The Evening Blues - 10-26-20
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features r&b singers Don & Dewey. Enjoy!
Don & Dewey - Leavin' It All Up to You
“The closest thing is, uh, in 1917, they say, uh, The Great- the Great Pandemic; and it certainly was a terrible thing where they lost anywhere from 50 to 100 million people; probably ended the Second World War, all the soldiers were sick.”
-- Donald J. Trump
News and Opinion
Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff made an unusually candid admission on Sunday – that the administration does not intend to contain the coronavirus crisis.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” Mark Meadows said, bluntly.
The former hard-right congressman from North Carolina made the revealing remark as confirmed cases of Covid-19 reached new peaks and hospitalisations rose rapidly in 38 states. The contagion also continues to ravage the White House itself, with the chief of staff to Mike Pence and four others in the vice-president’s inner circle having tested positive.
Meadows repeatedly sidestepped questions about the administration’s responsibility for combatting spread of the virus. Instead, in a contentious interview with CNN’s State of the Union, he highlighted what he called “mitigating” factors, including the search for a vaccine and new therapeutics that could bring down the death rate.
Even so, the number of deaths in the US is back up at about 1,000 a day.
Asked why the administration was not going to control the pandemic, Meadows replied: “Because it is a contagious virus.”
'We're Rounding the Corner Beautifully,' Trump Lies Just Before US Hits Another Record: 85,000+ New Covid-19 Cases
President Donald Trump late Friday repeated his lie that the United States is on its way to defeating the coronavirus pandemic just before the country reported a single-day record of more than 85,000 new Covid-19 infections, nearly 10,000 more cases than were tallied at the height of the devastating surge in mid-July.
But the president's remarks during a campaign rally Friday at The Villages, a Florida retirement community, conveyed zero indication that the U.S. is entering what could be the worst phase of the pandemic yet.
"I mean, you look at what's going on and we're rounding the turn. We're rounding the corner. We're rounding the corner beautifully," Trump said, recycling an egregious falsehood that has become a staple of his stump speech even as infections and hospitalizations surge nationwide.
The New York Times reported late Friday that "since the start of October, the rise in cases has been steady and inexorable, with no plateau in sight... By that measure, Friday was the worst day of the pandemic, and health experts warned of a further surge as cold weather sets in. The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 has already risen 40 percent in the past month."
Consistent with his reckless downplaying of the pandemic from the very start, Trump once again peddled the lie that the U.S. is "rounding the turn" during a late Friday rally in Pensacola, one of many largely maskless and closely packed in-person campaign events the president has held in recent days against the warnings of public health officials.
"It's true that country is rounding the turn of the pandemic," responded Dr. Zoë McLaren, associate professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. "We are spiraling out of control."
An international treaty banning nuclear weapons has been ratified by a 50th country, the UN has said, allowing the historic though essentially symbolic text to enter into force after 90 days.
While nuclear powers have not signed up to the treaty, activists who have pushed for its enactment hold out hope that it will prove to be more than symbolic and have a gradual deterrent effect.
Honduras became the 50th country to ratify.
The UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, called it “the culmination of a worldwide movement to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”, according to a statement from his spokesman.
“It represents a meaningful commitment towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which remains the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations.”
Speaking of nuclear exchanges ...
France said it would recall its envoy to Turkey for consultations following “unacceptable” comments by the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who suggested Emmanuel Macron, his French counterpart needed mental health treatment. Erdogan’s remarks are the latest sign of a growing backlash in the Islamic world, including calls for a boycott of French goods, sparked by Macron’s claim that Islam is in crisis.
France and its Nato ally are at loggerheads over a range of issues, including maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean, Libya, Syria and the escalating conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Erdogan is launching libel proceedings against the French magazine Le Point after it suggested he was the exterminator of Syrian Kurds.
Ankara has been particularly incensed by a campaign championed by Macron to protect France’s secular values against radical Islam, a debate given fresh impetus by the murder of a teacher who showed his class a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad. ...
Macron’s office described the comments as insulting and said the French ambassador to Ankara, Hervé Magro, would be recalled for consultations, a stop short of rupturing diplomatic relations by withdrawing the ambassador permanently.
Chilean streets filled on Sunday for the first time since the start of the coronavirus outbreak as millions of people turned out to vote on whether to get rid of the country’s Pinochet-era constitution in favour of a fresh charter drafted by citizens.
A new constitution was a key demand of fierce anti-government protests that erupted last year over inequality and elitism in one of Latin America’s most advanced economies, and have simmered ever since.
Voting began at 8am and by midday there were long queues outside polling stations. Soldiers controlled entry and enforced strict sanitary measures.
Expectations for the vote are high. ... Chileans can decide whether to approve or reject a new constitution and whether it should be drafted by a specially elected citizens’ body or a mix of citizens and lawmakers. ...
Opinion polls suggest a new charter will be approved by a significant margin.
The U.S. Postal Service last month quietly awarded a $5 million contract to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's former company XPO Logistics, raising fresh allegations of unethical activity by the Trump megadonor as he continues to come under fire for causing nationwide mail delays that could impact next month's election.
CBS News reported Friday that the Postal Service "will pay XPO $3.3 million annually to manage its route between the two cities, which are roughly 700 miles apart."
"The USPS database shows the contract has one of the highest annual rates out of more than 1,600 contracts the Postal Service initiated with outside firms in its most recent quarter, which is the first full quarter DeJoy has served as head of the agency," according to CBS.
Under pressure from Democratic lawmakers and ethics groups, DeJoy—who was a top executive on XPO's board before leaving the company in 2018—belatedly agreed last week to divest from XPO, in which he held between $30 and $75 million worth of stock. As CBS noted, the logistics company "still pays DeJoy about $2.3 million a year in rent and expenses for 220,000 square feet of office space he controls in his home state of North Carolina. XPO's lease agreements for DeJoy's properties run through 2025."
"This epic level of corruption is hurting the seniors and disabled veterans who rely on medicines by mail," advocacy coalition Lower Drug Prices Now tweeted in response to news of the XPO contract, which was negotiated in August and disclosed by USPS earlier this month.
As Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) researcher Meredith Lerner wrote last week, "DeJoy's initial decision to retain his interest in [XPO Logistics] relied on an explanation from a USPS ethics official that divestiture was not necessary because DeJoy would not make decisions affecting the company's contracts with USPS."
"While it is undoubtedly a good thing that DeJoy has agreed to divest his stake in XPO," Lerner wrote, "his delayed divestiture will not absolve him of possible conflict of interest violations related to the company that he may have committed in the months that he worked at USPS while retaining a significant interest in the company."
“By tomorrow night,” Mitch McConnell told Senate Republicans on Sunday, after they voted to limit debate and advance the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, “we’ll have a new member of the United States supreme court.
“A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election,” the majority leader said on the Senate floor. “They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”
Constitutional Law Experts Endorse Democrats' Bill to Create 18-Year Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices
Over two dozen constitutional law experts on Friday endorsed legislation recently introduced by a trio of House Democrats that would establish 18-year term limits for U.S. Supreme Court justices.
The endorsement letter (pdf) signed by professors and scholars across the country, along with a former U.S. senator and a former chief justice of the Utah Supreme Court, comes as the Senate GOP is trying to confirm right-wing Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's third nominee to the high court, before the November general election.
— Fix the Court (@FixTheCourt) October 23, 2020
The ongoing political battle over the Supreme Court vacancy that resulted from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death has elevated discussions and proposals to reform the high court. The term limits bill (pdf) was unveiled last month by Reps. Khanna (D-Calif.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), and Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.).
"We can't face a national crisis every time a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court," Khanna said while announcing the Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act (H.R. 8424), which would allow presidents to nominate two new appointees per four-year term. ...
Biden explained in a promotional clip of a forthcoming "60 Minutes" interview released Thursday that if he is elected, he will form a bipartisan commission of constitutional scholars to offer recommendations for "how to reform the court system," which he said is "getting out of whack."
While the former vice president said the possible reforms would "go well beyond packing" the court, attorney and activist Miles Mogulescu declared in an opinion piece for Common Dreams last week: "It's time for Biden and the Dems to call bullshit! It's Republicans who are the true court-packers."
Mogulescu also detailed various ways that a victorious Biden and Democratic lawmakers could "begin to unpack the courts," from increasing the number of Supreme Court justices to introducing term limits for those appointed to the nation's highest court, noting Khanna's bill.
"A more indirect way would be to grant statehood to the District or Columbia and Puerto Rico," Mogulescu wrote. "This would represent justice in its own right, since residents of those jurisdictions are tax-paying American citizens without voting representation in Washington."
"But it would also add four new senators," he explained, "diminishing the impact of the current situation where the Republican Senate 'majority,' which is about to confirm Barrett on a party-line votes, was elected by nearly 15 million fewer voters than the Democratic 'minority.'"
“They Wanted to Take My Womb Out”: Survivor of Medical Abuse in ICE Jail Deported After Speaking Out
Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib Lead Call for UN Probe Into Alleged DHS Human Rights Abuses
The four first-term progressive congresswomen collectively called the Squad led a letter Friday calling for independent international investigation of "recent, ongoing, and credible allegations of egregious human rights abuses by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), its components, and its private contractors."
"From the unwanted and unnecessary hysterectomies of migrant women, to the forced separation of children from their families, to the indefinite detention of immigrants in abhorrent conditions—the cruelty and callousness of the Department of Homeland Security under [President] Donald Trump knows no bounds," Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) said in a statement Friday.
"This administration has demonstrated time and again its utter disregard for the lives of our immigrant neighbors, while our institutions of government have done little to hold it accountable—that must change. It's time we had a truly independent, external, and impartial investigation into these alleged human rights abuses by DHS, and I am proud to partner with my sisters in service in leading this call," she added.
Pressley was joined in demanding a probe of the agency's actions under the president by fellow Squad members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) as well as Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.).
The lawmakers sent identical, detailed letters (pdf) requesting investigations to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, the Organization of American States' Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the U.N. Human Rights Council, and 14 independent experts that report to the council.
"All countries, regardless of size, power, or international standing must respect the human rights of all people and the United States is no exception," the letters state.
"Our government cannot be allowed to commit human rights atrocities or escape investigation, oversight, or criticism based on its powerful geopolitical position, as it so often has."
The letters come after the Los Angeles Times reported late Thursday that "at least 19 women at a Georgia immigration facility are now alleging that a doctor performed, or pressured them to undergo, 'overly aggressive' or 'medically unnecessary' surgery without their consent, including procedures that affect their ability to have children."
Although the DHS inspector general already opened an investigation into the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia after revelations from a whistleblower about medical practices at the facility, the lawmakers and supporters of their letters emphasized the need for independent reviews of those and other allegations.
"Holding the Department of Homeland Security accountable for its long history of abuses is a human rights, reproductive justice, and public health imperative—one that has been put on the backburner at the expense and detriment of our immigrant neighbors," declared Tlaib.
"That they have now been accused of literally removing immigrant women's wombs is perhaps the most egregious yet," she said. "As a mother, as a human being, I can no longer simply continue to call for our government to investigate itself. We've been down that road and it has resulted in no meaningful change, only impunity and additional atrocities."
Omar took direct aim at the president for forcibly separating families at the southern border—a widely condemned policy which, as a court filing from the ACLU revealed earlier this week, has led to at least 545 children remaining apart from parents, who haven't yet been located. The filing says about two-thirds of the parents are believed to have been deported to their countries of origin without their children.
"There can be no question now: The president of the United States oversaw massive human rights abuses within our own country, against children no less," Omar said. "This was child abuse on a massive scale. It is clear that the administration itself does not have the ability to hold itself accountable in a transparent or impartial matter."
A Black woman who was shot and wounded inside a vehicle by a police officer who also fatally shot her 19-year-old boyfriend told about 200 people gathered at an emotional rally in suburban Chicago on Saturday that she was fighting “to be strong” for her son. The protest in Waukegan, about 40 miles north of Chicago, was organized by Clyde McLemore, the founder of the Lake county chapter of Black Lives Matter. It took place less than a day after police chief Wayne Walles announced the firing of the officer who fatally shot Marcellis Stinnette, a Black man, and wounded Tafara Williams, 20.
Walles said the male officer committed “multiple policy and procedure violations”. ...
Attorneys representing Williams called the officer’s firing “a first step in police accountability” but said they were pressing ahead with their own investigation of the shooting. No other details, including the officer’s name, were provided in the announcement, which came shortly after Lake county’s chief prosecutor said the FBI would join Illinois state police in investigating Tuesday’s shooting.
Authorities have said the shooting that killed Stinnette and wounded Williams occurred following a traffic stop. The officer who shot the couple is Hispanic and had been with the Waukegan police department for five years. ... Waukegan police have said Williams was driving and Stinnette was a passenger in a vehicle that fled a traffic stop conducted by a white officer late on Tuesday and that the vehicle was later spotted by another officer. Police said that as the second officer approached, the vehicle started moving in reverse and the officer – fearing for his safety – opened fire. No weapon was found in the vehicle.
Activists and relatives of the couple have demanded the release of police video of the shooting, which authorities say has been turned over to investigators.
Wow, Ohio has it's own Juan(ita) Guaido:
Local newspapers in Ohio have exposed a plot led by Republican activist Renea Turner to build a “posse” to kidnap and murder the state’s governor, Mike DeWine. Though DeWine is a Republican and a Trump supporter, he was evidently targeted for implementing mild restrictions to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 5,100 Ohioans. Turner confirmed in a Friday interview with Cleveland.com that she was trying to recruit people to place the governor under “house arrest.” The plan was revealed when an individual she attempted to recruit filed a police report last week. State police then visited Turner but did not make an arrest. As of this writing, not a single national news publication had reported the Ohio developments.
Though it is not known how far advanced this particular plot was or how many people were involved, it comes just over two weeks after federal officials arrested over a dozen fascists who planned to kidnap and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and also discussed targeting Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Trump has made no secret of his plans to mobilize far-right supporters to invalidate the popular vote and attempt to remain in office. This strategy is focused particularly on battleground states like Ohio and Michigan. Turner is a Trump supporter who has connections to a group of Republican state legislators who have been calling for DeWine to be arrested for the damage to business interests caused by statewide lockdown measures.
State Representative John Becker, one of this group, told the Dayton Daily News on Friday that he personally met with Turner two weeks ago. In a short video responding to the revelations, Becker said Turner was building a “posse” whose plan was to “arrest the governor at his home, put him on trial for tyranny and with the potential for that being either execution or exile.” Six weeks ago, Becker petitioned a prosecutor to file criminal charges against DeWine for “terrorism,” “inducing panic” and other crimes related to the lockdown. In the same YouTube video announcing his awareness of the plot against DeWine, Becker provocatively repeated calls for viewers to submit affidavits in support of his effort to arrest DeWine. Earlier this autumn, Becker cynically declared: “When Gov. DeWine is arrested, I sincerely hope that he is wearing a mask and doesn’t get tasered.” ...
On Thursday, the day before details of the plot emerged, Turner traveled to the state Capitol and held a “swearing-in” ceremony for herself, claiming she was the legitimate governor, and presented a notarized “oath of office” signed by several supporters. In a Facebook post about the swearing-in, Turner said, “Governor Mike DeWine has become concentrated, grown and has become a Tyrant and will be held accountable immediately. He will receive a Tyrant’s punishment.”
[Ohio appears to contain more than its share of well-connected whackos. More details at the link. -js]
A rightwing extremist boasted of driving from Texas to Minneapolis to help set fire to a police precinct during the George Floyd protests, federal prosecutors said. US attorney Erica MacDonald said on Friday that she had charged Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old Texas resident, with traveling across state lines to participate in a riot. The charges are the latest example of far-right extremists attempting to use violence to escalate national protests against police brutality into an uprising against the government, and even full civil war.
The case also reveals the extent of the coordination between violent members of the nascent far-right “Boogaloo Bois” movement operating in different cities across the country.
According to the criminal complaint against Hunter, on 26 May, as intense protests broke out in Minneapolis over the killing of George Floyd by a city police officer, a “Boogaloo Boi” based in Minnesota posted a public Facebook message: “I need a headcount.” Hunter, a resident of Boerne, Texas, which is roughly 1,200 miles away, responded: “72 hours out.” ...
By 28 May, during a night of the most intense unrest and destruction in the city, Hunter was in Minneapolis, just as the 3rd precinct police station, known locally as a “playground for renegade cops”, was being set on fire. Video shot that night shows a person later identified as Hunter firing 13 rounds from a semiautomatic assault-style rifle on the 3rd precinct police station while people believed to be looters were inside. He then high-fived another person and shouted, “Justice for Floyd!” according to the complaint. ...
According to the complaint, Hunter would later post multiple messages on Facebook bragging of his actions in Minneapolis on the night of 28 May and morning of 29 May, writing, “I set fire to that precinct with the Black community,” and, “My mom would call the FBI if she knew.”
Bad Apples challenged in court:
Days into the nationwide protest movement sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, the Black-led, police accountability group Don’t Shoot Portland sued the city of Portland, Oregon, over use of tear gas against protesters. The lawsuit led to a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Portland Police Bureau from using tear gas, except in narrow circumstances. But officers quickly switched gears, and in response to growing protests, they ramped up the deployment of OC spray, rubber bullets, pepper balls, flash bangs, and other impact munitions known as “nonlethal” or “less-lethal” weapons. Don’t Shoot Portland again sought and obtained a court order to limit police’s use of those weapons.
Then on June 30, just four days after a federal judge had sided with protesters and issued a restraining order on the use by police of less-lethal weapons, Portland officers meeting protesters outside the local police union building again fired smoke grenades, rubber bullets, and other impact munitions into the crowd, injuring several people. They then declared the protest a riot and deployed tear gas despite the court order restricting its use. “They blatantly ignored the order,” Tai Carpenter, Don’t Shoot Portland’s board president, told The Intercept. “What happened on June 30 was just an all-out attack on civilians. That night just really stands out for the vast amount of violence that was being inflicted on the street.”
In August, as protests in Portland continued uninterrupted for a third month, Don’t Shoot Portland filed a new motion, asking the federal judge in the case to hold the city in contempt of court over police use of “less-lethal” munitions that night. In a court hearing this week, protesters testified in graphic detail about what they described as an unprovoked, violent response to a protest that had been largely peaceful. ... Attorneys for the city said in court that police response “was based on good faith and reasonable interpretations of the less-lethal order.” They argued that police were responding to protesters throwing bottles, rocks, and cans and shining green lasers at them, and that officers feared that protesters would set the police union’s building on fire. In court filings, they wrote that plaintiffs had offered “vague descriptions of uses of force such that it is not possible to begin to evaluate whether the uses violate the Less Lethal Order.” ...
But the June 30 incidents were not only among the most violent in Portland’s summer of protest, they were also some of the best documented, captured in several long videos shot from different angles by protesters and bystanders. ... In fact, the number and quality of videos has allowed attorneys for Don’t Shoot Portland, working with the applied-research group SITU, to produce an unusually detailed reconstruction of that night’s events, a granular analysis of a number of incidents of police violence over a 90-minute period of time that clearly shows the circumstances, and lack of justification, that preceded each deployment of force. The reconstruction, which was shown in court, offered a forensic analysis of a protest with a level of detail that is usually reserved for criminal investigations. It provided a rare piece of evidence of abuse by officers that is much harder to dismiss than many witness accounts of police violence, opening the door for an equally rare moment of accountability. ...
The judge in the case is expected to rule on whether to hold the city in contempt of court in the coming days.
“It’s hard to have faith in the court system when it’s been proven all your life that your civil liberties don’t matter,” said Carpenter of Don’t Shoot Portland. “But the trauma and the violence have been clearly documented on the record; they’re facts that can’t be ignored. Even with the way that our justice system works, there has to be accountability.”
[Much greater detail at the link. - js]
Joe Biden’s hopes of reaching the White House could rest on two crucial demographic groups that appear to be deserting Donald Trump: elderly people and suburban women.
They would join a broad coalition that includes strong support among African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, the LGBTQ community and young people. With the gender gap potentially bigger than ever, the president appears more reliant than ever on white men.
Little more than a week before election day, Biden enjoys a double-digit lead in almost every national poll and is ahead in the crucial battleground states. More than 52 million people have already voted, according to the US Elections Project.
In the past four presidential elections, Republicans have led among the elderly by around 10 points. But about four in five Americans killed by the coronavirus were older than 65 and a majority of Americans say Trump has mishandled the pandemic.
The president trails among elderly voters by more than 20 points, according to recent CNN and Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls. This swing could prove critical in states such as Arizona and Florida, which have a high number of retirees.
After Donald Trump reportedly told donors it would be “tough” for Republicans to hold the Senate, and said he could not and did not want to help some senators, party chair Ronna McDaniel insisted the Senate would stay in GOP hands, saying: “I don’t see these senators distancing themselves from the president.”
In fact, as the party faces strong headwinds at the polls, senators including Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Martha McSally of Arizona and John Cornyn of Texas have sought to put daylight between themselves and Trump. ...
According to FiveThirtyEight.com, while Trump trails Joe Biden by 2.6 points in Arizona, McSally is struggling in her battle with Mark Kelly, a former astronaut now a campaigner for gun control reform. Other Republicans facing tough fights include Cory Gardner in Colorado, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Georgia, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, Susan Collins in Maine and Joni Ernst in Iowa.
Most forecasters give Democrats a good chance of retaking the Senate, which Republicans hold 53-47. Trump insisted again on Sunday that his party could take back the House but that seems unlikely, Democratic control firm enough that Speaker Nancy Pelosi barely created a ripple with her confirmation to CNN’s State of the Union that at the age of 80 she will seek to stay in the role.
BREAKING: Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules that election officials are PROHIBITED from rejecting mail-in ballots based on signature comparison. Nor may a party "challenge based on signature analysis and comparisons."https://t.co/pBa0vyA9h3
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) October 23, 2020
Voters Implored to Submit Ballots ASAP as 'Unacceptable' Mail Delays Caused by DeJoy Persist in Key States
With a staggering number of Americans voting early this election season—and many relying on the U.S. Postal Service for timely delivery of their ballots—alarming data reported by the Associated Press Friday shows that mail service delays driven by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's operational changes are continuing in key battleground states less than two weeks out from the November 3 contest.
The significant delays in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other key states are intensifying existing fears that despite a slew of recent court orders requiring USPS to reverse the changes, DeJoy's sweeping and disruptive policy moves could still have a major impact on the high-stakes presidential election. DeJoy is a Republican megadonor to President Donald Trump who was appointed to head the USPS in May despite his complete lack of experience at the agency.
As AP reported Friday, the Postal Service's latest performance figures "show nearly all the agency's delivery regions missing [the USPS] target of having at least 95% of first-class mail arrive within five days."
"Parts of the presidential battleground states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio fell short of delivery goals by wide margins as the agency struggles to regain its footing after a tumultuous summer," AP noted. "The delays are a worrisome sign for voters who still have not returned their absentee ballots. That is especially true in states such as Michigan, where ballots must be received by Election Day. Other states require a postmark by November 3."
One of the powerhouse lobbying firms advocating on behalf of Alaska’s controversial Pebble Mine project has close ties to the company RPM International, which is partially owned by Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, and run by Sullivan’s brother, Frank Sullivan.
The close relationship complicates the politics of an unfolding scandal for Sullivan, which rocked the state’s Senate race after audio emerged of Pebble Mine executives confidently claiming that Sullivan was privately supportive of the project but staying mum publicly until the election. Sullivan responded by declaring his opposition to the proposal to create the largest mine in North America. The mine, which is staunchly opposed by environmental groups, would sit smack dab in the middle of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.
One of the top lobbying firms for Pebble Mine, Squire Patton Boggs, has close ties to Sullivan’s family business. Squire Patton Boggs has received at least $980,000 in lobbying payments since 2018 from Pebble Limited Partnership to advocate for permitting of the mine. Fred Nance, a top executive at Squire Patton Boggs, is an independent director on the board of Sullivan’s family company, meaning he has supervisory powers over Sullivan’s brother Frank, who is the company’s CEO. By hiring Squire Patton Boggs, the Pebble Mine’s owners have entangled themselves not just inside the complexities of Alaska politics, but inside the business interests of the Sullivan family.
udd Legum’s newsletter Popular Information has previously reported that executives from the mine partnership and their lobbyists had contributed $34,000 to the senator’s campaigns. In addition to that, Nance and two other Squire Patton Boggs employees have delivered $15,500 for Sullivan’s campaigns — $10,300 of that since the mine hired the lobbying firm in 2018. As a senator, Sullivan remains enmeshed in his family’s company as a substantial shareholder; federal financial disclosures show that he owns between $1 and $5 million in stock, and the family and the company have donated over $90,000 to his campaign and PAC since he won his first election in 2014. ...
Sullivan’s connections to the mine have dogged him in the last leg of the Senate race. Sullivan had opposed the Obama EPA’s efforts to shelve the project and, until the recordings were released, had declined to oppose it. Sullivan’s opponent, independent Al Gross, is making his opposition to the mine a marquee issue in the race, blanketing the state with ads. FEC disclosures show that Gross has outraised Sullivan over 6-1 in the most recent quarter.
North Dakota officials say they want to repurpose $16 million in federal coronavirus aid and spend it on grants to encourage fracking instead of using it to clean up abandoned oil well sites. Regulators have presented the proposal as a way to create jobs and help stabilize state revenue, while some in the environmental community view it as a bailout for the oil industry, the Bismarck Tribune reported. ...
State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said oil companies have been hit hard by the price drop resulting from the pandemic, leading to slow work in the state’s oil fields.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Don and Dewey - Justine!
Don And Dewey - When The Sun Has Begun To Shine
Don And Dewey - Koko Joe
Don & Dewey - Soul Motion
Don & Dewey - The Letter
Don & Dewey - Big Boy Pete (Original)
Don & Dewey - Jungle Hop
Don and Dewey - Fiddlin' The Blues
Don & Dewey - Bim Bam
Don & Dewey - Kill Me
Don & Dewey - Slummin'
Don & Dewey - Farmer John