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Profile Information

Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 73,103

Journal Archives

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny dupes spy into revealing how he was poisoned

Source: CNN

Moscow (CNN)A Russian agent sent to tail opposition leader Alexey Navalny has revealed how he was poisoned in August -- with the lethal nerve agent Novichok planted in his underpants.

The stunning disclosure from an agent who belonged to an elite toxins team in Russia's FSB security service came in a lengthy phone call following the unmasking of the unit by CNN and the online investigative outfit Bellingcat last week.

In what he was told was a debriefing, Konstantin Kudryavtsev also talked about others involved in the poisoning in the Siberian city of Tomsk, and how he was sent to clean things up.

But the agent was not speaking to an official in Russia's National Security Council as he thought. He was talking to Navalny himself, who almost died after being poisoned in August.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/21/europe/russia-navalny-poisoning-underpants-ward/index.html

Republicans desperate to avoid floor fight over Electoral College vote

Source: The Hill

National Republicans are desperate to avoid a floor fight in Congress over the certification of the Electoral College vote next month, believing it would be horrible politics to continue waging what most recognize to be a hopeless battle to overturn the outcome of the election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has intervened, asking his members not to join Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) or any other House members looking to object to the results on Jan. 6, when Congress meets to certify the Electoral College count.

President Trump is waging a pressure campaign to get senators to revolt. Incoming Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), who will be sworn in Jan. 3, has said he’ll join the floor fight and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has said he believes the election was “stolen” from Trump, is always a wild card.

Republican strategists are hoping McConnell can squash the insurgency, believing the debate over Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of the 2020 election is tearing the party apart ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia that will determine the balance of power in the Senate.

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/530910-republicans-desperate-to-avoid-floor-fight-over-electoral-college-vote

NY governor calls for bans on UK flights amid surge in virus variant in London, southern England

Source: The Hill

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Sunday that flights from the U.K. should be banned in response to the emergence of a more infectious coronavirus strain in London and southern England.

In a statement Sunday, the governor blasted the Trump administration for not implementing such a shutdown, saying it failed to learn from the initial of the virus in the spring.

“The United States has a number of flights coming in from the UK each day and we have done absolutely nothing. To me, this is reprehensible because this is what happened in the spring," Cuomo said in a statement Sunday.

"How many times in life do you have to make the same mistake before you learn? The federal government is being grossly negligent just like the spring, and every day they do nothing on this problem, they do something,” he added. “It's high time the federal government takes swift action, because today that variant is getting on a plane and landing in JFK, and all it takes is one person."

Read more: https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/531095-ny-governor-calls-for-bans-on-uk-flights-amid-surge-in-virus-variant

Progressives look for reset after disappointing year


Progressives started 2020 with the White House within their reach.

They’re ending it in a much more familiar place: on the march in ultra-liberal areas, but still without any mainstream electoral breakthroughs at the national level.

It’s a demoralizing conclusion to a year that began with so much promise. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) raised hundreds of millions of dollars in grassroots donations and even seized the lead at different times in the presidential primary, but their bids for the highest office stalled. The left also hoped this would be the year it proved that its bold message could capture swing seats in Congress — but that effort flopped, too.

“Progressives are like a superstar young athlete that is supposed to be coming into his prime but has still not established himself as a starter, let alone an all-star,” said Max Berger, the former director of progressive outreach for Warren’s presidential campaign. “We had a better showing this past year than we’ve had in a long time, but it’s still much worse than we might have hoped.”

In interviews with nearly a dozen left-wing elected officials, activists and aides, progressives described 2020 as a mixed bag. They are deeply disappointed by the fall of their standard-bearers in the presidential race and lack of swing-seat trophies in Congress. But they also consider it a serious accomplishment that the so-called Squad in the House is growing and that they proved the upset by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) two years ago was no fluke.

U.K. in crisis

Source: Axios

At least 30 countries, including 17 in the neighboring European Union, have banned flights from the United Kingdom after the British government warned that a new variant of the coronavirus could be up to 70% more transmissible.

Why it matters: Supply chains are being disrupted just days before the U.K. is set to end the Brexit transition period without a free trade agreement with the EU — its largest and closest trading partner. A no-deal Brexit could cause massive damage to a British economy that's already been ravaged by the pandemic.

Driving the news: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to hold an emergency meeting of advisers after France announced Sunday that it would close its borders for 48 hours, blocking off ports that account for roughly 20% of the U.K.’s trade in goods, according to AP.

The government has urged people not to travel to the county of Kent, which hosts many of the cross-channel ports used for access to the European continent and sees about 10,000 freight trucks a day through the Dover-Calais crossing.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/uk-crisis-coronavirus-variant-brexit-542a3a94-21e4-4ac7-b00e-87a96e5db2ee.html

Trump campaign brings new U.S. Supreme Court challenge over Pennsylvania's 2020 election

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and overturn several decisions the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made regarding the 2020 election, saying the court overstepped its bounds and “the outcome of the election for the Presidency of the United States hangs in the balance.”

The campaign on Sunday filed a cert petition and a motion to expedite, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to fast-track the case because of the impending Jan. 6 meeting of Congress to receive the Electoral College results and the Jan. 20 inauguration.

The challenge doesn’t center on any claims of voter fraud, despite Trump’s repeated use of baseless conspiracy theories to attack the election. Instead, it challenges three Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions on mail ballots and says the state court overstepped its constitutional role. Those opinions, which resolved multiple cases, prohibited counties from comparing mail ballot signatures to those on file; said campaigns and political parties can’t challenge ballots as they are being processed and counted; allowed limitations on observers to the vote count in Philadelphia; and allowed ballots to count even if voters had forgotten to fill out the address or date on the envelope.

In making those decisions, the campaign argues, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court violated the U.S. Constitution in three ways: its due process clause; its equal protection guarantees, by treating ballots differently in different counties; and by taking the state legislature’s power to determine how federal elections are run.

Read more: https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/trump-appeals-pa-supreme-court-2020-election-decisions-20201220.html

Thank you Sir, may I have another!

BREAKING: Netherlands, Belgium and Germany ban flights from UK



The truth in Black and white: An apology from The Kansas City Star

Today we are telling the story of a powerful local business that has done wrong.

For 140 years, it has been one of the most influential forces in shaping Kansas City and the region. And yet for much of its early history — through sins of both commission and omission — it disenfranchised, ignored and scorned generations of Black Kansas Citians. It reinforced Jim Crow laws and redlining. Decade after early decade it robbed an entire community of opportunity, dignity, justice and recognition.

That business is The Kansas City Star.

Before I say more, I feel it to be my moral obligation to express what is in the hearts and minds of the leadership and staff of an organization that is nearly as old as the city it loves and covers:

We are sorry.


Before you panic about "Martial Law", let me offer some informed analysis...

As someone who’s lived through a Martial Law imposition (Philippines 1972), let’s clarify what it means. Setting aside “the Military overthrows civilian Government” as an option (this requires a corrupt officer corps and non-professional enlisteds which we don’t have). Martial Law is applicable only in two situations: either a refusal by civilian authorities to abide by existing law (for example, Nationall Guard nationalized to enforce civil rights laws in the 60s); or civilian government unable to implement civil statutes. Neither applies in Trump’s situation. The Governments of AZ, GA, PA, MI and WI ARE able to carry out civilian laws and are doing so. Military leaders would not ignore those points simply because Trump yelled at them to.

BREAKING: Sen. Perdue will challenge EC results in Congress on Jan 6

Rep. Jim Jordan has said likewise. This will force Republican Senators to taking an embarrassing vote that won’t change anything.
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