Monday, January 17, 2022

U.S. Treasury Threatens To Claw Back AZ School Grants Funds Over Anti-Masking

The U.S. Treasury, on Friday, said it told Arizona Officials the State's proposed COVID-19 Education Assistance programs targeted at Schools without Mask Mandates Violate usage Rules for Federal Aid Money to State and Local Governments, and the Department may claw back Funding.

In a Letter to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's (R) Office, the Treasury said that Two programs, including a $163 million Grant program to Schools that follow State Laws Banning Public School Mask Mandates, are "ineligible uses" of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

The $350 billion State and Local Funding program was enacted last year, as part of the American Rescue Plan COVID-19 Aid Law.

Another Arizona program deemed Ineligible, $7,000 Education Grants to Families of Students for Alternative Instruction, if their School dosn't requires Face Coverings.

The Treasury said that Arizona must Redesign the programs to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines on Universal Masking for Students, Teachers, Staff and Visitors to K-12 Schools, or Redirect the Funds to other Eligible uses under Treasury Rules.

"Failure to take either step within 60 calendar days may result in Treasury initiating an action to recoup SLFRF funds used in violation of the eligible uses," the Treasury's Aacting Deputy Chief Compliance Officer, Kathleen Victorino, said in the Letter.

The Department added that it also may Withhold Arizona's 2022 Installment of State and Local Aid Funds until the Treasury confirms the Education Funding Issues have been Resolved.

The State of Arizona was allocated $4.2 billion in State and Local Recovery Funds based on its Unemployment Rate, receiving $2.1 billion last year with the remainder due in 2022.

In addition, Cities and Counties in Arizona received separate Allocations unaffected by the Treasury's Demand, including $871 million for Maricopa County, $203 million for Pima County, and $396 million for Phoenix.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Reconstruction-Era Law Could Keep Trump Off Presidential Ballot In Some States

Should Trump run for the White House again, an obscure Reconstruction-era Law could keep him off the Ballot in Six Southern States, because of his Incitement of the Jan. 6 Insurrection.

The Six States affected by the 1868 Law: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina, currently together have 88 Electoral Votes, or 33% of the Total needed to Win the Presidency. Trump won All of them in 2020, except for Georgia, which he lost by 12,000 Votes.

The Third Section of the 14th Amendment, Prohibits People who swore to Defend the Constitution, but who subsequently took part in an Insurrection against the U.S., from holding State or Federal Office. Other Language in that Post-Civil War Amendment says: But Congress may by a Vote of Two-Thirds of each House, remove such Disability.

But the 1868 Law, that Readmitted the Six States, put the Burden on them to keep those who have been Involved in Insurrections from seeking Office, potentially making it considerably easier to keep Trump off their Primary and General Election Ballots.

“It’s still on the books,” said Gerard Magliocca, a Law Professor at Indiana University who Studies the Reconstruction period. He added that the Language could help those seeking to Disqualify Trump and other Candidates who appeared to Encourage the Jan. 6, 2021, Assault on the Capitol.

“The law is still there. And it could be appealed to.” “We fully intend to pursue this type of challenge if Mr. Trump chooses to run.”

Ron Fein, whose Free Speech For People group is already Challenging North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-11th District) attempt to seek Reelection because of his participation in the Jan. 6 Pre-Riot Rally, said that the Constitutional Ban on Insurrectionists running for Office applies everywhere, and the 1868 law merely helps Explain what Congress meant.

“Whether you’re in Maine or Mississippi or Alabama, the 14th Amendment applies,” he said. “Maybe there’s more clarity in these states.”

Fein likened the Insurrection Disqualification to existing Exclusions in the Constitution, such as the way Age and Citizenship would Disqualify a 12-year-old who lived in another Country from running for Federal Office. “Does anyone seriously think that that person should be allowed on the ballot? I don’t think so,” he said.

“It would have been great if Congress had already taken care of this,” Fein said, but added that he and his group plan to Lodge 14th Amendment Complaints, wherever possible, against those involved with the Jan. 6 Attack, especially against Trump. “We fully intend to pursue this type of challenge if Trump chooses to run.”

In fact, the existence of that Law makes it easier to make an Insurrection-based Disqualification Argument against Candidates in the remaining 44 States and the District of Columbia, Fein said. “This adds clarity and maybe helps dispel arguments,” he said.

Michael Luttig, a Retired Federal Appellate Judge and long an icon to Conservatives, said the Existence of the 1868 Law would be Persuasive to Courts today regarding Congressional intent when it comes to the question of whether States can take action on their own. “The argument that the states can enforce Section 3 would be appealing — especially given the explicit statutory condition on readmission that the specified states would enforce Section 3,” Luttig said.

Robert Orr, a former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice who is working with Fein’s group, said it never made sense that Congress would have wanted to make Decisions regarding State Officials all over the Country. “Congress is not going to be determining the qualification of a sheriff in Moore County, North Carolina,” he said. “It’s not Congress’s role to make that determination.”

The Challenge to Cawthorn proceeded on the assumption that States have the ability to assess Federal Qualification Requirements: that Cawthorn’s Role in the Jan. 6 Insurrection Bars him from seeking that Office. North Carolina, like some but not All States, permits Residents to Challenge Candidate Qualifications. “It’s simply a question of following the state statute and determining whether Cawthorn is disqualified,” Orr said.

Fein said the Filing in North Carolina was based on the Primary Election Schedule there, it was to be held in March, but now has been pushed to May because of a Redistricting Lawsuit, but that other Challenges are likely elsewhere. “We fully intend for this to be the first of several,” he said.

A number of GOP Lawmakers also spoke at the Jan. 6 Rally and worked to push Trump’s Scheme to hold ontoPpower despite Losing the Election. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL, 5th District), for example, asked Members of the Jan. 6 Rally Crowd if they were ready to Sacrifice their Lives, as their Ancestors had done: “Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America?” he screamed. “The fight begins today.”

Whatever their level of Responsibility might be for the Mayhem and Violence that happened shortly thereafter at the Capitol, though, necessarily pales in comparison to Trump’s Culpability.

Trump was Impeached in the House on a Bipartisan Vote, 10 Republicans joined All Democrats, exactly a week after the Capitol Attack on the Charge of “incitement of insurrection.” Even Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who eventually Voted against convicting Trump, claiming that the Senate could Not Convict a former President, called the Assault a “failed insurrection” on Jan. 6 itself.

Fein, Orr and others, expect that a 14th Amendment Disqualification Challenge based on Jan. 6 could ultimately go to the U.S. Supreme Court. “We know that this could be potentially complicated,” Fein said.

In the meantime, the Challenge against Cawthorn could yield more Firsthand Testimony about the Planning for and Events of Jan. 6, 2021. Because once the North Carolina State Board of Elections has determined that a Challenge, on its face, has enough Evidence to go forward, the Burden then shifts to the Candidate to prove Qualification, which could involve having to Testify under Oath. That Ordeal could be Cawthorn’s to face in the coming weeks, and then Trump’s, should he decide to Run for President in 2024.

“Was there an insurrection against the constitutional order? Yes,” said Orr. “The evidence against Trump is obviously overwhelmingly more than there is for Cawthorn.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

NC Court Blocks Voter ID Law

A North Carolina State Court Panel, on Friday, Blocked a Voter Identification Law, citing Discrimination against Black Voters.

SB 824, was passed in 2018, after Republicans lost their Supermajority in the Legislature but before the New Legislature took over. It was already on hold under a Preliminary Injunction, after North Carolina's Court of Appeals said Voter ID Provisions could Negatively impact Black voters. But now the State Court has Permanently Blocked the Law, which required Photo Identification to Vote.

The Majority of the Three-Judge panel, said Friday, that the Law "was motivated at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters."

"Other, less restrictive voter ID laws would have sufficed to achieve the legitimate nonracial purposes of implementing the constitutional amendment requiring voter ID, deterring fraud, or enhancing voter confidence," Superior Court Judges Michael O'Foghludha and Vince Rozier wrote in their Ruling Friday. The Ruling, which comes as Voting Rights are under Attack across the Country, could still be Appealed.

In a Statement, Southern Coalition for Social Justice Co-Executive Director and Chief Counsel for Voting Rights, Allison Riggs, and Pro Bono Counsel Andrew Ehrlich, Attorneys who served on behalf of a Group of North Carolina Voters, said they "hope" the ruling sent "a strong Message that racial discrimination will not be tolerated."

The Statement continued: "Today's ruling striking down North Carolina's latest unconstitutional photo voter ID law is a testament to the overwhelming evidence, including compelling stories of disenfranchisement from voters themselves, which highlighted how the state's Republican-controlled legislature undeniably implemented this legislation to maintain its power by targeting voters of color."

However, GOP Leaders in North Carolina, on Friday, called the Ruling "partisan," doubling down on the Claim that Voter IDs promote Election Security. "For all their talk about a secure democracy, the left, with an able assist from the judiciary, is doing their best to undermine it. Today, a partisan court blocked the will of a majority of North Carolinians who amended their Constitution to require photo voter ID," North Carolina State Sen. Paul Newton (R-36th District), said in a statement.

"The Republican-led legislature has made incredible strides to increase confidence in elections, and Democrats continue to use the judicial branch to thwart the will of the majority of North Carolinians. We will appeal this case," he said.

But, with the proper Technology their is no need for a Photo ID Card to get Election Security. In New YorK City, the Voter ID Card just has a Bar Code. At the Polling site, the Ebook scans the Bar Code and the Poll Worker asks the Voter to sign the Ebook Screen. That will show: your image, signature, if you alread Voted, or the Status of your Mail Ballot. If the Ballot is still in the Mail System, the Voter can Cancel it and Vote-In-Person. Then a Demand-Print system prints your Ballot. So their is No wasted Printed Ballots.

After the Ruling, Sam Hayes, General Counsel for North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) said, "This fight is far from over." "Once again, liberal judges have defied the will of North Carolinians on election integrity. Voters of this state have repeatedly supported a voter ID requirement -- going so far as to enshrine it in our state constitution. Senate Bill 824 is one of the most generous in the country, and it was modeled on those of other states. At trial, Plaintiffs could not produce a single witness who would be unable to vote because of the law," Hayes said in a statement. "We look forward to appealing this partisan ruling on behalf of the people of North Carolina," he added.

In a statement, the Plaintiffs' Attorneys brushed off any potential Appeal. "Should legislative defendants appeal today's ruling, we'll be prepared to remind them of what this court and the state's constitution mandate: every vote matters," they said.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Intel To Invest In New OH Chips Factory

While large-scale Semiconductor Factories, usually bring up thoughts of the kind of Innovation happening in Japan and Taiwan, Ohio Residents may soon see Millions of Semiconductors being made in their State.

While Official Plans have Not yet been confirmed by the company or Federal Authorities, several Ohio newspapers reported that the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel, which Forecasts a Doubling of the Semiconductor Market to $1 Trillion by 2030, is investing $1 Billion to build a Semiconductor Plant in New Albany, Ohio.

A Global Shortage of Semiconductors, or the Silicon Chip material that goes into everything from Cars to Digital Cameras, has affected companies across the World from meeting Supply over the last few years, companies like Volkswagen VWAGY, Nintendo NTDOY, and Apple, have all struggled to Secure enough Semiconductors to meet Customer demand for their Products in 2021.

As producing this Chip requires costly State-of-the-Art Infrastructure, only a few companies currently have the Resources to do so.

Pressure to Ramp-Up Production and Open New Factories is high.

In November, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company TSMC and Sony Group Corp. SONY, partnered to Build a $7 Billion in the Southwestern City of Kumamoto by 2024.

"The demand for semiconductors remained strong, and our factories performed exceptionally well in a highly dynamic environment where matched sets posed huge challenges for our customers, and overall industry supply remained very constrained", said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, during the Third-Quarter Earnings Call on September 25, 2021.

And, he added that "the digitization of everything accelerated by the four superpowers of AI, pervasive connectivity, cloud to edge infrastructure, and ubiquitous compute are driving the sustained need for more semiconductors, and the market is expected to double to $1T (trillion) by 2030."

Intel has Four Production sites in the U.S.

These Reports come as U.S. Legislators, have also been pushing for more Local Production to Avoid, being too Dependent, on Beijing at a time of Worsening U.S.-China Relations.

While Millions of Dollars toward American Semiconductor Development has Stalled in recent months, the U.S. House of Representatives Bill is expected to move forward by Mid-Term Election.

At Yahoo Finance's All Markets Summit in October 2021, Gelsinger said it was "an unquestioned issue" when asked if too much Chip Production in the hands of Overseas Players is a National Security Risk.

Taiwan Chipmaker TSMC, controls 51% of the World's Semiconductor Market, and is, at the moment, the Only company able to make some of the more Advanced Chips out there.

According to Local Reports, the New Albany Factory will sit on a 3,200-acre plot of land, that has been Annexed from Licking County, and be built over the course of Ten years.

An Official Commitment to building the Factory is expected to come from Intel on Jan. 21, 2022. If the Factory does live up to what is currently being reported, it would be the Biggest Development in the State since Honda opened a Car Plant in Columbus in 1982.

"More confirmation that something big is coming to the New Albany area," Local Journalist Karen Kasler, wrote on Twitter. "[...] Impact on Ohio's economy could be huge."

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

PA Congressional Districts Maps Update

Without making an Endorsement, Governor Wolf (D) released a Map for Pennsylvania’s 17 Congressional Districts on Saturday.

His Statements explain his view that this Map as well as, the Citizens’ Map drawn through the Draw the Lines Project of Committee of Seventy, a Philadelphia-based Good-Government Group, are better than the One the Republican-controlled Legislature is Advancing.

Pennsylvania’s Congressional Districts, will be drawn by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, if the Governor and the Republican Legislature cannot reach an Agreement by January 30th.

The Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Council, drew up Principles, for the Governor to use in assessing the Fairness of Proposals for the State’s Congressional Districts.

The Council had No Involvement in the Production of the Map released, or the Creation of the Citizen’s Map from the Committee of Seventy.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

FEC Shows National Party Committees Blow Past Contribution Limits

Persuasive Evidence that Circumvention of Federal Contribution Limits has occurred, since the Striking Down the Aggregate Limits.

A Fundraising Committee operated jointly by the Trump Campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC), in 2016, served as a Vehicle, for State Parties, to Pass more than $27 Million to the National Party, in possible Violation of Contribution Limits, the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) General Counsel found almost Three years ago.

The General Counsel’s Report, available since 2019, was newly released Friday, in an Updated and Unredacted Form because of a Development, in an associated Case.

It mirrors Findings from the FEC General Counsel’s Office about similar Activity by a Joint Fundraising Committee, benefiting Hillary Clinton in 2016. The alleged Sum funneled through State Party Committees, in that Case, was even larger at $112 million.

“The facts of this case appear to present the scenario that troubled numerous Justices: a pre-arranged plan to circumvent the contribution limits via joint fundraising,” the General Counsel’s Report found in both Cases.

It determined there was reason to believe the National Committees accepted Excessive Contributions and Recommended the FEC reach a similar Conclusion.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Kosovo Pulls Plug On Energy Guzzling Bitcoin Miners

“There’s a lot of panic and they’re selling computer equipment or trying to move it to neighbouring countries,” said CryptoKapo, a Crypto Investor and Administrator of some of the Region’s Largest Online Crypto Communities.

The frenetic Social Media action follows an End-of-Year announcement by Kosovo’s Government of an immediate, albeit Temporary, Ban on All Crypto Mining activity as part of Emergency Measures to ease a Crippling Energy Crisis.

Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies are created or “Mined” by Hhigh-Powered Computers that compete to solve Complex MathematicalPpuzzles in what is a highly Energy-Intensive process that Rewards People based on the Amount of Computing Power they provide.

The Incentive to get into the Mining game in Kosovo, One of Europe’s Poorest Countries, is obvious. The Cryptocurrency currently Trades at more than £31,500 or $43,069.95 a Bitcoin, while Kosovo has the Cheapest Energy Prices in Europe, due in part to more than 90% of the Domestic Energy production coming from Burning the Country’s rich reserves of Lignite, a Low-Grade Coal, and Fuel Bills being Subsidised by the Government.

The Largest-scale Crypto Mining is thought to be taking place in the North of the Country, where the Serb-Majority Population Refuse to recognize Kosovo as an Independent State, and have consequently Not paid for Electricity for more than Two Decades.

There is serious Money to be made, and in a time of ready Energy supply it was being made. The number of People Mining Cryptocurrencies in Kosovo is thought to have skyrocketed in recent years. Groups such as, Albanian Crypto Amateurs on Facebook and Crypto Eagles on Telegram, have exploded with Thousands of New Members, though it is unclear how many are Mining Cryptocurrency, or on what scale.

But the good times appear to be over, at least for now, and the Developments in Kosovo, highlight One of the big questions about the Future of Bitcoin and other such Digital Currency.

The latest calculation from Cambridge University’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index suggests that Global Bitcoin Mining consumes 125.96 terawatt hours a year of Electricity, putting its Consumption above Norway (122.2 TWh), Argentina (121 TWh), the Netherlands (108.8 TWh), and the United Arab Emirates (113.20 TWh).

Meanwhile, Kosovans spent the Final days of 2021 in Darkness as Domestic and International Factors combined to cause Energy Shortages and Rolling Blackouts across the Country. At the Peak of the recent Crisis, an unforeseen Shutdown at One of its Two ageing Power Plants, left Kosovo Importing about 40% of its Energy on International Markets, where Prices have Soared, and the Government was forced to provide an Emergency Subsidy to help meet the Costs.

Kosovo’s Minister of Economy, Dr Artane Rizvanolli, said the Ban had been a “no-brainer”. “We have allocated €20m for subsidising energy, which is probably not going to be sufficient, and this is taxpayers’ money that is going to subsidise electricity consumption,” she said. “On the other hand we have crypto mining, which is a highly energy-intensive activity and is not regulated.”

Kosovo is not alone. Last September, the 10 most Powerful Regulators in China vowed to Kill-Off what was then the World’s Biggest Cryptocurrency Mining Industry.

In Iceland, the Country’s National Power Company, Landsvirkjun, has said it will turn Away potential Cryptocurrency Miners as the Country is experiencing Power Shortages.

Last week, a Powerful Committee in the U.S. Congress announced it would Convene a Hearing on the Issue. U.S. Cryptocurrency Miners are believed to be the Largest Consumers of Energy, followed by Kazakhstan, and the Russian Federation.

“It’s time to understand and address the steep energy and environmental impacts it is having on our communities and our planet,” said Committee Chairman Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ, 6th District), and Diana DeGette (D-CO, 1st District), who Heads its Oversight Panel.

Alex de Vries, a Paris-based Economist, said his Initial Estimates, in a Paper to be pPblished later this year, suggest just a Quarter of the Energy used byMminers is Renewable: “The question really is: what are you getting in return for that?”

Jason Deane, Chief Bitcoin Analyst at Quantum Economics, said he believed there were a Host of Advantages, including the offer of Instant, Virtually Free, Financial Transactions, carried out Without the use of a Third Party, with certainty that there will be instant Settlement, and that the current Teething Problems need to be put in Perspective.

Since the Kosovan Authorities made the decision, Police and Customs Officers have begun conducting regular Raids, Seizing Hundreds of pieces of Hardware.

While a 60-day State-of-Energy Emergency remains in place, the Prospect of upcoming Regulation and Energy Bill Price Rises leaves the Future anything but certain.

“There are a lot of people who have invested in crypto mining equipment and it’s not a small investment,” cryptoKapo said. “People have even taken out loans to invest and the impact now is very bad on their lives.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker