By Zach Hagadone
East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:
If enacted, the 2021 Raise the Wage Act, which would bring minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, will not only boost paychecks for 21% of the workforce, but annual government expenditures of major public assistance programs would fall by up to $31 billion, according to estimates by the Economic Policy Institute.
On Feb. 6, 2020 the nation’s first-known COVID-19 victim died. Twelve months later, the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 and related causes now stands at more than 464,000 — exceeding the number of Americans who died in WWII.
Regarding former-President Donald Trump’s current impeachment: If his attorneys focus on what Trump wants, it would call for the ex-president to appear as a witness, according to lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., yet that’s exactly what Trump’s attorneys don’t want to happen.
Meanwhile, if there are no repercussions regarding the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C., which is the focus of the impeachment, Raskin said that it establishes “a precedent, where every president on the way out the door” can “try to incite an armed insurrection against the Union. And if it succeeds, he becomes a dictator. If it fails, he’s not subject to impeachment or conviction because we just want to let bygones be bygones.”
“Forget about it and move on” is not an acceptable response to the Capitol insurrection, according to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who experienced the violent raid. She confided that she’s been a victim of sexual assault, and the “forget about it” attitude is used by abusers who find it convenient if everyone just “moves on.” Ocasio-Cortez said prosecutions are not about revenge, they’re about creating safety.
According to Reuters, the Justice Department is considering whether to prosecute the Capitol insurrectionists using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The Act was designed to address those individuals who orchestrate illegal events but don’t “get their hands bloody.” For instance, The Wall Street Journal reported that the heiress to Publix Super Markets donated “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to fund the pro-Trump gathering that immediately preceeded — and many lawmakers argue — triggered the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol Building.
Smartmatic, producer of voting machines, is suing Fox Corporation for “at least” $2.7 billion for defamation and for contributing to the Capitol insurrection. The suit also targets Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, according to The New York Times. As well, Dominion Voting Systems has filed suit against Giuliani and Powell. Fox Corporation is valued at $17.8 billion, making the Smartmatic suit “significant” if Fox loses.
Newsmax surprised far-right viewers during a segment featuring Mike “My Pillow Guy” Lindell, during which he repeated baseless claims that the 2020 election was “stolen.” The interviewer interrupted to make clear, “We at Newsmax have not been able to verify any of those allegations … there’s nothing substantive that we have seen.”
Economists at Citigroup say that if Black entrepreneurs had better access to credit, there would have been an additional $16 trillion in economic output since 2000, bloomberg.com reported.
The more contagious coronavirus variant from Brazil recently arrived in the U.S. via a traveler returning from there. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines offer protection, but will be slightly less effective, according to the companies, as reported in The New York Times.
After a recent Senate all-nighter, Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney passed a non-binding resolution similar to the closed-door TRUST Act, which could attack Social Security by enabling cuts to both SS and Medicare. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., objected, saying Romney’s proposal could open the door to cutting SS, Medicare and Medicaid, thereby “impacting some of the most vulnerable people in this country.”
Blast from the past: When Abraham Lincoln was a Senate candidate in 1858, he said arguments that white men were more worthy of rights than Black people were no different from those “that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world … You work, and I eat; you toil, and I will enjoy the fruits of it. Turn it whatever way you will, whether it come from the mouth of a king, an excuse for enslaving the people of his country, or from the mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another race, it is all the same old serpent.”
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