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Sunday, April 23, 2017

For Women, It’s Not Just the O’Reilly Problem - The New York Times





"Bill O’Reilly’s ouster from Fox News Wednesday — nine months after similarly lurid charges of sexual harassment forced the resignation of Roger Ailes, the Fox chief executive — has opened another window into sexual abuse of women at Fox and in the workplace generally.



The serial nature of the alleged abuse, as well as Fox’s response to it, is also a reminder that exposing wrongdoing is no guarantee of change.



When Fox said on Wednesday that it was severing ties with Mr. O’Reilly after a “thorough and careful review of the allegations,” it neglected to note that the scrutiny was not prompted by the allegations themselves — which the company already knew about — but by the defections of dozens of advertisers from “The O’Reilly Factor” and a drop in the company’s stock price. Fox heaped praise on Mr. O’Reilly in announcing his departure. In all, the company has paid at least $85 million to resolve sexual abuse scandals involving Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly. Of that sum, as much as $65 million went to the two men, in the form of exit pay.



That’s not deterrence, let alone true accountability. It is, however, a good illustration of the entrenched reality of practices that have discounted, demeaned and derailed women’s work lives for decades. Those practices include not only sexual harassment, but also persistent disparities in pay and promotion, as well as structural impediments — in child care, scheduling and other workplace policies.



For Women, It’s Not Just the O’Reilly Problem - The New York Times

Is It Time to Break Up Google? - The New York Times







"This is a complex issue for which I see no easy answer.  This is one area where I am a little leary of government regulation stifling innovation but on the other hand these giants can stifle innovation by new entrants into their respective industries.



"...We are going to have to decide fairly soon whether Google, Facebook and Amazon are the kinds of natural monopolies that need to be regulated, or whether we allow the status quo to continue, pretending that unfettered monoliths don’t inflict damage on our privacy and democracy.



It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale. To begin with, the platforms of Google and Facebook are the point of access to all media for the majority of Americans. While profits at Google, Facebook and Amazon have soared, revenues in media businesses like newspaper publishing or the music business have, since 2001, fallen by 70 percent...."



Is It Time to Break Up Google? - The New York Times

American Barbarism - Bearing Witness to Executions: Last Breaths and Lasting Impressions - The New York Times

"VARNER, Ark. — They often enter in silence. They almost always leave that way, too.



The death penalty holds a crucial, conflicted place in a nation deeply divided over crime and punishment, and whether the state should ever take a life. But for such a long, very public legal process, only a small number of people see what unfolds inside the country’s death houses.



Witnesses hear a condemned prisoner’s last words and watch a person’s last breaths. Then they scatter, usually into the night. There is no uniformity when they look back on the emotions that surround the minutes when they watched someone die.



The most recent person to be executed, Ledell Lee, died at the Cummins Unit here in southeast Arkansas late Thursday. By next Friday morning, the state hopes to have executed three more men.



In separate phone interviews, five people who have witnessed executions — some years ago, one as recently as Mr. Lee’s — reflected on what they had seen and what it meant to them.



The interviews have been condensed and edited.





The witness room facing the execution chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, where Charles E. Coulson saw the executions of two men. Credit Caroline Groussain/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Photo by: Caroline Groussain/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Charles E. Coulson



Witnessed two executions as prosecuting attorney for Lake County, Ohio



In both cases, I was invited by the family to attend. The victim advocates sit down the night before, and you meet with them at dinner, and they go over step by step what’s going to happen. They draw diagrams and show you where the death chamber is, where the defendant is going to be, where the defendant’s family is going to be.



You’re watching through glass, and then the process starts.



They had a chance to offer last statements, and I was disgusted because they were so self-serving, narcissistic statements for these people who had caused so much pain and suffering.



We were just waiting for the signal; one time, it was when the warden touched his glasses. You’re looking at the clock, but you’re mostly watching the defendant, watching to see if he’s still breathing or not. It is very quiet and respectful.



It’s not like watching a gory murder in a movie. When I watched the executions, I was very impressed with the State of Ohio and how dignified they handled this. In my opinion, these two defendants didn’t deserve any dignity whatsoever.



The only time that I was emotionally involved was when I had to make the decision, and I actually had to go and speak and tell the jury that this man, sitting in a room a few feet away from me, should be put to death for his crime.



A prosecutor has to have no doubt: not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but no doubt that a person committed those crimes. As long as you have no doubt, I don’t think there’s any valid argument against the death penalty.



These were two evil people, and their executions did not bother me at all. It’s what I thought they deserved. I don’t think about it much. It was done. It should have been done. I don’t really think about it.





Gayle Gaddis at home in Pearland, Tex., under a commemorative plaque for her son Guy P. Gaddis, a police officer who was murdered in 1994. Credit Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Photo by: Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Gayle Gaddis



Mother of Guy P. Gaddis, a murdered Houston police officer



I wanted to be sure it was finished, and that’s why I went.



Before the execution, we were in a room without a clock. It’s a terrible experience. We were there, it seemed, like hours, while they were making sure he didn’t get a stay. We were all just miserable.



Then the warden came in and said, “Good news: There are no stays, and he’s going to be gone,” or something like that.



I went in the room, and I saw him strapped on that gurney. Then I couldn’t watch it. They gave me a chair, and I just turned it the other way. One son was kind of hitting his elbow against the glass. My other son asked why he was doing that. He said, “I want him to look at me.”



Edgar Tamayo was his name, and he wouldn’t look or speak or anything. I was hoping he’d say, “I’m sorry,” but he wouldn’t even look at us.



It didn’t hurt him: I would have liked to have stoned him to death or something horrible. He just got a shot like you were going to have some surgery. It was too easy, for all of the pain he caused my family all of these years.



Right at the end, all of a sudden, there was the sound of motorcycles revving up that went through the walls. I realized it was the motorcycle policemen — support from the policemen — and it made my heart feel good.



As we walked outside, his daughter was across the big driveway. She was holding up a great big sign: “Don’t kill my dad.” I did feel sorry for her. He just ruined all of these lives for so long.



I always thought the death penalty was right when there was no doubt that somebody was guilty. When this happened to me and my family, I was very supportive of the death penalty, and I still am.



They caught him right there where he shot my son. I just don’t understand: 20 years before they killed him.





Jennifer Garcia on Friday at the federal public defender’s office, in Phoenix, with artwork from a former death row inmate. Credit Deanna Alejandra Dent for The New York Times

Photo by: Deanna Alejandra Dent for The New York Times

Jennifer Garcia



Assistant federal defender in Phoenix who witnessed one execution



He was my client. His name was Richard Stokley, and he was executed in December 2012.



Often for our clients, they didn’t have people they could depend on, or who fought for them. Once we get on a case, we will stay on it, usually, until the end.



The reason why we witnessed was, he asked us to. If he needed reassurance, he’d be able to see one of us smile at him.



By the time we got in there and walked into the witness room, I was just so tired, and I was so emotional, and I knew I had to hold it together for him, and I had to make sure he was O.K. through the process.



The execution itself was surreal. I cannot even tell you how unbelievable it was to see people deliberately get ready to kill your client. With Mr. Stokley, they couldn’t find a vein. We just sat there for a long time while they started with his hands and worked their way around the body, trying to get a vein. I was trying to maintain my composure because I didn’t want him to look at me and seeing me upset or crying. But it was so hard to watch somebody do that to your client and be powerless.



When they pronounced him dead, I think I felt happy that he was no longer being hurt as part of the process. The fact that I knew it was over and there was nothing else worse that was going to happen as part of the execution, that part was a relief. But over all, you feel shellshocked.



I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily haunted by it, but I’m very aware of it. If I have a client who asks me to be there, I will be there. Until you are trapped there in that room under such tight control by the prison, and there is no way you can react to that somebody is killing somebody right in front of you, it’s hard to know how you’ll feel. But there is nothing you have already done in your life that will make you go, “Oh, this is fine.”





Marine Glisovic, a television reporter in Little Rock, Ark., in the KATV news studio on Saturday. Credit Jacob Slaton for The New York Times

Photo by: Jacob Slaton for The New York Times

Marine Glisovic



Reporter for KATV in Little Rock, Ark., and a media witness for Thursday’s execution of Ledell Lee



You walk in, and all the seats are to your left. It’s almost set up like a mini-movie theater. We walked up to the front because there were three seats left open for us. There was a black curtain in front of four window panels.



They peeled back the curtain, and the inmate is lying down already, and he’s got an IV in each arm. He’s horizontal before us. He stared up the entire time. When they peeled that curtain down, they turned the lights off in our room, the witness room, so the only thing that was lit up was the chamber.



As it’s going on, it’s quiet. No one’s saying anything. It was very sterile and clinical. It was like watching somebody be put to sleep, if you will.



We had an hour-and-a-half drive home. I got into Little Rock, stopped at the station, got into my car. It wasn’t until I got to my friend’s house that night, it hit me as a person, once I’d gotten out of the journalism mode. I don’t even know how to describe how it hit me.



When I got to my friend’s house, she opened the door, and I couldn’t say much at first. I sat down. I want to say I got to her house at about 2 in the morning and I didn’t fall asleep until probably about 5. I just keep talking to her, and just going over it, over and over again.



It is probably the shortest yet longest 11 minutes of my life. No matter what anyone says, there’s really nothing to prepare you for what you are about to see.





The Rev. Carroll L. Pickett at his home in Kerrville, Tex. Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

Photo by: Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

The Rev. Carroll L. Pickett



Former prison chaplain who witnessed 95 executions in Texas from April 1980 to August 1995



One time, we had three nights in a row. They’d come in in the morning, and we’d do three executions on consecutive nights. Putting people through that is terrible.



I’ve seen a reporter pass out. He was about 6-foot-4. I’m on the inside in the death chamber itself, but I have a mirror, and I could see him just go collapse on the back row. And the major couldn’t take him out because the law says you can’t open the door until it’s over.



That’s one of the byproducts that people don’t realize. Family members get sick. Witnesses get sick. Some of my best guards who were with them all day long — they got sick. The warden changed it to where I would have the same guys all day long, and those are the ones that just eventually had what they called a nervous breakdown, which I just think is horrible — to see some good-looking captains and lieutenants leave the system because they just can’t do executions. It affects everyone, one way or another.



The victim’s family is hurt, and the family of the individual. You’re not just killing a person. You’re killing his whole family. There’s a lot of people involved in this, not just the poor kid lying on a gurney.



People don’t realize that you never get over it, unless you’re just cold and calculated. I’ll never forget it. Not a day goes by. Not a day goes by. And I don’t expect it to. If it does, then I didn’t do what I was supposed to do, as a Christian and as a chaplain and as a human being.





Bearing Witness to Executions: Last Breaths and Lasting Impressions - The New York Times

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Monologue: The Slow and the Furious | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)

Attorney General, New York City is not even in the top 10 American Cities for violent crimes nor is it in the top 10 American cities for it's murder a, a list that Atlanta, 3 miles from where I live falls in. Alabama's biggest city Birmingham, in your home State is number 1 in the top ten of violent crimes in medium size cities. Don't you read FBI statistics before you act like your boss #LiarInChief. #ResistanceIsNotFutile.




#ResistanceIsNotFutile racist Jeff Sessions must resign NYC officials blast Trump's DOJ for calling city 'soft on crime' | MSNBC




NYC officials blast Trump's DOJ for calling city 'soft on crime' | MSNBC

Comey Tried to Shield the F.B.I. From Politics. Then He Shaped an Election. - The New York Times





"An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with more than 30 current and former law enforcement, congressional and other government officials, found that while partisanship was not a factor in Mr. Comey’s approach to the two investigations, he handled them in starkly different ways. In the case of Mrs. Clinton, he rewrote the script, partly based on the F.B.I.’s expectation that she would win and fearing the bureau would be accused of helping her. In the case of Mr. Trump, he conducted the investigation by the book, with the F.B.I.’s traditional secrecy. Many of the officials discussed the investigations on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.



Mr. Comey made those decisions with the supreme self-confidence of a former prosecutor who, in a distinguished career, has cultivated a reputation for what supporters see as fierce independence, and detractors view as media-savvy arrogance.



The Times found that this go-it-alone strategy was shaped by his distrust of senior officials at the Justice Department, who he and other F.B.I. officials felt had provided Mrs. Clinton with political cover. The distrust extended to his boss, Loretta E. Lynch, the attorney general, who Mr. Comey believed had subtly helped play down the Clinton investigation.



His misgivings were only fueled by the discovery last year of a document written by a Democratic operative that seemed — at least in the eyes of Mr. Comey and his aides — to raise questions about her independence. In a bizarre example of how tangled the F.B.I. investigations had become, the document had been stolen by Russian hackers.



The examination also showed that at one point, President Obama himself was reluctant to disclose the suspected Russian influence in the election last summer, for fear his administration would be accused of meddling.



Mr. Comey, the highest-profile F.B.I. director since J. Edgar Hoover, has not squarely addressed his decisions last year. He has touched on them only obliquely, asserting that the F.B.I. is blind to partisan considerations. “We’re not considering whose ox will be gored by this action or that action, whose fortune will be helped,” he said at a public event recently. “We just don’t care. We can’t care. We only ask: ‘What are the facts? What is the law?’”



But circumstances and choices landed him in uncharted and perhaps unwanted territory, as he made what he thought were the least damaging choices from even less desirable alternatives.



“This was unique in the history of the F.B.I.,” said Michael B. Steinbach, the former senior national security official at the F.B.I., who worked closely with Mr. Comey, describing the circumstances the agency faced last year while investigating both the Republican and Democratic candidates for president. “People say, ‘This has never been done before.’ Well, there never was a before. Or ‘That’s not normally how you do it.’ There wasn’t anything normal about this.”



Comey Tried to Shield the F.B.I. From Politics. Then He Shaped an Election. - The New York Times

Friday, April 21, 2017

Shields and Gerson on Georgia election pressure, Bill O’Reilly’s Fox New...

Bill O'Reilly's '98 Novel Is Rich With Foreshadowing Good stuff

Dumb, dumber and just plain stupid. AP Explains: How a single Trump sentence enraged South Korea







"SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump's apparently offhand comment after meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping — that "Korea actually used to be a part of China" — has enraged many South Koreans.



The historically inaccurate sentence from a Wall Street Journal interview bumps up against a raft of historical and political sensitivities in a country where many have long feared Chinese designs on the Korean Peninsula. It also feeds neatly into longstanding worries about Seoul's shrinking role in dealing with its nuclear-armed rival, North Korea.



Ahn Hong-seok, a 22-year-old college student, said that if Trump "is a person capable of becoming a president, I think he should not distort the precious history of another country."



Many here assume that Xi fed that ahistorical nugget to Trump, who also admitted that after 10 minutes listening to Xi, he realized that Beijing's influence over North Korea was much less than he had thought.



Here's why Trump's comments strike a nerve in South Korea:



WRONG, BUT WHOSE MISTAKE?



It's unclear whether Trump was quoting Xi or had misunderstood what he was told when he said Korea had been part of China.



It never was, historians outside of China say, although some ancient and medieval kingdoms that occupied the Korean Peninsula offered tributes to Chinese kingdoms to secure protection. And for a period during the 13th century, both China and Korea were under the rule of the Mongolian empire.



"Throughout the thousands of years of relations, Korea has never been part of China, and this is a historical fact that is recognized internationally and something no one can deny," Cho June-hyuck, a South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Thursday.



Asked whether Trump was quoting Xi, Lu Kang, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, didn't provide a direct answer, but said, "Korean people should not be worried about it."



HISTORICAL FEUD



Trump stumbled into a long history dispute between the Asian neighbors; specifically, their views over the dominion of ancient kingdoms whose territories stretched from the Korean Peninsula to Manchuria.



South Koreans see these kingdoms as Korean, but China began to claim them as part of its national history in the early 1980s.



At the time, China's state historians were exploring ways to ideologically support Beijing's policies governing ethnic minorities, including the large communities of ethnic Koreans in the northeast, experts say.



In the early 2000s, a Chinese government-backed academic project produced a slew of studies arguing that the kingdom of Goguryeo (37 B.C.-A.D. 668) was a Chinese state. This infuriated South Korea, where nationalists glorify Goguryeo for its militarism and territorial expansion. Seoul launched its own government-backed research project on Goguryeo in 2007.



Some analysts say the argument is more political than historical as Goguryeo existed more than a thousand years before the foundation of modern states in Korea and China.



'KOREA PASSING'



Several South Korean newspapers mentioned the Chinese claims over Goguryeo as they lashed out at Trump over the comments, and at Xi for allegedly feeding the U.S. president Chinese-centric views.



Chosun Ilbo, South Korea's largest newspaper, said China was looking to "tame" South Korea and weaken the traditional alliance between Seoul and Washington in an attempt to expand its regional influence.



Seoul has long worried about losing its voice in international efforts to deal with North Korea's nuclear threat — something local media have termed "Korea Passing." Seoul and Beijing are also bickering over plans to deploy in South Korea an advanced U.S. missile defense system that China sees as a security threat.



In the meantime, Trump has reportedly settled on a "maximum pressure and engagement" strategy on North Korea, which is mainly about enlisting the help of Beijing to put pressure on Pyongyang.



"It's highly possible that China will try to solve the problems surrounding the Korean Peninsula based on a hegemonic stance that likens the Koreas to Chinese vassal states," said the Munhwa Ilbo newspaper on Thursday. "If Trump has agreed with this view, you will never know what kind of a deal the two global powers will make over the fate of the Korean Peninsula."



Insecurities about both China's and Trump's intentions in the region will be among the big issues as South Koreans vote next month for their next president.



___



The story has been corrected to show that South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck spoke Thursday, not Friday.



AP Explains: How a single Trump sentence enraged South Korea

Why Donald Trump invited a racist celebrity to the White House...Donald Trump built his political brand on racist conspiracy theories and rode to the White House on a wave of reactionary white rage, stoked by his demagogic campaign against Muslims, Hispanic immigrants, black activists, and assorted foreigners.





... Donald Trump built his political brand on racist conspiracy theories and rode to the White House on a wave of reactionary white rage, stoked by his demagogic campaign against Muslims, Hispanic immigrants, black activists, and assorted foreigners. Trump thrives on this anger, and he’s collected a coterie of celebrities—especially Palin and Nugent—who do the same. He is, in other words, a president who ran a racist campaign, meeting with men and women who sell racial defiance to an angry multitude of white Americans...



Why Donald Trump invited a racist celebrity to the White House.

Torn apart: the American families hit by Trump's immigration crackdown | US news | The Guardian

George_Will_predicts_Obamacare_to_become_single-payer_because_of_this_inconvenient_fact_(VIDEO).jpg



"Even the pugnacious defender of neoconservative orthodoxy occasionally stumbles onto the truth.  "George Will realized that America's health care reality means that not only is Obamacare unrepealable but that we are on our way to a single-payer system. He seemed resigned to the fact that the failed market-based health care system he wants to retain is likely dying a slow qualified death.



"Barack Obama said as a candidate that he would prefer a single-payer plan but couldn't get there," George Will said. "As President when they were going through the Obamacare agonies, he said, look upon Obamacare as a starter home. The beginning, the thin end of an enormous wedge heading toward that. What does Donald Trump say? 'Single-payer works fine in Scotland.' So I don't see any particular animus he has as you say against a single-payer plan. And, what we've learned in this debate about repealing Obamacare is that the essence of Obamacare is the expansion of Medicaid. Who has benefited from that? Probably disproportionately white working-class males, Trump voters."



Torn apart: the American families hit by Trump's immigration crackdown | US news | The Guardian

Torn apart: the American families hit by Trump's immigration crackdown | US news | The Guardian





"In communities from Maryland to California and Oregon, immigration lawyers are reporting that individuals are being picked up with minimal or no criminal records who pose no risk at all to anyone.





Mother of four deported to Mexico as lawyer decries Trump's 'heartless policy'

 Read more

More than 90% of removal proceedings initiated in the first two months of the Trump administration have been against people who have committed no crime at all other than to be living in the country without permission. Early figures on deportation arrests show that the number of people with no criminal record who have been picked up has doubled, dragging people who were previously considered harmless into the deportation net."



Torn apart: the American families hit by Trump's immigration crackdown | US news | The Guardian

Torn apart: the American families hit by Trump's immigration crackdown | US news | The Guardian





"In communities from Maryland to California and Oregon, immigration lawyers are reporting that individuals are being picked up with minimal or no criminal records who pose no risk at all to anyone.





Mother of four deported to Mexico as lawyer decries Trump's 'heartless policy'

 Read more

More than 90% of removal proceedings initiated in the first two months of the Trump administration have been against people who have committed no crime at all other than to be living in the country without permission. Early figures on deportation arrests show that the number of people with no criminal record who have been picked up has doubled, dragging people who were previously considered harmless into the deportation net."



Torn apart: the American families hit by Trump's immigration crackdown | US news | The Guardian

100 Days of Horror - Charles Blow The New York Times





"With Donald Trump’s 100th day in office fast approaching, White House staffers are reportedly trying desperately to “rebrand” the colossal failure of the first 100 days as some kind of success.



Trump’s legislative agenda has been stymied. The drip, drip, drip of negative news about connections between campaign associates and Russia — and Russia’s efforts to impact our election — continues unabated. He seems to have no real strategy for governance other than pouting and gloating. His advisers are at each other’s throats. And the public has soured on him to a historic degree.



His failures so far, I suppose, should bring resisters like me some modicum of joy, but I must confess that they don’t. Or, more precisely, if they do, that joy is outweighed by the rolling litany of daily horrors that Trump has inflicted.



The horrors are both consuming and exhausting. For me at this point they center on an erosion of equality. This by no means downplays Trump’s incessant lying, the outrage of his draining the Treasury for his personal junkets, or his disturbing turn toward war. But somewhat below the radar, or at least with less fanfare, our access, inclusion and justice are being assailed by a man who lied on the campaign trail promising to promote them.





As a candidate, Trump blasted Jeb Bush, who while answering a question about defunding Planned Parenthood suggested that the federal government had overfunded women’s health care.



On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Trump prattled to Mika Brzezinski: “The women’s health issue, which Jeb Bush so amazingly blew about four or five days ago when he said ‘no money going to women’s health issues’ or essentially that. With me, Mika, I would be the best for women, the best for women’s health issues.”



Well, last week that very same man quietly signed legislation “aimed at cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other groups that perform abortions,” according to The New York Times. As The Times explained, the bill would allow state and local governments to withhold “federal funding for family planning services related to contraception, sexually transmitted infections, fertility, pregnancy care, and breast and cervical cancer screening from qualified health providers — regardless of whether they also performed abortions.”



As a candidate, Trump claimed to be a better friend to the L.G.B.T. community than Hillary Clinton, tweeting of that community “I will fight for you,” and saying during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show that transgender people should “use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate.”



As president, his administration rescinded Obama-era protections for transgender students in public schools that allowed them to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.



As a candidate, Trump disparagingly chided black voters with the question, “What the hell do you have to lose?” and issued a “New Deal for Black America” in which he promised: “We will apply the law fairly, equally and without prejudice. There will be only one set of rules — not a two-tiered system of justice.”



As president, his Justice Department has dropped its objection to a racially discriminatory Texas voter ID law. Just last week Time reported: “A judge ruled for a second time Monday that Texas’ strict voter ID law was intentionally crafted to discriminate against minorities, which follows another court finding evidence of racial gerrymandering in how Republican lawmakers drew the state’s election maps.”



This Justice Department has also “rescinded a six-month-old Obama administration directive that sought to curtail the government’s use of private prisons,” as reported by NBC News, and “ordered a sweeping review of federal agreements with dozens of law enforcement agencies, an examination that reflects President Trump’s emphasis on law and order and could lead to a retreat on consent decrees with troubled police departments nationwide,” as The Times reported.



Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Thursday that consent decrees “can reduce morale of the police officers.”



Furthermore, The Washington Post reported last week that Sessions had appointed Steven H. Cook to be one of his top lieutenants, noting: “Law enforcement officials say that Sessions and Cook are preparing a plan to prosecute more drug and gun cases and pursue mandatory minimum sentences. The two men are eager to bring back the national crime strategy of the 1980s and ’90s from the peak of the drug war, an approach that had fallen out of favor in recent years as minority communities grappled with the effects of mass incarceration.”



The clock is being turned back. Vulnerable populations are under relentless attack by this administration. This is a war, and that is not hyperbole or exaggeration. While folks are hoping that some Russia-related revelation will emerge from the darkness to bring this administration to a calamitous conclusion, the administration is busy rebuilding and reinforcing the architecture of oppression in plain sight."



100 Days of Horror - The New York Times

A Fake and a Fraud - Charles Blow - The New York Times





"Donald Trump’s mounting reversals, failures and betrayals make it increasingly clear that he is a fake and a fraud.



For many of us, this is affirmative reinforcement; for others, it is devastating revelation.



But it is those who believed — and cast supportive ballots — who should feel most cheated and also most contrite. You placed your faith in a phony. His promises are crashing to earth like a fleet of paper airplanes.



He oversold what he could deliver because he had no idea what would be required to deliver it, nor did he care. He told you what you wanted to hear so that he could get what he wanted to have. He played you for fools.



That wall will not be paid for by Mexico, if in fact it is ever built. If it is built, it will likely look nothing like what Trump said it would look like. His repeal and replace of Obamacare flopped. That failure endangers his ability to deliver on major tax reform and massive infrastructure spending. China is no longer in danger of being labeled a currency manipulator. The administration is now sending signals that ripping up the Iran nuclear deal isn’t a sure bet.



Trump has done a complete about-face on the Federal Reserve chairwoman, Janet Yellen, and when was the last time you heard him threaten to lock up Hillary Clinton?



This is by no means an exhaustive list of the positions he took for in-the-moment advantage that have been quickly converted into in-reality abandonment.



He isn’t cunningly unpredictable; he’s tragically unprepared and dangerously unprincipled.



No wonder then that a Gallup poll released Monday found:



“President Donald Trump’s image among Americans as someone who keeps his promises has faded in the first two months of his presidency, falling from 62 percent in February to 45 percent. The public is also less likely to see him as a ‘strong and decisive leader,’ as someone who ‘can bring about the changes this country needs’ or as ‘honest and trustworthy.’”



While the largest decline in the percentage of those who think Trump keeps his promises came among women, young people and Democrats, the number also dropped 11 percentage points among Republicans and nine percentage points among conservatives.



Even so, The Washington Post’s The Fix warned readers to beware “the myth of the disillusioned Trump voter,” citing a Pew Research Center poll released Monday “showing very little buyer’s remorse among Trump voters.”



As the newspaper pointed out: “The poll showed just 7 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Trump has performed worse than they expected him to. Fully 38 percent — five times as many — say he has performed better.”



This seems to me a fair point, but it requires us to have a better handle on the expectations for him in the first place. After all, the union has yet to crumble into ashes and his Twitter tirades have yet to push us into an impulse war.



Furthermore, the stubborn human resistance to admitting a mistake should never be underestimated. Admitting that Trump is failing, even when he is failing you and your family specifically, is an enormous pill to swallow. Acknowledging that your blindness, selfishness and fear compelled you to buy into a man who is selling you out may take more time.



But I think that time is coming, because Trump is an unabashed leech and an unrepentant liar.



Trump cares only about Trump, his brand and his image, his family and his fortune. Indeed, his personal philosophy as president might best be described as clan over country.



Instead of being a grenade-throwing iconoclast bent on blowing up the D.C. establishment and the big-money power structures, he has stocked his inner circle with billionaires and bankers, and he has bent to the establishment.



Trump sold himself as a populist only to line his own pockets. Trump built his entire reputation not as the champion of the common man, but by curating his image as a crude effigy of the cultural elite.



He accrued his wealth by selling hollow dreams of high society to people who wanted to flaunt their money or pretend that they had some.



Put another way, Trump’s brand is built on exclusivity, not inclusivity. It is about the separate, vaulted position of luxury, above and beyond the ability for it to be accessed by the common. It is all about the bourgeois and has absolutely nothing to do with the blue collar.



And yet somehow, it was the blue collar that bought his bill of goods. People saw uncouth and thought unconventional; they saw raffish and thought rebel.



They projected principle and commitment onto a person anathema to both. Now, we all have to pay a hefty toll as Trump’s legions cling to thinning hope."





A Fake and a Fraud - The New York Times




Vacation’s Over: Obama Returns to Public Life Next Week - The New York Times





"WASHINGTON — Barack Obama’s extended post-presidential vacation is about to end. After spending weeks in French Polynesia — including time on the yacht of the movie mogul David Geffen along with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey — Mr. Obama will return to Chicago on Monday for his first public event as a former president.



His self-imposed silence since Inauguration Day will end with a series of events over the next four weeks. A Monday town hall-style meeting with students at the University of Chicago will be followed by an awards ceremony in Boston; a series of public remarks as well as private paid speeches in the United States and Europe; and an appearance at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany with Chancellor Angela Merkel.



And yet, Mr. Obama’s supporters, who have been waiting eagerly for the former president to respond to his successor’s accusations and policy reversals, are likely to be disappointed.



Even as he witnesses President Trump’s relentless and chaotic assault on his legacy, Mr. Obama remains stubbornly committed to the idea that there is only one president at a time. Those closest to him say the former president does not intend to confront Mr. Trump directly on immigration, health care, foreign policy or the environment during any of his events."



Vacation’s Over: Obama Returns to Public Life Next Week - The New York Times

The Trump Administration's Reefer Madness: The Daily Show

Thursday, April 20, 2017

5 Takeaways From The Georgia 6 Special Election | FiveThirtyEight

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“...The result is consistent with a pro-Democratic national environment

There’s some chatter out there that Ossoff’s showing is a bad sign for Democrats. He didn’t clear 50 percent, they say, and he barely improved on Clinton’s performance in Georgia 6.

I think that’s a flawed argument.

For one, Clinton had already greatly improved on previous Democrats’ performance in Georgia 6. She lost to Trump there by only 1.5 percentage points. Former President Barack Obama lost the district by 23 points in 2012, as did Democratic congressional candidate Rodney Stooksbury in 2016.

So if you’re just looking at the 2016 presidential result as your benchmark you’re probably missing something. Instead, our best estimate of the partisan lean of a district is to take a weighted average2 of its past two presidential election results. By that measure, a Democrat would be expected to lose Georgia 6 by 9.5 percentage points in a neutral national environment (one in which the two parties fought to a tie nationally). Democrats did far better than that on Tuesday, losing by 2 points. The Democratic candidates combined took 49 percent to the Republicans’ 51 percent."

 

(Via.)  5 Takeaways From The Georgia 6 Special Election | FiveThirtyEight:

Going Life For Juan 3 . THE Resistance Is Strong In Brookhaven Georgia to the Dreamer deportation. As I left the bar, wearing my "Make America Mexico Again" hat I received a table full of high fives both inside and again outside the bar. #ResistanceISNotFutile

Going Live for Juan 2 Defend The Dreamers From Trump and Sessions



The anti immigrant policies of Trump, aimed squarely at people of color reflect the attitudes of Fred Trump, his Father who was arrested demonstrating at a KKK rally against Catholics.  Trump, Sessions and Bannons are misogynistic racists and religious bigots. #ResistanceIsNotFutile.

Going Live for Juan - ICE, with the support of Donald Trump, deported a ...



The anti immigrant policies of Trump, aimed squarely at people of color reflect the attitudes of Fred Trump, his Father who was arrested demonstrating at a KKK rally against Catholics.  Trump, Sessions and Bannons are misogynistic racists and religious bigots. #ResistanceIsNotFutile.

Smart TVs should be so much smarter - CNET



Smart TVs should be so much smarter - CNET

Erik Prince acted as Trump envoy in Russian meetings: report | MSNBC

Erik Prince acted as Trump envoy in Russian meetings: report | MSNBC: ""

First DREAMer deported under Trump | MSNBC. #LiarInChief #ManchrianPresident #ResistanceIsNotFutile. #ImpeachTrump

First DREAMer deported under Trump | MSNBC

'Collaboration' Creates Mediocrity, Not Excellence, According to Science | Inc.com

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"If you listen to management pundits, 'collaboration' is all the rage. While the term is a bit fuzzy, what's usually meant by 'collaboration' is 1) plenty of ad-hoc meetings and 2) open-plan offices that increase the likelihood that that such meetings take place.

In previous columns, I've pointed out that open-plan offices, with all their interruptions, distractions, and noise pollution, are productivity sinkholes. I've also pointed out that collaboration tends to penalize the competent who end up doing most of the work.

A recent study published in Applied Psychology has now confirmed that a collaborative work environment can make top performers--the innovators and hard-workers--feel miserable and socially isolated.

The problem is that rather than seeing a top performer as a role models, mediocre employees tend to see them as threats, either to their own position in the company or to their own feelings of self-worth.

Rather than improving their own performance, mediocre employees socially isolate top performers, spread nasty rumors about them, and either sabotage, or attempt to steal credit for, the top performers' work. As the study put it: 'Cooperative contexts proved socially disadvantageous for high performers.'

This social isolation creates special difficulties for introverted employees who work in open-plan offices. While some extroverts seem to draw energy from a chaotic environment, introverts find such environments draining.

Sometimes the only way that introverts can get their work completed is to work from home, creating even more potential social isolation. Indeed, top performers who work from home are natural and easy target for workplace gossip and backbiting.

Unless checked, this tendency can result in an exodus of top talent. As a recent Inc.com column pointed out: 'The No. 1 reason high performers leave organizations in which they are otherwise happy is because of the tolerance of mediocrity.'"

(Via.).  'Collaboration' Creates Mediocrity, Not Excellence, According to Science | Inc.com:

#ManchurianPresident #ResistanceIsNotFutile. Warren: Turn heat up on Trump Russia case | MSNBC

Warren: Turn heat up on Trump Russia case | MSNBC: ""

Warren: Trump poised to deliver knock-out blow to middle class | MSNBC

Warren: Trump poised to deliver knock-out blow to middle class | MSNBC

A Farewell To Bill O'Reilly From Stephen Colbert And 'Stephen Colbert'

Bill O'Reilly Gets the Boot: The Daily Show

On America's racial terrorism, 'our silence has condemned us'

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The progressive renaissance in Georgia’s 6th is not going away.

Jon Ossoff





"FULTON COUNTY, Georgia—Bhavani Saravanan, a 52-year-old woman I met at Jon Ossoff’s election night party in Georgia on Tuesday, emigrated from India 25 years ago and has been a U.S. citizen for years. But she said that Nov. 9 is the day she truly became an American. “Until Mr. Trump won, I was an immigrant,” she told me. “The minute he won, I [said] no, I’m an American. This is my country. I will fight for it.” Though she had never been involved in politics before, she volunteered for the Ossoff campaign and rallied every Indian person she knew, no matter how apolitical. “The minute I attended Jon’s first meeting, I sent them messages: This is the person we’re all voting for,” she said. “Yesterday I sent them reminders. Today they all let me know they voted.”



The progressive renaissance in Georgia’s 6th is not going away.

What Betsy DeVos’s Emphasis on ‘Choice’ Means for School Segregation | The Nation







"When questioned on her commitment to principles of diversity and equality in public education, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos keeps repeating one conservative mantra: “choice.”

When pressed during her confirmation process on school desegregation policies, her coy answer—“I do not support programs that would lead to increased segregation”—was laced again with that market-friendly code word: “Empirical evidence finds school choice programs lead to more integrated schools than their public school counterparts.”



The concept of “school choice,” which emphasizes individual family preferences in how students and funding are distributed, squares neatly with the neoliberal reform agenda of pushing public education into the realm of private business. Who could oppose self-determination for parents, after all? But in a “free market” built on an unjust system, not all choices are created equal.



Yet that seems to be DeVos’s vision of “diversity.” Her abrupt decision to cancel an Obama administration program designed to help communities desegregate schools, known as Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunity, has outraged education advocates, who fear Trump will aggravate social barriers in K–12 education. The program was relatively small-scale—just $12 million in seed grants issued to school districts across the country seeking to develop “locally driven strategies to increase socioeconomic diversity in schools.” The grants would barely dent the system-wide civil-rights crisis of school segregation, but DeVos claimed even this fledgling program was unworthy of taxpayer dollars because it was focused on planning and not “implementation,” The Washington Post reports.



Advocates say the cuts mark a setback for creative school-diversity programs that are trying to uphold the constitutional precepts established in Brown v. Board of Education, the precedent that commits the government to correcting institutionalized racial barriers in education by proactively desegregating schools.

DeVos argues the private sector should be trusted to help schools redistribute opportunity, by expanding corporate charter schools and giving families vouchers to finance private schooling, as a supposedly higher-quality alternative to neighborhood schools. But often, these programs end up slowing or reversing desegregation for the families who most need it.



Given the option to transfer to more affluent schools, parents typically make the “rational choice” to perpetuate “white flight” from poorer, blacker urban centers. The flip side of choice is the de facto exclusion of children of color, who get left behind with underfunded, understaffed “inner city” schools.



According to the Century Foundation’s analysis of the long-term impact of school vouchers on segregation."



What Betsy DeVos’s Emphasis on ‘Choice’ Means for School Segregation | The Nation

Inside the Numbers, the Georgia Election Is Still a Boost for Dems - NBC News



"The Ossoff-Handel runoff will be VERY competitive

Looking ahead to the June 20 runoff in GA-6, it's going to be very competitive. Just compare Ossoff's percentage (48.1%) with the combined percentage of the Top 4 GOP candidates (48.2%). Or compare the total percentage for all Democrats (48.9%), versus the percentage for all 11 Republicans in the field (51%). Still, with Ossoff getting 48% last night, you might give him the very slight edge heading into the runoff. And so Democrats need a win here; anything less will be a disappointment for them. Also, the race will be a good early test of what is worse — President Trump or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi? Because Georgians are going to see a lot of TV ads in the next two months tying the nominees to both of these national politicians.



GA-6 results further America's urban-vs.-rural political realignment

Looking at the BIG PICTURE of last night's special congressional election in Georgia, you could make a good case that the results furthered America's urban-vs.-rural political realignment. After all, GA-6 has come a long way from Newt Gingrich's congressional district to the place where Jon Ossoff got 48% of the vote last night. And it's a reminder that battle for control of the U.S. House in 2018 will likely take place in the American Sun Belt, where Democrats have a better chance of winning urban/suburban districts."



Inside the Numbers, the Georgia Election Is Still a Boost for Dems - NBC News

Alex Jones: Conspiracy Pusher or Performance Artist?: The Daily Show

If You're Watching This, Thermonuclear War Hasn't Wiped Out Humanity

How Atlanta's conservative suburbs became a frontier of liberal resistance – video | US news | The Guardian

"A progressive rebellion is brewing in Georgia. The special election to replace Donald Trump’s health secretary, Tom Price, should have been a shoo-in for Republicans. Instead, Paul Lewis discovers Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old film-maker, is dominating the sixth district race as anti-Trump sentiment fuels his unlikely bid for Congress "

(Via.).  How Atlanta's conservative suburbs became a frontier of liberal resistance – video | US news | The Guardian:

Something happening or not? What Ossoff outcome means | MSNBC

Something happening or not? What Ossoff outcome means | MSNBC: ""

(Via.)

Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, Narrowly Misses Outright Win in Georgia House Race - The New York Times

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""ROSWELL, Ga. — Jon Ossoff, a Democrat making his first bid for elective office, narrowly missed winning outright in a heavily conservative House district in Georgia on Wednesday, throwing a scare into Republicans in a special congressional election that was seen as an early referendum on President Trump.
Mr. Ossoff received 48.1 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win the seat, and he will face Karen Handel, the top Republican vote-getter, in a June runoff."

 

Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, Narrowly Misses Outright Win in Georgia House Race - The New York Times: ""

The Muscles Of Middle Class White Women Flexed In Georgia's 6th District Congressional Race. #FlipThe6th

The 6th District of Georgia Congressional race was remarkable. I saw in this district, in which I have lived for over 30 years, people vote in a two party, multiple candidate race, for a bright, thirty year old young man. However, his story is not what makes this race remarkable or stand out. The real story is his supporters. What happened in this race, as it also as quietly happened last November, is that middle class, educated White women turned out in mass and voted against the extremist Republican Party led by Donald Trump. Trump one this district by only 1 percentage point last November. Romney won it by well over 20 percentage points in 2012. HSS Secretary Price won his last congressional race by 27% two years ago. The demographics of this district have not changed.What has changed is that formerly politically uninvolved, middle class White women in this district became politically active.
In this race I saw the politically awakening of White, middle class women up front and close. It was wondrous to see. The volunteers were more than two thirds women in this 37 year Republican controlled district. I met, talked and worked with many of these women. They were awakened by the deeply ingrained misogyny expressed by Donald Trump and tolerated by the Republican Party. These women were everywhere. They canvassed, manned phone banks, put up yard signs and did whatever was needed to be done. They did it with good humor and a since of community that I had never seen from them before. There were of course women and men of every color and nationality present. A young Chinese American women ran the campaign office that I worked out of but most of the women I encountered were middle aged, middle class White women who cared and had enough of the Republican Party.
I am extremely thankful to these women. I salute them. They have sent Donald Trump and the Republican Party a message. They have taught me to have hope for America if just a little. Let's hope America and the Republican Party listens.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Trumpification of the US Military. Aircraft Carrier Wasn’t Sailing to Deter North Korea, as U.S. Suggested - The New York Times



"WASHINGTON — As worries deepened last week about whether North Korea would conduct a missile test, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal and give President Trump more options in responding to the North’s provocative behavior.



The problem was, the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the four other warships in its strike force were at that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula."





Aircraft Carrier Wasn’t Sailing to Deter North Korea, as U.S. Suggested - The New York Times

Chris Hayes Senses Trump Lacks Something Called 'Principles'

Real Trump anti-immigrant plan seen in arrests of innocents | MSNBC. This man is pure evil, as is his boss. #LiarInChief #ManchurianPresident #ResistanceIsNotFutile

Real Trump anti-immigrant plan seen in arrests of innocents | MSNBC: ""

(Via.)

Largely Forgotten Osage Murders Reveal A Conspiracy Against Wealthy Native Americans : NPR

No comments: Links to this post

#FlipThe6th Vote For Jon Ossoff Today. Find out if you live in the 6th district and should vote today | 11alive.com




Find out if you live in the 6th district and should vote today | 11alive.com

Monday, April 17, 2017

Could a Democrat win Newt Gingrich's old seat? #FlipThe6th. Jon Ossoff is running to become the first Democrat to win Georgia's 6th district since Jimmy Carter was president.All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC

 

All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC: ""

(Via.)

French Elections: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Roy Zou interviewed Jon Ossoff Georgia 6th District Democratic Candidate #FlpThe6th

Ossoff on Trump: I don’t have admiration for the man | MSNBC



Ossoff on Trump: I don’t have admiration for the man | MSNBC

#FlipThe6th Jon Ossoff Shows Why Republicans Could Lose The Georgia Special Election

#FlipThe6th Georgia 6th District April 18th 2017 Samuel L. Jackson GA-06 GOTV Radio Ad

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Real Reason Black Kids Benefit From Black Teachers - The New York Times





I missed this experience. I never had a Black male teacher until college nor a female except one science teacher in Junior High School who was a family friend. I know I suffered great pain from hostile white male teachers like Mr. Jacobson in Junior High School and Mr. Keck in High School. I despise these men on the rare occasions they cross my mind. They attacked my personhood at a young and tender age. As a teacher it became crucial to me to reach out to students of all etnic and racial backgrounds to affirm their personhood. I believe I have been successful at doing that.

"For black students, having even one black teacher can make a huge difference. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which found that that black boys who had a black teacher during their elementary school years were less likely to drop out of high school. It also linked the presence of black teachers to kids’ expectations of attending college.

I wasn’t surprised to hear this. I’m one of a small fraction of black teachers in my district. I know that, as much as many would like to think that good intentions and talent are the only important qualities for educators, students respond differently to teachers whom they can relate to.

The week before the study was released, I showed my ninth graders a film about Kalief Browder, a black teenager who was arrested at age 16 for allegedly stealing a backpack, spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime and died by suicide after his release. I was moved by the impassioned mini-essays about police brutality and stop-and-frisk my students produced and the honest experiences they shared. I realized it’s not just that my students live these topics every day. It’s also that they are teenagers who have seen me interact with law enforcement during our trips off campus. They trusted me because they knew I lived them as well.

The fact that my skin color matches that of my students doesn’t give me any superpowers as an educator. But it does give me the ability to see them in a way that’s untarnished by the stereotypes, biases and cultural disconnects that fuel inequality and injustice — like the outlook that made Trayvon Martin, carrying Skittles, appear dangerously suspicious to the man who took his life. Like the assumptions that studies show make people see black boys as less innocent than their white peers.

I’m connected to them because of our shared racial identity. But it’s more than that: I’m familiar with the world they inhabit. I can see their charms and challenges, without the filters of “minority” or “urban” or “at risk.” And I show them, through the pizza I order for their birthdays. Through the full days without schoolwork that I offer them from time to time because life is hard and we all need a break. Through teenage comedy that I laugh at with them, before reminding them not to make said jokes in certain settings. Through the pictures of my wife I show them — my wife, who looks like us."



The Real Reason Black Kids Benefit From Black Teachers - The New York Times

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Creeping Toward Crisis - The New York Times





"I am racked with anxiety that our buffoonish “president” — who sounds so internationally unsophisticated and who is still operating under a cloud of illegitimacy — is beginning to face his first real foreign crises.



What worries me most is that he seems to have no coherent plan, at least not one that he is willing or able to communicate. “I don’t show my hand” isn’t a strategy to conceal a plan as much as one to conceal the absence of a plan.



His statements are all bluster and bungling and bosh. Our commander in chief is not in full command of his emotions or facts or geopolitics.



We may sometimes think that the absurdity of Trump’s endless stream of contradictions and lies ends at the nation’s borders, but it doesn’t. The world is watching, and the world is full of dangerous men who see killing as a means of maintaining and exerting power. They see in Trump a novice and know-nothing, and they will surely test his resolve.



Trump has exposed himself to the world as an imbecile and burned through American credibility with his incessant lying. Even many of our allies seem confused and worried about where we stand and how we plan to proceed.



Trump is full of pride, obsessed with strongman personas, and absent of historical and geopolitical perspective. This is the worst possible situation. The man who could bring us into military engagement is woefully deficient in intellectual engagement.



Just days after the Trump administration shockingly signaled a softer stance on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Assad — possibly emboldened by America’s reversed course — unleashed an atrocious chemical attack on his own people, killing dozens.



Rather than using the bulk of his response to condemn the butcher Assad or the inaction of Assad’s patron, Vladimir Putin — let alone take responsibility for the role his own administration’s shifting position might have played — Trump harped on what he inherited from President Obama.



When asked Wednesday during a news conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan whether the chemical attack this week crossed a “red line,” Trump said: “It crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many many lines, beyond a red line. Many many lines.”



He continued: “It’s very, very possible, and I will tell you it’s already happened, that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”



But changed from what? From the soft pedal of a few days ago that may have provided cover for this attack, or from previous statements in which he warned that America should “stay out of Syria”?



To change a position, one must start from an established position. Trump is all over the place like a spider playing Twister. During the news conference, he said that he was a “flexible person,” but I believe him to be an obtuse one.



During the news conference, a reporter asked:



“If I may, Mr. President: You know very well that the Iranian militias and Hezbollah have been propping the Syrian regime for a while, over a few years now. Will you go after them? What message will you give them today? And will you work with the Russians to stop, to ground, the Syrian Air Force and to establish safe zones?”



Actually, it was clear that the president didn’t “know very well.” In fact, he seemed lost by the question. So instead of answering, he opened an attack on the Iran nuclear deal and ISIS.



The reporter had to point out the ridiculousness of the answer: “But sir, I’m talking about the Iranian militias in Syria supporting the Syrian regime, separate of the nuclear deal. What message do you have for them today?” Caught in his ignorance, Trump clumsily responded: “You will see. They will have a message. You will see what the message will be, O.K.”



It was beyond embarrassing: It was mortifying. And it was terrifying.



Then there is North Korea, which keeps testing missiles, including one this week in advance of Trump’s meeting with President Xi Jinping of China, a clear message that North Korea continues its weapons program unbowed by pressure from America or China.



Trump is depending on China to exert influence on North Korea that it may be reluctant, or not have the capacity, to do. In any case, this week Trump told The Financial Times, “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”



This seemed to signal the possibility of unilateral action of some kind, but the form is not clear. The Syrian and North Korean problems are complex and can’t be solved by a simpleton. Every action produces a reaction. Every lever you pull risks a life — or many.



This is not about Trump’s ego, even though I’m sure he believes that it is. It is about whether this draft dodger’s ignorance and insecurities could haphazardly plunge our country — and indeed the world — into an armed conflict. The King of Chaos isn’t suited for the steady navigation of crisis."



Creeping Toward Crisis - The New York Times

America’s Uncivil War Over Words - The New York Times





America’s Uncivil War Over Words - The New York Times

Trump skimps on Syria, Afghanistan policy while blowing stuff up | MSNBC




Trump skimps on Syria, Afghanistan policy while blowing stuff up | MSNBC

My First Antiwar Protest - The New York Times



"Clinton, N.Y. — Fifty years ago this spring, on April 15, 1967, a cold, damp Saturday morning, I walked from a friend’s apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where I’d spent the previous night, toward the Sheep Meadow in Central Park. I was 16, a junior in high school from a small town in eastern Connecticut, and eager to join my first antiwar protest, which had been organized by something called the Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam (or “Mobe” for short), a recently assembled coalition of radical, pacifist and student groups. This was, in effect, my introduction to “the Sixties,” as well as to antiwar protest, for the decade had as yet barely touched rural Connecticut.



Although this would change in another year or so, in my hometown in the spring of 1967 teenage boys still kept their hair short, girls wore skirts below the knees (both per school requirements), nobody had bell-bottoms, and tie-dye was an unknown concept. And, more important, nobody in my high school or community was vocally opposed to the Vietnam War — except, it seemed, me (my parents had their doubts, but kept them to themselves). Which, up to that Saturday morning, left me feeling a bit lonely in my growing conviction that the war represented a moral disaster and a stain on the national honor. But when I reached the Sheep Meadow, suddenly I found I was lonely no longer.



I knew that public protest against the war had been growing for several years, but such things took place in distant and inaccessible locales like Madison, Wis., and Berkeley, Calif., events that received, at best, grudging and sour attention from the newspapers and magazines available to me in the high school library. One exception that caught my eye had taken place two years before, on April 17, 1965, an antiwar gathering in Washington, D.C., organized by a small campus radical group called Students for a Democratic Society. Apparently much to the surprise of the organizers, some 15,000 or so mostly young antiwar protesters showed up that spring day, which was considered a huge turnout by then prevailing standards."



My First Antiwar Protest - The New York Times

6th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE: Four candidates could force runoff | WSB-TV Get out and vote in Georgia's 6th Tuesday 4/18/17. We will surprise the pundits and #FlipThe6th





"NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A new WSB-Landmark Communications poll shows Democrat John Ossoff with a comfortable lead in the special election for the 6th Congressional District seat vacated by former Rep. Tom Price when he became secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Republican Karen Handel is a distant second, but she also leads the large field of fellow GOP candidates.



The race is an open one, meaning there is no primary and both Democrats and Republicans are running in it together. If no one wins 50 percent of the vote plus one, the top two candidates will face off in a June runoff.



The poll shows Ossoff at 45.3 percent. Handel is second at 17.4 percent. Three other Republicans are bunched together: Bob Gray at 8.6 percent, Dan Moody at 8.4 percent and Judson Hill at 8.0 percent. None of the other candidates are polling above 2.0 percent, and 7.2 percent remain undecided."

"



6th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE: Four candidates could force runoff | WSB-TV

Real Time with Bill Maher: JiHad Me At Hello (HBO) New Rules | April 15,...

Friday, April 14, 2017

What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died? | World news | The Guardian

"How confident can we be that Jesus Christ actually lived? The historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is both long-established and widespread. Within a few decades of his supposed lifetime, he is mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians, as well as by dozens of Christian writings. Compare that with, for example, King Arthur, who supposedly lived around AD500. The major historical source for events of that time does not even mention Arthur, and he is first referred to 300 or 400 years after he is supposed to have lived. The evidence for Jesus is not limited to later folklore, as are accounts of Arthur.

What do Christian writings tell us? The value of this evidence is that it is both early and detailed. The first Christian writings to talk about Jesus are the epistles of St Paul, and scholars agree that the earliest of these letters were written within 25 years of Jesus’s death at the very latest, while the detailed biographical accounts of Jesus in the New Testament gospels date from around 40 years after he died. These all appeared within the lifetimes of numerous eyewitnesses, and provide descriptions that comport with the culture and geography of first-century Palestine. It is also difficult to imagine why Christian writers would invent such a thoroughly Jewish saviour figure in a time and place – under the aegis of the Roman empire – where there was strong suspicion of Judaism.

What did non-Christian authors say about Jesus? As far as we know, the first author outside the church to mention Jesus is the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote a history of Judaism around AD93. He has two references to Jesus. One of these is controversial because it is thought to be corrupted by Christian scribes (probably turning Josephus’s negative account into a more positive one), but the other is not suspicious – a reference to James, the brother of ‘Jesus, the so-called Christ’.

About 20 years after Josephus we have the Roman politicians Pliny and Tacitus, who held some of the highest offices of state at the beginning of the second century AD. From Tacitus we learn that Jesus was executed while Pontius Pilate was the Roman prefect in charge of Judaea (AD26-36) and Tiberius was emperor (AD14-37) – reports that fit with the timeframe of the gospels. Pliny contributes the information that, where he was governor in northern Turkey, Christians worshipped Christ as a god. Neither of them liked Christians – Pliny writes of their ‘pig-headed obstinacy’ and Tacitus calls their religion a destructive superstition.

Did ancient writers discuss the existence of Jesus? Strikingly, there was never any debate in the ancient world about whether Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure. In the earliest literature of the Jewish Rabbis, Jesus was denounced as the illegitimate child of Mary and a sorcerer. Among pagans, the satirist Lucian and philosopher Celsus dismissed Jesus as a scoundrel, but we know of no one in the ancient world who questioned whether Jesus lived."

(Via.).  What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died? | World news | The Guardian:

Former Trump adviser Carter Page held 'strong pro-Kremlin views', says ex-boss | US news | The Guardian

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"A former adviser to Donald Trump who is at the centre of an FBI investigation was exhibiting ‘strongly pro-Kremlin’ ideology almost two decades ago, his former employer has told the Guardian.

Carter Page, who was reportedly being monitored by the FBI last summer because of suspicions about his ties to Russia, was hired in 1998 by the Eurasia Group, a major US consulting firm that advises banks and multinational corporations, but left the firm shortly thereafter.

The account of Page’s abrupt departure from the Eurasia Group suggests that concerns about Page and questions about his links to Russia were known in some professional circles for nearly two decades and long before Page joined Trump’s successful presidential campaign.

FBI reportedly obtained secret order to monitor Trump adviser for Russia ties Read more Now Page – who has denied all wrongdoing – is at the centre of overlapping FBI and congressional investigations into possible cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin."

(Via.).   Former Trump adviser Carter Page held 'strong pro-Kremlin views', says ex-boss | US news | The Guardian:

John Oliver - North Korea Tensions

#FlipThe6th Vote Tuesday, April 18th 2017. Thanks to Trump, will South Asians help flip the Georgia 6th? | The Huffington Post







"There is no doubt that Donald Trump changed the political landscape. One of the most polarizing figures of our time used the rhetoric of hate and fear and coupled it with far-fetched promises to propel him all the way into the White House.



The election emboldened voters who felt that Washington had forgotten about them, but as we saw with the Women’s March, the election also lit a fire in communities concerned about their future in this administration.



The 6th Congressional race in Georgia is seen as a test for the country, or as beltway pundits like to say, a referendum on the President’s agenda. No one knows really how the race will turn out, but we are seeing first hand that hateful rhetoric against immigrants could potentially change the political landscape in the 6th Congressional district as well as the rest of Metro Atlanta. For years we have heard that demographic changes will make Georgia more competitive on the state and national level, yet that just remains optimistic talk from Democrats, rather than results at the ballot box.



On Saturday April 1st, a group of concerned second generation South Asian Americans gathered in a room at East Roswell Park to discuss options on how to get involved, all driven by rhetoric and actions of the President since inauguration.



The 6th Congressional District has seen a huge influx of wealthy Asian Americans moving into the district for safe neighborhoods and top-tier schools. South Asians now represent about 7% of the district, although nationwide they represent approximately 1% of the population. The group that gathered at East Roswell Park were the children of immigrants. Their parents came to the U.S. in the 60’s, 70’s as doctors, engineers, and small business owners. These immigrant kids grew up, over-achieved, and are now well-to-do doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and management consultants - they are anything but activists. But the landscape is changing.



The effort to gather the group was led by two graduates of Georgia Tech and another from the University of Georgia. The two Tech grads, who own their own businesses and work as professionals in corporate America, don’t fit the typical profile of political activists. They were driven to act as they were concerned about what they saw and heard. Their friends that came to the event have rarely voted or even donated to political candidates or causes - it was not a priority for their parents who came here to make a life in a new land. Even with the elections of Governors Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley, politics was an afterthought and their elections did not bring a wave of increased engagement from the community."



Thanks to Trump, will South Asians help flip the Georgia 6th? | The Huffington Post

Why Wasn't Donald Trump's Bigotry a Deal-Breaker?: The Daily Show

''It's Unbelievable that she works in the White House.'' Morning Joe’s M...

Second officer fired after new video of disturbing Gwinnett Police stop emerges | 11alive.com. Gwinnett Georgia Police administration is serving as a model for the nation with a zero tolerance police abuse problem. Next on the agenda must be far better screening of police officer candidate for racial, religious and misogynistic bias. I criticize police departments when they doi not address there problems but it is just as important to praise the ones that handle their bad apples appropriately. Thank you Gwinnett County Police Department. Second officer fired after new video of disturbing Gwinnett Police stop emerges A second angle of a Gwinnett County Police traffic stop has emerged in the wake of the uproar over the first video. 11ALIVE.COM Gwinnett Georgia Police administration is serving as a model for the nation with a zero tolerance police abuse problem. Next on the agenda must be far better screening of police officer candidate for racial, religious and misogynistic bias. I criticize police departments when they doi not address there problems but it is just as important to praise the ones that handle their bad apples appropriately. Thank you Gwinnett County Police Department. Second officer fired after new video of disturbing Gwinnett Police stop emerges A second angle of a Gwinnett County Police traffic stop has emerged in the wake of the uproar over the first video. 11ALIVE.COM

Gwinnett Georgia Police administration is serving as a model for the nation with a zero tolerance police abuse problem. Next on the agenda must be far better screening of police officer candidate for racial, religious and misogynistic bias. I criticize police departments when they doi not address there problems but it is just as important to praise the ones that handle their bad apples appropriately. Thank you Gwinnett County Police Department.

Rep. Joe Wilson Shouted Down by "You Lie" Chants During Angry Town Hall | Mother Jones







"LOL,  What goes around comes around.  "More than eight years after Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) memorably shouted "you lie" at then-President Barack Obama during a televised broadcast of his speech before a joint session of Congress, constituents in his home state are turning Wilson's infamous outburst against him.



During a Monday town hall event in Graniteville, attendees shouted down the South Carolina congressman with loud jeers and "you lie" chants over his support for the Trump administration and efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. According to the Post and Courier, the most raucous exchange occurred when Wilson, who in 2013 voted against extending the Violence Against Women Act, told the crowd he had advocated to protect women against violence."



Rep. Joe Wilson Shouted Down by "You Lie" Chants During Angry Town Hall | Mother Jones

Thursday, April 13, 2017

British intelligence passed Trump associates' talks with Russian on to US counterparts - CNNPolitics.com

"Washington (CNN)British and other European intelligence agencies intercepted communications between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials and other Russian individuals during the campaign and passed on those communications to their US counterparts, US congressional and law enforcement and US and European intelligence sources tell CNN.



The communications were captured during routine surveillance of Russian officials and other Russians known to western intelligence. British and European intelligence agencies, including GCHQ, the British intelligence agency responsible for communications surveillance, were not proactively targeting members of the Trump team but rather picked up these communications during what's known as "incidental collection," these sources tell CNN."



British intelligence passed Trump associates' talks with Russian on to US counterparts - CNNPolitics.com

Jeff Sessions, Unleashed at the Border - The New York Times

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"Attorney General Jeff Sessions went to the border in Arizona on Tuesday and declared it a hellscape, a ‘ground zero’ of death and violence where Americans must ‘take our stand’ against a tide of evil flooding up from Mexico.

It was familiar Sessions-speak, about drug cartels and ‘transnational gangs’ poisoning and raping and chopping off heads, things he said for years on the Senate floor as the gentleman from Alabama. But with a big difference: Now he controls the machinery of federal law enforcement, and his gonzo-apocalypto vision of immigration suddenly has force and weight behind it, from the officers and prosecutors and judges who answer to him.

When Mr. Sessions got to the part about the ‘criminal aliens and the coyotes and the document forgers’ overthrowing our immigration system, the American flag behind him had clearly heard enough — it leaned back and fell over as if in a stupor. An agent rushed to rescue it, and stood there for the rest of the speech: a human flag stand and metaphor. A guy with a uniform and gun, wrapped in Old Glory, helping to give the Trump administration’s nativist policies a patriotic sheen."

(Via.)  .Jeff Sessions, Unleashed at the Border - The New York Times: