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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


Our Murrow Moment

The time for hand-wringing and hysteria is over. The Trump presidency promises a civic stress test. In a time of principled fights, citizens and journalists need to respond with fearlessness rooted in fairness.

John Avlon

12.31.16 8:03 AM ET

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty…We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason.” – Edward R. Murrow

If you think 2016 has been a wild and rough ride, just wait ‘til you get a load of 2017.
Given everything we know about Donald Trump from his divisive, demagogic presidential campaign, the next four years will be a stress test for the American system.

The Trump Years promise to be full of Oval Office insults, Twitter attacks and disregard for facts. But rather than viewing the prospect of covering a Trump administration with exhaustion, we should feel invigorated. Because when this time is done, we will look back on it as the best and most important time to be a journalist - not because it was easy, but because it was hard and our sense of mission was clear: to respect the office of the President while holding the person in power accountable against a standard of enduring American values.

For journalists, Edward R. Murrow offers durable inspiration. The man who brought the Battle of Britain home to Americans via radio and pioneered TV News at CBS, is probably best known today from “Good Night and Good Luck,” directed by George Clooney. Murrow famously risked his career to confront a popular and powerful conservative populist demagogue, Senator Joe McCarthy. He secured his legacy through a commitment to independence and integrity.

McCarthy used lies and innuendo to intimidate critics, famously parading a fake list of communists in the State Department, accusing a Democratic administration of participating in a vast conspiracy to subvert our sovereignty and falsely declaring that the ACLU a communist front group. In an ironic bit of symmetry, among his aides was a young true believer named Roy Cohn, who would later become attorney for both mob bosses and Donald Trump. It was from Cohn that Trump learned to never apologize, always attack.


Sessions Omits Decades of Records for Hearings

Source: Political Wire

December 31, 2016 By Taegan Goddard

“President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is withholding decades’ worth of records from his career ahead of his Senate confirmation hearings early next month, according to an exhaustive report issued by progressive advocacy groups,” the Huffington Post reports.

“He left out major details from his years as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, from 1981 to 1993; as attorney general of Alabama, from 1995 to 1997; and as a first-term U.S. senator, from 1997 to 2002. The gaps encompass the time, for example, when Sessions was nominated to be a federal judge in 1986 ― and then rejected after being deemed too racist.”


Read more: https://politicalwire.com/2016/12/31/sessions-omits-decades-records-hearings/

'This is not normal': Kurt Eichenwald blasts reporters for being afraid of questioning Trump

Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald on Saturday said journalists needed to “grow a backbone” to deal with President-elect Donald Trump.

MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart asked Eichenwald how the media should deal with Trump’s “mixed messaging” in regards to his charity.

“The first thing we need to do is face reality,” Eichenwald replied. “If Eric Trump is so upset, write a check. We’ve got to stop acting like everything that happens to this guy when they complain about how difficult it is, if they want to give to charity, give to charity. They can write the money themselves, they don’t need to raise it from us.”

“Secondly, and this is the most important, we have a president-elect who has been treated completely differently from anybody else,” he continued. “The press has unfortunately gotten into this thing where they’re afraid of propaganda outlets like Fox News coming in and calling them biased. There is no bias here. We have got to grow a backbone. We have got to demand press conferences. We have got to stop covering his tweets like they’re news.”


Alan Dershowitz: I'll Resign From the Democratic Party if Keith Ellison Named DNC Chair

While appearing on Fox Business today to express criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Israel, famed law professor Alan Dershowitz insisted that if the Democratic National Committee went with a certain choice for its leadership, he’d no longer call himself a Democrat.

Speaking to host Sandra Smith, Dershowitz slammed the possibility of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) being named the new DNC Chairman, pointing to Ellison’s association with the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan, who is well-known for his anti-Semitic views.

“If they now appoint Keith Ellison, who worked with Farrakhan, to be chairman of the DNC, you’re going to see a lot of people leave,” Dershowitz noted.

He continued, “I’m going to tell you right here on this show, and this is news – if they appoint Keith Ellison to be chairman of the Democratic Party, I will resign my membership to the Democratic Party after 50 years of being a loyal Democrat.”


Emails: Gov't Ethics Chief Ordered Tweets Praising Trump

The head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) personally ordered that the agency praise President-elect Donald Trump through its official Twitter account, according to emails obtained by The Daily Dot in a Freedom of Information Act request. The contrversial series of tweets were in response to Trump’s promises to reduce the conflicts of interest between his soon-to-be role as president and his current role as chief executive of the Trump Organization. The email obtained by The Daily Dot shows that Walter M. Shaub personally ordered the exact wording of each tweet, writing: “Post the following tweets. I would like them posted first thing—8:30 if possible or as soon as possible thereafter. Post them all at once.” The tweets included the phrases, “Brilliant!” “Good call!” “Right decision!” and “Bravo!” Trump has faced questions about how he will separate his business interests from his work as president, but has yet to hold a press conference to answer for those concerns.




Black America Steels Itself for Obama's Departure and a Future Under Trump

It’s going to be painful for African Americans to watch Obama leave the White House only to be replaced by that man. And that’s just for starters.


12.31.16 12:01 AM ET

During President-elect Donald Trump’s recent “Thank You” tour he repeatedly took time to thank the countless African-American voters who decided not to vote. He categorized the disenfranchisement of black voters as “great” and he wanted to thank black voters for staying at home.

“We did great with the African-American community,” said Trump at a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “They didn’t come out to vote for Hillary. They didn’t come out. And that was a big—so thank you to the African-American community.” The predominantly white audience at the rally applauded loudly in response.

As 2016 comes to a close and the new year dawns, and as America’s first black president prepares to leave the White House, African Americans, and the rest of America, must confront the fact that our incoming president celebrates when Americans, specifically black Americans, do not vote. With each passing day, it becomes clearer what “Making American Great Again” means to Trump.

Trump’s victory comes with the help of a concerted, systematic agenda by Republican-controlled states to implement voting restrictions that disproportionately harmed black voters. Throughout the South, in areas with high populations of African Americans, black voter turnout decreased from 2012. Nationally, in areas were African Americans make up over 30 percent of the population, voter turnout dropped by nearly 5 percent.


McCrory Makes Last Attempt to Stick It To His Successor

December 30, 2016 By Taegan Goddard

“With just one day to go before he leaves office, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) threw a legal Hail Mary to the U.S. Supreme Court in another apparent effort to undermine his Democratic successor’s ability to govern,” the Washington Post reports.

“McCrory filed an emergency request to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to pause court-ordered special elections for more than two dozen state legislative districts in 2017 — special elections in which Democrats could have an opportunity to pick up seats in North Carolina’s GOP-dominated legislature.”

Rick Hasen: “My guess is that the Court does not issue the stay.”

Meanwhile, the Raleigh News & Observer reports McCrory hung his official portrait in the governor’s office for Gov.-elect Roy Cooper (D) to see upon taking office on New Year’s Day.



Former prime minister Ehud Barak: 'Majority of Israelis' agree with Kerry

Forner prime minister Ehud Barak praised John Kerry's speech Wednesday, stating that Netanyahu is 'being dragged after messianic stream.'

Former prime minister Ehud Barak praised Secretary of State John Kerry's speech Wednesday, tweeting that "this the way Russia and China think as well as the majority of Israelis." Barak added that "The prime minister is being dragged after the messianic stream, standing in front of an abyss and insisting on walking forward."

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett responded by saying that "messianism is to grant Arafat the Old City of Jerusalem, not to respond to the kidnapping of soldiers, to suggest transferring the Golan Heights to the Syrians, to abandon Madhat Yusuf (at Joseph's tomb in October 200) to die and then to dare to continue tweeting."

Earlier Bennett attacked Kerry's speech, stating that "Kerry quoted me three times anonymously in his speech in order to demonstrate that we oppose a Palestinian state."

"So let me state it explicitly:"

"Yes. If it depends on me, we will not establish another terror state in the heart of our country. The citizens of Israel have paid with thousands of victims, tens of thousands of rockets and innumerable condemnations for the utopian idea of a Palestinian state. It's time for a new policy and we will lead the way."


How Indiana's school voucher program soared, and what it says about education in the Trump era

Indiana lawmakers originally promoted the state’s school voucher program as a way to make good on America’s promise of equal opportunity, offering children from poor and lower-middle-class families an escape from public schools that failed to meet their needs.

But five years after the program was established, more than half of the state’s voucher recipients have never attended Indiana public schools, meaning that taxpayers are now covering private and religious school tuition for children whose parents had previously footed that bill. Many vouchers also are going to wealthier families, those earning up to $90,000 for a household of four.

The voucher program, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing, serves more than 32,000 children and provides an early glimpse of what education policy could look like in Donald Trump’s presidency.

Trump has signaled that he intends to pour billions of federal dollars into efforts to expand vouchers and charter schools nationwide. Betsy DeVos, his nominee for education secretary, played an important role in lobbying for the establishment of Indiana’s voucher program in 2011. And Vice President-elect Mike Pence led the charge as the state’s governor to loosen eligibility requirements and greatly expand the program’s reach.

The idea of sending taxpayer funds to private and parochial schools is one of the most polarizing propositions in education. To proponents, the rapid expansion of Indiana’s program is a model for giving more families better educational options. But Indiana’s voucher program is seen by many public school advocates as a cautionary tale.


Yes, this is real: Michigan just banned banning plastic bags

By Chelsea Harvey December 30 at 9:29 AM

A new law in Michigan will prohibit local governments from banning, regulating or imposing fees on the use of plastic bags and other containers. You read that correctly: It’s not a ban on plastic bags — it’s a ban on banning plastic bags.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed the new public act into law on Wednesday, along with 11 other bills. Gov. Rick Snyder is currently on vacation out of state, local news sources reported, and Calley has the authority to sign bills into law in his absence.

The new public act prohibits local ordinances from “regulating the use, disposition, or sale of, prohibiting or restricting, or imposing any fee, charge, or tax on certain containers,” including plastic bags, as well as cups, bottles and other forms of packaging. This means individual cities and municipalities are not allowed to ban plastic bags or charge customers a fee for using them.

Bans and restrictions on the use of plastic bags are widespread in other parts of the country and around the world. The rationale is simple: Plastic bags are infamous non-biodegradable sources of pollution — although they will eventually break down into tiny pieces, scientists believe this process can take hundreds of years, or even up to a millennium, in landfills.

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