Saturday, May 1, 2021

Last Call For Retribution Execution, Con't

Republicans are taking another shot at ending Rep. Liz Cheney's career, confident this time that they have the numbers to remover her from the House GOP's number 3 post.

Top Republicans are turning on Rep. Liz Cheney, the party’s highest-ranking woman in Congress, with one conservative leader suggesting she could be ousted from her GOP post within a month.

Why it matters: The comments by Reps. Steve Scalise, the minority whip, and Jim Banks, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, carry weight because of their close relationship with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — who is openly feuding with Cheney. 
Banks (R-Ind.), leader of the largest conservative caucus in the House, told Axios Friday that Cheney's continued criticisms are "an unwelcome distraction," and he questioned whether she would retain her leadership role in a month. 
Banks' comments were echoed more diplomatically by Scalise (R-La.), the No. 2 Republican in the House. 
During an interview with Axios on Friday, he said of Cheney: "This idea that you just disregard President Trump is not where we are, and, frankly, he has a lot to offer still.”
Earlier in the week, McCarthy himself told reporters: "If you're sitting here at a retreat that's focused on policy, focused on the future of making American next-century, and you're talking about something else, you're not being productive."

Cheney (R-Wyo.) told reporters during several interviews at a GOP retreat in Orlando, Florida, that anyone challenging the 2020 election results should be disqualified from a presidential campaign in 2024, and that she herself would not rule out a run. 
She also said a commission to examine the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection should be narrowly focused — not the wide-ranging probe McCarthy favors. 
In addition, Cheney characterized a memo Banks wrote about how the party could retain working-class voters as "neo-Marxist."

What they're saying: Banks said such comments detracted from a unified focus about how to beat the Democrats in the 2022 midterms. 
"That’s what we got out of Liz Cheney, which doesn’t help us remain focused on that single goal," the congressman said during an interview he offered to Axios. 
"Her lack of focus on that, while being focused on other things, and proving her point, was an unwelcome distraction." 
“The sort of sideline distractions at the GOP retreat will only serve to hold us back from being focused on that nearly unanimous goal we have as a conference," Banks added.

Asked whether he thought Cheney, who serves in the No. 3 party role as GOP conference chair, will retain that position in a month, Banks said, "I don't know."


So what's different now as opposed to when Republicans failed to oust her in February and failed miserably?

Two words: Donald Trump. Trump has gotten through to Steve Scalise, and Scalise and his crew want Cheney gone after her comments on 2024. Expect this time for Cheney to actually be removed from her post.

The purge continues. The only thing that matters to the GOP is loyalty to Dear Leader Trump.

The Worst-Case COVID Scenario

India has now reached the cascade failure stage of "reopening too early" as daily new cases of COVID-19 have gone from 15k to 400k in the matter of weeks.

India recorded more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time on Saturday as it battles a devastating second wave, and the country's massive new vaccination drive was hampered in some areas by shortages of the shots.

Authorities reported 401,993 new cases in the previous 24 hours, after 10 consecutive days of more than 300,000 daily cases. Deaths jumped by 3,523, taking the country's total toll to 211,853, according to the federal health ministry.

The surge in infections has overwhelmed hospitals, morgues and crematoriums and left families scrambling for scarce medicines and oxygen. And while India is the world's biggest producer of COVID-19 vaccines, shortages of the shots in some states hindered the opening of vaccinations for all adults.

West Bengal state was unable to start a drive aimed at adults aged between 18 and 45 due to a shortage of shots and urged the federal government to provide more supplies, a senior state health official said, declining to be named as he was not authorised to speak with media.

Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of the hard-hit state of Delhi on Friday urged people not to queue at vaccination centres, promising more vaccines would arrive "tomorrow or the day after".

Eastern Odisha state said on Friday it had received a consignment of 150,000 shots but would only allow a few people to get shots due to lockdown restrictions preventing movement.

In Ahmedabad, the main commercial city in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat, hundreds of people lined up for their shots.

"I took my first dose and I am appealing to all students to take the vaccine and be safe," said Raj Shah, a 27-year-old student in the city.

India has received 150,000 Sputnik-V vaccine doses from Russia and millions more doses will follow, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said on Saturday.
When I said we were in for the long haul against COVID, I meant it. The Biden Administration is getting supplies to India, but the reality is this is now a runaway train. Lockdowns until the fire is out may stop the spread, but it also prevents people from getting vaccinated. This is the worst-case scenario that would have happened here under a second Trump term, and it's happening in a country with four times our population.
Unless President Modi can contain this disaster, we could see a million daily new cases at this rate. The death toll could be catastrophic. We lost 500,000 plus people in this country and the death toll isn't done here. India in 2021 could dwarf that number.

Get vaccinated, is all I'm saying.

Going Postal, Con't

Republicans are VERY ANGRY that the US Post Office was monitoring right-wing online threats to federal post office building and postal workers after January 6th, and they DEMANDED HEARINGS about this OUTRAGE.

The only problem is that in the hearing, the Chief Postal Inspector of the post office testified the USPS was given authority to monitor Americans in 2017. By Trump and the GOP. Who used this power for years secretly, including to monitor Black Lives Matter protesters after George Floyd's death last summer.
The U.S. Postal Service’s law enforcement arm began monitoring social media posts following the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted in Minnesota and across the nation after George Floyd was killed in police custody in May 2020, according to congressional aides and lawmakers who attended a briefing this week on the program.

Last week, Yahoo News revealed that analysts with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service have been trawling Americans’ social media posts to track political protests as part of its Internet Covert Operations Program, known as iCOP. The news prompted more than two dozen Republican lawmakers to demand that the USPS provide information on the program.
Then the GOP found out something they probably wish they had left alone.

During a Wednesday briefing before the House Oversight Committee, Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale told lawmakers that iCOP began in 2017 to investigate potential crimes, such as drug and firearms trafficking transported by the mail system, but then moved into monitoring protests last spring because of the potential threat to Postal Service workers and buildings. An uptick in threats against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was also a factor in iCOP’s continued focus on monitoring protests, according to a GOP aide who attended the briefing.

A leaked intelligence bulletin from March about iCOP’s work largely focused on social media posts on the right-leaning Parler platform, as well as Facebook and other sites. According to those who attended the hearing, Barksdale would say only that the work was “incident-specific,” but did not provide further details.

“The chief postal inspector was unprepared to the point of incompetence,” Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., told Yahoo News. “He couldn’t tell me when this program started, how much money is spent on it or where the authority to spy on Americans came from.

“The complete inability to give us answers to basic questions was unacceptable,” Mace added.

Still, new details about iCOP’s work did emerge, according to several people who attended the briefing. Barksdale began his testimony with a dramatic video of a mail truck engulfed in flames during the protests that erupted in Minnesota after Floyd's death.

The footage was intended to illustrate why iCOP resources were dedicated to tracking protests on social media, according to a GOP aide.

Concerns about the USPS’s social media surveillance comes amid a series of controversies surrounding the agency. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Democrats accused DeJoy, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, of removing mailboxes and sorting machines to influence the November election, which had a record number of mail-in ballots.

Yet now it’s Republicans leading the charge against the USPS, after it emerged that iCOP was monitoring right-wing social media accounts following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. It’s unclear if news that the program was also tracking protests related to Black Lives Matter will prompt Democratic lawmakers, who have so far been silent about the program, to join their GOP colleagues in asking for more answers.

Barksdale’s appearance Wednesday did not appease Republican lawmakers. “I was not satisfied with their answers,” Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., told Yahoo News.

“Their theory of the case is, they’ve got to protect their workers and properties,” Biggs said. “I asked, 'If you already have engagement with other agencies like FBI, Homeland Security, NSA, whatever, then why aren’t you asking them for help?'

“Why not just call the agencies whose job it is, who are probably already surveilling American citizens?” he said.

The chief postal inspector told lawmakers those agencies “would not cooperate,” so the USPS “made an executive decision” to have iCOP patrol social media, searching for potential threats from upcoming protests, Biggs told Yahoo News.


And I remind you, the decision to monitor American's social media posts were all made under the Trump regime, with the blessing of Regime officials.  If GOP lawmakers are just now finding this out, well. Once again, it was Louis DeJoy who made this decision to boot.

Sowing, awesome, reaping, man reaping sucks though.

Last Call For No Mas On The Wall

President Biden is scrapping the Trump regime's Pentagon plans to use the US military to build Trump's wall, canceling the contracts, and recovering $14 billion in wasted taxpayer funds.

The Biden administration is returning to the Pentagon billions in funds diverted by President Donald Trump to build the wall at the southwestern border, and plans to cancel all related construction contracts, an administration official told ABC News on Friday.

"Border wall construction under the previous administration tied up more than $14 billion in taxpayer funds, shortchanged our military, and diverted attention away from genuine security challenges, like human traffickers. Rushed and haphazard wall construction also resulted in serious life, safety, and environmental issues," the official said.

Amid its ongoing review to determine the fate of Trump's border wall, the Biden administration also said it would launch two new projects along the 1,900-mile U.S.-Mexico border: one to fill holes in the Rio Grande Valley levee system left by the wall construction project, and another to address soil erosion in a 14-mile stretch of barrier construction by the Trump administration near San Diego, California.

Neither project would involve building new border fencing, the administration official told ABC News. It's not yet clear when the Biden administration will complete its review of the overall Trump-era project.

"As Federal agencies continue to review the problems created by the prior Administration’s border wall construction and develop their plans, today they will start taking initial steps consistent with the President’s Proclamation to reaffirm our commitment to the military and protect border communities," the official said in a statement.
That's the good news: the border wall grift is dead. The bad news is that Trump's wasteful grifting has turned the Rio Grande into a potential death trap in the era of climate change.

Lawmakers from both parties, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, have called on the Biden administration to address the gaps left in the federal levee system in southern Texas ahead of hurricane season, to help prevent flooding. Angry local officials threatened to plug the gaps themselves and seek reimbursement from the federal government down the line.

The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement later Friday afternoon it was acting to "protect border communities."

"Construction under the prior administration blew large holes into the Rio Grande Valley’s flood barrier system to make way for a border wall. The flood barrier system had long provided low-lying regions of Hidalgo County, Texas, protection from catastrophic flooding, and these breaches have threatened local communities. DHS will start work to quickly repair the flood barrier system to protect border communities. This work will not involve expanding the border barrier," the DHS statement said.
So yes, another multi-billion dollar mess to clean up thanks to Trump.
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