Tag Archives: general

Bernstein: Top US general compared Trump to ‘Hitlerian fascism’

During a discussion about excerpts from “I Alone Can Fix It” by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, CNN’s Carl Bernstein points out that the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley compared former President Donald Trump’s behavior to Adolph Hitler and Nazi-style fascism.

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Norwegian Cruise Line sues Florida surgeon general over vaccine passport ban

(CNN) — Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is suing Florida’s surgeon general over the state’s law that prohibits companies from requiring customers and employees to provide documentation of Covid-19 vaccination status.

According to the complaint filed Tuesday, NCLH says the lawsuit is a “last resort” because Florida had indicated it would prevent the company from “safely and soundly resuming passenger cruise operations” next month. It described the state law as an “anomalous, misguided intrusion.”

CNN has reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment.

The NCLH complaint names Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees in his capacity as “the responsible state official.”

In April, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning the use of Covid-19 passports in the state. The order prohibited any government entity from issuing vaccine passports and blocks businesses from requiring any such documentation.
Senate Bill 2006 was signed into law on May 3, making that executive order official. “In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision,” DeSantis said.

The cruise line, though, wants documentation that all passengers and crew members have been fully vaccinated.

“The upshot places NCLH in an impossible dilemma as it prepares to set sail from Florida: NCLH will find itself either on the wrong side of health and safety and the operative federal legal framework, or else on the wrong side of Florida law,” the complaint says.

NCLH is set to resume cruises from Florida on August 15 “in a way that will be safe, sound, and consistent with governing law,” the complaint says, citing regulations set by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The risk of transmission of COVID-19 among the unvaccinated in the close quarters of cruise ships coupled with the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing the spread of COVID19 and in reducing the deaths caused by COVID-19 makes transmission of information about COVID-19 vaccines a matter of life and death,” the complaint says.

NCLH is asking the court to suspend Florida’s prohibition, according to the lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

In May, NCLH CEO Frank Del Rio said Florida’s law could cause the company to move its ships elsewhere.

“At the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers and rudders, and God forbid we can’t operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from, and we can operate from the Caribbean for a ship that otherwise would have gone to Florida,” he said during the company’s quarterly earnings call.

The CEO described the issue over the Covid regulations as a “classic state versus federal government issue.” He added, “Lawyers believe that federal law applies.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. operates three cruise lines: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

CNN’s Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.

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This post originally posted here Norway News

New York’s attorney general keeps Albany — and Cuomo — waiting

ALBANY, N.Y. — Few governors in recent New York history have dominated the news cycle — and the levers of government — like Andrew Cuomo, the state’s three-term governor. But in the summer of 2021, with an embattled Cuomo eyeing reelection next year, the future of state politics rests with another statewide official: Attorney General Tish James.

James, who has been investigating a portfolio of allegations against the governor since March, has retained private attorneys who have interviewed several women who accused Cuomo of harassment, as well as top staff said to be aware of his alleged misconduct.

But little more is known about the probe, and James has made clear there is no clock in her office counting down the months, weeks or days remaining in her inquiry. “It will conclude when it concludes,” she told reporters at an unrelated event in Albany late last month, one of the few public remarks she has made about the probe.

The uncertainty has paralyzed much of New York’s Democratic political apparatus. State lawmakers have put their parallel impeachment investigation on a very slow burn. Cuomo has not revisited his pre-scandal pledge to run for a fourth term in 2022. And potential Democratic primary challengers are waiting to see if they’d face a wounded Cuomo, a vindicated Cuomo, or perhaps no Cuomo at all.

Another investigation lurks in the background, and could be equally significant: The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn have been looking into Cuomo’s coronavirus task force and how it handled nursing homes early on in the pandemic.

And so Albany waits, with political strategists, would-be campaign staffers and prospective opponents enduring cortisol spikes each time the attorney general’s office announces a press availability, wondering if it might herald the release of her conclusions. Thus far, though, they have had to fall back on rumination and rumor, playing out various hypotheticals and how those scenarios may, or may not, damage Cuomo’s political fortunes.

“I think we all wait with bated breath: Does she have the intestinal fortitude to indict the governor?” said state Republican chair Nick Langworthy, whose views of Cuomo’s conduct leave little room for ambiguity.

There are no signs that James has empaneled a grand jury or that any of her findings would necessarily rise to the level of prosecution. Most of the speculation in Albany is centered on the consequences of a damning report filled with new details about Cuomo’s conduct — from allegations of sexual harassment to possible misuse of staff in the production of his pandemic memoir, for which he received $ 5.1 million — and how such a report would influence the impeachment investigation, the first of its kind in more than a century.

One high-level Capitol staffer noted that “everything is an impossibly mapped-out political game theory.”

Waiting — playing the long game for political purposes — is something Cuomo does well, and that patient approach just might allow him to downplay the severity of the James report and claim to have suffered a mere flesh wound, even if in the eyes of critics, his legs are cut out from under him.

“He’s absolutely running a perfect crisis management campaign,” said Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf, who noted the strategy is playing out as he predicted in the spring. “It can’t go on forever; at some point there will have to be closure. But the expectation is if there were some sort of criminality involved we would have had a result already of some kind. If they had a political pound of flesh to add, they would have.”

All of which raises the possibility that the James report, whenever it comes, may contain little or nothing new, which might allow last winter’s avalanche of bad headlines to melt away, renewing Cuomo’s chances to win the fourth term that was denied his father, Mario, who served as governor from 1983 to 1994. “If there’s no criminal act, he’s going to be reelected,” said Sheinkopf, who has worked on Cuomo’s previous campaigns.

Republicans, not surprisingly, don’t share Sheinkopf’s assessment of the election’s outcome, although they do agree with its fundamental premise: Barring anything criminal, and despite his astounding fall from grace, Andrew Cuomo will be on the ballot next year. “I think the only way he’s not the nominee of his party is if he leaves through impeachment or arrest or some element of that,” said Langworthy.

If that comes to pass, more than a few New York Democrats — lots of them, in fact — will find themselves sharing a ballot line with a governor they called on to resign earlier this year, when each week seemed to bring some new and damning revelation about Cuomo.

“What I have made very clear and many of my colleagues have made very clear is that the governor should resign,” said Bronx Democrat Sen. Gustavo Rivera. “Maybe some people forgot that we said that once — but I have not. Considering that this is not a criminal investigation — at least the ones that relate to impeachment — the question is whether he’s a trustworthy partner in governance. And we have said he is not.” He added for good measure that he looks forward to working on “many more pieces of legislation” with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul — on the assumption that she will take Cuomo’s place sooner rather than later.

“Obviously he would run for reelection because his ego would not allow him to do anything less, but for the sake of governance in the state we cannot allow him to be the Democratic nominee,” Rivera said. “It would be unconscionable to allow this guy to be in that position.”

More than 50 Democratic state lawmakers called for Cuomo’s resignation in March, but there doesn’t appear to have been a moment when that prospect was under consideration on the Capitol’s second floor, where the executive’s offices are located. Some have since joined forces with him on issues that affect their districts. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who was among those who called on Cuomo to quit, stood with the governor in April at an event and thanked him for promoting vaccination efforts in Yonkers. She later reiterated that her call for Cuomo’s resignation remains unchanged.

Cuomo, in the months since the scandals broke, has stayed busy but specific with his events and bedfellows, around but aloof and away from appearances in the state’s Capitol. It’s a familiar salute to most of his decade in office, but a far cry from the persona he cultivated during the pandemic. On Tuesday he took a whack at addressing rising gun violence by declaring the shootings a state of emergency and signing a first-in-the-nation attempt to open up firearms manufacturers to liability. He did not take questions.

James has stayed busy, too, and more visible than ever. She’s touted her role in multistate antitrust action and her lawsuit against the NRA, marched in two New York City parades, and in the past two weeks made rare appearances in Albany and Syracuse to promote her office’s separate take on combating both drug trafficking and gun violence across the state.

Looming over all of these more-routine activities is the prospect of tumult to come once the James report is released. If it contains new revelations or more-embarrassing details, the governor’s fate might be sealed and the upcoming governor’s race turned upside down. After all, President Joe Biden — a longtime friend and ally of the governor — said in March that if the stories are confirmed, Cuomo should resign, and will likely “end up being prosecuted, too.”

In contrast to much of the speculation about the James report, the Assembly’s impeachment probe has inspired doubts about just how aggressive it will be as it covers some of the same ground. Several of the women who accused Cuomo of harassment and their advocates have declined to participate in the Assembly probe, saying the chamber has historically shown itself ill-equipped to handle complaints of sexual harassment against its own members.

And a possible end of the impeachment investigation seems far off — potentially more distant than James’s. The Judiciary Committee announced on June 30 that it would begin issuing subpoenas but members say that doesn’t mean it is close to completing the review, which reportedly is wider in scope, considering sexual harassment allegations, misuse of resources to write his personal memoir, potentially withholding information on both Covid-19 nursing home deaths and the safety of the Hudson River bridge he recently named after his father. The speed at which the Assembly moves may also depend on what James finds.

In a more practical sense, the waiting will soon nudge up against planning for a potential 2022 primary.

Several names, including that of James herself, have been floated as potential Democratic nominees should Cuomo be impeached or choose not to run again, but that list so far has little overlap with those who might actively challenge the incumbent. Cuomo has signaled he remains committed to the fourth term run he declared in 2019, most recently with a $ 10,000 per plate fundraiser June 29 and a virtual “grassroots reception” July 6 to grow the $ 16.8 million he had in his war chest in January.

Voters so far appear mixed regarding Cuomo’s future. Though his popularity hasn’t shifted much recently, 23 percent of registered voters in a recent Siena poll said he should “resign immediately.” A total of 39 percent said he should “serve out his term but not seek reelection next year” while 33 percent want him to “continue to serve out [his term] and run for reelection next year.”

Most voters have probably made up their minds on Cuomo one way or another, regardless of what the investigations conclude, Langworthy said. In other words, they’re the only ones not waiting at all.

As for Cuomo, “I don’t see a guy that’s leaving anywhere … He’s done apologizing,” Langworthy said.

SOUTH DAKOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL JOINS SUIT AGAINST GOOGLE FOR ANTITRUST LAW VIOLATIONS OVER APP STORE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 8, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has joined a coalition of 37 attorneys general to file a lawsuit against Google in California. Utah v. Google alleges exclusionary conduct relating to the Google Play Store for Android mobile devices and Google Billing. This antitrust lawsuit is the newest legal action against the tech giant, claiming illegal, anticompetitive, and unfair business practices. The States accuse Google of using its dominance to unfairly restrict competition with the Google Play Store, harming consumers by limiting choice and driving up app prices. The lawsuit is co-led by AGs in Utah, New York, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

“Google’s monopoly is a menace to the marketplace. Google Play is not fair play. Google must be held accountable for harming small businesses and consumers,” said Utah Attorney General Reyes. “Most consumers have no idea that for years Google has imposed unnecessary fees far beyond the market rates for in-app transactions, unlawfully inflating costs for many services, upgrades and other purchases made through apps downloaded on the Google Play Store. As a result, a typical American consumer may have paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars more than needed over many years.” 

According to the lawsuit, the heart of the case centers on Google’s exclusionary conduct, which substantially shuts out competing app distribution channels. Google also requires that app developers that offer their apps through the Google Play Store use Google Billing as a middleman. This arrangement, which ties a payment processing system to an app distribution channel forces app consumers to pay Google’s commission—up to 30%—on in-app purchases of digital content made by consumers through apps that are distributed via the Google Play Store. This commission is much higher than the commission that consumers would pay if they had the ability to choose one of Google’s competitors instead. The lawsuit alleges that Google works to discourage or prevent competition, violating federal and state antitrust laws.  Google had earlier promised app developers and device manufacturers that it would keep Android “open source,” allowing developers to create compatible apps and distribute them without unnecessary restrictions. The lawsuit says Google did not keep that promise.  

When Google launched its Android OS, it originally marketed it as an “open source” platform. By promising to keep Android open, Google successfully enticed “OEMs”—mobile device manufacturers such as Samsung—and “MNOs”—mobile network operators such as Verizon—to adopt Android, and more importantly, to forgo competing with Google’s Play Store at that time. Once Google had obtained the “critical mass” of Android OS adoption, Google moved to    close the Android OS ecosystem—and the relevant Android App Distribution Market—to any effective competition by, among other things, requiring OEMs and MNOs to enter into various contractual and other restraints. These contractual restraints disincentivize and restrict OEMs and MNOs from competing (or fostering competition) in the relevant market. The lawsuit alleges that Google’s conduct constitutes unlawful monopoly maintenance, among other claims. 

The AGs further allege that Google also engaged in the following conduct, all aimed at enhancing and protecting Google’s monopoly position over Android app distribution:

Google imposes technical barriers that strongly discourage or effectively prevent third-party app developers from       distributing apps outside the Google Play Store. Google builds into Android a series of security warnings (regardless of actual security risk) and other barriers that discourage users from downloading apps from any source outside Google’s Play Store, effectively foreclosing app developers and app stores from direct distribution to consumers. 

 

Google has not allowed Android to be “open source” for many years, effectively cutting off potential competition. Google forces OEMs that wish to sell devices that run Android to enter into agreements called “Android Compatibility Commitments” or ACCs. Under these “take it or leave it” agreements, OEMs must promise not to create or implement any variants or versions of Android that deviate from the Google-certified version of Android. 

Google’s required contracts foreclose competition by forcing Google’s proprietary apps to be “pre-loaded” on essentially all devices designed to run on the Android OS, and requires that Google’s apps be given the most prominent placement on device home screens. 

Google “buys off” its potential competition in the market for app distribution. Google has successfully persuaded OEMs and MNOs not to compete with Google’s Play Store by entering into arrangements that reward OEMs and MNOs with a share of Google’s monopoly profits. 

Google forces app developers and app users alike to use Google’s payment processing service, Google Play Billing, to process payments for in-app purchases of content consumed within the app. Thus, Google is unlawfully tying the use of Google’s payment processor, which is a separate service within a separate market for payment processing within apps, to distribution through the Google Play Store. By forcing this tie, Google is able to extract an exorbitant processing fee as high as 30% for each transaction and which is more than ten times as high as the fee charged by Google’s competitors.  

This effort is led by Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, New York Attorney General Letitia James, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III.  The other states joining the lawsuit include Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

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The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal officer for the State of South Dakota and provides legal advice to agencies, boards, and commissions of the State as well as representing the State in state and federal court.  The Office of Attorney General also handles prosecutions, felony criminal appeals, civil matters, consumer protection issues, and issues formal opinions interpreting statutes for agencies of the state.  Visit www.atg.sd.gov to learn more. 

Connect with us on Facebook or on Twitter at @SDAttorneyGen

CONTACT: Tim Bormann, Chief of Staff, (605) 773-3215

 

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China has ‘little intent’ to take over Taiwan by force – Top US general

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said on Thursday that despite rising tensions between the two nations, China does not plan to immediately take over the island state by force. He told lawmakers: “There’s little intent right now, or motivation, to do it militarily.”

“There’s no reason to do it militarily, and they know that. So, I think the probability is probably low, in the immediate, near-term future.

“My assessment in terms of capability, I think China has a ways to go to develop the actual, no-kidding capability to conduct military operations to seize through military means the entire island of Taiwan, if they wanted to do that.”

China has previously sparked fears of an all-out conflict due to its assertiveness toward Taiwan, a nation it regards as a breakaway state and has repeatedly threatened to take back by force if necessary.

On Monday, the 30 Nato member states voiced their concern over China creating “systemic challenges” for the transatlantic security alliance.

The military body issued a communique regarding Beijing’s combative stance following its summit in Brussels.

The statement read: “China’s stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security.”

The 79-point document claimed Beijing was “rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal” and being “opaque in implementing its military modernisation”.

It also highlighted China’s military links to Russia in their actions in the Euro-Atlantic region.

Nato also called on Beijing to comply with its international responsibilities.

The announcement read: “We call on China to uphold its international commitments and to act responsibly in the international system, including in the space, cyber, and maritime domains, in keeping with its role as a major power”

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg raised the alarm over Beijing’s “coercive behaviour”, and the impact it could have on member states’ security.

He said: “There are, of course, opportunities and we need to engage with China, on issues like climate change and arms controls.

“But China’s military build-up, growing influence and coercive behaviour also pose some challenges to our security, and we need to address them.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

Texas Attorney General Is Being Investigated by State Bar Association

AUSTIN, Texas — The State Bar of Texas is investigating whether Attorney General Ken Paxton committed professional misconduct by challenging President Biden’s victory in the courts, which a complaint called a “frivolous lawsuit” that wasted taxpayer money.

The investigation, which could result in discipline ranging from a reprimand to disbarment, is the latest obstacle for Mr. Paxton, who has been at the center of bribery and corruption accusations and was indicted in 2015 on allegations of securities fraud in a case that has not been resolved.

Mr. Paxton, a Republican, is also being challenged by a member of the Bush family in next year’s primary for attorney general, the state’s highest law enforcement office and a position that has served as a political springboard. He was preceded in office by Gov. Greg Abbott and Senator John Cornyn.

After it became clear that Mr. Biden won the election, Mr. Paxton filed a lawsuit in early December that was ridiculed by many legal experts and ultimately rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. He had asked the court to extend a deadline for the certification of presidential electors, arguing that election irregularities in four other states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — warranted further investigation.

That month, Kevin Moran, a retired Houston Chronicle reporter and president of the Galveston Island Democrats, filed a grievance to the Texas State Bar. In his filing, Mr. Moran contended that Mr. Paxton knew the lawsuit lacked legal merit and that any unelected lawyer would face disciplinary action for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

“Knowing that the national election had NOT been rigged or stolen, he acted in a way to stoke those baseless conspiracy theories nationwide,” Mr. Moran wrote.

The State Bar of Texas said it was prohibited by statute from discussing any pending matters, and the attorney general’s office did not reply to a request for comment.

Mr. Paxton’s campaign spokesman, Ian Prior, denounced the complaint as a “low-level stunt” and “frivolous allegation,” adding that “Democrats in Texas keep showing just how much they can’t stand election integrity.”

The complaint was initially dismissed by the state bar’s chief disciplinary counsel’s office but later revived by its Board of Disciplinary Appeals, which is appointed by the Texas Supreme Court. The 12-member board notified Mr. Moran in late May that it had granted his appeal after “finding that the grievance alleges a possible violation” of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Misconduct.

Mr. Moran, 71, said on Thursday that he had filed the complaint as “an upset citizen” — not as a Democratic official — because he was outraged by the attorney general’s lawsuit, particularly after a multitude of judges had upheld Mr. Biden’s victory.

“With his track record, I believe he should be disbarred,” he said of Mr. Paxton.

After receiving a letter from the state bar in January that dismissed his complaint, Mr. Moran filed an appeal that he said he was somewhat surprised to see granted.

In cases like Mr. Paxton’s, the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel must undertake a preliminary investigation to determine whether there is cause to proceed. If it decides there is, the accusation of professional misconduct would be adjudicated in a trial court or an evidentiary panel.

Mr. Paxton, in his second term as the Texas attorney general, faces a tough re-election campaign against George P. Bush, the state’s land commissioner as well as the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush and the son of Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida. Both candidates are vying for an endorsement from former President Donald J. Trump, who still wields influence over Texas Republicans.

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

Author: Dave Montgomery
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Marine Major General Disciplined Over Deadly 2020 Training Accident

The Marine Corps has disciplined a two-star general for his role in the sinking of an amphibious assault vehicle off the coast of California in July that claimed the lives of one sailor and eight Marines, adding to a growing list of senior officers facing consequences from the mishap.

The service announced on Wednesday that Maj. Gen. Robert F. Castellvi, who commanded the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, Calif., at the time of the deadly training accident and then became the Corps’ inspector general, would be permanently removed from his position as inspector general.

General Castellvi was “personally and formally counseled” by the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David H. Berger, said Maj. Jorge A. Hernandez, a Marine spokesman, noting that such action typically prevents an officer from being further promoted in rank or holding command.

The actions taken by Marine leadership against General Castellvi were reported earlier by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The amphibious vehicles involved in the sinking were assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which fell under General Castellvi’s command at the time. After becoming inspector general in October, he was temporarily removed from that position in April amid the investigation into the accident.

An investigation whose results were released in March cited “a confluence of human and mechanical failures” that led to the sinking of the 20-ton armored vehicle — which runs on treads like a tank and uses water jet pumps to ferry Marines from ships offshore to battles on land — and hindered the initial efforts to rescue those aboard.

On the afternoon of July 30, nine amphibious vehicles were motoring through the water from San Clemente Island, a major Navy training area off the coast of Southern California, to a Navy ship offshore as part of a training exercise when one of them began taking on water.

Although the vehicle’s commander signaled for help, the investigation found that no safety boats were in the water to lend assistance. A second amphibious vehicle reached the stricken vessel about 20 minutes later, but the two eventually collided, turning the troubled vehicle broadside into an incoming swell. A large wave then swept into an open hatch, which caused the flooding vehicle to sink rapidly with 11 troops on board, killing nine.

The investigation determined that the vehicle that sank was improperly maintained and that those aboard were not adequately trained. The Marine Corps cited both issues in its rationale for firing General Castellvi.

The commander of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit at the time, Col. Christopher J. Bronzi, was relieved of his duties on March 23, according to a Marine Corps statement. The commanders of the battalion and company responsible for the sunken vehicle were relieved of their duties in October. Seven other service members were disciplined for their roles in the mishap, but the Marine Corps has not named them.

In an email, Major Hernandez said that General Castellvi would not make any immediate public statements and that the investigation was continuing.

Author: John Ismay
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Land Commissioner George P. Bush announces run for Texas Attorney General, challenging AG Ken Paxton

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush announced Wednesday evening he is officially throwing his hat into the ring for Texas Attorney General.

He said the Republican party needs new leadership in the AG’s Office, as current AG Ken Paxton continues to face several legal battles of his own.

“We need an attorney general that’s focused on the job instead of trying to stay out of jail,” Bush said in an interview ahead of his Wednesday night rally.

In 2020, Paxton’s top aides reported him for abuse of office, bribery and other criminal offenses, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating. Paxton has repeatedly denied doing anything wrong, most recently filing an appeal to overturn a court’s decision not to dismiss his case.

Paxton was also indicted in 2015 on felony securities fraud charges. That case is still ongoing.

“It’s time to reset this agency,” Bush said.

Aside from Paxton’s legal issues, Bush also said Paxton hasn’t delivered for Texans.

“He’s good at the headlines. But in terms of actual results, that’s where he’s been lacking,” Bush said. “It’s harder to actually win, to see a case all the way through to its final result and actually succeed.”

Bush said he’s ready to challenge the Biden administration’s policies.

“If you look at Biden’s executive orders, most of those orders deal with natural resources. So oil and gas, land management, farming and ranching issues, and who better to take on those cases than the Land Commissioner for the state?” Bush said.

Bush also added he would be focusing on human trafficking, the crisis at the border and backing the blue.

Paxton is just his primary opponent, though. Democrat Joe Jowarski has been campaigning for months.

“I’m a third-generation trial lawyer, 30 years experience working for the judges, the defense bar, the plaintiffs bar and as a full-time mediator now,” Jowarski said. “It is important that you have political acumen as well as a trial lawyer’s heart, if you want to be the Texas Attorney General. I think I checked those boxes.”

He said he agrees with Bush that Paxton needs to go but disagrees on what the focus of the state’s top lawyer should be.

“My goal in serving as Texas Attorney General would be to focus not only on consumer protection, but also restoring voting rights, protecting voting rights, and this is for all people of all political stripes,” Jaworski said Wednesday.

Bush gave Jowarski credit for the amount of money he’s already been able to raise but said he’s more concerned about the Democratic party as a whole.

“Democrats know that if Ken Paxton is the nominee, they will have their first statewide elected office in Texas and close to 30 years,” Bush said.

Nexstar did reach out to the AG’s office and Ken Paxton’s campaign for an interview or comment but did not hear back.

“I have a proven vote-getter for Republicans in a general election. In 2014, I was the highest vote-getter. 2018, I was number two behind the governor. So in ’22, with the support of so many Republicans… you won’t have to worry about us holding the seat,” Bush said.

Bush also explained the conversations he’s had with other state leadership about his run for AG, including Gov. Greg Abbott.

“I’ve talked with him several times through the session and also in response to the scandal that broke late last year — and he was positive. He said he’s going to stay out of the race. He, you know, obviously has a lot on his plate with respect to ongoing special session items that he has prioritized,” Bush said, adding he also had a conversation with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick last week.

“I think what leadership in Texas wants are just… they want to reset in this office, they want a new face. And I’m willing to offer that,” Bush said.

He said with Paxton being in office for 20 years, he’s expecting plenty of blows from the career politician.

“I’m expecting everything under the sun. But what I’m going to focus on are the issues that improve this agency, improve the condition of victim services,” Bush said, adding he’d also work to update the infrastructure of the agency like he did with the GLO.

“I hear from constituents that have reached out to the Attorney General’s Office asking for help in response to an assault, robbery or a home invasion or a felony of some sort. And they have yet to get a response from the Attorney General’s Office. Certainly technology and new leadership can help better serve the constituents of the state,” Bush said.

Author: Maggie Glynn
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

WW3 fears explode as Australian general says ‘high likelihood’ of conflict with China

Tensions between Beijing and Canberra have surged over the past year over the coronavirus pandemic and recent Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific. Now, it has emerged Major-General Adam Findlay gave a confidential briefing to Australia’s special forces last year, warning them of a conflict with Beijing.
Maj-Gen Findlay, who has since stepped down from his post, told his forces China was already engaged in “grey zone” warfare.

The official then said Australia must prepare for the “high likelihood” China’s shadow operations could spill over into actual conflict.

After asking troops who the “main (regional) threat is”, Maj-Gen Findlay said China.

Ge then added: “OK, so if China is a threat, how many special forces brigades in China?

“You should know there are 26,000 Chinese SOF (Special Operations Forces) personnel.”

READ MORE: Taiwan warned ‘absolutely credible’ XI Jinping will try takeover

The leaked briefing was shared by the Sydney Morning Herald, who reported Maj-Gen Findlay issued the warning in April 2020.

Sources told the outlet the official informed troops that if conflict with China happens, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) needed to rely not only on traditional air, land and sea capabilities but also on Australia’s ability to use cyber and space warfare.

They also shared how the official highlighted the need for the ADF to reassert its presence and play “first grade” in south-east Asia and the south-west Pacific, describing how the military had uncovered information showing China was seeking to exploit “our [Australia’s] absence” in the region.

Spotlighting Australia’s relationship with Australia, Maj-Gen Findlay said: “We need to make sure we don’t lose momentum…get back in the region.”

It comes as Australian Government officials have began hardening against China, with Defence Minister Peter Dutton saying a war over Taiwan cannot be discounted.

The minister also stated Australia was “already under attack” in the cyber domain and that he wants to have a “more frank discussion with the public” about China’s intentions.

Michael Pezzullo, the Department of Home Affairs secretary, also warned the “drums of war” were beating.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned last month Australia’s relationship with China is heavily strained.

While he wants a positive relationship with China, Mr Morrison added: “Those relationships can’t be achieved at the product of a less free and a less open Indo-Pacific.”

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China has recently condemned Australia, with its state media outlets publishing propaganda against ADF troops.

The Global Times newspaper published a piece alleging Australian troops carried out war crimes in Afghanistan, as the forces are preparing to pull out of the country.

It comes as the UK prepares to send an aircraft carrier strike group to the Indo-Pacific next month as it seeks to boost its presence in the region.

Led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, the group will visit 40 countries, including India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, in a deployment lasting 28 weeks and covering 26,000 nautical miles according to the Royal Navy.

While in the region, ships from the strike group will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Five Powers Defence Arrangements – a series of loose defence agreements between Australia, Britain, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Song Zhongping, a former instructor with China’s People’s Liberation Army, said Beijing was unlikely to pay much attention to the deployment.

He said: “China will welcome any friendly deployment, but will definitely hit back if Britain becomes provocative near Chinese territory.”

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

A Conversation With California’s New Attorney General

On Friday, the former state lawmaker Rob Bonta officially became California’s attorney general, stepping into a role that has served as a launching pad for some of the state’s most powerful politicians.

Mr. Bonta was the last of three high-profile appointments by Gov. Gavin Newsom in what observers have described as the most significant reshuffling of Democratic power the state has experienced in years. That Mr. Newsom now has close allies in three of the state’s top posts is likely to pay dividends as he campaigns to keep his job in a recall election later this year.

But political calculus aside, the attorney general wields broad power to shape the state’s criminal justice agenda — a task that has taken on heightened urgency amid a reckoning over racism and police violence.

During his second full day on the job, I spoke with Mr. Bonta about his priorities. Our conversation has been edited and condensed.

Yesterday your office announced that you would release more gun violence data to researchers and the public. What else is on the agenda in the coming weeks?

Let me just start by saying it’s an honor and a privilege of a lifetime to be appointed to this role. I see the role as the people’s attorney, to fight for everyday folks, to protect them from the abuse of those in power. That’s my frame.

I intend my tenure as A.G. to be defined by transparency and openness.

That’s why it was really important for us to do that yesterday — to help researchers study and identify actions that can help save lives and address our gun violence epidemic. And there will be other areas where we will be promoting those principles.

Too many people are being cheated by corporations. Folks are being forced to drink dirty water or breathe unhealthy air. So many folks are being hurt by parts of our criminal justice system. We are also in a full state of emergency with our Asian and Pacific Islander community when it comes to hate violence.

I wanted to go back, quickly, to the other areas where you think there could be more openness and transparency.

Two things are areas of focus and priority.

We want to make sure we’re disclosing police personnel records consistently as required by Senate Bill 1421, and making sure we’re doing so legally, without violating anyone’s privacy rights. But we’re committed to the letter and the spirit of that law. That’s the point. I voted for it — I was in the Legislature when that was moved.

Another area is using the data that we have in the Department of Justice to help automatically expunge criminal records that are eligible to be expunged, and not force individuals to first know they’re eligible, then apply on a one-off basis and go through the hoops. The law gives them that right, so let’s deliver that right.

What role do you think your office should play in addressing anti-Asian violence and harassment?

Right now, it’s really important for Californians to know that the attorney general sees the community under attack and values the A.P.I. community. For me — I am the community. This is personal.

There are a lot of levers to pull, but there’s no panacea.

I’ll be doing meetings with law enforcement up and down the state to help make sure they’re supported in how they identify and investigate hate crimes. And then figuring out how to move forward using tools we have to hold perpetrators of hate violence accountable and to provide support to victims.

That can take different forms. In-language, mental health and trauma-informed care is needed. And we need to help build trust between community organizations and law enforcement.

You’re also coming in at a pivotal time for criminal justice — Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd last week. And as of last year, your office has greater responsibility to investigate police killings. Tell me about how you’re approaching that part of the job.

I think it was a good start for folks in this moment. The work continues.

The vast majority of law enforcement officers are committed to what we need so much these days: rebuilding trust between law enforcement and our communities. Accountability is part of building that trust.

Our law enforcement needs support and training to do the things we’re asking them to do like community policing, de-escalation, addressing implicit bias or taking on hate crimes.

And yes, under a bill I supported, the attorney general’s office has a clear requirement to investigate, to collect evidence and make a charging decision on all officer-involved shootings that lead to the death of an unarmed Californian. Historically, that’s been about 40 cases per year. So we’re standing up our division to do that and do that right.

It may be sort of easy for Californians to forget that you’ll be up for election next year. And on your first full day in office, Sacramento County’s district attorney, Anne Marie Schubert, announced that she will run against you. How would you respond to her claims that policies you’ve supported hurt crime victims and public safety?

I respect our democracy deeply, and whatever the voters decide will be their decision. But I won’t be outworked. I never have been, and I won’t be here. I think my approach, my values, my vision, the things I’m fighting for, the change I seek is what’s going to resonate with Californians across the state.

Are you worried at all that the effort to recall Governor Newsom will impact your campaign as someone who is closely allied with him?

They’re taking a one-in-a-million shot at trying to have a Republican governor in blue California. And it’s not going to happen.

I think he has made courageous, thoughtful and appropriate appointments. He’s put leaders in place that represent communities that haven’t historically had access to certain places and certain opportunities, and he knows we need change.

I don’t want to comment on myself, but Senator Alex Padilla and Dr. Shirley Weber (whom Mr. Newsom appointed as California’s next senator and secretary of state) are inspiring leaders, and I think that will help him in the recall election, because it shows his values.

Author: Jill Cowan
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News