Voices, The Peoples News No. 2024-02-01

Voices, The Peoples News

February 1, 2024
Published by Jedi Selman Since March 2000 to Inform and Educate
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This daily Voices, The Peoples News is posted through the blog function of www.MPEN-Ohio.net

# Border / Immigration / Migrants
Another Texas county declares invasion, bringing total to 52: Guadalupe County, has declared an invasion at the southern border. The county joins 51 others that declared an invasion, have expressed support for border counties, for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his border security mission, Operation Lone Star.

Democrats, White House say Biden already has the power to better secure border without new laws Pressure is mounting on Biden to issue executive orders to address border crisis after he rescinded many of Trump’s border-related executive orders upon taking office.

Trucker Rally Turns Into January Sixer Worship Wagon: Three years ago, Joshua Macias was facing prison time in Pennsylvania for bringing an AR-15 and a samurai sword to a Philly vote-counting site in an attempt to disrupt the 2020 election. This week, he was whipping up the crowd of a MAGA convoy that’s heading to the U.S.-Mexico border for a “peaceful” protest against the influx of migrants.

Biden faces a troubling border truth: Immigrants want to get caught. The situation at the U.S. border with Mexico has brought many changes to the country, including the way immigrants act when faced with arrest. In the past, immigrants would largely hide from authorities to avoid being caught in the country illegally.

The United Nations is being accused of helping facilitate mass illegal immigration into the United States: The U.N.’s International Organization for Migration, which gets money through the U.S. government, is playing a key role in assisting people looking to use the amnesty system to gain entry to the United States, and is working through numerous NGOs as part of these operations. [Video}

# Corporations / Industry
The Return of the Koch Brothers: Koch Industries is buying an Iowa fertilizer plant built with taxpayer dollars. Will federal authorities block the deal? At the end of 2023, the fossil fuel and agrochemical giant re-emerged from its recent lull in activity and made a splash in the business press. The company announced its $3.6 billion purchase of OCI Global’s Iowa Fertilizer, among the largest chemical production sites in the state for nitrogen-based fertilizers.

# Economy / Finance / Trade / Banks
Massive Cuts to Social Security Coming Without Congressional Intervention: Proposals would rip away support for middle class. The Republican Study Committee (RSC) has just released its FY 2024 Budget Protecting America’s Economic Security and once again called for significant cuts to Social Security.  The RSC has served as the conservative caucus of House Republicans since its founding in 1973

US Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citizen, Chase and PNC are shutting hundreds of branches a year – here is what to do if your bank closes: Unfortunately, the options are limited to either switching your bank or exploring what sort of services can be accessed using a nearby ATM

Shock tax bill proposal: Mega corporations to receive massive cuts while families scrape by: The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act has been promoted for its child tax credit component. However, it also contains provisions that substantially benefit the wealthy and corporations

Federal lobbying spending skyrocketed to over $4.2 billion in 2023, a nominal record, a new OpenSecrets analysis of federal lobbying disclosures found. Lobbyists at the state and federal level reported over $46 billion in combined federal and state lobbying spending since 2015, according to OpenSecrets’ new analysis. Lobbying spending continues to grow at both the state and federal levels, highlighting the importance of shining light on efforts to impact public policy.

# Education / Schools
National school lunch program could be banned from serving lab-cultivated meat: A bipartisan pair of U.S. Senators have introduced legislation banning the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) from including cell-cultivated meat products on its menu.

# Environment / Climate / Infrastructure / Global How a US mining firm sued Mexico for billions – for trying to protect its own seabed: Local fishers helped halt underwater mining off Baja California’s coast in 2018. But then an obscure international legal process was put into motion. The project, which could see dredging happen for 50 years, overlapped directly with the fishing concession belonging to the Puerto Chale cooperative. Mexico’s government eventually rejected the mine because the potential environmental impacts would be too damaging. But Odyssey had an ace up its sleeve.

# Gov / Politics / Global
Israel And Lebanon Are Prepping For A War Neither Wants, But Many Fear It’s Becoming Inevitable: The prospect of a full-scale war between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia terrifies people on both sides of the border, but some see it as an inevitable fallout from Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza. Such a war could be the most destructive either side has ever experienced.

Mass grave in Gaza: Palestinian officials are accusing Israeli forces of carrying out “execution-style” killings in Gaza after the discovery of a mass grave containing at least 30 decomposing bodies. Some of the victims were blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs with zip ties.

# Gov / Politics
House Passes Bipartisan Tax Bill Benefiting Parents And Corporations: The House of Representatives approved a bipartisan bill expanding the child tax credit, as well as business deductions long sought by corporate America. A GOP senator suggested that he opposed the legislation because passing it would make President Joe Biden “look good.”

Secret Recording: Black Candidate Can’t Win in Texas: A viral video forced a wealthy Texas suburb to confront racism. A ‘silent majority’ fought back. Southlake is known for its top-ranked public schools. But a heated fight over a diversity plan has some parents questioning their future in the city.

Are we heading towards World War Three? Superpower blocs face off over flashpoint conflicts in Middle East, Ukraine and Asia. Now that attacks have claimed American lives, Republicans have called for direct strikes on Tehran, risking an outright confrontation between two major nuclear powers. Former president and likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump blamed the Biden administration’s position on Iran for the attack, writing on his Truth Social network: “We are on the brink of World War Three.”

Election integrity watchdog recommends 14 reforms for states to improve election security: “You can go into the November election with the best laws on the books, but if those laws are gutted in your courts […] then that law is not worth the paper that it’s written on,” Jason Snead said.

Stacey Abrams’ liberal voting rights group lays off most staffers: Fair Fight, a political action committee founded by former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D), has laid off 19 members of its staff as lawsuits have left the group strapped. A source familiar with the matter said Tuesday the group is continuing its “core operations of voter protection, communication, and operations.”

Jared Kushner as Secretary of State? Trump Insiders Are Buzzing About It: GOP senators are said to be urging the Trump son-in-law to consider the State Department post. Tapping Kushner over a MAGA hard-liner, says one source, “would show Trump is not purely on a revenge tour.” GOP senators are said to be urging the Trump son-in-law to consider the State Department post. Tapping Kushner over a MAGA hard-liner, says one source, “would show Trump is not purely on a revenge tour.”

Oregon GOP state senators who staged walkout over abortion can’t run for reelection, high court says: The measure to prevent walkouts passed after GOP lawmakers staged other walkouts from the Legislature in 2019,
2020 and 2021.

‘Thank God they walked out’: Oregon’s partisan divide highlights heightened animosity in statehouses Republicans lawmakers in Oregon are banned from running for reelection after staging a six-week protest over guns, abortion and transgender issues.

Arizona GOP Bill Would Let Legislators Overrule Voters in Presidential Elections. Arizona state Sen. Anthony Kern (R-27), an ally of GOP former President Donald Trump, is spearheading a resolution that says “the Legislature, and no other official, shall appoint presidential electors.” “This is a full sound-the-alarm moment for American democracy,” said one critic. Kern’s new bill, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1014, would let state legislators decide how Electoral College votes are assigned in Arizona. After some introductory text, the bill is extremely short: Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Arizona, the House of Representatives concurring:
1. That the Legislature shall remain in session during years in which presidential elections are held; and 2. That the Legislature, and no other official, shall appoint presidential electors in accordance with the United States Constitution.

# Legal / DOJ
St. Louis County Prosecutor Seeks to Vacate Death Penalty Conviction of Marcellus Williams: Citing crime scene DNA that belonged to someone else, Wesley Bell asked a Missouri court to consider evidence of Williams’s innocence. Forensic testing of the knife used to murder Felicia Anne Gayle Picus, a beloved former newspaper reporter, revealed male DNA that did not belong to Williams. That evidence, which supports Williams’s innocence claim, has never been reviewed by any court, Bell noted in a newly filed motion

Dissolving Trump’s business empire would stand apart in history of NY fraud law: Within days, Donald Trump could potentially have his sprawling real estate business empire ordered “dissolved” for repeated misrepresentations on financial statements to lenders, adding him to a short list of scam marketers, con artists and others who have been hit with the ultimate punishment for violating New York’s powerful anti-fraud law.

Scandal in Georgia threatens to muddy criminal case against Donald Trump. Political pressure is also piling up.: District attorney Fani Willis is at risk of disqualification for alleged relationship with outside counsel. State officials would have the power to replace her if she were disqualified by a judge. Any outside appointment could take a while to make and result in delays to the trial or a shift in strategy.

House Republicans announce president’s brother James Biden to testify before Oversight panel in Feb: GOP lawmakers subpoenaed James Biden last year as part of a sweeping probe into the president, which has largely focused on his family’s business dealings. The private deposition will come a week before they are scheduled to speak with Hunter Biden, the president’s son.

# Medical / Health
Cigna To Sell Its Medicare Business To Health Care Service Corp for $3.7B: People close to the situation told Bloomberg earlier this month that Cigna and HCSC were in “exclusive” talks for the Medicare deal. Other interested buyers reportedly included Elevance Health, another Blues giant.

Public Outrage Sparked As Essentia Shutters Labor, Deliveries In A Hospital: The Duluth-based health care system said “declining birth volumes, increasingly high-risk pregnancies and challenges recruiting providers” spurred the decision.

# Medical Science
New heart treatment could help the body grow a replacement valve: Replacement heart valves that grow inside the body are a step closer to reality following studies led by researchers at Imperial. The results are published in Communications Biology.

# Military / DOD
U.S. Military Personnel in Iraq Put on Standby to Support Ground Involvement in Israel’s War on Gaza: Despite Biden’s promises of no boots on the ground, documents obtained by The Intercept suggest the military has prepared for the possibility. According to a separate personnel document, the standby order related to personnel deployed last year to Iraq. While the documents do not suggest that U.S. military ground involvement in the war is forthcoming, the January memo is the latest intimation of the Pentagon’s preparations to support Israel in the wake of Hamas’s October 7 attack.

# Pharmaceuticals / Drugs
Medicare Pricing Talks On 10 Drugs Kick Off With CMS Opening Offers: The agreed-upon maximum fair prices will be made public by September 1 and take effect in 2026. The first 10 drugs are Eliquis, Jardiance, Xarelto, Januvia, Farxiga, Entresto, Enbrel, Imbruvica and Stelara, as well as Fiasp and certain other insulins made by Novo Nordisk, including NovoLog.

# Space / NASA
NASA Puts Next-Gen Exoplanet-Imaging Technology to the Test: The Coronagraph Instrument on NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will demonstrate new technologies that could vastly increase the number of planets outside our solar system (exoplanets) that scientists can directly observe.

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