Issue #208, 2021 Week 41

As is fitting for late October, we’re starting to see the specter of elections really shift the news, especially on Capitol Hill. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but at least for this week, it sure is insufferable. Here’s hoping things get a bit less dysfunctional in DC in coming weeks.

Events to Know

Election Rejection Eruption. January 6 news is exploding, particularly regarding the House panel subpoena fight.  The panel is moving to subpoena former Trump official Jeffrey Clark because they believe Clark has information about how Trump attempted to misuse the Justice department to claim election fraud.  Meanwhile, former Trump aide and overall garbage human Steve Bannon pissed off so many people with his flagrant refusal to testify last week that the House has officially voted to hold him in criminal contempt.  Notably, President Biden also gave his blessing on that tactic, saying that his Justice Department should go after anyone who ignores the committee’s subpoena.  And Trump is suing the panel because they’ve subpoenaed his records, as well as apparently threatening to get voters to stay home if GOP candidates don’t adopt his election fraud narrative.  (Mitch McConnell is not best pleased about that last part, and is trying to talk Trump down.)

Key links:

  1. MSNBC – With New Subpoena, Investigation Into Jan. 6 Attack Intensifies
  2. Washington Post – Jan. 6 Committee Will Move To Hold Former Trump Aide Bannon In Criminal Contempt For Not Complying With Subpoena
  3. Washington Post – Biden Says Justice Department Should Prosecute Those Who Refuse Jan. 6 Committee’s Subpoenas
  4. Politico – Trump Sues Jan. 6 Committee, National Archives
  5. Business Insider – Trump Claims His Supporters Won’t Vote In The 2022 And 2024 Elections Unless The Gop Backs His Groundless Election-Fraud Theories

Immigration Updates. In the past week, the Biden administration reversed a Trump-era policy encouraging workplace ICE raids.  Unfortunately, this change coincides with preparations to reinstate the Remain in Mexico asylum policy created under the Trump administration.  In the administration’s defense, the latter is by court order, and I could fill an entire roundup with what I think of that august opinion.  But since Mexico appears to have its own legal challenge going, we might not see the Remain in Mexico program reinstated by mid-November anyway.

Key links

  1. NPR – Homeland Security Secretary Orders Ice To Stop Mass Raids On Immigrants’ Workplaces
  2. CNBC – Biden Administration To Reinstate Trump-Era ‘Remain-In-Mexico’ Asylum Policy To Comply With Court Order
  3. KRGV – Mexican Government To Have A Say In ‘Remain In Mexico’ Policy

Recent Resilience

Can We Use Cannabis (DOJ Edition). There was scant good news this week, but we did get a small gem in the Senate: Senators Booker and Warren are requesting that the Department of Justice remove cannabis from the federal schedule of controlled substances. The senators are hoping that this move will encourage more states to legalize its use, but it seems like they’re hoping to pass federal legislation as well.  

Key links:

  1. Regina Leader-Post – U.S. Senators Say Attorney General Should Exercise His Authority To Deschedule Weed
  2. National Conference Of State Legislatures – State Medical Marijuana Laws

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19. COVID news was pretty focused on boosters again this week, with the FDA recommending booster shots for some Moderna recipients who are over 65 and immunocompromised and for all adults who got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.  There was initially some question about how the J&J recommendation would be implemented, because experts didn’t agree about whether the second shot should be a different vaccine or the same one, but the CDC officially recommended a mix-and-match approach on Wednesday.  And speaking of shots, the White House is also urging states to prepare for the release of pediatric vaccination, which might come as soon as next month.  With so much of the international population potentially vaccinated, the U.S. is also opening its borders to vaccinated international travelers.

Key links:

  1. CNBC – FDA Panel Unanimously Recommends J&J Covid Booster Shots To Adults Who Already Got The First Dose
  2. Washington Post – FDA Panel Recommends A Booster Shot Of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine For People 18 And Older
  3. News 10 – White House Urges States To Prepare To Vaccinate Kids 5-11
  4. Politico – U.S. To Reopen Border To International Travelers On Nov. 8

Current Senate Dysfunction.  The House did vote to pass the temporary debt relief bill from last week, so that’s over with until December, although notably no Republicans voted to pass the damn thing.  But now we’re just back to Democrats fighting with Joe Manchin again, as he refuses to back key climate change and child care provisions of the Build Back Better legislation.  Though progressives are downplaying it, it’s looking very likely that the party will have to cave to Manchin’s singular demands, which is galling when those demands come from an obvious conflict of interest.  Nonetheless, reconciliation negotiations are ongoing as I type this.  And on Wednesday, all 50 Senate Republicans voted to block consideration of a supposedly bipartisan voting rights bill, highlighting the need to revisit the filibuster discussion.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Congress Punts Debt Limit Crisis Into December
  2. Axios – Manchin’s Red Lines
  3. New York Times – This Powerful Democrat Linked To Fossil Fuels Will Craft The U.S. Climate Plan
  4. NBC – Voting Legislation Blocked — Again — In Senate As Republicans Unite For Filibuster

Broken Supply Chain.  Several outlets have run stories this week on our country’s ongoing supply chain issues, which are causing shortages in various places around the country and the world.  President Biden announced that he would dramatically expand work hours at the Port of Los Angeles to facilitate processing of goods; the Port of Long Beach’s hours were dramatically expanded a few weeks ago as well.  But the shipping crisis is only part of a much larger problem, because price jumps from shortages and rent increases are also fueling inflation issues.  It’s likely we can expect this to continue into 2022, because the pandemic created all kinds of issues that won’t resolve overnight.

Key links:

  1. BBC – The Shortages Hitting Countries Around The World
  2. The Hill – Port Of Los Angeles To Move To 24/7 Service To Address Supply Chain Bottlenecks
  3. New York Times – Inflation Warning Signs Flash Red, Posing Challenge For Washington
  4. BBC – The Shortages Hitting Countries Around The World

Actions for Everyone

I’d like to talk about cryptocurrency and NFTs. Do I understand what they truly are really? No. Are they a complicated subject? Yes. Is it still a new concept and we should try to understand it especially if it’s something that could cause more harm than good? Definitely. For the last couple of years we’ve seen cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Doge make people into billionaires by basically having hundreds and thousands of computers processing some transactions in what they call a “blockchain”, this is what is called “mining”. It’s hard to understand so here is an article I had to read to understand a little which basically tries to explain crypto to a child. So when you hear someone went mining for crypto, they just got a bunch of computers running in some warehouse, they aren’t actually digging up stuff. 

Now, what are NFTs? These are Non-Fungible Tokens, basically it’s a type of cryptocurrency that cannot be interchanged for another because it’s unique, and that’s why most NFTs are digital art. So why should we care? Crypto consumes tons of energy and it’s creating tonnes of CO2 comparable to that of small countries. Bitcoin alone is generating around 37 million tonnes of CO₂ every year. I just think we should know what these things are, so we can know what we’re talking about and where our economy is moving towards. Climate Change is imminent right now and now we have a whole new class of billionaire we must be wary of, the crypto billionaires. 

Not only are they polluting the world, some of these new digital miners have been going to my country, Puerto Rico, and trying to move their businesses there to use the island as a tax haven. They are taking advantage of policies that are trying to promote companies to come to the island and create jobs, but they are not creating jobs at all. They are just being wise guys to exploit the island which has had to establish these types of austerity measures because of a US imposed Federal Oversight Board. They’re also serving as gentrification agents in a country that is already filled with poverty.  

I don’t have a specific action to follow on this topic but I think knowing is the first step and this topic isn’t being talked about much in the media. I’ll keep you posted!

Sources:

https://www.wired.com/story/nfts-hot-effect-earth-climate/

https://mashable.com/article/nft-cryptocurrency-bad-environment-art

https://paxful.com/blog/bitcoin-for-kids-and-grandparents/

https://time.com/5955629/puerto-rico-tax-haven-opposition/

Support the Freedom to Vote Act – Congress announced a couple of days ago they will begin debating on the Freedom to Vote Act in the Senate and this means we should start calling! This bill is an all around win. It would expand early voting, mail-in voting, establish Election Day as a national holiday, crack down on voter suppression, establish automatic voter registration and much more. Please call your representatives and tell them you support this bill! 

You can find your representatives here: http://icalledmyreps.weebly.com/find-your-reps.html

Source: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/freedom-vote-act

Keep an eye out for what will happen with the Texas abortion law. The Supreme Court is scheduled to review it but they have decided to keep the law in place till it is reviewed. This is a delicate one, and I think we should be very vigilant to ensure we can keep our reproductive rights. 

Source:

https://t.co/HM3CdWosJL?amp=1

We’d like to share with you this Ted Talk by Erica Chenoweth about nonviolent civil resistance. We may have shared this video with you before,to be honest it’s been a couple of years writing the newsletter and we’re not quite sure if it’s a double or not, but it’s still equally good. Please enjoy! Don’t lose hope.

The success of nonviolent civil resistance: Erica Chenoweth at TEDxBoulder

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