Saturday, March 11, 2023

Last Call For The Road To Gilead Goes Through Texas, Con't

If red states like Texas can't end the availability of abortion medication as a criminal matter, they'll do it as a civil court matter instead.


A Texas man is suing three women under the wrongful death statute, alleging that they assisted his ex-wife in terminating her pregnancy, the first such case brought since the state’s near-total ban on abortion last summer.

Marcus Silva is represented by Jonathan Mitchell, the former Texas solicitor general and architect of the state’s prohibition on abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, and state Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park. The lawsuit is filed in state court in Galveston County, where Silva lives.

Silva alleges that his now ex-wife learned she was pregnant in July 2022, the month after the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and conspired with two friends to illegally obtain abortion-inducing medication and terminate the pregnancy.

The friends texted with the woman, sending her information about Aid Access, an international group that provides abortion-inducing medication through the mail, the lawsuit alleges. Text messages filed as part of the complaint seem to show they instead found a way to acquire the medication in Houston, where the two women lived.

A third woman delivered the medication, the lawsuit alleges, and text messages indicate that the wife self-managed an abortion at home.

The defendants could not immediately be reached for comment. Silva’s wife filed for divorce in May 2022, court records show, two months before the alleged abortion. The divorce was finalized in February. They share two daughters, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit relies heavily on screenshots from a group chat the ex-wife had with two friends seemingly seeking to help her terminate her pregnancy. Her friends expressed concern that Silva would “snake his way into your head.”

“I know either way he will use it against me,” the pregnant woman said, according to text messages attached to the complaint. “If I told him before, which I’m not, he would use it as [a way to] try to stay with me. And after the fact, I know he will try to act like he has some right to the decision.”

“Delete all conversations from today,” one of the women later told her. “You don’t want him looking through it.”

The lawsuit alleges that assisting a self-managed abortion qualifies as murder under state law, which would allow Silva to sue under the wrongful death statute. The women have not been criminally charged. Texas’ abortion laws specifically exempt the pregnant person from prosecution; the ex-wife is not named as a defendant.
Now maybe this gets thrown out as unconstitutional, and  maybe it doesn't. And maybe Texas women won't try to get an abortion anymore because they don't want their friends get sued. Or maybe, just maybe, Texas wants to end the availability of medicinal abortion in the US, period.

Mitchell and Cain intend to also name the manufacturer of the abortion pill as a defendant, once it is identified.

“Anyone involved in distributing or manufacturing abortion pills will be sued into oblivion,” Cain said in a statement.

Silva is asking a Galveston judge to award him more than $1 million in damages and an injunction stopping the defendants from distributing abortion pills in Texas.
If no drugmaker will manufacture or sell abortion medication in the US because of the possibility of crushing litigation, then it goes away for everyone.

That's the point.

Black Coffee Still Matters

A Virginia bakery gave free coffee to Black Lives Matter vigil keepers last month, and as a result, the bakery has been systematically targeted for absolute destruction by obnoxious white Karens.

Brian Noyes and Josephine Gilbert agreed to sit down on March 1 and talk it out. Noyes, founder of the celebrated Red Truck Bakery, and Gilbert, the leader of a loose coalition that demonstrates under the banner of All Lives Matter, wanted to reach an accord before events spun out of control in the usually restful town of Warrenton, Va.

The issue was coffee — and the weekly demonstrations on Courthouse Square in downtown Warrenton, where two groups have been trying to poke and prod the conscience of the city.

Since June 2020, not long after George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, a handful of organizations have hosted a Black Lives Matter Vigil For Action on Saturday mornings when, for 45 minutes, dozens of people quietly hold up signs to remind locals about racial injustice and institutional racism. The demonstrations eventually led to counterprotests across the street, aimed at shutting down the vigils that All Lives Matter activists see as destructive to this conservative community in Fauquier County, a traditional Republican stronghold.

Red Truck got dragged into this drama on the last Saturday in February when a relatively new member of the ALM group entered the bakery, camera phone in hand. Jennifer Blevins Ragle asked a young employee why the shop was giving out free coffee to participants at the BLM vigil, but not others on the square. She implied Red Truck was discriminating against ALM.

“I just don’t understand giving free coffee to some people, but not others. I mean, that makes your store very political,” Ragle said to the 17-year-old employee behind the counter. “I’ll make sure it gets to the paper and everything else.”

Ragle’s video was posted on a YouTube channel called Singing Patriot, where it gained little traction. But it was also posted on a TikTok account, named crossstitch1954, where it has racked up more than 21,000 views and generated more than 800 comments, many of them calling for boycotts of Red Truck. Or worse.

“Hope this place burns to the ground,” wrote one commenter. “Close the place down! Let those black lives keep the place open. All the other lives don’t matter,” wrote another. “Someone please put a pallet of bricks in front of that store so we can protest against Red Truck Bakery,” added a third.

Negative reviews started appearing on Red Truck’s Yelp and Google pages, sometimes from people far from the streets of Warrenton. The bakery began receiving harassing phone calls, too. “Threats of damage and injury,” Noyes told The Washington Post.

One caller said, simply, “we are watching you,” Noyes said. “Picture a young girl answering the phone at a small bakery and hearing that.”
So when Brian Noyes agreed to meet with Josephine Gilbert, the ultimatum was made: Noyes needed to convince BLM vigils to end. Noyes of course said no. Noyes closed his bakery location last weekend in order to protect his employees. This weekend, the bakery is open, and both sets of protesters continue to show up on the square.

Gilbert insists that the bakery isn't being targeted, but the closures and additional security have already cost Noyes tens of thousands of dollars over the last two weeks. My guess is that Red Truck Bakery will be closed by this summer.

All over a couple of cups of coffee.

The Revenge Of 2008

That clearly audible, season-ending, ligament-tearing pop you heard on Friday morning was the last of the crypto tech bubble disintegrating as California's favorite unicorn VC bubble factory Silicon Valley Bank died a rapid death.

Financial regulators have closed Silicon Valley Bank and taken control of its deposits, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced Friday, in what is the largest U.S. bank failure since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.

The collapse of SVB, a key player in the tech and venture capital community, leaves companies and wealthy individuals largely unsure of what will happen to their money.

According to press releases from regulators, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation closed SVB and named the FDIC as the receiver. The FDIC in turn has created the Deposit Insurance National Bank of Santa Clara, which now holds the insured deposits from SVB.

The FDIC said in the announcement that insured depositors will have access to their deposits no later than Monday morning. SVB’s branch offices will also reopen at that time, under the control of the regulator.

According to the press release, SVB’s official checks will continue to clear.

The FDIC’s standard insurance covers up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank, for each account ownership category. The FDIC said uninsured depositors will get receivership certificates for their balances. The regulator said it will pay uninsured depositors an advanced dividend within the next week, with potential additional dividend payments as the regulator sells SVB’s assets.

Whether depositors with more than $250,000 ultimately get all their money back will be determined by the amount of money the regulator gets as it sells Silicon Valley assets or if another bank takes ownership of the remaining assets. There were concerns in the tech community that until that process unfolds, some companies may have issues making payroll.

As of the end of December, SVB had roughly $209 billion in total assets and $175.4 billion in total deposits, according to the press release. The FDIC said it was unclear what portion of those deposits were above the insurance limit.

The last U.S. bank failure of this size was Washington Mutual in 2008, which had $307 billion in assets.
Now traditionally, a really big bank like Bank of America or Wells Fargo would step in and pick up Silicon Valley Bank's assets for pennies on the dollar and would continue all of the bank's functions, accounts, and payment processing. 
Except...that's not happening.  No bank stepped up on Thursday to save Silicon Valley. Recent interest rate hikes by the Fed have scared off buyers.
The real problem is while the FDIC protects individual accounts with up to $250,000 in deposits, SVB had nearly all of its assets uninsured because they were large corporate accounts well over that number.

Friday’s announcement by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that the bank was closed came with few specifics on what will happen to bank customers who held more than the $250,000 per account that is guaranteed by the government.

In prior large bank failures like IndyMac and Washington Mutual, the FDIC found other firms to take on the assets and keep deposits intact. But failing that, uninsured depositors will be left with a portion of whatever funds the FDIC can raise selling off the bank's assets.

SVB Financial Group's (SIVB.O) Silicon Valley Bank had a relatively high amount of uninsured deposits as it courted tech workers and venture capital firms. The FDIC said on Friday the amount of uninsured deposits at the bank was “undetermined,” likely complicated by the rush of bank customers to remove uninsured funds. But data submitted to the FDIC by the bank at the end of 2022 showed that 89% of its $175 billion in deposits were uninsured.

We'll see if the firewalls put in since 2008 are going to function. If there's any silver lining, it could be that SVB's collapse might get the Fed to hold off on more rate hikes.




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