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Eagle View is Washington DC’s well-established event planning and consulting firm. We provide superior event management services that infuse creative energy with business savvy expertise.

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Eagle View clients include thought-leaders in both business and politics, both domestic and International.

Clients and the scope of engagement are largely confidential.  In general, the work involves strategies to enhance the branding, popularity and/or investment potential of worthy leaders…

 

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Medical Expert, Oswald's Friend, Debunks Accused JFK Killer’s Portrayal

July 2021 News

 

 JIPLogo

Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative July, 2021 news and views.

 

July 3

Top Headlines

 

Trump Probes, Jan. 6 Insurrection 

 

Virus Victims, Responses, Jobs 

 

U.S. Governance, Politics, Elections

 

Heat Wave, Climate Change

 

Condo Collapse Follow-ups 

 

U.S. Legal Probes, Law

 

Florida Condo Collapse 

 

World News

 

Top Stories 

afghanistan map world

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. military vacates main air base in Afghanistan, underscoring withdrawal expected within days, Dan Lamothe, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). U.S. officials discussed keeping Bagram open longer, as the Taliban continues an offensive, but the Biden administration decided to continue with its withdrawal plan.

The U.S. military has vacated its most significant airfield in Afghanistan, three defense officials said, underscoring that the Pentagon expects to complete its withdrawal from the country within days after 20 years of war.

The departure from Bagram air base, about 45 miles north of Kabul, ends the U.S. military presence at Afghanistan’s most significant airfield. It has long been used to launch strike aircraft against the Taliban and other militant groups, and was once the headquarters for U.S. Special Operations troops in the war.

News of the departure from the airfield was first reported by Fox News.

One of the defense officials said that Army Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, the top U.S. commander for nearly three years, remains in charge and retains the ability to protect U.S. troops if required as the withdrawal continues. Like the other officials, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

ny times logoNew York Times, As Afghan Forces Crumble, an Air of Unreality Grips the Capital, Adam Nossiter, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). With his military crumbling, President Ashraf Ghani, below right, of Afghanistan fired a crucial part of his command structure and brought in a new one. He created a nebulous “supreme state council,” announced months ago, that has hardly met. And as districts fall to the Taliban across the country, he has installed a giant picture of himself outside the airport’s domestic terminal.

On Friday, U.S. officials announced the definitive closure of Bagram Air Base, the nerve center of 20 years of American military operations in Afghanistan, in the functional end of the American war ashraf ghani 2018 croppedhere. As the last troops and equipment trickle out of Afghanistan, an atmosphere of unreality has settled over the government and Kabul, the capital.

Americans have not been a visible presence in the city for years, so the U.S. departure has not affected surface normality: Markets bustle and streets are jammed with homeward-bound civil servants by midafternoon. At night, the corner bakeries continue to be illuminated by a single bulb as vendors sell late into the evening.

But beneath the surface there is unease as the Taliban creep steadily toward Kabul.

“There’s no hope for the future,” said Zubair Ahmad, 23, who runs a grocery store on one of the Khair Khana neighborhood’s main boulevards. “Afghans are leaving the country. I don’t know whether I am going to be safe 10 minutes from now.”

The government passport office has been jam-packed in recent days, filled with a jostling mob, even though visa options for Afghans are severely limited. Some of the humanitarian organizations on which the beleaguered citizenry depend said they would begin limiting the number of expatriate employees kept in the country, anticipating a worsening of the security climate.

The security blanket that the United States provided for two decades haunts the Afghan government’s actions, in-actions and policies, fostering an atrophying of any proactive planning, in the view of some analysts. If there is a plan to counter the Taliban advance, it is not evident as the government’s hold on the countryside shrinks.

Intelligence estimates for the government’s collapse and a Taliban takeover have ranged from six months to two years. Whenever it comes, the outlook is likely to be grim for Mr. Ghani and his circle, as recent Afghan history demonstrates. Several of his predecessors in the country’s top job have met violent ends.

washington post logoWashington Post, Massive ransomware attack on widely used IT tool hits hundreds of companies, Rachel Lerman and Gerrit De Vynck, July 3, 2021.  “It is absolutely the biggest non-nation state supply chain cyberattack that we’ve ever seen,” one cybersecurity researcher said of the attack that has already affected more than 200 businesses; Researchers said cybercriminals were demanding $50,000 from smaller companies and $5 million from larger ones.

A supply-chain ransomware attack that hit hours before the beginning of a holiday weekend has already affected more than 200 businesses, researchers said.

On Friday, information technology company Kaseya sent out a warning of a “potential attack” on its VSA tool, which is used by IT to manage and monitor computers remotely. Kaseya urged customers to shut down their servers running the service.

This must be done immediately, the company said, because “one of the first things the attacker does is [shuts off] administrative access to the VSA.”

It was unclear late Friday how disruptive the attack might be on U.S. businesses. More than 40,000 organizations use Kaseya products, the company says, which includes VSA and other IT tools.

Researchers said cybercriminals were sending two different ransom notes on Friday — demanding $50,000 from smaller companies and $5 million from larger ones.

 

Trump Probes, Jan. 6 Insurrection 

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s company cloaked him in gilded fame. Now it faces felony charges, debt and a tainted brand, Jonathan O’Connell, David A. Fahrenthold and Josh Dawsey, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). djt apprenticeDonald Trump’s business brought him international fame, a hit television show (with a promo shown at right) and a presidential résumé. On Thursday, it brought forth an indictment in New York state court that could damage his financial and political future.

The full impact on Trump’s business of the 10 felony counts brought against it by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D) — as well as 15 felony counts against his chief financial officer — remains to be seen. The company and CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Trump was not charged in the case.

The indictment comes after nearly six years of his company enduring one blow after another wrought by Trump’s political career. That trajectory began with the loss of merchandising deals during the early days of his first campaign, continued with the loss of branding and management agreements during his presidency and culminated with a wave of partners vowing to no longer do business with him after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

washington post logoWashington Post, Alleged Oath Keeper arrested in Capitol riot turned over firearm, Spencer S. Hsu,  July 3, 2021 (print ed.).Another alleged Oath Keepers associate was arrested Friday in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, accused of joining a “stack formation” of organized members who prosecutors say marched up the east steps and entered the Rotunda in camouflage and tactical gear.

David Moerschel, 43, of Punta Gorda, Fla., was charged by criminal complaint Thursday with three counts, including conspiracy and obstructing Congress. Moerschel joined some defendants who prosecutors allege staged in advance at an Arlington hotel, where they say weapons were stored for a “Quick Reaction Force” site.

His arrest makes him at least the 18th alleged Oath Keeper in a group whose members prosecutors have accused of plotting and communicating in advance to breach the Capitol and disrupt Congress that day.

The FBI in charging papers included several photographs of a person alleged to be Moerschel taken from surveillance, news and other video footage in and around the Capitol that day, as well as the Comfort Inn Ballston.

FBI agents met and identified Moerschel in May and recovered from his attorney on June 14 a long black jacket, black flak vest, duffel bag and rifle case, including a firearm, consistent with clothes he wore and objects he was photographed with in the images, the FBI said.

 

Virus Victims, Responses, Jobs

washington post logoWashington Post, Facing the delta variant wave with few vaccine doses, African countries suffer — and bristle with anger, Lesley Wroughton, Max Bearak, Halima Athumani and Danielle Paquette, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). The variant-driven coronavirus outbreak that public health officials across Africa had warned about for months is underway — and it’s happening without the urgently needed ramping up of the continent’s access to vaccines.

The delta coronavirus variant is driving a sharp increase in infections across each of Africa’s main regions, with only a trickle of vaccination donations coming in from wealthy countries. Major moves to quicken commercial vaccine rollout across the continent have come too late to prevent calamities, officials said.

So far, 41.5 million Africans have received at least one dose and 11.5 million have received two doses.

washington post logoWashington Post, Johnson & Johnson says its coronavirus vaccine is effective against delta variant, Katerina Ang, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine provides effective johnson johnson logoprotection against the delta variant, according to a small study, offering hope to many developing economies facing a summer surge of the highly contagious strand.

Blood samples obtained from eight inoculated people who participated in a laboratory study showed that Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot generated a strong immune response against the delta variant, the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company said. (The results have not been peer reviewed.) Earlier clinical trials had shown the vaccine offered 66 percent protection against symptomatic infection.

washington post logoWashington Post, 181.7 million U.S. vaccinated, as of July 3, 2021, the number of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. This includes more than 156.3 million people (47.1 % of the eligible population) fully vaccinated and 54.7 % with at least one dose. See about your state.

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated July 3, 2021, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than the totals here): 

World Cases: 183,948,307, Deaths: 3,981,965
U.S. Cases:     34,580,198, Deaths:     621,161
India Cases:     30,502,362, Deaths:    401,068
Brazil Cases:    18,687,469, Deaths:    522,068

washington post logoWashington Post, Pay goes up as employers eye smaller pool of workers, Heather Long, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). In the past three months, rank-and-file employers have seen some of the fastest wage growth since the 1980s, as desperate businesses offer perks and higher pay. In the past three months, rank-and-file employees have seen some of the fastest wage growth since the early 1980s, as employers desperate to get workers back into restaurants, ballparks and plants are offering perks such as more time off, free food and higher pay to entice them to return.

The pay hikes are reflected in the latest jobs report, which showed that the U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs in June, the strongest gain since last summer. The unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.9 percent. Much of the hiring occurred in the restaurant, hotel and entertainment sectors that have seen the fastest wage gains. Average pay in the restaurant industry is now above $15 an hour for the first time.

In many ways, this is a story of basic supply-and-demand forces playing out in the economy. There’s a lot of demand for workers right now, and not a large supply of people ready to go back to work. Many of the unemployed are still dealing with health issues or child-care problems, or want to reinvent themselves with a career change as the pandemic wanes. Plus, ample government aid has given many workers enough of a savings cushion to remain jobless a little longer to see how their situation pans out, a labor force luxury that Republicans have roundly criticized.

Washington Post, Analysis: With employment up, more people are voluntarily leaving jobs

 

U.S. Governance, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Rumsfeld seized the wheel of power — and steered us terribly into war, David Von Drehle, July 3, 2021 (print ed.).  No one played the Washington game of ambition and power for its own sake better than Donald H. Rumsfeld, the two-time defense secretary who died on June 29 after a long life of brilliant bureaucratic infighting. He was perhaps the boldest and most lethal Washington knife-fighter of his era.

As a freshman congressman in his early 30s, Rumsfeld organized a successful coup against the Republican leader. From a relatively minor position in the Nixon administration, Rumsfeld challenged Richard Nixon’s foreign policy guru, Henry Kissinger — and eventually won. Later, he teamed with his longtime wingman Richard B. Cheney to take down Colin Powell at a time when the distinguished general and diplomat was being courted for the presidency by both parties.

Those were some pretty impressive pelts he tacked to his barn, and they marked Rumsfeld as a masterful and dangerous Washington player. As an epitaph, however, “Wizard of Wet Work” leaves something to be desired. The nation builds no monuments to pointless power grabs. Ambition for its own sake, without meaning or purpose, decays like the half-life of neon, gone within moments after its source.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The Trump case may be unusual. But if true, it’s brazen tax fraud, Ruth Marcus, July 2, 2021. Previous reporting about the Trump family’s tax returns portrays a multigenerational family enterprise devoted to tax avoidance, if not outright evasion.

Thursday’s 15-count indictment lays out a separate, sprawling, 15-year conspiracy to funnel millions in unreported compensation — in the form of rent-free Manhattan apartments, leased Mercedes, private-school tuition payments, and the like — to senior Trump Organization executives, including CFO Allen Weisselberg, who allegedly received $1.76 million on which he paid no taxes. Both Weisselberg and lawyers for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty.

“To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme,” Carey Dunne, general counsel for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, said at the arraignment “Contrary to today’s assertion by the company’s former CEO, this is not a ‘standard practice in the business community,’ nor was it the act of a rogue or isolated employee.”

  

U.S. Elections, Politics, Elections 

washington post logoWashington Post, The Roberts court systematically dismantles the Voting Rights Act, Editorial Board, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). At times, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., below right, has labored to maintain the Supreme Court’s legitimacy against the gale-force pressures of partisan acrimony and social division. When it comes to voting rights, he has pushed in the opposite direction, presiding over the court’s systematic dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, overriding Congress’s clear intentions and gravely injuring U.S. democracy.

The first major blow came in 2013, when the court eviscerated the act’s Section 5, which required states with a history of racial discrimination to preclear changes to voting rules with the Justice Department. The decision left in place a backstop, Section 2, which allows legal challenges to discriminatory election rules after they have been enacted. On Thursday, the Roberts court sharply limited that provision as well.

john roberts oThe court upheld two Arizona election rules the Democratic National Committee claimed discourage minority voting. The legitimacy of Arizona’s policies could be debated, and the court could have struck them down without indulging in dangerous overreach. But in its reasoning and guidance for future cases, the six justices in the majority, including the chief, flashed a green light to state lawmakers eager to erect new barriers to voting.

The majority imposed stipulations on applying Section 2 that “all cut in one direction — toward limiting liability for race-based voting inequalities,” Justice Elena Kagan pointed out in a dissent. This new list of restrictions, Justice Kagan continued, “stacks the deck against minority citizens’ voting rights. Never mind that Congress drafted a statute to protect those rights.”

The majority invites states to argue that unnecessarily strict voting rules impose no more than mild burdens on casting ballots, despite the fact that the Voting Rights Act was meant to eliminate obvious as well as subtle forms of voting discrimination. What may appear to be mere inconveniences or seemingly race-neutral rules can in practice reduce minority voting. Some of that is fine, the court said. While admitting that one of the Arizona laws in question disproportionately affects Black, Latino and Native American voters, the majority declared that the difference was too small to matter. Yet elections are often decided by fractions of percentage points, and every vote should be seen as precious.

The court also encouraged states to argue that worries about fraud and voting integrity justify new burdens on the right to vote — though there is little or no evidence that the fraud state leaders claim they are fighting actually occurs. From the nation’s Jim Crow past to its voter-suppression present, states have claimed that they merely want to ensure ballot integrity as they impose voting restrictions that disproportionately burden minority voters. The Supreme Court lent legitimacy to their search for pretext.

 

Heat Wave, Climate Change 

washington post logoWashington Post, An Exxon lobbyist thought he was in a job interview. Instead, it was a secretly recorded Zoom call, Dino Grandoni, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). The tape, recorded by Greenpeace UK, has sent ripple effects through Washington, with one top Democratic lawmaker asking for Exxon’s CEO to testify in Congress about the company’s communication on climate change.

Keith McCoy thought he was talking to a job recruiter. Speaking on a Zoom video call in May, the longtime Washington lobbyist talked openly about efforts to blunt the Biden administration’s climate agenda on behalf of the nation’s largest oil and gas company, ExxonMobil.

In reality, it was not job interview. It was a sting conducted by Greenpeace UK, an environmental group more than 3,000 miles away.

The release of the explosive, secretly recorded video has sent a shock wave across the Atlantic and through Washington as the White House and Congress debate a major infrastructure package — and the extent to which it should invest in clean energy initiatives that directly compete with oil companies like Exxon.

Underpaid firefighters, overstretched budgets: The U.S. isn’t prepared for fires fueled by climate change

McCoy, the company’s senior director for federal relations, described how ExxonMobil selects senators on which to apply pressure. The oil firm’s public support for a tax on carbon emissions, he said, was an “easy talking point” with little chance of ever passing Congress. “Nobody is going to propose a tax on all Americans and the cynical side of me says, ‘yeah, we kind of know that.’”

washington post logoWashington Post, Firefighters are tackling three major wildfires in California in worrying sign as summer begins, María Luisa Paúl, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). Firefighters in California are battling three sizable wildfires in what authorities are characterizing as a worrying sign that this year’s fire season could be even more devastating than the record-breaking destruction seen in 2020.

“We’re seeing a large increase in fires on a historical basis compared to where we would be at this time last year,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jon Heggie said. “This is a large indicator that we’re looking at another busy fire season — all the same scenarios that set up last year for such a devastating year have the same potential for this year.”

As of Friday morning, the Lava Fire north of Mount Shasta, an active volcano, had burned 23,849 acres, with 27 percent of the flames contained by a team of over 1,000 firefighters, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The fire sparked June 25 after a lightning strike.

washington post logoWashington Post, Historic heat wave in Pacific Northwest has killed hundreds in U.S. and Canada over the past week, Timothy Bella, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). Hundreds of people have died in a historic heat wave in the Pacific Northwest that has caused record-shattering temperatures in British Columbia, Oregon and Washington over the past week.

Authorities in the region are investigating the recent deaths, but have indicated that they are the result of a heat dome that has trapped hot air in the normally temperate area of Canada and the United States and caused thousands of emergency calls and hospital visits. Scientists and public officials have attributed the historic heat wave to climate change and the worst drought in modern history.

British Columbia has reported at least 486 “sudden and unexpected deaths” between Friday and Wednesday, chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said. The figure is hundreds more than the number of Canadians who usually die over a five-day period, she told the Associated Press.

Ninety-eight of the deaths happened in Vancouver, where two-thirds of the victims were 70 or older, police said on Twitter. Vancouver authorities noted that many of the region’s homes, as with many houses in the Pacific Northwest, do not have air-conditioning, which has left residents vulnerable to the heat.

In Oregon, 63 people have died since Friday, said the state medical examiner’s office, with police noting that a preliminary investigation suggested that the deaths “may be associated with the Pacific Northwest heat wave.” Temperatures in the state topped out at 117 this week.

 

Condo Collapse Follow-ups

washington post logoWashington Post, Florida condo miles from Surfside collapse deemed unsafe, residents ordered to evacuate, Rebecca Tan, Meryl Kornfield and Hannah Knowles, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). Condo board saw building flaws in tests after 2018 engineer’s report; What to know about the collapse.

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Developer of luxury condos offered next-door Surfside building $400,000 amid complaints over construction, documents show, Rebecca Tan, Tik Root and Beth Reinhard, July 3, 2021 (print ed.).  The developer of a luxury Miami Beach high-rise next to the Surfside condominium building that collapsed last week was offering to pay $400,000 to the condo association of the older, smaller building two years ago, at a time when some homeowners were complaining about the proximity of the new building, the impact of vibrations and drifting debris, documents obtained by The Washington Post show.

Construction of Eighty Seven Park, which was finished in 2020, came “uncomfortably close” to the city boundary that bordered Champlain Towers South, the site of the catastrophic collapse, Guillermo Olmedillo, a former Surfside official, said in an interview with The Post this week. Champlain Towers homeowners complained on multiple occasions of plastic foam and other debris falling into the pool in front of their building, email records show.

 

U.S. Legal Probes, Courts 

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Amy Coney Barrett cautiously moves Supreme Court to the right, Robert Barnes, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). Justice Amy Coney Barrett moved the Supreme Court’s center of gravity further to the right this term, but not as quickly or as dramatically as her supporters had hoped or her detractors had feared.

Whether that reflects a rookie justice’s first-term caution or a more-ingrained inclination to moderation and small steps will determine her place among the court’s sometimes splintered six-member conservative majority.

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden expresses support for changing how the military prosecutes sexual assault casesBiden expresses support for changing how the military prosecutes sexual assault cases, Alex Horton and Felicia Sonmez, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). President Biden expressed support Friday for significant changes in the military justice system in which decisions on prosecuting sexual assault cases would be taken away from military commanders.

In a statement, Biden backed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s decision to work with Congress on overhauling the system, calling for “concrete actions that fundamentally change the way we handle military sexual assault and that make it clear that these crimes will not be minimized or dismissed.”

Austin’s decision, announced last month, marks a dramatic about-face for the Pentagon, which for years has not meaningfully confronted an epidemic believed to affect thousands of personnel every year.

“Sexual assault is an abuse of power and an affront to our shared humanity,” Biden said. “And sexual assault in the military is doubly damaging because it also shreds the unity and cohesion that is essential to the functioning of the U.S. military and to our national defense. Yet for as long as we have abhorred this scourge, the statistics and the stories have grown worse.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The Trump case may be unusual. But if true, it’s brazen tax fraud, Ruth Marcus, July 2, 2021. Previous reporting about the Trump family’s tax returns portrays a multigenerational family enterprise devoted to tax avoidance, if not outright evasion.

Thursday’s 15-count indictment lays out a separate, sprawling, 15-year conspiracy to funnel millions in unreported compensation — in the form of rent-free Manhattan apartments, leased Mercedes, private-school tuition payments, and the like — to senior Trump Organization executives, including CFO Allen Weisselberg, who allegedly received $1.76 million on which he paid no taxes. Both Weisselberg and lawyers for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty.

“To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme,” Carey Dunne, general counsel for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, said at the arraignment “Contrary to today’s assertion by the company’s former CEO, this is not a ‘standard practice in the business community,’ nor was it the act of a rogue or isolated employee.”

 

Florida Condo Collapse

washington post logoWashington Post, Condo Collapse Update: Search resumes after early-morning halt over ‘structural concerns,’ officials say, Paulina Firozi, Lateshia Beachum, Reis Thebault and Hannah Knowles, July 2, 2021 (print ed.).  Search of condo collapse site resumes after more than 15 hours of delay; $48 million in insurance for condo building ‘will obviously be inadequate,’ judge says.

Search and rescue work has resumed at the collapsed condominium in Surfside, Fla., officials said Thursday evening, after “structural concerns” about the still-standing part of Champlain Towers South brought urgent efforts to a halt early in the morning.

Authorities are moving ahead with plans to demolish the standing building, said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava at a news conference, after engineers found that search efforts could go on safely. As of Thursday night, 145 are missing and at least 18 people are dead, with 17 identified.

washington post logoWashington Post, The shattered lives of Champlain Towers South, Silvia Foster-Frau, Ann Gerhart, Danielle Rindler, Karly Domb Sadof, Garland Potts, and Artur Galocha, July 1, 2021. In seconds, hundreds of lives changed forever. For many, the outcome hinged on their condo number.

 

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, 130 countries sign on to global minimum tax plan, creating momentum for Biden push to crack down on tax avoidance, David J. Lynch, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). The White House believes countries need to move together to prevent firms from taking advantage of weak tax rules.

President Biden on Thursday celebrated a victory in his drive to make corporations pay a larger share of the cost of government, as 130 countries endorsed a blueprint for a global minimum tax on giant businesses and pledged to work for final approval by the end of October.

The agreement announced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris showcased the president’s preference for patient diplomacy rather than the unilateral moves favored by his predecessor.

Potentially the most significant change in global tax rules in 100 years, the accord is designed to stop countries from competing to lure corporations by offering lower tax rates and to help governments fund their operations at a time of soaring pandemic-related expenses. Biden administration officials also describe the tax plan as a partial remedy for the offshoring of manufacturing jobs that have hollowed out American factory towns and fueled populist resentments.

The president called the deal an example of the “foreign policy for the middle class” that he had promised to deliver, though Republicans were quick to object, and numerous details remain for negotiators to resolve.

washington post logoWashington Post, Unable to control Tigray, Ethiopia isolates region already beset by famine and war, Max Bearak, July 3, 2021 (print ed.). In the days since a cease-fire, reports from the United Nations and aid groups imply a concerted campaign by government-aligned forces to punish Tigray, destroying key infrastructure in ways that will complicate the delivery of urgent relief, if not make it impossible, in a region where hundreds of thousands are already estimated to be experiencing war-driven famine.

 

July 2

Top Headlines

 

U.S. Afghan Withdrawal

 

Jan. 6 Pro-Trump Insurrection 

 

Virus Victims, Responses 

 

U.S. Governance, Politics, Elections

 

Heat Wave, Climate Change

 

U.S. Legal Probes, Law

 

Inside DC

 

Florida Condo Collapse 

 

World News

 

Top Stories 

cy vance resized djt

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Organization Is Charged in 15-Year Tax Scheme, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum and Jonah E. Bromwich, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). C.F.O. Accused of Avoiding Taxes on $1.7 Million in Income; Allen Weisselberg, former President Trump’s long-serving and trusted chief financial officer, faced grand larceny and other charges.

The Trump Organization, the real estate business that catapulted Donald J. Trump to tabloid fame, television riches and ultimately the White House, was charged Thursday with fraud and tax crimes in connection with what prosecutors said was a 15-year-long scheme to compensate a top executive off the books.

allen weisselberg croppedThe Manhattan district attorney’s office, which has been conducting the investigation, also accused the executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, right, Mr. Trump’s long-serving and trusted chief financial officer, of avoiding taxes on $1.7 million in income. He faced grand larceny, tax fraud and other charges.

The charges were revealed at an arraignment in State Supreme Court in Manhattan for the Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg. More details about the allegations were set to be laid out in an indictment to be unsealed after the court proceeding.

“To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme,” said Carey Dunne, general counsel for the Manhattan district attorney.

The charges against the Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg — whom Mr. Trump once praised for doing “whatever was necessary to protect the bottom line” — ushered in a new phase of the district attorney’s sweeping inquiry into the business practices of Mr. Trump and his company.

As part of that inquiry, the prosecutors in the office of the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.,, shown above at right, had been examining whether Mr. Weisselberg failed to pay taxes on valuable benefits he and his family received from Mr. Trump, including private school tuition for at least one of his grandchildren, free apartments and leased cars.

The prosecutors, who are also working with lawyers from the office of the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, have also investigated whether the Trump Organization failed to pay payroll taxes on what should have been taxable income.

Mr. Weisselberg pleaded not guilty. “He will fight these charges in court,” his lawyers, Mary E. Mulligan and Bryan C. Skarlatos, said in a statement before the arraignment.

The Trump Organization also issued a statement, saying Mr. Weisselberg was being used as a “pawn in a scorched-earth attempt to harm the former president.” The charges ushered in an aggressive new phase of a sweeping inquiry into the business practices of Mr. Trump and his company.

 wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigation: Trump Organization indicted as a criminal enterprise; WMR called it one in 2017, Wayne Madsen, left, July 2, 2021. On June 2, 2017, after an extensive investigation of the wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallTrump Organization and its various corporate artifices and contrivances, WMR reported that the company “encompasses at least two dozen different countries involved in money laundering, registration of dummy corporations, and providing passports for key members of the Trump Organization and its criminal syndicate partner, the Kushner Companies.” The latter operation is run by Trump’s son-in-law and former White House adviser, Jared Kushner.

In 2017, WMR identified hundreds of limited liability corporations (LLCs) and other business entities established by the Trump Organization to facilitate various criminal schemes, including those which are identified in the New York indictment. 

In response to the indictment of his company, Trump said it was “a terrible thing for our country, and people are very angry about it.” In fact, the Trump Organization stands accused of failing to pay, possibly, millions in taxes to “our country” and the only people who are “angry” about the indictment are the Trump and Kushner criminal families and all the money launderers, drug traffickers, and corrupt bankers who now stand on the brink of being exposed.

WMR editor Wayne Madsen, a former Navy intelligence officer, is the author of 19 books, two about Trump.

ny times logoNew York Times, Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Voting Restrictions, Adam Liptak, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). The court’s 6-3 ruling, a test of what remains of the Voting Rights Act, signals that challenges to state laws making it harder to vote may not be successful.

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld voting restrictions in Arizona and signaled that challenges to new state laws making it harder to vote would face a hostile reception from a majority of the justices.

The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent.

The decision was the court’s first consideration of how a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 applies to voting restrictions that have a disproportionate impact on members of minority groups, and it was issued as disputes over voting rights have taken center stage in American politics.

As Republican-controlled state legislatures increasingly seek to impose restrictive new voting rules, Democrats and civil rights groups have turned to the courts to argue that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote, thwart the will of the majority and deny equal access to voters of color. The Arizona decision suggested that the Supreme Court would not be inclined to overturn many of the state measures.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said courts should strike down voting restrictions only when they impose substantial burdens on minority voters that effectively block their ability to vote.

“Where a state provides multiple ways to vote,” he wrote, “any burden imposed on voters who choose one of the available options cannot be evaluated without also taking into account the other available means.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Democrats Brace for a Narrower Path to Challenge New Voting Laws, Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). Conservative groups challenged the state’s disclosure requirements, saying they could lead to harassment.

Voting rights activists, on the defensive this year in the face of a wave of restrictive new voting laws, grappled on Thursday with new guidance from the Supreme Court signaling that the challenge will be even steeper now for opposing these laws in court.

The 6-to-3 ruling established a series of “guideposts” for what could potentially constitute a violation under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, appearing to limit one of the few paths Democrats and activists have for mounting legal challenges to new measures currently being proposed and passed in Republican-controlled states.

“This decision overly constricts how we view evidence in our Section 2 cases, and that’s going to make it harder — not unwinnable — but harder,” said Allison Riggs, a senior lawyer at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the rights of people of color.

There are other legal avenues to challenge restrictive voting laws besides the Voting Rights Act, including under the First, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. But the act has been paramount in helping to rein in laws that could disproportionately affect communities of color, and the decision could threaten some of the legal strategies that voting rights groups and election lawyers have been drafting to challenge some of the new laws.

But voting rights experts noted that the court’s decision on Thursday did not invalidate or significantly hollow out Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. “I do think the test will work to stop a lot of discriminatory electoral practices,” said Chad Dunn, the co-founder of the Voting Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a longtime voting rights lawyer. “And that part is good news.”

President Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” in the court’s ruling and urged Congress to “restore the Voting Rights Act to its intended strength.”

At least three major cases involving Section 2 claims are in the federal court system, according to a database of election litigation maintained by Ohio State University. One of the cases is a lawsuit that the Justice Department filed last week against Georgia, arguing that the state’s new omnibus voting law, S.B. 202, is racially discriminatory in both its intent and its impact.

ny times logoNew York Times, Supreme Court Backs Donor Privacy for California Charities, Adam Liptak, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that California may not require charities soliciting contributions in the state to report the identities of their major donors.

The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, rejected the state’s requirement, saying it violated the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of association.

“California casts a dragnet for sensitive donor information from tens of thousands of charities each year,” he wrote, “even though that information will become relevant in only a small number of cases.”

The decision concerned charitable donations but its logic was sweeping, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in dissent, suggesting that it could erode disclosure laws concerning political campaigns, too.

“Today’s analysis marks reporting and disclosure requirements with a bull’s-eye,” she wrote. “Regulated entities who wish to avoid their obligations can do so by vaguely waving toward First Amendment ‘privacy concerns.’”

California’s disclosure requirement was challenged by Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a group affiliated with the Koch family, and the Thomas More Law Center, a conservative Christian public-interest law firm. They said it chilled the groups’ ability to raise money and subjected donors to possible harassment.

The disputed measure required charities to file with the state a copy of their Internal Revenue Service Form 990, including its Schedule B, which identifies major donors.

A federal trial judge in California blocked the requirement, rejecting the state’s argument that it used the forms to investigate charitable misconduct. The judge found that investigations or audits based on the forms were rare and that the information in question could be obtained in other ways, notably by using subpoenas.

The judge also found that California had promised to keep the forms secret but had not always done so. According to court papers, the challengers discovered in 2015 that the state had displayed about 1,800 forms on its website. State officials said that the disclosures were inadvertent and promptly corrected and that the state had imposed new security measures.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, reversed the trial judge’s ruling, saying that the filing requirement promoted investigative efficiency and that the security breaches had been addressed.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the court has long protected the right of free association guaranteed by the First Amendment, notably in a 1958 decision shielding the membership list N.A.A.C.P.’s Alabama office from state officials there.

ny times logoNew York Times, Biden Meets With Families and Rescue Work Resumes at Florida Condo, Michael D. Shear, Sophie Kasakove and Emily Cochrane, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). The search for survivors of the Champlain Towers South collapse had been paused for most of the day because of safety concerns. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Biden meets with families of victims in Surfside: ‘We’re here for you as one nation’New
  • Rescue work resumed in Surfside after hours of concerns that the whole building could fall.
  • In Surfside’s Jewish community, rabbis have an agonizing role to play.
  • Most members of the condo’s board quit in 2019 amid disputes over repair plans.
  • It’s too soon to tell whether a new tropical storm will affect Florida, forecasters say.
  • What happens to the debris when it is removed from the rubble pile?
  • Biden meets with families of victims in Surfside: ‘We’re here for you as one nation’

President Biden on Thursday offered impassioned remarks in a hotel ballroom filled with the families of some of those who died or remain missing under the rubble of a collapsed condominium building, according to White House officials and those in the room.

Mr. Biden’s meeting with the families came as local officials announced a halt in the search for survivors amid concerns about the stability of the part of the building that remains standing.

A video of Mr. Biden posted during the event by one of the family members appeared to show the president talking in somber tones about the grief he felt from the death of his wife and daughter in a car accident that also severely injured his two young boys.

“The waiting, the waiting, is unbearable,” he told the families, many of whom have been waiting for more than a week for word about whether anyone might still be alive under the concrete and steel.

After the meeting, Mr. Biden described the grief and agony he heard from the family members as he spent more than three hours in the ballroom, saying of the people in the room: “They’re going through hell.”

“I sat with one woman who had just lost her husband and her little baby boy, didn’t know what to do,” the president said. “I sat with another family that lost almost the entire family, cousins, brothers, sisters. And to watch them, and they’re praying and pleading and God let there be a miracle.”

Mr. Biden said that many of the family members asked what he called “basic heart-wrenching” questions: Would they be able to recover the bodies of their loved ones so they could bury them? If I don’t get the body back, what do I do?

But at the same time, he said he was surprised by their realism and resilience.

“They know that the chances are, as each day goes by, diminished slightly,” the president told reporters. “But at a minimum, at a minimum, they want to recover the bodies. They want to recover the bodies.”

The president praised emergency workers and local and state officials, saying that the cooperation in the rescue effort was remarkable. Mr. Biden announced that the federal government would pay 100 percent of the first 30 days of the recovery costs.

He said he told the families that “we’re here for you as one nation, as one nation. And that’s the message we communicated.”

A White House official said that during the closed-door session with the families, Mr. Biden walked from table to table to talk with each family seated in the room. The official said that Jill Biden, the first lady, also held individual conversations with family members.

The president was joined by Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Scott, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami Dade County.

The official said that Mr. Biden stayed in the room until everyone who wanted to talk with him had the opportunity.

 

U.S. Afghan Withdrawal

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. military vacates main air base in Afghanistan, underscoring withdrawal expected within days, Dan Lamothe, July 2, 2021. U.S. officials discussed keeping Bagram open longer, as the Taliban continues an offensive, but the Biden administration decided to continue with its withdrawal plan.

The U.S. military has vacated its most significant airfield in Afghanistan, three defense officials said, underscoring that the Pentagon expects to complete its withdrawal from the country within days after 20 years of war.

The departure from Bagram air base, about 45 miles north of Kabul, ends the U.S. military presence at Afghanistan’s most significant airfield. It has long been used to launch strike aircraft against the Taliban and other militant groups, and was once the headquarters for U.S. Special Operations troops in the war.

News of the departure from the airfield was first reported by Fox News.

One of the defense officials said that Army Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, the top U.S. commander for nearly three years, remains in charge and retains the ability to protect U.S. troops if required as the withdrawal continues. Like the other officials, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

ny times logoNew York Times, As Afghan Forces Crumble, an Air of Unreality Grips the Capital, Adam Nossiter, July 2, 2021. With his military crumbling, President Ashraf Ghani, below right, of Afghanistan fired a crucial part of his command structure and brought in a new one. He created a nebulous “supreme state council,” announced months ago, that has hardly met. And as districts fall to the Taliban across the country, he has installed a giant picture of himself outside the airport’s domestic terminal.

On Friday, U.S. officials announced the definitive closure of Bagram Air Base, the nerve center of 20 years of American military operations in Afghanistan, in the functional end of the American war ashraf ghani 2018 croppedhere. As the last troops and equipment trickle out of Afghanistan, an atmosphere of unreality has settled over the government and Kabul, the capital.

Americans have not been a visible presence in the city for years, so the U.S. departure has not affected surface normality: Markets bustle and streets are jammed with homeward-bound civil servants by midafternoon. At night, the corner bakeries continue to be illuminated by a single bulb as vendors sell late into the evening.

But beneath the surface there is unease as the Taliban creep steadily toward Kabul.

“There’s no hope for the future,” said Zubair Ahmad, 23, who runs a grocery store on one of the Khair Khana neighborhood’s main boulevards. “Afghans are leaving the country. I don’t know whether I am going to be safe 10 minutes from now.”

The government passport office has been jam-packed in recent days, filled with a jostling mob, even though visa options for Afghans are severely limited. Some of the humanitarian organizations on which the beleaguered citizenry depend said they would begin limiting the number of expatriate employees kept in the country, anticipating a worsening of the security climate.

The security blanket that the United States provided for two decades haunts the Afghan government’s actions, in-actions and policies, fostering an atrophying of any proactive planning, in the view of some analysts. If there is a plan to counter the Taliban advance, it is not evident as the government’s hold on the countryside shrinks.

Intelligence estimates for the government’s collapse and a Taliban takeover have ranged from six months to two years. Whenever it comes, the outlook is likely to be grim for Mr. Ghani and his circle, as recent Afghan history demonstrates. Several of his predecessors in the country’s top job have met violent ends.

 

Jan. 6 Pro-Trump Insurrection 

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: The Supreme Court Abandons Voting Rights, The Editorial Board, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). The 1965 Voting Rights Act was one of the most important pieces of legislation in American history. By outlawing racial discrimination in voting and imposing federal oversight in states with histories of discriminating, it finally enforced the 15th Amendment and marked the first time the nation could call itself a truly representative democracy. Until the last decade, the law occupied a sacred spot in the American legal system. In 2006, Congress reauthorized the law nearly unanimously.

Since then, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority has been dismantling it, piece by piece.

The latest blow came Thursday, when all six conservative justices voted to uphold two Arizona voting laws despite lower federal courts finding clear evidence that the laws make voting harder for voters of color — whether Black, Latino or Native American. One law requires election officials to throw out ballots that were cast in the wrong precinct; the other bars most people and groups from collecting voters’ absentee ballots and dropping them off at polling places.

Under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bars any law that discriminates on the basis of race, whether intentionally or not, the Arizona laws should have been invalidated. But the conservative justices dismissed the challenge because, they said, only a small number of people were affected. “The mere fact that there is some disparity in impact does not necessarily mean that a system is not equally open or that it does not give everyone an equal opportunity to vote,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in an opinion joined by the other conservatives.

That is a dismissive wave of the hand at precisely the sort of evidence that Congress told voting-rights plaintiffs to present in court. As Justice Elena Kagan pointed out in a dissent longer than the ruling itself, small numbers can make a big difference. In 2020, for example, Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in Arizona by a little over 10,000 votes — fewer than the state threw out based on the out-of-precinct policy in two of the past three presidential elections.

 nancy pelosi nbc sept 26 19 impeachment

washington post logoWashington Post, Pelosi names Cheney to select committee investigating Jan. 6 attack, Felicia Sonmez and Marianna Sotomayor, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). The move to form the committee comes more than one month after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to create an independent, bipartisan commission.

liz cheney oHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (shown above in a file photo) announced Thursday that Rep. Liz Cheney, right, an outspoken critic of former president Donald Trump, will serve on a select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) also tapped Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), left, to chair the 13-member panel and announced her other appointments. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who opposed the committee, has repeatedly declined to say whether he plans to appoint members; at a news conference Thursday morning, he dodged questions on the bennie thompson headshotsubject.

Cheney (R-Wyo.) was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” for the attack that resulted in five deaths , injured some 140 members of law enforcement and was the worst assault on the Capitol in centuries.

The House approved legislation Wednesday establishing the 13-member committee, with all but two Republicans — Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — opposing the measure.

The move to form the committee comes more than one month after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to create an independent, bipartisan commission.

Addressing reporters after the group held its first meeting Thursday afternoon, Thompson said that the lawmakers selected plan to begin by inviting police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 to testify at an initial hearing.

“The select committee is determined to assemble a comprehensive and authoritative report on the events constituting the January 6th insurrection, the relevant causes of the insurrection and policy recommendations necessary to prevent any reoccurrence of this nightmare in the future,” Thompson said. “Although we eagerly await the arrival of our five other colleagues, many of us hope to begin the process with a hearing in which Capitol Police officers themselves could be able to testify about their experiences.”

The House approved legislation Wednesday establishing the 13-member committee, with all but two Republicans — Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — opposing the measure.

The move to form the committee comes more than one month after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to create an independent, bipartisan commission.

Addressing reporters after the group held its first meeting Thursday afternoon, Thompson said that the lawmakers selected plan to begin by inviting police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 to testify at an initial hearing.

“The select committee is determined to assemble a comprehensive and authoritative report on the events constituting the January 6th insurrection, the relevant causes of the insurrection and policy recommendations necessary to prevent any reoccurrence of this nightmare in the future,” Thompson said. “Although we eagerly await the arrival of our five other colleagues, many of us hope to begin the process with a hearing in which Capitol Police officers themselves could be able to testify about their experiences.”

In addition to Thompson and Cheney, Pelosi announced six other appointees to the panel Thursday: Democratic Reps. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.), Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), Pete Aguilar (Calif.), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), Jamie B. Raskin (Md.) and Elaine Luria (Va.).

Schiff and Raskin were the lead impeachment managers during Trump’s first and second impeachment trials, respectively; Lofgren also was an impeachment manager.

Pelosi designed the Jan. 6 select committee to have 13 members, five of whom would be appointed “after consultation with” McCarthy. That means she will maintain the power to overrule any McCarthy pick whom Democrats consider objectionable.

“It was our hope that we could have done this with the bipartisan outside commission,” Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday morning. “Maybe one day that will be possible. … But I’m very proud. And, as I say, decisions are liberating. They enable you to go to the next step. And the next step for us has always been to seek and find the truth.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Nancy Pelosi has backed Kevin McCarthy into a corner, Greg Sargent, July 2, 2021. As the Jan. 6 select committee gears up, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy faces a thorny dilemma. Treating the effort to violently overthrow the U.S. constitutional order as an extremely weighty matter worthy of serious investigation isn’t really an option for the California Republican.

That’s because McCarthy’s party is heavily implicated in that outbreak of mass political violence. Yet disrupting the proceedings or diverting their focus toward some crackpot right-wing media obsession carries its own risks, precisely because the matter is so momentous.

This dilemma is revealed by McCarthy’s deliberations over whether to appoint Republicans to the select committee, which are detailed in a new report from Punchbowl News. His deliberations are highly illuminating about the state of GOP politics today.

Under committee rules, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) must appoint five out of 13 members after “consultation” with McCarthy (giving her veto power), but he isn’t required to exercise this option. Yet Punchbowl reports that he all but certainly will.

Pelosi’s appointment of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is already jamming McCarthy, as Joan Walsh points out. After all, he’s required to criticize Cheney’s appointment — it’s GOP orthodoxy that her insistence on accountability for Donald Trump is unacceptable — which underscores the GOP’s adamant opposition to any real accounting.

But McCarthy’s option to pick Republican appointees could also create a serious predicament for him.

Consider McCarthy’s choices. Punchbowl reports that he might choose Republicans such as Reps. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio). These own-the-libs disrupters would win right-wing media plaudits: Indeed, their very consideration shows the strong pull exerted by the need to satiate that drooling right-wing media beast.

But Stefanik’s star has risen precisely because of her high-profile advocacy of the lie that Trump’s loss was dubious or illegitimate. Jordan, too, went to great lengths to sow doubt about the legitimacy of Trump’s loss.

That lie, of course, was central in inciting the insurrection. Given that the committee is charged with investigating the “causes” of the attack, that lie itself will be a major focus of the committee.

How can Republicans who earned renown due to their willingness to echo that same lie sit on this committee without drawing attention to the Republican Party’s own large role in feeding the pathologies that led to the violence?

Indeed, of all the Republicans that McCarthy may pick — according to Punchbowl — just about every one of them voted against certifying President Biden’s electors, a vote that enshrined that lie, on the very day of the attack. There is no way to appoint these Republicans without highlighting the GOP’s own culpability in creating the conditions leading to that day’s horrors.

washington post logoWashington Post, As prosecutors indict the Trump Organization, Trump indicts himself, Dana Milbank, right, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). As the world waited for the indictment of the Trump Organization to be dana milbank Customunsealed Thursday afternoon, the disgraced former president released a statement just minutes before the arraignment of his chief financial officer.

Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America

Who shot Ashli Babbitt?

How terribly fitting. Just as his company and his top finance guy were about to be charged with 15 counts of fraud, grand larceny, conspiracy and falsifying records, Trump detonated one ashli babbittmore weapon of mass distraction.

In doing so, he also abandoned all pretense about the events of Jan. 6. He was with the insurrectionists then, and he is with them now.

Ashli Babbitt, left, was the rioter who was shot dead by Capitol Police as she broke through the final barrier protecting huddled lawmakers from the violent mob attacking the House of Representatives.

Now, Trump has joined those extremists who cast Babbitt as the victim and the Capitol Police as the villains of that day. Now we know the disgraced former president still stands, remorselessly and unapologetically, with those who attempted the violent overthrow of Congress and of a democratic election.

 

Virus Victims, Responses 

washington post logoWashington Post, India’s death toll tops 400,000 as delta variant gains ground worldwide, Erin Cunningham, July 2, 2021. India’s official coronavirus death toll crossed the 400,000 mark, as the nation continued to grapple with the fallout of a devastating spring surge in cases, an outbreak that was driven in part by the more contagious delta variant now gaining ground in the United States and around the world.

india flag mapAt least 400,312 people have died of the virus in India since the pandemic began, the government said Friday, out of more than 30 million confirmed infections. Experts believe both figures are vast undercounts, as record numbers of patients and deaths overwhelmed the country’s health-care system.

While the outbreak appears to have peaked in India — with 853 deaths recorded over the past 24 hours — the more virulent variant that spurred its spring wave is now seeding new virus clusters from Moscow to Jakarta to rural Missouri.

washington post logoWashington Post, Facing the delta variant wave with few vaccine doses, African countries suffer — and bristle with anger, Lesley Wroughton, Max Bearak, Halima Athumani and Danielle Paquette, July 2, 2021. The variant-driven coronavirus outbreak that public health officials across Africa had warned about for months is underway — and it’s happening without the urgently needed ramping up of the continent’s access to vaccines.

The delta coronavirus variant is driving a sharp increase in infections across each of Africa’s main regions, with only a trickle of vaccination donations coming in from wealthy countries. Major moves to quicken commercial vaccine rollout across the continent have come too late to prevent calamities, officials said.

So far, 41.5 million Africans have received at least one dose and 11.5 million have received two doses.

washington post logoWashington Post, Johnson & Johnson says its coronavirus vaccine is effective against delta variant, Katerina Ang, July 2, 2021. The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine provides effective johnson johnson logoprotection against the delta variant, according to a small study, offering hope to many developing economies facing a summer surge of the highly contagious strand.

Blood samples obtained from eight inoculated people who participated in a laboratory study showed that Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot generated a strong immune response against the delta variant, the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company said. (The results have not been peer reviewed.) Earlier clinical trials had shown the vaccine offered 66 percent protection against symptomatic infection.

washington post logoWashington Post, 181.7 million U.S. vaccinated, as of July 2, 2021, the number of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. This includes more than 156.3 million people (47.1 % of the eligible population) fully vaccinated and 54.7 % with at least one dose. See about your state.

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated July 2, 2021, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than the totals here): 

World Cases: 183,484,950, Deaths: 3,972,783
U.S. Cases:     34,561,403, Deaths:    620,645
India Cases:     30,458,251, Deaths:    400,312
Brazil Cases:   18,622,304, Deaths:    520,189

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs in June as labor market showed renewed strength, Eli Rosenberg, July 2, 2021. The U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs in June as the pace of the recovery surged — quieting simmering fears, at least temporarily, of more lasting harm from labor and supply shortages.

The unemployment rate changed little, ticking up to 5.9 percent from 5.8 percent.

The news is likely to be seen as a good sign for the economy more than one year into the pandemic, after numerous wrinkles have emerged to complicate a labor recovery many hoped would be faster at this level of vaccinations.

Employment surged in the leisure and hospitality sector, with 343,000 jobs added, more than half of that in restaurants and bars. Hotels and other accommodations, as well as arts, entertainment and recreation entities, both added about 75,000 jobs.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Only the Incompetent Need Apply, Paul Krugman, right, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). On the right, expertise isn’t just considered paul krugmanworthless, it’s viewed as disqualifying. People with actual knowledge of a policy area — certainly those with any kind of professional reputation — are often excluded from any role in shaping policy. Preference is given to the incompetent — often the luridly incompetent.

I’m currently reading “Nightmare Scenario,” an account by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta of the Trump administration’s catastrophic mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. Much of what they report falls into the category of “shocking but not surprising.” One thing I didn’t know about, however, was the special destructive role played by Stephen Moore, an outside economic adviser.

It was Moore, the authors report, who walked into Donald Trump’s office just days after America went into lockdown to urge reopening by Easter. While an immediate lifting of pandemic restrictions didn’t happen, Trump’s growing insistence that the pandemic was no big deal helped inspire armed protests against social distancing and mask-wearing, and it contributed to a public health disaster that has so far claimed 600,000 American lives — with 95 percent of the deaths happening after Easter 2020.

It goes without saying that Moore isn’t an expert on epidemiology. But he isn’t an expert on economics, either. In fact, he has a reputation among many economists for being wrong about almost everything.

Yet in right-wing circles Moore has failed steadily upward, serving as a member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, becoming chief economist at the Heritage Foundation, and more. Trump tried to appoint him to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and might have succeeded if Moore hadn’t been found in contempt of court for failure to pay alimony and child support.

And there he was, at a crucial moment in the pandemic, urging Trump to downplay the medical emergency and endanger American lives.

So how did we end up here? How did one of our two major political parties come not only to reject democracy, but to exalt ignorance and despise competence of any kind?

I don’t know, but if you aren’t terrified, you aren’t paying attention.

 

U.S. Elections, Politics, Elections 

washington post logoWashington Post, The Roberts court systematically dismantles the Voting Rights Act, Editorial Board, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). At times, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., below right, has labored to maintain the Supreme Court’s legitimacy against the gale-force pressures of partisan acrimony and social division. When it comes to voting rights, he has pushed in the opposite direction, presiding over the court’s systematic dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, overriding Congress’s clear intentions and gravely injuring U.S. democracy.

The first major blow came in 2013, when the court eviscerated the act’s Section 5, which required states with a history of racial discrimination to preclear changes to voting rules with the Justice Department. The decision left in place a backstop, Section 2, which allows legal challenges to discriminatory election rules after they have been enacted. On Thursday, the Roberts court sharply limited that provision as well.

john roberts oThe court upheld two Arizona election rules the Democratic National Committee claimed discourage minority voting. The legitimacy of Arizona’s policies could be debated, and the court could have struck them down without indulging in dangerous overreach. But in its reasoning and guidance for future cases, the six justices in the majority, including the chief, flashed a green light to state lawmakers eager to erect new barriers to voting.

The majority imposed stipulations on applying Section 2 that “all cut in one direction — toward limiting liability for race-based voting inequalities,” Justice Elena Kagan pointed out in a dissent. This new list of restrictions, Justice Kagan continued, “stacks the deck against minority citizens’ voting rights. Never mind that Congress drafted a statute to protect those rights.”

The majority invites states to argue that unnecessarily strict voting rules impose no more than mild burdens on casting ballots, despite the fact that the Voting Rights Act was meant to eliminate obvious as well as subtle forms of voting discrimination. What may appear to be mere inconveniences or seemingly race-neutral rules can in practice reduce minority voting. Some of that is fine, the court said. While admitting that one of the Arizona laws in question disproportionately affects Black, Latino and Native American voters, the majority declared that the difference was too small to matter. Yet elections are often decided by fractions of percentage points, and every vote should be seen as precious.

The court also encouraged states to argue that worries about fraud and voting integrity justify new burdens on the right to vote — though there is little or no evidence that the fraud state leaders claim they are fighting actually occurs. From the nation’s Jim Crow past to its voter-suppression present, states have claimed that they merely want to ensure ballot integrity as they impose voting restrictions that disproportionately burden minority voters. The Supreme Court lent legitimacy to their search for pretext.

  • Washington Post, Opinion: Democrats will have to find new ways to defend voting rights. Here’s one, Greg Sargent

washington post logoWashington Post, Ballots and voting equipment are moved again as review of 2020 election drags on in Arizona’s Maricopa County, Rosalind S. Helderman, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). It is not clear when the process, once expected to conclude by the end of May, will now be finished.

Nearly 2.1 million ballots and hundreds of tabulating machines at the center of a controversial Republican-commissioned review of the 2020 election in Arizona were packed up in trucks Thursday and moved — again.

It was the fourth time the ballots and machines used in Arizona’s Maricopa County have been moved since April, when the state’s GOP Senate first obtained them using a legislative subpoena for a review that many local officials have decried as a “circus.”

And it was the latest indication that the process — conducted by a private firm called Cyber Ninjas and once estimated to probably conclude by the end of May — has dragged on longer than organizers had hoped, adding to concerns that the ballots and equipment were in jeopardy of being damaged.

The latest change of venue, to a 19,000-square-foot exhibit hall at a Phoenix-area fairgrounds, was necessary because the former basketball arena that has been home to much of the process has been rented out next week for a gun show. Ballots had been packed up previously to make way for high school graduations scheduled for the arena.

The delay will probably ensure that tensions over the partisan process continue to percolate, as supporters of former president Donald Trump push for similar reviews to be launched around the country as they seek to spread the falsehood that Trump’s defeat in Arizona and other key states was the result of fraud.

“Calling what has happened under the Senate contractor in the Coliseum an ‘audit’ insults the voters’ intelligence and fuels the imaginations of those who wish to tear our democracy apart,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers, a Republican who has opposed the process, in a statement Wednesday.

A spokesman for the audit told a reporter for the Arizona Republic that there was “a little more work to do,” necessitating the move. He said organizers are also contemplating further legal action to force the county to turn over computer routers and passwords they believe are necessary to fully complete their processes.Advertisement

Audit spokesman Ken Bennett told The Washington Post work is now expected to take a week or two longer to complete — on Thursday the Senate signed a contract for space on the fairgrounds through July 14. He has previously said a final report of findings is not expected until August at the earliest but did not update that timeline this week.

 

Heat Wave, Climate Change

washington post logoWashington Post, Historic heat wave in Pacific Northwest has killed hundreds in U.S. and Canada over the past week, Timothy Bella, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). Hundreds of people have died in a historic heat wave in the Pacific Northwest that has caused record-shattering temperatures in British Columbia, Oregon and Washington over the past week.

Authorities in the region are investigating the recent deaths, but have indicated that they are the result of a heat dome that has trapped hot air in the normally temperate area of Canada and the United States and caused thousands of emergency calls and hospital visits. Scientists and public officials have attributed the historic heat wave to climate change and the worst drought in modern history.

British Columbia has reported at least 486 “sudden and unexpected deaths” between Friday and Wednesday, chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said. The figure is hundreds more than the number of Canadians who usually die over a five-day period, she told the Associated Press.

Ninety-eight of the deaths happened in Vancouver, where two-thirds of the victims were 70 or older, police said on Twitter. Vancouver authorities noted that many of the region’s homes, as with many houses in the Pacific Northwest, do not have air-conditioning, which has left residents vulnerable to the heat.

In Oregon, 63 people have died since Friday, said the state medical examiner’s office, with police noting that a preliminary investigation suggested that the deaths “may be associated with the Pacific Northwest heat wave.” Temperatures in the state topped out at 117 this week.

washington post logoWashington Post, Wildfire engulfs village that set Canada’s all-time heat record, Jason Samenow, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). Lytton, which saw 121 degrees Tuesday, was in flames Wednesday night as massive blazes erupted in British Columbia, One day after it set Canada’s all-time heat record, a British Columbia village was devoured by flames.

A fast-moving wildfire roared over the village of Lytton on Wednesday evening, which shocked climate scientists when temperature there surged to 121 degrees on Tuesday, breaking Canada’s national heat record for a third straight day.

The blaze was a sobering symbol of a hellscape in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, where hundreds have died and wildfires are erupting as temperatures climb to astonishing heights. One location in Canada’s Northwest Territories, hit 103 degrees Wednesday, the highest temperature observed so far north.

‘Our poor little town of Lytton is gone’: Village at center of Canada’s heat wave devastated by ‘catastrophic’ fires

The Lytton blaze prompted a mandatory evacuation order at 6 p.m. local time for the village of 250 people about 150 miles northeast of Vancouver. “The fire, it took maybe 15 minutes to engulf the whole town,” Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman told NEWS 1130, a news radio station in Vancouver. “People, basically they just grabbed their keys, and ran out the door. That’s how quick the fire happened.”

 

U.S. Legal Probes, Courts 

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The NFL’s investigation was just like Daniel Snyder’s workplace culture: Rotten, Sally Jenkins, July 2, 2021 (print ed.).The NFL wraps up a six-month probe into the team’s toxic culture and discloses virtually none of its findings and offers no blame. Nothing to see here.

The so-called investigative report on the nasty skirt-clutching culture inside the Washington Football Team has vanished like invisible ink. And somehow the NFL thinks it can make it all right by nfl logohanding Tanya Snyder the mop and broom. Great. That’s the perfect NFL solution, isn’t it? Just to turn to the wife and say: “Here. You clean it up.”

Nothing against Mrs. Snyder — who is sure to do a far more professional job overseeing the business operation of the Washington Football Team than the twerp who has run it like a beer-slopping stag party these past 20-some years. But what do they take us for, really? As you read the NFL’s statement on its months-long investigation of Daniel Snyder’s cesspool of an office, you can almost feel Commissioner Roger Goodell and his legal eagles admiring their soft-shoe work as they step around the sleaze puddles.

Not a single allegation against Snyder himself was addressed. No written report will be issued. And no one is truly penalized. Except, of course, the women who were peeping-Tommed and pimped to sponsors. The perps? Some of them, such as Larry Michael, got to retire. The main culprit was allowed to profess ignorance from the distance of a superyacht and pay a $10 million fine that amounts to slot machine money for him.

dan snyder redskins com“I have learned a lot in the last few months about how my club operated,” said the sneeringly disingenuous Snyder, who was alleged to have committed an act of sexual misconduct beth wilkinsonagainst an employee on a team plane, for which the team reached a $1.6 million settlement.

The NFL’s 29-paragraph statement goes on interminably without disclosing a single germane fact or finding. Independent counsel Beth Wilkinson — what has she been doing over the past year? There is nothing on paper, there is no evidence, and there are no conclusions. The NFL’s account of her report is like a spirograph in which everything circles into a single invisible point.

“Wilkinson was not specifically tasked with confirming or rejecting any particular allegation of inappropriate conduct,” the league wrote blithely in the opening of a statement that seeks to conclude the whole matter without coming to a single conclusion.

It turns out that Wilkinson’s job was to conduct an investigation in which nothing was to be specifically investigated. No conclusions were to be reached about any allegations that she was charged with investigating, because it was not her job to determine whether any “particular allegation of inappropriate conduct” was true. It was not her job to investigate, as it turned out, any actual people.

“Beth wasn’t tasked with making recommendations about what should be done in terms of accountability by any individual person,” said Lisa Friel, the NFL’s special counsel for investigations.

Snyder’s vicious litigiousness is legendary, and his long campaign of legal intimidation over the course of the year, from private investigators contacting women to a blizzard of legal filings, appears to have worked. It scared Goodell and the league lawyers into this ludicrous soft-shoe performance. 

You will never know any specifics, never know the full truth. There will never be any assessment of personal responsibility.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump seeks to use indictments as a political rallying cry as he tries to survive latest legal threat, Josh Dawsey, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). Former president Donald Trump weathered past political storms by fighting back with the power and staff of the White House behind him, as well as his Twitter account. Those resources are now gone.

Former president Donald Trump turned to a familiar playbook Thursday, attacking New York prosecutors who charged his company and chief financial officer with a raft of financial crimes by calling their charges politically motivated and an overreach designed to target him and his supporters.

Trump, who has battled through decades of criminal investigations, bankruptcies and scandals, immediately used some of the same phraseology he employed during investigations into his conduct in the 2016 campaign and while he served as president.

“The political Witch Hunt by the Radical Left Democrats, with New York now taking over the assignment, continues. It is dividing our Country like never before!” he said in a statement minutes after the indictments were unsealed. “Do people see the Radical Left prosecutors, and what they are trying to do to 75M+++ Voters and Patriots, for what it is?”

Trump Organization and CFO arraigned on multiple criminal charges

Whether charges that his company evaded taxes by hiding payments to employees will do any political damage to Trump is unclear as he teases another presidential run in 2024 and looks to play a starring role in the 2022 midterm elections. He has retained the strong support of the Republican Party through a series of potentially damaging episodes, including bragging of sexual assault on tape, being impeached twice and spreading falsehoods about the 2020 election that served as fuel for the mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump, fighting to toss out subpoena, offered to give House Financial Statements, Spencer S. Hsu, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). Democrats a peek at financial statements, The disclosure of the offer, made in late June in unsuccessful court-ordered mediation, came as the former president urged a federal judge to toss out a 2019 House subpoena for eight years of his financial records.

washington post logoWashington Post, Federal executions halted as Justice Dept. reviews Trump-era policies, Devlin Barrett and Amy B Wang1 hour ago, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). Attorney General Merrick Garland has ordered a review of whether the drug approved for federal executions, pentobarbital, poses risks of pain and suffering. His review also will examine a decision made late last year to allow other methods of execution, including electrocution and firing squad.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘This can’t be true’: Bill Cosby’s accusers tell of their reactions when they heard of his sudden release from prison, Manuel Roig-Franzia, July 2, 2021. Sexual assault survivors on Cosby’s release: ‘It makes you feel hopeless.’

The “Sister Survivors,” as many of the dozens of women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault or harassment call themselves, received the news of the legendary comic’s release from a Pennsylvania prison in a cyclone of tears and pain.

They were sprinkled across the globe when they heard, a testament to the far-reaching scope of a decades-long saga of frustration for the accusers. The news came without warning, clattering down on them just weeks after Cosby had been denied parole, in part for refusing to participate in a sex offender treatment program.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Don’t be fooled: This is not a moderate Supreme Court, Leah Litman and Melissa Murray, July 2, 2021. Leah Litman is an assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School. Melissa Murray is a professor of law at the New York University School of Law. They co-host the “Strict Scrutiny” podcast.

This Supreme Court term was significant mostly because of what the court did not do: The newly constituted 6-3 conservative supermajority did not use every case to openly and dramatically move the law rightward. Rather, in several important cases — including those involving the fate of the Affordable Care Act and the tension between religious liberty and gay rights — the court managed to resolve matters on seemingly narrow grounds and with broad majorities that transcended ideological differences.

But to call this term a model of judicial restraint — or even nonpartisanship — would be misleading. This is not a moderate or apolitical court. It is a reliably conservative court that, on occasion, chooses to act incrementally.Advertisement

Characterizing this term as moderate would also overlook the profound impact of the court’s final two decisions, a pair of 6-to-3 rulings — one that hobbled what remains of the Voting Rights Act and another that lays a foundation for a seismic shift in campaign finance rules.

In some cases where there was cross-ideological agreement, the court achieved that result by deciding very little. In its 8-to-1 ruling on the case of the cheerleader disciplined for vulgar speech, the court declined to impose a broad rule letting schools regulate students’ off-campus speech in all circumstances. But meaningfully, the court did not say off-campus speech was never subject to oversight by school authorities. As its reasoning suggests, cross-ideological agreement is possible, as long as you agree to not say very much.

Technical legal doctrines also gave the court a way to appear less ideological. In the Affordable Care Act case, the court, voting 7 to 2, turned aside a third challenge to the law on the narrow grounds that the states and private parties challenging the law didn’t have standing to sue because they couldn’t show they were injured by the unenforceable requirement to obtain insurance.

washington post logoWashington Post, A ‘dark-side coupon group’ scammed stores out of millions, police say, Jaclyn Peiser, July 2, 2021. Over 80 people identified in illegal coupon ring, police say. Pampers diapers. Crest toothpaste. Iams dog food. Clorox wipes. The household products are just a small sampling of the $40,000 worth of items Houston-area police seized from an alleged group of coupon fraudsters.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has arrested and charged three people with theft and connected a total of 87 individuals spanning 23 states to the alleged scheme, law enforcement announced in a Tuesday news conference. The group cheated stores out of millions of dollars, police said. The sheriff’s office is now working with the FBI and expected to find more conspirators.

Police raided four printing locations, filling a truck with 4,000 items worth $40,000. Authorities told Patch.com that stores lost almost $10 million in connection with the scheme and that they expect to uncover another $10 million as the investigation continues.

 

Florida Condo Collapse

washington post logoWashington Post, Condo Collapse Update: Search resumes after early-morning halt over ‘structural concerns,’ officials say, Paulina Firozi, Lateshia Beachum, Reis Thebault and Hannah Knowles, July 2, 2021 (print ed.).  Search of condo collapse site resumes after more than 15 hours of delay; $48 million in insurance for condo building ‘will obviously be inadequate,’ judge says.

Search and rescue work has resumed at the collapsed condominium in Surfside, Fla., officials said Thursday evening, after “structural concerns” about the still-standing part of Champlain Towers South brought urgent efforts to a halt early in the morning.

Authorities are moving ahead with plans to demolish the standing building, said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava at a news conference, after engineers found that search efforts could go on safely. As of Thursday night, 145 are missing and at least 18 people are dead, with 17 identified.

 

Inside DC

 

dan snyder redskins com

washington post logoWashington Post, NFL fines Washington Football Team $10 million after investigation; Daniel Snyder’s wife, Tanya, to run operations for now, Will Hobson, Liz Clarke, Beth Reinhard and Mark Maske, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). The investigation happened in the wake of multiple Washington Post reports detailing former employees’ allegations of sexual harassment.

The NFL has fined the Washington Football Team $10 million for fostering a workplace culture where sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation was commonplace throughout most of Daniel Snyder’s ownership, the league announced Thursday, but declined to release a detailed investigative report or address any allegations levied by former employees against Snyder.

nfl logo“The culture of the club was very toxic and fell far short of the NFL’s values,” said Lisa Friel, the league’s special counsel for investigations, during a conference call with reporters.

The NFL did not suspend Snyder (shown above) but said that his wife Tanya, named the team’s co-CEO earlier this week, will assume responsibilities for all day-to-day team operations and represent the team at all league meetings and other league activities for at least the next several months. There was little to no sentiment among other owners throughout the process to force Snyder to sell the franchise, people familiar with the situation have said.

beth wilkinsonThe fine was the outcome of a lengthy league investigation overseen by prominent D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson, left. Snyder also will pay Wilkinson’s legal fees, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The NFL will not release any detailed findings from Wilkinson’s investigation beyond a news release, Friel said. In a contrast from previous league investigations, the NFL did not request any written report from Wilkinson, but instead heard her findings orally, Friel said, “due to the sensitivity of the allegations.”

The team will pay the $10 million to support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics, the NFL said. The Snyders agreed to implement 10 recommendations made by Wilkinson related to training, diversity, reporting of workplace misconduct and other issues, the league said.

“Over the past 18 months, Dan and Tanya have recognized the need for change and have undertaken important steps to make the workplace comfortable and dignified for all employees, and those changes, if sustained and built upon, should allow the club to achieve its goal of having a truly first-tier workplace,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement. “I truly appreciate their commitment to fully implement each of the below ten recommendations, but the league also must ensure accountability for past deficiencies and for living up to current and future commitments.”

Snyder, in a statement, apologized to former employees who endured harassment and abuse.

“I feel great remorse for the people who had difficult, even traumatic, experiences while working here. I’m truly sorry for that. I can’t turn back the clock, but I promise that nobody who works here will ever have that kind of experience again, at least not as long as Tanya and I are the owners of this team,” Snyder said.

The $10 million fine is among the harshest penalties the league has assessed a team, but the failure to punish Snyder directly or release any detailed findings drew harsh criticism from Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, attorneys representing more than 40 former team employees.

“In response to a year-long investigation in which more than 100 witnesses were interviewed, and which we believe substantiated our clients’ allegations of pervasive harassment, misogyny and abuse at the Washington Football Team, the NFL has chosen to protect owner Dan Snyder,” Banks and Katz said in a statement. “This is truly outrageous, and is a slap in the face to the hundreds of women and former employees who came forward in good faith and at great personal risk to report a culture of abuse at all levels of the Team, including by Snyder himself.”

Wilkinson, a former federal prosecutor and partner in the D.C.-based firm Wilkinson Stekloff, began her work last July, after a Washington Post report detailed allegations of pervasive sexual harassment levied by 15 former female employees and two journalists covering the team. Those allegations were ignored, and in some cases condoned, by top club executives, The Post reported.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. deficit will hit $3 trillion, one of the biggest imbalances ever, then drop quickly, CBO says, Jeff Stein, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). The Congressional Budget Office projects $6.8 trillion in spending versus $3.8 trillion in revenue this year, a reflection of the government spending blitz to shore up the economy during the pandemic.

The federal deficit will hit $3 trillion in 2021 for the second consecutive year, primarily because of the national spending blitz in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday.

CBOThe deficit represents a slight decrease from last year but is triple that of 2019, and amounts to one of the biggest imbalances between federal spending and revenue in American history, the nonpartisan budget office said. But the CBO also projected faster-than-expected economic growth, with unemployment falling more sharply than previously predicted — a shift cheered by administration officials.

In 2021, the federal government is projected to spend $6.8 trillion — higher than even last year’s total — while collecting about $3.8 trillion in revenue. Although spending is elevated from last year, the United States will take in more revenue as the pandemic fades and consumers resume normal activities — which is why the overall deficit will shrink modestly.

President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus, passed in March, accounts for much of this year’s spending imbalance. But that measure is temporary and will soon expire. The CBO projects the deficit will fall to $1.2 trillion in 2022 before dropping to $800 billion in 2023 and 2024 as pandemic relief measures fade. However, the budget office projects that the deficit will again begin to widen in 2025 and grow steadily for the rest of the decade, approaching close to $2 trillion by 2031.

washington post logoWashington Post, House votes largely along party lines to create select committee to investigate Jan. 6 attack on U.S. Capitol, Karoun Demirjian, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). Most Republicans voted against the proposal, arguing it would establish a partisan investigation. Democrats said the panel is needed to fully investigate the attack.

The House voted Wednesday to form a select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, with nearly all Republicans opposing the legislation — a sign of the political challenges that face Democrats as they attempt to probe why thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters swarmed the building and tried to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

The 220-to-190 nearly party-line vote stands in contrast to a vote in May, when 35 House Republicans joined Democrats to back the creation of an independent commission to examine the root causes of the attack. While that group of House Republicans was willing to embrace an outside panel of experts evenly weighted between GOP and Democratic appointees, most were wary of a select committee that would be firmly in the control of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked participants.

Pelosi, who has described the select committee as her second choice to the independent panel modeled on the 9/11 commission that Senate Republicans blocked last month, defended its creation as necessary.

 

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, 130 countries sign on to global minimum tax plan, creating momentum for Biden push to crack down on tax avoidance, David J. Lynch, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). The White House believes countries need to move together to prevent firms from taking advantage of weak tax rules.

President Biden on Thursday celebrated a victory in his drive to make corporations pay a larger share of the cost of government, as 130 countries endorsed a blueprint for a global minimum tax on giant businesses and pledged to work for final approval by the end of October.

The agreement announced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris showcased the president’s preference for patient diplomacy rather than the unilateral moves favored by his predecessor.

Potentially the most significant change in global tax rules in 100 years, the accord is designed to stop countries from competing to lure corporations by offering lower tax rates and to help governments fund their operations at a time of soaring pandemic-related expenses. Biden administration officials also describe the tax plan as a partial remedy for the offshoring of manufacturing jobs that have hollowed out American factory towns and fueled populist resentments.

The president called the deal an example of the “foreign policy for the middle class” that he had promised to deliver, though Republicans were quick to object, and numerous details remain for negotiators to resolve.

washington post logoWashington Post, Most rapists in Britain walk free. Survivors describe what needs to change, Karla Adam, July 2, 2021 (print ed.). Britain’s recent record on rape prosecutions and convictions is embarrassing to the level of warranting an official apology. Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently told Parliament that he was “sorry for the trauma” rape victims have endured as a result of the “inadequacies” of the criminal justice system.

United Kingdom flagVictims, who are mostly women, have complained that investigations are unnecessarily arduous — they are made to hand over their phones and their medical records, their credibility is questioned, their personal history is pored over. Many say they feel as though the investigation is all about them, as opposed to the offender they are reporting. Last year, 43 percent of victims dropped their case.

In the year ending March 2020, 55,259 rapes were reported to police. In that same time period, there were 2,102 prosecutions for rape resulting in 1,439 convictions — the lowest on record.

 

July 1

Top Headlines

 

Jan. 6 Pro-Trump Insurrection 

 

Virus Victims, Responses

 

U.S. Governance, Politics, Elections

 

Heat Wave, Climate Change

 

More on U.S. Courts, Law

 

Inside DC

 

Education, Civil Rights, Media News

 

Florida Condo Collapse 

 

World News

 

Top Stories 

cy vance resized djt

 ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Organization Is Charged in 15-Year Tax Scheme, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum and Jonah E. Bromwich, July 1, 2021. C.F.O. Accused of Avoiding Taxes on $1.7 Million in Income; Allen Weisselberg, former President Trump’s long-serving and trusted chief financial officer, faced grand larceny and other charges.

The Trump Organization, the real estate business that catapulted Donald J. Trump to tabloid fame, television riches and ultimately the White House, was charged Thursday with fraud and tax crimes in connection with what prosecutors said was a 15-year-long scheme to compensate a top executive off the books.

allen weisselberg croppedThe Manhattan district attorney’s office, which has been conducting the investigation, also accused the executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, right, Mr. Trump’s long-serving and trusted chief financial officer, of avoiding taxes on $1.7 million in income. He faced grand larceny, tax fraud and other charges.

The charges were revealed at an arraignment in State Supreme Court in Manhattan for the Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg. More details about the allegations were set to be laid out in an indictment to be unsealed after the court proceeding.

“To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme,” said Carey Dunne, general counsel for the Manhattan district attorney.

The charges against the Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg — whom Mr. Trump once praised for doing “whatever was necessary to protect the bottom line” — ushered in a new phase of the district attorney’s sweeping inquiry into the business practices of Mr. Trump and his company.

As part of that inquiry, the prosecutors in the office of the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.,, shown above at right, had been examining whether Mr. Weisselberg failed to pay taxes on valuable benefits he and his family received from Mr. Trump, including private school tuition for at least one of his grandchildren, free apartments and leased cars.

The prosecutors, who are also working with lawyers from the office of the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, have also investigated whether the Trump Organization failed to pay payroll taxes on what should have been taxable income.

Mr. Weisselberg pleaded not guilty. “He will fight these charges in court,” his lawyers, Mary E. Mulligan and Bryan C. Skarlatos, said in a statement before the arraignment.

The Trump Organization also issued a statement, saying Mr. Weisselberg was being used as a “pawn in a scorched-earth attempt to harm the former president.” The charges ushered in an aggressive new phase of a sweeping inquiry into the business practices of Mr. Trump and his company.

ny times logoNew York Times, Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Voting Restrictions, Adam Liptak, July 1, 2021. The court’s 6-3 ruling, a test of what remains of the Voting Rights Act, signals that challenges to state laws making it harder to vote may not be successful.

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld voting restrictions in Arizona and signaled that challenges to new state laws making it harder to vote would face a hostile reception from a majority of the justices.

The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent.

The decision was the court’s first consideration of how a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 applies to voting restrictions that have a disproportionate impact on members of minority groups, and it was issued as disputes over voting rights have taken center stage in American politics.

As Republican-controlled state legislatures increasingly seek to impose restrictive new voting rules, Democrats and civil rights groups have turned to the courts to argue that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote, thwart the will of the majority and deny equal access to voters of color. The Arizona decision suggested that the Supreme Court would not be inclined to overturn many of the state measures.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said courts should strike down voting restrictions only when they impose substantial burdens on minority voters that effectively block their ability to vote.

“Where a state provides multiple ways to vote,” he wrote, “any burden imposed on voters who choose one of the available options cannot be evaluated without also taking into account the other available means.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Democrats Brace for a Narrower Path to Challenge New Voting Laws, Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein, July 1, 2021. Conservative groups challenged the state’s disclosure requirements, saying they could lead to harassment.

Voting rights activists, on the defensive this year in the face of a wave of restrictive new voting laws, grappled on Thursday with new guidance from the Supreme Court signaling that the challenge will be even steeper now for opposing these laws in court.

The 6-to-3 ruling established a series of “guideposts” for what could potentially constitute a violation under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, appearing to limit one of the few paths Democrats and activists have for mounting legal challenges to new measures currently being proposed and passed in Republican-controlled states.

“This decision overly constricts how we view evidence in our Section 2 cases, and that’s going to make it harder — not unwinnable — but harder,” said Allison Riggs, a senior lawyer at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the rights of people of color.

There are other legal avenues to challenge restrictive voting laws besides the Voting Rights Act, including under the First, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. But the act has been paramount in helping to rein in laws that could disproportionately affect communities of color, and the decision could threaten some of the legal strategies that voting rights groups and election lawyers have been drafting to challenge some of the new laws.

But voting rights experts noted that the court’s decision on Thursday did not invalidate or significantly hollow out Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. “I do think the test will work to stop a lot of discriminatory electoral practices,” said Chad Dunn, the co-founder of the Voting Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a longtime voting rights lawyer. “And that part is good news.”

President Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” in the court’s ruling and urged Congress to “restore the Voting Rights Act to its intended strength.”

At least three major cases involving Section 2 claims are in the federal court system, according to a database of election litigation maintained by Ohio State University. One of the cases is a lawsuit that the Justice Department filed last week against Georgia, arguing that the state’s new omnibus voting law, S.B. 202, is racially discriminatory in both its intent and its impact.

ny times logoNew York Times, Supreme Court Backs Donor Privacy for California Charities, Adam Liptak, July 1, 2021. The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that California may not require charities soliciting contributions in the state to report the identities of their major donors.

The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, rejected the state’s requirement, saying it violated the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of association.

“California casts a dragnet for sensitive donor information from tens of thousands of charities each year,” he wrote, “even though that information will become relevant in only a small number of cases.”

The decision concerned charitable donations but its logic was sweeping, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in dissent, suggesting that it could erode disclosure laws concerning political campaigns, too.

“Today’s analysis marks reporting and disclosure requirements with a bull’s-eye,” she wrote. “Regulated entities who wish to avoid their obligations can do so by vaguely waving toward First Amendment ‘privacy concerns.’”

California’s disclosure requirement was challenged by Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a group affiliated with the Koch family, and the Thomas More Law Center, a conservative Christian public-interest law firm. They said it chilled the groups’ ability to raise money and subjected donors to possible harassment.

The disputed measure required charities to file with the state a copy of their Internal Revenue Service Form 990, including its Schedule B, which identifies major donors.

A federal trial judge in California blocked the requirement, rejecting the state’s argument that it used the forms to investigate charitable misconduct. The judge found that investigations or audits based on the forms were rare and that the information in question could be obtained in other ways, notably by using subpoenas.

The judge also found that California had promised to keep the forms secret but had not always done so. According to court papers, the challengers discovered in 2015 that the state had displayed about 1,800 forms on its website. State officials said that the disclosures were inadvertent and promptly corrected and that the state had imposed new security measures.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, reversed the trial judge’s ruling, saying that the filing requirement promoted investigative efficiency and that the security breaches had been addressed.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the court has long protected the right of free association guaranteed by the First Amendment, notably in a 1958 decision shielding the membership list N.A.A.C.P.’s Alabama office from state officials there.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Biden Meets With Families and Rescue Work Resumes at Florida Condo, Michael D. Shear, Sophie Kasakove and Emily Cochrane, July 1, 2021. The search for survivors of the Champlain Towers South collapse had been paused for most of the day because of safety concerns. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Biden meets with families of victims in Surfside: ‘We’re here for you as one nation’New
  • Rescue work resumed in Surfside after hours of concerns that the whole building could fall.
  • In Surfside’s Jewish community, rabbis have an agonizing role to play.
  • Most members of the condo’s board quit in 2019 amid disputes over repair plans.
  • It’s too soon to tell whether a new tropical storm will affect Florida, forecasters say.
  • What happens to the debris when it is removed from the rubble pile?
  • Biden meets with families of victims in Surfside: ‘We’re here for you as one nation’

President Biden on Thursday offered impassioned remarks in a hotel ballroom filled with the families of some of those who died or remain missing under the rubble of a collapsed condominium building, according to White House officials and those in the room.

Mr. Biden’s meeting with the families came as local officials announced a halt in the search for survivors amid concerns about the stability of the part of the building that remains standing.

A video of Mr. Biden posted during the event by one of the family members appeared to show the president talking in somber tones about the grief he felt from the death of his wife and daughter in a car accident that also severely injured his two young boys.

“The waiting, the waiting, is unbearable,” he told the families, many of whom have been waiting for more than a week for word about whether anyone might still be alive under the concrete and steel.

After the meeting, Mr. Biden described the grief and agony he heard from the family members as he spent more than three hours in the ballroom, saying of the people in the room: “They’re going through hell.”

“I sat with one woman who had just lost her husband and her little baby boy, didn’t know what to do,” the president said. “I sat with another family that lost almost the entire family, cousins, brothers, sisters. And to watch them, and they’re praying and pleading and God let there be a miracle.”

Mr. Biden said that many of the family members asked what he called “basic heart-wrenching” questions: Would they be able to recover the bodies of their loved ones so they could bury them? If I don’t get the body back, what do I do?

But at the same time, he said he was surprised by their realism and resilience.

“They know that the chances are, as each day goes by, diminished slightly,” the president told reporters. “But at a minimum, at a minimum, they want to recover the bodies. They want to recover the bodies.”

The president praised emergency workers and local and state officials, saying that the cooperation in the rescue effort was remarkable. Mr. Biden announced that the federal government would pay 100 percent of the first 30 days of the recovery costs.

He said he told the families that “we’re here for you as one nation, as one nation. And that’s the message we communicated.”

A White House official said that during the closed-door session with the families, Mr. Biden walked from table to table to talk with each family seated in the room. The official said that Jill Biden, the first lady, also held individual conversations with family members.

The president was joined by Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Scott, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami Dade County.

The official said that Mr. Biden stayed in the room until everyone who wanted to talk with him had the opportunity.

 

Jan. 6 Pro-Trump Insurrection 

 nancy pelosi nbc sept 26 19 impeachment

washington post logoWashington Post, Pelosi names Cheney to select committee investigating Jan. 6 attack, Felicia Sonmez and Marianna Sotomayor, July 1, 2021. The move to form the committee comes more than one month after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to create an independent, bipartisan commission.

liz cheney oHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (shown above in a file photo) announced Thursday that Rep. Liz Cheney, right, an outspoken critic of former president Donald Trump, will serve on a select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) also tapped Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), left, to chair the 13-member panel and announced her other appointments. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who opposed the committee, has repeatedly declined to say whether he plans to appoint members; at a news conference Thursday morning, he dodged questions on the bennie thompson headshotsubject.

Cheney (R-Wyo.) was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” for the attack that resulted in five deaths , injured some 140 members of law enforcement and was the worst assault on the Capitol in centuries.

The House approved legislation Wednesday establishing the 13-member committee, with all but two Republicans — Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — opposing the measure.

The move to form the committee comes more than one month after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to create an independent, bipartisan commission.

Addressing reporters after the group held its first meeting Thursday afternoon, Thompson said that the lawmakers selected plan to begin by inviting police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 to testify at an initial hearing.

“The select committee is determined to assemble a comprehensive and authoritative report on the events constituting the January 6th insurrection, the relevant causes of the insurrection and policy recommendations necessary to prevent any reoccurrence of this nightmare in the future,” Thompson said. “Although we eagerly await the arrival of our five other colleagues, many of us hope to begin the process with a hearing in which Capitol Police officers themselves could be able to testify about their experiences.”

The House approved legislation Wednesday establishing the 13-member committee, with all but two Republicans — Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — opposing the measure.

The move to form the committee comes more than one month after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to create an independent, bipartisan commission.

Addressing reporters after the group held its first meeting Thursday afternoon, Thompson said that the lawmakers selected plan to begin by inviting police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 to testify at an initial hearing.

“The select committee is determined to assemble a comprehensive and authoritative report on the events constituting the January 6th insurrection, the relevant causes of the insurrection and policy recommendations necessary to prevent any reoccurrence of this nightmare in the future,” Thompson said. “Although we eagerly await the arrival of our five other colleagues, many of us hope to begin the process with a hearing in which Capitol Police officers themselves could be able to testify about their experiences.”

In addition to Thompson and Cheney, Pelosi announced six other appointees to the panel Thursday: Democratic Reps. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.), Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), Pete Aguilar (Calif.), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), Jamie B. Raskin (Md.) and Elaine Luria (Va.).

Schiff and Raskin were the lead impeachment managers during Trump’s first and second impeachment trials, respectively; Lofgren also was an impeachment manager.

Pelosi designed the Jan. 6 select committee to have 13 members, five of whom would be appointed “after consultation with” McCarthy. That means she will maintain the power to overrule any McCarthy pick whom Democrats consider objectionable.

“It was our hope that we could have done this with the bipartisan outside commission,” Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday morning. “Maybe one day that will be possible. … But I’m very proud. And, as I say, decisions are liberating. They enable you to go to the next step. And the next step for us has always been to seek and find the truth.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: Day of Rage: An Investigation of How a Mob Stormed the Capitol, Staff Report, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). (video). We spent six months reviewing thousands of videos to reconstruct the most complete picture of the Capitol riot, finding at least eight places where rioters broke in. Our 40-minute visual investigation maps out what else happened — and why. Watch it here, and scan through some of our key findings.

In the six months since an angry pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, immense efforts have been made not only to find the rioters and hold them accountable, but also — and perhaps more important — to dig into the details of Jan. 6 and slowly piece together what actually happened that day.

Congressional committees have looked into police and intelligence failures. The Justice Department has launched a nationwide investigation that has now resulted in more than 500 arrests. And while Republicans in Congress blocked the formation of a blue-ribbon bipartisan committee, House Democrats are poised to appoint a smaller select committee.

Even now, however, Republican politicians and their allies in the media are still playing down the most brazen attack on a seat of power in modern American history. Some have sought to paint the assault as the work of mere tourists. Others, going further, have accused the F.B.I. of planning the attack in what they have described — wildly — as a false-flag operation.

The work of understanding Jan. 6 has been hard enough without this barrage of disinformation and, hoping to get to the bottom of the riot, The Times’s Visual Investigations team spent several months reviewing thousands of videos, many filmed by the rioters themselves and since deleted from social media. We filed motions to unseal police body-camera footage, scoured law enforcement radio communications, and synchronized and mapped the visual evidence.

What we have come up with is a 40-minute panoramic take on Jan. 6, the most complete visual depiction of the Capitol riot to date. In putting it together, we gained critical insights into the character and motivation of rioters by experiencing the events of the day often through their own words and video recordings. We found evidence of members of extremist groups inciting others to riot and assault police officers. And we learned how Donald J. Trump’s own words resonated with the mob in real time as they staged the attack.

Here are some of the major revelations: 

  • Multiple Points of Attack
  • A Delay Turns Deadly
  • The Makeup of the Mob

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump went to the border to attack Biden — but he mainly talked about himself, Tyler Pager, July 1, 2021 (print ed.).  The former president did not fully ignore the issue of immigration during djt hands up mouth open Customhis trip to the U.S.-Mexico border — he just mainly focused on himself.

Former president Donald Trump traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border here Wednesday for a trip billed as an opportunity to assail President Biden on immigration — an issue core to Trump’s political identity and one Republicans view as a weakness for Democrats.

But Trump often got sidetracked from the day’s message, instead launching into grievance-filled rants.

He tried to re-litigate the results of the 2020 election. He questioned whether Biden would pass the mental acuity test that he has often used to boast about his own mental fitness.

And he introduced and provided commentary on most of the more than two dozen House Republicans who traveled to see him at the border, often touting the electoral significance of his endorsements of them. He complimented the physical appearance of Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), the medical acumen of Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Tex.) — his former White House doctor — and the auctioneering abilities of Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), with Trump asking him to put them on display by jokingly selling the border wall.

 

Virus Victims, Responses 

washington post logoWashington Post, Los Angeles urges a return to masking, even for vaccinated, citing delta variant, Fenit Nirappil, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). The high-profile move by the county of 10 million marks an abrupt shift in tone after states and localities have dropped most mask mandates and social distancing requirements.

Los Angeles County public health authorities are urging unvaccinated and vaccinated people alike to don masks again inside restaurants, stores and other public indoor spaces because of the growing threat posed by the more contagious delta variant of the novel coronavirus.

washington post logomoderna logoWashington Post, Moderna says vaccine works against delta variant, Erin Cunningham, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). As much of the world still awaits vaccines, the delta variant is tearing through unvaccinated populations everywhere from Britain to the United States to South Africa.

washington post logoWashington Post, 180.7 million U.S. vaccinated, as of July 1, 2021, the number of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. This includes more than 154.9 million people (46.7 % of the eligible population) fully vaccinated and 54.4 % with at least one dose. See about your state.

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated July 1, 2021, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than the totals here): 

World Cases: 183,075,067, Deaths: 3,964,766
U.S. Cases:     34,540,845, Deaths:    620,249
India Cases:    30,411,634, Deaths:    399,475
Brazil Cases:   18,559,164, Deaths:    518,246

 

U.S. Elections, Politics, Elections 

washington post logoWashington Post, The Roberts court systematically dismantles the Voting Rights Act, Editorial Board, July 1, 2021. At times, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., below right, has labored to maintain the Supreme Court’s legitimacy against the gale-force pressures of partisan acrimony and social division. When it comes to voting rights, he has pushed in the opposite direction, presiding over the court’s systematic dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, overriding Congress’s clear intentions and gravely injuring U.S. democracy.

The first major blow came in 2013, when the court eviscerated the act’s Section 5, which required states with a history of racial discrimination to preclear changes to voting rules with the Justice Department. The decision left in place a backstop, Section 2, which allows legal challenges to discriminatory election rules after they have been enacted. On Thursday, the Roberts court sharply limited that provision as well.

john roberts oThe court upheld two Arizona election rules the Democratic National Committee claimed discourage minority voting. The legitimacy of Arizona’s policies could be debated, and the court could have struck them down without indulging in dangerous overreach. But in its reasoning and guidance for future cases, the six justices in the majority, including the chief, flashed a green light to state lawmakers eager to erect new barriers to voting.

The majority imposed stipulations on applying Section 2 that “all cut in one direction — toward limiting liability for race-based voting inequalities,” Justice Elena Kagan pointed out in a dissent. This new list of restrictions, Justice Kagan continued, “stacks the deck against minority citizens’ voting rights. Never mind that Congress drafted a statute to protect those rights.”

The majority invites states to argue that unnecessarily strict voting rules impose no more than mild burdens on casting ballots, despite the fact that the Voting Rights Act was meant to eliminate obvious as well as subtle forms of voting discrimination. What may appear to be mere inconveniences or seemingly race-neutral rules can in practice reduce minority voting. Some of that is fine, the court said. While admitting that one of the Arizona laws in question disproportionately affects Black, Latino and Native American voters, the majority declared that the difference was too small to matter. Yet elections are often decided by fractions of percentage points, and every vote should be seen as precious.

The court also encouraged states to argue that worries about fraud and voting integrity justify new burdens on the right to vote — though there is little or no evidence that the fraud state leaders claim they are fighting actually occurs. From the nation’s Jim Crow past to its voter-suppression present, states have claimed that they merely want to ensure ballot integrity as they impose voting restrictions that disproportionately burden minority voters. The Supreme Court lent legitimacy to their search for pretext.

  • Washington Post, Opinion: Democrats will have to find new ways to defend voting rights. Here’s one, Greg Sargent

washington post logoWashington Post, Ballots and voting equipment are moved again as review of 2020 election drags on in Arizona’s Maricopa County, Rosalind S. Helderman,July 1, 2021. It is not clear when the process, once expected to conclude by the end of May, will now be finished.

Nearly 2.1 million ballots and hundreds of tabulating machines at the center of a controversial Republican-commissioned review of the 2020 election in Arizona were packed up in trucks Thursday and moved — again.

It was the fourth time the ballots and machines used in Arizona’s Maricopa County have been moved since April, when the state’s GOP Senate first obtained them using a legislative subpoena for a review that many local officials have decried as a “circus.”

And it was the latest indication that the process — conducted by a private firm called Cyber Ninjas and once estimated to probably conclude by the end of May — has dragged on longer than organizers had hoped, adding to concerns that the ballots and equipment were in jeopardy of being damaged.

The latest change of venue, to a 19,000-square-foot exhibit hall at a Phoenix-area fairgrounds, was necessary because the former basketball arena that has been home to much of the process has been rented out next week for a gun show. Ballots had been packed up previously to make way for high school graduations scheduled for the arena.

The delay will probably ensure that tensions over the partisan process continue to percolate, as supporters of former president Donald Trump push for similar reviews to be launched around the country as they seek to spread the falsehood that Trump’s defeat in Arizona and other key states was the result of fraud.

“Calling what has happened under the Senate contractor in the Coliseum an ‘audit’ insults the voters’ intelligence and fuels the imaginations of those who wish to tear our democracy apart,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers, a Republican who has opposed the process, in a statement Wednesday.

A spokesman for the audit told a reporter for the Arizona Republic that there was “a little more work to do,” necessitating the move. He said organizers are also contemplating further legal action to force the county to turn over computer routers and passwords they believe are necessary to fully complete their processes.Advertisement

Audit spokesman Ken Bennett told The Washington Post work is now expected to take a week or two longer to complete — on Thursday the Senate signed a contract for space on the fairgrounds through July 14. He has previously said a final report of findings is not expected until August at the earliest but did not update that timeline this week.

ny times logoNew York Times, How Andrew Yang Went from Front-Runner to Fourth Place, Dana Rubinstein, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). He seemed on a path to be New York’s next mayor, but a parade of self-inflicted wounds and a refocusing of the city’s priorities doomed his chances. For months, Andrew Yang, right, seemed like he was exactly what New York City was looking for in a mayor.

andrew yang twitterHe was relentlessly positive at a time when the city, still locked down during the pandemic, was somber. While other candidates were stuck in a loop of online mayoral forums, he seized attention by holding in-person events, capitalizing on his star power as a 2020 presidential candidate.

He leapt to the top of polls, drawing the affection of wealthy donors and envy from the race’s more established candidates. But as the race’s sudden front-runner, Mr. Yang began to draw more scrutiny from the news media and his rivals, and bit by bit, he lost ground.

Eric Adams was the first to pass him, and others would follow. By primary night, Mr. Yang was the first candidate to concede, far back in fourth place.

His collapse was a result of an accumulation of factors: self-inflicted wounds, a perception that he was out of his depth, and the city’s changing environment.

The pall that had fallen over New York had started to lift: Mr. Yang had campaigned on reopening the city, but the city had reopened without him. And now New Yorkers seemed far more worried about crime, an ideal scenario for Mr. Adams, a former police captain and the current Brooklyn borough president.

See below for related coverage:

 

Heat Wave, Climate Change

washington post logoWashington Post, Historic heat wave in Pacific Northwest has killed hundreds in U.S. and Canada over the past week, Timothy Bella, July 1, 2021. Hundreds of people have died in a historic heat wave in the Pacific Northwest that has caused record-shattering temperatures in British Columbia, Oregon and Washington over the past week.

Authorities in the region are investigating the recent deaths, but have indicated that they are the result of a heat dome that has trapped hot air in the normally temperate area of Canada and the United States and caused thousands of emergency calls and hospital visits. Scientists and public officials have attributed the historic heat wave to climate change and the worst drought in modern history.

British Columbia has reported at least 486 “sudden and unexpected deaths” between Friday and Wednesday, chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said. The figure is hundreds more than the number of Canadians who usually die over a five-day period, she told the Associated Press.

Ninety-eight of the deaths happened in Vancouver, where two-thirds of the victims were 70 or older, police said on Twitter. Vancouver authorities noted that many of the region’s homes, as with many houses in the Pacific Northwest, do not have air-conditioning, which has left residents vulnerable to the heat.

In Oregon, 63 people have died since Friday, said the state medical examiner’s office, with police noting that a preliminary investigation suggested that the deaths “may be associated with the Pacific Northwest heat wave.” Temperatures in the state topped out at 117 this week.

washington post logoWashington Post, Wildfire engulfs village that set Canada’s all-time heat record, Jason Samenow, July 1, 2021. Lytton, which saw 121 degrees Tuesday, was in flames Wednesday night as massive blazes erupted in British Columbia, One day after it set Canada’s all-time heat record, a British Columbia village was devoured by flames.

A fast-moving wildfire roared over the village of Lytton on Wednesday evening, which shocked climate scientists when temperature there surged to 121 degrees on Tuesday, breaking Canada’s national heat record for a third straight day.

The blaze was a sobering symbol of a hellscape in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, where hundreds have died and wildfires are erupting as temperatures climb to astonishing heights. One location in Canada’s Northwest Territories, hit 103 degrees Wednesday, the highest temperature observed so far north.

‘Our poor little town of Lytton is gone’: Village at center of Canada’s heat wave devastated by ‘catastrophic’ fires

The Lytton blaze prompted a mandatory evacuation order at 6 p.m. local time for the village of 250 people about 150 miles northeast of Vancouver. “The fire, it took maybe 15 minutes to engulf the whole town,” Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman told NEWS 1130, a news radio station in Vancouver. “People, basically they just grabbed their keys, and ran out the door. That’s how quick the fire happened.”

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Hard to comprehend’: Experts react to record 121 degrees in Canada, Jason Samenow, July 1, 2021 (print ed.).  The all-time high of 121 degrees set in British Columbia on Tuesday has left weather and climate experts all over the world shocked, speechless and deeply concerned about the future of the planet.

The scorching temperature set in the village of Lytton obliterated Canada’s previous national temperature record, established before this week’s heat wave, by 8 degrees.

Lytton, located about 60 miles northeast of Vancouver, broke that previous all-time record of 113 on three straight days, soaring to 116 on Sunday, 118 on Monday and finally 121 on Tuesday. Before this siege, it had stood since 1937.

“To break a national heat record by more than 8F over three days … words fail,” tweeted Bob Henson, a meteorologist and freelance journalist.

The 121-degree record stands out as extraordinary on numerous counts:

  • It’s hotter than any temperature recorded in the Lower 48 states outside the Desert Southwest. Only four states have seen a higher temperature. It’s even 4 degrees above Las Vegas’s all-time high of 117 and just one degree from Phoenix’s all-time high of 122.
  • It’s hotter than any temperature observed in Europe or South America, according to world weather records expert Maximiliano Herrera. Only 26 countries on the planet have been as hot or hotter, he wrote.
  • It is the most extreme high temperature observed north of 45 degrees latitude, according to Herrera.It was the highest temperature in North America on Tuesday, tied with Death Valley, Calif., notorious for holding the record for the planet’s most extreme heat.Lytton’s average high temperature at this time of year is a mere 77 degrees, meaning Tuesday’s record high was nearly 45 degrees above normal.

How could it get so hot in Canada? As we explained in an article Tuesday, weather systems and winds aligned to maximize heat over the region, while climate change intensified the effect.

 

U.S. Law, Courts, Crime 

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump seeks to use indictments as a political rallying cry as he tries to survive latest legal threat, Josh Dawsey, July 1, 2021. Former president Donald Trump weathered past political storms by fighting back with the power and staff of the White House behind him, as well as his Twitter account. Those resources are now gone.

Former president Donald Trump turned to a familiar playbook Thursday, attacking New York prosecutors who charged his company and chief financial officer with a raft of financial crimes by calling their charges politically motivated and an overreach designed to target him and his supporters.

Trump, who has battled through decades of criminal investigations, bankruptcies and scandals, immediately used some of the same phraseology he employed during investigations into his conduct in the 2016 campaign and while he served as president.

“The political Witch Hunt by the Radical Left Democrats, with New York now taking over the assignment, continues. It is dividing our Country like never before!” he said in a statement minutes after the indictments were unsealed. “Do people see the Radical Left prosecutors, and what they are trying to do to 75M+++ Voters and Patriots, for what it is?”

Trump Organization and CFO arraigned on multiple criminal charges

Whether charges that his company evaded taxes by hiding payments to employees will do any political damage to Trump is unclear as he teases another presidential run in 2024 and looks to play a starring role in the 2022 midterm elections. He has retained the strong support of the Republican Party through a series of potentially damaging episodes, including bragging of sexual assault on tape, being impeached twice and spreading falsehoods about the 2020 election that served as fuel for the mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump, fighting to toss out subpoena, offered to give House Financial Statements, Spencer S. Hsu, July 1, 2021. Democrats a peek at financial statements, The disclosure of the offer, made in late June in unsuccessful court-ordered mediation, came as the former president urged a federal judge to toss out a 2019 House subpoena for eight years of his financial records.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Our poor little town of Lytton is gone’: Village at center of Canada’s heat wave devastated by ‘catastrophic’ fires, Adam Taylor, Antonia Noori Farzan and Amanda Coletta, July 1, 2021.  By 6 p.m. Wednesday, Lytton’s 250-odd residents had been ordered to evacuate by the town’s mayor as explosive wildfires neared .

Lytton’s Main Street, before and after yesterday’s devastating fire.

(Photo from a Chilliwack Fire Department member) pic.twitter.com/OaoRvg1ch3
— Justin McElroy (@j_mcelroy) July 1, 2021

On social media, residents offered accounts of their escape and, with cell service apparently down in much of the region, tried to find out what had become of friends and relatives.

“Our poor little town of Lytton is gone,” one resident, Edith Loring Kuhanga, wrote on Facebook. “This is so devastating — we are all in shock! Our community members have lost everything.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Federal executions halted as Justice Dept. reviews Trump-era policies, Devlin Barrett and Amy B Wang1 hour ago, July 1, 2021. Attorney General Merrick Garland has ordered a review of whether the drug approved for federal executions, pentobarbital, poses risks of pain and suffering. His review also will examine a decision made late last year to allow other methods of execution, including electrocution and firing squad.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump Org. CFO surrenders in criminal case over company’s dealings, Shayna Jacobs, David A. Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey and Jonathan O’Connell, July 1, 2021. Charges against Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump’s company are expected to be unsealed today and to be related to allegations of unpaid taxes on benefits for executives.

washington post logoWashington Post, Grand jury said to indict Trump Organization and its CFO, Shayna Jacobs, Josh Dawsey, David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O’Connell, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). Any indictments against the company and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, will remain sealed until Thursday. But people familiar with the case said the charges were related to allegations of unpaid taxes on benefits for Trump Organization executives.

A grand jury in Manhattan filed criminal indictments Wednesday against former president Donald Trump’s company and its longtime chief financial officer, according to two people familiar with the indictments.

allen weisselberg croppedThe indictments against the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg, right, will remain sealed until Thursday afternoon, leaving the specific charges against them unclear. Earlier Wednesday, people familiar with the case said the charges were related to allegations of unpaid taxes on benefits for Trump Organization executives.

Weisselberg is expected to surrender Thursday morning at the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D), two people familiar with the plan said. He is expected to be arraigned later in the day in front of a state court judge. The Trump Organization will also be arraigned, represented in court by one of its attorneys.

The criminal charges against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg are the first to result from the investigations by Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and represent a dramatic turn in the long-running probes.

Attorneys for both the Trump Organization and Weisselberg declined to comment Wednesday.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: The central role Trump lawyer Bruce Castor played in Bill Cosby going free, Aaron Blake, July 1, 2021. Cosby was set free based on Castor’s testimony.

Lawyer Bruce Castor has now gotten two extremely high-profile Americans off this year in much-watched legal proceedings. First came President Donald Trump. Now comes Bill Cosby.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a shocking ruling striking down Cosby’s 2018 sexual assault conviction. It said charges against Cosby were illegally brought in light of an unwritten deal he had struck with Castor, who was then the district attorney for Montgomery County, Pa., and later served as Trump’s impeachment lawyer.

The crux of the ruling is this: Castor had said he had a deal with Cosby saying Cosby wouldn’t be charged criminally for the sexual assault claimed by Andrea Constand. Castor said he did so to prevent Cosby from pleading the Fifth Amendment in ongoing civil litigation. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that charging Cosby for that crime, for which he was later convicted, violated his due-process rights.

  • Washington Post, Sexual assault survivors on Cosby’s release: ‘It makes you feel hopeless’

washington post logoWashington Post, Bill Cosby released from prison after sexual assault conviction vacated by Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Sonia Rao and Paul Farhi, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). Bill Cosby was released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced Wednesday that his sexual-assault conviction was to be overturned. The entertainer had served more than two years after being convicted of sexual assault in one of the most high-profile trials of the #MeToo era.

The court issued an opinion written by Justice David Wecht that, according to the Associated Press, said Cosby, 83, could not be charged in the case because of a previous agreement with a prosecutor.

bill cosby“Everyone’s mind is blown right now,” former federal prosecutor Neama Rahman told The Daily Beast. “This is extremely rare. This is unprecedented.”

Cosby was convicted on three counts of sexual assault in April 2018 and sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison that September. The charges stemmed from a 2004 incident in which he was accused of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, an operations director for women’s basketball at Temple University. She testified that Cosby, who served on Temple’s board of trustees, had given her a pill that made her unable to control her limbs, and that he violated her at his estate in the Philadelphia suburbs.Advertisement

Dozens of women have alleged Cosby sexually assaulted them, dating back as far as the 1960s, when Cosby was a rising young comedian and co-star of the TV program “I Spy.” Cosby’s early stardom made him a breakthrough figure, one of the first Black performers to achieve mass popularity.

He went to star in a long series of humorous TV commercials, write best-selling books dispensing fatherly advice and headline other TV shows. The peak of his national acclaim was between 1984 and 1992, the years in which he appeared as Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” on NBC. The sitcom dominated TV ratings and helped revive its ailing network.

It also was a breakthrough of its own kind, portraying a Black upper-middle class family in the same familiar and heartwarming ways that family sitcoms had long portrayed White families. Some critics later drew a straight line between the fictional Huxtables and the real-life Obama family when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.

washington post logoWashington Post, Donald Rumsfeld (1932–2021) Dies, Bradley Graham, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). Influential but controversial defense secretary who led two invasions dies at 88.

Donald H. Rumsfeld, right, whose roles overseeing the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and efforts to transform the U.S. military made him one of history’s most consequential as well as controversial Pentagon leaders, died June 29 at his home in Taos, N.M. He was 88.

donald rumsfeld wThe cause was multiple myeloma, said his former chief of staff Keith Urbahn.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s political prominence stretched back to the 1960s and included stints as a rebellious young Republican congressman, favored counselor to President Richard M. Nixon, left, right-hand man to President Gerald R. Ford and Middle East envoy for President Ronald Reagan. He also scored big in business, helping to pioneer such products as NutraSweet and high-definition television and earning millions of dollars salvaging large troubled firms.

richard nixon o new CustomHis greatest influence and notoriety came during a six-year reign as defense secretary under President George W. Bush. Mr. Rumsfeld was initially hailed for leading the U.S. military to war in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but his handling of the Iraq War eventually led to his downfall. In the invasion’s aftermath, he was criticized for being slow to draft an effective strategy for countering an Iraqi insurgency. He also failed to set a clear policy for the treatment of prisoners.

Dogged for months by mounting calls for Mr. Rumsfeld’s removal, Bush finally let him go in late 2006 — 3 1/2 years into the Iraq War and just after an election in which the Republicans lost control of both houses of Congress. Mr. Rumsfeld’s forced exit under clouds of blame george w. bush 250pxand disapproval cast a shadow over his previously illustrious career.

Nevertheless, in a statement on Wednesday Bush, right, praised Mr. Rumsfeld as “a man of intelligence, integrity, and almost inexhaustsible energy” who “never paled before tough decisions, and never flinched from responsibility.”

None of Mr. Rumsfeld’s predecessors had come into the Pentagon’s top job with as much relevant experience. Having served as defense secretary once before under Ford, Mr. Rumsfeld was the only person ever to get a second shot at the position. He held the record as the youngest Pentagon leader, then under Bush, he became the oldest.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: I was a prosecutor at Guantánamo. Close the prison now, Omar Ashmawy, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). Omar Ashmawy, staff director and chief counsel for the Office of Congressional Ethics, is a retired Air Force major who served as a war crimes prosecutor from 2007 to 2009.

I was one of the prosecutors for the only two litigated U.S. military tribunals since Nuremberg. These were the trials of Salim Ahmed Hamdan and Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, who were among those detained at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base after the attacks of 9/11.

While it’s been 12 years since I served in Guantánamo, and the number of detainees has dropped dramatically, the realities that must be faced for trials to proceed haven’t changed. Military tribunals are sometimes a necessary consequence of war, but to drag the judicial process out for this long — up to nearly 20 years — is absurd and un-American. It’s an abandonment of our commitment to rule of law and what we consider to be fair jurisprudence.

My entire experience at Guantánamo was a rude awakening. I believed in the system after the first failed effort at prosecuting alleged terrorists was repaired in the Supreme Court case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, where the court acknowledged the unconstitutionality of the process. I thought our pursuit of justice could be fair and impartial, and an example to the world. I was wrong. Everything I saw and experienced while serving in that assignment convinced me of that. Nothing I’ve observed since has changed my mind.

Palmer Report, Opinion: What will be left of Donald Trump when this week’s indictment dust settles? Bill Palmer, right, June 30, 2021. Palmer Report has been dutifully covering the Manhattan District Attorney’s bill palmercriminal case against Donald Trump and the Trump Organization since it first became public knowledge in late 2019. Heading into the 2020 election it was clear that if Trump lost reelection his life would be shattered, he’d be bankrupted, and he’d be on a path for prison. For whatever combination of reasons, this criminal case was only sporadically covered by most of the media, and largely ignored – until recently.

This is worth pointing out because, even though the media cavalry has finally caught up with the New York criminal probe, it hasn’t necessarily been doing the public any favors. For instance, now that Allen Weisselberg and the Trump Organization are being indicted in the initial round of indictments, a number of media pundits are trying to scare us into staying tuned in by insisting that this will be the only round of indictments.

bill palmer report logo headerBut when the Manhattan DA’s office partnered with the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, right, and empaneled a grand jury for the specific purpose of bringing indictments, it was empaneled for up to six months – an unusually long amount of time. That was just about a month ago.

Does anyone really believe that the DA went to all the trouble to empanel a special grand jury for an extra long amount of time, just to turn around and quickly issue two indictments and then call it a day? Of course not.

letitia james o headshotBut while it’s rather obvious that this week’s indictments will merely be the first round of indictments, it’s worth examining what these indictments alone are likely to do. Weisselberg’s arrest will get eyeballs for sure. But the Trump Organization indictment will force the general public to realize that Donald Trump is indeed a career criminal whose entire financial empire has always been a fraud. It won’t just be anti-Trump people calling Trump a criminal anymore; it’ll be a lengthy criminal indictment documenting all of it.

Or maybe it won’t be all of it. Given that this is obviously just round one of indictments, this week could have a more narrow focus, with more to come later. Either way, it’ll still begin the process of exposing Donald Trump as the crook he’s always been.

Indicting the Trump Organization should also rather quickly cause it to fall apart financially, given what a house of cards it is to begin with. Donald Trump’s creditors could begin calling in his remaining loans, seizing his buildings, perhaps even taking the “Trump” name off the buildings, within a short amount of time. Trump could quickly be left with no money, no assets, no ability to pay his fancy lawyers to drag things out in court, and no ability to keep people like potential plea deal targets like Weisselberg on the payroll.

And that’s just what could happen to Donald Trump when the dust settles from this week’s indictments. That’s before getting to what will happen once prosecutors keep putting the squeeze on Weisselberg to flip, and word surfaces of who will be targeted in the next round of indictments.

keith raniere nxivm

TheHill.com, ‘Smallville’ actress Allison Mack sentenced to 3 years in prison over NXIVM sex cult case, Olafimihan Oshin, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). Actress Allison Mack on Wednesday was sentenced to three years in prison for her role in the NXIVM sex cult, according to The Associated Press.

During her sentencing hearing, Mack, shown in a file photo at right, told the judge that devoting herself to NXIVM group leader Keith Raniere was “the biggest mistake and greatest regret of my life.” She also apologized to the victims she lured into the cult.

allison mack“I made choices I will forever regret,” Mack said in the AP report. She also told the judge she was filled with “remorse and guilt.”

The “Smallville” actress originally faced a sentence of 14 to 17-and-a-half years in prison, but her defense team argued that probation or home confinement would be more appropriate, and prosecutors agreed that any prison term should be below lower due to her cooperation.

Mack, 38, pleaded guilty to charges of manipulating women into becoming sex slaves for NXIVM’s spiritual leader. She was once a part of the inner circle of NXIVM, a cult that marketed itself as a self-help program that counted millionaires and celebrities among its members, according to the AP.

Mack shared with authorities how Raniere, 60, used “demeaning and derogatory language” to humiliate slaves, and provided recordings of her and Raniere discussing the branding of the slaves, according to government documents.

Prosecutors also said that Mack was the “master” of the slaves, ordering them to “perform labor, take nude photographs, and in some cases, to engage in sex acts with Raniere.”

Raniere, whom authorities arrested in March 2018, was convicted and sentenced to 120 years in prison on sex trafficking charges in 2020, the AP noted.

 

Florida Condo Collapse

washington post logoWashington Post, Condo Collapse Update: Search resumes after early-morning halt over ‘structural concerns,’ officials say, Paulina Firozi, Lateshia Beachum, Reis Thebault and Hannah Knowles, uly 1, 2021.  Search of condo collapse site resumes after more than 15 hours of delay; $48 million in insurance for condo building ‘will obviously be inadequate,’ judge says.

Search and rescue work has resumed at the collapsed condominium in Surfside, Fla., officials said Thursday evening, after “structural concerns” about the still-standing part of Champlain Towers South brought urgent efforts to a halt early in the morning.

Authorities are moving ahead with plans to demolish the standing building, said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava at a news conference, after engineers found that search efforts could go on safely. As of Thursday night, 145 are missing and at least 18 people are dead, with 17 identified.

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Majority of Florida condo board quit in 2019 amid conflicts over repair plans, Beth Reinhard, Tik Root, Brady Dennis and Jon Swaine, June 30, 2021. The president of the board of the Florida condominium that collapsed last week resigned in 2019, partly in frustration over what she saw as the sluggish response to an engineer’s report that identified major structural damage the previous year.

Anette Goldstein was among five members of the seven-member board to resign in two weeks that fall, according to minutes from an Oct. 3 meeting, at a time when the condo association in Surfside was consumed by contentious debate about the multimillion-dollar repairs.

“We work for months to go in one direction and at the very last minute objections are raised that should have been discussed and resolved right in the beginning,” Goldstein wrote in a September 2019 resignation letter. “This pattern has repeated itself over and over, ego battles, undermining the roles of fellow board members, circulation of gossip and mistruths. I am not presenting a very pretty picture of the functioning of our board and many before us, but it describes a board that works very hard but cannot for the reasons above accomplish the goals we set out to accomplish.”
Debate over the cost and scope of the work, along with turnover on the volunteer board, dragged out preparations for the repairs for three years, according to previously unpublished correspondence, condo board minutes and other records kept by the homeowners association.

Concrete restoration work had not yet begun when the building partially collapsed June 24. Identifying the cause of the catastrophe is expected to take many months, and it is not clear whether the problems identified in 2018 played a role. At least 18 people were killed in the catastrophe, and 145 remain missing.

 

Inside DC

 

dan snyder redskins com

washington post logoWashington Post, NFL fines Washington Football Team $10 million after investigation; Daniel Snyder’s wife, Tanya, to run operations for now, Will Hobson, Liz Clarke, Beth Reinhard and Mark Maske, July 1, 2021. The investigation happened in the wake of multiple Washington Post reports detailing former employees’ allegations of sexual harassment.

The NFL has fined the Washington Football Team $10 million for fostering a workplace culture where sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation was commonplace throughout most of Daniel Snyder’s ownership, the league announced Thursday, but declined to release a detailed investigative report or address any allegations levied by former employees against Snyder.

nfl logo“The culture of the club was very toxic and fell far short of the NFL’s values,” said Lisa Friel, the league’s special counsel for investigations, during a conference call with reporters.

The NFL did not suspend Snyder (shown above) but said that his wife Tanya, named the team’s co-CEO earlier this week, will assume responsibilities for all day-to-day team operations and represent the team at all league meetings and other league activities for at least the next several months. There was little to no sentiment among other owners throughout the process to force Snyder to sell the franchise, people familiar with the situation have said.

beth wilkinsonThe fine was the outcome of a lengthy league investigation overseen by prominent D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson, left. Snyder also will pay Wilkinson’s legal fees, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The NFL will not release any detailed findings from Wilkinson’s investigation beyond a news release, Friel said. In a contrast from previous league investigations, the NFL did not request any written report from Wilkinson, but instead heard her findings orally, Friel said, “due to the sensitivity of the allegations.”

The team will pay the $10 million to support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics, the NFL said. The Snyders agreed to implement 10 recommendations made by Wilkinson related to training, diversity, reporting of workplace misconduct and other issues, the league said.

“Over the past 18 months, Dan and Tanya have recognized the need for change and have undertaken important steps to make the workplace comfortable and dignified for all employees, and those changes, if sustained and built upon, should allow the club to achieve its goal of having a truly first-tier workplace,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement. “I truly appreciate their commitment to fully implement each of the below ten recommendations, but the league also must ensure accountability for past deficiencies and for living up to current and future commitments.”

Snyder, in a statement, apologized to former employees who endured harassment and abuse.

“I feel great remorse for the people who had difficult, even traumatic, experiences while working here. I’m truly sorry for that. I can’t turn back the clock, but I promise that nobody who works here will ever have that kind of experience again, at least not as long as Tanya and I are the owners of this team,” Snyder said.

The $10 million fine is among the harshest penalties the league has assessed a team, but the failure to punish Snyder directly or release any detailed findings drew harsh criticism from Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, attorneys representing more than 40 former team employees.

“In response to a year-long investigation in which more than 100 witnesses were interviewed, and which we believe substantiated our clients’ allegations of pervasive harassment, misogyny and abuse at the Washington Football Team, the NFL has chosen to protect owner Dan Snyder,” Banks and Katz said in a statement. “This is truly outrageous, and is a slap in the face to the hundreds of women and former employees who came forward in good faith and at great personal risk to report a culture of abuse at all levels of the Team, including by Snyder himself.”

Wilkinson, a former federal prosecutor and partner in the D.C.-based firm Wilkinson Stekloff, began her work last July, after a Washington Post report detailed allegations of pervasive sexual harassment levied by 15 former female employees and two journalists covering the team. Those allegations were ignored, and in some cases condoned, by top club executives, The Post reported.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. deficit will hit $3 trillion, one of the biggest imbalances ever, then drop quickly, CBO says, Jeff Stein, July 1, 2021. The Congressional Budget Office projects $6.8 trillion in spending versus $3.8 trillion in revenue this year, a reflection of the government spending blitz to shore up the economy during the pandemic.

The federal deficit will hit $3 trillion in 2021 for the second consecutive year, primarily because of the national spending blitz in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday.

CBOThe deficit represents a slight decrease from last year but is triple that of 2019, and amounts to one of the biggest imbalances between federal spending and revenue in American history, the nonpartisan budget office said. But the CBO also projected faster-than-expected economic growth, with unemployment falling more sharply than previously predicted — a shift cheered by administration officials.

In 2021, the federal government is projected to spend $6.8 trillion — higher than even last year’s total — while collecting about $3.8 trillion in revenue. Although spending is elevated from last year, the United States will take in more revenue as the pandemic fades and consumers resume normal activities — which is why the overall deficit will shrink modestly.

President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus, passed in March, accounts for much of this year’s spending imbalance. But that measure is temporary and will soon expire. The CBO projects the deficit will fall to $1.2 trillion in 2022 before dropping to $800 billion in 2023 and 2024 as pandemic relief measures fade. However, the budget office projects that the deficit will again begin to widen in 2025 and grow steadily for the rest of the decade, approaching close to $2 trillion by 2031.

washington post logoWashington Post, 35 million tax returns not yet processed, watchdog says, July 1, 2021 (print ed.).  The Internal Revenue Service closed the most recent filing season with more than 35 million in unprocessed tax returns, as the agency’s backlog grew markedly amid a crush of challenges related to the pandemic and economic relief efforts, a government watchdog said Wednesday.

Erin Collins, the National Taxpayer Advocate, said in her report that about 17 million paper tax returns are still waiting to be processed and approximately 16 million additional returns have been placed on hold because they require further review manually. Another 2.7 million amended tax returns have not been processed.

This backlog represents a fourfold increase from 2019 — the most recent year before the coronavirus pandemic — when the IRS closed its filing season with 7.4 million unprocessed returns, according to the report. These numbers reflect the IRS backlog as of May, and the agency may have made progress reducing it since then. The IRS backlog amounted to 11 million at the end of the 2020 filing season, fewer than a third of the current number of unprocessed returns.

washington post logoWashington Post, House votes largely along party lines to create select committee to investigate Jan. 6 attack on U.S. Capitol, Karoun Demirjian, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). Most Republicans voted against the proposal, arguing it would establish a partisan investigation. Democrats said the panel is needed to fully investigate the attack.

The House voted Wednesday to form a select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, with nearly all Republicans opposing the legislation — a sign of the political challenges that face Democrats as they attempt to probe why thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters swarmed the building and tried to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

The 220-to-190 nearly party-line vote stands in contrast to a vote in May, when 35 House Republicans joined Democrats to back the creation of an independent commission to examine the root causes of the attack. While that group of House Republicans was willing to embrace an outside panel of experts evenly weighted between GOP and Democratic appointees, most were wary of a select committee that would be firmly in the control of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked participants.

Pelosi, who has described the select committee as her second choice to the independent panel modeled on the 9/11 commission that Senate Republicans blocked last month, defended its creation as necessary.

lina khan resized ftc

washington post logoWashington Post, Amazon seeks recusal of FTC Chair Khan, a longtime company critic, Jay Greene and Rachel Lerman, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). The e-commerce giant said in a motion that the agency’s new chair, shown above, can’t operate with an ‘open mind’ regarding the company.

Amazon moved to bar the head of the Federal Trade Commission from overseeing antitrust matters regarding the e-commerce giant, citing her long-running criticism of the company.

amazon logo smallNew FTC Chair Lina Khan is unable to oversee matters regarding Amazon with “an open mind,” the company alleged in a filing to the commission. It asked that Khan recuse herself from issues involving the company.

Khan’s public criticism of Amazon started when she was a Yale University law student, where she wrote a 2017 paper, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” that argued a new antitrust standard needed to be applied to the company. She subsequently served as legal director for the Open Markets Institute, an advocacy group that has called for Amazon’s breakup. And Khan worked as counsel for the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, investigating anti-competitive behavior from Amazon and other tech giants.

The FTC declined to comment. But Khan noted in her confirmation hearing before the Senate that she had “none of the financial conflicts or personal ties that are the basis of recusal under federal ethics laws.”

“I would be approaching these issues with an eye to the underlying facts and the empirics and really be following the evidence,” she said in response to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) asking if her work on an extensive House investigation into the monopoly power of Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon would be a basis for recusal.

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats win meager GOP support for post-Trump effort to shield inspectors general, Karoun Demirjian, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). The House passed a comprehensive package of reforms Tuesday to protect inspectors general from being fired or otherwise prevented from doing their jobs, a measure inspired by President Donald Trump’s pattern of ousting the agency watchdogs who carolyn maloney ochallenged him.

The 221-to-182 vote fell almost completely along party lines, heralding a long and difficult road ahead for congressional Democrats as they attempt a variety of initiatives to prevent future presidents from silencing their critics and punishing their enemies with as much impunity as Trump did.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), right, chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, summarized the package Tuesday as an effort to “protect IGs from being fired simply for doing their jobs” and a needed antidote to how “the previous administration bullied, sidelined and retaliated against multiple IGs.”

 

U.S. Education, Civil Rights, Media News 

ap logoAssociated Press via U.S. News, Lawyer: Newspaper Gunman Insane, Not Criminally Responsible; Md. Capital Gazette News Case, Staff Report, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). The man who killed 5 people at a Maryland newspaper was delusional and believed the state’s judicial system was conspiring with the Capital Gazette to persecute him and ruin his life, his attorney told a jury Tuesday, trying to make the case that Jarrod Ramos, right, is not criminally responsible for the crimes due to mental illness.

jarrod ramosHours after hearing that, jurors saw photographs of the dead from shotgun blasts in their own newsroom. They saw Wendi Winters collapsed in a hallway after she had just charged at Ramos with a trash can. They saw Gerald Fischman crumpled under his desk. They saw Rob Hiaasen dead in his cubicle. They also saw John McNamara dead at the back of the newsroom. Rebecca Smith died later at a hospital.

They also saw an officer’s body camera video, showing Ramos emerging from under a desk in the newsroom and police officers later leading him out. Three years and a day after the attack on the newspaper, the 2nd phase of a trial started for Ramos, who pleaded guilty- but not criminally responsible- to the June 28, 2018 slayings. The plea is Maryland’s version of an insanity defense.

Katy O’Donnell told jurors her client “is guilty of having committed these offenses, and his act was willful, deliberate and premeditated.” But, she said, mental health experts for the defense will tell them he is not criminally responsible under the law due to mental illness. “Mr. Ramos is guilty, and he is also not criminally responsible,” she said. Ramos believed that he was being intentionally persecuted after the newspaper wrote about a case in which he pleaded guilty to harassing a former high school classmate.

washington post logoWashington Post, Federal judge blocks Florida law that would penalize social media companies blocking politicians’ posts, Cat Zakrzewski, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a Florida law that would penalize social media companies for blocking a politician’s posts, a blow to conservatives’ efforts to respond to Facebook and other websites’ suspension of former president Donald Trump.

The law was due to go into effect Thursday, but in issuing a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida suggested that the law would be found unconstitutional.

“The plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits of their claim that these statutes violate the First Amendment,” Hinkle wrote. “There is nothing that could be severed and survive.”

The law laid out fines for tech companies that suspended political candidates in the run-up to an election.

Florida legislators approved the law after Facebook, Twitter and YouTube suspended Trump’s accounts for violating their policies following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a potential 2024 presidential candidate and key Trump ally, touted the law as a stand against alleged censorship of conservatives when he signed it in May.

 

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, 130 countries sign on to global minimum tax plan, creating momentum for Biden push to crack down on tax avoidance, David J. Lynch, July 1, 2021. The White House believes countries need to move together to prevent firms from taking advantage of weak tax rules.

President Biden on Thursday celebrated a victory in his drive to make corporations pay a larger share of the cost of government, as 130 countries endorsed a blueprint for a global minimum tax on giant businesses and pledged to work for final approval by the end of October.

The agreement announced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris showcased the president’s preference for patient diplomacy rather than the unilateral moves favored by his predecessor.

Potentially the most significant change in global tax rules in 100 years, the accord is designed to stop countries from competing to lure corporations by offering lower tax rates and to help governments fund their operations at a time of soaring pandemic-related expenses. Biden administration officials also describe the tax plan as a partial remedy for the offshoring of manufacturing jobs that have hollowed out American factory towns and fueled populist resentments.

The president called the deal an example of the “foreign policy for the middle class” that he had promised to deliver, though Republicans were quick to object, and numerous details remain for negotiators to resolve.

washington post logoWashington Post, Most rapists in Britain walk free. Survivors describe what needs to change, Karla Adam, July 1, 2021. Britain’s recent record on rape prosecutions and convictions is embarrassing to the level of warranting an official apology. Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently told Parliament that he was “sorry for the trauma” rape victims have endured as a result of the “inadequacies” of the criminal justice system.

United Kingdom flagVictims, who are mostly women, have complained that investigations are unnecessarily arduous — they are made to hand over their phones and their medical records, their credibility is questioned, their personal history is pored over. Many say they feel as though the investigation is all about them, as opposed to the offender they are reporting. Last year, 43 percent of victims dropped their case.

In the year ending March 2020, 55,259 rapes were reported to police. In that same time period, there were 2,102 prosecutions for rape resulting in 1,439 convictions — the lowest on record.

washington post logoWashington Post, China marks a century of its Communist Party with pageantry, propaganda and an iron grip, Lily Kuo, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). The centennial gives the Chinese government a china flag Smallchance to display its power and reach. And bathe the country in red.

  • Washington Post, Letters from Hong Kong’s jails: From behind bars, some activists and politicians try to break the silence
  • Washington Post, After a year of Hong Kong’s national security law, here’s how China has consolidated control

washington post logoWashington Post, China building more than 100 silos for ICBMs in what could signal an expansion of nuclear abilities, analysts say, Joby Warrick, July 1, 2021 (print ed.). China has begun construction of what independent experts say are more than 100 new silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles in a desert near the northwestern city of Yumen, a building spree that could signal a major expansion of Beijing’s nuclear capabilities.

Commercial satellite images obtained by researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif., show work underway at scores of sites across a grid covering hundreds of square miles of arid terrain in China’s Gansu province. The 119 nearly identical construction sites contain features that mirror those seen at existing launch facilities for China’s arsenal of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.

The acquisition of more than 100 new missile silos, if completed, would represent a historic shift for China, a country that is believed to possess a relatively modest stockpile of 250 to 350 nuclear weapons. The actual number of new missiles intended for those silos is unknown but could be much smaller. China has deployed decoy silos in the past.

 

 

 

lee harvey oswald minsk radio factory friends no glasses

Lee Harvey Oswald, accused in 1963 of being the lone assassin in Dallas of President John F. Kennedy,  is shown at center relaxing with fellow radio factory workers in the Soviet Union city of Minsk during his trip from 1959 to 1962 before his return to the United States. Oswald’s friend from that period, Prof. Ernst Titovets, states that the most frequent version of this photo shows Oswald wearing sunglasses, underscorikng conventional wisdom that he was a sinister figure, instead of what Titovets calls the reality: that the young men were passing around one pair of sunglasses to look cool as they joked around together (Photo from the Titovets memoir, Oswald: Russian Episode). 

“Oswald: Russian Episode” To Be Published Dec. 8 With Critique of JFK Coverage

A new book disputes false portrayals of Lee Harvey Oswald, whom officials promptly named in 1963 as the sole assassin of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Oswald: Russian Episode reveals Oswald’s true character and rebuts claims that his personality made him a likely assassin of JFK.

ernst titovets new cover“The real Oswald,” concludes the author, Professor Ernst Titovets, M.D., Ph.D., based on his close friendship with the American six decades ago, “had no reason whatsoever –either political or personal – to murder John F. Kennedy.” This book culminates the scientist’s painstaking research conducted over many years to reveal the character of Oswald, which is still largely unknown to the general public. The book, initially privately published, has been updated and is now widely available in Western nations for the first time. This follows publication on March 15 by Eagle View Books, based in Washington, DC.The book launch was timed for continuing interest in both the JFK assassination, as indicated by a continued publication of new books in recent months, as well as ramped up interest in so-called “conspiracy theories.”

At a major annual research conference from Nov. 20-22 about the JFK assassination organized by Citizens Against Political Assassination (CAPA), investigative reporter Andrew Kreig, Eagle View’s book editor on this project and also editor of the Justice Integrity Project, moderated a CAPA panel of experts reviewing media coverage of JFK’s death.Kreig has written and spoken extensively on the topic, documenting how criticism of the Warren Commission report on the JFK can be solidly researched and thus far different from wild and otherwise unsupported claims commonly derided as “conspiracy theory.” The Justice Integrity Project also has published a 50-part “Readers Guide to the JFK ernst titovets book back cover portrait newAssassination,” which is excerpted below with links.

Professor Titovets, who is still active as an accomplished researcher on brain functions, provides a gripping and historically important challenge to conventional wisdom regarding the 1963 assassination.

His account describes first-hand appraisals of what he regards as the shockingly misguided research of such Oswald biographers he met as Norman Mailer.To recap JFK’s history-changing death: Oswald, an ex-marine was arrested soon after Kennedy’s murder by gunfire in downtown Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Oswald denied killing the president. Two days after Oswald’s arrest, nightclub owner Jack Ruby murdered him in a Dallas police station. That enabled authorities for the most part to condemn Oswald as JFK’s sole assassin without trial, despite vast and still-lingering public skepticism about the official story.

Professor Titovets expertly refutes the standard portrayals of Oswald as a loner and mentally deranged man prone to violence. He draws on their friendship during the years Oswald spent in the former Soviet Union, beginning in 1959 at the height of the Cold War.

Oswald, who previously had worked as a Marine technician in Japan on then-highly classified U-2 spy plane missions, undertook a supposed “defection” to the Soviet Union that in some ways previewed the plot of the future James Bond thriller “From Russia With Love.”


Soviet officials assigned Oswald, left, to work in a radio factory in Belarus.

The medical student Titovets, whose passions including study of English, befriended Oswald there. They were the same age and spent countless hours together. According to this account:Oswald, having come from a strange capitalist world, remained a mystery at first to his friend, who had been reared in the pervasive communist system. lee harvey oswald hsIts propaganda depicted the outside world as a deadly menace for the Soviet Union. But the two conflicting cultures failed to stop this friendship. The young men explored the truth about their lives and the larger world in private debates, including sessions that Titovets taped recording and kept confidential from Soviet authorities – and now help document his book’s revelations.

The story reveals Oswald’s natural wit and curiosity, along with hints of his true goals – which Professor Titovets insists after a lifetime of reflection could never have included killing anyone, and certainly not the American president, JFK.

Readers will experience everyday life in Minsk, insights about Oswald’s factory work while Titovets pursued graduate studies. In their spare time, they together explored girls and romance, with joint trips for dances and other amusements, including shared interest in music, books, and hikes in the countryside.

Among episodes here recalled: Oswald’s hospitalization and his first amorous infatuation, which went terribly wrong as he suffered the frustrations of the unrequited love. Later, he met Marina, whom he married and who bore a child. Disappointed with the Soviet Union, he returned with his new family back to the United States.

What appealed to Professor Titovets most was Lee’s sense of humor, his nonviolent nature and pacifistic attitude of live-and-let live.

Says the author: “The young Oswald, with his Marxist leanings, went to Russia, the country behind the Iron Curtain, to study firsthand the Soviet System. Disappointed with Russia and unsatisfied with the contemporary America, he developed his Athenian System, a societal organization combining the best of the two worlds, the Capitalist and the Socialist ones. Achieving this harmony, in real life, Oswald sought through a peaceful non-violent transition.”

Contrary to the official view of Oswald as a JFK assassin, Oswald: Russian Episode concludes that Oswald had no motive to kill JFK. Nor was it in his nature to commit such a violent act.

About the Author:

ernst titovetsProfessor Ernst Titovets, M.D., Ph.D., shown at right in a file photo from two decades ago, is a researcher, author, translator and interpreter. He was born in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. He graduated from the Minsk Medical Institute and undertook post-graduate research in biochemistry. Also, he was a member of the Belorussian National Sailing Team, where he sailed D-class and Finn-class boats and won top places in sailing competitions. He earned his advanced degrees from the Academy of Sciences of Belarus and from the St. Petersburg State University, Russia.

Appointed to a number of scientific research councils, he has authored or co-authored 4 research books, 14 patents and over 400 research papers and as an interpreter, he translated three books. He has delivered lectures in Great Britain, the USA, France, Spain, Japan and Russia. Upon publication of Oswald: Russian Episode in limited editions, he was invited as a key speaker at major JFK research conferences in Dallas (2013) and metro Washington, DC (2014). He works as a principal researcher at the Republican Research and Clinical Centre of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Minsk, Belarus.

About “Oswald: Russian Episode”: 519 pages (including notes, index, and 46 historical photos), paperback $19.50. Kindle eBook $5.49. Publication March XX, 2021. Details. ISBN: 9781501011313. For author interviews or review copies, contact Andrew Kreig: (202) 638-0070.

What JFK Experts Say:

“Your book is very well written – head and shoulders above most of the stupid JFK literature. You have a talent for telling a story… You bring those times to life very skillfully.”

Peter Wronsky, Ph.D., author and authority on Oswald‘s life in Russia, Canada

“Congratulations on presenting us with the real Oswald…It reads like a good novel.”

David Lifton, author of Best Evidence, USA.

“It’s a fine book. It reads well and I’m enjoying it… I particularly like the English script. One would never know it was written by an author in his second language. Brilliant!”

Barrie Penrose, investigative journalist, UK

“Bravo!! A truly colorful in-depth portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald. So very rich in detail. Fascinating! Reads like the other side of the story. The color side of a black and white movie. Very intimate. You have humanized this much de-humanized figure.”

Mark Grouber, investigative journalist, USA.

“This is a wonderful, moving and deeply personal account of Ernst’s friendship with this enigmatic individual. It offers a unique glimpse of Oswald few others can possess.”

– Reviewer Steve Duffy, Brisbane, Australia.

“It amazes me that so-called academics and historians, many of whom push the machine gun-riddled Warren Report, do not read and incorporate this book into their telling of history.”

Robert P. Morrow, JFK researcher and commentator, USA.

Contact this columnist Andrew Kreig

 

Book Launch News Coverage

The Phil Mikan Show (WMRD-AM/ WLIS-AM, Simulcast and Podcast):

Dr. Peter Dale Scott Zoom Interview (Famed Author, Poet, Former Diplomat and Retired University of California at Berkeley Professor):

 

Black Ops Radio with Host Len Osanic

link tba

Justice Integrity Project ‘Readers Guide To JFK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives, Commentary’

To help researchers of President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination and its current implications, the Justice Integrity Project began publishing a frequently updated Reader’s Guide beginning in 2013 to coincide with the shooting’s 50th anniversary.

Some columns, particularly No. 17 below, catalog significant books arguing all viewpoints. Other columns provide analysis.

Included are columns best-selling author Peter Dale Scott and San Francisco attorney Bill Simpich. Each is affiliated with the start-up research group CAPA (Citizens Against Political Assassinations), as is this editor.

Dealey Plaza Panorama (Andrew Kreig Photo)Research inputs are welcome, including suggested additions. Similar initiatives are planned to help illuminate other major assassinations and attempted assassinations of great controversy and historical importance.

The specifics of President Kennedy’s life, death and legacy hold a rare fascination for the public as a guide to today’s current events and official reports.

The JFK assassination has generated more than two thousand books in whole or part. More than three million pages of relevant government have been declassified thanks to countless researchers. Public opinion polls for decades have revealed a rare if not unique disconnect whereby between 60 and more than 75 percent of those polled typically say they do not believe the 1964 report by the blue-ribbon Warren Commission.

Above right is a Justice Integrity Project photo showing Dealey Plaza, where Kennedy was killed on Nov. 22, 1963. The Texas Book Depository Building where accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald worked is behind the row of trees. The car in the center lane is near the location of the president’s limo at the time of the fatal shot.

Dozens of witnesses, mostly ignored by authorities, reported hearing shooting from the so-called “Grassy Knoll” at the photo’s left. Not visible is a tall, opaque picket fence obscured by the road sign at the far left.

Many researchers — but not the Warren Commission — have argued that at least one shooter hid behind the picket fence and escaped via the near-empty railroad yard behind the fence.

The “X” painted on the highway marks the approximate spot where Kennedy was hit by the fatal shot. JFK researcher, author and photo expert Robert J. Groden repeatedly repaints the spot, to the dismay of Dallas authorities, as a reminder of continuing citizen concern. Groden had been hired as a photo technician to work after the assassination on the then-suppressed amateur video that photographer Abraham Zapruder shot of the killing from a site on the Grassy Knoll. Groden played a key role in delivering a pirated copy to ABC-TV for its first public showing in 1975, helping ramp up questions by many observers.

The materials below derive from the efforts of countless other concerned citizens and whistleblowers. They compiled records and in some cases challenged conventional wisdom, often at risk to their reputations and careers and with scant possibility of any reward except in hope of helping solve an enduring civic mystery.

 

Justice Integrity Project Readers Guide To JFK Assassination

By Andrew Kreig, JIP Editor, former CAPA Board member, and Associate Editor and Board member of The Indicter

What follows are excerpts from our Project’s previous segments of a “Readers Guide” to the assassination begun in 2013 to underscore both the 50th anniversary of the death and its continuing relevance, particularly slanted media, government, and academic treatment of the death that serves as a Rosetta Stone to similar slanted coverage sensitive matters extending through the decades to today’s news.

John F. Kennedy side profile

The Justice Integrity Project cooperates with Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) and The Indicter, each of which investigates suspected political assassinations around the world.

In the Readers Guide below, a red asterisk (*) denotes major articles in the series. Other articles may be regarded as more routine or duplicative treatments sometimes covering specific events.

Dealey Plaza Panorama (Andrew Kreig Photo)At right is a photo by this editor in Dallas showing Dealey Plaza. The Texas Book Depository Building where accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald worked is behind the row of trees. The car in the center lane is near the location of President Kennedy’s limo at the time of his fatal shooting. The “X” mark is repeatedly painted on the street by author and photographic expert Robert Groden as reminder of the horrific crime that Dallas authorities seek to expunge by removing the X.

  1. Project Launches JFK Assassination Readers’ Guide, Oct. 16, 2013.
  2. Project Provides JFK Readers Guide To New Books, Videos, Oct. 26, 2013. This is a list of new books and films in 2013.
  3. Disputes Erupt Over NY Times, New Yorker, Washington Post Reviews of JFK Murder, Nov. 7, 2013. *
  4. Self-Censorship In JFK TV Treatments Duplicates Corporate Print Media’s Apathy, Cowardice, Nov. 7, 2013.
  5. Puppetry’ Hardback Launched Nov. 19 at DC Author Forum on ‘White House Mysteries & Media,’  Nov. 19, 2013.
  6. Major Media Stick With Oswald ‘Lone Gunman’ JFK Theory, Nov. 27, 2013.
  7. JFK Murder Scene Trapped Its Victim In Kill Zone, Nov. 30, 2013.
  8. Project Lists JFK Assassination Reports, Archives, Videos, Events, Nov. 2, 2013. *
  9. JFK Murder, The CIA, and 8 Things Every American Should Know, Dec. 9, 2013. *
  10. JFK Murder Prompts Expert Reader Reactions, Dec. 19, 2013. Reactions to our Dec. 9 column.
  11. Have Spy Agencies Co-Opted Presidents and the Press? Dec. 23, 2013. *
  12. Don’t Be Fooled By ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Smears, May 26, 2014. *
  13. Experts To Reveal Secrets of JFK Murder, Cover-up at Sept. 26-28 DC Forum , Sept. 5, 2014.
  14. Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later, Sept. 22, 2014. *
  15. JFK Experts To Explode Myths, Sign Books In DC Sept. 26-28, Sept. 24, 2014.
  16. Former Cuban Militant Leader Claims CIA Meeting With Oswald Before JFK Killing, Sept. 27, 2014. *
  17. JFK Readers Guide: Assassination Books, Reports, Oct. 15, 2014. *
  18. Dealey Plaza Picket Fence (Andrew Kreig Photo)Former House JFK Murder Prober Alleges CIA ‘Lied,’ Seeks Hidden Records, Oct. 18, 2014. *
  19. The JFK Murder ‘Cover-up’ Still Matters — As Does C-SPAN’s Coverage, Nov. 11, 2014. *
  20. JFK, Nov. 22 and the Continuing Cover-Up, Nov. 24, 2014. *
  21. JFK Assassination Readers Guide To 2013-14 Events, Nov. 28, 2014. *
  22. CIA, Empowered by JFK Murder Cover-up, Blocks Senate Torture Report, Dec. 1, 2014. *
  23. Nearly Too Late, Public Learns of Bill Moyers’ Conflicts Over PBS, LBJ, Jan. 2, 2014.
  24. Why Bill O’Reilly’s Lie About JFK’s Murder Might Matter To You, March 17, 2015.
  25. Free Videos Show Shocking Claims About CIA, JFK Murder Probes, June 29, 2015.
  26. Pioneering Black Secret Service JFK Guard Abraham Bolden Warns Of Current Lessons, July 22, 2015.
  27. Understanding Hollywood-Style Presidential Propaganda From JFK To Trump, Aug. 18, 2015.
  28. Beware Of Wrong Conclusions From New CIA Disclosure On Oswald, Sept. 28, 2015.
  29. The JFK Murder Cover-Up: Your Rosetta Stone To Today’s News, Nov. 29, 2015.
  30. Austin Kiplinger, David Skorton: Two Civic Giants Going And Coming, Dec. 15, 2015.
  31. Trump Alleges Rafael Cruz Tie To JFK Murder Suspect Oswald, May 3, 2016.
  32. Revelations Confirm Proof Of JFK, RFK Murder Cover-ups, Nov. 25, 2016.
  33. Top Experts To Assess JFK Murder Records, Revelations March 16, March 8, 2017.
  34. Speaker Program For March 16 Forum On Secret JFK Records, March 8, 2017.
  35. JFK Experts Advocate Compliance With Records Deadline, March 8, 2017.
  36. At CAPA Forum, JFK Experts See Need, Momentum For Assassination Records Release, March 23, 2017.
  37. Time Magazine, History Channel Ramp Up Oswald-JFK Fake News, April 26, 2017.
  38. JFK Birthday Prompts Inspiration, Art, Advocacy, Snark, June 2, 2017.
  39. Deep State Killed JFK For His Cuba Policy, Peace Advocacy, Experts Say, June 13, 2017.
  40. Newly Released JFK Murder Files Prompt Disputes, ‘Jigsaw’ Solutions, Aug. 4, 2017.
  41. CAPA Challenges Warren Report Defenders Sabato, Shenon, Sept. 22, 2017.
  42. Trump Plans Release Of Suppressed JFK Records, Oct. 21, 2017.
  43. Trump Backs Off Promise To Release All Suppressed JFK Documents Today; Permits Partial Release, Oct. 26, 2017.
  44. More JFK Murder Records Released On Nov. 9, Nov. 10, 2017.
  45. TV Star John Barbour Premieres New JFK Documentary In DC With Free Screenings, Lectures, Nov. 13, 2017.
  46. Two Major Annual JFK Research Conferences Launch Friday In Dallas, Nov. 15, 2017.
  47. DC, Dallas Nov. 22 Events Mark JFK Murder, Official Cover-up, Nov. 22, 2017
  48. Assessing Newly Released JFK Records, Alec Baldwin’s Slam of NBC Cover-up, Dec. 19, 2017.
  49. DC ‘Big Event’ Boosts Pressure To Disclose Suppressed JFK Records, March 16, 2018.
  50. Trump Postpones Some JFK Documents At Deadline For Three Years, Releases Others, April 26, 2018.
  51. Trump Suppresses JFK Murder Records, Violates Pledge, Bows To CIA, Deep State, May 1, 2018.
  52. Rights Pioneer’s Obit Prompts Disputes Over JFK Murder Half-Truths, May 29, 2018.
  53. Poppy’s Seed and Bitter Harvest: Half-Truths History (four-part series on life, legacy of George H. W. Bush), published from Dec. 9 through Dec. 14, 2018, with link to first installment).
  54. Kennedy and King Family Members and Advisors Call for Congress to Reopen Assassination Probes, Jan. 20, 2019.
  55. 3 JFK Research Conferences In Dallas From Nov. 21-24, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 17, 2019.

Andrew Kreig photoAndrew Kreig, the author of the series excerpted above, is a non-profit executive, investigative reporter, author and attorney based in Washington, DC.

After careers in journalism, law and business, he became a founding director of both the Justice Integrity Project and of CAPA, among other leadership positions in civic organizations. CAPA (Citizens Against Political Assassinations) membership details and volunteer opportunities are here.

 

 

Other Analysis By JFK Experts

Peter Dale ScottPeter Dale Scott, shown in a file photo and a member of CAPA’s Advisory Board, is the retired University of California professor and poet who popularized the terms “Deep State” and “Deep Politics” beginning with a series of books exploring President Kennedy’s assassination and its ripple effects on American life continuing to the present. Details of his career are here.

In 2015, the investigative site WhoWhatWhy excerpted his new book Dallas ’63: The First Deep State Revolt Against the White House  (Open Road Media, September, 2015). The CIA, Mafia, Mexico — and Oswald is Part 1 of a six-part series of book excerpts, published from Nov. 22-27, 2015.

WhoWhatWhy Founder and Editor Russ Baker, himself the best-selling author of Family of Secrets about the Bush dynasty, wrote this introduction to Scott’s series:

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, the United States lost more than its president. It lost its innocence. The subsequent investigations into the young president’s killing raised more questions than they answered — and caused Americans to lose faith in their government. Indeed, for many people in the U.S. and across the world, the assassination marked the point at which their fundamental perceptions changed. Just after the Warren Commission released its report on the assassination, the level of public trust in government was at 77 percent. A decade later it had plummeted to less than half that (36 percent).

Kennedy’s death and the circumstances surrounding it gave birth to a movement. This movement, composed of all kinds of people, is dedicated to investigating the story behind the story, to exposing the power networks hidden beneath surface events. These machinations have been dubbed “Deep Politics.” Those who study it believe there is much more to national and world events than what the public is told by government officials and evening newscasters — and, as you will see, Peter Dale Scott proves it. On the occasion of the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, WhoWhatWhy is pleased to present excerpts from Chapter 2 of Scott’s latest work: Dallas ’63: The First Deep State Revolt Against the White House.

For Part 1 of this series, please go here; Part 2, go here; Part 3 go here; Part 4 go here; Part 5 go here; Part 6 go here.

Separately, San Francisco attorney and prominent JFK Assassination researcher Bill Simpich (shown in a file photo) has published on OpEdNews a 12-part series on “The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Bill SimpichLegend.” The series began in 2010 with: The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part One: Mother, Meyer, and the Spotters). Simpich is a founding member of CAPA’s board of directors, and author of the 2103 book State Secret: Wiretapping in Mexico City, Double Agents, and the Framing of Lee Oswald (Mary Ferrell Foundation, 2013).

The first part of the series is excerpted immediately below. Additional segments are listed below that, with dates of publication at left. A photo of the Oswalds embarking for the United States is drawn from the National Archives.

OpEd News, The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part One: Mother, Meyer, and the Spotters), Bill Simpich, Aug. 22. 2010. With millions of documents released in the years since the JFK Act was passed in the nineties, the intelligence backgrounds of the twelve who built the Oswald legend have come into focus. A “legend maker” can range from a “babysitter” who just keeps an eye on the subject to someone handing out unequivocal orders. I count twelve of them, and tell you about them in this series of essays here.

 08/22/2010     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part I):   Mother, Meyer, and the Spotters

  1. 09/02/2010     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 2):  An Instant Visa Gets The Marine Into Moscow
  2. 12/06/2010     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 3):  Counterintelligence goes mole hunting with Oswald’s file
  3. 11/16/2010     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 4):  When the U-2 Goes Down, Oswald is Ready to Return
  4. 12/27/2010     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 5):  The Double Dangle
  5. 11/22/2011     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 6):  White Russians Keep An Eye On Oswald In Dallas
  6. 06/03/2012     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 7):  The hand-off from De Mohrenschildt to the Paines
  7. 06/04/2012     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 8):  The CIA-Army Intelligence Mambo
  8. 08/30/2012     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 9):  Oswald Takes Center Stage As An Intelligence Asset
  9. 07/26/2013     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 10): Nightmare in Mexico City
  10. 12/21/2014     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 11): The Paines Carry the Weight
  11. 12/31/2014     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 12): The Endgame
Contact the author Andrew Kreig
 

 

 
 
 
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