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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 26,107

Journal Archives

Russian Newspaper Claims Chechnya Runs Six Prisons for Gay Men

Source: Newsweek Magazine


Russia’s foremost investigative newspaper claims it has located six prisons for gay men in Chechnya, casting doubts over its recent denials of reports that local gay men have been disappearing.

The independent weekly Novaya Gazeta published explosive reports citing LGBT activists and anonymous members of law enforcement in Russia earlier this month, detailing the detention of people of “non-traditional” sexual orientation in Russia’s conservative, predominantly Muslim region of Chechnya. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov called the reports “provocative” and told Russian President Vladimir Putin last week that there were no problems in the country.

Chechen officials have not been entirely convincing in brushing off the reports, however, as Heda Saratova, a member of Chechnya’s human rights council effectively confirmed to news channel RBC last week that the people in question were detained by police but not for being gay. Rather they were suspected of being “terrorists.” Kadyrov’s spokesman, Alvi Karimov, also denied there were any homosexuals in Chechnya.

Meanwhile, to question the veracity of the Novaya reporting, Kadyrov claimed that the newspaper had falsely named a cleric as a victim of the disappearances.

Read more: http://www.newsweek.com/russian-newspaper-reports-chechnya-runs-six-gay-prisons-589383

'Congrats on not committing sex crimes': Internet roasts Trump's 'historic accomplishments' in 100..

‘Congrats on not committing sex crimes’: Internet roasts Trump’s ‘historic accomplishments’ in 100 days

25 APR 2017 AT 10:50 ET

President Donald Trump last week insisted that it was “ridiculous” to judge his presidency based on its first 100 days — but on Tuesday the White House put up a web page bragging about all of Trump’s “historic accomplishments” in that time period.

Among other things, Trump boasted of having signed the most executive orders of any president in modern history over his first 100 days, while also “rolling back more regulations than any president in history.”

In fact, Trump has gone through his first 100 days without any major legislative accomplishments, and an Associated Press analysis has found that he’s accomplished fewer than half of the things that he pledged to do in his first 100 days.

Response on the internet was predictably brutal, as many Twitter users mocked Trump not only for his lack of positive achievements, but also the numerous times that he had embarrassed the country.





In Chicago, Obama tells young leaders that 'special interests dominate the debates in Washington'

By Amber Phillips and Juliet Eilperin April 24 at 4:41 PM

CHICAGO — In his first public appearance since leaving the White House in January, former president Barack Obama told young leaders here Monday that “special interests dominate the debates in Washington” and that getting involved in their communities is the best antidote to the divisiveness dominating the country's politics.

Obama, who has kept a relatively low public profile since the end of his second term, did not mention President Trump once during the 90-minute event at the University of Chicago, but said he was determined to galvanize younger Americans to do more politically because they were the ones best positioned to bridge the current political divide.

“The single most important thing I can do is to help in any way prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world,” said Obama, who sat onstage, wearing a black suit, white button-down shirt and no tie, with a half-dozen Chicago-area activists in their teens and 20s, as dozens more student leaders watched on.

He admitted that he failed to realize his “aspirational” goal of uniting Americans in red and blue states, but said the country is not as divided as it sometimes seems.

“That was an aspirational comment,” the former president said of his famous 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, prompting laughter from the audience at the University of Chicago. He added that when talking to individual Americans from different political backgrounds, you learn that “there’s a lot more that people have in common” than it would appear. “But, obviously, it’s not true when it comes to our politics and our civic life.”


Sotomayor sees 'disturbing trend' of unequal treatment regarding police, alleged victims

By Robert Barnes April 24 at 6:25 PM

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote Monday that the court is developing a “disturbing trend” of siding with police officers accused of excessive force at the expense of their alleged victims, a notion disputed by two of her colleagues.

Sotomayor was arguing that the court should have accepted the case of Richardo Salazar-Limon, who was shot in the back by Houston police officer Chris Thompson in 2010. A federal district judge dismissed Salazar-Limon’s suit before trial, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld that decision.

What happened in the incident that left Salazar-Limon crippled is disputed, Sotomayor wrote in her dissent, and a decision on which man is telling the truth should be made by “a jury sitting as finder of fact, not a judge reviewing a paper record.”

What made Sotomayor’s dissent unusual was the criticism of the court’s past decisions.

Her colleagues’ failure to accept the case “continues a disturbing trend regarding the use of this court’s resources,” Sotomayor wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


U.S. Senate candidate uses image of China to attack construction in D.C.

By David Weigel April 24 at 7:19 PM

Businessman and philanthropist Jeff Bartos has entered the 2018 race against Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), one of 10 Democrats seeking reelection in a state President Trump won last year. Bartos’s introduction video hits on a theme several Trump-era Republicans have embraced — that “Washington is booming” as political insiders take care of themselves.

The problem: Bartos’s campaign has mixed up Washington with a city in China.

In the video, as Bartos says there are “construction cranes everywhere” in Washington, there’s a jarring, sweeping image of girders going up in a city much larger than Washington. On Getty Images, it’s labeled “aerial view of construction, shoot by drone,” and supplemental information makes clear that the picture is from the city of Hangzhou, with more than 11 times the population of Washington — and with no height limit.

An email to Bartos’s campaign went unanswered.



The disrupter president and the do-little Congress

By Dan Balz Chief correspondent April 24 at 6:31 PM

Will President Trump and congressional Republicans ever understand one another? Over time, they might accomplish things of mutual interest. Big things, perhaps. But the mismatch between the disrupter president and what has been a business-as-usual, do-little Congress seems especially evident as the 100-day mark of the administration nears.

The president came to Washington on a mission to shake up the status quo. He prizes big and bold action and, absent that, a little showmanship. He wants to make this week one of the best of his short tenure, so he’s loading up with activities that will keep him visible and in motion. But as of Monday, he has no legislative accomplishment to pin on his wall and the prospects for changing that this week are mixed at best.

No wonder Trump is dissatisfied and impatient. Congress has been mired in status quo politics for years. Now, even with a president of their own party and majorities in the House and Senate, congressional Republicans have been stuck. Trump tries to prod Congress to act, not always forgiving of why things move slowly. Congressional leaders try to educate the president on the limits and culture of the legislative process.

The past few days have highlighted the disconnect between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Trump wants to tell the world that he has begun to change Washington and the country big time, that he is moving the government in dramatically new directions. His advisers are armed with talking points to prove it — steps that highlight movement on campaign promises on immigration and trade and business regulation.

To really make good on his promise to change the status quo, however, the president needs help from Congress. He and congressional Republicans suffered an embarrassing setback this spring when House leaders pulled the bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. Trump would like to see the House approve a bill to do that this week. Officials continue to push for that to happen.


Robert Siegel Stepping Down As 'All Things Considered' Host In 2018

Source: NPR

April 25, 201710:55 AM ET

Robert Siegel, whose career with NPR has spanned more than four decades, will be stepping down as co-host of NPR's All Things Considered next year. One of the most distinctive voices on NPR's airwaves, Siegel will be leaving the host's chair in January 2018. He has hosted the show for 30 years.

"This is a decision long in the making and not an easy one," Siegel said. "I've had the greatest job I can think of, working with the finest colleagues anyone could ask for, for as long a stretch as I could imagine. But, looking ahead to my 70s (which start all too soon) I feel that it is time for me to begin a new phase of life. Over the next few months, I hope to figure out what that will be."

Siegel started at NPR as a newscaster in 1976. He was a senior editor in NPR's London bureau and the director of the news and information department before he became host of All Things Considered in 1987.

Siegel "reported from every corner of the country and around the world," NPR executives said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/04/25/525552445/robert-siegel-stepping-down-as-all-things-considered-host-in-2018?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20170425&utm_campaign=breakingnews&utm_term=nprnews

Flynn likely broke the law by failing to disclose foreign payments, House Oversight leaders say

Source: The Washington Post

By Karoun Demirjian April 25 at 11:48 AM

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn likely broke the law by failing to disclose foreign income he earned from Russia and Turkey, the heads of the House Oversight Committee said Tuesday.

Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said they believe Flynn neither received permission nor fully disclosed income he earned for a speaking engagement in Russia and lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey when he applied to reinstate his security clearance, after viewing two classified memos and Flynns disclosure form in a private briefing Tuesday morning.

Personally I see no evidence or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law, Chaffetz told reporters following the briefing.

He was supposed to get permission, he was supposed to report it, and he didnt, Cummings said.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/flynn-likely-broke-the-law-by-failing-to-disclose-foreign-payments-house-committee-says/2017/04/25/249fc22c-29cc-11e7-a616-d7c8a68c1a66_story.html?pushid=58ff707c09d0d71d00000012&tid=notifi_push_breaking-news&

Lawmakers: Flynn did not disclose Russia payments in security clearance application

By AUSTIN WRIGHT 04/25/17 11:17 AM EDT

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn did not disclose payments for a 2015 speech in Moscow in his security clearance application for 2016, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee told reporters Tuesday.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent a request last month to the White House and federal agencies seeking the security clearance applications. Cummings said the White House declined in a letter to provide requested information about Flynn to the Oversight panel.

Flynn resigned as national security adviser after it became clear he had misled his colleagues about the nature of his phone calls with Russia's ambassador.



Mexico Worries That A New Border Wall Will Worsen Flooding

Source: NPR

April 25, 20174:52 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition


As the White House pushes Congress to fund President Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall, a new wrinkle has emerged that could stymie parts of the massive project.

Mexican engineers believe construction of the border barrier may violate a 47-year-old treaty governing the shared waters of the Rio Grande. If Mexico protests, the fate of the wall could end up in an international court.

Antonio Rascón, chief Mexican engineer on the International Boundary and Water Commission, said in an interview with NPR that some border wall proposals he has seen would violate the treaty, and that Mexico would not stand for that.

"A concrete wall that blocks trans-border water movement is a total obstruction. If they plan that type of project, we will oppose it," he said in his first public comments on the border wall.

Read more: http://www.npr.org/2017/04/25/525383494/trump-s-proposed-u-s-mexico-border-wall-may-violate-1970-treaty?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20170425&utm_campaign=breakingnews&utm_term=nprnews

Trump blames 'fake media' as he insists he's not backing off border wall

Source: Politico

By LOUIS NELSON 04/25/17 09:27 AM EDT

President Donald Trump on Tuesday aggressively pushed back against the idea that he’s easing away from his pledge to build a massive border wall, imploring his Twitter followers to not “let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL.”

A border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, paid for by the Mexican government, was a foundation of Trump’s campaign, and his overall hard-line stance on immigration became a rallying cry for his supporters, who often chanted “build that wall” at his events. But as president, Trump has stepped back, albeit slightly, from his position that Mexico would pay for the wall, instead suggesting that taxpayers might foot the initial bill for the sake of expediency. Mexico will eventually pay the U.S. back, Trump has insisted, even though Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has been steadfast in his position that his nation will not pay for the wall under any circumstances.

And with a funding bill due this week to avoid a potentially embarrassing government shutdown, Trump has signaled that he will not insist that money for the wall be included in the must-pass legislation. Still, he has insisted that his stance on the necessity of a border wall has not changed.

“Don't let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL,” he wrote on Twitter. “It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking etc.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/25/trump-fake-news-border-wall-237573
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