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brooklynite's Journal
brooklynite's Journal
February 26, 2022

USAID: Ukraine Crisis

About the Emergency

The people of Ukraine have been caught in the middle of conflict for nearly eight years, and there are currently 2.9 million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. Most of the humanitarian needs have been in the easternmost regions bordering Russia, particularly in Donetsk and Luhansk, where fighting along active frontlines has resulted in civilian deaths and injuries and damage to civilian infrastructure, including critical water supplies. In addition to the direct impacts of conflict, COVID-19 has exacerbated economic insecurity and lack of access to health care in Ukraine.

USAID is ramping up humanitarian assistance to help people affected by the increased violence on the border of Ukraine. The United States is one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and has provided more than $351 million to vulnerable communities. More information on the U.S. Government’s humanitarian activities in Ukraine can be found here.

How You Can Help

Send cash donations to reputable relief organizations working on the ground. They can make the most difference and save the most lives. Detailed information on how relief organizations use donations can be found at: GiveWell, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and the Better Business Bureau. Below are organizations responding in Ukraine.

Catholic Relief Services
Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
International Medical Corps
International Organization for Migration
Project HOPE
Save the Children
World Food Program (WFP)
World Health Organization (WHO)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in four Americans volunteered for an organization at least once during the course of a year. However, there are a few things that would-be disaster volunteers should stop and consider before getting on a plane.

February 26, 2022

That time Jackson shredded Trump in a federal court ruling


When the House’s lawsuit seeking to enforce a subpoena against former Trump White House Counsel Donald McGahn was randomly assigned to Jackson in 2019, the consensus among court watchers was that Trump was likely to be fileted. What emerged from Jackson was an 118-page jeremiad that did not mince words in dissecting Trump’s claim that his advisers had an absolute right to ignore Congressional subpoenas at his direction.

“Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings,” Jackson wrote, dismissing the longstanding argument as “a fiction” and “a proposition that cannot be squared with core constitutional values.”

Beyond that decision and another in which Jackson blocked the Trump administration from expanding the use of expedited deportation proceedings, there are few rulings with clear political overtones.

“There’s very little there that can legitimately be characterized as radical. She’s a judge who takes pains to find and apply the law in an evenhanded manner with a balanced tone,” said Tomiko Brown-Nagin a constitutional law scholar and dean of the Harvard-Radcliffe Institute.
February 26, 2022

Cell phone carriers waive charges, allow free long-distance calling to Ukraine

The Hill

The largest U.S. cell phone carriers are waiving charges or allowing free long-distance calling to Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

T-Mobile announced on Thursday that, until next Thursday, it would be forgoing fees associated with international long-distance and international roaming on calls and text messages made between the U.S. and Ukraine.

“T-Mobile is waiving international long-distance and international roaming charges for calls and SMS made to/from U.S. and Ukraine for T-Mobile and Sprint postpaid and prepaid consumer and business customers,” the cell phone carrier said in a statement. “This includes calls made within Ukraine to local numbers to cover roaming customers in Ukraine.”

Two other cell phone carriers joined T-Mobile on Friday: AT&T announced it would be allowing unlimited long-distance calling to Ukraine, while Verizon announced it would be waiving charges for calls to and from Ukraine so that people could call for free.
February 26, 2022

North Carolina GOP seeks Supreme Court intervention in voting map dispute

Source: The Hill

Top Republican lawmakers in North Carolina on Friday asked the Supreme Court to halt state court rulings that struck down new GOP-drawn voting districts as unfairly partisan and replaced the Republican map with one drawn by outside experts.

In their emergency filing, GOP lawmakers asked the court to temporarily block the state court-imposed map while the justices consider a forthcoming appeal.

“The United States Constitution is clear – state legislatures, not state judges, are responsible for setting the rules governing elections,” North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, one of the applicants, said in a statement. “By striking the General Assembly’s congressional map and redrawing their own, with the help of Democrat partisans, the courts have, once again, violated the separation of powers.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, who handles emergency matters from North Carolina, asked the respondents in the case — a group of North Carolina Democratic voters and voting rights advocates — to respond by Wednesday.

Read more: https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/595930-north-carolina-gop-seeks-supreme-court-intervention-in-voting-map
February 26, 2022

62 percent of voters say Putin wouldn't have invaded Ukraine if Trump were president: poll

Source: The Hill

A majority of American voters say that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine had former President Trump still been in office, according to a new survey released on Friday.

A new Harvard Center for American Political Studies (CAPS)-Harris Poll survey released Friday found that 62 percent of those polled believed Putin would not be moving against Ukraine if Trump had been president. When looking strictly at the answers of Democrats and Republicans, 85 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats answered this way.

However, 38 percent of all Americans polled believed that Putin would have invaded Ukraine even if Trump had been president.

A majority of Americans polled — 59 percent — also said they believed that the Russian president moved on Ukraine because Putin saw weakness in President Biden, while 41 percent said that it was not a factor in Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/595919-62-percent-of-voters-say-putin-wouldnt-have-invaded-ukraine-if-trump
February 25, 2022

Russian ransomware gang threatens countries that punish Moscow for Ukraine invasion

Source: Politico

A Russian ransomware gang on Friday threatened to hack the critical infrastructure of any nation or organization that retaliates against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, according to a statement shared by cybersecurity researchers.

The statement, attributed to the operators of the Conti gang, pledged “full support of [the] Russian government” and vowed to use “all possible resources to strike back at the critical [infrastructure] of an enemy” that launches “a cyberattack or any war activities against Russia.”

The group is best known for devastating Ireland’s health system in May 2021, an attack whose real-world effects persisted for months.

POLITICO has been unable to independently verify the authenticity of the message, but researchers who track Conti and other ransomware groups consider it to be legitimate.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/02/25/russian-ransomware-gang-threatens-countries-ukraine-00011896
February 25, 2022

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll: The Biden Administration Heading into the State of the Union

Source: Marist Poll

President Joe Biden will deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday to a nation whose focus has shifted away from the COVID-19 pandemic and who is sending a message that they want Biden to focus on other issues, especially inflation. Americans’ concerns about their own personal finances and the overall direction of the country provide a stark backdrop for Biden who will face the nation with dismal reviews of his first year in office and his lowest job approval rating.

A plurality of Americans (38%) thinks President Biden’s top priority should be inflation. The coronavirus pandemic (11%), voting laws (11%), foreign policy (10%), and violent crime (10%) follow. Other issues receive single digits. Of note, more than seven in ten Americans (72%) are optimistic that the nation is nearing an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

Majorities of Americans think Biden’s first year in office has been a failure (56%), he is not fulfilling campaign promises (54%), and he is doing more to divide the nation (52%) than to unite it. Americans are more than four times as likely to consider Biden’s first year to be a major failure (36%) than a major success (8%).

Economic concerns hit close to home for Americans. 29% say their family finances have gotten worse in the last year. 23% say they have gotten better, and 48% say things are status quo.

Read more: https://maristpoll.marist.edu/polls/npr-pbs-newshour-marist-national-poll-the-biden-administration-heading-into-the-state-of-the-union-address-february-2022/

Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted February 15th through February 21st, 2022. N=1,264 MOE: +/- 3.5%. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.

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