AMERICANS STRUGGLE TO PAY THE BILLS… BLOOMBERG: Difficulty Paying Bills Tops Pandemic High in US Census Survey
(Bloomberg) — The share of Americans who report having difficulties paying their bills has surpassed its 2020 pandemic peak in a US Census Bureau survey, underscoring the toll of soaring prices on budgets.
Four in ten adults said it has been somewhat or very difficult to cover usual household expenses in a poll conducted end of June and early July. That’s the highest since the Census started asking the question in August 2020. It implies that more than 90 million families are struggling, up from about 60 million a year ago.
When the Census first asked the question two years ago, a third of respondents reported difficulties in covering usual household bills. The share fell over the following year but started rising about a year ago after government pandemic relief ended and inflation took hold.
1 – Rising Gas Prices – 92% Concerned, 68% Very Concerned
2 – Inflation – 91% Concerned, 69% Very Concerned
3 – The Economy – 89% Concerned, 69% Very Concerned
4 – Energy Policy* – 86% Important, 59% Very Important
5 – Violent Crime – 86% Concerned, 58% Very Concerned
6 – Election Integrity – 83% Concerned, 61% Very Concerned
7 – School Issues – 76% Concerned, 58% Very Concerned
8 – Abortion Rights – 75% Important, 54% Very Important
9 – Election Cheating – 75% Concerned, 53% Very Concerned
10 – Illegal Immigration – 73% Important, 42% Very Important
1 – Climate Change – 64% Concerned, 39% Very Concerned
2 – Ukraine War – 60% Important, 20% Very Important
3 – Capitol Riot Investigation – 57% Important, 41% Very Important
4 – COVID-19 – 57% Concerned, 22% Very Concerned
5 – LGBTQ Issues – 42% Support, 23% Strongly Support
Migrant smuggling on the U.S. southern border has evolved over the past 10 years from a scattered network of freelance “coyotes” into a multi-billion-dollar international business controlled by organized crime, including some of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels. […]
Fees typically range from $4,000, for migrants coming from Latin America, to $20,000, if they must be moved from Africa, Eastern Europe or Asia, according to Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, an expert on smuggling at George Mason University.
For years, independent coyotes paid cartels a tax to move migrants through territory they controlled along the border, and the criminal syndicates stuck to their traditional line of business, drug smuggling, which was far more profitable.
That began to change around 2019, Patrick Lechleitner, the acting deputy director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told Congress last year. The sheer number of people seeking to cross made migrant smuggling an irresistible moneymaker for some cartels, he said.
The enterprises have teams specializing in logistics, transportation, surveillance, stash houses and accounting — all supporting an industry whose revenues have soared to an estimated $13 billion today from $500 million in 2018, according to Homeland Security Investigations, the federal agency that investigates such cases.
When asked what he would do differently if he could go back in time to the beginning of the pandemic, White House coronavirus advisor Anthony Fauci said that he would recommend “much, much more stringent restrictions” from the get-go.
“If I knew in 2020 what I know now, we would do a lot differently,” said Fauci in an interview on Monday. “The insidious nature of spread in the community would have been much more of an alarm, and there would have been much, much more stringent restrictions in the sense of very, very heavy encouragement of people to wear masks, physical distancing, what have you.”
Fauci said, “I think the masking situation is one that is really critical that would have been done differently. First of all, we did not fully appreciate that a well-fitted [N95] or [KN95] mask is much, much better than a cloth mask and to wear a good mask, the data now are very clear that masks are very good at preventing both the acquisition of and transmission of infection. There was a lot of conflicting data back then as we were in the early months of 2020. So, the recommendations were a bit confusing about whether to wear a mask or not, whether you should wear a cloth mask or what have you. Right now, we are very, very clear that masks do work in prevention of acquisition and transmission, but you’ve got to get a well-fitted mask that has — of a high quality. And the two we know are high-quality are an N95 or a KN95.”
SIREN: WHISTLEBLOWER ALLEGES FBI COVERUP OF HUNTER BIDEN’S CRIMES… JERRY DUNLEAVY: Hunter Biden evidence wrongly labeled disinformation by FBI: Whistleblower
The FBI’s investigation into Hunter Biden wrongly labeled verified evidence as “disinformation,” agency whistleblowers claimed.
Agents investigating President Joe Biden’s son “opened an assessment which was used by an FBI headquarters team to improperly discredit negative Hunter Biden information as disinformation and caused investigative activity to cease,” according to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley revealed the claim after his office received “a significant number of protected communications from highly credible whistleblowers” about the investigation. The Republican claimed one of the communications shows “verified and verifiable derogatory information on Hunter Biden was falsely labeled as disinformation.”
FBI supervisory intelligence agent Brian Auten opened in August 2020 the assessment that was later used by the agency, according to the disclosures. One of the whistleblowers claimed the FBI assistant special agent in charge of the Washington field office, Timothy Thibault, shut down a line of inquiry into Hunter Biden in October 2020 despite some of the details being known to be true at the time.
A whistleblower also said Thibault “ordered closed” an “avenue of additional derogatory Hunter Biden reporting,” according to Grassley, even though “all of the reporting was either verified or verifiable via criminal search warrants.” The senator said Thibault “ordered the matter closed without providing a valid reason as required” and that FBI officials “subsequently attempted to improperly mark the matter in FBI systems so that it could not be opened in the future,” according to the disclosures.
DON YOUR PELOSI EYEBROWS… ROSIE MEMOS: One of Hunter’s FBI contacts just got a promotion and happens to have authority and responsibility for all FBI intelligence functions…(SCREENGRABS OF HUNTER’S CONTACTS & FBI ANNOUNCEMENT) … H/T ZEROHEDGE…
ADIOS! … BREITBART: Report: Jill Biden’s Press Secretary Leaving the White House After Embarrassing Taco Speech
First Lady Jill Biden’s press secretary Michael LaRosa is leaving the White House, according to a report from CNN.
“For nearly three years, from the campaign to the White House, Michael has brought an encyclopedic knowledge of politics and media to my team as my spokesperson and adviser,” the first lady told CNN.
“On a small team, loyalty and friendship are lifelong – we will miss Michael. However, we are excited for him to begin a new chapter in his career.”
IT’S CLUB FED FOR INFAMOUS CHILD ABUSER… LORRIE GOLDSTEIN, TORONTO SUN: Well, this is a disgrace: After being sentenced to 20 years for sex crimes, Ghislaine Maxwell is moved to a Florida Club Fed featuring yoga, pilates, weightlifting, softball, flag football, frisbee, plus a track for running. Prison also holds a talent show
MORE… Convicted Child Sex Trafficker’s New Prison Digs Will Make You Furious
Convicted child sex trafficker and offender Ghislaine Maxwell was transferred Friday to a low-security prison in Tallahassee, Florida.
Maxwell was found guilty on five of six charges related to her relationship with convicted child predator Jeffrey Epstein in Dec. 2021. She was sentenced to twenty years in federal prison in June. It was expected that Maxwell would serve her time at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Danbury, Connecticut, the prison which inspired the hit TV series “Orange is the New Black,” according to the New York Post.
Instead, Maxwell now resides at an FCI in Tallahassee, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The prison is a low-security environment and will give Maxwell a lot more space and movement than what she’s experienced thus far, according to the FCI Tallahassee handbook.
RUSSIA BREAKS UP WITH AMERICA: WE NEED OUR SPACE… NY POST: Russia to withdraw from International Space Station in 2024, build new base
Russia will leave the International Space Station at the end of 2024 and start construction on its own orbital base, officials announced Tuesday.
Yuri Borisov, a former deputy prime minister and deputy defense minister appointed earlier this month to lead the state-controlled Roscosmos, said Russia will meet its obligations to other ISS partners before pulling out of the project.
“The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made,” Borisov said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
CALLING ALL PATRIOTS: The Biden administration preemptively downplayed concerns about the state of the economy ahead of second quarter GDP growth data. Economic commentators frequently use two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth as a “rule of thumb” that an economy is in a recession, but President Joe Biden’s economic team argued in a blog post that even if second quarter GDP growth is also negative it is still “unlikely” that that would indicate the economy is in a recession. Patriots, how likely do you think a recession is? Let us know in the form.