Does Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp have so much “reason to fear indictment” that he’s avoiding testifying before the Atlanta grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s notorious “find 11,000 votes” phone call? Greg Palast thinks so! “If Trump, as reported, demanded the Governor call a special session of the legislature to de-certify Joe Biden’s victory, and Kemp told him to go fly, then Kemp’s off the hook” – but if Mr. Kemp then “suggested Trump make those calls to the man who did have the power to reject the vote count,” i.e., Secretary of State Raffensberger, he could be in bigger trouble. And Mr. Palast reminds us that SB 202, the notorious election “reform” law, essentially gives Mr. Kemp the power he couldn’t use for Mr. Trump – to decertify Democrat statewide victories. And he’s up for re-election in November, so I imagine he’d use it for himself first – unless he gets indicted before then!
Tom Dannenbaum, Alex DeWaal, and Daniel Maxwell at The Conversation provide a short history of civilian starvation as a war-making tactic, you know, like Ukrainians and Yemeni, among others, are currently suffering. You won’t be pleased to see how often the United States appears in that history, but hey, tough lessons build character, right? As it happens, the Geneva Conventions have prohibited inflicting starvation on an enemy civilian population since the mid-’70s, but I’ll give you one guess which country you call home hasn’t ratified those conventions.
Ho hum, the Wall Street Journal seems to think the best climate change strategy is extracting resources with no regard for the rights of indigenous folks who live on lithium-rich lands. (Lithium is a main ingredient in electric car batteries.) The Journal no doubt wants credit for even thinking climate change is a problem worth solving, but I’m such a churl I’ll only credit them for doing good works, whenever that’s going to happen. Remember: The Man wants you to think you have to choose between treating folks fairly and saving the climate, but even worse than that? They want you to think negotiation simply doesn’t exist as an option. A civilized person would try to reach an agreement with Chile’s indigenous that satisfies everyone, but corporatists won’t be happy unless they win before the game starts. (Also, when folks say things like “Latin America specializes in killing golden geese,” I really want to punch them in the face.)
From Dan Canon at TruthOut we learn that “The Plea Bargain Originated as a Means to Undermine Working Class Solidarity.” Specifically, juries suddenly got powerful in the Northeast in the 1840s, with universal white male suffrage allowing unlanded working-class men to serve on juries, which could not only evaluate evidence but interpret the law; legislators took that latter right away from juries by the 1850s, and then, instead of trying to break the backs of labor unions in court (very difficult with sympathetic jurors!), started cutting deals with individual laborers on trumped-up and/or vague charges like “vagrancy” or “drunk and disorderly.” This is what right-wingers defend when they attack public prosecutors who won’t detain people indefinitely on the smallest charges, or won’t demand bail for a guy caught peeing against a wall.
University of Illinois-Chicago study reverses Alzheimer’s-related memory loss in mice by enabling them to create more neurons. Specifically, the researchers deleted a particular gene within mouse neurons that promotes cell death; one wonders what kind of trouble deleting such a gene might cause long-term, and other studies would need to confirm the results, but this could be a watershed moment for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s (and those who take care of them), and I wish researchers all the best in making process against this horrifying illness.
Finally, President Biden has wiped out $10,000 in student loan debt for folks (or children of folks) making less than $125,000 annually, plus he’ll extend the student loan payment moratorium through the end of 2022. I do wish the $10,000 forgiveness had extended into the future – that would essentially make community college free in America – but, as usual, it’s something. I am highly amused to read folks claiming that these policies would be “inflationary,” when a) cutting $10,000 out of student loan debt won’t do much for folks with much more than that and b) the payment moratorium has been going on since early 2020 anyway. But I guess some folks just think they can fling around the word “inflation” and create an argument without having to do any more work.