Thursday, June 24, 2021

The “mind-boggling” hidden threat in Georgia’s new voting restriction law

 Thom's blog www.tomhartmann.com

The “mind-boggling” hidden threat in Georgia’s new voting restriction law

 364,000 votes in jeopardy from little-noticed provision of SB 202.

By me and Greg Palast

How do you think the election in Georgia would have played out, or how do you think the election in Georgia next year will play out, if the Republican party is successful in throwing 364,000 Georgia voters — largely people of color — off the voting rolls?


In this edition of the Thom Hartmann Program, first broadcast on June 22, Greg Palast talks about his latest report from Georgia, which reveals how the votes of hundreds of thousands of Georgians are under threat from a little-noticed provision of Georgia’s new voting restriction law, SB 202.

Thom Hartmann: Tell us about your adventure in Georgia. What is this? Where did it come from? Set it up.

Greg Palast: Get her ready for insane! We have Republican operatives, 88 of them in Georgia, who have challenged — are you ready for this? — 364,000 voters, saying that their votes, when they mail them in or they show up to vote, can’t be counted. I kid you not. This is a list that these Georgia Republicans have gotten from a group out of Texas named True the Vote. They are saying that these people, a third of a million voters, are felon voters, voting illegally from out of their counties. Well, we called hundreds of them. The Palast Fund investigators called hundreds of these voters. We spoke to them. They said, here I am, I’m in Cobb County, I’m in Fulton or whatever, we haven’t moved anywhere — but they’re being challenged.

Hartmann: And they’re not felons.

Palast: They’re not felon voters, just people. For example, we had a woman Tamara Horne, who you’ll see in our report, she lost her job and had to move out of her home. She lost her home, moved in with relatives down the street. She’s still in Cobb County, a suburb of Atlanta, but she was challenged by this woman, Pamela Reardon, who’s Marjorie Taylor Greene’s candidate for vice chair of the Republican party of Georgia. She’ll probably win. She’s a GOP official. She personally challenged 32,000 voters, saying that she personally had knowledge that these voters were illegal. And under the new Georgia law SB 202 their ballots cannot count unless they go in to the county offices and prove they are who they are and that they live where they live. It’s a very nice Jim Crow operation.

Hartmann: Wait a minute…this isn’t a possible law, this is a law that’s already passed. And under this law, all 32,000 of the people that this woman challenged will not have their votes count unless they show up in person after the election at the Secretary of State’s office and say, hey, I’m here, I’m really me.


Palast: Well, they can go in now if they want to take off a day of work — if they even find out that they’ve been challenged. Most of the people that we spoke to, in fact everyone we spoke to said, I didn’t know I was going to have my ballot thrown out. I spoke to a guy, Storm Saul, he’s livid. These are legal voters, but the GOP is running this campaign under the new law passed in March, SB 202. And I got to tell you, True the Vote out of Texas, which is backed by the billionaire Bradley family out of Milwaukee, they aren’t going to be satisfied with bending the election in Georgia. They’re going to take this to Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina, and beyond.

Hartmann: Michigan, Pennsylvania, yes, absolutely… Okay, so let’s, as they say in the television and radio business, let’s roll the tape. Here is here is Greg Palast… with what’s her name again?

Palast: Her name is Pamela Reardon of Georgia. She is a GOP official in Cobb County, which is an Atlanta suburb.

Hartmann: Okay, here we go…

Georgia: New Mass Voter Challenge by GOP Exposed

Hartmann: That’s mind-boggling Greg. It raises the question, If all I have to do to prevent a legal Georgia voter’s vote from being counted, or to force them to do two steps, number one, go in and vote, and then a few days later go show up at the County Recorder’s office or the Secretary of State’s office and prove that they’re a legal voter, if that’s all I have to do, and you can do that in batches of, in the case of this woman, over 30,000, and in the case of this whole group of Republicans, 364,000 Georgia voters, if that’s all it takes, why don’t we compile a list of registered Republicans in Georgia and challenge their vote?

Palast: Because it’s against the law, Thom. It’s the Ku Klux Klan of 1871. The NAACP was really freaked out, and so as the ACLU, when I said that this was happening. They thought they’d killed it off in December. But now it’s back under the new law, under SB 202. You know, you go to jail for this. In fact, that’s one of the things I asked this woman. I said, you understand under the Ku Klux, Klan law you can go to jail, you can be sued. Democrats I think don’t do it because it’s against the law. You go to jail — if the law’s enforced.

Hartmann: Right, but do you think Brian Kemp’s gonna enforce that law against a Republican state official?

Palast: It’s not going to happen in Georgia, it’s gotta be the feds. Merrick Garland has now said he’s going to begin prosecuting these cases. Now that the ACLU and NAACP have been informed, they are very upset, so watch for action being taken. But more important, we have to expose this. And by the way, I’ll be on Brian Ross Investigates tonight to go further into this… on the NBC Law & Crime stream. But what we have to do is we have to bust this thing right now. True the Vote is an organization out of Texas which came up with these bogus lists. And I’m very concerned that it will not only be Georgia, but it will spread to the rest of the country. It’s very important that we begin prosecuting people for, willy-nilly, taking a third of a million people and telling them they aren’t who they are. This woman admitted that she never spoke to a single, not one single person that she challenged. The Georgia head of the Cobb County GOP challenged 16,000 more voters in just that county. They’re upset that it went for Biden.

Hartmann: So how is True the Vote coming up with this list of 364,000 Georgian voters that should be purged? Are they doing what a Jeb Bush did back in the 2000 election in Florida? I mean, this is a story that you broke for the BBC in 2000 for God’s sake. Where you went in and discovered that he had thrown thousands of African-Americans off the voting rolls just weeks before the election so that his brother could steal it with a 536 vote margin.

Palast: Exactly. But this is the Florida game, which was very effective. People don’t understand that the real impediment to voting is erasing people’s registration. And in this case, it goes further. It says, even if you’ve mailed in your ballot, even if you show up to vote, your ballot can’t be counted. This is devastating, if this goes through. Now again, yeah, it’s the purge game that was played by Jeb Bush, that was played in Ohio in 2004, and of course I exposed this in 2018 when the race was stolen by Brian Kemp against Stacy Abrams. But what’s horrible about this is this is privatizing the purge list system. The state of Georgia has just announced it’s removing 102,000 voters. Now I know that that list is phony as a $3 bill, but this is three times the state purge list — a private organization saying you can’t vote. It’s just unbelievable.

Hartmann: So are they pulling a list of Texas felons and comparing it with the Georgia voter list? Is that how they’re coming up with these names?

Palast: They’re claiming that they got postal change of address information from the Post Office. But, just so you know, we checked with the experts at the Post Office. They said, no way, this is ridiculous. And as you know, if you move down the street, if you move within your county, you don’t lose your vote. If you had a temporary change of address due to COVID, you don’t lose your vote. But with most of these, it’s an error… It’s just wrong.

Hartmann: I don’t think this is an error, Greg.

Palast: Well, when I say it’s an “error”, it’s a very convenient error, removing a lot of Black people, a lot of low income people, a lot of people of color — and the color’s blue.

Hartmann: Quick question for you because we’re going to hit a break here in a second, but last night on MSNBC, one of the shows, I don’t recall if it was Chris Hayes or Rachel Maddow, kind of debunked the notion that John Kerry actually won in 2004, and George W. Bush actually lost, and that Ohio was the linchpin state. My recollection was that the objection to Ken Blackwell, the Secretary of State who is African-American strangely enough, was that he threw a whole bunch of Black people off the voting rolls just before the election and that was one of the ways that he rigged the election. That was not mentioned on MSNBC last night. Am I remembering that correctly?

Palast: That’s correct. I did an article, an investigation…. The Guardian asked me to investigate. What we found out is that there was a mass purge of voters, which I have then described in Rolling Stone. But I also found that there was what we call spoilage of votes, discounting people’s ballots. And this challenge that’s happening will go in that pile, what’s called the “spoiled votes“. You don’t spoil votes by leaving them out of the fridge. It’s by someone challenging a vote and we never talk about that. About 3 million votes are simply not counted, not counted in each presidential election because of these challenges. This is going to be accelerated by this right wing group.

Hartmann: Right. And that’s just the margin that the Republicans need. If they can just slice off a few thousand Democrats here and a few thousand there, then they can win elections. It’s mind-boggling.

Palast: The Democrats are in trouble.

-Thom

Monday, June 21, 2021

Attorney General Bonta Pushes Back on Postmaster General DeJoy’s Flawed Postal Service Proposal

 OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general, as well as the cities of New York and San Francisco, in a comment letter condemning a proposed 10-year strategic plan put forward by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that threatens to significantly slow the speed of mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) across the country, including first-class election mail. Specifically, the proposed plan, along with other changes, would permanently alter USPS’ service standards to extend the number of days it has to meet delivery deadlines in a superficial effort to demonstrate improved reliability. In the comment letter, the coalition urges the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission to reject the proposal and calls on USPS to take other steps to substantively improve its performance.


“The U.S. Postal Service is a lifeline for millions of Americans and small businesses across the country,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Reliable, timely deliveries make a difference when it comes to keeping a customer or exercising our right to vote. Shame on Postmaster General DeJoy for playing politics with our postal service, a nearly 250-year-old American institution. We respectfully urge the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission to reject this foolhardy proposal. You can’t fix something just by moving the goalposts. Our communities and the more than 600,000 postal workers nationwide deserve better.”

Under the proposed 10-year plan, USPS is, among other things, seeking to change its service standards for first-class mail from 1-3 days to 1-5 days, claiming the existing service standards are incompatible with declines in mail volume. As part of the proposal, USPS asserts that the existing standards make it difficult to provide reliable and consistent service because of high costs and inefficiencies in its transportation network, citing, for instance, low utilization of long-haul truck capacity. However, extending the delivery timeline and then citing the new standard as evidence of improved reliability only serves to create the illusion of a solution without addressing any systemic issues inhibiting USPS’ performance. Thus, USPS’ plan to change the performance standard does not actually address its failings to timely deliver the mail and may well result in overall slower delivery and even worse customer satisfaction. Ultimately, the proposed plan fundamentally deviates from USPS’ core mission as a public service and ignores the potential consequences on the delivery of all types of mail across the country, including with regards to regular government services, paychecks for working families, and election mail. Rural communities and critical state business conducted through the mail would especially suffer from an inefficient postal service.

In the comment letter, the attorneys general assert that the proposal:

Would have significant adverse effects on postal service across the country;

Threatens to harm the states and their residents, including through direct impacts on government services, election mail, and rural and low-income communities; and

Cannot be justified based on USPS' rationale for the changes.

Today’s comment letter is separate from the California Department of Justice’s ongoing litigation against Postmaster General DeJoy in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al. v. Louis DeJoy, et al. As a result of that case, USPS was preliminarily blocked from implementing a series of sudden policy changes ahead of last year’s presidential election that threatened to slow the delivery of election mail during an election that saw a record number of ballots cast by mail.

In filing the comment letter, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Pennsylvania, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, as well as City of New York and the City and County of San Francisco.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Attorney General Bonta Formally Launches New Regional Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Teams

 LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today formally launched new regional Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Teams (HT/SPAT) within the California Department of Justice and is encouraging law enforcement partners in the state to reach out to the new program. Progressively stepping up their efforts since last year, the teams — one covering Northern California and another covering Southern California — are now nearly fully staffed and have already taken action across the state to support law enforcement partners in disrupting and dismantling human trafficking and the criminal exploitation of children. Attorney General Bonta today also issued an information bulletin to local authorities to provide guidance on key techniques meant to help reduce harm in law enforcement interactions with sexually exploited youth. In addition, the Attorney General today highlighted new funds included in the proposed state budget aimed at combatting the effects of the pandemic on human trafficking and directly supporting survivors across California through $30 million in new grants over the next 3 years. The new proposed funds are in addition to $10 million per year in grants already included in the budget.


“Plain and simple: Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery. Whether it’s forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation of children, there is no place for these kinds of crimes in California or anywhere,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Unfortunately, the pandemic has only served to exacerbate many of the underlying risks that lead to human trafficking in our state. We all have to work together across every level of government and society to help bring human trafficking to an end. That’s why I’m proud to formally launch our human trafficking teams at the California Department of Justice. I urge our partners across the state to reach out whenever they are in need of assistance. No one agency can do it all alone — and we need more than arrests to have a real, lasting impact on survivors, particularly children. That's what makes these new grants in the proposed budget and our law enforcement bulletin so important. It will take hard work, patience, and understanding to secure justice and, ultimately, to bring healing. I’m confident that with the tools being shared today, together we can help make a difference for our people and for our state.”

“It has been more than 150 years since slavery was abolished and yet modern-day slavery still exists in our backyard,” said Assemblymember Miguel Santiago. “It’s our responsibility to do everything in our power to abolish this horrid crime and help survivors recover. A historic state investment of $60 million over the next three years coupled with the Attorney General’s statewide efforts will provide survivors much needed services such as housing, food, legal representation, and emergency response that could prove life-saving. This is only the start and it will take a village to eradicate one of the biggest human rights challenges of our time.”

Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery where perpetrators profit from the control and exploitation of men, women, and children for sex or labor through force, fraud, or coercion. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were more than 1,500 human trafficking cases reported in California in 2019 — more than any other state in the nation. In California, human trafficking has been most prevalent in urban areas and, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, three of the top child prostitution regions nationwide are in the Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco metropolitan areas. Among other industries, victims of human trafficking can also be found among migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, providers of residential care, and in California’s garment sector. Despite these ongoing concerns, California has historically lacked a statewide, collaborative approach to human trafficking enforcement.

However, as a result of a new infusion of funds to the California Department of Justice starting in fiscal year 2019-20, HT/SPAT has begun to directly step up engagement with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in efforts to help address the epidemic of human trafficking in California through a more comprehensive and collaborative statewide response. The new regional teams are in addition to the California Department of Justice’s existing work as a lead agency in the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force. The HT/SPAT program is committed to using a victim-centered approach to aggressively investigate and identify forced labor and sexual exploitation for profit or gain by human traffickers and sexual predators. The program also works to monitor and ensure compliance with California’s laws among registered sex offenders, largely focusing on those who have been identified as “Well Above Average Risk Offenders” in the California Sex Offender Registry. These individuals generally have a higher predicted rate of recidivism within the first five years of release from custody. Overall, there are 13 special agents and two crime analysts in the HT/SPAT program, all are new positions dedicated to directly tackling and assisting in efforts to eradicate human trafficking in the state.

The Attorney General encourages law enforcement partners across the state to reach out to the new HT/SPAT program for assistance on human trafficking matters, particularly those that may be complex or impact multiple jurisdictions. To date, many agencies have already done so and HT/SPAT has taken action in nearly all phases of enforcement efforts, including through:

Nearly 300 on-the-ground address checks of potential suspects and high-risk sex offenders;

The development of dozens of investigative leads, conducting suspect and survivor interviews in conjunction with law enforcement partners;

The execution of nearly two dozen search warrants;

Outreach to non-profit organizations that provide services to survivors; and

Assisting in and directly securing arrests related to human trafficking and other violations of California’s laws. 

In addition to the California Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to directly combat human trafficking in the state, Attorney General Bonta is today issuing guidance to help law enforcement protect commercially sexually exploited children from further harm. Commercial sexual exploitation of youth is defined as a commercial sex act where anything of value is given, including the provision of food, shelter, or payment, in exchange for the performance of a sexual act. Both girls and boys can be impacted and are subject to many of the same risk factors. 

Over the past decade, there has been a growing awareness and shift in understanding regarding sexually exploited youth in California and around the country. As a result, the California Legislature has enacted a number of state laws that aim to ensure youth are not criminalized as a result of being commercially sexually exploited. For instance, Senate Bill 1322 of 2016 made laws that criminalize soliciting or engaging in prostitution inapplicable to anyone under 18 years of age, fundamentally changing aspects of the relationship between youth and law enforcement. However, legislation alone does not ensure youth in such circumstances are able to meaningfully engage with law enforcement to extricate themselves from abusive situations or assist in the investigation and prosecution of exploiters. Ultimately, more restorative-focused actions often depend on building trust and long-term relationships. While a number of law enforcement agencies may have significant experience and expertise in working with commercially sexually exploited youth in such a manner, this is not always the case for law enforcement agencies across the state and a harm reduction approach ultimately requires patience, consistency, and a recognition that lasting change will take time.

In today’s bulletin, drawing on the expertise of the Department's Bureau of Children's Justice, the Attorney General urges law enforcement agencies to use a harm reduction framework and offers a wide-range of specific key strategies and approaches to help protect sexually exploited youth, including, among other things, to:

Remember that trauma impacts the ability of youth to recall information, creating the potential for there to be gaps in their stories or have details presented in a non-linear fashion;

Allow time for youth engaging with law enforcement to decompress, giving them space to clear their heads or use the restroom;

Clearly establish the purpose of the interaction, reminding youth that they are not in trouble or under arrest;

Review and update as needed a safety plan for youth regarding what to do should they feel in danger or receive threats;

Take steps to remain engaged and stay in contact with youth if possible, even if they go missing from foster care or other placements;

Maintain communication with the youth’s support systems, including social workers or caregivers;

Determine the best and safest way to maintain contact, particularly if texts or phone calls make the youth feel unsafe; and

Take steps to protect youth from being required to publicly provide testimony due to the sensitive nature of their cases and their juvenile status.

Lastly, pending approval by the Governor, the proposed budget contains a major new investment in direct services for survivors of human trafficking in the form of grants to be administered by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. These new grants are sorely needed as a result of the pandemic's impacts on many of the underlying risk factors that lead to human trafficking in California, including job loss among vulnerable populations, reported increases in online grooming, and limitations on the ability of victims to seek assistance in person. During COVID-19, service organizations across California have reported significant upticks in calls to their hotlines and in demand for assistance. The Attorney General is a fierce champion for making these kinds of grants available and supported calls by advocates to ratchet up investments into direct services for survivors. The grants included in the current proposed budget will help local entities support survivors through $30 million in new funding over the next 3 years. If approved, these funds will be part of the state's multi-tiered strategy to help protect and support Californians impacted by human trafficking.

Separately, the California Department of Justice also provides and maintains on its website human trafficking notices that certain businesses are required to post by law in order to inform the public and help ensure potential victims of trafficking are aware of resources available to them in California. These notices are available for use to all members of the public. Up-to-date digital copies of the notices are available for free in two dozen languages on the Attorney General’s website here: https://oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking/model-notice.

General information about the HT/SPAT program is available on the Attorney General’s website here: https://oag.ca.gov/bi/htspat. A copy of the information bulletin issued today is available here.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Free Talk Live Radio Hosts Arrested By Feds

 FTL's Main Host Released on Highly Restrictive Bail

You haven't received any updates from me in a few months because at about 6am on March 16th, the windows were smashed in at the FTL studio, which is also my home.  Approximately two dozen armed men and women from the FBI, IRS, ATF, USPS, and others decided to pay us a very rude visit and steal some computers and phones, as well as kidnap me and my next-door neighbor and co-host "Nobody".  At the same time they were raiding the home of another FTL co-host, Aria DiMezzo, as well as a few of our mutual friends.


In total, six of us were arrested and have been charged with various victimless "crimes" relating to the alleged distribution of Bitcoin without government permission.  Four of the six were released on the same day, while me and Nobody were held pending bail hearings.  My first hearing took weeks to get the ruling, but the magistrate denied my release, calling me a flight risk and "economic danger to the community". 

We subsequently appealed and six weeks later an actual judge released me on some very restrictive bail conditions.  Nobody is still being held and is appealing his initial bail denial as well.  My bail conditions include home confinement, no access to cryptocurrency, and I'm prohibited from speaking with my co-host of nearly 20 years, Mark Edge, as well as Aria, Nobody, and several other mutual friends.  We plan to fight these restrictions as they are a clear violation of the right to free speech and free association.  One thing is for sure - it certainly doesn't feel like "innocent until proven guilty" with 69 days behind bars pre-trial and insane bail conditions, that I've only glossed over here to keep this update short.

We are denying the ludicrous charges against us and planning for a trial in 2022.  I am facing the brunt of it and have been labeled a "sophisticated criminal" and "kingpin" by the prosecutors.  Bitcoin of course, is not illegal, so they had to cook up some other scary sounding charges like "wire fraud" and "money laundering" and the biggie, "continuing financial crimes enterprise", which alone has a ten-year minimum sentence.

Free Talk Live was the first national radio show - maybe even the first national media period - to discuss Bitcoin and we've been longtime advocates for it and other cryptocurrencies.  Is that why we're being targeted? 

https://www.freetalklive.com

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Attorney General Bonta: In California, Federal Child Tax Credit Is Exempt from Garnishment

  OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today warned financial institutions, creditors and debt collectors that in California, it is illegal to seize federal Child Tax Credit payments for individual debts. On July 15, roughly 39 million U.S. families – representing 88 percent of the nation’s children – are expected to begin receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments. Governor Gavin Newsom’s April 23, 2020, Executive Order makes it unlawful to garnish any financial assistance provided to individuals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Executive Order’s protection extends to the Child Tax Credit, which was enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan in response to the pandemic.  


 “The pandemic has been tough on families across California,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The Child Tax Credit payments should be a bright spot for our families, putting money in their pockets as the country begins our recovery. No parent should go to bed worried that these payments will be seized by some debt collector.”

 The new Child Tax Credit provides families with up to $300 per month for young children and up to $250 per month for kids ages six through 17, for the 2021 tax year. Eligible families will receive the credit as a monthly payment from the IRS.

 The Child Tax Credit was part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic aid package called the American Rescue Plan that became law in March. In California, Executive Order N-57-20 sought to ensure that COVID-19 assistance funds reached their intended recipients in full and weren’t withheld by debt collectors. This state protection for individuals includes pandemic-related financial assistance provided by local, state and federal government.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Attorney General Bonta Secures Settlement with EPA to Protect Americans from One of World’s Most Toxic Substances

 OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to initiate rulemaking to collect data on and eliminate reporting exemptions for uses of asbestos, a long-known toxic carcinogen. California and Massachusetts previously led a multistate coalition in challenging the EPA’s failure to create a new rule requiring data collection on the importation and use of asbestos, and in December 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found in favor of the state attorneys general. In today’s settlement, the EPA agrees to complete rulemaking by specific deadlines consistent with the court’s summary judgment order and to not appeal the court’s ruling. 



“The long-time failure of the EPA to regulate asbestos is an environmental injustice and public health tragedy,” said Attorney General Bonta. “As with so many environmental toxins, it is our low-income communities, communities of color, and young children who are disproportionately exposed to this deadly carcinogen and who suffer the resulting health consequences. Today's commitment by the Biden Administration's EPA to collect missing information about the import and use of asbestos is an important step toward ensuring all Americans live in a community that is healthy and safe.” 


Asbestos – a carcinogen that takes 15,000 lives per year – is linked to diseases that are life-threatening, or cause substantial pain and suffering, including mesothelioma, fibrosis, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, as well as other lung disorders and diseases. There is no safe level of exposure to this highly toxic material. Currently, the EPA does not possess, and is not collecting, comprehensive data on the importing, processing and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing articles in the U.S. necessary to protect public health. 


Following years of inaction, a coalition of state attorneys general petitioned the EPA in 2019 to initiate rulemaking on asbestos, and, following the EPA’s rejection of their petition, filed a lawsuit to compel the EPA to take action. On December 22, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found that the EPA’s denial of the coalition's petition violated the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act. The court directed the EPA to initiate rulemaking to eliminate exemptions for asbestos in the current Chemical Data Reporting rule.  


In today's settlement, conditioned on court approval, the EPA agrees to meet specific deadlines for the rulemaking process and to not appeal the court's decision. The EPA will publish a proposed rule no later than nine months after the effective date of the settlement and a final rule no later than 18 months after the effective date of the settlement. As part of the settlement, the states seek to amend their complaint to allege only a cause of action under the TSCA and agree to a slightly modified final judgment that directs the EPA to initiate rulemaking under the TSCA to address the information-gathering deficiencies that the court identified. 


Attorney General Bonta and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey are joined in today's settlement by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Phone Scammer?

 Today while at work, I got a call from a person calling himself Alan Davis an inspector for the Social Security Administration. His number had a San Francisco area code but that means nothing these days. 





He said he was investigating me for fraud and needed me to verify my personal information. 

I said this is Tom Sebourn, I work in a news room. This call is being recorded. 

He said I was in a lot of trouble and needed to verify my identity. I told him that we read Public Service Announcements to the  public about scams all the time and they usually start with a phone call just like this.

 He started to get abusive with me and said fine, I'll just send this to your local law enforcement agency and I interrupted him and said do what you want, I'm not giving you any more information. Fine he said I'll send it to the police.

 I told him to do that as I know who our local law enforcement is but i don't have a clue who you are even if you do say your name is Alan Davis. 

 He got mad and hung up. I reported him to the Department of Social Security Inspector General's Office. 

That's what you do. 

These people are sharks and really motivating. DON'T FALL FOR IT!!

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