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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Massachusetts
Home country: United States
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 60,536

Journal Archives

Trump's presidential bid draws scorn and bemusement in Europe


With his distressed hairstyle, voluptuous female companions and love of the media spotlight, U.S. tycoon Donald Trump is no stranger to people on this side of the Atlantic.

But his bid to become president of the United States has got people scratching their heads.

Seen by many as a kind of cartoon character despite his business successes, "The Donald" has baffled and angered in equal measure with a series of controversial comments.

His remarks that many Mexican immigrants were rapists were widely reported in Europe and generally considered beyond the pale.

Trump's appearance on Thursday at a Scottish golf resort that he owns turned into a political circus. Instead of talking about fairways and greens, he was bombarded with questions on his Mexican comment and asked if he was a racist. He was unapologetic.

The fact that polls show him leading the race to be the Republican Party's nominee for the U.S. presidential election in November 2016 only adds to the bafflement.


How the daycare child abuse hysteria of the 1980s became a witch hunt

By Maura Casey July 31 at 10:06 AM

Maura Casey is a former editorial writer for the New York Times.


A Moral Panic in the 1980s

By Richard Beck

PublicAffairs. 323 pp. $26.99

TV news was no friend to those of us who had small children in the 1980s. Allegations of child sexual abuse in day-care centers swept the nation, with high-profile cases in California, North Carolina, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Minnesota and other states, leading to empty playgrounds, hyper-vigilant parents and the implication that behind every tree lurked a pedophile waiting to snatch our children. Sexual abuse is an awful crime, but the perpetrators are usually relatives or family friends, and less than 1 percent of cases take place in day-care centers. Nonetheless, 30 years ago America was described as experiencing an “epidemic” of sexual abuse in day care.

Richard Beck, an editor at N+1, does a herculean job of investigating why this happened in his absorbing book “We Believe the Children.” Beck makes the case that the sexual abuse trials of the 1980s yoked numerous undercurrents in American society: fear of crime; the decline of respect for traditional authority; homophobia (their homosexuality helped send some day-care workers to prison); the conservative backlash against feminism, which had encouraged women to work outside the home (with its resultant need for day care); and the reality that the patriarchal nuclear family had not just changed, it had become “incoherent.” Conservative evangelicals had just helped elect President Ronald Reagan, and many of them believed that “porn, gays, and women had run amok.”

This is quite a laundry list, but Beck does a good job of marshaling the evidence. Throw in, for good measure, journalists who were slow to question allegations that emerged not only of sexual abuse, but also of Satanic rituals and even human sacrifice, particularly in the McMartin Preschool case in Manhattan Beach, Calif., which dragged on for more than six excruciating years. The allegations persisted despite the fact that there were no missing people, no bodies and, oh yeah, virtually no evidence to bolster the claims. Geraldo Rivera added to the hysteria by airing, just before Halloween in 1988, a two-hour special, “Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground.”

“We believe the children” became both the unofficial motto of advocates for the prosecution and a catch-all response to those few who asked whether the accusers had completely lost their minds. The approach was based largely on the work of psychiatrist Roland Summit, who claimed that, of every 1,000 children who say they were sexually abused, only two are three are guilty of inventing or exaggerating. He also said it was normal for children who had been sexually abused to retract their claims and say they made it all up. The upshot: No matter what children said, they were sexually abused, and if you didn’t believe them, something was wrong with you.


Senate Republicans accidentally promote abortion

By Dana Milbank Opinion writer July 31 at 10:25 AM

Senate Republicans this week, teeming with righteous indignation, introduced S. 1881, “a bill to prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood of America.” Here’s a better name for it: the Abortion Promotion Act of 2015.

No doubt the authors of the legislation think that anything that hurts Planned Parenthood, the leading provider of abortions, would further the pro-life cause. But their proposal — defunding all Planned Parenthood operations in retribution for secret videos showing the group’s officials discussing the sale of fetal organs — would do far greater harm to fetuses than anything discussed in the videos.

There already is a ban on federal funding of abortion, with rare exceptions, at Planned Parenthood or anywhere else. The federal funds Senate Republicans propose taking away from Planned Parenthood are used largely to provide women with birth control. And because there simply isn’t a network of health-care providers capable of taking over this job if Planned Parenthood were denied funding, this would mean hundreds of thousands of women, if not millions, would over time lose access to birth control.

Take away women’s contraceptives, and a greater number of unintended pregnancies — and abortions — would inevitably result.

Consider: Of the 4.6 million people who receive care annually under Title X, the federal family-planning grant program, 1.7 million of them go to Planned Parenthood – and two thirds of women leave with some form of contraception. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and other authors of the Senate legislation claim that other providers in the family-planning network will pick up the slack. But Clare Coleman, president of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, says that’s nonsense.


U.S. officials make contact with rep for Cecil the lion’s killer amid extradition calls

By Elahe Izadi and Darryl Fears July 31 at 2:51 PM

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to talk to Walter Palmer. So far, that hasn't happened.

Investigators for the service knocked on the front door of Palmer's house, stopped by his dental office, called his telephone numbers and filled his inbox with e-mails. Palmer, a hunting enthusiast who is accused of illegally killing a rare African lion in Zimbabwe early this month, couldn't be lured out of hiding.

Late Thursday afternoon, though, the agency's Office of Law Enforcement was contacted by somebody on Palmer's behalf. "The Service's investigation is ongoing and appreciates that Dr. Palmer's representative reached out," the agency said in a statement Friday.

If and when he materializes, Palmer could face an extradition request from officials in Zimbabwe, who have signaled a request to pursue one.

"We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he can be held accountable for his illegal action," Zimbabwe's environment minister Oppah Muchinguri said at a news conference on Friday, according to Reuters.


Accused Charleston church gunman pleads not guilty but plans to plead guilty to federal hate crime c

Source: Washington Post

Accused Charleston church gunman pleads not guilty but plans to plead guilty to federal hate crime charges

By Jeremy Borden July 31 at 4:50 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. — ​The man accused of gunning down nine African Americans last month inside a historic black church known as “Mother Emanuel” has told his lawyers that he currently plans to plead guilty to federal hate crime charges, Dylann Roof’s attorney David Bruck told a federal judge Friday.

However, Bruck said that because federal officials have not decided whether to seek a death sentence for some of those charges, he had told Roof not to enter that plea. As a result, Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant said a “not guilty” plea — effectively a temporary plea — would be entered for the alleged shooter.

“We are not able to advise Mr. Roof to enter a plea of guilty” until the government makes a decision on the death penalty, Bruck said.

Dylann Storm Roof, 21, appeared in a courtroom blocks from the site of the massacre as he was formally read the 33 federal charges stemming from the shooting. Roof, who had already been charged with nine counts of murder, was indicted last week on the federal hate crime charges.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/07/31/accused-charleston-church-gunman-plans-to-plead-guilty-to-hate-crime-charges/?

Lawyer: Cosby Never 'Bound' Or 'Gagged' Women To Stop Them From Coming Forward

Bill Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, was in full damage control mode during her appearance Friday on HuffPost Live with Marc Lamont Hill, following the publication of New York magazine's viral cover featuring the photos of 35 women who have publicly accused the comedian of rape and/or sexual assault.


Pressley told Hill:

I believe people are innocent until they’re proven guilty. And if you can’t prove them guilty in a court through prosecution then you don’t get the option of persecution instead. I don’t think that 10, 20, 30, 40 years later people get to decide to come forward when there is no opportunity – not just for Mr. Cosby to offer a defense for a criminal prosecution – there’s no opportunity for an alleged victim, an accuser, to prove up what actually happened.

She said women have a "responsibility" to come forward as soon as possible if they want justice they seek and deserve. Pressley said:

The only way for a woman to get the justice that she seeks — and that, if her allegation is true, that she deserves — is to come forward [soon after the crime]. And even if the reasons that the women did not do that are legitimate ones, what cannot happen – in my opinion, in the United States – is that 40 years later there is a persecution tantamount to a witch hunt where there was no prosecution timely and there was no civil suit timely.


Full article + video of interview:

Ted Cruz Trashes Mitt Romney In Secret Audio Recording From Private Event

Presidential candidate and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) hasn't abandoned his take-no-prisoners approach to politics after all.

Cruz — who called former presidential candidate Mitt Romney "honorable" and "experienced" in his New York Times-best selling book — privately described Romney as the worst possible candidate during an event earlier this year, according to the National Journal on Friday.

While giving a speech in May for the Council for National Policy, a secretive group of top conservative donors and activists, Cruz said Romney was the worst candidate the GOP could have nominated in 2012 because of his record on healthcare reform.

"We have had three elections since President Obama was elected. Two of them – 2010 and 2014 – were national referenda on Obamacare. It was the number one issue, twice. Both elections were tsunami, tidal-waves for Republicans -- historic victories," Cruz said in the audio recording obtained by National Journal.

The "tidal-wave" victories still didn't end Obamacare, which was upheld by the Supreme Court again in June.

"Now, in between the two tidal waves, the Republican Party, in its infinite wisdom, sought out and found the one human being on the face of the planet who had designed and implemented a program just like Obamacare. Literally – there are 7 billion people on earth. You could have grabbed any other person and asked them, 'Excuse me, sir, have you designed and implemented Obamacare? No? You're a better candidate!'" Cruz said in the audio recording.


Poll: Trump Running As Independent Would Crush GOP's 2016 Chances

Source: TPM

A poll released Friday showed that Donald Trump would completely blow the Republican Party's chances of winning the presidency in 2016 if he ran as an independent.

The McClatchy-Marist Poll of potential voters nationwide showed that in a three-way general election, Democrat Hillary Clinton would lead with 44 percent of votes, former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) with 29 percent, and Trump as an independent with 20 percent.

In a two-way election with Bush, according to the poll, Clinton would have a 6-point lead — 49 percent to 43 percent.

The survey was conducted with live interviewers over the phone among almost 1,249 adults throughout the nation from July 22 to July 28. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/polltracker/marist-poll-donald-trump-indpendent

Mike Huckabee Won't Rule Out Using FBI, Troops To Prevent Abortions

Source: TPM

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is not above using the full reach of the executive branch to prevent women from getting abortions, according to multiple statements at campaign stops in Iowa.

Huckabee left the door open when asked whether he would use federal troops or the FBI to stop abortions if elected, the Huffington Post reported on Friday.

"I will not pretend there is nothing we can do to stop this," he said at Pizza Ranch in Jefferson, Iowa, citing the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection to all citizens.

In Rockwell City, Iowa, Huckabee affirmed his position. "All American citizens should be protected," he said.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/huckabee-abortion-prevention-troops-fbi

US condemns ‘vicious terrorist attack’ after Palestinian toddler burned to death by...


US condemns ‘vicious terrorist attack’ after Palestinian toddler burned to death by suspected Jewish settlers

31 JUL 2015 AT 12:17 ET

A Palestinian toddler was burned to death and four family members wounded in an arson attack by suspected Jewish settlers on two homes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Friday.

The attack added to tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, sparking protests by hundreds of people and sporadic clashes, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making a rare call to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in a bid to avoid further escalation.

While Netanyahu called the firebombing in Duma village near the northern city of Nablus “an act of terrorism in every respect”, the Palestine Liberation Organisation said it held his government “fully responsible”.

The death of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha was “a direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the Israeli government to settler terrorism”, the PLO said in a statement.


Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/07/us-condemns-vicious-terrorist-attack-after-palestinian-toddler-burned-to-death-by-suspected-jewish-settlers/
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