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Bonnie Blodgett: Story about garden is hijacked by a stolen leaf blower

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Sunflowers And Zinnias Stand Tall In A Garden In St. Paul'S Frogtown Neighborhood In September 2022. (Bonnie Blodgett)
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Yesterday my neighbor made a startling confession.

“What did you do this time?” I asked.

“I left the garage door open.”

“You what?????”

I wondered whether to call the police or administer the appropriate punishment myself, maybe with the garden hose I had in my hand. Twenty lashes to the criminal. Ten lashes deducted from the appropriate 30 because the defendant copped to the gravity of her evil deed.

The other punishment, arguably more painful but only to the guilty party, is the loss of her leaf blower.

“It was brand new. Don’s gonna kill me.”

Don is her husband. And she’s right. He IS gonna kill her.

Not a word about the lesser crime, by modern standards, of stealing the thing.

In our present era, acts of blatant theft are the fault of “the idiot” who practiced what we used to esteem but no longer do: trust.

Why trust no longer “works” for us is the topic of today’s column. It is the conversation I wish I could have with people like my hapless neighbor. Why don’t we blame the thief and leave it at that? Why is it bad to expect people to be good? A columnist for this paper recently opined that we are “in a world of crime.” A purse snatching is the example he gave. In this case the victim deserves our sympathy. She had not forgotten to lock the garage but merely opened her car window, whereupon the thief reached across her to get the goods. Blaming the victim in this case would be ridiculous.

On the other hand, letting a creep con you online or otherwise steal something from you owing to your own careless and reckless disregard, well, that’s on you, right?

Wrong. And this is where I take issue with my esteemed colleague and suggest he look deeper into this so-called crime wave.

Though I’m not a religious person I do consider the Ten Commandments a pretty good set of rules to live by. They include a rule against stealing. Another one prohibits mendacity. What is not in the Ten Commandments is “Thou Shalt Not Trust.”

Trust is in fact required for any of the rules to work. It’s not the other way around.

Yet this is the rule — “Thou Shalt Not Trust” — that my neighbor broke when she left the garage door open.

How has trust become a crime in 21st century America? Why is it “on me” if I operate on the assumption that people will behave themselves and not take my stuff when my back is turned?

And what happens to a civil society when this is reversed? When social messaging tells us to protect ourselves because no one is trustworthy? When choosing not to encircle one’s home and garden with video monitors and blaring security lights is regarded as reckless and hazardous to the health and safety of oneself and others?

Ask yourself this: at what point do such “precautions” become provocations, daring any would-be “intruder” to show his true dark side because, hey, we’re all criminals at heart?

How many times does a person who has just been scammed on the internet demand legal action, as opposed to castigating himself for being “so gullible”?

I did the same thing when a fake gardening website stole my identity, causing me no end of inconvenience and anxiety and worst of all, shame. What a moron I was to have been deliberately (and with malice aforethought) robbed?

And don’t think I didn’t blame myself for another evil thing: through my negligence I incentivized a bad business, in effect turning it into good business, one that any sharp Wall Street bank might want to take public for “proving the concept” that conning people online is very lucrative.

All you have to do is use the ever-reliable internet to identify the people who are most likely to fall for your particular style of dishonesty, set your trap and watch the money roll in!

Old people are the “most likely,” according to the algorithms. They are the trusting ones. This isn’t because of senility but because they grew up in a time when trust was a good thing and trusting someone usually paid off, not vice versa.

When a society unravels to the point where trust is treated as a misdemeanor or worse, one has to ask the chicken and egg question. Who and what started this?

Gardeners are good at asking such questions, and not just gardeners like me who raise chickens. Experience teaches us to find real causes when, say, a plant dies. It does no good to blame ourselves. Beginners do this, professionals don’t. It’s a sign of insecurity stemming from ignorance about how nature works.

The sign of an experienced gardener, just like an experienced physician, is that he or she doesn’t waste time on self-recrimination because it is irrational and non-productive. As long as people are forgetful (which is not a crime) we will all occasionally leave the garage door open. It takes premeditated planning to pull off a real crime. It is a conscious act, not an unconscious failure to act.

Likewise, there are no “bad” gardeners lacking a magical green thumb. It was not my failure to remember to water the oak tree that killed the oak tree, but complications from drought.

What caused the drought? Ah ha! Now we’re getting somewhere.

Turns out it’s the same darn thing that has caused people to lose their ability to trust. I am talking about the rule of law, and our failure to enforce laws on the books, specifically those that punish crimes committed by anyone who can hire an expensive lawyer to convince a less well paid judge that the law is ill-advised or just … inconvenient for their client.

The Ten Commandments have been replaced by a new code that says, essentially, anything goes as long as you get away with it, including (for example) lying about the long-term effects of pesticides in agriculture. It’s on the consumer to protect the planet, according to this thinking. It’s on the individual human, not the government or corporation, to prevent our own looming extinction.

A North Dakota State University study found neonicotinoids in the corpses of pheasants and deer. Neonicotinoids helped kill these animals, the researchers believe, and are probably killing people too. Their effect on bees and butterflies has long since been established.

But it’s “on us” to stop using them, just as it’s “on the farmer” to make the tough choice to either withhold chemicals and lose his addicted crop (and his livelihood) or go with the flow, take the short-term profits and begin the slippery slope to government sanctioned criminality.

That the corporations who make and sell such chemicals cover up their own findings matters not a wit. I’m referring (again, just as an example) to Exxon Mobil’s studies on the climate effects of fossil fuels. The chemical companies have no in-house studies to cover up. They need only to ask the USDA to conduct studies, knowing the outcome will favor the corporations who fund the campaigns of the administrators who go back and forth between jobs as paid lobbyists and elected officials to secure the control by corporations of our federal and state government, as well as our land grant universities.

So, if you get cancer owing to exposure to one of these chemicals, or if humans as a species go extinct owing to the myriad ill effects of fossil-fuel burning, well, maybe we all left the garage door open.

Resisting the slippery slope is near impossible these days. Rationalizing and scapegoating are the way we live now. Americans are served up an unrelenting diet of lies through the wonders of advertising. Most of us know by now at some level of consciousness that our food is contaminated. And yet …

It’s so cheap and it tastes so good. And so instead of getting mad at the criminals who poison and lie to us, we blame ourselves for the cancer, hypertension and/or diabetes. Why did I go and eat the whole bag of chips and drink that gallon of Coke? If I just had some discipline, this never would have happened to me.

Wrong-o.

Being overweight may be just as “bad” as being gullible in this day and age, but it’s not why people get cancer. Carrying a few extra pounds does not cause cells in your body to go haywire. Choosing to eat food laced with toxic chemicals does. And that includes the corn syrup in that gallon of Coke.

Which is why in this space I urge people to grow vegetables along with the pretty flowers. There’s nothing like weaning oneself from the propaganda machine to feel like you’re in control of your life, or part of it anyway.

I had planned to write about a garden when I got hijacked by the leaf blower criminal. Regrettably, I’ll have to keep the garden tour brief.

Its owner had written to ask where the Frogtown garden was that I’d written about last month.

I then asked for his address, and a few days later found myself back in Frogtown, this time marveling at the things a boulevard garden can’t hide, the things it reveals about its maker, the things that make me love gardeners.

In this case, once again, these telltale traits are humility, resourcefulness, curiosity and imagination.

James’s boulevard is “a mess,” according to James.

“Come have a look at mine,” I said by way of sharing in the age-old ritual of gardeners criticizing our gardens in inverse proportion to the amount we secretly adore them.

The boulevard garden used to be “all roses, but someone kept digging them up,” he said.

James now grows annuals and edible plants mostly, which for some reason people don’t dig up. They don’t even take the tomatoes.

Go figure, eh?

In the back he has created his private kingdom, another “big mess.” He couldn’t stop grinning at the smile on my face as I took in the giant hot tub and the strand of lights above it, the giant garden bench made of cement blocks, and the 10-foot-tall sunflowers and cannas, and the giant zinnias.

Sunflowers and zinnias stand tall in a garden in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood in September 2022. (Bonnie Blodgett)

The squash was running rampant as squash always does, and James pretended to be embarrassed by what he knew that I knew was as charming and picturesque as all get out.

If I were asked the style of this garden I would say “cubist,” not as in “early Picasso” but because it is about the same size and shape as James’s small two-story house.

The handsome grid-style metal fencing he found at Fleet Farm.

“Two bucks a foot,” he said.

When a gardener brags about how little it cost to make his or her one-of-a-kind garden — in dollars, that is — I know I’m in the company of a kindred spirit. I do that too.

This is how we protect ourselves from the common (in this modern era) assumption that money is the measure of merit and that what we all want is to find a way to eliminate “menial” work (by using leaf blowers, for instance, which is why I hope my guilt-stricken neighbor doesn’t buy Don a new one) so we can spend meaningful time watching TV.

We are not to blame when crime happens. Except to the extent that we kill the messenger. That the messenger is us makes it no less pernicious.

Repeat after me the next time crime happens to you, whether it’s the internet scam that gets your bank pin number or a common thief who takes the leaf blower: “I am not a bad person. I am in fact a good and strong and kind person. I am a person who trusts other people.”

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How will OPEC+ cuts affect gas prices, inflation?

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How Will Opec+ Cuts Affect Gas Prices, Inflation?
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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Major oil-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia and Russia have decided to slash the amount of oil they deliver to the global economy.

And the law of supply and demand suggests that can only mean one thing: higher prices are on the way for crude, and for the diesel fuel, gasoline and heating oil that are produced from oil.

The decision by the OPEC+ alliance to cut 2 million barrels a day starting next month comes as the Western allies are trying to cap the oil money flowing into Moscow’s war chest after it invaded Ukraine.

Here is what to know about the OPEC+ decision and what it could mean for the economy and the oil price cap:

WHY IS OPEC+ CUTTING PRODUCTION?

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman says that the alliance is being proactive in adjusting supply ahead of a possible downturn in demand because a slowing global economy needs less fuel for travel and industry.

“We are going through a period of diverse uncertainties which could come our way, it’s a brewing cloud,” he said, and OPEC+ sought to remain “ahead of the curve.” He described the group’s role as “a moderating force, to bring about stability.”

Oil prices had fallen after a summer of highs. Now, after the OPEC+ decision, they are heading for their biggest weekly gain since March. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 3.2% on Friday, to $91.31 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 2.8% to $97.09, though it’s still down 20% from mid-June, when it traded at over $123 per barrel.

One big reason for the slide is fears that large parts of the global economy are slipping into recession as high energy prices — for oil, natural gas and electricity — drive inflation and rob consumers of spending power.

Another reason: The summer highs came about because of fears that much of Russia’s oil production would be lost to the market over the war in Ukraine.

As Western traders shunned Russian oil even without sanctions, customers in India and China bought those barrels at a steep discount, so the hit to supply wasn’t as bad as expected.

Oil producers are wary of a sudden collapse in prices if the global economy goes downhill faster than expected. That’s what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and during the global financial crisis in 2008-2009.

HOW IS THE WEST TARGETING RUSSIAN OIL?

The U.S. and Britain imposed bans that were mostly symbolic because neither country imported much Russia oil. The White House held off pressing the European Union for an import ban because EU countries got a quarter of their oil from Russia.

In the end, the 27-nation bloc decided to cut off Russian oil that comes by ship on Dec. 5, while keeping a small amount of pipeline supplies that some Eastern European countries rely on.

Beyond that, the U.S. and other Group of Seven major democracies are working out the details on a price cap on Russian oil. It would target insurers and other service providers that facilitate oil shipments from Russia to other countries. The EU approved a measure along those lines this week.

Many of those providers are based in Europe and would be barred from dealing with Russian oil if the price is above the cap.

HOW WILL OIL CUTS, PRICE CAPS AND EMBARGOES CLASH?

The idea behind the price cap is to keep Russian oil flowing to the global market, just at lower prices. Russia, however, has threatened to simply stop deliveries to a country or companies that observe the cap. That could take more Russian oil off the market and push prices higher.

That could push costs at the pump higher, too.

U.S. gasoline prices that soared to record highs of $5.02 a gallon in mid-June had been falling recently, but they have been on the rise again, posing political problems for President Joe Biden a month before midterm elections.

Biden, facing inflation at near 40-year highs, had touted the falling pump prices. Over the past week, the national average price for a gallon rose 9 cents, to $3.87. That’s 65 cents more than Americans were paying a year ago.

“It’s a disappointment, and we’re looking at what alternatives we may have,” he told reporters about the OPEC+ decision.

WILL THE OPEC PRODUCTION CUT MAKE INFLATION WORSE?

Likely yes. Brent crude should reach $100 per barrel by December, says Jorge Leon, senior vice president at Rystad Energy. That is up from an earlier prediction of $89.

Part of the 2 million-barrel-per-day cut is only on paper as some OPEC+ countries aren’t able to produce their quota. So the group can deliver only about 1.2 million barrels a day in actual cuts.

That’s still going to have a “significant” effect on prices, Leon said.

“Higher oil prices will inevitably add to the inflation headache that global central banks are fighting, and higher oil prices will factor into the calculus of further increasing interest rates to cool down the economy,” he wrote in a note.

That would exacerbate an energy crisis in Europe largely tied to Russian cutbacks of natural gas supplies used for heating, electricity and in factories and would send gasoline prices up worldwide. As that fuels inflation, people have less money to spend on other things like food and rent.

Other factors also could affect oil prices, including the depth of any possible recession in the U.S. or Europe and the duration of China’s COVID-19 restrictions, which have sapped demand for fuel.

WHAT WILL THIS MEAN FOR RUSSIA?

Analysts say that Russia, the biggest producer among the non-OPEC members in the alliance, would benefit from higher oil prices ahead of a price cap. If Russia has to sell oil at a discount, at least the reduction starts at a higher price level.

High oil prices earlier this year offset much of Russia’s sales lost from Western buyers avoiding its supply. The country also has managed to reroute some two-thirds of its typical Western sales to customers in places like India.

But then Moscow saw its take from oil slip from $21 billion in June to $19 billion in July to $17.7 billion in August as prices and sales volumes fell, according to the International Energy Agency. A third of Russia’s state budget comes from oil and gas revenue, so the price caps would further erode a key source of revenue.

Meanwhile, the rest of Russia’s economy is shrinking due to sanctions and the withdrawal of foreign businesses and investors.

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Another month of solid US hiring suggests more big Fed hikes

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Another Month Of Solid Us Hiring Suggests More Big Fed Hikes
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By PAUL WISEMAN

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers slowed their hiring in September but still added 263,000 jobs, a solid figure that will likely keep the Federal Reserve on pace to keep raising interest rates aggressively to fight persistently high inflation.

Friday’s government report showed that hiring fell from 315,000 in August to the weakest monthly gain since April 2021. The unemployment rate fell from 3.7% to 3.5%, matching a half-century low.

The Fed is hoping that slower job growth would mean less pressure on employers to raise pay and pass those costs on to their customers through price increases — a recipe for high inflation. But September’s pace of hiring was likely too robust to satisfy the central bank’s inflation fighters.

In September, hourly wages rose 5% from a year earlier, the slowest year-over-year pace since December but still hotter than the Fed would want. The proportion of Americans who either have a job or are looking for one slipped slightly, a disappointment for those hoping that more people would enter the labor force and help ease worker shortages and upward pressure on wages.

The jobs report “was still likely too strong to allow (Fed) policymakers much breathing room,” said Matt Peron, director of research at Janus Henderson Investors.

Likewise, Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said she didn’t expect September’s softer jobs and wage numbers to stop the Fed from raising its benchmark short-term rate in November by an unusually large three-quarters of a point for a fourth consecutive time — and by an additional half-point in December.

Last month, restaurants and bars added 60,000 jobs, as did healthcare companies. State and local governments cut 27,000 jobs. Retailers, transportation and warehouse companies reduced employment modestly.

The public anxiety that has arisen over high prices and the prospect of a recession is carrying political consequences as President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party struggles to maintain control of Congress in November’s midterm elections.

In its epic battle to rein in inflation, the Fed has raised its benchmark interest rate five times this year. It is aiming to slow economic growth enough to reduce annual price increases back toward its 2% target.

It has a long way to go. In August, one key measure of year-over-year inflation, the consumer price index, amounted to 8.3%. And for now, consumer spending — the primary driver of the U.S. economy — is showing resilience. In August, consumers spent a bit more than in July, a sign that the economy was holding up despite rising borrowing rates, violent swings in the stock market and inflated prices for food, rent and other essentials.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has warned bluntly that the inflation fight will “bring some pain,” notably in the form of layoffs and higher unemployment. Some economists remain hopeful that despite the persistent inflation pressures, the Fed will still manage to achieve a so-called soft landing: Slowing growth enough to tame inflation, without going so far as to tip the economy into recession.

It’s a notoriously difficult task. And the Fed is trying to accomplish it at a perilous time. The global economy, weakened by food shortages and surging energy prices resulting from Russia’s war against Ukraine, may be on the brink of recession. Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned Thursday that the IMF is downgrading its estimates for world economic growth by $4 trillion through 2026 and that “things are more likely to get worse before it gets better.’’

Powell and his colleagues on the Fed’s policymaking committee want to see signs that the abundance of available jobs — there’s currently an average of 1.7 openings for every unemployed American — will steadily decline. Some encouraging news came this week, when the Labor Department reported that job openings fell by 1.1 million in August to 10.1 million, the fewest since June 2021.

On the other hand, by any standard of history, openings remain extraordinarily high: In records dating to 2000, they had never topped 10 million in a month until last year.

Friday’s report underscored how resilient the job market remains.

“The U.S. labor market continues to decelerate, but there are no signs that it’s stalling out,’’ said Nick Bunker, head of economic research at the Indeed Hiring Lab. “Payroll growth is no longer at the jet speed we saw last year, but employment is still growing quickly.”

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GBPUSD’s latest decline attempts to break and stay below the 200 hourly MA again

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Gbpusd'S Latest Decline Attempts To Break And Stay Below The 200 Hourly Ma Again
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GBPUSD is trading above and below the 200 hourly moving average

Focusing on the hourly chart above, the pair is back below the 200 hourly MA and is currently trading at 1.1109.

GBPUSD tested the broken 38.2% retracement and the former trendline

Last week, GPBUSD closed at 1.1183. This week’s high price stalled just before the 1.1500 level before reversing lower over the past few days. Current prices have moved lower over the week, but still well above last week’s low which hit 1.0353.

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Proud Boys member pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy in Capitol Riot

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Proud Boys Member Pleads Guilty To Seditious Conspiracy In Capitol Riot
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A North Carolina man pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring with other members of the far-right Proud Boys to violently prevent the transfer of presidential power after the 2020 election, making him the first member of the extremist group to plead guilty to a charge of seditious conspiracy.

Jeremy Joseph Bertino, 43, has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation into the role Proud Boys leaders played in the Jan. 6, 2021 mob attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, a prosecutor has said. federal.

Bertino’s cooperation could increase the pressure on the other Proud Boys charged with the siege, including former National President Henry “Enrique” Tarrio.

The guilty plea comes as the founder of another extremist group, the Oath Keepers, and four associates separately charged in the January 6 attack stand trial for seditious conspiracy – an offense rarely used in wartime civilian that requires up to 20 years behind bars.

Bertino traveled to Washington with other Proud Boys in December 2020 and was stabbed during a fight, according to court documents. He was not in Washington for the Jan. 6 riot because he was still recovering from his injuries, according to court documents.

Bertino participated in planning sessions in the days leading up to Jan. 6 and received encrypted messages as early as Jan. 4 that Proud Boys were planning to storm the Capitol, authorities say.

A statement of offense filed in court says Bertino understood the Proud Boys’ purpose in traveling to Washington was to prevent certification of Joe Biden’s victory and that the group was prepared to use force and violence if necessary to do so.

Bertino also pleaded guilty to an unlawful possession of firearms charge in March 2022 in Belmont, North Carolina. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly agreed to release Bertino pending a sentencing hearing, which was not immediately scheduled.

Justice Department prosecutor Erik Kenerson said the sentencing guidelines for Bertino’s case recommended a prison term ranging from four years and three months to five years and three months.

A trial is due to begin in December for Tarrio and four other members charged with seditious conspiracy: Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola. The charging document for Bertino’s case names these five defendants and a sixth member of the Proud Boys as his co-conspirators.

The indictment in the Tarrio case alleges that the Proud Boys held meetings and communicated via encrypted messages to plan the attack in the days leading up to January 6. On the day of the riot, authorities said, the Proud Boys dismantled metal barricades set up to protect the Capitol and mobilized, directed and led members of the crowd into the building.

Bertino’s video testimony was shown in June during the first hearing of the House committee investigating Jan. 6. The committee showed Bertino that the band’s membership had “tripled, probably” after Trump’s comment during a presidential debate that the Proud Boys should “step back and be ready.”

Tarrio was not in Washington on January 6, but authorities say he helped spark the violence that day. Police arrested Tarrio in Washington two days before the riot and accused him of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic black church during a protest in December 2020. Tarrio was released from prison on January 14 this year after serving his five-month sentence. for this case.

More than three dozen people charged in the Capitol riot have been identified by federal authorities as leaders, members or associates of the Proud Boys. Two – Matthew Greene and Charles Donohoe – pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct an official process, the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote.

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UPSC Recruitment 2022: Golden opportunity to get job in these posts in UPSC without examination, apply soon, salary will be available according to 7th pay

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Upsc Recruitment 2022: Golden Opportunity To Get Job In These Posts In Upsc Without Examination, Apply Soon, Salary Will Be Available According To 7Th Pay
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UPSC Recruitment 2022: Golden opportunity to get job in these posts in UPSC without examination, apply soon, salary will be available according to 7th pay

UPSC Recruitment 2022 Sarkari Naukri 2022: Before applying, candidates should read all these important things given carefully. Also, under this recruitment process, candidates can get jobs in UPSC (Govt Jobs).

UPSC Recruitment 2022: There is a good opportunity for the youth who are looking for a job (Sarkari Naukri) in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). For this (UPSC Recruitment 2022), UPSC has sought applications for recruitment to other posts including Assistant Professor, Specialist Grade-III (UPSC Recruitment 2022). Interested and eligible candidates who want to apply for these posts (UPSC Recruitment 2022), they can apply by visiting the official website of UPSC, upsc.gov.in. The last date to apply for these posts (UPSC Recruitment 2022) is 13 October.

Apart from this, candidates can also directly apply for these posts (UPSC Recruitment 2022) through this link Also, by clicking on this link UPSC Recruitment 2022 Notification PDF , you can also see the official notification (UPSC Recruitment 2022). A total of 43 posts will be filled under this recruitment (UPSC Recruitment 2022) process.

Important Dates for UPSC Recruitment 2022

Last date to apply: 13 October

UPSC Recruitment 2022 Vacancy Details for

Serious Fraud Investigation Office Prosecutor(SFIO)-12

Specialist Grade III (General Medicine)-28

Assistant Professor (Ayurveda)-01

Assistant Professor (Unani)-01

Veterinary Officer-10

Eligibility Criteria for UPSC Recruitment 2022

Candidates should have the relevant qualification given in the official notification.

Application Fee for UPSC Recruitment 2022

Candidates will have to pay Rs 25 as application fee.

The post UPSC Recruitment 2022: Golden opportunity to get job in these posts in UPSC without examination, apply soon, salary will be available according to 7th pay appeared first on JK Breaking News.

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Adam Carrington: The illegitimate attacks on the Supreme Court’s legitimacy

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Adam Carrington: The Illegitimate Attacks On The Supreme Court’s Legitimacy
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Legitimacy. The word has dominated discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court for years. Some, mostly on the left, claim that the court has lost its legitimacy. The debate on this question even has spread to the court itself, with comments on the matter made by Justices Elena Kagan, John Roberts and Samuel Alito over the summer.

But what does it mean for the current court to be illegitimate? Illegitimacy describes one or both of two conditions: First, it refers to someone occupying a position to which he or she possesses no right. Second, illegitimacy pinpoints the exercise of one’s power in ways flagrantly beyond its proper scope, so much so as to involve powers entirely foreign to the office.

Critics of the Supreme Court make both claims regarding its legitimacy. They argue the last three justices to be appointed — Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch — have no right to their seats. They further declare that recent decisions, especially during the court’s last term, go so far outside the court’s rightful powers as to make the institution itself illegitimate.

They are wrong on both counts. First, they morph the meaning of legitimacy into conformity with their preferences. They say that, in 2016, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never should have refused to confirm President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, a move that led to Gorsuch’s appointment in 2017. They also claim that the unproven accusations made against Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford disqualified him. Finally, they chafe at President Donald Trump’s nomination of Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, coming as it did right before the 2020 presidential election.

None of these accusations has anything to do with real legitimacy. In each case, the appropriate and constitutional process was followed. A sitting president made the nomination. The Senate either refused its consent, as it did in 2016, or gave it, as the body did in the cases of Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett. That is the only standard for a justice’s legitimacy to be on the court. It is the only one because it is the constitutional one, the dictate of the supreme law of the land.

We may debate the fairness of refusing a vote on Obama’s nominee. We can argue over the merits of the accusations against Kavanaugh. We even can question the choice of not waiting for the people’s decision in 2020 before adding a new member to the bench. But even if all these objections were right, they would not make any of the appointed justices illegitimate.

On the second count, the court’s last term did not render it an illegitimate institution. Those accusers again seek to replace constitutional standards with their own opinions. To be sure, the court announced monumental decisions last term on a host of hot-button issues concerning religious liberty, gun rights, the administrative state and, of course, the abortion precedents of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Yet, too many attack these decisions based on whether they follow popular opinion. Kagan, for one, argues, “If, over time, the court loses all connection with the public and with public sentiment, that is a dangerous thing for democracy.” The court’s role, however, isn’t to follow the lead of often-flawed opinion polling. The justices follow the people’s will insofar as that will is expressed through the law — the Constitution and subordinate congressionally passed statutes. Both get their ultimate origin in “we, the people.” In this written form, they encompass a much more stable and discernible articulation of public sentiment.

Kagan also critiqued the majority’s approach to ascertaining the people’s will as expressed through law, indicating that the majority hide behind claims of impartially applying the words of laws as written in order to realize their policy preferences. “If you’re a textualist, you’re not a textualist just when it’s convenient. You’re not a textualist just when it leads to the outcomes that you personally happen to favor,” she said.

This accusation doesn’t hold up to scrutiny when turning to particular cases. Justices will certainly disagree on the precise meaning of legal texts. But in last term’s decisions, the majority painstakingly parsed the words of the laws and the accompanying history. They then ruled not on the basis of their partisanships but on what the law meant at the time of its composition. The abortion ruling did not outlaw terminating a pregnancy, as anti-abortion-rights activists would want, but merely returned the decision to the political process. The court’s decision on guns made extensive use of history to understand the nature of that right in relation to current law. Finally, the court’s limiting of the administrative state defended the principles of separation of powers and consent of the governed that are essential to our constitutional framework.

Critics of the current Supreme Court should be more honest in their attacks. They object to how certain justices were nominated. They disagree strongly with the court’s recent decisions. But, even if true, neither makes the current court illegitimate. They’d be better served to focus their arguments on the majority’s decisions and reasonings.

Given the rightness and strength of both, critics are in for an uphill battle.

Adam Carrington wrote this column for the Chicago Tribune.

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