CUOMO OUT: HARRIS-BIDEN PURGES FIRST RIVAL FOR 2024

by Bernard P. Lawson, The Chicago Times

August 10, 2021

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned on Tuesday amid a barrage of sexual harassment allegations, a year after he was widely praised nationally for his detailed daily briefings and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic’s darkest days.  This removes Cuomo as a poetential political rival to Biden or Harris in 2024.

Cuomo was defiant and continues to deny mistreating women and accused those calling for his removal of being politically motivated.  Cuomo believes fighting to stay in power would be harmful to the State of New York.  Of course, we know this is an easy out.

“The best way I can help now is to step aside and allow the government to get back to governing,” Cuomo stated.

Cuomo will leave office in 14 days.  The decision came a week after New York’s attorney general released the findings of an investigation into Cuomo’s sexual harassment of at least 11 women and mounting pressure from fellow democrats, including Joe Biden.  Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, 62, will be the state’s 57th governor.

Sources in the White House are quietly celebrating Cuomo’s resignation since this will leave the door open for Kamala Harris to run in 2024 after Biden, 78, will most likely not seek reelection.

Biden responded to the resignation of Cuomo by stating “I respect the governor’s decision . . . [Cuomo] done a helluva job.”  It is easy for Biden to praise now that Cuomo is no longer a threat.

Cuomo is still facing criminal charges, with a number of prosecutors across the state continuing to investigate him.  According to investigators, he subjected women to unwanted kisses, groped their breasts or buttocks, or otherwise inappropriately touched them, made insinuating remarks about their looks and sex lives, and created a work environment “rife with fear and intimidation.”  Cuomo tried to excuse his behavior as a result of his Italian upbringing.

The accusations began in news reports in December of last year and continued for months.

Cuomo called some of the allegations false and denied inappropriately touching anyone.

He did, however, admit to making some aides uncomfortable with comments he said were meant to be playful, and he apologized for some of his behavior.

The attorney general’s investigation corroborated the women’s accounts and added gruesome new ones, increasing the pressure on Cuomo.  In addition, the US Justice Department is looking into the state’s handling of nursing home death data.  Furthermore, the state attorney general is investigating whether Cuomo violated the law by using members of his staff to help write and promote his book, from which he stands to earn more than $5 million.

Bernard P. Lawson, National Political Reporter/Columnist for The Chicago Times.  Views and comments expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the official position of The Chicago Times.

NEARLY 1,000 UNACCOMPANIED MIGRANT KIDS FOUND ON THE SOUTHERN BORDER IN A SINGLE DAY WITH NO END IN SIGHT

by The Chicago Times Staff

August 5, 2021

TEXAS – Nearly 1,000 unaccompanied migrant children were apprehended in a single day this week, as the numbers of migrants coming to the southern border continue to surge with no sign of slowing down despite the heat of the summer months.

The Department of Health and Human Services reported that 834 unaccompanied minors and teenagers were apprehended on Thursday, far exceeding the 30-day average of 512.  It means that there are a total of 2,784 children in CBP custody and 14,523 in HHS custody.

The figures reflect a continuing surge at the southern border and indicate that the border crisis that has plagued the Biden administration is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

In June, over 188,000 migrants were encountered, with an increase in UACs and migrant family units.  This compares to approximately 78,000 encounters when President Biden took office in January, and approximately 33,000 encounters in June 2020.  The number of unaccompanied minors encountered increased by 8% in June, with 15,253 encounters compared to 14,137 in May.

Republicans have blamed the surge on the Biden administration’s rollback of key Trump-era policies, specifically its refusal to apply Title 42 to UACs, as well as the rollback of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), the end of border wall construction, and significantly reduced interior enforcement.  They have warned not only about criminals entering the country, but also about the potential spread of COVID-19.

SEN. CRAMER WANTS MANDATE VACCINE PASSPORT STATES TO ALSO MANDATE VOTER ID

by Bernard P. Lawson, The Chicago Times

August 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, will introduce legislation that would require states mandating vaccine passports, or cards proving vaccination, to also require voter identification.

The proposed legislation comes after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (aka Warren Wilhelm Jr.) announced on Tuesday that the city would require visitors and city residents to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination status to enter indoor restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues.

“If states that take federal money for elections feel the need to make residents verify a piece of information as private as their vaccination status just to return to normalcy, then they should have no problem requiring people to prove they are who they say they are when they go to vote . . . this would ensure those states are being consistent about their identification requirements and shine a light on those who hypocritically oppose Voter ID laws but support vaccine passports.” Cramer said in a Tuesday statement. 

As of yet, no governors have issued statewide vaccine proof requirement, and 20 states, including North Dakota, have outright prohibited the possibility of such a requirement.  The Biden administration has stated repeatedly that there will be no federal vaccine passport mandate.

California, New York, and Hawaii, on the other hand, have contributed to the development of optional digital vaccine passports, allowing residents to show proof of vaccination status from their smartphones at establishments that choose to require them.  According to local reports, Oregon is requiring retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores, and other establishments to review customers’ vaccination status cards that they receive after getting the shot in exchange for services.

Many Republicans, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), contend that the former is a violation of civil liberties and an abuse of government power.

Democrats argue that the latter may make it more difficult for some people to vote, with some labeling the practice “racist,” in response to a slew of GOP-led voting laws introduced or passed in states such as Texas and Georgia that restrict things like early voting and mail-in ballots, as well as requiring identification at the polls.  Biden has yet to comment on Delaware’s existing voter ID law, which according to Democrats would now be considered a racist Jim Crow or “Jim Eagle” law in the state Biden represented for 36 years without calling for the end of Delaware’s voter ID law.

135 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 AT RIO GRANDE VALLEY BORDER

by The Chicago Times Staff

July 20, 2021

RIO GRANDE VALLEY — In the first two weeks of July, 135 detainees at the Rio Grande Valley crossing point tested positive for COVID-19, according to Customs and Border Protection.

The cases in the Rio Grande Valley sector detention facilities now account for 60% of all detainees confirmed to have COVID-19 and under CBP’s care.  The RGV sector, one of the busiest sections of the border with thousands of people crossing every day, comes as the Biden administration deals with an escalating crisis at the southern border.  One CBP unnamed source said “. . . thousands are entering and there appears to be no end.  We are completely overwhelmed.”

The nearly 190,000 noncitizens encountered by law enforcement in June is the highest number recorded in more than 21 years.    Last month, Border Patrol counted 113,000 adults, 15,000 unaccompanied minors, and 50,000 people traveling as part of a family group.

Since March 2020, the number of new border crossings has increased month after month as Biden began rolling back some Trump-era border restrictions put in place last year to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.

Detainees are not typically tested at the southern border by border officials.  Detainees are instead tested after being transferred to other locations, such as government-run facilities.

Unaccompanied migrant children, for example, are placed in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Vaccination rates in the Central American countries from which the majority of migrants come are significantly lower than in the United States, raising concerns that an influx of unvaccinated people at the southern border could exacerbate the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant, which is now responsible for approximately 83 percent of active cases in the US.  There have also been increased cases of polio and other diseases once thought irradicated.

BIDEN “DECIDES”: U.S. WON’T SEND TROOPS TO HAITI

by Bernard P. Lawson, The Chicago Times

July 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — Following the death of Haiti’s president last week, President Joe Biden said on Thursday that the US will beef up security at its embassy in the country, but there is not a whisper’s chance of sending American soldiers to help stabilize the country.

Following President Jovenel Mose’s assassination, Haiti’s interim government requested that the US and the UN deploy soldiers to secure crucial infrastructure.  Biden indicated that he would decline the request, which comes as the US military draws down in Afghanistan this summer.

Biden stated, “We are only sending American Marines to our embassy.  The idea of sending American forces to Haiti is not on the table.”

The desire for US assistance resembled the chaos that erupted after Haiti’s previous presidential killing, in 1915, when an enraged mob pulled President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam out of the French Embassy and thrashed him to death.  As a result, Democrat President Woodrow Wilson ordered Marines to occupy Haiti, justifying a nearly two-decade-long American military occupation as a means of “preventing” chaos.

BIDEN TO DECIDE ON SENDING US TROOPS TO HAITI

by Bernard P. Lawson, The Chicago Times

July 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is considering sending US forces to Haiti after the country’s crisis-plagued government requested assistance following President Jovenel Moise’s assassination.

The possibility of sending US forces to the country is still a whisper away from decision according to White House sources.  Officials appear hesitant to comply with the request for military assistance, which was raised last Wednesday in a conversation between interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Moise was assassinated by a group of “retired” Colombian mercenaries, according to Haitian police, who were aided by several Haitian Americans posing as translators.  The assassination’s motive is unknown.  However, one of the hired assailants, who claimed to be an interpreter, claims that when his team entered the residence, the president was already dead.

On Sunday, officials from the White House National Security Council and departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and State traveled to Haiti at Haiti’s request for investigative and security assistance. They met with acting Prime Minister Joseph and Prime Minister-Designate Ariel Henry together, along with Senate President Joseph Lambert, each of whom is vying for control.

According to White House sources, Biden was briefed by the delegation on Monday and is taking his time to make a decision.