Tonight, President Joe Biden announced that a drone strike managed by the Central Intelligence Agency at 9:48 Eastern time on Saturday killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, 71, who took control of al-Qaeda after the death of leader Osama bin Laden. The precision strike hit Zawahiri as he stood on a balcony in a prosperous section of Kabul, Afghanistan. There were no civilian casualties.
Congratulations, Professor, on your induction to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. It is well deserved, and you join your rightful place in history alongside Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Albert Einstein, and Joan Baez, and a select few key figures (only 261 folks is it since 1780?) MAZEL TOV! (And, we can say we knew you when!)
On a completely different note, Georgia's "Fetal Heartbeat" law went into effect this week, officially known by the rather tortured name, the "Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act." (Ga House Bill 481). On it's surface, it does several remarkable things, like according legal rights to a "person" as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detectable, usually around 6 weeks pregnancy, and makes it illegal to abort that fetus without a strong showing of evidence that the mother's life would be ended or majorly destroyed if the pregnancy were allowed to continue. (Mental health issues are excluded.)
Interestingly, the law specifically permits the unborn child to be used as a tax deduction, beginning with that heartbeat detection. There is no requirement that the pregnancy result in a live birth.
This means that a pregnant wealthy person in Georgia can simply get an ultrasound demonstrating a fetal heartbeat, fly to a more enlightened state for an abortion, then file for a tax deduction. The deduction would defray the cost of travel and, for even higher income brackets, may even pay for the procedure and result in a profit.
In other words, it's a perfect example of a Republican bill -- it gives tax money to rich people and reeks of hypocrisy! What's not to love? I'd love to hear what folks on this board think of this.
"Tonight, President Joe Biden announced that a drone strike managed by the Central Intelligence Agency at 9:48 Eastern time on Saturday killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri...There were no civilian casualties."
This is an incredible achievement for this administration. It must not be downplayed. Thanks, Heather.
Thank you for today’s newsletter, Professor. You report “Judge Dabney Fredrich sentenced Capitol rioter Guy Reffitt to more than 7 years in prison, 3 years of probation, $2000 in fines, and mental health treatment.” Critical is the mental health treatment. That should be mandatory for every rioter arrested and all those implicated in masterminding and participating in the insurrection. Especially Including TFG and government officials and representatives. Any mentally healthy person would not have participated in an unconstitutional attempt to stop the electoral count or even challenge the election. Or follow TFG anywhere.
And in other news - not from The Onion - Donald Trump has buried his first wife by the first tee of his NJ golf course. For tax purposes. No NJ taxes on cemeteries. A family mausoleum which can double as a wedding chapel is also in the works. This is similar to Trump and Kushner et al business empires being classified as pass-through entities allowing them to pose as small businesses to qualify for tax breaks and Covid relief. (Republicans instituted this in their tax law and went to the mats for it in the Covid relief debates.)
Also not from The Onion. The fate of the Democratic Inflation Reduction Act rests uneasily in the hands of Sen. Sinema, who opposes its closing the carried interest loophole . The loophole is 'essentially a way for fund managers to be taxed on the share of the fund’s profits they receive, for their work, at a top rate of just under 24 percent — dramatically less than the 37 percent top rate for ordinary income. This giveaway is so valuable that many have it to thank for the bulk of their fortunes.'
And just in time for mid terms, anti vaxxers have joined anti abortion and anti gun regulation cultists as single issue voters.
'Trump Demands Recount After Biden Has More Positive COVID Tests Than He Did'
'WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) - Donald J. Trump has demanded an immediate recount of covid tests after it emerged that President Biden had tested positive more times than he did.'
'A fuming Trump told reporters that “the only way Sleepy Joe could beat me at covid is if the tests were rigged.” (Satire, NewYorker)
Reffitt could have violated Texas state law for actions such as threatening his own family members with violence and be prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to consecutive time in Texas state court. Then again, maybe Abbott could award him some state honors.
Wheeled onto the balcony of the Blue Room last evening as he continues to fight COVID, President Biden, nevertheless, stood up proudly as he informed the American people that Central Intelligence Agency had killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, 71, who took control of al-Qaeda after the death of leader Osama bin Laden.
‘Zawahiri believed that attacking the U.S. and allied countries was essential to undermining the pro-Western Arab regimes that were standing in the way of uniting Muslims around the world.’ (Letter)
Last night's announcement was a big surprise. This is a new day. It is Tuesday and the final stretch of the election primaries. Contests in ‘…Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington state could elevate more Republicans who, like Trump, have baselessly undermined faith in elections and pitch themselves as populist fighters against not just Democrats but the GOP establishment.’ (WAPO)
‘Kansas voters to decide abortion rights in 1st test since Roe v. Wade repeal’
‘Voters will not have the option of banning the procedure outright, however. Instead, they’ll vote on a GOP-sponsored initiative known as Amendment 2, which would strip abortion protections from the state constitution. But should a majority of voters support the measure, the Republican-controlled state Legislature is expected to move quickly to restrict or prohibit the procedure.’
‘The initiative is an attempt to overturn a 2019 decision by the Kansas Supreme Court, which ruled 6-1 that the state constitution “enables a woman to make decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life, including the decision whether to continue a pregnancy.”
‘Due in large part to that decision, Kansas continues to ensure abortion rights despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in late June that access to the procedure is not protected by the federal Constitution. Republican-controlled states bordering Kansas, such as Oklahoma and Missouri, now have near-total bans in place.’
‘Political observers from across the country will be paying close attention to how Kansas votes on the issue. Polls show that most Americans want abortion to be legal, and Democrats hope the issue will motivate voters to support their candidates this November.’
‘If voters in conservative Kansas reject the GOP’s attempt to roll back abortion protections, that could offer some hope to Democrats, who are locked in an uphill battle to keep control of Congress in the midterms. It could also be good news for Kansas’s Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, who is up for reelection in the fall.’
“If people in the state of Kansas vote no on that amendment, then the status quo will remain. And women’s reproductive rights will remain constitutional here in the state of Kansas,” Kelly said in June after Roe was overturned.’ (YahooNews) See link below.
We have quite a night ahead of us..
I see that the United States continues to kill the men in the organization it created in Afghanistan in the late 1970’s to build a Muslim insurgency against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.
US support for the birth of Al Qaeda included the printing of fundamentalist pamphlets in the Midwest and their dissemination.
Nothing like giving birth to, and nurturing, what became the US most expensive and sustained enemy in history.
How many bad ideas does it take to fell a country??
See Wikipedia: Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
"Prosecutors wanted to attach penalties for terrorism to the sentencing, but Fredrich declined, sayng that would creae an “unwarranted disparity” between his sentence and those of other rioters."
Guess who appointed Fredrich to the federal bench? Yes! Donald Trump! The prosecutors ask f or 15 years for listed acts that qualify for "domestic terrorism" and the "judge" suddenly remembers who it was he bent over and spread for.
As to Zawahiri, surprise surprise, he was living in the home of the head of the Haqqani Gang, the worst drug-dealing thug terrorists in the Taliban.
Thank you Heather.
As I scrolled through Facebook last night I was struck by a comment. Obama killed Osama bin Laden. Biden killed Ayman al Zawahiri. Trump tried to kill Mike Pence. Although not technically accurate, the point is well taken.
This take out went seemingly without a hitch. It's always a risky endeavor for any President to attempt this. I don't think I'm the only person in the room that read the report of this and felt relieved that there wasn't civilian loss. That detail always seems to be a talking point for any detractors.
Seems odd to me at first blush, that the Trump appointed Judge didn't go all in for the sentencing for Reffitt. Perhaps a missed opportunity?
Be safe. Be well.
Thank you Heather. I got the MarineTrack app and I am tracking Razoni the ship. It is supposed to go through the Bosporus strait this afternoon. A friend and I will be in position to take pictures of this historic event.
There is a chatter of how trumpski couldn’t really be prosecuted. Could he really get away with all his lies?
We live in a world of domestic and foreign political terrorism that seems to be growing worse.
We didn't create present day Russia and China. Their antipathy for western democracy and America / European economies and societies has developed over centuries. But the US has played a major part in creating antagonistic relationships with smaller nations like Cuba, Vietnam and Iran. In each case with these and other smaller nations, we drive them to collaborate with Russia and China. Once these nations develop antidemocratic governments, they are more inclined to maintain their connections to the two major antidemocratic powers.
I don't know how we break this cycle when we cannot even protect ourselves from the allegiances developing between the Republican Party and authoritarian nations like Russia and Hungary. CPAC has become a domestic terrorist organization with its political model and ties to Hungary and Russia, as CPAC promotes authoritarians in the US and converting our nation to a one party police state nation.
I just heard the most interesting report on NPR about the mo-fo Reffitt. His wife--who sounds like even more of a f*cking idiot than he--said her husband "backtracked" in order to get a lighter sentence. In other words, he lied to the judge. Huh. I wonder if this will have consequences? https://www.npr.org/2022/08/02/1115113692/a-capitol-rioter-has-received-the-most-severe-punishment-to-date
Other "captain obvious" moments:
 Did anyone think the Taliban was going to do anything it said it would do? Anything? They "violated" their "agreement" with TFG even before it was signed. I am totally fine with Biden doing what needs to be done and those f*ckers can howl all they like. Bite me.
 The fact that Putzin and his minions bombed Odessa the MOMENT the agreement brokered by Turkey had been signed should be a surprise to whom? Anyone? My fingers are crossed that the Ukrainian wheat gets through the Bosphorus and to its destination in one piece.
Here in KCMO, I am keeping fingers crossed that a legit slate of Dems crosses the primary finish line, including one of my former students (he was not in class with me but we worked together when he was president of student government and I was on the faculty senate exec committee and I consider him one of mine!) who is an amazing young man. He is also both Black and gay and his campaign has been subject to an incredible level of abuse, harassment, and outright attack. I fear for his safety but I also really hope he wins the primary for his county legislature district because I want him to be able to spit in everyone's eye. It's a long shot but my fingers are crossed. Other races are as nasty as this one, and I am worried about them too. Primary Day in Missouri. Sigh. Vote NO, Kansas.
Hooray for Joe, boohoo for Reffitt. And, like chump, Putin has never met a situation that he couldn’t make worse. It’s what they do, always…expect nothing else
Not saying I agree or disagree with the drone strike on Zawahiri, but we can bet the tit for tat events will continue for a very long time and will run the risk of inexorable escalation along the way. When you see the list of his misdeeds and his absolute intent on killing Americans wherever they may be found, it's hard to argue against it. BUT where does it end and what does the cost in loss of humanity come to? Not intending to moralize or judge this, but such things bring up questions which never seem to be addressed.