Updated: Nov 6, 2022
Written by Finnialla, one of our current world events writers, and edited by Kayla-Jane Barrie, one of our editors!
Dark Greetings. It’s been a long year for everyone. Here at The Incognito Press, we’re all ready to put on some fuzzy socks, sit in front of a fire with hot cocoa, eat to our heart's content, and actively avoid toxic family members. But before we face the gauntlet of the holidays, we need to talk about what’s going on in the world. From pumpkin spice to picket lines, front lines to storm zones, special masters to campaign trails, and everything in-between, here is a recap of the news.
Ukraine Gains Advances in War, Russia Trying to Hold Onto Its Own People
This past month, Ukraine has made substantial gains in the war over annexed territory, but that doesn’t mean Putin is going down without a fight. According to the New York Times, Ukrainian soldiers have “Reclaimed territory covering some 3,700 square miles this month”.
As I write this, the number of cities and recently annexed territories continues to grow. Now we have to ask do we see the end of the war?
While the Ukrainians have a long way to go for total victory, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky states on a video posted by the presidency, “We have already proven our compatibility with (NATO) alliance standards.” This move, along with his request for a fast track for NATO membership would be a turning point in the war in Ukraine’s favor.
Just days earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin had recently annexed 4 territories, Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk, and Zapopizhzhia, after hosting what officials call a “sham” election. Russian soldiers, along with election takers went door to door asking for ballots, sometimes using force to conduct the vote counting. When the vote was counted, more than 85 percent of Ukrainian citizens voted yes, a move that seems coerced at best. Within twenty-four hours of the vote going into law, Ukrainian troops had taken several cities that were Russian for a grand total of a day.
This comes after September 21st, when Putin announced that he was going to draft an additional 200,000 soldiers for his war. In the aftermath, protests erupted all over the country. Many men fled to nearby countries, broke limbs out of fear of being drafted, and obtained fake medical papers to prevent them from fighting. Some are deserting or surrendering to Ukraine.
The United States has donated 15.2 billion in this war so far, not to mention the other countries sending aid, Ukraine might soon have the rest of the world on the battlefield with them. If NATO approves the fast track for Ukraine’s membership, this whole war gets a lot more complicated.
President Biden stated in a press conference at the White House on September 23rd, “America’s fully prepared with our NATO allies to defend every single inch of NATO territory. Every single inch.” As the war escalates, Biden shared an encouraging message towards Ukraine and the threats from Russia about nuclear options, “America and its allies are not going, let me emphasize this, are not going to be intimidated by Putin and his reckless word and threats.”
For now, allies and Ukraine alike will have to keep holding on and try to get the upper hand in this war. The world is watching.
North Korean Missile Launches Over Japan
In a show of force on October 2nd, North Korea launched an intermediate range ballistic missile over Japan, sending terrified citizens scrambling. It ultimately landed in the ocean. Two days later, they launched two more short range ballistic missiles that would land outside Japan’s economic exclusion zone.
President Biden and others condemned the behavior of North Korean leader, Kim Jun Un, as “completely unacceptable”, stated by Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida. For the world, this could mean a ramping up of nuclear tests over the Pacific Ocean.
The U.S.S Ronald Reagan was sailing between the Korean peninsula and Japan for joint exercises with U.S. and South Korean soldiers for the first time in five years, severely angering the North Korean president. The U.S, Britain, France, Albania, Norway, and Ireland have called a meeting of the U.N Natural Security Counsel. Diplomats will meet Wednesday, October 12th.
This comes days after the United States and South Korea missile launch test that ended in failure. While the drill was going smoothly, one of the Korean ballistic missiles failed to ascend and instead fell and crashed, causing an explosion. There have been no injuries reported.
Florida Ravished by Hurricane. What Can We Do to Help?
Last week, Hurricane Ian hit Florida as a category 4 hurricane. In its path, it destroyed homes, leveled neighborhoods, and completely tore apart entire towns. Its devastation will be felt for years to come. As Florida rebuilds, Incognito Press has compiled a list of organizations you can donate to that help fund hurricane relief.
Global Giving - https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-ian-relief-fund/
World Central Kitchen - https://donate.wck.org/give/432548#!/donation/checkout
Direct Relief -https://www.directrelief.org/emergency/hurricane-ian/
Convoy of Hope –https://convoyofhope.org/donate/disaster-services/ian-22/
Operation BBQ Relief - https://operationbbqrelief.org
Donald Trump Appeals Lawsuit to Supreme Court
In a stunning turn of events, Donald Trump and his lawyers have appealed the criminal case of documents taken from the Mar A Lago raid last August to the Supreme Court. Judge Clarence Thomas has been tasked with looking over the documents and deciding, either by himself or as an emergency congruence of the court, whether to uphold the decision of the 11th circuit.
The raid produced over 11,000 documents, with over 100 documents marked in any number of classification rankings. When Trump’s team asked for a special master to overlook the documents for attorney-client privilege and executive privilege, a judge in Florida granted it. In that motion, they also barred the FBI from using the documents in criminal investigations.
When the Justice Department appealed to the 11th circuit judges, some appointed by the former President himself, they struck down the ruling, allowing the justice department to not provide the special master with the classified documents and allow the FBI to use the documents in a criminal proceeding against Trump.
Clarence Thomas is under fire for his handling of cases in the past year, most shockingly, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, and is considered one of the more conservative judges on the court. His wife, Ginni Thomas was just subpoenaed by the January 6th hearing over communications with Trump’s inner circle over election fraud in the 2020 election. Her denial of election results makes many government officials wonder why Justice Thomas didn’t exclude himself from the case.
This isn’t the only one of Trump’s lawsuits to gain national attention. Trump has filed yet another defamation lawsuit with CNN. In the 475-million-dollar suit, Trump claims that CNN engaged in a “campaign of dissuasion in the form of libel and slander” that has “escalated in recent months” because Trump has been teasing a reelection campaign. The case has yet to go into either a dismissal or trial, but looking at the other salacious lawsuits against news organizations, Trump isn’t destined to win this one.
What's On The Docket for the Supreme Court This Month
The Supreme Court reconvened for their session in early October after the swearing-in of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first African-American woman to serve on the U.S. highest court. For the month of October, they will see 8 cases.
Sackett vs. Environmental Protection Agency
The Sackett family filled a lake on their property to prepare for house construction. The EPA ordered them to change the place back to its natural state because it contained wetlands that were subject to the Clean Water Act. The 9th district court ruled in favor of the EPA. The outcome of the case will shape the EPA’s ability to enforce the Clean Water Act on certain properties, mostly private property.
Delaware vs. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
Several states, mainly Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, are suing Delaware over their unclaimed monetary gains from MoneyGram checks. The business, located in Texas, didn’t claim certain travelers and money order fees when it collected official checks, but still charged for it. When it was sent to Delaware, the company said the disposition of Abandoned Money Orders and Traveler’s Check Act needn’t apply to their official checks. The outcome will decide if the company will have to pay back the unclaimed money.
Merrill vs. Milligan
Predominantly black voters in Alabama have sued the current Secretary of State, State House and Senate redistricting chairman over the state’s new redistricting map that they claim unfairly distributed black voters over the state. They want the state to draw a new redistricting map that would put majority white and black neighborhoods on the same playing field. The outcome will help shape redistricting laws and fundamentally change the Voting Rights Act.
Arellano vs. McDonough
Can disability benefits be retroactively awarded if the veteran applies for the benefits within one year of discharge from the military, or if it’s shown that they couldn’t apply for them due to health reasons? If a veteran has a physical or mental history and therefore couldn’t apply for benefits at the time of discharge, can the courts forget the one-year time limit and award the benefits at that time? The outcome could change the Veterans Care Act.
National Pork Producers Council vs. Ross
California’s guidelines on pork manufacturing and distribution are different than the rest of the United States. An old court case outlining California’s rules on processed pork upholds this rule, but many argue it’s a dormant clause and should be abolished, or if the court will uphold the reasoning of the law. This outcome will change California’s laws on food entering their state.
Reed vs. Goertz
In 1998, Rodney Reed was tried for the murder of a young woman and was found guilty due to his DNA being on the body. He was sentenced to the death penalty. During the appeals process in 2014, he requested DNA sampling under Texas’ Article 64. He was repeatedly denied. Reed is arguing that Texas is going against his constitutional rights by denying his right to an appeal. This outcome will change what court can weigh in on the case of an appeal and could allow prisoners to ask for higher judges to weigh in on appeals.
Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts vs. Goldsmith
Andy Warhol made his Prince series based on a photo of Prince taken by Goldsmith. Goldsmith is suing for copyright infringement, but the Foundation in charge of Andy Warhol’s artwork claims that it is its own separate piece of work due to its transformative nature. This outcome will determine if transformative art is protected from copyright laws.
Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. vs. Hewitt
The former supervisor for the Helix Energy Solutions Group for offshore drilling is claiming that he deserves backpay for the overtime he worked from 2021-2017. The group stated that his large salary, 963 dollars a day, is compensation enough and his position is not open for overtime pay. This decision will decide if people in high paying positions in the company are subject to overtime.
Is Elon Musk Going to Buy Twitter?
A long contentious lawsuit is brewing in Silicon Valley after Elon Musk has changed his mind, seemingly for the third time and has agreed to the hefty price tag of 44 billion to buy Twitter. When Musk first agreed to buy the platform months ago, Twitter’s investors were waiting with bated breath, and many signed onto a lawsuit to stop the billionaire to buy the social media site. A judge has now given Musk and Twitter until Oct. 28th to broker a deal, or the case is going to trial.
If Musk buys Twitter, what can that mean for the average person? One of Musk’s promises is the complete free speech he’s wanted on the platform for years. That can lead to more internet bullying, racism, and transphobia, all things that have been on the rise lately. He even texted a Twitter investor, “Free speech matters most when it’s someone you hate spouting what you think is bull****.” Another turn would be that banned figures, like Former President Donald Trump, who was banned in early January 2021after the insurrection in the Capital.
So, what happens next for the rest of us? We can only hope that it doesn’t become a lawless place, more than it already is. We can hope that Twitter’s safeguards provide itself with an out before it’s too late to save it.
From all of us here at The Incognito Press, have a safe and happy month full of pumpkin carving, apple picking, drinking cider, and keeping yourself sane. Happy Halloween!
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Kinery, Emma. “Biden Warns Putin That U.S. Will Defend 'Every Single Inch' of NATO Territory as Russia Formally Annexes Ukraine Regions.” CNBC, CNBC, 30 Sept. 2022, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/30/biden-warns-putin-on-nato-threat-as-russia-annexes-ukraine-regions.html.
Hyung-Jin Kim, Kim Tong-Hyung and Mari Yamaguchi | AP. “North Korea Sends Missile Soaring over Japan in Escalation.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 4 Oct. 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/seoul-n-korea-fires-ballistic-missile-toward-sea/2022/10/03/f52b0592-436f-11ed-be17-89cbe6b8c0a5_story.html.
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Rich, Motoko, and Choe Sang-hun. “North Korea Fires 2 Ballistic Missiles, Condemning Security Council Meeting.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Oct. 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/05/world/asia/north-korea-missile-launch.html.
Tucker, Eric. “Donald Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene in Mar-a-Lago Dispute.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 4 Oct. 2022, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/donald-trump-asks-supreme-court-to-intervene-in-mar-a-lago-dispute.
Blake, Aaron. “Analysis | One of Trump's Flimsiest Lawsuits Yet.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 4 Oct. 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/10/04/trump-lawsuit-cnn/.
Cho, Kelly Kasulis. “Trump Sues CNN for Defamation, Seeks $475 Million in Damages.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 4 Oct. 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2022/10/04/donald-trump-sues-cnn-defamation-lawsuit/.
Anonymous. “Supreme Court Cases, October Term 2022-2023.” Ballotpedia, Ballotpedia, 2022, https://ballotpedia.org/Supreme_Court_cases,_October_term_2022-2023.
Totenberg, Nina. “The Supreme Court Will Begin a New Term with More Contentious Cases on Its Docket.” NPR, NPR, 3 Oct. 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/10/03/1126041958/supreme-court-new-term.
Lombardo, Cara, and Alexa Corse. “WSJ News Exclusive | Twitter, Elon Musk Trial Postponed as Deal Talks Stall.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 7 Oct. 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/twitter-musk-talks-continue-focus-on-financing-litigation-11665082947.
Sorkin, Andrew Ross, et al. “Are Musk and Twitter Back on? Here's What We Know.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Oct. 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/05/business/musk-twitter-buyout-what-we-know.html.
Bond, Shannon. “Here's What Elon Musk Will Likely Do with Twitter If He Buys It.” NPR, NPR, 7 Oct. 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/10/07/1127337447/heres-what-elon-musk-will-likely-do-with-twitter-if-he-buys-it.
This piece was written by one of our current world events writers, Finnialla.
This piece was edited by one of our editors, Kayla-Jane Barrie. Reach them at @kj.poetrytherapy on Instagram!