Friday, July 19, 2024

Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond

by Compiled by Lorraine H. Marie
| June 21, 2024 7:00 AM

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

A recent sampling:

Via executive order President Joe Biden recently issued a restrictive immigration policy for U.S.-Mexico border asylum-seekers when the numbers reach certain levels. Authorities could automatically block people wanting to present their asylum cases. 

The immigration system, not updated in 30 years, has an exceptional backlog. Republicans have blocked past efforts to pass immigration reforms. The Guardian interviewed people seeking asylum, whose reasons ranged from escaping severe domestic violence to escaping serious death threats from cartels.

The UN says it has added Israel’s military to a global list of states and armed groups committing grave violations against children’s rights.

The Labor Department: The economy added 272,000 jobs in May in contrast to the 180,000 added jobs predicted. A Biden spokesperson said that under Biden 15.6 million more Americans have jobs and the unemployment rate has been at or under 4% since early 2022. Wages were also higher.

Infowars owner Alex Jones dropped his bankruptcy petition recently. He’s asked the courts to sell his assets to help meet the $1.5 billion he owes families of Sandy Hook, Connecticut. A school shooting there in 2012 left 26 people, mostly little ones, dead. The Guardian reported that nationally one in four people believed Jones’ claim that the shooting was staged by “crisis actors” to boost gun control efforts. 

In court Jones admitted the shooting was real and apologized to those who’d been threatened and harassed due to his lies. The documentary, The Truth vs. Alex Jones, shows Jones has continued to share unfounded information. According to the AP, Jones’ liquidation makes it less likely families will receive any money, but Jones will be able to keep his home and personal belongings.

Various media reported that Senate Republicans, with the exception of a few, have blocked The Right to Contraception Act, a bill that grants the legal right to contraception,

John Deere has announced more layoffs of ag equipment workers, The Guardian reported. They’ve confirmed many jobs will go to Mexico. Their U.S. workers blame the change on greed: the company had $10 billion in profits in 2023 and the CEO received $26.7 million in compensation.

Biden called on Congress to renew high-quality internet access for 59 million low-income people, but that was rejected by Republican lawmakers, CNN reported.

The IRS free tax filing program will be available nationwide starting in 2025, CNBC reported.

A key Israeli cabinet member, Benny Gantz, has resigned, saying he’s done due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the war in Gaza. Gantz, a Netanyahu political rival, stated that Netanyahu “prevents us from moving forward to a real victory,” CNN reported. 

The resignation came just after four Israeli hostages were retrieved, at the cost of 274 Palestinian lives and hundreds wounded, the Gaza Health Ministry said. Civilian witnesses described Israel’s hostage rescue as “hell on earth.” The Hostages and Missing Family Forum says President Biden’s recent speech offers the key to success in freeing all hostages.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is not happy that other nations now say Ukraine can use their weapons to attack Russia. On ABC News, Biden emphasized that U.S weapon usage is limited to “just across the border,” and U.S. weapons are not to be used to target Moscow.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries recently agreed to extend a cut to voluntary production of crude oil, to counter a slowdown in demand and higher output from the U.S., CNN wrote.

CNN/SSRS poll: 79% polled said climate change is causing extreme weather in their communities. Policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions are favored by 73%.

The Lancet medical journal studied 170 democracies, comparing them to non-Democratic countries, and found citizens of democracies live longer and happier and tend to have more wealth.

Those attending church weekly tally in at 21%, while 56% “seldom or never attend,” according to a recent Gallup poll.

Blast from the past: In July of 2015, on Trump’s campaign Twitter account, an image of Nazi soldiers was superimposed between stripes of an American flag. Michael Cohen, aka Trump’s then-“fixer,” blamed an intern and the posting was removed. 

More recently another alleged mistake occurred when a Trump campaign site posted a hypothetical newspaper reporting on Trump’s election in 2024, saying there would be “the creation of a unified Reich.” The Third Reich was the Nazis’ label for their ruling years, 1933 to 1945.They regarded 1871 to 1918 as the Second Reich and 800 to 1806 as the First Reich. 

The recent posting also referred to Trump’s rejection of “globalists,” the Nazi term for Jews. Calling both postings a mistake is striking many as disingenuous, since Trump’s fascism leanings are supported by his comments: calling immigrants “vermin,” stating “Hitler did some good things,” and insulting his generals with comments like “why can’t you be [obey] like the German generals…in WW II?”

Blast from the past: Ten years ago this month Elliot Rodger, 22, went on a killing rampage in California. He posted, “I’ll be a god, exacting my retribution on all who deserve it,” saying he would slaughter them. He used a knife and legally bought guns, killed six people and injured 14 others before shooting himself. One trigger appeared to be a raging humiliation after he’d been beaten up after rude and belligerent behavior. There was also deep resentment at women because he was unintentionally celibate. What made his case unusual is how his mother devoted herself to understanding what went wrong and reached out to professionals to both gather and share information.