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babylonsister

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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 165,943

Journal Archives

It Mattered That He Showed Up: On Pete Buttigieg's "Shortest Way Home"

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/it-mattered-that-he-showed-up-on-pete-buttigiegs-shortest-way-home/#!

It Mattered That He Showed Up: On Pete Buttigieg’s “Shortest Way Home”
By Harrison Hill
MAY 28, 2019


snip//

Having just barely “attained to the Age of thirty five Years,” the threshold mandated in the Constitution, Buttigieg has now turned his ambitions to the White House. The results have been promising: a May 9 Monmouth poll puts Buttigieg third in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, behind only Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Nationally, too, Mayor Pete is building momentum — as of last week, Quinnipiac had him ahead of party stars like Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke. Everything can and will change, but it’s a credit to Buttigieg’s vision, intelligence, and thoughtfulness — and, certainly, his status as a white male — that he’s emerged, with such speed, from near-total obscurity to something like viability.

Does such a rise indicate Buttigieg has what it takes to unseat the aged cretin currently squatting in the Oval? I hesitate to guess. But whatever happens in 2020, Buttigieg appears poised to make a substantial contribution to American politics and public life — a fact evident not just from his galvanizing interviews and appearances, but also from his new memoir, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future. The book is clearly intended as a campaign document, and contains all the humanizing anecdotes and professional backstory typical of a political memoir. But Shortest Way Home is more than just a stump speech with a dust jacket. It’s a vivid and surprisingly lyrical portrait of a city and a man in transition — and an intellectual performance in which Buttigieg succeeds in making his play at the presidency seem entirely, thrillingly appropriate.

snip//

It matters that he’s gay, that he showed up. I imagine I speak for many other gay men when I try to communicate just how much this means to me, how deeply moving it is to see a television anchor, speaking of Buttigieg, use a phrase like “his husband” — all without batting an eye. There’s a revolution in those two words, and that they just might apply to a major-party nominee — a president — qualifies as a miracle.

Of course, Buttigieg remains a long shot. But for now I choose to linger in the possibility, in the hope, that he and his husband — his husband! — might yet go to the White House. That they, and we, might yet win.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 28, 2019, 06:50 PM (5 replies)

Trump Demotes Giuliani And Hires More Lawyers For Fight With Congress


Posted on Tue, May 28th, 2019 by Reuters
Trump Demotes Giuliani And Hires More Lawyers For Fight With Congress
By Jan Wolfe


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump is restructuring his legal team with lawyers more at home in a courtroom than a television studio as he shifts from dealing with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to battling Democratic-led investigations in the U.S. Congress.

The long-time leaders of Trump’s team – Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani – remain in place. But other attorneys, known for their litigation skills, are taking on larger roles on the team: William Consovoy, Patrick Strawbridge, Marc Mukasey and Stefan Passantino.

snip//

Trump is defying congressional investigations into his administration, his family, his business interests and his finances, calling them “presidential harassment.” His administration has ignored subpoenas, refused to let current and former aides testify and declined to hand over documents in the aftermath of the April release of a redacted version of Mueller’s report that detailed Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election to boost Trump’s candidacy.

The Trump Organization, the president’s company, has its own lawyers in the subpoena fights. They include Mukasey, a criminal defense lawyer in Manhattan and former Giuliani law partner whose father Michael Mukasey served as U.S. attorney general from 2007 to 2009 under Republican President George W. Bush, and Passantino, a former lawyer in Trump’s White House who is now at a law firm.

Consovoy and Strawbridge both served as clerks in 2008 for Clarence Thomas, one of the most conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices. The firm Consovoy McCarthy, with offices in the Washington suburb of Arlington, Virginia, and in Boston, is known for arguing against affirmative action policies that benefit racial minority groups that have faced discrimination and for battling women’s healthcare and abortion provider Planned Parenthood.

The firm also is defending Trump in a lawsuit by the Democratic attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia accusing him of violating a U.S. Constitution anti-corruption provision, called the emoluments clause, barring U.S. officials from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments. The suit cites Trump’s refusal to disentangle himself from his businesses including a Washington hotel blocks from the White House.

more...

https://www.politicususa.com/2019/05/28/trump-demotes-giuliani-and-hires-more-lawyers-for-fight-with-congress.html
Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 28, 2019, 04:12 PM (10 replies)

William Barr's New Authority to Declassify Anything He Wants Is a Threat to National Security

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/05/trump-william-barr-declassification-national-security-dan-coats-threat.html

William Barr’s New Authority to Declassify Anything He Wants Is a Threat to National Security
By Joshua A. Geltzer and Mary B. McCord
May 28, 2019
11:25 AM


Over the weekend, President Donald Trump suggested that he trusted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to “keep his promise” to Trump about the country’s nuclear program more than he trusted his own national security officials who have warned him about that program. It was just the latest example of Trump demonstrating disdain for the U.S. intelligence community and broader national security apparatus, but it came on the heels of a perhaps even scarier one. Trump’s decision last week to hand over unilateral authority to declassify America’s intelligence secrets to an attorney general who continues to act as if he’s Trump’s personal lawyer threatens to endanger intelligence sources, frighten our allies, and irreparably harm our national security.

snip//

This is just the latest manifestation of Trump’s dismal view of our nation’s intelligence community. Time and again, he has shown disregard and disrespect for the assessments of intelligence professionals. Recall the president’s Helsinki meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, when Trump publicly embraced the position of the Russian leader that no interference had occurred, over the contrary opinions of his own intelligence community. Or remember his bizarre personal letters exchanged with Kim Jong-un. To its credit, the intelligence community has generally stood firm in its views despite Trump’s preference for the promises of foreign dictators.

That history underscores what last week’s order reveals about Trump’s view of Barr. As a practical matter, the order gives Barr supremacy over the intelligence community by allowing him to declassify its secrets at will. As a conceptual matter, the order may be even more extraordinary by empowering Barr to “direct the declassification” of the intelligence community’s secrets. Trump is thus making one Cabinet member—Barr—superior to his fellow Cabinet members on the matters of their own agencies. If this involved the exercise of their statutory authorities, it would be clearly unlawful. However, because this is a delegation of the president’s own authority to classify and declassify—as implemented via earlier executive orders—it may be lawful. But it’s a terrible and dangerous approach to governance. Trump is rewarding the Cabinet member who’s been most political, most “loyal,” most obedient, by elevating him over other Cabinet members who have been providing nonpartisan intelligence assessments to keep our country safe.

As alarming as last week’s order must have been to the U.S. intelligence community, imagine what our foreign allies must think. On Friday, Trump made clear that he wants Barr to use his review to “look at” the role British and Australian intelligence services played in the Russia probe, “because there was a hoax that was perpetrated on our country.” This represents an extraordinary threat to the intelligence these and other countries share with us and often help us to acquire and protect as well as to the people gathering that intelligence. It—quite reasonably—seems certain to decrease their trust in Washington’s will to protect sources, methods, and intelligence; in turn, it’s likely to decrease how much they share. Ultimately, politically driven declassification and a decrease in intelligence sharing by U.S. partners—and especially the combination—could endanger the lives of Americans. Although Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has expressed confidence that the attorney general “will work with the IC in accordance with the long-established standards to protect highly-sensitive classified information that, if publicly released, would put our national security at risk,” it’s unclear if those standards will in fact be respected by Barr, given that the order requires him to consult with the intelligence community about declassification only, as noted above, if Barr himself deems it “practicable.”

To our closest allies, and to the women and men who have risked their lives—and in some cases, died—to acquire intelligence to protect our nation, the president’s order says a lot about his view of national security: not as a sacred responsibility of an American president, but as something that can be exploited for political advantage. That’s a terrible price for the rest of us to pay.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 28, 2019, 02:40 PM (2 replies)

Trump Says U.S. Aircraft Carrier Design Is 'Wrong,' Plans Overhaul

Who's getting this contract?


Trump Says U.S. Aircraft Carrier Design Is ‘Wrong,’ Plans Overhaul
By Jennifer Epstein
May 28, 2019, 1:06 AM EDT


President Donald Trump told U.S. troops stationed in Japan he plans to order traditional steam powered catapults aboard American warships instead of newer electromagnetic systems that he said may not work as well during wartime.

Trump polled the sailors and Marines on the USS Wasp on steam versus electric catapults Tuesday during a visit to the the Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo, the biggest overseas U.S. naval installation.

The tour came at the end of the president’s four-day state visit to Japan, a key military ally. The troops’ cheers were audibly larger for steam catapults -- used to launch aircraft off navy ships -- and Trump took note.

“We’re spending all that money on electric and nobody knows what it’s going to be like in bad conditions," he said. "So I think I’m going to put an order -- when we build a new aircraft carrier, we’re going to use steam."


The U.S. Navy intends to buy two Ford-class aircraft carriers Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said earlier this year. The Ford has long been a source of frustration for Trump, who has bashed the carrier’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, which is replacing the steam catapults.

Trump told the Japan base personnel that steam catapults work better than the newer, higher-tech systems.

more...

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-28/trump-says-u-s-aircraft-carrier-design-wrong-plans-overhaul?srnd=premium&fbclid=IwAR1tu3v_N0P5L8dul_rAXauxLIuW4Gtqa-Pc2uIMQ3TyaBBFcGFrvRKN0AI
Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 28, 2019, 10:57 AM (56 replies)

Senate GOP vows to quickly quash any impeachment charges

Senate GOP vows to quickly quash any impeachment charges
By Alexander Bolton - 05/27/19 04:24 PM EDT


GOP senators say that if the House passes articles of impeachment against President Trump they will quickly quash them in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has broad authority to set the parameters of a trial.

While McConnell is required to act on articles of impeachment, which require 67 votes — or a two-thirds majority — to convict the president, he and his Republican colleagues have the power to set the rules and ensure the briefest of trials.

“I think it would be disposed of very quickly,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

“If it’s based on the Mueller report, or anything like that, it would be quickly disposed of,” he added.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), an adviser to McConnell’s leadership team, said “nothing” would come of impeachment articles passed by the House.

Given the Senate GOP firewall, Cornyn, who’s also a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he doubts that Democrats will commence the impeachment process.

“It would be defeated. That’s why all they want to do is talk about it,” he said. “They know what the outcome would be.”

more...

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/445512-senate-gop-pledges-to-quickly-quash-any-trump-impeachment-charges
Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 28, 2019, 08:10 AM (13 replies)

"Six Marines in the Picture"



http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2019/05/a-poem-for-memorial-day.html

The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
5/27/2019
A Poem for Memorial Day
"Six Marines in the Picture"
by Cloy Richards


6 Marines
3 standing tall and proud in the foreground
3 crouching in the foreground
6 Marines posing in Fallujah, supposedly the "Graveyard of Americans"
6 young, strong men with battle hardened countenances
6 marines in great health posing with rifles, deep in enemy territory
How brave they look, how American.
They can go to any country in the world, kick ass and take pictures to show
the folks back home what their tax dollars are paying for.
That picture of my buddies and I, is forever in my mind, yet slightly changed

Private Perez was killed by a car bomber at a vehicle check point.
There's only 5 Marines in the picture now.

Sergeant Silva lost the use of his left leg after a rocket attack and now is
addicted to painkillers and booze.
There's only 4 Marines in the picture now.

Lance Corporal Dubois joined the Marines to help conquer his heroin addiction.
After 3 years clean and sober, he came home from Iraq a broken man,
and turned back to heroin.

He overdosed two months after we got back
There's only 3 Marines in the picture now.

Corporal Allen's stress and emotional problems got the better of him
and he started beating his wife and children.
2 years after Iraq he's in prison, without a family.
There's only 2 Marines in the picture now.

Private First Class Anderson got dishonorably discharged for drug use
5 months after we came home. Rather than turn to his family for help,
he wanders the streets of southern California, begging for money, food, work.

There's one Marine left in the picture now, and it's me.
Am I still alive?
I might be physically breathing, but I'm dying inside.
So really there aren't any Marines in that picture
and without those Marines it's just a picture of a shattered city
in a devastated country.


(This poem comes from Warrior Writers, a non-profit organization that teaches and gives space for veterans to write and create art about their experiences. You can donate here.)
Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 28, 2019, 07:01 AM (13 replies)

Pete Buttigieg says he wants to 'live a life that's worthy' of fellow service members

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/27/politics/pete-buttigieg-memorial-day/index.html?utm_medium=social&utm_content=2019-05-27T23%3A08%3A06&utm_source=fbCNNp&utm_term=link&fbclid=IwAR2n-wWe4h4yfLAGqvocd8rnfA1aBJlY8DPFASks1Jd5E27GIr0IFl-mvvY

Pete Buttigieg says he wants to 'live a life that's worthy' of fellow service members
By Donald Judd, CNN
Updated 6:09 PM ET, Mon May 27, 2019



South Bend, Indiana (CNN)Calling Memorial Day "a day beyond politics," Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Monday reflected on the holiday's meaning and paid tribute to the members of the military he served with in Afghanistan.

"I'm thinking of folks I've served with who were killed or injured and the sacrifice that they made and that the fact that there's no real way to justify the fact that I came back and they didn't, other than that I can do everything in my power to live a life that's worthy of what it took in order to make it possible to be here at home," Buttigieg, who deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence officer with the US Navy Reserve, told CNN.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor struck a similar contemplative tone as he delivered remarks at a wreath-laying at a baseball park in downtown South Bend.

"This is a day that is beyond politics as Americans of every persuasion, of every background, of every generation pause to remember the sacrifice needed in order to keep America secure," he told the crowd. "It is something in common for Americans who may have very little in common, other than the fact of being American, and it serves us well to come together at a time like this."

"Some ask whether it is inappropriate for us to go about American life, to attend baseball games and spend time with our family at cookouts on a day like this," he said." I believe it is appropriate, because it is normal, in order to make this life available to us, that so deep of a price was paid by so many. But it is fitting that we stop and honor all of those that made that sacrifice, from the most recent losses in the global war on terror and other conflicts, to the very first blood spilled in the American Revolution."


Later, in a gaggle with reporters, the mayor, who has been busy on the campaign trail, said he was happy to be back in his hometown for the holiday.

"To me, it's first of all an opportunity to express South Bend's respect for the sacrifice required in order to secure our way of life, I also think it's a time when we bring two different things together: the celebration of life itself, and time with family, and all the reasons why we care enough to have a military and have those sacrifices, and on the other hand a recognition of what happened, often very far away from here, in order to make it all possible," Buttigieg told CNN. "It's tough sometimes to hold those two things in your mind, but that's what exactly why we have that observance, and I'm glad to be part of it."


more...

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/27/politics/pete-buttigieg-memorial-day/index.html?utm_medium=social&utm_content=2019-05-27T23%3A08%3A06&utm_source=fbCNNp&utm_term=link&fbclid=IwAR2n-wWe4h4yfLAGqvocd8rnfA1aBJlY8DPFASks1Jd5E27GIr0IFl-mvvY
Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 27, 2019, 07:46 PM (2 replies)

Trump ignored Congress on war powers. Constitutional scholars want Democrats to take him to court.



Trump ignored Congress on war powers. Constitutional scholars want Democrats to take him to court.
Should Nancy Pelosi take Donald Trump to the Supreme Court?
By Tara Golshan May 27, 2019, 7:40am EDT


A group of constitutional scholars and lawmakers want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take President Donald to the Supreme Court — over the war in Yemen.

Their case is straightforward: Trump is unilaterally involving the United States in war, and that’s unconstitutional. For four years, the United States has participated in a war in Yemen that was never authorized by Congress, and that Congress expressly told Trump to withdraw from. Trump ignored the directive. Now, as the White House escalates tensions with Iran, there’s growing concern that unless legal action is taken, Congress will cede more war powers to Trump.

In April, Congress passed a historic War Powers Resolution, directing Trump to remove troops involved in “hostilities” in Yemen. Trump vetoed it, cementing American fingerprints on one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world: According to the most recent United Nations report, 80 percent of the Yemeni population — 24 million people — is in need of humanitarian assistance. The Senate failed to reach the 67-vote threshold needed to override the executive veto on the bill.

Trump said the War Powers Resolution was an attempt to “weaken [his] constitutional authorities.” But the power to authorize a declaration of war, of course, sits with Congress, not Trump.


more...

https://www.vox.com/2019/5/27/18634590/nancy-pelosi-donald-trump-supreme-court-war-power
Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 27, 2019, 12:37 PM (11 replies)

Graham: 'I've got a real problem' with arms sales to Saudi Arabia


Graham: 'I've got a real problem' with arms sales to Saudi Arabia
By Chris Mills Rodrigo - 05/26/19 10:14 AM EDT


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday criticized the Trump administration pushing through arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"I’ve got a real problem with going back to doing business as usual with Saudi Arabia," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday."

"Jordan is a great ally. The [United Arab Emirates] has been problematic in Yemen but are a good ally. Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, but [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] was, in my opinion, involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and he’s done a lot of other disruptive things, so I don’t support the arms sales now," he continued.


more...

https://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/445584-graham-i-got-a-real-problem-with-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia?fbclid=IwAR1cBJRw_dNWQ2NLryQPiQcbrM4HdF49qVsEdvYj1_a6tuzcvYf1whflvqo
Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 27, 2019, 11:40 AM (32 replies)

Navy Pilots Report Seeing Unidentified Flying Objects Over East Coast: NYT



https://www.thedailybeast.com/navy-pilots-report-seeing-unidentified-flying-objects-over-east-coast-nyt?ref=home

Navy Pilots Report Seeing Unidentified Flying Objects Over East Coast: NYT
Audrey McNamara


For nearly a year, U.S. Navy pilots flying high over the East Coast reported that they repeatedly saw aircraft with no visible engine reaching hypersonic speeds—a type of flying object they could not readily identify, the New York Times reports. The pilots began noticing the objects—which appeared like white ovals—after their 1980s-era radar was upgraded to a more advanced system. Some of the sightings were videotaped. What stands out most to the pilots is that the video shows objects accelerating to hypersonic speed, making sudden stops and instantaneous turns—a jolting flight path that would be impossible for a human crew to achieve. “Speed doesn’t kill you. Stopping does. Or acceleration,” said Lt. Ryan Graves, a pilot who reported his sightings to the Pentagon and Congress.

There are earthly explanations for the footage, including “bugs in the code for the imaging and display systems, atmospheric effects and reflections, neurological overload from multiple inputs during high-speed flight” according to Leon Golub, a senior astrophysicist at Harvard. But the aircraft did get the attention of the Navy, which earlier this year sent out new classified guidance for how to report what the military calls “unexplained aerial phenomena,” or, the objects formerly known as UFOs. The sightings were also reported to the Pentagon’s shadowy Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. Luis Elizondo, a military intelligence official who ran the program until he resigned in 2017, called the sightings “a striking series of incidents.”
Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 27, 2019, 08:27 AM (70 replies)
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