Latest Headlines: What We’ve Been Watching

October 25, 2022

news headlines Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash

In case you missed ’em—here are some of the stories making headlines this week.

An October 7-10 TIME/Harris poll finds men and women divided in how they feel as we get set to vote (or have already early voted) in this year’s midterm elections.

When asked to choose which of the following among 14 emotions, a plurality of women chose “frustrated” while a plurality of men chose “hopeful.” In each case, the percentage was 17%.

The second most chosen emotion among both women (14.2%) and men (14%) was “happy.”

Women chose “tired” third at 13.3%, while the third most chosen among men was “frustrated” at 11%.

However, an overall majority of Americans (54%) said they believed the political situation, including the election and partisan divisions, was having a negative effect on their mood while 59% said they believe it’s having a negative effect on the overall mood of the country.

A Superior Court in Kings County, Washington on Wednesday fined Facebook’s parent company, Meta, nearly $25 million for intentionally and repeatedly violating the state’s campaign finance laws.

Judge Douglass North imposed the maxim possible fine after finding the company had violated Washington’s political disclosure law 822 times between 2019 and 2021. 

According to the Washington Attorney General’s office, it is the largest campaign finance penalty anywhere in the U.S. 

Meta declined to comment on The Seattle Times’ reporting on the case. 

Adidas Cut Ties with Ye over Antisemitic Statements

Sportswear giant Adidas announced Tuesday it was ending its partnership with artist Ye, also known as Kanye West, with “immediate effect.”

In a statement Adidas said it “does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” and that recent comments by Ye were “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous.”

The company expects to take a $246 million hit in Q4 sales dropping the Yeezy brand products.

DOJ Charges 13 Chinese Nationals in Plots to Undermine U.S.

On Monday Attorney General Merrick Garland held a news conference to announce the unsealing of charges against 13 citizens of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including members of the PRC’s security and intelligence forces, for their alleged involvement in undermining the U.S. to benefit their own country.

The charges included seven Chinese nationals arrested in New York in a campaign of threats and harassment—a scheme called “Operation Fox Hunt”—to force the repatriation of another Chinese national living in the U.S.

Four more Chinese nationals were charged in New Jersey for taking part in a long-running campaign to recruit Americans to act as Chinese spies.

And two Chinese intelligence officers, who remain at large, were charged with attempting to obstruct a criminal prosecution and attempting to steal confidential data from a global telecommunications company.

The last case “exposes the interconnection between PRC intelligence officers and Chinese companies,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told reporters, adding that it “demonstrates once again why such companies, especially in the telecommunications industry, shouldn’t be trusted to securely handle our sensitive personal data and communications.”

Arizona Sheriff Stepping Up Security Around Ballot Drop Boxes

A sheriff in metropolitan Phoenix said Monday he’s increasing security around ballot drop boxes following reports of masked and armed people watching over a drop box in suburban Mesa.

“Every day I’m dedicating a considerable amount of resources just to give people confidence that they can cast a vote safely, and that is absurd,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone.

The self-appointed monitors at the drop boxes last week were apparently inspired in part by false claims of fraud during the 2020 election portrayed in the debunked film “2,000 Mules.”

Justice Thomas Temporarily Freezes Graham’s Testimony

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who has jurisdiction over Georgia, agreed to temporarily freeze a lower court’s order requiring Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to testify in front of a special grand jury in Atlanta that’s investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 Presidential election.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is spearheading the investigation, has indicated that she would like to question Graham on calls he made to election officials in Georgia after the election.

Graham has argued against having to testify under the Constitution’s Speech and Debate clause, which shields legislators from certain law enforcement action for conduct connected to their legislative duties. Graham has said he’d made calls in late 2020 to Georgia election officials as part of fact-finding for the Congressional certification of President Biden’s win.

However, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has countered, “communications and coordination with the Trump campaign regarding its post-election efforts in Georgia, public statements regarding the 2020 election, and efforts to ‘cajole’ or ‘exhort’ Georgia election officials” are not legislative activities protected by the Speech and Debate Clause.

Trial of Oath Keepers’ Founder Delayed Because of COVID

The criminal trial of Stewart Rhodes, founder of the right-wing militia group the Oath Keepers, was delayed after he tested positive Monday for COVID-19.

Rhodes and his four co-defendants—Jessica Watkins, Thomas Caldwell, Kenneth Harrelson and Kelly Meggs—are charged with seditious conspiracy for their roles in the January 6, 2021, insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.

Seditious conspiracy is defined as attempting to “overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States.” It is rarely prosecuted; however, less than three weeks ago the former leader of another extremist group, Jeremy Bertino of the Proud Boys, pled guilty to seditious conspiracy for his connections to the January 6 insurrection.

Prosecutors say the Oath Keepers planned a “quick reaction force” of armed members who waited on January 6th in a hotel in Virginia to be called upon. Defense attorneys say their clients merely planned to provide security for pro-Trump rally speakers and had no plot to take the Capitol by force.

Report: CBP Sending Migrants to Places No One Expects Them

The Associated Press (AP) on Monday published a report about asylum-seeking migrants being sent to unknown destinations—”nor were they expected by anyone at the addresses listed on their paperwork.”

For instance, one migrant who said he wanted to go to Miami ended up at a shelter in midtown Manhattan. Other addresses on documents shown to AP included Catholic Charities in New York and San Antonio, a church in El Paso, a private home in Massachusetts and a group operating homeless shelters in Salt Lake City.

“We believe that Border Patrol is attempting to demonstrate the chaos that they are experiencing on the border to inland cities,” said Denise Chang, Executive Director of the Colorado Housing Asylum Network. “We just need to coordinate so that we can receive people properly.”

AP said Customs and Border Protection (CPB) did not respond to repeated questions about families and individuals interviewed and the addresses assigned to them.

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