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HeadlinesNovember 09, 2022

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Fetterman Beats Oz in PA Sen. Race; Warnock and Walker Likely Headed to Runoff in GA

Nov 09, 2022

The balance of power in Congress is still up in the air after Democratic candidates outperformed expectations in much of the country in Tuesday’s midterm election. With ballots still being counted in many key races, it remains unclear which party will control the Senate or the House. In one of the most closely watched Senate races, Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman has declared victory over his Trump-backed challenger, Dr. Mehmet Oz, to fill the Senate seat held by Republican Pat Toomey. Fetterman’s election victory came six months after suffering a stroke just before the Democratic primary. He addressed supporters early this morning.

Sen.-elect John Fetterman: “I’m proud of what we ran on: protecting a woman’s right to choose, raising our minimum wage, fighting the union way of life, healthcare as a fundamental human right. It saved my life, and it should all be there for you, would you ever should need it.”

Control of the Senate now rests on four states: Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. In Georgia, it appears increasingly likely the race between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker will go to a runoff. With 95% of the vote counted, Warnock is leading with 49.4% of the vote — just shy of the 50% needed in Georgia to win the election outright. Walker has 48.5% of the vote. Warnock spoke to supporters early this morning.

Sen. Raphael Warnock: “Well, good evening, Georgia. Or maybe I should say ‘good morning.’ Here’s where we are: We are not sure if this journey is over tonight or if there’s still a little work yet to do. But here’s what we do know: We know that when they’re finished counting the votes from today’s election, that we are going to have received more votes than my opponent. We know that.”

In Wisconsin, Republican Senator Ron Johnson is in the lead over Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, but the race is still too close to call. In Nevada’s Senate race, Republican Adam Laxalt is leading Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto with 75% of the vote counted. In Arizona, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly has a six-point lead over his Trump-backed challenger, Blake Masters, with two-thirds of the vote counted.

In other key Senate races, in Ohio Republican J.D. Vance defeated Democrat Tim Ryan, while in New Hampshire Maggie Hassan beat her far-right challenger, General Don Bolduc.

As for the House, more than 70 races have yet to be called, but many analysts are predicting Republicans will flip the House, but just by a small margin. One prominent Republican incumbent who might lose her seat is Lauren Boebert in Colorado. Early this morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said House Democratic candidates are “outperforming expectations.”

Democrats Win Governor Races in MD, MA, WI, NY, PA; Republican Govs. Hold On to FL, TX, GA

Nov 09, 2022

In other key races, Florida governor and possible Republican 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis easily won reelection. In Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams. In Pennsylvania’s governor’s race, Democrat Josh Shapiro trounced Doug Mastriano, a far-right election denier backed by Trump. In Wisconsin, Democratic Governor Tony Evers has been reelected, while Republican state lawmakers in Wisconsin appear to have fallen short in their effort for a supermajority.

Here in New York, Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul has defeated her Trump-backed challenger, Lee Zeldin. Hochul, who took office after Andrew Cuomo resigned, became the first woman elected as governor in New York. Massachusetts will also soon have its first woman governor with the election of Democrat Maura Healey. She will also become the nation’s first openly lesbian governor.

In Vermont, Becca Balint has made history by becoming the first woman and the first openly out candidate in Vermont to be elected to Congress. Balint was elected to the House to fill the seat held by Peter Welch, who was elected to the Senate to replace Patrick Leahy.

In Maryland, voters elected Democrat Wes Moore, who will become Maryland’s first Black governor. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Democrat Katie Hobbs is leading in the governor’s race against Republican Kari Lake. In Arizona’s closely watched secretary of state race, Democrat Adrian Fontes is leading over Mark Finchem, one of numerous Republican election deniers running to oversee elections. CNN reports election deniers won secretary of state races in Alabama, Indiana, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Abortion Rights Win Big; Mixed Results for Ballot Measures on Marijuana, Voting, Slavery

Nov 09, 2022

One of Tuesday night’s big winners was abortion rights. Vermont, Michigan and California all voted to enshrine the right to an abortion in their states’ constitutions. In Kentucky, voters rejected a ballot measure that sought to amend the state Constitution to say there is no right to abortion. State lawmakers have already passed a near-total ban on abortion in Kentucky, but the measure would have made challenging the ban even more difficult. In Montana, with over 80% of ballots counted, it appears voters will reject a ballot measure which would establish that infants born alive at any stage of development are legal persons, and criminalize healthcare providers.

Meanwhile, voters in Maryland and Missouri voted to legalize recreational marijuana, while similar proposals failed in Arkansas and North Dakota.

Several states had measures related to slavery on the ballot. Voters in Tennessee, Alabama, Oregon and Vermont backed removing language from their constitutions that allows slavery as punishment. But in Louisiana, two-thirds of voters rejected a proposal that would have barred slave labor in prisons.

In voting rights, Connecticut passed a measure allowing in-person early voting, and Michigan approved several pro-democracy measures, including opening polls for early voting and ballot drop boxes. But in a blow for voting rights, Nebraskans overwhelmingly supported requiring a photo ID to vote, and Ohio voters chose not to let residents who are not U.S. citizens cast ballots in local elections. Maine’s largest city of Portland and Evanston, Illinois, have both backed measures to use ranked-choice voting in city elections. In Nevada, a ballot measure to allow for open primaries and ranked-choice voting has not been called yet, though “yes” votes lead by 3 percentage points.

In labor news, Washington, D.C., approved Initiative 82, which raises the minimum wage for tipped service workers from $5.35 to $16.10 an hour by 2027.

Climate “Loss and Damage” Efforts Gain Support, But Major Polluter U.S. Refuses to Commit

Nov 09, 2022

At the U.N. climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, several European nations, including Ireland and Denmark, made modest pledges to fund “loss and damage” for poorer nations that are bearing the brunt of the climate disaster. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, endorsed the move to include loss and damage as part of global efforts to combat climate change. Notably silent on the issue was the United States. Harjeet Singh from the Climate Action Network said, “The U.S. has for decades acted in bad faith with regards to loss and damage, but the delays and deception have real life consequences. … The U.S. needs to change from being obstructive to constructive.” A new U.N.-backed report says the Global South needs at least $2 trillion a year to fight the climate crisis and that half of that should come from rich countries, investors and multilateral development banks.

Meanwhile, some island nations, which are among the most vulnerable to climate change, have proposed a windfall tax on oil companies. Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley called for a 10% tax on oil companies. Mottley spoke at COP27 on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley: “The wipeout events that are a risk for us as small states become a serious concern. We make the point all the time that large countries can be the subject of a climatic event and still survive. Small states do not have that luxury. And for many of us, the risk of a wipeout event is simply too great for us to carry.”

Olaf Scholz, U.N. Human Rights Chief Call for Release of Alaa Abd El-Fattah in Sharm el-Sheikh

Nov 09, 2022

As official meetings and speeches continue at COP27, pressure is mounting for the Egyptian government to take action as political prisoner and human rights activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah remains on a complete hunger and water strike. On Tuesday, the U.N.’s head of human rights warned his life was in “great danger.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also addressed the issue Tuesday.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz: “It is very depressing to see how a human life is at risk. And the hunger strike has now entered a stage where we all have to fear that this will really lead to quite a dreadful consequence. That is why I, and I know many other heads of state and government, have raised this issue specifically. A decision needs to be taken, a release has to be made possible, so that it doesn’t come to it that the hunger striker dies.”

On Tuesday, Egyptian lawmaker Amr Darwish confronted Alaa Abd El-Fattah’s sister Sanaa Seif as she spoke to the press at the COP. Darwish asked Sanaa Seif, “Are you here inciting foreign countries to put pressure on Egypt?” before being removed from the event by security.

President Biden is meeting later this week with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He is expected to raise human rights with Sisi, but it’s not clear if he will explicitly discuss Alaa Abd El-Fattah.

U.S. and Russia to Resume New START Talks Against Backdrop of Ukraine War

Nov 09, 2022

The United States and Russia have agreed to resume talks under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START. The meetings have been on hold since before Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The only remaining nuclear treaty between the countries limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads for each country as a deterrent to a new arms race and nuclear war.

Russian Authorities Transfer Brittney Griner to Penal Colony

Nov 09, 2022

In Russia, the American WNBA star Brittney Griner is being transferred to a penal colony. The process could take up to two weeks, and her lawyers say they don’t know where she will end up. Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison for bringing a small amount of cannabis oil into Russia.

Al-Hol Refugee Camp in Syria Likened to “Open-Air Prison” for Children

Nov 09, 2022

In Syria, a new report by Doctors Without Borders is denouncing the horrific conditions faced by refugee children at the overcrowded Al-Hol camp, describing it as a massive open-air prison and a death camp. Al-Hol is located in the northeast, near the border with Iraq, and houses about 60,000 mostly women and children, many younger than 12 years old. Refugees at Al-Hol say violence has intensified between armed groups and security forces, and report arbitrary detention, theft and extortion, and rampant medical neglect. The report said some children
died from “prolonged delays in accessing urgent medical care.” Young boys at the camp are also reportedly being forcibly taken from their mothers once they reach around 11 years old, never to be seen again.

Meta Lays Off 11,000 Workers in Company’s Largest-Ever Staff Cuts

Nov 09, 2022

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is laying off more than 11,000 workers, reducing its workforce by 13%. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the mass firings early today, blaming declining ad revenue and profits. It’s the latest hit for tech workers after Twitter’s new billionaire owner Elon Musk last week fired nearly 4,000 employees.

Tropical Storm Nicole to Make Landfall in Florida as Hurricane

Nov 09, 2022

Florida is bracing for Tropical Storm Nicole, which is expected to make landfall late tonight or early Thursday north of West Palm Beach as a Category 1 hurricane with torrential rain and damaging winds. Many residents are still reeling from the destruction left by Hurricane Ian in October.

Mexico City Mayor Accuses Authorities of Covering Up Murder of Young Woman

Nov 09, 2022

In Mexico, anti-corruption officials are investigating the attorney general’s office in the state of Morelos, accusing it of covering up the femicide of 27-year-old Ariadna López, whose body was found by a highway last week. Morelos officials claimed López had died of alcohol intoxication. But during a press conference Monday, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum presented the results of a second autopsy that found López had actually died of multiple force trauma. Sheinbaum also played security footage of a man in an apartment building parking garage carrying a body — which Sheinbaum alleged was Ariadna López. Last year alone, there were over 1,000 femicides reported in Mexico. This is activist Karina Vara.

Karina Vara: “We ask the authorities to work and give accurate, substantive results. We do not want declarations or statements. We demand justice and dignity. The state is femicide and revictimizes with its actions. Its omissions build the path of impunity that our aggressors enjoy. The community is an accomplice. Men take our lives.”

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