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Texas GOP Suggests State Secede From the US After Supreme Court Slaps Down Election Lawsuit

The Texas GOP has floated the notion that it could possibly secede from the United States of America.

Elias Marat

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In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court unceremoniously dumping the Trump-backed Texas lawsuit aiming to overturn the election results in key battleground states, the Republican Party in the Lone Star State has responded by floating the notion that it could possibly secede from the United States of America.

The Texas lawsuit, spearheaded by state Attorney General Ken Paxton, sought to drag Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to court for altering their election laws prior to Election Day, which Texas argued violated those states’ own laws. The lawsuit garnered significant support among some conservatives, with multiple red states’ attorneys general and well over Republicans in the U.S. House backing the effort despite many admitting that the strategy would fail.

On Friday afternoon, the Supreme Court said that it would not even consider the lawsuit, which was riddled with a number of legal and factual shortcomings.

In response to the SCOTUS decision, Texas GOP Chairman Allen West ripped into the conservative-held Supreme Court for failing to entertain the case, accusing them of “establish[ing] a precedent that says states can violate the US constitution and not be held accountable.”

The statement went on to suggest that perhaps the time had come for some states to simply form their own union, separate and apart from the U.S.

“This decision will have far reaching ramifications for the future of our constitutional republic. Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution,” read the statement, which was printed on the official letterhead of the Texas Republican Party.

While the idea may seem like it comes from the fringes of the party’s right wing, West isn’t the only Republican official in Texas to float such a notion.

On Tuesday, State Rep. Kyle Biedermann, who has represented the greater San Antonio area since 2017, posted a Facebook status announcing that he planned to propose a referendum that would see the state form its own “independent nation.”

“The federal government is out of control and does not represent the values of Texans,” Biedermann wrote.

“That is why I am committing to file legislation this session that will allow a referendum to give Texans a vote for the State of Texas to reassert its status as an independent nation,” he added, attaching the hashtag #Texit.

The Texas secession movement gained some popularity in 2016 after some U.S. conservatives cheered on the United Kingdom’s referendum to exit the European Union, commonly known as Brexit.

In a Thursday interview with local Fox 7, Biedermann compared his proposal to Brexit.

“The things that are happening in the federal government, whether it be our First Amendment rights, our Second Amendment rights, the budget and the debt going out of sight,” Biedermann said. “And then the fact that we might even be looking at Texas being singled out about our oil and gas industry — we just can’t afford to stay silent.”

The idea of Texas seceding from the United States has been a recurring theme for some time in Texas, dating back to the 19th century. However, when push came to shove, such efforts haven’t historically fared well.

In 1861, Texas broke off from the country briefly to join the Confederate States of America. Following the defeat of the CSA in the American Civil War, the Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White that no state had the legal grounds to secede from the union.

The statement by Republican Party Chairman West comes as an apparent reversal of his previous statements, where he signaled that he wouldn’t support a move to break away from the federal government.

“America needs Texas to lead, not secede,” West told Business Insider in a statement for an article published earlier Friday.

Corruption

Derek Chauvin Found GUILTY of Murdering George Floyd

Elias Marat

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Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Black man whose death at Chauvin’s hands last May sparked a long period of unrest and major protests against policing and racism in America.

After deliberating for about 10 hours over two days, the jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter for the killing of Floyd on a street corner last year on Memorial Day.

The second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years. The third-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, and second-degree manslaughter can carry up to 10 years.

In harrowing video footage from the May 25, 2020, incident that has been seen billions of times across the globe, Chauvin could be seen kneeling on the neck of Floyd for over nine minutes while fellow Minneapolis officers Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane stood by. Meanwhile, a horrified crowd of bystanders filmed and pled with officers as the event transpired.

On Monday, the prosecution and defense presented their closing arguments to the jury.

Prosecutors argued that Chauvin’s actions directly led to Floyd dying from low oxygen, or asphyxia. Prosecutor Steve Schleicher said that Chauvin “chose pride over policing,” calling his actions “unnecessary, gratuitous and disproportionate.” He also reminded the jury that Chauvin’s hundreds of hours of training over the course of 19 years with the Minneapolis Police Department should have led to a different outcome than Floyd’s death during a crisis.

The prosecution also focused on the fact that Chauvin knee was on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

The defense, however, argued that Floyd’s use of illegal drugs and a pre-existing heart condition were to blame and that “the totality of the circumstances,” including exposure to carbon monoxide, led to his death in police custody.

38 witnesses were called by prosecutors, including the teenager who recorded the widely seen video that has been played endlessly over the past year. She and other bystanders testified that they remain haunted by Floyd’s death. The defense called seven witnesses, including two experts.

Floyd’s death rekindled a long-seething anger over police brutality and racial oppression in the United States, with cities across the U.S. and the world rising up in protest over his killing and the killings of other victims of law enforcement.

President Joe Biden had expressed his wish for “the right verdict” without specifying explicitly whether the verdict would be guilty or not guilty. Biden had been careful not to comment on a potential outcome in Chauvin’s trial while urging calm.  

Residents, activists and journalists descended on the Hennepin County Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis when the announcement was made at 2:30 pm local time that the verdict has been reached. The crowd greeted the judge’s announcement of Chauvin’s guilty charges with applause and cheers.

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Good News

Cliffhanger: Mountain Biker Saved From “Imminent Death” After Falling Into Canyon

Elias Marat

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A Southern California mountain biker is likely counting his blessings after he was rescued from what authorities describe as “imminent death”” after falling from the side of a cliff in the Angeles National Forest.

The mountain biker, described as an older man, fell into the canyon at Mt. Wilson on Thursday morning and was dangling hundreds of feet above the ground before his fellow bikers, and eventually a special team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, rescued him.

For some time the man dangled by a thin cord around his ankle that was tied to his bicycle while hanging on for dear life “like a cat,” Capt. Tom Giandomenico of the LASD special enforcement bureau told the Los Angeles Times.

“He knew he was in such a precarious situation. He was just scared to even rotate his head to look at us. He just didn’t want to move a muscle,” LASD Deputy Richard Thomsen told CBSLA.

Additionally, when the helicopter team arrived it wasn’t just a matter of simply hoisting the man to safety, as the air generated by the helicopter’s rotor would have sent the man plummeting to “imminent death,” Giandomenico added.

“Because he was head-down on the rock face there, that dropped probably a good 40 feet before it hit some soft dirt and a boulder,” Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Helbring said. “And beyond that was hundreds of feet down to the bottom of the canyon.”

Instead, one of the members of the special enforcement team composed of former SWAT officers devised a plan to rappel down to the man and move him to a ledge below, from which the two could be airlifted to safety.

However, due to a lack of boulders or trees, there was nothing to tie a rope to – and thus no way to rappel down to anything.

So instead, the special enforcement team used the man’s brother and another friend to be their anchor, a plan that ultimately succeeded.

Giandomenico called the rescue “one of the more significant, courageous maneuvers I’ve seen.”

“Heroic, in my opinion,” he added.

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Bizarre

Scientists Create First-Ever Embryos With Monkey and Human Cells

Elias Marat

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For the first time, scientists have created embryos in a lab that contain the cells of both humans and monkeys.

Scientists hope that by creating chimeric embryos – embryos containing cells from two distinct species – they might be able to create organs for people who desperately need transplants.

Over 100,000 people in the United States lone are currently on a waiting list for organ transplants crucial to saving their lives, but the supply of donor organs has dropped significantly since the pandemic began unfolding.

Researchers have attempted to inject human stem cells into the embryos of pigs and sheep in recent years in hopes of growing organs for transplants, but this hasn’t yielded positive results. Scientists are hoping that by turning to macaque monkeys, which share a greater genetic similarity to humans, they may have more success.

In a study published Thursday in the journal Cell, researchers in the U.S. and China injected 25  pluripotent stem cells from humans into embryos from macaque monkeys.

After one day, the researchers detected human cells beginning to grow in 132 of the embryos. They embryos ultimately survived for 19 days.

However, bioethicists have raised concerns about the potential for abusing medical regulations that currently govern the treatment of animal and human subjects, as well as the possibility that a rogue scientists might potentially spike living creatures with human cells.

“My first question is: Why?” Kirstin Matthews, a science and technology fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, told NPR. “I think the public is going to be concerned, and I am as well, that we’re just kind of pushing forward with science without having a proper conversation about what we should or should not do.”

Researchers insist that the study serves purely humanitarian goals that could save countless lives in the future.

“This work is an important step that provides very compelling evidence that someday when we understand fully what the process is we could make them develop into a heart or a kidney or lungs,” said University of Michigan professor Jeffrey Platt, who was not involved in the study.

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