When last we checked, Rep. Matt Gaetz [R-Fla.] was still slated to be the featured speaker at the Nashua Republican City Committee’s annual “Steak Out,” scheduled for August 27.
We’re worried, though, that Nashua Republicans might give in to the Governor’s pleas and disinvite him. If they do, we’ll lose our news hook. So, let’s check in on this Florida Man.
On March 24th, Fox’s Paul Steinhauser breathlessly reported:
“EXCLUSIVE—No. He’s not mulling a 2024 presidential run.
“Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is headed to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire this summer, to help raise money for fellow Republicans.
“Multiple Republican sources in the Granite State told Fox News on Wednesday that the three-term representative and close ally of former President Trump will headline the Nashua Republican City Committee’s annual ‘Steak Out’ fundraiser.”
Steinhauser went on to deftly encapsulate Gaetz’s great talent for drawing attention to himself: “He made national news in January when he headlined a rally in Wyoming as he targeted Rep. Liz Cheney in her own home state—after Cheney became the most high profile of the 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach the then-president.”
Just six days later, the New York Times reported that Nashua’s “coming attraction” had been drawing the attention of the U.S. Justice Department. The feds were said to be investigating “whether [Gaetz, who is 38] had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him….” Possible charges could include sex trafficking.
In a particularly cruel twist, the investigation was begun during the administration of a man Gaetz idolizes, Donald Trump. We’re not saying that there’s any connection, but last November, the Miami Herald has reported, Tiffany Trump tweeted a photo of herself to which Gaetz responded “with a string of emojis: fire, a red heart, a heart eye happy face and a thumbs up sign.” Surely only the most vindictive sort of monster would sic the Justice Department on someone just for creeping on his daughter…oh, wait….
Curiously, just a day after the news of the investigation broke, Vice News was able to report that QAnon had not only cleared Gaetz, it had turned the tables on those investigating him.
“For more than three years,” David Gilbert wrote, “QAnon followers have been waiting for the Storm, the moment when high-profile lawmakers and other elites would be made to answer for their crimes of child sex trafficking.
“On Tuesday it sure seemed like the Storm had arrived….”
Through reading QAnon channels on Telegram, though, Gilbert discovered instead that the QAnon brain trust had developed theories such as “Gaetz is working WITH FBI to catch an extortion racket,” and, “The deep state media is using Matt Gaetz to distract us from the recent Ghislaine Maxwell drops and information.”
We will confess that, with so much sleazy misbehavior to process, coming from so many malefactors, we haven’t been able to keep close track of Gaetz’s remarkable record. A quick survey makes it clear, though, that he’s an overachiever. One would have to be, after all, to get the attention of Bill Barr’s Justice Department.
As we understand the current state of affairs, prosecutors suspect that early in 2018, a Seminole County tax assessor might have served as an intermediary between the Congressman and a number of young—perhaps too young—women. Later that year, Gaetz visited the Bahamas on the tab of a marijuana entrepreneur, where he is suspected of having conducted the same sort of illicit behavior.
We note, without further comment, that Gaetz claims to have adopted—without benefit of paperwork—a Cuban immigrant about 20 years old named Nestor Galban.
Though it’s not technically misbehavior—it’s not illegal for Members of Congress to vote however they like—it does seem relevant that in 2017 he cast the lone “No” vote against the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act.
In his Oscar-winning screenplay, Herman Mankiewicz used a sled named “Rosebud” as a theatrical device to illuminate the character of Charles Foster Kane.
Will it help us, then, to better understand Matt Gaetz, when we learn that, as a teenager, Peter Weir used his home as the set for the movie, “The Truman Show”? Yeah, maybe not. We’re just left wishing we lived in a world created by Herman Mankiewicz—or Peter Weir.
Governor Sununu, ever fastidious, issued a statement saying, “The Nashua Republican City Committee should of course rescind their invitation. I’m surprised the committee hasn’t already done so. I certainly will not attend an event headlined by Representative Gaetz.”
WMUR’s John DiStaso has reported that, as of April 15th, Nashua’s Di Lothrop stands defiant.
Lothrop texted DiStaso, saying “I just finished my report on Rep. Gaetz. We have over 50 people here and the overwhelming response from our members was do NOT back down on our invitation.”
Now, that’s the New Hampshire Way.
High atop the public-private partnership known as Foundry Place, lurking around the edges of that barren expanse while collecting open source intel for an as-yet unannounced project, our Wandering Photographer was startled by a motionless figure on a moving platform. It could only be Board Man—having rolled right off the pages of an underground comic by Spain Rodriguez. What might his mission be? None of our damn business.
Rapid Melting of Glaciers Has Shifted Earth’s Axis
Kenny Stancil, staff writer, Common Dreams
Since 1980, the planet’s north and south poles have moved roughly four meters in distance, and new research shows that shifts in the Earth’s rotational axis have accelerated since the 1990s as a result of the widespread melting of glaciers—a clear manifestation, scientists say, of the climate emergency.
“Faster ice melting under global warming was the most likely cause of the directional change of the polar drift in the 1990s,” Shanshan Deng—a researcher from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences—told the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Thursday.
In a study published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letter, Deng and her co-authors found that changes in terrestrial water storage—particularly the accelerated loss of water stored on land due to melting glaciers—redistributed enough of the world’s mass to drive “the rapid polar drift toward the east after the 1990s.”
As The Guardian explained Friday: “The planet’s geographic north and south poles are the point where its axis of rotation intersects the surface, but they are not fixed. Changes in how the Earth’s mass is distributed around the planet cause the axis, and therefore the poles, to move.
“In the past, only natural factors such as ocean currents and the convection of hot rock in the deep Earth contributed to the drifting position of the poles. But the new research shows that since the 1990s, the loss of hundreds of billions of tons of ice a year into the oceans resulting from the climate crisis has caused the poles to move in new directions.
“The scientists found the direction of polar drift shifted from southward to eastward in 1995 and that the average speed of drift from 1995 to 2020 was 17 times faster than from 1981 to 1995.”
The AGU noted that “researchers have been able to determine the causes of polar drifts starting from 2002 based on data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a joint mission by NASA and the German Aerospace Center, launched with twin satellites that year and a follow-up mission in 2018.”
Data from the GRACE satellites has enabled scientists to “link glacial melting to movements of the pole in 2005 and 2012, both following increases in ice losses,” The Guardian reported. “But Deng’s research breaks new ground by extending the link to before the satellite’s launch, showing human activities have been shifting the poles since the 1990s, almost three decades ago.”
While Deng’s team showed that the accelerated decline in water stored on land stemming from glacial losses “is the main driver” of polar drift since the 1990s, the researchers wrote that groundwater depletion in non-glacial regions has also contributed to the movements.
“Groundwater is stored under land but, once pumped up for drinking or agriculture, most eventually flows to sea, redistributing its weight around the world,” The Guardian noted. “In the past 50 years, humanity has removed 18 trillion tons of water from deep underground reservoirs without it being replaced.”
Vincent Humphrey, a climate scientist at the University of Zurich who was not involved in the study, told AGU that the new research “tells you how strong this mass change is—it’s so big that it can change the axis of the Earth.”
This axis shift is too small to affect daily life, only changing the length of day by milliseconds.
Nonetheless, other climate experts such as Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona, have said before that the mere fact that the climate crisis is driving polar movements demonstrates “how real and profoundly large an impact humans are having on the planet.”
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Wandering past the Middle School on Sunday, en-route to the City’s collectively-financed Public Library, our eponymous Photographer happened upon the The Leftist Marching Band at practice. If they keep this up, someday they might find themselves at Carnegie Hall.
“If You Want to Save the U.S.P.S., Fire DeJoy”
Julia Conley, staff writer, Common Dreams
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Thursday reiterated its call for the ouster of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, the Republican megadonor accused of attempting to sabotage the U.S. Postal Service last year as millions of Americans relied on the agency to participate in the presidential election.
As the House Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held a confirmation hearing for President Joe Biden’s three nominees to the U.S.P.S. Board of Governors, CREW tweeted numerous times that DeJoy must be dismissed and replaced promptly due to his actions last year and his so-called “Delivering for America” program, proposed last month.
“Save the U.S. Postal Service. Fire Louis DeJoy,” the group later tweeted.
Under “Delivering for America”—denounced by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) as a “pathetic 10-year plan to weaken U.S.P.S.,” DeJoy would raise prices, cut administrative costs, and slow down deliveries.
Biden’s three nominees—Ron Stroman, Anton Hajjar, and Amber McReynolds—said in the hearing that they would prioritize reliable mail service and took “veiled shots” at “Delivering for America”—but declined to say that they would oust DeJoy, even though the appointment of all three would give Biden and the Democrats a 5-4 majority and control of the board of governors for the first time since 2016.
Board Chairman Ron A. Bloom, a former Obama administration official, and member Lee Moak are the only Democrats on the board of governors, but both have expressed reluctance to dismiss DeJoy.
“The board of governors believes the postmaster general, in very difficult circumstances, is doing a good job,” Bloom told lawmakers in February.
As the Washington Post reported Thursday, members of Congress have been discussing with Biden administration officials the possibility of the president declining to nominate Bloom for a second term, to get rid of what critics have called “an enabler” of DeJoy.
“There’s a growing number of people who say, maybe you don’t need to fire all the board, but you need to be able to create a majority to fire DeJoy,” a House aide told the Post. “And there’s another group saying, when we get enough Democrats on the board, that will be enough to maybe slow down some of the things DeJoy is doing.”
Meanwhile, Moak’s refusal to discuss his position on DeJoy has angered Democrats including Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), whose office corresponded with Moak in January in what became an “acrimonious” exchange.
“The Congressman is deeply disconcerted by the destruction and degradation of U.S.P.S. over the course of the past year by Postmaster General DeJoy and the public silence of the Board of Governors in the face of it,” wrote Pascrell’s office. “To that end, an additional question we’d appreciate you clearing up for us tomorrow: will you move to fire Postmaster General DeJoy for his arson, and if not, why not?”
Moak declined to answer the question and wrote to the Congressman, “If you spent more time working to solve problems than create them perhaps we would be further along.”
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U.S.P.S. Monitors Social Media Posts
Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams
An internal government bulletin obtained by Yahoo News this week revealed that the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service is monitoring social media posts as part of a surveillance operation known as iCOP, a secretive program that sparked alarm among rights groups and civil liberties advocates.
The sensitive bulletin concerns the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s (U.S.P.I.S.) recent surveillance of Facebook, Parler, and Telegram posts related to the March 20th World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy, anti-coronavirus lockdown and anti-vaccine demonstrations organized by far-right groups.
“The federal government’s sprawling and clandestine surveillance apparatus manifests in a new way,” tweeted progressive activist Jordan Uhl. “These breaches of civil liberties largely go unchecked because, again, it targets right-wingers on Parler, but ultimately threaten everyone in the long run.”
Jana Winter of Yahoo News reported that the USPIS surveillance effort “involves having analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as ‘inflammatory’ postings and then sharing that information across government agencies.”
Winter wrote on Twitter that USPIS would not answer questions about when the social media monitoring program began.
“Footnotes in the bulletin citing their authority say the Attorney General can give more powers to the Postmaster General,” Winter noted, “but [Justice] wouldn’t tell me when that was either.” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a GOP megadonor, remains under fire for implementing operational changes that dramatically slowed mail delivery across the country.
USPIS describes its mission as enforcing “federal statutes related to crimes that involve the postal system, its employees, and its customers” and includes in its scope a range of illegal activities, from mail fraud to child exploitation. Advocacy organizations have grown increasingly worried in recent years about the expanding reach of the Postal Service’s sprawling mail monitoring program.
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