Congressional Democrats plan to unveil legislation expanding the size of the Supreme Court on Thursday, according to three congressional sources familiar with the closely held measure.
The bill would add four seats to the high court, bringing the total to 13 from the current nine. The bill is led by House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, Subcommittee chair Hank Johnson, and freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones. In the Senate, the bill is being championed by Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
The number of justices on the Court, which is set by Congress, has fluctuated throughout the course of the nation’s history, reaching as many as ten seats before settling on nine in 1869. In 2016, Sen. Ted Cruz suggested that, if Hillary Clinton were elected, the Republican Senate should keep Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat empty, effectively bringing the number of justices down to eight.
Republicans currently hold six seats, while Democrats hold just three. Republicans were able to solidify control of the Court under former President Donald Trump, after first refusing to advance Merrick Garland’s nomination under former President Barack Obama, and then confirming Justice Neil Gorsuch after Trump’s election. Then, after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died in September 2020, Republicans threw out the procedures they had previously embraced and confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett in a matter of weeks.
After Trump’s nomination of Coney Barrett, then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer faced pressure to stop her confirmation by any means necessary. When those myriad options fell short, and Coney Barrett was pushed through, the conversation turned to expanding the court. “Not only do these extremist judges threaten more than a century of progressive achievements,” read a letter to Schumer by 20 New York elected officials, “they threaten to foreclose the possibility of any future progress under a Democratic administration.” But, after Democrats lost races they hoped to win in Maine, North Carolina, and Iowa, some Democratic strategists argued that the talk of court packing and ending the filibuster had inspired more Republicans to vote, and discussion of the move was shelved.
In April, President Joe Biden created a commission to study possible reforms to the Court, including adding seats. In October of last year, Biden promised to create such a commission if elected, saying the judicial system was “getting out of whack,” but said “it’s not about court packing.” “Everything we care about is at risk if we don’t get this bill passed to expand the Court — from the vital democracy protections in HR1 to progress on climate change, racial justice, reproductive freedom, and more,” said Aaron Belkin of Take Back the Court.
Every Eureka resident should be alarmed at the nationwide and local failure in giving veterans preferential hiring status for civilian policing.
Ending the rash of police-wilding requires a return to “Protect and Serve”.
Local media needs to step-up and publish Eureka’s police hiring and promotion policies, screening practices and psychological evaluations. They are clearly inadequate and need to be compared and updated using other municipality’s successful policies.
Any citizen can file a Public Records Act request and find out for themselves.
With enough inquiries to Eureka’s attorney, the Eureka city council and mayor might stop wringing their hands and engage in some leadership by tasking staff to offer policy changes…
A March 17 article published by The Sacramento Bee revealed disturbing text messages in a group chat of Eureka police officers sent between January and August of 2020. The text messages display bigoted, racist, misogynist, above-the-law attitudes. These officers have a complete disregard for the individuals in the community that they serve. The institution of policing has harbored these attitudes and behaviors for too long and the community will not take it anymore. We want systemic change, we want all law enforcement to be held accountable to their community. The community demands this accountability. These officers must be fired for our community to feel any semblance of safety, especially for our most vulnerable.
AFTER THEY ARE FIRED, divert the funds to a program similar to Eugene, Oregon’s Cahoots (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) which is an innovative community-based public safety system to provide mental health first response for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and addiction.
American Journal of Preventative Medicine estimated that 20% to 50% of fatal encounters with law enforcement involved an individual with a mental illness. Last year, out of a total of roughly 24,000 CAHOOTS calls, police backup was requested only 150 times.
The cost savings are considerable. The CAHOOTS program budget is about $2.1 million annually, while the combined annual budgets for the Eugene and Springfield police departments are $90 million. In 2017, the CAHOOTS teams answered 17% of the Eugene Police Department’s overall call volume. The program saves the city of Eugene an estimated $8.5 million in public safety spending annually.
We need to get the dangerous Texting Squad off the streets and direct city funding to a program that has showed significate success for 31 years. Our community deserves this!!
Eureka Police department has been likened to a pit of vipers by some, Look back over the years of posts we have had about EPD and particularly around the murder of Tommy McClain and cover up that followed. We have always pointed out how corrupt and duplicitous this department has been since the ouster of reformist Chief Garr Neilson
Has anything really changed at EPD?
Here’s a very recent “updated” recruitment video starring “Dirty” Sanchez“, his Brother in Law “Go back to the reservation” Goodale and his BFF/Academy classmate Captain “get away with murder” Stephens. In the background you can hear current Chief Watson lauding the POP team. Come on Chief Watson it’s time to fully clean your infested house
There is much more to come out about this scandal! The Sacramento Bee reporter is in Eureka conducting more interviews as we write this.
Don’t forget, keep sending us your tips: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deb Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo, has become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.
The Senate voted 51-40 Monday to confirm the Democratic congresswoman to lead the Interior Department, an agency that will play a crucial role in the Biden administration’s ambitious efforts to combat climate change and conserve nature.
Her confirmation is as symbolic as it is historic. For much of its history, the Interior Department was used as a tool of oppression against America’s Indigenous peoples. In addition to managing the country’s public lands, endangered species and natural resources, the department is also responsible for the government-to-government relations between the U.S. and Native American tribes.
“Indian country has shouted from the valleys, from the mountaintops, that it’s time. It’s overdue,” Sandia Pueblo tribal member Stephine Poston told NPR after Haaland was nominated.
It’s not the first time Haaland has made history. In 2018, she became one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress. Her nomination by President Biden to lead the Interior Department was celebrated by tribal groups, environmental organizations, and lawmakers who called the action long overdue.
What’s going on in Humboldt County and particularly the greater Eureka area? Theft, petty crime, and vandalism have continued to be on the rise since last summer. Check with your neighbors if you haven’t experienced it yourself chances are they have. Everything from vehicle break-ins and mail theft to digging up your favorite plants.
Recent accounts have come to light that the police are either not responding at all or responding and not being helpful, or in some circumstances even downright abusive
Some observers have drawn a straight line between the Black Lives Matter demonstrations and what seems to many like an intentional slow down or strike by law enforcement. Is that really their plan? Seems to us like it will have the opposite effect from what they want.
President Joe Biden stands poised to sign one of the most substantial and popular pieces of spending legislation in half-a-century, following the Senate’s passage of the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill. The American Rescue Plan will not only provide $1,400 checks for most American families and extend jobless aid, the bill provides money for vaccine distribution and financial relief for cities, schools, and small businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
The sprawling legislation also represents the largest increase in safety net spending in a generation. It includes huge assistance for day care, broadens eligibility for Obamacare, helps renters, and will likely cut the U.S. poverty rate by one third this year.
Reporting on the six most important “takeaways” from the bill’s Senate passage this weekend, guess what USA Today ranked as the most significant detail about the American Rescue Plan? Answer: The fact that Biden wasn’t able to win over Republican backing for the wildly popular bill, which has 83 percent public support.
Chalking that up as a White House failure, USA Today stressed, “Biden campaigned on bipartisanship following four divisive years under Donald Trump. Yet he was not able to win over a single Senate Republican.” The paper made sure to penalize Biden: “The lack of bipartisan support shows that breaking through the gridlock isn’t as easy as Biden predicted as a candidate.”
Detailing the GOP’s deeply radical and dangerous tendencies is not a story the press wants to dwell on. That’s a key reason the media screwed up Covid relief coverage for the last twelves months, constantly presenting a false picture of legislative negotiations, told through the prism of the GOP.
USA Today didn’t include one sentence about how bizarre it was that every Republican member of the House and Senate stands opposed to a bill that 70 percent of Republican voters’ support. Instead, the press continues to depict the GOP’s obstruction as being normal and understandable. That way they can ding Biden for failing to make the bill “bipartisan.” (Beltway media Golden Rule: Democrats alone are responsible for creating bipartisanship.)
Republican behavior over Covid relief last weekend at times bordered on madness, as they tried to drown the process with sure-to-fail amendments. At one point, they even tried to strip out funds specifically targeted for poor women and children. But that was definitely not the dominant media narrative in recent days. The New York Times insisted it was Democrats who faced an “awkward episode” on late Friday when details over extending unemployment payments had to be ironed out after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) raised objections. The event “threatened to defect and derail” passage, the paper reported excitedly.
Like USA Today, the Times was oblivious to the idea that Republicans faced any awkwardness for unanimously objecting to an emergency spending bill that the vast majority of Americans support, and doing everything in the party’s power to slow down its passage, including the demand that the massive bill be read out loud in its entirety in the Senate, a move that wasted hours.
The Times waved off the GOP’s extreme behavior as nothing more than, “a minority united in opposition.” (i.e. Nothing to see here!)
Over the last twelve months, Republicans sabotaged all Covid relief negotiations, including Trump who routinely, and publicly, gave wildly contradictory statements about the need for assistance. Yet since last April, the press tagged Both Sides for failing to pass a relief package that was universally seen as crucial to the country’s economic survival. (“Capitol Hill’s failure to compromise” is hurting America, CNN emphasized.)
Fact: House Democrats in May passed a massive $3 trillion Covid relief package. To win over Republican support in the Senate, they then agreed to pass a smaller $2 trillion version. They were then ready to sign off on a further reduced $908 billion proposal. Republican leaders wouldn’t even agree to that, yet the press consistently blamed “Congress” for not being able to meet halfway and pass much-needed assistance.
CBS News wondered, “Why hasn’t Congress done more at this point?” The Congressional Covid failure represented “an institution gripped with paralysis,” the Times stressed, while the Washington Post claimed the lack of legislation was due to “bickering.”
Last summer, journalists claimed “Congress” was to blame for weekly $600 relief checks being cut off. Wrong — the payments were ended because Republicans forced them to end. In October, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer launched into a heated argument with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, demanding to know why she wouldn’t accept a White House relief proposal, even though Senate Republicans didn’t support it, which meant the White House proposal would never be voted on.
Twelve months ago, the Beltway press echoed GOP talking points by loudly claiming Democrats were “blocking” the first Covid relief bill, which was eventually signed into law under Trump. The Times stressed that Democrats “risked a political backlash,” by lobbying hard for additional unemployment aid, as well as more money for hospitals, healthcare workers, and local governments. (Democrats won, and improved the bill.) Today, there’s very little media coverage of Republicans “blocking” the recent Covid bill, or facing “political backlash.”
Republicans never supported a second Covid relief bill, yet the press spent the last year pretending otherwise — insisting that of course GOP leaders urgently wanted to aid struggling Americans, where there was little evidence that they did.
The country will be well served by the American Rescue Plan, but the slow-motion train wreck of Covid relief coverage represented a distressing failure of journalism.
“The Republican Party has become, in form if not in content, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of the late 1970s,” the Never Trumper conservative Tom Nichols laments. “I can already hear the howls about invidious comparisons. I do not mean that modern American Republicans are communists. Rather, I mean that the Republicans have entered their own kind of end-stage Bolshevism, as members of a party that is now exhausted by its failures, cynical about its own ideology, authoritarian by reflex, controlled as a personality cult by a failing old man, and looking for new adventures to rejuvenate its fortunes.”
In the late 1970s, Nichols explains, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union — under the leadership of Leonid Brezhnev — was “a spent force” run by “party ideologues” who stubbornly clung to Marxist-Leninist dogma. Brezhnev’s cronies, Nichols recalls, considered him a “heroic genius.”
“Members of the Communist Party who questioned anything, or expressed any sign of unorthodoxy, could be denounced by name, or more likely, simply fired,” Nichols notes. “They would not be executed — this was not Stalinism, after all — but some were left to rot in obscurity in some make-work exile job, eventually retiring as a forgotten ‘comrade pensioner.’ The deal was clear: pump the party’s nonsense and enjoy the good life, or squawk and be sent to manage a library in Kazakhstan. This should all sound familiar.”
Just as the Marxist-Leninist ideologues of the late 1970s rallied around Brezhnev, Nichols argues, the Republican Party of 2021 is rallying around Trump.
“Falling in line, just as in the old Communist Party, is rewarded, and independence is punished,” Nichols observes. “The anger directed at Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger makes the stilted ideological criticisms of last century’s Soviet propagandists seem almost genteel by comparison. At least Soviet families under Brezhnev didn’t add three-page handwritten denouncements to official party reprimands.”
The Soviet Communist Party didn’t collapse in 1978 or 1979, but it did collapse in the early 1990s — even Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost reforms of the 1980s couldn’t save the Soviet Union, which no longer exists. Modern-day Russia is now ruled by a right-wing authoritarian, President Vladimir Putin, and embraces crony capitalism and corporate oligarchs rather than communism. And according to Nichols, the Republican Party of the United States is, like the old Soviet Communist Party, terminally ill.
But the more marginal the GOP becomes in the months ahead, Nichols predicts, the more dangerously authoritarian it will become.
“A dying party can still be a dangerous party,” Nichols warns. “The Communist leaders in those last years of political sclerosis arrayed a new generation of nuclear missiles against NATO, invaded Afghanistan, tightened the screws on Jews and other dissidents, lied about why they shot down a civilian 747 airliner, and, near the end, came close to starting World War III out of sheer paranoia. The Republican Party is, for now, more of a danger to the United States than to the world. But like the last Soviet-era holdouts in the Kremlin, its cadres are growing more aggressive and paranoid.”
In 2021, Nichols laments, the GOP has passed the point of no return and can only sink deeper and deeper into the abyss.
“Another lesson from all this history is that the Republicans have no path to reform,” Nichols writes. “Like their Soviet counterparts, their party is too far gone. Gorbachev tried to reform the Soviet Communist Party, and he remains reviled among the Soviet faithful to this day. Similar efforts by the remaining handful of reasonable Republicans are unlikely to fare any better. The Republican Party, to take a phrase from the early Soviet leader Leon Trotsky, should now be deposited where it belongs: in the ‘dustbin of history.'”
The Day After Tomorrow was released in 2004 American it was a climate science fiction disaster film based on the 1999 book The Coming Global Superstorm by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber, the film starred Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, and Sela Ward. It was criticized at the time as too far fetch, maybe so, but ever since then, the main premise of the movie has been playing out.
Atlantic Ocean circulation at weakest in a millennium, say scientists! The decline in system underpinning Gulf Stream could lead to more extreme weather in Europe and higher sea levels on the US east coast
The Atlantic Ocean circulation that underpins the Gulf Stream, the weather system that brings warm and mild weather to Europe, is at its weakest in more than a millennium, and climate breakdown is the probable cause, according to new data.
Further weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) could result in more storms battering the UK, more intense winters and an increase in damaging heatwaves and droughts across Europe.
Scientists predict that the AMOC will weaken further if global heating continues, and could reduce by about 34% to 45% by the end of this century, which could bring us close to a “tipping point” at which the system could become irrevocably unstable. A weakened Gulf Stream would also raise sea levels on the Atlantic coast of the US, with potentially disastrous consequences.
Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who co-authored the study published on Thursday in Nature Geoscience, told the Guardian that a weakening AMOC would increase the number and severity of storms hitting Britain, and bring more heatwaves to Europe.
He said the circulation had already slowed by about 15%, and the impacts were being seen. “In 20 to 30 years it is likely to weaken further, and that will inevitably influence our weather, so we would see an increase in storms and heatwaves in Europe, and sea level rises on the east coast of the US,” he said.
Rahmstorf and scientists from Maynooth University in Ireland and University College London in the UK concluded that the current weakening had not been seen over at least the last 1,000 years, after studying sediments, Greenland ice cores and other proxy data that revealed past weather patterns over that time. The AMOC has only been measured directly since 2004.
The AMOC is one of the world’s biggest ocean circulation systems, carrying warm surface water from the Gulf of Mexico towards the north Atlantic, where it cools and becomes saltier until it sinks north of Iceland, which in turn pulls more warm water from the Caribbean. This circulation is accompanied by winds that also help to bring mild and wet weather to Ireland, the UK and other parts of western Europe.
Scientists have long predicted a weakening of the AMOC as a result of global heating, and have raised concerns that it could collapse altogether. The new study found that any such point was likely to be decades away, but that continued high greenhouse gas emissions would bring it closer.
Rahmstorf said: “We risk triggering [a tipping point] in this century, and the circulation would spin down within the next century. It is extremely unlikely that we have already triggered it, but if we do not stop global warming, it is increasingly likely that we will trigger it.
“The consequences of this are so massive that even a 10% chance of triggering a breakdown would be an unacceptable risk.”
Research in 2018 also showed a weakening of the AMOC, but the paper in Nature Geoscience says this was unprecedented over the last millennium, a clear indication that human actions are to blame. Scientists have previously said a weakening of the Gulf Stream could cause freezing winters in western Europe and unprecedented changes across the Atlantic.
The AMOC is a large part of the Gulf Stream, often described as the “conveyor belt” that brings warm water from the equator. But the bigger weather system would not break down entirely if the ocean circulation became unstable, because winds also play a key role. The circulation has broken down before, in different circumstances, for instance at the end of the last ice age.
The Gulf Stream is separate from the jet stream that has helped to bring extreme weather to the northern hemisphere in recent weeks, though like the jet stream it is also affected by the rising temperatures in the Arctic. Normally, the very cold temperatures over the Arctic create a polar vortex that keeps a steady jet stream of air currents keeping that cold air in place. But higher temperatures over the Arctic have resulted in a weak and wandering jet stream, which has helped cold weather to spread much further south in some cases, while bringing warmer weather further north in others, contributing to the extremes in weather seen in the UK, Europe and the US in recent weeks.
Similarly, the Gulf Stream is affected by the melting of Arctic ice, which dumps large quantities of cold water to the south of Greenland, disrupting the flow of the AMOC. The impacts of variations in the Gulf Stream are seen over much longer periods than variations in the jet stream, but will also bring more extreme weather as the climate warms.
As well as causing more extreme weather across Europe and the east coast of the US, the weakening of the AMOC could have severe consequences for Atlantic marine ecosystems, disrupting fish populations and other marine life.
Andrew Meijers, the deputy science leader of polar oceans at British Antarctic Survey, who was not involved in the study, said: “The AMOC has a profound influence on global climate, particularly in North America and Europe, so this evidence of an ongoing weakening of the circulation is critical new evidence for the interpretation of future projections of regional and global climate.
“The AMOC is frequently modelled as having a tipping point below some circulation strength, a point at which the relatively stable overturning circulation becomes unstable or even collapses. The ongoing weakening of the overturning means we risk finding that point, which would have profound and likely irreversible impacts on the climate.”
Karsten Haustein, of the Climate Services Center in Germany, also independent of the study, said the US could be at risk of stronger hurricanes as a result of the Gulf Stream’s weakening.
“While the AMOC won’t collapse any time soon, the authors warn that the current could become unstable by the end of this century if warming continues unabated,” he said. “It has already been increasing the risk for stronger hurricanes at the US east coast due to warmer ocean waters, as well as potentially altering circulation patterns over western Europe.”
Dr Levke Caesar, of Maynooth University in Ireland, and the lead author of the paper, said sea level rises on the east coast of the US were another potential consequence. “The northward surface flow of the AMOC leads to a deflection of water masses to the right, away from the US east coast. This is due to Earth’s rotation that diverts moving objects such as currents to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere,” she said. “As the current slows down, this effect weakens and more water can pile up at the US east coast, leading to an enhanced sea level rise.”
The Guardian – Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent