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Attorney General Merrick Garland: the iceberg cometh for Trump



A week later and Washington, the political class, the media and much of the country are still reeling from the USS Trump’s collision with the iceberg that is the Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland

Only a portion of the AG’s work is visible above the surface, but beneath is a massive juggernaut that can inflict serious damage on those who collide with it.  Trump is listing, his momentum slowed.

Trump does not own the documents from his presidency, whether they were classified or not, whether he took them out of the White House or not, whether he destroyed any or not.  

The website of the National Archives of the United States is absolutely clear:

The Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, 44 U.S.C. ß2201-2209, governs the official records of Presidents and Vice Presidents that were created or received after January 20, 1981 (i.e., beginning with the Reagan Administration). The PRA changed the legal ownership of the official records of the President from private to public, and established a new statutory structure under which Presidents, and subsequently NARA [National Archives], must manage the records of their Administrations. 

No president, current or former, owns presidential records.  The American people do.

Trump took boxes of documents from the White House on January 20, 2021, the day he left office and became the former president.  The National Archives has tried to track those down and have them returned ever since.  Finally, after months of efforts, several boxes were recovered.  But not all, and the Archives obtained a subpoena for the rest.  Trump never responded to it.  Finally, after showing a Federal judge the necessity of recovering the documents – principally because of the national security implications of the materials –  the AG obtained a search warrant and Garland approved the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. Multiple boxes and documents were recovered.

No former president has ever been subject to such a law enforcement action. 

Former U.S. President Trump

Richard Nixon was pardoned for his Watergate crimes by President Gerald Ford, insulating him from further investigation.  No other former president has aroused any such concerns about the lawfulness of their activities after leaving office.  No other former president was impeached twice or treated the basic rules of the handling of intelligence matters with such contempt. 

For Trump – and especially for Trump’s base and his supporters, who yearn for his restoration – the raid  was a vicious persecution by the Deep State, the Regime, who wants him destroyed politically.  . Trump extremists have labelled the FBI as traitorous, and calls to defund the bureau.  

But as these events unfolded, and the seriousness of the reckless handling of these documents became evident – especially those that are top secret, and which can only be held and viewed under stringent security protocols – the mood among some Republicans has shifted.

There are real issues here which are adding to the baggage Trump is carrying as he prepares to declare for the 2024 presidential campaign – baggage which makes him less attractive to those Republicans who want to turn the page on Trump and his obsession with the past and instead turn to the future.

What is also extraordinary is how Trump can continue to dominate the news cycle.  The intensity of coverage over this last week rivalled the frenzy in 2017-19 over Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia and whether Trump obstructed justice. 

The past week has been a breathless, wall-to-wall engagement.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks and signs documents endorsing Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to NATO, in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, U.S., August 9, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

And it has pushed to below the fold on p1 what the current president, Joe Biden, has achieved.  Biden has had his best two months since taking office:  a black woman jurist has joined the Supreme Court, a bipartisan gun safety bill was signed into law, a bipartisan multibillion program to secure America’ s leadership in computer chips, and all they drive in our economy, is now law.  Gasoline prices have declined 20% from their peak.  Inflation is slowing.  Congress has passed – and Biden will sign into law this week – the largest investment in clean energy in the history of US environmental law, lower prescription drug process and health insurance costs, and minimum taxes on the biggest corporations in the country. 

Together with last year’s Covid recovery programs and the trillion-dollar infrastructure investment to rebuild the country, and with leadership with allies on Ukraine – the Senate approved Sweden and Finland joining NATO –  Biden now has a record of a consequential president.

A wave of anger about the Trump Supreme Court’s repeal of a woman’s constitutional right to abortion is moving across the country – even in conservative states like Kansas.  Women trapped in states hostile to reproductive health care are getting the message:  the only way to restore abortion rights is to vote for Democrats.

The bottom line is that prospects for the Democrats for the midterm elections have improved.  

The FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago follows the weeks of hearings this summer of the January 6 Committee. 

What has been presented is an exceptionally compelling case of a conspiracy conceived and executed by Trump and his minions to overturn the presidential election he lost in 2020.

There has been immense pressure by many Democrats, historians, and legal experts for the Attorney General to seek Trump’s indictment for the insurrection and attack on the Capitol. 

There has been open frustration from these advocates that Garland, in the face of Trump posing a clear and present danger to America’s democracy, is not moving fast enough – is not sufficiently committed – to bringing Trump to justice.

What the past week shows is that they are only seeing the tip of the Garland iceberg.  It is clear from the FBI raid that Garland has been working quietly and deliberately to ensure that Trump is not above the law. There may yet be indictments for violation of the Espionage Act and other national security laws.  There is a grand jury currently working on the very issues posed by the insurrection. It is the biggest investigation in the history of the Justice Department.  Many witnesses who testified before the January 6 Committee are appearing before the grand jury.

Trump may well collide – again – with the Garland iceberg. It could be titanic.

Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

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Leading athletes and medical experts push for medicinal cannabis in sport



Leading lawmakers, medical experts and athletes are pushing for therapeutic use of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain and injury

Basketball star Brittney Griner is one of the leading players of her generation. She jumped into the spotlight for serving a sentence for possession of cannabis oil in Russia.

It begs the question whether medicinal cannabis and athletes are a good mix. Well, many lawmakers, health experts and athletes around the world want to break down the stigmas associated with its use.

Many want to use Griner’s ordeal as motivation to change cannabis laws and therapeutic use exemptions in sports.

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health has spoken closely with Dr. Peter Brukner who is a world-renowned Australian sports medicine clinician and researcher.

Dr. Peter Brukner

Brukner believes athletes should be able to compete in their field with medicinal cannabis because it doesn’t enhance their performance.

“Medicinal cannabis is arguably performance diminishing rather than performance enhancing…

It’s likely to be taken off the ban list in the near future.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

“I don’t see there are any risks at all.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

Brayshaw believes there are higher risks for athletes becoming addicted to anti-inflammatory and opioids. As opposed to any risks associated with taking medicinal cannabis.

He explains it enables athletes to function in a healthy way, pain free.

Overall, there is hope Griner’s case will break down stigma surrounding natural medicines and athletes.

In Australia, there are tens of thousands of new applications for medicinal cannabis every month.

“We’re seeing a significant stigma reduction… There are 30,000 new applications every month [in Australia] for medicinal cannabis...

In the right hands, and through a GP it can be a very safe alternative to opioids and anti-inflammatories in the treatment of chronic pain.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

There are also growing calls for countries to adopt therapeutic use exemptions in sport, including in the Australian Football League.

“We’ve got Alistair Clarkson and Damien Hardwick on our board, they’ve taken a keen interest… Yes, it’s on the rise.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

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Why is China’s changing its strategy to handling the pandemic?



Changes to China’s COVID policies are coming thick and fast, much faster than many people anticipated given how strict the country has been in the last few years, the latest big announcement is around an app that people had to install on their phone

Then it tracked them when they travelled across the country, alerting them if they’ve been to a high risk COVID area, the government says that that app is now deactivated and people no longer have to have it installed on their phones.

It’s yet another indication of the change in China’s strategy to handling the pandemic.

We’ve seen changes related to quarantine, and also testing as well. And a real change in narrative from the authorities when talking about the virus and how dangerous it is. Now officially case numbers are dropping.

But that is largely due to the fact that much less testing is taking place, and we are seeing signs that in reality cases are surging.

There’s queues of people outside of pharmacies, queuing to get medication for colds and for fevers, and also self testing kits as well.

On social media, many people in China now saying that they have caught COVID For the first time, or that they know a number of people who have COVID When previously they didn’t know anyone at all.

So it’s clear that cases are rising, and this is coming just the month before the Chinese New Year holidays, which will take place at the end of January, traditionally a time when millions of people will travel across the country.

We would expect that to happen this year, as travel within China is now much easier.

So we would expect COVID cases to spread across the country talking to travel and is yet no sign of when the borders will open internationally.

Still very, very hard to get into China and very strict. When people do enter and the procedures they have to follow.

Maybe the government will wait and see how the first phase of reopening goes domestically, before thinking internationally?

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Children are our future, but cancer is impacting far too many of them



Children are our future and that’s why investing in childhood cancer is critical to improving treatments and research

Cancer does not discriminate. It is a major cause of death in children worldwide. While there has been tremendous progress in fighting childhood cancer, significant investment is required to improve access to treatments and diversify research.

Lance Kawaguchi, who heads Cure Brain Cancer Foundation is passionate about raising awareness and funds to beat childhood cancer.

“It’s critically important that we invest more in childhood cancer…I want to make sure that we can have enough funds to support not just certain types of cancer… But also the ones that have less volume.”

Lance kawaguchi, ceo, cure brain cancer

Why invest in Childhood Cancer?

Childhood cancer is a major cause of death in children worldwide, impacting children aged 0-14.

The most common cancers diagnosed in children is leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), brain and nervous system cancers.

Significant investment is required to improve access to treatments and diversify research.

Often, certain types of cancers remain underfunded and under-researched. However, just because they’re less common, shouldn’t mean they’re less important.

Brain Stem brain tumours like DIPG, primarily affects children, with most diagnoses occurring between 5 and 7 years of age.

It makes up approximately 10-15% of all brain tumours in children. Unfortunately, fewer than 10% of children survive.

Simon Gray lost his son Tom when he was seven years old, and is on a mission to prevent other parents from going through the same grief.

We need to raise more funds for this kind of cancer… We don’t want another parent to have to sit in a room with a bunch of doctors and be told ‘just go create some memories, there’s no if buts or maybe, he’s just going to die’

Simon Gray, cancer advocate

Need For More Specific Paediatric Cancer Treatments

There is a need to develop cancer treatments specifically for children and invest more in enabling this to happen effectively.

A relative lack of cancer research in children limits how to treat them. As a result, some children with cancer are dealt adult treatments, which are often ineffective.

Childhood cancer treatments very rarely reach FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) or EMA (European Medicines Agency) approval.

Therefore, it’s critical that more money is invested into treatment and research for childhood cancer.

Katie Banovich’s 6-year-old son Greyson is a cancer survivor. Greyson has emerged as an inspiration to all those who hear his story. His courage and resilience are a testament that no one should ever give up hope when confronted with adversity.

Katie believes it is through our collective efforts that we will continue to make strides in the fight against childhood cancers.

“Get involved, everyone can help. Awareness of the problem leads to motivation to solve it. And motivation leads to action.”

Katie banovich, cancer advocate

Any family can be impacted by childhood cancer, it does not discriminate. For some they have a positive outcome, but for many they are forced to live out a nightmare.

It’s crucial that we make the fight against childhood cancer a global fight.

In our experience, the key flaws have been a lack of options for treating paediatric brain cancers.

Our daughter Olivia was diagnosed at 18 months… It’s very high risk giving children radiation at such a young age.
.. We had limited options.

Andrew macphillamy, cancer advocate

Centres of Excellence fighting childhood cancer

1. Australia – Children’s Cancer Institute

The Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) in Australia is celebrating thirty years of working with like-minded individuals and organisations to fund innovative research projects, world-class clinical care, and quality family support programs. To date, the foundation has raised over A$60.5 million. This capital was spent on a range of programs that align with the CCIs goals of improving the lives of children affected by cancer.

2. Qatar – Sidra Medicine

Sidra Medicine, located in the innovative Education City in Qatar is a benchmark for family healthcare in the Middle East. This 400-bed medical centre caters solely to women and children, offering state-of-the-art health care in a collaborative, research-driven environment. Sidra Medicine aims to establish itself as a global leader in the research of cancer and precision medicine. In September 2022, the institute published a study highlighting the successful use of precision medicine to guide the treatment of some paediatric cancers.

3. US – National Pediatric Cancer Foundation

Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death resulting from illness in children aged four to fourteen in the United States. Sadly, only 4% of the billions of dollars spent on cancer research annually go to funding research for paediatric cancers. The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (NPCF) formed an innovative collaboration called the Sunshine Project. The primary goal of this project is to fast-track a more targeted and less toxic cure for paediatric cancer by bringing together the nation’s foremost researchers and medical professionals. Since 2005, the Sunshine Project has funded several clinical trials and translational studies in excess of US$ 33 million.

4. The European Society for Paediatric Oncology

The European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE) was established to ensure optimal care and outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer in Europe. The society is active across many areas including research, care, training and education, and EU advocacy. They are driven to facilitate collaborative research across the European continent as well as the promotion of novel treatment modalities in use in clinical trials. Seated in Brussels, SIOPE is ideally situated to promote and advocate better policies for children with cancer to EU policy makers.

Report contributed by Holly Stearnes, Lance Kawaguchi and Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

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