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Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 45,598
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Russia’s transparency is gone. Pro-Putin radicals now attack independent journalists, famous intellectuals, politicians, and civil society activists, and the violence remains unpunished.
On Thursday, dozens of nationalists wearing ribbons of Saint George poured a bottle of green disinfectant over the face of internationally acclaimed novelist Lyudmila Ulitskaya. The well-organized attackers cursed high school children and their teachers—visitors to Moscow who arrived from Russia’s regions to participate in a history contest devoted to memories of Stalin’s political repression.
One of the contest’s jury members, Irina Yasina, witnessed the attacks. The wheelchair-bound Yasina said that the radical activists scared her and the students she was working with. “Police did not stop the criminals, that means the state approves of this shameful, ugly attacks on children and women,” Yasina told The Daily Beast. “Russia is closing, withdrawing into some brutal self-isolated world, where young people do not want to remember their own history,” she said.
One part of the country, the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, has already closed its doors for outside observers. Moscow reporters described the republic as “hell,” where locals suffer constant abductions and arrests but can find no sympathy or support from the Russian authorities. A dark new trend is the abduction of Chechen intellectuals who have a different opinion from the republic’s authoritarian leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. The most recent cases include a university professor, a well-known poet, and two book publishers.
Can't wait to read Snowden's next hot take about this in the Guardian... Yeah, right...
Have at it, Snowdenistas...
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue May 3, 2016, 02:39 PM (1 replies)
The following was delivered before the Congressional Caucus for Black Women and Girls earlier today.
I hold a professorship named for one of the most extraordinary Americans to live in the twentieth century. Born in 1928, Maya Angelou experienced childhood poverty and dislocation. She was raped by an adult man when she only seven years old. The brutality and unresolved trauma resulting from that early sexual violence stole her voice and shaped her young adulthood. Eventually she became an unwed teen mother. More than three generations after Maya's childhood, poverty, familial disruption, sexual violence, interrupted education, and teen pregnancy remain key barriers facing black girls in America's cities, towns, and rural communities.
Maya Angelou's story does not end with her struggles; it only begins there. She was guided out of silence by the loving hand of an educator. Her teacher did not practice zero tolerance or call a school resource officer to slam young Maya to the ground. She saw the brokenness of a girl child who needed to be drawn gently back into the world. She helped Maya regain her voice through a love of literature and poetry. As a girl Maya was burdened with poverty and brokenness, but she also encountered meaningful opportunities to learn, grow, and discover her talents while experiencing the care of her community. Maya transformed these opportunities into a life of singular accomplishment and remarkable contributions.
Maya became a fierce advocate for voting rights and human rights, working first with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and later with both Coretta Scott King and Dr. Betty Shabazz. Recognizing the importance of race and gender health disparities, Dr. Angelou gave her name to the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. In Washington, D.C., she enthusiastically contributed her name to the Maya Angelou Public Charter School offering second chances to young people emerging from juvenile incarceration. Maya Angelou's path was not always pretty or polite, but it always affirmed that Black Girls Rock and Black Women Matter.
Indeed, Maya Angelou's story embodies the barriers and pathways for black women and girls we have gathered to discuss today. I believe she would be pleased by this unprecedented gathering of scholars, activists, artists, journalists, citizens, and lawmakers committed to eliminating injustices black women face. I believe she would commend each of the co-chairs for the visionary leadership to develop the first Congressional Caucus for Black Women and Girls. And I believe she would ask of the larger legislative body, "What took so long?"
What took so long? After all, it is not safe to be a black girl in America.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 03:06 PM (3 replies)
The granddaddy of liberal internet news sites, Salon, has taken time off from begging the FBI to put Hillary Clinton in email jail, and urging young folk to skip voting this year if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, and is instead inviting you to consider, hey? Why not vote for Donald Trump? He may be a fascist, but there is one thing about him you cannot deny, and that is that Donald Trump is not Hillary Clinton. Salon ain’t lyin’! Vote Donald Trump, you guys, for all the many good reasons laid out by Walker Bragman (the non-Haha Goodman half of the He Man Hillary Hater Bois Club) in his masterpiece, A Liberal Case for Donald Trump: The Lesser of Two Evils Is Not at All Clear in 2016. Let’s learn stuff and things!
There are perhaps no three words more jarring to liberals than “President Donald Trump.” The GOP front-runner and presumptive nominee has undoubtedly made enemies with his nativist rhetoric and bellicose persona. That said, now that the race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, with the former secretary of state essentially guaranteed the nomination, many liberals and progressives are preparing, once again, to vote for the lesser of two evils. The choice may not be as clear as some Democrats believe — especially if Democrats can take back the Senate and assure themselves of a check on a GOP House.
Once you’ve let that sink in, try this: There is a liberal case to be made for Donald Trump. The prospect of Trump defeating Clinton this November is not necessarily the apocalypse that some would lead you to believe. Here are some of the reasons why.
Blah blah blah boring thing, okay, got it....
Read more at http://wonkette.com/601201/dear-salon-set-your-dick-on-fire-and-eat-it#l5CollEDrg8CG1Hc.99
Posted by Blue_Tires | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 03:00 PM (18 replies)
RICHMOND — As a veteran politician, Virginia Sen. Richard H. Black is no stranger to the grip-and-grin. But this was something extraordinary: a handshake with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A photo of their encounter in Damascus on Thursday zipped around the world via Twitter, the smiling, silver-haired state senator grasping the hand of a man the White House calls a brutal dictator.
At the same time, a series of airstrikes was being unleashed on rebel-controlled areas of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, destroying a hospital run by international aid groups and killing at least 60 people, including one of Aleppo’s last pediatricians. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Thursday that he was “outraged” by the attacks.
The image of Black, 71, shaking hands with Assad prompted outrage from some people but praise from others who, like Black, see Assad as a protector of Syrian Christians. It also prompted knowing head shakes and chuckles in Richmond, where the outspoken Loudoun County Republican has a reputation for going all out for causes he champions.
“Dick Black, I love him, but sometimes Dick is ready to take on the world,” said former state senator Ralph K. Smith, a GOP ally from Roanoke. Smith compared Black to another friend and Virginian, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, and said Black’s friends can relate to the televangelist’s devoted, but sometimes exasperated wife.
“She was the most supportive wife in the world, but sometimes she just wanted to say, ‘Jerry, shut up!’ ”
Syrian news media reported the meeting between Assad and Black on Thursday, one day after it disclosed that the lawmaker was visiting the country. Black confirmed his visit Wednesday via text message but did not respond to messages Thursday about his reported meeting with Assad.
Christ, what an asshole...
Posted by Blue_Tires | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 10:15 AM (5 replies)
From the 2014 Ferguson protests to the 2015 Baltimore uprising, many critics of the Black Lives Matter movement have sought to challenge black activists’ call for criminal justice reform by invoking the problem of crime in black communities.
But a new survey underscores what the people in these communities have long argued — that police brutality and crime are not mutually exclusive concerns for African Americans.
A YouGov survey of 1,000 Americans found that while 64 percent of respondents believe intra-communal violence is a bigger problem for black Americans than racial justice in the criminal justice system, the results diverge when race factors in: 71 percent of white respondents share this belief compared to 42 percent of black respondents.
A new survey finds that views on "black on black crime" diverge along racial lines. YouGovA new survey finds that views on "black-on-black crime" diverge along racial lines.
The results are not surprising: According to a 2013 Pew Research Survey, 37 percent of white people believed police treated black people in their community less fairly than white people, compared to 70 percent of black people. In 2014, two Stanford professors released a study that suggested white American voters were more likely to favor the criminal justice system when racial injustices were discussed.
But the degree to which African Americans diverge is also important: African Americans in the YouGov survey are concerned more with violence within the community, but only slightly more so. Thirty-six percent do not feel intra-communal violence is more important than addressing racial injustice in the criminal justice system. This suggests that African Americans may not prioritize the issues the same way, but it doesn't mean they discount either of them. And maybe a better question to ask is why are black people expected to choose between the two in the first place?
The question that fuels the YouGov poll is based on a fallacy. Choosing between intra-communal violence and racial disparities in the criminal justice system is a false dichotomy based on the myth of "black-on-black crime." Black people aren't uniquely predisposed to commit crimes against each other — crime is often racially segregated, based on a number of factors, including that most people commit crimes against people they either know or live near. According to the FBI's 2014 Uniform Crime Reports, close to 90 percent of African-American homicides were committed by other African Americans, while the majority (82 percent) of white American homicide victims were killed by other white people.
But it's also true that data has shown that there is implicit bias in policing practices, including black people being killed by police at disproportionately higher rates.
From Donald Trump to Spike Lee, "black-on-black crime" has been evoked to charge black people with the personal responsibility to make changes to complex issues rooted in structural inequalities. But there's no reason to assume black people can't and don't care about both.
Ah, yes... I fondly remember that nugget getting thrown in my face daily by certain low-count DUers during the Zimmerman incident... Don't think I've forgotten, either.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 09:05 AM (2 replies)
A Seattle man accused of threatening to cut out U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott’s tongue now faces felony charges.
King County prosecutors claim Jasper K. Bell made the threat because he was upset that McDermott, D-Seattle, was supporting Hilary Clinton for president. Currently jailed, Bell, 27, has been charged with intimidating a public servant and telephone harassment.
Bell had been fixated on McDermott for some time before the April 22 incident that saw him charged, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Susan Storey said in court paper. Bell is alleged to have made threatening calls to McDermott before arriving at his Seattle office that day.
“In one phone call he demanded the congressman’s home address and threatened to cut his tongue out,” Storey said in charging papers. “In another call he stated that the congressman would not be safe, even after he retires.”
McDermott, a long-serving liberal, announced in January that he would be retiring after 14 terms in Congress. A competitive primary contest is underway for the seat representing Washington’s deep-blue 7th District.
Witnesses at McDermott’s downtown Seattle office told police Bell was yelling and spitting, and banging his fists against the office windows. He was arrested hours after that 1 p.m. incident. McDermott canceled a public appearance due to the threats, Storey said, and had his staff take extra security precautions.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 08:59 AM (11 replies)
Source: NBC News
Sixteen U.S. military officials have been disciplined in their roles in the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan, according to a senior defense official, NBC News reported.
The official said the punishments will be non-judicial, and some will be career-ending. No criminal charges are pending.
Multiple defense officials told NBC News that the report into the investigation of the bombing in the city of Kunduz will be released on Friday. The new commander of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, will brief the findings.
President Barack Obama has apologized for the Oct. 3 airstrike, which was conducted as Afghan troops tried to retake the city from the Taliban. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan called the bombing a "tragic mistake."
Read more: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/Military-to-Release-Report-on-Doctors-Without-Borders-Hospital-Attack-Friday-377394321.html
For those of you keeping score, know that Russia hasn't even admitted any wrongdoing for any of the hospitals they have attacked, including the one earlier today...
Posted by Blue_Tires | Thu Apr 28, 2016, 05:18 PM (16 replies)
Back when he hosted a prime-time talk show on MSNBC, Ed Schultz divided the world into heroes and villains. The heroes usually included Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The villains were most Republicans, and especially Donald J. Trump. When Trump obsessed over Obama’s birth certificate and academic credentials in 2011, Schultz branded him “a racist.” When Trump flirted with running for president the next year, Schultz ridiculed him. “Who has shown any interest in Donald Trump being the next president of the United States other than Donald Trump?” he fumed. “Mr. Trump, stop embarrassing yourself!”
Another bad guy was Russian President Vladimir Putin. Schultz delighted in ripping conservatives for what he called their “love affair” with the Russian leader and his ability to make Obama look weak on the world stage. “They hate Obama so much they will even embrace the head of the KGB ... ‘Putie’ is their new hero!” Schultz said in one 2013 segment. In another, he smugly reminded conservatives about Putin’s “nasty human rights record” and the way his “reckless behavior” was “crippling” Russia. More generally, Schultz often framed GOP opposition to Obama as “anti-American” or “unpatriotic.”
That was all before last July, when MSNBC abruptly canceled The Ed Show after a six-year run and dumped the 62-year-old prairie populist from the network. By the time Schultz resurfaced this January, he had been reincarnated in a very different journalistic form: as a prime-time host, reporter and political analyst for RT America, the U.S. branch of the global cable network formerly known as Russia Today, funded by the Russian government.
Gone is the praise for Obama and Clinton. Gone, too, are the mocking references to “Putie.” And gone are the judgments about others’ patriotism. Schultz’s 8 p.m. RT show, The News with Ed Schultz, now features Putin-friendly discussions about the failings of U.S. policy in the Middle East, America’s “bloated” defense budget and the futility of NATO strategy.
More "useful idiots" on the left... Always interesting to see how much political overlap they have with Putin's regime...
Trump being advised by ex-U.S. Lieutenant General who favors closer Russia ties
Donald Trump is receiving foreign policy advice from a former U.S. military intelligence chief who wants the United States to work more closely with Russia to resolve global security issues, according to three sources.
The sources, former foreign policy officials in past administrations, said retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who was chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama from 2012-2014, has been informally advising Trump.
Trump, who is leading the Republican race to be the party's presidential candidate in November's election, said earlier this month that he would soon release a list of his foreign policy advisers, but has yet to do so. The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment about Flynn.
Flynn declined to comment when asked by Reuters whether he is advising Trump. Asked to describe his views about ties with Russia, he referred Reuters to his public statements.
The question of who has been advising Trump on national security issues has become more pertinent as prospects that the New York real estate mogul will secure the Republican nomination, possibly within weeks, have increased.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Thu Apr 28, 2016, 03:01 PM (1 replies)
Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s palace, is impressive by the standards of Palm Beach—less so when judged against the abodes of the world’s autocrats. It doesn’t, for instance, quite compare with Mezhyhirya, the gilded estate of deposed Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych. Trump may have 33 bathrooms and three bomb shelters, but his mansion lacks a herd of ostrich, a galleon parked in a pond, and a set of golden golf clubs. Yet the two properties are linked, not just in ostentatious spirit, but by the presence of one man. Trump and Yanukovych have shared the same political brain, an operative named Paul Manafort.
Ukrainians use the term “political technologist” as a favored synonym for electoral consultant. Trump turned to Manafort for what seemed at first a technical task: Manafort knows how to bullwhip and wheedle delegates at a contested convention. He’s done it before, assisting Gerald Ford in stifling Ronald Reagan’s insurgency at the GOP’s summer classic of 1976. In the conventions that followed, the Republican Party often handed Manafort control of the program and instructed him to stage-manage the show. He produced the morning-in-America convention of 1984 and the Bob Dole nostalgia-thon of 1996.
Given Manafort’s experience and skill set, it never made sense that he would be limited to such a narrow albeit crucial task as delegate accumulation. Indeed, it didn’t take long before he attempted to seize control of the Trump operation—managing the budget, buying advertising, steering Trump toward a teleprompter and away from flaming his opponents, appearing on air as a primary surrogate.
Some saw the hiring of Manafort as desperate, as Trump reaching for a relic from the distant past in the belated hope of compensating for a haphazard campaign infrastructure. In fact, securing Manafort was a coup. He is among the most significant political operatives of the past 40 years, and one of the most effective. He has revolutionized lobbying several times over, though he self-consciously refrains from broadcasting his influence. Unlike his old business partners, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater, you would never describe Manafort as flamboyant. He stays in luxury hotels, but orders room service and churns out memos. When he does venture from his suite for dinner with a group, he’ll sit at the end of the table and say next to nothing, giving the impression that he reserves his expensive opinions for private conversations with his clients. “Manafort is a person who doesn’t necessarily show himself. There’s nothing egotistical about him,” says the economist Anders Aslund, who advised the Ukrainian government. The late Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory described him as having a “smooth, noncommittal manner, ” though she also noted his “aggrieved brown eyes.” Despite his decades of amassing influence in Washington and other global capitals, he’s never been the subject of a full magazine profile. He distributes quotes to the press at the time and place of his choosing, which prior to his arrival on the Trump campaign, was almost never. (Indeed, he did not respond to requests to comment for this story.)
It's important to remind ourselves from time to time who the real enemy is, and what we'll be up against...
Posted by Blue_Tires | Thu Apr 28, 2016, 02:58 PM (18 replies)
Fresh out of college and working as an unpaid intern for a San Francisco nonprofit, I paid the bills by moonlighting at an Indian restaurant in the Pacific Heights neighborhood. My hostess job entailed long stretches of boredom punctuated by a cacophonous frenzy. There were icy glares from impatient diners and reprimands from managers for drifting from my podium, but compared with most restaurant workers, I was sitting pretty: My hourly rate exceeded California's minimum wage, I was tipped out by the servers at the end of each shift, and I even received health care benefits—a city mandate.
Very few of America's 11 million restaurant workers share my story. The federal minimum wage is a paltry $7.25 an hour, but in 18 states servers, bussers, and hosts are paid just $2.13—less than the price of a Big Mac. This is known as the federal "tipped minimum wage" because, in theory, these food workers will make up the difference in tips. Twenty-five states and DC have their own slightly higher tipped minimums. The remaining seven, including California, guarantee the full state minimum wage to all workers.
On the surface, tipping seems little more than a reward for astute recommendations and polite, speedy service. But the practice has unsavory roots, as Saru Jayaraman, a labor activist and author of Forked: A New Standard for American Dining, told me during a taping of Bite, the new food and politics podcast from Mother Jones. The origin of the word is unclear—one theory says "tip" is shorthand for "to insure promptness"; another suggests it's from 17th-century thief slang meaning "to give." In any case, European aristocrats popularized the habit of slipping gratuities to their hosts' servants, and by the mid-1800s rich Americans, hoping to flaunt their European sophistication, had brought the practice home.
Restaurants and rail operators, notably Pullman, embraced tipping primarily, Jayaraman says, because it enabled them to save money by hiring newly freed slaves to work for tips alone. Plenty of Americans frowned upon the practice, and a union-led movement begat bans on tipping in several states. The fervor spread to Europe, too, before fizzling in the United States—by 1926, the state tipping bans had been repealed.
America's first minimum-wage law, passed by Congress in 1938, allowed states to set a lower wage for tipped workers, but it wasn't until the '60s that labor advocates persuaded Congress to adopt a federal tipped minimum wage that increased in tandem with the regular minimum wage. In 1996, former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, who was then head of the National Restaurant Association, helped convince a Republican-led Congress to decouple the two wages. The tipped minimum has been stuck at $2.13 ever since.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Thu Apr 28, 2016, 02:52 PM (11 replies)