Clarence Thomas Must Be Forced to Resign

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 this. None of the claims were true, and she rejects all of that. 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.”

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.

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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.
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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.

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.”

Reversing Roe Deletes Rights It Took a Century to Achieve

57% of Americans say a woman should be able to get an abortion for any reason, according to a Wall Street Journal poll. Pew Research Center found that 73 percent of Americans support abortion being legal when the mother’s life or health is threatened — including 62 percent of Republicans. Abortion is recognized as a matter of health care to be decided by women and their doctors.

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.

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!

Relatively 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

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 just how little they think of women.

Women are apparently 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 health-care 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 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 is one that evolves, and adapts to new circumstances, without being formally amended. It’s been calculated that the rate of change accelerates every decade. So, in 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-D 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 value 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.

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:

Thirteen states have so-called trigger laws in place that would almost immediately ban or severely restrict abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Another nine states still have laws or constitutional amendments against the procedure in place from before the 1973 decision.

A number of states have also moved to restrict abortion access in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter.

But some state and local officials, even in states that have the trigger laws in place, have said they are not intent on prosecuting people over the matter, possibly putting officials at odds with one another.

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

A pre-Roe v. Wade law bans abortions except when the mother’s life is endangered. Gov. Doug Ducey in April signed a law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy that will go into effect.

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.

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 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.

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.”
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.

Our World is Changing in Ways We Would Rather Deny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A not very cozy welcoming to the new abnormal Looking back at 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. Over the years, such extreme events are occurring in increasing frequency and intensity, magnifying the human and financial cost of these disasters.

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

“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 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.

The megadrought in the Western U.S., the region’s worst in 1,200 years, is threatening America’s cattle heartland: withering pastures, wrecking feed harvests, and endangering a quintessential way of life. New data on heat risks forecast an “extreme heat belt” will emerge in large parts of the country by 2053.

As of August 8, 97.52 percent of California is in a state of “severe” drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, while 99.76 percent is in at least a “moderate” drought. This time last year, 95.56 percent of the state was classified as under “severe” drought.  Firewood dealers refuse orders as fear spreads of running out of fuel.

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.

Western Snowpack Has Shrunk by 23% Since 1955

Change in April snowpack in the Western US, 1955–2022

Nowhere is the Southwest’s worst drought since the year 800 more evident than Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the pair of artificial Colorado River reservoirs whose plunging levels threaten major water and power sources for tens of millions of people.  States along the Colorado River have missed a federally imposed deadline to develop a new water-sharing agreement, and the federal government announced Tuesday it will reduce water allocations, including nearly 25 percent in cuts to Arizona.  There is no escaping the reality of climate change.

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.

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

Extreme heat kills more people each year in the U.S. than 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 heatwaves. 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 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.”

Wildfire 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.

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 polyfluoroalkyl 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.

By 1960, humans were already using around 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

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.

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.”

How the Far Right is Threatening our Existence

Nearly one in three Americans say it may soon be necessary to take up arms against the government. A majority of Americans say the U.S. government is corrupt and almost a third say it may soon be necessary to take up arms against it, according to a new poll from the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

Far-right organizations have identified school boards as essential to winning ideological battles over Critical Race Theory (CRT). Conservatives opposing “woke” culture won seats on the Kansa Board of Education, ousting two Republican members more like Elizabeth Cheney in the same election Kansans overwhelmingly preserved women’s rights to an abortion.

Dangerous groups led by some white supremacists want to control how race is understood and discussed in this country, mostly at the expense of Black and brown communities. And more earnestly, former Trump advisor, Steve Bannon, proudly admitted that “the path to save the nation is very simple–it’s going to go through the school boards,” in an episode of his podcast that aired just this past May.

An uptick in threats to the FBI after it executed a search warrant at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is unsettling the political right, with some calling on allies of the former president to tone down their rhetoric.

Barriers have been erected outside the perimeter of the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., while the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reportedly issued a joint bulletin Friday warning about spikes in threats that included a bomb threat at FBI headquarters and calls for a “civil war” and “armed rebellion.

Viktor Orban. the Hungarian dictator provides a formula for the permanent power of a minority party. He uses culture wars to fire up the base. Discredit opponents through party-controlled media. Engineer the election rules by controlling their design. Orban has demonstrated that this playbook works — and the Republicans are employing it.  They even had him speak at a recent CPAC conference.

What makes embracing Orban particularly troubling is that  China’s biggest supporter in Europe is Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. He is also an ally of Putin’s.  If the far-right regains the Presidency, I fear for the future of democracy.

eisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 separate charges including grand larceny and criminal tax fraud in an indictment filed in New York state Supreme Court, admitting to what authorities described as a 15-year tax evasion scheme for skipping out on taxes due on $1.76 million in income that wasn’t reported to the IRS.

Weisselberg was promised a sentence of five months in New York City’s Rikers Island prison — although that could be shortened to a little over three months — as well as five years’ probation. He will also have to make full repayment of taxes, penalties and interest due to the New York City and New York state tax authorities totaling $1,994,321.

Here are five things to know about Weisselberg’s plea deal.

The plea may be a consolation prize

The plea deal from a Trump Organization representative close to the former president may feel like something of a consolation prize for prosecutors who have been trying for a year to get Weisselberg to turn on Trump himself and not just Trump’s company.

Their aim has been to find evidence that the former president engaged in criminal activity, and securing the cooperation of a key Trump lieutenant like Weisselberg for their investigation could have been a step in that direction.

“It’s been widely publicly reported that the DA’s office was aggressively trying to flip Weisselberg against individuals and against Trump in particular, and he obviously held out on that and refused to deliver,” Danya Perry, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, told The Hill in an interview.

But Weisselberg didn’t roll over. In fact, The New York Times reported that just after the deal was made, The Trump Organization held a birthday party for Weisselberg at Trump Tower.

Legal experts draw a sharp distinction between the sort of plea deal that Weisselberg agreed to and an actual cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors that could have led to much more substantive disclosures about the former president and his business practices.

“He got a plea deal. He did not get a cooperation agreement,” Perry said.

“The case against Donald Trump doesn’t seem to have any life left in it,” Daniel Alonso, who served as chief assistant district attorney under former Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr., told The Hill. “This deal certainly doesn’t mean Trump is going to be prosecuted. It probably means the opposite. It really doesn’t incriminate him.”

There has been a turn of events.  Alan Weisselberg’s plea deal requires him to testify when the Trump Organization faces its own trial in October, and this could turn into a big win for prosecutors this fall as they go after Trump’s core business.

The Trump Organization is going on trial for nine out of the 15 counts that were brought against Weisselberg himself, which include charges of criminal tax fraud, conspiracy and falsifying business records.

The testimony of Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, could make things difficult for the company.

Former assistant United States Attorney Andrew Weissman told The Hill in an interview that Weisselberg’s plea deal is going to make it much harder for the Trump Organization to make its defense.

“Because an organization acts through its people, this is the CFO saying that he did this, and these are not crimes that are unrelated to the organization, and the organization benefited directly from this,” he said.

Legal experts say there’s one big unanswered question about Weisselberg’s deal.

What happens if prosecutors decide that he didn’t “testify truthfully” in the upcoming Trump Organization trial, as his plea deal requires him to do?

But if they ask him questions about how much Trump knew during the trial, and Weisselberg says he didn’t know anything, prosecutors might then say he’s not being fully truthful, and then all bets about the sentencing could be off.

“This is the one open question,” Alonso said. “What happens if he testifies that Trump had no knowledge of these schemes? Would the DA still vouch for Weisselberg’s truthfulness?”

“I’ve never heard of a deal like this,” Alonso said.

Weisselberg was not granted immunity from other crimes 

Both Andrew Weissmann and Danya Perry said they were interested by the fact that Weisselberg was not granted full immunity for any other potential crimes.

“Typically, lawyers negotiate for coverage or immunity for any other crimes he might have committed so they can’t keep coming back,” Perry said. “Here, they didn’t do that.”

Daniel Alonso also said he found this surprising, but said it makes sense given the limited nature of Weisselberg’s deal.

“Why should the DA grant him that if he’s not cooperating fully? This is not a traditional cooperation agreement. If he’s doing less, then he’s getting less.”

There’s a legal full-court press now against Trump. Most presidents leave office and fade into the background of American political life. But Weisselberg’s plea deal is just one of several legal events involving the former president that has kept his name in the news.

The most dramatic of these was the Aug. 8 FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago, which saw federal agents walk away from Trump’s Florida property with boxes of classified documents.

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.   The suspect in the July 4th shooting  in Highland park allegedly fired more than 70 bullets from a roof of a local business through a fire escape ladder.

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.

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 so 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 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.

 

The everyday 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.

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.

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.

People advocating compassionate politics have multiple ways of relating to people.

Hoisted with his own Petard

Trump returned to Washington for the first time Tuesday, July 26, after leaving office to give a speech to the right-wing America First Policy Institute’s America First Agenda Summit, which aired live on Newsmax.

What he said was terrifying: he wants the U.S. to be more like China with police on every corner, with “Very short trials and mass executions. Trump praised the way crime is handled in the Philippines, where over 12,000 people have been executed for drug-related crimes.

In reference to the January 6 insurrection, Trump said, “We may just have to do it again.” With these words, Trump is admitting to instigating the January 6 attempted insurrection. What more could the Justice Department or a jury need to convict Trump?

Trump said major drug traffickers are responsible for about 500 deaths each and should be executed upon conviction for those lost lives.

“If you look at countries throughout the world, the ones that don’t have a drug problem are those that institute a very quick trial and death-penalty sentence for drug dealers,” Trump told the crowd.

“It doesn’t take 15 years in court. It goes quickly,” Trump said. “You execute a drug dealer and you save 500 lives because they kill on average 500 people.”

Trump cited Singapore and China as examples of countries with no drug problems where drug dealers are put to death.

“It’s terrible to say, but you take a look at every country in this world that doesn’t have a problem with drugs, [and] they have a very strong death penalty for people who sell drugs,” Trump said.

Predicting that the death sentence would be a deterrent to major drug dealers,

Trump complained at length about how unsightly homeless people spoil the view of cities. He advocated for all homeless people to be rounded up and forced from the cities, to “large parcels of inexpensive land.” Trump is America’s worst nightmare.

“A friend of mine said recently that I was the most persecuted person in the history of our country,” Trump said. “I said he may very well be right.”

Why People Don’t Trust Science and Some Ideas about Changing This

As much as we pride ourselves on being logical beings, in reality, we humans are animals with messy minds that are just as governed by our social alliances, emotions, and instincts as our logic.

This makes trust in scientific findings is a massive problem. At a time when Covid, its variants, and monkey pox are in every virtually newscast, this distrust is directly leading to people’s deaths.

It’s an enormous myth that communicating science is that merely presenting people with knowledge will lead to them acting accordingly with logic. Communicating based on this myth isn’t working for gaining anything close to universal acceptance of the global pandemic and climate crisis. It doesn’t work.

Everyone used to accept vaccinations. Now getting vaccinated is a political issue.

How does this happen? Industries, particularly the pharmaceutical industry and before them cigarette makers, hijacking scientific credentials, using “sciency” sounding claims to bolster their clout for profits.

What’s more, science doesn’t always get things right, and large factions of the media are stoking sentiments against “elitist” experts and bolstering anti-science views. For example, conservatives are more likely to believe scientists that appear on Fox News, and liberals are more likely to trust those on CNN.

People providing scientific information can acknowledge that there are valid concerns on the other side, but explain why the scientific position is preferable

The internal conflicts created by information that challenges our social or personal beliefs such as morals and religion, lead to logical fallacies and cognitive biases such as cognitive dissonance.

People providing scientific information can use technology and advertising to better target messaging based on people’s profiles derived from personal online habits.

Some Americans Believe Covid Will Never Go Away; Others Pretend It’s Not a Risk

After several months of stagnation, the U.S. average COVID-19 case rate has once again begun to rise as the omicron BA.5 subvariant has risen to become the dominant strain in the country. While infections are rising, pandemic fatigue has been noted to be at an all-time high, with a minority of people not willing to take up mitigation efforts. Many consider the pandemic to be over.

The coronavirus pandemic has created a mass-disabling event that experts liken to HIV, polio, or World War II, with millions suffering the long-term effects of infection with the coronavirus. Many have found their lives dramatically changed and are grappling with what it means to be disabled.

 

A large majority of Americans believe that COVID-19 will always be around, according to new polling data released on Tuesday, with pandemic pessimism appearing to be rising — along with recent case counts.

The Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index found that 78 percent of Americans surveyed agreed with the statement “We will never fully be rid of the coronavirus in my lifetime.” This trend was consistent for Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

The Axios-Ipsos poll noted that only 36 percent of respondents said they wear a mask when outside their home, the lowest rate observed since the beginning of the pandemic. The same percentage of respondents said they never wear a mask when outside their home, a 14 percent jump from this same time last year.

At the same time, 29 percent of respondents said they believed that the pandemic was over, indicating there was some overlap between those who believe the SARS-CoV-2 virus will never go away but also

We’re at this real confrontational moment of trying to educate as many people as possible about disability and structural inequalities and trying to make sure [long haulers] get the resources they need right now.

The map below shows 2020 counties with the color corresponding to the number of cases.

The more infectious BA.5 omicron subvariant now makes up almost 80 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., as case rates continue to trend upward.
About 78 percent of coronavirus cases in the U.S. are caused by the BA.5 subvariant, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The rise of BA.5 has spurred concerns over its enhanced ability to evade protection given by vaccines and prior infections from other variants.
Currently available vaccines are still believed to be effective in reducing the risk of hospitalizations and deaths from BA.5, but the shot’s ability to prevent infection is thought to be less potent against this subvariant.

As BA.5 has grown in prevalence, the rate of COVID-19 infections has steadily begun to rise again. The case rate now stands at about 126,000 cases per week.

Among covid-deniers — the always-testing-negative ones, not the conspiracy theory crew — theories about the reasons for their good fortune abound. “I must have superhuman immunity or something,” some people tell themselves.

Scientists have found no conclusive evidence of innate genetic immunity.

 

The Secret Service Has Gone From Protection to Criminality

The Secret Service revealed that it had erased the messages on their cell phones on the dates of January 5 and 6.  This reminds us of Rosemary Woods deleting key tapes of Richard Nixon’s tapes in the Oval Office. Unlike the Woods situation in which it could not be proved that she or someone did it intentionally, the Secret Service obviously intended to delete what they did. As I understand federal criminal law, this was – on its face – an unlawful act.

Inspector General Joseph Cuffari notified Congress earlier this month that text messages from the agency on Jan. 5 and 6 appeared to have been erased as part of a device replacement program – leaving lawmakers peeved he waited months to alert them. Lawmakers then asked the inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security to step aside from an ongoing investigation into “erased” text messages at the Secret Service.

“We are writing to express our grave concerns with Inspector General Cuffari’s failure to promptly notify Congress of crucial information while conducting an investigation of the Secret Service’s preparation for and response to January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” House Homeland Security Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter.

So far they have turned up only one text message was a plea from then Capitol Police Steven Sund asking for help. Texts sent by Secret Service agents during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 seem to have been erased. Coupled with testimony that raises questions about the Service’s response to the events of that day, a shadow has been cast on the agency. A retired agent wrote this. Donald J. McHaley.  This episode that turned into a full-blown scandal has become a criminal investigation into ten Secret Service personnel. Their phones contain metadata showing text messages that were sent and received around January 20 but were not preserved.

The agency deleted text messages on government employees’ work-issued phones on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, the day before and the day of the insurrection at the US Capitol. In a July 2022 statement(Opens in a new window), Anthony Guglielmi, Chief of Communications for the Secret Service, said it “reset its mobile phones to factory settings as part of a pre-planned, three-month system migration” before the Department of Homeland Security and lawmakers requested any information. “In that process, data resident on some phones was lost.” Apple likes to tout the security of iMessage, but it may be a bit too secure for the Secret Service.

It is not the Secret Service that has been flouting the law. It includes the Department of Homeland Security, and high-level Pentagon officials within the Trump administration. This is corruption that eats into the heart of government.

That didn’t sit well with lawmakers investigating the attack. As a result, the agency may restrict employees from using iMessage on work-issued phones to prevent such a loss of critical evidence in the future, Politico reports

The suspicion of criminal behavior is suggested by the fact that Trump appointed  Anthony Ornato, an official with the Secret Service, as his White House  Chief  Operations. Ornato returned to the Secret Service after serving Trump. In accepting this appointment, Ornato politicized the Secret Service and the chain of willful disobedience to lawful requests demonstrates this.

The Secret Service has a policy requiring employees to back up and store government communications when they retire old electronic or telephonic devices, but in practice, staff do not consistently back up texts from phones.

The Secret Service has had a history of important records disappearing under cover of night and agency staff members refusing to cooperate when investigators came calling seeking information.

A further indication of criminal behavior is that the erasures came “after” the Office of Inspector General requested copies of the text messages for its own investigation and signaled that they were part of a pattern of DHS resistance to his inquiries, so there was no excuse for not backing up the phones.

The Secret Service claims many U.S. Secret Service (USSS) text messages, from January 5 and 6, 2021 were erased as part of a device-replacement program.

Normally, phones clearing or deleting messages on a cell phone doesn’t mean the data is permanently gone, it’s just been filed away differently. If law enforcement. Law enforcement can get any data they want from cell phones with the right court order.

The Secret Service is so severely compromised that a total investigation should turn up several indictments. It’s interesting to note that with the blowback following the disclosure of the destruction of cell phone data, they have suddenly claimed to be cooperating. Let us not forget they denied the events described by Cassidy Hutchinson. Only the testimony of the DC Capitol police substantiated what she told the nation.

Crime Has Not Taken a Vacation During the Pandemic

While violent and property crimes dropped notably at the onset of the pandemic, the overall violent crime rate returned to early 2020 levels. New crime data show that four major cities—Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco—have seen an increase in homicides and car thefts, even while violent and property crimes overall remain below pre-pandemic levels.

Through September 15 of 2021, there have been 498 mass shootings across the US. Our message to the victims is“you have to die because the right to guns is more important than your life.

The Gun Violence Archive shows that gun deaths and injuries in road rage incidents increased 98 percent between 2017, when 263 people were shot, and 2021, when 522 people were shot.

Car thefts are notably up by 24%, and commercial burglaries have risen by about 26%. Commercial burglaries jumped significantly in May 2020, coinciding with civil unrest after the killing of George Floyd, and have declined in early 2021, almost reaching pre-pandemic levels.

Happening in major cities are the smash-and-grab robberies like those in California and Minnesota, They were organized on social media and were carried out by people who did not know each other.

With the deluge in online shopping came a rise in fraud rates. Cybercrime and other scams are on the rise. Elderly scams occur far more frequently than you might expect — seniors account for more than $3 billion in losses annually, making elder fraud a growing problem. Seniors are often targeted because of their lack of digital literacy, their trusting and polite nature, and their tendency to have financial savings and good credit, the FBI reports. Typical crimes are identity theft, Medicare fraud, financial scams, and other types of cybercrime.

Changes in criminal laws, as well as prosecution and judicial sentencing patterns, also likely play a role in the declining incarceration rate and the number of people behind bars. While America’s incarceration rate falls to the lowest level since 1995, the U.S. still has the highest incarceration rate in the world, according to the World Prison Brief, a database maintained by the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research at Birkbeck, University of London. The database compares incarceration rates across more than 200 countries and territories using publicly available data for each jurisdiction.

The World Prison Brief’s data estimates the U.S. incarceration rate at 639 inmates per 100,000 people as of 2018, or 13% higher than the rate of the next-closest country, El Salvador (564 inmates per 100,000 people). The U.S. rate is also far higher than the rates of other heavily populated nations, including Brazil (357 per 100,000) and Turkey (335 inmates per 100,000 people). Incarceration rates in Western Europe are less than a quarter of the U.S. rate: In England and Wales, there are 131 inmates for every 100,000 people, while France and Germany incarcerate 93 and 69 people, respectively, for every 100,000 residents.

Gun violence in America can get worse.

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Over the past decade, amid rising mass shootings and fierce debate over America’s gun laws, the failure by Congress to mandate a stronger and more comprehensive background-check system for gun buyers, a policy with long-standing bipartisan support among Americans, including gun owners. Much has changed in recent years, in fact, at the state and local levels, where governments adopted hundreds of regulations either tightening or loosening restrictions on firearms, from a national perspective, however, the picture is bleaker.

Almost 80 people have committed crimes motivated by QAnon
seemingly motivated by the baseless conspiracy theory.
More than half of those crimes were committed by QAnon believers who stormed the Capitol on January 6.

Other crimes committed are more sinister and many involve people with previous mental health conditions.

In March 2019, Anthony Comello, a 24-year-old conspiracy theorist from Staten Island allegedly gunned down a Gambino crime boss because he believed he was a prominent member of the deep state. The 24-year-old was found mentally unfit to stand trial in June 2020.

A few months later, Liliana Carrillo, a mother-of-three from Los Angeles, admitted to drowning her children to save them from what she said would be a lifetime of sexual abuse.

The US Supreme Court, now tilted decisively to the right with three Trump-appointed justices, will soon rule on a case widely expected to open the floodgates for many more Americans to carry loaded guns whenever and wherever they want. Broad scientific research has long since confirmed that the presence of more guns throughout society correlates with more gun injuries and deaths.

In addition to its high rate of incarceration, the U.S. also has the largest overall number of people behind bars. With more than 2 million jail and prison inmates, the U.S.’s total incarcerated population is significantly greater than that of China (approximately 1.7 million) and Brazil (about 760,000). But data limitations in China and other countries make direct comparisons with the U.S. difficult. The World Prison Brief notes, for instance, that China’s total excludes people held in pre-trial detention or “administrative detention” – a group that may number more than 650,000. China’s total also excludes the estimated 1 million Uyghur Muslims who are reportedly being detained in camps in the Xinjiang autonomous region. If these two groups were added to the total, China would far surpass the U.S. in terms of its total incarcerated population.

At the end of 2019, there were just under 2.1 million people behind bars in the U.S., including 1.43 million under the jurisdiction of federal and state prisons and roughly 735,000 in the custody of locally run jails. That amounts to a nationwide incarceration rate of 810 prisons or jail inmates for every 100,000 adult residents ages 18 and older. Mugshots stay online forever. Some say the police should stop making them public.

Crime has an effect on health. Residents in neighborhoods with high rates of violent crime suffer a variety of mental and physical health problems. Violent crime also tends to be concentrated in areas with higher populations of people of color. New research shows that when violent crime decreases, so too do rates of cardiovascular-related mortality.

One measure you can use for your home is to use security cameras to catch “porch pirates” in the act of stealing your packages from your home. There is another alternative – package delivery boxes.

Cybersecurity problems are causing businesses to respond globally to systemic cybersecurity risks. To combat cybercrime and to protect privacy, new laws are big proposed. Criminals request excessive ransoms to decrypt data after a ransomware attack. One problem is that decryption tools are often are buggy and slow and might not even work. Having a backup of your work along with a disaster recovery plan is a better solution.

Recent data suggests that 73% of enterprises lose 4% of their online revenue to ad fraud each year. >> Read more.

Google purchased Siemplify, a provider of security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) technologies.. A recent survey from Trend Micro found that the proliferation of cybersecurity tools — enterprises typically have an average of 29 different security tools have lessened the ability to block threats.

The cryptocurrency explosion has forced Washington to adapt federal financial rules to a quickly growing and changing industry.  Americans have poured billions of dollars into cryptocurrencies and a wide array of blockchain-based financial platforms over the past year as the pandemic triggered an investment boom.

While the crypto market has picked up steam steadily over the past decade, a surge of interest in the space and the rapid rise of decentralized financial networks has drawn fresh attention from regulators and lawmakers.

Lawmakers zeroed in on cybersecurity like never before in 2021, responding to a variety of incidents including ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and major nation state-backed attacks like the SolarWinds hack.

The Better Cybercrime Metrics Act will give law enforcement a clearer picture of online crimes in the United States by requiring the FBI to integrate cybercrime incidents into its current reporting streams to better understand all the types of crime that Americans face. As cybercriminals continue to target vulnerable populations, this data will help lawmakers make an informed case for policy changes to curtail the cybercrime wave, keep Americans safe, and bring these criminals to justice.

The Better Cybercrime Metrics Act will:

  • Require the FBI to report metrics on cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime categories, just as they do for other types of property crime;
  • Encourage local and federal law enforcement agencies to report incidents of cybercrime in their jurisdictions to the FBI;
  • Authorize a study at the National Academies of Science to create a taxonomy for cybercrime incidents in consultation with federal, state, local, and tribal stakeholders, criminologists, and business leaders that would inform the FBI’s reporting of cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime.
  • Require the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the Department of Justice and the Census Bureau to include questions related to cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime as part of its annual National Crime Victimization Survey.

The justice system is not equal.  Any decent defense attorney will tell you never to participate in a police lineup. Statistics from the Innocence Project also prove this. More than half (60%) of the 375 exonerees are African American. Most of them (69%) were convicted based on “eyewitness misidentification.” Statistics from the Innocence Project show this.

Only 21% of people working at home are aware of cyber security. The Russian government is linked to a hacking group behind one of the biggest cyber-espionage incidents in U.S. history.  Its hacking efforts are increasing, zeroing in on governments and businesses.

The cryptocurrency explosion has forced Washington to adapt federal financial rules to a quickly growing and changing industry. Americans have poured billions of dollars into cryptocurrencies and a wide array of blockchain-based financial platforms over the past year as the pandemic triggered an investment boom. The surging crypto market has picked up steam steadily over the past decade, bringing with it a rapid rise of decentralized financial networks.  This has drawn new attention from regulators and lawmakers.

The past 12 months have seen more cyberattacks that wreaked havoc on large and small companies and organizations.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) laid out the potential threats to the critical manufacturing sector in an insights report released Wednesday, noting that attacks could increase due to more remote work, which had expanded the threat surface for hackers to exploit.

The critical manufacturing sector is at risk from increased cyber-attack surface areas and limited cybersecurity workforces related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report reads. These trends increase the vulnerability of the Critical Manufacturing Sector to the growing number of ransomware attacks aimed at private businesses by increasing attack surfaces and reducing protective abilities.

Key areas of concerns highlighted by CISA include the increased use of robotics and remote processes during the pandemic to protect workers, which CISA noted has opened up new security vulnerabilities, and the increasing lack of qualified personnel to protect highly technical manufacturing systems. Ransomware attacks, which have become a major concern during the course of the pandemic in all sectors, have also become a threat to manufacturing companies.

No one is safe on the internet these days. But US accounts were particularly affected by data breaches this year.

But in the wake of the chaos, a silver lining has emerged around a never before seen level of bipartisan support and genuine interest on Capitol Hill for strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity.

More than half (58%) of IT, DevOps, and security professionals are “concerned” or “very concerned” about former employees leaving with secrets or knowledge about how their organization accesses infrastructure. More than a quarter (27%) are very concerned, demonstrating the urgent need for a reliable solution.

There is an 84-page complaint against the terrorists who tried to overthrow the government on January 5  w lists dozens of individuals, and alleges violations of local D.C. and federal laws, including the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, which targets violent conspiracies.

Representative Elizabeth Cheney pointed to a specific criminal statute — a felony, 18 U.S. Code § 1512 — that she suggests President Donald Trump might have violated. This was a Republican member of the committee floating a specific potential Trump crime that the committee apparently wants to focus on; it also came shortly after a federal judge upheld the use of the statute in a key Jan. 6 case.

The White House released a memo outlining an urgency for greater security amidst ongoing cyber attacks. The memo outlined a vision for government agencies to adopt a “zero trust” architecture. Just like we all have to take our shoes off and ditch liquids at airport security lines post 9/11, these new measures will include multi-factor authentications and access controls.

These companies offer protection:

Abnormal Security seeks to make email safer by embedding in-email communications to catch suspicious activity. If you’ve ever had a boss ask you to buy a gift card or HR ask for personal details via email, this in-email action will snuff out that duplicity in an instant.

BluBracket fixes security vulnerabilities in code without disrupting the flow to an engineering team. Don’t ask me how they do it, but the company’s investors at Evolution Equity Partners and SignalFire might know.

Confluera is like a bouncer, spy, and assassin, all rolled into one for security threats on the cloud. They’re hiring engineers and salespeople in offices all over the country. Open Raven similarly aims to uncover security threats on the cloud; the company has raised nearly $20MM to date from a mix of angels and VCs.

Lastly, Securiti.Ai is The Forrester Wave top-scorer in data intelligence, data mapping automation, privacy rights automation, and more. It was also named “Most Innovative Startup” at the RSA conference in 2020. The start-up’s team nearly doubled between 2020 and 2021, while the company continues to hire for technical roles.

Is the U.S. Constitution a living document? Are American rights going to be highjacked by a minority of Americans?

Alioto’s draft opinion is dangerously wrong on its face, and which 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 before  “quickening” in most states until the 1800’s.

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 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 because 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 is one that evolves, and adapts to new circumstances, without being formally amended. It’s been calculated that the rate of change accelerates every decade. So, in 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 change but our personal liberties will shrink? Will Alioto’s decision pave the way to abrogating other rights that are not explicitly stated:

  • 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, which 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 70.1% of the American public. Covid-D and the probability of other pandemics are to come have made explicit the need for health care.

The Supreme Court could soon make it easier to carry guns in six states

Depreciating Voting Rights

After Federal courts in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Ohio declared gerrymandered election maps illegal, the Supreme Court turned around and said, “Suck it up, disenfranchised voters! You’re gonna have to use those maps.”

Are we really to believe this is a blind application of justice?

Voting maps get redrawn every ten years when fresh census data is available. Revisions are a reflection of the new population data. Typically, that data becomes available at the end of a collection year.

In 2020, thanks to the pandemic, the new data was not available until April 2021.

Despite this delay, states got busy revising their electoral boundaries. This process is called redistricting, and it’s done so that voters are electing representatives who can and will speak for their interests.

Each state has its own guidelines to ensure maps are filed such that candidates can meet filing deadlines and know where to campaign.

When this year’s revised maps were filed, the states above were each in a slightly different situation in their election cycle or their particular set of rules for filing new maps.

Nonetheless, challenges began at government-lightning speed. In Alabama, the case was brought in November. By January the court — a three-judge panel — rejected the new mapThey ruled that the new maps were illegal because the new lines cut off political power for Black and Democratic voters.

The state was ordered to redraw its congressional map immediately.

By February, the Supreme Court stepped in, barring Alabama from re-drawing the map for their November election. After blather about candidates and filing deadlines, Brett Kavanaugh wrote:

“When an election is close at hand, the rules of the road must be clear and settled.”

Sound Merrick Garland familiar? Garland, you may recall, was nominated to the Supreme Court by Barrack Obama in March. The senate, led by Mitch McConnell, said it was too close to the November election to make any changes.

Of course, none of these assholes felt the need to step in and stop Amy Coney “What Are Those Constitutional Rights Again?” Barrett from being installed in October of 2020?

Think that Supreme Court appointments and general elections are too dissimilar to compare? If you say so, but, you can’t deny it shows a wildly incriminating pattern. Or, in the parlance of the Court, precedence.

But… why?

This is how the maps are redrawn at every damn census. If this cycle is insufficient, there is no process for stopping gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering.

In theory, the evolution from census to revised election map sounds nice and even-handed. In practice, it’s problematic.

State legislatures are responsible for redrawing the maps. Not surprisingly, they favor their own. Using cracking (splitting voters apart) and packing (cramming unlike voters together) techniques, they set about creating districts that will skew elections in their favor.

Despite the fact that there is no world in which the first month of an election year is insufficient time to right electoral injustice, the Supreme Court began laying this groundwork after the last census came out.

Starting with Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court has steadily weakened the Voting Rights Act, gutting laws meant to ensure the one person/one vote idea.

And now we see the result. The current redis­trict­ing cycle is subject to the Court’s 2019 ruling that gerry­man­der­ing for party advant­age cannot be chal­lenged in federal court.

That’s right. States aren’t allowed to enforce or monitor their own rules.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that “partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.”

According to the New York Times, the new maps are likely to hand Republicans five to seven House seats they otherwise would not have won. Altogether, these states comprise ten percent of the vote.

The thing about gerrymandering, it cuts both ways. Maybe this is why it goes unchecked. But regardless of where you find yourself on the political spectrum, the voters are the ones who lose.

The reason the government isn’t representing us? Because we aren’t electing the local pols who impact the chain. It’s a bottom-feeding system. In a presidential election year, about sixty percent of eligible voters turn out. At midterms? It’s more like forty.

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

 

Occan’ Razor and Ukraine

Would Russia have attacked Ukraine if Ukraine still had the nuclear weapons that it gave up in return for a signed memorandum that Ukraine would not be attacked? Ukraine, even its former nuclear stockpile, is waging a heroic battle. It’s heartening to see the West largely united in supporting the Ukrainians. Still can more be done to aid them.

Poland is willing to allow Ukrainian pilots to fly their planes. Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly MIG-29s. It seems a simple matter for the Ukrainians to go to Poland and fly the jets out. Britain is sending tanks so that the Ukrainians can have the Pole’s Soviet-made tanks.

This solution follows the principle of Occam’s Razor – the least complicated solution is the best.

Meanwhile, people all over the world are feeling the effects of this war. Inflation is eating into most people’s well being.   In some places, food is scarce; almost everywhere food prices are up; fuel and gasoline prices are reaching new highs  in some places in the world; the war crimes being committed are unthinkable and just as Americans became weary and resistant to Covid protection, so the war crimes number our consciousness.

Here’s another way to punish Russia – kick them off the International Space Station. Why can we do this? Space X has launched the first all-private mission to the ISS. NASA is not only way to get to the space station.

Questions Not Asked and Issues Not Dealt With

Not asked are questions like “Would people in your district not benefit from childcare” or “improved bridges?”

Instead, the right-wing media machine begins every national news cycle with what Republicans are angry about. Critical Race Theory is an example. It is never taught in grade schools, however controversial an idea this is, it’s nowhere near as significant as global warming, or the cost of childcare, yet Fox News peddled this made-up controversy 437 times in 2020.

The problem is mainstream media (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MS-NBC) too often follow the stories broken by Fox News. Instead of ignoring or naming it a hoax, CNN aired 183 segments two or more times on critical race theory; in 2020 ABC News aired 31 reports; the Dallas Morning News, 69 reports; The Los Angeles Times, 38 times, and CNN’s newswire, 88 times.

What is significant is not important. What is important is not significant. Most of the time, most of the media obsess over issues of mind-numbing triviality.  At the same time, issues of immense, even existential importance are largely or entirely ignored in favor of repetitive coverage of the most newsworthy event of the day.

The Washington Post published an article about it in the spring but did not point out it’s not taught in public schools. It quoted eight Republicans but no Democrats. The New York Times also published lengthy a story about it. In the 13th paragraph, the Times acknowledged CRT isn’t taught in public schools, yet reported Republicans as saying critical race theory has invaded classrooms.

A group of 85 fact-checking organizations wrote an open letter to YouTube to Wednesday faulting the video platform for spreading disinformation.  The organizations, including, Univision and The Washington Post Fact-checker, call YouTube’s efforts to moderate content “insufficient.”

It wasn’t an accident that Joe Manchin chose Fox News to declare his opposition to the Build Back Better legislation and pressed Republicans and people like Joe Manchin to answer questions about the problems in their constituencies.

The media has in recent years completely normalized the Republicans’  worldview, to the point where virtually all of the Build Back Better coverage ignores the fact it’s 50 Republicans who are dooming legislation that would create a universal prekindergarten program, subsidize child care costs, lower prescription-drug costs and offer tax credits for reducing carbon emissions. Instead, the media is focused on the opposition of just one Senator, Joe Manchin. The Republicans are treated as innocent bystanders whose actions play no role in any of this.

The media can do a better job of relating the most urgent everyday problems of Americans like paying for childcare which prevents millions of Americans from returning to work. Global warming threatens our daily existence in more than a dozen ways.  These can be illustrated as well as “Made in America” segments, which I consider a “feel good” story.”

I propose a new category of “Solve Problems” stories. New patents, new ideas coming from universities, ideas solicited from the public are among the sources that could be tapped.

Half of the country is searching for a new understanding of our racial history, the other half violently denies it. Half of our neighbors are demagoguing critical race theory, while the other half are busy reading or watching Fox News about it. Millions of people are asking questions about whether  American history is an existential threat to them because then they have to ask questions of themselves.

Trump has said, “Our country is going to hell!” And, he is leading the march. 15 Republicans who voted against the oil import ban included several of Trump’s most outspoken supporters, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina. Cawthorn has  called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug.”

His co-travelers include right-wing pastor Andrew Wommack who says “climate control is nothing but a ruse of the devil” and adds that people are dying in Ukraine because environmentalists have “empowered” Putin by trying to limit the use of fossil fuels.   Yet another example:

“At least the guy was a Democrat”  was a text sent to South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg after he committed a fatal hit-and-run by a  GOP political strategist.

In Nevada, while leaving a restaurant with his family, Governor Steve Sisolak, was threatened with hanging by two fat men.  “We should string you up on lamppost right now!” “They hang traitors!” shouted the men, one of whom recorded his own video and posted it on social media.  Two Republicans running for the nomination to replace Sisolak for governor Reno attorney Joey Gilbert and Las Vegas council member Michele Fiore lauded it: “I cannot think of a more deserving person,” Gilbert wrote, while Fiore chimed in that Sisolak was “lucky it was just words.

Now there are Republicans who have the audacity to require that Congress vote every five years on whether to continue Medicare and Social Security. This is the 11-point “Rescue America Plan” plan of Senator Rick Scott. He also calls for raising taxes on low- and middle-income Americans, including retirees who rely solely on Social Security for their income.

President Biden criticized the plan , noting that imposing new limits on Social Security and Medicare could endanger the programs in the future.

“Really, ask yourself: How well are we going to sleep at night knowing that every five years, MAGA Republicans — if they’re still the Republican — as I said, this is not your father’s Republican Party — if we’re going to have to vote on whether you will have Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and what amounts you’ll have in each of those programs?” Biden asked.

This is a warning about the GOP’s agenda for Social Security and Medicare and what seniors could face if the Republicans retake Congress in November.”

What We Need to Do to Win in 2022?

It was a sunny day when Democrats won the White House, held onto the House, and gained control of the Senate with the help of Vice-President Harris casting the decisive vote. If we look more closely, we find that Democrats lost 10 House seats by razor-thin majorities. Democratic candidates running for re-election seeking to turnover districts Trump had won in 2016. They raised millions more than their Republican opponents and still lost. Democrats were hoping to pick up as many as half a dozen legislative chambers and ended up with none. Republicans hold total legislative control in 61 percent of state legislatures, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State LegislaturesNow the defection of just a few Blue Dog Democrats on key issues like court voter reform, and minimum wage prevents revered issues from being adopted.

An inordinate number of people who voted for him said their chief motivation was voting against Trump, rather than for Biden. Another is that Democrats farther down the ballot underperformed him — particularly in the Senate.

In losing, Trump received ten million more votes than he got in 2016. Trump voters turned out at unexpectedly high rates.  Neither the public polls nor the Democratic internal polls nor the Republican polls forecast this heavy a vote for Trump.

How explain the increase in Trump’s vote?

  • The economy appeared to be coming back. Households benefited from the stimulus checks; many people paid off credit card debt while cutting back on expenses like travel, doctor visits, entertainment, restaurant meals, and millions of Americans stayed solvent.
  • The pandemic affected voters already disposed to voting for Biden more harshly, such as urban and coastal state voters than Trump voters.
  • Republican voters did not blame Trump for the deaths caused by the coronavirus and the ensuing recession, treating it more like an act of God.
  • Why are Trump voters consistently missed in the polls? The New York Times postulates Trump voters are distrustful of institutions and thus will not talk to pollsters. The Pew Research Center estimates that on average, only 6 percent of people were willing to respond to polls in recent years, compared to an average of 50 percent a few decades ago. That leaves pollsters to reconstruct the U.S. population, and they are clearly not getting it right. Will any of them pause for a moment to reflect after results from Starr County, Texas — the most Latino County in the United States — that went for Clinton by a whopping 60%, has now only gone for Biden by about 5%?

Explaining Why People Turn to the Right

A better explanation for the turn to the right is that their political machinery knows how to articulate the gut feeling of voters’ worst fears. They believe statements likening the mob’s overwhelming Capitol Police and vandalizing Capitol offices to a “normal tourist visit.” (Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.). Most Republicans see through red-colored glasses, and that means real-life economic conditions have less of an effect on elections than they did in the past. Trump’s ability to tickle the darkest recesses of the white American’s lizard brain is unparalleled, in a country that doesn’t elect its presidents by popular vote, but by a system that overrepresents white rural states.

What underlies the fear and distrust of government, media, and most institutions?  Resentments have metastasized as American’s most important role in life has become that of consumers. This took shape before World War I but became commonplace in America in the 1920s. Over the course of the 20th century, capitalism preserved its momentum by molding the ordinary person into a consumer with an unquenchable thirst for more stuff. Consuming is now seen as our principal job in life, resulting in more luxurious homes, vehicles for land, sea, and air, electronics, hobbies, toys, and collectibles of all kinds.

The result is half of Americans work in “low-wage jobs.” Three out of four Americans struggle to pay their bills, 80% live paycheck to paycheck, and most will die in debt. Half of American the workforce deserves more than they are being paid. We live in a society, not just an economy.

Roughly 1.1 million older workers dropped out of the job market during the pandemic. Many are financially unprepared.

More than a third of all U.S. workers changed employers or lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic, double the typical level in the previous two decades, according to a paper by Alexander Bick of Arizona State University and Adam Blandin of Virginia Commonwealth University.

For people who had been at their job for less than two years before the pandemic, the churn was much higher, according to the study. Almost 62% had separated from their employers a year later, versus about 16% for those who had been employed by the same company for at least a decade.

Among workers who had a job in February 2020, almost 37% were no longer with their employer a year later.  Almost 26% had a different employer, and the remaining 11% were out of a job. It appears that many people were finding new jobs rather than returning to their old employers.

This may help explain the current labor shortage, especially in the restaurant, entertainment, and hotel industries, which lost the most jobs during the pandemic and are now struggling to hire fast to meet brisk demand.

All economic crises result in job losses. But the most striking difference during the pandemic is that a quarter of workers had a new employer a year after COVID-19 hit, said Bick and Blandin, who use a benchmark U.S. Census Bureau population data set as the basis of an online survey to collect labor data in real-time. That’s almost twice as large as the next-highest rate, about 13% in 1997.

Roughly two-thirds of rural voters across the country cast their ballots for Trump. Any election results map you look at offers a bleak visualization of the political divide between rural and urban voters: a sea of red dotted with islands of blue.

Why did Trump do so well with rural voters? From my experience, it is not because local Democrats failed to organize in rural areas. Instead, conversations with dozens of voters, neighbors, friends and family members reveal the pain and struggle in their community, yet rural people do not feel it is taken seriously by the Democratic Party.

Farmers’ share of every retail food dollar has fallen from about 50 percent in 1952 to 15 percent today. Corporations control more and more of the agriculture business—from the seed and fertilizer farmers buy to the grain, milk, and meat they sell—sucking out profits instead of giving farmers a fair price or a fair shot at the market. Every day, small farmers are squeezed: They can either expand their operations and take on more debt in an attempt to produce more or close their business entirely because of chronically low commodity prices.

Rural health care is a disaster. At least 176 rural hospitals have closed since 2005, the majority of them in the past 10 years; it is generally not profitable for hospitals to operate in low-population areas. Wisconsin has not been hit as badly as other states, but those hospitals that remain open in rural parts of the state are scaling back services and struggling to retain doctors. In my own county, there are zero ICU beds, even as Covid infection rates surge. Our profit-based health care system is failing rural people.

Rural people in Wisconsin are dying by suicide at rates higher than folks in suburban and urban parts of the state. This is not just a matter of poor mental health services—many rural counties lack a single practicing psychiatrist. It is also about an inescapable feeling of failure and an overwhelming sense that there is no future here.

This does not mean we need to begrudge the sports and entertainment stars their helicopters, ships, BMWs, Jaguars, Porsches, Mercedes-Benz’s, and Tesla’s as long as we have shelter, enough to eat, health care for ourselves and our families, as well as access to the universe through the internet where we can earn money and have an endless supply of possibilities for entertainment and knowledge.

The political result is that in the entire country there are only 16 “crossover” districts (seven districts voted for a Democrat and Donald Trump while nine voted for Joe Biden and a Republican), according to a study by the Center for American Progress.  This represents the lowest number of split-ticket districts in a century, a result of historically high levels of partisan polarization.

The economic anguish between the ultra-rich and the rest of us is so great that Trump was able to tap into these resentments to the point, he was instigating an attempted coup on January 6.  Almost every week, there is an outpouring of violence, everywhere from Hialeah, St. Louis to San Antonio. Where violence will break out next, no one knows – will the next outpouring of right-wing anger threaten a downtown, a state capitol, a synagogue, a sports venue, or a shopping center. Not know this makes dealing with the economic divide more problematic.

How a Minority Predominates Over the Majority

While white born-again or evangelical Protestants are a declining share of our population, they comprise just 16 percent of the population, down from 19 percent in 2009.  Despite numbering only 1 in 6 Americans, their share of the electorate accounts for a quarter of the electorate since 2008, making their influence stretch beyond their numbers.

The vote in May that defeated the establishment of a commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection was voted down by Senators representing only 109 million Americans while Senators voting for the commission represented 160 million Americans. This is the tyranny of the minority over the majority. When 20% of Republicans say the January attack on the capital was justified, we can wonder what our neighbors are thinking.

White evangelicals are either 23 percent of the electorate, according to the Associated Press or 28 percent according to Edison Research exit polling. Voter suppression and gerrymandered districts enable them to have political power disproportionate to their share of the population.

This means White evangelicals turned out in mind-boggling numbers. Because they maintained their roughly 80 percent support for Republicans (76 percent and 81 percent in the two exit polls) of recent years, it also means some 40 percent of Trump voters came from a group that is only 15 percent of America.

White evangelicals have, in effect, skewed the electorate by masking the rise of a young, multiracial, and largely secular voting population. The White evangelicals’ overperformance also shows, unfortunately, why the racist appeal Trump made in this campaign was effective. White evangelicals were fired up like no other group by Trump’s encouragement of white supremacy.

The Institute’s American Values Survey from September found overwhelming majorities of White evangelical Protestants saying that police killings of African Americans were “isolated incidents,” and that Confederate flags and monuments are symbols of Southern pride rather than racism. (Smaller majorities of White mainline Protestants and Catholics felt the same way.) Majorities of white evangelicals also perceived discrimination against Christians and Whites. They rejected the idea that slavery and longtime discrimination make it difficult for Black Americans to succeed.

Such findings aren’t surprising. White evangelicals abandoned the Democratic Party after the Voting Rights Act of the 1960s. They became an active political force in the early 1970s in large part to defend the ban on interracial dating at Bob Jones University (they didn’t embrace abortion as an issue until 1979). The Republicans’ Southern strategy stoked White resentment for decades but never as overtly as Trump did. White evangelicals responded passionately: Pre-election, 90 percent said they were certain to vote, and nearly half of those voting for Trump said virtually nothing he could do would shake their approval. There was little evidence of differences among White evangelicals by gender, generation, or education.

They are, as a group, dying out (median age in the late 50s), and their views are appalling to other Americans. Majorities of white evangelical Protestants don’t see the pandemic as a critical issue (they are less likely than others to wear masks), believe society has become too “soft and feminine,” oppose same-sex marriage, think Trump was called by God to lead and don’t believe he encouraged white supremacist groups.

White evangelicals have become, in essence, lost whose inhabitants are slowly but steadily distancing themselves from the American core values.

Republicans Labelling the Issues

Compounding the fact that Republicans make more clever use of labels and lies, Democrats wound themselves. Democratic strategist James Carville slammed liberals for even mentioning things such as “defunding police.” Using phrases like “defunding police” results in losing otherwise winnable races in districts like the fifth district in Virginia.

Labeling the issues raised by Democrats as “socialist” resonated with Hispanic voters in Florida, costing Democrats two House seats. Republicans capitalize on fear and the reluctance of people to adopt change, using labels like socialism. Polls find that over 55% of Americans have a negative opinion of socialism.

What is ironic is the distortions the right-wingers about the safety of vaccines or of wearing facemasks, denying climate change is self-destructive. It results in lower state vaccination rates in states Trump won while most blue states are vaccinating at levels well above the national average.

Secret Hate Vote

There is a secret hate vote.  What is the “secret hate vote”? The phenomenon of what American pundits call “the shy Trump voter.” (What a euphemism.) People who tell pollsters one thing, and then turn right around and do another. They surfaced en masse in 2016 and in 2020, rendering polls wrong.

Why does the secret hate vote exist? There are a few reasons. There is a certain glee for Trumpists in making the polls wrong — theirs is an authoritarian movement, remember, and they rely on delegitimizing democratic norms and institutions. What better way than to render polls wrong. There is also the shame factor. Would you really want to tell people you are voting for Trump? Even a lot of Trump voters are ashamed of him — but they back him because they feel heard and seen by him. Shame precludes them from telling pollsters what they really feel.

The hidden deplorable people are not Republicans. They are not even conservative. They are apolitical, otherwise ignoring politics because their lives legitimately suck. They live in meth country, with dim job prospects (in fact, those two factors are highly correlated). Institutions have failed them—corporations abandoned them for cheaper labor overseas, the government seems and feels distant, and it is certainly not improving their lives. Cities feel like walled gardens—unattainable, unaffordable, yet that’s where all the jobs are, the culture, the action. These deplorable have been left behind. So their attitude? “Fuck them all.”

Trump shows up in 2016 and gives them hope for change, saying the quiet part out loud—that their lives suck not because of their own choices and that of those corporations that have deserted them, but because all that sweet, sweet government money is going to “illegals” and “thugs” in those cities. He puts uppity Black and brown people and women in their place. He offers them hope that if he can not improve their lives, that at least he’ll hurt all those others.

Their lives suck, but Trump was supposed to be bringing everyone else down to their level. That’s why all that nonsense about “economic uncertainty” was such bullshit. None of these people ever thought Trump would bring back the factories, paying good middle-class wages. But it would all be worth it if Trump would just hurt the people he needed to be hurt.

From the start, let us dispense with the notion of a “shy Trump voter.” These people aren’t shy, yet they certainly exist. They are the assholes trying to run the Biden campaign bus off the road in Texas. They are the anti-government militias in Michigan. They are these people:

There is nothing “shy” about these people or their support for Trump, yet pollsters aren’t catching them. They turn out for Trump, but they didn’t turn out for Republicans in 2017, 2018, or 2019. Remember, last year Democrats picked up governorships in the blood-red states of Louisiana and Kentucky.

No amount of personal begging and pleading from Trump could get Republicans to the polls in those red states, nor did his extensive campaigning help his party during the 2018 Democratic wave year.

What is remarkable about Trumpism is that it is the Death Star of the American Idiots. Trumpism unites all the various kinds of American Idiots. In a kind of epic, colossal suicide pact.

What are the American Idiots really fighting for — whether they are religious fanatics, Covidiots, gun nuts, or bigots?  In the rest of the rich world, freedom now has a modern meaning — it means something like “the set of rights that enable one to enjoy a decent life, from healthcare to retirement to income to childcare to, no matter how harmful it is to anyone else, yourself, your city, town, country, or your loved ones.

Free-dumb is individualism gone thermonuclear, taken to its most absurd outer limits. It means that your right to carry a gun to Walmart is more important than kids getting education. That you can teach your kids whatever kind of nonsense you want, instead of educating them to be proper members of a civilized society. It means that Justice Amy Coney Barrett can belong to a religious cult dignity.” But in America, freedom means something so different it is diametrically opposed: the right to do whatever you damn well please.  You can go on “believing” Covid does not exist, while you are dying of it. America cannot get a grip on Covid, because the Covidiots keep right on spreading it…since they don’t believe it exists in the first place., Society can not make any progress since the vast majority of Republicans apparently believe the election was rigged., because the idiots block even the smallest iota of it, crying like big slobbering babies that their free-dumb is under attack. The smallest kind of cultural progress — gay rights, women’s rights — are at constant risk of reversal, because the idiots can not abide anyone else being a true equal, since the world has to spin around them, and their ignorance, stupidity, rage, and superstition.

How did all this come to be? Trump printed a license for every American Idiot to go out and set fire to their own neighborhoods, sure — but why did they think that was a good thing to do? Because America’s a country so backward it is hard to explain just how the American Idiot ends up thinking the bizarre things they do. Certainly, the internet reinforces it. Visit an American bookshop, and most of the best-sellers are fanatical right-wing screeds. And American education is something you can opt-out of.

American idiocy is a kind of complex cultural problem right about now. The American Idiot is, we know, three things. One, less educated, as in, often, not very educated. Two, white. And three, downwardly mobile. Those give us standard explanations — the downwardly mobile lash out at even more powerless groups in society, in resentment and rage at their fall. That explains Trumpism’s virulent hate and bigotry.

The sad thing is none of this is an accident. It is the result of decades of policy decisions—by Republicans and Democrats—that deplete our communities.

The Republicans are sinking lower and lower. Republican nominees are just getting worse and worse. An Indiana man charged with murdering his wife has won A Republican primary election from jail.

What Issues Can Democrats Talk About?

Every issue needs to be related to some experience people can relate to. Choose the issues you want to focus on. Issues need to be rooted in common sense.  Appeal to self-interest without scaring people. Stick to the facts and manipulate experiences so they make sense.

 

January, 2020 March, 2o2o October 20, 2020 Voting for

Biden

Voting for

Trump

Economy 86%

 

Jobs  79%

 

 

 

Terrorism  71%

 

Social Security  70%

Education  70%

 

Medicare & health care costs 65%

 

Strengthening economy – 86%

Job  – 79%

Reducing

budget deficit – 72%

Defending against terrorism – 71%

Securing Social Security – 70%

Improving education – 70%

Securing Medicare – 65%

Reducing health care costs – 63%

Helping poor and needy – 57%

Reducing crime – 55%

Protecting environment – 52%

Dealing with nation’s energy problem – 45%

Strengthening the military – 41%

Dealing with illegal immigration – 39%

Strengthening gun control laws – 37%

Dealing with global trade – 31%

Improving infrastructure – 30%

Dealing with global warming – 28%

Economy

Health Care

Supreme Court Appointments

Covid-D

Foreign Policy

Abortion

82

66

82

 

50

42

42

44

64

24

 

53

48

48

 

Most Americans align with Democrats on the economy, health care, social security, and treatment of Covid-D. Democrats can persuasively talk about all issues except abortion.

More members of the millennial generation and Generation Z voted in the 2020 presidential election than in any prior election, according to several studies of the electorate that have taken place in recent months.

Most Americans (60 percent) supported the general idea of dramatically reducing the United States fossil fuel use over the next two decades in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a 2019 Gallup poll.

A 2019 Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that most Americas support the goals of the Green New Deal.  Things like guaranteeing jobs with good wages for all U.S. workers and providing all people in the country with health care through a government program — although there was little support for achieving the proposal’s goals by increasing taxes.

Talking About Money and Taxes with Voters

How can we pay for programs that will both save the middle class and assure the nation’s future?  Many Americans are hesitant to have the federal government spend by the trillions on infrastructure. They do not have to be.

People by nature are aversive to losses and so voters tend to be risk-averse, not willing to lose what they already have. It needs to be emphasized that the United States does not need to increase taxes on the middle class to pay for the nation’s needs. It is vital to project gains larger than any possible losses.

Billionaires have increased their wealth by 44% since the pandemic began The top 25 richest Americans paid taxes at a “true” tax rate of 3.4%.  For comparison, households with a median average income of $70K pay about 14% in taxes.

The richest 1% of Americans do not report about 20% of their income to the IRS. A study released last month by two IRS officials as authors finds that collecting that money would boost tax collections by $175 billion a year.

Tax cheats are costing the U.S. $1 trillion a year. They do this using cryptocurrencies, offshore tax evasion, illegal income that goes undetected by the IRS, and underreporting from pass-through businesses.  This is a wide gap in tax collection.

Every year Americans spend $153,000,000,000 to subsidize McDonald’s and Walmart’s underpaid workers. The real freeloaders in this country are corporations, not people.

How to Communicate with People to Win Their Votes

Facts matter, but they must be understandable. Voters need to be touched in terms of what they think and feel. Politics vote for values they identify with, for what they see as right, not wrong.

In talking about the economy, health care, court reform, the coronavirus outbreak, the environment, budget deficits, terrorism, social security, education, crime, immigration, and energy, it is critical these issues be expressed in ways that touch people’s day to day lives. In themselves, numbers from the Congressional Budget Office do not mean much to most voters. Senator Elizabeth Warren and President-Elect Biden did this in relating these issues to the everyday lives of Americans in their runs for the Presidency.

Many voters are resentful of the establishment – big corporations and Wall Street. As many as 15 to 20 percent of voters may be conservative on social issues, but progressive on economic issues, or conversely. These are swing voters who determine the outcomes of elections.

Talking to Individual Voters

  (Name of person you are speaking with)

Once you can get another person to relate to a topic that interests them, it breaks the ice.

Then you can ask, “How do you decide whether to vote in an election?”

Some people become convinced if they believe voting is helping others. Some people will not be told what to do; they need to decide to vote. These people are not convincible – they must convince themselves.

On the other hand, some people are defensive or rigid. Your task is to find what issue will motivate them to be convinced voting is in their interest.

Recognize or learn why something matters. What values are foremost?

Identify the thinking that stands in the way of persuading voters to your view.

You can begin conversations with small talk, asking about:

By engaging them in “small talk” or you may have access to information about a voter in a database in your smartphone.

What do they like about living in this neighborhood/area?

You can relate to the season or weather?

What are your favorite shows, movies, plays?

What are your interests or hobbies: art, travel, collections?

What types of food, restaurants, and cooking do they like?

What are their professional interests and responsibilities?

Who are their favorite sports teams?

What is special about living here?

Ways to reach people:

  • More than 4 in 5 adults in the U.S. constantly check their email, texts, and social media accounts.
  • Email marketing – email is four times more effective than both paid search and social media; 30% of all email subscribers now use Gmail, almost double from 2014. Use unconventional holidays like National Dog Day or Coffee Day to make an impression. People open these mailings more often.
  • Facebook and Twitter accept email lists allowing senders to target specific users based on their interest in issues and affinities. 55% of Americans say Facebook is their primary source of news.
  • Facebook–most used by 43% of millennials; a higher proportion of millennial women than men use Facebook. The younger someone is the less likely they use Facebook daily.
  • If you are not reaching people on their smartphones, you are not reaching your potential voters.
  • Instagram (26%) – used by 35% of millennial women and 28% of men. The younger someone is, the more likely they are to use Instagram daily.
    • Localize your content
  • Messaging voters with apps such as Flock, Glip, Hipchat, LinkedIn Messenger, Microsoft Teams, Ryver, Slack, Workplace by Facebook, WhatsApp
  • Personal Information that Enables Us to Contact Voters
  • Pinterest (26%), Twitter (21%), and LinkedIn (25%) get smaller shares
  • Snapchat – used by 25% of millennials; younger use it more than older millennials. Instagram use is on the rise while Snapchat use is declining.
  • YouTube – 35% use YouTube every day, but older voters use YouTube less (20%)
  • YouTube offers intimacy, and the ability to communicate with their audience as if they were friends.
  • Be aware of the potential of social media, such as Twitter, for reputation bashing

What Media Do People Trust?

  • Recommendations from people they know (92%)
  • Consumer opinions posted online (70%)
  • Editorial content, such as newspaper articles (58%)
  • Branded websites (58%)
  • Email signed up for (50%)
  • Ads in magazines (47%)
  • Ads in newspapers (46%)
  • Ads on radio (42%) TV programs product placements (40%)
  • Display ads on mobile phones (33%), text ads, (29%). Keep in mind 4 out of 5 people have smartphones, particularly younger voters. However, 4 out of 5 people ignore online ads.

Where do voters get news? Television? Newspapers? Friends?

  • 45 percent of Americans turn to Facebook for news; half of those getting their news from Facebook only got their news from Facebook.
  • 26 percent said they received their news from two social networks; 20 percent said they got news from three or more social networks, up from 15% in 2013 and18 percent in 2016.
  • Audience overlap is most common between Facebook and YouTube.
  • Twitter is also frequently used for news, as is Instagram by younger voters. Terms used are Tweet: A tweet is a post that appears on the social network known as Twitter. Tweets may contain links, photos, and videos. When used as a verb, to tweet is the act of sending a tweet. Your home timeline is a real-time display of tweets from the accounts you follow.
  • With Twitter Assistant, you’ll see the best times to Tweet and what content your audience likes the most. Get set up today and start receiving personalized advice for how to Tweet better.

Who Likes Snail Mail?

  • The Silent Generation (born between 1925 and 1943) are the most likely to trust direct mail with more than four out of five (83%) people in that age group saying they trust what they rein the mail.
  • Millennials prefer to receive email over snail mail.
  • But there is evidence millennials trust printed information over digital information.
  • Political campaigns need to use multiple ways of reaching voters.

Closing Tips

Moderate Democrats who lost or almost lost did not campaign hard enough. If you are not door-knocking, if you are not on the internet, if your main points of reliance are TV and mail, then you are not running a campaign on all cylinders.

Democrats often talk down to people, rather than just talk to people. If you think people are not smart enough or educated enough to just understand what is good for them, you are probably talking down to people. This is alienating. Remember it is better to go on offense and be defensive

There was a lot of talk of supply chain problems leading to people not being able to get the gifts and provisions for the holidays. Packages are moving, gifts are being delivered, shelves are not empty and Democrats need to take credit for this.

Why we need to break the filibuster rule

The filibuster is a Senate rule that requires 60 votes (a super majority) for ‘most’ legislation to get a vote in the Senate.

We say ‘most’ because numerous exceptions to the filibuster already exist. Since 1969, 161 exceptions to the filibuster’s supermajority requirement have been created. Now civil rights advocates are asking for another exception to be created so critical voting rights legislation can pass the Senate.

What is the history of the filibuster?

The filibuster is not by design, it was actually a mistake. Like the House, the Senate used to only require a simple majority — or 51 votes. Then, in 1805, the Senate was doing a clean-up of its rule book and took out the simple majority rule because they thought it was redundant — effectively it went without saying, how else would a democratic body operate?

It took decades for obstructionists to realize the unintentional gift they’d been given and start exploiting it, often to the detriment of civil rights. The longest continuous filibuster debate in Senate history was about passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act1 to end racial discrimination in public accommodations. During the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras, senators used the filibuster to block other major civil rights legislation, including measures to prohibit lynching and end poll taxes.2

What happens if we don’t reform the filibuster?

We’re facing another era of anti-democratic reforms. The last presidential election had the highest turnout in U.S. history, and Republican elected officials responded with a wave of new voting restrictions — 19 states passed 33 laws restricting voting laws in 2021 alone, including restrictions aimed at making voting more difficult. In Georgia, you can now be charged with a crime for handing out water or snacks to voters waiting in line at the polls, and in Texas election officials could face criminal prosecution if they encourage voters to request mail ballots or regulate poll watchers’ conduct.3

There is a bill in the Senate that could address some of these restrictions — the For the People Act (H.R. 1). But the filibuster is standing in the way of progress that people are demanding.