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Jul 18, 2019, 01:52 PM
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 1 
 on: Today at 07:44 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
If you live in America you better read this ............... this article was posted almost a year ago to the day .. especially read the bold text  ........

How much worse can Trump get?

Lucian K. Truscott IV,
Salon
21 Jul 2018 at 09:37 ET                   

If you have wondered how much lower Trump could go,  we got our answer last Monday in Helsinki. There was the President of the United States surrendering his intelligence agencies, his Department of State and his Department of Justice to the lying, thieving, murdering dictator of Russia standing next to him on the stage. He was virtually admitting to the world that he owed his presidency to Vladimir Putin.

And if you wondered whether his base would follow him, the verdict is in. An Axios/Survey Monkey poll shows that 79 percent of Republican voters approve of the way Trump conducted himself in Helsinki. Nearly 70 percent of Republicans in a CBS poll felt the same way.

The answer is, we haven’t reached bottom yet, and we have the reason: Trump’s base is with him all the way. Look at what he’s done over a period of two years without losing a single percentage point of support.

He admitted on tape to abusing women and grabbing them “by the pussy.” “They let you do it,” he bragged. “You can do anything.”

He paid $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels to shut her up about the affair they had before the election in 2016.

He spoke approvingly of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville after their torch-lit march supporting statues of Confederate generals. One of them killed a young woman by driving his car at high speed into a crowd at a demonstration, and Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides,” pointedly including the neo-Nazis.

He developed and instituted a policy on our border with Mexico whereby children as young as three months were seized from undocumented parents seeking asylum. He ordered them held in hastily constructed camps and temporary shelters including wire cages in former Walmart buildings.

He conducted a campaign for president that conspired with Russian nationals, including at least 12 agents working for Russian military intelligence, to steal the election of 2016.

He disparaged our longtime allies in NATO as “foes,” claimed that the media reporting on his trips to Brussels, Great Britain and Helsinki are “enemies of the people,” and at least temporarily seemed to have agreed with Vladimir Putin to turn over American citizens for questioning by Russian prosecutors.

He supported and signed a tax cut for billionaires that will saddle American taxpayers with a deficit of at least $1 trillion a year for the foreseeable future.

He tried to pass a law that would have canceled the Affordable Care Act, and having failed that, now supports changes to the law that would put people with pre-existing health conditions at risk of being able to get affordable health insurance.

He put in place trade policies that will cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of American jobs and raise prices for consumers.

All of this has been fine with the Trump base.

In fact, if you look closely at what Trump does every single day including weekends, he spends most of his time attending to his base, ensuring that his support among them doesn’t dip even a single point. He gives aid and comfort to the racists and xenophobes among them, telling lie after lie about immigration and crimes allegedly committed by undocumented immigrants. He demonizes Muslim-majority nations and criticizes the European Union for its immigration policies, not even bothering to dog-whistle his racist sentiments to make sure his base knows where he’s coming from.

“I just think it [immigration] is changing the culture, I think it is a very negative thing for Europe,” Trump said at a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May. “I know it is politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I will say it and I will say it loud,” he bragged.

As the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller closes in tighter and tighter on Trump’s inner circle and Trump himself, tending to his base is the key to Trump staying in office. A recent Washington Post poll showed that close to 50 percent of Republicans believe that Trump won the popular vote in 2016. He didn’t; Hillary Clinton received nearly 3 million more votes than Trump. Nearly 70 percent of Republicans believe Trump’s lie that millions of illegal immigrants voted in 2016, and nearly 75 percent believe that voter fraud occurs “somewhat or very often.” It doesn’t; numerous studies have found voter fraud to be close to nonexistent.

But it’s this statistic that’s most shocking in the Post poll of Republicans. “52 percent said that they would support postponing the 2020 election, and 56 percent said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress proposed this,” according to the Post.

There’s the key to Trump’s strategy of staying in power. His base will believe anything he tells them to believe without question. They’ll vote the way he tells them to vote. He’s counting on them to do whatever he tells them to do. If these recent polls are to be believed, that’s exactly what will happen.

We’ve faced other moments in our history when our national decency was under threat. Nixon and Watergate, the last attempt by a presidential candidate to steal an election, comes immediately to mind. We coped alright with that. Nixon was impeached. In the words of the man who succeeded him as president, Gerald Ford, “our long national nightmare was over.”

But when will this country no longer be able to cope?

Every time you hear Trump tell his voters that the media “is the enemy of the people,” you’re listening to him conflate his own political security with national security. We’ve had enemies before. Nazi Germany and Japan and the rest of the Axis powers were our enemies. The Soviet Union was our enemy during the Cold War. Russia, with its aggression in Ukraine and Crimea, its saber-rattling in the Baltics, and its conspiracy to invade and disrupt our electoral processes in favor of Donald Trump in 2016, has succeeded the Soviet Union as an enemy of America.

“Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people and all of the Dems. . . ,” Trump tweeted from Air Force One on July 15 on his way to Helsinki. After his lickspittle performance with Putin at his so-called summit, he tweeted “The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media.”

What you’re hearing in those tweets is Trump preparing his base, and it’s time to ask what he’s preparing them for. What will he tell them to believe? What will Trump do? How low will Trump go?

I think Trump is preparing his base for his Mueller investigation endgame. This man is not going to be driven from office by either Congress or the courts. He’s going to fight, and fight to the death of democracy if necessary, because he has no loyalty to the Constitution or love of democracy. All he has is love of Trump.

He’s preparing his base for the day he fires Sessions, Rosenstein and Mueller. He’ll pardon every single American who has been charged or pled guilty, and then he’ll order the entire work product of the Mueller investigation to be collected and burned.

He’ll send his supporters into the streets to demonstrate in favor of firing Mueller and ending the investigation. When counter demonstrations hit the street, he’ll call them a threat to “national security” and start making arrests. He’ll begin with Antifa and Black Lives Matter, then he’ll move on to anyone found demonstrating on a street where violence or damage to property has taken place.

When the jails are loaded up, he’ll start putting arrestees in camps. They’re already practicing for this with the round-up, arrest and confinement of undocumented immigrants in concentration camps along the border.

If you thought we’d never see another round-up of people alleged to be a “threat to national security” the way we did with Japanese Americans during World War II, you were wrong. Our government is doing it right now. If you thought that disgraceful chapter in our nation’s history was more than enough to stop Americans from building concentration camps again, you were wrong.

American citizens working for the government and for private companies are following orders. They’re building camps. They’re stringing barbed wire. They’re making children march in line down makeshift “streets” between tents in these camps. They’re denying access to the camps to the news media, even to members of Congress. They’re doing it willingly. They’re doing it so efficiently that major private penal corporations are making hundreds of millions of dollars building camps and imprisoning immigrants.

When demonstrations break out against the round-ups and the camps between anti-Trump protestors and Trump supporters, he’ll declare martial law. He’ll declare that the Democratic Party is the “enemy of the people” and issue an executive order to postpone elections.


His base will support him all the way.

Let me put it to you this way: Trump’s robotic supporters on the right are fond of accusing Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans of suffering from “Trump derangement syndrome” because they oppose him.

They’ve got it ass-backwards. Trump’s base believes every insane thing he says. They support every insane thing he does. They are deranged, and it’s not a syndrome. They are the greatest threat to democracy this country has ever faced within its shores.

 2 
 on: Today at 05:33 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
‘Pure and simple evil’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Mika destroy Trump’s ‘racist and illegal’ taunts against Omar

on July 18, 2019
Raw Story
By Travis Gettys

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski warned that President Donald Trump’s attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) were both illegal and racist — as well as an incitement to violence.

The “Morning Joe” co-hosts were appalled by the crowd’s reaction — chanting “send her back” — to Trump attacks at a Greensboro, North Carolina, rally.

“Republicans shamed themselves by not calling racism, racism,” Scarborough said. “I saw some people actually write columns that used to be respected trying to excuse the president’s language and saying it’s not racist, but the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that Donald Trump oversees that enforces laws against discrimination, specifically outlined such language that the president used last night and that his crowd used last night as an example of bias.”

That agency prohibits insults, taunting and ethnic slurs, such as mocking a person’s accent or telling a person to go back to their home country.

“This is not a theoretical discussion about whether what Donald Trump said was illegal or not,” Scarborough said. “This is the law of the land, and if Donald Trump had said ‘go back to where you came from’ in any private company or if all of those people chanting that last night say it in their work today, they will be sued — and guess what, the federal government wins those suits.”

Brzezinski went even further in her condemnation.

“This is pure and simple evil, and someone is going to get hurt, whether it be someone in an office today or in a school or anywhere in America,” she said, “someone is going to get hurt, whether they are hurt personally, emotionally, psychologically or physically. Let me just tell you we are not in a dangerous place, we are at a place where things are boiling over and promulgating racism and violence. There’s no two ways about it, and there are people who know a lot more about this than me who will say we are in not just a dangerous place, we’ve gone over the line.”

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CDv8bjLkE0

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Trump’s racist screed against Omar was scripted and came off the teleprompter: CNN’s Camerota

on July 18, 2019
Raw Story
By Tom Boggioni

Appearing on CNN’s “New Day,” New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman revealed that American can expect more bashing of non-white lawmakers like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from now to election day in 2020 because Donald Trump’s campaign is going to be all about race.

Responding to the president’s rally in North Carolina that even CNN’s chyron referred to as “ugly,” the journalist said the Trump’s campaign has flipped from touting the economy to one that is race-based — and it is all because of Trump’s racist tweets from last Sunday.

With host Alisyn Camerota noting that Trump’s Wednesday night comments on Omar — that led to an appalling “Send her back” chant from the crowd — were read straight from the teleprompter, and not off-the-cuff, Haberman said this is the first wave of Trump’s revved-up campaign for re-election.

“What happened last night at the rally was so instructive, I think,” host Camerota began. “He was going after these congresswomen in incendiary ways, and it was on teleprompter — he wasn’t just riffing. That means the incendiary stuff was written down, and that means they thought about it because it is a campaign strategy.”

“It’s not as if stoking racial tension has never been done before and it’s never worked before,” Haberman conceded. “Politicians do it because it works. Very few people run for re-election as incumbent presidents with an economy like this without talking about it, which is what this president does.”

“Yes, it is now a strategy,” she continued. “This was not a strategy when he tweeted this out on Sunday about they should go back to where they came from. He tweeted something as a visceral reaction to something he was reading and they had to reverse-engineer this as a plot of genius.”

“Look, he ran a campaign of division and stoking tensions and inflaming tensions in 2016. He’s going to make that look like a quiet stroll through the park based on yesterday,” she added.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7bQRQIq6k4

 3 
 on: Today at 04:32 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar

Chant follows Trump’s racist tweets targeting Omar and three other Democratic congresswomen of color

Tom McCarthy in New York
Guardian
Thu 18 Jul 2019 06.07 BST

Goaded on by the president, a crowd at a Donald Trump rally on Wednesday night chanted “send her back! send her back!” in reference to Ilhan Omar, a US congresswoman who arrived almost 30 years ago as a child refugee in the United States.

Trump used the 2020 campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, to attack Omar and three other Democratic congresswomen – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – calling them “hate-filled extremists”. The group, which calls itself “the Squad”, has been the focus of racist attacks by the president this week, kickstarted by tweets posted Sunday in which he said the lawmakers, all women of color, should “go back” to other countries.

Omar, of Minnesota, arrived in the United States at age eight as a refugee of war from Somalia. Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and Tlaib were born in the United States.

Trump’s “go back” tweets were prompted by an appearance before a House committee in which the congresswomen testified to inhumane conditions they witnessed during tours of migrant detention facilities in Texas.

Trump’s tweets led the House to pass a resolution of condemnation. “Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets,” the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said on Tuesday. “To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people.”

But clearly sensing a political winner – notwithstanding polling showing that a majority of Americans found his remarks to be offensive – Trump riffed on the theme at his rally.

“Let ’em leave,” Trump said of the members of Congress. “They’re always telling us how to run it, how to do this, how to do that. You know what? If they don’t love it, tell ’em to leave it.”

The crowd chimed in as he finished, shouting “leave it”. The chant “send her back” was an embroidery of a chant popular during Trump’s first presidential run, when crowds attacked his opponent, Hillary Clinton, with chants of “lock her up”.

The “lock her up” chant was led at the Republican national convention in Cleveland, Ohio, by Trump’s then campaign adviser Michael Flynn, who later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI but has so far avoided prison time.

At least three former Trump aides have been locked up since the 2016 campaign, including Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his former adviser Michael Cohen, and his former adviser George Papadopoulos, while others, including Flynn and Trump’s former adviser Rick Gates, have pleaded guilty to federal felonies.

Trump’s speech in North Carolina also included a professed exasperation with the fact that Ocasio-Cortez’s name is hyphenated.

“No, no: I don’t have time to go with three different names,” Trump said. “We’ll call her Cortez. Too much time. Takes too much time.”

The scene drew reactions of shock and horror from across the political spectrum. “The bigoted mob chanting ‘send her back’ tonight is significant,” tweeted Walter Shaub, a former director of the US office of government ethics under Barack Obama.

“When you outdo [Richard] Nixon in repulsiveness, you’ve gone a long way,” said commentator David Gergen on CNN, a veteran of the Nixon and other Republican administrations.

“‘SEND HER BACK, SEND HER BACK,’ is ugly. It’s ignorant. It’s dangerous,” tweeted Joe Walsh, the conservative radio host and former Republican congressman. “And it’s un-American. It’s flat out bigotry. And every Republican should condemn this bigotry immediately. Stop this now.”

Omar herself responded with a tweet on Wednesday evening, in which she quoted a poem by Maya Angelou: “You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.” She later posted: “I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal.”

Democrats including Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren came to Omar’s defence on Wednesday night.

On Twitter, Sanders said Trump was “stoking the most despicable and disturbing currents in our society”, Harris labelled the behaviour as vile, cowardly and racist, while Warren said impeachment proceedings against the president must begin.

Fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke said the chants were “the product of a president who sees our diversity not as a strength but as a weakness”.

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MSNBC’s Maddow: Trump is freaking out because of what is about to unspool tomorrow morning

on July 18, 2019
Raw Story

President Donald Trump is likely trying to use his recent racist attacks on four Congresswomen of color as a means of distracting from two other significant scandals he’s facing this week, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said. Both of the scandals will likely “unspool” Thursday morning in the same New York courthouse.

First, beginning at 10:30 a.m. EST, a judge who has been presiding over the campaign finance case in which Michael Cohen was involved, intends to release information involving who else was named in the case. That investigation is pending, and the judge is releasing the sealed documents that were related to the case.

Prosecutors told the judge that they would still like to keep the information under seal because there are additional third-parties involved. The judge in the case denied it, so all of the documents, unredacted, will be released Thursday.

Second, Jeffrey Epstein will appear in court, for his first hearing and the country will find out if he is cooperating with prosecutors.

NBC News released a video Wednesday showing Trump palling around with Epstein and a room full of young women. The men stood in a corner, talking and laughing about the women and how “hot” they were.

Thursday, the world will learn if Epstein was willing to take a bullet for everyone he knows who allegedly joined him in trafficking children. Already Washington, D.C. is bracing for the names that could be released, and it’s possible Trump could be one of them.

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House holds Bill Barr and Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress

on July 18, 2019
Raw Story

The House has officially voted to hold Attorney General Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress.

Both men refused to abide by a subpoena from the House for documents so they that could investigate actions by both departments.

The last person to be held in contempt of Congress was Bill Barr when he was held in civil contempt, but this was a criminal charge.

In the case of Ross, he is accused of lying under oath to Congress and they requested documents to prove it. Ross refused to provide the information necessary.

Ross has called the contempt charge “political theater” and of no real substance. If that was true, he shouldn’t be afraid to provide the documents. Still, he refused.

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Trump and the GOP stand for ‘blaming others if you’re not happy where you are’: Democratic congressman

on July 18, 2019
Raw Story

Unapologetic about his racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color, President Donald Trump stood smugly by at his Wednesday rally in Greenville, South Carolina as his supporters attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) with chants of “Send her back! Send her back!”

In conversation with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) denounced it as just standard operating procedure for this president and the party that elected him.

“I want to talk health care, but … [Trump] ain’t going to campaign on health care,” said Cuomo. “He’s going to campaign that there’s something wrong with the way you look and people like you are a little bit of a danger. And we’re a little bit better off when you guys stay where you were before you were here. That’s his campaign. He is confident. How do you counter?”

“Chris, I think there’s a book called Stranger in Their Own Land, which adequately portrays what Trump does,” said Richmond, who co-chairs Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. “And that is he will convince people to vote against their own self-interest by convincing them the reason why they don’t like their status in life is that minorities are skipping the line to take benefits that they should have, and that government is picking winners and losers and the government are picking black people and brown people and women over them simply because of their minority status.”

“And I think you have to call them on it,” added Richmond. “We can’t sit here and pretend that people don’t fall for it. I see people in Louisiana, I see people in Mississippi, Georgia vote against their self-interest all the time, because of their emotions and the fact that the Republican leadership has chosen to campaign by division and blaming others if you’re not happy where you are.”

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Judge blocks effort to conceal details in Trump campaign crimes case as Bill Barr’s DOJ mysteriously closes the probe

on July 18, 2019
By Cody Fenwick,
AlterNet

A federal judge confirmed on Wednesday that the Justice Department has ended its investigation into campaign finance crimes committed by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, indicating that no one else will face charges in the case. But Judge William Pauley also announced that, over the government’s objections, he will be making many of the underlying documents in the case public without requested redactions.

The case stemmed from Cohen’s efforts during the 2016 campaign to secure hush money payments for two women who said they had affairs with Donald Trump. Since investigators determined these payments were done in order to help secure Trump’s victory, the spending counted as campaign contributions that were never recorded and were, in fact, illegally concealed. The Trump Organization, Cohen has said, helped repay him for the costs of the hush money while disguising the payment falsely as a legal retainer.

Cohen implicated Trump directly in the crime, saying the then-candidate coordinated with him and directed him to make the payments. There is even a public recording of the pair seeming to discuss one of the payments. Donald Trump Jr., too, maybe implicated in the crime because he allegedly signed some of the repayment checks to Cohen.

For these and other crimes to which he pleaded guilty, Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison. But neither Trump nor no one else apparently involved in the scheme appears to be vulnerable to charges in the case.

As a sitting president, of course, Trump could not be charged with a crime under current Justice Department policy regardless of the evidence. Such a policy wouldn’t protect the president’s son or anyone else involved in his company, though.

So the public has been left with many questions about this case. Would the president have been charged with any related crimes were he not in office? Why weren’t charges brought against other people who appear to have been involved? And was Attorney General Bill Barr — who was chosen by Trump to protect him in the special counsel’s investigation and has shown a clear desire to exonerate the president from any wrongdoing — involvement in the final decisions?

Additionally: Why weren’t any Trump Organization officials questioned by the investigators in the Southern District of New York, if a recent CNN report is correct?

We may yet get some answers to these questions. Judge Pauley issued an order Wednesday noting that the government has confirmed that the investigation is no longer ongoing, but it asked that some of the underlying materials related to Cohen’s case remain sealed “to protect third-party privacy interests.”

Pauley didn’t buy it.

“The weighty public ramifications of the conduct described in the campaign finance portions warrant disclosure,” he wrote. “Moreover, the involvement of most of the relevant third-party actors is now public knowledge, undercutting the need for continued secrecy. … On balance, the ‘strong presumption of public access’ to search warrants and search warrant materials under the common law far outweighs the weakened privacy interests at play here.”

He also argued that the matter is “of national importance” and that “it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials.”

The materials will be unsealed on Thursday morning, he ruled. He allowed that there may be a few limited redactions.

Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers are in a celebratory mood.

“We are pleased that the investigations surrounding these ridiculous campaign finance allegations is now closed,” Jay Sekulow, the president’s attorney, said Wednesday according to USA Today. “We have maintained from the outset that the president never engaged in any campaign finance violation.”

He also suggested that he is not aware of any other federal case in which Trump is a subject. However, reports suggest that an investigation of the president’s inaugural committee remain ongoing.

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Republicans embrace Trump’s racism. Blame them as much as him

Why Trump told minority congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their countries

By Eugene Robinson Columnist
July 18 2019
WA Post

Donald Trump’s presidency is melting down into a noxious stew of racism, failure and farce. With breathtaking cynicism, the Republican Party pretends not to notice.

Trump had to know there would be outrage and uproar over his Sunday tweets admonishing four progressive members of Congress, all of them women of color, that they should stop “telling the people of the United States . . . how our government is to be run” and instead “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

The president’s motives are obvious: He was proudly displaying his white-supremacist racial views, drawing a bright line between his aging white political base and the rest of the country, and clumsily trying to exacerbate tensions within the Democratic Party. But why choose now to lob this political cluster bomb? My guess is that he wanted to change the subject from Thursday’s humiliating surrender, when he had to abandon his quest to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census that would have guaranteed an undercount of Latinos.

“Trump is a racist” does not exactly qualify as breaking news. But the silence from prominent Republicans is staggering — and telling. It amounts to collaboration — perhaps “collusion” is a better word — with the president’s assault on diversity and pluralism. In the coming campaign, you will hear Republican candidates at every level claim to be colorblind and embrace all Americans regardless of race or ethnicity. Do not believe them. Their failure to speak out now tells us everything we need to know about their true feelings.

The farcical aspect of this disgraceful episode is that, while Trump hoped to further divide squabbling Democrats, he ended up bringing them closer together.

The four Democratic House members he attacked — Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) — have indeed been at odds with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the rest of the Democratic leadership on some issues. Calling themselves “the Squad,” they fought hard against Pelosi’s approach on funding border security. They display none of the meekness expected of first-term members and are unfamiliar with the concept of deference.
Romney on Trump's tweets targeting minority congresswomen: 'The President failed'
Republican Senators responded on July 15 to President Trump's tweets targeting minority, liberal congresswomen. (Rhonda Colvin/The Washington Post)

Any possibility that this intraparty squabbling would become serious was probably foreclosed by Trump’s attack, which caused Pelosi and others to rush to the Squad’s defense. Apparently living in some kind of bizarro parallel universe, Trump went further on Monday by insisting that the members of Congress he attacked owe him an apology.

The reaction from Republicans? Still crickets.

There’s nothing new about the Republican Party playing footsie with racists, going all the way back to the “Southern strategy” pioneered by Richard M. Nixon. But as Trump has toppled the traditional pillars of Republican philosophy — fiscal responsibility, free trade, markets undistorted by government interference, muscular foreign policy, equal opportunity for all to pursue the American Dream — the GOP is reduced to being the party of no: no on abortion, no on immigration and no on diversity. Following Trump’s lead, the party practices the politics of resentment. Republican politicians appeal to voters not by stoking optimism about what can be accomplished but by stoking fear about what will happen if “they” — the Democrats — gain power.

“They” are portrayed as perhaps living near the coasts, perhaps being intellectuals, perhaps being women, perhaps being African American or Latino or Asian American. “They” are portrayed as the kind of affluent, high-and-mighty people who look down on “ordinary” Republican voters — never mind that Ocasio-Cortez waited tables to support herself, Tlaib grew up in a struggling family in Detroit, Pressley’s father was incarcerated during much of her childhood, and Omar came to this country from a Somali refugee camp.

Trump’s brand of politics is often called “tribal,” but “racist” is a better word. The wedge he is trying to drive, with his attacks on the Squad, is essentially white vs. nonwhite. He also seeks to portray them as immigrants, telling them to “go back” to where they came from, even though Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Tlaib in Detroit and Ocasio-Cortez in New York. Omar, indeed, is an immigrant — a naturalized citizen who enjoys the same rights and responsibilities as any other American, including Trump.

If Republicans believed even a fraction of their rhetoric, they’d be all over Trump. They’d tell him that “telling the people of the United States . . . how our government is to be run” is the right of every American and the duty of every member of Congress. Instead, Republicans embrace Trump’s racism and xenophobia. Blame them just as much as Trump.

 4 
 on: Today at 04:15 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

'Wizard' hacker charged after financial records of nearly every Bulgarian exposed

Cyber attack compromised records on incomes, tax, health insurance and loans of millions of people

Reuters
Thu 18 Jul 2019 01.59 BST

A 20-year-old cybersecurity worker has been arrested in Bulgaria and charged with hacking the personal and financial records of millions of taxpayers, as police continue to investigate the country’s biggest ever data breach.

Bulgaria’s NRA tax agency is facing a fine of up to €20m ($22.43m) over the hack, which was revealed this week and is thought to have compromised the records of nearly every working adult among the country’s population of 7 million.

Speaking at a government meeting on Wednesday, prime minister Boyko Borissov described the arrested man as a “wizard” hacker and said the country should hire similar “unique brains” to work for the state.

But some experts who have examined the stolen data said the techniques used in the attack were relatively basic and spoke more to a lack of adequate data protection measures than the hacker’s ability.

“The reason for the success of the attack does not seem to be the sophistication of the hacker, but rather poor security practices at the NRA,” said Bozhidar Bozhanov, chief executive at cybersecurity firm LogSentinel.

Yavor Kolev, head of the police’s cybersecurity unit, said the male suspect was arrested on Tuesday afternoon. Officers raided his home and office in the capital, Sofia, and seized computer devices containing encrypted data.

The investigation into the hack was still at an early stage, he added, and police were looking into the possibility that other people were involved.

Bulgaria’s finance minister, Vladislav Goranov, has apologised for the attack, which exposed the names of millions of people and companies and revealed information about incomes, tax declarations, health insurance payments and loans.

Sofia city prosecutors said the man had been charged with a computer crime, would be held for another three days and faced up to eight years in jail if found guilty.

The attack has reignited a long-running debate about lax cybersecurity standards in Bulgaria. A person claiming to be a Russian hacker and responsible for the breach emailed local media on Monday and denounced the government’s cybersecurity efforts as a “parody”.

Kolev said the arrested man was a researcher who tested computer networks for possible vulnerabilities to prevent cyber attacks.

Bulgarian media identified the suspect as Kristian Boykov. George Yankov, senior manager at the Bulgarian office of US cybersecurity firm TAD Group, said Boykov was an employee of the company and confirmed he had been arrested. He dismissed the allegations against him.

Boykov’s lawyer, Georgi Stefanov, told Reuters his client denied the charges against him. “He says he is innocent and has no connection whatsoever with the issue. Prosecutors have ... accused him despite a complete lack of evidence,” Stefanov said.

Boykov, from the city of Plovdiv, 130km (80 miles) south-east of Sofia, had posted regularly on social media about cybersecurity and hacking news before his arrest.

In 2017, he made national news after exposing flaws in the Bulgarian education ministry’s website, work he then described as “fulfilling my civic duty” in a television interview. Deputy education minister Denitsa Sacheva thanked Boykov at the time for his help.

Bulgaria’s leading business organisation BIA, which warned about possible flaws in the tax agency’s data protection system a year ago, demanded that detailed information about the leak be sent to every person and company affected.

“We need to know so that at least we can be aware of possible dangers,” said BIA deputy head Stanislav Popdonchev.

 5 
 on: Today at 04:13 AM 
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Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt make final pitch to Conservatives

New Europe
7/18/2019

LONDON  — The two men competing to be Britain's next leader have held their final televised event in front of Conservative Party members who will decide the winner. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, Britain's former and current foreign secretaries, spoke and answered questions Wednesday in front of hundreds of Tories at a London conference center.

Johnson, the strong front-runner according to pollsters and bookmakers, repeated his vow to take Britain out of the European Union on the currently scheduled date of Oct. 31, with or without a replacement for Prime Minister Theresa May's "defunct" divorce agreement.

May announced her resignation last month after her Brexit deal was rejected by Parliament three times. Johnson drew applause and cheers with a speech that was short on details but high on energy, at one point waving a kippered herring as part of a convoluted point about EU trade regulations.

He said Britons wanted the government to "get on and deliver Brexit." Hunt, a less charismatic politician who has pitched himself as the serious, stable candidate, argued that he was the best person to revive talks with the EU.

"I want to get a deal, and so we have got to make some profound changes to that withdrawal agreement," he said. The EU says the deal it struck with May is not up for renegotiation, and neither candidate has been able to say how they plan to secure changes.

Both say they are prepared to leave the bloc without an agreement, a course most economists say would cause economic turmoil. About 160,000 Conservative members have until Monday to vote by postal ballot. The winner will be announced Tuesday and will replace May as party leader and prime minister.

 6 
 on: Today at 04:11 AM 
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Ukraine election: President's party leads, majority unclear

New Europe
7/18/2019

KIEV, Ukraine  — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's party has the most support in opinion polls ahead of Sunday's snap parliamentary elections, but obtaining a solid majority in the Verkhovna Rada is far from certain.

Zelenskiy, who took office in May, has been stymied by a parliament dominated by his opponents. He ordered the elections to be held three months earlier than scheduled in order to try to get a majority that would support his promised fight against endemic corruption and for other reforms.

His "Servant of the People" party — named after the television situation comedy in which he played a teacher who unexpectedly becomes president — is supported by 52 percent of the Ukrainians who intend to vote, according to a survey by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology.

But that edge doesn't necessarily ensure a majority in the legislature. Of the 424 seats to be filled, only 225 of them will be chosen by a national party list. The 199 others are single-mandate seats, whose composition could differ markedly from nationwide sentiment.

A party led by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest associates, tycoon Viktor Medvedchuk, is polling in second place with about 10%, followed by the European Solidarity party of former president Petro Poroshenko, whom Zelenskiy defeated in a landslide in spring presidential elections.

Zelenskiy's party intends to continue the pro-Western course toward joining the European Union and NATO, combining this with a package of economic reforms. "The position of the Ukrainian people is movement in the direction of Europe and it will be wrong to reconsider," party leader Dmytro Razumkov told The Associated Press.

The party declares that special attention will be paid to resuscitating anti-corruption reforms, which stalled under Poroshenko, and Razumkov says this could be a watershed for Ukraine, bringing in a new political culture of lawmakers interested in reforms rather than using political power for money.

"There are new people who today have completely different basic values than the representatives of the old political elites. This is a new team that Zelenskiy leads to implement new tasks," Razumkov said.

In contrast, Medvedchuk says Ukraine's proper course is to improve relations with Russia, which plummeted after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of a war with Russia-backed separatists that has killed more than 13,000 people.

"If we do not restore economic pragmatic relations with Russia ... then we have no chance to overcome the economic crisis, which continues and is being aggravated," Medvedchuk told the AP. He proposes that a key step toward bettering relations with Moscow would be for Ukraine to grant autonomy to the rebel areas of the east and to offer amnesty to the separatists. He said Ukraine could get a 25% discount on natural gas imports from Russia if it takes steps that satisfy the Kremlin.

As a close associate of the Russian president — Putin is the godfather of Medvedchuk's daughter — his statements likely reflect Kremlin thinking. Razumkov said Zelenskiy's party is ready to negotiate with Russia on mechanisms for conflict resolution, and seeks peace in the east, "but not at any cost."

"What Medvedchuk says is not a strategy for returning territories, not a strategy for ending the war," he said. Analyst Volodymyr Fesenko of Ukraine's Penta think tank says the ideas proposed by Medvedchuk are widely perceived as "the restoration of the Russian protectorate over Ukraine."

"Even an attempt to agree on such a scenario will provoke vehement resistance within Ukraine from the side of militant patriots and other political forces. And this can provoke a serious political crisis and even a new Maidan," Fesenko said, referring to the mass protests that drove out the country's Russia-friendly president in 2014.

Medvedchuk also provoked an uproar when a television channel he controls tried to arrange a teleconference with a Russian state channel that is consistently critical of Zelenskiy. Russian TV channels are banned from the air in Ukraine, and the teleconference plan was canceled.

 7 
 on: Today at 04:09 AM 
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Queensland launches path to treaty with state's Indigenous people

Deputy premier Jackie Trad announces ‘Tracks to Treaty’ process, but admits it may take years

Australian Associated Press
18 Jul 2019 10.01 BST

The Queensland government has pledged to reframe its relationship with the state’s Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples as it paves a path towards a treaty, but admits the process may take years.

The deputy premier, Jackie Trad, launched the “Tracks to Treaty” commitment in Brisbane on Sunday, the last day of Naidoc Week.

She said it aimed to give Indigenous communities greater self-determination and better delivery of services, lift the representation of Indigenous voices to government, and begin work on negotiating one or more treaties to create a positive shared future.

“Today is about recognising that fundamental underpinning of the success and betterment of the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a much better relationship between government and the community,” she said.

Trad said there was no pre-ordained outcome, as it was all about having a respectful, inclusive conversation. “I’m not here to rush anything; I’m here to say we are starting a conversation,” she said.

“Fundamentally, we want to come together as a community and say this is the path we want to take, this is the path we want to explore, and it’s through that process we’ll get a time frame.”

The path to treaty process will be led by an eminent panel, co-chaired by the Aboriginal leader and academic Jackie Huggins and the former Keating government attorney general Michael Lavarch. The panel will conduct a state-wide consultation in the second half of 2019.

“These are conversations for all Queenslanders,” Huggins said. “We need to move forward with mutual respect and a shared vision for this country.”

In making the announcement, Trad was joined by the environment minister and Quandamooka woman, Leeanne Enoch, and Queensland’s first Torres Strait Islander MP, Cynthia Lui.

“Understanding our past, our shared history… but also telling the truth in all of that, and ensuring that truth then lays the path for the future generations, so Queensland can be the very best it can be,” Enoch said.

Lui said it was a truly historic moment. “This launch signifies a positive step in the right direction … in achieving positive outcomes, meaningful outcomes leading into the future.”

The LNP spokesperson for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships, Christian Rowan, said Labor was failing to address current issues.

“There are dozens of Indigenous kids being locked up in police watch houses for weeks at a time and Labor failed every closing the gap target on Indigenous disadvantage.”

 8 
 on: Today at 04:03 AM 
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California condor births mark soaring comeback after numbers dwindled to 22

The birds, whose population plummeted last century, have two new chicks: Nos 1,000 and 1,001

Maanvi Singh in San Francisco
Guardian
18 Jul 2019 11.00 BST

Nestled among the red-rock cliffs of Zion national park and the Grand Canyon, California condor chicks No 1,000 and 1,001 blinked into this world. Their birth signalled success for a decades-long program to bring North America’s largest bird back from the brink of extinction.

As a result of hunting, diminishing food and dwindling territory, the number of birds in the wild numbered just 22 in the early 1980s. Lead poisoning was also a major killer, caused by inadvertently ingesting bullets that hunters left inside dead animals that the enormous birds, which have a wingspan of 9.5ft and weigh up to 25lb, scavenged for food.

Facing imminent extinction, the few remaining wild birds were placed into a captive breeding program in 1987 and slowly released back into the wild starting in the early 1990s. Biologists estimate that the 1,000th and 1,001st chicks hatched in May this year, but they were only able to confirm their existence over the past several days, because the raptors build their nests inside caves carved into steep, sometimes inaccessible cliffs. “You know, condors can be secretive,” said Janice Stroud-Settles, a wildlife biologist at Zion National Park in Utah.

After noticing that one condor couple seemed to be taking shifts scavenging for food, “we suspected that they’d hatched a new chick”, Stroud-Settles said. Field researchers eventually captured a photo of the 1,000th chick after rappelling off a cliff across from the birds’ nest cave. “When we confirmed it … it was just this feeling of overwhelming joy,” she said.

The 1,000th hatchling’s parents were both born in captivity, and the mother has already lost two chicks. Her firstborn probably died – as many baby condors do – in an initial, unsuccessful attempt to fledge (AKA fly) the nest, park officials say. She found herself unable to properly care for her second chick after her mate died of lead poisoning.

“Now that she’s re-coupled with a new mate, we’re hoping this chick will successfully fledge once it’s old enough to fly – sometime in the fall,” Stroud-Settles said, noting that the nesting site she chose has a large “porch” area where the growing chick can practice flapping before taking its perilous first flight.

The 1,001st chick, which was also born to parents bred in captivity, lives in a nest near the north rim of the Grand Canyon. And researchers are currently searching for up to four more chicks that may have hatched since, said Tim Hauck, who manages the condor program at The Peregrine Fund, a non-profit focused on protecting birds of prey. The government keeps a “Condor Gossip Chart” to help biologists track new couplings and births.

The fact that so many chicks are being born into the wild, “is really special – a sign of progress”, Hauck said.

But the species is still classified as critically endangered by the IUCN and faces multiple threats, including the ongoing menace of lead poisoning.

A law that went into effect this month has made it illegal to use lead ammunition to hunt any game in California. In Utah and Arizona, however, conservationists have taken a different approach. Because a straight ban could alienate hunters, conservationists are encouraging locals to reduce their use of lead bullets through a voluntary program. “Ink on paper doesn’t necessarily change behavior,” said Chris Parish, the director of global conservation at The Peregrine Fund. “People aren’t inclined to follow rules they don’t understand, so here in Utah and Arizona we’re focusing on education and explaining to hunters why it’s important to cut down on lead bullets.”

The total living population of California condors now numbers more than 500, with more than half in the wild. The oldest bird being tracked in the condor restoration program is 24, but researchers estimate that California condors can live up to 70 years. They are very gregarious animals who get together in large groups and “like humans, tend to mate for life”, noted Stroud-Settles.

“I just love them,” she said. “They might look a little weird, but there’s so much beauty behind the ugliness.”

 9 
 on: Today at 04:01 AM 
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Hubble spots black hole surrounded by material that shouldn’t be there

Mike Wehner
BGR
7/17/2019

The Hubble Space Telescope, which is operated by NASA and the ESA, is fantastic for spotting objects residing in the distant reaches of space. Black holes, which are impossible to actually see, give their position away thanks to the galaxies that often surround them, but a new survey has revealed a black hole with a disc of material that, according to what we think we know about black holes, shouldn’t even be there.

The black hole sits at the heart of galaxy NGC 3147, a spiral galaxy sitting a whopping 130 million light-years from Earth. Because of the status of the galaxy, researchers would have guessed that the black hole was essentially starving, but the presence of a material disc throws that assumption into question.

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Active galaxies that feed supermassive black holes at their centers often produce a ring of debris that encircles the black hole. When material gets too close it’s swallowed up, but in less active galaxies the black holes at their core don’t have the gravitational might to continuously draw material from the surrounding galaxy.

NGC 3147 should be one of those galaxies, and scientists assumed its black hole was starving for matter before they spotted the material disc speeding around the center at over 10 percent the speed of light. That’s the kind of thing scientists would expect to spot circling a black hole that’s feasting on matter at the heart of a much more active galaxy.

“The type of disc we see is a scaled-down quasar that we did not expect to exist,” Stefano Bianchi, first author of a new paper on the black hole published Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, said in a statement. “It’s the same type of disc we see in objects that are 1000 or even 100 000 times more luminous. The predictions of current models for very faint active galaxies clearly failed.”

Going forward, the team plans on setting its sights on similar galaxies to determine whether this observation is representative of a trend or just a bizarre anomaly.
Image Source: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

 10 
 on: Today at 03:58 AM 
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Release of non-native game birds to be challenged in court

Wild Justice plans legal action over environmental impact of shooting industry’s release of 50m non-native birds each year

Patrick Barkham
Guardian
Thu 18 Jul 2019 10.00 BST

The legality of releasing 50 million non-native pheasants and partridges into the British countryside each year is to be challenged in the courts by a new crowdfunded campaign.

The government should be forced to carry out environmental assessments of the impact of the shooting industry’s release of game birds into the wild each year, according to Wild Justice, a campaign group led by environmentalists Mark Avery, Ruth Tingay and Chris Packham.

Lawyers for Wild Justice believe that in failing to carry out such studies, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is in breach of the EU habitats directive.

Avery said: “If you were building a supermarket near a special area of conservation or other protected area, it would be assessed for its impact on protected sites. We don’t see that there is anything different in releasing 50 million non-native birds into the countryside, a number that is going up all the time.

“There is reasonable evidence that these birds could be having an impact. People forget that pheasants go around gobbling up adders, lizards and all sorts of invertebrates. All these dead pheasants [from shooting and roadkill] are feeding foxes, carrion crows and others, which go on to eat other, rarer species.

“This is a serious legal challenge and we hope to get people talking about pheasant shooting for months to come.”

The action comes after new research revealed a link between pheasant shoots and higher numbers of avian predators such as crows and buzzards. Other European countries release far fewer game birds – three million captive-reared birds are put into the Spanish countryside each year, and about 15 million in France.

Packham, a director of Wild Justice, said: “The UK’s shooting industry is one of the least regulated in Europe, with no centralised collection of any data. What is blindingly obvious to anyone with even a basic understanding of natural sciences is that dumping at least 50 million non-native birds into the UK countryside will have a profound effect on its ecology – it’s about time we measured what that effect is.”

    The fact that the government doesn't know or care how many [birds] are released will be no surprise to conservationists
    Ruth Tingay

Tingay, a fellow director, added: “It’s worth noting that the 50+ million figure is only a guesstimate, made by the shooting industry six years ago. For all we know there could be 100 million pheasants and red-legged partridges being let loose in the countryside every year. The fact that the government doesn’t know or care how many are released will come as no surprise to conservationists who have watched this government put vested interests ahead of wildlife conservation time and time and time again.”

Wild Justice has sent a letter notifying Defra of its intention to take action, and is now campaigning to raise £44,500 to seek a judicial review of Defra’s failure to assess the impact of releasing and shooting non-native game birds.

The move follows Wild Justice’s successful challenge to the government’s system of “general licences” that allowed people to freely shoot certain “pest species” of bird. Natural England abruptly removed the licences earlier this year after Wild Justice argued they were illegal. Since then, new temporary licences have been issued to allow more restricted killing of certain species such as carrion crows to protect livestock.

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