The Chicago Journal

Lori Lightfoot fails to advance mayoral reelection

Lori LightfootThe city of Chicago has seen substantial transformations as its political dynamics have shifted.

Lori Lightfoot, the city’s mayor, did not place in the top two in the April runoff.

The development is the first time in over 40 years that a full-term incumbent Chicago mayor has lost reelection.

The news

Lori Lightfoot did not make the top two for the runoff on Tuesday, indicating how the political situation has evolved.

In recent years, Chicago has become the third large city to hold a mayoral election that puts public opinion to the test, notably with crime and policing.

Lori Lightfoot placed third in a nine-person municipal election field, with support from around one in every six Chicago voters.

She is the first Chicago mayor to lose reelection in 40 years.

Lightfoot’s term

Lori Lightfoot battled with police and teachers’ unions during her tenure.

At the same time, she had a chilly relationship with city councilors and Illinois’ Democratic governor, severing ties with a number of powerful friends.

Violence has escalated under Lori Lightfoot’s leadership, making voters nervous.

Chicago’s public transit system was likewise plagued by delays and service deficiencies.

While she was praised for her handling of the Coronavirus outbreak, Chicago’s economic recovery left much to be desired.

Violence in the Second City

While crime in Chicago increased in 2020 and 2021, Lightfoot’s performance highlighted her focus on public safety.

Shootings and homicides have fallen, according to the Chicago Police Department’s 2022 year-end report.

Nevertheless, additional crimes began to become an issue, such as:

  • Burglaries
  • Car-jacking
  • Robberies


The mayoral election has focused on crime and public safety, demonstrating that voter opinions have shifted.

Lori Lightfoot campaigned as a police reformer four years ago, promising to alter how cops are supervised and penalized.

In 2019, she came in first place in a crowded mayoral race, garnering 17.5% of the vote.

“We can and will remake Chicago,” Lightfoot vowed.

Despite the mayor’s first-round victory in 2019, it would subsequently play a factor in the mayor’s future troubles.

Lori Lightfoot was elected to a position considered a “political lightning rod” because she lacked a steady support base.

Throughout the campaigns, her toughness was a key selling factor, but it lost her supporters.

Read also: East Palestine is GOP’s next investigation


Lori Lightfoot disagreed with teacher and police unions prior to (and during) the pandemic, which cost her the election in 2023 because the groups favored competitors.

A dispute with the Chicago Teachers Union in 2019 over compensation and class size resulted in an 11-day walkout as she attempted to cut expenditures.

They fought again in 2022, when Lightfoot attempted to get instructors to return to the classrooms in the face of mounting Covid cases.

The union backed Brandon Johnson, who was previously unknown outside of the Chicago County commission area, in the fall.

“Chicago is ready to break with the politics of the past that ignore the needs of our students, their families, and school communities,” said Stacy Davis Gates, the union president.

Lori Lightfoot also alienated police last year during a spat over overtime pay in a department struggling to attract and retain officers.

Lightfoot contended the cops had more than ample vacation time.

The fight was one of the worst in the administration’s years-long feud with the police as she fought to cut on overtime spending.

Paul Vallas was sponsored by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.

Vallas has previously served as a school superintendent in the following areas:

  • Chicago
  • Philadelphia
  • New Orleans
  • Bridgeport
  • Connecticut

He also aired a pro-police ad, referencing cops in his family.

Conservative voters were drawn in by Vallas’ tough-on-crime campaign.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown announced his departure this month on Wednesday, giving the next mayor the opportunity to bring in fresh leadership to the department.

A focus on crime

The political winds in Chicago are similar to those in New York, where former police captain Mayor Eric Adams was elected in 2021.

Last year, former Rep. Karen Bass defeated Richard Caruso, a millionaire developer who spent millions on a law-and-order campaign.

Bass won by proposing more police officers and declaring a state of emergency to handle the homelessness epidemic.

Although their comparable messages, Vallas and Adams vary in that Vallas is White and Adams is Black.

Vallas and Johnson gained more support from Chicago’s predominately White north side.

Lori Lightfoot, on the other hand, enjoyed backing from Black communities in the south and west.

The two outcomes highlight the significance of the runoff, which will be a struggle to gain the support of Black voters.

Johnson showed hints of uniting liberals who backed other names in the nine-person field, naming each contender individually.

“If you voted for one of those other candidates, I want you to know that I’m running to be the mayor of you, too,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vallas tweeted that he is running to be a mayor for all of Chicago because “public safety is a human right and people in every neighborhood deserve to feel safe.”

Image source: Aljazeera

East Palestine is GOP’s next investigation

East PalestineA Norfolk Southern freight train derailed earlier this month in East Palestine, Ohio.

The train derailment caused a fire due to the toxic chemicals on board.

Also, because of the risk of an explosion, officials ordered an evacuation of the area within a mile of the incident, which occurred near James Street.

Dams stopped the flow of tainted water while the EPA community cleared floating garbage and monitored the air.

Despite the fact that people have returned, some have claimed health problems such as:

  • Breathing troubles
  • Nausea
  • Rashes

The company in charge of the hazardous material, Norfolk Southern, has actively participated in the monitoring by supplying bottled water to East Palestine locals.

Yet, some passengers have launched a class action suit against Norfolk Southern.

In addition, Republican senators have proposed an investigation into the train catastrophe.

The news

Several House Republican committees plan to examine the event in East Palestine, Ohio, according to committee chairmen.

Republican senators have pledged to examine the Biden administration’s “flawed” reaction to the tragedy.

On February 3, a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed, threatening East Palestine inhabitants’ access to city air and public water.

Republicans, according to authorities, have left the door open for hearings, including calling Michael Regan and Pete Buttigieg to appear publicly.

Buttigieg is the Transportation Secretary, while Regan is the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sadly, no decisions have been made.

A fresh sense of urgency

The Republican Party is putting more focus on surveillance after multiple senators blasted President Joseph Biden for failing to visit East Palestine.

Biden stated last week that he had no intentions to visit the site, citing his administration’s stance.

“You know, we were there two hours after the train went down – two hours,” said the president.

“I’ve spoken with every single major figure in both Pennsylvania and in Ohia, and so the idea that we’re not engaged is just simply not there.”

“And initially, there was not a request for me to go out even before I was heading over to Kyiv, so I’m keeping very close tabs on it. We’re doing all we can.”

A committee has been formed to investigate what happened and hold the Biden administration and the railroad industry responsible for the catastrophe.

The committee consists of:

  • The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
  • The House Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • The House Committee on Oversight and Reform

Furthermore, some GOP committee members are considering holding a field hearing in East Palestine.

According to people participating in the discussions, formal arrangements have yet to be completed.

Read also: Joe Biden goes the extra mile in act of commitment to Ukraine

Reaching out

The Energy and Commerce Committee requested that the EPA appear before the panel’s Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee.

According to a committee staffer, the subcommittee is chaired by GOP Rep. Bill Johnson, who represents East Palestine.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Energy and Commerce Committee Chair and a Republican from Washington state, joins Johnson.

On February 17, they tried to launch the investigation by writing to Regan and requesting information on the circumstances leading up to the train catastrophe.

They also asked for the following:

  • A list of the chemicals on the train
  • Materials relating to the EPA’s and local agencies’ response
  • Other information regarding the derailment

Johnson and McMorris Rodgers’ request must be responded to by March 3.

Meanwhile, the Energy and Commerce Committee asked EPA officials for an all-members briefing and a hearing date.

Insiders said they are still waiting for a response.

Close tabs

According to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee spokesperson Justin Harclerode, the committee intends to keep members updated as new information becomes available.

The committee is also closely monitoring the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation.

“The important thing is to learn exactly what happened, what factors played a role in the accident, and what factors did not,” said Harclerode.

“The Committee is staying engaged on this issue, but no one should jump to any conclusions or act without all the facts. Which is exactly what the NTSB is working to provide through their investigation.”

House Oversight Chairman James Comer wrote to Pete Buttigieg on Friday, calling the situation an environmental and public health calamity affecting Citizens.

Comer asked Buttigieg to give over papers related to the incident, such as what the administration learned about the disaster and correspondence concerning the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s handling of the derailment paperwork.

“At this time, Chairman Comer is focused on acquiring the documents and information requested in his February 24 letter to Secretary Buttigieg,” said Austin Hacker, a spokesman for Comer.

Image source: King 5 News

Joe Biden goes the extra mile in act of commitment to Ukraine

Joe Biden Since more than a year ago, Washington has helped Ukraine thwart Russian assaults.

The United States’ support for Ukraine was demonstrated by President Joe Biden’s trip to Kiev on Monday.

Biden’s clandestine visit revealed his commitment to supporting the nation in its conflict with Russia.

The news

Due to his timing, Biden’s covert journey to Kyiv was extremely significant for the invasion.

Reports state that the invaders are getting ready for a spring offensive as Ukraine works to quickly recapture the area.

Air raid sirens were audible across Kyiv during the visit, and President Volodymyr Zelesnky and Biden were observed strolling through St. Michael’s Church.

The US President arrived at the Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv at 8 am local time after a lengthy journey from Washington.

Biden was greeted and praised for visiting by Zelensky.

President Joe Biden said that the US will give $500 million in help to Ukraine during the visit.

The package includes the following:

  • Artillery ammunition
  • More javelins
  • Howitzers

Moreover, Biden stated that this coming week, the US will penalize Russia once more.

“One year later, Kriv stands. And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands,” said the US President.


In an effort to turn the tide of the war, Western nations other than the United States have sent tanks, guns, and ammunition to Ukraine.

With his personal visit, President Joe Biden clearly conveys US support for Zelensky and the Ukraine.

President Vladymyr Zelensky has been working to rally his country and enlist help for the past year.

American officials claim that the infusion of arms will provide Ukraine a tactical advantage against Russia and raise Zelensky’s negotiation power.

What conditions the Ukrainian president will be open to during future peace negotiations are as of yet unknown.

The US, like other nations, has decided not to comment on potential settlement terms, stating Zelensky will make the final decision.

High stakes

President Joe Biden made a symbolic trip to Kyiv the day before Russian President Vladimir Putin was supposed to deliver a speech to commemorate the conflict’s anniversary.

According to Biden, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was failing.

“Putin thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided,” said Biden as Zelensky stood beside him.

“He thought he could outlast us. I don’t think he’s thinking that right now. He’s just been plain wrong.”

“One year later, the evidence is right here in this room. We stand together.”

As the war reaches its second year, President Joseph Biden gave a justification for his trip to the Ukrainian capital at the presidential palace.

“I thought it was critical that there not be any doubt, none whatsoever, about US support for Ukraine in the war,” said Biden.

“The Ukrainian people have stepped up in a way that few people ever have in the past.”

Read also: Mike Pence joins Trump and Biden in holding documents

In order to show the wide, political support in Washington, the US president said:

“For all the disagreement we have in our Congress on some issues, there is significant agreement on support for Ukraine.”

“It’s not just about freedom in Ukraine,” he continued. “It’s about freedom of democracy at large.”

Planning for the upcoming months of hostilities was the main topic of Biden’s talk with Zelensky, according to national security advisor Jake Sullivan.

“The President was very focused on making sure that he made the most of his time on the ground, which he knew was going to be limited,” said Sullivan.

“So he was quite focused on how he was going to approach his conversation with President Zelensky and in part how the two of them were really going to look out over the course of 2023 and try to come to a common understanding of what the objectives are.”

Others visit Ukraine

Following the meeting between Zelensky and other European leaders in Kyiv, President Joseph Biden was keen to travel to Ukraine.

The following leaders visited Ukraine:

  • French President Emmanuel Macron
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
  • British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
  • Former British Prime Minister

The respective secretaries of state and defense, Anthony Blinken and Lloyd Austin, also went to Ukraine to show their support.

Leading members of the White House, including CIA Director William Burns, visited the Ukrainian capital this month.

Also, on Mother’s Day in 2022, Dr. Jill Biden, Biden’s wife, traveled to Ukraine.

She met Zelensky at a school that had been transformed into a makeshift housing for displaced Ukrainians in a tiny village in the southwest of the nation.


President Joe Biden wants to show his support for Ukraine as the conflict’s anniversary on February 24 draws near.

The question of how long the West and the United States can survive is still open.

This was Biden’s eighth trip to the city, and each one had been more crucial than the last, he said.

Also, Vladymyr Zelensky was informed of the US’s “here to stay” stance by President Joe Biden, who made it clear that this was the purpose of his visit.

“We’re not leaving,” said Biden.

Image source: Time

Biden reassures 1 out of 4 flying objects was Chinese

BidenOver four unidentified flying objects were discovered during the course of the preceding week, which prompted instructions to strike them.

On Thursday, US President Joe Biden addressed the country in response to the downed aircraft.

He believed that three of the flying items were most likely made by enterprises, recreational areas, or university research institutions.

Furthermore, Biden seems to dismiss any connections to China’s surveillance balloon from February 4.

“We don’t yet know what these three objects were,” said the US President at the White House.

“But nothing right now suggests that they were related to China’s spy balloon program or that they were surveillance vehicles from any other country.”


President Biden made his comments a few days after coming under criticism from Democratic and Republican members of Congress.

Congressmen assert that the American people have a right to hear directly from their president on the government’s knowledge of the surveillance balloon.

Also, the general public has a right to know what motivated Biden to order American fighter jets to shoot down three more flying objects.

After the Chinese balloon, US military defense radars spotted a number of slowly moving objects around the country and other regions of the globe, according to President Biden.

“In doing so, they tracked three unidentified objects in Alaska, Canada, and over Lake Huron in the Midwest,” said Biden.

“I gave the order to take down these three objects due to hazards to civilian commercial air traffic, and because we could not rule out the surveillance risk over sensitive facilities.”

The balloon

The critical monitoring equipment from the fallen Chinese balloon has been successfully removed, according to the White House, which announced this on Thursday.

“What we learn will strengthen our capabilities,” said Biden.

The duration of the search and the potential locations of the three flying objects’ debris are likewise unknown.

After the shooting down of the spy balloon, the United States last week imposed further restrictions on six Chinese military and aviation technology businesses.

Sanctions have been implemented due to their alleged involvement in China’s vast aerial espionage.

Read also: White House brush off aliens theories

Defusing tensions

On Thursday, China announced plans to impose sanctions on important US military businesses, using American sanctions as rationale.

In order to avoid raising the stakes with his remarks, President Joseph Biden attempted to defuse tensions between the two countries.

Analysts assert that there has never been a moment when US-China tensions have been higher.

“We seek competition, not conflict with China,” said Biden.

“We’re not looking for a new Cold War… we will compete and will we responsibly manage that competition so that it doesn’t veer into conflict.”

According to President Biden, the spy balloon episode emphasizes the need of maintaining open lines of communication between military personnel in Beijing and Washington, as well as between American and Chinese authorities.

Also, Biden wants to discuss what happened with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A ‘consequence’

The Chinese spy balloon was only one of hundreds of personnel participating in the battle between the two powerful countries, according to President Joe Biden.

Both stand out on their own, but none suggests a change in policy.

“I think the last thing that Xi wants is to fundamentally rip the relationship with the United States that was made, in terms of success, to US markets,” said President Joe Biden.


A Chinese surveillance balloon traveling over Alaska was found in US airspace on January 28.

On February 4, after landing in US airspace off the coast of South Carolina, the balloon was finally shot down.

A surveillance balloon that was visible above North America for eight days alarmed many.

At that time, politicians and members of the public pressured Biden to offer an explanation for why he hadn’t ordered the balloon to be shot earlier.

Less than a week after the balloon’s demise, a flying object was shot down over the Arctic Ocean.

The aircraft was there and it was hovering at 40,000 feet. Compared to the Chinese balloon, it was smaller.

A similar-sized and -height aircraft was seen over the Canadian Yukon the next day and was shot down.

A third, slightly smaller object that was circling at 20,000 feet on Sunday was obliterated.

Image source: The Hill

White House brush off aliens theories

White HouseOver North American airspace, flying objects that appeared to belong in a movie have been sighted.

President Joe Biden gave the military three days (including the weekend) to shoot down three flying objects.

During a news briefing on Monday, the White House made it clear that they were still unaware of what the objects were.

The folks there were unable to confirm if the objects were surveillance drones.

It was unclear what the flying objects were since the fighter aircraft that was seeing them were moving so quickly.

As a consequence, many people have shared their opinions, and the majority of them have stated that alien involvement is present.

The briefing

In a briefing at noon on Monday, the White House made it clear that, while not understanding what they were, the flying objects did not originate from space.

“I just wanted to make sure we address this from the White House,” started Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary.

“I know there have been questions and concerns about this, but there is no – again, no – indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent take-downs.”

“Wanted to make sure that the American people knew that, all of you knew that,” she added.

“And it was important for us to say that from here because we’ve been hearing a lot about it.”

The White House press corps chuckled a little at the statements regarding extraterrestrial activities.

Mysterious objects

A Chinese spy balloon was shot down by the US Air Force earlier in the month.

Three unidentified objects, however, have recently been spotted over Alaska, the Canadian Yukon Territory, and Lake Huron near Michigan.

Four in total were destroyed in February.

Timeline of the object sightings

On February 4, 2023, an F-22 fighter jet downed the first flying object.

Off the coast of South Carolina, it was initially spotted.

Another object was fired over Alaska on February 10.

It was around the size of a small automobile, per the White House.

Read also: Mike Pence joins Trump and Biden in holding documents

On the other hand, the Pentagon denied claims that the item was a balloon and said that it had disintegrated into smaller parts.

The next day, another flying object was fired above the Yukon Territory, according to Justin Trudeau, the president of Canada.

The most recent flying object was seen above Lake Huron in Michigan on Sunday after passing over Montana the day before.

Officials overwhelmed

Numerous questions regarding the aircrafts and Biden’s request for the military to shoot them down have been directed to the White House.

Authorities took the mystery surrounding the strange flying objects very seriously.

Conspiracy theories have been very prevalent in conversation as a result of how current events have developed.

One officer acknowledged that the lack of knowledge increased the likelihood that novel theories would emerge, saying:

“Everyone wants answers that no one has at the moment.”

Sources claim that officials decided it would be prudent to explicitly (and immediately) rule out the possibility of alien participation even if there isn’t enough qualitative data about the objects to disclose to the public.

Officials had to make a decision immediately since they knew it would take some time to gather and inspect the fallen debris.

Sharing information

Representatives of the administration claim that their objective is to disseminate all of their knowledge on the flying objects.

They did acknowledge that the current situation isn’t the best for a discussion, however.

President Joe Biden said he wants to be open and honest about the situation with Congress and the American people.

Biden acknowledged that his capacity to address the matter is constrained without a thorough understanding of the nature of the flying objects, according to sources.

The government is working to clarify the false information that surfaced over the weekend in the meantime.

In an effort to bring authorities together in light of the contradicting assertions made by the Pentagon and Congressmen, they chose to have John Kirby brief the White House on the situation on Monday.

The National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby, is the ideal candidate to carry out this effort.

Given the rise in conspiracy theories, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee suggested on Monday that it could be a good idea for the US President to address the nation.

“Ambiguity is fuel for conspiracy theorists,” said the lawmaker. “I hope information is shared expeditiously.”

Image source: The Hill

Extremist group in the US: 2 members charged

Extremist groupOn Monday, two persons were charged with conspiring to assault the city of Baltimore, Maryland’s electrical infrastructure.

Federal authorities’ court filings claim that a neo-Nazi leader planned to assault electrical substations with a woman he was seeing.

They went for the neighboring facilities in an effort to completely destroy Baltimore.

What happened

The Justice Department filed charges against Sarah Beth Clendaniel and Brandon Clint Russell for conspiring to destroy the electrical grid.

Allegations state that the plan against Maryland on the grounds of race or ethnicity was supported by extreme ideologies.

The two allegedly sought to “inflict maximum harm on the power grid,” according to Tom Sobocisnki, the director of the FBI field office in Baltimore.

“The accused were not just talking, but taking steps to fulfill their threats and further their extremist goals,” said Sobocisnki.

The accusations follow domestic experts’ cautions that extremist groups are attempting to attack power facilities more frequently.

Extremist groups attacking

Two bullets were fired at a power substation in Moore County, North Carolina, in the second part of 2022.

The attack resulted in the loss of energy for 45,000 homes and businesses.

Experts believe that domestic extremist groups may already be preparing other assaults of this nature.

It follows a November FBI warning, the aim of which is still unknown, which cautioned that extremist groups posed a threat to incite societal instability and urge further slaughter.

“This typically primitive style attack equals millions of dollars in damage,” said former US Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection Brian Harrell.

“If you were to shoot some very key components, you can quickly create an effect where this large multimillion transformer becomes essentially a paperweight.”

According to the Department of Energy, there were 25 violent assaults on US power plants in 2017.

In addition, 57 complaints of suspicious behavior and 80 vandalism incidents were documented.

With six violent attacks, two sabotage complaints, 32 reports of suspicious behavior, and 52 acts of vandalism, the statistics reflect an increase from 2021 reports.

Most of the reports most likely originate from members of extremist groups.

Court appearance

Monday afternoon in Baltimore’s downtown, District Court Judge Richard Collins received Sarah Beth Clendaniel for the first time.

She shook her head as she went over the allegations against her in order to prepare for the hearing.

Kirstin Hopkins, Clendaniel’s court-appointed attorney, cooperated with the government’s request to keep the defendant locked up while awaiting more hearings.

Read also: Mike Pence joins Trump and Biden in holding documents

She will presumably enter a plea during a subsequent court appearance.

On February 15, her case will also get a preliminary hearing.

Brandon Clint Russell’s initial court appearance was planned for Monday in Orlando.

However, there is presently no updated information surrounding his hearing.


Clendaniel is accused of telling FBI informants during discussions that were taped in January that the facilities were the subject of a scheme to destroy the whole city.

According to the charge documents, she and Russell allegedly supplied the source the facility information.

Brandon Clint Russell also allegedly supplied them a YouTube video of the attack on the North Carolina substation, the informant claimed.

In addition, he is said to have started a neo-Nazi group in his community.

Authorities claim that before planning to target the electrical grid in Maryland, he and his roommates planned a similar attack in Florida.

After a roommate looked into the 2017 murders of two of his roommates, evidence of the alleged conspiracy was found.

Officials stated that Russell and Clendaniel were involved in a real-life and online connection at the news briefing on Monday.


Russell has been in touch with the FBI insider using the name “Homunculus” since June 2022, according to the Justice Department.

Over the course of the next months, he is said to have discussed starting an assault on crucial infrastructure with the source multiple times.

The source and Homunculus talked about Mylar balloons at one point.

He allegedly described additional possible attacks on electrical substations and added that punching holes in transformers is “the greatest thing somebody can do.”

“Something worthwhile”

As “Nythra88” and “Kali1889,” Sarah Beth Clendaniel allegedly introduced herself to the FBI source in January.

She allegedly informed the source that she wanted to do something meaningful before passing away from a devastating disease, per the charging paperwork.

She asked for assistance to get firearms.

According to the source, Homunculus and Clendaniel briefed them about their plans to attack power plants.

According to the allegations made by the prosecution, the source recorded a voice conversation that lasted more than two hours on January 24.

Clendaniel sent the informant a message five days later stating that they will target the facilities near Baltimore.


The court papers showed that the two extremist group members had been in contact since at least 2018, while they were both incarcerated at different facilities.

Following his admission to carrying an unregistered device and illegally storing explosive materials, Russell was given a 60-month term in January 2018.

According to court records, his roommate and their other two roommates were informed that he was the group’s leader at the time.

The roommate said that the group intended to strike major US infrastructure including a nuclear plant and electrical wires near Alligator Alley (around Interstate 75).

Court records state that after killing the other two roommates for harassing him for switching from neo-Nazi ideology to Islam, the roommate was questioned by police.

At the time of his release in the newly reported case, Russell was on supervised release.

Clendaniel’s record revealed a number of violations when he was being held in custody in 2006, including an armed robbery at a convenience store using a huge butcher knife.

She received a five-year jail term.

Image source: The Seattle Times

Kevin McCarthy and Biden strike mutual respect

Kevin McCarthy: Political conflict between opposing forces nearly ever results in understanding; instead, it escalates into new confrontations.

The Wednesday meeting at the White House, however, was surprisingly fruitful.

The meeting between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden to discuss lifting the debt ceiling seemed to go seamlessly.

McCarthy also voiced optimism for a breakthrough.

A surprising optimism

As concerns about a US default grew on Wednesday, a number of officials met at the White House to discuss the debt ceiling.

Prior to their meeting, Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy engaged in political sparring.

Their interactions drew boundaries, and the media was notified of them.

The newly elected House speaker, however, displayed positivity as he exited the West Wing, demonstrating his confidence that they can reach an agreement.

McCarthy steadfastly refused the strict demands of the White House, yet something unexpected did get through.

After the discussion, the House speaker reportedly told Biden that the House would accept a “clean” debt ceiling, but there would be constraints.

“The only thing I heard for the last month was, I’m not gonna negotiate with you,” said Kevin McCarthy on what he offered the president.

“I just spent an hour sitting with the President in the Oval Office talking about what we do on a debt ceiling.”

“So, the first start is, okay, that’s different than what the last month was.”

Debt ceiling

The present level of the national debt exceeds the cap established by Congress in January.

As a result, the Treasury Department was obligated to take drastic action to ensure that the government made its debt payments on time.

Additionally, it put more pressure on Capitol Hill to prevent a default at year’s end.

The newly elected House GOP majority and the White House couldn’t come to an agreement on how to lift the debt ceiling.

Although Kevin McCarthy admitted that the initial discussion went well, he also underlined that there were still disparities in the viewpoints of the two parties.

“I think that at the end of the day, we can find common ground,” he said.

The meeting

Kevin McCarthy briefed President Joe Biden that he wanted to negotiate a resolution before the deadline so they could concentrate on other problems.

Biden emphasized his wish to engage with McCarthy and collaborate “across the aisle in good faith,” according to a White House statement.

The statement claims that during the meeting, Biden made it plain to McCarthy that stopping a national debt default is a shared duty.

As speaker for the first time, Kevin McCarthy went to the White House meeting and expressed optimism that a financial agreement for the following two years could be reached.

Read also: Mike Pence joins Trump and Biden in holding documents

“You won’t see omnibuses anymore,” he added.

“You’ll see the Senate and the House actually do what the American public has elected them to do.”

Biden welcomes a small meeting with congressional leaders on how to lower the deficit and keep the national debt under control while fostering economic growth, according to the White House.

Republicans in the House think increasing the debt ceiling should come after spending reductions.

As previously said, the White House will not negotiate or make concessions to lift the debt ceiling.

An early hurdle

Since being elected House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy is facing his first leadership test in light of the debt limit problem.

He faces the challenging task of balancing competing demands from diverse factions while preserving a fragile majority.

The debt ceiling offers a chance to evaluate McCarthy and Biden’s cooperation.

Republicans in the Senate announced that they would postpone their participation until they had seen how the House GOP addressed the $31.4 trillion borrowing cap problem.

They will then determine if they need to get involved.

Republicans at risk

The GOP runs a political risk by endorsing a budget cut.

They can run into backlash if they suggest cutting funding for preferred government services and programs.

According to sources, Kevin McCarthy frequently spoke with allies on and off the Hill.

This week, the House speaker and his GOP allies worked out their initial demands and spoke about cutting spending on domestic and defense initiatives.

To prevent backlash from voters, they opted against opposing Social Security and Medicare.

By choosing a course of action, House Republicans intended to advance their negotiations with the White House.

It has proven challenging to get agreements on budget reduction during the meeting.

Republicans thought it was still early given that there are still months of debate before the meeting on Wednesday.

There would be more time for Kevin McCarthy to speak.

Leaders are conscious that they must start by laying the foundation inside their own ranks, though.

McCarthy and the White House both utilized the past week to limit the discussions, despite the fact that their public remarks in the wake of the meeting were more restrained.

Biden and McCarthy

President Joe Biden’s top economic advisers asked Kevin McCarthy two questions in a memo that was distributed to “interested parties” on Monday:

Does he guarantee that the United States won’t default on its debt? When will he and the Republicans in the House make their budget public?

According to statements made by Biden a day before the meeting, McCarthy purportedly approached the session from a weak position due to pledges made to an unruly GOP party.

McCarthy argued that as he rose to become speaker, he was forced to accommodate extremist Republicans, despite the President praising him as a decent man.

At a prestigious dinner in Manhattan, McCarthy reportedly had to make commitments that were improper for a House speaker to make.

Kevin McCarthy replied:

“Apparently, he doesn’t understand… I’m looking forward to sitting down with the president, negotiating for the American public, the people of America, on how we can find savings.”

“We’ve watched what the spending has done, we watched it brought us inflation, we watched the challenge that it happened.”

“We’re looking forward to changing the course.”

Image source: The New York Times

Sam Bankman-Fried found to donate to lawmakers probing FTX collapse

Image source: NBC News

Sam Bankman-Fried has gained a lot of attention after the closure of his bitcoin exchange site FTX at the beginning of last month.

His recent detention by Bahamas authorities.

However, according to federal records, SBF gave at least 11 members of the House Financial Services Committee a sizable quantity of money (almost $95,000).

The donations were suspect to the 11 MPs who were on the committee investigating the FTX collapse since they took place prior to the midterm elections.

The donations

The majority of Fried’s Sam Bankman contributions went to Democrats.

Ritchie Torres, a New York representative, amassed $35,000 from various donors associated with FTX, according to The Post’s analysis of Federal Election Commission campaign data.

Rep. Jake Auchincloss was sure he wouldn’t follow Torres’ example and donate the proceeds from the FTX campaign to a good cause.

In the interim, no one else has yet addressed the issue.

  1. Rep. Ritchie Torres

According to the FEC, Sam Bankman-Fried contributed $2,900 to the New York Democrat’s campaign.

For his campaign and triumph, Gabriel Bankman-Fried gave him about $32,400.

In a subsequent interview with CoinDesk, Torres admitted that the donation was “unsolicited,” but he insisted that he would still give the money.

“My ties to him are minimal,” said Torres.

The Democrat claims that Sam Bankman-Fried is a pathological liar.

2. Rep. Josh Gottheimer

Records show that Sam Bankman-Fried personally donated $5,800 to the New Jersey representative.

Mark Wetjen, an FTX employee, presented Gottheimer with two gifts, each at $2,900.

With regard to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Wetjen has a wealth of experience.

It is confirmed that the politician will donate the funds to a deserving cause.

3. Rep. Jake Auchincloss

Sam Bankman-Fried and Wetjen each gave the committee vice chair $5,800.

Auchincloss said he wouldn’t return the contributions, citing the fact that they had been provided to other Democrats running in more intense campaigns as his justification.

“I’m not going to send money to a guy in a Bahaman jail, that’s for sure,” said the Massachusetts Rep.

“That money is out the door, helping to elect Democrats.”

4. Rep Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia

The Illinois Democrat’s reelection campaign received a $2,900 donation.

Last month, a spokesman for Garcia stated that he had previously donated the funds to the Northwest Center, a Chicago-based organization that supports financial literacy.

5. Rep Joyce Beatty

Sam Bankman-Fried also donated to the Ohio Democrat: $2,900.

Read also: Twitter and Elon Musk sued by former workers

6. Rep. Cindy Axne

Sam Bankman-Fried gave the Iowa Democrat two distinct contributions over the course of the contest.

SBF provided Cindy Axne for Congress with a $2,900 contribution and a $5,000 increase for her AXNE PAC.

7. Rep. Lee Zeldin

According to the records, FTX executive Ryan Salame contributed $5,800 to Zeldin’s campaign prior to the midterm elections.

8. Rep Sean Casten

Gabriel Bankman-Fried gave $1,000 to Casten’s campaign in two different contributions, according to FEC records.

9. Rep. Tom Emmer

Several FTX executives contributed modest sums to the Minnesota Republican.

FTX employees Salame and Zach Dexter each gave $2,900.

10. Rep. Ted Budd

Salame gave the North Carolina Republican representative $2,900.

11. Rep Jim Himes

A FTX executive named Danielle Barrett contributed $2,800 to the campaign of the Connecticut politician.

Francesca Capodilupo, his campaign manager, spoke on his behalf and said:

“The contributions we received… was unsolicited and is being donated.”

Other donations

Sam Bankman-Fried provided a donation to an unnamed congressional office.

They pledged to hold onto the funds until they were sure they were the legitimate owners.

The employees had previously been cautioned against giving to a charity in case the victims later claimed their money back.

Additionally, FTX financing was given to members of the House Financial Services Committee.

According to reports, Sam Bankman-Fried contributed thousands of dollars to numerous PACs and campaigns for a variety of candidates.

  • Jimmy Panetta
  • Kim Schrier
  • Angie Craig

Read also: TikTok research finds teens exposed to harmful content

Jurisdiction on the contributions

The committee members erred by taking the gifts from Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX affiliates, according to government ethics experts who spoke on Thursday.

Professor of philanthropic studies at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and founding dean emeritus, Gene Tempel.

Tempel said:

“These contributions…were unethical because they represented a conflict of interest on both the part of FTX and the regulatory body.”

“Politicians have typically made contributions to charity in the amount of tainted money they have received.”

“In this case, since FTX defrauded individuals, a victims’ fund might be developed,” he continued.

“Which would be an appropriate place for politicians to make payments.”

John P. Pelissaro and Tempel concurred that the donations shouldn’t have been accepted, saying:

“Members of the House Financial Services Committee should have declined to accept campaign donations from any company or individuals associated with such that has or could have legislation considered at the committee that affects their businesses.

Pelissaro is a senior researcher and political scientist at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

He asserted that returning the money by the committee members was the only “ethical” choice.

“If the funds are not returned by the congress members, they may create the perception that they are beholden to a company – now a failed business and under legal scrutiny – that was seeking to influence public policy before the committee,” said Pelissaro.


These lawmakers probing FTX’s collapse got donations from Sam Bankman-Fried and cronies

Shooting incident in California: confrontation leads to suicide

Image source: Washington Times

Shooting: The state of California maintains tight gun regulations, including a 10-day waiting period and a prohibition on assault weapons.

Unexpectedly, there is a significant amount of gun violence, particularly in urban areas.

Additionally, California introduced red flag laws and strengthened background checks.

Despite these efforts, the state’s argument over gun violence continues.

A shooting suspect recently fired at a dance club over the weekend.

Ten individuals were killed and another 10 were wounded as a result of the suspect’s actions.

A new police report claims that the shooter committed suicide.

The shooting

In Monterey Park on Saturday night, not far from the Lunar New Year party, there was a mass shooting.

It was anticipated for the Garvey Avenue assembly to last until 9:00 pm.

More than 65% of the people of Monterey Park are Asian, according to the US Census Bureau.

It is still too early to say for sure if the massacre was prompted by hatred.

It is also one of the most prominent among the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander populations in the US, according to the mayor of the nearby city of Alhambra.

The victims

Police said that at the ballroom dance club, five males and five women were slain.

Ten people were hurt, and seven more were receiving medical attention for their wounds at nearby hospitals.

Their situations, according to the officials, varied from stable to critical.

Despite the lack of identification, Luna assumes that the victims were in their fifties or older.

The aftermath

Police arrived at the Monterey Park dance studio on Saturday night three minutes after the initial call.

Police Chief Scott Wiesse said that as some people attempted to flee and others lay injured on the ground, officials witnessed a sight of utter mayhem.

A man armed with a gun entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra twenty to thirty minutes later.

Someone noticed he was carrying a weapon and wrestled it from him before he left the area in a white van.

Read also: Social media faces more regulations in 2023

The manhunt

According to accounts, the perpetrator may have sought medical help before being apprehended.

Authorities said that a male who seemed to be the suspect visited the emergency room of a neighboring hospital.

He visited the ER due to wounds that corresponded to the description.

After waiting at the hospital, the suspect ultimately departed without obtaining any assistance.

Police in Torrance subsequently stopped a white cargo van.

After turning his weapon on himself during a standoff, the suspect was fatally shot.


Huu Can Tran, 72, was identified as the ruthless gunman.

Tran shot himself during a standoff with the police, LA County Sheriff Robert Luna claimed during a press conference that evening.

According to the sheriff, Tran committed the crime on his own, and the motivation for the shooting is a top priority for the investigators.

The shooter

According to his ex-wife and former acquaintance, Huu Can Tran used to frequently visit the studio.

The former spouse, who desired to remain anonymous, said that they met there 20 years ago when he gave informal lessons.

She said that although never resorted to physical force, he had a short fuse and would get irritated if she missed a step.

Although it’s unclear if he recently went to the studio, a friend remembered him being there frequently in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

According to his acquaintance, Tran frequently discussed the issue of the instructors’ disdain towards him.

The acquaintance also claimed Tran was hostile to everyone in the facility.

He sold his house in 2013, and they stopped talking after that.

The news struck the friend as shocking.

“I know lots of people, and if they go to Star Studio, they frequent there,” he said.

The friend is concerned because he could be acquainted with some of the shooting victims.

Mass shooting in data

The Monterey Park tragedy is the 33rd deadly shooting in the US this month, as reported by the Gun Violence Archive.

“California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but yet look what we just had today,” said Sheriff Robert Luna on Sunday.

“I can tell you this, the status quo is not working. So we need to reexamine what we’re doing and what may work better.”

“And I hope that this tragedy doesn’t just go on a long list of many others that we don’t even talk about until the next one comes up.”

Allen Weisselberg to serve his jail sentence of 5 months immediately

Image source: The New Yorker

Allen Weisselberg: The Trump Organization’s longtime (now former) CFO recently got handed a five-month jail sentence.

The sentence

A New York judge gave Allen Weisselberg a jail sentence for his collaboration in a ten-year tax fraud scheme.

Weisselberg testified as New York’s witness in court against the former president’s organization.

He will start fulfilling his sentence as soon as he arrives at the notorious Rikers Island prison in New York City.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Weisselberg won’t be detained among the general population.

He will live in an infirmary facility.

Trump Organization

A Manhattan jury earlier this month found two Trump Organization companies guilty of a slew of tax fraud charges.

They were found guilty of falsifying company records and not disclosing and paying taxes on top of executive wages as part of a 15-year scheme to defraud tax officials.

The Trump Organization and the Trump Payroll Organization were guilty of all the allegations.

Although Trump exploited executive benefits and his name was constantly mentioned, he and his family were not convicted.


The former CFO admitted guilt to 15 counts in August.

As part of a deal with the prosecutors, Allen Weisselberg was required to provide testimony at the Trump Organization trial.

In addition, he was ordered to pay back taxes, penalties, and interest totaling $2 million.

Furthermore, Weisselberg had to relinquish his right to appeal.

Allen Weisselberg admitted that his over $200,000 annual off-the-books compensation should have been subject to taxation.

This payment covered the following:

  • A luxurious Manhattan apartment overlooking the Hudson River
  • Car leases for two Mercedes Benz 
  • Parking space
  • Utilities
  • Furniture
  • Private school tuition for grandchildren

The judge, Juan Merchan, said on Tuesday that, after hearing the evidence, he would have handed a harsher punishment than five months.

Without the deal, Weisselberg might have been sentenced to five to fifteen years in jail.

He might spend just over 100 days in jail if a third of his sentence is commuted due to good behavior.

Read also: Kevin McCarthy still short of votes to become speaker


Judge Merchan discovered the CFO’s falsification of a $6,000 payroll check to his wife.

The vilest act of his greed, according to Merchan, was his wife’s eligibility for Social Security benefits.

The CFO’s attorney had requested a lighter sentence due to Weisselberg’s old age and other factors, and the judge stated he had to comply.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s prosecutor testified that Allen Weisselberg had complied with the conditions of his plea deal before Merchan’s decision.

According to prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, he delivered an honest deposition in December against Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp.

She claimed he paid authorities the additional $1 million in back taxes and penalties he incurred last week.

In total, Weisselberg spent more than $2 million.

Attorney & judge

The CFO would likely find Tuesday unpleasant, but Weisselberg’s attorney, Nicholas Gravante, maintained that he had been preparing for months since pleading guilty in August.

“Mr. Weisselberg came to court today ready to begin his sentence, and he is grateful that it has now begun,” said the attorney.

“He deeply regrets the lapse in judgment that resulted in his conviction, and he regrets it most because of the pain it has caused his loving wife, his sons, and wonderful grandchildren.”

Regardless of who you are or who you work for, the plea and sentence, in Manhattan, “you have to play by the rules,” according to New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

“Now, he and two Trump companies have been convinced of felonies, and Weisselberg will serve a jail sentence for his crimes,” he added.

Legal woes

Allen Weisselberg was named as a defendant in the $250 million civil legal case by Letitia James, the attorney general of New York.

She claimed that the Trump Organization defrauded insurers, lenders, and tax authorities for over a decade by inflating the worth of various Trump Organization properties.

James named the perpetrators of the schemes, which included Weisselberg, Trump, his three eldest children, and other executives.

The former US President denied the accusations and argued that political motivations were behind the case’s instigation.

Weisselberg admitted during the tax fraud trial last year that he mingled with others at the Trump Organization.

Donald Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. were part of a number of talks.

However, he assured the jury that he didn’t plan anything or coordinate with any Trump family members.

Two Trump Organization enterprises were found guilty in December after two hours of deliberation on the following charges:

  • Multiple charges of tax fraud
  • Falsifying business records.

According to someone with knowledge of the situation, Allen Weisselberg allegedly received a severance package when he left the Trump Organization on Tuesday.

Other investigations

Weisselberg’s conviction brings to a close one of the most prolonged inquiries into the Trump Organization by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

The prosecution has looked into the accuracy of the companies’ financial statements in considerable detail.

Recent developments have brought to light the company’s involvement in the hush-money payments to prevent adult film star Stormy Daniels from publicizing an affair with Donald Trump before the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly denied the allegations.


Allen Weisselberg, former Trump Org. CFO, sentenced to 5 months in jail

Trump Organization found guilty on all counts of criminal tax fraud