Saturday, December 7, 2019

Maybe this is what Pete Buttigieg was trying to say about empathy



By Colbert I. King Columnist Dec. 6, 2019 at 12:53 p.m. CST

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg has taken flak from some African Americans for suggesting that being gay helps him relate to the struggles of African Americans. Buttigieg, his critics say, is appropriating the black experience for his own selfish political agenda. I’ll let them sort that out. But this I know: Being black causes me to feel empathy with the LGBTQ community and others who are victimized by bigotry. Two situations cited in a column I wrote on discrimination nearly 30 years ago helped shape my feelings.

  

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Trump's Long History With the Real-Life Mob Families of 'The Irishman' - Rolling Stone

Trump's Long History With the Real-Life Mob Families of 'The Irishman' - Rolling Stone:


By Seth Hettena

Martin Scorsese’s new film, The Irishman, conjures up a lost world. It depicts an era when the Mafia was so powerful that it set off alarms in the Kennedy White House, and Scorsese even hints that organized crime was behind JFK’s assassination.

But by the end of the three-hour-plus movie, the nostalgia fades and so does the pinkie-ring finery. Every made man Scorsese introduces to the viewer is snuffed out until all that’s left is Frank Sheeran (played by Robert DeNiro), a disheveled, wheelchair-bound ex-hit man who’s haunted by his memories. At the film’s end, a pair of FBI agents plead with Sheeran to talk about his victims, telling him there’s no reason to keep silent anymore because there’s no one left to protect. “Everybody’s dead, Mr. Sheeran,” one agent says. “They’re all gone.”

Well, many still remember. One person who knew the real-life mob families that show up in The Irishman is President Donald Trump.

  

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Phone logs in impeachment report renew concern about security of Trump communications - The Washington Post

Phone logs in impeachment report renew concern about security of Trump communications - The Washington Post:


By
Paul Sonne,
Josh Dawsey,
Ellen Nakashima and
Greg Miller
Dec. 6, 2019 at 10:59 a.m. CST

President Trump has routinely communicated with his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and other individuals speaking on cellphones vulnerable to monitoring by Russian and other foreign intelligence services, current and former U.S. officials said.

Phone records released this week by the House Intelligence Committee revealed extensive communications between Giuliani, unidentified people at the White House and others involved in the campaign to pressure Ukraine, with no indication that those calls were encrypted or otherwise shielded from foreign surveillance.

The revelations raise the possibility that Moscow was able to learn about aspects of Trump’s attempt to get Ukraine to investigate a political rival months before that effort was exposed by a whistleblower report and the impeachment inquiry, officials said.

  

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Column: Do Devin Nunes' constituents think he's ridiculous too? - Los Angeles Times

Column: Do Devin Nunes' constituents think he's ridiculous too? - Los Angeles Times:


By Robin Abcarian Columnist
Dec. 6, 2019
12:54 PM

REEDLEY, Calif. —

I was driving east along Highway 198 near Hanford in the Central Valley, marveling at the snowcapped Sierra looming against the horizon, when I spotted the billboard.

It was the giant face of a very worried-looking Republican U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes next to the words “Fake farmer, real manure.”

Peering from the corner of the billboard was the much smaller face of an alarmed cow, a not-so-subtle reference to @DevinCow, the Twitter account that mocks Nunes for calling himself a farmer.

The billboard, close to Nunes’ hometown, is perfectly placed to drive him crazy.

  
Link to meme source

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Friday, December 6, 2019

Trump's Rightward Shift of Federal Courts Advances as Senate Confirms Anti-Choice Sarah Pitlyk | Common Dreams News

Trump's Rightward Shift of Federal Courts Advances as Senate Confirms Anti-Choice Sarah Pitlyk | Common Dreams News:


by
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Democrats and progressive groups expressed outrage after the U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to confirm lawyer Sarah Pitlyk for a lifetime appointment on the federal bench.

The 49-44 vote to confirm Pitlyk for judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri continues the Trump administration's rapid, rightward shift of the federal courts, an accomplishment about which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell regularly brags.

  

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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Garry Kasparov: I lived in the post-truth Soviet world and I hear its echoes in Trump's America - CNN

Garry Kasparov: I lived in the post-truth Soviet world and I hear its echoes in Trump's America - CNN:


Garry Kasparov
Updated 6:54 PM EST, Thu December 05, 2019

The totalitarian Soviet Union where I grew up tried to dominate the truth, to distort it and control it. Reality was whatever the Party put out on the nightly news, or in the official newspapers, Pravda, which means "Truth" and Izvestia, which means "News."

It was increasingly obvious back then, even to communist true believers, that what we were being told didn't match the world we saw around us. As the joke went, "there is no news in the truth and no truth in the news." Eventually the disparity between truth and lies became too great; life wasn't improving and more and more information was making it through the Iron Curtain. Denying reality became too grave an insult to our dignity, an underestimated ingredient in the spirit of revolution.

I have lived through several world-changing upheavals. I'm a post-Soviet citizen; the country of my birth ceased to exist in 1991. We enjoyed less than a decade of tenuous freedom in Russia before Vladimir Putin launched its post-democratic phase. My ongoing attempts to fight that tragedy led to my exile in the United States. Now my new home finds itself locked in its own perilous battle -- a battle to avoid becoming the latest member of the post-truth world.

  

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GOP impeachment witness Jonathan Turley contradicted own previous testimony - Business Insider

GOP impeachment witness Jonathan Turley contradicted own previous testimony - Business Insider:


Sonam Sheth

Turley was one of four legal experts — and the only one invited by the Republicans — who testified in the House Judiciary Committee's first public impeachment hearing about Trump.

While the other witnesses laid out the case that Trump abused his power by trying to strong-arm Ukraine into caving to his personal demands while withholding vital military aid and a White House meeting, Turley argued there was no evidence that Trump broke a specific federal statute and that impeaching him would set a dangerous precedent.

But 20 years ago, Turley made the opposite case. At the time, he was one of several GOP legal analysts pushing for President Bill Clinton to be impeached and removed from office.

"If you decide that certain acts do not rise to impeachable offenses, you will expand the space for executive conduct," Turley testified in 1998 during Clinton's impeachment hearings. He added that Clinton's actions didn't need to break any laws in order to be considered impeachable conduct.

  

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Report: Youth Pastor With Ties To Roy Moore Admits To 28 Counts Of Sex Abuse

Report: Youth Pastor With Ties To Roy Moore Admits To 28 Counts Of Sex Abuse:


by Jake Thomas

Alabama youth pastor Acton Bowen was arrested in April 2018 and charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy, but in the time since, the televangelist racked up more charges. On Tuesday, Bowen pleaded guilty to a total of 28 sex crimes against six minors.

Friendly Atheist noted that Bowen “hosted xlroads TV, a show viewed by millions of people in cities across the U.S. and more than 150 other countries around the world.” He is “also an author and public speaker with ties to failed Senate candidate and alleged child molester Roy Moore.”

  

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Opinion: Trump's impeachment should be the simplest in American history - Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Trump's impeachment should be the simplest in American history - Los Angeles Times:


By Virginia Heffernan
Dec. 4, 2019 2:49 PM

“Now, on the investigation, you know…”

So began the fateful White House conversation that revealed the “smoking gun” in President Nixon’s hand in the Watergate scandal.

Like Trump in summer 2019, Nixon in summer 1972 was obsessed with investigations.

Nixon schemed with his chief of staff to stop investigations into his guilty henchmen and what the president knew and when he knew it. That scheming figured into the first article of impeachment against him.
Trump schemed with the president of Ukraine to stage investigations into an innocent rival. Those schemes will almost inevitably figure into one of the articles of impeachment that are certain to be proposed against Trump.

Symmetrically bad moves on the part of these American presidents, it turns out. Their own recorded conversations contain their impeachable conduct.

  

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Impeachment hearings: Will GOP learn its constitutional law lesson? - Los Angeles Times

Impeachment hearings: Will GOP learn its constitutional law lesson? - Los Angeles Times:


The Times Editorial Board
Dec. 5, 2019

Since the hearings began in earnest three weeks ago, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have argued over and over that President Trump’s behavior in asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden falls short of justifying the extreme sanction of impeachment.

On Wednesday, three law professors who testified before the House Judiciary Committee effectively dismantled that defense, arguing persuasively that the framers of the Constitution intended impeachment as a curb on exactly that sort of abuse of power.

  

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