The Evening Blues - 10-23-20



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: James Harman

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues harmonica player and singer James Harman. Enjoy!

James Harman - I got new´s for you

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”

-- Karl Marx


News and Opinion

Color me disgusted:

US Ice officers 'used torture to make Africans sign own deportation orders'

US immigration officers allegedly tortured Cameroonian asylum seekers to force them to sign their own deportation orders, in what lawyers and activists describe as a brutal scramble to fly African migrants out of the country in the run-up to the elections.

Many of the Cameroonian migrants in a Mississippi detention centre refused to sign, fearing death at the hands of Cameroonian government forces responsible for widespread civilian killings, and because they had asylum hearings pending.

According to multiple accounts, detainees were threatened, choked, beaten, pepper-sprayed and threatened with more violence to make them sign. Several were put in handcuffs by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) officers, and their fingerprints were taken forcibly in place of a signature on documents called stipulated orders of removal, by which the asylum seekers waive their rights to further immigration hearings and accept deportation.

Lawyers and human rights advocates said there had been a significant acceleration of deportations in recent weeks, a trend they see as linked to the looming elections and the possibility that Ice could soon be under new management. “The abuse we are witnessing, especially right now against black immigrants, isn’t new, but it is escalating,” said Christina Fialho, executive director of an advocacy group, Freedom for Immigrants (FFI). “In late September, early October of this year, we began to receive calls on our hotline from Cameroonian and Congolese immigrants detained in Ice prisons across the country. And they were being subjected to threats of deportation, often accompanied by physical abuse.”

“The reality is that Ice operates in the shadows. They thrive in secrecy,” Fialho added. “We know that the US government is deporting key witnesses in an effort to silence survivors and absolve Ice of legal liability.”

White supremacists behind majority of US domestic terror attacks in 2020

White supremacists and other rightwing extremists have been responsible for 67% of domestic terror attacks and plots so far this year, with at least half of that violence targeting protesters, according to a new analysis from a centrist thinktank. The report found only a single deadly “far-left” attack in 2020, the shooting of Aaron Danielson, a rightwing activist, by a self-described “anti-fascist” during a protest in Portland this August. Experts on extremism said this was the first killing linked to an anti-fascist in the United States in 25 years.

The report found only a single deadly “far-left” attack in 2020, the shooting of Aaron Danielson, a rightwing activist, by a self-described “anti-fascist” during a protest in Portland this August. Experts on extremism said this was the first killing linked to an anti-fascist in the United States in 25 years.

Violent rightwing actors were responsible for 41 politically motivated attacks and plots this year, while “far-left” actors were responsible for 12, according to analysts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), who have assembled a database of domestic terror attacks going back to 1994. The new data stands in stark contrast to claims by Donald Trump and justice department officials, who have responded to massive protests against police violence and racism by arguing that leftwing violence is a major threat, and that anti-fascist, or “antifa”, activists should be designated as a domestic terror group.

Despite months of political unrest, a much smaller number of Americans have been killed in domestic terrorism incidents this year than in previous years, CSIS analysts found, in part because there has not yet been a politically motivated mass shooting.

10 Years After Iraq War Logs, It's Impunity for War Criminals, War on Whistleblowers

On October 22, 2010, WikiLeaks published the Iraq War Logs, a compendium of nearly 400,000 classified U.S. Army field reports revealing what founder Julian Assange called "intimate details" of the war—including war crimes and other serious human rights abuses perpetrated by American and coalition troops, private contractors, and Iraqi government and paramilitary forces.

It was the largest leak in U.S. military history and a stunned world demanded justice. However, in the decade since then, only the whistleblowers who revealed the crimes detailed in the logs were ever seriously punished, while the architects and the perpetrators of the atrocities continue to enjoy impunity.

The publication of the Iraq War Logs was the culmination of a year full of WikiLeaks revelations regarding U.S. and allied conduct during the so-called War on Terror. Early in the year, U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning leaked the "Collateral Murder" video, which shows U.S. Apache attack helicopter crews laughing and joking while massacring a group of Iraqi civilians, including journalists, and shooting children.

In July 2010, WikiLeaks published the Afghan War Logs, which contained over 75,000 classified Army reports detailing war crimes committed by coalition forces in Afghanistan.

None of the Bush or Obama administration officials who planned or executed the war, nor any of the field commanders or even rank-and-file troops connected with any of the crimes revealed in the logs, were ever seriously punished.

The whistleblowers, on the other hand, suffered tremendously for exposing the truth. Both Manning and Assange were charged under the 1917 Espionage Act. Manning was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in prison, although her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama just before he left office in January 2017.

Assange is today imprisoned in Britain's notorious Belmarsh Prison as he awaits possible extradition to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years behind bars, most likely in a supermax facility a former warden described as a "fate worse than death."

The aggressive prosecution of Manning and Assange is a deliberate attempt to silence would-be whistleblowers, says Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild.

"The Obama administration charged Chelsea Manning, and the Trump administration indicted and is trying to extradite Julian Assange, in an attempt to punish the messengers to obscure the message and protect the real culprits," Cohn told Common Dreams. "Their prosecutions are calculated to chill the willingness of would-be whistleblowers to reveal, and journalists and media outlets to publish, material critical of U.S. policy."

"WikiLeaks' publication of the Afghan War Logs, however, has led to the opening of a war crimes investigation of U.S. leaders in the International Criminal Court," Cohn noted.

Asked whether Assange's prospects for freedom would improve if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden defeats President Donald Trump next month, Cohn said that "Biden is more likely to follow Obama's policy—he refrained from prosecuting Assange because [the administration] couldn't distinguish between what WikiLeaks did and what what The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El País also did—than Trump's."

"Assange's lawyers think he faces a worse fate if Trump is reelected," she added.

Exiled Since 2013, NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Granted Permanent Residency Rights in Russia

National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has secured permanent residency rights in Russia, where he has lived with asylum protections since leaking classified materials on U.S. government mass surveillance in 2013, his lawyer revealed Thursday.

Snowden's Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena shared the development with Russia's state TASS news agency and in a post on Facebook, noting that the 37-year-old former contractor "calls his ultimate goal to return to the United States, but only if he is guaranteed a fair trial."

After leaking classified information about U.S. spying to journalists in 2013, the whistleblower—who currently serves as board president of the U.S.-based Freedom of the Press Foundation—was charged with theft of government property and violating the Espionage Act.

Kucherena told reporters at Interfax and Reuters that Snowden's Russian residency permit was expiring so he submitted an application to extend it in April, and the process took longer than usual due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Russian government's decision to grant Snowden indefinite permanent residency—a step toward citizenship in the country, if he wants it—comes a few weeks after a U.S. federal court ruled that he has to pay over $5 million in book royalties and speaking fees related to his 2019 memoir.

US signs anti-abortion declaration with group of largely authoritarian governments

The US has today signed an anti-abortion declaration with a group of about 30 largely illiberal or authoritarian governments, after the failure of an effort to expand the conservative coalition.

The “Geneva Consensus Declaration” calls on states to promote women’s rights and health – but without access to abortion – and is part of a campaign by Trump administration, led by secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to reorient US foreign policy in a more socially conservative direction, even at the expense of alienating traditional western allies.

The “core supporters” of the declaration are Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia and Uganda, and the 27 other signatories include Belarus (where security forces are currently trying to suppress a women-led protest movement), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Sudan, South Sudan, Libya.

Most of the signatories are among the 20 worst countries to be a woman according to the Women, Peace and Security Index established by Georgetown University. ...

The only other European signatory (apart from Belarus and Hungary) is Poland, where the constitutional court approved a near total ban on abortion on Thursday.

Krystal and Saagar: GOP Senators Call Stimulus Deal 'Pile Of Crap' As Clock Ticks Down

Half a million Americans could die of Covid by end of February, study forecasts

The coronavirus pandemic is set to cause half a million deaths in the US by February with Covid-19 on course to ravage states across America throughout the coming winter, a new study has forecast.

More than 511,000 lives could be lost by 28 February next year, modeling led by scientists from the University of Washington found. This means that with cases surging in many states, particularly the upper midwest, what appears to be a third major peak of coronavirus infections in the US could lead to nearly 300,000 people dying in just the next four months.

The situation will be even more disastrous if states continue to ease off on measures designed to restrict the spread of the virus, such as the shuttering of certain businesses and social distancing edicts. If states wind down such protections, the death toll could top 1 million people in America by 28 February, the study found.

Even if states implement restrictions when Covid deaths hit eight people per million, as has been standard, the projected death toll of 511,000 will still be more than all the lives lost by the US in the second world war. America will face a “continued public health challenge” beyond February, the study, published in Nature Medicine, warns.

A further 130,000 lives could be saved by February, the researchers found, if 95% of the American population adopted consistent mask-wearing. The universal use of masks is a “relatively affordable and low-impact intervention” which “has the potential to serve as a priority life-saving strategy in all US states”, the study states.

Covid cases increase across US as upper midwest sees rapid rise

Covid-19 cases are increasing across the United States and surging in the upper midwest, in what appears to be a third pandemic peak. In North Dakota, cases are increasing at a higher and faster rate per capita than in any other state throughout the pandemic so far.

Experts have long predicted cooler weather and pandemic fatigue would increase the spread of Covid-19 this fall. That now appears to be coming to pass, coupled with the longer and higher levels of death and disease the US has seen throughout the pandemic compared to peer countries. ...

Surges are especially pronounced in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to the Covid Tracking Project, but states from Wisconsin to Kentucky to Massachusetts are also seeing the curve bend upwards.


Quietly Signed Trump Order Denounced as 'Declaration of War' Against Federal Employees

After years of complaining that career federal employees are part of the "deep state" and aim to undermine his administration, President Donald Trump this week took a major step toward remaking the federal government as one without nonpartisan civil servants—signing a little-noticed executive order that would strip potentially hundreds of thousands of government employees of their job security.

Under the order, signed late Wednesday, career federal employees could be fired with little or no cause, lose their right to due process, and potentially lose union representation. 

A Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist warned the president's move would strip protections from some of the same kinds of career federal officials and experts who have challenged Trump's policies during his nearly four years in officeincluding Dr. Anthony Fauci and scientists who study the climate crisis.


As University of Texas professor Donald F. Kettl wrote at the publication Government Executive, the order is vague enough to allow the loss of job protections, which carry over for career federal employees when a new president is elected, regardless of party, for a broad range of civil servants:

Top officials could classify positions as having "a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character." Then they could sweep employees holding those positions into a new "Schedule F," where employees would lose all protections, including those against discrimination, forced reassignments and relocations, and any rights to organize or appeal personnel decisions, for example. Most important, employees could be dismissed for any reason whatsoever.

Kettle called the order "the biggest effort in history to sweep aside 140 years of federal policy promoting professional expertise in government."

"It would have a vast impact on government, on its workers, and on the public's trust in getting a fair and impartial shake from government programs," he added.

Blaming Moscow for Hunter Biden's laptop is Russiagate disinformation

NYC, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon Sue DOJ Over 'Anarchist' Designation

When the U.S. Department of Justice declared New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon "anarchist jurisdictions" last month and threatened to withhold federal funding, many progressive residents of the cities—especially New Yorkers—responded with derisive humor. But to leaders in the three Democratic-run cities, the designation is no laughing matter, and on Thursday they sued the DOJ in a bid to thwart the Trump administration's effort to hold back what could amount to billions of federal dollars. 

The cities' federal lawsuit (pdf), in fact, calls the prospect of the administration's withholding of critical funding during the coronavirus pandemic "deadly serious," as well as "offensive to both the Constitution and common sense" and "an oxymoronic designation without precedent in U.S. history." 

Leaders of the targeted cities condemned the administration's efforts to punish their residents as the nation enters what one leading epidemiologist called the "darkest days" of the pandemic. 

"The Trump administration's political threats against Seattle and other Democratic cities are unlawful and an abuse of federal power," Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a press release announcing the suit. "It's immoral, unconstitutional, and shameful that we are forced to expend any resources on this political theater."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was even more blunt. "The only anarchy in this country is coming from the White House," he told reporters Thursday.

The "anarchist jurisdiction" designation could cost New York City alone some $12 billion, the New York Times reports, public money that is desperately needed to fund life-saving city services during the surging pandemic and critical transportation and other infrastructure. That's why city leaders—who were initially inclined to shrug off the defunding threat as just the latest inanity from President Donald Trump—decided to take action. When the Federal Transit Administration earlier this month cited the "anarchist" designation when casting doubt on New York's eligibility for a $10 million transit grant to fight the spread of Covid-19, leaders in the three cities began preparing to sue. 

On September 2, Trump issued a memorandum accusing Democratic state and local leaders of contributing to "violence and destruction in their jurisdictions by failing to enforce the law, disempowering and significantly defunding their police departments, and refusing to accept offers of federal law enforcement assistance" to police racial justice protests in the wake of officer killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black and Latinx people. 

In the memo Trump vows to "not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones." The DOJ designation followed on September 21.

Joe Biden plans special commission to suggest supreme court reforms

Joe Biden has confirmed he would appoint a special commission to study the US court system over 180 days, if he is elected next month, to provide reform recommendations relating to the supreme court and beyond.

In response to questions about the US supreme court during an interview for this Sunday’s 60 Minutes news magazine, the former vice-president and Democratic presidential nominee told CBS TV’s managing editor, Norah O’Donnell, that the court system was “getting out of whack” and that “there’s a number of alternatives that go well beyond ‘packing’”, ie increasing the number of seats on the nine-justice supreme court bench.

“The last thing we need to do is turn the supreme court into just a political football, [that means] whoever has the most votes gets whatever they want,” Biden said in the interview, which airs just nine days ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“Presidents come and go. Supreme court justices stay for generations,” he added. ...

Biden vowed that if he prevails in November’s election he will “put together a bipartisan commission of constitutional scholars – Democrats, Republicans, liberal, conservative” over “180 days come back to me with recommendations” on the US court system.

Senate judiciary committee votes to advance Amy Coney Barrett nomination

Republicans on the Senate judiciary committee voted unilaterally Thursday to advance Amy Coney Barrett’s supreme court nomination to the full Senate despite Democrats’ refusal to sit in the hearing room for what they called a naked “power grab”.

Democratic senators had announced the night before that they would not participate in any move to install Donald Trump’s third supreme court nominee even as tens of millions of Americans vote in a presidential election less than two weeks away.

No supreme court nominee has ever been installed so close to a presidential election, and just four years ago the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and Senator Lindsey Graham, who now chairs the judiciary committee, said that installing such a nominee in an election year would be a shameful defiance of the will of voters. ...

Senators plan to convene a rare weekend session for procedural actions ahead of a final confirmation vote expected Monday. McConnell has said he has the votes to confirm Barrett, whose arrival on the court would create an unassailable 6-3 conservative majority.

“Barrett deserves to be on the supreme court and she will be confirmed,” said Graham. Democrats, he said, “made a choice not to participate”.

David Sirota: Why Does Biden Flack So Hard For Private Insurance Industry?

California must cut San Quentin prison population amid pandemic, court rules

A California court has ordered state corrections officials to cut the population of the state’s oldest prison to less than half of its designed capacity, citing officials’ “deliberate indifference” to the plight of prisoners during the coronavirus pandemic.

State prison officials said Wednesday that they are deciding whether to appeal against the order, which otherwise will force them to parole or transfer about 1,100 inmates serving time in San Quentin state prison in the San Francisco Bay Area.

San Quentin was the site of one of the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreaks. At least 28 inmates have died of the virus, and 2,200 or about 75% of the prison population were infected at the peak of the outbreak. Nearly 300 employees were sickened and one died.

The outbreak at the facility was “the worst epidemiological disaster in California correctional history”, the first district court of appeal in San Francisco said in Tuesday’s ruling. The three-justice court said officials’ decision not to cut the inmate population by half, as recommended by prison officials’ outside advisers in June, was “morally indefensible and constitutionally untenable”.



the horse race



Biden Admits Past Mistake Supporting Crime Bill as Trump Defends Attacks on Black Lives Matter

A BFD: Biden Finally Rejects The GOP’s Austerity Talking Points

During a discussion about the budget, Biden brushed off his old deficit hawk buddies, outright rejected GOP talking points, and instead made the point that the federal government must spend what it takes to rescue cities and states.

“Every single state out there finds themselves in trouble — they’re gonna start laying off, whether they are red or blue, cops, firefighters, first responders, teachers, because they have to balance their budget,” Biden said. “The founders were smart. They allowed the federal government to deficit spend to compensate for the United States of America.”

Overall the debate was demoralizing and depressing, but this moment wasn’t. It was a moment that won’t get a ton of attention from a media obsessed with frivolity, but it wasn’t some small matter. It was everything. If a new administration accepts deficit concern trolling and the Beltway’s austerity frame, then it is doomed to fail. If a new administration rejects that frame, then the possibility of real change remains alive.

It is hard to overstate how big a shift this is for Biden. He was the guy who spent decades touting his work with Republicans trying to cut programs like Social Security in the name of budget austerity. Now he’s expounding on the need for countercyclical deficit spending. To use a Biden-ism, that’s a BFD.

Why The Republicans Will LOSE

Poll Shows Most Who Voted Third-Party in 2016 Are Supporting Biden Over Trump in 2020

Millions of Americans voted for third-party candidates in 2016, but a new poll released Thursday shows that a large majority of those who rejected the United States' two major political parties four years ago are not planning to do so in 2020, with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holding a substantial advantage over Republican incumbent President Donald Trump among that voting bloc.

Between October 16-18, Morning Consult Political Intelligence surveyed 359 likely voters who opted for candidates other than Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016 and found that 53% are supporting Biden in this year's election, while just 21% are backing Trump.

Another 14% said they will vote third-party again, and 12% remain undecided.

According to monthly averages of daily polling conducted by Morning Consult, Biden's popularity among likely voters who eschewed both major-party nominees four years ago has improved throughout the year.

From May to October, the percentage of those who voted third-party in 2016 but said they will back Biden this year increased from 42% to 50%, while Trump's standing among the group during the same time period stagnated at around 20%.

Of the Americans who hold unfavorable views of both of 2020's presidential nominees, 18% supported third-party candidates four years ago.

Yet Biden's favorability has improved among this group in the past six months, with the latest poll showing that 49% of likely voters who picked third-party candidates in 2016 view him positively, compared with 47% who view him negatively.

Over the same time period, Trump has remained overwhelmingly unpopular among this slice of the electorate, with roughly one-quarter expressing favorable views and three-quarters holding unfavorable views of the president.

Trump Lies About COVID-19 Risks & Vaccine at Debate as Pandemic Is Tied to 300K Excess U.S. Deaths

Panel: Why This Debate May Actually Have Massive Consequences

Democratic Challenger Pulls Ahead of Lindsey Graham

As Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham came under fire Thursday morning for holding a contested vote to advance U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett to the full chamber, new polling showed Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison with a narrow lead over the South Carolina Republican.

Early mail-in and in-person voting is already underway in the Palmetto State for next month's general election, in which Graham is trying to keep a Senate seat he has held since 2003, after serving four terms in the House. The Morning Consult poll signals Harrison has a shot at ousting the GOP senator.

Of the more than 900 South Carolina voters surveyed by Morning Consult from October 11 to October 20, 47% said they would vote for Harrison while only 45% chose Graham instead. The Democrat's lead falls within the reported margin of error.



the evening greens


Greenpeace Warns 'Potential Damage to Human DNA' at Risk With Japan's Plan to Dump Fukushima Water Into Ocean

Greenpeace sounded alarm Friday over the Japanese government's plan to release stored water from the ill-fated Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, releasing a new report warning about the presence of carbon-14, which the group says "has the potential to damage human DNA."

The warning laid out in a new report says the government and plant operator TEPCO's controversial plan—which has been under consideration for some time—is founded on "a series of myths" and pursues the cheapest option to get rid of the water over what is best for human and ecological health.

The plan allows "the government [to] create the impression that substantial progress is being made in the early decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors," Greenpeace says.

Entitled Stemming the tide 2020: The reality of the Fukushima radioactive water crisis, the publication argues that the planned release of the water "will have serious, long-term consequences for communities and the environment, locally and much further afield."

"Nearly 10 years after the start of the disaster, TEPCO and the Japanese government are still covering up the scale of the crisis at Fukushima Daiichi," said Shaun Burnie, author of the report and senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany. He further accused the entities of having "deliberately held back for years detailed information on the radioactive material in the contaminated water."

Beyond the remaining radioactive material tritium in the water, an additional problem is the presence of high levels of carbon-14, which belies the government's assertion that the water is not "contaminated," said Greenpeace.

According to the report,

If the contaminated water is discharged to the Pacific Ocean, all of the carbon-14 will be released to the environment. With a half-life of 5,730 years, carbon-14 is a major contributor to global human collective dose; once introduced into the environment carbon-14 will be delivered to local, regional, and global populations for many generations. [...]

Contrary to the understanding of the Japanese government, water that contains large quantities of radioactive carbon-14 (as well as the other radioactive isotopes including strontium-90 and tritium) can only be described as contaminated.

Burnie said that TEPCO and the Japanese government "have failed to explain to the citizens of Fukushima, wider Japan, and to neighboring countries such as South Korea and China that the contaminated water to be dumped into the Pacific Ocean contains dangerous levels of carbon-14. These, together with other radionuclides in the water will remain hazardous for thousands of years with the potential to cause genetic damage."

"It's one more reason why these plans have to be abandoned," said Burnie.

The report puts some of the blame on TEPCO's decision to rely on technology known as ALPS that the operator should have known was incapable of bringing concentrations of radionuclides down to acceptable levels.

Rather than quickly moving to dump the water into the ocean, the Greenpeace report says the government should pursue "continued long-term storage and processing of the contaminated water."

"There is no technical, engineering, or legal barrier to securing additional storage space for ALPS-treated contaminated water. It is a matter of political will," said Burnie.

"The policy of the Japanese government to dump nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean is not based on scientific or environmental protection principles," he said, "and has no justification."

Alarm as Arctic sea ice not yet freezing at latest date on record

For the first time since records began, the main nursery of Arctic sea ice in Siberia has yet to start freezing in late October. The delayed annual freeze in the Laptev Sea has been caused by freakishly protracted warmth in northern Russia and the intrusion of Atlantic waters, say climate scientists who warn of possible knock-on effects across the polar region.

Ocean temperatures in the area recently climbed to more than 5C above average, following a record breaking heatwave and the unusually early decline of last winter’s sea ice. The trapped heat takes a long time to dissipate into the atmosphere, even at this time of the year when the sun creeps above the horizon for little more than an hour or two each day.

Graphs of sea-ice extent in the Laptev Sea, which usually show a healthy seasonal pulse, appear to have flat-lined. As a result, there is a record amount of open sea in the Arctic. “The lack of freeze-up so far this fall is unprecedented in the Siberian Arctic region,” said Zachary Labe, a postdoctoral researcher at Colorado State University. He says this is in line with the expected impact of human-driven climate change.

“2020 is another year that is consistent with a rapidly changing Arctic. Without a systematic reduction in greenhouse gases, the likelihood of our first ‘ice-free’ summer will continue to increase by the mid-21st century,’ he wrote in an email to the Guardian.

Controversial mining to proceed near Georgia swamp without federal permit

A controversial plan to mine near the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia will proceed without a federal permit following a Trump administration rollback of waterway protections. Twin Pines Minerals intends to extract minerals like titanium in a 600-acre area near the swamp, a plan about which environmentalists have raised concerns. ...

Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson Billy Birdwell said in an email that the Army Corps conducted a jurisdictional determination after the Navigable Waters Rule went into effect and determined that “much of the area no longer required a permit from the Corps of Engineers.”

“Twin Pines may mine on non-jurisdictional wetlands without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They will need permits from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources,” he said, stressing that this was not a decision made by the Corps but rather its application of the new rule.

The Navigable Waters Rule, which limited the scope of which bodies of water receive protection under federal law, was finalized this year by the Trump administration and went into effect in June. ...

Environmentalists have fought against mining near the swamp, saying that mining could harm the swamp’s ability to move and store water and that potentially lowered water levels could also destroy habitats, increase wildfire risk and impact nearby rivers.


Also of Interest

Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.

Intercepted podcast - Part Seven: Climate Carnage

Organizers Push for Stronger Covid-19 Utility Shut-Off Protections as Winter Nears

The police can probably break into your iPhone

Charles Koch Should Be on the Presidential Debate Stage Tonight, Not Donald Trump

Caitlin Johnstone: No Matter Who Wins, The War Machine Wins

Freedom Rider: Biden and Liberal Censorship

How Israel turned the West Bank into a sewage dump for its settlements

First US murder hornet nest located in Washington state

John Nichols: What The National Media Is MISSING About The 2020 Race In Wisconsin

Panel: Will Joe Biden's Lies About Hunter Biden Matter?

Krystal and Saagar: Bernie DREAMS Of Biden Labor Secretary


A Little Night Music

James Harman - It's all right now

James Harman - Green Snakeskin Shoes

James Harman - Ain't She Somethin'

James Harman - Time will tell

James Harman - Double Hogback Growler

James Harman - Stranger Blues

James Harman - Mad About Something

James Harman - Love Jungle

James Harman - Read my mind

James Harman - Icepick Boogie

James Harman with the Rhythm Scratchers


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Comments

Deja's picture

Just wanted a place to brag about my daughter.

Several years after graduating from University, and working non degree related shit jobs, she is working a substitute teaching "gig" today. She is studying for her certification for full-time teaching, but was called in to substitute today. Her one day's wage is more than a week's part-time pay as a freaking barista. I carried her on my medical insurance until she aged out at 26, in August, so getting that certificate is super important for her to be able to get her own insurance (she's on meds).

She hasn't told me about it yet. Her dad did, all excited, when he accidentally saw her at her house on her lunch break. I promised him I'd act surprised.

Yay! She took my advice to apply for local substitute teaching before moving off to Austin in December. Now she actually has some job-related experience for her resume, even if it's just one day (and has an idea of just what kind of craziness teaching entails). I usually never know if she takes my advice. I'll stop bragging now.

Have a good one!

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20 users have voted.

@Deja I have at least 2 school principals as clients. I might be able to get her a gig, if she is interested, deja.
I am proud of her, too!

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10 users have voted.
Deja's picture

@on the cusp
She actually already has Monday locked in at the same school -- highschool. And, someone from the district in the city where my (work) community college is located, told her today that they desperately needed subs. That's 20 miles away. Not a bad commute except for the tractors and occasional idiot lol.

She explained that the certification requires a hundred something hours either subbing or in-class observing. Think 180, but not sure. She likes it so far too, but she subbed for a "cool but no bullshit" teacher.

She hasn't been talking to me much in the last 6-8 weeks because my mom and I pissed her off for being too pushy; so, when she started talking, all excited, I just let her keep talking (about an hour). I'm so happy for her!

Thanks for the offer. I'll let her know!

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joe shikspack's picture

@Deja

congratulations! i'm glad that your plan is coming together. Smile

have a great weekend!

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7 users have voted.
Deja's picture

@joe shikspack
And you as well.

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3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

just asking for some good waves of thought and prayers for someone we love dearly.
1. loosing the job because of the lock down
2. loosing your mom to cancer watching her battle for weeks at her bedside
3. getting a spot at public university in the South through a friend who is already working at that university
4. moving in with that friend
5. friend gets covid symptoms pretty badly, no test results yet, but clearly ALL THE VERY typical symptoms AND STRONG ONES:
6. both must stay in quarantine in their separate bedroom.
7. testing costs 300 dollar and is not yet done. You work at a public university and can't get testing for free? Wow, No way, man.

I just pray both won't die. Good Riddance LIndsay Graham. Jimmy is right, Republicans and Trump will lose. Too late to matter much at all, though.

Do not give up.

Good Evening, all and many thanks for the EB.

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joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

sorry to hear about the misfortune that has befallen your friend. i hope that everything turns out well for all concerned.

take care and have a great weekend!

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6 users have voted.

@mimi My favorite uncle died from COVID 3 weeks ago. He was elderly and in bad health, and it finished him off.
Maybe your friends will get lucky.

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8 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@on the cusp
I hope she gets lucky. Both are youngish in their thirties. They have worked together for years before and one follows the other, wherever life throws them.

Be well yourself. I decided in my next life I will become a lawyer or at least a paralegal. I admire your knowledge and can't say how often I would need a lawyer. But that's beyond my paying capabilities.

Enjoy your cooking and your piece of land. Smile

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3 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

Either way we lose

https://www.reddit.com/r/WayOfTheBern/comments/jgtajs/opinionatedlab_oba...

@OpinionatedLab: "Obama, Pelosi, Biden, Schumer, etc. couldn’t get Garland a hearing in 400+ days, but the GOP is going to ram through Lady Crazypants in three weeks, but #vote Democratic because #resistance"

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14 users have voted.

Buy a Bible don't read it and you'll be a Catholic
Buy a Bible read only what suits you and you'll be an Evangelical
Buy a Bible read it fully, analyze it, reason it and you will be
an Atheist

joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

i think that there is something about the word "comity" that democrat senators are not understanding.

have a great weekend!

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8 users have voted.

in the "Anarchist" City of New York.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo does not approve.

President Trump does not approve.

The NYC media have barely covered this.

What those entities do instead is revile Mayor Bill de Blasio day in and day out. Cuomo II, the Lesser Cuomo, bigfoots and criticizes de Blasio mercilessly. Cuomo et al do this to hide the reality that Progressive legislatures can change the world and in NYC we did just that.

What do I mean Medicare For All? Surely some of you are thinking I must be mistaken. Maybe I'm talking about medical care at the City's Emergency Rooms?

No. Our new offering is medical care for any and all residents of the City. Each participant gets an identifying card and is assigned to a family doctor. Specialist care is provided when necessary.

This is the end of lower income people being humiliated if they need or want care. The question, "Do you have insurance?" can now be answered in the affirmative.

This program was voted in by the New Senate Progressive class of 2018 and has been rolling out for about a year. Cuomo couldn't stop it.

Now it is in place for everyone who needs it.

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20 users have voted.

NYCVG

@NYCVG Good for de Blasio. I was worried about him going establishment, but he knocked it out of the park with that.

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9 users have voted.

@NYCVG

and is assigned to a family doctor. Specialist care is provided when necessary.

Many, if not most, Americans, including me, do not want to be assigned to some drunken quack. We want to pick our own doctor as I can do now under Medicare part B.

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5 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Granma's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

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8 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

believe it could have an adverse effect on Traditional/Original FFS Medicare.

Like you, I'm very glad to see any and all individuals who are uninsured get coverage. But, of course, I don't want to see Original/Traditional FFS Medicare transition to 'managed care'--like the private insurance industry's MA (Medicare Advantage) plans have done.

This year, we're really getting inundated with appeals to switch. They're totally wasting their time, but, heh--will make good kindle for the fireplace. Smile

Have a good one. Stay safe.

Mollie

"The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation."
~~Matt Taibbi, The American Press Is Destroying Itself, June 12, 2020

"I know, I know. All passion; no street smarts."
~~Captain West, 1992 Rob Reiner/Aaron Sorkin Movie, A Few Good Men

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”
~~Will Rogers, Actor & Social Commentator (1879-1935)*

*Thank you travelerxxx for graciously correcting Rogers' dates of birth and death.

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2 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@NYCVG

those doggoned anarchists with their "mutual aid" and "respect for dignity," they are making the rest of america look bad.

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7 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@NYCVG

Center coverage, not MFA (from what I've found).

I haven't found the legislation (yet), but, from the NYC Care website, appears that simply set up what we've had in our vicinity for decades--a system that either is, or functions as, a Community Health Center.

The primary feature is that you pay for services rendered, on an income-based sliding scale. ('think' that care is free, for very low income people)

Like Voice, not a fan of current UMFA proposals which would transition TM/OM FFS Medicare to a MA-like 'managed care' system (with a primary physician as a 'gatekeeper'), but, I'm very happy to see that a lot of people will now be covered under a community health care system.
Especially, during a pandemic, of all things.

So, kudos to DeBlasio! (even though I'm not at all a fan of his, generally)

Have a nice and safe weekend.

Mollie

"The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation."
~~Matt Taibbi, The American Press Is Destroying Itself, June 12, 2020

"I know, I know. All passion; no street smarts."
~~Captain West, 1992 Rob Reiner/Aaron Sorkin Movie, A Few Good Men

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”
~~Will Rogers, Actor & Social Commentator (1879-1935)*

*Thank you travelerxxx for graciously correcting Rogers' dates of birth and death.

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2 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

enhydra lutris's picture

The first few articles are kind of mundane, the but anti-abortion declration ought to heat things up a bit. and hey, back in bed with Uganda, not since Idi Amin have we really seen eye to eye with them. but really - who's advising these clowns?

Maybe they figure they have nothing to losse because the civil service is usually about 70% Dem anyway, but one does not gratuitously kick them in the gonads even so, ask Al Gore. That could really bite the orange one in the ass.

This headline, of course, caught me eye:

First US murder hornet nest located in Washington state

. But, who put it there, China or Russia? And THIS:

Krystal and Saagar: Bernie DREAMS Of Biden Labor Secretary

Really? That's not a dream, that's a pipe dream. You know who theyd really like? David Clarke, but the SOB is dead. I mean how perfect for today's Desm both GOP & COP, bud, sadly, he's dead. Maybe the can get Joe Arpaio to come over though.

be well and have a good one.

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11 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris a shit hole country.
Abortion can make crazies ever more crazy.I can't keep up with who we want to kill off and who we want as Best New Friends.

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10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

well, the murder hornets are asian, so perhaps they are either a chinese or north korean operation. Smile

heh, secy of labor is certainly a pipe dream for sanders. if he gets it, it will be because biden figures that he will be able to shut him up and keep him out of the public eye easier at dol than if he remains in the senate.

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8 users have voted.

What caught my eye is that among the states that rank #1 through #17, all voted for Trump in 2016, and all but one,LA, weren't hit early in the pandemic. Only two and maybe three of those states are currently poised to reject Trump. The rest must be following the word of Trump, "getting Covid is like a blessing from god."

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9 users have voted.

@Marie
He seems to have shaken it off easily as also all those positive White House staff. Is it such a surprise that workers at the bottom of the food chain fear unemployment and eviction more than covid-19?

Over here the collar county positivity rating has gone from 5% to 6% so our illustrious Governor has decreed that the restaurants all have to close again causing a spike in low wage unemployment, much of it Hispanic-Americans that Dems profess to love so much.

Tell me, has billionaire Pritzker EVER not had his meals prepared and served to him? Has he EVER feared homelessness? Sorry I voted for him in the primary. Not sorry I voted for him in the general. The incumbent (R) Governor was an ex-hedge fund manager and retained his ethics, i.e. none at all. Pritzker seems to mean well, but he really doesn't understand why when we have no bread we don't just eat cake instead.

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4 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@The Voice In the Wilderness but like many people, mostly men, his ego is totally invested in being seen as tough and doesn't recognize symptoms of illness. He was likely running a fever by the time of the Tuesday debate and may have demanded an upper for his tiredness from his doc. He did crash on Wed evening, but was still not about to admit it and if he could have gotten away with it would have covered up the WH infection.

Now I'm not sure Melania or Baron were infected. Might have been added to increase public sympathy for his bullheaded stupidity.

As "bouncing right back," that's difficult to assess when a person is only seen for a few minutes in public. I've been able to rally for short bursts when I was down with a severe flu. His docs pumped him full of meds and for a while (they won't reveal for how long), he was on supplmental oxygen. His pancake make-up appears to be thicker than usual; so we're not seeing his actual pallor.

btw, what's wrong with McConnell? He says he's fine even as one of his hands is mostly black, the other is mottled and his make-up can't cover up all his facial bruising.

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5 users have voted.

@Marie
Sounds like circulatory problems, but I'm no doctor, not even a medtech.

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3 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@The Voice In the Wilderness would circulatory problems require bandaids? He had a few on his hands

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1 user has voted.

NYCVG

@Marie
You hit the nail on the head. It's why ordinarily sane draftees will follow an order to charge a machine gun nest. Fear of being thought of as "chicken". They would rather die than face the scorn of their peers. Hard for women to understand. Hell, I don't understand it. It seems to serve no evolutionary purpose. But I know it's real. I too remember being drunk on testosterone. Much idiocy is a side effect.

Hows it go? Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.

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3 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@The Voice In the Wilderness seek medical attention for something that doesn't seem right later than women and later is often too late to treat.

It may have a biological function. Securing the safety of the children first.

I'm not a medico either but a black hand that looks like frostbite sure looks more extreme than senior bruising.

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4 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Marie

i guess trump plays so well to red state prejudices that they can overlook a little thing like covid deaths. after all, trump has started to make war on blue states, what more could they want?

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7 users have voted.

Many of us read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when we were children and remember what the main character said: “It’s a question of discipline. When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet. … It’s very tedious work, but very easy.”

I am sure that we must keep doing this “tedious work” if we want to preserve our common home for future generations. We must tend our planet.

The subject of environmental protection has long become a fixture on the global agenda. But I would address it more broadly to discuss also an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

We often say that nature is extremely vulnerable to human activity. Especially when the use of natural resources is growing to a global dimension. However, humanity is not safe from natural disasters, many of which are the result of anthropogenic interference. By the way, some scientists believe that the recent outbreaks of dangerous diseases are a response to this interference. This is why it is so important to develop harmonious relations between Man and Nature.

Who said this?

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6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Marie

a famous russian?

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5 users have voted.

@joe shikspack wasn't "climate change is a hoax" Trump but that was obvious because he's never read any books (not even his "own.")

As POTUS, I can imagine Al Gore making a comment like that.

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5 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

Great sounds as always JS! I was busy watching some shitshow about the end of democracy and didn't get by last night... but man those Olympics were awesome. I love that bass singers voice, whichever one he was... incredible! Just right every time, perfect. Thanks!

Have a good weekend!

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5 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

joe shikspack's picture

@dystopian

coincidentally, i watched a shitshow about the trainwreck of democracy last night, too.

the olympics were a much better listen. Smile

have a great weekend!

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3 users have voted.

cops breaking into locked iphones. Wow.
I had a felony case maybe 2 or 3 years ago that was clearly, absolutely, parallel construction, as Bill Binney described it. I knew it, but how do you challenge it? Maybe the iphone crap can be defended some way or another.
Oh well, we don't need no stinkin' privacy.
Notice no bankers and Wall Street traders ever come to the attention of the cops? They don't discuss their shit on the phone? Ever?
Have a good one, joe.

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9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

well, it's pretty clear that if you value your privacy, the best thing to do is to eschew cell phones, computing devices, public spaces with cameras (which is virtually all public space) - or just become amish.

i ran across this article that you might enjoy:

Challenging the Ghost of “Parallel Construction”

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6 users have voted.

@joe shikspack What a cool website, and a great article!
Tech has come slowly to rural areas, so 20 years ago, those strategic and lucky stops would be a jail snitch, or illegal profiling.
Now, the NSA will do a local sheriff a favor, which is what happened in my case a few years ago. Not that it could be proven.
My client said, "Oh, I was pinged." Like, even the drug dealers know it is happening.
I just get angry about white collar crime being committed all day long everywhere, and it never gets called out.
Just POCs selling drugs.
I will not put on this site what I think of ICE and their torture tactics, but I think you could guess.
When I represent anyone here on a guest visa, I just plead them nolo contendere, try to get the fine paid instantly, and rush them out of the building before they are swept up. It isn't worth it for them to fight. They can't gain a work visa or citizenship anyway.
We are a shitty country.

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3 users have voted.
travelerxxx's picture

Almost hard to believe. Almost...

US immigration officers allegedly tortured Cameroonian asylum seekers to force them to sign their own deportation orders, in what lawyers and activists describe as a brutal scramble to fly African migrants out of the country in the run-up to the elections.

I had to re-read this several times to be sure I was reading about the United States of America's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security. Seemed more like I was reading a history of 1930's Germany.

This is what we've come to, evidently. ICE has speeded up their torture programs in case Trump is voted out of office. I guess if Trump is not thrown out, they can go back to their more leisurely schedule of torture. Must be hard for ICE to make future plans with the uncertainty.

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@travelerxxx

yep, it's pretty repulsive.

sadly, the worst that might happen to these torturers if biden wins is that some of them might have to float their resumes to other government agencies that require the services of torturers.

if a truly decent president were elected, there would a sudden rise in the population of the aryan brotherhood in the prison system as these torturers get sent to serve their time.

have a great weekend!

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5 users have voted.

@joe shikspack
That the Biden election will cause a stock market crash because the government and Federal Reserve will no longer prop up the tech stocks and the big banks in general. ROTFLMAO If fools do do that, BUY! Because Joe will not let his masters down. He's been their loyal servant for 44 years. An old and loyal retainer.

Joe Biden, the bank's nemesis. Can't stop laughing.

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3 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

mimi's picture

Joe, I hope you realize that I didn't comment on your first selected story. Do you know that Cameroon used to have delicious crabs. They mutated to crap? I used to cook the crabs. Time to cook the crap. I took a deep breath and decided not to be biased. Ain't I doing great?

Meditating now... and exhaling.

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3 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

Order reclassifying some federal workers (particularly, professionals). I'll post a link or two I've found about this order, later. Unfortunately, it's just a continuation of the assault on federal employees which began with the Sanders/Miller Bill (with help of McCain) known casually as the Veterans' Choice Act. Remember when I was running around with my hair on fire about the dismantling of the 'protections' afforded federal employees (pertaining to firing, demotion, reassignments, etc).

The VA (Veterans Administration) had to quit using that law/act to fire various SES employees, because the Loretta Lynch DOJ determined that it was unconstitutional--with the help of a DC federal court that ruled the law, such.

This proposal/EO would have affected Mr M and I, were we still Feds, since we both set policies and wrote installation-level regulations. Boy, am I ever glad that we've retired! (Mr M recently retired from 'private' sector, as well) With every thing that's been going on with the Civil Service system (since WJC, at least)--there'll be no incentive for anyone to consider a federal career, if this keeps up.

Heh, still checking out Part D Plans (and, still feeling puny). But, hope to let you Guys know what I'm finding out, in a week or so. I have to deal with the scores of Plans in rather small doses, since I'm still headachey. Also, working on our last week of Medicare workshops (before) election. We'll reassess the situation, post election. (more likely to continue if HHJ wins, since he's the one who's most likely to transition TM/OM to 'managed care') Overall, it's been quite an experience, but, sorta ready for a rest.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend. Take good care; stay safe. Pleasantry

Bye

Mollie

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2 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.