Leave No Loan Unturned
June 24, 2022
Some Good News
- Drag Queen Story Hour returns to Castro Valley after earlier Proud Boys disruption (East Bay Times)
- Trumpet becomes first bloodhound to win Westminster’s best in show (NBC)
“Each of us must decide whether it is more important to be proved right or to provoke righteousness.” — Bernice King
Fraud’s Gift To Mankind
Three top-level Department of Justice officials testified Thursday on Day Five of the J-6 Committee hearings to show how far former President Trump went to enmesh the DOJ in his illegal scheme to overturn the 2020 election and stay in power. Former acting AG Jeffrey Rosen, his deputy Richard Donoghue, and Steven Engel, who led the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, joined a growing list of Republicans providing damning information under oath about Trump’s efforts to remain president. The men laid out continual, stunning examples of Trump’s post-election attempts to weaponize the DOJ.
Rosen said Trump called or met with him “virtually every day,” pressuring him to take action on false ballot fraud claims. Trump badgered department officials to create a special counsel for election fraud, file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court, make public statements or hold a press conference about ongoing fraud investigations, seize voting machines, and more. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows directed DOJ officials to investigate an internet-spread conspiracy theory alleging the CIA knew electoral votes were being changed from Trump to Biden in facilities in Italy. The officials continued telling Trump no evidence of widespread fraud existed. In December, Trump became more agitated and insistent. At one meeting, Trump was told the DOJ couldn’t and wouldn’t “snap its fingers” and change the outcome of the presidential election. Donoghue testified Trump said, “That’s not what I’m asking you to do … just say it was corrupt and leave the rest up to me and the Republican congressmen.”
Meanwhile, Trump allies found Jeffrey Clark, a lower-level DOJ environmental attorney eager to do Trump’s bidding. At the end of 2020, in a contentious meeting in the Oval Office, Trump suggested he fire Rosen and put Clark in his place. During that meeting, Donoghue eviscerated Clark’s credentials, saying the man was woefully under-qualified to be attorney general. Donoghue told Clark: “You’re an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office, and we’ll call you when there’s an oil spill.” Trump abandoned the idea only after Engel said if Clark were to replace Rosen, so many DOJ employees would resign Clark would be presiding over “a graveyard.” More bombshell evidence would show how Trump’s desire to stay in power at any cost led right inside the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. (WaPo ($), CNN)
- The European Union agreed Thursday to put Ukraine on a path toward E.U. membership. Candidate status was also given to the tiny country of Moldova, another former Soviet republic that borders Ukraine.
- Leaders of the 27-nation bloc meeting in Brussels gave the required unanimous approval to grant Ukraine candidate status, although the road to full membership could still be years away. The main benefits of E.U. membership are economic, and candidate status doesn’t provide any immediate security guarantees.
- But once an E.U. member, the treaty says if a member falls victim to armed aggression, other E.U. countries are obliged to assist it by all means possible. Russia has demanded that Ukraine never become a NATO member, but since the E.U. isn’t a military pact, President Putin hasn’t objected to Ukraine’s membership. (AP News)
Beyond The Rail
- Railway staff in Britain staged their second national walkout Thursday, causing a disruption for millions of people. The 24-hour strike by 40,000 cleaners, signalers, maintenance workers, and station staff canceled four-fifths of passenger services across the country. A third walkout is supposed to take place Saturday.
- Emergency government funding has been keeping Britain’s train companies afloat, and now that the funding is ending and the companies are scrambling to cut costs and staff, workers are worried about their pay, working conditions, and job security. Talks between union reps and employers ended in deadlock Wednesday.
- The union blames Britain’s conservative government for scuttling negotiations involving demands for bigger pay raises for workers being squeezed by the country’s 9.1% inflation rate. Further adding to summertime travel misery was the announcement by workers at the country’s busiest airport that they, too, have plans for a walkout. (AP News)
Additional World News
- Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi moved to solitary confinement in prison (CNN)
- China says Ukraine crisis has ‘sounded an alarm for humanity’ (NBC)
- Kuwait’s crown prince dissolves parliament, calls elections (ABC)
- New coronavirus subvariants escape antibodies from vaccination and prior Omicron infection, studies suggest (CNN)
- Germany faces gas supply ‘crisis,’ declares alarm level (AP)
- Macron says parties must cooperate after he loses control of parliament (Guardian)
- With bond deadlines looming, Russia days away from default (Al Jazeera)
- The United Kingdom has the highest inflation in the G7 (CNN)
Leave No Loan Unturned
- The Biden administration has agreed to fully discharge the federal student loan debts of approximately 200,000 borrowers who claimed they were defrauded by their college, but whose applications for relief have languished at the Education Department for years. The action could wipe away over $6 billion in student loan debt, and comes after a class-action lawsuit accused the Trump administration, then the Biden administration, of illegally delaying any action on applications borrowers had filed with the Education Department.
- Applicants were seeking debt relief under the “borrower defense” law, which entitles federal loan borrowers to debt relief when their college misleads them or otherwise defrauds them. The agreement was reached as part of a proposed class-action settlement filed in federal court Wednesday evening, and still requires a judge’s approval.
- Under the agreement, the Biden administration would forgive student loan debts of hundreds of thousands of borrowers who’ve already filed a claim against one of 50 colleges, most of them for-profit institutions. Those borrowers would also receive a refund of payments they already made under the agreement. (Politico)
Eat, Drink, And Free Carry
- A Supreme Court decision released Thursday has struck down a New York state law that requires people applying for a license to carry a gun outside of their homes to have a “proper cause” to do so. The 6-3 conservative majority held the 1911 law violated the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
- The ruling is the Court’s biggest expansion of gun rights in over a decade and a major victory for gun rights advocates who had challenged the restrictive law making it a crime to carry a concealed firearm without a license. The ruling also imperils similar laws restricting concealed-carry permits in eight other states and the District of Columbia.
- The ruling comes just weeks after mass shootings at a Buffalo, NY grocery store and a Uvalde, TX elementary school. Left-wing officials quickly condemned the decision, saying it will imperil public safety. New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the decision not “just reckless ” but “reprehensible,” while New York City Mayor Eric Adams said “This decision has made every single one of us less safe from gun violence.” (CNBC)
Additional USA News
- 6 killed after Vietnam War-era helicopter giving a tour crashes onto road in Logan County, West Virginia (CNN)
- Judge delays Proud Boys trial amid Jan. 6 committee uncertainty (Politico)
- Man found not responsible for Times Square vehicle rampage (ABC)
- A Florida judge is expected to make a decision in coming weeks on a lawsuit by Gabby Petito’s parents (CNN)
- Pete Arredondo, Uvalde school district police chief, placed on administrative leave (CBS)
- The Dem governors who could run in 2024 if Biden doesn’t (Politico)
- DC region faces flooding, downed trees and wires after heavy rains (WaPo, $)
One Foot Under
- A peer-reviewed study conducted by Brazilian researchers says your inability to balance on one foot for ten seconds means you’re twice as likely to die in the next 10 years. Two questions: What? and Huh? Yep. The study suggests your ability to balance on one foot points to longer life expectancy. The peer-reviewed study, published Tuesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, determined that a person’s balance ability can be preserved into one’s sixties, meaning it’s a broader indicator of life expectancy across age ranges than aerobic fitness, flexibility, or muscle strength.
- The lead author of the study is a sports and exercise physician at the Exercise Medicine Clinic Clinimex in Rio de Janeiro. He notes that poor balance is linked to frailty in older adults, and one’s musculoskeletal fitness is a prime indicator of declining health. “If you are younger than 70 years, you are expected … to successfully complete the 10 seconds,” he said. “For those older than 70 years of age, if you complete it, you are in better static balance status than your age-peers.”
- Researchers in the study zeroed in on 1,702 participants from ages 51 to 75 for the study, with the average age set at 61. Only individuals who could walk steadily were included in the analysis. Participants were all asked to stand on one leg for 10 seconds without holding onto anything for support. One in 5 failed the test. The inability of participants to pass the balance test increased with age, while those with weight problems or diabetes were more likely to fail. The researchers cautioned that the study has its limits. As the participants were all white Brazilians, the findings “might not be more widely applicable to other ethnicities and nations.” So, this might not bode well for Americans. (USA Today)
- Swimmer suffers ‘significant’ injuries in shark attack at California beach (ABC)
- 2 insurance companies end relationship with Maine agency after racist Juneteenth sign (NPR)
- Influencers peddling medical, financial advice now need certification, China says (TechCrunch)
- Vienna reclaims title of the world’s most liveable city (Guardian)
- Ohio State gets approval to trademark ‘The’ for merchandise (AP)
- Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is changing its name — yet again (The Hill)
- Florida team hauls in 18-foot, 215-pound Burmese python (AP)
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