Monday, December 11, 2023

Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond

by Compiled by Lorraine H. Marie
| September 16, 2022 7:00 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact.

A recent sampling:

President Joe Biden recently delivered a prime time speech, “The Continued Battle for the Soul of the Nation,” wherein he stated that American democracy is under attack - from within.

“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans” were singled out as attackers, not other types of Republicans. Biden supported his statement by pointing out MAGA-style tactics: lack of respect for the Constitution, failure to uphold rule-of-law or the will of voters, their promotion of authoritarian leaders and political violence, attacks on right to privacy and even contraception.

After listing his Administration’s accomplishments, in the face of Congressional Republicans’ opposition, Biden reiterated a favorite sentiment: “There is not a single thing Americans cannot do -- not a single thing beyond our capacity if we do it together.”

Trump told his MAGA fans it was “the most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president.”

Others accuse Trump of similar attributes: in July, Vanity Fair reported, Trump stated that the U.S. should follow the lead of dictators that execute drug dealers, and that if re-elected he would fire all non-MAGA federal employees.

Further backing his dictatorial leaning was his comment in office that “when somebody is president of the U.S. the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s got to be.”

The Washington Post said legal scholars were “astounded” by the statement.

The biggest threat to free and fair elections at this time lies in the hands of voters who may not carefully consider who is running for their state’s secretary position, The Guardian reported. They said a number of candidates are Trump loyalists who are running in 27 Secretary of State races.

Elected secretaries play a significant role in overseeing presidential elections. Many of the Trump-leaning candidates have a confirmed history of falsely claiming voter fraud, tampering with election equipment, election denying, or having links to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Backing up info long advocated by Dr. Dale Bredesen, author of the book The First Survivors of Alzheimer’s, a new study says eating processed foods (think French fries, ice cream, hot dogs) for more than 20% of caloric intake can result in cognitive decline, Fortune reported.

Another angle on forgiving student debt loans: Indiana’s Rep. Jim Banks tweeted that “Student loan forgiveness undermines one of our military’s greatest recruitment tools at a time of dangerously low enlistments.”

The general in charge of Army recruitment in 2019 said in the Army Times that the specter of student debt helps spur enrollment in the military.

Climate: a recent rainstorm caused the Rio Grande River to swell, sweeping migrants downstream. At least nine died.

Flooding in Mississippi damaged Jackson’s water system (population 150,000), shutting down schools and triggering strict water use regulations. Northwest Georgia has emergency status from flooding.

In July almost 6,000 U.S. temperature records were broken. The impact, from The WEEK: heat prevents some from working

outdoors for days in a row, costing billions; more people now die from heat in the U.S. than from extreme weather.

ASAP responses include new forest management strategies, sea barriers, and plans for protecting the elderly, disabled and poor. Past projections for weather extremes for 2050 are occurring now, The New York Times reported.

A Trump-appointed judge okayed Trump’s request for a “special master” to review close to 11,000 improperly stored U.S. documents the FBI seized in August from his home.

In The New York Times, a University of Texas law professor said the action was “an unprecedented intervention by a federal judge into the middle of an ongoing federal criminal and national security investigation.”

An unintended consequence of the ruling: the DOJ could lay out evidence of obstruction of justice. The judge said a review of the documents by the office of the Director of National Intelligence could continue.

William Barr, attorney general during the Trump Administration, said on Fox News there is no “legitimate reason” for boxes of classified documents to be kept at Trump’s Florida home. While some say the FBI raid was “unprecedented,” Barr said “it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club.”

Blast from the past: In August of 2016 candidate Trump declared that if elected he would create lengthy jailterms for those mishandling classified information.

At the time he was thinking of presidential opponent Hillary Clinton, who used a private email server while Secretary of State. Others using private email to conduct official business have included Trump’s White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner.

A three-year investigation of Clinton found no evidence of systemic or deliberate mishandling of classified information.

As regards Donald Trump’s holding of U.S. documents at his home in Florida, the FBI has seized haphazardly stored, highly sensitive top-secret info at the unsecured home.

Affidavit info says agents recently found at Mar-A-Lago 31 documents marked “Confidential,” 54 marked “Secret,” 18 labeled “Top Secret,” as well as 48 empty folders marked “Classified.”