Contact Me By Email

Contact Me By Email

Atlanta, GA Weather from Weather Underground

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Trump Bullshitted His Way onto the Forbes List | The Daily Show

Trump Allies Worry Cohen Will Flip as Scandals Mount: A Closer Look

Trump golfed instead of going to Barbara Bush’s funeral. That was a good thing. - The Washington Post



"Sometimes a picture is worth a zillion words. The viral group photograph from former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral speaks volumes about the state of our democracy, poignantly illustrating what we have lost and must at all costs regain.

George H.W. Bush is front and center in his wheelchair. Behind him, left to right, we see Laura and George W. Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump. It is an extraordinary portrait of power, continuity, legacy, civility and mutual respect — a remarkable tableau that is made possible only by President Trump’s absence. Imagine him in the picture, puffed-up and no doubt scowling, trying desperately to make himself the center of attention. It’s a good thing he decided to spend the weekend playing golf and writing angry tweets at Mar-a-Lago instead.

I can’t look at that photo without pondering how destructive Trump has been — and how much work and goodwill it will take to put the pieces together again after he’s gone.



The elder Bush pursued conservative policies. Clinton was center-left. The younger Bush took the country back to the right. Obama pulled it to the left. These shifts seemed big and important at the time, but they pale in comparison with the disruption Trump has wrought.

Trump golfed instead of going to Barbara Bush’s funeral. That was a good thing. - The Washington Post

Behind bloody Gaza clashes, economic misery and piles of debt - The Washington Post



"GAZA CITY — Every Friday for the past month, thousands of Palestinians have surged to Gaza’s border fence with Israel in a show of anger and defiance, some throwing stones and molotov cocktails, others simply wanting to be there.



“Young people have nothing to lose,” said 31-year-old Mohammed Sukkar, a few hundred yards from the boundary fence on the first day of protests last month as the crowd retreated after pops of gunfire. Sukkar is unemployed and said he is hard-pressed to feed his six children.



Across the 140-square-mile territory, Gazans are struggling to finance their daily lives. Young people — unable to pay for weddings or homes of their own — are delaying marriage, figures show, while health officials say suicide, once virtually unheard of in Gaza, is on the rise.



Universities say students are dropping out because they cannot afford the fees. At the Islamic University in Gaza City, a third of the students did not re-enroll this semester. Graduates have little hope of finding work in their specialized fields."



Behind bloody Gaza clashes, economic misery and piles of debt - The Washington Post

Opinion | We Don’t Need No Education - The New York Times



"So what happens when hard-line conservatives take over a state, as they did in much of the country after the 2010 Tea Party wave? They almost invariably push through big tax cuts. Usually these tax cuts are sold with the promise that lower taxes will provide a huge boost to the state economy.



This promise is, however, never — and I mean never — fulfilled; the right’s continuing belief in the magical payoff from tax cuts represents the triumph of ideology over overwhelming negative evidence.



What tax cuts do, instead, is sharply reduce revenue, wreaking havoc with state finances. For a great majority of states are required by law to balance their budgets. This means that when tax receipts plunge, the conservatives running many states can’t do what Trump and his allies in Congress are doing at the federal level — simply let the budget deficit balloon. Instead, they have to cut spending.



And given the centrality of education to state and local budgets, that puts schoolteachers in the cross hairs.



How, after all, can governments save money on education? They can reduce the number of teachers, but that means larger class sizes, which will outrage parents. They can and have cut programs for students with special needs, but cruelty aside, that can only save a bit of money at the margin. The same is true of cost-saving measures like neglecting school maintenance and scrimping on school supplies to the point that many teachers end up supplementing inadequate school budgets out of their own pockets."


Opinion | We Don’t Need No Education - The New York Times

Opinion | Republicans to the Court: Strike Down the Travel Ban - The New York Times





"On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether President Trump’s nationality-based travel ban may continue. The case is important to every American and, indeed, the integrity of the republic, because the ban threatens a cornerstone of our system of government: the constitutionally mandated separation of powers.



All presidents push the limits of the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. President Trump’s travel ban tears the fabric.



The legal question before the court is this: Does a president have the authority to ban immigration and travel, based on nationality, in ways that contradict limits set by Congress?



The framers and ratifiers of the Constitution have answered that question. They revolted against the autocracy of a king whose offenses, as cataloged in the Declaration of Independence, included restricting “migrations” and “obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners.” This mattered because, as James Madison told the Constitutional Convention, “America was indebted to emigration for her settlement and prosperity.” Accordingly, Article I of the Constitution gives the power over immigration and travel to America by foreigners to Congress, not to the president."



Opinion | Republicans to the Court: Strike Down the Travel Ban - The New York Times

Toronto Van Driver Kills at Least 10 People in ‘Pure Carnage’ - The New York Times - Excellent police work, the kind you rarely hear about in the United States.



“Get down or you’ll be shot,” the officers warned him after he exited the van in a scene captured on video.

“Shoot me in the head,” Mr. Minassian said.
He was subdued without any shots being fired.
Nearby, the bodies of the dead and injured, some covered by orange tarps, lay on a broad sidewalk that was scattered with debris, including a child’s stroller."

Toronto Van Driver Kills at Least 10 People in ‘Pure Carnage’ - The New York Times

Unforgivable Blackness (PART TWO): AMAZING Jack Johnson Documentary (2004)

Monday, April 23, 2018

John Oliver wants to educate Trump, so he bought ads on Sean Hannity’s show - The Washington Post

John Oliver wants to educate Trump, so he bought ads on Sean Hannity’s show - The Washington Post: ""

(Via.)

Net neutrality repeal: What you need to know - CNET

033-nyc-net-neutrality-protest-verizon-hq-dec-7-2017

"Though many people agree with the basic principles of net neutrality, those specific rules had been a lightning rod for controversy. That's because to get the rules to hold up in court, an earlier, Democrat-led FCC had reclassified broadband networks so that they fell under the same strict regulations that govern telephone networks.

Sarah Tew/CNETChairman Ajit Pai has called the Obama-era rules "heavy-handed" and "a mistake," and he argues that they deterred innovation and depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks. To set things right, he says, he's taking the FCC back to a "light touch" approach to regulation.
But supporters of net neutrality, such as big tech companies like Google and Facebook, as well as consumer groups and pioneers of the internet like the creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, say the internet as we know it may not exist without these protections.
"We need a referee on the field who can throw a flag," former FCC chairman and Obama appointee Tom Wheeler said last week at MIT during a panel discussion in support of rules like those he championed. Wheeler was chairman when the rules passed three years ago…."

Net neutrality repeal: What you need to know - CNET

Iran Deal: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Public Servants Are Losing Their Foothold in the Middle Class - The New York Times





"OKLAHOMA CITY — The anxiety and seething anger that followed the disappearance of middle-income jobs in factory towns has helped reshape the American political map and topple longstanding policies on tariffs and immigration.



But globalization and automation aren’t the only forces responsible for the loss of those reliable paychecks. So is the steady erosion of the public sector.



For generations of Americans, working for a state or local government — as a teacher, firefighter, bus driver or nurse — provided a comfortable nook in the middle class. No less than automobile assembly lines and steel plants, the public sector ensured that even workers without a college education could afford a home, a minivan, movie nights and a family vacation.



In recent years, though, the ranks of state and local employees have languished even as the populations they serve have grown. They now account for the smallest share of the American civilian work force since 1967.



The 19.5 million workers who remain are finding themselves financially downgraded. Teachers who have been protesting low wages and sparse resources in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kentucky — and those in Arizona who say they plan to walk out on Thursday — are just one thread in that larger skein.



“I was surprised to realize along the way I was no longer middle class,” said Teresa Moore, who has spent 30 years investigating complaints of abused or neglected children, veterans and seniors in Oklahoma.



She raised two daughters in Alex, a rural dot southwest of the capital, on her salary. But when she applied for a mortgage nine years ago, the loan officer casually described her as “low income.”



At 57, Ms. Moore now earns just over $43,000, which she supplements with a part-time job as a computer technician.



The private sector has been more welcoming. During 97 consecutive months of job growth, it created 18.6 million positions, a 17 percent increase.



But that impressive streak comes with an asterisk. Many of the jobs created — most in service industries — lack stability and security. They pay little more than the minimum wage and lack predictable hours, insurance, sick days or parental leave.



The result is that the foundation of the middle class continues to be gnawed away even as help-wanted ads multiply.



Reducing state and local payrolls, of course, is a goal that has champions and detractors. Anti-tax crusaders, concerned about cost and overreach, have longed for a smaller government that delivers only the most limited services. Public-sector defenders worry that shortages of restaurant inspectors, rat exterminators, mental health counselors and the like will hurt neighborhoods. Pothole-studded roads and unreliable garbage pickup don’t entice businesses, either.



Yet whether one views a diminished public sector as vital to economic growth or a threat to health and safety, it is undeniable that it has led to a significant decline in middle-class employment opportunities.



“It’s a tough time to be working in government,” said Neil Reichenberg, executive director of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources. Once there were several attractions to public employment in addition to the mission of making a difference in your community, he added, but incentives like good health insurance and retirement benefits have disappeared. “There’s been a lot of cutbacks that have made government a less competitive employer,” he said.



From the late 1950s through 1980, the United States added 350,000 new state and local workers a year. The rate slowed in the mid-1980s through the early 2000s, but payrolls still grew annually by 300,000 workers....



Public Servants Are Losing Their Foothold in the Middle Class - The New York Times

Sunday, April 22, 2018

How Mueller Can Protect the Investigation—Even if He Is Fired - POLITICO Magazine

Robert Mueller is pictured. | Getty
"Fortunately, while he retains his position, Mueller has a powerful tool at his disposal: The ‘sealed’ or secret indictment. If Mueller indeed determines that he has a strong case against Trump, a secret indictment returned by a grand jury will help protect the integrity of his investigation even if he is fired, while also avoiding the risk of provoking Trump to try to further impede the probe.
Sealed indictments are routinely employed by federal prosecutors in sensitive investigations, particularly when a public indictment might have a negative effect on an ongoing investigation. To carry out this strategy, Mueller would a request that the already empaneled grand jury—the one considering matters related to Russian interference in the election—issue criminal charges against Trump himself. If the grand jury were to find probable cause for the charges to proceed, whatever they may be, a magistrate judge would then decide whether the indictment could remain secret. If the judge were to determine that it can, the charges would then remain hidden from public view until the criminal defendant is taken into custody or released on bail.
If Trump were to fire Mueller, an already filed sealed indictment would outlast Mueller’s tenure. A sealed indictment can only be dismissed by a judge, meaning Trump cannot rid himself of a legal headache simply by terminating the special counsel. A sealed indictment would also ensure that the statute of limitations for crimes Trump might be charged with will not expire. This leaves open the possibility of Trump being tried in the future."

Author: Trump has been lying since childhood

"In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio claims President Trump has been lying since he was a child, saying "he was named the ladies man at a school that had no women at it ... he has been doing this forever."

(Via.). Author: Trump has been lying since childhood: "Author: Trump has been lying since childhood

Militarized Cops At Tiny Georgia Neo-Nazi Rally Arrest Counterprotesters For Wearing Masks | HuffPost

Police officers corner a group of counterprotesters at a neo-Nazi rally in Georgia on Saturday.



"NEWNAN, Ga. — A heavily militarized police force of some 400 officers aggressively patrolled a small neo-Nazi rally in this city 40 miles southwest of Atlanta on Saturday and arrested about 10 counterprotesters, many for the crime of wearing a mask.



Police officers arrived before the rally began and approached a group of about 50 anti-fascist protesters. They demanded the protesters remove their masks or face arrest. The officers — who wore bulletproof vests and helmets, and carried semi-automatic rifles — cornered the anti-fascist protesters, then grabbed those who were still masked, tossing them to the ground and handcuffing them.



At one point, an officer pointed what seemed to be a modified AR-15 at the faces of counterprotesters, none of whom appeared to be armed.



The lead officer in the arrests said the counterprotesters were breaking a state law regarding masks, likely referring to a seldom-enforced 1951 law originally aimed at combating hooded Ku Klux Klan members. Anti-fascist protesters ― many belonging to chapters of antifa groups, known for sometimes violently confronting white supremacists ― often wear masks to avoid being identified by both law enforcement and neo-Nazis...."





Militarized Cops At Tiny Georgia Neo-Nazi Rally Arrest Counterprotesters For Wearing Masks | HuffPost

Friday, April 20, 2018

Democratic Party files lawsuit alleging Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign





"The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump.



The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.



“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement.



“This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for President of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency,” he said....



Democratic Party files lawsuit alleging Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign

Trump is smashingly successful — at sowing utter confusion - The Washington Post


The Trump administration is succeeding wildly at one thing: sowing utter confusion about its foreign policy.
Perhaps “foreign policy” is the wrong term. “International lurchings” might be more apt. Allies and adversaries alike are having to learn which pronouncements to take seriously, which to ignore and which are likely to be countermanded by presidential tweet.
President Trump announces he has accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, whose nuclear arms and ballistic missiles have provoked a dangerous crisis. No groundwork for such a meeting has been laid, so the president dispatches an envoy on a secret mission to Pyongyang — not a diplomat but CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump couldn’t send his secretary of state because, at the moment, he doesn’t have one. Pompeo is his nominee for the job.
On Wednesday, the president says he really, truly intends to go through with the meeting — unless it seems the encounter will not be productive, in which case he won’t meet with Kim after all. If there is a meeting, but it doesn’t seem sufficiently “fruitful,” Trump says, “I will respectfully leave the meeting, and we’ll continue what we’re doing or whatever it is that we’ll continue, but something will happen.
Got that? “Something will happen.” The possible outcomes range from hurt feelings to nuclear war.
On another front, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley went on television Sunday to deliver what sounded like a clear message: There will be new sanctions against Russia.
That made sense. The Russians interfered with our election, according to intelligence officials. Moscow continues to support and defend the Syrian butcher Bashar al-Assad, who is accused of recently using chemical weapons again against civilians. And our British allies accuse the Russians of using a powerful nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate a former Russian intelligence officer living in England.
So Haley’s announcement of new sanctions was appropriate. But there won’t be any. That news came from, of all people, Trump’s new chief economic adviser, former television pundit Larry Kudlow. Pressed into duty on the foreign-affairs front, Kudlow told reporters that Haley “got ahead of the curve” and that “there might have been some momentary confusion.”
Haley was not amused. Her retort was memorable: “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”
The rest of us do, though. Asked Wednesday to clarify the policy, Trump went on a rant about how no one has ever been as tough on Russia as he has — a laughable claim — and then waxed poetic (for Trump) about how nice it would be if the United States and Russia could just be friends.
The question was finally settled when Russian officials said they have been assured by the administration that there will be no new sanctions. If the Russkies are the most reliable source of information, maybe we should ask them who’ll win the 2020 election.
If the aim of foreign policy were to keep everybody guessing, Trump would be a smashing success. But that is no proper goal for the leader of the free world. Rhetorically, at least, the United States used to stand for freedom, democracy and human rights throughout the world. Now, apparently, we have an administration that sees foreign relations as a zero-sum game in which others must lose so that we may win.
But the Trump administration doesn’t even seem capable of deciding what winning looks like. Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. As critics predicted, China took advantage of that decision to launch a major initiative to dominate trade in Asia. Last week, Trump reportedly ordered officials to look into rejoining the TPP. This week, the White House said no, we’re staying out.
Trump sent 2,000 U.S. troops into Syria to help drive out the Islamic State — despite his campaign pledge not to get involved in such wars — and had considerable success. But recently, according to widespread reports, he has been demanding an immediate withdrawal, which military officials say would leave behind a chaotic, blood-soaked breeding ground for terrorism. Who knows what the president will ultimately decide?
The Trump administration sees no reason to criticize authoritarian leaders such as Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines and, of course, Vladimir Putin in Russia. By contrast, the president is chilly toward staunch allies who do not go out of their way to flatter him, such as Angela Merkel of Germany.
To brief Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his meeting this week with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, I’d have told him one thing: Whatever you do, don’t beat him at golf.
Trump is smashingly successful — at sowing utter confusion - The Washington Post

6 Takeaways From the Comey Memos - The New York Times

"The Dossier’s Allegations Were Corroborated Mr. Comey’s decision to brief Mr. Trump on the dossier was based, at least in part, on the fact that American intelligence agencies had corroborated parts of the dossier, according to the memos.

‘I explained that the analysts from all three agencies agreed it was relevant and that portions of the material were corroborated by other intelligence,’ Mr. Comey wrote in a memo in February 2017, describing how he responded to a question from Mr. Priebus about why he told the president-elected about the dossier.

Parts of the memo are redacted but appear to say that information in the dossier ‘was consistent with and corroborated by other intelligence, and that the incoming president needed to know the rest of it was out there.’"

(Via.)  6 Takeaways From the Comey Memos - The New York Times:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Stacey Abrams, the Candidate for Georgia Governor Who Could Make History | The New Yorker

"Stacey Abrams, at forty-four, has become one of the most prominent black female politicians in the United States. As Georgia’s House Minority Leader, Abrams, a Democrat, was the first woman to lead either party in the state’s general assembly. Since graduating from Spelman College and Yale Law School—in between, she got a master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, at the University of Texas—she has worked as a tax attorney in Atlanta, co-founded a financial-services firm, and created the New Georgia Project to register hundreds of thousands of voters, particularly people of color, young people, and unmarried women. Abrams has also written eight ‘romantic suspense’ novels, half of them published by HarperCollins, under the name Selena Montgomery. Abrams has said that she created the pen name to keep her fiction separate from the papers on tax law she was also publishing at the time; she happened to be watching a documentary about Elizabeth Montgomery, who played the lead on ‘Bewitched,’ when she chose the name. Abrams has a book under own name, ‘Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change,’ coming out later this month.

On Saturday, I went to see Abrams speak at the International Longshoremen’s Association, in Savannah. Prior to her arrival, scores of dockworkers were milling about, checking their schedules, playing Ping-Pong, catching up with colleagues and friends. Of the dozen men I spoke to outside the I.L.A., all of them African-American, Wali Johnson, a man in his sixties selling watermelons from the back of his truck, was the only one who had heard of Abrams. ‘All I know is that she’s running for governor,’ he said. Should Abrams win in November, she would be Georgia’s first Democratic governor in fifteen years, its first black governor, and the first black woman to be the governor of any state in the country. ‘I don’t care if they’re Republican, Democrat, black, white, or Chinese,’ Johnson said, of politicians generally. ‘I just want them to do the right thing and don’t forget about us in the African-American neighborhoods.’"

(Via.). Stacey Abrams, the Candidate for Georgia Governor Who Could Make History | The New Yorker:

In Rural Tennessee, a Big ICE Raid Makes Some Conservative Voters Rethink Trump’s Immigration Agenda | The New Yorker

"April 5th began in the usual way at the Southeastern Provision meat-processing plant, in Bean Station, Tennessee—some workers were breaking down carcasses on the production line, while others cleaned the floors—until, around 9 A.M., a helicopter began circling above the plant. Moments later, a fleet of cars pulled up outside. Agents from the I.R.S., Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Tennessee Highway Patrol emerged, and proceeded to arrest ninety-seven people, most of them originally from Mexico or Guatemala, for working without legal papers. It was the largest workplace roundup of immigrants in a decade.

Bean Station is a sleepy lakeside town of three thousand people in eastern Tennessee. The Southeastern Provision plant—located just off the main roadway, past cattle farms and clapboard churches—is made up of a string of dilapidated barn buildings, but it is the third-largest business in Grainger County. Two hundred and fifty head of cattle pass through the plant each day, which translates to roughly thirty million dollars of business every year. After the raid, the I.R.S. said in a court filing that many workers there typically make less than minimum wage, and that the agency believes the owners of the plant, headed by a man named James Brantley, owe the government millions of dollars in back taxes. But neither Brantley nor any of the other owners of the business were arrested on April 5th. (Lawyers for the plant owners could not be reached for comment.) Of the ninety-seven people taken into custody, ten are facing federal criminal charges relating to past immigration violations, and one is facing state criminal charges. The remaining eighty-six people were placed in deportation proceedings. Thirty-two of these people were released on the day of the raid—allowed to return to their families and sleep at home as their cases work through the system—but fifty-four were kept in detention, and many were soon moved to facilities out of state.

Most of the people who were arrested lived not in Bean Station but in a town called Morristown, part of Hamblen County, about ten miles to the south. In Morristown, a larger town of thirty thousand people, the raid was catastrophic news. Families’ worst fear had come true: husbands, fathers, wives, mothers—gone. The following day, more than five hundred students were reported absent from area schools, kept home out of a combination of fear, anxiety, and confusion. The raid also set off a whirl of activity, as relatives of those arrested gathered each day at a church in the center of town to meet with advocacy groups and discuss their legal options….

In Rural Tennessee, a Big ICE Raid Makes Some Conservative Voters Rethink Trump’s Immigration Agenda | The New Yorker

Why the Starbucks racial bias training is more than just good PR.

NewImage 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Starbucks is going to close all of its 8,000 company-owned stores on the afternoon of May 29, with the aim of giving a ‘racial bias education’ to some 175,000 employees. It’s easy to dismiss the action as a PR stunt, a way of throwing a bone to the protesters who were rightly infuriated by the company’s treatment of two black men in Philadelphia. But in fact, this education is critical to the continued future of Starbucks as a company.

Starbucks isn’t really in the coffee business. We’ve known that for over a decade. McDonald’s coffee is better and cheaper than Starbucks, but that hasn’t done any harm to the coffee shop’s bottom line. That’s because what people are paying for when they hang out at a Starbucks, isn’t the coffee. Instead, it’s the ‘third space’—that place, neither home nor office, where you can sit down, meet people, work, rest a minute, recharge. And it turns out to be much easier to give that space away ‘for free’ with expensive coffee than it would be to try to charge for that space and time directly."

In order for Starbucks’ business model to work, then, it needs to rely strongly on shared social norms. The company can absolutely cope with some people just coming in to wait for a friend or go to the bathroom, even if they don’t buy anything; it doesn’t need rules to prevent that. It just needs that behavior to not be too common.

That’s where social cues come in—the same cues that make it difficult to enter an austere high-end art gallery or keep posh hotel lobbies surprisingly empty, even in very crowded districts. We humans want to feel that it’s OK for us walk in somewhere and make ourselves comfortable, to sit down, hang out, wait, do nothing in particular. And Starbucks’ entire business model is predicated on getting those cues exactly right: to make people feel welcome, but also to make the same people feel social pressure to buy something.

Those cues are very subtle and, perforce, vary enormously from location to location. I’ve spent a bunch of time working in various branches of the New York Public Library recently, observing how relatively small differences in architecture, demographics, and staff behavior can have an enormous effect on the perceived acceptability of things like talking to other people, or taking a phone call, or just sitting in a chair and not reading anything.

The job of a Starbucks manager, then, is to constantly be aware of social interactions in the store, and to try to keep it as welcoming as possible to as many people as possible, while at the same time not being too welcoming to people who aren’t going to spend any money.

The manager will inevitably, sometimes, become the de facto enforcer of social norms. If everybody else in the store is angry and resentful at the person who has taken up a huge table for hours, without ordering anything, talking loudly on the phone the whole time, then ultimately it’s up to the manager to talk to that person and resolve the situation to general satisfaction. That’s not an easy job, and the wide range of discretion that the manager has in such situations is exactly the kind of place where racism can fester.

In Philadelphia, the store manager’s actions were so unjustifiable and obviously racist that, far from resolving a bad situation to make customers happier, she created a bad situation which made her customers furious, to the point that they took out their phones and vocally objected to what was going on. If any manager feels empowered to act in such a manner, that’s reason alone for a CEO to call an all-hands and try to right the ship.

But for Starbucks, the crisis is even more urgent than that. Once you become a multibillion-dollar household name, norms change: While people instinctively know the polite way to behave in a locally owned coffee shop, there are fewer social norms for how to deal with multibillion-dollar corporations. The men arrested in Philadelphia were keeping up their side of the social contract, behaving politely and respectfully.

But once we see the police being called on such people, there’s an understandable tendency to move away from a mindset of being polite, and to move instead toward a more aggressive mindset of demanding certain rights. Few people are going to feel guilty when the only harmed party is a faceless corporation with vast power and wealth. Go too far down that path, and it doesn’t take long before you end up in the kind of antagonistic stance that, say, United Airlines has with its passengers...

(Via.) Why the Starbucks racial bias training is more than just good PR.:

Why Apple REFUSED to Fix Linus' iMac Pro. Apple is right.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Election 2018 Is Off to the Racists | The Nation

Minkowitz2



“Jews…commit a disproportionate number of mass shootings,” Wisconsin Republican congressional candidate Paul Nehlen lied on Facebook recently. Earlier, he had tweeted: “Poop, incest, and pedophilia. Why are those common themes repeated so often with Jews?” Another GOP House hopeful, Pennsylvania’s Sean Donahue, recently told me, “The United States was intended to be white…. I don’t see why we had to have the Fair Housing Act.”

Welcome to Trump’s America, where a rash of white nationalists are running for office. Depending on your definition, anywhere from nine and 17 white supremacists and far-right militia leaders are currently running for House and Senate seats, governorships, and state legislatures.



Most have little chance of winning, but as with the neo-Nazi Arthur Jones, who recently ran unopposed in the Republican primary for the Third Congressional District in the Chicago area and garnered 20,458 votes, their mere candidacies, along with their growing acceptance by other Republicans as legitimate stakeholders in the party, are a dangerous development. “They are, by their very presence, shifting the pole of what most Americans find to be acceptable political discourse,” said Eric K. Ward of the Western States Center, a progressive organization that works in seven states where white-nationalist groups have been active."



Election 2018 Is Off to the Racists | The Nation

Trump overruled Mattis on Congress vote on Syria strikes: NYT


Trump overruled Mattis on Congress vote on Syria strikes: NYT

Syria strikes may have been 'choreographed' with Russia: Sen. Menendez



Syria strikes may have been 'choreographed' with Russia: Sen. Menendez

Raúl Castro Prepares to Resign as Cuba’s President, Closing a Dynasty - The New York Times

Pittsburgh police to bring riot gear in case Trump fires Mueller - NY Daily News

"Pittsburgh police detectives will report for duty with riot gear Thursday, in anticipation of a potential large scale protest should President Trump decide to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Major Crimes Commander Victor Joseph instructed his unit to bring “a full uniform and any issued protective equipment (riot gear) with them to work until further notice,” WPXI.com reported.
 
“There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller. This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of the firing. The protest would be semi-spontaneous and more than likely happen on short notice,” the missive read.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked bipartisan legislation that would make it harder for Trump to fire Mueller, calling it unnecessary because he doesn’t believe Trump will axe Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign."
 

Pittsburgh police to bring riot gear in case Trump fires Mueller - NY Daily News

 

Pittsburgh police to bring riot gear in case Trump fires Mueller - NY Daily News:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Justice Neil Gorsuch Gives Immigrants Big Win Against Trump’s Deportation Machine



"Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), any non-citizen who commits a “crime of violence” forfeits their right to remain in the country, regardless of their immigration status, how long they’ve lived here, and whether they have family here as well. Indeed, the INA makes their deportation mandatory. Such immigrants were often considered low-priority by the Bush and Obama administrations. Yes, they were technically supposed to be deported, but if they were here legally and didn’t have a serious criminal record, they’d be de-prioritized by the INS (now ICE).



Since January, 2017, however, thousands have been caught up in ICE’s dragnet, with millions more at risk. The examples have been heart-rending. Thousands of Vietnamese refugees who came here in 1975 after helping America in the Vietnam War, are now set to be deported for relatively minor criminal infractions. An HIV-positive asylee is being deported to Venezuela, where HIV medication is unavailable, because of a minor drug infraction—effectively a death sentence. A father and grandfather who has lived in the United States for 40 years is arrested because of a 1996 marijuana offense, and is now rotting in detention. These are all people who came here legally, but whose criminal acts have triggered mandatory deportation.



Today, that ends.



In a 5-4 decision, with Justice Gorsuch joining the Court’s liberals, the Supreme Court held that this part of the INA is unconstitutionally vague. Because it never defined what a “crime of violence” is, courts had to figure out how to do so themselves. And, the Court said today, the way they did so – grouping crimes into categories and determining which categories were typically violent – is so vague that it violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.



Nor can courts decide on a case-by-case basis, the Court noted, because that, too, deprives defendants of due process. Part of due process means having an orderly system of justice, with penalties clear in advance."



Justice Neil Gorsuch Gives Immigrants Big Win Against Trump’s Deportation Machine

Diante Yarber: Police kill black father with barrage of bullets in Walmart parking lot | US news | The Guardian

NewImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"California police fired what sounded like more than 30 bullets at a packed car in a shopping store parking lot, killing a black father of three and injuring a young woman in the latest US law enforcement shooting to spark backlash.

Police in Barstow, two hours outside of Los Angeles, killed 26-year-old Diante Yarber, who was believed to be unarmed and was driving his cousin and friends to a local Walmart on the morning of 5 April. Police have alleged that Yarber was “wanted for questioning” in a stolen vehicle case and that he “accelerated” the car towards officers when they tried to stop him, but his family and their attorney argued that the young father posed no threat and should not have been treated as a suspect in the first place…"

Diante Yarber: Police kill black father with barrage of bullets in Walmart parking lot | US news | The Guardian: ""

It is hard to be aware and an African American. I feel like I felt when Reagan passed. Barbara Bush Calls Evacuees Better Off - The New York Times

NewImage 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is hard to be aware and an African American.  I feel like I felt when Reagan passed  

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas," Barbara Bush said in an interview on Monday with the radio program "Marketplace." "Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.”  "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway," she said, "so this is working very well for them."

Mrs. Bush toured the Astrodome complex with her husband, former President George Bush, as part of an administration campaign throughout the Gulf Coast region to counter criticism of the response to the storm. Former President Bush and former President Bill Clinton are helping raise money for the rebuilding effort.
White House officials did not respond on Tuesday to calls for comment on Mrs. Bush's remarks."

Barbara Bush Calls Evacuees Better Off - The New York Times

Opinion | Lordy, Is There a Tape? - The New York Times

NewImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Though Comey doesn’t mention it, this contradicts the story that Trump’s former bodyguard, Keith Schiller, reportedly told the House Intelligence Committee about that night. Schiller said that a Russian associate offered to send five women to Trump’s room, but was turned down. ‘Schiller said the two men laughed about it as Trump went to bed alone,’ NBC reported. ‘Schiller testified that he stood outside Trump’s hotel room for a time and then went to bed.’

Trump’s lies here are of more than voyeuristic interest. The possible existence of the tape isn’t relevant because it would prove that Trump is sexually debauched and longs to desecrate everything Obama touched; we already know that. It matters because, like the former director of the F.B.I., we don’t know if Trump has been compromised by Russia.

Evidence that the tape might be real isn’t limited to Trump’s phony alibi. In their book ‘Russian Roulette,’ the investigative journalists David Corn and Michael Isikoff report that five months before the pageant, Trump and his entourage, including his Russian associate Emin Agalarov, visited a louche Las Vegas nightclub called the Act. It was later shut down after a judge issued an injunction against the ‘lewd’ and ‘offensive’ performances it was known for."

(Via.). Opinion | Lordy, Is There a Tape? - The New York Times:

Trump Requests Extension to File 2017 Taxes - The New York Times

NewImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Requests Extension to File 2017 Taxes - The New York Times

The Art of politics, a refresher class. Malcolm X Police Precinct Scene SD

What James Comey Gets Wrong About Donald Trump | The Nation

NewImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What James Comey Gets Wrong About Donald Trump | The Nation

Comey Compared Donald Trump To A Mafia Boss

Sean Hannity Forgot To Mention Something...

Sean Hannity is Outed as Michael Cohen's Client & James Comey Drags Trum...

Opinion | Dislike Comey, Despise Trump - The New York Times

NewImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Furthermore, the U.N. human rights office counts a number of chemical weapons attacks in Syria in 2017 alone, all during Trump’s time in the White House.

Human Rights Watch points out that:

‘Government forces used at least 13 types of internationally banned cluster munitions in over 400 attacks on opposition-held areas between July 2012 to August 2016, killing and injuring civilians, including children. The Syrian-Russian joint military operations, which began on September 30, 2015, have also extensively used internationally banned cluster munitions.’

So why was an attack over the use of banned weapons so necessary right now, particularly since it was just earlier this month when Trump was saying he wanted to pull our troops out of Syria and since he campaigned on anti-interventionism?

Again, forgive me if I’m not buying this as a purely humanitarian mission focused on protecting the Syrian people from suffering.

This action and its timing stink. It feels like a legitimate crisis is being used as a tool of distraction, and that to me is unspeakably callous.

So, I see no need to pick sides between Comey and Trump. I dislike the former, but I despise the latter.

I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter (@CharlesMBlow), or email me at chblow@nytimes.com."

(Via.). Opinion | Dislike Comey, Despise Trump - The New York Times:

Opinion | Dislike Comey, Despise Trump - The New York Times

"We are now in the midst of an epic clash between Donald Trump and fired F.B.I. Director James Comey, neither of whom I hold in high esteem, both men with raging egos and questionable motives.



The depth of my contempt differs between the two, but there is contempt for both.



Comey is now making the rounds promoting his new book, which will no doubt be a monster best seller. Good for him. But Comey for me is a complicated character, a man of honorable service and flashes of horrendous judgment.



His inexplicable handling of the investigations into Clinton’s emails is unforgivable.



He made reckless and harmful disclosures and proclamations about the Clinton investigation while not whispering a word about the concurrent investigation into the Trump campaign.



He says that the letter he released about a new phase of the Clinton email investigation just days before the election may have been colored by polling suggesting that Clinton was going to win, but that too is problematic.



s Nate Silver tweeted Friday: “If Comey’s decision to release the letter on Oct. 28 was influenced by his interpretation of the polls, that really ought to cut against his image as an honorable, principled decision-maker. Instead, he was just being expedient and trying to save his own hide.”



There were many factors that played into the 2016 election result.



Russian interference. The work of Cambridge Analytica on behalf of the Trump campaign. The exploitation of social media.



The Clinton campaign’s miscalculations. The actual content of John Podesta’s emails. Voter suppression. False impressions given by the polls that Clinton was sure to win.



Racism, xenophobia, misogyny and ethno- and religious hostility disguised as economic anxiety.



But Comey was also in that mix.



While we may never be able to weigh the factors that contributed to Clinton’s defeat and Trump’s victory, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Comey’s actions were part of them.



So please forgive me if I don’t rise in applause simply because Comey’s revelations are giving Trump agita. Nor expect the dampening of my condemnation of Comey because Trump World seeks to defame him.



Then there is Trump, who, in the same week that Comey was on television saying that he could not be sure if the president was in a Russian hotel room with prostitutes peeing on each other, announced that we and a couple of allies had initiated a military campaign in Syria over its use of chemical weapons.



To be sure, the situation in Syria is a humanitarian crisis and has been for years.



The last report on the Syrian death toll by the United Nations came from 2016, when an official said 400,000 people had been killed. The U.N. said at that time it was virtually impossible to accurately verify how many people had died.



In addition, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are 5.6 million Syrian refugees and as of July 2016 “6.5 million people, including 2.8 million children, displaced within Syria, the biggest internally displaced population in the world.”



Neither the United States nor the international community has developed a sufficient policy and response to this catastrophe. People simply seem to be hoping and praying that it soon comes to an end and trying to ensure that the fighting doesn’t spill out of Syria’s borders.



The Trump administration, for its part, says that it has drawn a line in the sand on the use of chemical weapons, but that seems to be, at best, randomly enforced.



On Friday, Nikki Haley herself said at the U.N. that “the United States estimates that Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times. Public estimates are as high as 200.”



Furthermore, the U.N. human rights office counts a number of chemical weapons attacks in Syria in 2017 alone, all during Trump’s time in the White House.



Human Rights Watch points out that:



“Government forces used at least 13 types of internationally banned cluster munitions in over 400 attacks on opposition-held areas between July 2012 to August 2016, killing and injuring civilians, including children. The Syrian-Russian joint military operations, which began on September 30, 2015, have also extensively used internationally banned cluster munitions.”



So why was an attack over the use of banned weapons so necessary right now, particularly since it was just earlier this month when Trump was saying he wanted to pull our troops out of Syria and since he campaigned on anti-interventionism?



Again, forgive me if I’m not buying this as a purely humanitarian mission focused on protecting the Syrian people from suffering.



This action and its timing stink. It feels like a legitimate crisis is being used as a tool of distraction, and that to me is unspeakably callous.



So, I see no need to pick sides between Comey and Trump. I dislike the former, but I despise the latter.



I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter (@CharlesMBlow), or email me at chblow@nytimes.com."



Opinion | Dislike Comey, Despise Trump - The New York Times

Monday, April 16, 2018

Mariska Hargitay - "I Am Evidence" and America's Sexual Assault Epidemic...

Corporate Taxes: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Opinion | The President Is Not Above The Law - The New York Times

spot2.jpg



"The Editorial Board, www.nytimes.com Original April 15th, 2018



“This great nation can tolerate a president who makes mistakes,” declared Senator Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican. “But it cannot tolerate one who makes a mistake and then breaks the law to cover it up.”



No, Mr. Hatch wasn’t talking about Donald Trump. It was 1999, and he was talking about Bill Clinton.



At that time, the American system — and the flawed yet sometimes heroic people their fellow Americans choose to lead them — underwent, and passed, a hard test: The president, his financial dealings and his personal relationships were painstakingly investigated for years. Prosecutors ultimately accused Mr. Clinton of lying under oath, to cover up a sexual affair. The House of Representatives impeached him, but the Senate declined to convict, and Mr. Clinton stayed in office.



The public, which learned in detail about everything investigators believed Mr. Clinton had done wrong, overwhelmingly agreed with the judgment of the Senate. It was a sad and sordid and at times distracting business, but the system worked.



Now Mr. Hatch and his fellow lawmakers may be approaching a harsher and more consequential test. We quote his words not to level some sort of accusation of hypocrisy, but to remind us all of what is at stake.



News reports point to a growing possibility that President Trump may act to cripple or shut down an investigation by the nation’s top law-enforcement agencies into his campaign and administration. Lawmakers need to be preparing now for that possibility because if and when it comes to pass, they will suddenly find themselves on the edge of an abyss, with the Constitution in their hands.



Make no mistake: If Mr. Trump takes such drastic action, he will be striking at the foundation of the American government, attempting to set a precedent that a president, alone among American citizens, is above the law. What can seem now like a political sideshow will instantly become a constitutional crisis, and history will come calling for Mr. Hatch and his colleagues.



For months, investigators have been examining whether Mr. Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government to undermine American democracy, and whether the president misused his power by obstructing justice in an effort to end that investigation.



Until the last few weeks, Mr. Trump had shown restraint, by his standards, anyway. He and his lawyers cooperated with investigators. Mr. Trump never tweeted directly about Robert Mueller, the special counsel, and spoke about him publicly only when asked.



Alas, that whiff of higher executive function is gone. Mr. Trump is openly attacking both Mr. Mueller and Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, appointed by Mr. Trump himself. Mr. Rosenstein is overseeing the Russia investigation and signing off on Mr. Mueller’s actions.



Of course, this president has been known to huff and puff, to bluff and bluster, and he may be doing no more than that now. He may choose not to fire either man. We know he has already twice told his aides he wanted Mr. Mueller fired, only to be talked out of such rash action.



But if the president does move against the investigators, it will be up to Congress to affirm the rule of law, the separation of powers and the American constitutional order. The miserable polarization and partisan anger that have been rising in American life for decades will hit a new crescendo, and that will present congressional Republicans with a heavy burden indeed.



Many of them are not fans of this president. Republicans used to warn the nation about Mr. Trump openly, back when they thought they could still protect their party from him. Here’s a short sampling: “malignant clown,” “national disgrace,” “complete idiot,” “a sociopath, without a conscience or feelings of guilt, shame or remorse,” “graceless and divisive,” “predatory and reprehensible,” flawed “beyond mere moral shortcomings,” “unsound, uninformed, unhinged and unfit,” “a character and temperament unfit for the leader of the free world,” “A bigot. A misogynist. A fraud. A bully.” Some still say these sorts of things, albeit anonymously. Just last week, one of the president’s defenders in Congress told a conservative columnist, “It’s like Forrest Gump won the presidency, but an evil, really [expletive] stupid Forrest Gump.”



Yet if Mr. Trump goes after Mr. Mueller or Mr. Rosenstein, even Republicans who have misgivings about the president might be inclined to fall into line. They may resent what feels like an endless investigation, one that is endangering their agenda; or they may resent partisan attacks on Mr. Trump. Such frustrations — like one Democrats vented when Mr. Clinton was in investigators’ sights — are certainly understandable. Republicans may also find themselves tempted by the political running room they would have with the investigation ended and the three branches of government under their control.



Maybe — and this is the scariest contingency to contemplate — Republican leaders would calculate that with their support, or mere acquiescence, Mr. Trump could get away with it. The overwhelming majority of Americans, including most Republicans, want Mr. Mueller to keep his job, and perhaps a groundswell of revulsion at unchecked presidential power would follow any action against the special counsel. But many Americans, weary of the shouting in Washington, might dismiss the whole thing as another food fight. We can be fairly certain that the pressure on Republican lawmakers from the minority of Americans who support Mr. Trump, as well as from the likes of Fox News and Sinclair, would be intense.



Of course, it’s when overriding your principles is the easy thing to do that you have an urgent responsibility, and opportunity, to demonstrate that you have some.



Look at what’s happening in Missouri right now. The state’s Republican governor, Eric Greitens, has been accused of sexual assault and coercion, and is scheduled to face trial next month on a felony charge of invasion of privacy. It’s a scandal of Trumpian proportions, and Mr. Greitens is responding with Trumpian bravado, calling the investigation and prosecution a “political witch hunt.”



Yet the legislative report detailing his misbehavior was bipartisan, and top state Republicans have spoken out forcefully. They recognize that Mr. Greitens is unfit. (They also see a threat to their political interests, but the two can go hand in hand.)



Or look at Watergate. We may think of it now as a two-year drama with an inevitable end, the takedown of a president who tried to cover up a criminal conspiracy. But many people forget how close President Richard Nixon came to surviving the affair. He was forced from office only because enough Republican leaders recognized the legitimacy of the investigation and stood up to him. And even then, it took the revelation of incriminating recordings. No recordings have come out this time — yet.



A few senior Republicans have been saying the right things — including Mr. Hatch. He tweeted that anyone telling the president to fire Mr. Mueller “does not have the President or the nation’s best interest at heart.” Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, warned Mr. Trump that firing Mr. Mueller would be “the beginning of the end of his presidency.”



That’s all necessary and good. But it’s not enough. More Republicans need to make it clear that they won’t tolerate any action against either man, and that firing Mr. Mueller would be, as Senator Charles Grassley said, “suicide.”



Mr. Mueller’s investigation has already yielded great benefit to the country, including the indictments of 13 Russians and three companies for trying to undermine the presidential election. None of us can know if prosecutors will eventually point the finger at the president himself. But should Mr. Trump move to hobble or kill the investigation, he would darken rather than dispel the cloud of suspicion around him. Far worse, he would free future presidents to politicize American justice. That would be a danger to every American, of whatever political leaning.



The president is not a king but a citizen, deserving of the presumption of innocence and other protections, yet also vulnerable to lawful scrutiny. We hope Mr. Trump recognizes this. If he doesn’t, how Republican lawmakers respond will shape the future not only of this presidency and of one of the country’s great political parties, but of the American experiment itself."



Opinion | The President Is Not Above The Law - The New York Times

Comey says Trump is not dumb but he is morally unfit to be President. You much watch this short clip.- ABC News



ABC News – Breaking News, Latest News, Headlines & Videos

In Interview, Comey Calls Trump ‘Morally Unfit’ and a ‘Stain’ on All Around Him - The New York Times





"While ABC aired one hour of its conversation with Mr. Comey, it had conducted a five-hour interview with him, a transcript of which was obtained by The New York Times. In it, Mr. Comey called Mr. Trump a serial liar who treated women like “meat,” and described him as a “stain” on everyone who worked for him.



He said a salacious allegation that Mr. Trump had cavorted with prostitutes in Moscow had left him vulnerable to blackmail by the Russian government. And he asserted that the president was incinerating the country’s crucial norms and traditions like a wildfire. He compared the president to a mafia boss.



“Our president must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country,” Mr. Comey told ABC’s chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos, on the program “20/20.” “The most important being truth. This president is not able to do that. He is morally unfit to be president.”



In Interview, Comey Calls Trump ‘Morally Unfit’ and a ‘Stain’ on All Around Him - The New York Times

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Two decades after WWII, Japanese runners ruled the Boston Marathon. A war bride's son recalls the slurs. - The Washington Post

NewImage

"April 19, 1966: An 11-year-old boy was excitedly awaiting the outcome of the Boston Marathon, with a special interest in the Japanese runners. His father, who, as a young GI, had married a Japanese woman and brought her home to East Boston, had found them a spot near the finish line.
Angelo Amato wanted his son, Joseph, to feel proud of his Japanese heritage. And what better place and time to instill such pride, with the strong possibility of a repeat of the 1965 marathon? That year, Japanese runners took first, second and third place.
And coming toward the finish line were runners about to best that showing. The four in top places were all Japanese, led by Kenji Kimihara, who finished first with a time of 2:17:11.
What Joseph remembers most sharply about that day, however, is what he heard nearby.
“So we’re standing there near the finish line,’’ he recalled more than 50 years later. “Right near us, within earshot, was another father and son about my age. And the father would look and talk to his son, looking at us. And I can hear them saying derogatory things, ‘Japs.’ … I looked at my father. He didn’t say anything, and I didn’t say anything.”
Two decades after WWII, Japanese runners ruled the Boston Marathon. A war bride's son recalls the slurs. - The Washington Post: ""
(Via.)

Pentagon wants to spot illnesses by monitoring soldiers’ smartphones - The Washington Post

NewImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pentagon wants to spot illnesses by monitoring soldiers’ smartphones - The Washington Post: ""

Bathroom hand dryers may leave your hands dirtier than before, gross new study says - The Washington Post

NewImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Hand dryers may leave your hands significantly more dirty than before, according to a new study.

The study, the results of which were published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, found that plates exposed to 30 seconds of a bathroom hand dryer gained at least 18 to 60 colonies of bacteria, while plates exposed to bathroom air for two minutes had fewer than one.

The authors concluded that the ‘results indicate that many kinds of bacteria, including potential pathogens and spores, can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers, and that spores could be dispersed throughout buildings and deposited on hands by hand dryers.’"

(Via.).Bathroom hand dryers may leave your hands dirtier than before, gross new study says - The Washington Post:

Starbucks Apologizes Following Outrage Over Controversial Arrest Inside ...

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Trump’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ tweet, and the premature declaration that haunted Bush - The Washington Post





Trump’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ tweet, and the premature declaration that haunted Bush - The Washington Post

Trump Sees Inquiry Into Cohen as Greater Threat Than Mueller - The New York Times





"The documents seized by prosecutors could shed light on the president’s relationship with a lawyer who has helped navigate some of Mr. Trump’s thorniest personal and business dilemmas. Mr. Cohen served for more than a decade as a trusted fixer and, during the campaign, helped tamp down brewing scandals about women who claimed to have carried on affairs with Mr. Trump.



Mr. Trump, Mr. Cohen and their teams were still scrambling on Friday to assess the damage from the raid early Monday morning. They remained unsure what had been taken, an uncertainty that has heightened the unease around Mr. Trump.



Although his lawyers had projected confidence in their dealings with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, they were caught flat-footed by the New York raids. The lawyers fear that Mr. Cohen will not be forthcoming with them about what was in his files, leaving them girding for the unknown.



Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump, through their lawyers, argued in federal court on Friday that many of the seized records were protected by attorney-client privilege. They asked for an order temporarily prohibiting prosecutors from reading the documents until the matter could be litigated. Mr. Cohen argued that he or an independent lawyer should be allowed to review the documents first.



“Those searches have been executed, and the evidence is locked down,” Joanna C. Hendon, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said in court. “I’m not trying to delay. I’m just trying to ensure that it’s done scrupulously.”



Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, wrote in a court filing that the search “creates constitutional concerns regarding officers of the executive branch rummaging through the private and privileged papers of the president.”



Prosecutors argued that the previously seized emails revealed that Mr. Cohen was “performing little to no legal work, and that zero emails were exchanged with President Trump.” They said their investigation was focused on Mr. Cohen’s business dealings, not his work as a lawyer.



But it is difficult to extract Mr. Cohen from his work for Mr. Trump. For more than a decade, Mr. Trump has unleashed Mr. Cohen on his foes — investigative journalists, business rivals and potential litigants. And the New York search warrant makes clear that the authorities are interested in his unofficial role in the campaign.



Prosecutors demanded all communication with the campaign — and in particular two advisers, Corey Lewandowski and Hope Hicks, according to two people briefed on the warrants.



Prosecutors also seized recordings of conversations that Mr. Cohen had secretly made, but he told people in recent days that he did not tape his conversations with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen frequently taped conversations with adversaries and opposing lawyers, according to the two people briefed.



The raids on Mr. Cohen surprised and angered the president, who has been frustrated with the special counsel investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference, the Kremlin’s possible coordination with Trump associates and whether the president has tried to obstruct those inquiries.



In response to the raids, Mr. Trump has considered firing Mr. Mueller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein. On Friday, Mr. Trump’s spirits were frayed in the morning as his lawyer battled in the Manhattan courtroom. But he grew cheerier as the day went on, an adviser said, buoyed by a report by the Justice Department’s inspector general that was damning about a former F.B.I. official, Andrew G. McCabe, who he believed had tried to undermine him.



Mr. Cohen’s lawyers have called the raids of his offices and hotel room an overreach of the law. Prosecutors said on Friday that they had used a search warrant, rather than a subpoena, because they had evidence that Mr. Cohen’s files might be permanently deleted — by whom, the documents did not say. Many details in the documents were redacted, but prosecutors said they had found evidence of fraud and a “lack of truthfulness” on his part.



Mr. Cohen wants his lawyers to be able to review the files and withhold privileged material before prosecutors can see them. As an alternative, he asked that an independent lawyer be allowed to review the files first. A judge scheduled a follow-up hearing for Monday and ordered Mr. Cohen to attend. The judge, Kimba M. Wood, was upset that he was not in court Friday.



Federal agents seized documents that dated back years, some of which are related to payments to two women who have said they had affairs with Mr. Trump. Other documents seized included information about the role of The National Enquirer in silencing one of the women, people briefed on the investigation have said.



Communications between lawyers and their clients are normally off limits to prosecutors, but there are exceptions, including when the materials are considered part of a continuing crime.



Mr. Trump has viewed any investigation of his business and private life to be off limits to prosecutors, but the search warrants make clear that investigators consider those topics part of their case.



Agents sought information about Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who claims she had a nearly yearlong affair with Mr. Trump shortly after the birth of his youngest son in 2006. American Media Inc., which owns The Enquirer, paid Ms. McDougal $150,000. The company’s chief executive is a friend of Mr. Trump’s.



Agents also demanded information related to Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress. Ms. Clifford has said she had sex with Mr. Trump while he was married. Mr. Cohen has acknowledged paying Ms. Clifford $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement to secure her silence days before Election Day."



Trump Sees Inquiry Into Cohen as Greater Threat Than Mueller - The New York Times

Opinion | Trump’s Syria Strikes Show What’s Wrong With U.S. Foreign Policy - The New York Times

NewImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"President Trump’s announcement Friday night that the United States, France and Britain had launched airstrikes against Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack might have surprised the people who listened to him campaigning in 2016, when he repeatedly critiqued “stupid” Middle Eastern interventions.
Yet since entering office, Mr. Trump has reversed course. He evidently shares the assumption that America must do something in response to atrocities in Syria — a wholehearted embrace of the Washington bias toward action.

In this, Mr. Trump and his predecessor have something in common: Both he and Barack Obama came into office promising to change America’s foreign policy, but when faced with crises, both yielded to pressure to intervene. This bias toward action is one of the biggest problems in American foreign policy. It produces poorly thought-out interventions and, sometimes, disastrous long-term consequences, effects likely to be magnified in the era of Mr. Trump.

The concept of a bias for action originated in the business world, but psychological studies have shown a broad human tendency toward action over inaction. Researchers have found that World Cup goalkeepers, for example, are more likely to dive during a penalty kick, though they’d have a better chance of catching the ball by remaining in the center of the goal.
Of course, foreign policy has higher stakes than business or soccer. But historians and political scientists have also applied this concept to explain the decisions of leaders like George W. Bush, whose impetuous choices have been attributed by scholars to his “impatience for unnecessary delay.”

The American policymaking system reinforces this tendency. Political pressure and criticism from opponents, combined with the news media’s habit of disparaging inaction, can render even the most cautious leaders vulnerable to pressure. America’s overwhelming military strength and the low cost of airstrikes only add to the notion that action is less costly than inaction.
Consider the reaction to two other recent intervention decisions.

In 2013, Mr. Obama chose not to approve military strikes against Syria. Instead, he negotiated the removal of most of Syria’s chemical weapons, an imperfect compromise, but one that reduced the risk of chemical weapons attacks on civilians for several years.

In 2017, in contrast, Mr. Trump chose to authorize missile strikes on Syria in response to another chemical attack. The American strikes cratered a few runways but did little to stop continuing attacks on civilians and the Syrian government’s continued use of chemical weapons.

While the first decision arguably had more positive impact on the conflict, Mr. Obama was widely criticized for his inaction. Mr. Trump was lauded for his inconsequential strike, with even critics like Fareed Zakaria proclaiming after the strike, “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States.” Action receives praise; inaction receives ridicule.
Acting too quickly means that policymakers don’t have full information when making key decisions, and it prevents them from carefully considering the long-term consequences. In best-case scenarios, like Mr. Trump’s 2017 Syrian airstrikes, the harm done of rushing to action is minor. In other cases, it can be disastrous. Just look at the Obama administration’s 2011 decision to intervene in Libya.
The speed of that decision — relying on limited intelligence and questionable assumptions about impending genocide — effectively committed the United States to overthrowing Muammar Qaddafi. The result was the European refugee crisis and a civil war that scholars believe has killed more civilians than the initial intervention saved. Indeed, Mr. Obama’s own reflections on Libya (as well as Iraq) and his criticisms of the bias for action in American foreign policymaking were ultimately behind his decision to resist pressure to strike Syria in 2013. Mr. Obama came to understand that poorly thought-out military interventions can be even costlier.

Donald Trump is not Barack Obama. If Mr. Obama found it challenging to resist the bias for action in foreign policy, imagine how difficult it is for a president with questionable impulse control, a military-centric foreign policy and a fixation on media praise.

Within a day of the recent chemical attack in Syria, the president’s tweets betrayed a willingness to strike, with no clear goal other than retribution. His advisers reportedly had to persuade him to wait the few days necessary to put together an international coalition and pick appropriate targets.
It takes a determined leader to resist the overwhelming pressure to “do something” in a crisis. Mr. Trump is not that leader.

Opinion | Trump’s Syria Strikes Show What’s Wrong With U.S. Foreign Policy - The New York Times:

Opinion | Trump Pardoned Libby to Protect Himself From Mueller - The New York Times

NewImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"There is a cloud over the White House as to what happened. Don’t you think the F.B.I., the grand jury, the American people are entitled to a straight answer?”

With those words, uttered over a decade ago, Patrick Fitzgerald, a prosecutor appointed as special counsel to investigate whether the president and his closest aides had broken the rules of espionage for their own political gain, sealed the conviction of I. Lewis Libby Jr., known as Scooter, for obstructing his investigation into the White House.

Even with that conviction, we never learned the real story about whether Vice President Dick Cheney had ordered Mr. Libby, his chief of staff, to leak the identity of Valerie Plame to the press in retaliation for a Times Op-Ed by her husband, Joseph Wilson, calling out the president’s lies. We never learned whether Mr. Cheney gave those orders with the approval of the president or on his own. That’s because President George W. Bush added to the obstruction by commuting Mr. Libby’s sentence, ensuring that nothing would happen to the firewall that protected his own White House. Mr. Libby wouldn’t go to prison, but neither would he lose his Fifth Amendment privilege, which could make it easy to compel further testimony about his bosses.

On Friday another president with a special counsel investigation raging around him pardoned Mr. Libby. “I don’t know Mr. Libby,” President Trump said in the pardon announcement. “But for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life.”

Opinion | Trump Pardoned Libby to Protect Himself From Mueller - The New York Times

Monologue: Operation Desert Stormy | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Trump: U.S. launches missile strikes in Syria - The Washington Post



"President Trump ordered a military attack against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday, joining allies Britain and France in launching missile strikes in retaliation for what Western nations said was the deliberate gassing of Syrian civilians.



The coordinated strike marked the second time in a year that Trump has used force against Assad, who U.S. officials believe has continued to test the West’s willingness to accept gruesome chemical attacks.



Trump, speaking from the White House late Friday, said the attack last weekend was “a significant escalation” of Assad’s use of chemical weapons and warranted a stepped-up international response.



The alleged chemical weapons use was not the work of “a man,” Trump said. It was “the crimes of a monster instead.”



Trump said the mandate for an allied attack was open-ended, but Pentagon chiefs later said the strikes Friday would be repeated only if Assad took further action that warranted a response...."



Trump: U.S. launches missile strikes in Syria - The Washington Post

Leading Australian Muslim activist barred from entering the US | The Independent





"Yassmin Abdel-Magied, the award-winning author and one Australia’s leading female Muslim activists, was barred from entering the US immediately after she landed in the country.



The 27-year-old was set to speak at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York next week.



But after touching down in Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon, the author who is a fierce critic of Australia's immigration policies said she was detained by border agents. 



“I’m currently at the border and they’ve said I’m being deported," the Australian-Sudanese author tweeted. "This should be fun. What are my rights?



"Interesting facts: within a few minutes  of looking at my case the border security person - Officer Herberg looking at my case she announces: ‘we’re sending you back!’”



They’ve taken my phone, canceled my visa and are deporting me. Will follow up on messages once I understand what’s going on. "



Leading Australian Muslim activist barred from entering the US | The Independent