Friday, July 7, 2023

Something to Know -7 July

It's hot, and we are being gently reminded that this is the way it is going to be from here on out.  Where are the screaming voices about climate change being a hoax?   Anyway, we need to figure out how to cope if we can accept that our wanton use of fossil fuels is at the heart of our misery.  Here in Los Angeles County, the day after all of the 4th of July fireworks displays, it smelled of exploded materials and the air was the worst in the world.  It will probably be a summer of brutal reckoning when parts of the world are so hot that the most vulnerable will be found dead in homes and streets.   Pretty sad picture?....yes.   On a lighter note, the economic news of a continuing improvement in the economy is so bewildering that Republicans can't find anything to run on, so they are inventing cultural issues and backing a seditious crook in the next election.  We are in interesting times, and as polarized as ever.   

Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American Unsubscribe

Jul 6, 2023, 9:21 PM (10 hours ago)
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The payroll processing firm ADP said today that private sector jobs jumped by 497,000 in June, far higher than the Dow Jones consensus estimate predicted. The big gains were in leisure and hospitality, which added 232,000 new hires; construction with 97,000; and trade, transportation and utilities with 90,000. Annual pay rose at a rate of 6.4%. Most of the jobs came from companies with fewer than 50 employees. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is a way to measure the stock market by aggregating certain stocks, dropped 372 points as the strong labor market made traders afraid that the Fed would raise interest rates again to cool the economy. Higher interest rates make borrowing more expensive, slowing investment. 

Today, as the Washington Post's climate reporter Scott Dance warned that the sudden surge of broken heat records around the globe is raising alarm among scientists, Bloomberg's Cailley LaPara reported that the incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act for emerging technologies to address climate change have long-term as well as short-term benefits. 

Dance noted that temperatures in the North Atlantic are already close to their typical annual peak although we are early in the season, sea ice levels around Antarctica are terribly low, and Monday was the Earth's hottest day in at least 125,000 years and Tuesday was hotter. LaPara noted that while much attention has been paid to the short-term solar, EV, and wind industries in the U.S., emerging technologies for industries that can't be electrified—technologies like sustainable aviation fuel, clean hydrogen, and direct air capture, which pulls carbon dioxide out of the air—offer huge potential to reduce emissions by 2030. 

This news was the backdrop today as President Biden was in South Carolina to talk about Bidenomics. After touting the huge investments of both public and private capital that are bringing new businesses and repaired infrastructure to that state, Biden noted that analysts have said that the new laws Democrats have passed will do more for Republican-dominated states than for Democratic ones. "Well, that's okay with me," Biden said, "because we're all Americans. Because my view is: Wherever the need is most, that's the place we should be helping. And that's what we're doing. Because the way I look at it, the progress we're making is good for all Americans, all of America."

On Air Force One on the way to the event, deputy press secretary Andrew Bates began his remarks to the press: "President Biden promised that he would be a president for all Americans, regardless of where they live and regardless of whether they voted for him or not. He also promised to rebuild the middle class. The fact that Bidenomics has now galvanized over $500 billion in job-creating private sector investment is the newest testament to how seriously he takes fulfilling those promises."

Bates listed all the economic accomplishments of the administration and then added: "the most powerful endorsement of Bidenomics is this: Every signature economic law this President has signed, congressional Republicans who voted "no" and attacked it on Fox News then went home to their district and hailed its benefits." He noted that "Senator Lindsey Graham called the Inflation Reduction Act 'a nightmare for South Carolina,'" then, "[j]ust two months later, he called BMW's electric vehicles announcement 'one of the most consequential announcements in the history of the state of South Carolina.'" "Representative Joe Wilson blasted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law but later announced, 'I welcome Scout Motors' plans to invest $2 billion and create up to 4,000 jobs in South Carolina.' Nancy Mace called Bidenomics legislation a…'disaster,' then welcomed a RAISE grant to Charleston." 

"[W]hat could speak to the effectiveness of Bidenomics more than these conversions?" Bates asked.

While Biden is trying to sell Americans on an economic vision for the future, the Republican leadership is doubling down on dislike of President Biden and the Democrats. Early on the morning of July 2, Trump, who remains the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee, shared a meme of President Biden that included a flag reading: "F*CK BIDEN AND F*CK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM!" The next morning, in all caps, he railed against what he called "massive prosecutorial conduct" and "the weaponization of law enforcement," asking: "Do the people of this once great nation even have a choice but to protest the potential doom of the United States of America??? 2024!!!"

Prosecutors have told U.S. district judge Aileen Cannon that they want to begin Trump's trial on 37 federal charges for keeping and hiding classified national security documents, and as his legal trouble heats up, Trump appears to be calling for violence against Democrats. On June 29 he posted what he claimed was the address of former president Barack Obama, inspiring a man who had been at the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol to repost the address and to warn, "We got these losers surrounded! See you in hell,…Obama's [sic]." Taylor Tarranto then headed there with firearms and ammunition, as well as a machete, in his van. Secret Service agents arrested him. 

Indeed, those crossing the law for the former president are not faring well. More than 1,000 people have been arrested for their participation in the events of January 6, and those higher up the ladder are starting to feel the heat as well. Trump lawyer Lin Wood, who pushed Trump's 2020 election lies, was permitted to "retire" his law license on Tuesday rather than be disbarred. Trump lawyer John Eastman is facing disbarment in California for trying to overturn the 2020 election with his "fake elector" scheme, a ploy whose legitimacy the Supreme Court rejected last week. And today, Trump aide Walt Nauta pleaded not guilty to federal charges of withholding documents and conspiring to obstruct justice for allegedly helping Trump hide the classified documents he had at Mar-a-Lago. 

Trump Republicans—MAGA Republicans—are cementing their identity by fanning fears based on cultural issues, but it is becoming clear those are no longer as powerful as they used to be as the reality of Republican extremism becomes clear. 

Yesterday the man who raped and impregnated a then-9-year-old Ohio girl was sentenced to at least 25 years in prison. Last year, after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision recognizing the constitutional right to abortion, President Biden used her case to argue for the need for abortion access. Republican lawmakers, who had criminalized all abortions after 6 weeks, before most people know they're pregnant, publicly doubted that the case was real (Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told the Fox News Channel there was "not a damn scintilla of evidence" to support the story). Unable to receive an abortion in Ohio, the girl, who had since turned 10, had to travel to Indiana, where Dr. Caitlin Bernard performed the procedure.

Republican Indiana attorney general Todd Rokita complained—inaccurately—that Bernard had not reported child abuse and that she had violated privacy laws by talking to a reporter, although she did not identify the patient and her employer said she acted properly. Bernard was nonetheless reprimanded for her handling of privacy issues and fined by the Indiana licensing board. Her employer disagreed.

As Republican-dominated states have dramatically restricted abortion, they have fueled such a backlash that party members are either trying to avoid talking about it or are now replacing the phrase "national ban" with "national consensus" or "national standard," although as feminist writer Jessica Valenti, who studies this language, notes, they still mean strict antiabortion measures. In the House, some newly-elected and swing-district Republicans have blocked abortion measures from coming to a vote out of concern they will lose their seats in 2024. 

But it is not at all clear the issue will go away. Yesterday, those committed to protecting abortion rights in Ohio turned in 70% more signatures than they needed to get a measure amending the constitution to protect that access on the ballot this November. In August, though, antiabortion forces will use a special election to try to change the threshold for constitutional amendments, requiring 60% of voters rather than a majority.


Abortion, Every Day
Usually I cover anti-abortion strategy in the daily newsletter, but I decided something this important needs to stand alone. The short version is that the anti-abortion movement is pressuring journalists to stop using the word 'ban' when describing abortion legislation. And because these activists will claim that using 'ban' is indicative of pro-choice …
7 days ago · 157 likes · 81 comments · Jessica Valenti


Q. What is the difference between a law-abiding gun owner and a criminal?

A.  The .2 of a second that it takes to pull a trigger.

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