Saturday, January 23, 2021

Mexican President ‘celebrates’ border wall construction rollback

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday, Jan. 22 that he celebrated a decision by U.S. President Joe Biden to reverse several hardline immigration policies put in place by former President Donald Trump, including halting construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The two leaders discussed migration, the COVID-19 pandemic and bilateral cooperation on Friday during their first phone call since Biden assumed presidency this week. Shortly after being sworn in, Biden revoked Trump’s emergency declaration that helped fund the construction of a border wall among a raft of orders addressing immigration. In Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua the border wall appeared deserted on Friday, with machinery and material lying about...MORE

Mexican leader says Biden offers $4B for Central America

President Joe Biden's first calls to foreign leaders went to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a strained moment for the U.S. relationship with its North American neighbors. Mexico's president said Saturday that Biden told him the U.S. would send $4 billion to help development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — nations whose hardships have spawned tides of migration through Mexico toward the United States. López Obrador, who spoke Friday with Biden by phone, said the two discussed immigration and the need to address the root causes of why people migrate. Mexico has stopped recent attempts by caravans of Central American migrants to cross Mexico...MORE

U.S. to reverse Trump's 'draconian' immigration policies, Biden tells Mexican president

The United States plans to reverse the Trump administration’s “draconian” immigration approach while working on policies addressing the causes of migration, President Joe Biden told his Mexican counterpart, the White House said on Saturday. In a Friday call with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Biden outlined his plan to create new legal pathways for immigration and improve the process for people requesting asylum, according to an account of the call released by the White House. Priorities include “reversing the previous administration’s draconian immigration policies,” the White House said. The two leaders agreed to work together towards reducing “irregular migration,” the White House release said. Mexico has a major role to play in Biden’s plans for immigration reform. Earlier this month, Mexico helped coordinate efforts in Central America to contain a large caravan of migrants heading for the United States. Biden, meanwhile, has made an early push for a bill that would open a path for citizenship for the roughly 11 million people living in the United States illegally, though even his allies in Congress acknowledge that may be “a Herculean task.”...MORE

Pelosi Will Deliver Articles Of Impeachment To Senate Monday, Triggering Trump’s Trial

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will deliver the House’s articles of impeachment against former president Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate on Monday, she confirmed Friday, meaning Trump’s Senate trial could potentially start early next week over the objections of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

 Key Facts

Pelosi said in a statement she would transmit the articles of impeachment Monday after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced her decision on the Senate floor.

Under Senate rules, the Senate’s consideration of the articles would have to start by 1 p.m. the day after they’re sent to the Senate.

Pelosi had previously been tight-lipped about when the House would deliver the articles, saying Thursday only that they would be delivered “soon.”

McConnell had pushed Thursday for the Senate to wait until mid-February to start the trial, which would give Trump and his legal team more time to mount a defense.

Pelosi noted in her statement that Trump “will have had the same amount of time to prepare for trial” as the House’s impeachment managers, who she said “are ready to begin to make their case” against the former president.

Schumer said Friday he and McConnell were still negotiating over the terms of the trial and did not say when it would begin, but “make no mistake: a trial will be held in the United States Senate, and there will be a vote on whether to convict the president.”


Schumer agrees to two-week delay of Trump’s impeachment trial

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed Friday night to a two-week delay of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, allowing the chamber to focus on confirming President Joe Biden's Cabinet and coronavirus relief. Under the timeline outlined by Schumer, the House will deliver the article of impeachment Monday evening, senators will be sworn-in Tuesday and the trial will officially begin the week of February 8. The framework for the trial comes after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also called for a two-week delay in order to give Trump time to plan his legal defense. Doug Andres, a spokesperson for McConnell, said the GOP leader is "glad that Leader Schumer agreed to Republicans’ request for additional time during the pre-trial phase," calling it "a win for due process and fairness.” The House managers and Trump’s legal team will spend the next two weeks drafting their legal briefs. Under the trial schedule, the president's team will until February 2 to answer the article and House managers will submit their pre-trial brief the same day. Trump's pre-trial brief will then be due February 8 and the House will have until February 9 for their rebuttal, which will allow for the trial to officially begin...MORE

Prospects of convicting Trump erode as GOP grows vocal against Senate impeachment proceedings

The path in the Senate to convict Donald Trump is extremely slim, with a growing number of Republicans expressing confidence that the party will acquit the former President on a charge that he incited the deadly insurrection aimed at stopping President Joe Biden's electoral win. After Democratic leaders announced they would kick off the process to begin the impeachment trial on Monday, Republicans grew sharply critical about the proceedings -- and made clear that they saw virtually no chance that at least 17 Republicans would join with 50 Democrats to convict Trump and also bar him from ever running from office again. In interviews with more than a dozen GOP senators, the consensus was clear: Most Republicans are likely to acquit Trump, and only a handful are truly at risk of flipping to convict the former President -- unless more evidence emerges or the political dynamics within their party dramatically change. Yet Republicans are also signaling that as more time has passed since the riot, some of the emotions of the day have cooled and they're ready to move on. "The chances of getting a conviction are virtually nil," said Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican. "I don't know what the vote will be but I think the chance of two-thirds is nil," said Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and member of his party's leadership who called the Democratic push to begin the trial "vindictive." The GOP arguments are now coming into sharper focus, claiming the proceedings are unconstitutional to try a former President and contending that the trial is moving on too short of a timeframe to give due process to Trump, claims that Democrats resoundingly reject. But those arguments, Republicans believe, will allow them a way out of convicting Trump without endorsing his conduct in the run up to the deadly mob that ransacked the Capitol on January 6. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is likely to land in the same spot as much of his conference, GOP senators believe, although the Republican leader has said he would listen to the arguments first before deciding how to vote...MORE

Yes, the Senate Can Try Trump

One of the first questions the Senate will face in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is whether the chamber has jurisdiction to hear a case against a former official. The correct answer is yes.

For the Founders, it would have been obvious that the “power to impeach” included the ability to hold former officials to account. The impeachment power was imported to America from England, where Parliament impeached only two men during the 18th century, both former officers. No U.S. state constitution limited impeachments to sitting officers, and some allowed impeachment only of former officers. In 1781 the Virginia General Assembly subjected Thomas Jefferson to an impeachment inquiry after he completed his term as governor.

Why would former officers be included within the impeachment power? Impeachment trials had long served as a vehicle for exposing and formally condemning official wrongdoing, or for a former officeholder to clear his name. Disqualification from future office was also an important penalty. A former Vermont lawmaker was impeached and disqualified from future state office for leading one of the tax rebellions that spurred the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. The American founders understood the history of demagogues and dictators corrupting republics and the need to exclude them from future office. As one delegate to a state ratifying convention put it, men who held public office should be “within the reach of responsibility” so that “they cannot forget that their political existence depends upon their good behavior.”

There’s no hint in the debate over the Constitution of an exception to the impeachment power as traditionally understood. George Mason insisted at the convention that the text should be encompassing enough at least to cover a case like that of Warren Hastings, the former colonial governor then standing trial in the British House of Lords. Everyone agreed. During ratification James Madison and Alexander Hamilton emphasized that the proposed federal impeachment power was an improvement in constitutional design because, unlike in some states, even current officers could be subjected to impeachment.

The Senate shouldn’t depart from centuries of practice and understanding. Declining to try Mr. Trump would set a dangerous new precedent, denying future presidents and other officials the opportunity to clear their names if they leave office, and allowing them to escape accountability by resigning—or saving their worst acts for the end of their term.

Mr. Whittington is a professor of politics at Princeton and author of “Repugnant Laws: Judicial Review of Acts of Congress from the Founding to the Present.”




Biden’s pause on oil cause for big concern in New Mexico

President Joe Biden’s 60-day moratorium on new oil and natural gas leases and drilling permits is prompting widespread concerns in New Mexico, where spending on education and other public programs hinges on the industry’s success. Top Republicans in the state as well as local leaders in communities that border the Permian Basin — one of the most productive regions in the U.S. — say any moves to make permanent the suspension would be economically devastating for the state. Half of New Mexico’s production happens on federal land and amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties each year. Congressional members from other western states also are raising concerns, saying the ripple effects of the moratorium will hurt small businesses already struggling because of the pandemic. “During his inauguration, President Biden spoke about bringing our nation together. Eliminating drilling on public lands will cost thousands of New Mexicans their jobs and destroy what’s left of our state’s economy,” Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway told The Associated Press on Friday. “How does that bring us together? Environmental efforts should be fair and well-researched, not knee-jerk mandates that just hurt an already impoverished state.” In Utah. the state’s delegation asked for Biden to reconsider what they called an arbitrary decision. While it’s common for an incoming administration to pause high-level agency decisions, they argued that such a widespread suspension of routine permitting decisions normally made in the field is unprecedented. Industry groups said the order effectively brings all regulatory activity to a halt, from routine requests that arise during the normal course of business to requests for rights of way for new pipelines designed to gather more natural gas as part of efforts to reduce venting and flaring — practices that Democrats have targeted in their fight against climate change. “It really has the opposite intent,” said Robert McEntyre, spokesman for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. “It means some natural gas is not going to be captured, and that’s not what operators want to do. They want to capture it and send it to market.” New Mexico’s sole Republican in Congress, freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell, was the only member of the state’s delegation to speak out publicly after Biden’s order was issued. She said she supports Republican-backed legislation to prevent the administration from imposing a moratorium on new drilling permits on federal lands...MORE

Friday, January 22, 2021

MLB legend Hank Aaron dies two weeks after getting COVID-19 vaccine


Major League Baseball hall-of-famer Hank Aaron died today. He was 86. According to CBS 46:

Hall of Famer and one-time home run king Atlanta Braves legend Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron passed away this morning at the age of 86, CBS46 has learned. He leaves behind an indelible legacy on and off the baseball diamond.

There are no reports in mainstream media about how the slugger died, but it’s conspicuous that he was given the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month. It was highly publicized at the time because he did it on camera as a way to encourage African-Americans to take the vaccine.

According to TMZ:

Hank Aaron got his COVID vaccine shot on Tuesday — and he did it in front of cameras in the hopes of inspiring other Black Americans to follow his lead. The 86-year-old Hall of Famer masked up and went to the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta along with his wife Billye to receive the first of two doses of the Moderna vaccine.

“[It] makes me feel wonderful,” Aaron told the Associated Press … “I don’t have any qualms about it at all … I feel quite proud of myself for doing something like this. … It’s just a small thing that can help zillions of people in this country.”

An alarming number of people have died within days or weeks after taking the vaccine. The elderly, who are most susceptible to the coronavirus, seem to be most at risk from the vaccine as well. Hank Aaron took the vaccine on January 5th. NOQ Report


Republicans who impeached Trump are already on the chopping block

Former President Donald Trump’s supporters are mobilizing to exact revenge on the 10 House Republicans who supported impeachment last week, thrusting the GOP into a civil war just as party leaders are trying to move on from the Trump era. Pro-Trump Republicans are racing to launch primary challenges. The former president’s donors are cutting off the Republican incumbents. And Trump’s political lieutenants are plotting how to unseat them.The unrest shows how Trump is all but certain to cast a shadow over the Republican Party long after he’s left the White House. Trump has split the GOP, pitting his loyalists against those who say he incited the Capitol Hill insurrection and want to expunge him from the party. Whether the Trump-inspired primary challengers succeed is far from clear. Dislodging an incumbent is notoriously difficult, and Republican leaders are expected to move aggressively to protect their members. But the early activity illustrates the degree to which Trump’s staunch allies are determined to make his critics pay a price. “The stance taken by Liz was very contentious here in Wyoming,” said Republican Bryan Miller, a retired Air Force officer expected to run against Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who vocally supported Trump’s impeachment. “This isn’t going to be a passing thing that just goes away. It’s growing and growing and growing every day across the state. People are unhappy.”...MORE

Mitch McConnell Needs To Go


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has done very good service for the American people. His Merrick Garland gambit was one of the riskiest and best political plays in congressional history. He has seated an enormous amount of conservative judges. He deserves our thanks for that.

But he also has to sit down now and let the conservative movement grow into its new form — a form he seems completely opposed to.

McConnell is playing a ridiculous game of footsie with the idea of convicting Donald Trump in his absurd impeachment. It’s a bridge too far and an obvious power play, and he lacks the power to pull it off.

American conservatives know that after Democrats all but cheered on violence and rioting for months, the idea that Trump incited an insurrection is pure nonsense. It’s a lie and McConnell’s parroting of it is disqualifying for leadership.

So why is McConnell playing along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s charade of impeachment? He thinks he can get the conservative movement back on his and the Chamber of Commerce’s team.

He can’t. If he pushes this impeachment conviction, as he seems to be, he should have no place in Republican leadership. It is nothing short of a betrayal of Republican voters.


Trump gives permit to ranchers whose case led to occupation

Dwight Hammond, left, is greeted by his wife after getting out of prison

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in the final days of the Trump administration issued a grazing permit to Oregon ranchers whose imprisonment sparked the 2016 armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge by right-wing extremists. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s restored Dwight and Steven Hammond’s grazing permit earlier this week, which lasts for 10 years, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. The father and son had their permit revoked after a jury convicted them in 2012 of arson on public lands a decade earlier. The men went to prison, served time and were released, but the U.S. Department of Justice later ordered them back to prison to finish the mandatory minimum five-year sentence. That kicked off the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which is 300 miles (483 kilometers) southeast of Portland. The Oregon State Police fatally shot one occupier, saying he reached for a pistol at a roadblock. The leaders of the takeover, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, and five others were later acquitted of conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs at the refuge. In 2018, Then-President Donald Trump pardoned the Hammonds, allowing them to be freed from federal prison. In a proposal to grant the Hammonds grazing rights on Dec. 31, the land agency said Hammond Ranches should be allowed to graze their cattle on about 26,000 acres (10,522 hectares) in the high desert of eastern Oregon. The federal agency cited the Hammonds’ “extensive historic use of these allotments, past proper use of rangeland resources, a high level of general need, and advantages conferred by topography.” In 2014, when Barack Obama was president, the agency denied Hammond Ranches a renewal of its grazing permit, saying the business “does not have a satisfactory record of performance” and cited numerous incidents of arson...MORE

Democrats Pledge To Fight Trump Rule Ensuring Banks Won’t Refuse Service To Conservatives

In its final days, the Trump administration is seeking to disrupt the way progressive activists increasingly impose their will on big business: through banks controlling the loan lifelines to the economy. A regulation just finalized (update) aims to prevent lenders from blackballing businesses in industries opposed by the left by requiring banks to demonstrate that their loan decisions are “based on quantitative, impartial risk-based standards,” rather than political or reputational concerns. The proposed Fair Access to Financial Services Rule (FAFSR) is a response to successful pressure campaigns waged by environmental groups and congressional Democrats, which culminated in every major American bank refusing to finance drilling projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), despite such drilling being authorized by President Trump in 2017. Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, told RealClearInvestigations that the rule codifies longstanding OCC guidance on banks’s obligation to provide equitable access to their services, and will ensure that banks are not “terminating entire categories of customers.” The rule has been published in the Federal Register, but it may be short-lived with the end of Trump’s term. Many Democrats oppose the measure and they will have 60 legislative days to disapprove the rule by a simple majority vote, as provided under the Congressional Review Act...MORE

Trump to lead national election integrity drive as first post-presidential move, says adviser

Top Trump adviser Jason Miller told "Just the News AM" on Thursday that he expects former President Trump to "emerge as the nation's leader on ballot and voting integrity" in the coming months. Miller, who was aboard Air Force One with Trump and his family as they flew from Washington, D.C. to Florida on Wednesday morning, told show host Carrie Sheffield that Trump "has a number of goals over the next couple of years ... winning back the House and the Senate for Republicans in 2022 to make sure that we can stop the Democratic craziness." Miller added that lots of the important work that will need to be done on voter integrity will "never get done in Washington," because Democratic lawmakers won't allow the issue to be taken seriously...MORE

Thursday, January 21, 2021

FBI feared foreign power was targeting money to Clinton before 2016 campaign, memos show

FBI agents opened an investigation in late 2014 into a foreign power's effort to curry influence with Hillary Clinton's prospective presidential campaign through donations, but the bureau's leadership slow-walked a surveillance warrant and instead arranged for the candidate to get a defensive briefing, newly declassified memos show. FBI agents became so frustrated that they were being stonewalled from securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to investigate the foreign money plot that they even escalated to then-FBI Director James Comey, according to the memos declassified by President Trump on Tuesday night and obtained by Just the News. "The FISA application has remained in limbo for the last four months, even though subsequent investigative activity by [redacted] provided additional probable cause for the FISA application," an FBI employee wrote Comey in an April 14, 2015 email in which he expressed concern he was "overstepping" his chain of command by raising his concerns.That email stated the FBI field office leading the probe was "still uncertain as to why the application has not been sent to DOJ for final approval although several reasons have been put forth by CD [Criminal Division], most recently that the decision to put the application on hold originated 'on the seventh floor.'" The seventh floor of the FBI headquarters is where the FBI director and his team have their offices and is a common reference among field agents to the FBI's management team...The memos don't offer any further evidence that a FISA warrant was ever approved. Instead, they show that FBI leadership ultimately decided to give Clinton's team a defensive briefing in October 2015 as her presidential campaign geared up. The briefing was given to her legal team led by David Kendall and Katherine Turner, the memos show...The memos, forced into public view by an 11th-hour declassification order by Trump, reveal a glaring contrast in the way the FBI treated Clinton and Trump, respectively, when separate allegations of foreign influence targeting their campaigns emerged in the shadows of the 2016 election. It is now well documented that Trump's campaign was subjected to FISA warrant surveillance and other intrusive techniques, including secret recordings, when allegations emerged suggesting the Republican campaign was colluding with Russia. Trump was never given a defensive briefing, and the primary evidence supporting the FISA warrant came from a former MI6 operative named Christopher Steele who was paid by the Clinton campaign through its law firm. The allegations were later debunked, some as Russian disinformation...MORE

'We feel incredibly betrayed': Thousands of Guardsmen forced to vacate Capitol

Thousands of National Guardsmen were forced to vacate congressional grounds on Thursday and are now taking their rest breaks outside and in nearby parking garages, after two weeks of sleepless nights protecting the nation’s capital in the wake of the violent assault on Jan. 6. One unit, which had been resting in the Dirksen Senate Office building, was abruptly told to vacate the facility on Thursday, according to one Guardsman. The group was forced to rest in a nearby parking garage without internet reception, with just one electrical outlet, and one bathroom with two stalls for 5,000 troops, the person said. “Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service. Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed,” the Guardsman said. POLITICO obtained photos showing the Guard members packed together in the parking garage, sleeping on the ground. All National Guard troops were told to vacate the Capitol and nearby congressional buildings on Thursday, and to set up mobile command centers outside or in nearby hotels, another Guardsman confirmed. They were told to take their rest breaks during their 12-hour shifts outside and in parking garages, the person said...MORE

DoD to halt border wall construction following executive order

The Defense Department will stop building a wall along the southern border of the United States as it reviews President Joe Biden's executive order calling for construction to halt, the Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday. On his first day in office, Biden signed 17 executive orders, many immediately reversing policies set in action by his predecessor, Donald Trump.They included an order to pause construction on the border wall that was a keystone of Trump's 2016 campaign. "It shall be the policy of my administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall. I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall," the proclamation reads.The order directs the secretaries of defense and homeland security, in consultation with the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to assess the legality of the funding and contracting methods used to build the border wall and to immediately pause the obligation of funds used to construct it."Upon receipt of President Biden's proclamation with respect to the southern border of the United States, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has directed our contractors involved in border barrier construction for the Department of Defense program not to install any additional physical barriers," said Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Raini Brunson in a statement to UPI...MORE

That is the photo accompanying the UPI story. Interesting picture of a "wall".

Why Utah’s wild mink COVID-19 case matters

On March 6, 2020, a sexagenarian Utahn, who returned to the east shore of the Great Salt Lake after vacationing on the coronavirus-haunted Grand Princess cruise ship, tested positive for COVID-19. It was the pandemic’s first knock on Utah’s door. Then-Governor Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency on the same day. In the following months, COVID-19 would spread to over 300,000 people in the state and wreak havoc on at least 12,000 minks, the discreet, short-legged, fluffy mammals known for their colorful, luxurious pelts.

The country’s first cases in mink were confirmed in mid-August, when two employees working at Utah fur farms infected five minks. Suspecting spillover of the virus to wildlife, researchers with the United States Department of Agriculture began to screen wildlife for COVID-19 in proximity to fur farm outbreaks. In December, their worry was confirmed: A wild mink, trapped just outside of a farm tested positive.

The mink was “asymptomatic” and “humanely euthanized upon capture to allow for tissue sampling and testing,” Gail Keirn, a spokesperson for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service told High Country News by email. At this time, researchers are not concerned that COVID-19 will decimate wild mink populations because their solitary lifestyles provide limited opportunity for one to spread the virus to others.

COVID-19 blew the fur business in the West last year. Data from the USDA shows that multi-generation farms in Utah, Idaho and Oregon yielded more than a third of nearly 3 million mink-pelt products made in the country in 2019. But the industry’s production has declined since its peak in 2014, and pelts grown in the United States have plunged by more than a quarter.

Compounding that challenge on mink farmers, at least 12 of the more than 30 mink farms in Utah have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks since last August.

In a late December statement, Utah’s Department of Agriculture and Food said COVID-19 wiped out nearly half of the breeding herds in the facilities. In Oregon, one of its 11 fur farms was quarantined after an outbreak sickened minks and humans. Among the three escaped minks, two tested positive for the coronavirus. Environmental organizations have since argued for the infected plant’s closure. “It’s clear that this facility poses too great of a threat to wildlife and public health to continue operating,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. 

In Denmark and the Netherlands, minks contracted the virus and passed it on to people, leading to millions of minks culled and farms shut down permanently. Danish public health authorities also warned that some variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, contained mutations from the country’s fur farm outbreaks. No mink-to-human transmissions have been reported in the United States. But scientists fear rampant spread, like those in Utah, and further mutations could jeopardize vaccines.


Ken Burns says US is experiencing its fourth 'great crisis'

Documentarian Ken Burns said that the U.S. is in the midst of the fourth “great crisis” in its history as President Trump prepares to leave the White House. "We're beset by three viruses, are we not?" Burns said on NPR, citing "a year-old COVID-19 virus, but also a 402-year-old virus of white supremacy, of racial injustice. ... And we've got an age-old human virus of misinformation, of paranoia, of conspiracies." Those three factors, he said, have contributed to the U.S.’s fourth major crisis, following the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II.“We're beginning to have a racial reckoning. More people voted than ever before. ... Poll workers defied the coronavirus, voters defied the coronavirus and held the safest and most accurate vote in our history. Courts upheld every challenge to that,” he told NPR. “We have a woman as a vice president — we have a woman of color as a vice president — this is a time not for rejoicing, but to remember that in order to gather strength to deal with these dark moments, we have to actually remember to let in the light that is right in front of us.”...MORE

Parler loses bid to require Amazon to restore service

 A U.S. federal judge on Thursday rejected Parler’s demand that Inc restore web hosting services for the social media platform, which Amazon had cut off following the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein in Seattle said Parler was unlikely to prove Amazon breached its contract or violated antitrust law by suspending service on Jan. 10, and that it was “not a close call.” She also forcefully rejected the suggestion that the public interest would be served by a preliminary injunction requiring Amazon Web Services to “host the kind of abusive, violent content at issue in this case, particularly in light of the recent riots at the U.S. Capitol.” “That event,” she added, “was a tragic reminder that inflammatory rhetoric can - more swiftly and easily than many of us would have hoped - turn a lawful protest into a violent insurrection.”...MORE

Huckabee pushes impeachment ... for Kamala Harris

Bob Unruh

During President Trump's tenure in the White House, Democrats in Washington impeached him twice, the first time for what he said during a phone call and the second during a speech. Now former Arkansas governor and political analyst Mike Huckabee says Kamala Harris should have her turn at being impeached.​"If we’re going to impeach Donald Trump for what he said, then we’d better impeach Kamala Harris for saying the things she did last summer about the rioters and the looters. And even establishing a monetary fund to get them out of jail on bail so they could get back to the riots," Huckabee said Saturday on Fox Business. "If we're gonna play this game, everybody should have a turn," he said. The Washington Examiner explained he was talking about Harris' advocacy for a group raising funds to pay bail for rioters and protesters involved in last summer's riots following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. The fund helped a number of "violent felons," including "a man accused of raping a young girl," the report said. With impeachment now routine in the Nancy Pelosi-run U.S. House, a freshman Republican member has announced she will file articles of impeachment against Joe Biden. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said on Twitter -- with the hashtags #ImpeachBiden and #BidenCrimeFamily -- she will file the articles on Jan. 21, charging abuse of power. With the Democrats in control of the House, there's little chance Greene's move will gain any traction, but her charge is not without merit. A poll after the Nov. 3 election found that had Democrat voters known about the evidence found in a laptop abandoned at a repair shop by Joe Biden's son Hunter, enough of them would have dropped their support for Biden to change the election result. Reports by the New York Post of the evidence that Joe Biden was aware of his son's foreign business deals while serving as vice president and personally profited from them were blocked by Twitter and Facebook. And establishment media refused to investigate the story, with some dismissing it as "Russian disinformation."...MORE

Democrats planning budget blitz to pass Biden agenda

House and Senate Democrats are prepping an audacious and fast-moving game plan to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue package without GOP support, potentially employing tools that would shatter conventional understandings of the budget reconciliation process. Final decisions haven't been made, and publicly top Democratic officials say they still want to try to work with Republicans on a bipartisan plan first. But the emerging strategy calls for House action as early as next week on a "shell" budget resolution for the current fiscal year that would include reconciliation instructions to several House and Senate committees for their pieces of the coronavirus aid package. Reconciliation bills can pass the Senate with a simple majority vote, rather than the typical 60-vote threshold. The goal would be for House and Senate authorizing committees to work jointly on the package and for reconciliation legislation to pass in both chambers before mid-March. That's when a federal $300 weekly unemployment insurance supplement enacted last month as well as extensions of regular benefits lapse. The strategy involves overturning decades of precedent arguing against using reconciliation for discretionary spending, and potentially ignoring the rulings of the Senate parliamentarian on what constitutes allowable reconciliation language, according to sources who weren't authorized to speak publicly. Biden's plan proposes hundreds of billions of dollars for programs that historically have been considered discretionary accounts under appropriators' jurisdiction, including for public health and education. Under Democrats’ thinking, authorizing committees would be allowed to put such funding into a reconciliation bill by designating it as mandatory spending...MORE