Maya Boddie

'The American people will pay the steepest price': How Joe Manchin self-sabotaged his fossil fuel gambit

Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), head of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is being accused of “self-sabotage” after he failed to schedule a confirmation hearing for Richard Glick, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, The Washington Post reports.

Glick was recently nominated by President Joe Biden for a second, five-year term in June. Manchin's flub could not only cause Glick to lose his job at the end of the year – which would result in a 2-2 split between Republican and Democratic commissioners at FERC – but also undermine Manchin’s plan to build out America’s transmission infrastructure.

Despite its reputation as one of the “lesser-known” agencies, FERC boasts significant influence over the country’s transition to clean energy.

READ MORE: Democrats implored to reject Joe Manchin's 'toxic and dangerous' fossil fuel provisions in Pentagon bill

Earthjustice Vice President of Litigation for Climate and Energy Jill Tauber told The Post that the 2-2 split could negatively impact Biden’s climate agenda, as it could further delay the commission’s work of updating transmission policy. She also says if the goal is to build out a better clean energy policy, then it’s important to ensure a “fully constituted FERC,” by putting it in the best possible position to advance policy.

Howard Crystal, the director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Energy Justice Program, agreed with Tauber, saying, “Manchin holding up Glick’s reappointment seriously calls into question whether he even thinks the transmission provisions in the [permitting] bill are necessary or important.”

Although the reason why he declined Glick's hearing is unclear, Manchin’s colleagues have their suspicions. Per the Post, “Some observers have speculated that Manchin, who represents a top coal-producing state, is trying to pressure Biden and FERC to take a friendlier approach to the fossil fuel sector. But others have been left scratching their heads.”

Manchin's truth remains elusive.

READ MORE: Manchin slammed for rejecting paid leave for union workers who 'helped build the state’s economy'

Nonetheless, Manchin maintains his position, insisting that “the American people will pay the steepest price for Washington once again failing to put common sense policy ahead of toxic tribal politics.”

READ MORE: These Republicans are hoping to 'flip Joe Manchin’s seat' in 2024: report

Watch: Dr. Anthony Fauci condemns the 'unconscionable' politicization of COVID-19 vaccines

A September 2022 study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research stated that “political affiliation has become a potential risk factor for COVID-19, amid evidence that Republican-leaning counties have had higher COVID-19 death rates than Democrat-leaning counties and evidence of a link between political party affiliation and vaccination views.”

In an interview with NBC’s Nightly News, Dr. Anthony Fauci criticized the “extreme” ideological divide he says is the reason for millions of preventable deaths since COVID-19 first appeared in the United States.

Noting that more Republicans than Democrats have died of COVID, Fauci told NBC News’ Lester Holt, “I mean, it’s just extraordinary that you have under-vaccination in red states and good levels of vaccination in blue states, which gets translated into a disproportionate amount of suffering and death among Republicans compared to Democrats.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 origins: Investigating a 'complex and grave situation' inside a Wuhan lab

“That’s completely crazy,” Fauci said.

During his conversation with Fauci, Holt pointed out that Fauci was “famously beat up by voices on the right,” but noted that on the left, people were “elevating [him] to sainthood.”

“If Dr. Fauci said it, it’s good,” Holt said.

Fauci responded, “I think those extremes are, in some respects, inappropriate and sometimes really counterproductive.” He continued, “The conspiracy theories and distortions of reality and propagations of untruths are also counterproductive.”

READ MORE: 'Politics masquerading as science': Specialists rebuke Florida surgeon general's 'dangerous' anti-vax claims

AlterNet previously reported that “a common talking point among anti-vaxxers is that if COVID-19 vaccines worked, there wouldn’t be so many ‘breakthrough’ infections.” But the reality is that vaccines are effective when: (1) infections are less likely to occur, and (2) the infections that do occur tend to be less severe. President Biden, Fauci, First Lady Jill Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris were all considered ‘breakthrough’ COVID-19 cases, but none of them had especially serious infections or needed to be hospitalized.”

Fauci recalled that at the height of the pandemic in 2020 there were up to 800,000-900,000 cases and about 3,000 deaths per day. Now, the number of daily deaths is around 300.

“It just is unconscionable that you have a life-saving intervention in the form of a vaccine, that you know is safe and highly effective in protecting you from advanced disease,” he said. “And you have people and groups of people who don’t get vaccinated based on political ideology.”

As the country faces a "tripledemic" of three viruses – the flu, COVID-19, and RSV – in the coming months, Dr. Fauci “is not afraid” to recommend a return to masking. “I’m not talking about mandating anything, I’m talking about common sense [that says], ‘I really don’t want to risk myself getting infected and even more so to someone who’s a vulnerable member of my family.’”

According to NBC, Fauci will likely make his last public appearance as Biden’s chief medical advisor for a virtual White House town hall urging people to get Covid boosters ahead of the winter.

Although Fauci is stepping down from his role, he says he doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon.

Watch the interview below or at this link.

READ MORE: The United States is prepared for terrorists, not anti-vaxxers

New DOJ special counsel wastes no time subpoenaing Trump World allies

Just a few weeks after his appointment by Attorney General Merrick Garland as DOJ special counsel, Jack Smith is making major moves in his role. The former prosecutor and veteran investigator has subpoenaed local election officials in four states: Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona and Pennsylvania – all of which were targeted by Trump and his allies during the 2020 election.

Smith was originally hired to conduct the criminal investigation of classified documents Trump retained at his Mar-a-Lago resort and further investigate the January 6 insurrection. The special counsel is requesting “communications with or involving Donald Trump between June 1, 2020, and Jan. 20, 2021, to, from, or involving” Trump, his campaign attorneys and aides including John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani.

In addition to Smith’s efforts, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has also been investigating whether Trump and his allies interfered with the 2020 election in Georgia.

READ MORE: Donald Trump 'likely' to be 'front and center' of January 6th Committee criminal referrals

So far, Smith has heard from three out of the four states.

George Christenson, a clerk in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, said he received a subpoena earlier this week and is working with the county’s attorney to comply with the request as soon as possible. He also says he doesn’t “expect to find any smoking gun.”

Also in Wisconsin, Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell received a subpoena and has mentioned he didn’t expect his response to the subpoena to uncover any new information, because he “doesn’t have any stories of Trump calling me at dinner like the other guys.” Trump ordered a recount of ballots cast in both Wisconsin counties.

Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Secretary of State, told Associated Press that Wayne County received a subpoena but didn’t confirm what Smith was asking. She responded, “We welcome and support the work of any law enforcement agency working to ensure full accountability for efforts to illegally overturn the fair and accurate results of Michigan’s 2020 election.”

READ MORE: 'Full steam ahead' for DOJ after Donald Trump's 'worst legal week ever': former prosecutor

Wayne County, which is predominantly Black, was accused of “duplicating ballots” by Trump and his allies, for which they filed a lawsuit that failed. However, his efforts did cause the poll workers to pause their count on election day.

Maricopa County, Arizona also received a subpoena. During the 2020 election, Trump and his aides asked Republicans on the county board of supervisors not to certify Biden’s win. It’s also reported that the chairman of the board dodged calls from the White House operator.

Pennsylvania’s second-largest county of Allegheny has not yet responded to the request.

READ MORE: 'Substantial evidence' Donald Trump was part of coup plot after Oath Keepers conviction: expert

House Ethics Committee fines Madison Cawthorn $14K for congressional crypto scheme

North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn was ordered by the House Ethics Committee to pay nearly $15,000 to a charity after a House Ethics Committee investigation found “substantial evidence” he improperly promoted a cryptocurrency while in Congress.

The House Ethics Committee in May unanimously voted to form a subcommittee to probe whether the 27-year-old violated conflict of interest rules by promoting a cryptocurrency called “Let’s Go Brandon,” in which he had a financial interest. The committee also looked into allegations Cawthorn engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a Congressional aide. “The committee said in its 81-page report that it did not find evidence of improprieties between Cawthorn and the staffer,” NBC News reports.

As a result of the investigation, the subcommittee demanded Cawthorn pay $14,237.49 to a charitable organization. He is instructed to pay the fine by December 31.

READ MORE: MAGA lame duck Madison Cawthorn reemerges with bizarre, rambling speech against 'soft meterosexuals'

The slogan “Let’s Go Brandon” was coined by Trump supporters during the 2020 presidential campaign, as a replacement for “F*** Joe Biden.”

Nearly six months prior to the investigation, Cawthorn posed at a party with James Koutoulas, who is the main leader of the Let’s Go Brandon cryptocurrency.

The subcommittee further discovered that Cawthorn did not disclose his transactions related to the cryptocurrency to Congress. While it was confirmed that he may not have been aware of his failure to disclose that specific information “in a timely fashion,” he was still ordered to pay $1,000 in late fees to the Treasury Department.

The Trump-backed millennial representative, lost his renomination bid earlier this year after he caused controversy in the GOP by claiming some of his older colleagues used drugs and invited him to a “sexual get-together.”

READ MORE: Lame duck Madison Cawthorn has vacated his offices 'nearly two months' before his term ends

Read the subcommittee’s full report here.

READ MORE: Madison Cawthorn scrutinized for illegal use of campaign cash that should be refunded to donors: report

'Discriminatory intention': DeSantis secretly allocated $12 million for immigrant relocation

Legal challenges continue to mount against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over his decision to fly migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in September, Orlando Weekly reports.

Per the report, the Florida State Legislature approved an “unauthorized alien” relocation program in the state budget earlier this year, which directed the Department of Transportation to implement “a program to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law.”

However, the program, which involves a whopping $12 million in funds, had not previously been incorporated into the budget. Instead, Orlando Weekly reports, the funding “was tucked into the appropriations bill while House and Senate leaders were reconciling differences in their proposed state spending plans.”

READ MORE:Dare we hope: Will Special Counsel Jack Smith do what Robert Mueller would not?

Several immigrant-advocacy organizations are filing a lawsuit against DeSantis, claiming that implementing such a program is “discriminatory intention” and a violation of constitutional due-process and equal-protection rights. And, according to Axios, the lawsuit highlights the fact that the Constitution only grants power to regulate immigration policy to the federal government, not the state.

Paul Chavez, a senior supervising attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, and representative for the plaintiffs, said, “the scheme by Gov. DeSantis and the state of Florida to use taxpayer funds for the ‘relocation’ of ‘unauthorized alien’” is a blatant and unlawful attempt to harass immigrants at the state level.”

The plaintiffs include three local nonprofit immigration focused organizations: The Florida Immigrant Coalition; Americans for Immigrant Justice, Inc. (AI Justice); and Hope CommUnity Center, Inc. The organizations say the program will disproportionately impact Black and Hispanic people.

READ MORE: 'Voluntary but compulsory': Why Merrick Garland hired a special counsel to handle Donald Trump

DeSantis’ spokesperson publicly doubled down on the legitimacy of the relocation program, alleging that it does not violate federal law. Still, the complainants argue, though the program is “dressed as a state budget item,” it “is an effort to backhandedly control national immigration, and, as such, it is unconstitutional.”

READ MORE:'Abusing her position': Mehdi Hasan explains why Sinema will have to 'play a little nicer' if Warnock is reelected

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