It’s a time warp! The Infinite Thread is back!

I’m consolidating things. I’m fusing the Open Thread (which died in 2020) and the Political Madness thread, which has been going strong all this time, thanks to the stewardship of Lynna, into one unholy amalgam of anything goes. Almost anything goes, that is. I’m hoping Lynna will continue to inject regular antidotes to the political madness, but also it’ll be a place where all the random odd thoughts and question and socializing can go on.

This would be the 20th iteration of the political madness thread, I think, so fill this up and we’ll go on to Infinite Thread XXI.

Oh, also: The Endless Thread has been maintained on Affinity. This is not a replacement for that lovely thread!


  1. says

    CNN – “Staff at a Florida hospital say they are hearing panic, fear and regret from unvaccinated Covid-19 patients”:

    Health care workers at Jacksonville’s Baptist Medical Center in Florida are hearing panic, fear and regret from many of their patients as an increasing number are admitted for Covid-19 complications — and as many need to be put on ventilators.

    “We’re getting ready to intubate the patient, which means putting them on a ventilator, and they said, ‘If I get the vaccine now, could I not go on the ventilator?’ So, they’re begging for it,” chief nursing officer Tammy Daniel told CNN. “They’re desperate because they are gasping for air, they can’t breathe, they are scared, they feel like they’re going to pass away. ”

    But by then, they are too late for a vaccine to stop their infection.

    Baptist Medical Center has seen its Covid-19 patient numbers multiplying every day, Daniel said. “We can’t open up beds fast enough to meet the demand,” she said.

    Florida is one of the 32 states to see an average number of new cases over the last seven days increase by more than 50% from the week before, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But it is one of only two states in which every county in the state is listed as having high Covid-19 transmission.

    The surge is overwhelming Baptist Medical Center, where 389 patients are being treated for Covid-19 — an increase of about 50% from a week ago. Of the new patients, 83 are on ventilators, fighting to survive.

    More than 99% of those patients aren’t vaccinated and the average age is around 50, said Michael Mayo, CEO of Baptist Health.

    Dr. Michelle Aquino said many of the patients getting very sick are young.

    Last week, she admitted a 19-year-old and a 25-year-old for Covid-19, both perfectly healthy before their infections, she said.

    “So, you’re seeing these healthy people walking around saying I don’t need a vaccine, I’m fine if I get Covid I’ll be fine and that’s not true. With the Delta variant we have really seeing that is not true,” Aquino said.

    Some patients said they were more concerned about the vaccines than the disease. Now they say they regret not getting the vaccine sooner….

  2. blf says

    Donations to RNLI rise 3,000% after Farage’s migrant criticism:

    UK[] lifeboat charity raises £200,000 in single day after CEO hits out at Nigel Farage’s taxi service claim

    The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has raised more than £200,000 in a single day after defending its work rescuing migrants at risk of drowning in the Channel, while volunteering inquiries have almost quadrupled.

    The RNLI said it had been inundated with donations and messages of support since its chief executive hit out at Nigel Farage’s claim that it was running a migrant taxi service.

    In an interview with the Guardian, Mark Dowie, the chief executive of the RNLI, said it was the charity’s moral and legal duty to rescue migrants in danger in the sea, and that he was very proud of its humanitarian work.

    The RNLI, which runs the UK’s network of volunteer lifeboats, said it received £200,000 in charitable donations on Wednesday — around 30 times its normal average of £6,000–£7,000 per day. During the same period, there was a 270% increase in people viewing volunteering opportunities on its website.

    Jayne George, the RNLI fundraising director, said the donations had come from a mixture of one-off payments, new supporters and people increasing their regular contribution.

    She said: “We are overwhelmed with the huge level of support we have received in the last couple of days. This was never a fundraising campaign — we simply wanted to tell the story of our crews and make it clear that our charity exists to save lives at sea. Our mission is to save every one. Our supporters’ kindness means so much to us. Without them we could not save lives at sea; every one is a lifesaver.”


    Nigel Farage appeared on GB News on Wednesday night and stood by his suggestion that the RNLI was being used as a taxi service for illegal trafficking gangs.

    He said he had massive admiration for the organisation but he believed it was doing the wrong thing by rescuing migrants, and that this was leading to division in coastal communities.

    Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, tweeted: “I’d like to see Nigel Farage putting his life at risk to save others rather than being a rent-a-gob on TV, but I won’t hold my breath.

    “It is not patriotic to want people fleeing war, persecution and violence to drown in the sea off the coast of Britain. In fact, it is fundamentally un-British, given we were integral to the drafting and signing of the UN Convention on Refugees.” [that convention just turned 70 years old …]

      † The RNLI also operates in Ireland (the Republic) as well as the UK. It is same RNLI (not a separate organisation) and uses the name RNLI. From the Irish Lifeboats site:

    In the March 1926 issue of The Lifeboat Journal, an article on the roll out of motor lifeboats reads: ‘This work in Ireland has not been affected by the political changes and the setting up of an Irish Free State Government with the status of a Dominion. At the express wish of this Government the Institution is continuing to maintain the Service in the Free State as well as in Northern Ireland.’

  3. blf says

    On the previous page of this thread, it was asserted without evidence When a new page is created (after 500 comments), new comments no longer show up on the ‘recent comments’ tab on the sidebar.

    Quick glance at that sidebar… Nope. Wrong again.

    What really happens was worked out years ago and described in both this series of poppyhead threads, and in other thread(s?) by other blogger(s?) here at FtB. What actually happens is N days after a new thread is created, new comments in that thread stop showing up in the sidebar. It has nothing to do with the number of comments or comment-pages, just the elapsed time since the creation of the thread. (N is either 14 or 21, I don’t specifically recall now, and cannot be bothered to look up the beforementioned description(s).)

  4. blf says

    Yet more on the France→England quarantine requirement (see, e.g., @500(previous page)), from the Grauniad’s current pandemic live blog:

    France’s Indian ocean territory of La Réunion will be put into a partial lockdown at the weekend due to a surge in Covid-19 infections.

    AFP reports that there is growing concern among officials in Paris over the infection rates in France’s overseas territories in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and the Pacific where vaccination uptake is far lower than the mainland average.

    La Réunion will from Saturday for the next two weeks go into partial lockdown, with movement only allowed 10km from people’s home in the daytime […]

    The situation on La Réunion is being particularly closely watched after Britain said it was the main reason why travellers from France — unlike all other [of England’s] non-red list destinations — were still being obliged to quarantine for 10 days on arrival in the country.

    Foreign secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC that this was due to the prevalence of the Beta variant on La Réunion, which is off Madagascar and over 9,000km from Paris. “It’s not the distance that matters, it’s the ease of travel between different component parts of any individual country,” he explained.

    A spokesman for Brittany Ferries, which runs ferries across the Channel, however said this logic is “like France hammering British holidaymakers due to a Covid outbreak on the Falkland Islands.”

    In France overall (which means both mainland and the overseas departments), just shy of 60% have now been fully-vaccinated.

  5. says

    From blf’s #2:

    Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, tweeted: “I’d like to see Nigel Farage putting his life at risk to save others rather than being a rent-a-gob on TV, but I won’t hold my breath….”

    Hee. (Also, still funny.)

    He said he had “massive admiration” for the organisation but he believed it was “doing the wrong thing” by rescuing migrants, and that this was leading to “division in coastal communities”.

    Related to this, I recommend the Sicily episode of the Stanley Tucci series Searching for Italy. (I had to fast-forward through a number of non-vegan parts, but the whole series is lovely.)

  6. says

    Follow-up to comment 491.

    About booster shots, Josh Marshall had this to say:

    Yesterday, Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, went on CNBC to discuss a new study which suggests that the Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy drops from about 96% against hospitalization to about 84% after six months [corrects the 88% I posted in comment 491]. Bourla said that these results match with data emerging out of Israel. “We have seen also data from Israel that there is a waning of immunity and that starts impacting what used to be what was 100% against hospitalization. Now, after the six month period, is becoming low 90s and mid-to-high 80s.”

    The good news, says Bourla, is that this can be solved with a booster shot. This all sounds plausible and it’s good news inasmuch as people can get booster shots and get back to higher levels of protection. But the study is funded by Pfizer and remember that Pfizer is currently in a tussle with the CDC and the FDA over whether booster shots are actually necessary. A few weeks ago Pfizer announced it was moving ahead with seeking authorization for a third shot and the CDC and FDA, quite curtly, issued a joint statement saying, in so many words, not your call.

    One way to look at this is that Pfizer has a multi-billion dollar incentive to create a market for third shots. (Here we’re talking about a third dose of the same vaccine.) […] But that doesn’t mean that boosters aren’t a good idea – at least for some people or perhaps at some point. The real issue is we need some impartial arbiter to sort this issue out. We can’t be led around in our COVID control strategies by a private company which stands to make billions or tens of billions of dollars based on the decision being made in a certain way.

    […] the level of antibodies in your blood isn’t the only measure of your current immunity. I’m not in a position to evaluate the actual study. But my zero-technical-expertise read was that the study itself seems more equivocal than what Bourla suggests. Here’s one key sentence from the discussion portion fo the study: “Efficacy peaked at 96.2% during the interval from 7 days to 2 months post-dose 2, and declined gradually to 83.7% from 4 months post-dose 2 to the data cut-off, an average decline of ~6% every 2 months. Ongoing follow-up is needed to understand persistence of the vaccine effect over time, the need for booster dosing, and timing of such a dose.”

  7. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment #1.

    Florida officials defy DeSantis as infections spike

    Local officials across Florida are bucking Gov. Ron DeSantis and his anti-mandate coronavirus strategy as infections soar in the state and nation. They’re imposing vaccine and mask requirements for government workers and even declaring states of emergency. In a sign of how worrisome the new Covid-19 surge is, Disney World is ordering all guests over 2-years-old to wear masks indoors at its Florida theme park, regardless of vaccination status.

    [On Tuesday] Florida reported over 16,000 new cases — the highest one-day total since mid-January when the vaccine was not widely available. The local mandates also came as DeSantis reiterated that the state will resist any pandemic-related regulations, even as it remains one of the worst hotspots in America.

    “It is very important that we say unequivocally ‘no’ to lockdowns, no to school closures, no to restrictions and no to mandates,” DeSantis said Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, where he was the keynote speaker at a conference hosted by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. [Aiyiyiyi, all the best people in one place in Utah … telling each other lies and plotting to promote anti-science legislation.]

    The current fight mirrors the clash between DeSantis and local officials that consumed Florida during the pandemic last year, but with a new deadly twist: People continue to resist vaccinations even as the highly infectious Delta Covid variant sweeps through America.

    […] the current infection crisis threatens to derail DeSantis’ successes ahead of his 2022 reelection campaign and possible bid for president in 2024. Already, Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the two biggest-name Democrats running to challenge DeSantis in 2022, have used Florida’s recent surge to hammer the governor. Crist criticized DeSantis this week for sending a fundraising email focused on claims he would “hold Fauci accountable” while Fried said she will begin hosting regular briefings to update the public on Covid and vaccination rates in the state.

    And with no state-level policy response to the recent infection spike, local government officials are rushing to fill the void.

    Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, husband to Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and Rep. Val Demings, has declared a state of emergency and is requiring the county’s 4,200 nonunion workers to get vaccinated by the end of September. Leon County announced it’s also imposing a vaccine requirement for county workers. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava mandated masks at all county facilities. And in Broward County, school board officials are keeping in place mask mandates for students in the next school year despite DeSantis’ vocal opposition.

    […] The cascade of new local Covid-19 regulations comes months after lawmakers approved a DeSantis-championed law that now allows the governor or GOP-dominated legislature to invalidate local orders, including those tied to the pandemic, if they decide the order “unnecessarily restricts a constitutional right, fundamental liberty, or statutory right.”

    […] The schools issue has the potential to be the most contentious. Last week, 6,999 children under the age of 12 contracted Covid-19 in Florida, which was nearly 10 percent of the 73,199 new cases across the state last week, according to the Florida Department of Health, which no longer does daily reporting.

    […] “We are all elected to protect students and employees,” Broward board member Sarah Leonardi said. “It’s my feeling that just because the governor doesn’t want to act in the best interest of his constituents, that does not absolve us from our responsibility.”

    But DeSantis has steadfastly maintained that schools should not require students to wear masks, saying at a press conference last week that “we’re not doing that in Florida. OK? We need our kids to breathe.” […]

    DeSantis is a danger to the children of Florida.

  8. says


    Members of the US House of Representatives Thomas Massie, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and […] Ralph Norman […] are suing Nancy Pelosi for “masks.”

    Any lawsuit that Thomas Massie and Mad Marge file against Nancy Pelosi is guaranteed to be hilarious. And this one might actually be even better than I had hoped.

    […] This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.

    This week, the thick three filed suit in DC federal court against Pelosi, House Sergeant at Arms William Walker, and Chief House Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor, who, “chose to fine Plaintiffs through an imminent reduction in their compensation” because they flouted the rule mandating masks on the House floor.

    You see, according to Massie, Marjie, and Norman, they can’t be required to wear masks! Because fReE sPeEcH!!!1!

    “Plaintiffs, all of whom are members of Congress belonging to the minority party, engaged in the symbolic speech of not wearing a mask on the Congressional floor in defiance of the majority party’s compelled symbolic speech rule.”

    According to the three congresspeople,

    Wearing a mask conveys a particularized message: namely, that mandatory face coverings are medically and scientifically necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, that these intrusions on bodily integrity are necessary and essential, that informed consent and civil liberties are to be suppressed in favor of government’s decisions regarding public health, and that individuals cannot be given the choice to make their own decisions regarding their facial attire and medical choices.

    Not to harsh their mellow, but shut the fuck up. Your “symbolic speech” is literally breathing germs all over errrrrebody!

    Being forced to wear a mask, under these circumstances, involved both compelled statements of fact and opinion, all of which were embodied in the symbolic speech in question.

    (It didn’t.)

    The masking requirement was an attempt to prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, medicine, and science, despite a deep divide over these issues of opinion.

    I’m not a doctor or a scientist, so I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how science works.

    But, you see, we’ve got things all wrong. Because Republicans are the party of medical freedom of choice!

    The reason for Plaintiffs proceeding to the floor without masks was to engage in symbolic protest speech. This protest speech was a protest against the double standard being enforced by Defendants, the well-founded beliefs shared by Plaintiffs that mask wearing is not scientifically based, that mask wearing is not necessary for the vaccinated or naturally immune, that mask wearing is merely political theater, that one’s bodily integrity should be free from government control, that individuals should have the liberty to choose what they wear on their face, and that individuals should be free to make their own medical decisions.

    One more time, for the cheap seats in the back, these right-wing Republicans said:

    one’s bodily integrity should be free from government control [and] individuals should be free to make their own medical decisions.

    So, umm, about my uterus and your trans healthcare bans …

    […] One of my favorite parts is when they argue that wearing white is the same as refusing to wear a mask.

    In other contexts, symbolic speech has been embraced on the House floor by members of the majority party, particularly where it does not disrupt the proceedings of the House, as the following images of members of the House reveal:

    [photo available at the link]

    Yes, folks. Great point. Women wearing suffragette white to the State of the Union is EXACTLY THE SAME THING as willfully spreading a deadly disease!

    If Democrats get to wear white suits, then Republicans get to show their support for COVID by giving it to everyone else!

    […] The First Amendment claim is based on the [completely batshit] idea that public health measures like mask mandates are … unconstitutional restrictions on free speech. You see, Massie, Marge, and Norman can’t be forced to engage in the symbolic speech of being against COVID! It is very important to these congresspeople that everyone knows they are pro-COVID!

    The rest of the claims are just as dumb, though this might actually be the first case about the 27th Amendment I’ve ever seen! The 27th Amendment is about how Congress can’t change Congress’s salary until a new Congress is sworn in. And according to our legal geniuses over here, “A fine that is deducted from pay is a decrease in compensation.”

    Nope! It’s not. It’s a fine.

    And the Article I claims are just as amazing as the rest. Included in Article I, Section 5 is a clause that says “Each House may […] punish its members for disorderly behavior.”

    “But,” you might be thinking, “doesn’t that actually support the other side?”

    Yes. Yes it does. But in the sad little minds of the QAnon caucus, it means that these assholes can’t be punished, because they don’t think their conduct was disorderly! […]

    They also think their Article I rights were violated. (They weren’t.) Article I, Section 6 says “The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.” And they think that, because the resolution mandating masks wasn’t “law,” they can’t be fined.

    That’s not how this works.

    […] So yeah. In this unending hellscape we live in, this is a real lawsuit that was filed in federal court by sitting members of Congress.

    These are the people writing our laws. […]

    Here’s the complaint. It really is a work of art. [available at the link]


  9. says

    Guardian (support them if you can!) – “‘A nightmare scenario’: how an anti-trans Instagram post led to violence in the streets”:

    On 24 June, a woman claimed on Instagram that a Korean spa in Los Angeles had allowed a “man” to expose himself to women and girls in the women’s section.

    The unsubstantiated allegations about Wi Spa in LA’s Koreatown neighborhood quickly spread from social media to rightwing forums to far-right news sites to Fox News, and were distorted by anti-transgender groups across multiple countries.

    The massive media attention resulted in two weekends of chaotic rallies in LA this month, in which anti-trans and trans-rights protesters fought in the streets, and women carrying “protect female spaces” signs paraded alongside members of the far-right Proud Boys. Trans counter-protesters and their supporters described being Maced, stabbed and chased by rightwing demonstrators, as well as injured by police.

    The episode, experts said, offered a case study in how viral misinformation can result in violence, and provided clear evidence of the links between anti-trans and far-right movements, including QAnon conspiracy theorists, who believe that a cabal of elite pedophiles is manipulating the American government.

    The events also highlighted the abuse that trans people face, even in one of America’s most queer-friendly cities, with multiple trans women telling the Guardian about the violence and harassment they experienced both in the streets and on social media for attending the counter-protests.

    “You think LA is so progressive for trans rights,” said Khloe Rios-Wyatt, a local trans organizer. “But clearly, we haven’t really acquired the protections necessary for our community. We continue to be harassed and assaulted just for being transgender in a public space.”

    In one week, Fox discussed Wi Spa in six segments, said Brennan Suen, LGBTQ program director at Media Matters, which tracks rightwing media. The host Tucker Carlson repeated, without evidence, that a “man” was naked in the “female kids section” of the spa. Another host warned that what happened at Wi Spa will occur “all across the land”.

    “It fits this very specific formula where Fox seizes on a local story and blows it up,” said Suen, whose research found that Fox had run 86 segments on trans people in Biden’s first two months in office.

    “Those who oppose trans people have tried a lot of different tactics in order to make us seem scary,” said Julia Serano, a trans author and feminist activist. Serano has recently documented how the contemporary “moral panic” against trans people has deep roots in multiple conservative movements that historically spread baseless claims about threats to women and children. That includes segregationists (who argued that integrating bathrooms would endanger white women), and anti-gay activists (who claimed that passing gay rights would allow “homosexuals” and “child molesters” to “recruit” children).

    The anti-trans protesters marching towards Wi Spa on 17 July chanted, “Save our children”, a slogan taken up by QAnon conspiracy theorists, and carried signs demanding “Arrest all the pedos”.

    There has been a recent rise in false accusations of grooming and pedophilia against trans people, Serano said, noting the growing overlap between anti-trans groups and the QAnon conspiracy narrative about a cabal of powerful leftwing pedophiles: “It’s like they are trying to lay the foundation for just smearing all trans people as child sexual predators.” Research has repeatedly found no evidence that laws mandating trans-inclusive bathrooms and locker rooms lead to violence.

    Over the past four years, conspiracy theories about pedophilia have repeatedly resulted in violence,…

    Much, much more at the link.

  10. says

    BBC – “Covid: Stalled Russian vaccines cause global anger”:

    Countries across the globe say they’ve been let down by broken promises and stalled deliveries of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid vaccine.

    Scores of countries enlisted Russia’s help through deals to buy millions of doses of Sputnik V, unveiled last year as the world’s first Covid jab.

    Earlier this year, the head of the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) – responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad – said Russia had the “capacity to provide the vaccine to 700 million people outside Russia” in 2021.

    Yet as of July, many countries, including developing nations, have reported receiving only a fraction of the doses for which they’ve paid.

    What’s gone wrong?

    Despite ambitious plans to roll out Sputnik V across the world, Russia is finding it difficult to produce enough for its own citizens.

    This is despite only 15% of Russians – wary of new drugs and government programmes – having one shot of the vaccine by the end of June.

    According to Reuters, there’s been an increase in domestic demand after some regions made the vaccine compulsory for public-facing professions. Moscow says this, coupled with storage problems, has led to shortages.

    As far as foreign customers go, the Kremlin pledged this week that it would resolve difficulties with its overseas customers, but its immediate priority was to satisfy domestic demand….

    Much more atl.

  11. says

    Brian Mier, teleSUR:

    Brazilian academic Adriana Dias was researching the rise of neonazism in Brazil and found that in 2004, Congressman Jair Bolsonaro published messages on 3 neo-nazi websites, proclaiming, “you are the reason my mandate exists.”

    Remember all the hacks, even self-proclaimed marxists, who went out of the way to tell us that Bolsonaro wasn’t really a fascist during the 2018 election season? I do.

    You even had a member of Jacobin Brazil’s editorial board accusing leftists of being “hysterical” for calling Bolsonaro a fascist during the 2018 election season.

    Here’s an article about it from the Intercept Brazil (in Portuguese): “Pesquisadora encontra carta de Bolsonaro publicada em sites neonazistas em 2004.”

    It makes passing note of this meeting – “Bolsonaro meets with German far-right figurehead.” He met last week with Beatrix von Storch of AfD. She called Brazil – along with the US and Russia – a “strategic partner” with whom they want to “shape the future.” More at the link. (The article claims that AfD “supported” the January 6th attack, but that’s incorrect. I’m assuming the quotes are accurate, but I don’t read the languages.)

  12. says

    Pres. Biden: “The Delta variant is different than what we’ve dealt with previously. It’s highly transmissible and causing a new wave of cases. But here’s the good news: we have the power to stop it. Get vaccinated — and let’s defeat this virus once and for all.”

  13. Trickster Goddess says

    Winnipeg Catholic priest accuses residential school survivors of lying about abuse for money

    The statements were made over weeks of services at St. Emile Roman Catholic Church in Winnipeg, and were included in videos on its Facebook page.

    During a July 10 mass Father Rhéal Forest — who was temporarily placed at St. Emile while the parish’s regular pastor, Father Gerry Sembrano, was on vacation — said residential school survivors lied about being sexually abused so they would receive more money during the settlement process with the federal government.

    “If they wanted extra money, from the money that was given to them, they had to lie sometimes — lie that they were abused sexually and, oop, another $50,000,” Forest said.

    “It’s kind of hard if you’re poor not to lie,” he continued, adding that all of the Indigenous people he knew during his 22 years working up north liked residential schools.

    Forest acknowledged that a few had bad treatment, but said some of that was due not to nuns and priests but rather night watchmen.

    In another mass, Forest described passing by another local church that had been vandalized with the words “Save the children.”

    He said he’d like to scare off vandals with a shotgun blast and shoot them if they didn’t run away.

    “As I’m passing by, thoughts of anger. If I had a shotgun at night and I’d see them, I’d go, ‘Boom!’ just to scare them and if they don’t run away, I’ll shoot them,” Forest said in the July 18 sermon, laughing.

  14. Trickster Goddess says

    Out of the $79 million the Catholic Church agreed to pay in compensation, they wormed their way out paying more than $35 million of it. During the period since the agreement they have spent $300 million on cathedral and church construction and renovations in Canada.

    Millions meant for residential school survivors spent on Catholic Church lawyers, administration: documents

    The Roman Catholic Church spent millions of dollars that were supposed to go to residential school survivors on lawyers, administration, a private fundraising company and unapproved loans, according to documents obtained by CBC News.

    The documents include a host of other revelations. They appear to contradict the Catholic Church’s public claims about money paid to survivors.

    “There are also a large number of serious accounting discrepancies that are alarming to Canada,” states one document, a 53-page federal government “factum” summarizing the evidence in a 2015 court matter.

    None of the other churches involved in the landmark Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement of 2005 — Anglican, United and Presbyterian — engaged in any of these practices. They all paid the full amounts agreed to years ago without incident.

    The Catholic Church never ended up having to legally justify its activity. On the eve of the 2015 hearing on the matter, Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Neil Gabrielson approved the church’s controversial buyout proposal, and the case was closed.

    […]The opening paragraph of the factum states that the Catholic Church “has breached its obligations in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.”

    Aside from a failed $25-million fundraising campaign, the church was required to pay $29 million in cash with strict criteria for its use. The church was also allowed to meet its final $25-million commitment with “in-kind services.”

    The factum, written by federal lawyers Alexander Gay and Anne McConville, listed the following expenses and deductions claimed by the church. Many of these details are also listed in the transcribed cross-examination of the Catholic Church’s accountant, also obtained by CBC News.

    For the $29-million cash payment:

    — $2.7 million was paid to lawyers for legal work and unapproved “representation” unrelated to the compensation agreement. Two of the law firms receiving a total of 80 per cent of this money also had lawyers on the board of the national Catholic corporation that approved the expenses. One of those lawyers billed for legal and consulting expenses for attending the same events.
    — $2.3 million was spent on administration costs. Although no other Christian churches claimed administration expenses, the Catholic agreement allowed for the federal government to reimburse “reasonable” claims. The government agreed to pay $1 million of this amount.
    — $1.6 million was claimed for donations made outside the approval process to projects with a “First Nations” component. No explanation or invoices are supplied as evidence.
    — The church deducted more than $8 million for amounts paid to survivors before the 2005 settlement agreement was reached. This appears permissible in the agreement, but it has not been mentioned publicly by church officials when asked about the $29 million.
    — The Catholic Church did not file annual financial statements to the government as required until 2012, five years into the agreement.

    For the $25 million of in-kind services:

    — The Catholic Church accountant testifies that $25 million worth of services were provided, “even though he has not audited these records and accounts, has no basis on which to value these services, and relies only on minutes of meetings” supplied by Catholic officials.

    For the $25-million fundraising campaign that netted $3.9 million:

    — The church accountant testified that many of the donations had a “string attached,” telling him where to put the money, contrary to the agreement. “Somebody will pay $50,000 and say, well, $40,000 of this has to be distributed back to this project,” the accountant testified.
    — $1.8 million was loaned from the $29-million cash account to the Catholic Church’s fundraising arm and the private company contracted. Roughly $1.3 million of that was never repaid. The church had agreed the funds should remain separate and did not obtain federal government approval to take this action.

    See also:

    Legal misstep lets Catholic Church off hook for residential schools compensation (April 2016)

    A miscommunication by a federal lawyer allowed the Catholic Church to renege on its obligation to try to raise $25-million to pay for healing programs for the survivors of Indian residential schools.

    Of that amount, the Church raised only $3.7-million, and a financial statement suggests less than $2.2-million of that was actually donated to help former students cope with the trauma inflicted by the residential schools.

    ‘Where is their soul?’: Inside the failed push to make Catholic Church pay for its residential school abuses

    As Catholic Church balked at paying residential school settlement, Quebec nuns sold nearly $25M in real estate

  15. KG says

    While I understand the annoyance in France about the country being regarded as a hotbed of Covid-19 beta variant because there’s a lot of it in Réunion, it could be seen as a consequence of the bizarre French insistence that various distant parts of the world are in fact parts of France.

  16. says

    Here’s a link to the July 30 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    China’s successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic could be under threat as he Delta variant causes its worst outbreak in months.

    A coronavirus cluster that emerged in the Chinese city of Nanjing has now reached five provinces and Beijing, forcing lockdowns on hundreds of thousands of people as authorities scramble to control Delta’s spread.

    AFP reports:

    China has previously boasted of its success in snuffing out the pandemic within its borders after imposing the world’s first virus lockdown in early 2020 as Covid-19 seeped out of Wuhan in the centre of the country.

    But an outbreak this month driven by the fast-spreading Delta variant has thrown that record into jeopardy since it broke out at Nanjing airport in eastern Jiangsu province.

    The city reported a total of 184 local coronavirus cases Friday, after nine cleaners at Nanjing Lukou International Airport tested positive on July 20. At least 206 infections nationwide have been linked to the Nanjing cluster, which officials have confirmed as the highly transmissible Delta variant.

  17. John Morales says

    In Australian news:

    The Attorney-General has intervened in a court battle over alleged sacred site damage in Kakadu National Park, arguing the Commonwealth is not bound by protections enshrined in Northern Territory law.

    A letter written by federal Attorney-General Michaelia Cash, released on Friday, directs Parks Australia to plead not guilty over the alleged illegal construction of a walking track to the top pools of Gunlom Falls.

  18. says

    Amanda Knox:

    Does my name belong to me? My face? What about my life? My story? Why does my name refer to events I had no hand in? I return to these questions because others continue to profit off my name, face, & story without my consent. Most recently, the film #STILLWATER.

    / a thread…

  19. says

    KVVU – “‘I should have gotten the damn vaccine’: Las Vegas father of 5 dies from COVID-19”:

    Two weeks ago, life was great for Jessica DuPreez. She was on vacation in San Diego with her fiancé Michael Freedy, (better known as Big Mike at the M Resort where he worked), and their five kids ages 17, 10, 7, 6 and 17 months.

    Shortly after their vacation, Freedy went to the hospital for what he thought was a severe sunburn. He tested positive for COVID-19.

    Thursday morning, Freedy died with DuPreez by his side.

    “He is only 39. Our babies now don’t have a dad. You can’t say I am young and it won’t affect me because it will,” DuPreez said.

    Freedy was not vaccinated for COVID-19.

    “We wanted to wait just one year from the release to see what effects people had, but there was never any intention to not get it,” DuPreez said. That is a decision she said she will always regret and has now gotten the shot along with their oldest child.

    Freedy sent her a text message while in the hospital it said, ““I should have gotten the damn vaccine.”…

  20. says

    TPM – “Subpoena Jim Jordan.”

    Josh Marshall transcribed Jordan’s bumbling response to simple questions from Taylor Popielarz (video at the link):

    INTERVIEWER: Yes or no, did you speak with President Trump on January 6th?

    JORDAN: Yeah i mean I speak … i spoke with the president last week. I speak with the President all the time. I spoke with him on January 6th. I mean i talk with President Trump all the time. And that’s, that’s … I don’t think that’s unusual. I would expect members of Congress to talk with the President of the United States when they’re trying to get done the things they told the voters in their district to do. I’m actually kind of amazed sometimes that people keep asking this question. Of course … I talk to the President all the time. I talked … like I said, I talked with him last week.

    INTERVIEWER: On January 6th did you speak with him before, during or after the Capitol was attacked?

    JORDAN: Ahhh i’d have to go … I’d I I … i spoke with him that day after … i think after … i don’t know if i spoke with him in the morning or not. I just don’t know. i’d have to go back and …. I mean i don’t, I don’t I don’t know … ahhh … that … when those conversations happened. But what I know is that I spoke with him all the time.

  21. says

    From today’s DN! headlines:

    Biden Announces New Federal COVID Mandates

    President Biden has announced new requirements for civilian federal employees amid the surge in Covid-19 cases from the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

    President Joe Biden: “Every federal government employee will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. Anyone who does not attest, or is not vaccinated, will be required to mask no matter where they work, test one or two times a week to see if they’ve acquired COVID, socially distance and generally will not be allowed to travel for work.”

    Biden also directed the Pentagon to work towards a vaccine mandate for all military members, and called on states and local governments to use federal funding they received to offer a $100 incentive for vaccinations. New York City is launching that initiative today. Meanwhile Washington D.C. is the latest area to reinstate an indoor mask mandate for all.

    CDC Finds Delta Variant Just as Transmissible in Breakthrough Infections, More Contagious Than Flu

    According to an internal CDC report, infections of the Delta variant could be just as transmissible from breakthrough infections in vaccinated people as from the unvaccinated, and could be more severe — with each infected person able to infect 8 to 9 others. The document also said the delta variant is as contagious as chicken pox and more contagious than the viruses that cause the common cold, the seasonal flu and other easily transmitted illnesses.

    House Weighing Bill to Extend Eviction Moratorium Hours Before Expiration

    The House is expected to consider a bill today which would extend a nationwide moratorium on evictions, set to expire Saturday, as nearly 12 million people in the U.S. are behind on rent. On Thursday, Biden urged Congress to find a way to extend the ban since the CDC is no longer able to do so as a result of a Supreme Court ruling last month.

    Half of Burma Could Contract COVID, Pakistan Enacts New Restrictions, Haiti Hospitals Overwhelmed

    Britain’s U.N. ambassador has warned that half of Burma’s population of 54 million could contract COVID-19 in the next two weeks amid the ongoing turmoil following a military coup in February. Pakistan is enacting an air travel ban for anyone who cannot provide a vaccine certificate. It is also mandating all public sector workers get vaccinated, as well as public transport and retail staff, and teachers and students 18 and older. Meanwhile record cases have been reported across Japan and in Tokyo this week, as the Olympics continue.

    Israel said it will be offering booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine to people over 60, the first country to do so. This despite less than 10% of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories having been fully vaccinated. The European Union pulled ahead of the US this week in its rate of vaccination after a slow rollout earlier in the year. In July, the EU has given shots at four times the pace of the US.

    In Haiti, health workers say hospitals are becoming overwhelmed due to a surge in cases as the country grapples with a worsening economic and political crisis in the wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse….

    Congress Passes Emergency Funding Bill for Capitol Security, Resettlement of Afghan Interpreters

    Both the House and Senate passed a $2.1 billion emergency spending package for Capitol security, in response to a funding crisis incurred by the January 6 insurrection. The measure also includes funds for resettling Afghans who worked with U.S. forces during the occupation of their country. The first evacuation flight for Afghan interpreters and others arrived at Washington Dulles Airport earlier this morning.

    U.S. Will Return 17,000 Looted Archaeological Treasures to Iraq

    The United States is returning some 17,000 archaeological treasures to Iraq that were looted during the decades of war and U.S. occupation. Some of the artifacts date back 4,000 years. Baghdad’s culture minister praised the move as an unprecedented restitution.

    Israeli Soldiers Kill 20-Year-Old Palestinian at Funeral for Slain 12-Year-Old

    In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian man at a protest that took place during the funeral of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy killed by Israel just one day earlier. 20-year-old Shawkat Khalid Awad reportedly died from gunshot wounds to the head and the stomach. Israeli forces also fired tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades at the mourners.

    First Protester Tried Under Hong Kong’s National Security Law Receives 9 Years

    In Hong Kong, the first protester to be tried under a sweeping national security law was sentenced to 9 years for inciting terrorism and secessionism. Tong Ying-kit was arrested in 2020 while riding a motorbike and flying a flag with the slogan “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.” Over 100 people have been arrested under the legislation following months of massive mobilizations in 2019.

    Greenland Lost Enough Ice in One Day to Cover Florida in Two Inches of Water

    In climate news, researchers found Greenland lost 8.5 billion tons of surface mass due to ice melting over just one day this week — an event that’s only happened three times in the last decade. That melt is large enough to cover the entire state of Florida in at least two inches of water.

    Ex-Archbishop of D.C. Theodore McCarrick Charged With Sexual Assault of a Minor

    A Massachusetts court has charged Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C. with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception in 1974. 91-year-old McCarrick, who was defrocked in 2019, is the highest-ranking Catholic official in the U.S. to face criminal charges for sex crimes. Massachusetts law stops the clock on the statute of limitations if someone accused of a crime leaves the state.

    Rep. Cori Bush Unveils Bill to Protect Rights of Unhoused People

    Missouri Congressmember Cori Bush has introduced the Unhoused Bill of Rights. The bill would protect the human rights of unhoused people, including freedom from harassment by law enforcement. It would also work to permanently end the unhoused crisis by 2025 through increasing affordable housing, universal housing vouchers, and ensuring funding of essential social services and housing programs. This is Congressmember Bush.

    Rep. Cori Bush: ‘’I sit here today as a formerly unhoused Congressmember. I am outraged. There is no reason we can fund wars and weapons but we can’t provide universal housing and healthcare. The urgency of this crisis has never been clearer, as the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed just how many of our neighbors live one missed paycheck away from becoming unhoused.”

    Alabama Coal Miners Bring Strike to BlackRock Offices in NYC

    Hundreds of striking Alabama coal miners traveled to New York City this week and held a protest in front of the offices of hedge fund BlackRock, the largest shareholder of Warrior Met Coal. Over 1,000 members of the United Mine Workers of America have been on strike since April 1 after rejecting a new contract that refused to restore their full pay, after miners took a pay cut in 2016 to help keep the company afloat.

  22. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    US president Joe Biden faces significant opposition to his plan to require US federal workers to get vaccinated or undergo regular testing.

    The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which represents more than 26,000 federal officers, said that requiring vaccinations represents an infringement on civil rights, the Washington Post reports.

    “There will be a lot of pushback. It’s going to be an avalanche,” president Larry Cosme said.

    Meanwhile, the American Postal Workers Union said: “While the APWU leadership continues to encourage postal workers to voluntarily get vaccinated, it is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent.”

    The American Federation of Teachers, which represents almost 200,000 health-care workers who could be affected by vaccination mandates in places such as California, said, according to the Washington Post:

    In order for everyone to feel safe and welcome in their workplaces, vaccinations must be negotiated between employers and workers, not coerced. We believe strongly that everyone should get vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious exception, and that this should be a mandatory subject of negotiation for employers to keep their employees safe and build trust.

    But healthcare professionals are concerned that mandating vaccines outside contract negotiation will only result in more people leaving the bedside at a time when staffing levels are already low from the trauma of the past year.

    However, the proposal commands the support of other unions such as the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, which represents about 25,000 federal workers at agencies such as NASA.

    “We’re in the middle of a pandemic, over 600,000 people are dead, and we don’t want any more of our members dying,” said Paul Shearon, the union’s president, according to the Washington Post.

  23. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 25

    Shortly after their vacation, Freedy went to the hospital for what he thought was a severe sunburn. He tested positive for COVID-19.

    Sadly, it’s those sort of stories that the anti-vaxxers and COVID-deniers leap upon: “Oh! How do he go from having sunburn to suddenly having COVID?! Since when does sunburn cause COVID??? They’re just declaring any ailment to be COVID so BIG PHARMA and the hospitals can kill people on ventilators and then collect the insurance!”

  24. says

    DOJ notes: Trump told DOJ officials ‘just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me’; rejected DOJ debunkings of specific claims with, ‘Ok fine — but what about the others?’; said, ‘You guys may not be following the internet the way I do’.”

    NYT link atl.

  25. says

    SC @26, Jim Jordan tried to dodge and dance around the question, but he failed. Yes, he did talk to Trump on January 6. Yes, he knows there was something wrong with that conversation, as you can tell by his bumblefuck method of trying to dodge the question.

  26. says

    Follow-up to SC @32.

    Trump urged DOJ officials to call election corrupt ‘and leave the rest to me’

    […] Trump pressured top officials in the Department of Justice (DOJ) to call the 2020 presidential election results corrupt, according to documents released by the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

    The documents are notes from former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen’s deputy, Richard Donoghue, that were allegedly taken during a call between Trump, Rosen and Donoghue on Dec. 27.

    Donoghue wrote that he told Trump during the call that the Justice Department could not change the outcome of the election, with Trump allegedly replying he understood that. […]

    Other members of Congress mentioned during the call were Republican Reps. Jim Jordon (Ohio) and Scott Perry (Pa.), according to The New York Times. [Jim Jordan again!]

    […] Donoghue reportedly told Trump during the call that the DOJ had conducted “dozens of investigations, hundreds of interviews” and no widespread voter fraud was found.

    Trump still allegedly asserted in the call that the elections in Georgia, Nevada, Michigan and Arizona were “corrupted.”

    Trump then reportedly said no one trusted the FBI and the DOJ’s “inactions” had made people “angry,” according to the notes.

    “You guys may not be following the internet the way I do,” Trump said, according to the notes of the call. “People want me to replace DOJ leadership.” [So Trump also threatened Rosen and others with loss of their jobs. And Trump being Trump, he could always find more garbage on the internet.]

    Donoghue’s notes said he told Trump he could replace leadership but it “won’t change the dept’s position.”

    “We are not in a position based on the evidence. We can only act on the actual evidence developed,” Rosen and Donoghue said during the call, according to the notes seen by the Times.

    The documents were released after Biden told the DOJ they could give unrestricted testimony to congressional investigators who are looking into Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, the Times noted.

  27. says

    Follow-up to comments 32 and 34.

    Commentary from Steve Benen:

    […] According to the reporting, the then-president would routinely reach out to the nation’s top law enforcement official, share rumors of dubious election improprieties he’d heard about, and then ask the acting A.G. what the Justice Department was prepared to do in response.

    The article described a ridiculous governing dynamic in which a corrupt president, desperate to keep power he hadn’t earned, treated federal law enforcement as if it were a private law firm the Republican kept on retainer.

    […] In case this isn’t painfully obvious, Trump may be out of office, but these revelations are arguably Watergate-level in their scope. A sitting American president privately urged the Justice Department to lie about the imaginary corruption of a national election, as part of a scheme to hold onto illegitimate power.

    “I would like you to do us a favor, though,” was a line that came to define Trump’s corruption of the presidency. “Just say that the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me” is vastly worse.


    I’m wondering if Trump cult followers like Jim Jordon, Lindsey Graham and Kevin McCarthy are feeling like they made the wrong bet when they assumed that no more damning information would come out about Trump’s time in office.

  28. says

    The latest national Monmouth poll reveals strong public support for President Biden’s domestic agenda, including 70% backing for the White House’s infrastructure package.

  29. says

    Josh Marshall:

    […] As I’ve been saying for some time, the problem with our policy is that we are not doing enough to place the burden of non-vaccination squarely on the voluntarily unvaccinated. That is both the most equitable and the most effective approach. […] we can see that public authorities’ effort to work around the problem of the irresponsibility of the unvaccinated actually manages to bring them into a sort of public contempt. The science clearly has changed with the Delta variant. It’s much more transmissible. But the problem remains that Delta is spreading like wildfire among the unvaccinated and it’s lapping up onto the shores on vaccinated America.

    So just as we’ve gotten the balance off by having the vaccinated shoulder the burden created by the unvaccinated, we now have public health authorities bringing their own authority into contempt because of too aggressive coddling of the unvaccinated. So now they’re picking up the burden for the unvaccinated too – not at the cost of daily inconveniences but at the cost of their public authority. We all suffer for that.

    We need to be placing the burdens on non-vaccination on the unvaccinated. And we need to be clear with the public that the problem is the non-vaccinated. They’re at fault. They’re to blame. And even more, the public influencers, celebrities and political actors who’ve driven resistance to vaccination are to blame.

  30. says

    Oh, that’s really sad. Cry me a river.

    MyPillow Guy Lindell Is pulling ads from Fox after the network rejected his “Cyber Symposium.”

    One of Fox News’ biggest advertisers says he is ditching the network because they won’t advertise an event that will rehash old nonsense about the 2020 election.

    […] “They have refused to run that commercial for our country,” he added, referring to a spot promoting a “cyber symposium” he’s planning to host in Sioux Falls next month.

    That event, like others Lindell has hosted, will purportedly show (again) that hinky election machines stole Donald Trump’s second term from him. (Both Fox News and Lindell are facing lawsuits from Dominion Voting Systems.)

    A Fox News spokesperson said in a statement, “It’s unfortunate Mr. Lindell has chosen to pause his commercial time on FOX News given the level of success he’s experienced in building his brand through advertising on the number one cable news network.”

    […] “I am pulling everything!” Lindell told Salon […]

    […] What will happen as a result of this cyber symposium? According to Lindell, the Supreme Court will come to its senses and decide, unanimously, to make Trump president again.


    Lindell spent almost $50 million on Fox News ads last year. So far this year, he has spent about $19 million.

  31. says

    Yikes. How much cognitive dissonance is rattling around in Stefanik’s brain?

    In Single Tweet, Stefanik Celebrates Medicare And Medicaid, Rejects ‘Socialist’ Healthcare

    Friday is the 56th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, and the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), weighed in with a doozy of a take.

    Today’s Anniversary of Medicare & Medicaid reminds us to reflect on the critical role these programs have played to protect the healthcare of millions of families. To safeguard our future, we must reject Socialist healthcare schemes.

    Ted Lieu:

    I agree with @EliseStefanik, we should reject socialist healthcare schemes and support Medicare for all.

  32. says

    Follow-up to comment 38.

    Posted by readers of the article:

    It’s a form of Mutually Assured Destruction. Or maybe a form of Mexican Standoff. Either one works for me.
    The internecine warfare amongst RepubliQan MAGAts makes me happy.
    A Cyber Symposium produced by a pillow salesman.

    Kind of like techno-dolt Rudy Giuliani being in charge of U.S. Cyber Security.
    The pressure of that looming August 13th deadline is showing.
    Lindell pushed it to September now, date TBD
    One wonders if Lindell and Lin Woods will be roommates at the State Home for the Criminally Bewildered.

    You know that Fox would have aired ads for that bogus “cyber symposium” if Dominion had not sued them for airing lies about voting machines.

  33. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    The depiction of French president Emmanuel Macron dressed like Adolf Hitler, including a toothbrush moustache, has tested the government’s appetite for satire, after the Charlie Hebdo magazine was robustly defended for publishing controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.

    But it appears Macron does not have the stomach for such implicit criticism, as his lawyers and political party have filed legal complaints alleging that the depictions displayed on billboards paid for by the owner of a French street advertising business were a public insult. This has risked opening the door to hypocrisy.

    Michel-Ange Flori decided to use some of his billboards in his home region of the south of France for what he called an exercise in political satire. He said the consensus in his country was on the side of Charlie Hebdo.

    “But when it is a matter of making fun of the president by depicting him as a dictator, then it becomes blasphemy, then it is unacceptable,” he said in an interview with Reuters, mimicking his critics. Flori said he has been contacted by police acting on the legal complaint.

    In October, Macron honoured school teacher Samuel Paty, who was killed by a Chechen teenager who wanted to avenge Paty’s use of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in a class on freedom of expression. “We will not give up on cartoons and drawings, even if others back down,” Macron said.

    Flori put up the Macron billboards – which also carry the phrase “Obey, get vaccinated” – in response to a law adopted by parliament this month barring people from some public venues unless they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or can show a fresh negative test.

    Some of Macron’s opponents say the rules trample on civil liberties and accuse the president of acting like a dictator, particularly since the vaccines have not received full approval due to an absence of long-term safety data, but the administration argues that it needs to encourage greater vaccination rates to protect public health.

    “I did not expect this at all. That the president would file a complaint against a French citizen,” Flori said. “I caricature,” he said. “People may or may not like it but it is all the same, caricature will remain caricature.”

    The billboards are stupid, as is Macron’s reaction.

  34. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Trump tax returns must be released by IRS to Congress, DOJ says

    The income tax returns of former President Donald Trump must be released by the IRS to Congress, the Department of Justice said Friday.
    The DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel said that Congress had made a legitimate request to see Trump’s tax returns.
    The income tax returns of former President Donald Trump must be released by the IRS to Congress, the Department of Justice said Friday.
    The DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel said in an opinion that the House Ways and Means Committee had made a request with a legitimate legislative purpose to see Trump’s tax returns.
    “The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has invoked sufficient reasons for requesting the former President’s tax information,” the opinion said.
    As a result, under federal law, “Treasury must furnish the information to the Committee,” the opinion said.
    The decision comes more than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court said that Trump’s tax returns and other financial records had to be turned over by his longtime accountants to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., because of a subpoena issued as part of Vance’s criminal probe of the Trump Organization.
    Trump broke decades of precedent as both a presidential candidate and occupant of the White House by refusing to voluntarily release his income tax returns.
    The opinion Friday by the DOJ’s legal counsel office came in response to a long-standing effort by Congress to obtain Trump’s returns.
    The opinion noted that the tax committees of Congress, while having a “broad right to receive tax information” from the Treasury Department, “cannot compel the Executive Branch to disclose such information without satisfying the constitutional requirement that the information could serve a legitimate legislative purpose.”

  35. says

    Garland Threatens To Sue TX Guv Over Order Against Driving Undocumented People

    Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday threatened the governor of Texas with legal action over a new order from the governor’s office prohibiting non-law enforcement officers from driving undocumented people anywhere.

    “The Order violates federal law in numerous respects, and Texas cannot lawfully enforce the Executive order against any federal official private parties working with the United States,” Garland wrote to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

    If Abbott does not rescind the order, Garland concluded, “the United States intends to pursue all appropriate legal remedies to ensure that Texas does not interfere with the functions of the federal government.”

    Abbott’s order prohibited anyone except federal, state or local law enforcement from providing ground transportation “to a group of migrants who have been detained by CBP for crossing the border illegally or who would have been subject to expulsion under the Title 42 order.” […]

    Abbott directed state troopers to “stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion of a violation of paragraph 1, and to reroute such a vehicle back to its point of origin or a port of entry if a violation is confirmed.” The order authorized state law enforcement to impound vehicles that violated its first two paragraphs.

    The governor said he was issuing the order in light of the pandemic, but as local media noted, Abbott has prohibited mask mandates in the state, even in schools, and Texas has vaccinated less of its population than most other states in the nation.

    Immigration advocates criticizing the order said it would only heighten chaos at migrant shelters, and that it would encourage racial profiling from law enforcement.

    Multiple non-law-enforcement actors, including non-profits, state health authorities and others help undocumented people move around Texas and the nation after they initially cross the border, as they await court dates.

    Garland said the order would endanger law enforcement, exacerbate crowding in shelters and interfere with with court dates for undocumented people. He cited several paragraphs of legal precedent.

    “Texas cannot lawfully enforce the Executive Order against any federal official or private parties working with the United States,” he wrote, adding later that “Texas cannot regulate the operations of private parties performing tasks on behalf of the United States.”

    “Moreover,” he added, “Texas has no authority to interfere with the United States’ ‘broad, undoubted power over the subject of immigration’ by impairing the United States’ release of individuals and the ability of those individuals to comply with federal immigration law.”

    In short, Garland concluded before issuing his threat of legal action, “the Order is contrary to federal law and cannot be enforced.”

  36. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Dr Anthony Fauci said granting full approval for Covid-19 vaccines could spur Americans who haven’t had the jab to get it.

    The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Reuters that formal approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could also give doctors the ability to prescribe a third shot of the vaccine to people with weakened immune systems.

    Currently the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson doses are authorised on an emergency use basis.

    Fauci, who is also the chief medical adviser to Joe Biden said it could reduce fears about the safety of the jabs, and make local officials more comfortable with vaccination plans.

    “Given what we’ve been through now and the number of months that have gone by since the (emergency use authorisation), I would hope that within the very reasonable period of time in the future we’ll see that. I hope as we get into the middle of August that we’re almost there,” Fauci said.

    More than 163 million people in the United States, or nearly half of the population, have been fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  37. says

    Vice – “Anti-Vaxxers Are Building Their Own Craigslist to Get Away From the Vaccinated”:

    With nearly 70 percent of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated and the country opening up, members of the anti-vaxxer/lockdown movement are increasingly finding themselves having no choice but to deal with a pro-vaccine society. So what are anti-lockdown zealots supposed to do?

    For a start, they can create their own microsociety where “freedom-loving Canadians” can plan meetups, find dates, and buy and sell goods and services on a clunky website, a Craigslist for anti-vaxxers, if you will.

    That’s what one activist is trying to do with Freedom Pages—a “directory for freedom-loving Canadians,” your one-stop shop for all your anti-lockdown needs.

    “We have dedicated this site to Freedom Lovers—people who don’t agree with the unlawful medical tyranny in Canada,” the site’s founder wrote on Telegram earlier this month. “Therefore, everything you find on our site is intended to be mask-free, vax-free, and fear-free.”

    Freedom Pages grew out of a collection of Telegram pages that listed regional vaccine-free and mask-free services and employment. Now, they’ve expanded to dating, housing, events, and more. The listings on Freedom Pages are, well, probably what you think. Holistic healers and vague “wellness” products punctuate the site but some go a step further. Here you can hire anti-mask mechanics, a man who will teach specialized Russian martial arts only to the unvaccinated, or a vaccine-free daycare. There are also a few ads offering employment to anti-maskers.

    “Un mask’d and unvax’d semi-retired Social Worker offering non-medical support and companionship for elders of varying capacities,” reads one listing.

    The dating section features ads like “Scarborough Vac Free Male Looking for love” and “Redpilled English Bloke Mid 40’s.” One woman’s bio simply reads “vax free. Prefer the same in you.”

    The pages also feature ads that have far-right tones….

    More atl.

  38. says

    Akira MacKenzie @ #29, I had the same concern. :(

    One possibly significant twist is that DuPreez said they were waiting to see how the vaccines shook out but were planning to get vaccinated eventually (and she and her eligible child now have). Now, their decision-making is nutty: they were planning to wait a year after the vaccines became available, they carried on normally even though they were unvaccinated, no one in the family used sunscreen, etc. But I saw a chart this morning that suggested that around 10-15% of people in the US have adopted a “wait and see” attitude toward the vaccines. That’s a fairly significant chunk of people who could potentially be reachable and maybe spurred to action by stories like this.

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