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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
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Journal Archives

Uninspired by the crop of 2020 Democrats? Keep your eyes on Mayor Pete


Uninspired by the crop of 2020 Democrats? Keep your eyes on Mayor Pete
By Melissa Batchelor Warnke
Mar 18, 2019 | 10:50 AM


If elected — and I fully appreciate that we’re 20 months away from that “if” — Buttigieg would become both the youngest and the first openly gay president in U.S. history. Buttigieg, now 37, has broken records before; when he took office as mayor of South Bend in 2012, he became the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with at least 100,000 residents. He came out publicly in an essay in the South Bend Tribune during his reelection campaign in 2015, writing that “for a conservative resident from a different generation, whose unease with social change is partly rooted in the impression that he doesn’t know anyone gay, perhaps a familiar face can be a reminder that we’re all in this together as a community.” His husband Chasten Buttigieg, a teacher, is often by his side.

What of Buttigieg’s politics? At a glance, they look pretty, pretty, pretty good from my progressive vantage point. He raised the minimum wage for South Bend city employees, set to patching the city’s potholes and spearheaded its “1,000 houses in 1,000 days” initiative, which restored or demolished abandoned homes. On the national level, Buttigieg supports the Green New Deal, single-payer healthcare (with an all-payer rate-setting transition) and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. What’s the current line in Vegas on whether a mayor whom the right will inevitably brand as a gay socialist can win the presidency?

That may well depend on whether millennials and Gen Z-ers, who will together comprise 37% of the 2020 electorate, show up to vote.

Plus, it’ll take some maneuvering for conservatives to write Buttigieg off as just another spendy Bolshevik snowflake. For one, Trump won Indiana by nearly 20 points; it’s not easily caricatured Connecticut or California. In 2014, Buttigieg served as an officer in Afghanistan, and he remains a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve. Buttigieg has worked for corporate-friendly consulting firms such as McKinsey and the Cohen Group, founded by former Secretary of Defense (and moderate Republican) William Cohen.

Much of my initial Buttigieg interest is sparked by his willingness to challenge long-established political narratives (long-battled, too, including by Sanders, the subject of a reverent essay Buttigieg wrote in high school). Democrats “are not yet comfortable working in a vocabulary of ‘freedom,’ ” Buttigieg told the New York Times in 2016. “Conservatives talk about freedom. They mean it. But they’re often negligent about the extent to which things other than government make people unfree.” Language matters — and Buttigieg speaks like someone who realizes its power. He’s both plainspoken and fun to listen to. He’s got a touch of Obama, whose campaign he canvassed for in 2008. (In 2016, the former president included Buttigieg in a short list of Democrats to watch.) That’ll liven up the debates.

Between now and those debates, which start in June, you’ll want to learn Mayor Pete’s name. For the record, it’s pronounced BOOT-edge-edge.

Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 19, 2019, 08:33 AM (9 replies)

Trump's Lawyers on House Judiciary Dems' Document Request: You Get Nothing

Trump’s Lawyers on House Judiciary Dems’ Document Request: You Get Nothing
The House Judiciary Committee set a Monday deadline for 81 people, government agencies and private organizations to submit material.
Asawin Suebsaeng,
Spencer Ackerman
03.18.19 1:29 PM ET

President Trump’s personal legal team is telling a crucial House committee seeking documents from dozens of Trumpworld associates that it has nothing to turn over–an early signal that both sides are gearing up for a confrontation.

Monday is the deadline set by the House Judiciary committee for 81 people, government agencies and private organizations to voluntarily submit substantial amounts of written material relevant to a practically omnibus House Democratic investigation. The Judiciary Democrats are after far more than just the ties to Russia that their Intelligence Committee members are investigating. They want material speaking to abuses of official power, public corruption and obstruction of justice.

In what they characterized on March 4 as an opening salvo, the Judiciary Committee said that recipients of their document requests could, to facilitate production, begin turning over the material they may have already provided to the criminal investigations into Trumpworld run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

But the president’s lawyers believe they’ve got the committee caught in a logic trap.

According to a source with knowledge of the response, Trump’s team of outside attorneys informed Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and his committee that they would not be handing over any documents. The brief letter, sent by Trump attorney Jane Raskin, lays out that Jay Sekulow—the Trump lawyer who received the documents request early this month—and the current team never turned anything over to Mueller’s office or the Southern District. Hence, the source said, when Nadler asked Trump’s outside counsel for such documents, the attorneys’ position is that the House Democrat was asking for something that didn’t exist.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 04:22 PM (13 replies)

Trump renews call to pull arts, PBS funding

Of course he does.


Trump renews call to pull arts, PBS funding
By Niv Elis - 03/18/19 03:02 PM EDT

President Trump’s 2020 budget proposal has called for eliminating popular programs such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund stations such as PBS and NPR, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Trump had proposed eliminating the programs in his last two budgets as well, suggestions that Congress ignored.

The 2020 request, which was released in its entirety on Monday, called for scrapping $435 billion from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and $126 billion from the National Endowment for the Arts, leaving both with a few million dollars to manage an orderly shutdown.

The overall budget will spend $4.7 trillion on discretionary and mandatory programs.

Regarding public broadcasting, the administration argued that it only provides a fraction of the funds for popular stations such as PBS and NPR.

Proponents of publicly funded journalism say that the funding largely benefits stations in rural areas that would struggle to stay afloat on just ad revenues, and that public funding promotes high quality journalism.

Regarding the arts, the budget justification said they did not fall in the purview of the federal government.

“The Administration does not consider NEA activities to be core Federal responsibilities,” the proposal said.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 03:14 PM (14 replies)

A Damaged Soul and a Disordered Personality


A Damaged Soul and a Disordered Personality
Trump’s continuing attacks on John McCain reveal a worrisome state of mind.
1:13 PM ET
Peter Wehner
Contributing editor at The Atlantic and senior fellow at EPPC


A culture lives or dies based on its allegiance to unwritten rules of conduct and unstated norms, on the signals sent about what kind of conduct constitutes good character and honor and what kind of conduct constitutes dishonor and corruption. Like each of us, our leaders are all too human, flawed and imperfect. But that reality can’t make us indifferent or cynical when it comes to holding those in authority to reasonable moral standards. After all, cultures are shaped by the words and deeds leaders, including political leaders, validate or invalidate.

“To his equals he was condescending; to his inferiors kind; and to the dear object of his affections exemplarily tender,” Henry Lee said in his eulogy of George Washington. “Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence, and virtue always felt his fostering hand; the purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues.”

But the other reason we should pay attention to the tweets and other comments by the president is that they are shafts of light that illuminate not only his damaged soul, but his disordered personality.

It doesn’t take a person with an advanced degree in psychology to see Trump’s narcissism and lack of empathy, his vindictiveness and pathological lying, his impulsivity and callousness, his inability to be guided by norms, or his shamelessness and dehumanization of those who do not abide his wishes. His condition is getting worse, not better—and there are now fewer people in the administration able to contain the president and act as a check on his worst impulses.

This constellation of characteristics would be worrisome in a banker or a high school teacher, in an aircraft machinist or a warehouse manager, in a gas station attendant or a truck driver. To have them define the personality of an American president is downright alarming.

Whether the worst scenarios come to pass or not is right now unknowable. But what we do know is that president is a person who seems to draw energy and purpose from maliciousness and transgressive acts, from creating enmity among people of different races, religions and backgrounds, and from attacking the weak, the honorable, and even the dead.

Donald Trump is not well, and as long as he is president, our nation is not safe.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 02:30 PM (16 replies)

Brain trauma suffered by U.S. diplomats abroad could be work of hostile foreign government

Brain trauma suffered by U.S. diplomats abroad could be work of hostile foreign government
Since 2016, dozens of American officials have come home from Cuba and China with unexplained brain trauma. Evidence shows it may be the work of another government using a weapon that leaves no trace
2019 Mar 17
Correspondent Scott Pelley

In 2016 and '17, 25 Americans, including CIA agents, who worked in the U.S. Embassy in Cuba suffered serious brain injuries causing impaired vision and memory loss among other persistent symptoms. Now, we've learned that at least 15 American officials in China suffered unexplained brain trauma soon after. The FBI is now investigating whether these Americans were attacked by a mysterious weapon that leaves no trace. Over many months we have been collecting evidence of what appears to be a hostile foreign government's plan to target americans serving abroad and their families.

60 Minutes Overtime: Is an invisible weapon targeting U.S. diplomats?

Mark Lenzi: For me it was November of 2017, when I started to feel lightheaded a lot. I was getting more headaches, my wife was getting headaches too.

Mark Lenzi is a State Department security officer who worked in the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. He says that he and his wife began to suffer after hearing strange sounds in their apartment.

Mark Lenzi: Picture holding a marble. Then, picture if you had like a six foot in diameter funnel, metal funnel. The sound that marble would make as it goes around and it progressively gets faster as it gets, goes down towards the hole at the end. It's a sound like I've never heard before.

Scott Pelley: Was this subtle? Like, "Did I hear that?"

Mark Lenzi: No. It was, it was actually somewhat loud. I heard it about three or four times. Always in the same spot. Always over my son's crib and always right before we would go to bed.

"This was a directed, standoff attack against my apartment."

Lenzi wears prescribed glasses because sensitivity to light is among his persistent symptoms.

Mark Lenzi: The symptoms were progressively getting worse with me. My headaches were getting worse. The most concerning symptom for me was memory loss, especially short-term memory loss.

Mark Lenzi believes he was targeted because of his work. He uses top secret equipment to analyze electronic threats to diplomatic missions.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 08:36 AM (2 replies)

ICE Has Detained a 72-Year-Old Grandfather With Alzheimer's for Nine Months

ICE Has Detained a 72-Year-Old Grandfather With Alzheimer’s for Nine Months
Noé de la Cruz, a grandfather of three, has been in immigrant detention since June 2018—and his family worries that his Alzheimer’s is going untreated.
Scott Bixby
03.18.19 4:43 AM ET

For nearly nine months, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has held a 72-year-old grandfather with Alzheimer’s disease in a Texas immigrant detention center. As Noé de la Cruz’s attorneys fight to win asylum status, his only daughter worries that he is forgetting his own grandchildren—and is in danger of losing his life if he is deported.

“When a person gets sick with this kind of disease, it’s a very different situation for that person, and their family, because they are not who they were anymore—they’re more like a child,” Sandra de la Cruz, Noé’s daughter, told The Daily Beast. If her father is deported to his native Mexico, Sandra said, she fears his condition may deteriorate even more quickly.

“He’s going to get lost, and we don’t have family over there who can take care of him,” Sandra said. Speaking through tears, Sandra recounted instances where her father called “three, five, ten times a day” from the Port Isabel detention facility near Los Fresnos, Texas, asking the same questions over and over.

“He also says that he’s getting into fights, but when we go to see him, he doesn’t have bruises,” Sandra said. “We think that the fights are happening in his mind.”

Although his family has petitioned to have de la Cruz released into their care while his removal is adjudicated, ICE has refused, according to Tatiana Obando, de la Cruz’s attorney.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 08:07 AM (7 replies)

Feds Raided Trump Fundraiser's Office Looking for Ties to Foreign Nationals: Report


Feds Raided Trump Fundraiser’s Office Looking for Ties to Foreign Nationals: Report
REUTERS/Leah Millis

A sealed search warrant issued by the Justice Department and obtained by ProPublica gives new details about a raid on the offices of Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy last summer. According to the warrant, the investigators were looking for records “related to his dealings with foreign officials and Trump administration associates.” They were searching for any ties to China, Saudi Arabia, and a Miami Beach club promoter, ProPublica reports. The raid was first reported by The Washington Post last summer. The warrant suggests the government was much more aggressive with Broidy than previously known, “entering his office and removing records—just as it did with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen,” the news site says. Before becoming a Trump megadonor, Broidy pleaded guilty to his role in a New York state public corruption and bribery case. The previously sealed warrant suggest investigators are now focused on “conspiracy, money laundering, and violations of the law barring covert lobbying on behalf of foreign officials,” ProPublica writes, adding that agents were reportedly authorized to use Broidy’s hands or face to unlock any devices that required fingerprint or facial scans.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 08:03 AM (6 replies)

In 1958, a synagogue was bombed....

A synagogue, a mosque, a church.The hate and fear continue.


In 1958, a synagogue was bombed. An editor’s response won a Pulitzer — and his words ring eerily true today
October 29, 2018 Roy Peter Clark

On Oct. 14, 1958, racial terrorists bombed Atlanta’s largest Jewish synagogue. The next day, Ralph McGill, editor of The Atlanta Constitution, fired off an editorial that won him a Pulitzer Prize and holds up a mirror for our own times.


It is informative — and tragic — that the events and the issues described in the column have such currency. Even McGill’s discussion of Confederate symbols retains its resonance. Please read, learn and rededicate yourself to speaking truth to power.

A Church, A School
By Ralph McGill
Atlanta Constitution
Oct. 15, 1958

Dynamite in great quantity Sunday ripped a beautiful temple of worship in Atlanta. It followed hard on the heels of a like destruction of a handsome high school at Clinton, Tennessee.

The same rabid, mad-dog minds were, without question, behind both. They also are the source of previous bombings in Florida, Alabama and South Carolina. The school house and the church are the targets of diseased, hate-filled minds.

Let us face the facts.

This is a harvest. It is the crop of things sown.

It is the harvest of defiance of courts and the encouragement of citizens to defy law on the parts of many Southern politicians. It will be grimly humorous if certain state attorneys general issue statements of regret. And it will be quite a job for some editors, columnists and commentators, who have been saying that our courts have no jurisdiction and that the people should refuse to accept their authority, now to deplore.

It is not possible to preach lawlessness and restrict it.

To be sure, none said go bomb a Jewish temple or a school.

But let it be understood that when leadership in high places in any degree fails to support constituted authority, it opens the gates to all those who wish to take law in their hands.

There will be, to be sure, the customary act of the careful drawing aside of skirts on the part of those in high places.

“How awful,” they will exclaim. “How terrible. Something must be done.”

But the record stands. The extremists of the citizens’ councils, the political leaders who in terms violent and inflammatory have repudiated their oaths and stood against due process of law have helped unloose this flood of hate and bombing.

This, too, is a harvest of those so-called Christian ministers who have chosen to preach hate instead of compassion. Let them now find pious words and raise their hands in deploring the bombing of a synagogue.

You do not preach and encourage hatred for the Negro and hope to restrict it to that field. It is an old, old story. It is one repeated over and over again in history. When the wolves of hate are loosed on one people, then no one is safe.

Hate and lawlessness by those who lead release the yellow rats and encourage the crazed and neurotic who print and distribute the hate pamphlets, who shrieked that Franklin Roosevelt was a Jew; who denounced the Supreme Court as being Communist and controlled by Jewish influences.

This series of bombings is the harvest, too, of something else.

One of those connected with the bombing telephoned a news service early Sunday morning to say the job would be done. It was to be committed, he said, by the Confederate Underground.

The Confederacy and the men who led it are revered by millions. Its leaders returned to the Union and urged that the future be committed to build a stronger America. This was particularly true of General Robert E. Lee. Time after time he urged his students at Washington University to forget the War Between the States and to help build a greater and stronger union.

But for too many years now we have seen the Confederate flag and the emotions of that great war become the property of men not fit to tie the shoes of those who fought for it. Some of these have been merely childish and immature. Others have perverted and commercialize the flag by making the Stars and Bars, and the Confederacy itself, a symbol of hate and bombings.

For a long time now it has been needful for all Americans to stand up and be counted on the side of law and the due process of law even when to do so goes against personal beliefs and emotions. It is late. But there is yet time.

Written in 1958, published again in 2018.

What can we learn?

Is there yet time?
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 07:41 AM (2 replies)

Schedules Show Light Working HUD Secretary

Nice work if you can get it.


Schedules Show Light Working HUD Secretary
March 18, 2019 at 6:25 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

NBC News: “Ben Carson’s daily schedule from 2017 shows a HUD secretary who held senior staff meetings once a week, lunched with the author of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ and the founder of My Pillow, and left work before 2 p.m. on some Fridays to fly to his Florida mansion.”

“A list of appointments for a 31-week period shows that for about half of the Fridays Carson worked a traditional eight or nine-hour day. For five of the Fridays he was off or had no appointments. For five more Fridays he left before 2 p.m. to get to the airport to fly to South Florida, where he owns a house valued at $4.3 million. For the remaining six, he had no scheduled appointments past 3 p.m. In all, he made a dozen weekend trips to South Florida during the 31 weeks.”
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 07:04 AM (0 replies)

2020 Democrats Look to Build a Movement

Works for me!


2020 Democrats Look to Build a Movement
March 18, 2019 at 6:21 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

New York Times: “As the primary process kicks into full swing, some Democrats are bypassing the kind of experienced Washington ‘wiseguys’ who operated in the caldron of beltway politics — famous strategists like David Axelrod, James Carville and, more recently, Robby Mook. Instead, campaigns are increasingly filling senior positions with a new generation of activist-driven operatives, whose political formation took place in grass-roots movements.”

“The shift has resulted in greater staff diversity than in previous cycles, but it has also influenced strategy, according to campaign officials. New voices are joining with election-cycle veterans to bring fresh ideas and political strategies to the presidential stage.”
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 06:57 AM (2 replies)
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