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Editor Daily Rundown: Meltdown In ‘Malaland

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MELTDOWN IN ‘MALALAND… ‘Treated Like Sh*t’:Kamala Harris Reportedly Heads ‘Abusive’ Work Environment

Vice President Kamala Harris’ office is reportedly an “abusive environment” where staffers are “thrown under the bus” when things go wrong, according to 22 current and former staffers who spoke to Politico on condition of anonymity Wednesday.

Much of the ire from current and former staff is aimed at Harris’ chief of staff, Tina Flournoy. Flournoy allegedly routinely blames lower-level staffers when initiatives fall through and often ignores input from staff, the sources told Politico.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

POLITICO: ‘Not a healthy environment’: Kamala Harris’ office rife with dissent

The handling of the border visit was the latest chaotic moment for a staff that’s quickly become mired in them. Harris’ team is experiencing low morale, porous lines of communication and diminished trust among aides and senior officials. Much of the frustration internally is directed at Tina Flournoy, Harris’ chief of staff, a veteran of Democratic politics who began working for her earlier this year.

In interviews, 22 current and former vice presidential aides, administration officials and associates of Harris and Biden described a tense and at times dour office atmosphere. Aides and allies said Flournoy, in an apparent effort to protect Harris, has instead created an insular environment where ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out. Often, they said, she refuses to take responsibility for delicate issues and blames staffers for the negative results that ensue.

While much of the ire is aimed at Harris’ chief, two administration officials said the VP herself also bears responsibility for the way her office is run. “It all starts at the top,” said one of the administration officials, who like others requested anonymity to be able to speak candidly about a sensitive matter.

“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” said another person with direct knowledge of how Harris’ office is run. “It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s—.” […]

But for some of the people who know Harris best, it’s become an all-too-familiar pattern for a politician who has churned through several iterations of staff on her rise and took office with a team almost entirely new to her.

Just six months in, some of those aides in the Office of the Vice President said they are eyeing other employment opportunities. Others have left already. In recent days, two top advance staffers, Karly Satkowiak and Gabrielle DeFranceschi, parted ways with Harris in what they and Harris officials said were long-planned departures, a point disputed by two other people familiar with the matter. […]

The morale level for current Harris staffers is “rough” and in many ways similar to the failed presidential campaign and her Senate office, according to the former Senate aide, who is in touch with current Harris staffers.

 

THE BORDER REMAINS IN CRISIS… AP: 9 mutilated bodies found on Mexican road near U.S. border

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico — Mexican soldiers have found the bullet-ridden, mutilated corpses of nine men on a highway that runs next to the U.S. border. The killings were the latest in a series of massacres and drug cartel battles this month that resembled scenes from the darkest days of Mexico’s 2006-2012 drug war.

The Defense Department said it found the nine bodies Tuesday on a highway outside of Miguel Aleman, across the border from Roma, Texas. The area has been fought over by rival cartels for more than a decade, usually by the Gulf cartel and the old Zetas cartel, and later a remnant of that group, the Northeast Cartel.

While some of the corpses had military-style clothing, there was no immediate confirmation on which gang they may have belonged to. Most had bullet wounds, but some also appear to have been hacked into or shot so many times their organs spilled onto the roadway, authorities said.

The discovery came five days after the bullet-ridden bodies of 18 men were discovered after what appeared to have been a shootout between members of rival drug cartels in the north-central state of Zacatecas.

 

Peter Doocy Battles With Jen Psaki Over Claims That Republicans Want To Defund The Police (VIDEO)

Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy questioned White House press secretary Jen Psaki during a Wednesday press briefing about her claims that Republicans were the ones who wanted to defund the police because they did not support the American Rescue Plan.

Doocy repeated Psaki’s claims and asked “which Republican ever said that they did not like the American Rescue Plan because they wanted to defund the police?”

 

NEW COUNT IN NEW YORK… Updated Vote Counts Give Adams Narrow Lead Following Tuesday’s Debacle

New York City’s updated results for its mayoral primary show former NYPD officer Eric Adams with a slim lead over former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia a day after the city’s Board of Elections mistakenly counted approximately 135,000 invalid ballots.

The results were identical to Tuesday’s unofficial ones, with Adams at 51.1% and Garcia at 48.9%. Tuesday was the first election in the city’s history to use ranked choice voting, and its initial tally included incorrect preliminary vote counts before the board withdrew them hours later.

Adams, who was the frontrunner in the campaign’s final days, leads Garcia by 14,755 votes, while Maya Wiley finished third after totaling just 347 shy of second. His lead, however, is not guaranteed, since New York City is waiting until July 6 to count approximately 125,000 absentee ballots that could decide who will likely be its next mayor.

 

CALIFORNIA MAYOR REQUIRES GUN OWNERS PAY ANNUAL FEES AND SHOW PAPERS TO POLICE OFFICERS UPON DEMAND… SAN JOSE MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: Tonight, City council unanimously approved our #GunViolence reduction initiatives, which included two first-of-their-kind proposals: mandatory gun insurance, and mandatory gun ownership fees. (LINK, THREAD)

 

CNN: San Jose mayor: Gun owners should cover the cost of gun violence

I joined several colleagues to propose a comprehensive set of initiatives to reduce gun-related harm in San Jose. These proposals include two measures that no other city nor state in the United States has ever tried: mandatory gun insurance to support victims, and mandatory gun fees to compensate taxpayers. As with many other Silicon Valley innovations, we intend to implement and test these ideas, learn from our mistakes, improve, iterate and provide a platform for others to scale them to benefit their own communities.

First, we will require every gun owner in my city to have liability insurance, regardless of where they purchased their gun. Insurance compensates the victims of unintentional gun harm — which annually injures 27,000 Americans and claims the lives of 500 more — paying medical bills, rehabilitative needs, and tragically, funeral expenses.

Insurance also incentivizes safe gun ownership, where risk-adjusted premiums might encourage owners to take gun-safety courses, use gun safes or install child-safety locks. In the context of auto safety, insurers rewarding good driving or the use of airbags have reduced per-mile auto fatalities by 80% in five decades, saving 3.5 million lives. We need a similar approach to address unintentional firearm risk, because 4.6 million children live in a household where a gun is kept unlocked and loaded, and three-quarters of gun injuries occur at home.

 

CAM EDWARDS: Not only does this bill try to impose fees on the exercise of a constitutional right, the burden will disproportionately fall on residents of high-crime neighborhoods and communities of color. Congratulations on your new Jim Crow law, Mr. Mayor. You must be so proud.

 

‘CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE FORCED’ … SCIENTISTS SAY MASKING IS HURTING CHILDREN… JAMA: Experimental Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Content in Inhaled Air With or Without Face Masks in Healthy Children

Many governments have made nose and mouth covering or face masks compulsory for schoolchildren. The evidence base for this is weak. The question whether nose and mouth covering increases carbon dioxide in inhaled air is crucial. A large-scale survey in Germany of adverse effects in parents and children using data of 25 930 children has shown that 68% of the participating children had problems when wearing nose and mouth coverings.

The normal content of carbon dioxide in the open is about 0.04% by volume (ie, 400 ppm). A level of 0.2% by volume or 2000 ppm is the limit for closed rooms according to the German Federal Environmental Office, and everything beyond this level is unacceptable. […]

We measured means (SDs) between 13 120 (384) and 13 910 (374) ppm of carbon dioxide in inhaled air under surgical and filtering facepiece 2 (FFP2) masks, which is higher than what is already deemed unacceptable by the German Federal Environmental Office by a factor of 6. This was a value reached after 3 minutes of measurement. Children under normal conditions in schools wear such masks for a mean of 270 (interquartile range, 120-390) minutes. The Figure shows that the value of the child with the lowest carbon dioxide level was 3-fold greater than the limit of 0.2 % by volume. The youngest children had the highest values, with one 7-year-old child’s carbon dioxide level measured at 25 000 ppm. […]

This carbon dioxide mixes with fresh air and elevates the carbon dioxide content of inhaled air under the mask, and this was more pronounced in this study for younger children.

This leads in turn to impairments attributable to hypercapnia. A recent review concluded that there was ample evidence for adverse effects of wearing such masks. We suggest that decision-makers weigh the hard evidence produced by these experimental measurements accordingly, which suggest that children should not be forced to wear face masks.

 

FORGET NEW SPENDING — MILLIONS OF TAXPAYERS HAVEN’T EVEN RECEIVED THEIR REFUNDS… IRS Faces Backlog Of 35 Million Unprocessed Tax Returns, Watchdog Finds

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ended this year’s filing season with more than 35 million unprocessed individual and business tax returns, according to a government watchdog report released Wednesday.

In its report submitted to Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate’s office at the IRS found that 16.8 million paper tax returns are still waiting to be processed and an additional 15.8 million returns have been placed on hold for further review. Another 2.7 million amended tax returns have not yet been unprocessed.

Although most taxpayers were able to successfully file their returns, the report found that a record number were not, as unprocessed tax returns this filing season were more than four times greater than the number reported at the end of the 2019 filing season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

AMAZON TESTS SCRAPPING HAND DELIVERY… CNBC: Amazon plans to build delivery robot tech in Finland

Amazon announced Thursday that it plans to develop new technology for its autonomous delivery vehicles in Helsinki, Finland.

The Seattle-headquartered tech giant said in a blog post that it is setting up a new “Development Center” to support Amazon Scout, which is a fully electric autonomous delivery robot that is being tested in four U.S. locations.

Two dozen engineers will be based at the Amazon Scout Development Center in Helsinki initially, the company said, adding that they will be focused on research and development.

One of their main aims will be to develop 3D software that “simulates the complexity of real life” and ensures “Scout can navigate safely while making deliveries,” Amazon said. […]

Roughly the size of a small cooler, Amazon Scout vehicles can transport small packages along sidewalks at walking pace.

Delivery robots are widely seen as a potentially useful asset in last mile delivery but they could also replace hundreds of thousands of jobs.

 

CNBC: Robinhood to pay $70 million for outages and misleading customers, the largest-ever FINRA penalty

Robinhood will pay roughly $70 million in penalties for its systemwide outages and misleading communication and trading practices, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Wednesday.

The settlement regards the technical failures Robinhood experienced in March of 2020, Robinhood’s lack of due diligence before approving customers to place options trades and purveying misleading information to customers about aspects like trading on margin. The stock market was diving that month in especially wild trading amid the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

FINRA — a self-regulatory organization that oversees brokerage firms and their registered representatives — said it fined Robinhood $57 million and ordered the stock trading app to pay nearly $13 million in restitution to thousands of clients.

“FINRA considered the widespread and significant harm suffered by customers, including millions of customers who received false or misleading information from the firm, millions of customers affected by the firm’s systems outages in March 2020, and thousands of customers the firm approved to trade options even when it was not appropriate for the customers to do so,” the organization said in a statement.

 

CNBC: Xi at Communist Party anniversary: China won’t accept ‘sanctimonious preaching’ from others

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke Thursday about China’s firm resolve to stand up to foreign pressure while laying out national aspirations at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of China’s ruling Communist Party.

China will not accept “sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us,” Xi said, according to an official translation of his Mandarin-language remarks. He did not name a specific country, amid growing tensions with the U.S.

Xi said China would never allow any foreign force to bully it, and anyone attempting to do so would “find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion people.”

“A century ago China was declining and withering away in the eyes of the world,” he said. “Today, the image it presents to the world is one of a thriving nation, that is advancing with unstoppable momentum toward rejuvenation.” […]

Xi’s speech lasted just over an hour, focusing mostly on a historical narrative of the successful role of the Communist Party in the country’s history since the 19th century. He did not mention controversial events such as the Cultural Revolution.

 

NYT: Kim Jong-un Lost Weight. No One Knows How or Why.

 

SEOUL — All they had was TV footage — and a wristwatch.

When North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, re-emerged this month after a four-week hiatus from public view, outside analysts and news outlets began studying state news media for clues to explain his latest absence.

Right off the bat, they noticed that Mr. Kim, 37, looked considerably thinner than before. After comparing appearances by Mr. Kim on North Korean television in recent months, analysts noticed the brown leather band of his wristwatch looked a few notches tighter, supporting the idea that he had lost weight.

But that was as much as they had to go on.

Mr. Kim’s health, like the North Korean regime itself, is shrouded in such secrecy that experts are often forced to divine clues using pure guess work. Did he have a health scare? Or did the obese dictator of the world’s most isolated country finally decide to go on a diet?

These questions — and the obsessive attention to mundane details like Mr. Kim’s wristwatch — may seem like the idle prattle of celebrity gossip. But analysts say they must use every bit of information available to try and answer an even more serious question: What would happen to North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and its people, who have been taught to worship Mr. Kim, if he were suddenly incapacitated?

 

SHE’S GOT THE POWER… UNC Board Of Trustees Votes To Offer 1619 Project’s Nikole Hannah-Jones Tenure

The Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted on Wednesday to approve a tenured professorship for Nikole Hannah-Jones, the lead writer of the New York Times’ 1619 Project.

The tenure application was approved in a 9-4 vote, reversing a May decision in which the board rejected Hannah-Jones for tenure, instead offering her a five-year professorship as Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism.

Weeks of backlash on social media from Hannah-Jones’ supporters followed after the initial decision by the university, leading to today’s closed-door session, which was met with protests by students at the university.

 

TOM ELLIOTT: Olympian @MzBerryThrows: “If you know your history, you know the full song of the National Anthem. The third paragraph speaks to slaves in America, our blood being slang and piltered all over the floor. It’s disrespectful and it doesn’t speak for black Americans. It’s obvious” (VIDEO)

 

ERICK ERICKSON: The idea that the National Anthem references slavery with the word “slave” is modern nonsense. It is a line referencing the American forces being all volunteer and the British had both paid sailors and men impressed against their will fighting on their side.

 

FLASHBACK… 2018… STAR TRIB: National anthem‘s third verse stirs passions, but the reading is erroneous

At issue is the troublesome third verse: “no refuge shall save, the hireling and slave, from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”

Though tempting, a literal reading of this long-ignored line is facile and erroneous.

No evidence supports the contention that the reference to “slave” means African-Americans in bondage.

Francis Scott Key, author of the lyrics, never wrote about the song and commented on his creation only once, to praise the brave men who defended Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor from a British naval bombardment.

Detractors argue that Key’s lyrics refer to the Colonial Marines, enslaved Africans from the Caribbean to whom the British promised freedom if they helped fight Americans during the War of 1812.

It’s true the Colonial Marines fought beside British forces on their way toward Washington, D.C., in 1814. Key watched the smoke rise from the public buildings in the nation’s capital after the British burned them down.

Then the British army and navy turned their attention toward Baltimore. Colonial Marines again participated. However, their minuscule numbers would have hardly attracted attention.

Key’s third verse sticks a finger in the eye of the British writ large. The song gloats over the American victory after years of warfare. So why would he even consider the Colonial Marines at all?

Taken in context, the term “hireling” likely refers to mercenaries who bolstered a British fighting force decimated by the Napoleonic Wars. Many Americans are aware of the Hessians, German troops who augmented British armies during the Revolutionary War.

And rather than referring to a particular handful of fighters, the term “slave” describes all of the monarch’s loyal subjects, including British troops — as contrasted with free patriot Americans. Key also has been criticized for being a poor poet, and this stilted third verse supports this contention: “save,” “slave” and “grave” may merely have offered simplistic rhymes.

 

DAVID HOOKSTEAD: Shaq Rips LeBron James For Complaining About The NBA’s Schedule

Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t want to hear any complaining from LeBron James about the NBA’s schedule.

Following multiple injuries to players in the playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers star ripped the league for games starting so soon after last season ended. LeBron pretty much accused the league’s scheduling of causing injuries.

However, Shaq wasn’t impressed and he thinks there’s no room for complaining when you make the kind of money NBA players do.

The legendary center said the following during a Tuesday appearance on CNBC, according to BroBible:

When you’re living in a world where 40 million people have been laid off and I’m making $200 million, you won’t get no complaining from me. I’d play back to back to back to back to back. I’m not knocking what anybody said, but me personally, I don’t complain and make excuses because real people are working their tail off and all we gotta do is train two hours a day, and then play a game for two hours at night and make a lot of money…So my thought process is a little different.

Leave it to Shaq to always be the voice of reason, and he’s 100% correct. There’s literally no reason at all to be complaining if you’re an NBA star.

 

SPORTSCENTER: Breaking: Every NCAA athlete in the country will be able to make money from endorsements and through a variety of other ventures starting Thursday.

 

GREG PRICE: Coming soon will be libs in sports media upset that football and men’s basketball players are making a lot more money than the women

 

AP: Bill Cosby freed from prison, his sex conviction overturned

Cosby was arrested in 2015, when a district attorney armed with newly unsealed evidence — the comic’s damaging deposition in a lawsuit brought by Constand — filed charges against him just days before the 12-year statute of limitations was about to run out.

But the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Wednesday that District Attorney Kevin Steele, who made the decision to arrest Cosby, was obligated to stand by his predecessor’s promise not to charge Cosby, though there was no evidence that agreement was ever put in writing.

Justice David Wecht, writing for a split court, said Cosby had relied on the previous district attorney’s decision not to charge him when the comedian gave his potentially incriminating testimony in Constand’s civil case.

The court called Cosby’s subsequent arrest “an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was forgone for more than a decade.” It said justice and “fair play and decency” require that the district attorney’s office stand by the decision of the previous DA.

The justices said that overturning the conviction and barring any further prosecution “is the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.”

Cosby was promptly set free from the state prison in suburban Montgomery County and driven home.

 

JAKE TAPPER: The PA Supreme Court freed Cosby because they found that the commonwealth of PA had pledged to not prosecute him, thus removing his 5th amendment right to refuse to testify, thus taking away immunity from being deposed in the civil case. He was NOT found innocent. (THREAD)

 

HARMEET DHILLON: Bill Cosby is a rapist, whose constitutional rights were violated. Much as I despise the outcome of this case, it is legally correct. The original decision to grant him immunity was wrong, as was the subsequent media-fueled decision to prosecute. Prosecutors let the victims down.

 

‘I Have Always Maintained My Innocence’: Bill Cosby Breaks Silence After Sexual Assault Conviction Overturned

Bill Cosby broke his silence on Wednesday following his release from prison after his sexual assault conviction was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

“I have never changed my stance nor my story,” the 83-year-old disgraced actor tweeted to his millions of followers.

“I have always maintained my innocence,” he added. “Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law. #BillCosby.”

 

Judge Rejects Britney Spears’ Request To Remove Her Father As Conservator Of Her Estate

A California judge on Wednesday rejected pop icon Britney Spears’ request to have her father removed as sole conservator of her estate.

“The conservator’s request to suspend James P. Spears immediately upon the appointment of Bessemer Trust Company of California as sole conservator of estate is denied without prejudice,” the court documents say.

Spears’ court-appointed lawyer Samuel Ingham III filed the request to remove her father Jaime Spears from the role back in November 2020, stating that his client was “afraid of her father” and asked the court to replace him with financial company Bessemer Trust.

The pop legend has also said she would not perform again until her father is removed as conservator.

“I shouldn’t be in a conservatorship if I can work and provide money and work for myself and pay other people,” Spears told Judge Brenda Penny last week in a 24 minute testimony to the court, while adding that her father loved to “control” her life.

“What state allows people to own another person’s money and account and threaten them in saying, ‘You can’t spend your money unless we do what we want you to do?,” Spears also said.

Jamie Spears has been her co-conservator since 2008, when the singer suffered a public breakdown and he became sole conservator in 2019 after attorney Andrew Wallet resigned from co-conservatorship.