The Rock of Talk 'Daily Blast' for Thursday, December 10th, 2020
The Conservative Calendar, Top 10 Videos of the Day, Top 10 Links of the Day, Morning Local News Briefing, US and Global News Briefing and Conservative Snapshot
“New Mexico is the Petri Dish of the United States of America.” - Eddy Aragon
Rally to open up Rio Rancho
Saturday, December 12th, Noon
901 Unser Blvd SE, Rio Rancho, NM 87124-6365
Saturday, December 12th, Noon @ Roundhouse, Santa Fe
Meet up at 550 and i25, 10am, Caravan heads out at 11am to Roundhouse with The Jericho Walk at St Francis Cathedral, Santa Fe
Peaceful Protests against the Governor
Noon, Saturday, December 12th at the corner of Spruce and Gold, downtown Deming
To get your event or announcement on the KIVA Calendar email: firstname.lastname@example.org
TOP 10 VIDEOS OF THE DAY
TOP 10 LINKS OF THE DAY
MORNING LOCAL NEWS BRIEFING FOR NEW MEXICO
New Mexico begins sewage testing for COVID at prisons
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico has begun monitoring sewage from prisons and youth rehabilitation facilities to more efficiently detect COVID-19 outbreaks in the southwest of the state. The state Environment Department announced the initiative Wednesday. The goal is to sample human feces in group-living situations to quickly identify coronavirus outbreaks. The results may be used to more effectively deploy individual testing to pinpoint infections and halt the spread. Initial sampling will take place at federal, state and local jails, along with facilities overseen by the state Children, Youth and Families Department. New Mexico has reported nearly 113,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.
New Mexico panel recommends raising medical pot plant count
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An advisory board is recommending that New Mexico clear the way for licensed medical marijuana producers to grow more plants. The board during a meeting Wednesday voted in favor of a petition that sought to significantly increase the current plant count limit. The medical marijuana industry has pushed for eliminating the limit amid patient complaints about high costs and a lack of variety. Officials with New Mexico's medical cannabis program noted that previous increases in the plant count failed to bring down prices and that another increase already is in the works for next year. The state health secretary will have the final say on the recommendation.
New Mexico education spending plan focuses on student equity
SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico Public Education Department is proposing a new formula for funding schools with high numbers of low-income students. Education Secretary Ryan Stewart told a panel of state lawmakers Wednesday that a more detailed analysis of student household incomes could help the state meet a court-ordered mandate to provide adequate education for low-income students. The proposed index would aggregate family income data at the school level. Stewart also put forward a plan to fund councilors, tutors and other services to help students who are falling behind due to remote learning.
Predictions vary on New Mexico higher education enrollment
SANTA FE, N.M. — Higher education leaders and lawmakers have debated the future of New Mexico college enrollment in a legislative hearing. While New Mexico's higher education secretary believes it will rise like it did after the 2008 recession, some lawmakers think it will continue declining. Officials said Tuesday that preliminary data suggests freshman enrollment is up this fall at state-funded universities. But some current students are failing to complete credits because of financial and childcare disruptions. Some lawmakers are concerned that high school students won't graduate and as a result won't have college as an option.
Budget analysts caution legislators on film subsidy growth
SANTA FE, N.M. — The budget and accountability office of New Mexico’s Legislature is cautioning that the cost of film tax credit payments to producers such as Netflix could grow quickly and unpredictably in coming years. A Legislative Finance Committee report on Tuesday said preliminary estimates indicate that new production commitments by Netflix, announced in November, could increase annual tax credit payouts by $25 million beginning next fiscal year. The state expects to pay out nearly $100 million in film production tax credits in the coming fiscal year, starting in July 2021, and $147 million the following year. Budget analysts say costs to taxpayers could quickly grow further through partnerships with the film industry.
Gas pipeline project in New Mexico halted amid pandemic
CARLSBAD, N.M. — A natural gas pipeline that would have connected an oil field in New Mexico and Texas to markets in the Gulf Coast has been halted as the fossil fuel industry struggles during the coronavirus pandemic. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reported that officials with Permian Global Access Pipeline, a subsidiary of Houston-based natural gas producer Tellurian, withdrew its application to build the 625-mile pipeline. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission first approved the request to begin the application process in September 2019. Permian Global Access Pipeline LLC President Joey Mahmoud said that current market conditions meant the project was not financially viable and that the company could resume if the market recovers.
Albuquerque plans to turn old hospital into homeless shelter
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — City officials say they plan to buy a former Albuquerque hospital and turn it into a homeless shelter and services hub. Mayor Tim Keller said Tuesday that the city is working to purchase the former Lovelace hospital although the price wasn’t immediately disclosed. Keller told the Albuquerque Journal that the property would provide emergency shelter beds, an around-the-clock dropoff site for first responders and a home for on-site medical and behavioral health services. New Mexico currently is leasing 360,000 square feet of the facility as a COVID-19 emergency hospital and Keller says the city’s purchase would not disrupt that.
Arizona utility increases its share of nuclear power plant
PHOENIX — An Arizona public utility is increasing its ownership share in the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station located west of Phoenix. The Salt River Project announced that its board has approved the purchase of part of Public Service Co. of New Mexico’s ownership along with some transmission assets for about $70 million plus the cost of the plant’s associated nuclear fuel inventory. When the deal is completed, SRP says its ownership share will be about 20% of the plant’s total capacity. SRP says its purchase of 114 megawatts of Palo Verde’s output from PNM will provide additional energy needed to serve increasing customer demand.
US AND GLOBAL NEWS BRIEFINGS
NEWS OF THE DAY
The Biden transition team yesterday released a statement from Hunter Biden in which the pres-elect's son revealed he had learned the US Atty's Office in DE is investigating his tax affairs. Hunter stating he is "confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate" he "handled (his) affairs legally and appropriately." The transition also releasing a statement saying "Pres-elect Biden is deeply proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger."
HUNTER BIDEN TAX INVESTIGATION
Hunter Biden has affirmed that he is under federal investigation, saying the US Attys office in DE informed his lawyers they are looking into his tax affairs. Fox News is told the investigation into Pres-elect Biden's son has been ongoing since 2018. Fox News also first reported months ago that a laptop connected to Hunter Biden was at the center of a federal money laundering investigation. Hunter says he takes, "this matter very seriously," but is confident that a "professional and objective review" of the matters will show he handled his affairs legally. The investigation into Hunter may still be ongoing if and when Joe Biden is inaugurated as President.
GA SENATE RUNOFFS: WARNOCK INVESTIGATION
The GA Senate races are extremely tight and the candidates are digging deep into their opponents' backgrounds for political damage. In Sunday's debate, Sen Kelly Loeffler brought up an incident in her challenger's background. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic challenger, was allegedly disruptive in a police investigation at a church camp in 2002. Warnock's campaign tells Fox "this is yet another one of Sen Loeffler's lowest of the low attacks that independent fact checkers have said is 'mostly false.'"
HUNTER BIDEN'S BUSINESS DEALINGS
Hunter Biden. the son of Pres-elect Biden, says the US Atty's office in DE is investigating his tax affairs. The probe began in 2018, so what was Hunter Biden up to before then? FOX Business looked through the Senate Cmte on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs report that investigated Hunter Biden's overseas business dealings to gain an idea of what Hunter was up to preceding this grand jury investigation that launched in 2018. This report details in several ways Hunter Biden's business involvement with 1 key Chinese nationals, Ye Jianming (founder of CEFC China Energy Company) and his business associate Gongwen Dong. As the report notes, several transactions were flagged for "potential financial criminal activity."
THE CHINA THREAT: FOLLOWING THE MONEY TRAIL
Secy Pompeo highlighted the danger China poses to US, warning that many colleges are "basically bought" by Beijing and that they censor themselves to avoid upsetting the communist regime. This as there's questions over whether the Biden Admin will cozy up to China. Pres-elect Biden is reportedly considering Pete Buttigieg as his pick for Amb to China. Buttigieg has been vocal against tough Trump tariffs, and his campaign has received millions of dollars from Silicon Valley, which would benefit from a lax China policy. This comes as Biden is expected to nominate Katherine Tai to be the top US trade envoy. We explore questions over Beijing's relationship with the next White House and how hard the Biden Team is going to crackdown on China.
There are a number of things that still need to be tackled before the end of the 116th Congress, including finalizing the omnibus appropriations deal, a COVID relief package to get us through the beginning of next yr, and the NDAA. These are all items that have been in the works for months and months but are now coming down to the final days of the session. The House and Senate agreed on one thing so far: that they need another week to sort this out. They've passed a 1-wk CR to move their deadline for completion from Friday, Dec 11, to Friday, Dec 18.
Rep. Swalwell is keeping quiet about his past relationship with a woman suspected of acting as a Chinese spy. Swalwell says he was "shocked" when the FBI informed him about the threat of espionage. And though the Congressman claims he found out about the alleged spy just 6 months ago and cut off all ties with Fang long before that, Fox News recently learned that his father and brother are still Facebook friends with her. There is no evidence of any illegal contributions being made, and FEC records do not indicate that Fang made any donations, but federal investigations into Fang's suspicious behavior date back to 2015. In terms of fallout, leading House Republicans, including Minority Ldr McCarthy, say Swalwell should have never been put on the Intel Cmte.
FDA VACCINE MEETING
An advisory cmte of the FDA meets today to discuss the Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in individuals 16 yrs of age and older. The FDA says this meeting is an important step in the approval process because it allows "outside scientific experts an opportunity to provide valuable advice and input for the agency to consider as a part of its final review." The cmte spends the day reviewing the data from Pfizer and, at the end of the day, a formal vote is taken. However, the final decision about whether the vaccine receives Emergency Use Authorization is made by FDA career officials in the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
FL CORONAVIRUS TESTING & VACCINES
5 FL hospitals are approved to be the first to receive the 1st approved Coronavirus vaccine, including Miami's Jackson Health System. The first wave of vaccines will be given to front-line health care workers. The Chief Medical officer at Jackson says this third COVID spike in the third-most populous state will seriously strain ICU and bed space. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Intl Airport is the second airport in FL to offer on-site COVID testing site for future travelers, and American Airlines is now offering at-home test kits to help travelers avoid quarantines lasting as long as 2 weeks, all as we approach the worrisome holiday travel weeks.
BUSINESSES HAMMERED BY COVID RESTRICTIONS
COVID lockdowns & restrictions have had a devastating effect on small businesses in IL and all across the country. The IL Policy Institute estimates 61% of the state's retail store owners have closed up shop during the past year due to COVID-19, and Yelp data shows that permanent business closures nationwide have reached nearly 100,000. Joseph Meyer of "Ten Thousand Villages" tells Fox that he will have to shut down in the next few months if he does not get an emergency loan, something that would affect not only his store but the many other small businesses he supports.
VACCINE HOSPITAL PREP
As we await final FDA approval of a COVID vaccine, we get a look inside one NY hospital as health care workers prepare for arrival and distribution. With shipments expected in the next few days, hospitals are setting up storage and planning on how to administer the vaccine to their first responders. This involves setting up special freezers and training pharmacists and staff in the handling of and administering the drugs.
HUNTING MAKES A KILLING DURING PANDEMIC
With the travel industry effectively shutdown, interest in outdoor activities, like hunting, are spiking. The latest numbers posted by US Fish & Wildlife Service show the total number of licenses, tags, permits, and stamps sold nationwide is up nearly 9% from last year. States like NY, PA, WI, ME, & ID are seeing huge increases in hunting licenses, and there's growing interest in online hunting instruction as well.
HOSPITALS DEPLOY "COVID"NATOR TO KILL VIRUS / ARLINGTON HEIGHTS
When it comes to the on-going, draining battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals are adding some new "front line" soldiers to the list, and they're not nurses or doctors, they're robots. Xenex is the world leader in UV disinfection for healthcare facilities across the nation, and they have given life to these Lightstrike "droids" with super powers. They use very high levels of UV to destroy the germs that cause SARS, Influenza, and now CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.
CHINA INSTITUTING RESTRICTIONS AGAINST US OFFICIALS
China is imposing restrictions on travel to Hong Kong by some U.S. officials and others in retaliation for similar measures imposed on Chinese individuals by Washington, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday. U.S. diplomatic passport holders visiting Hong Kong and nearby Macao will temporarily no longer receive visa-free entry privileges, spokesperson Hua Chunying said. U.S. administration officials, congressional staffers, employees of non-governmental organizations and their immediate family members will face "reciprocal sanctions," Hua said. She was apparently referring to U.S. sanctions that bar certain Chinese and Hong Kong officials from traveling to the U.S. or having dealings with the U.S. financial system over their roles in imposing a sweeping National Security Law passed this summer that ushered in a crackdown on free speech and opposition political activity in Hong Kong. Hua said the move was taken "given that the U.S. side is using the Hong Kong issue to seriously interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine China's core interests." Those sanctioned "have performed egregiously and are primarily responsible on the Hong Kong issue," she said at a daily briefing. "China once again urges the U.S. side to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and not go further down the wrong and dangerous path," Hua said.
China had long threatened to retaliate against the U.S. sanctions and other actions seen as hostile.
FEDERAL JUDGE REJECTS TRUMP CAMPAIGN ELECTION LAWSUIT
A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that sought to decertify Democrat President-elect Joe Biden’s win over Republican President Donald Trump in Arizona, marking another failed attempt to reverse Biden’s victory in the state. Judge Diane Humetewa said Wednesday that the lawsuit’s allegations “are sorely wanting of relevant or reliable evidence” and that the relief it sought was extraordinary. “If granted, millions of Arizonans who exercised their individual right to vote in the 2020 General Election would be utterly disenfranchised,” Humetewa wrote. The judge found the proposed Trump electors who filed the lawsuit lacked legal standing to bring the case, waited too long to file their challenge on issues that occurred months and even years ago, and failed to provide proof to back up their fraud claims. The decision came a day after the Arizona Supreme Court rejected a separate bid by state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward to undo Biden’s victory.
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY PROJECT OPENS UP QUESTIONS ABOUT FOUNDER'S PAST
Johns Hopkins University heralded its founder's abolitionism for nearly a century, but a reexamination of the school's history recently revealed that Johns Hopkins actually owned several slaves. "The fact that Mr. Hopkins had, at any time in his life, a direct connection to slavery — a crime against humanity that tragically persisted in the state of Maryland until 1864 — is a difficult revelation for us, as we know it will be for our community, at home and abroad, and most especially our Black faculty, students, staff, and alumni," Johns Hopkins University leaders wrote in a letter to the school community Wednesday. The revelations came to light as part of the Hopkins Retrospective, a project that began seven years ago to explore the school's origins and history. Johns Hopkins University's reckoning comes as other schools also come to terms with disreputable parts of their history. Earlier this week, the Virginia Military Institute began to move a statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson from its campus to a museum. Last month, St. Mary’s College of Maryland unveiled the Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland, a project that remembers the slaves who once lived on the campus.
DOJ SUING ALABAMA OVER PRISON CONDITIONS
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Alabama over conditions in the state prisons. The suit filed Wednesday accused Alabama of failing to protect male inmates from violence and said prisoners also were subject to excessive force at the hands of prison staff. The lawsuit alleges that conditions in state prisons are so poor that they are unconstitutional and violate the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The lawsuit comes after the Justice Department twice released investigative reports that accused the state of violating prisoner's rights. Gov. Kay Ivey said the lawsuit was disappointing.
MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO PULL FUNDING FROM POLICE FORCE
The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a budget early Thursday that will shift about $8 million from the police department toward violence prevention and other programs — but will keep the mayor’s targeted staffing levels for sworn officers intact, averting a possible veto. Mayor Jacob Frey, who had threatened to veto the entire budget if the council went ahead with its plan to cap police staffing, said the vote was a defining moment for the city, which has experienced soaring crime rates amid calls to defund the police since the May 25 death of George Floyd. “We all share a deep and abiding reverence for the role our local government plays in service of the people of our city,” Frey said. “And today, there are good reasons to be optimistic about the future in Minneapolis.” The City Council had initially approved a proposal to cut the city’s authorized police force to 750 officers, down from the current 888, beginning in 2022. But they changed course late Wednesday after the mayor called the move “irresponsible.” The council voted 7-6 on Wednesday to keep the cap at 888.
STATE AND FEDERAL COURT TO HEAR TRUMP CAMPAIGN ELECTION LAWSUITS
President Donald Trump's extraordinary effort to overturn Joe Biden's win in Wisconsin is returning to the courtroom. Hearings are scheduled Thursday in both his federal and state lawsuits that seek to invalidate hundreds of thousands of ballots and to give the GOP-controlled Legislature the power to name Trump the winner. Trump's attorneys are urging the courts to act quickly so he can appeal any adverse ruling before members of the Electoral College meet on Monday and cast Wisconsin's 10 votes for Biden. Attorneys for Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and the state elections commission say the cases are without merit and should be dismissed.
CA-MORE COVID RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE
The Greater Sacramento region will be placed under the state’s strictest shutdown order Thursday night, just before midnight, state health officials said. The new restrictions will require all restaurants to close outdoor dining, and will force barbers, hair salons and nail salons to shut doors. Retail outlets will be required to limit customers to 20% capacity at a time. Residents will be asked to remain at home except to go to essential jobs or to do basic chores. The restriction will be in place for at least three weeks — stretching from Friday through Christmas Day to at least Dec. 31 if ICU capacity improves. The restrictions apply to 13 counties in Northern California: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba. Sacramento Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said she believes the shutdown is necessary to quell the fast-rise in cases in the Sacramento area, but said she hopes the restrictions can be lifted in January, if people comply, and as vaccines become available to the public.
MI STATE REP THREAT
A Michigan state rep who says someone left her a voicemail threatening to lynch her, is now facing consequences after publicly retaliating with threats of her own. Detroit Democrat Cynthia Johnson, who questioned witnesses in Michigan's voter fraud hearing with Rudy Giuliani in Lansing last week, appeared on Facebook live Tuesday night and said police have a identified a 62 year old woman from Illinois as the caller who said she quote "should be swinging from a rope." Johnson addressed the voicemail and hundreds of other calls she says she's gotten saying: "There's a good way to do it, and a f***ed up way to do it. You don't have to curse anybody out, you don't have to call people names. Hit their a**es in the pocketbook." But then she went on to issue a threat herself saying "So this is just a warning to you Trumpers: be careful, walk lightly. We ain't playing with you. Enough of the shenanigans. Enough. It's enough - and for those of you who are soldiers, you know how to do it. Do it right. Be in order, make them pay. " The next day, the House of Representatives stripped her of her committee assignments, including her position on the House Oversight committee.
PENTAGON / CHINA THREAT
Secy Pompeo issued fresh warnings about China at Georgia Tech yesterday, accusing Beijing of ramping up its espionage efforts on US college campuses, which he called "easy targets," and part of a network Pompeo called a "den of spies." Hours later, during a visit to NASA in Cape Canaveral, FL, VP Pence warned China continues to push ahead to develop "space weaponry." China's espionage also reaching the Biden transition team. In recent days, the director of the Natl Counterintelligence and Security Center said China was increasingly turning its attention to the incoming admin, calling it an influence campaign "on steroids."
CHINA THREAT: THE LONG GAME
The current China spy scandal in which Beijing targeted and groomed up-and-coming American politicians with an eye to the future is a good example, experts say, of China’s patient “long game” in dealing with the US and the West. We look at how that systematic and planned method is the Beijing mantra for a host of fields including trade, business, technology, as well as military, foreign policy and geopolitical strength. Analysts explain to us this approach by China represents an existential threat to the future of the US. They say the only way Washington can confront Beijing is to adopt a similar comprehensive approach to its own strengths from business to military.
BETS FOR BUDGETS: STATES RELYING ON ONLINE GAMBLING
With most casinos closed, online sports betting is growing at an explosive rate, and cash-strapped states are hopping to capitalize. By the end of next year, 25 states and DC could have legal sports betting. With many state budgets decimated by the pandemic, industry execs say the lure of new tax revenue from expanding sports betting and legalizing online casino gaming could be irresistible. We talk to the chairman of the online gaming company Rush Street Interactive, which saw revenue increase 370% in 3Q and will go public via SPAC by the end of the year, about the potential for online betting and casino gaming.
AIRBNB GOES PUBLIC: PULSE OF POST-PANDEMIC TRAVEL
AirBNB has become synonymous with short-term rentals, but will investors choose the company for long-term investment? The accommodations app goes public today and is expected to be worth more than $42bil. Despite the massive hit AirBNB has taken globally in 2020, the company bounced back to make a profit last quarter while other investor favorites DoorDash and Uber continue to shed cash. But questions still surround the business. Many towns are looking at new regulations that could restrict short-term rentals and, despite the promise of a vaccine, a pandemic is still raging globally. We look at how AirBNB could be a barometer for travel post pandemic.
CONSERVATIVE DAILY SNAPSHOT FROM LIBERTY NATION
Progressive Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) is feared to have been compromised by a female Chinese spy named Christine Fang. Naturally, Swalwell blames the Trump administration for leaking the story. Swalwell’s father and brother are reported to have broken off contact with Fang on Wednesday.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has vowed to grant amnesty for every single illegal alien in the U.S. and once again allow immigration from nations that export terrorism within the first 100 days of a Biden/Harris administration.
YouTube, the video platform owned by Google, will remove any content that questions Joe Biden’s victory – regardless of the continued legal challenges.
The FTC and 48 states are preparing an attack on Facebook over antitrust claims. The lawsuits, if successful, would break up what plaintiffs call a social media empire.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak recently reported on President Trump’s appeals to legislatures and the Supreme Court to “overturn the election he lost.” It’s possible that Trump actually did lose the election, though it seems highly unlikely. Still, as the leftist media must in order to protect their chosen candidate, Liptak just had to include “There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud, according to the federal government and Republican and Democratic election officials” to justify calling Trump’s claim “baseless.” The reality is that there is quite a lot of evidence. And the legal challenges have not been decided, though the time is coming soon where a final decision will have to be delivered.
Remember how the mainstream media struggled to bury and discredit any news regarding the Hunter Biden scandals? Miraculously, Hunter’s dirty dealings are news now. Of course, the votes have been cast, so there’s no more need for the media to protect Biden for the election’s sake. The fact that the legacy media feels it’s safe to report this now reveals just how damaging they knew this story would be. What other explanation can there be but that the media tried to keep the public in the dark to help Biden win the election?
With the Georgia runoff election fast approaching, the battle over absentee ballots heats up. GOP leaders in the state are hoping to cut back on absentee voting in the future, but more than one million Georgians have already requested such ballots. DeKalb County alone has more than 30 drop boxes for voters to leave their ballots without having to head to a polling station. Republicans want to require photo ID to request an absentee ballot, something the Democrats call voter suppression and worthy of public outrage. Why is it wrong to demand ID to vote, but not to get a job, drive, or buy smokes and booze? Democrats have yet to answer that question, but one might be forgiven for thinking it has a lot to do with how difficult it would make voter fraud.