As expected, it looks like the Republicans on the Supreme Court are going to overrule the Chevron doctrine so it can arrogate the power of the administrative state to itself unabated:
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority signaled its intent to overturn four decades of precedent and award itself even greater authority to strike down policies that govern every conceivable aspect of life in the United States. This revolution has been years in the making, the result of a lavishly funded campaign to transform the courts into a weapon against any regulation you can think of. The environment, the economy, health care, civil rights, education: All aspects of federal governance will be in peril, subject to the whims of unelected judges with zero expertise or accountability and a distinct bias toward deregulation.
“It is very bad when the president who wins national elections can enact the regulatory policies that they prefer” is a remarkable thing to just out and admit. And gets even worse given the fact that everyone understands that this is strictly a one way ratchet: Trump can use power delegated by Congress to impose tariffs (even in the absence of the security threat required by the statute) while Biden cannot use the power Congress gave the executive branch to “waive or modify” student loan payments to waive student loan payments.
The result of this is going to be case after case in which experts who are actually accountable get their reasonable interpretations of their authority overruled by extremely partisan lawyers with no relevant expertise:
Here’s the bottom line: Without Chevron deference, it’ll be open season on each and every regulation, with underinformed courts playing pretend scientist, economist, and policymaker all at once. Securities fraud, banking secrecy, mercury pollution, asylum applications, health care funding, plus all manner of civil rights laws: They are ultravulnerable to judicial attack in Chevron’s absence. That’s why the medical establishment has lined up in support of Chevron, explaining that its demise would mark a “tremendous disruption” for patients and providers; just rinse and repeat for every other area of law to see the convulsive disruptions on the horizon.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today proposed a rule to rein in excessive overdraft fees charged by the nation’s biggest financial institutions. The proposal would close an outdated loophole that exempts overdraft lending services from longstanding provisions of the Truth in Lending Act and other consumer financial protection laws. For decades, very large financial institutions have been able to issue highly profitable overdraft loans, which have garnered them billions of dollars in revenue annually. Under the proposal, large banks would be free to extend overdraft loans if they complied with longstanding lending laws, including disclosing any applicable interest rate. Alternatively, banks could charge a fee to recoup their costs at an established benchmark – as low as $3, or at a cost they calculate, if they show their cost data.
"Decades ago, overdraft loans got special treatment to make it easier for banks to cover paper checks that were often sent through the mail," said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. "Today, we are proposing rules to close a longstanding loophole that allowed many large banks to transform overdraft into a massive junk fee harvesting machine."
The proposed rule would apply to insured financial institutions with more than $10 billion in assets, which covers approximately the 175 largest depository institutions in the country. These institutions typically charge $35 for an overdraft loan, even though the majority of consumers’ debit card overdrafts are for less than $26, and are repaid within three days.
Earlier this month, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee released an explosive report documenting that Donald Trump’s businesses pocketed at least $7.8 million in payments from foreign governments during his presidency. Disturbingly, the report noted that Democrats could have uncovered far more such foreign booty but were thwarted when GOP capture of the House deprived them of subpoena power.
...Senate Democrats clearly have the authority to pick up where Raskin left off by trying to extract the remaining information from Mazars, said Sarah Binder, a congressional expert at George Washington University. A number of committees—the Homeland Security, Judiciary, Foreign Relations, and Finance committees—very likely have some form of jurisdiction, and Binder noted that each can issue subpoenas with a simple majority vote. Democrats hold majorities on all those committees.
...Then there’s the politics. A big reason Republicans have manufactured fake scandals about President Biden and foreign dealings is to ensure that Trump’s actual corruption—and his likely criminality—gets lost in a fog of both-sides news coverage. Yet as Brian Beutler writes on Substack, the reaction to Raskin’s report shows that when compelling evidence of Trump’s foreign payments emerges, media coverage does graphically convey the blunt, dirty truth about them, blowing through any both-sidesing tendencies.
Michael Mann alleges, in lawsuit first brought in 2012, that attacks on his work by climate denialists amount to defamation
A lawsuit first instituted over 10 years ago, brought by an esteemed climate scientist over alleged defamation by a rightwing blogger and an analyst, goes to trial this week.
The 2012 court case was brought by the University of Pennsylvania earth and environmental scientist Michael Mann, who is alleging that online attacks on his work amount to defamation.
The litigation targets two writers: Rand Simberg, analyst at the rightwing thinktank Competitive Enterprise Institute, who published a piece comparing
Mann to a convicted serial child molester, and the National Review blogger Mark Steyn, who in a blogpost favorably quoted Simberg and called Mann’s research “fraudulent”. (Mann originally went after both publishers as well, but in 2021 a court ruled
that neither the Competitive Enterprise Institute nor National Review could be held responsible for the attacks.)
The case comes amid concerns that online abuse of climate scientists has increased in recent years while misinformation about the climate crisis is also on the rise.
The attacks on Mann came as part of a wider campaign against him by a network of climate skeptics connected to the fossil fuel billionaire Charles Koch, experts have said.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Iran launched attacks Tuesday in Pakistan targeting what it described as bases for the militant group Jaish al-Adl, potentially further raising tensions in a Middle East already roiled by Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Pakistan said the strikes killed two children and wounded three others in an assault it described as an “unprovoked violation” of its airspace.
Confusion followed the announcement from Iran as state media reports on it soon disappeared. However, the attack inside of nuclear-armed Pakistan by Iran threatens the relations between the two countries, which long have eyed each other with suspicion while maintaining diplomatic relations.
The attack also follows Iranian strikes on Iraq and Syria less than a day earlier, as Tehran lashes out following a dual suicide bombing this month claimed by the Sunni militant group Islamic State that killed over 90 people.
Imagine if you could walk from your house to anywhere you needed to go in less than 15 minutes: the pharmacy, the bakery, the gym, and then back to the bakery. In a certain, conspiracy-addled corner of the internet, this urban planning concept of “15-minute cities” gets a shady, sinister gloss. Conspiracy theorists evoke COVID restrictions and tout efforts to create walkable cities as steps toward “climate lockdowns.” They warn of a plot by the World Economic Forum to restrict people’s movements, trapping and surveilling them in their neighborhoods.
“They want to take away your cars,” claims Clayton Morris, a former Fox News host, in a YouTube video that’s been viewed 1.7 million times.
YouTube is riddled with false claims like these, so it’s the place to document the evolution of arguments against taking action on climate change. A new report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a nonprofit based in London and Washington, D.C., working to stop the spread of disinformation, analyzed 12,000 videos from channels that promoted lies about climate change on YouTube over the last six years. Over that time, the reality of climate change long predicted by scientists has become increasingly difficult to dismiss. The report, released on Tuesday, found a dramatic shift from “old denial” arguments — that global warming isn’t real and isn’t caused by humans — to new arguments bent on undermining trust in climate solutions.
...Six years ago, these “new denial” claims made up 35 percent of denier’s arguments on YouTube; now, they make up 70 percent of the total. The fastest-growing assertions were that the climate movement is unreliable and that clean energy won’t work.
How a group of anti-establishment yeshiva students from the Israeli city of Tzfat took control of the Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue in Brooklyn and started digging
Last week, after underground tunnels were discovered near the Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood and attempts by synagogue officials to perform repairs were prevented by a group of yeshiva students, a mini-riot broke out after police showed up to restore order. A group of rowdy yeshiva students was seen smashing down a wall at the most cherished site of the Chabad movement.
The incident in New York made headlines and primetime TV news from Reykjavík to Mumbai and beyond. Antisemitic conspiracy theories on the internet went into overdrive, alleging the tunnels were used for everything from child sexual abuse to secret animal sacrifices. Even well-meaning observers wondered: what in God’s name was going on there?
The real story emerged in bits and pieces. The incident involved an unauthorized and haphazard attempt by a group of students to expand the main Chabad synagogue, commonly referred to as “770”, for its address at 770 Eastern Parkway. The tunnels were access points to an area the students had been excavating.
The application of nuclear energy in batteries is typically unheard of. When we speak of nuclear energy or are exposed to it through pop culture (Hollywood exploits the nuclear warfare subject quite often), it usually reminds us of bombs, aircraft carriers, or power plants. But a Chinese company aims to change that. Beijing-based Betavolt has developed an “atomic energy battery” that can generate electricity for half a century automatically, without any charging.
What the hell is an atomic energy battery? How much electricity can it even generate? And does it warrant your attention?
Here’s what we know so far. Atomic energy batteries, also called nuclear or radioisotope batteries, harness the energy released by nuclear isotopes when they decay, said Betavolt in a press release. This decaying radioactive energy is converted into electrical power using semiconductor converters.
...The final product, named BV100, would be the world’s first nuclear battery, Betavolt claimed. It would generate 100 microwatts, at three volts, from a unit smaller than a coin (One watt is equivalent to a million microwatts). It can generate electricity every minute; 8.64 joules per day, and 3,153 joules per year, Betavolt claimed. A slightly bigger battery, capable of producing 1 watt of power, is coming in 2025.
Where are you galloping off to tonight? Tell us all about it in the comments!