Beltway Insider: Biden/Govs Meet, Julian Assange, COVID Variant/Vaccine Totals, Quad Tornado, Death and Devastation

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President Biden spoke with the governors of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri, to express his condolences for the lives lost and the damage impacting their states as a result of the tornadoes and extreme weather overnight.

The President's job approval rating, according to the website fivethirtyeight.com, for the period ending December 12, 2021 decreased by 0.4% to 43.0% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness decreased by 0.9% to 50.7% of those polled who disapprove of his effectiveness. A slight 3% of the population polled have no opinion. Ratings are calculated weekly.


Beltway Insider: Biden/Russia, Ukraine, NATO, COVID/Vaccine Totals, Omicron, Abrams, Michigan


British Courts Votes to Extradite Wikileaks Founder

With freedom of the press under attack in all four corners of the globe, further prosecution for revealing damaging and embarrassing information on the U.S. Government, seems more retaliatory than justice.

The person responsible for leaking the information, Chelsea Manning, a former Military Analyst, was sentenced and has since been released from prison, after serving seven years, when President Barack Obama commuted the remainder of her 35-year sentence.

As it is not a personality contest, Mr. Assange's lifestyle should not be factored into the equation. Pursuing extradition under the Espionage Act, could, in fact, cause other publications to cease the publication of necessary information to keep the Fourth Estate from becoming a state sponsored broadsheet. The press needs the freedom to hold the government accountable. In fact, it is the duty, of an unbiased media to expose corruption and demand, at every level of government, that those who swear allegiance uphold the loyalty of the oath.

With pundits on both sides of the argument issuing warnings of the prosecution of Assange for espionage could be the government impeding the work of investigative news reporting.

"Christophe Deloire, the head of Reporters Without Borders, said in a statement that "we defend this case because of its dangerous implications for the future of journalism and press freedom around the world," reported The New York Times.

"We continue to have profound concerns about the press-freedom implications of this prosecution. This is the first time the government has sought to use the Espionage Act against a publisher. In addition, the indictment focuses in large part on activities that investigative journalists engage in routinely. The message of the indictment is that these activities are not just unprotected by the First Amendment but criminal under the Espionage Act. The Trump administration should never have filed this indictment, and we call on the Biden administration again to withdraw it," said Jameel Jaffer, executive director at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

Vaccine Totals

Bloomberg.com has built a vaccine tracker which can be seen here. "In the U.S., 483 million doses have been given so far. An average 2.26 million doses per day were administered over the last week," Bloomberg.com reported.

Coronavirus Totals

While the infection rates of the coronavirus have continued to decline around the world. The importance of maintaining personal protective practices is imperative to controlling the spread.

For the one-week period ending December 12, 2021, coronavirus cases globally increased by 4,361,197 new confirmed cases, bringing the total of confirmed cases worldwide to 269,723,080 people with a total worldwide death toll of 5,300,367 deaths, and a 7-day death rate increase of 53,035 (Data from The New York Times).

COVID US Totals

Infections rates in the United States are also on the rise. For the two-week ending December 12, 2021, the total confirmed cases rose to 49,845,209 people with new confirmed cases increasing by 834,959 with a 7-day average of 119,279 cases per day. The coronavirus has claimed 795,727 total deaths, adding 8,924 more deaths over the 7-day period. (Data from The New York Times).

Pentagon's Diary Gets Personal

Protecting for gain of function knowledge only aides those who initiated the constitutional violations. It does nothing to combat the homegrown terrorism or the narcissist above the law belief.

Kentucky Suffers Worst Devastation in History

The sirens began at around 7:00pm, and from all accounts, by 9:30pm, Friday, December 10, 2021, the fright train sound, used to describe the deafening roar of an approaching tornado could be heard. By midnight what was once a city preparing for the upcoming Christmas Holiday season was buried under tons of rubble, splintered trees, and shocking devastation.

Maybe it was the thought of a little extra cash for the upcoming holidays, or possibly the call to keep the shift running was managements, to fill the rush of seasonal orders that would keep the business afloat and turn around the pandemic profit loss.

For whatever the reason, and it will be the subject of intense investigation, as the Mayfield Consumer Products Factory has a history with OSHA racking up an extensive list of workplace violations, the 110 employees who were working when a weather phenomenon, a quad tornado, ripped through this small town were forced to shelter in place, above ground, with the potential of projectiles of every size becoming bullets, daggers, and missiles.

"According to a federal OSHA report from 2019, MCP had racked up seven "serious" violations, including a lack of proper electrical protective equipment and other unsafe work practices. The Beshear administration should expedite the numerous open records requests on state inspections and other documents they have no doubt received for this company, which in 2018 announced an $8.3 million expansion that included $700,000 in tax incentives through the the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, " the Lexington Herald Leader reported.

Of the 110 employees working at the time of the tornado, only 40 have been found alive.

Federal Aid, FEMA

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, "estimates that the "death toll from this event is north of 70 Kentuckians and may end of exceeding 100 before the day is done," he said. "This is the most devastating, most deadly tornado event in Kentucky's history," Beshear said in a news conference Saturday afternoon. More than 181 guardsmen from the National Guard were activated early in the morning, a number that has gone up as requests for help continue to come in," NBCnews.com reported.

Senate Minority leader, Mitch McConnell issued this statement, ""I am praying for the lives lost and communities impacted by the tornado devastation throughout the Commonwealth. Thank you to the first responders and the National Guard for their brave efforts amid this tragedy. As I continue to get reports from my staff, local and state officials, we will work with the entire Kentucky federal delegation to support Governor Andy Beshear's request for federal assistance in order to aid these hard-hit communities with the funding and resources they need to rebuild."

President Biden spoke with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to express his condolences for the lives lost and the damage impacting their states as a result of the tornadoes and extreme weather overnight.

Biden in the telephone, "asked each Governor what his state needs and how he can be most supportive. The President expressed his commitment to delivering assistance as quickly as possible to impacted areas via FEMA. The President asked the Governors to call him directly if there is any Federal support they need and said he will remain focused on doing everything he can to help communities recover from the effects of this historic storm," a read-out transcript of the president call indicated.

Quad Tornado Causes Devastation Across Four States

Friday's Quad Tornado ripped across four states causing catastrophic damage along its 250mile track from Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and finally churring at full strength blasting into western Kentucky.

The rare late season storm fueled by the warm side of Winter Storm Atticus, which described by The Weather Channel. Across the central plains, and western edge of the central Atlantic states, the artic jet steam from winter storm Atticus, pushed deep this region, with the dip reaching as far south as the Texas panhandle.

Simultaneously, this caldron of warm air from the Gulf of Mexico pushed north, making day temperatures in the same region unseasonably warm, then the wind shear, which when combined there was a third element, which indicated to meteorologists the conditions were right for the formation of these catastrophic storms.

The Beginning

According to The Washington Post, "The Weather Service in Memphis issued the first tornado warning for the storm at 7:06 p.m. Central time, stating that a "confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado" had formed. The storm moved over Monette, Ark., where it severely damaged a nursing home, at 7:24 p.m. Central time."

There were no indications of a single supercell storm, a freight train obliterating everything in its path. Although more than 141 tornadoes of various degree on the Fujita scale were spawned by this perfect storm system. No one expected the storm to continue its on the ground track across four states.

The record for a single on the ground track was set in 1925, when the Tri-State tornado, a spring storm, tracked 219 miles, from Ellington, Missouri to Princeton, Indiana on March 18, 1925.

Debris Lofted 30,000 Feet

A jarring F4 on the Fujita Scale, the devastation tracked across 250 miles, four states, and lofted debris some 30,000 feet into the air. Think of the pilot announcing were cruising at an altitude of 30,000 feet, that is the level debris was hurled into the air from this monster storm.

Picturesque towns along the track now resemble the aftermath of a bombing. Splintered, fragmented, homes, sheared off trees, cars tossed like toys, twisted metal, and in the middle of rubble miracles, small and large, as shell-shocked citizens emerged to see total annihilation of their town.

Monette, Arkansas

The first reports of catastrophic damage came from Monette Arkansas, where a nursing home with 94 residents and staff were on a direct collision course. With limited time, and many patients in critical care stages, the staff have been credited with saving the lives of nearly everyone living in the facility. They reported one life lost. 

Mayfield, Kentucky

Mayfield, on the western edge of Kentucky, and in the direct path of the monster storm with a base of 4,680 feet or the size of 13 football fields laid out end to end, generating freight train death moans from the 200 miles per hour winds, seemed unprepared for the devastation they knew was arriving.

The before and after pictures are shocking. Mayfield has been decimated, with nearly every building, home, apartment complex and housing unit of any kind, has been completely or partially damaged. The entire downtown area has been demolished.

Edwardsville, Illinois

From the same storm system, although not the same single supercell, a tornado struck an Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Illinois, ripping the roof off the warehouse, and crushing the steel support beams bringing the full weight of the warehouse down on its employees, killing six.

Amazon's no phone policy, which the megaretailer instituted, mandates workers keep their cell phones in employee lockers or secured in their vehicles. This, of course, means that in the instance of an emergency of any kind, active shooter or weather related, employees are depending on discretion of management to make the safety call.

"The phones can also help them communicate with emergency responders or loved ones if they are trapped, they said. "After these deaths, there is no way in hell I am relying on Amazon to keep me safe," said one worker from a neighboring Amazon facility in Illinois. "If they institute the no cell phone policy, I am resigning," Bloomberg reported.

The Aftermath

With leaders in four states reeling from the catastrophic devastation, Americans can help those in need by donating through organized charities including the Red Cross. A complete list of charities accepted donations, clothing, or other items can be found here.

President Biden said, "I say to all the victims, you're in our prayers, and all those first responders, emergency personnel and everyone helping their fellow Americans that this is the right thing to do at the right time and we're going to get through this," he said at a Saturday news conference," The Washington Post reported.

NY AG James Suspends Gov Bid

New York Attorney General Letitia James suspended her bid for the governor seat this week stating pressing investigations and a determination to finish the work she began as Attorney General.

""I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general," James said in a statement Thursday. "There are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job," CNN reported.

 

For more information on President Joe Biden www.whitehouse.gov.

Sources: Various © Articles covered by Copyright protection

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