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Eugene

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Hometown: Boston, MA
Member since: Wed May 12, 2004, 05:41 PM
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David Ignatius: For U.S. soldiers, 'it's a dagger to the heart' to abandon the Kurds

Source: Washington Post

For U.S. soldiers, ‘it’s a dagger to the heart’ to abandon the Kurds

By David Ignatius
Columnist
Oct. 14, 2019 at 7:26 p.m. EDT

At a gathering last Saturday night of military and intelligence veterans, one topic shrouded the room: President Trump’s decision to abandon Kurdish fighters in Syria who had fought and died to help America destroy the Islamic State.

“It’s a dagger to the heart to walk away from people who shed blood for us,” one former top CIA official who attended the black-tie dinner told me later. A retired four-star general who was there said the same thing: Trump’s retreat was an “unsound, morally indefensible act” and a “disgrace” to America and the soldiers who serve this country.

This sense of anguish was pervasive among those attending the event, several attendees said. It was an annual dinner honoring the Office of Strategic Services, the secret World War II commando group that was a forerunner of today’s CIA and Special Operations forces. The event celebrated the military alliances that have always been at the center of American power. It was a bitter anniversary this year.

It’s probably impossible for Americans to fully grasp the sense of betrayal felt by the Syrian Kurds, who suffered 11,000 dead and 24,000 wounded in a war that we asked them to fight. But perhaps we can understand the shame and outrage of the Special Operations forces who fought alongside them and now see the Kurds cast aside to face their Turkish enemies alone.

“It will go down in infamy,” said one Army officer who served in the Syria campaign. “This will go down as a stain on the American reputation for decades.” Those may sound like extreme sentiments, but they’re widely shared by those who served in the Syria mission. For these soldiers, abandoning an ally on the battlefield is about the worst thing that can happen.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/for-us-soldiers-its-a-dagger-to-the-heart-to-abandon-the-kurds/2019/10/14/f0a1db60-eecf-11e9-89eb-ec56cd414732_story.html

Donald Trump's Own Former National Security Officials Sign Open Letter Saying Ukraine Whistleblower

Source: Newsweek

DONALD TRUMP'S OWN FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICIALS SIGN OPEN LETTER SAYING UKRAINE WHISTLEBLOWER DID NOTHING WRONG AND DESERVES PROTECTION

BY CHANTAL DA SILVA ON 10/7/19 AT 4:41 AM EDT

Dozens of former national security officials—including several who once served under President Donald Trump—have signed an open letter honoring the first whistleblower to come forward in the Trump-Ukraine scandal and demanding their protection.

Signed by 90 former national security officials, the letter came as news broke that at least one other whistleblower had come forward in the case, seeking to flag concerns around Trump's July 25 phone call, in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

"While the identity of the whistleblower is not publicly known, we do know that he or she is an employee of the U.S. Government," the letter, signed by prominent officials, including former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, states. "As such, he or she has by law the right—and indeed the responsibility—to make known, through appropriate channels, indications of serious wrongdoing."

"That is precisely what this whistleblower did; and we applaud the whistleblower not only for living up to that responsibility but also for using precisely the channels made available by federal law for raising such concerns," it continues.

Calling for the whistleblower's protection, the letter's signatories praised their efforts, asserting that "a responsible whistleblower makes all Americans safer by ensuring that serious wrongdoing can be investigated and addressed, thus advancing the cause of national security to which we have devoted our careers."

-snip-

Read more: https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-ukraine-whistleblower-open-letter-deserves-protection-1463494

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Related: An Open Letter to the American People

Conservatives attacked Ocasio-Cortez over a bizarre town hall speaker. Now, a pro-Trump fringe group

Source: Washington Post

Conservatives attacked Ocasio-Cortez over a bizarre town hall speaker. Now, a pro-Trump fringe group says it planned the stunt.

By Allyson Chiu
Oct. 4, 2019 at 7:28 a.m. EDT

For most of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) Thursday town hall, the woman in a black jacket sat quietly in the third row. Then, as the event in Corona, N.Y., neared its end, the woman suddenly stood up and began yelling about climate change.

“But we’re not going to be here much long because of the climate crisis,” the woman blurted. “We got to start eating babies,” she abruptly declared, taking off her jacket to display a T-shirt that read, “Save the planet. Eat the children.”

The woman’s bizarre speech swiftly became the center of a heated Twitter fight Thursday night that pitted Ocasio-Cortez against President Trump, his son, Donald Trump Jr., and other conservatives, who suggested the woman was an example “climate change hysteria.” In response, Ocasio-Cortez chastised critics for trying to “mock or make a spectacle” of a woman who “may have been suffering from a mental condition.”

It now seems likely that the scene was carefully planned.

The woman was apparently part of an attempt by a right-wing fringe political group to embarrass the Democratic congresswoman. Late Thursday, a Twitter account belonging to the LaRouche PAC — which was founded by conspiracy theorist Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. — took credit for the stunt. A historian who has documented the organization said the woman’s outburst was “a fairly well-established tactic for them.”

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/04/conservatives-attacked-ocasio-cortez-over-bizarre-town-hall-speaker-now-pro-trump-fringe-group-says-they-planned-stunt/

Countries must triple climate emissions targets to limit global heating to 2C

Source: The Guardian

Countries must triple climate emissions targets to limit global heating to 2C

United in Science report ahead of UN summit says climate is changing faster than forecast, and current plans would lead to ‘catastrophic’ global temperature rise

Adam Morton
@adamlmorton
Mon 23 Sep 2019 00.51 BST
Last modified on Mon 23 Sep 2019 02.22 BST

An assessment backed by the world’s major climate science bodies has found commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions must be at least tripled and increased by up to fivefold if the world is to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The report, launched as leaders gather at a UN climate action summit in New York on Monday, says current plans would lead to a rise in average global temperatures of between 2.9C and 3.4C by 2100, a shift likely to bring catastrophic change across the globe.

Coordinated by the World Meteorological Organisation, the United in Science report says it is still possible to reduce the gap and keep global heating to a safe level, but it would require an urgent shift in commitments and action.

An assessment backed by the world’s major climate science bodies has found commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions must be at least tripled and increased by up to fivefold if the world is to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The report, launched as leaders gather at a UN climate action summit in New York on Monday, says current plans would lead to a rise in average global temperatures of between 2.9C and 3.4C by 2100, a shift likely to bring catastrophic change across the globe.

Coordinated by the World Meteorological Organisation, the United in Science report says it is still possible to reduce the gap and keep global heating to a safe level, but it would require an urgent shift in commitments and action.

-snip-

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/23/countries-must-triple-climate-emissions-targets-to-limit-global-heating-to-2c

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Related: Landmark United in Science report informs Climate Action Summit (World Meteorological Organization)

El Salvador: Evelyn Hernandez cleared over baby's death

Source: BBC

36 minutes ago

A 21-year-old woman in El Salvador whose baby was found dead in the toilet where she gave birth has been cleared of murder during a retrial.

Evelyn Hernández had always maintained she was innocent, saying that she did not know she was pregnant and lost consciousness during the birth.

Prosecutors had asked for a prison sentence of 40 years.

Her case has been closely watched in El Salvador and abroad with women's rights activists calling for her acquittal.

-snip-


Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49368632




Ms Hernández had repeatedly said she was innocent (AFP)

Source: Associated Press

El Salvador rape victim acquitted over stillbirth murder charge

Associated Press
Mon 19 Aug 2019 23.42 BST

A young rape victim who was suspected of having an abortion and charged with homicide after having a stillborn child has been acquitted by a judge at a retrial in a case that attracted international attention to El Salvador’s strict abortion laws.

Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez, now 21, had served 33 months of a 30-year prison sentence when her conviction was overturned in February for lack of evidence and a new trial was ordered. Prosecutors had asked for a 40-year sentence.

The retrial was a first for such a case in the Central American nation, where prosecutors have aggressively pursued legal cases against women who have had miscarriages or other obstetric emergencies, accusing them of murder.

“Thank God, justice was done,” Hernandez said following the announcement of the verdict, visibly emotional as dozens of women waited at the courthouse. “I also thank you who have been present here.”

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/20/el-salvador-victim-acquitted-over-stillbirth-charge

UK's Johnson puts health service off limits in potential U.S. trade deal: report

Source: Reuters

BUSINESS NEWS AUGUST 19, 2019 / 7:23 PM / UPDATED 2 HOURS AGO

UK's Johnson puts health service off limits in potential U.S. trade deal: report

(Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is putting the National Health Service (NHS) off limits in any trade deal with the United States, the Sun newspaper reported.

"The Prime Minister has asked me to underline that measures affecting the NHS, including service provision and drug pricing, cannot under any circumstances form part of an agreement with the United States," a letter from Johnson's senior staff to Trade Secretary Liz Truss's office said, according to the report. bit.ly/2ZfwdG2

The letter continued that there should be no internal discussion of the issues within the government. Johnson fears the Labour Party would use any suggestion that NHS access is up for grabs to its electoral advantage, the article said.

U.S President Donald Trump had said in June that Britain’s public health service should be on the table in talks about a trade deal between the two countries after Brexit but later backtracked on his comments.

Reporting by Sabahatjahan Contractor in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-usa-nhs/uks-johnson-puts-health-service-off-limits-in-potential-u-s-trade-deal-report-idUSKCN1V921N

North Pole: multiple lightning strikes follow record-low sea ice levels

Source: The Guardian

North Pole: multiple lightning strikes follow record-low sea ice levels

‘Furthest north lightning strikes in Alaska forecaster memory’ hit as high temperatures and widespread fires plague region

Edward Helmore
Tue 13 Aug 2019 16.27 BST Last modified on Tue 13 Aug 2019 16.29 BST

Multiple lightning strikes have been observed 300 miles from the North Pole, according to the US National Weather Service, in the latest sign of extreme changes to the Arctic environment.

The strikes, detected by the NWS station in Fairbanks, Alaska, were produced by towering storm clouds. They were detected on Saturday, and while not unique, come as the region is experiencing record-low sea ice levels, high temperatures and widespread fires on areas of tundra.

An extreme ice-melt in Greenland is estimated to have produced a run off of 197bn tons of ice-sheet water into the Atlantic, enough to raise sea levels by 0.5mm, or 0.02in, in a one-month time frame. On a single day, 1 August, Greenland lost 12.5bn tons of surface ice to the sea.

At the same time, a wildfire has been burning in western Greenland while Siberian wildfires have produced smoke haze circling the upper regions of the globe.

According to a NWS tweet and statement, the lightning strikes hit an area of sea ice or open ocean waters mixed with ice, near 85 degrees North, 120 degrees East.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/13/north-pole-multiple-lightning-strikes-follow-record-low-sea-ice-levels

President Trump has made 12,019 false or misleading claims over 928 days

Source: Washington Post

President Trump has made 12,019 false or misleading claims over 928 days

By Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly August 12 at 3:00 AM

President Trump’s proclivity for spouting exaggerated numbers, unwarranted boasts and outright falsehoods has continued at a remarkable pace. As of Aug. 5, his 928th day in office, he had made 12,019 false or misleading claims, according to the Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement the president has uttered.

Trump crossed the 10,000 mark on April 26, and he has been averaging about 20 fishy claims a day since then. From the start of his presidency, he has averaged about 13 such claims a day.

About one-fifth of these claims are about immigration, his signature issue — a percentage that has grown since the government shut down over funding for his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In fact, his most repeated claim — 190 times — is that his border wall is being built. Congress balked at funding the concrete barrier he envisioned, so he has tried to pitch bollard fencing and repairs of existing barriers as “a wall.”

False or misleading claims about trade, the economy and the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign each account for about 10 percent of the total. Claims on those subjects are also among his most repeated.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/12/president-trump-has-made-false-or-misleading-claims-over-days/

Republican groups vow to stop buying Twitter ads until McConnell campaign account is unfrozen

LBN thread: Twitter locks McConnell campaign account after posting video of protester shouting threats, profanit

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Source: Washington Post

Republican groups vow to stop buying Twitter ads until McConnell campaign account is unfrozen


By Felicia Sonmez
August 8 at 1:14 PM

A move by Twitter to freeze the account of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) campaign has prompted a backlash by President Trump’s campaign and national Republican groups, who have vowed to stop buying ads on the social media platform until the account is unfrozen.

On Wednesday, Twitter locked McConnell’s campaign account from further activity as punishment for its sharing of a video of protesters screaming obscenities outside the Kentucky Republican’s home. The social media company said it will not unlock @Team_Mitch unless it agrees to remove the video.

Officials for the Trump campaign, the National Republican Committee, and the Republican Senate and House campaign arms accused Twitter of bias and tweeted Thursday that their organizations are withholding their advertising dollars until the issue is resolved.

“#MassacreMitch trended on @Twitter for a full day, and they did nothing,” Kevin McLaughlin, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a tweet. “Someone threatens to stab the Majority Leader, @TeamMitch posts the video and THEY get locked out. @NRSC is not spending $ until this is adequately addressed.”

Richard Walters, chief of staff for the RNC, shared McLaughlin’s post and added: “The @GOP and @TeamTrump stand with the @Team_Mitch and the @NRSC. Any future ad $ either organization was planning to spend with @Twitter has been halted until they address this disgusting bias.”

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republican-groups-vow-to-stop-buying-twitter-ads-until-mcconnell-campaign-account-is-unfrozen/2019/08/08/14feb5f4-b9f7-11e9-a091-6a96e67d9cce_story.html

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All I can say is, please proceed, Republicans.

He forgot his phone on the bus and got busted with child porn, officials say. It may have thwarted a

Other reporting: Boulder man who allegedly posted guide for hunting refugees, Jews and Muslims arrested on child porn charge (Denver Post - excerpt below)

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Source: Washington Post

He forgot his phone on the bus and got busted with child porn, officials say. It may have thwarted a hate crime.

By Antonia Noori Farzan August 8 at 4:32 AM

The black Apple iPhone sat forgotten on a public bus that looped its way through the bustling streets of Boulder, Colo., in May.

Its owner, Wesley David Gilreath, was already on the radar of the FBI after allegedly posting a “hunting guide” with information about synagogues, mosques and refugee centers. A week earlier, he had been blocked from buying a gun, but he wasn’t charged with a crime. That changed when two transit workers found his abandoned cellphone while cleaning the bus, unlocked it to try to locate the owner and found themselves staring at reams of disturbing images, authorities say.

Gilreath, 29, was charged in federal court Tuesday with possession of child pornography, but officials say his arrest may have also thwarted a domestic terrorist attack.

“The charge in this case demonstrates that the U.S. attorney’s office and our federal and state law enforcement partners will use every available law enforcement tool not just to prosecute federal crimes, but also to disrupt and prevent potential hate crimes,” Jason Dunn, the U.S. attorney in Colorado, said in a statement to local media outlets on Wednesday

According to federal court records, Gilreath sat for an interview with the FBI on Jan. 24, after agents received a tip that someone had been posting online “hunting guides” targeting Jews, Muslims, refugee centers, Bureau of Land Management offices and Montana National Guard facilities, and linked a document labeled as a “Montana Hunting Guide” to the 29-year-old.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/08/08/he-forgot-his-phone-bus-got-busted-child-porn-it-may-have-thwarted-hate-crime-officials-say/

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Source: Denver Post

Boulder man who allegedly posted guide for hunting refugees, Jews and Muslims arrested on child porn charge

Suspect tried to buy gun and had addresses of local mosques and synagogues

By KIRK MITCHELL | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: August 7, 2019 at 12:24 pm | UPDATED: August 7, 2019 at 1:34 pm

Federal agents have arrested a 29-year-old Boulder man on a pornography charge, and the U.S. attorney in Colorado said the arrest may have prevented a domestic terrorist attack because the man also is suspected of writing an online guide on how to commit violent hate crimes against refugee centers, synagogues and mosques.

Wesley David Gilreath was charged Tuesday with possession of child pornography, but federal law officers also arrested him in order to potentially stop a domestic terror attack, according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.

“The charge in this case demonstrates that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our federal and state law enforcement partners will use every available law enforcement tool not just to prosecute federal crimes, but also to disrupt and prevent potential hate crimes,” Dunn’s statement said.

Magistrate Judge Scott Varholak ordered Gilreath detained without bond on the pornography charge Tuesday during a hearing in U.S. District Court. The investigation against Gilreath for other possible federal crimes is continuing, Dunn wrote in his statement.

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Read more: https://www.denverpost.com/2019/08/07/us-attorney-colorado-domestic-terrorism-pornography-arrest/

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