Monday Reads: Good News First

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Vivian Maier is often considered one of America’s greatest street photographers.

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Today’s pictures are of women artists and their self portraits from the National Geographic and other sources.

There’s some very good news out of the Supreme Court today for Louisiana Women and women every where in the country!  From NBC News: “Supreme Court, in 5-4 ruling, strikes down restrictive Louisiana abortion law. The measure would have required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of a clinic.”

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Louisiana’s tough restriction on abortions violates the Constitution, a surprising victory for abortion rights advocates from an increasingly conservative court.

The 5-4 decision, in which Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the court’s four more liberal justices, struck down a law passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2014 that required any doctor offering abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Its enforcement had been blocked by a protracted legal battle.

Two Louisiana doctors and a medical clinic sued to get the law overturned. They said it would leave only one doctor at a single clinic to provide services for nearly 10,000 women who seek abortions in the state each year.

The challengers said the requirement was identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. With the vote of then-Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court ruled that Texas imposed an obstacle on women seeking access to abortion services without providing any medical benefits. Kennedy was succeeded by the more conservative Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by President Donald Trump, who was among the four dissenters Monday.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the Texas decision, also wrote Monday’s ruling. The law poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking an abortion, offers no significant health benefits, “and therefore imposes an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to choose to have an abortion.”

Roberts said he thought the court was wrong to strike down the Texas law, but he voted with the majority because that was the binding precedent. “The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

Even small victories based on stare decisis are still victories.

 

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Self Portrait By Paula Modersohn Becker

Well, Iran always makes things interesting.  You have to give them that. From The Sydney Morning Herald: “Iran issues arrest warrant for Donald Trump, requests help from Interpol.

Tehran: Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol to help detain US President Donald Trump and others it believes carried out a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, a local prosecutor reportedly says.”

While Trump faces no danger of arrest, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States since Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said Trump and more than 30 others whom Iran accuses of involvement in the January 3 strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad face “murder and terrorism charges,” the state-run IRNA news agency reported on Monday.

Alqasimehr did not identify anyone else sought other than Trump, but stressed that Iran would continue to pursue his prosecution even after his presidency ends.

From BuzzFeed News: “Democrats Won’t Let Republicans Speak In Coronavirus Hearings If They Won’t Wear Masks.  “We’re not going to have another meeting in a confined space if we’re not going to abide by this,” Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn told Republicans.”

Democrats on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis are threatening to bar Republican members from participating future meetings in-person after they showed up to a hearing on Friday without masks.

Subcommittee Chair Jim Clyburn is sending a letter to ranking member Steve Scalise, warning he would not recognize members in hearings and meetings without proper face coverings; the chair must recognize members to speak and participate in committee business.

“Going forward, as long as the Attending Physician’s requirement to wear masks is in place, I will not recognize any Member of this Subcommittee to participate in person in any Subcommittee meeting or hearing unless the Member is wearing a mask and strictly adheres to the Attending Physician’s guidance,” Clyburn said in a letter to Scalise. The letter further recommends members participate remotely if they insist on not wearing masks.

The letter comes after a monthslong debate in Congress where Republicans have repeatedly disregarded recommendations and then a requirement from Capitol health experts to wear face coverings. The disagreement on the topic came to a head at the end of a Friday hearing when Clyburn reminded his Republican colleagues they were in violation of a mandate handed down by the attending physician, even as disposable masks were stationed outside the hearing room for members to use.

“For the United States House of Representatives meetings, in a limited and closed space such as a committee hearing room for greater than 15 minutes face coverings are required,” Clyburn said, reading the Capitol health official’s order. “And we’re not going to have another meeting in a confined space if we’re not going to abide by this. I will stay in the safety of my home as I would ask all you to do.”

Scalise responded to Clyburn by saying members of the House are following guidelines on how to social distance just fine, suggesting mask-wearing is an additional precautionary measure.

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Self-Portrait, Lois Mailou Jones

From Kyle Cheney at Politico: “House Dems propose strengthening Congress’ contempt power to break administration stonewalls. “We’ve seen unprecedented and illegal obstruction by the Trump administration to Congress,” Ted Lieu said.”

House Democrats increasingly frustrated by the Trump administration for defying subpoenas are proposing legislation that would ratchet up their power to punish executive branch officials who reject their requests.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), and five other membersof the House Judiciary Committee, unveiled a rule change Monday to formalize and expand Congress’ power of “inherent contempt” — its authority to unilaterally punish anyone who defies a subpoena for testimony or documents.

Though Congress has long had inherent contempt power, it has been in disuse since before World War II. This power, upheld by courts, has included the ability to levy fines and even jail witnesses who refuse to cooperate with congressional demands.

But such extreme measures have fallen out of favor over the years, as Congress has relied instead primarily on litigation to enforce its subpoenas and officials across government have acknowledged the unappetizing prospect of using force to impose its will. It’s even trickier when applied to a coequal branch of government, which may have its own privileges and protections to assert.

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Frida Kahlo Self Portrait With Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird

More news is coming forth about the Russian bounties.  This is from WAPO: “Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, according to intelligence assessments.”

Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from U.S. military interrogations of captured militants in recent months.

Several people familiar with the matter said it was unclear exactly how many Americans or coalition troops from other countries may have been killed or targeted under the program. U.S. forces in Afghanistan suffered a total of 10 deaths from hostile gunfire or improvised bombs in 2018, and 16 in 2019. Two have been killed this year. In each of those years, several service members were also killed by what are known as “green on blue” hostile incidents by members of Afghan security forces, which are sometimes believed to have been infiltrated by the Taliban.

The intelligence was passed up from the U.S. Special Operations forces based in Afghanistan and led to a restricted high-level White House meeting in late March, the people said.

 

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Joni Mitchell Self Portrait

This is really unfolding in a particularly quick way.  Here’s an opinion from Greg Sargent at WAPO’s Plum Line: “As Trump’s corruption gets worse, some Democrats want a tougher response.”

The big revelations of the moment — the reports that Russia may have paid bounties for the killing of U.S. troops, and the news that a U.S. attorney was ousted after investigating Trump cronies — are a reminder that Trump has found a gaping hole in our system.

If a president refuses to cooperate with congressional oversight in just about every conceivable way — and if that president has the near-total backing of a party that controls one chamber of Congress — any such scrutiny can basically be ground to a halt, with no repercussions.

But a group of House Democrats is now calling on its chamber to get a lot tougher in this regard.

This group of Democrats — which is led by Rep. Ted Lieu of California and includes other high-profile lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee — is introducing a resolution Monday that, if successful, would dramatically increase the House’s ability to compel compliance with oversight.

This resolution would create a new, modernized mechanism by which the House could seek to levy stiff fines on officials who defy subpoenas for testimony or documents. It would in effect bring into the 21st century a power that Congress has used only rarely in the past — the power to enforce its own subpoenas.

“The administration can simply choose not to have witnesses appear and not produce documents, and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Lieu told me, noting that “we’ve seen the Trump administration getting worse, not better, in terms of both obstruction and engaging in reckless conduct.”

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Self-Portrait by South African Visual Artist Zanele Muholi

One last OpEd piece from WAPO by Elizabeth Spiers: “Trump’s ‘silent majority’ isn’t a majority, and it’s far from silent. But the rhetoric lays the groundwork for crying foul when the true majority wins.”

The Trump team’s declaration that a silent majority lurks, ready to return Trump to the White House, is at odds with almost everything else the president says and does. His efforts to make it harder to vote by opposing voting by mail in the middle of a pandemic, and his repeated claims that Democrats are plotting election fraud, suggest a distinct nervousness about the majority’s true will. He appears to be laying the groundwork for explaining away a Democratic victory in November, as the result of deception and trickery. On June 22 he tweeted, in typical fashion: “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” In a system where success usually depends on grasping what a majority of the electorate wants, the sound strategy might be to reach out from one’s base to voters in the middle. Trump instead is heavily invested in the assumption that his enthusiastic minority will determine the outcome — even if it means that the people who don’t like him are prevented from voting.

These are hopeful signs in a fight to stop some of the most disturbing trends of the Trumpist Regime.  However, the fight is on so many levels and we battle the rich and powerful and the firmly entrenched like Mitch McConnell. Take this idiot as an great example. He’s not on the front pages like Police Reform and Abortion Restrictions.  And we still don’t make enough noise about voter restrictions in so many Republican-controlled states.

 

They’re killing our land, our children, our hopes and dreams, our democracy, our economy, our climate and its ecosystems, our indigenous peoples,  Black Men, and just about everything with their greed, racism, misogyny, and rigid theocratic ideologies that punish women, the GLBT community, and science and rational thought.

We just have to hang in there.

Remember we have leadership that will stand up to it all

Have a great week Sky Dancers!  Do be safe!  Stay home if possible!  Wear a mask!  Be kind, gentle, and giving to yourself and others!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: How long must we wait?

 

After reading Boston Boomer’s post yesterday about all this…shit, it makes me even more disturbed.

I am not able to work my thoughts into words lately.  Maybe it is the fact that nothing or no one will hold this nightmare accountable…and that we are this close to having a cancerous monstrosity of this administration appointed for a lifetime membership to the Supreme Court. Together with Gorsuch…Kavanaugh and the rest of the conservative members will change our lives as Americans. The impact will be fatal. In an all to literal sense. It will solidify tRump…he will get away with everything. (And this is not pushing it too far, would tRump even take it to announcing himself…president for life?) Would Kavanaugh just nod and say, sure…it is within his executive rights?

I’m tired of being Chicken Little, or a Cassandra…but nothing gives me hope.

Here’s a few links you may have missed:

This article was recommended by Sarah Kendzior:

Some more issues with Women’s Tennis:

At U.S. Open, power of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka is overshadowed by an umpire’s power play – The Washington Post

Chair umpire Carlos Ramos managed to rob not one but two players in the women’s U.S. Open final. Nobody has ever seen anything like it: An umpire so wrecked a big occasion that both players, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams alike, wound up distraught with tears streaming down their faces during the trophy presentation and an incensed crowd screamed boos at the court. Ramos took what began as a minor infraction and turned it into one of the nastiest and most emotional controversies in the history of tennis, all because he couldn’t take a woman speaking sharply to him.

Williams abused her racket, but Ramos did something far uglier: He abused his authority. Champions get heated — it’s their nature to burn. All good umpires in every sport understand that the heart of their job is to help temper the moment, to turn the dial down, not up, and to be quiet stewards of the event rather than to let their own temper play a role in determining the outcome. Instead, Ramos made himself the chief player in the women’s final. He marred Osaka’s first Grand Slam title and one of Williams’s last bids for all-time greatness. Over what? A tone of voice. Male players have sworn and cursed at the top of their lungs, hurled and blasted their equipment into shards, and never been penalized as Williams was in the second set of the U.S. Open final.

 

We can only hope something good can come out of November:

And what about that plaid shirt guy?

And by the way:

Meanwhile…

 

Latest update on Florence:

17 years, is a long ass time!

Check out this tweet from Pasco Sheriff’s office…

And what the fuck is with the brown sock monkey?

In relation to that….

 

I want to end with this news out of Dallas…

 

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: “Sanctions that didn’t exist before this regime took office.” – Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State.

 

 

A lot of shit went down this week, the reason I chose to highlight the quote up top is simply because of the key word: Regime.

Many news outlets made quite a point about Mike Pompeo’s Freudian slip, referring to the tRump Administration as “this regime.”

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER Senate Grills Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Aired 4:30-5p ET CNN.com – Transcripts

“Sanctions that didn’t exist before this regime took office.” – Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State.

Now, I read the transcript…link above, and honestly…I don’t know what the fuck “regime” Pompeo is talking about; so much bullshit is spewing from his mouth. But if he is indeed referring to tRump…he spoke the words we all know to be true.

I think the following sentiment has been mentioned before:

 

Take a look at this thread, it deals with Stein and Sanders and Tad Devine…and only strengthens my belief in #FuckBernieSanders :

Here is another long thread to check out, about my state…Georgia and the asshole named Kemp currently running for Governor:

A few tweets that continue to question the 2016 elections.

Here are some associations with tRump and his “friends” ….including the folks that perhaps Putin may have wanted to be excluded from sanctions?

Treasury May Drop Sanctions on a Company Owned by One of Putin’s Allies – Mother Jones

The Trump Administration may lift sanctions on a major Russian company founded by one of Vladimir Putin’s top allies.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin told reporters during G-20 meeting of Finance Ministers last week, that the department may remove sanctions on Rusal, an international aluminum company that controls an estimated 6 percent of the global market that has long been controlled by Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska is a Putin confidant who has been implicated in suspected coordination between Moscow and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, but he has repeatedly denied involvement. As Reuters reported, the department is mulling the move in the wake of a sharp increase in aluminum prices that followed Trump‘s imposition of a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.

“The objective was to impact the oligarchs, not to impact the hardworking people of Rusal as a result of the sanctions,” Mnunchin told CNN, which reported the comments on Friday.

In April, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions on Deripaska and Rusal, along with 24 other Russians, in a delayed action aimedat punishing Russia for interfering the 2016 election. Under the sanctions, the US assets of the individuals and firms listed are frozen, and American citizens are barred from doing business with them. Deripaska was specifically singled out for “having acted or purported to act for, or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation.”

Updates on tRump’s crimes against humanity:

The latest on that 6 year old who was assaulted at a detention center…she has been reunited with her family.

A 6-Year-Old Detainee Was Reportedly Made to Sign a Responsibility Form After She Was Allegedly Sexually Abused at a Facility | Teen Vogue

A 6-year-old girl was allegedly sexually abused while at an Arizona-based detention center, The Nation reports. The child, who The Nation refers to as D.L., reportedly left Guatemala with her mother because of gang violence; they were separated at the U.S. border on May 24, as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The 6-year-old was then placed in Casa Glendale, a detention center run by Southwest Key Programs.

According to The Nation, D.L.’s father (who lives in California) received a phone call from Southwest Key on June 11, telling him that another child in the detention center had allegedly “fondled” his daughter and other children. Mark Lane, a spokesperson representing D.L.’s family, told The Nation that the 6-year-old’s father was instructed “not to worry” because “Southwest Key was changing some of its protocols and such abuse would not happen again.” (The report notes that several weeks later, D.L.’s father received another phone call, alerting him to a second instance of alleged abuse by the same suspect.)

The Nation also reports that D.L. was asked to sign a form that was part of the detention center’s “intervention protocol.” The form, a copy of which was obtained by The Nation, noted that D.L. was instructed to maintain her “distance from other youth involved,” and that she was made aware it was her “responsibility to maintain appropriate boundaries with peers/workers.” The document also noted that it was D.L.’s “responsibility to report sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and/or inappropriate sexual behavior.”

 

 

Boston Boomer mentioned this yesterday in the comments:

 

But this is really the disgusting part:

How Catholic Bishops Are Shaping Health Care In Rural America | FiveThirtyEight

07_catholic hospitals_GEOGRAPHY 4x3_rev

Almost as soon as President Trump took office, he began rolling back health care rules that had angered religious groups for much of the last decade. First, Trump signed an executive order declaring that his administration would protect religious freedom. Then, his administration ruled that health insurance plans offered by large employers don’t have to cover contraception for employees, an about-face from a contentious Obama policy. The Department of Health and Human Services created a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, signaling a new focus for the agency. A proposed rule could require all 5,500 hospitals in the U.S. to post notices informing individuals and entities that they are protected from religious discrimination.

The changes are all designed to ensure that employers, health care institutions and providers don’t have to participate in health care practices they object to for ethical or moral reasons. But even decades before the Trump administration moved to roll back Obamacare policies, some religious hospitals — in particular, Catholic hospitals — already had the green light from the government to deny certain treatment options to their patients. These hospitals’ right to refuse care is generally unquestioned, creating a dilemma for the people who walk in the door: What happens when you need or want a standard medical service, but the hospital won’t provide it?

In a growing number of communities around the country, especially in rural areas, patients and physicians have access to just one hospital. And in more and more places, that hospital is Catholic. That sounds innocuous — a hospital is a hospital, after all. But Catholic hospitals are bound by a range of restrictions on care that are determined by religious authorities, with very little input from medical staff. Increasingly, where a patient lives can determine whether Catholic doctrine, and how the local bishop interprets that doctrine, will decide what kind of care she can get.

This is worrying news:

I lit candles for Lewis this morning…I hope he gets better…

 


Friday Reads: United States of Embarrassment

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

It’s hard to know where to start the day’s news round up because it’s just one big shit show brought to you by KKKremlin Caligula. There was an active school shooter this morning in Sante Fe, Texas where they have been injuries and fatalities reported. While this was going on, the most despised human being on the planet was tweeting about Hillary Clinton and some deep state cover up by the FBI which is tantamount to broadcasting some Alex Jones drug-induced conspiracy theory to the world.

I can only hope that this means that something has his tighty whities in a bunch.  Is it that Manafort’s son-in-law turned state’s evidence and cut a plea deal?  Was it the very idea that some one in his campaign triggered an FBI investigation which may have put an agent inside watching things? Is it just that every times he opens his mouth something completely idiotic and wrong slips out.

This is the same national embarrassment that is now speaking of himself in the third person and has no idea what the difference is between HPV and HIV and had to ask twice about it. But, he has an embarrassing level of detail and interest in the 22 year old daughter of Bill and Melinda Gates.  He keeps admitting that his pastime is “eyeing little girls with bad intent.”

From the Guardian: “Bill Gates: Trump twice asked me the difference between HIV and HPV. Microsoft co-founder tells foundation meeting it was ‘kind of scary’ how much Trump knew about what Gates’ daughter looked like.

Bill Gates, the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, has claimed Donald Trump twice asked him the difference between HIV and HPV and knew a “scary” amount about Gates’s daughter’s looks.

The remarks were recorded at a recent Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation meeting, where Gates took questions from staff, according to MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes show, which broadcast the footage on Thursday.

Gates told the audience how Trump had encountered his daughter Jennifer, now 22, at a horse show in Florida. “And then about 20 minutes later he flew in on a helicopter to the same place,” the Microsoft co-founder said. “So clearly he had been driven away but he wanted to make a grand entrance in a helicopter.”

Gates himself met Trump for the first time in New York in December 2016, he recalled: “So when I first talked to him it was actually kind of scary how much he knew about my daughter’s appearance. Melinda [Gates’s wife] didn’t like that too well.”

This was the additional creepy thing.

Gates is hardly known for his comic timing but he frequently prompted laughter from the audience at the foundation event. In one anecdote he said: “When I walked in, his first sentence kind of threw me off. He said: ‘Trump hears that you don’t like what Trump is doing.’ And I thought, ‘Wow, but you’re Trump.’ I didn’t know the third-party form was always expected. ‘Gates says that Gates knows that you’re not doing things right.’”

Trump has a now-familiar verbal tic of referring to himself in the third person.

So, the man that does not know the difference between HIV and HPV and likened his personal fight against STDs to serving in Vietnam continues to surrender women’s health to a racist, nationalist religious cult called White Evangelical Christianity.

The Trump administration is preparing to announce on Friday a far-reaching change in how Title X family planning funds are awarded so that clinics that provide or abortion services or referrals will no longer be eligible — a move that would effectively defund Planned Parenthood by millions of dollars.

Under the proposal to be filed by the Department of Health and Human Services, the $260 million program would require a “bright line” of physical and financial separation between Title X services and providers that perform, support, or refer to abortion as a method of family planning.

These requirements are similar to those that were in place, although they were not enforced, during the Reagan era. Unlike the Reagan regulation, the proposal will not prohibit counseling for clients about abortion, meaning that there’s no “gag rule” that critics of the changes had feared, according to an administration official.

The changes, the official said, reflect the view that taxpayer funds should not be used to fund abortion and that Title X funds are for family planning services, and abortion is not family planning. The updates are also designed to establish more transparency about the activities of grantees and their sub-grantees.

Conservatives are confident that the new rules will withstand a legal challenge, because similar Reagan-era requirements overcame a Supreme Court challenge.

David Christensen, vice president of government affairs for the Family Research Council, said in an interview that those standards required operations receiving Title X funds to be physically and financially separate from those performing abortions.

“Under Reagan, they could not be co-located, they couldn’t refer for abortion,” Christensen said.

Why do all bad and evil things find their roots in the Reagan years?  Asking for womankind here.  So, now Faux news has decided that Trump just might be the “second coming” of Reagan.  And while I’m asking questions does any one find all this messianic language creepy?  I swear,the Republican party is a damned cult these days.

Bret Baier, chief political anchor of Fox News, President Trump’s favorite network, insists he isn’t living in some alternate reality. He knows that our current President is louder, cruder, and ruder than Ronald Reagan, “a counterpuncher” from New York far different from his genial Republican predecessor. Baier is not handing Trump the Nobel Prize for a North Korea summit that hasn’t even happened yet, and he footnotes every conversation with a caution that we don’t know how the Trump story turns out. “I’m not saying that Trump is Reagan, or Reagan is Trump,” he said when we met the other day, in his corner office at the Fox bureau in Washington, not long after handing me a signed copy of the new book he wrote with Catherine Whitney, “Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Union.”

Cautions dispensed with, Baier, who has carved out a profitable sideline moonlighting as a Presidential historian, reeled off what he sees as striking parallels between Trump and Reagan, and his book makes much of everything from their “similar rhetoric in big speeches” to tough media coverage and a shared penchant for being “underestimated.” Decades after many of the details about precisely what happened in Reagan’s eight-year Presidency, in the twilight of the Cold War, have faded from public memory, he remains an exalted figure in the Republican pantheon. Most significantly, Baier argues, Reagan met with the Soviets, but only after years of talking tough about the “evil empire.” A generation later, Trump may be poised for his own expectation-scrambling summitry with the North Korean leader, an example Baier and some Trump partisans portray as a modern-day equivalent of Reagan’s policy of “peace through strength.” “Heads were exploding back when Reagan was elected, and heads are exploding now,” Baier said, as we talked about the twin challenges of covering Trump, a President “unlike any we’ve ever seen,” and writing history amid the “fire hose” of Trump-era news.

Right before our conversation, Baier had appeared on the radio with Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk-show host who reveres Reagan so much he refers to him as Ronaldus Magnus. Limbaugh waxed on to Baier about “the parallels” between two different men, and Baier agreed. “Exactly,” he said. “One thing you can say is, like Reagan, Trump has changed the paradigm. I mean, the jury’s still out on the end result, but the game changed in the way Washington worked.” Baier, who devotes the entire last chapter of his Reagan book to a discussion of Trump, would go on to sell the Reagan-Trump comparison throughout the week, as his book launch continued, chatting amiably about it with the ladies of “The View,” nodding along with his colleagues at “Fox & Friends.” “Bret Baier talks Reagan-Trump parallels,” Fox touted in the video clip from its show, “The Five.”

Soon after our interview on Monday evening, Baier would head over to the Marriott Marquis hotel for his book party. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao showed up, as did White House adviser Kellyanne Conway. It was so crowded with Trump luminaries, it could have been a Cabinet meeting.

Here’s a real doozy of a “me too” story from Foreign Policy. “Sexpat Journalists Are Ruining Asia Coverage. Newsroom predators in foreign bureaus hurt their colleagues — and their stories.”  This is by Joanna Chiu.

Once, a fellow journalist exited our shared taxi outside my apartment. I thought we were sharing a cab to our respective homes, but he had other expectations, and suddenly his tongue was in my face. On another evening, another journalist grabbed my wrist and dragged me out of a nightclub without a word. I was clearly too drunk to consent; it was a caveman approach to get me into bed while I was intoxicated. And on yet another occasion, in a Beijing restaurant, a Western public relations executive reached under my dress and grabbed my crotch.

The incidents aren’t limited by proximity. I have received multiple unsolicited “dick pics” from foreign correspondents — generally on the highly monitored messaging service WeChat. Somewhere deep in the Chinese surveillance apparatus there is a startling collection of images of journalists’ genitalia.

The #MeToo campaign has reminded us of how common these stories are — but the behavior of foreign men working abroad has, in my experience, been far worse than anything I ever experienced at home. Fortunately for me, I’ve experienced this only as part of the wider journalist community, not in my own workplaces – but others haven’t been so lucky. The phenomenon is not a problem unique to the press, but it’s one that’s especially problematic for journalists.

A somber meeting this Tuesday of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China, which represents the interests of foreign journalists in a difficult local environment, provided another painful example of this. As the New York Times reported, former club president Jonathan Kaiman, who had resigned in January after being accused of sexual misconduct by Laura Tucker, a former friend of his, was now accused of sexually assaulting a female journalist, Felicia Sonmez. After the second accusation, the Los Angeles Times quickly suspended him from his role as Beijing bureau chief and has begun an investigation. But as the Hong Kong Free Press noted, the original accusation had prompted many male correspondents to launch misogynistic attacks on Tucker in online conversations.

Such actions, and entitlement, reflect a sense of privilege and a penchant for sexual aggression that threatens to distort the stories told about Asia, and that too often leaves the telling in the hands of the same men preying on their colleagues. I have seen correspondents I know to be serial offenders in private take the lead role in reporting on the sufferings of Asian women, or boast of their bravery in covering human rights. In too many stories, Asian men are treated as the sole meaningful actors, while Asian women are reduced to sex objects or victims. And this bad behavior — and the bad coverage that follows — is a pattern that repeats across Asia, from Tokyo to Phnom Penh.

Meanwhile, it appears Trump has caved to NK’s Kim Jong Un and halted the joint training between the US and SK.  The only person that appears to be capable of maintaining maximum pressure is Michael Avenatti.  This is from Josh Rogin writing for WAPO.

The Trump administration says that if the upcoming summit between the United States and North Korea fails or doesn’t happen at all, the United States and its allies can go right back to the “maximum pressure” campaign that brought Kim Jong Un to the table in the first place. In reality, doing that would be difficult if not impossible. The pressure is already diminishing.

The administration’s claim that it can immediately turn on the pressure again is crucial to its effort to play it cool ahead of the Trump-Kim summit. President Trump often says that if Kim doesn’t want to strike a good deal, he will simply walk away, no harm done. After the North Korean government threatened to scuttle the talks this week in response to comments from national security adviser John Bolton, the White House doubled down on this assertion.

In reality, the dynamics that made a successful maximum-pressure campaign possible have changed fundamentally. The United States and its allies have paused their efforts to increase sanctions on North Korea to give diplomacy a chance to work. The sting of the existing sanctions naturally erodes over time. There are reports that China is already easing up on its sanctions enforcement, allowing more laborers and goods to flow over North Korea’s northern border. The mood in South Korea has changed significantly, making the threat of military action less credible.

Meanwhile, the United Nation is actively slapping US foreign policy on Israel to the ground. I’m actually thinking Trump will pull the US from the body at this point it’s so obviously aimed at him.  The UN has voted to investigate War Crimes in the Gaza Massacre that happened during the Kushner debacle opening an US embassy in Jerusalem. which, once again, panders to religious cultists. This is from The Independent.

The UN has voted to send an international war crimes probe to Gaza after the body’s leading human rights official slammed Israel‘s reaction to protests along the border as “wholly disproportionate.”

Israeli firing into Hamas-ruled Gaza killed nearly 60 Palestinians at mass border protests on Monday.

“There is little evidence of any attempt to minimise casualties on Monday,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The council voted through the resolution by 29 in favour and two opposed, while 14 states abstained.

Additionally, Kuwait wants to request a Palestianian protection force. This is likely to be vetoed by the US perThe Jerusalem Post.

The United Nations Security Council will begin talks on Monday on a Kuwait-drafted resolution that condemns Israeli force against Palestinian civilians and calls for an “international protection mission” to be deployed to the occupied territories.

The draft resolution, seen by Reuters on Friday, asks UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report within 30 days of its adoption on “ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population.”

I’m going to close with the sad news that ‘Multiple Fatalities’ have been reported in that school shooting.

At least eight people are dead following a shooting at Santa Fe High School outside of Houston, Texas, law enforcement officials have told multiple local news sources.

One person, reportedly a male who federal officials believe to be a student, is in custody, and another person has been detained, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted. At least three people — two adults and one student — are being treated for injuries at a local hospital. One police officer was wounded. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the officer was “clipped” and is not seriously injured.

November 18 is coming and we all need to vote to end this war on humanity, science, world peace, and civilization.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: View from the Photo Booth

Good Morning

Once again…today’s thread will be a short one. Springing ahead…time change, is always a difficult one for me to handle. I wish Georgia would take a leap from Florida and make this latest time spring forward…the last.

Florida lawmakers vote to stay in Daylight Saving Time all year long – CNN

Lawmakers in Florida are tired of the whole “fall back” and “spring forward” rigamarole. So they’ve approved a bill to keep Daylight Saving Time going throughout the year in their state.

It took the state Senate less than a minute Tuesday to pass the “Sunshine Protection Act.” There were only two dissenters. (The House passed it 103-11 on February 14.)
The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott — but it’s far from a done deal after that,
Even if the governor approves, a change like this will literally take an act of Congress.
But if all is approved, Floridians — who’ll set their clocks ahead one hour this Sunday when Daylight Saving Time begins — won’t have to mess with it ever again.

Act of Congress or not…Scott signed a bill last week bringing the legal age to buy a rifle  in Florida up from 18 to 21. And now the NRA is suing.

Florida shooting: NRA sues as Florida enacts gun-control law – BBC News

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is suing Florida after it passed a gun control law in the wake of a school shooting that left 17 people dead.

Governor Rick Scott, a staunch ally of the gun lobby, enacted the bill, which the NRA says violates the constitution.

The law raises the legal age for buying rifles in Florida, but also allows the training and arming of school staff.

It does not ban semi-automatic rifles like the one used in the 14 February massacre in Parkland.

But it does introduce a three-day waiting period on all gun sales and a ban on bump stocks, a device that enables semi-automatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.

[…]

What’s in the new law?

  • It raises the minimum age for buying rifles from 18 to 21 in the state – although 18, 19 and 20-year-old police officers and members of the security forces will still be able to buy rifles and shotguns
  • It bans bump stocks – devices that raise the firing speed of semi-automatic rifles
  • It introduces a three-day waiting period on all gun purchases (previously this only applied when people bought handguns)
  • It makes it easier for police to confiscate weapons and ammunition from people who are deemed to pose a threat of violent behaviour (a measure that has been proposed by five other states in the last month, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence)
  • It allows school staff to carry guns, with the agreement of their school district authorities and sheriff’s department. This is already allowed in the states of Wyoming, South Dakota, Tennessee, Georgia, Kansas and Texas

NRA filed a lawsuit within an hour from Scott signing the new law…you would think that the bloody bloodthirsty gun lobby would be ecstatic about that last part of the new legislation. The bit about school staff being able to carry and lock and load.

 

According to this article from The Tampa Bay Times, school districts are too big on arming their staff: Florida’s biggest school districts may skip out on armed ‘guardians’ program, even if Rick Scott signs it | Tampa Bay Times

“I believe the people carrying weapons should be law enforcement officers and not our employees,” said Seminole County school superintendent Walt Griffin, echoing comments of his large-district peers.

The Legislature’s new plan to arm school employees as a last line of defense to an active shooter might never get tested in Florida’s biggest school districts.

Officials in 10 of the state’s largest systems, which educate nearly 60 percent of all Florida school children, said they have no intention of giving teachers or other staff guns to carry into classrooms.

“I believe the people carrying weapons should be law enforcement officers and not our employees,” said Seminole County school superintendent Walt Griffin, echoing comments of his large-district peers. “I do not support our hard-working teachers having the responsibility of carrying a weapon.”

The Broward, Duval and Hillsborough county school boards adopted formal statements Tuesday opposing the idea of arming school personnel, and calling for adequate funding to support sworn officers in the schools instead. A day earlier, Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho made clear his district’s position, saying anyone who thinks arming educators is a solution is “absolutely out of their mind.”

Also this week, a majority of Pasco County board members have signaled their dissent, as have officials in Pinellas County.

“What’s the liability on that?” Pinellas board chairwoman Renee Flowers asked in an interview. “We’re here to educate our students. Everyone has their own area of expertise. Cafeteria workers, maintenance people, librarians. … That’s not what they were hired for.”

This is good to hear…I am glad that question on liability is being brought up.

Remember this victim of gun violence, from Alabama?

That “accidental” shooting?

 

Teen Charged With Manslaughter in Alabama School Shooting via Voice of America

A 17-year-old high school junior was charged Friday with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student at an Alabama high school.

This photo provided by the Birmingham Police Department shows Michael Jerome Barber, a high school student who was charged March 9, 2018, with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student.
This photo provided by the Birmingham Police Department shows Michael Jerome Barber, a high school student who was charged March 9, 2018, with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student.

The charges against Michael Jerome Barber were announced after authorities interviewed witnesses and reviewed video in connection with the shooting at Huffman High School in Birmingham. Courtlin Arrington, 17, a senior who had dreams of becoming a nurse, was killed in the shooting.

Barber recklessly caused Arrington’s death after bringing a gun to school, prosecutors said. They did not release details of the shooting.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Ms. Arrington, all of her friends, and those whose lives would have been changed through her nursing dreams had this event not occurred. This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Jefferson County District Attorney Mike Anderton said in a statement.

The shooting took place Wednesday as school was dismissing for the day. Police initially said it was possible the shooting was accidental.

It is so disturbing…

Arrington’s mother, Tynesha Tatum, was quoted by al.com as saying that she told her daughter she loved her and to have a “blessed day” as she left for school that morning. The next time she saw her was to identify her body at a Birmingham hospital.

Arrington was a caring and fashion-conscious teen who was determined to become a nurse, her mother said.

“Whatever she put her mind to, that’s what she was going to do,” she told the newspaper.

Her funeral will be held the same weekend as what would have been her senior prom.

Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring this week described Arrington as a bright student “lost to senseless gun violence.”

“She was friendly, energetic and well-liked by peers and teachers alike,” Herring said.

Barber is a junior who plays on Huffman’s football team and has posted recruiting videos online. Court records were not immediately available to show whether Barber had a lawyer to speak for him.

Huffman High School has metal detectors but they were not in use on the day of the shooting, school officials said.

Herring said the school has increased security and is reviewing safety procedures and protocols.

More on Courtlin Arrington here: Mom, family heartbroken after daughter’s promising life ended in shooting at Huffman High | AL.com

 

What a beautiful young woman, such a tragedy.

I am so glad that the students are standing up to the NRA and gun lobby lovers…

The NRA May Underestimate Young People. But We Don’t. – Rewire.News

The survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, have inspired us with their determination, grit, and relentless courage. We owe those brave students more than awe and admiration; this moment of national outrage must become a moment of national action. Right now, powerful special interests are betting against them and cynically speculating that the urgency will pass and America will return to business as usual. The National Rifle Association (NRA) underestimates the power of young people. In doing so, they are fools.

There is a new “old” language afoot….it is taking some fucked up folks by storm…I should say “stormfront.” Check this article out, By Ryan Lenz at Southern Poverty Law Center: White Nationalists Are Pushing for a ‘Blue-Eyed’ English | Alternet

They call it Anglish.

White nationalists have gone looking for a mothertung. No, that isn’t a misspelling; rather, it’s how the word would look for white nationalists obsessed with seeing Anglish in widespread use.

Anglish? I must mean English, right? Nope.

Derived from “linguistic purism,” an idea that dates to the 16th and 17th centuries, Anglish is the English language either expunged of words with Latinate or Greek origins, or with those words completely reimagined with deference to Germanic roots. In the 19th century, writers such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy favored the style, even introducing words like “birdlore” instead of ornithology and “bendsome” in place of flexible.

But in the last year, as the so-called “alt-right” has moved further into the mainstream, this old idea has seen some newfound enthusiasm. (Maybe racists have come to realize that if a white ethnostate can’t be built on a gene pool, grammar will do.)

As early as 2010, Anglish was casually discussed in places such as Stormfront, once the largest white supremacist website in the world. Last summer, someone with the username Hail Britain, lauded Anglish after someone posted a YouTube video exploring the question, “What if English were 100 percent Germanic.”

“Good to see this sort of thing circulating,” a user named Branmakmorn wrote. “Hopefully it’ll spur a few normies to start asking more questions about their white identity.”

More recently, last November, an author revisited the idea of Anglish in the Renegade Tribune, an online anti-Semitic newspaper that has dabbled in Holocaust denial and featured headlines such as, “The jewish [sic] Plans for 2018: Immigrant Invasion, Miscegenation, and White Genocide.”

“How is that White countries with languages derived from Latin fell easier to Jewish universalism than Germany? Of course language is not the main reason but it is certainly related to it, and it had its own contribution,” an author last opined last November for the Renegade Tribune.

He added, in a comment to his own post: “Latin is a slave language because it is intended to be universal, to facilitate the breeding together of different humans.”

While the idea is bizarre, there have been discussions about pushing Anglish into the mainstream on Reddit and online forums elsewhere dedicated to Anglish.

Read the rest at the link above…I doubt the new “anguage???” will take hold…as it is way too difficult for these racist shitasses to learn something new.

Here is something to ponder: Colombia’s Farc: Choosing the ballot box over violence – BBC News

In the Colombian town of Fusagasugá, about two hours from the capital, Bogotá, Senate hopeful Julián Gallo Cubillos is on stage for the close of his campaign.

It is pouring down with rain but for a man used to living in the jungle, it is hardly a problem.

Better known by his nom de guerre, Carlos Antonio Lozada, he fought for three decades with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the left-wing rebel group better known as Farc.

I remember Farc, and Colombia and all the shit that was going down when I was in high school in 85/88 and college in the end of the 80’s and early 90’s and when I was getting my second degree in the mid 90’s.  If any of you have seen the series Narcos…I am sure it will be fresh in your minds.

The Farc started life in the 1960s as a Marxist-inspired rebel group demanding land reform.

The guerrillas soon became a key player in a conflict involving the government, right-wing paramilitaries and other armed groups, which left an estimated 220,000 dead and millions displaced over five decades.

The turning point was the peace agreement signed between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Farc in 2016.

As part of the deal, the Farc were given 10 seats in Congress up until 2026, regardless of how many votes they received.

Same name, different game

After the Farc rebels disarmed last year, the group announced its new party. It kept the acronym Farc but changed what the letters stand for to the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force.

A man holds up a banner urging to vote for the Farc

“We had to maintain our name because it’s linked to our history of struggle and resistance,” explains Mr Lozada.

“It wouldn’t have been ethical to hide behind any other acronym.”

But the new political party is having trouble convincing the general public of its new role.

“How are we going to pardon a group who has spilt so much blood and is now expecting us to put them in power?” asked Alejandro Castañeda, who was walking through Bogotá’s main square, Plaza Bolívar.

It seems there aremany who feel this same way, but to them I would ask…how many deaths can be linked to a corrupt government that continued to propel a drug war and its devastating violence.

Colombians are not against the idea of peace but they are divided about how to go about it.

And for many, it is hard to forget the crimes the Farc committed during more than five decades of armed conflict.

One of the biggest criticisms of the deal was allowing Farc members to run for office without having to serve prison time first.

“They get seats with no votes and they aren’t facing justice,’ says 24-year-old Nicolás Ordoñez Ruiz, who is part of Colombia’s main opposition party, Democratic Centre. “It’s an irresponsible message. It will create more violence in the future.”

That, says conflict expert Jorge Restrepo, will be reflected on voting day. “People won’t want to vote for them because they were not punished,” he says.

“That lack of justice, that need for revengeful justice, has not been satisfied in Colombia.”

More at the link…I don’t know, I just find it all very fascinating.

Coming up to the end of the thread…just a few more links.

These next two video embeds are from Facebook. If you cannot see them, just click the links I’ve provided:

 

She’s a 91-year-old practicing physician, granddaughter of a slave, and one of the first doctors to treat women with opioid addiction. #InternationalWomensDay

 

 

Activist Fraidy Reiss On Ending Forced Marriage In AmericaChild marriage is still legal in all 50 states — but this activist doesn’t want any girl to go through what she experienced

 

 

 

Speaking of Child Marriage. I wanted to share this letter/email I received from Rachana this past week. I am so honored to be connected to this woman. The plans are shaping up for her school for girls…and now they are getting down to the point where they can begin the fund raising.

Dearest JJ

I wish you a happiest day on this beautiful occasion of international women’s day. I wouldn’t lose this moment to think of women whose are special to me and who have potential to change the world. I’m blessed to be in touch with such an amazing, bold, creative, generous women over seas.
I’m very grateful for what I have got and very optimistic for the future that will bring us together to fix things and fight for human rights.
It’s been a long time I was trying to reach you out since my sister in law was in the hospital plans got changed.finally I managed to tell the things i was keeping in my heart.
Hope you’re having good time there.
Here i have a good news to share.
Last week our team members have planed to open a kindergarten in Surkhet from May.
The idea behind of opening a kindergarten
1: provide childcare, good education
2: to raise children in respectful, peaceful and in friendly environment.
3: to generate young mothers, give them life skills, training, parenting skills and income opportunity
4: to make healthy and happy livelihood
5: to give second opportunity to child bride to continue their school and free time to set their carrier.
6: to end violence against women and children.
These are our goals to achieve from the small step towards changing the bad train by educating children and women.
What do you think of It?
I would like to invite you to Nepal someday to help in our plan. We need people to bring different ideas, methodology and strategies.
For this difficult but beautiful missions we need money
• To build the house
• rent for the land
• For furniture
•For teaching materials
• playing toys and children books
• food and nutrition
We also need fund for organizing different events and activities for young mothers.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think can we make this mission as our mission? Can we be a part of this dream project? I feel there is something really connected with you. I get good vibes when I think of you.
Could it be possible to donate us to make our dream come true?
I’m passing this email holding my heart with big hope.
I believe investing in education today will empower our next generation tomorrow.
I wait for your response
Once again happy women’s day.
Cheers for us.😊😍
Warmest thanks regards

 

 

It is thrilling to be a part of this movement in Nepal. I feel like this can be a chance to actually do some good and see it come to fruition. In a small village…for a small group of young girls, women and mothers. It will be an opportunity to give aid and watch the empowerment work through the daughters of this amazing corner in our world.

Photo by Rachana Sunar

This is an open thread.