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ansible's Journal
ansible's Journal
August 14, 2021

Article: California's Recall Election Could Be a National Disaster

he Dixie fire in Northern California has consumed half a million acres of forest and spewed smoke across the continent. But at the same time as this climate change-induced catastrophe wreaks havoc, there’s also a political five-alarm fire raging, still largely below the radar. So far, it hasn’t gotten quite the national attention it merits. But over the next month, the rest of the country will likely realize just how dangerous, and potentially transformative, this fire could be. It threatens to set off a national political explosion that could affect everything from congressional redistricting to pandemic responses to efforts to tackle climate change and maintain green energy and transport policies. Earlier this week, gubernatorial recall election ballots started arriving in Californians’ mailboxes. Voters have until September 14 to send them back. Many will, of course, vote early. But many others either aren’t aware that the election is taking place or are confused about how the two-part ballot works.

“Many voters will miss the ballot or think it’s junk mail,” says Ludovic Blain, executive director of the California Donor Table, a group that channels resources into organizing and reaching out to minority voters in the state. “And it’s counterintuitive: To keep the governor, you have to vote ‘no.’”

California’s recall process is, from start to finish, an exercise in dysfunction. The rules are bizarre to the point of being illegitimate. The ballot presents voters with two choices: whether the sitting governor should be recalled, and, if he is, who should replace him. Because of the arcane rules, the sitting governor needs 50 percent to avoid being tossed out on his rear end, but whoever replaces him just needs more votes than anyone else on the second ballot.

A few months back, Newsom made the hubristic and selfish decision to block any and all high-profile Democratic contenders from putting their name on the second ballot. There are, however, nine lower-tier Democrats on the ballot, including a 29 -year-old YouTube influencer who is apparently leading the pack. But they are all political lightweights with no experience on California’s main stage. Newsom’s strategic gamble in keeping the second ballot effectively Democrat-free has opened up a window of opportunity for the GOP: Out of the more than two dozen Republicans on the ballot, there are five or six with a shot at victory. Each stands a fairly good chance of being elected with only about 15 to 20 percent of the vote, in an election in which few eligible voters appear likely to cast a vote in the first place.


August 13, 2021

Situation at the US Embassy in Kabul is more dire than what the State Department is saying


If this literally ends the same way that the Fall of Saigon did with the helicopter on the roof, it's going to be an absolute fucking PR disaster.
August 13, 2021

Sydney, Australia is on lockdown, no one allowed to leave city without permit

Greater Sydney residents will need a permit to leave the region, under a swathe of new rules to tighten the state's lockdown laws. The new rules were agreed upon during a crisis meeting of the NSW Cabinet on Friday afternoon, and also include a restriction on people using their holiday homes.

Under that rule, people from Greater Sydney are not allowed to travel to their second homes, except under special circumstances, such as maintenance, and only one person will be able to attend. From Monday, anyone who needs to isolate while awaiting COVID-19 test results will receive a special $320 payment.

The Victorian government introduced a similar $450 payment during its second-wave lockdown last year to discourage people from working while waiting on test results.

Tightened restrictions now also apply to people in Greater Sydney's 12 local government areas of concern (Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and parts of Penrith).


August 12, 2021

Kandahar Collapses - Afghan Collapse Accelerates as 2 Vital Cities Are Falling to the Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two major cities in western and southern Afghanistan were on the verge of collapse to the Taliban on Thursday, as the insurgency’s race to seize control of the country accelerated. With the Taliban’s sudden gains in Kandahar, in the country’s southern Pashtun heartland, and Herat, a vital cultural and economic hub, the insurgents appear to be nearing a complete military takeover. Only four major cities — including the capital, Kabul — remain under government control, and two of them are under siege by the Taliban.

Both cities were heavily defended, in battles that raged for weeks. But increasingly, the Afghan security forces appear to be collapsing, with many soldiers and policemen reported to be deserting, or even changing sides in some places. Both cities offer resonant victories for the Taliban, which have swept across the country in a brutal military campaign since international troops began withdrawing in May. The insurgents now control over half of the country’s 400-odd districts. And with the fall of Kandahar and Herat, along with another provincial capital south of Kabul, Ghazni — all on Thursday — the insurgents will control 12 provincial capitals.

Kandahar, in particular, is a huge prize for the Taliban. It is the economic hub of southern Afghanistan, and it was the birthplace of the insurgency in the 1990s and served as the militant’s capital during their five-year rule. By seizing the city, the Taliban can effectively proclaim a return to power, if not complete control.

For weeks, a mix of Afghan army, commando and special police units have desperately tried to hold Kandahar city as it came under Taliban siege. But on Thursday, Taliban fighters broke through nearly every frontline surrounding the city, according to members of the security forces. They also overran Kandahar’s central prison on Wednesday, freeing hundreds of inmates, using a strategy of swelling their ranks practiced for well over a decade.


August 12, 2021

Wow, Governor Newsom helps clean up homeless encampment in Berkeley

Never thought I'd ever see a California governor ever do something like this
August 9, 2021

US B-52 Bombers, Gunships Sent into Action in Afghanistan in Attempt to Stop Taliban Advance

murrika fuck yeah! /sarcasm

The United States has sent B-52 bombers and Spectre gunships to Afghanistan in a bid to stop Taliban insurgents who are marching towards three key cities. The B-52s are flying into Afghanistan from an airbase in Qatar, hitting targets around Kandahar, Herat, and Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, sources told The Times.

The move comes amid an increasingly dire situation in Afghanistan, as the Taliban continues to seize territory across the country as U.S.-led forces withdraw. The Pentagon estimates that the group now controls half of Afghanistan's 419 district centers.

On Friday, the Taliban seized Zaranj in Nimroz, making it the first provincial capital to be captured by the insurgents since they began their military campaign in May. The Taliban also assassinated the government's chief media officer, Dawa Khan Menapal, on the same day in Kabul. The deployment of American bombers and gunships also highlights how ailing Afghan forces remain reliant on US support.


August 7, 2021

Germany's modern pentathlon coach kicked out of Olympics for punching a horse

TOKYO — The coach of Germany's modern pentathlon team was kicked out the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday for, of all things, punching a horse. Kim Raisner was caught on camera slugging the horse and urging rider Annika Schleu to “really hit” her mount after it balked at jumping during a pivotal moment in Friday’s competition.

At that point Schleu was in the lead — she went from first to 31st and left the arena in tears because the horse, whose name is “Saint Boy,” would not budge. Still, that was no excuse for her coach's behavior, the Modern Pentathlon Foundation (UIPM) said in a statement early Saturday.

“The UIPM Executive Board (EB) has given a black card to the Germany team coach Kim Raisner, disqualifying her from the remainder of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” it said. “Her actions were deemed to be in violation of the UIPM Competition Rules, which are applied to all recognized Modern Pentathlon competitions including the Olympic Games.”


August 6, 2021

Bitcoin recovering and surpasses $43k, reaches highest price since May 2021

Bitcoin prices rallied today, climbing to their highest in more than two months as the digital currency surpassed $43,000. The world’s most prominent cryptocurrency reached $43,341.84 this afternoon, CoinDesk figures show. At this point, the digital asset was trading at its most elevated level since May 19, additional CoinDesk data reveals.

[Ed note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.]

Bitcoin has been trading primarily between $30,000 and $42,000 since late May, but the latest gains don’t mean the cryptocurrency has broken through resistance near the upper bound of that range, said Katie Stockton, the founder and managing partner of Fairlead Strategies, LLC.

“A confirmed breakout would require consecutive closes above $42,465, which could happen tomorrow as a bullish development,” she stated. Should the innovative digital asset keep rising in value, Stockton noted it will next encounter resistance close to $51,000.


August 6, 2021

Shock poll shows Gavin Newsom losing recall vote by double digits

Just prior to the start of the first televised debate in the Gavin Newsom recall election Wednesday evening, a shock poll showed the governor losing the first question ("Should Gavin Newsom be recalled?" ) by double digits.

The poll came from Survey USA and the San Diego Union Tribune, and was conducted among 1,100 Californians from Aug. 2 to Aug. 4. It found that 51% of respondents were in favor of recalling Newsom, while only 40% wanted to keep him in power. The previous Survey USA/San Diego Union Tribune poll from May found 36% in favor of the recall with 47% opposed.

Unlike a recent UC Berkeley/Los Angeles Time poll that was weighted by whether the respondent was likely to vote in the Sept. 14 recall election, the Survey USA carried no such weight, which is even more alarming for the governor. The Berkeley/Los Angeles Time poll found double-digit opposition to the recall, but a dead heat when weighted by likelihood to vote. Polls have consistently shown a large enthusiasm gap, strongly suggesting Republicans are more likely to turn out.


August 6, 2021

Biden snubs Elon Musk at electric vehicle event featuring 'Big 3'

President Biden snubbed Tesla CEO Elon Musk by not inviting the top electric car maker to the White House for a Thursday event advocating for half of new cars to be electric by 2030. Biden instead hosted execs from the “Big Three” domestic car companies as he signed a non-binding executive order laying out the goal — and then drove an electric Jeep around the White House driveway.

Musk revealed the snub on Twitter, prompting questions about why the administration would exclude the company that sells more electric cars in the US than all competitors combined, including the Big Three. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday at a press briefing that “today, it’s the three largest employers of the United Auto Workers and the UAW president who will stand with President Biden as he announces his ambitious new target.”

Musk’s Tesla car company does not have a unionized workforce. When a reporter asked Psaki to confirm the snub was the result of Tesla being a non-union shop, she said, “these are the three largest employers of the United Auto Workers, so I’ll let you draw your own conclusion.”


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