Usher’s News & Commentary for Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022

The US keeps saying that Russia could invade Ukraine any day now. Russia has made clear that they are not going to unilaterally start an invasion. Russia says that if Kiev attacks Russians in Ukraine, then Russia will invade. Is the US saying that Kiev is about to do that any day now? Kiev says the US is increasing tensions on purpose even though Kiev has asked the US to tone it way down. Why is Biden being so stupid? Is it money for the US military?

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are more than 17 million vacant homes nationwide. Many have been abandoned and left to rot, but red tape and a lack of money prevent cities and counties from moving quickly toward demolition.

Fatal Fires in St. Louis, Baltimore Expose Vacant Home Risks

More than 90% of the state’s liquid fuels are stored at the Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub, along a 6-mile (10-kilometer) stretch of the Willamette River in northwest Portland.

This week, Oregon lawmakers began taking steps to compel the owners and operators of the facility’s aging storage tanks to make them earthquake resistant.

Oregon Bill Tackles Megaquake ‘Nightmare’: Fuel Storage Site

Whom do you trust, Snowden or the CIA?

Despite years of Congressional and public outcry against warrantless mass surveillance of people in the United States, the CIA has been hiding bulk spying programs, infringing on the rights of literally every American, and completely evading the oversight of Congress and the courts.

'This Invasion of Our Privacy Must Stop,' Says ACLU After CIA Domestic Spying Revelations

In a letter accompanying the primer signed by over 200 social justice organizations and movements across the country, signatories point out that the ADL "has a history and ongoing pattern of attacking social justice movements led by communities of color, queer people, immigrants, Muslims, Arabs, and other marginalized groups, while aligning itself with police, right-wing leaders, and perpetrators of state violence."

Pushing Back on ADL's Criticism of Amnesty's Classification of Apartheid in Israel

When Bin Laden was in Afghanistan and the US asked the Taliban to extradite him to the US, the Taliban asked for evidence that Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11, as alleged by the US government making the request. The US refused to supply any evidence. The Taliban refused to hand over Bin Laden. Other than that, the Taliban had zero to do with 9/11 or any terrorist acts regarding the US.

As U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar on Friday led condemnation of a reported Biden administration plan to permanently seize $7 billion of currently frozen Afghan assets and distribute half to relatives of 9/11 victims, advocates pointed to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and urged President Joe Biden to change course.

Noting that "there wasn't a single Afghan" among the 9/11 hijackers—and the U.S. gives billions of dollars to the Saudi and Egyptian governments despite their "direct ties to the 9/11 terrorists"—Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted that punishing millions of starving people is "unconscionable."

Ilhan Omar Blasts 'Unconscionable' Biden Plan to Seize Afghan Assets

The only responsible thing for Biden to do is to see to it that the funds are directed toward the humanitarian suffering of the people of Afghanistan. If I were the President, I would not give money to the Taliban. It is not theirs, and they are still engaged in international crimes against the people of Afghanistan.

Let's not forget that absolutely none of us knew what to expect concerning SARS-CoV-2 when it first showed up. We didn't know whether it would be worse than the Spanish Flu. Therefore, huge caution was justified. However, as time went on and strick lockdowns were not being implemented or enforced and COVID-19 was turning out to not be remotely on the level of the Spanish Flu, the government wasn't nimble. It was hyper focused on selling mRNA shots rather than doing all the other things that would have been vastly more helpful.

Now we see "conservatives" taking credit, when they were the ones who were the most uncooperative in the first place concerning lockdowns before they knew just how bad the virus would be and in the face of the absolute fact that one total lockdown long enough would have been the end of the virus and the shots and all the rest.

Therefore, I say to anyone taking a victory lap that you're full of it.

COVID pivot: Dems do 180 on pandemic response, attempt to rewrite history | Just The News

How to Eliminate Fees From Your Portfolio in Two Simple Steps

It's absolutely true that the Fed could have, and should have, taken the foot off the gas. However, they shouldnt have have slammed on the brakes and still shouldn't. Some people speak as if they want to roll a super tanker.

The Fed has compounded policy error with policy error ever since March 2020, with its interest rate repression and massive QE that it maintains even today, despite 7.5% inflation. Anything it would do to tighten going forward would just be feeble efforts that are too little and too late, to mitigate the effects of 22 months of massive policy error after policy error.

Mortgage Rates Hit 4.02%. Two-Year Yield Spikes by Most since 2009. Ten-Year Yield Goes over 2%. All Heck Breaks Loose

Could there be a relationship between these stunning rent increases and the deteriorating timeliness of rent payments across the universe of 11.8 million renters in apartment buildings?

Lacking data to prove it, my gut tells me that when rents are raised this sharply, and when rents already constitute a large part of the household budget, then there are going to be issues. These rent increases cannot just be brushed aside. Even in households where pay went up 6%, a 20% rent increase is a tough nut to crack. And a larger portion of tenants appear to be falling behind.

On-Time Rent Payments Sag amid Massive Spike in Rents | Wolf Street

So, the truth of it all is that the Fed bailed out and further enriched the super rich while claiming it couldn't do anything like helicopter money for the poor and middle class, who are still paying through the nose.

The states with the highest life expectancies after Hawaii were California, New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington state, Colorado and Vermont. With the exception of Vermont, these states' median incomes were between $5,000 to $15,000 higher than the national average in 2019.

Southern states had some of the lower life expectancies

Most of the states with the lowest average life expectancies were located in the South, according to the 2019 report.

Map: Life Expectancy for Each US State, Based on New CDC Report