White House dismissive of low approval ratings; Dems want another 2024 candidate. Mexican cartel ordered to pay $4.6 billion for 2019 murders of 9 US women and children.
White House dismissive of low approval ratings; Dems want another 2024 candidate
During a press briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the President was not “solely focused on” polls that show his approval hovering just above 30%. Instead, Jean-Pierre touted Biden’s celebration of his signing bipartisan gun control legislation. This is a do-over celebration. The first was overshadowed by news that the Supreme Court had struck down Roe v. Wade.
Jean-Pierre also alluded to a recent fall in gas prices, intimating that Biden was claiming credit for that. However it’s not clear what specific action of Biden’s they claim is responsible.
Recent polls show: 75% of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction; only 33% approve of Biden’s performance; and 64% of Democratic voters want someone else to be their party’s nominee in 2024. Among Democratic voters under 30, 94% want a different 2024 nominee.
White House says activists ‘out of step’ on abortion
A few days ago, the White House responded even more forcefully to the chorus of Democrats who say Biden is not doing enough to protect abortion rights following the overturn of Roe. White House communications director Kate Bedingfield declared that “Joe Biden’s goal in responding to Dobbs is not to satisfy some activists who have been consistently out of step with the mainstream of the Democratic Party”.
However, it seems these activists are not out of step with the mainstream of the American people. A new poll shows 6 in 10 Americans disapprove of the decision to overturn Roe. Even a slim majority of people in states with abortion bans or restrictions feel the ruling went too far.
Executive orders “better than nothing. But not much”.
After much pressure from abortion activists, Biden signed a number of executive orders responding to the Roe decision. The orders are directed largely at Health and Human Services and the Justice Department, but contain little in the way of concrete action or policy.
Reporting from last week suggested that Biden had also rejected the idea of declaring a public health emergency that would unlock some powers and resources, deciding that it wouldn’t be worth it and would likely draw legal challenges. Likely in response to the backlash over this, the White House now says Biden is considering it.
Some weeks ago, progressive Democrats cheered Biden’s call to end the filibuster to codify abortion rights federally. However, he since seems to have backed off this idea. Progressive Democrats have also floated solutions such as packing the Supreme Court and allowing abortions on federal land in states where the procedure has been banned. The White House has to date shown little willingness to entertain any of these possibilities. Nor has it made any move to protect access to mail-order abortion pills or telehealth services that can prescribe them for women in red states.
While only 5% of Americans see abortion as the top national issue, it still ranks in the top five behind the economy (20%), inflation (15%), the state of democracy (11%), and guns (10%). But the frustrations with Biden’s response to abortion seem to echo broader frustrations on these other issues among the electorate.
Judge: Mexican cartel must pay $4.6 billion for 2019 murders of 9 US women and children
A federal judge in North Dakota has ruled that the Juarez cartel must pay $1.5 billion in restitution to the families of 9 women and children in 2019. The victims were members of a local Mormon commune and were American citizens. The judge found that members of the Juarez cartel murdered the three women and six children in retribution for their public criticism of the cartel. The two vehicles the families were travelling in were peppered with 100s of bullets and then set on fire.
Under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act, the award will automatically triple to $4.6 billion. The federal government will also be able to freeze any cartel assets to enforce the judgment. However there seem to be few other mechanisms of enforcement. The husband of one of the murdered victims says “We went into a United States courtroom in North Dakota seeking some acknowledgement of and measure of justice for the trauma inflicted on our family and we received it”.
The murders followed decades of tension and armed conflict between Mexico’s American-expat Mormon communities and the cartels.
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