Friday, July 21, 2017

Trump’s Weaponized Base Is Going After Academics — I Know Because I Was Targeted


cademic censorship is nothing new — especially for scholars of color — but in Donald Trump’s America, the issue has taken on new and frightening dimensions. Trump’s emboldened base, en masse, has been attacking leftist educators with renewed vigor since his election, and universities across the country have wasted no time caving to alt-right (read: white supremacist) pressure to discipline professors, freedom of speech/academic freedom be damned. In a peculiar twist of logic, members of the alt-right have positioned themselves as victims of discrimination, and as such, have demanded that universities take action to “protect” them. Sadly, many are. George Ciccariello-Maher was censured and is the subject of an ongoing investigation by Drexel University over a tweet mocking white nationalists. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor was bombarded with death threats for calling Trump a “racist, sexist megalomaniac” in a commencement speech at Hampshire College (though the school defended her, a rare occurrence). Johnny Eric Williams was placed on leave by Trinity College for using a hashtag drawing attention to systemic racism. Lisa Durden was fired from Essex County College for defending a black-only Memorial Day event while appearing on Fox News. This is just a small sample, all since November’s infamous election.

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Exxon sues U.S. over fine levied for Russia deal under Tillerson


Exxon sues U.S. over fine levied for Russia deal under Tillerson

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These Americans Hated the Health Law. Until the Idea of Repeal Sank In.


DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — Five years ago, the Affordable Care Act had yet to begin its expansion of health insurance to millions of Americans, but Jeff Brahin was already stewing about it. “It’s going to cost a fortune,” he said in an interview at the time. This week, as Republican efforts to repeal the law known as Obamacare appeared all but dead, Mr. Brahin, a 58-year-old lawyer and self-described fiscal hawk, said his feelings had evolved. “As much as I was against it,” he said, “at this point I’m against the repeal.” “Now that you’ve insured an additional 20 million people, you can’t just take the insurance away from these people,” he added. “It’s just not the right thing to do.” As Mr. Brahin goes, so goes the nation. When President Trump was elected, his party’s long-cherished goal of dismantling the Affordable Care Act seemed all but assured. But eight months later, Republicans seem to have done what the Democrats who passed the law never could: make it popular among a majority of Americans.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Busy day on memory lane


Trump aides want to re-privatize the military. That would be a big mistake


earful of repeating the foreign policy mistakes of the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, top Trump aides Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon have recently turned to Erik Prince and Stephen Feinberg for help. According to a report in the New York Times, Prince, the founder of Blackwater, and Feinberg, the CEO of the holding company that owns DynCorp, are championing private military alternatives to a recommitment of uniformed personnel in Afghanistan. There is a lot going on in this still-developing story. Let’s focus on two.

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Avatar tommy501Active commenter7:57 AM, Jul. 20, 2017 Blackwater and Dyncorp were inefficient, ineffective, and cost tax payers untold billions. The military was still on the "front line" doing the fighting. Those private corporations paid their people 20 or 30 times what the military makes. They should ALL be banned and put the money into the military, where there is accountability.
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How an ex-FBI profiler helped put an innocent man behind bars


xasperated, Jeffrey Ehrlich paused the true-crime television show every couple of minutes. The same thought kept running through the attorney’s mind: “No, that's wrong.” The episode of “Killer Instinct” highlighted how the work of a retired FBI profiler had helped convict Ehrlich’s client of killing an 18-year-old woman in a Palmdale parking lot. There were no fingerprints left behind, no murder weapon. But clues from the crime scene caught the profiler’s attention. The driver’s-side window of the victim’s car had been lowered several inches, suggesting to the profiler that the teen had rolled it down when someone who looked trustworthy approached. And her tube top was askew — a sign, the profiler said, of a botched sexual assault. “No, no, no,” Ehrlich said, stopping the show again. He thought the episode — titled “Sudden Death” — needed a new name: “Here’s How We Convicted an Innocent Man of Murder.” Years after the profiler’s testimony helped secure a murder conviction, the case against Ehrlich’s client, Raymond Lee Jennings, has unraveled in dramatic fashion.

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angelabirch --Avatar ‒ angelabirchActive commenter in reply to DJ 1717 fThis story makes me angry. Ps...more » 9:25 AM, Jul. 20, 2017 Patterns of behavior are only good as a crime tool, I believe, if they indicate a direction to go in obtaining evidence or suggesting how one interviews witnesses and possible suspects. Like you I am outraged that this innocent man went to prison but it also I wonder how many innocent people are in prison because one man had a notion is frightening.
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T r u m p ’ s L i e s


Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office. Updated July 20: The president is still lying, so we've added to this list, and provided links to the facts in each case.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Trump’s Russian Laundromat


In 1984, a Russian √©migr√© named David Bogatin went shopping for apartments in New York City. The 38-year-old had arrived in America seven years before, with just $3 in his pocket. But for a former pilot in the Soviet Army—his specialty had been shooting down Americans over North Vietnam—he had clearly done quite well for himself. Bogatin wasn’t hunting for a place in Brighton Beach, the Brooklyn enclave known as “Little Odessa” for its large population of immigrants from the Soviet Union. Instead, he was fixated on the glitziest apartment building on Fifth Avenue, a gaudy, 58-story edifice with gold-plated fixtures and a pink-marble atrium: Trump Tower.

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Did You Know That Trump, Pat Robertson and Jay Sekulow (Trump’s New “Defense Attorney”) Are All on the Same Team Now?

Did You Know That Trump, Pat Robertson and Jay Sekulow (Trump’s New “Defense Attorney”) Are All on the Same Team Now? They’re All Specialists in Scamming People, Building Highly Lucrative Nepotistic Empires… and Lying

Why would Trump hire a right-wing fundamentalist Pat Robertson clone/follower “First Amendment lawyer” famous for claiming white evangelicals are the victims of left wing media conspiracies (and for spreading other delusional fables) rather than a reputable defense attorney? Because Trump saw Sekulow on Fox NEWS!
Trump watched as Sekulow praised him and Trump loved it! His new ass-kisser was hired by Fox as a “legal analyst” and Trump (like Chance the Gardener of “Being There”) watches TV!
Trump saw Sekulow “defend” him on TV one night. That made Sekulow the choice for a man who demands “loyalty” rather than integrity in his lackeys.
Back when I was an evangelical far right “leader” I met Jay Sekulow when I was on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson. I remember a secret meeting I had with Pat back in the day that paved the way for Pat to hire Sekulow. He wasn’t at our meeting but we set out Pat’s new “Christian civil liberties” agenda at that time. A little later Pat hired Sukulow to carry out his “save America from secular humanists, gays and women” via court action.

  

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Trump and Putin Held a Second, Undisclosed, Private Conversation - The New York Times

Trump and Putin Held a Second, Undisclosed, Private Conversation - The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Hours into a dinner with world leaders who had gathered for the Group of 20 summit meeting, President Trump left his chair at the sprawling banquet table and headed to where President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was seated.

The two presidents had met earlier in the day for the first time and, as the White House put it, had developed a rapport even as they talked about Russia’s interference in the United States’ 2016 elections.

The July 7 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, was the single most scrutinized of the Trump presidency. But it turned out there was another encounter: a one-on-one discussion over dinner that lasted as long as an hour and relied solely on a Kremlin-provided interpreter.

  

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the transgender ‘bathroom buddy’


Every time lawmakers float bills seeking to bar transgender people from using the bathrooms of their choice, the same crucial questions arise: How would such a measure be enforced? Who, exactly, would be there to make sure that people use facilities that correspond to their biological sex rather than their gender identity? In Texas, the latest state to become embroiled in a fervent “bathroom bill” debate, a transgender woman sought to shine a light on those issues in a social media post that went viral this week and drew praise for its originality. Ashley Smith, a San Antonio-based LGBTQ activist, posed for a picture with Gov. Greg Abbott (R) after a speech on Friday announcing his reelection campaign, as the Associated Press reported. The governor, who supports the state’s bathroom bill, appears in the photo smiling with his arm around Smith.

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ForceOfOne 6:43 AM CDT He also supported tort reform. That of course was after he had gotten his millions from his lawsuit.
Morgoth_V 6:30 AM CDT Greg Abbot says "I support the principles of both the Senate & House to protect privacy in bathrooms." Won't you have to invade privacy to protect it?
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The Voter Purges Are Coming


The Trump administration’s election-integrity commission will have its first meeting on Wednesday to map out how the president will strip the right to vote from millions of Americans. It hasn’t gotten off to the strongest start: Its astonishing request last month that each state hand over voters’ personal data was met with bipartisan condemnation. Yet it is joined in its efforts to disenfranchise citizens by the immensely more powerful Justice Department. Lost amid the uproar over the commission’s request was a letter sent at the same time by the Justice Department’s civil rights division. It forced 44 states to provide extensive information on how they keep their voter rolls up-to-date. It cited the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, known as the Motor-Voter law, which mandates that states help voters register through motor vehicle departments. The letter doesn’t ask whether states are complying with the parts of the law that expand opportunities to register. Instead it focuses on the sections related to maintaining the lists. That’s a prelude to voter purging.

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Coast Guard wants to kick boats off Potomac River when president is golfing - The Washington Post

Coast Guard wants to kick boats off Potomac River when president is golfing - The Washington Post

The Trump family has offended many sectors of establishment Washington since their arrival in the nation’s capital, from Langley’s spymasters to mansion-dwellers in the District’s Kalorama neighborhood.

But 30 miles north of the White House, a conflict is now brewing on the banks of the Potomac River that pits the president’s interests against those of a very different — if no less zealous — constituency. This one is armed with paddles.

Citing security concerns, the Coast Guard says it is adopting a policy of periodically cutting off access to roughly two miles of the Potomac where it borders Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va.

The restrictions would clear the water of canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, sailboats, Jet Skis, motorboats and anglers when Trump or other senior officials of his government decide to spend a day on the back nine.

  

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KPD officers arrest man on indecent exposure, resisting arrest charges | WJHL

KPD officers arrest man on indecent exposure, resisting arrest charges | WJHL

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – Kingsport Police Department arrested a man after he allegedly exposed himself inside a bathroom at Belk in Kingsport.

According to a KPD report, officers were called to the store to investigate an indecent exposure report.

When officers arrived, they made contact with the complainant who works loss prevention for Belk.

The man said he was in a bathroom stall when the person in the stall next to him – identified as David Narramore, 54 of Whitesburg, Kentucky – began rubbing his foot against his foot.

  

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The political satire and humor web site Gopocalypse is reporting that Mr. Narramore is the chair of the Kentucky Republican party.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Trump Just Inconvenienced Disabled Veterans So He Can Golf In Peace

Trump Just Inconvenienced Disabled Veterans So He Can Golf In Peace

Trump has all but given up on actually trying to be a president. Rather than spend time in the White House tackling the myriad problems facing the country, he prefers instead to retreat to his golf courses. Taxpayers are paying for him to work on his swing.

His other favorite pastime is disrespecting veterans. He’s mocked POWs, blocked veterans groups on Twitter, and canceled the enlistment contracts of immigrants who agreed to serve in return for citizenship. It was only a matter of time before he wed these two loves of his. Now he’s finally succeeded in finding a way to golf and disrespect veterans at the same time.

The Washington Post reports that the Coast Guard will be periodically cutting off access to a stretch of the Potomac River bordering a Trump golf course, ostensibly to reduce security risks when Trump and his associates play there. The restricted area is currently used for a kayaking program for injured and disabled veterans.

  

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Trump’s Flirtation with Violence


NEW YORK – Some people might have dismissed Donald Trump’s recent tweet of a video clip showing him punching the face of a man with a CNN logo on his head as yet another example of the US president’s vulgar buffoonery – unseemly, perhaps, but par for the course. But others have pointed to something more sinister – and for good reason. Trump has consistently denigrated press coverage that is critical of his administration as “fake news,” just as he has sought to undermine the authority of the independent judiciary by branding those who disoblige him as “so-called” judges. He is in the habit of tweeting these offensive epithets directly to “the people,” a type of communication he calls “modern day presidential.” In fact, the act of undermining democratic institutions by abusing them in front of braying mobs is not modern at all. It is what aspiring dictators have always done. This is serious. But there is something potentially even worse. Under normal circumstances, violent behavior is restrained by laws and social norms. These restraints are by no means perfect. Domestic violence often remains hidden, as do many cases of rape. And there will always be violent people who break the laws.

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Malcolm Lowe JUL 17, 2017 Donald Trump was a bully in grade school and college. Strange thing about bullies, at heart they are craven cowards, hence the ducking of serving his country during the Vietnam War. Sooner or later, bullies are confronted and inevitably, they always back down. Let us never forget the words of George Santayana "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
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First Black female leader elected by Disciples of Christ


The Disciples of Christ have elected Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, an African American, to be their president. Although other mainline protestant denominations, including the Episcopal Church, have elected African American men, Hord Owens will be the first African American woman to lead a mainline protestant denomination on the national level. She was elected by an overwhelming vote and then consecrated at the biennial General Assembly, held this year in Indianapolis. Cherilyn Williams, spokeswoman for the Disciples of Christ’s Office of General Minister and President, said “there was no opposition stated in the business session where she was elected and the social media has been overwhelmingly positive.”. The DoC are predominantly white, but have a history of inclusiveness and diversity, with African Americans being active in the denomination since the 19th century.

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Tennessee Episcopalians add to growing efforts to honor lynching victims


The Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee is leading efforts to research and memorialize lynching victims in Nashville and statewide, following in the footsteps of a prominent commission conducting similar racial reconciliation work in Atlanta, Georgia. The Tennessee diocese, which covers the geographic middle third of the state, created its Task Force on Anti-Racism last year, and one of its first projects has been to shed new light on the racial violence buried deep in Nashville’s past. This initial focus on remembering lynching victims culminated June 7 in a Eucharistic service and memorial litany for three named victims and others whose identities are lost to history. The task force aims to expand its work from Davidson County to the rest of the diocese. More than 200 lynchings occurred within the diocese’s current boundaries, including an estimated 162 lynchings in counties with at least one Episcopal congregation, task-force co-chair Natasha Deane said in an interview with Episcopal News Service. The initial focus is local, though the Diocese of West Tennessee and Diocese of East Tennessee also are invited to join in the effort. “Telling these stories plays a role in both education and in healing racial wounds, because when a piece of a story isn’t told, it’s a lot like undiagnosed illness,” said Deane, a retired Vanderbilt University Medical Center researcher. The racial wound “only gets worse.”

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Glad the church is spear-heading this necessary, and painful, history. These important publications are new to me, and I need to know about the disgusting pieces of our collective past in order to participate in spreading the word. Parishoner, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brookline, MA
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A Response to the Administration’s Decision on Relationships The Reverend Canon E. Mark Stevenson Director, Episcopal Migration Ministries


A Response to the Administration’s Decision on Relationships The Reverend Canon E. Mark Stevenson Director, Episcopal Migration Ministries Earlier this week, the Supreme Court issued a decision regarding the litigation around the president’s executive order banning entry into this country of certain foreign nationals and halting for a time the welcoming of refugees. The Court seemed to stake out a position that the president has the right to do these two things but that he has to take a number of things – particularly relationships – into account when implementing policy. I wrote at the time that we would need to wait for the logistics to be sorted. Little did I expect that the sorting would become a tool to tear apart relationships, and to further propagate a false narrative about people who have fled violence and persecution. The Court set as a standard regarding allowable entry the idea of the need for an existing bona fide relationship already within the U.S. They gave the obvious example of family, but also cited relationships with entities that are formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course of events. While I may disagree with their decision in other parts, I did at least take comfort in knowing that the highest court in the land recognized that there are real people, real lives, real relationships at stake here.

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Sam Rodman ordained, consecrated bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina


[Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina] It was joyful in Durham, North Carolina, on July 15, when the Rt. Rev. Samuel Rodman was ordained and consecrated as the XII Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. Rodman was elected on March 4, marking the culmination of a search that began after former bishop Michael Curry was elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church at the 78th General Convention in 2015.

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