Monday, October 02, 2023

Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond

by Compiled by Lorraine H. Marie
| September 30, 2022 7:00 AM

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

A recent sampling:

Depending on how the far right activist majority on the Supreme Court rules, the upcoming Moore v. Harper case may mark the end of voter representation in the U.S.

It will look at the “independent state legislature” theory, which gives state legislatures alone the power to regulate federal elections in their state. The attempt to activate the theory was a significant factor in the Jan. 6, 2021, attempt to overthrow the will of the voters, which, in the Eastman Memo, said state legislatures could decide, contrary to state voters, who should be president.

Political author and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich points out that the Constitution says states can decide the times, places and manner of holding elections, but it does not give states total power over democracy.

Over the last century Supreme Courts have repeatedly rejected the independent state legislature theory.

Ukraine’s military forced Russians to retreat from Ukraine’s northeast, The New York Times reported. The Institute for the Study of War, in D.C., said Russia’s northern front was collapsing, and instead of Russia’s claimed “controlled withdrawal,” their soldiers fled in haste.

Various media: Russia now appears to be on the defensive.

Various media: Far right arguments that autocratic governments are more efficient are crumbling, and Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine shows signs of coming to an end.

That pro-autocratic ideas are weakening was indicated recently by news that over 150 prominent Republicans in Michigan are supporting the re-election of their Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, says

Whitmer is being opposed by a Trump-backed anti-abortion candidate.

A judge in New Mexico ruled that a Jan. 6 Capitol rioter, founder of Cowboys for Trump, will be removed from his county commissioner seat for his participation. Couy Griffin is disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone holding office who has engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the country.

The clause was last enforced in 1869.

If he runs for re-election and wins, Trump stated he will look at “full pardons” to individuals convicted of crimes at the Jan. 6 Capitol event, National Public Radio reported.

A Gallup poll shows U.S. approval for interracial marriage is at a high of 94%. It was 4% in 1958.

Trump advisor Stephen Bannon has been charged by the Manhattan District Attorney with two felony counts of money laundering, two felony counts of conspiracy and one felony count of a scheme to defraud, regarding his association to We Build the Wall Inc., a plan to add to the unfinished southern border wall. Bannon faces a maximum sentence of 15 years, various media reported.

A document describing an unnamed country’s military defenses and nuclear capabilities was found in the FBI’s August search at Trump’s Florida home, Axios reported.

Trump’s former “fixer,” Michael Cohen, has advised searching other Trump properties for more documents, since he believes Trump wanted to use them to “exert power,” The Telegraph reported.

CNN: South Carolina Republicans failed to pass a ban on abortion without exceptions for rape or incest.

The party was undermined when not enough Republicans provided support. Three pro-life Republican women lawmakers urged a bill that protects all innocent lives, not just the unborn.

Covid, everyone’s not-favorite topic, from The New York Times: Research from Israel on Paxlovid, a C-19 treatment, finds it most effective, with significantly fewer deaths, for those ages 50 to 64. That same age group, using Paxlovid, showed reduced need for hospitalization and a “pronounced effect” among the unvaccinated and obese.

New research shared in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that people who exercise regularly (in moderation) have better immune defenses.

Other research shows a post-vaccine workout may prevent serious C-19 illness. But, that may be due to exercise fans already having a better health habits. Alcohol is another consideration. It can interfere with immune response, depending on how much is used. Moderate use appears okay (up to two drinks a day for men, one for women); over that amount can amplify post-vaccine reactions.

In China, a C-19 outbreak has locked down 33 cities and seven provincial capitals.

The Telegraph says England has lost 65% of its insect population since 2004, impacting pollination and trout.

To help insects: Allow autumn leaves to decompose and grow bee-friendly plants.

Blast from the past: In September 1974 former President Richard Nixon was granted a pardon by President Gerald Ford for his Watergate scandal role. Ford hoped the pardon would help the nation heal from the political debate about Nixon’s deeds and deceptions.

Later 11 indicted Ronald Reagan administration officials were pardoned under President George H.W. Bush for their illegal actions arming Contra insurgents to overthrow Nicaragua’s leftist government (G.H.W. Bush was also implicated).

That case’s prosecutor regarded those pardons as demonstrating “that powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office, deliberately abusing the public trust without consequences.”

Then-Attorney General William Barr had advised G.H.W. Bush to go forward with the Reagan-era pardons.