jeopardy other rights, from contraception to same-sex intimacy and marriage. And finally, it undermines the Court’s legitimacy.”

All 13 states that have GOP-controlled legislatures — Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming — have “trigger laws” that functionally banned abortion as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated it as a right.

 

Alabama

The 2019 Human Life Protection Act, which had been held by an injunction, was allowed to go into effect Friday. It makes it unlawful “for any person to intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion” unless “an abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.”

Alaska

The right to an abortion is protected by state law and constitution. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said, though, the overturning of Roe v. Wade will cause “renewed conversation” on the issue of abortion rights in the state.

Arizona

Arizona has a law enacted 48 years before Arizona became a state, making helping a woman with abortion is criminalized without exceptions. The individual who enacted the 1864 Arizona law prohibiting abortion, Jones, was described in a 1990 article in the Journal of Arizona History as a “prevaricator, a poet, a politician, and someone who pursued young females.”

Arkansas

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge signed the state’s trigger law into effect Friday, banning abortion in the state following the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The Arkansas Human Life Protection Act makes performing or attempting to perform an abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The only exception is if the mother’s life is in danger.

California

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Colorado

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Connecticut

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Delaware

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Florida

A law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy will go into effect July 1.

Georgia

A law prohibiting abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy was signed in 2019 but not in effect following legal challenges.

Hawaii

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Idaho

A trigger law making abortion illegal goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned.

Illinois

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Indiana

Indiana became the first state after Roe was reversed to ban abortion.

Iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court in June reversed an earlier court ruling that the state constitution guaranteed the right to abortion.

Kansas

The right to abortion is protected by state law. Voters will decide on Aug. 2 whether to change the state constitution to say there is no right to abortion.

Kentucky

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Friday that abortion is now banned in the state after a trigger law went into effect. Under the law, anybody who performs or attempts to perform an abortion will be charged with a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison. The only exception is if the mother’s health is at risk.

Louisiana

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said Friday abortion is banned in the state after a trigger law went into effect following the Supreme Court’s decision.

Earlier this week, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that strengthened the 2006 trigger law that went into effect Friday. The new law increases the penalties abortion providers face: prison terms range from one to 10 years and $10,000 to $100,000 in fines.

The state constitution also bars the right to abortion, and lawmakers recently approved a bill to ban abortion after “fertilization and implantation.”

Maine

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Maryland

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Massachusetts

The right to abortion is protected by state law. On Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order to “further preserve” abortion rights in Massachusetts and protect “reproductive health care providers who serve out of state residents.”

Michigan

pre-Roe v. Wade law bans abortions, but a judge ruled in May the state government cannot enforce the law as a lawsuit Planned Parenthood filed against the state plays out. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is also working to protect the right in the state.

A Michigan judge Friday blocked county prosecutors from enforcing a 91-year-old law banning abortion in the state while courts consider a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law. The ruling means abortion will remain legal in Michigan for the foreseeable future. The 1931 law bans abortion for all women, and doesn’t include exceptions for rape or incest.  and calls for the prosecution of reproductive care providers.

The ruling comes after the state Court of Appeals earlier this month cleared a path for county prosecutors to enforce the 1931 law by ruling they were not covered by a May order.

“It is clear to the Court that only one group is harmed by this statute- women, and people capable of carrying children,” Oakland County Judge Jacob Cunningham said during his ruling.

The 1931 abortion ban doesn’t pass constitutional muster, he said.

Minnesota

The right to an abortion is protected under the state constitution.

Mississippi

A trigger law banning nearly all abortions would go into effect immediately after Roe is overturned. In addition to its 15-week abortion ban at the center of the Supreme Court case, Mississippi has a 6-week abortion ban.

Missouri

Missouri ended the right to abortion following the Supreme Court decision. On Friday, Gov. Mike Parsons tweeted that he signed a proclamation activating the Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act, ending elective abortions in the state.

Montana

The right to an abortion is currently protected under the state constitution.

Nebraska

The right to an abortion is neither protected nor barred in the state constitution. Gov. Pete Ricketts has said he will push for the state legislature to pass a total abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Nevada

The right to an abortion is protected under the Nevada Revised Statutes, the codified laws of the state.   However, Montana voters will vote to dramatically reverse women’s rights at the ballot box in November when they vote on an anti-abortion ballot measure. That measure, known as LR-131, would require “health care providers to take necessary actions to preserve the life of a born-alive infant” or face up to 20 years in prison.

New Hampshire

The right to an abortion is not protected by state law.

New Jersey

The right to an abortion is protected under the state constitution.

New Mexico

The right to an abortion is neither protected nor barred in the state constitution.

New York

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

North Carolina

The right to an abortion is not protected by state law.

North Dakota

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal. After Roe is overturned, the Legislative Council must approve a recommendation from the state’s attorney general that the ban on abortion is constitutional.

Ohio

A 6-week ban on abortion that had been previously blocked was allowed to go into effect Friday.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor announced Friday the state trigger law banning abortions went into effect after the Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade. Prior to the ruling, Oklahoma had a near-total ban on abortion.

Oregon

The right to have an abortion is protected in the state constitution.

Pennsylvania

The right to an abortion is not protected by constitutional or statutory laws.

Rhode Island

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

South Carolina

The right to an abortion is not protected by state law.

South Dakota

A trigger law was in place to make abortion illegal. After Roe was overturned, it went into effect immediately without further action required.

The law makes all abortions illegal “unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female.”

Tennessee

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal that goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned with no further action required. The state constitution bars protection of the right.

Texas

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal that goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned with no further action required. The state already has a 6-week ban in effect.

Utah

Most abortions are now illegal in Utah after the trigger law ban was put into effect. The law does allow for exceptions for rape, incest, averting maternal death or impairment, and lethal fetal deformity.

Vermont

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Virginia

The right to an abortion is not protected by constitutional or statutory laws.

Washington

Under the Code of Washington, individuals are not allowed to interfere with a pregnant person’s right have an abortion.

West Virginia

A state constitutional amendment bars the protection of the right to an abortion. Abortion is still legal in West Virginia, but there is an 1882 law on the books that makes performing abortions a felony punishable by three to 10 years in prison. It’s unclear if it will go into effect follow Roe’s overturn. Gov. Jim Justice said Friday he is meeting with the Legislature and his legal team to decide if the state’s abortion laws need to be updated.

Despite abortion still being legal in the state, the only clinic said in a statement on Facebook it will not be performing the procedure “until further notice.”

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has a pre-Roe law dating back to 1849 making an abortion a felony that could go back into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

Wyoming

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal. It would require certification by the governor, advised by the Attorney General within 30 days of the Supreme Court ruling.

The consequences of reversing Roe are becoming evident.

A Florida court ruled that a 16-year-old wasn’t ‘sufficiently mature’ enough to have an abortion.

In Texas, a woman says she was denied an abortion for a medical emergency.

The Kentucky Supreme Court declined to block the state’s near-total abortion ban while it reviews legal challenges to the law.

The President laid out the fastest and best way to return women to their rights:

“Let me be clear. While I wish it had not come to this, this is the fastest route available,” Biden said. “The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law codifying Roe, which I will sign immediately upon its passage on my desk.”

A vivid illustration of the grief that is being caused by the Roe reversal is a 10-year-old girl from Ohio who was raped and traveled to Indiana for an abortion. The girl’s doctor was afraid she was too far into her pregnancy to get an abortion, even though she was only six weeks and three days along — meaning she had probably just learned that she was pregnant. This was due to an Ohio law banning abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected (sometimes as early as six weeks). This was reported by, the Indianapolis Star.

This case is showing how dangerous the Court’s ruling is becoming. The Republican Attorney General says he is looking into the licensure of the physician who provided abortion services to the 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio.  Rokita, the Attorney General, appeared on Fox News and called the doctor “an abortion activist acting as a doctor.” He accused her of having a history of failing to report abortions and that an investigation into the physician and her license is underway.

Another casualty of Roe is sex education coincides with abortion restrictions and a movement to stop educators from discussing gender and sexual orientation.

Seventeen members of Congress — including Democratic Reps. Cori Bush (Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) — were among dozens of abortion rights protesters arrested  outside the Supreme Court in a rally demanding immediate action to protect abortion following the court’s decision  to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Thirty-five people were arrested for crowding, obstructing or incommoding, a D.C. code often cited when arresting protesters during peaceful, planned, and coordinated actions of civil disobedience such as the demonstration on Tuesday. Those arrested were ticketed and released on-site, as is standard practice during events such as this, said Capitol Police spokesman Tim Barber.

Among those arrested were members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and including Assistant House Speaker Katherine M. Clark (Mass.) and Reps. Bush, Omar, Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), and Carolyn B. Maloney (N.Y.), according to their offices.

Can women be prosecuted for crossing state lines to get an abortion?
As a general rule, this should not happen. Even Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that it would be a step too far to ban women from traveling across state lines to seek care. The Constitution protects interstate commerce, and that means it also protects interstate travel, he wrote, calling it “not especially difficult as a constitutional matter.”
In the year following the Supreme Court Dobbs decision, the abortion landscape in the United States became more fractured than ever.

 

Abortions increased nationwide, according to a new report from #WeCount, a research project led by the Society of Family Planning, the average monthly change in the 12 months post-Dobbs compared to the two months pre-Dobbs adds up to about 2,200 more abortions over the course of a year.

 

But the trends diverged sharply based on state policy, with abortions all but stopped in states with bans and significant increases in many states where abortion remained legal.

 

There were about 115,000 fewer abortions in the 17 states with total or six-week bans in effect – plummeting 98% in banned states and dropping 40% in those with 6-week gestational limits, according to the new report. About a third of the overall decline can be attributed to Texas.

 

The remaining 33 states where abortion remained legal, along with the District of Columbia, recorded nearly 117,000 more abortions – a 14% increase year-over-year.

 

“This is a sign of increasing inequality of access,” said Caitlin Myers, a  professor of economics at Middlebury College. Her research has focused on abortion trends, but she was not involved in the new analysis.

“Whether somebody who wants to access abortion can actually do so depends more than ever on where they live,” she said.

Much of the increase in states where abortion remains legal were among patients who traveled from states with bans or restrictions, experts say. The new report doesn’t capture how widespread the need to travel for an abortion has become, but local data suggests a clear trend.

Earlier research has shown that travel is a significant barrier. And even if additional resources help reduce the burden on patients, it shouldn’t be the gauge of success, experts say.

“It’s really not a public health triumph that people have to mobilize the financial and social resources to travel, sometimes hundreds of miles away from their home, to obtain basic health care,” said Dr. Alison Norris, co-chair of #WeCount and association professor at The Ohio State University’s College of Public Health. “That’s really a public health crisis.”

17 members of Congress were arrested and subsequently released at an abortion rights protest outside the Supreme Court on July 19. (Video: The Washington Post)

In the weeks following the Supreme Court’s decision, confusion surrounding new abortion-related laws has led to patients being denied much-needed maternal health care.

Confusion post-Roe spurs delays, denials for some lifesaving pregnancy care

At the time of the decision to overturn Roe, 13 states had “trigger bans,” designed to take effect to prohibit abortion within 30 days of the ruling. At least eight states banned the procedure the day the ruling was released.

Now, common complications, including incomplete miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies, have now been scrutinized, delayed, and even denied, according to the accounts of doctors in multiple states where new laws have gone into effect.

The supporters of reversing Roe claim they want to protect life. Following the decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the once constitutionally protected right to an abortion, young women and others across the country have increasingly requested sterilization, according to obstetrician-gynecologists who have seen upticks in Arizona, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida.

Because of the overturning of Roe, is causing women to undergo major surgery and take on the complications and risks that come with it just so they don’t have to worry about carrying an unwanted pregnancy.

Access to abortion meant women could pursue a child-free life if they chose. But lawmakers appear determined to take away their choices.

Another foreseeable consequence of reversal is that the number of men seeking vasectomies is on the rise.  People’s needs and choices are not stopped by a regressive court decision.

Signs of resistance are becoming commonplace. Seventeen members of Congress — including Democratic Reps. Cori Bush (Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) — were among dozens of abortion rights protesters arrested Tuesday outside the Supreme Court in a rally demanding immediate action to protect abortion following the court’s decision last month to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Also at risk is the right to love whomever a person chooses. By 2121  half of Americans supported marriage equality, according to Gallup’s data, which show support growing by an average of 1% to 2% per year since the mid-1990s. By the time the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 issued its marriage equality decision, Obergefell vs. Hodges, support had grown to about 60%.

Since then, same-sex marriages have become routine. The Census Bureau last year estimated that 980,000 same-sex households exist in the U.S., roughly 1.5% of all households in the country, of whom about 58% were headed by married couples. The share of the public that supports equal marriage rights now surpasses 70%.

Reaction to the Roe’s fate has been convincing and swift. Kansas, a red state, resoundingly rejected an amendment that would have led to abortion bans. Democratic voters especially turned out in higher numbers, and the ballot measure was rejected by a huge margin.  Corporations are recognizing their responsibility to their employees. Walmart, the largest U.S. private employer, expands abortion coverage for staff.

The results prompted President Biden to call again for Congress to codify abortion protections into federal law, and on Wednesday he signed an executive order to help patients travel across state lines for abortion care.

Changing the Constitution is one of the most difficult processes in all of governing. There are a couple of different ways to do it. One of the most common requires a two-thirds vote in Congress and then three-fourths of states (38 states) to ratify it.

Take the Equal Rights Amendment: Congress passed it in 1972 and sent it to the states for ratification. But only 35 states ratified it before the deadline passed (three-fourths have now ratified, but a few did so after the deadline), so it still hasn’t been added. So it’s highly unlikely that a more controversial amendment, such as one enshrining the right to abortion or banning assault weapons, would make it through such a rigorous process, especially at a time when states are so divided on these policies.

With the  Supreme Court so clearly on the wrong side of history and one of the justices so clearly corrupted, it may be easier to bring pressure on some judges to resign, particularly Justice Thomas.

22 states have laws or constitutional amendments on the books now poised to severely limit access to abortion or ban it outright. Even before the Supreme Court issued its decision, states with more restrictive abortion laws had higher maternal mortality and infant mortality rates. Now, experts are predicting at least a 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths across the country.

1 in 3 American women has already lost abortion access. More restrictive laws are coming.

 Two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, about 20.9 million women have lost access to nearly all elective abortions in their home states, and a slate of strict new trigger laws expected to take effect in the coming days will shut out even more.

Texas, Tennessee, and Idaho all have existing restrictions on abortion, but the laws slated to begin Thursday will either outlaw the procedure entirely or heighten penalties for doctors who perform an abortion, contributing to a seismic shift in who can access abortion in their home states.

At least 11 other states have banned most abortions, prohibiting the procedure with narrow exceptions from the time of conception or after fetal cardiac activity is detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy, with legislation known as “heartbeat” laws. Five more states have similar bans temporarily blocked by the courts. If those injunctions are lifted, abortion could soon be inaccessible for millions more — in total, 36 percent of U.S. women between the ages of 15 and 44 would be largely unable to obtain an elective abortion in the state where they live.

The rapid pace of change has shocked even the closest observers.

“I just thought there would be a little more time to help providers and patients cope with these changes,” said Elizabeth Nash, who tracks abortion legislation in the states for the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research center that supports abortion rights. “It was very clear that that sort of grace period was not going to be provided.”

Advocates and doctors in favor of abortion rights fear that the newest trigger laws — which in Texas will carry a potential life sentence for doctors who perform an abortion — will have a chilling effect on helping people who either need an abortion because they are facing life-threatening complications or are trying to travel and get one elsewhere. The stiffer laws come as patients and providers navigate a confusing tangle of policies amid ongoing legal challenges that at times have made abortion accessible one day and completely illegal the next. Even more changes are on the horizon as lawmakers in South Carolina and West Virginia consider new bills during special legislative sessions.

Patients in states such as Tennessee have rushed in recent days to try to make last-minute appointments before they lose access to abortion completely — some only to be turned away, ineligible for an abortion because of the state’s “heartbeat” law.

Kaydria, a 28-year-old from Jackson, Miss., started researching the changing abortion laws as soon as she found out she was pregnant in mid-August. With abortion already banned in her home state, she decided to drive three hours to Memphis.

She knew she’d have to hurry: On Aug. 25, all elective abortions would be banned there, too.

“I needed to go ahead and take care of it,” said Kaydria, who spoke on the condition that only her first name be used to protect her privacy. “I knew I didn’t have time.”

Roughly 14 states have bans outlawing most abortions, with varying exemptions and penalties for doctors. In all, nearly 21 million — about 1 in 3 girls and women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 — have lost access to the procedure, according to U.S. census data. The restrictions apply to both medication and surgical abortions.

The states that bar abortion from conception tend to be located in the South and the Midwest, including Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Wisconsin has conflicting laws that leave the legality of abortion uncertain, but clinics stopped providing abortions in the state after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, effectively ending abortion within its borders. Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, and Tennessee have bans that begin when fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which can occur before many people realize they are pregnant.

The Austin City Council passed a resolution that seeks to decriminalize abortion care. The move was especially urgent given that Texans, who have already been living under a draconian abortion law for nearly a year, face a full “trigger” ban with harsh criminal penalties and an attorney general eager to prosecute. The proposal is now spreading across Texas—and beyond.

A shimmer of light in these dark times, municipalities like Austin are creatively harnessing their local power and uplifting their progressive values to fight back against onerous state abortion laws and, importantly, proving that we can find pockets of hope, determination, and optimism in our communities amid what often feels like perpetual doom in life after Roe.

Religion claiming restrictions on the legitimacy of abortion imposes on most people’s sense of what is right or wrong.

Marjorie Taylor Green introduced a bill to make gender-affirming care for transgender youth a felony. Demonstrating where the Republicans really stand, Senator Lindsay Graham on Tuesday, August 23 introduced a bill that would ban abortions nationally after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Can the Republicans be more tone-deaf? Graham, the quintessential hypocrite previously said abortions should be left to the states.

America is the only industrialized country without some form of universal health care – it’s the poor who suffer the most. Survey data shows that nearly 50% of women who seek abortions live under the poverty line. What pregnant women deserve is free abortion on demand, under any circumstance.

How telling it is that having gotten Roe reversed, Republicans, are not talking about increasing the life chances of children being born only because of Roe’s reversal.  It’s time the United States join other developed countries in providing universal health care. Doing so would raise the life chances of Americans.

In Texas, U.S. District Judge James Hendrix halted emergency abortion guidance that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued last month’s administration that requires doctors to provide abortions in emergency medical situations even if doing so would run afoul of state law.

The government urged the court to find that a 1986 federal law known as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) superseded some restrictive state abortion laws passed in the wake of the demise of Roe vs. Wade.

The EMTALA law requires a hospital to provide stabilizing care to any patient that presents with an emergency medical condition.  The Biden Administration maintains that abortion qualifies as stabilizing care under the law.

A federal judge in Utah August 24 temporarily blocked Idaho’s abortion ban from taking effect during medical emergencies, ruling that it conflicts with federal law. This was the first court win in the federal effort to assure women needing medical attention can get it regardless of state law.

The National Association of Evangelicals called climate action a Christian responsibility in a 50-page report in August 2021, a call to action for a demographic that is less likely than the general population to consider climate change a threat.

The NAE’s report, entitled “Loving the Least of These,” addresses the scientific evidence for the reality of climate change and the role of greenhouse gas emissions in driving it, as well as examining and debunking common arguments against the objectivity of climatologists.

The report goes on to address the issue from a theological and personal perspective, outlining biblical arguments for environmental stewardship.

“The earth brings glory to God, and God continues to care for and sustain the natural processes of the world. The psalmist says: ‘Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul’ (Psalm 103:22),” it reads. “Because God’s glory is revealed in creation, we should be intentional about caring for his artistry.”

The report also cites Matthew: 22’s edict to “Love your neighbor as yourself” in the context of the human suffering caused by climate change and environmental disasters, and outlines personal experiences and examples of the human toll of those ongoing disasters.

The organization, which represents 45,000 evangelical churches, has acknowledged the existence of climate change.

It’s ironic that suffragettes celebrated a major victory 102 years ago today: A proclamation was signed that added the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving some 26 million women voting rights for the first time.

When the Founding Fathers were drafting the earliest laws, Abigail Adams encouraged her husband, then-Vice President John Adams, to “remember the ladies” — yet the resulting Constitution omitted the word “women.” Seneca Falls, New York, hosted the inaugural women’s rights convention in 1848.

Three decades later, a women’s suffrage amendment was introduced in Congress, and more than 40 more years later a suffrage bill finally passed in the House and Senate. Afterward, 36 states needed to ratify the amendment for constitutional inclusion. An indecisive 24-year-old, Representative Harry T. Burns, cast the deciding vote, ultimately favoring ratification at the behest of his mother giving women the right to vote.

The laws of some states place our country outside the pale of what is internationally acceptable. If the U.S. does not change course on women’s rights, the U.S. will be the subject of international scorn and sanctions.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a new rule making the agency an abortion provider. The VA has already started providing abortions to pregnant veterans and VA beneficiaries in the limited circumstances set out in the rule, which took effect when it was published on Sept. 9.

  • The VA’s rule would allow abortions for those who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or if a pregnancy endangered the “life and health” of the person seeking an abortion.
  • There are still questions about how “health” will be interpreted. VA officials have said it will be up to veterans and doctors to determine whether health is endangered on a case-by-case basis.

Republicans have questioned the legality of the rule and promised to give the department a tough time if the GOP regains control of Congress in the fall.

It has now been 100 days since the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, triggering states across the country to enact restrictive abortion laws. Since the high court’s June decision, dozens of clinics across 15 states have been forced to stop offering abortions.

People are still getting abortions. With its Dobbs v. Jackson decision in June, the Supreme Court overturned the half-century-old Roe v. Wade and effectively made abortion illegal in nearly half of US states. New data from the Society of Family Planning shows that the number of clinician-provided abortions in those states has plummeted. (It’s important to remember that data wouldn’t include self-managed abortions, where women take abortion pills at home.)

What’s perhaps more interesting is the notable jumps in abortion in states surrounding those where abortion is illegal, suggesting that women are traveling to get medical care. In Kansas, the number of abortions rose 36 percent from April to August; abortion became illegal in neighboring Oklahoma during the same time. North Carolina, which is surrounded by the less abortion-friendly South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, saw a 37 percent jump.

Those jumps show up in national numbers. Despite declining by 100 percent in a number of states, the number of recorded abortions in the US only declined a modest 6 percent nationwide, from 85,020 in April to 79,620 abortions in August 2022. Of course, traveling to another state can be prohibitively expensive for many, meaning that poorer people will have a harder time terminating pregnancies in states with strict abortion laws.

Now men can have birth control. The Pill went on the market for women in the 1960s. And The Pill went on the market for women in the 1960s. And the male contraception pill? Researchers would joke that it was “a couple of years away for 50 years.”

But now, new forms of birth control for men finally seem within reach. Not just male hormonal pills but gels and implants. Many of these developing products are more convenient and foolproof than condoms or easily reversed than vasectomies.
Is this a new “Woke” issue for the Right?

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a decision by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, which had paused FDA approval for the abortion pill mifepristone. That’s a great victory for abortion rights advocates, right? Nope! As part of its decision, the appeals court also rolled back major FDA changes which made mifepristone easier to obtain —  blocking the drug from being sent by mail, forcing patients to go to doctors for their prescriptions, and making them undergo multiple in-person examinations while taking the medication. Also, it can now only be administered 49 days into a pregnancy, down from the 70 days set by the FDA.

As a lawyer for a conservative legal group, Matthew Kacsmaryk, in early 2017, submitted an article to a Texas law review criticizing Obama-era protections for transgender people and those seeking abortions.

The Obama administration, the draft article argued, had discounted religious physicians who “cannot use their scalpels to make female what God created male” and “cannot use their pens to prescribe or dispense abortifacient drugs designed to kill unborn children.”

But a few months after the piece arrived, an editor at the law journal who had been working with Kacsmaryk received an unusual email: Citing “reasons I may discuss at a later date,” Kacsmaryk, who had originally been listed as the article’s sole author, said he would be removing his name and replacing it with those of two colleagues at his legal group, First Liberty Institute, according to emails and early drafts obtained by The Washington Post.

Now, six years later, as Kacsmaryk sits as a judge in Amarillo, Tex., his strong ideological views have grabbed the country’s attention after he ruled this month that sought to block government approval of a key drug used in more than half of all abortions in the country — an opinion that invoked antiabortion-movement rhetoric and which some medical experts have said relied on debunked claims that exaggerate potential harms of the drug.

Legal abortions probably increased in the United States in the first half of the year compared with 2020, an analysis of new estimates shows, as states with fewer abortion restrictions welcomed patients traveling from those with bans and access to abortion pills through telemedicine grew. New research from the Guttmacher Institute gives the latest picture of legal abortions since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last year changed access to abortion nationwide and allowed more than a dozen states to prohibit or limit the procedure.

There are no estimates yet of women who were turned away from abortions or those who could not get them. The increases in most states may also hide the number of abortions stopped by the bans. “Abortions had started rising before Dobbs, and they may have risen even faster than observed if not for the bans,” Dr. Myers said. The Guttmacher Institute’s report is based on a survey of physical abortion clinics and telehealth and virtual providers. The institute, which supports abortion rights, does not contact all clinics in each state but uses a sample to estimate the number of abortions.

The report does not include abortions obtained outside of the formal health care system, such as pills mailed into states with bans from other countries or states where abortion is legal. Other data suggests that thousands of people, especially those living in states with bans, have ordered abortion pills online from abroad. Large states like California, Florida, Illinois, and New York had the most abortions. Because the researchers used a statistical model, they reported a range of uncertainty in their counts, and there was more uncertainty in states with more abortion providers. Data was not collected from the 14 states with abortion bans in effect in the first part of the year.

What Lies Ahead if Trump Has a Second Term

Allies of former President Trump are aiming to tighten restrictions on abortion if the GOP frontrunner secures another term in the White House later this year.

While these plans originate from the Heritage Foundation rather than the Trump campaign directly, the influential think tank’s Project 2025 represents the most comprehensive pre-transition planning effort thus far.

The detailed proposals from Heritage highlight conservatives’ longstanding discontent with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), particularly regarding abortion policy, at a time when they could wield significant influence over such matters under a potential Trump re-election.

Recent attention to the issue stemmed from a New York Times column referencing Heritage’s extensive 887-page document titled “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise,” released last year.

Within this document, Heritage advocates for the HHS to revert to its former title of the Department of Life, explicitly rejecting the classification of abortion as healthcare. Additionally, Heritage proposes amending the department’s mission statement to prioritize the health and well-being of all Americans “from conception to natural death.”

As part of its “Life Agenda,” Heritage also calls for the removal of the HHS Reproductive Healthcare Access Task Force, established by the Biden administration shortly before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Instead, Heritage suggests establishing a pro-life task force to ensure that all HHS divisions prioritize promoting the life and health of women and unborn children.

However, it’s important to note that neither Trump nor his campaign have endorsed Heritage’s document, according to the New York Times. The campaign has emphasized that unless a second-term priority is explicitly articulated by President Trump himself or officially communicated by the campaign, it is not authorized.

It appears that Republicans have little regard for the well-being of women, especially if they happen to be teenagers and sexually active.
This sentiment is underscored by a recent and profoundly disturbing scientific study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network titled “Teen Pregnancy and Risk of Premature Mortality.”
The study, which examined over 2.2 million women who experienced teen and pre-teen pregnancies, revealed a shocking finding summarized in a New York Times article: “Teenagers who had babies were twice as likely to die before age 31.”
This critical statistic is not likely to be highlighted on Fox News or in right-wing media, which often champion a narrative promoting childbirth, even in cases of sexual assault.
Recall the troubling incident involving Republican Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio, who compelled a 10-year-old rape victim to seek an abortion in Indiana, despite his Attorney General dismissing the story as a fabrication. DeWine’s reluctance to advocate for the girl’s right to choose reflected a disturbing trend among Republican officials.
Similarly, figures like Congressman Jim Jordan and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem have downplayed the importance of abortion access for victims of sexual assault, disregarding the profound physical and psychological toll pregnancy can have on young girls.
Contrary to popular belief, teenage pregnancies are not merely life-altering but also life-threatening, as highlighted by the JAMA Network study. This issue is particularly prevalent in Republican-controlled states, which consistently report the highest rates of teen pregnancies.
Even after adjusting for pre-existing health conditions, income, and education levels, the study found that teenagers who carried pregnancies to term were still more than twice as likely to experience premature death later in life.
Meanwhile, rapists in these states, emboldened by restrictive abortion laws, continue to victimize vulnerable women with impunity.
Recent legislation and court rulings further exacerbate the situation. In Texas, for instance, strict abortion bans have led to a surge in rape-related pregnancies, with thousands of survivors left without access to reproductive healthcare.
Additionally, conservative judges and lawmakers are actively working to restrict access to birth control, particularly for teenage girls. Efforts to dismantle federally-funded Title X clinics and enforce archaic laws like the Comstock Act threaten to roll back decades of progress in women’s reproductive rights.
The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 lays bare the GOP’s agenda, which includes surveilling and controlling women’s bodies under the guise of moral righteousness. From limiting access to contraception to criminalizing abortion, Republicans are determined to strip women of their autonomy and dignity.
In stark contrast, President Joe Biden’s recent executive order and funding initiatives aim to prioritize women’s health and well-being. With expanded funding and a renewed focus on research, the Biden administration is taking concrete steps to address the systemic barriers women face in accessing quality healthcare.
The choice is clear: women must be vigilant in safeguarding their rights and resisting the regressive agenda pushed by Republican lawmakers. The future of women’s health hangs in the balance, and it’s up to us to ensure that progress prevails over oppression.

The landscape of abortion in the United States appears to be evolving in two seemingly contradictory ways. On one hand, there has been a surge in attacks on abortion rights, with nearly half of the states implementing or planning to implement bans on the procedure since June 2022. However, despite these restrictive measures, the overall incidence of abortion has increased significantly. Recent data from the Guttmacher Institute reveals that there were more abortions in the formal US healthcare system in 2023 than in any year since 2011, with approximately 1 million abortions performed, marking a 10 percent increase over 2020.

Several factors contribute to this increase in abortions despite the tightening restrictions. One factor is the rise in out-of-state travel for abortions, as more than 160,000 individuals crossed state lines to terminate pregnancies in 2023, nearly double the number from 2020. Additionally, residents living in states without restrictive abortion laws are increasingly seeking abortions, driven by improved access policies such as telehealth services, sliding-scale payment options, and expanded Medicaid coverage.

Another significant factor contributing to the rise in abortions is the increasing popularity of medication abortion, which involves the use of mifepristone and misoprostol. Medication abortion accounted for 63 percent of all US abortions in 2023, up from 53 percent in 2020. Reasons for choosing medication abortion include limited access to in-person abortion clinics, preference for privacy, and lower cost compared to surgical abortion.

Despite efforts by the anti-abortion movement to restrict access to medication abortion, advocates for abortion rights have made strides in expanding access to the medication, even in states with total abortion bans. Shield laws, e-commerce platforms, and international providers have facilitated easier, faster, and cheaper access to abortion medication nationwide.

However, there are still unknowns regarding the increase in abortion incidence. It remains unclear whether shifting childbearing decisions, such as a decrease in the desire to have children or a preference to delay childbearing, contribute to the rising abortion rates. Additionally, data on individuals who desired to terminate pregnancies but were unable to do so is challenging to collect.

With uncertainties surrounding future legal and funding landscapes, the trajectory of abortion trends in the United States remains uncertain. However, ongoing monitoring and research will provide insights into the factors driving the evolving landscape of abortion access and incidence in the country.

The Comstock Act, a federal law enacted in 1873, was named after Anthony Comstock, a fervent advocate for what he considered moral purity. The Act criminalized the use of the postal service for the distribution of obscene materials, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing products.

Recently, during a Supreme Court session, Justices Sam Alito and Clarence Thomas, along with Erin Hawley, highlighted the Act’s potential relevance to current debates on reproductive rights. They suggested that the Comstock Act could be used to challenge the distribution of abortion-related drugs like Mifepristone. This invocation of the Comstock Act signals a possible judicial revival that could impact the future of reproductive healthcare in the United States.

Trump’s stance on abortion has undergone a shift. Previously boasting about dismantling Roe vs. Wade, he now seems to advocate for both sides, positioning himself as an anti-abortion advocate while also supporting states’ rights on the issue. This apparent flip-flop appears to be a strategic move to mitigate political risks.

Support for strict abortion restrictions has become a contentious issue in the election, particularly among women and independent voters, according to recent polls. Trump’s advisors recognize the potential electoral impact, especially in swing states, where small margins could sway the outcome.

Trump’s attempt to divert attention from reproductive rights is viewed as a calculated maneuver, though its effectiveness remains uncertain. Despite his efforts, criticism persists, particularly from his own supporters, indicating skepticism about his sincerity.

Today marks the launch of an unprecedented effort to expand abortion rights across Europe, led by advocacy groups from eight different countries. The My Voice, My Choice campaign aims to gather 1 million signatures to urge European Union leaders to support individuals facing barriers to ending unwanted pregnancies in their home countries.

While legal abortion is generally accessible in Europe, exceptions exist, such as near-total bans in Poland and Malta, and limited access in Austria and Germany. Additionally, some doctors in countries like Croatia and Italy refuse to provide abortion services. The campaign seeks to address these gaps by providing financial assistance for individuals to access abortion care internationally if necessary.

Led by Slovenian activist Nika Kovač, the campaign emphasizes solidarity and aims to mobilize support across Europe. Despite the challenges of collecting such a large number of signatures in a short time frame, organizers are optimistic, drawing on their collective experience in advocacy and mobilization efforts.

The proposed European Citizens’ Initiative would enable member states to opt in and receive financial support from the EU to provide abortion services for those in need. By positioning the initiative within the EU’s supporting competence, activists aim to challenge the notion that reproductive rights fall solely within the jurisdiction of individual member states.

The initiative’s success depends on the support of the European Commission and the stance of candidates running for European Parliament. Nevertheless, activists are determined to push for concrete action to address the needs of individuals across Europe facing barriers to accessing safe and legal abortion.

How did the current zealot push against women’s rights begin in the United States? In 2011, amidst the rise of the Tea Party and a seemingly robust pro-choice movement, an unexpected proposal emerged. Evangelical activist Janet Porter championed a bill aiming to ban abortion once a fetal “heartbeat” could be detected, typically around six to eight weeks of pregnancy.

This concept was considered radical at the time. Established anti-abortion groups like Ohio Right to Life and the state’s Catholic conference viewed it with skepticism. They favored a gradual approach, fearing such a seemingly extreme bill could backfire and hinder their cause.

A new Supreme Court decision called Loper Bright is shaking things up for reproductive rights and other hot-button issues. Legal experts say it weakens protections and makes it easier to challenge existing regulations.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Loper Bright weakens federal agencies’ power: Previously, courts deferred to agencies’ interpretations of laws. Now, judges can decide for themselves.
  • Anti-abortion groups are excited: They see Loper Bright as a way to overturn regulations like the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate.
  • The impact goes beyond abortion: Experts say other regulations on gender rights, climate change, and more could be vulnerable.
  • This is part of a larger strategy: Conservatives have been working for years to limit the power of federal agencies.
  • Here’s how it works: Before, a law might say “regulate pollution,” and the EPA would figure out the specifics. Now, courts can strike down those specifics if they don’t like them.

This is a big deal, and it could have a ripple effect on many areas of American life.

Countering the Gish Gallup and Preparing for the Next Debate

 

What Thursday’s debate proved was that Trump made use of a rhetorical technique called the Gish gallop, where one floods their opponent with a fast string of lies, non-sequiturs, and specious arguments. This tactic is also known as gaslighting. The goal is to overwhelm the opponent.

To counter this, Biden needed to be prepared with copy points, as we learned when we were touring and promoting our books.

The copy points needed to be embedded in our discussion of home business.Working these copy points into what we said was our main job. While we never had an interviewer as unhinged as Trump, we learned that it didn’t matter what attitude the interviewer had, whether friendly or challenging; there was what we were to do.

We were to acknowledge whatever was asked of us professionally in a short sentence or two. If the question was inaccurate or off-topic, we were to recognize it in a brief sentence and proceed to talk about home business with the embedded copy points.

Before my wife and I went on tour promoting our books, which rode the wave of personal computers entering people’s homes, we learned copy points over and over until we could have said them in our sleep.

Not that this wasn’t challenging and stressful sometimes, but it always worked because we knew what our sponsors expected of us.

So here is Sarah’s insight. Either Biden was really impaired that night, or he didn’t get this basic training. To have not gotten this training demonstrated

For each significant subject he was sure to be asked about (immigration, inflation, Israel, Hunter Biden, preserving democracy, etc.), he was rehearsed on a short set of specific, powerful copy points that he was to reply with. Period! Do not get distracted by any other points, such as golf handicaps, but work in your main copy points.

When Trump lied or misled in a way that hurt Biden, he should have been prepared to correct it in a brief sentence, such as “January 6th was not a friendly gathering” or “Actually, paying only $30 for insulin was something we did in our administration.”

Then, go straight into his copy points on the topic at hand, such as on medical care: “Do most people realize that part of the Project 2025 the Magaites have prepared is to abolish social security and Medicare or to change it so substantially that FDR would not recognize it?”

For example, do most people realize that part of the Project 2025 the Magaites have prepared is to abolish social security and Medicare or to change it so substantially that FDR would not recognize it?

I feel sad that he didn’t get this basic, simple structure, and even more tragic if he got it, thoroughly rehearsed it, but couldn’t do it.

The key to countering strategy is countering the Gish gallop and bluster with confidence, energy, and a combination of outrage and humor delivered in a manner that does not offend people in the audience.

 

The oddsmakers are betting on the Presidential Debates

The oddsmakers are predicting that Trump will outperform Biden in the upcoming debate, partly due to Trump’s advantage from having his microphone muted during his opponent’s speaking time, which restrains his tendency for disruptive outbursts. However, there are concerns about Trump’s mental deterioration since 2020 potentially becoming evident, with some speculating he might even storm off the stage to discredit the debate process.

The questions that might challenge candidates during the debate include topics such as acknowledging mistakes during presidency, handling immigration costs, responding to Capitol Police experiences from January 6, 2021, managing future pandemics, aiding first-time home buyers, geopolitical knowledge, and historical understanding like the Marshall Plan.

Other bets being placed include scenarios like either candidate experiencing a “five-second brain freeze,” Biden falling asleep, either candidate walking off stage, and Trump saying “Bing Bong,” each with their own betting odds. These predictions and bets highlight the anticipation and uncertainty surrounding the upcoming debate.

“No Rules for Me” – “My rules for you”

Some things we are learning from thus far in the 2024 campaign:

Trump and his acolytes have a “No Rules for Me” – “My rules for you stance” in life.

Trump can commit crimes, be convicted, and still decry his innocence. He can tell lies, and his acolytes – whom I call “Magites”- emulate him in being willing to commit crimes on his behalf.

Trump is willing to reverse his positions on issues, such as readily

A ban on TikTok:

    • In 2020, Trump signed an executive order that would have banned TikTok unless it severed ties with its Chinese owner. However, the court struck down the order.
      Recently, as Congress considered a similar bill, Trump reversed himself and opposed a TikTok ban. This change came after he met with a billionaire Republican mega-donor linked to the company
    • Healthcare: Initially supported repealing and replacing Obamacare but later supported preserving some aspects of it after facing challenges in Congress.
    • Syria: Initially opposed involvement but later authorized military strikes against the Syrian government.
    • NATO: Initially criticized NATO as obsolete but later expressed support for it.
    • China: Initially, China praised China’s handling of trade with North Korea but later imposed tariffs and labeled China a currency manipulator.
    • Gun Control: Initially supported stricter background checks but later aligned with more conservative positions.
      Climate Change: Initially called climate change a hoax, it was later acknowledged as an issue while pulling out of the Paris Agreement.

Trump is an abuser of the legal system, filing frivolous appeals filing equally frivolous cases against his enemies. He creates and maligns people who stand in his way, like Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Is American Justice for Sale?

Prominent Democrats are calling on New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez to resign following his indictment on bribery charges.

One prominent Democrat said that “corruption is corruption” and that Menendez must be held accountable for his actions.

Menendez is accused of exchanging political favors for kickbacks, including cash, gold, and mortgage assistance. Menendez has denied the allegations but has faced calls for his resignation from several Democrats, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jeff Jackson, Dean Phillips, Josh Gottheimer, Tom Malinowski, Frank Pallone, Mikie Sherill, Bill Pascrell, and Andy Kim.

Why are Justices Thomas and Alioto not being criminally prosecuted as members of the House and Senate are?

Why are prominent Democrats calling for Menendez to resign when they are not to be heard calling for Justices Thomas and Alioto to resign?

Are these Justices’ excesses and financial gains any less serious in their capacity to do harm at the bidding of people financially invested in them?

Is ignoring them shouting a message that American “justice” is for sale?

Menendez joins 7 members of Congress indicted in recent years BY SARAH FORTINSKY – 10/01/23 6:29 PM ET SHARE TWEET Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) Greg Nash Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) exits the Capitol after a series of votes on Thursday, September 28, 2023. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has resisted calls from fellow Democrats to resign since his indictment on bribery and corruption charges on Sept. 22. He has maintained his innocence and refused to step down.

His political future is uncertain, as he joins a list of recent members of Congress who have faced federal indictments.

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) Santos was indicted on 13 federal counts in May for allegedly deceiving donors and misreporting his finances. He pleaded not guilty and agreed to pause the trial for plea negotiations. A status conference was delayed to Oct. 27.Santos defied calls for his resignation from both parties and launched a reelection campaign. He survived a vote on his expulsion, but the House sent the measure to the Ethics Committee, which was already probing him.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) Fortenberry was indicted on three charges in October 2021, and convicted in March 2022 on one charge of hiding information and lying to federal authorities about illegal contributions from a foreign national to his 2016 campaign, according to the DOJ.

He resigned at the request of then-House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). He got two years of probation instead of prison time.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) Collins was arrested for insider trading in August 2018 and charged with conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and lying to the FBI, according to the DOJ.

He resigned from Congress in September 2019, a day before he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to federal agents.

He was sentenced to more than two years in prison in 2020. He was pardoned by then-President Trump soon after starting his sentence.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) Hunter was indicted in August 2018 with his wife for converting more than $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses and filing false records, according to the DOJ.

He pleaded guilty to one charge in December 2019, and resigned from Congress in January 2020. He was sentenced to 11 months in March 2020, and pardoned by Trump that year.

Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) Brown was indicted on fraud charges in July 2016 for a case involving an education charity. She lost her primary the next month. She was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison in 2017.

Sen. Bob Menendez Menendez has been through a similar ordeal before and survived — he was reelected to the Senate in 2018 by a wide margin. He was indicted in 2015 on corruption charges, but the case ended in a mistrial in November 2017, after a hung jury.

Why is Judge Aileen Cannon not being removed from the Florida documents case.

For over five decades, major fossil fuel companies harbored internal warnings regarding the potential catastrophic consequences of their products on both human lives and the stability of the climate. Now, experts have discovered that millions of people have perished due to climate change-related factors. The question arises: should these companies, along with their executives and directors, be held accountable for homicide? According to two American legal experts, the answer is a resounding “yes”.

David Arkush, the director of Public Citizen’s Climate Program and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, is one of these experts. A Harvard-trained lawyer, Arkush is renowned for his advocacy in championing consumer rights. He has also imparted his knowledge as a former instructor at the University of Richmond School of Law and has been featured regularly in prominent news outlets. Last year, Arkush collaborated with Aaron Regunberg from Public Citizen to publish an article on climate homicide in the Harvard Environmental Law Review. Presently, he collaborates with Donald Braman from George Washington University, delivering presentations on climate homicide events at esteemed law schools such as Harvard, University of Chicago, New York University, and Yale.

The discussion often references the precedent set by the tobacco industry, which is estimated to have caused the deaths of over 100 million individuals in the 20th century alone. Similarly, Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family faced accusations regarding their role in the opioid crisis, which claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Americans. Despite these staggering death tolls, no homicide charges have been brought against the responsible parties. However, Arkush emphasizes that the legal proceedings against the Sacklers are ongoing, leaving the possibility of criminal charges open.

Concerns extend beyond homicide to encompass broader environmental damage. Several countries have enacted legislation criminalizing ecocide, including France, Georgia, and Ukraine. In collaboration with Donald Braman, Arkush published an article titled “Climate Homicide: Prosecuting Big Oil For Climate Deaths”, which was also covered in the New Republic magazine. A condensed version of this article appeared in the Harvard Environmental Law Review in January 2023.

Moreover, previous instances demonstrate that energy companies have faced homicide charges for environmental crimes. For example, California prosecutors charged PG&E with manslaughter following a deadly wildfire sparked by a falling tree onto an aging transmission line in Paradise, California. Similarly, federal prosecutors charged BP with manslaughter after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which claimed the lives of 11 workers and resulted in the largest oil spill in marine oil-drilling history. Both companies pleaded guilty and incurred significant financial penalties.

In recent Senate hearings titled “Denial, Disinformation, and Doublespeak: Big Oil’s Evolving Efforts to Avoid Accountability for Climate Change”, evidence surfaced regarding fossil fuel corporations’ long-standing knowledge of climate change implications dating back to the 1950s. Despite the clarity of the climate impact by the 1970s, companies such as Exxon/Mobil, Shell, BP, Total, Chevron, and national oil companies have perpetuated deception and lies through financing misinformation campaigns.

Furthermore, the case of Alberta, Canada, serves as a prime example of how big oil entities formed a common lobby, front group, and public relations campaign to promote the notion that Canadian heavy oil is environmentally superior to foreign products, despite evidence to the contrary. Melissa Aronczyk, a professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University, has conducted research elucidating how public relations shapes our perception of environmental crises and influences our responses to them. Her work sheds light on the intricacies of greenwashing tactics employed by oil sands multinationals, which aim to mislead the public regarding the environmental impact of their operations.

Judge Aileen Cannon’s husband, Josh Lorence worked for a mobster ex-New York John Rosatii. Rosatti is a lifelong friend and contributor to the Orange Turd. Yet another reason Cannon should be removed from the  Florida-based case for  hiding classified documents

Chief Justice John Roberts—whose wife has received over $10 million from law firms engaged with the Supreme Court—has rebuffed Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin’s inquiries into potential conflicts of interest among Supreme Court justices.

Roberts argues that such a meeting would infringe on “the separation of powers.” It might be worthwhile for someone to remind him of Article 3, Section II of the Constitution: “[T]he supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” Durbin, seemingly intimidated by Roberts, Alito, and Thomas, could also use a reminder of this constitutional provision.

Free Lady Justice and a Gavel Stock Photo

Clarence Thomas, The Most Corrupt Justice in Our History Needs To Be Forced to Resign

It seems impossible for 24 hours to pass without another major revelation expanding the overwhelming scope of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ corruption. In the latest news, The Washington Post reports that conservative activist Leonard Leo funneled “tens of thousands” to Thomas’ wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. And to make it clear that everyone involved knew this was sketchy as hell, Leonard instructed that the money be billed through a company with “No mention of Ginni, of course.”

Ginni Thomas—wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas—endorsed the rally in Washington, demanding that Congress overturn the election. She then sent her “LOVE” to the demonstrators, who violently overtook the Capitol several hours later. Thomas amended her post two days later with the addendum: “[Note: written before violence in US Capitol].”

By that point, five people involved in the insurrection, including a Capitol Police officer, had died. Subscribe to the Slatest newsletter A daily email update of the stories you need to read right now.

Thomas, a conservative lobbyist and zealous supporter of Donald Trump, has fervently defended the president over the last four years. On her Facebook page, she frequently promotes baseless conspiracy theories about a “coup” against Trump led by Jewish philanthropist George Soros, a frequent target of anti-Semitic hate.

Thomas draws many of these theories from fringe corners of the internet, including an anti-vax Facebook group that claimed Bill Gates would use the COVID-19 vaccine to kill people. In recent months, she also amplified unsubstantiated corruption claims against Joe Biden while insisting, falsely, that the Obama administration illegally spied on Trump’s 2016 campaign, then tried to rig the election against him. In turn, Trump has rewarded Thomas with extraordinary access to the Oval Office. Her advocacy group, Groundswell, got an audience with the president in early 2019. According to the New York Times, the meeting was arranged after Clarence and Ginni Thomas had dinner with the Trumps.

Clarence Thomas and Trump appear to be quite friendly: The justice took his clerks to meet with the president in the Oval Office at least once; Ginni attended as well.) At the White House, Groundswell’s members lobbied Trump against transgender service in the military, which he already prohibited in 2017.

Around Groundswell’s meeting, the ban took effect in 2019 after the Supreme Court lifted lower court orders blocking it by a 5–4 vote. (Clarence Thomas did not recuse himself from the case; he has never recused from any case because of his wife’s lobbying activities.) The New York Times also reported that Ginni Thomas compiled lists of federal employees she deemed insufficiently loyal to the president. She sent her lists to Trump, urging him to fire the disloyal employees, though he seemingly ignored her. He has, however, stacked his administration with former Thomas clerks.

Throughout the 2020 campaign, Thomas remained active on Facebook, condemning Black Lives Matter, opposing COVID-19 shutdowns, and touting the “Walk Away” movement, which purports to spotlight Democrats who became Republicans under Trump. (At least two individuals featured in the “Walk Away” series, both Black, were models from royalty-free stock photos.)

She also campaigned for Trump in person—and, according to the Intercept, spearheaded a dark-money operation to support the president. Cleta Mitchell, the Republican lawyer who participated in Trump’s shakedown of the Georgia secretary of state, led the project.

After Nov. 3, Thomas grew uncharacteristically quiet on Facebook; she did not share popular conspiracy theories about election fraud, perhaps because election challenges would inevitably come before her husband. She provided her clearest statement on Jan. 6, when she enthusiastically endorsed the D.C. rally designed to make Congress overturn the election result and give Trump a second term. There is no evidence that Thomas personally attended the rally, and her posts indicate that she watched the events on TV from another location.

Federal law requires justices to recuse themselves from any proceeding in which their “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” It also compels justices to recuse if their spouse has “an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome” of the case. In the coming months and years, Democrats will likely pressure Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from high-profile cases or to resign altogether. If Thomas steps down under Biden, progressives can restore a 5–4 divide on the Supreme Court, giving Chief Justice John Roberts control once again.

Given Thomas’ staunch refusal to recuse thus far, though, there is little chance that he will take any steps to remediate his conflicts of interest, let alone retire during the presidency of a man he openly despises. In all likelihood, Ginni Thomas will face no consequences for cheerleading a rally that sought to overturn an election, then laid siege to the Capitol in a failed insurrection. Her husband will ignore the controversy and continue to rule on cases that involve his wife’s lobbying efforts. We may never know how much influence a conspiracy theorist has on the highest court’s most conservative justice.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said it well: “Each day that passes, the Supreme Court looks less like a bench and more like an auction house. Thomas should resign immediately…”

Leonard is a former vice president of the Federalist Society and connected to a network of “nonprofits” whose task was to get more conservative judges in place. One of those groups, the Judicial Education Project, had an upcoming case before the Supreme Court. Leonard went to Kellyanne Conway, then a Republican pollster, and had her bill the Judicial Education Project $25,000 for “constitution polling and opinion consulting,” which seems not to have been done. The money was then sent to Liberty Consulting, a company owned by Ginni Thomas.

A few months after the Judicial Education Project sent money to Ginni Thomas via Conway, they were in court in a case called Shelby County v. Holder, supporting an effort to strike down a portion of the Voting Rights Act. That portion of the VRA was eliminated in a 5-4 vote, with Thomas providing the deciding vote that put Judicial Education Project on the winning side.

Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose a 2014 real estate deal with a GOP megadonor. The deal involved the sale of three properties in Savannah, Georgia, owned by Thomas and his relatives to  Harlan Crow, according to ProPublica.  The tax and property records showed that Crow purchased through one of his companies for $133,363.

But Thomas “never disclosed his sale of the Savannah properties,” and his failure to report it violates the law.“The transaction marks the first known instance of money flowing from the Republican megadonor to the Supreme Court justice,” ProPublica said in its report.

There is no doubt that the sale of personal real estate to Crow should have been reported on the justice’s financial disclosure form for 2014, and there is no excuse for failing to do so. The law requires government officials to include in their annual reports “a brief description, the date, and category of value of any purchase, sale or exchange during the preceding calendar year which exceeds $1,000,” including “in real property.”

The only exception is “property used solely as a personal residence of the reporting individual or the individual’s spouse.” Given this was reportedly Thomas’s mother’s house, that wouldn’t apply. The most logical explanation for Thomas not to disclose this transaction is that he wanted to keep it from public view.

Thomas’s relationship with Crow and the accuracy of his financial disclosure reports must now be fully scrutinized by the Judicial Conference of the United States, which oversees the federal judiciary and may refer the matter to the Justice Department for additional action. As Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. surely understands, this is a problem for Thomas and the court and its public legitimacy.

The Washington Post recently reported a particularly flagrant case wherein a conservative judicial activist named Leonard Leo covertly paid Thomas’s wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a minimum of $25,000 in 2012. Leo went to great lengths to ensure that the transaction remained concealed, as evidenced by his statement: “No mention of Ginni, of course.”

Thursday’s report comes on the heels of a bombshell investigation published last week by ProPublica that detailed Thomas and his wife’s luxury travel with the Crows, which included trips on the donor’s yacht and private jet.  Thomas is subject to criminal prosecution, and letting him resign would be a good deal for the nation and him.

Thursday’s report comes on the heels of a bombshell investigation published last week by ProPublica that detailed Thomas and his wife’s luxury travel with the Crows, which included trips on the donor’s yacht and private jet. The justice also did not disclose that travel, and he later defended the decision not to, saying in a rare statement last week that he was advised at the time that he did not have to report it.

Crow told CNN that he purchased the properties to “one day create a public museum at the Thomas home dedicated to telling the story of our nation’s second black Supreme Court Justice.”

hough two of the properties were later sold by Crow, according to his statement, the real estate magnate still owns the property on which Thomas’ elderly mother lives. Citing county tax records, ProPublica said one of Crow’s companies pays the “roughly $1,500 in annual property taxes on Thomas’ mother’s house,” which had previously been paid by the justice and his wife, Ginni.

Experts told ProPublica that Thomas’ failure to disclose the 2014 deal raises more questions about his relationship with Crow.

“He needed to report his interest in the sale,” Virginia Canter, a former government ethics lawyer who now works for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), told the outlet. “Given the role Crow has played in subsidizing the lifestyle of Thomas and his wife, you have to wonder if this was an effort to put cash in their pockets.”

Clarence and Ginni Thomas have disgraced the court and the country. Ginni Thomas could be prosecuted for her actions leading up to January 6.  She has sought to overthrow the government that has given her the stature to make malicious mischief. She has agreed to appear before the January 6 committee. She sent messages to more than two dozen lawmakers in Arizona, arguing, without evidence, that there had been widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

She says does not believe in the results of more than 60 court cases, or more than 60 judges looking at the 2020 election lawsuits.  It is incredible that she can contend with this. None of the claims were true, and she rejects all of them. That it’s irrational is not a strong enough word for it. I just keep coming back to demented. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

The Washington Post has revealed that she has received $600,000 over the last three years from anonymous donors who funneled the money through something called  Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty.  In so doing she was able to hide both the money and its sources.

How about trading Thomas’s resignation from the Court in exchange for an agreement not to prosecute his wife?

What’s at stake goes beyond Roe v Wade. Conservatives have been laying the groundwork for decades to reduce the power of federal agencies like OSHA, the Securities Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission.

Since Congress is not equipped to implement the laws it passes, a civil service does this in a regulated democracy. If conservatives are able to overturn the 1984 decision in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council in which the justices said courts should defer to the expert judgment of regulators when interpreting statutes whenever the wording or meaning of those statutes are ambiguous. Such an outcome would put the regulatory power of agencies subject to being thwarted in the courts.

Photo by Anna Sullivan on Unsplash

What kinds of proposals might they consider?

Expanding the court as Franklin Roosevelt attempted to do.  While the Constitution does not provide for the number of justices, the number of justices has changed starting with six, then five, then seven, then nine, then ten, then nine. Nine has been the number since 1869.FDR’s actual proposal would have allowed him to appoint a new judge in all federal courts for every judge older than 70. Branded as “court-packing, the measure died. Expanding the Court would not only restore balance but provide an opportunity to build a Court that is representative of the multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural nation that it serves.

  • Reducing the power of the federal judiciary is over certain kinds of cases such as gun control and labor regulations. This suffers by eliminating checks and balances on the restricted law.
  • Term-limiting justices to 18 or 20-year terms is an undesirable possibility, When the Constitution was adopted, life tenure didn’t anticipate people living much beyond age 65. To do this would require a Constitutional Amendment which takes approval from both the House and the Senate, as well as ratification by at least 38 states.
  • Term limits, however, spaced and staggered, will make the court appear more, not less, political in the eyes of the public. Confirmation battles will become more numerous and subject the court to the suspicion that attaches to courts around the world that have term limits or retirement ages. The change would leave the court shorthanded too often if confirmation delays set in. That risks leaving the court with an even number of eight members, hardly an ideal composition for any institution predicated on majority rule.
  • Requiring a supermajority of six or seven justices (rather than the current five) to declare a federal statute unconstitutional. This might get the support of both parties.

Each of these concepts needs to be measured against their feasibility of being adopted and their long-term impact.

Clarence Thomas, the hardline conservative supreme court justice, is again facing calls for his recusal in the case over race-based affirmative action in college admissions. Again, this is because of his wife’s political activity.

A one-person conservative powerhouse, she set up her own lobbying company Liberty Consulting in 2010. By her own description, she has “battled for conservative principles in Washington” for over 35 years. The conflict in the current case is because Ginni Thomas sits on the advisory board of the National Association of Scholars. This group has intervened in this affirmative action case and this presents an appearance of a conflict of interest.

It has been established that Ginni Thomas met and advised Trump on who was loyal to him and who was not and who she believed to be part of the “Deep State.”. The New York Times and Axios have previously reported that Thomas would pass hiring and firing recommendations, compiled by her conservative organization Groundswell.

Trump reportedly went into rages upon being told who was disloyal. The meetings often resulted in Trump demanding that the alleged disloyalists be fired “immediately,” according to the Daily Beast.

The case, which is being brought against Harvard and the University of North Carolina, is the latest potential conflict of interest involving Thomas and his wife Virginia Thomas. Ginni, as she is known, is a prominent right-wing activist who speaks out on a raft of issues that frequently come before the nation’s highest court.

In an email on Nov. 9, just days after media organizations called the race in Arizona and nationally for Biden, Thomas sent identical emails to 27 lawmakers in the Arizona House and Senate urging them to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure”  as reported by the Washington Post. She corresponded with John Eastman and Mark Meadows.

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed lawmakers to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory not only in Arizona, as previously reported, but also in a second battleground state, Wisconsin, according to emails obtained under state public-records law.

The Washington Post reported this year that Ginni Thomas emailed 29 Arizona state lawmakers, some of them twice, in November and December 2020. She urged them to set aside Biden’s popular-vote victory and “choose” their own presidential electors, despite the fact that the responsibility for choosing electors rests with voters under Arizona state law.
Newly discovered emails show that Thomas also messaged two Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin: state Sen. Kathy Bernier, then chair of the Senate elections committee, and state Rep. Gary Tauchen. Bernier and Tauchen received the email at 10:47 a.m. on Nov. 9, virtually the same time the Arizona lawmakers received a verbatim copy of the message from Thomas.
The Bernier email was obtained by The Washington Post, and the Tauchen email was obtained by the watchdog group, Documented, and provided to The Post.  Thomas sent all of the emails via FreeRoots, an online platform that allowed people to send pre-written emails to multiple elected officials.

John Eastman, the former clerk to Clarence Thomas,  allegedly spent weeks pressuring Pence’s top aides, to get the vice president to agree to do one of two things:

  1. Reject electoral votes in swing states Joe Biden won and just simply call the election for his boss, Trump.
  2. Reject electoral votes in swing states Biden won, send them back to the state legislatures to decide, and pressure Republicans in those states to say Trump won, rather than Biden.   Eastman was advised by Eric Herschmann, another Trump attorney to get himself a criminal defense attorney.

The potential appearance of a conflict of interest over the Harvard case was noted in a recent investigation by the New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer that takes a deep dive into the overlapping interests of the couple. The article chronicles in devastating detail the many instances where Ginni’s political activism appears to present problems for the image and integrity of the court.

“Ginni Thomas has held so many leadership or advisory positions at conservative pressure groups that it’s hard to keep track of them,” Mayer concluded. “Many, if not all, of these groups have been involved in cases that have come before her husband.”

An even more troubling recent occurrence came about when Ginni Thomas lent her voice to Trump’s big lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.  Virginia Thomas sent at least 29 messages to the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows pressing him to use his influences to overturn the 2020 election.  She described the loss to President Biden as an “obvious fraud” and “the greatest heist of our history.”Paradoxically, Mark Meadows is under investigation for potential voter fraud.

Virginia Thomas has publicly acknowledged that she participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse that preceded the storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

On the morning of January 6 itself, Mark Joseph Stern of Slate reported, Thomas, posted on her Facebook page words of encouragement for the “Stop the Steal” marchers in Washington. “Watch MAGA crowd today best with Right Side Broadcasting .. and then C-Span for what the Congress does starting at 1:00 pm today. LOVE MAGA people!!!!!” “GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU STANDING UP or PRAYING!”

Shortly thereafter the post was removed after the deaths of five people and more than 100 police officers injured.

Soon after the insurrection, Thomas was forced to apologize to her husband’s former supreme court law clerks for comments she made privately to them that appeared to lament Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election. The remarks were sent to a private email list called “Thomas Clerk World”.

Ginni Thomas attended an extremist “Stop the Steal” Rally meeting in Orlando, Florida on March 6, 2021, her attendance at the Orlando gathering indicates that her alliance with election deniers continued even after Joe Biden was inaugurated. Frontliners has hosted hard-right lawmakers, insisted on strict secrecy, and proclaimed that the nation’s top enemy is the “radical fascist left,” according to social media posts, court filings,  and interviews with several people involved in the group.

One photograph from the Orlando event shows pastor and conservative radio personality C.L. Bryant Bryant posing with Thomas. Others show Thomas wearing a name tag decorated with a yellow ribbon she and others wore saying “Trouble Maker.”

Thomas’s influence has grown in the new six-justice conservative supermajority. He’s being called the unofficial chief justice of the court.

Is Mrs. Thomas no less responsible for helping to trigger the incitement? We may find out as she is being subpoenaed as a witness before the January 6 committee.

The Thomas’s have been skirting ethical boundaries for years. Between 2003 and 2007, Virginia Thomas earned $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, according to a Common Cause review of the foundation’s IRS records. Thomas failed to note the income in his Supreme Court on financial disclosure forms for at least five years, checking a box labeled “none” where “spousal noninvestment income” would be disclosed.

Prior to the election and just after the Vindman termination, the Washington Post reported that Ginni Thomas was working with and on behalf of the White House on the great “purge” while Trump was president.

Clarence Thomas was the only justice to say Trump could keep his records from Congress. He has acted as a minority of one in cases in which his wife is deeply involved. This is unethical on the face of it and any judge in the federal system would be disciplined for a breach of ethics like this. However, Supreme Court Justices decide for themselves whether they have a conflict of interest.

Virginia Thomas originated Liberty Central, whose purpose is to restore the “founding principles” of limited government and individual liberty.

The pressure should build to force  Thomas’s resignation. At age 72, he has been on the court as the longest-serving justice. After Court 30 years ago, Justice Clarence Thomas assured his law clerks, “I ain’t evolving.”  We live in a time of unprecedented change and Justice Thomas sits like a stone in the middle of the road.

With the unfolding cases unfolding in the criminal court against Trump and his operatives and with the prosecution of Trump officials increasingly certain,  now is an opportune time to call for the resignations of Thomas and Kavanaugh from the Court.  This is an opportune time to release the FBI records on Kavanaugh that were suppressed by the Trump administration.

We already see Trump’s handpicked trio of justices being accused of blatant disregard for the separation of church and state. Their ascension to the Supreme Court was enabled by a web of right-wing dark money.

Republican operatives have developed a robust network of conservative and Catholic-affiliated nonprofits, charities, and funds large out of public view  For more than a decade, this network has been leveraged to propel conservative judicial nominees. While most Americans wouldn’t recognize these operators, they have been the overseers of massive amounts of money that have gone into federal judicial races. They don’t have social media accounts and don’t give public speeches. They do all they can to operate in the shadows, out of public view.

What we do know is this began with the now-defunct Wellspring Committee, a 501(c)(4) organization that took in perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars from undisclosed donors for more than a decade. Charles and David Koch gave the first $10 million seedling donation from attendees at a Koch donor seminar.

Wellspring could pass itself off in those terms thanks to U.S. tax law, which a decade ago mandated that organizations of that type could devote no more than 49 percent of their expenditures to political activity. What distinguishes “political activity” from “social welfare” continues to be an open question, however. This loophole potentially gave Wellspring free rein to donate unlimited amounts of money to other social welfare groups, even if those groups had explicit political goals and in the process have taken control of the Supreme Court.
Photo by Anna Sullivan on Unsplash

Biden appointed a commission to study possible court reform. Possible recommendations may include adding four new justices to the Supreme Court, term limits for justices, and finding a bipartisan selection process, among others. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) called on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign after news that his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas,  made numerous emails to with conservative lawyer John Eastman, who was central in former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.  Thomas by participating in a  decision involving his wife’s misconduct is complicit.

Now it’s time to improve the Supreme Court. It’s time for Clarence Thomas to be pressured into resigning or move to impeach him.  Any other judge in the federal judiciary would be impeached for such conduct.

McConnell when asked if a Republican Senate would confirm a Biden nominee in 2024. “It’s highly unlikely.” So McConnell is planning on pulling the same stunt if a vacancy arose in 2023, with, say, 18 months left in Biden’s term.  When asked whether a Biden nominee — a “normal mainstream liberal”— “get a fair shot at a hearing. Well, we’d have to wait and see what happens.” Bipartisan votes on Supreme Court nominees are ancient history. That Senate is no more.  It doesn’t work with McConnell.

Ending the filibuster and court reform is the only answer and it may take one or two more Congresses to get this done. In the meantime, the Court loses credibility. Justice is the loser.

The Supreme Court dealt more blows to the Voting Rights Act on Thursday, ruling in favor of Republicans that Arizona can maintain restrictions that critics say discriminate against nonwhite voters. Justice Kagan in her dissent said, “State after State has taken up or enacted legislation erecting new barriers to voting” in recent months, saying the U.S. is “at a perilous moment for the Nation’s commitment to equal citizenship.”

“The law that confronted one of this country’s most enduring wrongs; pledged to give every American, of every race, an equal chance to participate in our democracy; and now stands as the crucial tool to achieve that goal,” she wrote. “That law, of all laws, deserves the sweep and power Congress gave it. That law, of all laws, should not be diminished by this Court.”

President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass both the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect voting rights. “The Court’s decision, harmful as it is, does not limit Congress’ ability to repair the damage done today: it puts the burden back on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act to its intended strength.”

The Senate failed to pass the Voting Rights Act because two Democratic Senators did not vote to create an opening in the filibuster rule. These same two Senators have created openings in the filibuster rule on less critical matters.  Now the best way forward is to elect additional Democratic senators in 2022 to make it possible to achieve needed voting rights legislation.

The Supreme Court has ruled several times over the past 50 years that a woman has a right to an abortion before the fetus can live on its own, around 22 to 24 weeks. The overwhelmingly conservative Supreme Court has upheld, on procedural grounds, a Texas law banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected — so, basically, all abortions, since that’s before most people know they’re pregnant. This Supreme Court seems certain to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In another fulfillment of a right-wing plot to control America, the Supreme Court ruled for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in his legal challenge to federal placing limits on the amount of money candidates can raise from donors to pay off their personal debt after an election. This makes running for office into a business – run for office and collect enough campaign funds to pay off debts or fund a pet project. In this way, a candidate can profit without winning.

The 6-3 ruling struck down a $250,000 cap on the amount of post-election funds a candidate can be repaid for personal loans they made to their campaign, finding that the restriction violated the First Amendment.

Biden is improving the composition of the lower courts, but with a “deeply broken” system there are no quick fixes because judges who were already woefully understaffed and often undertrained are now overwhelmed with a growing backlog of over 1.6 million cases.

Dozens of federal actions dealing with everything from energy efficiency standards to funding for transit projects have been upended by a recent Supreme court ruling against the Biden administration’s climate change calculations.

 

 

 

 

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t use their marathon question-and-answer session with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to challenge her about two high-profile decisions she issued that went against former President Trump.

Instead, they focussed on other issues, a shift that marks the latest sign that Senate Republicans see Trump as more of a liability than an asset heading into the 2022 election. Let’s hope we’ll see the last of Trump by 2024 if the Justice Department procedures Trump and his allies.

“The Supreme Court is out of step with the American people. The decisions we are seeing are not popular. The majority of Americans want Roe upheld, but the court might well go the other way. A majority of Americans would like to see some regulation of guns; the court may not do that,” according to Shira A. Scheindlin, a former federal judge in New York who is co-chair of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The Pew Research Center found this year that only 54% of respondents had a favorable view of the court, down from 69% in mid-2019, according to several opinion polls. the Gallup Organization reported last year that Americans disapproved of the court’s performance by 53% to 40%.

Chief Justice John Roberts is no longer able to manage the ultra-conservatives on the Court. In good conscious, it is time for him to resign.

The Washington Post has said: “Public faith in the Supreme Court is down to a historic low of 25 percent, and there’s a good reason why it keeps eroding. We are experiencing what the Founders feared: a crisis of governmental legitimacy brought about by minoritarian tyranny. And it could soon get a whole lot worse. In his concurring opinion in the abortion case, Justice Clarence Thomas called on the court to overturn popular precedents upholding a right to contraception, same-sex relationships and marriage equality. So much for Hamilton’s hope that “the sense of the majority should prevail.”

A petition calling for Clarence Thomas’s  removal from Supreme Court has gotten over one million signatures.

Thomas is feeling the heat.  He has canceled plans to teach a seminar this fall at George Washington University’s law school, a few weeks after the private university in the nation’s capital had defended the conservative jurist’s position on its faculty.

Thomas, on the high court for more than 30 years, has taught at the D.C. law school since 2011. His adjunct faculty position there drew controversy this summer after the court’s conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that had established a constitutional right to abortion.

With the support of three justices chosen by President Donald Trump in the past five years, the Supreme Court now has a 6-to-3 conservative majority. Those justices sent the court on a dramatic turn to the right in the term completed this summer, overturning the guarantee of a constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade, striking a gun control law in New York, limiting the power of the Biden administration to confront climate change, and scoring victories for religious conservatives.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accepted luxury trips around the globe for more than two decades, including travel on a superyacht and private jet, from a prominent Republican donor without disclosing them, according to a new report. A nine-day trip that Thomas and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, took to Indonesia in 2019, shortly after the court released its final opinions of the term. That trip, which included flights on Crow’s jet and island-hopping on a superyacht, would have cost the couple more than $500,000 if they had paid for it themselves.

Federal law mandates that top officials from the three branches of government, including the Supreme Court, file annual forms detailing their finances, outside income, and spouses’ sources of income, with each branch determining its own reporting standards.

Judges are prohibited from accepting gifts from anyone with business before the court. Until recently, however, the judicial branch had not clearly defined an exemption for gifts considered “personal hospitality.”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Friday said he “was advised” that he did not have to disclose a series of trips reportedly paid for by a Republican mega-donor. Would not he otherwise write “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Revised rules adopted by a committee of the Judicial Conference, the courts’ policymaking body, seek to provide a fuller accounting. The rules took effect on March 14.

The Supreme Court conservatives have ignited a new era without hesitation. 

The court’s approval rating has dropped to one of its lowest levels ever in public opinion polls, led by unhappy Democrats and to a lesser extent people who heretofore identified as independents.

But Roberts said it is the Supreme Court’s job to decide what the law is. “That role doesn’t change simply because people disagree with this opinion or that opinion or with a particular mode of jurisprudence.”  In all due respect, Mr. Justice Roberts, it’s the Court’s drastic rulings that have riled the public.

 Irving Kaufman said it well, “The Supreme Court’s only armor is the cloak of public trust; its sole ammunition, the collective hopes of our society.”

Justice Thomas lacks any sense of propriety. Justice Clarence Thomas, acting unilaterally on Monday, granted Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) request to temporarily shield the South Carolina Republican from testifying in a probe of alleged pro-Trump election interference in Georgia.

Newly revealed is that Trump’s lawyers described in emails ” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as “key” to Trump’s plan to delay Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s victory through litigation after the 2020 election.

“We want to frame things so that Thomas could be the one to issue” a temporary order putting Georgia’s results in doubt, Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro wrote in a December 31, 2020, email, adding that a favorable order from Thomas was their “only chance” to hold up Congress from counting electoral votes for Biden from Georgia.

According to Venmo transactions, several lawyers who have had business before the Supreme Court paid money to a top aide of Justice Clarence Thomas. These payments appear to be related to Thomas’s 2019 Christmas party and were made to Rajan Vasisht, who served as Thomas’s aide from July 2019 to July 2021. This seems to highlight the close relationship between Thomas, who is currently involved in ethics scandals, and certain senior Washington lawyers.

Vasisht’s Venmo account, which was public before this article was requested for comment, shows that he received seven payments in November and December 2019 from lawyers who previously served as Thomas’s legal clerks. The amount of the payments is not disclosed, but the purpose of each payment is listed as either “Christmas party,” “Thomas Christmas Party,” “CT Christmas Party,” or “CT Xmas party.”

There have been several reports about a corruption scandal involving Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. According to these reports, Thomas has accepted undisclosed luxury gifts from a Republican mega-donor for two decades³. He has also been accused of accepting benefits from wealthy friends through his membership in the Horatio Alger Association, including luxury trips and a Super Bowl ring². There have been calls for him to recuse himself from cases or be removed from office and for the court to impose a binding code of ethics². Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has promised hearings on Supreme Court corruption¹. Is there anything else you would like to know?

Clarence Thomas should face impeachment calls after reports of undisclosed  gifts that appear to be bribes: Source.. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/apr/06/clarence-thomas-supreme-courts-gifts-republican-megadonor.
(2) Clarence Thomas: Here Are All The Ethics Scandals Involving as documents by Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2023/05/05/clarence-thomas-here-are-all-the-ethics-scandals-involving-the-supreme-court-justice-amid-new-revelations/.
(3) The Supreme Court closes ranks around Clarence Thomas after the revelations. It’s time to question a turnover of the Supreme Court.  https://www.vox.com/politics/2023/4/26/23698962/supreme-court-clarence-thomas-corruption-ethics-harlan-crown-john-roberts-dick-durbin.
(4) ‘Biggest Legitimacy Crisis in Modern History of the Supreme Court. Source https://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2023/05/biggest-legitimacy-crisis-in-modern-history-of-the-supreme-court-experts-examine-new-clarence-thomas-corruption-scandal/.
(5) The Clarence Thomas Scandal Is About More Than Corruption. It goes to the heart of the Court’s ability to get decisions enforced.  https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/04/18/clarence-thomas-scandal-corruption-00092335.

This raises questions about the nature of these payments and their connection to Thomas. It is unusual for a holiday party to be paid for by anyone other than the organization hosting it. The fact that Vasisht made his Venmo account private after reporters began asking about it only adds to the suspicion. Some may even see this as poorly concealed bribery.

Eastman was formerly a law clerk to Thomas and was in contact with Ginni Thomas.

The independent state legislature doctrine is a theory that lacks any support in the Constitution’s history, text, or architecture. It has never been judicially approved.

Following are the ways court reform of the federal judiciary needs to go:

  • term limits
  • independent and enforced ethics requirements
  • expanding number of Supremes
  • realignment of appeals districts
  • randomized assignment of cases to districts (to eliminate cherry-picking of judges)
  • elimination of legislation by the judiciary with ‘designer cases’ (e.g. independent legislation theory)

Here is a promising idea –

John Oliver, host of “Last Week Tonight,” offered Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas $1 million annually to step down immediately, along with a $2.4 million motor coach.

Oliver argued that the Supreme Court had reached a “breaking point” due to scandals involving the patronage of right-wing billionaires

More ethical violations

Justice Clarence Thomas has hired Crystal Clanton, a law clerk accused of sending racist text messages in 2017, reigniting controversy. Clanton, previously associated with Turning Point USA, will clerk for Thomas in the upcoming term, as reported by the Antonin Scalia Law School. While Clanton denied recalling the messages and resigned from Turning Point USA, her hiring by Thomas has sparked renewed scrutiny. Despite allegations, Thomas and his wife, Virginia Thomas, have welcomed Clanton into their inner circle, with Thomas dismissing the accusations and asserting Clanton’s non-racist character. The controversy surrounding Clanton’s hiring raises questions about judicial appointments and tolerance of past behavior.

In failing to recuse himself from the case deciding Trump’s immunity from prosecution, Thomas’s conduct is impeachable in violation of 28 USC 45 which forbids judges to have conflicts of interest.  Thomas’s wife was directly involved in the January 6 attempted coup.  Below are more examples of her involvement:

Ginni Thomas owns her own political consulting firm and openly advocates the fraudulent elector scheme.

Thomas also had access to the private phone numbers and emails for multiple Senators and members of the House who she reached out to between the time Trump was declared the loser of the November 3, 2020 election (November 7th) and the insurrection attempt on January 6, 2021. As Jack Smith wrote:

“Co-Conspirator 6 attempted to confirm phone numbers for six United States Senators whom the Defendant [Trump] had directed Co-Conspirator 1 [Giuliani] to call and attempt to enlist in further delaying the certification.”

And, sure enough, it appears that’s exactly what Ginni Thomas was up to.

Two days after the election, but before it had been called for Biden, she sent a YouTube video titled “TRUMP STING w CIA Director Steve Pieczenik, The Biggest Election Story in History, QFS-BLOCKCHAIN” to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Pieczenik was a far-right crackpot who’d previously claimed that Sandy Hook was a ‘false flag’ operation, but this video (which has since been taken down) claimed the election was stolen.

Thomas wrote to Meadows about the video:

“I hope this is true; never heard anything like this before, or even a hint of it. Possible??? Watermarked ballots in over 12 states have been part of a huge Trump & military white hat sting operation in 12 key battleground states.”

She followed that up with a second message to Meadows:

“Biden crime family & ballot fraud co-conspirators (elected officials, bureaucrats, social media censorship mongers, fake stream media reporters, etc) are being arrested & detained for ballot fraud right now & over coming days, & will be living in barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.”

On November 19th, hours after Sidney Powell held a press conference to claim the election was stolen via voting machine fraud, Thomas texted Meadows:

“Suggestion: You need to buck up your team on the inside, Mark. The lower level insiders are scared, fearful or sending out signals of hopelessness vs an awareness of the existential threat to America right now. You can buck them up, strengthen their spirits. Monica Crowley may have a sense of this [from] her Nixon days.”

After Meadows replied, Thomas wrote:

“You guys fold, the evil just moves fast down underneath you all. Lots of intensifying threats coming to ACB [Amy Coney Barrett] and others.”

On November 24th, she texted Meadows:

“I can’t see Americans swallowing the obvious fraud. Just going with one more thing with no frickin consequences… the whole coup and now this… we just cave to people wanting Biden to be anointed? Many of us can’t continue the GOP charade.”

In January, after Vice President Pence refused to block the counting of Electoral College votes for Joe Biden (and it was obvious to the whole world that Trump had lost by 7 million votes), she texted a somewhat having-it-both-ways message:

“We are living through what feels like the end of America. Most of us are disgusted with the VP and are in a listening mode to see where to fight with our teams. Those who attacked the Capitol are not representative of our great teams of patriots for DJT!! Amazing times. The end of Liberty.”

The indictment says that co-conspirator #6 was involved in the fake elector scheme. Thomas’ involvement in that scheme apparently started immediately after the election. As The Washington Post noted:

“New documents show that Thomas indeed used the platform to reach many lawmakers simultaneously. On Nov. 9, she sent identical emails to 20 members of the Arizona House and seven Arizona state senators. That represents more than half of the Republican members of the state legislature at the time.

“The message, just days after media organizations called the race for Biden in Arizona and nationwide, urged lawmakers to ‘stand strong in the face of political and media pressure’ and claimed that the responsibility to choose electors was ‘yours and yours alone.’ They had ‘power to fight back against fraud’ and ‘ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen,’ the email said.”

On December 13th, Thomas blasted out an email to 22 members of the US House and one US senator. It referenced a video that called on lawmakers to ignore voters and simply make Trump president for a second term. It read:

From: Ginni Thomas noreply@freeroots.com
Sent: Sunday, December 13, 2020 10:20 AM
To: Russell Bowers
Subject: Lawmakers, Please Watch This Video!
Dear Representative Bowers,
As state lawmakers, you have the Constitutional power and authority to protect the integrity of our elections – and we need you to exercise that power now! Never before in our nation’s history have our elections been so threatened by fraud and unconstitutional procedures.

It’s time for Justice Sam Alito, who’s suspected of corruption and funded by billionaires, to either step down or face investigation and potential impeachment. A recent report by The New York Times revealed that shortly after January 6th, with several Trump-related cases pending or approaching the Supreme Court, Justice Alito repeatedly displayed the US flag upside-down in his yard. This signal, historically used by mariners to indicate distress, was adopted by the January 6th insurrectionists as part of their “stop the steal” campaign. The principle of justice in America is founded on impartiality, symbolized by the blindfolded Lady Justice, yet judges like Alito seem to have abandoned this neutrality.

In recent times, right-wing billionaires and the Federalist Society have aligned with compromised Republicans, leading to a judiciary openly favoring big money and the GOP, from lower courts to the Supreme Court. Given this apparent corruption, both the House and the Senate should subpoena Alito and Thomas to probe the extent of their misconduct and potential acceptance of bribes, laying the groundwork for impeachment proceedings. Additionally, there’s a need to investigate who settled Kavanaugh’s gambling debts.

Recalling the Nixon administration’s actions against Justice Abe Fortas, where unfounded accusations led to his resignation, Democrats should press Alito and Thomas to resign promptly. This would allow President Biden to nominate replacements who could then be confirmed by the Senate, ensuring a fair and unbiased judiciary.

The current Supreme Court of the United States stands out in modern history, characterized by a deliberate construction aimed at ensuring specific political outcomes. Recent Republican presidents, elected without popular majorities, chose conservative nominees. However, non-governmental, private special interest groups, particularly The Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, controlled the selection process behind the scenes.

John Malcolm of The Heritage Foundation openly acknowledged the lasting influence of lifetime-appointed federal judges, especially Supreme Court justices, on the law. After Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, from even receiving a hearing. This allowed President Trump, once in office, to nominate Neil Gorsuch, a choice approved by The Heritage Foundation.

The collaboration between The Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society, McConnell, and conservative justices who timed their retirements to ensure their seats were filled by similarly conservative or more extreme successors has resulted in a politically motivated and constitutionally threatening court. The controversial actions of justices like Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito further tarnish the court’s reputation.

To challenge the court’s legitimacy, consistent and direct action is necessary, beyond simply hoping for change in future election cycles. Three justices—Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ketanji Brown Jackson—were nominated and confirmed through traditional processes without outside group influence. Despite their liberal leanings, their presence lends credibility to the court. However, if they chose to withdraw from participation without resigning, the remaining justices could still operate with a quorum, but the court’s credibility would be severely damaged. Their continued participation, despite the compromised nature of the court, veils its injustices.

The Justice Department appears to be investigating the company founded by Clarence Thomas’s significant supporter, Harlan Crow. In the late 90s, Crow’s company developed a software program for his real estate business to calculate rents for his rental properties. Now, some media outlets and reportedly the Department of Justice are suggesting that this software, utilized to determine rents for nearly 20,000,000 properties nationwide, violates antitrust laws. They argue it has significantly contributed to the recent nationwide rent increases of up to a third over the past four years.

If these allegations prove true, especially in light of recent revelations that Clarence Thomas received substantial gifts and bribes from billionaires, this could become a major story for Democrats to capitalize on and broadcast widely. There’s a call for Thomas to either face impeachment or resign from the Court, along with Alito. If Democrats cannot achieve that, they could at least, if they gain control of both Congress and the White House this autumn, consider expanding the number of justices on the court. Historically, the number of justices has aligned with the number of circuit courts, and with 13 circuit courts today, there’s an argument for having at least 13 justices.

Using AI to Help Win in 2024

The use of artificial intelligence in this election cycle is inevitable, doing everything from chatbots to engage the public for chatting,  automated fundraising emails and robocalls that sound like the candidates.

There need to be guardrails to make sure AI is used responsibly. A group called Zink Labs has developed a list of dos and don’ts of employing AI for elections. These include:

While AI tools, such as generative AI, can enhance voter communication services, they should complement human efforts, not replace them entirely.

Campaigns must ensure that AI-generated content is checked by humans before being used. Relying solely on AI will lead to errors.

Campaigns must be honest about their use of AI, refraining from misrepresentation. Campaigns need to label AI-generated content and avoid fabricating anecdotes or mimicking opponents through AI-powered media.

Campaigns should not dismissively blame AI for every error; doing so will erode public trust in a technology that should help people.

Campaigns need a playbook for dealing with opponents’ use of fake AI. This requires thoughtful preparation Rushing to publicly address deepfakes without a well-thought-out strategy may exacerbate the situation..

AI can streamline internal campaign processes, such as crafting personalized messages, summarizing data, and generating content drafts. By leveraging AI for mundane tasks, campaigns can enhance efficiency without replacing human functions entirely.

 

Our World is Changing in Ways We Would Rather Deny

 

Welcome to the new normal: It’s called a Polycrisis  to describe multiple crises occurring simultaneously. The term polycrisis illuminates how global crises are interconnected, entwining and worsening one another. It, of course, includes  America’s summer of heat, floods, and climate change. The United States is hardly alone in its share of climate disasters. 2022 wasn’t just a freak summer. Arctic sea ice algae is heavily contaminated with microplastics;  Fast-warming Europe risks more droughts as Alps glaciers melt at a record rate. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans live in communities with harmful air quality.  The ocean warming study is so distressing that scientists don’t want to talk about it.

Breathing in any smoke can cause damage to one’s lungs, heart, and brain, but fireworks contain many harmful particles that are different from other sources of air pollution. In addition to the fine particulate pollution, they contain a mix of metals, which produce the colors in the “rockets red glare” but can also be toxic to people — like lead, the EPA said.

This July 4, 2023, the average global temperature reached 62.92 degrees Fahrenheit, setting a new single-day record, according to data from the U.S. National Centers for Climate Prediction analyzed by the institute. This surpassed the previous record set just a day earlier on July 3, 2023, when temperatures averaged 62.62 degrees.

The Washington Post’s Heat Index Forecast estimated that 57 million people were exposed to dangerous temperatures on Tuesday. Experts warn that more record-breaking temperatures may be on the horizon. Robert Rohde of the University of California, Berkeley explained on Twitter that this is due to the combination of El Niño and global warming and that even warmer days may be expected over the next six weeks.

Nearly one in five Americans live in communities with harmful air quality. The most severe impacts are felt in the Western United States, where increasing wildfires have worsened air pollution. People of color are also disproportionately affected.

Elevated levels of toxic metals detected in popular drinks.  A new study led by Tulane University has found that various commonly consumed beverages, such as single and mixed fruit juices, plant-based milk, sodas, and teas, contain toxic metals exceeding federal drinking water standards.

By measuring the concentrations of 25 toxic metals and trace elements in 60 beverages frequently found in grocery stores, the experts discovered that five contained such potentially dangerous substances above federal drinking water standards.

Giant blobs of seaweed are hitting Florida. Heat waves fueled by climate change topple records around the globe. Underwater heat waves could be reshaping the weather around the world.

Over the years, such extreme events are occurring in increasing frequency and intensity, magnifying the human and financial cost of these disasters. We’re headed for 4 degrees of global warming and looking at a future where we cannot stop climate change. A colossal iceberg trapped near Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ for 20 years is finally on the move.

There has been a devastating’ melt of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. A once-stable glacier in Greenland is now rapidly disappearing.  The unexpected melting of Greenland Glacier could double sea-level rise projections.

The current climate path will lead to the collapse of life on Earth, say scientists. Failing to limit the global temperature to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels could trigger tipping points and lead to the collapse of life on Earth, two climate scientists have warned.

He also said that how the Earth’s natural systems behave after 1.5C is unknown and that it will likely trigger five tipping points which would see the Earth heat uncontrollably towards disaster.

The five tipping points identified are the melting of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, the melting of permafrost in the far north, a mass die-off of tropical coral reefs, and melting sea ice in the Bering Sea.

A study of almost 2,000 lakes, covering 95 percent of the world’s lake water, showed that they lost 53 percent of their water storage in over 30 years — three times more than previously estimated. Climate change caused about 36 percent of this loss for natural lakes. For both natural and human-made lakes, climate change and human consumption accounted for 47 to 65 percent of the loss, the study said.

The research also found that one in four people worldwide lives near a lake that is drying up, highlighting “the need to include climate change and sedimentation impacts in sustainable water resources management.”
m.

A recent study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has found that we are headed toward a sixth mass extinction. The study, which analyzed more than 70,000 species across the globe, found that 48% of these species are declining in population size, with fewer than 3% seeing increases. The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species classifies about 28% of species as under threat of extinction.

The main drivers of this extinction crisis are destroying wild landscapes to make way for farms, towns, cities, roads, and climate change. Climate change is already significantly impacting many species and is predicted to have an increasingly worse impact as the world warms.

The IUCN study is a stark warning of the consequences of human activity on the natural world. If we do not take action to protect our planet’s biodiversity, we could lose millions of species in the coming decades.

‘Frightening’: record-busting heat and drought hit Europe in 2022

El Niño is coming, and ocean temps are already at record highs – that can spell disaster for fish and corals

The threat of climate change is real and urgent. It affects our lives in many ways, such as higher temperatures, more extreme weather, and more frequent natural disasters. Global weather patterns are changing due to climate change, and the future looks grim. For example, California has experienced severe droughts, floods, blizzards, and winds in the past few months, causing deaths and damages.

The state has also recorded the highest snowpack ever, which raises questions about how a warmer climate will impact it. Meanwhile, scientists warn that deadly tornadoes that have struck parts of the US are a sign of more damage from global heating. These tornadoes and storms have killed over 50 people in Alabama, Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Massive amounts of methane gas spew from wildfires.

Climate report: Earth just had its second-warmest March on record

Globally, March 2023 was the second-warmest March in the 174-year NOAA record. The year-to-date (January–March) global surface temperature was the fourth warmest on record. According to NCEI’s Global Annual Temperature Outlook, it is virtually certain (>99.0%) that the year 2023 will rank among the 10-warmest years on record, and there is a 96% chance it will rank among the top five.

Coinciding with the release of the January 2023 Global Climate Report, the NOAA Global Surface Temperature (NOAAGlobalTemp) dataset version 5.1.0 replaced version 5.0.0. This new version includes complete global coverage and an extension of the data record back in time an additional 30 years to January 1850. While anomalies and ranks might differ slightly from what was reported previously, the main conclusions regarding global climate change are similar to the previous version. Please see NOAA’s Commonly Asked Questions Document and web story for additional information.

Our overheating world is likely to break a key temperature limit for the first time over the next few years, scientists predict.

Researchers say there’s now a 66% chance we will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold between now and 2027.

The chances are rising due to emissions from human activities and a likely El Niño weather pattern later this year.

If the world passes the limit, scientists stress the breach, while worrying, will likely be temporary.

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Hitting the threshold would mean the world is 1.5C warmer than it was during the second half of the 19th Century, before fossil fuel emissions from industrialisation really began to ramp up.

And breaking the limit even for just one year is a worrying sign that warming is accelerating and not slowing down.

The 1.5C figure has become a symbol of global climate change negotiations. Countries agreed to “pursue efforts” to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Going over 1.5C yearly for a decade or two would see far greater warming impacts, such as longer heatwaves, more intense storms, and wildfires.

But passing the level in one of the next few years would not mean that the Paris limit had been broken. Scientists say there is still time to restrict global warming by cutting emissions sharply.

Our overheating world is likely to break a key temperature limit for the first time over the next few years, scientists predict.

Researchers say there’s now a 66% chance we will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold between now and 2027.

The chances are rising due to emissions from human activities and a likely El Niño weather pattern later this year.

If the world passes the limit, scientists stress the breach, while worrying, will likely be temporary.

Hitting the threshold would mean the world is 1.5C warmer than it was during the second half of the 19th Century before fossil fuel emissions from industrialization began to ramp up.

And breaking the limit even for just one year is a worrying sign that warming is accelerating and not slowing down.

The 1.5C figure has become a symbol of global climate change negotiations. Countries agreed to “pursue efforts” to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Going over 1.5C yearly for a decade or two would see far greater warming impacts, such as longer heatwaves, more intense storms, and wildfires.

But passing the level in one of the next few years would not mean that the Paris limit had been broken. Scientists say there is still time to restrict global warming by cutting emissions sharply.

Implausible heat is everywhere. Looking at historical data from 1959 to 2021, we found that 31% of Earth’s land surface has already experienced such statistically implausible heat (though the Pacific Northwest heatwave is exceptional even among these events). These regions are spread all across the globe with no clear spatial pattern.

Socioeconomic factors, including population size, population growth, and level of development, will exacerbate these impacts. As a result, we factor in population and economic development projections in our assessment of the regions that are most at risk globally.

The first is that statistically implausible heatwaves can occur anywhere on the Earth, and we must be very cautious about using the historical record in isolation to estimate the “maximum” heatwave possible. Policymakers across the globe should prepare for exceptional heatwaves that would be deemed implausible based on current records.

The second is that there are many regions whose historical record is not exceptional and, therefore, more likely to be broken. These regions have been lucky so far, but as a result, they are likely to be less well-prepared for an unprecedented heatwave in the near future. These regions must prepare for more intense heatwaves than they have already experienced.

Republicans have been lying to their voters in the Midwest and South for decades, and now those same voters are dying as a result of unprecedented severe weather that ties directly back to those lies. As more and more people are killed by extraordinarily severe weather in places where it used to be unusual, it will get harder and harder to keep Red State citizens from finding out how badly the unholy alliance between Republicans and oil barons has screwed them.

The record-breaking temperatures seen in the summer of 2022, with temperatures exceeding 40ºC for the first time here in human history, brought unprecedented numbers of heat-related deaths, wildfire incidents and significant infrastructure disruption.. Climate change means many weather extremes driving these impacts will continue to get worse for several decades at least.”

Breaks Summer Heat Record Set During Dust Bowl in 1936: NOAA

The United States in June, July, and August were the hottest since records began, including the Dust Bowl summer of 1936. The combination of high temperatures with drought in some regions and high precipitation in others led to a summer of weather extremes all closely tied to global warming and the climate emergency.

Just months ago, one of the biggest environmental stories out of California and much of the western U.S. was a drought — megadrought to be exact. According to the Forest Service, 9.5 million trees died last year in California, mostly fir and pine died. Now as the region has been drenched with record rains and snow in recent weeks, California is having its 12th atmospheric river this winter following the historic drought. Though the wet weather is not without its problems, including flooding and landslides, scientists say it has started to fill up some of the country’s biggest reservoirs that were previously dangerously low.

Climate change added at least 10% more rain to Hurricane Ian, a study prepared immediately after the storm shows. MIT hurricane researcher Kerry Emanuel said in general, a warmer world does make storms rainier.

Scientists have predicted that droughts and floods will become more frequent and severe as our planet warms and climate changes.   Now a new NASA-led study confirms that major droughts and pluvials – periods of excessive precipitation and water storage on land – have indeed been occurring more often.

In the study published March 13, 2023, in the journal Nature Water, two NASA scientists examined 20 years of data from the NASA/German GRACE and GRACE-FO satellites to identify extreme wet and dry events. Floods and droughts account for more than 20% of the economic losses caused by extreme weather events in the U.S. each year. The economic impacts are similar around the world, though the human toll tends to be most devastating in poor neighborhoods and developing nations.

The scientists also found that the worldwide intensity of these extreme wet and dry events – a metric that combines extent, duration, and severity – is closely linked to global warming.

From 2015-2021 – seven of the nine warmest years in the modern record – the frequency of extreme wet and dry events was four per year, compared with three per year in the previous 13 years. This makes sense, say the authors because warmer air causes more moisture to evaporate from Earth’s surface during dry events; warm air can also hold more moisture to fuel severe snowfall and rainfall events.

“Climate change is sometimes misunderstood as being about changes in the weather. In reality,  it is about changes in our very way of life.” – Paul Polman. The West is running out of water. Lake Mead and Shasta Lake are running dry and are projected the water supply is headed toward catastrophic failure. Entire cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix exist because of these waters. They sustain California’s agriculture, which is America’s breadbasket.

The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40% by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit.” in the next seven years, we are going to run out of water. This finding — demand exceeding supply by 40% — comes from a new report by the Global Water Commission. It’s the first of its kind from this organization.

We now face the prospect of a 40% shortfall in freshwater supply by 2030, with severe shortages in water-constrained regions. And fundamentally, as the science and evidence show, this mismanagement of water has pushed the global water cycle out of balance for the first time in human history. We have breached the planetary boundaries for water that keep the Earth’s system safe for humanity and all life.

The U.S. is facing scorching heat in the summer of 2022 with more than two dozen states experiencing heat warnings and many Americans being exposed to temperatures higher than 90 degrees. The deadly weather is severe on its own, but it’s also a sign of what’s to come as the planet heats up due to climate change. A quarter of the U.S. will fall inside an extreme heat belt. Breathing is going to get tougher as hotter temperatures mean more air pollution.

Here are the 10 cities with the worst air pollution in the United States:

10. Central areas in Birmingham, Alabama
9. A semi-circle of neighborhoods in central Atlanta
8. Semi-rural areas in central Pennsylvania
7. A swath of the St Louis Metro Area
6. A large portion of Houston
5. A central swath of Indianapolis, Indiana
4. North-west Indiana industrial zones
3. Chicago’s South and West Sides
2. South Los Angeles
1. Bakersfield, California – The area around Bakersfield, an agricultural town in California’s Central Valley 100 miles north of Los Angeles, has the most unhealthful air in America.

The last eight years have been the warmest on record, researchers say
Concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane have continued to rise despite an urgent need to reduce them.

Last year was the fifth hottest ever recorded on the planet, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service announced Tuesday. It was part of an unabated broader warming trend as humans continue to pump massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Extreme heat waves in Europe, Asia, and the United States — which stemmed in part from more than a century of burning fossil fuels — helped drive 2022’s unusual warmth, researchers found. Twelve European countries broke temperature records in 2022.

Europe sweltered through its hottest summer on record and its second-hottest year overall, researchers said. Pakistan experienced catastrophic flooding as a result of extreme rainfall. In February, Antarctic Sea ice reached its lowest minimum in 44 years of satellite records and the Arctic sea ice is melting worse and faster than expected, studies show.

Rising temperatures and pollution have led to an explosive growth of harmful algal blooms, contaminating drinking water and harming human health.

The year “2022 was yet another … of climate extremes across Europe and globally. These events highlight that we are already experiencing the devastating consequences of our warming world,” Samantha Burgess, deputy director of Copernicus, said in a statement announcing the annual findings.

The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40% by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit.

Governments must urgently stop subsidizing the extraction and overuse of water through misdirected agricultural subsidies, and industries from mining to manufacturing must be made to overhaul their wasteful practices, according to a landmark report on the economics of water.

Nations must start to manage water as a global common good because most countries are highly dependent on their neighbors for water supplies, and overuse, pollution and the climate crisis threaten water supplies globally, the report’s authors say.

Johan Rockstrom, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and co-chair of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water, and a lead author of the report told the Guardian the world’s neglect of water resources was leading to disaster. “The scientific evidence is that we have a water crisis. We are misusing water, polluting water, and changing the whole global hydrological cycle, through what we are doing to the climate. It’s a triple crisis.”

As the water gets more scarce and the land becomes hotter, drier, and harder to live upon, the discontent of MAGA Republicans could very well metastasize into violence — especially if California discourages the rebuilding of fire-destroyed towns. Likewise, flooding in seacoast towns all over America results in governments refusing to rebuild in these areas all but certain to be devastated by hurricanes again.

Drought has become a way of life in some parts of the United States. Long-term shifts in streamflow could signal a fundamental change in climate that scientists believe the country’s infrastructure is not designed to endure. Wells are running dry in the drought-weary Southwest as foreign-owned farms guzzle water to feed cattle overseas.

Water levels at one of the UK’s largest reservoirs has dropped to just 20 percent of its capacity amid fears of shortages this winter in England.

For small islands, climate change is life and death. Some islands will be swallowed up. The effect on lost cities from the U.S. coastline is even more dramatic.

Political conflicts occur when idealogy is at odds with reality. Florida congressmen are requesting emergency funding to make repairs resulting from Hurricane Ian. In the month before Ian, they opposed legislation that provided billions in disaster relief.  They can’t have their cake (their ideological rigidity) and eat it, too. More anger, more potential for violence.

Solutions to growing water shortages are hard to achieve. A proposal to use ocean water to desalinate seawater in Mexico, at the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, and send it north across the border. The panel concluded that California shouldn’t pursue such a plan, citing costs estimated in the tens of billions of dollars, harm to the coastal environment, and a construction timeline that would take many years before any water would reach the lake.

Scientists have long warned that climate change will adversely affect weather patterns and living conditions around the world. These warnings are now turning into a painful reality. Worse, the range of possible outcomes has proven to be increasingly “fat-tailed”: extreme weather events such as heatwaves, severe storms, and floods are more likely than normal statistical distributions would predict.

California produces more than one-third of U.S. vegetables and three-quarters of domestic fruits and nuts.

The drought is echoing through beef supply chains, resulting in higher prices for consumers for at least the next two years – and likely be the last straw for many small family-run cattle herds that are a key part of the cattle industry.

What lies ahead are inevitably higher food prices and shortages.

In California, desalination offers only a partial solution to growing drought
As the water in the Western U.S. becomes an increasingly rare commodity, the driest states are grasping at solutions for an even drier future — investing heavily in technologies to maximize the conservation, and creation, of the region’s most precious resource.

With more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Ocean coastline, California appears to have access to a wellspring that other arid states lack. The technology to transform that unlimited sea supply into potable drinking water has existed for decades, through a process called desalination. Yet while two new desalination plants have received approvals in the past couple of months, California’s coast isn’t exactly teeming with such facilities.

That’s because the technology, which is both expensive and energy-intensive, can leave behind a mammoth-sized footprint on both surrounding communities and marine life, even as it helps quench the thirst of a parched citizenry.

 

Seattle

Portland

Boise

Shasta

Lake

Salt Lake

City

Lake

Oroville

Denver

San Francisco

Lake

Powell

Las

Vegas

Lake

Mead

Albuquerque

Los Angeles

Phoenix

San Diego

100 mi

100 km

Source: EPA

The big picture: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 600 people in the U.S. each year are killed by extreme heat, though other studies put the figure much higher.

A 2020 study looking at counties representing about 62 percent of the U.S. population found that in those alone, there were an average of 5,608 heat-attributed deaths each year between 1997 and 2006.

The Arctic is warming at a more rapid pace than previously thought — and four times faster than the world at large, according to research published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment. A heat wave at -37˚C? that’s bad news at the South Pole
Arctic’s Last Ice Area May Disappear During Summer Months
Melting the Antarctic could impact oceans ‘for centuries.’

Because of the killing heat, crops are beginning to fail. like everything from cocoa to coffee to wheat to sugar to mustard is beginning to decline.

Extreme heat kills more people each year in the U.S. than in any other kind of natural disaster. A recent study found that more than a third of all heat deaths worldwide can be pinned on climate change. Parts of the U.S. are feeling the danger now.

Extreme heat uncovers lost villages, ancient ruins, and shipwrecks

In an eerie twist, volatile weather and heat-induced drought are unearthing glimpses of lost archaeological treasures and forgotten history.

 The U.S. is responsible for about 25 percent of all planet-warming emissions currently in the atmosphere, while Guatemala, for example, has contributed roughly 0.0002 percent. But more 75 percent of the heat deaths in that country can be linked to climate change.

Blistering heat waves have smashed temperature records around the globe this summer, scorching crops, knocking out power, fueling wildfires, buckling roads and runways, and killing hundreds in Europe alone.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 96 large active fires have burned 690,030 acres in eight states so far this summer, mostly concentrated in areas spanning the Northwest, Great Basin, and Northern Rockies. Smoke from the fires has been compromising air quality.

The sudden shift from an abstract threat to reality has many people wondering: is climate change unfolding faster than scientists had expected? Are these extreme events more extreme than studies had predicted they would be, given the levels of greenhouse gases now in the atmosphere?

Every day, car tires produce vastly more particle pollution than exhaust. Tire particles contain a wide range of toxic organic compounds, making them subject to regulation.

A new poll in 2022 finds that the majority of households in the U.S. have been affected by extreme weather events, which have led to health and financial problems for some.  some report serious health problems (24 percent) or financial problems (17 percent). Fourteen percent of them say that they’ve had to evacuate from their homes and 14 percent say that they’ve suffered damage to their home or property.

Heat and Melting Ice

Global warming is causing glaciers and ice sheets to melt. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans experienced a weather disaster this summer. The expanding reach of climate-fueled disasters, a trend that has been increasing at least since 2018, shows the extent to which a warming planet has already transformed Americans’ lives. The American West is in the hottest and driest 23-year period in at least 1,200 years. The frequency of extremely hot weather and record temperatures and rainfall has increased around the world as a result of global warming, according to an international research project. Extreme heat kills more Californians every year than any other extreme weather event.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) declared 2021 was one of the planet’s seven hottest years since records began. It was a year of weather extremes. The year was about 1.11℃ above pre-industrial levels—the seventh year in a row that the average global temperature rise edged over 1℃. The WMO report echoes two separate official US analyses released last week that found 2021 was the sixth hottest year on record, tied with 2018.

Arctic temperatures soared to an unprecedented 100 degrees in 2020. 2021 experienced a tornado that is the longest one on record in the United States in a month in which tornadoes do not usually occur. Many of these events were exacerbated by climate change. Scientists say there are more to come – and worse – as the Earth’s atmosphere continues to warm through the next decade and beyond.

Heat-related deaths are occurring in regions that typically have milder climates, according to a University of Washington study published in August 2022 in the journal Atmosphere.

Global warming is causing more frequent and longer heat waves. Extreme heat causes crop losses, power failures, and school closures, and will test the “limits of human survivability.”

Based on the number of greenhouse gases humans have already added to the Earth’s atmosphere, the world is already guaranteed to experience  5 feet of sea-level rise in the coming decade. The first country to be swallowed up by the sea will be Kiribati, a small nation on a Pacific atoll. 64 percent of Americans live in places that experienced a multi-day heatwave in the past three months of 2021.  Mountain glaciers hold less ice than previously thought – it’s a concern for future water supplies but a drop in the bucket for sea-level rise.

Environmental threats are among our greatest risks by likelihood and severity of consequences.  This has been brought home by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic’s severe storms, fires, hurricanes, coastal storms, and floods. The eight worst wildfire weather years on record happened in the last decade. The rise in pollutants from forest fires in the Western states is reversing a decade of clean air gains in the U.S., according to a new study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Extreme winds, topography,  and vegetation influence the severity of mega-fires.

The climate crisis is turning the Arctic green. In northern Norway, trees are rapidly taking over the tundra and threatening an ancient way of life that depends on snow and ice.  The changes ahead may also bring the beginning of the end – a final termination – for many glaciers north and south,

Humidity

When it comes to measuring global warming, humidity, not just heat, matters in generating dangerous climate extremes, a new study finds. Researchers say temperature by itself isn’t the best way to measure climate change’s weird weather and downplays impacts in the tropics. But factoring in air moisture along with heat shows that climate change since 1980 is near twice as bad as previously calculated. The energy generated in extreme weather, such as storms, floods, and rainfall is related to the amount of water in the air. So a team of scientists in the U.S. and China decided to use an obscure weather measurement called equivalent potential temperature — or theta-e — that reflects “the moisture energy of the atmosphere.”

Wildfires in Colorado raged through the end of 2021. More than 500 families may enter a new year having lost their homes after runaway grass fires bore down on the region northwest of Denver. Approximately 34,000 residents of the towns of Superior and Louisville in Boulder County fled the “life-threatening” situation Thursday as 100-mph-plus winds acted like a turbine fanning the flames.. Residents remained barred from some adjacent municipalities as the Colorado State Patrol warned that flames were still present.

Climate change has destabilized the Earth’s poles, putting the rest of the planet in peril. These warm conditions are catastrophic for the sea ice that usually spans across the North Pole. This past summer saw the second-lowest extent of thick, old sea ice since tracking began in 1985. Large mammals like polar bears go hungry without this crucial platform from which to hunt. Marine life ranging from tiny plankton to giant whales is at risk.  The Greenland Ice Sheet Shrunk for 25th Year Straight in 2021, Report Shows.

Biden has told the nation “We can’t wait any longer to deal with the climate crisis. “We see it with our own eyes and it’s time to act.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said “Floods in New York are a reminder of what is at stake if we do not build resilient infrastructure while meeting the climate crisis. “American transit doesn’t just need repairs, it needs upgrades to withstand the climate challenges of the 21st century.”

Trapped under Earth’s permafrost – ground that remains frozen for a minimum of two years – are untold quantities of greenhouse gases, microbes, and chemicals, including the now-banned pesticide DDT. As the planet warms, permafrost is thawing at an increasing rate, as reported by the Environmental News Network.  A paper published earlier this year in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment looked at the current state of permafrost research. Along with highlighting conclusions about permafrost thaw, the paper focuses on how researchers are seeking to address the questions surrounding it.

Infrastructure is already affected: Thawing permafrost has led to giant sinkholes, slumping telephone poles, damaged roads, and runways, and toppled trees. More difficult to see is what has been trapped in permafrost’s mix of soil, ice, and dead organic matter. Research has looked at how chemicals like DDT and microbes – some of which have been frozen for thousands, if not millions, of years – could be released from thawing permafrost.

The risk of infectious diseases is now ranked at Number One, while in 2020 it came in 10th place.  Regardless of where COVID-D came from – passage from animals to humans or in a laboratory, we can expect new variants like Delta and Omicron named a “variant of concern”  and new diseases, like the Havana Syndrome.    COVID-19 is spreading to animals.  15 species in the U.S.—including cats, dogs, tigers, lions, hyenas, hippos, and white-tailed deer— have contracted the virus that causes COVID-19 so far. Might it spread to animals we use for food?

The U.N. climate summit, known as COP26 this year, brings officials from almost 200 countries to Glasgow to haggle over the best measures to combat global warming.

Drought

The American West has spent the last two decades in what scientists are now saying is the most extreme megadrought in at least 1,200 years. In a new study, researchers also noted that human-caused climate change is a significant driver of the unprecedented drought parching the U.S. Southwest since 2020.  They found the drought would not have reached its current punishing intensity without the extremely high temperatures brought by human-caused global warming. destructive conditions and offered a grim prognosis: even drier decades lie ahead. 

As part of their analysis, the team compared observations of precipitation and temperature across six southwestern states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah—for the 20-month period from January 2020 through August 2021. Many areas in the region experienced three successive “failed” wet seasons; the 2019-2020 winter wet season, the 2020 June-August North American monsoon, and the 2020-2021 winter wet season were all below average.    The cumulative precipitation for the 20-month period was the lowest on record, dating back to 1895. That left almost the entire western half of the contiguous United States in some level of drought at the end of August. 2021.  Drought in the breadbasket states of the midwest.

Lake Powell, the country’s second-largest reservoir and a key source of water and power for much of the West, is more parched than ever. In March 2022 month, the lake dropped below 25% capacity, the federal government said and has also lost 7% of its total potential capacity since 1963.

California has adopted drought rules outlawing water wasting, with fines of up to $500. In an effort to discourage wasteful water practices such as hosing off driveways or allowing irrigation water to run down streets, California water officials have imposed new drought rules for cities and towns throughout the state.

Water Shortages Rise to Crisis

Farmers use a majority of our groundwater, but corporations like Nestle and Coca-Cola in making their products, and companies like Google, who use billions of gallons of water a year to cool their servers.

We drink water to survive, to make food, to bathe, to wash our clothes, and use the bathroom. Every time you flush the toilet, it uses at least a gallon of water — and that’s an efficient model. Older toilets use six or seven gallons.

We already pay for our water.   Besides all that is sold in stores, if you live in a house, you have a water bill. If you live in an apartment, it’s factored into your rent.

Pure, clean drinking water will become one of the most valuable assets on earth worth more than oil. Imagine if the only way you could afford water was from public fountains and restrooms.

Groundwater accounts for nearly half of the domestic and agricultural water supply in the United States. Our current consumption of water vastly outstrips the water table refill rate, and demand is only expected to increase in the coming decades.; every nation on Earth is scrambling for freshwater reserves. The United States is not alone in this problem. The more groundwater we use, the less there is. This is because surfaces on the ground from which water has been extracted settle and close spaces once occupied by groundwater.

It is not only water that is being overly consumed; this applies to all types of commodities.  For example, Germany needs three planets for all it consumes.

In 2018, Cape Town came perilously close to ‘Day Zero’  that is, four million city inhabitants would have been left without water. Now another city, Nelson Mandela Bay, is facing acute water shortages and risks approaching its own Day Zero.

In increasingly dry western Kansas, underground water makes everything possible. Irrigation for crops. Stock water for cattle. Drinking water for towns. In increasingly dry western Kansas, underground water makes everything possible. Irrigation for crops. Stock water for cattle. Drinking water for towns. The Ogallala Aquifer provides 70-80% of the water used by Kansans each day. But the aquifer is drying up at an accelerating rate. Aquifer water levels across western and central Kansas dropped by more than a foot on average this past year. That’s the biggest single-year decrease since 2015, according to the Kansas Geological Survey’s annual report.

And while the aquifer is losing that foot of water, it’s barely being refilled. In most of western Kansas, less than one inch of water seeps underground to recharge the aquifer each year.

Water Moves

Water is moving away from dry regions towards wet regions, causing droughts to worsen in parts of the globe while intensifying rainfall events and flooding in others. In other words, wet areas are getting wetter, and dry areas are getting drier.  Because around 80 percent of global rainfall and evaporation happens over the ocean, while land gets drier, the oceans get fuller. In dense cities, only around 20% of rain actually infiltrates the soil. Instead, water drains and pipes carry it away.

In addition to obvious consequences like crop and sanitation failure, groundwater depletion can lead to disastrous social conflicts and even war. Between 2007 and 2010, drought in Syria drove millions of rural people into cities, where tensions quickly mounted and civil war ensued. Competition among nations for freshwater will only intensify.

There is a worldwide movement that seeks to restore water’s natural tendency to linger in places like wetlands and floodplains instead of tightly confining rivers with levees, putting buildings or parking lots where water wants to linger so it can be used, or erecting dams. In China, the idea of giving water space has been elevated from a fringe concept to a national mission.

Scientists are using the geological record of the deep sea to discover that past global warming has sped up deep ocean circulation. This is one of the missing links for predicting how future climate change may affect heat and carbon capture by the oceans. More vigorous ocean currents make it easier for carbon and heat to be “mixed in.”

Microscopic marine organisms called plankton use this dissolved carbon to build their shells. They sink down to the seabed after they die, sequestering the carbon. These sedimentary deposits are from the Earth’s largest carbon sink.

Maps indicate that over the last 13 million years as the earth progressively cooled and developed expanding inland ice caps, sediment breaks gradually became less frequent—a tell-tale sign of deep-sea circulation becoming more sluggish.

At the same unusual flooding is afflicting communities around the nation.

Water Quality 

91% of Pennsylvania schools that tested drinking water found lead in their water—only 9% of the schools removed it.  EWG researchers collected and reviewed results from water contaminant tests conducted by water utilities and regulators from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. After combing through the data from almost 50,000 water systems serving tens of millions of American households, the researchers found sweeping drinking water contamination from numerous pollutants such as arsenic, lead, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), radioactive materials, and pesticides.

Since the 1960s, the extent of an open ocean with low oxygen has increased by roughly the area of the European Union. More than 500 low-oxygen sites have been identified in coastal waters. These “dead zones” can cause mass killings of fish and are contributing to climate change. The problem starts on land with chemical pollution.

Compared to the previous (2019) update to the database, which identified 268 chemicals in America’s water utilities, the new database added 56 new chemicals. These substances are new PFAS or emerging pollutants, such as pesticides and radioactive material, that are currently monitored by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the agency’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. However, these substances have yet to receive any legal limits, thwarting the water systems’ impetus to tackle the contamination, according to EWG.

Currently, the EPA regulates more than 90 contaminants in drinking water, a fraction of the agency’s inventory of more than 85,000 chemicals that fall under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The EPA’s Office of Water has not added any new substances to its regulated list since 2006.

Even for substances that are regulated by the EPA, their “legal limits were set based on outdated science,” Uloma Uche, an environmental health scientist at EWG who helped construct the tap water database, told EHN.

“We are not being exposed to just one contaminant when we’re drinking water,” said Uche. “We’re being exposed to multiple contaminants.”

The EPA’s water regulations “assure that public water systems are monitoring and taking actions to achieve meaningful reductions to human health risks from contaminants in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act,” an EPA spokesperson told EHN. The agency also “has evaluated a number of unregulated drinking water contaminants” under the Safe Drinking Water Act and is taking actions to update its regulations, said the spokesperson.

Consumers can enter their ZIP code into the tap water database and see a report of toxic contaminants in the area’s drinking water as well as safety assessments put together by EWG scientists. In many areas, various dangerous contaminants have been uncovered in water samples, although they were still in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

Although your water is below the legal limit, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe from contaminants.

Air Pollution

Exposure to air pollution is linked to the increased severity of mental illness. The most comprehensive study of its kind., involving 13,000 people in London, found that a relatively small increase in exposure to nitrogen dioxide led to a 32% increase in the risk of needing community-based mental health treatment and an 18% increase in the risk of being admitted to hospital.

Other research has shown that small increases in dirty air are linked to significant rises in depression and anxiety and increased suicides.  It reduces intelligence and is linked to dementia. A global review concluded that air pollution may be damaging every organ in the human body.  More than two million people worldwide died of causes attributed to air pollution.  Methane in the atmosphere is at an all-time high; it has more than doubled in the atmosphere since 1750. Fossil fuels emit 70% more methane than governments admit.

The rate of major depression in adolescents increased more than 50% between 2005 and 2017, and the rate of moderate to severe depression in college students nearly doubled between 2007 and 2018.

A Harvard study links air pollution from fracking to early deaths. Among nearby residents. The researchers studied more than 15 million Medicare beneficiaries living in all major fracking regions and gathered data from more than 2.5 million oil and gas wells.

as air pollution may help predict people’s chances of dying from conditions like heart attack and stroke.

Exposure to above-average levels of outdoor air pollution increased the risk of death by 20 percent and increased the risk of death from cardiovascular disease specifically by 17 percent, the survey published in PLoS One  in June 2022.

The use of wood- or kerosene-burning stoves for cooking and heating homes without proper ventilation increased death risk by 23 percent and 9 percent respectively — raising the specific risk of death by cardiovascular disease by 36 percent and 19 percent, the study determined.

Extreme Heat

Extreme humid heat has more than doubled in frequency since 1979 raising the risk of heatstroke. If the hot air is too humid, heat exchange is blocked, and the body loses its primary means of cooling itself. When your body temperature gets too high, your body cooks to the point that your body’s proteins break down, enzymes stop regulating your organs’ functions. and your organs start shutting down. These are heat strokes.

Increased heat, drought, and insect outbreaks, all linked to climate change, have increased wildfires. Increasing global warming and land-use change are driving a global increase in extreme wildfires, with a 14% increase predicted by 2030 and a 30% increase by 2050, according to a UN report. and up to 52 percent by 2100. If emissions are not curbed and the planet heats up more, wildfire risks could rise by up to 57 percent by the end of the century.

Declining water supplies reduced agricultural yields, increased ill-health in cities due to heat, and flooding and erosion in coastal areas are additional concerns.

The city of Abbotsford in British Columbia, just north of the US border near Vancouver, recorded its hottest day ever in late June when temperatures climbed to 109 degrees Fahrenheit during an unprecedented heatwave.

Just 140 days later, it smashed another record: The city observed its wettest day with nearly four inches of heavy rainfall in less than 24 hours.

Depleting Our Reserves

To get an idea of the imprint, humans have made on our planet, consider that all the structures we have built − roads, houses, skyscapes, schools, and churches outweigh all the animals and plants on Earth put together. People and our domestic animals now add up to 95% of the mass of all vertebrates – wild mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians constitute the remaining 5%.

As many as a million species could soon disappear from the face of the Earth in what amounts to the planet’s sixth mass extinction. Two-fifths of the world’s plant species are endangered.  Wetlands mismanagement is endangering 40,000 small but vital plant and animal species, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.  Already wildlife populations have plunged by an average of 69% in just under 50 years as humans continue to clear forests, consume beyond the limits of the planet, and fail to curb pollution.

73% of the planet’s regenerative capacity: that is, what we use for fuel and housing was still within the limits of sustainability. By 2016, the demand for food, fuel, and housing had grown to an unsustainable 170% resulting in around 700 to 800 million people starving, and another one to two billion children and adults malnourished.  Antarctica’s ice is falling into the ocean and this will lead to higher food prices.

Alarming stories from Antarctica are now more frequent than ever; the ice surface is melting, floating ice shelves are collapsing, and glaciers are flowing faster into the ocean.

Antarctica will be the largest source of future sea-level rise. Yet scientists don’t know exactly how this melting will unfold as the climate warms.

Our latest research looks at how the Antarctic ice sheet advanced and retreated over the past 10,000 years. It holds stark warnings, and possibly some hope, for the future.

The Current Imbalance

Future sea-level rise presents one of the most significant challenges of climate change, with economic, environmental, and societal impacts expected for coastal communities around the globe.

While it seems like a distant issue, the changes in Antarctica may soon be felt on our doorsteps, in the form of rising sea levels.

Complex models now gauge the impact of climate change on global food production. Climate change is a “threat multiplier,” with alarming results. It makes hunger emergencies worse. Crop yields could plummet, faster than expected. If crops fail, especially in two or three major breadbasket regions at the same time, as some models began to suggest, millions of people could starve.

Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable in the U.S. The time is approaching when there won’t be enough tomatoes. For the past 30-plus years, on average, the Central Valley would get five to seven days with temperatures above 100°F. This is the physiological threshold beyond which tomato plants cease producing By the end of the century, there could be 40-50 days that ho days per year.

More enormous storms are happening with greater frequency.  Kentucky in December 2021 was battered by another huge storm three weeks after tornadoes killed 80 and injured 100.

Hurricane Ida didn’t inundate New Orleans, but it did its surrounding communities that did not have the massive flood protection systems New Orleans has. How much money for infrastructure can go to save land destined for certain flooding?

Greenland’s immense ice sheet has lost enough ice in the past 20 years to submerge the entire United States in half a meter of water. The climate is warming faster in the Arctic than anywhere else on the planet and melting ice from Greenland is now the main factor in the rise in the Earth’s oceans, according to NASA.

More than two million people have been killed by storms, floods, droughts, and heatwaves since 1970, according to WMO data, as Reuters reported. The data showed that these weather-related natural disasters resulted in $3.64 trillion in damages worldwide. Since the 1970s early warning systems for extreme weather helped reduce the number of people killed by natural disasters by 76 percent, Reuters reported.

As wildfires worsen and sea levels rise, growing numbers of Americans are moving to places such as Vermont and the Appalachian Mountains. These are seen as safe havens from climate change. This population movement will intensify in the coming decades.

Since measurements began in 2002, the Greenland ice sheet has lost about 4,700 billion tonnes of ice, said Polar Portal, a joint project involving several Danish Arctic research institutes.  This represents 4,700 cubic kilometers of melted water — “enough to cover the entire US by half a meter” — and has contributed 1.2 centimeters to sea-level rise, the Arctic monitoring website added.

Civil Unrest

Population growth sparks both civil unrest and international conflict and ever-higher global average temperatures exacerbate the desperation of people and willingness to resort to violence.   It is predicted that between 25 million and 1 billion people will be driven from their homes by drought, poverty, civil war, flooding, or heat extreme by 2050.

The pandemic has produced cascading effects: more people are working at home than ever, supply bottlenecks are creating the worst inflation in 30 years, and people are more ill-tempered than ever.

In October, the American Psychiatric Association released a study showing a dramatic increase in anxiety among Americans, hitting 62% of all Americans, up from ~35% over prior years. The main causes were their families’ safety (80%), systemic racism (76%), COVID-19 (75%), their health (73%), gun violence (73%), and the looming presidential election (72%). Youth suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10 – 24.  According to Gallup, 51% of Americans can’t think of a news source that reports the news objectively.

The climate of fear created by the prosecutions has already pushed some talented scientists to leave the United States and made it more difficult for others to enter or stay, endangering America’s ability to attract new talent in science and technology from China and around the world.
Lawmakers say these findings are “alarming.”

Unruly passengers on flights and the mounting surliness of customers toward service workers are resulting in many workers not returning to jobs after the pandemic. School shootings have become regular occurrences: Columbine High School, West Nickel Mines Amish School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School.

A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September as workers took advantage of the surge in job openings across the country, a sign of how labor market imbalances continue to complicate the economic recovery 20 months into the pandemic. This is being called the Great Resignation. The number of people quitting in September constituted a whopping 3 percent of the workforce, according to the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics survey. That number is up from the previous record set in August 2021 when 4.3 million people quit their jobs — about 2.9 percent of the workforce. In February 2020, before the big wave of pandemic-related layoffs began, 2.3 percent of workers quit their jobs.

The pandemic has deepened the rifts that exist between people from marital to work conflicts.  We are witnessing bad behavior acted out every day in our lives and on the news and with people being injured.  School and supermarket massacres are reflections of the disquiet.  Public officials are receiving death threats for performing their duties as Congressmen, election, and health officials. The movie Unhinged starring Russell Crowe shows the rage and fury manifested during the January 6 insurrection.

that the climate of fear created by the prosecutions has already pushed some talented scientists to leave the United States and made it more difficult for others to enter or stay, endangering America’s ability to attract new talent in science and technology from China and around the world.
Lawmakers say our findings are “startling.”

The new statistics reflect how severely in flux the labor market remains after the pandemic upended the course of business and life across the country in 2020.

How Americans feel about the economy roughly translates to how they feel about their politics. Factory workers, nurses, and school bus drivers are among the tens of thousands of Americans who walked off jobs in October, 2021 amid a surge of labor activism that economists and labor leaders have dubbed “Striketober.” The strike drives stem from the new leverage workers hold in the nation’s tight job market.

Shortages and Supply Lines

Climate change leads to changes in economic life. The same is beginning to hold true for everything from electronics to energy. What’s going on here? 

People are once again hoarding resulting in shortages on grocery shelves because of the supply-chain crunch.  Gas prices are high.

Consumer prices surged 6.8 percent in the year leading into November and 0.8 percent last month alone as a roaring economy overwhelmed struggling supply chains and fueled inflation, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

Consumer prices surged 6.8 percent in the year 2021 leading into November and 0.8 percent last month alone as a roaring economy overwhelmed struggling supply chains and fueled inflation, according to data released by the Labor Department.

You can search the keywords “supply chain management” on this database.

The continued and expanded use of nonrenewable natural resources will lead to their growth in shorter supply with sharply rising prices, or pricing above what most people can pay will worsen the economies of the world.  Some commodities may not be obtainable. China controls the supply of all 16 strategically critical rare-earth metals. In fact, 96% of global mining output for rare-earth metals comes from within China’s borders.

On the horizon is robots doing all production work, including manufacturing replacement robots. This can lead to massive unemployment, and the reduction in the share of income going to human labor, probably accompanied by increasing inequality. The economy is undergoing such massive changes there’s a big mismatch at the moment between the jobs available and jobs workers take.  Why does America have 8.4 million unemployed when there are 10 million job openings?

Consumers no longer instinctively trust the words of companies from which they have previously purchased goods or services. Instead, businesses need to demonstrate efforts towards key initiatives before consumers reach for their wallets. 85% of consumers have changed their minds about purchasing from a company because they felt it did not do enough to properly address climate change,

Shortages of semiconductor chips,  crucial materials, and staff are delaying the deployment of 5G infrastructure. What’s happened? Three factories — each hit in a different way. The one in Japan caught fire due to an equipment malfunction The one in Texas was hit by a historic snowstorm, which knocked out power for days. The one in Taiwan is being affected by the worst drought in half a century — and microchips require huge amounts of water to manufacture. Supply chain disruptions are stalling the delivery of goods, ranging from computer chips and medicines to meat and lumber. These shortages have been caused by the pandemic.

The “chip shortage” is something that the world doesn’t really grasp yet, in its full importance and magnitude. It is the first climate catastrophe-related shortage to hit us at a civilizational, global level. In a world of stable temperatures, guess what, we’d probably still have microchips to power our cars and gadgets and AV studios because factories wouldn’t be losing power or be so parched they don’t have enough water. But they are — and so we do have a microchip shortage that has been caused by climate change, aka global warming.

As the price of energy rises, the price of everything has to rise, too. Our economies are still about 80% dependent on fossil fuels. The problem isn’t the electricity grid, as you might think. It’s that making things like steel and cement and glass still use gas. The world has just one fossil fuel-free steel factory so far.  The Energy Information Agency forecasts that by 2023, the nation will set a new annual record for oil extraction: 4.6 billion barrels. Plans to build more than 200 new natural gas power plants are in the works.

In October 2021 the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach hit a fresh record of 100 vessels floating off the coast waiting to dock and unload, data from the Marine Exchange indicated.

The pandemic has hastened the disruption of supply lines.  Microchips, the sets of circuits hosted on small flat pieces of silicon, are intrinsic to industrial civilization: they are used in computers, cars, mobile phones, home appliances, and virtually all other electronic equipment. Chipmakers were usually able to keep pace with the growing demand for chips in products like automobiles and home electronics.  We already had a shortage of microchips because of COVID-19. Roughly 91% of the contract chipmaking business is located in Asia with a handful of foundries that account for most of the world’s chip fabrication.

As the world shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many factories closed with it, making the supplies needed for chip manufacturing unavailable for months. Increased demand for consumer electronics caused shifts that rippled up the supply chain. A recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, explains that this “will clearly lead to delays in the distribution of microchips and will presumably have an adverse impact on the semiconductor and computer industries. Now we are learning that new car production is in suspense because of chip shortages.

Shortages are immediately felt because of long supply lines. Beginning in the 1970s, major corporations went to China, India, Brazil, and other places far away from where goods could be produced at a much lower cost. That is why we have long supply chains.

The U.S. inventory restocking cycle is being dragged out by power constraints in China. Output from factories is being curtailed by widespread electricity rationing due to a shortfall of natural gas and coal supplies — making it even more likely that the U.S. inventory replenishment cycle will persist well into next year.

The raw materials required to create EV batteries – lithium, cobalt, and nickel – are up. Lithium carbonate alone has gone up 400% in the last year alone. Then, with demand for EVs and energy storage on the rise, are ticking prices skyward. The inflection point for EV battery prices to become competitive with gas-powered vehicles is about $100/kWh.

“How long will this last? Until bottlenecks are removed at the ports. It will probably not return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

We are changing in other ways, too. Women now make up close to 60% of US college enrollees, a record, The Wall Street Journal reported. NYU professor Scott Galloway told CNN that the gap is leading to a “mating crisis. This will leave many unmarried and lonely.

Agriculture

The Department of

Agriculture lists the ways climate change threatens America’s food supply: Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, more pests and disease, reduced soil quality, fewer pollinating insects, and more storms and wildfires will combine to reduce crops and livestock.Wildfires are likely to increase by a third by 2050, warns the United Nations.

 

To address those challenges, the department calls for more research into climate threats and better communication of those findings to farmers.

The plan is also candid about the limits of what can be done. In response to drought, for example, farmers can build new irrigation systems, and governments can build new dams. But irrigation is expensive, the department notes, and dams affect the ecosystems around them.

Transportation

Climate change also threatens Americans’ ability to move within and between cities, restricting not just mobility but the transportation of goods that drive the economy. In a list of potential effects from climate change, the Department of Transportation notes that rising temperatures will make it more expensive to build and maintain roads and bridges.

And the experience of getting around will become slower and more frustrating. As hotter days cause asphalt to degrade, congestion will increase as traffic slows. Severe weather events will “require flight cancellations, sometimes for extended periods of time,” and more heat will force planes to fly shorter distances and carry less weight.

 

Some of the effects the transportation department anticipates are dangerous. They include “more frequent/severe flooding of underground tunnels” and “increased risk of vehicle crashes in severe weather.”

 

Even the quality of driving could get worse. The plan warns of “decreased driver/operator performance and decision-making skills, due to driver fatigue as a result of adverse weather.”

 

Cars swept over a bridge by heavy rains and flooding in Waverly, Tenn., in August.

 

Even the quality of driving could get worse. The plan warns of “decreased driver/operator performance and decision-making skills, due to driver fatigue as a result of adverse weather.”

Sometimes, the plans demonstrate how much work remains. The Department of Energy, for example, said it has assessed the climate risks for just half of its sites, which range from advanced research laboratories to storage facilities for radioactive waste from the nuclear weapons program.

“DOE’s nuclear security mission is critical to national security and is also largely conducted at DOE sites that are vulnerable to extreme weather conditions,” the department’s plan says. “DOE’s environmental mission could also experience disruptions if facilities dedicated to radioactive waste processing and disposal are impacted by climate hazards.”

The department says it’s able to address that threat but doesn’t go into specifics. “DOE has a well-established hazard assessment and adaptation process focused on its high-hazard nuclear facilities. This process ensures that the most critical facilities are well protected from climate risks,” the plan states.

COVID-D

Despite what is approaching five million deaths from of COVID-19, the Global Risks Report 2021, it is global warming that makes up the bulk of this year’s list of risks, which the report describes as “an existential threat to humanity.”  It is a sad commentary on the stubbornness of the unvaccinated to get vaccinated than unvaccinated people have an 11 times higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people, according to data posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With the loss of wilderness comes the reduced pollination of crops, the depletion of soils, poorer air, and water supplies becoming scarce.

The lockdowns caused a drop in carbon emissions, but as economies start to recover, emissions will soar.

Most people have difficulty grasping the magnitude of the environmental calamities that we likely face.   Saving ourselves will require the most significant technological change in history. We need technology to replace the extractive and polluting industries that will produce the food and resources we need to live.

It means ending the use of fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable energies such as solar, wind, and battery storage that are much cheaper than we thought years ago. Solar panels will be everywhere. By 2050, 96% of vehicles will be electric, supported by a national network of charging stations. Virtually all energy in homes will be electric. Gas may disappear completely from kitchens and its use will be reduced for hot water systems and household heating.

Controlling CO2 output must be done; however, some impacts of global warming are not reversible things like sea-level rise. Human activity is producing irreversible damage to several environmental constraints necessary to human life.  These are biodiversity loss, nitrogen cycle change, groundwater depletion, ocean acidification, and peak phosphorous.

We rely on a host of organisms for food, medicine, shelter, and clothing; but as biodiversity diminishes, so do our basic necessities.  Climate change is forcing some animals to move. Up to one million plant and animal species are facing extinction due to human activity.

We are overfishing, overhunting, and over-harvesting the earth. Overexploitation destroys biodiversity. Deforestation is another contributor to biodiversity loss; human demand for land development, fossil and wood fuels, and building materials result in the loss of 18 million square acres of forest each year.

Life on earth depends on balance.  The Earth and its atmosphere maintain an energy balance by either absorbing incoming radiation or reflecting it energy back into space.

Nitrogen 

78% of the earth’s atmosphere is nitrogen. All organisms — including humans — require nitrogen for survival. The natural nitrogen balance incorporates nitrogen into the peptides and amino acids essential to life.   Agricultural and industrial practices have dramatically altered the earth’s natural nitrogen cycle.

Synthetic fertilizers, industrial pollution, combustion of fossil fuels, vehicle exhaust doubles the natural conversion of nitrogen to ammonia and nitrates every year.  Nitrous oxide is the greenhouse gas N2O that results in photochemical smog covering large regions.

Fertilizers Cause More Than 2% of Global Emissions

Unlike organic fertilizers, which come from plant or animal material, synthetic fertilizers are made by humans using chemical processes.

Unlike organic fertilizers, which come from plant or animal material, synthetic fertilizers are made by humans using chemical processes.

Production and transportation cause carbon emissions, while agricultural use of these fertilizers leads to the release of nitrous oxide (N₂O) – a greenhouse gas 265 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO₂) over a century.

The research team – from the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter, and the University of Turin – found that the synthetic nitrogen fertilizer supply chain was responsible for emitting the equivalent of 1.13 gigatonnes of CO₂ in 2018.

This is more than 10% of global emissions from agriculture, and more than the emissions from commercial aviation in that year.

The top four emitters – China, India, USA and the EU28 (European Union countries plus the UK) – accounted for 62% of the total.

The excess of nitrogen results in losses of soil nutrients, such as calcium and potassium, essential for soil fertility, the mass killings of saltwater fish, thus reducing the food supply and oceanic biodiversity. It increases the acidification of soils, streams, and lakes greatly increases the transfer of nitrogen through rivers to estuaries and coastal oceans.

The consequences of human-caused changes to the nitrogen cycle appear grim.

Human activity is producing irreversible damage to several planetary limits necessary to human life are biodiversity loss, nitrogen cycle change, groundwater depletion, ocean acidification, and peak phosphorous.

We’ve already lost 33% of the Earth’s topsoil

Alone, each of these crises is enough to precipitate widespread human suffering. Together, along with climate change, they present the gravest threat in the history of humanity to the survival of our species.

Biodiversity Loss

Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth. Human beings rely on a host of organisms for food, medicine, shelter, and clothing; as biodiversity diminishes, so do our basic necessities.

Deforestation is a principal contributor to biodiversity loss; clearing land and using timber for building materials, fossil and wood fuels results in the loss of 18 million square acres of forest each year.

A 2014 study estimates that roughly 30 percent of both the world’s languages and animal species have declined between 1970 and 2009. Up to one million more plant and animal species are facing extinction due to human activity, according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Overexploitation — such as overfishing, overhunting, and over-harvesting — also threatens the earth’s biodiversity.

Ocean Acidification

The world’s oceans absorb roughly 30% of the carbon dioxide that human activity releases into the atmosphere. Because of oceanic CO2 absorption, ocean acidity has increased 30% globally since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Shellfish are particularly vulnerable to rising seawater acidity. Over a billion people currently rely on marine life for protein. Unless the world converts to clean energy in the immediate future; the world’s climate and food reserves are equally at stake.

Peak Phosphorus

Carbon emissions affect more than global temperatures.  While nitrogen contamination imperils ocean life, phosphorus pollution threatens freshwater fish. Phosphate ores primarily come from ancient salt deposits in seabeds and are used to make artificial fertilizers and detergents.

Phosphorus is also a key ingredient in human bone. We derive phosphorus in protein foods such as milk and milk products and meat, beans, lentils, and nuts. Grains, especially whole grains provide phosphorus. Phosphorus can be derived in smaller amounts in vegetables and fruit.

In the long run, phosphorus always returns to the oceans, but phosphate deposits replenish at a rate drastically slower than we consume it. Without it, malnutrition is the result. Global phosphorus shortages are predicted by as early as 2040. Peak phosphorus is, therefore, an even more pressing problem than climate change.

Global warming is just one of the crises to our survival. Biodiversity loss, the nitrogen cycle, groundwater depletion, ocean acidification, and peak phosphorus each threaten our existence, and taken together could potentially spell our extinction. Carbon sequestration is just one of the technologies we must master to survive the coming environmental crises.

Homeland Security

 

For the Department of Homeland Security, climate change means the risk of large numbers of climate refugees — people reaching the U.S. border, pushed out of their countries by a mix of long-term challenges like drought or sudden shocks like a tsunami.

Defense

 

Climate change will lead to new sources of conflict, and also make it harder for the military to operate, the Department of Defense wrote in its climate plan.

Water shortages could even become a new source of tension between the U.S. military overseas and the countries where troops are based. At DOD sites outside the United States, “military water requirements might compete with local water needs, creating potential areas of friction or even conflict.”

But learning to operate during extreme weather should also be viewed as a new type of weapon, the plan says, one that can help the United States prevail over enemies. “This enables U.S. forces to gain distinct advantages over potential adversaries,” the plan reads, “if our forces can operate in conditions where others must take shelter or go to ground.”

The Department of Commerce, which runs the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, said that as the effects of climate change become more severe, it expects a surge in applications for patents for “climate change adaptation-related technologies.” Such a surge “would impact the department’s ability to process such applications in a timely manner.

 

Climate Chaos Has Arrived

I watched a movie last night showing the world entering a new ice age. The movie was made in 2004. Ten, twenty, thirty years ago, today’s headlines were the predictions of fringe extremists. Now they’ve come true. The proof is all around us.  C The cascading impacts of climate change will affect every sector of the economy. Some sectors including fossil fuels, utilities, travel and leisure, housing, forestry, mining, and agriculture can be expected to be particularly hard hit, with the financial sector deeply linked to them all.

The Arctic Is Sweltering

Temperatures in Siberia climbed to 118ºF this year — an almost unthinkable level of heat. Marine life is migrating to cooler waters. Arctic sea ice reached its lowest levels in the last two years. Between 1979 and 2020, the report found the Arctic lost an area of ice about six times the size of Germany.

 Extinctions and Plagues Are on the Rise

Warmer waters are also causing the populations of some sea-dwelling species to shrink. It found that sole, European lobster, sea bass, and edible crabs were being adversely affected by extreme heat fluctuations in the North Sea.

Toxic microbial blooms thrived during the Great Dying, the most severe extinction in Earth’s history, and they are proliferating again due to human activity. Fish die as a result of algal blooms in Florida.

Millions of mice have created havoc for Australian farmers. In recording its wettest November on record, the humid conditions enlarged the rodent population creating a boom in snake and spider numbers.

Snake numbers increased after wet, humid weather. Snakes prey on mice. Wet weather is also the perfect climate for bugs and frogs, food sources for hungry snakes or spiders. It’s a perfect storm for mice, snakes, spiders, bugs, and frogs, and a plague on people.

Power Lines and Crucial Infrastructure Are Melting

In the Pacific Northwest, where temperatures are reliably in the 70s and 80s, temperatures have exceeded 100º in the past few weeks. Citizens all across the region lost power— 9,000 in Spokane, Washington alone.

Roads are buckling as the heat melts asphalt.

Buildings Are Collapsing

Experts believe that the collapse of beachside condos is due to the rise of the sea level directly underneath the foundation of those beachside condos. Miami faces the worst risk of any coastal city in the world, per a recent report.

Alaska is Experiencing Ice Quakes

Because of the heatwave across Alaska, the state is reporting “icequakes” — seismic activity triggered by glaciers melting too fast. Ice melting, refreezing, and expanding enough to cause quakes. 25 miles off of Juneau, the magnitude of the ice quake was 2.7.

Detroit’s Streets Became a River

Last week, Detroit experienced a storm that flooded the city with 7 inches of rainfall in only a few hours. More than 1,000 cars had to be abandoned in the highway flooding as they had no other choice.

Hydropower Plants in Danger as Reservoirs Drain

One reservoir, in particular, Lake Oroville in California (the state’s second-largest), announced it would be forced to shut down the connected hydropower plant for the first time ever.   Intense dry heat and unrelenting drought lower the water levels in the reservoir and it simply cannot sustain the plant.

We can’t change weather patterns once they’re already happening. We can’t, for example, reroute Detroit’s rain and give it to California.

The climate crisis is here in spades. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that the key 1.5 degrees Celsius  (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) threshold in the fight to stop climate change will be crossed within the next 15 years.

Now the world must come together to confront these multiple crises. It’s in this context that the Biden infrastructure proposals make sense. It’s a matter of survival. We’re already dealing with calamitous weather events and so we have the choice of immediate sacrifice or near and long-term peril.

Here are some of the terms and key issues that will be discussed at the event ran from Oct. 31 to Nov. 13. The  Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. First held in 1995, it also serves as the meeting of parties to the 1992 Kyoto Protocol that first committed countries to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and those that signed on to the 2015 Paris Agreement. Governments meeting in the French capital six years ago agreed on a target of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), ideally no more than 1.5C (2.7F), by the end of this century compared with pre-industrial times.

Faced with new research showing a significant gap between current commitments to cut planet-heating emissions and the Paris agreement’s 1.5°C target, negotiators from nearly 200 countries on Saturday struck a deal that critics say falls short of what is needed to tackle the climate emergency.  The failure of the countries of the world to put their full efforts into financing climate transformation — including mitigation, adaptation, and losses and damages — weakens our chances of avoiding the most calamitous effects of global warming.

More movies and fiction and non-fiction books and games will make water their central theme as the environmental crisis is recognized and commercialized.

More than two million people have been killed by storms, floods, droughts, and heatwaves since 1970, according to WMO data, as Reuters reported. The data showed that these weather-related natural disasters resulted in $3.64 trillion in damages worldwide. Since the 1970s early warning systems for extreme weather helped reduce the number of people killed by natural disasters by 76 percent, Reuters reported.

As wildfires worsen and sea levels rise, growing numbers of Americans are moving to places such as Vermont and the Appalachian Mountains. These are seen as safe havens from climate change. This population movement will intensify in the coming decades.

Healthy ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, and grasslands have an amazing ability to remove planet-warming emissions from the atmosphere and lock them securely underground. Experts call them “nature-based solutions” to climate change. To save Earth 30 percent of the planet must be protected. Such conservation efforts must double by 2030 to prevent dangerous warming and unraveling of ecosystems.

Extremely uneven and inequitable impacts of climate change mean that it affected people differently based on their location and people may respond in radically different ways. The burden weighs us down and curtails opportunities and possibilities.  This requires addressing both violence and material shortages and other outcomes like contamination.

The latest climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommends a 2x increase in investment in climate technologies. This goes beyond producing more paper straws.

Eliminating air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels would prevent more than 50,000 premature deaths and provide more than $600 billion in health benefits in the United States every year, according to a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

Published in the journal GeoHealth, the study reports the considerable health benefits of removing from the air harmful fine particulates, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides produced by electricity generation, transportation, industrial activities, and building functions such as heating and cooking. Highway vehicles make up the largest single share.

 

These economic activities from coal, oil, and natural gas are also major sources of carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change, so cutting back on their emissions provides additional benefits.

 

 

“We are trying to shift mindsets from burdens to benefits,” said Jonathan A. Patz, a professor of health and the environment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

 

“Our work provides a sense of the scale of the air quality health benefits that could accompany deep decarbonization of the U.S. energy system,” said Nicholas A. Mailloux, lead author of the study and a graduate student at the Nelson Institute. “Shifting to clean energy sources can provide enormous benefit for public health in the near term while mitigating climate change in the longer term.”

The study uses models from the Environmental Protection Agency, notably its CO-Benefits Risk Assessment, or COBRA, to look at the impact of local, state, and national policy on separate areas around the country. It shows that while the cost of overhauling energy industries can be local, so, too, are the benefits.

“Between 32 percent and 95 percent of the health benefits from eliminating emissions in a region will remain in that region,” the study says. On average, slightly more than two-thirds of the health benefits of removing emissions in a region stay in that region.

 

The Southwest, for example, would retain 95 percent of the benefits if it moved alone to eliminate fine particulate matter. The Mountain States, however, would retain only a third of their benefits, which would flow to large population centers downwind.

What we do is look at all at once, if you were to remove fossil fuel emissions from these different sectors, how many lives would be saved, how many emissions avoided, and the numbers are pretty big,” Patz said.

“The report highlights the air quality benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning the energy system away from fossil fuels,” said Susan Anenberg, director of George Washington University’s Climate and Health Institute, who was not involved in the study. In addition, she said, “it helps us to think about policies and what level of policies are needed to address this problem.”

Patz said that “people look at this as such a huge challenge, but when you look at the health repercussions of switching to clean energy, the benefits are enormous.”

The U.S. plummeted in international rankings of action on climate change due to the rollback of environmental protections during the Trump Administration. In particular, the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement weakened methane emissions rules, according to a report released on June 1, 2022, by Yale and Columbia University researchers.

U.S. cities last year announced 21 projects to turn “brownfields” which include transformed closed landfills and other contaminated lands into solar farms, also called “brightfield.” Brownfields are often located in “economically distressed communities. Transforming these into sources of clean power, jobs, and economic opportunity can play a key role in revitalizing these neighborhoods.

The Supreme Court has dealt another blow to the Government’s ability to o regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions by the  Environmental Protection Agency/

A 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court restricting the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to limit power plant emissions is the latest blow to U.S. efforts to fight climate change, contributing to a renewed sense of pessimism that the U.S. political system will address the issue at the federal level.  In its ruling, the majority said, ” Only Congress has the power to make “a decision of such magnitude and consequence.”

The decision is likely to have broad implications. While the EPA will still be able to take some action in regulating emissions, more wide-reaching programs, like setting emissions caps to encourage a shift away from coal, will be constrained in the future. The ruling deals a major blow to the federal government’s ability to take action on climate change as the world continues to set new emissions records and makes changing the composition of the Supreme Court more imperative.

Congress has adopted the first climate change measure in our history.   It invests in technologies that would bolster various types of energy including fossil fuels, renewables, nuclear hydrogen, and energy storage.  It also invests in reducing both domestic emissions of planet-warming carbon and methane, and in global emissions reductions.

Meanwhile, blackouts are growing more frequent in the United States.

What are chemical pollutants doing to our bodies? It’s a timely question given that last week, people in Philadelphia cleared grocery shelves of bottled water after a toxic leak from a chemical plant spilled into a tributary of the Delaware River, a source of drinking water for 14 million people. And it was only last month that a train carrying a suite of other hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, unleashing an unknown quantity of toxic chemicals.

There’s no doubt that we are polluting the planet. To find out how these pollutants might be affecting our own bodies, we need to work out how we are exposed to them. Which chemicals are we inhaling, eating, and digesting? And how much? The field of exposomics, which seeks to study our exposure to pollutants, among other factors, could help to give us some much-needed answers

Republicans are fighting a social movement directed at the financial sector to address systemic issues like climate change. Regressive initiatives in Florida, West Virginia, and Texas are targeting powerhouse Wall Street firms they say are engaging in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, which they view to be harmful to their states’ economies. Some state and regional regulators often have political incentives to fight against changes to the power grid.

Climate change is man-made. So man can undo or mitigate much of what we have done. We can choose to save our lives and those of our children and their children. Future cities composed of fire-resistant, high-tech wooden buildings can counter the climate impacts of the coming urbanization boom. Half of the world’s population currently lives in towns and cities, a number that is expected to increase to 85 percent by 2100.

The study in Nature Communications builds on a growing architectural and engineering movement that sees wood as not only a more sustainable building material than concrete and steel — but in many ways a superior one.

Housing this many people in 20th-century-style mid-rise buildings would mean a staggering hike in carbon emissions, as it would lead to huge increases in the production of concrete and steel — the production of which is already the source of large amounts of greenhouse gasses.

The alternative is housing the growing urban population in mid-rise buildings — is four to ten stories — made out of wood.”

One of America’s great waterways, the Mississippi River is pretty much gone. In Memphis, there’s nothing left but a dry river bed. It looks like a desert. It’s so low that ships can’t pass. They’re running aground.  The Mississippi River is a pillar of the American supply chain and the agriculture industry. This is bad.

The Time is Now to Save Democracy

Re-electing President Biden is as consequential as the outcome of the Civil War in determining America’s future.

I offer a retail political strategy for winning the swing states:

  1. Using voter registration records in the swing states, identify the marginal Democrats, independents, and moderate Republicans in each swing state.
  2. Next, find their relatives who are either Democratic donors or members of activist organizations with a likely interest in preserving democracy, using public record search engines and social media, whether in the same town, city, or anywhere in the United States.
  3. Enlist the favorable relatives to contact the swing voters. Supply them with messaging and suggestions for persuading swing voters, which can be mailed or placed on a website. Content is apt to contrast the candidates who deal with reproductive rights, gun violence, economic fairness, and the democratic process.

Here are the swing states and where voter registration records can be found in each state:

Funding for a project of this magnitude can come from the DNC, PACs like Crooked Media, and Vote Save America.

Democracy is about the conditions that allow ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and making power responsive to their hopes and needs.

Joe Biden Needs to be Renominated

I don’t mind saying I was wrong about something. To err is human. I watched Lawrence O’Donnell last night, and he made a compelling case for ending talk of replacing Biden as the Democratic nominee. He pointed out that a President’s job is first and foremost, making decisions, not speech making.

I like and admire Joe Biden and believe he had been a first-rate President, but he may have lost the election the day the Special Counsel released his report. The report from Special Counsel Robert Hur characterized Biden as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory”

While Biden is the oldest president in American history. He took office at 78, the same age Reagan was when he left the White House. If Biden serves a second term, he’ll be 86 at the end of a second term if he lives this long. A

Memory, regardless of age, is susceptible to errors and can be reshaped over time. The human brain processes immense amounts of information, leading to limitations in storage capacity. Interestingly, forgetting is a natural and necessary function of memory.

Recent incidents involving memory lapses by President Biden and Donald Trump have sparked a national dialogue on the implications of memory errors for aging and cognitive health. For instance, Matt Griffin, employed in communications, vividly recalls the night his father passed away but struggles to pinpoint the exact date.

Experts acknowledge that occasional forgetfulness is commonplace across all age groups. However, significant memory impairments can hinder daily activities like driving or using a phone. It is crucial to distinguish between mild forgetfulness and more serious cognitive issues such as mild cognitive impairment or dementia. As individuals age, their memory capabilities evolve, and understanding these changes can aid in managing memory lapses effectively.

Donald J. Trump has commended Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, for his leadership in Turkey, and has confused figures like Nikki Haley and Nancy Pelosi. Similarly, President Biden has mistakenly referred to deceased former European leaders while discussing contemporary peers and has even mentioned Egypt as Mexico.

The Raw Deal Biden is Getting from Mass Media

Why are the major media outlets giving more coverage to Biden’s age than Trump’s? Between April 25, 2023, and September 20, 2023 as tabulated by Media Matters:

  • The New York Times disproportionately published 98 stories scrutinizing Biden’s age while only dedicating a mere 48 to Trump’s age. 
  • The Washington Post disproportionately published 82 stories scrutinizing Biden’s age while only dedicating a mere 39 to Trump’s age.
  • The Wall Street Journal disproportionately published 78 stories scrutinizing Biden’s age while only dedicating a mere 36 to Trump’s age.
  • The Los Angeles Times disproportionately published 53 stories scrutinizing Biden’s age while only dedicating a mere 27 to Trump’s age. 
  • USA Today disproportionately published 21 stories scrutinizing Biden’s age while only dedicating a mere 10 to Trump’s age.

Since the Special Counsel’s report, the unbalanced coverage has only worsened and resulted in a poll like this one:  In a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, 59% of respondents said both Biden and Trump, 77, are too old to serve again. Another 27% said only Biden is too old. 3% said only Trump is too old.

Overdue Post Office Reform

The Postal Service’s recent history of five price hikes since 2020, ongoing service delivery issues, and persistent declines in mail volume highlight the urgent need for attention to its business model. A group of U.S. House Democrats, including Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), emphasized the significance of swiftly filling vacant seats on the Postal Service Board of Governors in a letter to President Joe Biden. Signed by 80 Democratic lawmakers, the letter stresses the importance of selecting board members who will prioritize lowering costs for all Americans and restoring the Postal Service as a public service accessible to everyone, not just those able to afford expensive specialty services.

With the recent departure of Postal Governors Lee Moak and William Zollars, the letter urges Biden to promptly nominate two new members to ensure uninterrupted service for the American public. The lawmakers emphasize the necessity of appointing individuals committed to enhancing accessibility and affordability of postal services.

Highlighting concerns over the impact of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year austerity plan, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) previously called for an investigation into its effects. Critics argue that DeJoy’s plan, supported by Republicans including former President Donald Trump, aims to privatize the Postal Service. DeJoy’s close ties to Trump, including significant campaign donations, raise further questions about his intentions and the direction of the Postal Service.

A statement from Krishnamoorthi’s office criticized DeJoy’s leadership, citing increased costs and decreased service quality, particularly affecting rural communities, small businesses, seniors, and tribal areas. The statement underscores the negative impact on those who rely on the Postal Service for personal and business correspondence.

Health Emergency – Gun Violence

Guns are the leading cause of death among children in this nation. Not the pandemic. Not malnutrition. Not disease. — No wonder there are more guns than people in the United States –400 million guns versus 335 million people.  No other country has even half as many guns per capita.  There have been 377 school shootings since 1999. At least 199 children, educators, and other people have been killed, and an additional 424 have been injured while exposing more than 349,000 children to gun violence during school hours.

A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that many Americans had traumatic experiences related to guns. Specifically, 21% of respondents reported being threatened with a gun, 19% stated that a gun had killed a family member, and 17% claimed to have witnessed someone being shot before them. Over half of Americans, 54% of respondents or their family members, had experienced at least one of these traumas. Additionally, 84% of Americans reported that they consider how to stay safe from gun violence when going out in public!

How America became awash in guns, mass shootings, and child murders in our schools. Over the next few months, the entire book will be here; new chapters will be posted every Sunday for subscribers to read at no cost. If you want to get a physical book to mark up or share with others, just click on the picture above, visit your local bookstore, or check your favorite online seller.

Without America’s history of slavery and Native American genocide, today’s “American gun culture” wouldn’t exist. The fact that America is today soaked in gun-splattered blood should be no surprise; this nation’s story is one of the most genocidal in the modern history of the world. 

In 1992, historian David Stannard set out to determine how many Native Americans were killed, both directly at the barrel of a gun and indirectly by disease and loss of land/food, by European invaders to the Americas. His best estimate puts Hitler to shame: white people killed more than 100 million Native Americans between 1492 and today . . . and the killing continues, in subtler ways than previous generations could have imagined. 

The U.S. constitutes 5% of the world’s population and owns 25% of all guns on the globe. The Washington Post has reported that “1 in 3 Americans say they believe violence against the government can at times be justified.”

In 2018, the Small Arms Survey reported that Americans collectively own 393 million guns. That’s more guns than America has people. The population of the United States stood at 332 million in 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Every day in America, an average of 321 people are shot, according to Brady United. Since 2020, mass shootings have been on the rise, with the Washington Post noting that there have been at least four mass shootings every week in 2022.

The number of Americans killed by guns annually (about 43,000) is on par with those who die from breast cancer (43,000) and pancreatic cancer (49,000), according to the American Cancer Society. These numbers are based on five-year death averages.

The first recognized mass shooting in America occurred in 1966, when a sniper at the University of Texas killed 17 people from his perch in a clock tower. Between then and 2020, 1,449 people have been murdered in mass shootings, and an additional 2,141 have been wounded. A mass shooting is defined as one in which four or more people are shot in a single event, not including the perpetrator.

Mass shootings are on the rise.  In the 10 years from 1966 to 1975, there were 12 mass shootings; from 2011 to 2020, there were 160. About 30% of mass shootings happen in workplaces, and about 25% occur in schools. The U.S. has seen more than 600 mass shootings for three straight years.

According to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, there have been 609 incidents in 2022 in which four or more people, other than the attacker, were shot — putting the U.S. on pace to reach around 675 by the end of the year.

In 2020, 44% of Americans reported that they or someone in their household owned a gun, per an annual Gallup poll on guns in America. The typical American gun owner is White, male, between the ages of 30 and 64, has a household income of less than $100,000, lives in the suburbs or a rural area and is registered to vote as a Republican.

In 2021, 45,034 people died by gunfire, while 42,915 died in motor vehicle accidents. While these numbers may seem comparable, they’re more lopsided than you might realize, since car owners far outnumber gun owners: There are an estimated 234.9 million licensed drivers—and only 81.4 million gun owners.

Violence has become so widespread that it both neutralizes the public’s sense of moral outrage and shatters their bonds of solidarity. As society is increasingly militarized under neoliberalism, violence becomes the solution for everything. This is especially dangerous for those individuals who feel isolated and lonely in a society that atomizes everything. Some of these individuals turn to the internet and social media in search of community, often to be radicalized by White supremacist conspiracy theories, as was the case with the Buffalo shooter.

Faced with other problems, Americans act sensibly. Auto accidents used to be the leading cause of death among children for decades and to deal with this, all 50 states sensibly have child safety laws for children in automobiles.  After the 1995 bombing of the  Oklahoma City  Courthouse,  the purchase of ammonium nitrate — a chemical commonly used in fertilizer and explosives – became regulated.

What sense does it make for 18-year-olds to be able to buy AR-15 assault weapons but not alcohol or cigarettes? What sense is there in states making it easier to get a gun than for women to get an abortion?

Death by gun is a massive public health emergency as deadly as the pandemic at its worst and striking those most innocent. Consider that in 2020, according to CDC mortality data, there were more than 19,000 gun homicides and 24,000 gun suicides, and more than 500 accidental gun deaths.

More guns, more deaths. Compare the states with the highest rates of gun ownership with the highest rates of gun deaths:

10 states with the highest rates of deaths per 100,000 residents by state:

 

10 states with the highest rates of gun ownership:

 

Alaska (23 per 100,000 people)

 

Alaska (64.5%)
Alabama (21.4 per 100,000 people) Wyoming (66.20%)

 

Louisiana (21.2 per 100,000 people) Montana (66.30%)

 

Mississippi (19.8 per 100,000 people)

 

Idaho (60.10%)

 

Oklahoma (19.6 per 100,000 people)

 

West Virginia (58.50%)

 

Montana (19 per 100,000 people)

 

Arkansas (57.20%)

 

Missouri (18.8 per 100,000 people)

 

Mississippi (55.80%)

 

New Mexico (18.2 per 100,000 people) Alabama (55.50%)

 

Arkansas (17.7 per 100,000 people) South Dakota (55.30%)

 

South Carolina (17.7 per 100,000 people) North Dakota (55.10%)

 

The solution to mass shootings like Uvalde hinges on a simple premise: fewer guns in fewer hands.

How can we accept 1.5 million of firearm deaths between 1968 and 2017? – this is more than the number of soldiers killed in every US conflict since the American War for Independence in 1775!

 

There have been 200 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year, which represents a doubling since 2018, followed by 119 in 2019; 114 in 2020; 249 in 2021.

In the 20-plus years since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, more than 300,000 children have been exposed to gunfire in a school setting, resulting in a generation of children who can’t assume going to school is safe. One-third of adults say they avoid certain places due to fears of gun violence. Of those, over half fear gun violence at public events, like concerts. By comparison, since 9/11, no one has perished at the hands of terrorists on a commercial airliner.

Rather than uniting the country behind a shared vision for how to keep the public safe, the massacres, the right-wing backlash forced Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-NY) announced that he is suspending his campaign after endorsing a ban on assault weapons.

During the first year of the pandemic, the number of Americans felled by gun violence reached a level not seen since 1994, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Increasingly, a majority of Americans view the Second Amendment as a malleable doctrine, subject to protecting people from mass shootings. 96% of Americans support universal background checks for gun purchases. 77% want families to be able to request a Red Flag intervention. 70% want police to be able to request a Red Flag intervention. 56% want gun laws strengthened. Each shooting increases those willing to curtail weaponizing America.

Dr. Mark Goulston wrote an article identifying the signs of a person to whom the Red Flag laws apply

What to LOOK for:

  • loss of temper on a daily basis
  • frequent physical fighting
  • significant vandalism or property damage
  • increase in use of drugs or alcohol
  • increase in risk-taking behavior
  • detailed plans to commit acts of violence
  • enjoying hurting animals
  • carrying a weapon
  • agitated movement – difficulty keeping still
  • easily irritated – you walk on “eggshells” around him
  • very impatient when having to wait in lines or wait to speak
  • shifty eye movements – tends to look evasively to left or right as if hiding something, if looks downward this may be a sign of submissiveness, but may then incense him later on
  • change in usual routines in terms of hobbies or exercises, etc.
  • stays to self or starts associating with “m! arginal” people
  • drawn to violent movies, newspaper stories, internet sites, television and radio shows
  • less attention to hygiene
  • paradoxical calmness in someone who has been agitated (may signal that has come up with a violent solution to his problems)

What to LISTEN for:

  • announcing threats or plans for hurting others
  • argumentative
  • becomes defensive easily
  • takes things personally that are not meant that way
  • negative comments about most things
  • complaining done with underlying agitation
  • blaming – most of what he talks about is blaming someone or something
  • sullen more than sulking– he can be silent in an intense way that doesn’t feel quiet, sulking means he’s getting some frustrations out

And if you notice the following signs over a period of time, the potential for violence exists:

  • a history of violent or aggressive behavior
  • serious drug or alcohol use
  • gang membership or a strong desire to be in a gang
  • access to or fascination with weapons, especially guns
  • threatening others regularly
  • trouble controlling feelings like anger
  • withdrawal from friends and usual activities
  • feeling rejected or alone
  • having been a victim of bullying
  • poor school performance
  • history of discipline problems or frequent run-ins with authority
  • feeling constantly disrespected
  • failing to acknowledge the feelings or rights of others

Who then owns firearms?

Former Justice John Paul Stephens said the amendment was adopted out of fear that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the states.

A literal reading of the Second Amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” indicates Stephens was correct. President Biden stated “the Second Amendment is not absolute,” meaning it does not say anyone can carry a gun anywhere for any reason.

Who Knows People Who Have Been Shot

44% of US residents know someone who has been shot, and a higher proportion, 51% of US gun owners surveyed, know someone who was shot.

Is Gun Ownership a Right?

There is no such thing as an unconstrained right. Speech has limits.  Libel is illegal. Slander is illegal. Inciting a mob to commit an assault or murder is a crime. Sedition is illegal. The government places limits where public safety is at stake. The Supreme Court ruled in a  2008 case  District of Columbia v. Heller recognized an individual’s right to keep a gun in the home, the ruling also stated that Second Amendment rights are “not unlimited.”

Ironically, the Supreme Court is expanding gun rights in its first major Second Amendment opinion in more than ten years.  Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the deciding opinion for the 6-to-3 majority, saying that the Second Amendment allows people to carry guns outside their home for self-defense and that they should not have to “demonstrate some special need” to the government to exercise that right.

As new generations acquire political power, will subject the Supreme Court to the will of the majority of Americans? The Court is putting its independence on the line.

Americans endure more mass shootings than all other developed countries combined. It’s not even close.

For the past 20 years or so, the gun industry has been aggressively marketing military-grade munitions to the American people — with ads using social media and video streaming s invoking race-based fear, twisted notions of masculinity, and distorted ideas about “patriotism.”

Gun manufacturers appropriate social media, YouTube servers, video streaming services, and the work of YouTube influencers to attract audiences to websites that sell firearms:

One out of seven Twitter posts, 54% of YouTube videos, and nine out of ten YouTube influencer videos link to websites that facilitate gun sales.

Top manufacturers of domestic firearms received 98 million channel views, compared with 6.1 billion channel views received by the remaining top 12 YouTube influencers.

Advertisements use women in efforts to market handguns and pistols for the purpose of protection. Videos with women 2.5 times more often than videos without women.

YouTube and Twitter subsidize gun advertising by offering server and streaming services at no cost to gun manufacturers, to the commercial benefit of Google and Twitter’s corporate ownership.

This has fed some deadly trends:

  • The number of guns manufactured in America has nearly tripled over the past two decades, from 3.9 million in 2000 to 11.3 million in 2020.
  • We endure more mass shootings than all other developed countries combined. It’s not even close.
  • Guns unlike light bulbs, refrigerators, and cars don’t wear out.  Every gun sold may be around for a century or more. The frequency — and body count — of mass shootings has increased as well.13 of the 20 deadliest mass shootings since 1982 happened in just the past decade.

Credit LA Times2022 — 21 people killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

2022 — 10 people killed at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

2021 — 10 people killed at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.

2019 — 23 people killed at a big-box store in El Paso, Texas.

2019 — 12 people killed at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

2018 — 12 people killed at a bar and grill in Thousand Oaks, California.

2018 — 11 people killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2018 — 17 people killed at high school in Parkland, Florida.

2017 — 26 people killed at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

2017 — 60 people killed at a music festival in Paradise, Nevada.

2016 — 49 people killed at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

2015 — 14 people killed at a conference center in San Bernardino, California.

2012 — 27 people killed at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

2012 — 12 people killed at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

Below is a list of school shootings, not including nightclubs or businesses or anything else, just schools from 1998 to today:

Thurston High School
Columbine High School
Heritage High School
Deming Middle School
Fort Gibson Middle School
Buell Elementary School
Lake Worth Middle School
University of Arkansas
Junipero Serra High School
Santana High School
Bishop Neumann High School
Pacific Lutheran University
Granite Hills High School
Lew Wallace High School
Martin Luther King, Jr High School
Appalachian School of Law
Washington High School
Conception Abbey
Benjamin Tasker Middle School
University of Arizona
Lincoln High School
John McDonogh High School
Red Lion Area Junior High School
Case Western Reserve University
Rocori High School
Ballou High School
Randallstown High School
Bowen High School
Red Lake Senior High School
Harlan Community Academy High School
Campbell County High School
Milwee Middle School
Roseburg High School
Pine Middle School
Essex Elementary School
Duquesne University
Platte Canyon High School
Weston High School
West Nickel Mines School
Joplin Memorial Middle School
Henry Foss High School
Compton Centennial High School
Virginia Tech
Success Tech Academy
Miami Carol City Senior High School
Hamilton High School
Louisiana Technical College
Mitchell High School
EO Green Junior High School
Northern Illinois University
Lakota Middle School
Knoxville Central High School
Willoughby South High School
Henry Ford High School
University of Central Arkansas
Dillard High School
Dunbar High School
Hampton University
Harvard College
Larose-Cut Off Middle School
International Studies Academy
Skyline College
Discovery Middle School
University of Alabama
DeKalb School
Deer Creek Middle School
Ohio State University
Mumford High School
University of Texas
Kelly Elementary School
Marinette High School
Aurora Central High School
Millard South High School
Martinsville West Middle School
Worthing High School
Millard South High School
Highlands Intermediate School
Cape Fear High School
Chardon High School
Episcopal School of Jacksonville
Oikos University
Hamilton High School
Perry Hall School
Normal Community High School
University of South Alabama
Banner Academy South
University of Southern California
Sandy Hook Elementary School
Apostolic Revival Center Christian School
Taft Union High School
Osborn High School
Stevens Institute of Business and Arts
Hazard Community and Technical College
Chicago State University
Lone Star College-North
Cesar Chavez High School
Price Middle School
University of Central Florida
New River Community College
Grambling State University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle School
Ronald E McNair Discovery Academy
North Panola High School
Carver High School
Agape Christian Academy
Sparks Middle School
North Carolina A&T State University
Stephenson High School
Brashear High School
West Orange High School
Arapahoe High School
Edison High School
Liberty Technology Magnet High School
Hillhouse High School
Berrendo Middle School
Purdue University
South Carolina State University
Los Angeles Valley College
Charles F Brush High School
University of Southern California
Georgia Regents University
Academy of Knowledge Preschool
Benjamin Banneker High School
D H Conley High School
East English Village Preparatory Academy
Paine College
Georgia Gwinnett College
John F Kennedy High School
Seattle Pacific University
Reynolds High School
Indiana State University
Albemarle High School
Fern Creek Traditional High School
Langston Hughes High School
Marysville Pilchuck High School
Florida State University
Miami Carol City High School
Rogers State University
Rosemary Anderson High School
Wisconsin Lutheran High School
Frederick High School
Tenaya Middle School
Bethune-Cookman University
Pershing Elementary School
Wayne Community College
JB Martin Middle School
Southwestern Classical Academy
Savannah State University
Harrisburg High School
Umpqua Community College
Northern Arizona University
Texas Southern University
Tennessee State University
Winston-Salem State University
Mojave High School
Lawrence Central High School
Franklin High School
Muskegon Heights High School
Independence High School
Madison High School
Antigo High School
University of California-Los Angeles
Jeremiah Burke High School
Alpine High School
Townville Elementary School
Vigor High School
Linden McKinley STEM Academy
June Jordan High School for Equity
Union Middle School
Mueller Park Junior High School
West Liberty-Salem High School
University of Washington
King City High School
North Park Elementary School
North Lake College
Freeman High School
Mattoon High School
Rancho Tehama Elementary School
Aztec High School
Wake Forest University
Italy High School
NET Charter High School
Marshall County High School
Sal Castro Middle School
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Great Mills High School
Central Michigan University
Huffman High School
Frederick Douglass High School
Forest High School
Highland High School
Dixon High School
Santa Fe High School
Noblesville West Middle School
University of North Carolina Charlotte
STEM School Highlands Ranch
Edgewood High School
Palm Beach Central High School
Providence Career & Technical Academy
Fairley High School (school bus)
Canyon Springs High School
Dennis Intermediate School
Florida International University
Central Elementary School
Cascade Middle School
Davidson High School
Prairie View A & M University
Altascocita High School
Central Academy of Excellence
Cleveland High School
Robert E Lee High School
Cheyenne South High School
Grambling State University
Blountsville Elementary School
Holmes County, Mississippi (school bus)
Prescott High School
College of the Mainland
Wynbrooke Elementary School
UNC Charlotte
Riverview Florida (school bus)
Second Chance High School
Carman-Ainsworth High School
Williwaw Elementary School
Monroe Clark Middle School
Central Catholic High School
Jeanette High School
Eastern Hills High School
DeAnza High School
Ridgway High School
Reginald F Lewis High School
Saugus High School
Pleasantville High School
Waukesha South High School
Oshkosh High School
Catholic Academy of New Haven
Bellaire High School
North Crowley High School
McAuliffe Elementary School
South Oak Cliff High School
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Sonora High School
Western Illinois University
Oxford High School
Robb Elementary School

And all the while, gun industry profits have exploded.

Here are the companies profiting:

Aero Precision LLC

Aero Precision, Aero Precision LLC

Anderson Manufacturing, WM C Anderson Inc

Armscor

ArmscorRIA,

Beretta USA Corp

Browning Arms Company

Colt Manufacturing Co

CZUSA, CZ

Diamondback Firearms, Diamondback Firearms LLC (owned by Taurus)

Fn America, LLC

Glock Inc

Henry Repeating Arms, Henry RAC Holding Corp

Heritage Manufacturing IncSturm, Ruger & Company

Hi-Point, Strassells Machine Inc (also known as Hi-Point Firearms)

Kel-Tec, Kel Tec CNC Industries Inc

Kimber Firearms, Kimber Mfg Inc

Maverick Arms, Inc (subsidiary of Mossberg & Sons)

MKE (also known as Zenith Firearms)

Mossberg, Maverick Arms, Inc (subsidiary of Mossberg & Sons)

Palmetto State Armory, Palmetto State Armory, LLC

Radical Firearms LLC

Remington Arms, Remington Arms Company LLC

SCCY Firearms, Sccy Industries LLC

Sig Sauer Inc

Smith & Wesson Corp

Springfield Armory, Springfield Inc

Strassells Machine Inc (also known as Hi-Point Firearms)

Sturm, Ruger and Co

Taurus International Manufacturing Inc

WM C Anderson Inc

Zenith Firearms, MKE (also known as Zenith Firearms)

What Can Be Done

Ban the sale of assault weapons. Both the Uvalde shooter and the accused Buffalo shooter were 18 when they bought assault weapons.  The Highland Park shooter also used an assault weapon for the massacre in July, 2022.

Does banning assault weapons work?   In the years after the assault weapons ban went into effect, the number of deaths from mass shootings fell, and the increase in the annual number of incidents slowed down. Even including 1999’s Columbine High School massacre – the deadliest mass shooting during the period of the ban – the 1994 to 2004 period saw lower average annual rates of both mass shootings and deaths resulting from such incidents than before the ban’s inception.

When the ban ended, there was an immediate and steep rise in mass shooting deaths. Calculations show the risk of a person in the U.S. dying in a mass shooting was 70% lower during the period in which the assault weapons ban was active. The proportion of overall gun homicides resulting from mass shootings was also down, with nine fewer mass-shooting-related fatalities per 10,000 shooting deaths.

Expand background checks to include online sales and gun shows: The House has passed a universal background-check bill, but Senate Democrats know that Republicans will oppose anything that requires background checks for family members selling guns to one another.

Ban high-capacity magazines: The Washington Post Fact Checker’s Glenn Kessler has reported that this could make mass shootings when they do happen, less deadly.

Crackdown on ‘ghost guns’: These weapons are often sold in kits that the buyer puts together at home. They don’t have to have a serial number, and the buyer doesn’t have to pass a background check to buy one. In his only executive order on guns, President Biden made it easier for law enforcement to trace these guns. But Democrats in Congress want to turn this into law so the next president can’t overturn it.

Red-flag laws: These allow family members, community members or police to petition a judge to temporarily take away someone’s firearms if they appear to be a risk to themselves or others.

The big takeaway for me from the Illinois experience, as is the case for so many of these mass shootings and quite frankly so many of the shootings and deaths that don’t capture national attention, is implementation,” Frattaroli said.

Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have red flag laws, including GOP-led states like Florida and Indiana. The new federal law includes $750 million to incentivize other states to pass them.

Yet even with a stronger national model and better implementation, Eugene Volokh, the University of California-Los Angeles’s expert in firearms regulation policy, argued that the black market for firearm purchases provides a loophole that is not easy to crack down on.

“People ask could this have been stopped with a red flag law? And the answer is nobody could be sure if it could be stopped. At most, what a red flag does it is causes the seizure of a weapon and prevents somebody from lawfully buying a weapon in the future,” he said, adding that someone could then just go buy a gun illegally.

Proponents of the red-flag laws argue that if properly implemented, they could have stopped Monday’s shooting in Highland Park.

“The fact is red flag laws do work, we have a mountain of evidence that shows that, but it’s an imperfect tool,” said Noah Lumbantobing, spokesperson for March for Our Lives. “You’ve got to train local officials on its use, you’ve got to make the public aware that it’s a tool available to them if they’re worried about the safety of a loved one.”

At the same time, many advocates say the best way to really reduce mass shootings would be for the government to reimpose an assault weapons ban or impose controls on large capacity magazines and ammunition.

“In our view, it’s clear a nationwide assault weapons ban would have prevented this,” Lumbantobing said.

Large capacity magazines can be put into handguns to allow the shooter to fire more rounds. The suspect on Monday allegedly fired more than 70 bullets from a roof of a local business through a fire escape ladder.

The big takeaway for me from the Illinois experience, as is the case for so many of these mass shootings and quite frankly so many of the shootings and deaths that don’t capture national attention, is implementation,” Frattaroli said.

Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have red flag laws, including GOP-led states like Florida and Indiana. The new federal law includes $750 million to incentivize other states to pass them.

Branas argued that national action towards red flag laws would be better than leaving them to the states. He also called for a similar model across the country.

Yet even with a stronger national model and better implementation, Eugene Volokh, the University of California-Los Angeles’s expert in firearms regulation policy, argued that the black market for firearm purchases provides a loophole that is not easy to crack down on.

“People ask could this have been stopped with a red flag law? And the answer is nobody could be sure if it could be stopped. At most, what a red flag does it is causes the seizure of a weapon and prevents somebody from lawfully buying a weapon in the future,” he said, adding that someone could then just go buy a gun illegally.

“You can’t really stop someone simply by this kind of proceeding,” he added.

Proponents of the red-flag laws argue that if properly implemented, they could have stopped Monday’s shooting in Highland Park.

“The fact is red flag laws do work, we have a mountain of evidence that shows that, but it’s an imperfect tool,” said Noah Lumbantobing, spokesperson for March for Our Lives. “You’ve got to train local officials on its use, you’ve got to make the public aware that it’s a tool available to them if they’re worried about the safety of a loved one.”

Red-flag laws can be critical tools in lowering the number of suicides, experts say.

At the same time, many advocates say the best way to really reduce mass shootings would be for the government to reimpose an assault weapons ban or impose controls on large-capacity magazines and ammunition.

The bottom line, say gun control groups, is that the nation’s laws are simply too weak to really stop gun violence, even with the new gun safety measure and more red-flag laws.

“I think what’s really important to remember is our federal gun laws are extremely weak. The bipartisan bill is absolutely a concrete important, critical step forward on that but there’s a lot of work to be done on that,” said Robin Lloyd, Giffords’ managing director.

“Our federal gun laws are riddled with loopholes,” she added. “It doesn’t have to be this way, but in order for this not to be this way, we have to do a lot.”

The bottom line, say gun control groups, is that the nation’s laws are too weak to stop gun violence, even with the new gun safety measure and more red-flag laws.

“I think what’s important to remember is our federal gun laws are extremely weak. The bipartisan bill is a concrete important, critical step forward on that, but there’s a lot of work to be done on that,” said Robin Lloyd, Giffords’ managing director.

The deadliness and frequency of gun violence have given rise to an increasing number of partisans who think violence can be justified to achieve a political end.  What happened on January 6 was a manifestation of this, as well as the young man carrying a Glock 17 pistol, burglary tools, and zip ties, telling an FBI agent what had inspired him to travel from California to assassinate the conservative Supreme Court Justice. Kavanaugh.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that the Kavanaugh incident galvanized Republicans to want to do something about gun violence, though they stopped short of allowing truly effective measures like eliminating assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

The national season of violence deepened with another weekend of tragedy in Texas that hit two of the rawest political divides, guns, and immigration.on s Saturday afternoon, a gunman armed with an AR-15-style rifle sprayed shoppers with bullets, killing eight people. It was the latest in a string of mass shootings in Texas and across the country that have killed many innocent people.

Then, on Sunday, a driver slammed into a group of migrants waiting at a bus stop outside a shelter in the Texas border town of Brownsville. At least eight people were killed, and nearly a dozen were injured. It was not clear whether the incident was an accident or intentional. In either case, the tragedy focused fresh attention on the plight of migrants and the controversy over their future.

The tragedies were unrelated. But both moments of aching sorrow took place against a backdrop of two of the nation’s most divisive issues, especially acute in Texas and which fractured national politics has failed to fix – mass shootings and a border crisis.

Suspicion of government runs hot in the Lone Star State. But it’s also an epicenter of an emerging political struggle between deeply conservative Republican leaders drawing power from rural areas and more liberal cities. It often appears to exemplify the extremes of American life. It also had the misfortune of suffering a sequence of shootings, including in a school in Uvalde in 2022, a Walmart shopping center in El Paso in 2019, and a church in Sutherland Springs in 2017. Just last week, Texans were shocked by a mass shooting by a gunman who killed five people.

How many more deaths can this country endure? How many more innocent children will be killed before a mass movement arises that can bring this brutal social disease to an end?

The House on July 29 passed a bill to ban assault weapons,  marking the first time lawmakers have approved a prohibition on the popular firearms in more than two decades. The legislation, titled the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, cleared the chamber in a 217-213 vote. Let’s hope for success in the Senate! Showing how divisive this issue is, five Democrats voted against the ban alongside 208 Republicans were Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.

In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. vs. Bruen, the Supreme Court not only ruled that broad limits against people carrying firearms in states like New York and California were unconstitutional, but that other restrictions on firearms that aren’t deeply rooted in early American history — or at least analogous to some historical rule — would likewise violate the 2nd Amendment.

In less than a month, the Bruen decision has reinvigorated an already robust legal war on California’s gun laws and forced lower courts to begin reconsidering a whole host of legal challenges — with potentially massive stakes in a country devastated by gun violence on a daily basis.

The shifting legal landscape resulting from the 6-3 conservative Supreme Court’s expansion of the Second Amendment in its June ruling has led lower courts to block or strike down gun control measures at a dizzying pace.

To get around the filibuster rule in the Senate, 10 Republican senators would need to join Democrats. With shootings happening at any time and in any setting – shopping, banking, walking in a shopping mall – is it too much to ask if this is not an American problem – not one to be decided along party lines.

Striking numbers of people  have begun mobilizing against gun violence and the climate crisis. At this moment, as well, we seem to be witnessing the rise of a new labor movement, with workers already organizing at Starbucks, Dollar General stores, and Walmart, among other places. The Christian nationalist movement relies on a divide-and-conquer strategy and single-issue organizing.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revoked gun store licenses at a higher rate in 2022 than in any year since 2006. This indicates that federal investigators have cracked down on lawbreaking gun dealers following guidance from the Biden administration ordering the agency to take a harsher tack during inspections. 

The agency revoked 92 licenses in 2022 – roughly 1.3 percent of all the dealers inspected. The total more than triples the number of licenses revoked in 2021, when a similar number of dealers were inspected.

The ATF’s inspections division is tasked with ensuring gun dealers comply with federal firearms laws. When inspectors visit a store, they verify that proper records are retained, inventory is accurate, and that customers have undergone background checks. If they find evidence that a dealer has violated the law, they can recommend penalties ranging from verbal or written warnings to the revocation of a store owner’s license to sell firearms.

Here is something to keep in mind:

Not a single kid has died in a mass reading, yet they’re banning books instead of guns.