< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 107 OF 107 ·
|Jun-02-23|| ||perfidious: Bill passes in Senate, sans threatened grandstanding:|
<The Senate on Thursday night passed legislation to lift the nation's debt ceiling and stave off what would've been an economically disastrous default days before Monday's deadline.
The final vote was 63-36.
The bill will now go to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature.
Biden heralded the Senate vote passing the budget agreement as a "big win" for the economy.
Noting the bipartisan nature of the vote, Biden said, "Together, they demonstrated once more that America is a nation that pays its bills and meets its obligations -- and always will be. I want to thank Leader [Chuck] Schumer and Leader [Mitch] McConnell for quickly passing the bill."
"No one gets everything they want in a negotiation, but make no mistake: This bipartisan agreement is a big win for our economy and the American people," the president added.
Biden said he looks forward to signing the bill as soon as possible, and that he will address the American people directly Friday.
Schumer painted the debt limit deal as a broad victory for Democrats late Thursday night during a press conference just after the legislation passed.
"Default was a giant sword hanging over America's head," Schumer said. "But because of the good work of President Biden, as well as Democrats in the House and Democrats in the Senate, we are not defaulting."
Schumer's comments come after an aggressive effort by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to cast the bill as a GOP victory. But Schumer pointed to the vote margins in the House and Senate, noting that the bill enjoyed more support from Democrats than it did from Republicans in both chambers.
"We got more votes because the bill beat back the worst of the Republican agenda," Schumer said. "This was an exercise in where the American people are at, and they are much closer to where we are than where they are."
The Fiscal Responsibility Act, the product of weeks of contentious negotiation between Biden and McCarthy, will raise the $31.4 trillion debt limit through Jan. 1, 2025, while also implementing some caps on government spending and policy changes.
Republicans are touting its spending cuts while the White House argues it was able to protect major Democratic priorities like Medicare and Social Security, among other Biden-backed initiatives.
The compromise legislation was met with opposition from wings of both parties -- hard-line Republicans and progressive Democrats -- but has now passed both chambers with bipartisan support in the face of the alternative: an unprecedented default on the nation's bills that would've likely cost millions of jobs and triggered a recession.
The House passed the bill on Wednesday in a 314-117 vote, a win for McCarthy in his first major test as speaker.
"I wanted to make history," McCarthy said as he took a victory lap after the bill's passage. "I wanted to do something no other Congress has done, that we would literally turn the ship, that for the first time in quite some time we'd spend less than we spent the year before."
Lawmakers have raced to get the bill across the finish line ahead of Monday, the date Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned the U.S. could run out of money to pay all its bills on time and in full.
The Senate avoided a filibuster and the passage of any amendments to get the bill across the finish line before the weekend.
Overall, the Fiscal Responsibility Act will keep non-defense spending flat in fiscal year 2024 and increase spending by 1% in 2025, which ultimately amounts to a cut in light of inflation, while slightly raising military spending.
It imposes new work requirements for older Americans using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, and other federal assistance, a key Republican demand, though the Congressional Budget Office estimated it could increase spending and the number of people who qualify for aid. Medicaid and Medicare programs were left untouched.
The legislation also paves the way for a natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia, claws back some funding for the Internal Revenue Service and ends the three-year pause on federal student loan payments.
According to the CBO, the bill will reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade.>
|Jun-02-23|| ||perfidious: Numbers on Senate vote:
|Jun-02-23|| ||perfidious: Article in the challenges Lincoln faced in his attempts to free the slaves:|
<U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s call for a national divorce has met widespread condemnation, but some on the Left find themselves agreeing to her proposed divorce “in the interest of the kids.” There’s no actual risk of a split today, unlike in the 19th century. But Greene’s antics, and the reaction to them, fit into a long tradition of anti-Lincoln voices of Right and Left, and are symptomatic of a very real danger—that the United States succumbs to a universal weakness of democratic forms of government, as increasingly polarized factions tear society apart. As the American nation navigates this challenge anew, Abraham Lincoln is a sober and somber guide.
Twenty years ago, Lincoln scholar Barry Schwartz asked why Lincoln was not as revered as he had once been. Nevertheless, he could still conclude that most Americans saw Lincoln, and the Founders, as “admirable but imperfect.” This is no longer the case. Vocal and growing groups at both ends of the political spectrum are maligning Lincoln, and his proponents must work harder to recover his legacy. But this defense necessarily means taking seriously the critics’ arguments against him.
Many southerners and southern sympathizers hated Lincoln, while abolitionists looked with horror at Lincoln’s willingness to compromise with the South. His goal was slow, firm progress toward the extinction of slavery; and to preserve the Union, he was willing to see slavery continue in the South for another generation or more. Lincoln came to the presidency with the pledge of union at all costs, but with the one hard line that there be no extension of slavery—that it be confined to the southern states that already had it. Even this was a non-starter for what would become the Confederacy, while for abolitionists it reflected an unacceptable moral weakness.
It wasn’t just fire-eating southerners who wanted secession—abolitionists also preferred to split up into two countries. William Lloyd Garrison, the most famous abolitionist of them all, had long called for a referendum among the free states for a peaceful dissolution of the Union. Lincoln and the Republicans thought disunion would be a disaster. Lincoln ally Hamilton Fish put it bluntly: “Doubtless there are men, both at the North and at the South, who contemplate, and some who even desire a dissolution of the Union. Our jails and Lunatic Asylums are of sufficient capacity to accommodate them.”...>
|Jun-02-23|| ||perfidious: Loser Lake steps into neighbouring California with a new conspiracy theory:|
<Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake this week promoted a conspiracy theory about former President Donald Trump having won the state of California in the 2020 presidential election -- and even some of her fellow conservatives are saying enough is enough.
Posting on Twitter early on Friday morning, Lake composed a message that simply said, "Read this thread," and then linked to a series of Twitter posts filled with false claims about voting in California during the election.
The thread begins by falsely claiming that President Joe Biden in 2020 only won in the San Francisco Bay area, whereas the rest of the state, including Los Angeles, voted for Trump.
In reality, Biden won in counties up and down the coast of California and only lost to Trump in the interior sections of the state that traditionally votes for Republicans.
The theory that Lake promoted was so far out there that it drew a mocking rebuke from George Andrews, who currently serves as Chief of Staff to Republican California State Assemblyman Tom Lackey.
"This is a whole new level of wackadoodle," Andrews wrote of Lake's theory. "Not worth wasting precious kilobytes and battery power arguing over it. Just pointing it out for pure entertainment."
Conservative commentator Ryan James Girdusky, meanwhile, said that Lake's promotion of the theory showed she didn't have the smarts to be in politics.
"If you believe this tweet thread, you should not be in politics," he wrote. "You’re too gullible to even buy a car on your own."
And conservative attorney AG Hamilton argued that Lake's promotion of the theory could have potential legal repercussions.
"Kari Lake is now promoting an insane conspiracy thread claiming CA is secretly red and only seems blue because of voter fraud using Dominion and Smartmatic machines," he wrote. "Aside from being easily disprovable nonsense, this is a good way to get added to lawsuits by those companies.">
Jaysus, they will have to create a separate category of dumb for her....
|Jun-03-23|| ||perfidious: More on last month's sham town hall:
<Chris Licht's tumultuous run as CNN Worldwide CEO came to a head on May 10, when the network hosted a town hall with former President Donald Trump, leading to industry criticism and internal pushback.
Nearly a month after the town hall, The Atlantic published an eye-opening profile of Licht and his tenure.
In it, Atlantic's Tim Alberta wrote that CNN employees speculated that the network tried to placate the former president, alleging there was a request to alter a chyron ahead of the town hall.
"At one point during the pregame show, when the words 'sexual assault' appeared on the CNN chyron, one of Licht's lieutenants phoned the control room," according to Alberta. "His instructions stunned everyone who overheard them: The chyron needed to come down immediately."
On May 9, a jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming longtime Elle columnist E. Jean Carroll awarding her $5 million. The jury did not find Trump liable for rape; the former president has denied the allegations.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment about this specific allegation.
Ahead of the town hall, critics worried about the network hosting a former president who, among other things, had just been found liable for sexual abuse the day prior. The town hall was seen as a ploy to boost flagging ratings and an attempt to bring GOP viewers back into the fold of the network after CNN served as Trump's punching bag during his term.
The event, hosted by rising CNN star Kaitlan Collins, played out as critics expected: Trump steamrolled the network repeating falsehoods at a faster cadence than could be fact-checked, despite Collins' best efforts. He was also allowed by the network to appear before what Licht called an "extra Trumpy" audience, which laughed when Trump mocked Carroll and her allegations.
And while the ratings spiked for the town hall (more than 3 million tuned in) the network's numbers have since receded with the network placing below right-wing network Newsmax several times in May.
In the month since, the company has also faced criticism from its own reporters including media writer Oliver Darcy and CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.>
|Jun-03-23|| ||Stonehenge: <Perf> You can check your game submissions here: |
Click on Search -Game Position - Import PGN - Load.
I'm sorry but so far almost every PGN you have submitted contained errors.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nbd2 g6 5.g3 Bg7 6.Bg2 e5 7.c3 Nge7 8.a3 0-0 9.b4 h6 10.Bb2 Be6 11.0-0 Qd7 12.Qe2 Rad8 13.Rfd1 a5 14.b5 Na7 15.a4 b6 16.Nf1 f5 17.Ne1 f4 18.d4 Qc7 19.Nf3 g5 20.h3 fxg3 21.fxg3 Ng6 22.Ne3 Nc8 23.Kh2 Nce7 24.Ng1 Rf7 25.d5 Bd7 26.Bc1 Rdf8 27.Ra2 Kh7 28.Bf3 Ng8 29.Qg2 Nf6 30.Bg4 Nxg4 31.hxg4 Qc8 32.Nf5 Bxf5 33.gxf5 Nh8 34.g4 Bf6 35.Ne2 Kg8 36.Ng3 Rh7 37.Qf3 Rd8 38.Be3 Nf7 39.Rh1 <Qe7> 40.Kg1 Nd8 41.Rah2 Nf7 42.Nf1 Kg7 43.Nd2 Rfh8 44.Nf1 Rf8 45.Ng3 Kg8 46.Nh5 Rc8 47.Rh3 Rf8 48.R1h2 Rc8 49.Qh1 Kf8 50.Kf2 Ke8 51.Nf6+ Qxf6 52.Rh5 Rc7 53.Bxg5 Nxg5 54.Rxh6 Qh8 55.R6h5 Rxh5 56.Rxh5 Rh7 57.Ke3 Kf7 (0-1)
39...Qe7 is impossible. Also, please don't use parentheses at the end of the game.
|Jun-03-23|| ||perfidious: <Stonehenge>, that tool is useful indeed--thanks! I have just put it to good use, with more to come.|
|Jun-03-23|| ||Stonehenge: OK, that worked.
Here I don't know which rook you played 30...Rh8
A Shaw vs L Linderman, 1984
|Jun-03-23|| ||perfidious: On the modern obsession with antibiotics:
<The human microbiome is endangered. And that’s not a good thing for your health—or the health of the rest of the world.
A new documentary, The Invisible Extinction, highlights how the human microbiome—also known as the bacteria and microorganisms living within the human body, most prevalent in the gut—is on the verge of extinct. And it’s all your fault.
In a discussion with People, two researchers behind the doc, Martin Glaser and Gloria Dominguez-Bello, say the human microbiome is essential for us to digest food, make vitamins, and train our immune systems. “When we eat,” Blaser tells People, “we are nourishing both our human cells and also our microbial cells.”
The slow death of the human microbiome is thanks to our modern way of life. We use antibiotics to kill off bad bacteria. But antibiotics kill off plenty of the good stuff, too. Blaser says the more antibiotics given to a child, the more likely they are to develop a range of illnesses. Blaser adds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about one-third of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary, leading to the overuse.
Then there’s the highly processed, chemical-laden food that’s wreaking havoc on our gut health. “The single most important component of the diet to feed the microbiome is fiber,” Dominguez-Bello says. These fibers feed your microbiome, while processed food removes the fiber, posing a negative result for your microbiome.
The researchers want better options for the antibiotic issue, both with improved testing to see if a bacterial infection is really in play, and by developing new antibiotics that don’t have the “collateral damage that are killing every bacterium inside.”
“We are making a complete mess of biodiversity, including microbial,” Dominguez-Bello says. “Microbes are essential in every ecosystem, not only in humans or animals or plants, but also in the oceans. (The) whole thing is linked together by impact of human activities. We need to preserve microbes because they really modulate functions of Earth. They modulate the climate. They modulate everything. They modulate our own gene expression.”
The human microbiome is a big deal. Let’s not kill it.>
|Jun-03-23|| ||perfidious: On Social Security and how to fix it:
<BRETT ARENDS'S ROI
If there were no tax cheats in America, there would be no Social Security crisis. Benefits could be paid, and payroll taxes kept the same, for the next 75 years.
That’s not me talking. That’s math. It comes from the number crunchers at the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.
And it explains why those of us who support Social Security should be pounding the table in outrage over one clause of the Biden-McCarthy debt-ceiling deal: the part where the president has to retreat from his crackdown on tax cheats just so McCarthy and the House Republicans would agree to prevent the federal government from defaulting on its debts.
It’s just two years since the administration got into law an extra $80 billion for the IRS to beef up enforcement. That was supposed to include hiring an estimated 87,000 IRS agents.
OK, so nobody likes paying taxes, and nobody likes the IRS. Cue the inevitable demagoguery about an army of militarized IRS tax enforcers, and so on. But this isn’t about whether taxes should be higher or lower. It’s about whether everyone should pay the taxes that they owe.
After all, if we’re going to cut taxes, shouldn’t that apply to those of us who obey the laws as well as those who don’t? Or do we just support a Tax Cuts for Criminals Act?
Why would any voter rally around a platform of standing with tax cheats?
The Congressional Budget Office calculated that the extra funding for the IRS would have reduced the deficit, because it would more than pay for itself. But this augmented IRS funding now been cut by an estimated $21 billion out of its budgeted $80 billion over a 10-year span.
If this seems abstract, consider the context and how it affects you and your retirement — and the retirements of everyone you know.
Social Security is now running an $80 billion annual deficit. That’s the amount benefits are expected to exceed payroll taxes this year. (So say the Social Security Administration’s trustees.)
Next year, that deficit is expected to top $150 billion. By 2026, we’re looking at $200 billion. The trust fund would run out of cash by 2034, and, without extra payroll taxes, it would have to slash benefits by a fifth or more.
Over the next 75 years, says the Congressional Budget Office, the entire funding gap for the program will average about 1.7% of gross domestic product per year.
Meanwhile, how much are tax cheats stealing from the rest of us? A multiple of that.
According to the most recent estimates from the IRS, tax cheats steal about $470 billion a year from the federal government. That figure is now four years out of date. And it’s the figure after enforcement measures.
Oh, and the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration says it’s a lowball number.
But it still worked out at around 12% of all the taxes that people were supposed to pay, including payroll taxes. And around 2.3% of GDP....>
More on da way....
|Jun-03-23|| ||perfidious: Fin:
<....Over the next 10 years, based on similar ratios to GDP, that would come to another $3.3 billion.
Sure, Social Security’s trust fund is theoretically separate from the rest of Uncle Sam’s finances. But that’s an accounting issue. A distinction without a difference.
Social Security is America’s retirement plan. Few can retire in dignity without it. Yet it is facing a fiscal crisis. By 2034, without changes, the program will be forced to cut benefits — drastically.
Some people want to cut benefits. Others want to raise the retirement age, which also means cutting benefits. Others want to raise taxes on benefits — which also means cutting benefits. Others want to hike payroll taxes, either on all of us or (initially) only on very high earners.
At last — just 40 or so years late — some are starting to talk about investing some of the trust fund like nearly every other pension plan in the world, in high-returning stocks instead of just low-returning Treasury bonds.
(It is hard for me to believe that it’s now almost 16 years since I first wrote about this ridiculously obvious fix. And, yes, I’ve been boring readers on the subject ever since, including here and most recently here, and, no, I have no plans to stop.)
But if investing some of the trust fund in stocks is a no-brainer, so, too, is insisting everyone obey the law and pay the taxes they actually owe each year. I mean, shouldn’t we do that before we think about raising taxes on those who abide by the law?
How could anyone object? Any party that believes in law and order would support enforcing, er, law and order on tax evasion. And any party of fiscal conservatism would support measures, like tax enforcement, to narrow the deficit.
And, actually, any party that truly supported lower taxes for all would be tough on tax evasion: It is precisely this $500 billion in evasion by a small, scofflaw minority that forces the rest of us to pay more. The U.S. currently has, quite literally, a tax on obeying the law.
One of the many arguments in favor of taxing assets or wealth, instead of just income, is that enforcement would be easier and evasion much harder.
Washington, D.C., seems to be a place where people come up with complex proposals just so they can avoid the simple, fair ones.>
|Jun-03-23|| ||perfidious: Life expectancy in the US:
<The country’s life expectancy problem gained renewed attention in recent years during the COVID-19 pandemic after seeing the largest drop since World War II.
As U.S. life expectancy continues to plummet, a new report found the country has been at a life expectancy disadvantage since the 1950s, and it has only gotten worse since then.
The study, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, also shows more than 50 countries have surpassed the U.S. in life expectancy since the 1930s, and a handful of states may be partly responsible.
“The scale of the problem is bigger than we ever thought ... older than we thought, (and) the number of countries outperforming the United States is much larger than we thought,” said study author Dr. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and health at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
The findings offer a new perspective on U.S. life expectancy and shed light on how to reverse the trend, experts say.
‘Taking the historical perspective’
The U.S. began seeing dramatic increases in life expectancy in the early 20th century, mainly a result of public health advances such as vaccines and sanitation, Woolf said.
The new report shows how that growth continued into the '50s, with U.S. life expectancy ranking 12th highest in the world. But that growth rate began declining in 1955, and by 1968, the U.S. had fallen to 29th.
The decline began much earlier than many researchers had thought, Woolf said.
"When asked when did this problem began, we cited the 1980s ... because we haven’t gone back far enough in the historical data to see what happened before,” he said. "That there was a decline in the 1950s raises questions about what was going on then.”
1 in 8 deaths due to COVID Nearly 107,000 drug overdoses, COVID deaths, push US life expectancy to lowest in 25 years
The life expectancy growth rate rebounded in 1974, according to the study, then decelerated again in 1983. Provisional data from 2021 shows U.S. life expectancy has dropped to 76.1 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the lowest it has been since 1996.
The study relied on estimates from the U.N. Population Division and the U.S. Mortality Database, Woolf said, which could skew exact rankings and year-over-year changes.
But the general takeaway remains the same, said Michal Engelman, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The timeline shows how life expectancy may be heavily influenced by systemic factors that are larger than individual health choices.
“Taking the historical perspective teaches us that things are not predetermined,” Engelman said. “Things change, and that means there’s a possibility for more improvement in the future.”
More countries are surpassing the US
The report also looked beyond the same small subset of peer countries – like the United Kingdom or Canada – that are typically included when studying life expectancy.
By expanding the pool to include countries with populations over 500,000, the report found 56 countries had surpassed the U.S. in life expectancy since 1950 and included countries with smaller economies, lower populations and different government systems.
Middle-income countries made enough gains in life expectancy to catch up and then surpass the U.S. during times when the country’s acceleration slowed, Woolf said. By 2019, the U.S. ranked 40th among populous countries – lower than Lebanon and Albania.
“Countries that don’t necessarily have all the support systems and infrastructure and policies that exist in higher-income countries are still outperforming” the U.S., he said. “What are they doing in those countries that have enabled their people to live longer?”
Some US states are worse than others
Since the '50s, life expectancy grew at a different pace throughout the country, according to the report.
Northeastern and Western states experienced the fastest growth, Woolf said, while south-central and Midwestern states saw the slowest growth.
“This cluster of states really played an outsized role in producing these poor rankings for the United States,” he said. “States doing very well like Hawaii, New York and other high performers are ranked among some the same life expectancy as some of the healthiest countries in the world.”
'State policy matters' More Americans die younger in states with conservative policies, study finds
The findings support previous research showing how policy decisions affect health outcomes and, ultimately, life expectancy.
“The things that influence health and longevity are operating on multiple levels,” Engelman said. “The story of our health goes far beyond thing that we can personally control.”>
|Jun-03-23|| ||perfidious: Shot across the bow by Orange Criminal on plans for birthright citizenship, were he to return to 1600 Pennsylvania:|
<Former President Trump this week tossed a bone to immigration hawks, promising to issue an executive order rescinding birthright citizenship if he returns to the White House.
The pledge drew groans from pro-immigration advocates, who quickly pointed out Trump only toyed with trying the move for four years in office, but it heightened fears about the mainstreaming of radical anti-immigrant rhetoric.
“It makes for a nice talking point for the white nationalists and extremists, and that’s what they’re doing. So that’s point one,” said David Leopold, legal adviser to America’s Voice, a progressive immigration advocacy group
“Point two is this whole Republican primary that’s starting to unfold now. It’s going to be about immigration. It’s going to be about the border. It’s going to be about invasions and all kinds of extremist and, frankly, dangerous, anti-semitic, racist rhetoric.”
Trump’s proposal adds to a growing concern that GOP presidential candidates will compete for the most extreme positions on immigration — and will be pressured to act on them if elected.
Birthright citizenship in the United States is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which states that all people “born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” are citizens.
Proponents of ending birthright citizenship argue that undocumented immigrants are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States, and therefore their children cannot receive citizenship by virtue of simply being born here.
While that position is not new, Trump has given it new life as arguably its highest-ranking proponent.
“We started to see it come back up about 10 years ago and it comes and goes, but it’s a reliable white nationalist talking point because it gets the base riled up,” Leopold said.
Yet Trump had ample opportunity to issue an executive order or otherwise officially challenge the prevailing interpretation of the 14th Amendment during his four years in office but chose not to.
His announcement that he would issue such an order on the first day of his second term came ahead of campaign stops in Iowa, where he shot barbs at his strongest opponent for the Republican nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
In a speech in New Hampshire, DeSantis made the case that he would be able to serve eight consecutive years if elected — giving him a better chance at implementing conservative policies — while Trump is limited to only one more four-year term.
“I’ve been watching DeSantis go out and say, ‘I’ve got eight years, it’s gonna be eight years,’ let me tell you something, right there you should vote against him,” Trump told the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa.
“It’ll take me six months to have it totally the way it was,” he added, referring to oil drilling and his border policies.
DeSantis shot back from another stop in New Hampshire, asking, “Why didn’t he do it in his first four years?”
Moving to the right on immigration, including birthright citizenship, is likely a winning strategy in a GOP primary, but polls are less clear on how a general electorate responds to the idea.
During his presidency, Trump twice brought up the issue publicly, once in a 2018 Axios interview and once shortly after his election loss to President Biden in 2020.
Surveys conducted after that interview largely found that Americans would respond to questions about birthright citizenship differently depending on how the question was framed, suggesting most respondents didn’t know who is currently eligible for birthright citizenship.
But the polls didn’t suggest any particular hunger among the general electorate to dive into the issue.
For immigration hawks, Trump’s unfulfilled flirtations with removing birthright citizenship draw a sharp contrast with Biden.
“I would say even less than zero chance [that Biden considers it],” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a restrictionist group that advocates for drastic reductions in immigration.
Of Trump, Mehlman said, “Would he do it? Would he not do it? First he’d have to get nominated, second he’d have to win, third he’d have to be sworn in and then we will see if he does it or not.”
Under Trump’s proposal, he would issue an executive order reforming U.S. policy on citizenship so that the children of undocumented immigrants would no longer be considered to have been born “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States.
Such an order would be immediately challenged in court....>
More on this ta follow....
|Jun-03-23|| ||perfidious: Act deux:
<....Immigration restrictionists are itching for that fight, which would likely move through federal court, the Fifth Circuit and into the Supreme Court.
But even that strategy is a stretch. It’s unknowable whether the high court would take up such a case, or even whether the core issue in play would be the interpretation of the 14th Amendment.
Pro-immigration advocates, however, are concerned over the current composition of a Supreme Court that’s already shown a willingness to disrupt orthodoxy by overturning the half-century precedent of a federal right to abortion.
“So if it gets to the Supreme Court, you have a very conservative — some would say extremist — majority on that court. And who knows what they’ll do. I mean, look what they did with choice,” said Leopold
The precedent for birthright citizenship, however, is more than a century old and rooted in the foundational principles of civil rights in the United States.
The 14th Amendment was enacted after the Civil War, and its citizenship clause was intended to enfranchise former slaves into full citizenship.
At the time, the jurisdiction language was intended to exclude children born to foreign diplomats in the United States and members of Native American tribes.
The citizenship clause’s clearest test came in 1898 in the case of the United States vs. Kim Wong Ark, where the Supreme Court ruled that the child of foreign nationals legally in the United States was a citizen by birth, notwithstanding the Chinese Exclusion Act.
Restrictionists argue that undocumented immigrants are more akin to Native American tribes who were excluded in the original reading of the 14th Amendment.
Gerard Magliocca, a professor at the Indiana University School of Law who specializes in constitutional law, said that analogy is “flawed” in a 2008 article in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law.
“First, the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment viewed the ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ (or citizenship) clause as a way of enhancing tribal autonomy, not as a tool for limiting citizenship,” Magliocca wrote.
“As a result, the text does not have an exclusionary gloss that should be extended by construction.”
Secondly, Magliocca wrote the question of jurisdiction over undocumented immigrants is more akin to the question of jurisdiction over enemy invaders, though with key distinctions.
“Accordingly, the operative question is whether illegal aliens, like enemy occupiers, are beyond the actual authority of the United States. The answer to this constitutional question is no.”
While legal orthodoxy, history and public opinion largely favor the prevailing interpretation of the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause, immigrant advocates are wary of a surprise twist that could upend the longstanding status quo.
“No. 1, I think the first point … that it’s such a harebrained idea, it’s never gonna go anywhere. I think that’s probably true, because even if you took it to an extremist court, you’d still have so many other issues to deal with, that it would make it almost impossible to – I just don’t see it happening,” Leopold said.
“Of course, I didn’t see Trump getting elected as happening either,” he added.>
|Jun-04-23|| ||perfidious: DeSatan, as if from On High, after being asked to define 'woke' in Iowa campaign stop:|
<The Ron DeSantis camp posted a video of the presidential candidate defining the cultural buzzword “woke” just days after Donald Trump said he doesn’t like it anymore and insisted that “half the people can’t define it.”
“[Trump] said he doesn’t like to use the word ‘woke’ because people don’t know what it means,” NBC reporter Dasha Burns said at Saturday’s campaign stop in Iowa. “That’s obviously a big part of your messaging. What do you say to that?”
“Look, we know what woke is, it’s a form of cultural Marxism,” DeSantis answered. “It’s about putting merit and achievement behind identity politics, and it’s basically a war on the truth. And as that has infected institutions, and it has corrupted institutions. So, you’ve got to be willing to fight the woke, we’ve done that in Florida, and we proudly consider ourselves the state where woke goes to die.”
The DeSantis War Room retweeted the video Saturday, saying, “Asked to define WOKE, @RonDeSantis does not miss a beat:
‘It’s a form of Cultural Marxism… It’s a war on the truth.'”
Trump made his statement on the word earlier in the week in Iowa.
“I don’t like the term ‘woke,’ because I hear the term ‘woke woke woke’ … it’s just a term they use, half the people can’t define it, they don’t know what it is.”
DeSantis has said he’s running for president to eradicate “woke ideology” in the United States. When asked by a Fox News host why it was the right time for him to run for president, DeSantis answered:
“Because everyone knows if I’m the nominee, I will beat Biden and I will serve two terms and I will be able to destroy leftism in this country and leave woke ideology on the dustbin of history.”
DeSantis’ wife Casey was spotted Saturday wearing a “WHERE WOKE GOES TO DIE” leather jacket in Iowa’s 90-degree heat. The design featured an outline of the state of Florida and a snapping alligator. Some on Twitter compared the spirit of the jacket to Melania Trump‘s infamous, “I REALLY DON’T CARE DO YOU?” jacket.>
|Jun-04-23|| ||perfidious: 'Evidentiary gold': view on the Orange Criminal and his statements on classified documents.|
<According to former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner, Donald Trump's conflicting statements about how he went about declassifying sensitive government documents -- along with comments made about possibly sharing them -- will make it easy for DOJ attorneys to rip his testimony apart if he is indicted by special counsel Jack Smith.
Appearing on "The Saturday Show' with host Jonathan Capehart, Kirshner's eyes lit up when recounting how the former president is handing prosecutors all they need.
"How significant is it that there is an audio recording of what we're talking about?" host Capehart pressed.
"It's huge, Jonathan," Kirscher fired back. "I've tried wiretap cases in the federal courthouse three blocks away, RICO cases, in fact. When you can present to the jury the crime being committed, or being discussed by the very person on trial who's sitting across the courtroom from the jury, it's evidentiary gold."
"And most importantly, when you can take two audio recordings, or two videos, one with Donald Trump saying 'I declassified everything with my mind' or 'it was automatically declassified when I took it with me from the White House,' and you can immediately thereafter play an audio recording of him six months after leaving the presidency saying, 'I'd like to show this to you, but it's classified,' jurors get the point."
"It might feel good that Donald Trump in the moment, saying these things on faux news networks or in town halls but, boy, once prosecutors can surgically present this stuff to a jury, it's going to be like shooting fish in a barrel," he added.>
Payback's a biyatch and Jack Smith's the biyatch!!!
|Jun-04-23|| ||perfidious: Mark Meadows, helping his former boss inch closer to a date with the executioner;|
<According to an MSNBC political analyst, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been the source of a great deal of the legal problems Donald Trump is now facing -- many of which could lead to indictments and possible jail time.
While Trump is responsible for his misdeeds, Meadows ha [sic] inadvertently provided a wealth of information that investigators subsequently followed which has led to a multitude of Trump legal woes that are far from being resolved.
As MSNBC's Hayes Brown wrote, a recording made by Meadow's aide has become a key piece of evidence against the former president that could be used to indict him under the Espionage Act, and that is just the latest in a collection of blunders committed by the "overzealous" Meadows.
"This isn’t the first time a Meadows-linked evidence trail has created headaches for Trump. Even before moving over to the White House, Meadows was a prolific texter, helping undergird his own narrative as a mover and shaker. In a 2017 profile with Vox, he showed off just how many calls he’d received from the newly installed administration as a sign of how looped in he was," Brown wrote before adding that Meadows' texts became a key factor in the Jan. 6 congressional hearings.
Noting that special counsel Jack Smith is reportedly close to indicting the former president, Brown suggested Trump likely rues the day he hired the former North Carolina lawmaker as his chief aide.
"If indictments are handed down, Meadows will likely have played a key part in helping to build the case against his former boss," he wrote. "And for someone who has risen so far by hitching himself to Trump’s coattails, it may be his own ego that helps bring the former president crashing back down to earth.">
|Jun-04-23|| ||perfidious: Extremists in GOP signally fail, despite being full of sound and fury:|
<I have bad news for folks who invested in bright red “Make America Great Again” hats and devoted years of their lives to what former President Donald Trump routinely calls “the greatest political movement in the history of our country.”
The MAGA movement, with each passing day, appears smaller and more impotent. It’s loud but ineffective, capable of creating chaos but incapable of success.
The recent debt-ceiling deal reached between President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy perfectly illustrates MAGA’s all-holler/no-action status.
MAGA's debt-ceiling red line was easily crossed by Kevin McCarthy
This was the none-shall-pass for moment for far-right Republicans in Congress, a chance to use the threat of economic disaster that would accompany a default to un-do all the things Big Bad Biden has accomplished as president, to slash spending to the bone and poke holes in the safety net.
“I say to the Republicans out there – congressmen, senators – if they don’t give you massive cuts, you’re going to have to do a default," Trump said during a CNN town hall.
Republican Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, chair of the Republican Study Committee told Axios he agreed with Trump. And Rep. Ralph Norman of North Carolina said: “Either they agree to cuts, which are modest, or they take responsibility for whatever happens.”
The Republican Party's debt-ceiling threats met up with Dark Brandon
McCarthy caved to MAGA demands and initially produced a debt-ceiling bill that would have gutted much of what Biden accomplished in his first two years. It was a wholly unreasonable proposal, aimed at appeasing the extremes of McCarthy's own party.
But the final deal the speaker hammered out with Biden was nothing close to what MAGA lawmakers wanted.
The original bill sought a 10-year cap on spending, with draconian cuts to non-defense spending. The final deal puts minor spending restraints in place for the next two years. They wanted strict (and unnecessary) work requirements on SNAP recipients and people on Medicaid. Medicaid went untouched, and the dynamics of the change in work requirements for SNAP recipients, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, will actually increase government spending on food stamps.
The original bill cut the $80 billion allotted to the IRS for one decade, part of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. Only $10 billion per year for two years was cut in the final deal.
The debt-ceiling deal is 'ridiculous' and 'a bunch of fake news'
Notable MAGA-enthused folks were disgusted with the agreement.
Before the vote, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado said the bill is “a bunch of fake news and fake talking points that will do nothing to reign [sic] in out of control federal spending.” Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona called it a “ridiculous, ephemeral deal” that is “one of the biggest abominations” he has seen.
Texas Rep. Chip Roy, a member of the MAGA-aligned Freedom Caucus, said: “The Republican conference right now has been torn asunder. Not one Republican should vote for this deal – not one.”
In the House, 149 Republicans voted in favor of the deal, 68% of the chamber’s GOP members.
What happened? Republicans who aren't wholly aligned with Trump and his MAGA movement did their jobs and voted for a bill that got them some of what they wanted and saved the global economy from collapse....>
Part deux round the corner....
|Jun-04-23|| ||perfidious: Is this the beginning of the end for any aspirations by the most extreme elements of the Far Right to call the tune?|
<....The MAGA outcry over the debt-ceiling deal was noisy, as usual
Trump loyalist Steve Bannon said on his podcast that Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries came out of the debt ceiling deal as “the man.” Bannon dubbed Jeffries the real majority leader and used a rather derogatory word for McCarthy.
But again, MAGA is all talk. They won’t be able to kick McCarthy out as speaker. Just as they weren’t able to stop Biden from largely winning the debt-ceiling fight. Just as they weren’t able to help Republicans achieve a “red wave” in the midterm elections, or help Trump win in the 2020 presidential election.
Even Texas Republicans ignored a threat from Trump
Speaking of the former president, when Texas Republicans decided to impeach the state’s attorney general, hardcore Trump-backer Ken Paxton, Trump rushed to Paxton’s defense and threatened any state Republicans who dare cross him: “Hopefully Republicans in the Texas House will agree that this is a very unfair process that should not be allowed to happen or proceed—I will fight you if it does.”
Not long after that threat, the Republican-controlled Texas House voted overwhelmingly — 121 to 23 — to impeach Paxton. Apparently they weren’t intimidated, nor should they have been.
Let's stop treating Trump and MAGA as some all-powerful force
MAGA, as a movement, has more than proven itself to be a paper tiger. A loud one, sure. One that can stir up all kinds of dust and threats and unhinged accusations. But a paper tiger nonetheless.
It’s time Republicans and the rest of us stop being cowed by Trump and his perversely loyal fan base, with their red hats and noisy chants and cult-like attraction to a man who, as they will one day tragically learn, doesn’t care a whit about them.
The power of MAGA is a mirage. That’s why McCarthy hedged his bets and struck a deal with Biden. He knew he could beat back Trump’s toadies.
And that’s exactly what he did.>
|Jun-04-23|| ||perfidious: DeSatan fiddling while Floridians' health care burns:|
<Florida’s Ron DeSantis is now officially a candidate for president, and so far his campaign is going about as expected.
The Republican governor has decried the “malignant ideology” of the left and “the woke mob,” and he’s promised to make the rest of America more like his “free state of Florida.” He has suggested that Disney is trying to brainwash America, and he’s gone after former President Donald Trump too, albeit indirectly, by urging Republicans to “dispense with a culture of losing” during an appearance in New Hampshire.
These are the subjects DeSantis wants to discuss and, quite possibly, the ones that matter most to Republican primary voters. But there’s another topic in the news that could use some attention.
Over the past few weeks, roughly a quarter-million Floridians have lost health insurance coverage through Medicaid. And that’s just the beginning. In the coming months, even more Medicaid beneficiaries in Florida could lose their coverage as well ― with many, and quite possibly most, ending up uninsured altogether.
It’s a big deal in Florida. It should be a big deal elsewhere too, because a major reason for the coverage losses are a series of policy decisions that DeSantis and his administration have made. These decisions say a lot about his priorities and values, and how he might govern as president.
The End Of A Pandemic Policy
The story unfolding in Florida is part of a larger one playing out across the country, as the federal government ends the last of its COVID-19 emergency measures. One of those initiatives focused on Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income Americans that states administer using a combination of their own funding and money from Washington.
Some states make it relatively easy to enroll and stay on the program. Others don’t. And especially in those that make it more difficult, tons of people lose their coverage even though they remain eligible ― in some cases, simply because they couldn’t figure out the paperwork. It’s a situation that advocates have long decried, and one that even Medicaid critics agreed was problematic in the pandemic, when the need to get medical care was so urgent.
That’s why the pandemic relief package that Congress passed and Trump signed in March 2020 offered states extra Medicaid funds as long as they suspended their usual verification and reenrollment procedures. In other words, anybody on Medicaid would get to stay on it automatically, for the duration of the public health emergency.
The states agreed, and it’s one reason that Medicaid enrollment swelled ― which, in turn, was partly why the number of Americans without health insurance fell to record lows. Now, that arrangement has ended. Once again, states are going through their Medicaid rolls, requiring beneficiaries to reestablish their qualifications to stay on the program.
But just as some states have historically made the enrollment process easier, some are currently going out of their way to minimize coverage losses ― for example, by using existing databases to verify people’s eligibility automatically, when possible. Certain states are going even further by changing their Medicaid programs to make it easier to stay on.
One such state is Oregon, where officials recently worked with President Joe Biden’s administration on a series of Medicaid changes designed to better address poverty. A key element was the introduction of “continuous” eligibility for young children, meaning that those who get onto Medicaid will automatically stay on the program until they turn 6 years old.
The trade-off is that, almost inevitably, there will be some kids on Medicaid who are no longer eligible or no longer need the coverage ― say, because their parents have gotten better-paying jobs with benefits. Oregon officials evidently figure it’s a small price to pay for helping so many more kids in need.
“The public health emergency has clearly demonstrated the value of having continuous health insurance, particularly for populations that experience health disparities and have had historical barriers to health care access,” said Elizabeth Gharst, a spokesperson for Oregon’s Health Authority, after the change was announced.
But officials in some states don’t have that mentality. One of them is Florida, which last month released its first report on how the Medicaid reverification process was going....>
|Jun-04-23|| ||perfidious: Barnstorming the country as his constituents feel the pinch:|
<....The Medicaid Purge In Florida
The state’s official data showed that, in just a few weeks of reviewing records, Florida had canceled coverage for nearly 250,000 residents.
That’s a lot of people, obviously. But what was perhaps more striking was that this represented 54% of the records it had reviewed. In other words, somebody lost coverage in more than half of all the Medicaid cases that Florida examined.
Last week, the health care research organization KFF published a brief comparing figures from nine states that have begun their review processes in earnest and are reporting figures. Florida’s proportion of disenrollments was the highest. And while a handful of states had similar rates, others were dramatically lower. In Virginia, for example, the rate was just 10%.
It’s impossible to know exactly which Floridians are losing coverage and why. In all likeliness, some truly don’t qualify for Medicaid anymore. But only 18% of those losing coverage in the state were definitively determined to no longer qualify. The rest were disenrolled for “procedural” reasons ― meaning that something in their paperwork was off.
It’s a safe bet, as the KFF brief noted, that many of these people still qualify for Medicaid but just struggled to navigate the documentation requirements and bureaucratic procedures.
Most likely, many will end up with no insurance at all.
A Window Into A DeSantis Presidency
Health care advocates in Florida feared precisely this scenario, practically begging the state to go slow on redeterminations and to make sure the process was thorough.
Now that the initial figures are available, 52 organizations have sent a joint letter asking the governor’s administration to pause the process so it can set up better notification procedures and increase staff numbers at the agency processing cases. All eight Democrats who represent Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter making the same basic plea.
“When governors see such large numbers of terminations of coverage for procedural reasons … they should pause the process and see what is going wrong,” Joan Alker, a Georgetown University research professor who has been following the Medicaid redetermination story for months, said at a virtual press conference in May.
But Florida officials have defended their process as sufficiently careful, while DeSantis has expressed no interest in making changes ― which, perhaps, isn’t surprising given his history on health care policy.
He has a long record of opposing government health care plans, for the same reasons that most conservatives do: He argues they are too costly and wasteful, and that they interfere with the free market by sapping individual initiative.
As a member of the House in 2017, he voted to support far-reaching efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As Florida’s governor, he has refused to support the ACA’s Medicaid expansion for the state, which is the biggest reason that more than 12% of Floridians don’t have health insurance. That’s the fourth-highest rate in the country.
Exactly what role his thinking played in shaping Florida’s approach to Medicaid redeterminations is an interesting question. The same goes for how DeSantis feels about so many of his residents losing coverage. But he hasn’t addressed the topic publicly, and when HuffPost repeatedly asked about it when first covering this story months ago, his administration didn’t provide answers.
On the presidential campaign trail, DeSantis has generally been appearing in front of friendly audiences and supportive interlocutors. But he’s going to run into sharper questioning eventually. At some point — maybe during the primaries, maybe not until the general election contest — somebody is bound to ask about these huge coverage losses.
As they should. Government health care programs like Medicaid represent a massive commitment of federal funds. They are also a lifeline for a large swath of the population, with the potential to reach even more people who need help.
DeSantis would have a lot to say about this as president. Voters deserve a preview of what that would sound like.>
|Jun-04-23|| ||perfidious: To borrow a favourite adjective of one of my faithful followers here: the Orange Criminal is full on unhinged yet again:|
<Former President Donald Trump threw a midnight Truth Social tantrum about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Trump wrote at 12:24 a.m.:
WOW! LEGAL EXPERTS ARE SAYING THAT D.A. ALVIN BRAGG WILL BE IMMEDIATELY FORCED TO DROP HIS WEAK & DISPARAGED CASE AGAINST 'TRUMP' BECAUSE HIS TOP INVESTIGATOR, JEREMY ROSENBERG, CORRUPTLY COLLUDED WITH A DISGRACED, DISBARRED, AND CONVICTED FELON & PERJURER IN ATTEMPTING TO FRAME ME WITH A 'CRIME' THAT DOESN'T EVEN EXIST. THEY APPARENTLY BECAME CLOSE FRIENDS WITH LIFESTYLE MONEY SPENT, A CRIME. THIS ON TOP OF CLINTON LAWYER TURNED PROSECUTOR, MARK POMERANTZ, ILLEGALLY WRITING A BOOK ON THE CASE!
Trump appears to be alluding to an exclusive New York Post story published late Saturday night that Jeremy Rosenberg, an investigator inside Bragg's office, "has been suspended for his contact with the former president’s ex-lawyer and bitter adversary Michael Cohen."
According to the Post, sources said that Rosenberg "had his gun removed recently for his interactions with Cohen" and that "Bragg's office is looking at how Rosenberg shared communications about Cohen with the office."
But the Post article also specifically states that "defense lawyer and former Manhattan prosecutor Mark Bederow said the suspension might not affect the case against Trump, but the defense probably would want to know what led to the review."
Even the right-wing-leaning Gateway Pundit stressed that "it is unclear if Jeremy Rosenberg's suspension will have an impact on the case against Trump."
Nonetheless, Trump's ire could be related to NBC News' revelation that United States Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith's grand jury in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case will meet again this week.>
|Jun-04-23|| ||perfidious: Elon, we hardly knew ye:
<Business magnate Elon Musk has recently stirred controversy by sharing anti-trans content on his Twitter account. Known for his outspoken and often divisive social media presence, Musk's posts have sparked heated debates and backlash from groups advocating for transgender rights.
Musk came under fire from conservatives after Twitter reduced the distribution of a conservative film produced by The Daily Wire "that urges intolerance of trans people and opposes medical intervention for trans children," according to Business Insider.
The film by The Daily Wire's Matt Walsh had its visibility cut after allegedly violating Twitter's rules on hateful conduct.
Shortly thereafter, Musk bucked the decision by his own platform to reduce the film's distribution by sharing it on his own account and saying, "Every parent should watch this."
On Friday afternoon, Musk pinned the tweet sharing the video to the top of his profile.
"Consenting adults should do whatever makes them happy, provided it does not harm others, but a child is not capable of consent, which is why we have laws protecting minors," the Tesla CEO added.
Musk's supporters have defended his right to freedom of speech, although the discussion illuminates the ongoing tension between individual liberties and the potential harm such expressions can have on marginalized communities. Some have also questioned the role social media platforms like Twitter should play in moderating or removing such content.
The incident has sparked calls for accountability and increased scrutiny of high-profile individuals' responsibilities when voicing their opinions on public platforms. Many hope it will stimulate further conversation about the role of social media in shaping societal attitudes towards marginalized communities, and the importance of promoting understanding and respect for all, regardless of gender identity.
Republicans, however, are pushing and passing legislation to limit the rights of transgender people. In particular, critics argue that gender-affirming care isn't appropriate for minors.>
|Jun-04-23|| ||perfidious: A way to humiliate the Orange Prevaricator, courtesy of his niece:|
<During an appearance on MSNBC's "The Katie Phang Show" Mary Trump, the niece of former president Donald Trump offered up a way to "humiliate" him to his 2024 GOP presidential nomination rivals.
Speaking with the host, the now-indicted former president's niece called him a "loser" and then related a story about his childhood that, she claims, still irks him to this day.
Asked by the host if Trump rivals should "Take a page out of Donald Trump's playbook and go for the jugular?" Mary Trump shot back, "Katie, it amazes me that they have not done that yet."
"Again, I think it's because they're restrained by their fear of his stranglehold on the base -- I guess they should be," she conceded. "You know, if they were serious people, they would understand that they have a huge opportunity to take Donald out without having to contradict him in terms of policy as if there is such a thing these days or politics."
"Just call him what he is: he is a loser, he loses constantly, he has never legitimately won anything in his life," she continued. "He is a thin-skinned baby who has nothing to offer but white grievance."
"If I were one of these candidates, I would simply show up to a debate with a bowl of mashed potatoes because that was his very first experience of humiliation was when he was being a total brat before my grandmother put dinner on the table," she recalled. "My dad had just ordered to shut him up and stop him from tormenting his little brother Robert. Took a bowl of mashed potatoes, dumped it on Donald's head."
"He hates that story," she added. "He has never been able to laugh at himself in a healthy way. It's really not difficult to get under that extraordinarily thin skin of his.">
|Jun-05-23|| ||perfidious: Wall Street trader goes for a big number on Mountain Valley pipeline, rewarded after approval becomes part of debt ceiling deal:|
<As part of the debt ceiling deal, one surprise concession that made it into the bill was the approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 304-mile natural gas connection from northwest West Virginia to southern Virginia.
A pet project of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin that had been mired in Congress, the law forces action on permits that should push the project forward.
However, there was no public reason to believe that the pipeline was in the deal at all, which makes the actions of one mystery trader — who made a killing on its inclusion — somewhat suspicious, according to a Bloomberg analysis of trading data.
Shares in Equitrans Midstream Corporation were down 35% last year. On May 24, a few days before an agreement was struck, a mystery trader bought 100,000 call options — essentially bets on a stock-price increase — on Equitrans Midstream. Then, on May 27, the debt deal including the Mountain Valley Pipeline was struck.
Following that announcement, Equitrans Midstream shares jumped 49%.
From the looks of it, the bet earned the trader $7.5 million as of last Friday, according to Bloomberg. The options are still outstanding, so that number could grow in the event that Equitrans Midstream continues to rally.
That kind of perfect timing is, needless to say, fishy. The deal on Mountain Valley was kept secret up until the debt deal was announced. Some are suspicious enough they want it investigated for potential insider trading.
Equitrans said neither they nor any executives were involved in the transactions. Manchin himself said he knew nothing about the options trade. The negotiations were played very close to the vest between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the White House. Ethics watchdogs want answers, according to Bloomberg.
Members of Congress are barred from trading on confidential information, though a 2021 Insider investigation found repeated violations of the STOCK Act among members. >
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