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Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 72,643

Journal Archives

Jamaal Bowman Wants to Reimagine the Democratic Party

The Root

Jamaal Bowman believes the Democratic Party needs a makeover. That’s why he’s been so outspoken over former President Barack Obama’s anti-defund the police remarks. Of course, he’s not dissing the first negro-in-chief. Bowman just believes Obama isn’t a relevant voice who can speak to the millions of people who rose up this summer after the killing of George Floyd by police. Bowman, who is set to be sworn into Congress on Jan. 3, has been very vocal about Obama’s “defund the police” comments and believes his center-left to moderate approach won’t energize the party’s growth.

“I don’t think Obama is the standard we should be striving towards,” Bowman told The Root. “I think the Squad is more of a standard we should be striving towards because I think the Squad is more responsive to what’s happening today in our streets. I think Obama represents a certain demographic of the Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party is a big and diverse tent. I think the Squad and myself represent more of what’s happening right now in the party, on the ground, in the streets—particularly with parts of the community that we haven’t always engaged very well.”

But his critiques don’t end there.

The party is full of moderates who treat comparisons to socialism like a Breitbart report accusing them of wearing blackface in college. The country is bracing for a long recovery from COVID-19 with more than 318,000 dead (and counting), and survivors are out of work and are enduring lifelong health complications from coronavirus. Policies like providing rent relief, Medicare for all, defunding the police and ending America’s carceral state aren’t just slogans; they are policy needs for America’s most oppressed people. But Democrats can’t champion those views until they disentangle themselves from neoliberalism and fears of socialism. Indeed, the party has a messaging problem, but, more to the point, Democrats need more timely and relevant messengers, as Bowman sees it.

The Root is an African American-oriented online magazine.

Biden poised to nominate Connecticut education chief Miguel Cardona as education secretary

Source: CNN

(CNN)President-elect Joe Biden is poised to nominate Connecticut education commissioner Miguel Cardona as his education secretary, two people familiar with the matter say, a decision that could be one of the final Cabinet selections before Christmas.

Biden has set a goal of reopening most schools within the first 100 days of taking office, a position that has touched off controversy with some teachers' unions. Cardona has been a leading proponent of sending children back to school, saying too many students are falling behind during virtual learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden has pledged to select a schoolteacher to serve as education secretary. Cardona fits that bill, starting his career nearly two decades ago as an elementary school teacher in Connecticut before becoming a principal. He was named the state's top education official in August 2019.

Cardona, whose parents moved from Puerto Rico to Connecticut, would be another high-profile Latino in the Cabinet if confirmed by the US Senate. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has urged Biden to select Cardona.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/21/politics/miguel-cardona-education-secretary/index.html

Feds have discussed making a legal request for Giuliani's electronic communications, say two sources

Source: NBC News

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors have discussed making a legal request for Rudy Giuliani's electronic communications, two sources familiar with the probe tell NBC News, a sign that the investigation into President Donald Trump's personal attorney remains active and may soon be ramping up.

Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York have been in communication about their desire to see Giuliani's emails with Justice Department officials in Washington, the two sources said. The SDNY needs Washington's approval before its prosecutors can ask a judge to sign a search warrant for materials that may be protected by attorney-client privilege, according to department policy. It is not known whether that approval has been granted by Washington to the SDNY.

The scope of the current investigation is unclear, but In October 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that SDNY prosecutors were reviewing Giuliani's bank records as part of an investigation into his dealings in Ukraine. Two of his former associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested that month on charges of campaign finance fraud and have since been charged with additional crimes related to wire fraud conspiracy. Parnas and Fruman have pleaded not guilty.

In February, the Washington Post reported that prosecutors were contacting witnesses and seeking to collect additional documents as part of their investigation into Giuliani.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna1250714

The Full(est Possible) Story of the Four Seasons Total Landscaping Press Conference

New York Magazine

On the afternoon of November 13, Mike Siravo was standing outside his family’s landscaping business in Northeast Philadelphia, dressed in khakis and a company polo shirt, watching as strangers pulled up in nice cars, parked without care on the busy street, and approached the barbed-wire-topped fence with iPhones gripped in outstretched hands. They all came for the same reason: to see for themselves the words FOUR SEASONS TOTAL LANDSCAPING. SINCE 1992. PARKING ONLY. ALL OTHERS WILL BE TOWED AT OWNERS’ EXPENSE. In packs, they laughed openly. Alone, they wore bemused expressions, eyes focused on their screens. All of them spent a few minutes taking in the sight and, more importantly, documenting their visit with selfies.

Workers walked in and out of the parking lot, sometimes shaking their heads but mostly keeping them down and not saying much to any of the outsiders for whom the landscaping company was now an unusual monument to the end of America, or the end of the thing that had symbolized the end of America, or something. It was three o’clock on a workday. “I’m just an employee,” one of them said. “I don’t know anything.”

A man on a bicycle paused near the front office to stare at the building. On the other side of the blinds, there were desks and filing cabinets illuminated by fluorescent light and people going about their day, which would have been a normal one were it not for the 20,000 T-shirt orders to process and the intrusion of tourists who saw the place as some kind of zoo exhibition. There was an awkward silence, but then Siravo smiled and shrugged in the direction of the sidewalk, asking the curious bicyclist the obvious question: Was he looking for a photo? He leapt down the steps to take the man’s phone and, with the enthusiasm of a mall photographer, instructed him how to pose. Siravo leaned back into the street, making sure the angle captured the green-and-white awning with the company name.

A couple of feet away, a family of four was staging a holiday card. Lois Neuberger and Matthew Gold said they were in town from California, visiting their daughter at school, when it occurred to them they were just a short distance from the festive greeting–slash–political meme of a lifetime. “It’s become such a thing that we decided it would be a fun idea,” Gold said with a laugh. “Everyone will get it.” (Including me, in the literal sense, since the Neuberger-Golds kindly added my address to their mailing list.)

By then, there were all sorts of rumors on State Road about the Siravo family’s connections with the Trump campaign and the Philadelphia Republican Party. But it had been nearly a week since Rudy Giuliani’s press conference in the parking lot out back, and the only evidence anyone could turn up to support the theory that what had occurred here wasn’t just a freak public-relations accident or hilarious fuckup were a few pro-Trump Facebook posts from Mike’s mother, Marie Siravo, who owns the business. She had been shrewd enough to release a statement amid the frenzy that said the landscapers were not partisans and then to mostly avoid speaking to the media as she rushed out the door, clutching a Louis Vuitton bag, to a white Jeep with a FOUR SEASONS license plate on the front bumper. The Siravos were nothing if not good marketers, and by December, they’d sold more than $1 million of the merchandise they’d drawn up to capitalize on all the attention, like stickers that read “Make America Rake Again!” and “Lawn and Order!”

US Embassy courtyard named in Jared Kushner's honor

Source: Jerusalem Post

The US Embassy courtyard in Jerusalem was named in honor of White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner on Monday. Kushner was recognized for his work on behalf of US President Donald Trump for regional peace and strengthening recognition of the biblical city as Israel’s capital.

The visiting US delegation headed by Kushner stopped in the embassy in the afternoon for a small ceremony with US Ambassador David Friedman, who unveiled a copper plaque on the courtyard wall and read from it.

“Kushner courtyard, dedicated in honor of Jared Kushner and inspired by his relentless pursuit of peace,” Friedman read.

“When there is peace in this region, we will look back upon this day and remember that the journey for peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth,” he said, quoting Kushner’s remarks at the ceremony that celebrated the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Read more: https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/us-embassy-courtyard-named-in-jared-kushners-honor-652823

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly will 'of course' run for re-election in 2022, spokeswoman says BY KATIE BERN

Source: Kansas City Star

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is “of course” running for reelection in 2022, a spokeswoman said Friday, after Republicans in recent days had treated a second campaign by the incumbent Democrat as an open question.

Kelly’s spokeswoman Lauren Fitzgerald in a statement said the governor is running for reelection but added the she is currently “focused on the state’s response to COVID-19 and continuing Kansas’ economic recovery.”

The announcement is a response to speculation that started Monday when she introduced Commerce Secretary David Toland as the state’s new lieutenant governor, replacing Lynn Rogers, who will become State Treasurer.

Read more: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/election/article247950295.html

Some White House advisers fear Trump's final days

Source: CNN

(CNN)President Donald Trump has turned to a fringe group of advisers peddling increasingly dubious tactics to overturn the results of the election, creating a dire situation that multiple senior officials and people close to the President say has led to new levels of uncertainty at how Trump will resist the coming end to his tenure.

"No one is sure where this is heading," one official said on Monday. "He's still the President for another month."

Conspiracist lawyer Sidney Powell, disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, onetime chief strategist Steve Bannon, hawkish trade adviser Peter Navarro and the eccentric founder of the retail website Overstock have all recently found themselves in the Oval Office or on the telephone advising Trump on new last-ditch efforts to reverse his loss. That's in addition to Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has been feeding the President's conspiracy theories for weeks and who, along with Powell, was seen again at the White House on Monday.

In the process, Trump has mostly shunned those working inside the government, leading to growing fears of how he may lash out in the four weeks he has remaining in the White House -- or at how he may resist leaving the building come Inauguration Day.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/21/politics/trump-white-house-sidney-powell/index.html

West Point accuses more than 70 cadets of cheating in worst academic scandal in nearly 45 years

Source: USA Today

WASHINGTON – More than 70 cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point were accused of cheating on a math exam, the worst academic scandal since the 1970s at the Army's premier training ground for officers.

Fifty-eight cadets admitted cheating on the exam, which was administered remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of them have been enrolled in a rehabilitation program and will be on probation for the remainder of their time at the academy. Others resigned, and some face hearings that could result in their expulsion.

The scandal strikes at the heart of the academy's reputation for rectitude, espoused by its own moral code, which is literally etched in stone:

“A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”

Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/12/21/west-point-catches-70-cadets-worst-cheating-scandal-50-years/5856130002/

New mutation of coronavirus prompts Inslee to issue travel restrictions on arrivals from UK

Source: Seattle Times

Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday announced new travel restrictions for people arriving from the United Kingdom, South Africa and other nations where a new variant of of the novel coronavirus has been reported.

Early estimates indicate that the new mutation of the virus, while not more deadly or vaccine resistant, spreads faster and more easily than prior strains.

Inslee’s new proclamation requires anyone arriving in Washington from those countries within the last 14 days to quarantine for 14 days and includes those who have recently arrived.

More than 40 countries have banned travel from the United Kingdom over the last several days.

Read more: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/new-mutation-of-coronavirus-prompts-inslee-to-issue-travel-restrictions-on-arrivals-from-united-kingdom-elsewhere
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