More to ignore, Book 81.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Sentences handed down for two ex-officers convicted of violating George Floyd's civil rights
Lauren Sue

Two former Minneapolis police officers who watched fellow officer Derek Chauvin murder George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes were sentenced on Wednesday for their contributions to what became a deadly police encounter. Tou Thao was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison while J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced to three, The New York Times reported of Judge Paul Magnuson’s sentence.

Although the time seems minimal, officers’ sentences are important in what they represent. Every officer involved in Floyd’s detainment will be serving time in prison. Kueng, a biracial ex-officer, held Floyd down along with Lane while former officer Tou Thao blocked bystanders from providing aid to the Black father.

Floyd had only been accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill when the cops were called to the scene on May 25, 2020, outside of the Cup Foods store in Minneapolis.

Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general with the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, said in a statement that the officers involved in Floyd's arrest had to be held accountable. “George Floyd’s death could have been prevented if these defendants had carried out their affirmative duty to intervene to stop another officer’s use of deadly force,” Clarke said. “While these defendants have now been held accountable, law enforcement officers and leaders must take seriously the affirmative duty under the Constitution to intervene to stop misconduct by fellow officers and the duty to render medical aid.

"The federal prosecution of all officers tied to the death of George Floyd should send a clear and powerful message that the Department of Justice will never tolerate the unlawful abuse of power or victimization of Americans by anyone in law enforcement."



Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane was also sentenced last Thursday to 2.5 years in the federal civil rights case against him. He pleaded guilty to the state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, CNN reported.

Lane testified in federal court that he checked Floyd's ankle for a pulse, did chest compressions, and offered to ride with Floyd to the hospital, also suggesting officers roll Floyd on his side "to get a better assessment."

While Kueng testified that he became a police officer because of negative interactions with cops, he also said his training was "fast tracked" so he could work the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death happened during Kueng’s third shift with the force—a fact Magnuson mentioned during sentencing, according to the Associated Press.

“You were truly a rookie officer,” the judge said.
For Thao, the judge cited a letter of support with 744 signatures and what Magnuson described as a "completely clean record," the AP reported.

“You had a difficult childhood and have done well to become a good police officer, father and husband,” the judge said.

Lane’s sentencing in the state case is set for September. The state trial for Kueng and Thao is set for Oct. 24.

Philonise Floyd, Floyd's brother, described Lane's sentence as "insulting."

“If it was me and that was accessory to murder, they would’ve gave me the maximum amount of time,” he said in statements The New York Times covered. “And you’re a police officer who was sworn to protect, who took an oath, and you didn’t get the maximum amount of time.”


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Ten Thousan Marbles

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House passes a new anti-human-trafficking bill—no thanks to these 20 Republican members of Congress
Aysha Qamar

On Tuesday, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 was approved in the House for reauthorization with a majority of 401 votes to 20. First introduced as the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, the bill has been reauthorized several times. It was created in an effort to combat human trafficking by creating severe penalties for perpetrators and support services for victims.

“Human traffickers never take a holiday, nor can we,” said Rep. Chris Smith, the author of the bill. “Because traffickers and the nefarious networks they lead always find new ways to exploit the vulnerable, especially women and children, we must aggressively strengthen laws and their implementation.”

Of course, the 20 votes against the bill were Republican—all Democrats voted in favor of the bill, except one who abstained from voting.

Surprise, surprise: Rep. Matt Gaetz was one of the 20 Republicans who voted “no” to reauthorizing the anti-human-trafficking law. Gaetz is currently under federal investigation for the alleged sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl.
.......
While Gaetz denies the allegations, reports indicate several individuals shared that Gaetz had a “sexual relationship” with a 17-year-old. Venmo receipts indicate that Gaetz paid for the minor to travel with him. Since multiple federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value, the Justice Department is investigating these reports. Gaetz’s former friend, Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty to six criminal charges surrounding the same investigation. He has yet to be sentenced for his crimes.

Given the allegations against Gaetz and his overall stance on survivors’ rights, it's no shock that he voted against the bill. It’s also not the first time: In 2017, Gaetz made headlines for being the only representative to vote “no” on a different human trafficking bill.

At that time, he said he voted against the bill to avoid the creation of new federal entities, calling the legislation "mission creep" and an "expansion of the federal government.” It wasn’t until four years later that people started questioning his intent when The New York Times reported on the allegations and ongoing investigation of Gaetz being conducted by the Justice Department.

While details of the investigations against Gaetz have not been formally shared, some outlets have leaked what they know. According to The Washington Post, Gaetz set up dates with women in exchange for dinner or hotel stays; if proven that these amenities and money were exchanged for sex, these actions would be classified as illegal.

A year after the investigation into his actions was announced, the Gaetz sex scandal is once again trending because people are accusing him of opposing the bill on human trafficking due to personal interest.



Gaetz has been in hot water this week, and we’re here for it. He made headlines earlier this week for body-shaming teen activists during an anti-abortion conference in Florida. His comments not only gained national attention but prompted a response from a teen who later used her back-and-forth with Gaetz as a platform to fundraise for abortion rights. As a result, the teen activist Olivia Julianna was able to fundraise more than $200,000 for abortion rights.

On Monday, Mike Pence’s former Chief of Staff Marc Short took to criticizing Gaetz and called him out for his scumbag behavior. Short told CNN he'd be "surprised" if Gaetz will still be allowed to vote in 2024. "It's more likely he'll be in prison for child trafficking by 2024.”

"So, I'm not too worried what Matt Gaetz thinks," Short said in response to a question regarding his concerns over the Florida congressman, should Pence run for president.

While hating on Gaetz is justified and can go on forever—his history of ignorant actions is beyond measure—it is important also to acknowledge the other 19 individuals who voted no on such an important bill.

The full list of those who voted "no" includes:

  • Brian Babin (TX)
  • Andy Biggs (AZ)
  • Lauren Boebert (CO)
  • Mo Brooks (AL)
  • Ken Buck (CO)
  • Andrew S. Clyde (GA)
  • Matt Gaetz (FL)
  • Louie Gohmert (TX)
  • Paul A. Gosar (AZ)
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA)
  • Andy Harris (MD)
  • Jody B. Hice (GA)
  • Thomas Massie (KY)
  • Tom McClintock (CA)
  • Mary E. Miller (IL)
  • Troy E. Nehls (TX)
  • Ralph Norman (SC)
  • Scott Perry (PA)
  • Chip Roy (TX)
  • Van Taylor (TX)

Of the group, Roy was the only one to speak at the debate. While he noted the issue was "critically important," he claimed he had not properly reviewed the bill and that "other factors at play, involving the floor and spending and other stuff" affected his decision. He added that he did not want his vote to be taken as "an indication of not supporting the purpose of the bill."

A spokesperson for Rep. Gaetz reached out with the following comment: “The government’s failure to accurately and specifically define human trafficking allows this legislation to act as a backdoor loophole for illegal immigration and amnesty. The bill also costs over half a billion dollars to implement and gives more taxpayer money to overfunded, inefficient grant programs.”
 

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Indiana’s attorney general investigating doctor who provided an abortion to 10-year-old rape victim
Rebekah Sager

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is not giving up on his crusade to stop Dr. Caitlin Bernard from providing abortion care—even to a 10-year-old rape victim. Tuesday, Rokita’s attorney sent a notice of inquiry to Bernard, according to CNN.

Last month, Rokita said he would be investigating Dr. Bernard for “potential failure to report the abortion and child abuse.” This inquiry is likely related to that public statement, but details are unclear at this time, even to Bernard.

“We are in the process of reviewing this information,” Kathleen DeLaney, Bernard’s attorney, told CNN. “It’s unclear to us what is the nature of the investigation and what authority he has to investigate Dr. Bernard.”

As Daily Kos reported in mid-July, “pro-life” conservatives lost it over the story of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who was raped and became pregnant. Because of the archaic laws in her state, which ban all abortion care after six weeks of gestation, the child was forced to drive to Indiana to access a medication abortion—which was ultimately provided by Dr. Bernard.
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The story was published in the Indianapolis Star on July 1, and it immediately put the GOP, Fox News pundits, and the anti-abortion cult into a frenzy. Talking heads and lawmakers alike took turns denying the rape, rejecting the doctor’s story, publicly demeaning the journalist who broke it, and opening the floodgates to Bernard’s harassment. Now, Bernard is apparently under investigation by the state’s attorney general for doing her job in accordance with the laws of the state.

There was no reason to deny the veracity of this story. In fact, a Columbus, Ohio, man was charged with the little girl’s rape. Gershon Fuentes, 27, confessed and turned himself in to authorities and even admitted to raping the child on two other occasions.

But the facts haven’t seemed to matter, and Rokita has set the dogs on Bernard.

"It's honestly been very hard for me, for my family," Bernard told NPR. "It's hard to understand why a political figure, a prominent figure in the state, would want to come after physicians who are helping patients every single day in their state."

When asked if she’d felt threatened, Bernard told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell plainly: “Yes.”

“It shows how you know, abortion, instead of being part of health care, which it is, a needed, lifesaving procedure, what it is, has been used to create a wedge between people politically and personally. And it shows how far we have come and how sad that is.”



Rokita alleges that Bernard has not followed the state‘s abortion reporting requirements, although he’s offered no evidence. He’s also criticized her for going public about the relentless harassment and his own attacks on her.

Abortion law in Indiana requires physicians to report pregnancy terminations for any patient under age 16. Bernard reported the 10-year-old patient’s abortion on July 2, two days after it was performed, CNN reports.

In a statement sent to NPR, Rokita writes:

“The recent tort claim is not just an attempt to distract, but it's also an attempt to intimidate, obstruct, and stop my office's monumental progress to save lives. … It will take a lot more than that to intimidate us.”

Bernard says she and her attorneys are considering filing a defamation suit against the attorney general. As she tells NPR: "One of us is the state attorney general, and one of us is a physician—and it's very clear who is being intimidated in this situation. … I will continue to provide access to safe, legal care to the best of my ability, and I can't say what he will do.”

"I think it's important for us as providers to feel safe working in the state of Indiana. I think it's important for physicians to know that when they follow the law and when they take care of patients in need of care, that they can do so free of persecution, free of harassment," she added.
 

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The math is clear: Forced-birth laws will kill more women​

By Jennifer Rubin

No health-care provider or researcher on maternal health would ever use the term “pro-life” in reference to the forced-birth movement. We know with great certainty that abortion bans present a serious threat to the lives of women. Indeed, a 2012 study calculated that the risk of death from pregnancy is 14 times that of abortions, which are exceptionally safe thanks to advances in medicine. We also know the risk of death from pregnancy is also three to four times greater for Black women, because of higher rates of poor health and poverty, more limited access to health care and discrimination by health-care providers.The Texas Tribune recently reported that “[because] of high chronic stress and race-based trauma and fear, the majority of Black women produce about 15% more cortisol, a stress hormone, than white women, which in turn raises the risk of pregnancy complications, according to the National Library of Medicine.”

Among the Black women who want an abortion but are forced to give birth, the Tribune reports, many “will be left permanently disabled or sick long enough that they will lose their jobs, which will make caring for their families much more difficult.” For Black families in which a woman is the only source of income, the “ripple” effect of a forced birth, both on her family and the greater community, can be profound.....
 

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Pharmacies reduce women to their 'child-bearing potential' in states with abortion bans
Laura Clawson

The Supreme Court and Republicans may not have planned for the end of Roe v. Wade to deny many people the medications they need for serious health conditions, but they sure didn’t care enough to change that outcome. It has taken a matter of weeks for a flood of stories to emerge about pharmacies refusing to fill prescriptions—in addition to the flood of stories about miscarriages turning into health emergencies because doctors refuse to treat them.

Both CVS and Walgreens, the top two pharmacy chains in the country, have instructed pharmacists in states with abortion bans to refuse to fill prescriptions for certain medications—methotrexate, misoprostol, and mifepristone—until they’ve confirmed that the medications will not be used for abortion. That creates a new burden in getting medical treatment for anyone a pharmacist might look at and assume to have “child-bearing potential,” as CVS put it.

This is having a dramatic impact on the lives of people with conditions like Crohn’s disease, stomach ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. Specifically, women and people perceived as women under the age of 60. It’s a gross invasion of the privacy and right to medical care of the people affected, and a reduction, once again, of female bodies to potential incubators, the mere possibility of a viable fetus placed above a woman’s health and well-being.
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A CVS pharmacist in Tennessee refused to fill a prescription for methotrexate until one woman’s doctor called in to say it wasn’t for abortion. “By Tuesday morning, putting my pants on, my pain was like a 10,” Jennifer Crow told The New Republic’s Laura Weiss. The kicker is that Crow has had a hysterectomy, highlighting that pharmacists cannot look at a person and correctly assess her “child-bearing potential.”

”Even though my incident [was] resolved, I am not confident going forward that my methotrexate is secure,” Crow said, making her life with chronic illness that much more difficult.

A Texas woman who spoke to Weiss won’t be fighting with pharmacists to get her methotrexate, because her doctor changed her treatment for Crohn’s—increasing her risks from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases by increasing her dosage of immunosuppressive drugs.

An Arizona Walgreens employee told Weiss, “ just think it’s ridiculous that pharmacists have to jump through all these hoops to treat their patients. I understand pharmacists sometimes have to deny medications/clarify with doctors due to drug interactions or incorrect dosing, but this just feels invasive. Especially since it’s only for women. Men with autoimmune diseases who take these medications won’t have to deal with the same issues.”

The Biden administration warned recently that “pharmacies are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in their programs and activities under a range of federal civil rights laws,” highlighting misoprostol and methotrexate in its examples of what that might look like. But the warning was without teeth, because the document explicitly said it would not and could not be enforced.

Proponents of these abortion bans will claim that there’s nothing in the law to prevent a pharmacist from filling a prescription for cancer or rheumatoid arthritis treatments. But that’s not actually true. The laws are so broad and so scary that of course pharmacists—and doctors—will hesitate to give care that could open them up to legal penalties.

”When you write laws that are overly-broad, institute a harsh enforcement mechanism, enforce those laws inconsistently, and empower a vast network of civilian snitches and spies, you create a climate of paranoia and fear,” Jill Filipovic writes. “You don’t need consistent enforcement, because people police themselves—and because the law is vague and the stakes so high, they over-police.”

Banning abortion was intended to force people to carry unwanted pregnancies to term—at whatever cost to life, health, or financial stability. That’s bad enough. Now Republicans compound that by showing that they are comfortable in making people—women and anyone else of “child-bearing potential,” specifically—suffer when their needed medications are blocked. Or when their wanted pregnancy turns into a complicated miscarriage. Or when they have ectopic pregnancy. The more different impacts of abortion bans we see, the more clearly we can see how little Republicans care for human life.
 

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Assault rifle manufacturers made $1 billion selling weapons designed for mass murder
Hunter

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform has released its report on the American assault rifle industry in the wake of more mass murders than it is possible to even remember at this point, and its discoveries aren't exactly surprising. But they do help illuminate the extent of the problem—and the extent to which this nation's steady stream of mass murders is the product of gun companies designing and marketing new guns explicitly aimed at capturing the aspirational mass-murder market.

Yes, American gun manufacturers and retailers are not shy in promoting their products as the ones you should buy if you believe you may someday find yourself in a situation that requires murdering numerous people in a pseudo-military setting. That's the whole point of the AR-15 class of weapons. And gun companies aren't above suggesting that you're not particularly manly if you're only buying guns designed for hunting. Don't you want to be manly, and buy the guns mass murderers use?

The committee report is relatively short and, again, covers little that industry critics don't already know. Perhaps the biggest news is that assault rifle sales absolutely soared after the Jan. 6 coup attempt, with gun company revenues from those sales doubling or even tripling those of 2019. That's only logical, as assault rifles are marketed to aspirational murderers in ways that most other guns aren't. Or, as the committee report notes, "Gun sales tend to peak in the immediate aftermath of elections, civil unrest, and mass shootings, resulting partly from consumer anxieties and panic-purchasing."

Gun violence also spiked in 2020 and 2021; Americans aren't just buying more guns, but using them more often.

All told, gun manufactures have raked in more than $1 billion in revenues in the last decade, benefiting with new surges of sales after every school shooting or other high-visibility act of gun violence. It is a self-sustaining model; marketing guns aimed specifically at the Americans most willing to imagine themselves committing acts of "good" mass violence has lead to spiraling mass violence, which in turn convinces more Americans to purchase the same guns as "self-defense."

That's the other main focus of the committee's report: the increasing eagerness of gun manufacturers to advertise their products not as sport or hunting tools, but as weapons meant to efficiently kill human beings. Among the findings:

• Gun companies "seek to leverage the military lineage of the AR-15" with ads that (falsely) suggest police and military use their weapons, boosting sales to those who imagine themselves akin to those authority figures and want to be like them. One example among recent shooters would be Kyle Rittenhouse, who wanted a military or law enforcement career and who, in lieu of having such authority, had his mother drive him to a distant Black Lives Matter protest so that he could "protect" the neighborhood with his own assault rifle.

• No, gun companies really "seek to leverage" the supposed military uses of their gear. A Sig Sauer ad, for example, shows five men in pseudo-U.S. soldier uniforms taking up positions inside a damaged building, a reference to any number of recent war zones, while the ad copy touts their assault rifle as "ready for every possible mission." The advertising is transparently aimed at purchasers who want a weapon designed to do the same thing: hunt and kill humans under cover of possibly imaginary authority. It's crafted to appeal to the murderously delusional and, of course, to the American militia groups that imagine themselves to be "military" groups training for insurrection. Couch soldiers.

You might recognize the Sig Sauer name from the Las Vegas and Orlando mass murders, two of the highest-casualty mass shootings in recent history. It appears they know their audience well.

• Gun manufacturers and retailers have been marketing their products "directly and indirectly" to white supremacists, using the inclusion of hate symbols and other signifiers used by those groups to identify themselves. Want a rifle patterned with the same sort of Hawaiian floral print worn by the pro-insurrection "Boogaloo" movement? Palmetto State Armory has you covered with the "Big Igloo Aloha" assault rifle. Get it? Just a fun little hat tip to a group preparing itself for imminent "race war."

• Gun manufacturer Smith and Wesson in particular has been patterning advertisements for their assault products on video games such as Call of Duty, games in which players join virtual combat teams to simulate military operations. There continues to be no evidence that video game violence leads to real-world violence—there has been no uptick of Americans decapitating each other with medieval weaponry, for example—but what are the implications of taking a real world weapon, one that fires real bullets, and advertising it as if it were the real-life equivalent of a murder-focused video game? That's a bit tougher to answer. Is it intentionally blurring the line between real-world and virtual-world urges?

What's certain is that assault rifle manufacturers are explicitly advertising their weapons as weapons for murdering other humans. Not for sport hunting. Not for target shooting. These are weapons to buy if you want to be prepared to carry out military-styled "missions" against other human beings. They are marketed toward people who believe they might need to commit a mass murder, and who believe it strongly enough that they're willing to pay a great deal of money to prepare for that day.

The gun companies know this and market accordingly. It's also the reason why sales of the specific assault rifles used in each mass murder tend to soar in the weeks after the killings; that weapon has, after all, now proven itself effective in doing the one thing it was designed to do.

Again, as example: The murder of 19 grade-school children and two of their teachers in Uvalde, Texas, in May was, for gun manufacturers, a resounding success. It is an advertisement that will boost their revenues for a long time to come. An 18-year-old with no training and who had just purchased his assault rifle (from Daniel Defense, one of the companies that seems to be most aggressive in promoting their products as mass-murder weapons) was able to enter a school and kill everyone who came into his line of vision. His purchased weapon was powerful enough, and capable of rapid-enough shooting, to hold off dozens, then hundreds of trained law enforcement officers for an extended period.

This is precisely what assault rifle manufacturers promote their products to be capable of. They advertise each rifle as a pseudo-military weapon that allows even the untrained to kill a large number of people quickly. They advertise their products as effective in holding off large numbers of attackers, allowing the purchaser to become a one-man protector of his family or neighborhood.

And, of course, since mass murderers are buying these weapons in droves, you need to buy these same weapons to stand a chance against them. Maybe buying one isn't enough.

What's been clear for some time is that mass shootings in America are a product of a gun industry that has increasingly catered to the militia version of gun ownership, the twitchy version that imagines disaster or revolution and seeks weapons capable of standing against law enforcement or military opponents—or just food-seeking neighbors. The five men in paramilitary outfits in a Sig Sauer ad are not taking cover in a shelled urban office in an effort to hunt deer. They are there to kill human enemies. This weapon, the Sig Sauer advertisement boasts, will allow you to kill human enemies.

None of this is new. The militia movement's adoption into mainstream Republicanism, such that even national Republican lawmakers insist assault rifles are needed in case angry American citizens need to kill American lawmakers, and especially the National Rifle Association's turn from sport advocacy organization to militia-promoting, apocalypse-focused pro-murder group, has paralleled a gun company push into the "good murder" market, a market specifically premised on a theoretical need to at some point kill other human beings with sufficient speed and power to ensure you can't be stopped. The companies are marketing their products towards aspirational mass murderers, and get new windfalls every time some American goes out and proves that their products really can overwhelm police and execute arbitrarily chosen enemies.

It's a market that shouldn't exist in any modern nation; it's transparently premised on allowing individual citizens to decide what circumstances ought to require mass murder as a response. That's asinine. It's absurd. But the far-right premises of national rebirth through mass execution of ideological enemies has enough support within government itself—and within the Supreme Court—as to have now been written into the the national psyche as a new "right."

It would be unrecognizable to past generations, but here we are; even the regular mass shootings inside schools and supermarkets are angrily brushed aside as necessary sacrifices to ensure the good murders can happen if and when they become necessary. Gun manufacturers are making money hand over fist, or corpse over corpse, selling assault weapons to Americans who want to protect themselves from all the other assault weapon-wielding Americans in their midst.
 

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls out gun manufacturers for refusing to explicitly condemn extremism
April Siese

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not hold back in her criticisms of the gun manufacturing industry, slamming industry heads for their apparent unwillingness to condemn and address extremist imagery showing up in gun advertisements. The lawmaker showed a photo ad from gunmaker Daniel Defense during the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Wednesday meeting, “Examining the Practices and Profits of Gun Manufacturers.” That image showed a man firing a gun who had a tattoo on his arm depicting what’s known as a volknot.

“It’s a symbol that has been increasingly embraced by white supremacists,” Kelly Sampson explained when asked by Ocasio-Cortez. Sampson, who is senior counsel and director of racial justice at the nonprofit Brady, was one of the experts in attendance testifying during this hearing. Others who spoke before the committee included Giffords Law Center Senior Counsel Ryan Busse, who claimed that gun manufacturers ignore extremists who gravitate toward certain brands of guns. Ocasio-Cortez then took the opportunity to ask Daniel Defense CEO Marty Daniel whether he believes “that members of identified hate groups such as the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers should be able to purchase the AR-15 style rifles that [Daniel Defense] sells.”

Daniel side-stepped the question by simply describing how his company adheres to regulations under the ATF and abides by whatever the law dictates. President and CEO of Ruger, Christopher Killoy, answered similarly that his hands were tied because “the National Shooting Sports Foundation does not control individual member companies.”



“I can assure you that we do not tolerate racism or white supremacy,” Killoy said. Claiming he wasn’t “an expert,” instead of outright condemning extremism Killoy expressed shock at the Daniel Defense ad’s existence. The full hearing provided additional frustrating moments for gun control advocates, as industry heads described guns as “inanimate” weapons and referred to shootings as “local problems,” according to CNBC.
 

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The House select committee investigating January 6 has interviewed former President Donald Trump's former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, sources tell CNN.

The committee is zeroing in on former officials from Trump's Cabinet for testimony and is particularly interested in learning more about conversations among officials about possibly invoking the 25th Amendment after the US Capitol attack.

Sources tell the CNN the committee is negotiating terms for a potential interview with former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. Given the classified nature of Ratcliffe's former role, there are unique issue the two sides have to work out.

The committee will also interview former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as soon as this week and is speaking with former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday.

The committee has also previously interviewed Ken Cuccinelli and reached out to Chad Wolf, two top officials from the Trump-era Department of Homeland Security, CNN reported last year.

A select committee spokesperson declined to comment.

CNN has reached out to Mnuchin for comment.

ABC News was first to report the Mnuchin interview.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

 

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.....The uncertainty around abortion access in Montana and other states where abortion is now or could become illegal, plus the fear of future legal fights over long-term contraception, has seemingly spurred a rise in the number of people seeking surgical sterilization, according to reports from doctors. That includes Marietti, who is having a salpingectomy, a procedure in which the fallopian tubes are removed instead of tied, as in tubal ligation, which can be reversible.

How many people sought permanent sterilization after the fall of Roe won’t become clear until next year, said Megan Kavanaugh, a researcher for the Guttmacher Institute, which gathers data related to reproductive health care across the U.S. and supports abortion rights.

But anecdotal reports indicate that more people have been undergoing permanent birth control procedures since the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which struck down Roe. Dr. Kavita Arora, who chairs the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ ethics committee, said providers across the country are beginning to see an influx of patients into their operating rooms......
 

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Thursday, Jul 28, 2022 · 3:35:11 AM EDT · kos
From Ukrainian General Staff’s morning report:

In the Slovyansk direction, with the aim of finding weak points in the defense of our units, the occupiers conducted assaults in the Dovhenke – Mazanivka and Pasika – Dolyna directions, without success.
Artillery shelling was noted in the areas of Andriivka, Nortsivka, Bohorodychne,

So Russia is still holding Dovhen’ke, and trying to push south east from there (in the direction of Slovyansk). Also, they now say Russian troops are in Pasika, which means Ukrainian troops have retreated from that position and the advance hasn’t been abandoned by Russia.
 

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Ukraine update: Taking out the Dnipro River bridges creates opportunities that go way beyond Kherson
Mark Sumner

Ukraine has launched long-range artillery or HIMARS rockets into the Antonivskyi Bridge east of Kherson for a third night in a row, causing additional damage and closing the bridge to any kind of vehicular traffic. At Darivka, east of Kherson, the bridge across the Inhulets River that connects the city to traffic coming across the Kakhovka Bridge is also down, and the pontoon bridge which Russia had constructed there appears to be completely gone. The Kakhovka Bridge does not appear to have been subject to additional attacks on Wednesday evening, but was already likely impassable to heavy equipment and large trucks.



Russia is constructing an elaborate concoction of pontoons and barges, meant to span the 1km wide Dnipro River near the damaged Antonivskyi Bridge, but the idea that it will ever serve as a means of passage for significant levels of equipment or supplies seems laughable—not to mention that the entire effort seems like an open invitation to test the accuracy of Ukraine’s latest weapons. Russia still doesn’t seem to have gotten the message that, with GPS-guided shells and HIMARS rockets, Ukraine can actually hit whatever they aim for, rather than just spraying shells around a field.

The impassability of the Kakhovka Bridge can be seen in the extraordinary efforts Russia is taking to bring equipment across at that location. Russia has built a makeshift floating structure using segments of pontoon bridging, which is being towed across the river as an ersatz ferry. But each crossing of the river takes well over two hours, plus the time necessary to load or unload the “ferry” at each end.



As kos covered on Wednesday, military blogger Def Mon did the math on just what it will take for Russian forces on the west side of the Dnipro to stay in the game now that they’ve been effectively cut off from resupply. The answer comes out to around 225 supply trucks’ worth of ammunition, parts, and military expendables each day—and that’s assuming that the Russians are able to locate food and other personal needs without having it shipped across the river.

If Russia wants to keep these troops supplied without the major bridges, they’ll need to have at least four barges running around the clock. Targeting those barges in transit might be a challenge, even for HIMARS—but then, they don’t have to. Russia will have to locate landing sites on both sides of the river that give them access to unload trucks and vehicles. There are not a lot of these places. And those landing spots would instantly become locations for long queues of vehicles—and subject to the kind of bombardment that turned Russia’s attempted river crossing at Bilohorkivka into such a massive disaster. Right now, the only place Russia is even attempting to float equipment across is at Kakhovka, and that still leaves everything some 50km away from Kherson, with another downed bridge in between.

Even that assumption that Russian forces on the west side of the Dnipro River will also take care of their own food and other supplies is important because, while yes, these forces are located in towns and cities where they can find all they need, at least in the short term, armies in the field which do not have a steady stream of supplies headed their way are forced to devote a good percentage of their manpower and time to foraging. Even when that means taking over the local grocery store rather than dragging livestock out of fields, it’s just another logistical challenge for an army that is logistically challenged just rolling down the street.

Russia might also try to airlift supplies to its forces in Kherson oblast, but that’s likely to be limited to what can be ferried across the river in helicopters. The large airport at Kherson long ago came in range of Ukrainian guns, forcing Russia to relocate all aircraft out of the area, and the runway there is in no condition to allow the landing of a large plane.

If Ukraine can keep the bridges across the Dnipro inoperable—and there’s no reason to think they can’t—Russia will be going into each day of the conflict in Kherson oblast with less than the day before. Less equipment. Less materiel. Fewer troops. But even as Russia attempts to get extra equipment into Kherson in anticipation of a coming onslaught, there’s another big advantage Ukraine gains by taking down those bridges: Russian forces also have a hard time getting out of Kherson.

Multiple analysts have pointed out that Russia seems to have trouble operating in more than one or two locations at a time. Their well-known issues with both logistics and command mean that even their grind-it-out-in-spite-of-heavy-losses strategy requires moving around troops to create a concentration of force. With the closing of those bridges, whatever force Russia manages to get into Kherson, is not easily, or quickly, coming out. They can’t load those troops onto trains and use them to bolster a new attack in the Donbas, or even run that equipment back into Zaporizhia oblast to hold back a Ukrainian counteroffensive on that front.

By cutting off the bridges over the Dnipro, Ukraine can now attack forces in Kherson oblast and know that they will be getting very limited resupply. Or Ukraine can attack somewhere else in southern Ukraine and know that the forces in Kherson are safely off the table.

Meanwhile, Ukraine controls multiple bridges over the Dnipro River, including one that runs right through Zaporizhzhia. They can effectively move their forces to either side of the river. Russia can’t.

Taking out those bridges didn’t just put what happens next in Kherson under Ukraine’s control; it gives them options for how the whole next phase of the war is prosecuted. And that phase may not be in Kherson. For instance, either Melitopol or Mariupol is less than 70km away from current front-line positions. Ukraine could move in those directions, threatening not just Russia’s “southern land bridge” but the control of Crimea.

Let Russia move more forces into Kherson. Then let them try to get them out.
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If you’ve become a philatelist during the invasion of Ukraine (and hey, that’s nothing to be ashamed of), it’s time to fight Ukraine’s frequently overwhelmed online shop for a new series of stamps celebrating the 101st Fighting Farmers and their legion of tank-towing tractors. If you’re in Kyiv … get in line because people are already standing in long queues to buy this one.



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Despite current conditions, Russia is continuing to push the idea that the whole south of Ukraine is “Russia forever.” That includes these billboards going up near Nova Kakhovka that certainly make it seem as if the Soviet propaganda bureau survived the summer intact.



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But if Russia is busy putting up Stalin-era billboards, the resistance inside Kherson has some more direct messages for the occupiers. A pair of these posters poke Russia in the HIMARS fear bone, but the best of the bunch: “We’re coming for our watermelons.” Kherson is apparently famous for its watermelons, and harvest time is coming soon.



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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Thursday, Jul 28, 2022 · 2:30:12 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
A transcript of statements from one of Zelenskyy’s advisors making it clear that Ukraine understands just what an advantage they now enjoy.

"Ukraine will not throw away soldiers in one large assault. They will first make sure Russia has no fuel, no ammo, and no command. Only then will they approach with infantry. ... This is not yet NATO level, where most damage can be done remotely, but it's close."



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