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Jonathan Bernstein: The Jan. 6 hearings hit the bull’s-eye

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Jonathan Bernstein: The Jan. 6 Hearings Hit The Bull’s-Eye

What was once billed as six hearings over two-plus weeks by the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol of Jan. 6, 2021, has now reached a break after eight hearings, stretched out over more than a month, with more promised in September. The committee has done about as good a job with that time as possible.

It’s found a way to take a well-known story of a president who attempted to overturn an election and keep the focus on the big picture of exactly what former President Donald Trump and his allies did to undermine the republic, while at the same time filling in lots of relevant and fascinating new details. The inquiry also planted within that story a number of sidebars likely to spark interest from the press and in social media.

Thursday night’s unnecessary but entertaining example was a swipe at Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who famously raised a fist in solidarity with the mob — only, as the committee showed with new footage, to run for his life from the rioters a few hours later. It was a perfect made-for-social, comic-relief moment while taking nothing away from the seriousness of the proceedings.

So the committee is doing well. Does it matter? Yeah. It does.

One obvious audience going into the hearings were the journalists in the nonaligned media. For them, the hearings are basically a framing operation: The committee is trying to get them to cover Trump and his allies as opponents of democracy, rather than as opponents of Democrats. As long as the story is Democrats against Republicans, nonaligned media are going to be tempted to treat the story as if both sides should be treated as equals. But if the story is Trump against democracy, then those same journalists will be more comfortable siding with democracy.

That kind of framing was helped by giving the two Republicans on the committee, especially Wyoming’s Liz Cheney, a central role. On Thursday, with Committee Chair Bennie Thompson isolating with a mild case of COVID-19, Cheney (and not the next-ranking Democrat) presided. It’s been helped, too, by the parade of former Trump administration officials who are testifying against the former president. But it’s been helped most by just holding the attention of politics professionals and forcing them to reckon with how badly Trump violated his oath of office, and how monstrous his actions were.

A second audience was those Republican party actors who are neither die-hard Trump fans nor never-Trumpers — those Republicans who recognize what Trump is, but have usually gone along with him and his supporters for a variety of reasons. For them, the big case to make is that Trump is more dangerous to the party than to those in the party who oppose him. It’s not clear whether the hearings are having much effect on them or not. If Trump has lost support from this cohort, it may be more because of his limited success promoting candidates during the 2022 primaries. But his inability to put the 2020 election behind him doesn’t seem to be helping him with this group within the party.

And that points to an important audience that I didn’t recognize going in: Trump himself. Perhaps he would be focused on 2020, anyway. But surely the committee is helping fix his attention there. That means that Trump has been attacking Cheney and the Republican witnesses, which doesn’t do Republicans trying to win the 2022 midterms any good. It probably makes the case that Trump is yesterday’s news more compelling. With the conditions otherwise excellent for a strong Republican midterm performance in November, the hearings are a good reminder of how disruptive Trump can be for his own party.

Plenty of Republican Party actors are still solidly in Trump’s camp. The best comic relief from Thursday night’s session came from the House Republicans’ Twitter account, which declared early in the hearing, “This is all heresy.” The social media managers eventually managed to replace “heresy” with “hearsay,” which was scarcely more accurate. There’s a ton of firsthand evidence; many of those who could give firsthand evidence are refusing to testify; and this isn’t a trial, but a congressional hearing.

But “heresy” perfectly captured the sense of cultish belief in Trump as the only defense his supporters have. Almost two years after Trump lost the 2020 election, he’s still claiming against all the evidence that he won in a landslide, despite having been told by all of his own campaign professionals that he lost.

Republicans can choose to avoid heresy and stick with Trump. But they know where that got them. And Cheney and her colleagues on the Jan. 6 committee are doing what they can to remind them.

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. A former professor of political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University, he wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.



Joe Arpaio loses third bid back in City mayoral race

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Joe Arpaio Loses Third Bid Back In City Mayoral Race

PHOENIX — Joe Arpaio, the 90-year-old former Arizona sheriff who was once a powerful figure in Republican politics but was ousted nearly six years ago amid frustration over his tactics that make headlines and his legal troubles, was beaten on Wednesday in a race for mayor of the affluent suburb where he has lived for more than two decades.

Her loss in the Fountain Hills mayoral race to two-term incumbent Ginny Dickey marks Arpaio’s third failed comeback attempt since losing in 2016 after serving 24 years as Maricopa County sheriff.

Even though election officials say all votes in Maricopa County have been counted, Arpaio said Wednesday night that he was not conceding the race and would instead consult with an attorney to determine whether to challenge the results. .

“I’m not saying I’m going to,” Arpaio said of a legal challenge. “I am not a lawyer. I just want a little information. In today’s environment, a large percentage of the population is not happy with the way the (electoral) system worked.

Dickey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The political stakes of the race in Fountain Hills, a densely populated Republican town of 24,000, were much lower for Arpaio than when he was the top law enforcement official for a county of more than 4 million. of inhabitants.

Arpaio was run over by a Democratic challenger in 2016 and was found guilty the following year of contempt of court for disobeying a judge’s order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants, although he was later pardoned by then-President Donald Trump.

Arpaio went on to finish third in a Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in 2018 and second in the GOP primary in a 2020 bid to win back the office of sheriff.

In his first two comeback attempts, Arpaio lost the vote in Fountain Hills.

Arpaio, a skilled political fundraiser who spent more than $12 million on his 2016 sheriff’s campaign, shelled out $161,000 in the mayoral race, six times the amount Dickey spent.

Before the federal government and the courts stripped him of his immigration powers, Arpaio led 20 large-scale traffic patrols targeting immigrants and more than 80 trade raids to arrest people working in the United States without permission.

While his defiant streak has played well with voters for many years, Arpaio has come under heavy criticism for enacting policies he knows are controversial and racking up $147 million in taxpayer-funded legal bills. .

Despite billing himself as America’s toughest sheriff, his agency has botched investigations into more than 400 sex crime complaints filed with his office.

ABC News

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Gas prices drop just below $4 for first time in 5 months – NBC Chicago

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Gas Prices Drop Just Below $4 For First Time In 5 Months – Nbc Chicago

Gasoline prices fell just below the $4 mark for the first time in more than five months – good news for consumers struggling with high prices for many other essentials.

AAA said the national average for a gallon of regular was $3.99 on Thursday.

Prices fell 15 cents last week and 68 cents last month, according to the auto club.

Shopping app GasBuddy reported that the national average had already fallen to $3.98 on Wednesday.

Falling prices for gasoline, airline tickets and clothing are providing some relief to consumers, even though inflation is still near a four-decade high.

Oil prices began to rise in mid-2020 as economies recovered from the initial shock of the pandemic. They rose again when the United States and its allies announced sanctions against Russian oil following Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Recently, however, oil prices have fallen on concerns about slowing economic growth around the world. And high prices may encourage American motorists to drive less. Gasoline demand in early August was down 3.3% from the same week last year after tracking 2021 numbers more closely earlier this summer.

Pump prices are likely to be a major issue as the midterm elections approach in November.

Republicans are blaming President Joe Biden for high gas prices, seizing on his decisions to cancel a permit for a major pipeline and suspend new oil and gas leases on federal lands.

Biden said over the weekend that a family with two cars was saving $100 a month because prices had fallen from their peak in mid-June.

“It’s wiggle room,” he tweeted. “And we won’t let up anytime soon.”

Biden has also sparred with oil companies, accusing them of not producing as much oil and gasoline as they could while posting huge profits. “Exxon has made more money than God this year,” he said in June.

“I’m calling on businesses to pass every penny of this 18-cent cut back to consumers,” President Joe Biden said Wednesday.

Exxon said it increased its oil production. The Chevron CEO said Biden was trying to vilify his industry.

The national average for gas has not been below $4 since early March. Prices peaked at $5.02 a gallon on June 14, according to AAA. They slowly declined the rest of June, then started to decline more rapidly.

Motorists in California and Hawaii still pay more than $5, and other western states pay close to that. The cheapest gas is found in Texas and several other southern and midwestern states.

A year ago, the national average price was around $3.20 per gallon.

NBC Chicago

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Best Continuous Glucose Monitors for 2022

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Best Continuous Glucose Monitors For 2022

People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should monitor their blood sugar and keep it under control. This is a huge priority, and while no one likes to prick their fingers all day and test their blood, it needs to be done. Traditional blood glucose monitors can be a pain, but there is another option. Continuous glucose monitoring systems, also called CGM devices, are much more convenient and can be worn and used for long periods of time. This makes it easier to check your blood sugar compared to other methods.

“Continuous glucose monitors offer more intensive monitoring of a diabetic patient’s sugar levels,” said Dr. Rebecca Fenichel, an endocrinologist at Westmed Medical Group. “They’re particularly well suited to patients who need to check multiple times a day, or patients who want more frequent feedback throughout the day.”

Best Continuous Glucose Monitors For 2022

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An important detail to note is that while anyone can buy a regular blood glucose meter, you will need a prescription from your doctor for a CGM system. Doctors may recommend a continuous glucose monitoring device for reasons related to your health situation and lifestyle, but it may not work for everyone’s unique diabetes care plan.

CGM devices can also give you and your doctor more information about blood sugar levels than a standard meter – for example, if your blood sugar starts to drop too low, the device can warn, “which can be a really useful feature to help patients avoid hypoglycemia,” Fenichel said. .”

For this article, we consulted doctors, including Fenichel, and researched the most popular monitors to select the best continuous blood glucose monitors on the market for 2022.

Freestyle free

This meter is recommended by Fenichel and was previously recommended by Dr. Nate Favini, Forward Medical Lead. “For people who want more in-depth insight into their blood glucose levels, I will often recommend the Freestyle Libre for continuous glucose monitoring,” Favini said.

“By placing a sensor on your arm, you can track your blood sugar continuously throughout the day and develop your understanding of what causes your sugar to go up and down. People will often be surprised that foods they thought good for their glucose levels can cause sugar spikes.Although continuous blood glucose monitors are more expensive, they can help you understand what types of foods and exercises are best for you.

To read your blood sugar on the Freestyle Libre, you perform a quick scan with the CGM device to get a reading. There are also optional alarms if your blood sugar gets too high or too low.


“I find continuous glucose monitoring to be a valuable tool in the management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Josh Emdur, Medical Director of SteadyMD. “CGM data provides actionable insights to help patients track their glycemic response to dietary choices and activity levels.”

The Dexcom G6 doesn’t require you to scan manually to get a glucose level reading – instead, you get a wireless reading either on a dedicated receiving device or on your phone or Apple Watch. The Dexcom G6 reads your blood sugar every five minutes, keeping track of your blood sugar as long as you wear it night and day. You can set a custom range for where you want your blood sugar to be, and if it falls within the low or high blood sugar ranges you set, you’ll be notified.

“For patients on an insulin pump, the Dexcom G6 can connect to your pump and offer a closed-loop system to turn off your insulin if you drop. The Dexcom Monitor is also approved during pregnancy and offers continuous monitoring that you can see on your phone anytime,” says Fenichel.

Eternal meaning

If you want a device that you can set up and don’t have to worry about reinserting it for up to 90 days, Eversense is a great option for diabetes management. A healthcare professional will insert the sensor, then you will place the transmitter on top.

Once the sensor is in place, you don’t have to change it for about 90 days, a long sensor life. The transmitter itself can alert you if your blood sugar is too high or too low, and you can also get readings wirelessly sent to your phone via an app. You can share your blood sugar data from your app with your doctor or anyone else who wants to check your blood sugar readings.

Diabetes Medtronic

The Guardian Connect system is a CGM that can quickly tell you your current blood glucose readings via a connected app and also gives you easy access to trends and data about your blood glucose over time. One feature that stands out with The Guardian is the “predictive” alerts you can receive regarding your sugar. Unlike other CGM systems that alert you when your blood sugar is already high or low, The Guardian uses technology that predicts when your blood sugar might get high or low, before it happens. Another feature that comes with the monitor is the Sugar.IQ Diabetes Assistant app for diabetes management, which uses your data to help you determine which diet, exercise, and insulin are right for you.

Best Continuous Glucose Monitors For 2022Best Continuous Glucose Monitors For 2022

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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.


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John Bolton, former adviser to Donald Trump, would have been targeted by Iran

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John Bolton, Former Adviser To Donald Trump, Would Have Been Targeted By Iran
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The Justice Department has indicted a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate former Trump national security adviser John Bolton. one of many audacious efforts to kidnap or kill perceived enemies of the Iranian government on US soil, officials said.

The suspect, Shahram Poursafi, 45, remains at large – presumably in Iran, the justice ministry said. He was charged with attempting to pay $300,000 to individuals to kill Bolton at his office in DC or at his home in Maryland.

Federal officials said Bolton’s assassination would have been in retaliation for the US military’s January 2020 killing of Qasem Soleimani, a senior commander in the IRGC, which is a branch of Iran’s military. Soleimani was killed in a drone strike in Baghdad. Iran pledged at the time to respond at a time of its choosing. Officials said Poursafi was acting on behalf of the IRGC’s elite Al-Quds force.

In January, after Tehran imposed sanctions on 51 Americans, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan issued a statement saying Iran was threatening “to carry out terrorist operations inside the United States and elsewhere in the world.” world” and warning that if Americans were attacked, Iran would face “serious consequences”.

Bolton served as national security adviser for 17 months under President Donald Trump, stepping down in 2019 after apparently disagreeing with the president over whether to lift some sanctions on Iran as a negotiating tool.

Bolton’s departure reportedly linked to disagreement over lifting Iran sanctions

Bolton, who did not want the sanctions lifted, was a key architect of the Trump administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign of tougher economic sanctions and threats of retaliation for alleged US support. Iran to terrorism. The idea was to cripple the Iranian economy to the point that its leaders thought they had to give up all nuclear ambitions and missile technology.

Bolton, in a telephone interview, said he had been warned by the FBI first generally and then somewhat more specifically last fall that there was a threat from Iran. “It got more and more serious, and that’s where ultimately in 2021 I asked the FBI if it was appropriate to have the Secret Service involved.”

By December, he was enjoying Secret Service protection, first in unmarked cars, then after Christmas with uniformed personnel in marked cars outside his house, he recalls.

Bolton is one of several former senior officials who were given security details after leaving office to protect them from potential targeting by Iran. Among those former officials are Trump’s former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and his former Iran envoy, Brian Hook.

Poursafi was identified with the help of an FBI informant, posing as a hitman capable of doing the job. Poursafi was put in contact with this person in November through another unidentified individual. The informant chained an increasingly frustrated Poursafi for months, never carrying out the assassination and constantly asking to be paid, while Poursafi said payment would follow the completion of the job, according to the FBI affidavit. in support of the criminal complaint.

Bolton helped the FBI where he could, he said. At one point, the informant, with Bolton’s permission, took two photos of Bolton leaving his office to send to Poursafi. “They [the FBI] wanted to see how far these people were willing to go,” Bolton said. “I was happy to help.”

According to the affidavit, the informant asked Poursafi if there was another individual “who had done Iran worse and whom he should instead target”, and named another former senior US official who did not. is not identified in the affidavit. Poursafi replied that targeting this official was dangerous because there were many people around, “but his time would come”.

At one point, while searching one of Poursafi’s online accounts, the FBI found two November screenshots taken from a map app showing a street view of the Bolton office building .

The indictment comes after 18 months of start-and-finish negotiations between Iran and five other countries, with indirect US participation, on a new nuclear deal to replace the one Trump withdrew from in 2018. The parties met again last week to consider what the European Union, which facilitated the talks, called for “definitive” text. The negotiators adjourned after several days to consult with their respective governments.

Conservative critics have charged in the past that the Biden administration failed to pursue indictments related to assassination threats to preserve the nuclear talks. But Tehran and Washington have said the negotiations are separate from other issues.

Bolton said Iran’s nuclear program “and their terrorist activities” are “two sides of the same coin.” He said, “It makes no sense for any US government to think that this regime in Tehran will honor its commitments when it conducts these operations on the terrorist side.

Last year, the Justice Department charged four Iranians in federal court in Manhattan with conspiring to kidnap Masih Alinejad, an exiled journalist and women’s rights activist who has long been a critic of the Tehran regime. Alinejad has not been identified by prosecutors, but she confirmed on Twitter that she was the intended target.

And a decade ago, an Iranian-American used-car salesman and Texas resident, Manssor Arbabsiar, who had a high-ranking cousin in the Quds Force, pleaded guilty to murder-for-hire and two counts. conspiracy to kill the Saudi at the time. ambassador at a restaurant in Georgetown. Arbabsiar hired a man he thought was a Mexican drug dealer who was actually an undercover informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration. The following year, Arbabsiar was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

“This is not the first time that we have uncovered Iranian plots to exact revenge on individuals on American soil, and we will work tirelessly to expose and disrupt each such effort,” the assistant attorney general told Reuters. national security, Matthew G. Olsen, in a statement. statement.

But some former officials said the Iranian government suffered no significant consequences for past attempts. “It means touching the actions of Iran’s most senior leaders, for example prohibiting meetings with the Iranian foreign minister,” said Norman T. Roule, former national intelligence officer for Iran in the office of the director of national intelligence. “The Iranian government’s ability to escape serious consequences has most likely convinced Iran’s top leadership that they can take these actions with impunity.”

Karen DeYoung and Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.


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Oakland School Board faces incident at closed Parker Elementary School

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Oakland School Board Faces Incident At Closed Parker Elementary School

OAKLAND — The Oakland School Board had a listening ear during its meeting Wednesday night, as parents confronted board members about last week’s altercation at the Parker Elementary School recently closed.

“It’s ridiculous that our parents are being treated this way and you’re responsible because you’re the superintendent,” former McClymonds High School teacher Ben Tapscott said in a public comment. He had a heated exchange with OUSD Chairman of the Board, Gary Yee.

“We are going to sue you and you for mistreating our parents and teachers. It’s shameful!” Tapscott shouted.

Oakland School Board meeting on August 10, 2022, where a recent altercation between security guards and parents at the recently closed Parker Elementary School was discussed.


“Wrap it up Mr. Tapscott. Wrap it up,” Yee replied.

“I know you want me to finish, but I want you to too,” Tapscott replied.

He wasn’t the only one who had a heated exchange with the board.

“Do you have the answer for me? Have you investigated who assaulted us?” asked Max Orozco, an OUSD parent and now also a school board candidate.

Orozco had his microphone turned off during Wednesday’s school board meeting as he demanded accountability after an incident at Parker Elementary on Thursday, where he and other activists and parents clashed with OUSD security guards as they attempted to occupy the now closed school.

Orozco was one of the parents who said he was assaulted by OUSD security guards.

“This council knows who started and who gave instructions for us to be attacked. It’s part of what I can show what I have left of Parker. I don’t want to take off and show the rest,” said Orozco in a public hearing. comment.

Parker Elementary in Oakland.


Although school board members did not directly respond to public comments, they did address the situation at Parker.

“What happened to him is unacceptable and again there needs to be accountability,” board member Mike Hutchinson said.

“The cost of school closures shouldn’t be you getting beaten up by the district… Nobody should ever get hurt in a process like this,” said VanCedric Williams, another board member of the ‘OUSD.

The parents said that since they do not believe the problem at Parker has been resolved, they will be back here at the next school board meeting in two weeks from Wednesday, demanding accountability.


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The Federal Trade Commission should launch an effort to extend online privacy protections

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The Federal Trade Commission Should Launch An Effort To Extend Online Privacy Protections

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission is expected to begin drafting federal rules to expand online privacy protections as early as Thursday, according to people familiar with the matter.

If passed, the rules could impose significant new responsibilities on companies that process consumer data, including potentially prohibiting certain types of data collection practices, the sources said.


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