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Former Sen. Al Franken giving speech in Oregon in latest move to revamp public image

Former Sen. Al Franken giving speech in Oregon in latest move to revamp public image
Minnesota Democrat has said he regrets resigning in 2018 following sexual misconduct allegations
Posted Aug 26, 2019 11:17 AM

Former Sen. Al Franken is hosting a speaking event in Portland, Oregon, in October where he will share stories of his time in the Senate and as a cast member of “Saturday Night Live.”

The former Democratic-Farmer-Labor senator from Minnesota has undertaken a series of moves in recent months to reenter the public eye, including launching a podcast and corresponding YouTube channel, creating a website with a collection of his writings and thoughts on the political landscape and now hosting paid speaking events.

The most expensive tickets for “An Evening with Al Franken” in Portland on Oct. 2 are $89.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune first reported the speaking engagement.

Franken resigned in 2018 over several allegations of sexual misconduct. He has since said that he regrets stepping away from office so quickly.

“Oh, yeah. Absolutely,” he told The New Yorker earlier this summer, when asked if he regretted resigning before a Senate Ethics Committee investigation played out.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 28, 2019, 07:13 PM (4 replies)

Fox News Stars Push Back as Trump Demands Loyalty: We Don't 'Work for You'

Fox News Stars Push Back as Trump Demands Loyalty: We Don’t ‘Work for You’
By Justin Baragona
2 hrs ago
Several Fox News personalities pushed back Wednesday against President Donald Trump after he escalated his public attacks on the right-leaning outlet for its occasional anti-Trump voices.

In the middle of a typically chaotic tweetstorm spurred on by his morning TV viewing habits, the president took aim at Fox News anchor Sandra Smith for bringing on the Democratic National Committee’s communications director, Xochitl Hinojosa, to discuss the upcoming Democratic primary debate.

“Just watched @FoxNews heavily promoting the Democrats through their DNC Communications Director, spewing out whatever she wanted with zero pushback by anchor, @SandraSmithFox,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “Terrible considering that Fox couldn’t even land a debate, the Dems give them NOTHING! @CNN & @MSNBC are all in for the Open Border Socialists (or beyond).”

Besides blasting the America’s Newsroom co-anchor, Trump went after a few other Fox News stars who he has recently singled out.

“Fox hires ‘give Hillary the questions’ @donnabrazile, Juan Williams and low ratings Shep Smith. HOPELESS & CLUELESS! They should go all the way LEFT and I will still find a way to Win - That’s what I do, Win,” he wrote. “Too Bad!”

The president concluded by complaining that Fox News was “letting millions of GREAT people down” and that he needs to “start looking for a new News Outlet” since the one-time channel “isn’t working for us anymore!”

Almost immediately after the president’s tweets, Fox News senior political analyst and former news anchor Brit Hume sounded off: “Fox News isn’t supposed to work for you,” he wrote.

Hume wasn’t the only conservative Fox star to fire back at the president. Fox News contributor and radio host Guy Benson essentially repeated Hume’s remarks: “We don’t work for you,” he stated.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 28, 2019, 04:53 PM (33 replies)

Trump Did Not Represent the U.S. at the G-7


Trump Did Not Represent the U.S. at the G-7
His comments on Obama and Crimea show he has no national loyalty.
By William Saletan
Aug 27, 2019
9:26 PM

This week, at the G-7 meeting in France, President Donald Trump stood before the world and, for three horrifying minutes, displayed utter incomprehension of allegiance to the United States.


A patriotic president would regard a past affront to the United States as an affront to himself. Obama, for instance, saw the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as an attack on his country, and therefore he authorized the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden. Trump lacks this sense of continuity. Like a child who thinks the world didn’t exist before his birth, Trump ignores events prior to his election. Since the assault on Crimea took place in 2014, Trump dismisses it as an offense against “President Obama, not … President Trump.” Trump doesn’t understand that he and Obama share a country and that he’s supposed to punish wrongs even if they occurred on his predecessor’s watch.

From this solipsistic standpoint, there are no national commitments. All commitments are personal and dispensable. “President Obama was helping Ukraine,” according to Trump, but that was Obama’s policy—not, in Trump’s view, an enduring promise by the United States. So Trump abandoned that commitment. He accepts Russia’s claim to Crimea, and he dismisses its suspension from the G-7 as a fit of pique by an embarrassed and now irrelevant former American president.

Look back at Trump’s recent comments, and you’ll see a pattern of indifference to national loyalty. A month ago, he told four American congresswomen—three of whom were born in the United States—to “go back” to the countries from which their families had emigrated. Two weeks ago, he urged a foreign nation, Israel, to deny entry to two of the four lawmakers. He argued that American Jews who supported the congresswomen were being disloyal to Israel. On Saturday, Trump defended the honesty of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, despite U.S. intelligence that shows Kim is faking denuclearization. In response to a question about French taxes on American technology companies, he grumbled that the companies were anti-Republican and might have cost him 15 million votes in 2016. As to China’s unfair trade practices, Trump concluded, “I don’t blame China. I blame our presidents, our representatives, past administrations, for allowing that to happen.”

Trump has been talking this way for years. He pretends to be a nationalist, but he doesn’t understand what a nation is. A nation makes enduring commitments. A nation preserves memories, principles, and obligations from one presidency to the next. A nation treats an attack on one as an attack on all. Trump believes in none of that. To him, every past president is a rival, and every adversary of those presidents—including Putin and Kim—is, by extension, an ally. Trump doesn’t go to gatherings of world leaders to represent the United States. He goes there to represent our enemies.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 28, 2019, 04:35 PM (2 replies)

Maria Soto Was Born in the U.S., yet the Trump Administration Won't Give Her a Passport. We're Suing


Maria Soto Was Born in the U.S., yet the Trump Administration Won't Give Her a Passport. We're Suing.
By Leland Baxter-Neal, Staff Attorney
August 27, 2019 - 4:45pm

Maria Soto was born in 1971 in the Los Angeles County Hospital in California. She has her original birth certificate to prove it. She carefully guards the small, deeply creased and wrinkled document with a dozen other important papers at her home in southern Oregon.

And yet the government refuses to give her a passport, telling her that her birth certificate and other documentation she has submitted is “insufficient.”

We are suing on Maria’s behalf because the government unjustly denied her a U.S. passport. Today we filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State, demanding that she be provided her passport just as any other citizen.

Maria’s parents were migrant workers. They took her to Mexico as a baby to be cared for by her grandparents. Growing up, she always knew she was a United States citizen. She regularly returned to the United States to visit family, showing her original birth certificate each time she crossed the border.

When Maria turned 18, she returned to the United States and settled in southern Oregon. She soon sponsored her husband for his green card—an immigration process that required that she prove her citizenship to the federal government. She would prove her citizenship to the federal government two more times, submitting immigration petitions for her mother and her brother.

In 2018, Maria and her husband hoped to travel to Peru for vacation, so she applied for her passport like anyone would. She sent in her original birth certificate, along with a certified copy issued by the State of California, and other documentation, including her driver’s license, social security card, a letter from her school in Mexico, and medical records.

In response, the government denied her application, sending her a letter telling her that she had submitted insufficient evidence to prove her U.S. citizenship.

Cases like Maria’s appear to be occurring more frequently. Last summer, the Trump administration created a “Denaturalization Task Force” to attempt to strip some naturalized citizens of their citizenship, and the Washington Post reported on a surge of passport denials for Latino Americans who were born along the border. And just last week, President Trump again told reporters he was investigating whether he could issue an Executive Order ending birthright citizenship as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. ( Spoiler alert: he can’t.)

Across America, Latinx communities are facing unprecedented levels of harassment and discrimination. Behind the racist rhetoric coming from the White House is the insidious message that people like Maria—people of color, people who speak a second language, people who come from immigrant families or communities—are not equals in our country or are somehow less American.

Maria is a citizen, but in the eyes of the Trump administration, her birth certificate is not enough. Her social security card is not enough. The fact that she has already proven her citizenship to the federal government in immigration applications—not once, not twice but three times—is not enough.

They are wrong. Maria is a citizen and is owed her passport, plain and simple, and we are suing to make sure she receives it.

Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 28, 2019, 01:27 PM (9 replies)

Trump breaks with Fox News

So he now admits they were his official media arm. Color me not shocked.

Sara Fischer
52 mins ago
Trump breaks with Fox News

President Trump publicly turned on Fox News on Wednesday, tweeting that the conservative-leaning cable network "isn't working for us anymore" and that "[w]e have to start looking for a new News Outlet."

Be smart: The words "us" and "we" presumably refer to the most loyal supporters that make up Trump's base, whom the president hopes will help him pressure Fox into elevating Pro-Trump coverage leading up to the 2020 election.


The big picture: The president has suggested for the past few months that Fox News has wavered in its loyalty to conservative coverage by elevating left-leaning voices on its network and by publishing news polls that show his support slipping.

He's also gone after Fox News daytime hosts like Shep Smith that pander less to the president's perspective, compared to Fox News' primetime anchors and Trump loyalists Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. Trump on Wednesday reiterated a familiar attack on Smith, claiming he has "low ratings."

Meanwhile, Trump has planted seeds of support with other conservative networks, like One American News Network (OANN), Newsmax and Sinclair Broadcast Group.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 28, 2019, 12:51 PM (6 replies)

Trump's Unpardonable Admission About His Border Wall

Trump’s Unpardonable Admission About His Border Wall
The president wants to spend billions of taxpayer dollars for a project that he acknowledges is largely symbolic—even if it breaks the law.
11:40 AM ET
David A. Graham

Disagreements about what the law really means are unavoidable. Congress passes laws, government agencies interpret them, advocates dispute those interpretations, and then the courts step in to resolve the arguments.

But that’s not what’s happening with President Trump’s latest push on his border wall. The Washington Post reports that Trump is frantically urging aides to get construction on his border wall underway, overriding their objections that this might require breaking environmental laws, violating contracting rules, or improperly claiming private land. Why? Not because he believes his wall is necessary for national security. Not because he believes he is right about the law, and his aides’ concerns are misplaced. He doesn’t even believe the wall will actually solve an immigration crisis. Trump is urging action on the wall because he believes it is necessary for him to win reelection.

The tell here is that, as the Post reports, Trump “has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said.”

This is one of the biggest scandals of the Trump administration—no small feat. Trump is demanding the government move heaven and (literally) earth, break laws, and spend billions of taxpayer dollars, for a project that he acknowledges is largely symbolic—all for the purpose of bolstering his reelection bid. All presidents work to keep campaign promises, of course, but most don’t do so at the expense of the rule of law.

Running for office, Trump said he would build a wall and Mexico would pay for it, a claim he quickly abandoned. When Congress repeatedly refused to give him money for the wall, he mounted an end-run around Congress, declaring a national emergency. Because Congress has unwisely delegated some of its powers to the president through the National Emergencies Act, he may succeed in defeating legal challenges, since courts tend to give the executive wide latitude to determine what is and isn’t a national emergency.

But Trump keeps undermining the legal rationale for his action. As the Post reports:

Trump conceded last year in an immigration meeting with lawmakers that a wall or barrier is not the most effective mechanism to curb illegal immigration, recognizing it would accomplish less than a major expansion of U.S. enforcement powers and deportation authority. But he told lawmakers that his supporters want a wall and that he has to deliver it.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 28, 2019, 12:31 PM (11 replies)

Joined by Pete Buttigieg, Drivers Blockade Roadway Outside Uber Headquarters


Joined by Pete Buttigieg, Drivers Blockade Roadway Outside Uber Headquarters
Bryan Menegus
Yesterday 4:35PM

To a steady beat of whistles, car horns, and “AB5 and a union!” hundreds of rideshare drivers amassed outside Uber’s corporate headquarters in San Fransisco this afternoon. For over an hour, Market Street has slowed to a crawl, choked by the cars of for-hire vehicle drivers.

The Market Street shutdown is just the latest stop in a three-day protest caravan across California advocating for the passage of the aforementioned Assembly Bill 5. Introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez in January, AB5 is seen by proponents as a kill-shot against the gig economy practice of classifying workers as independent contractors. It’s a convenient arrangement for companies like Uber and Lyft, which don’t have to provide benefits like health insurance and overtime pay, while passing fuel and vehicle wear costs onto drivers themselves.


Joining these workers was, surprisingly, South Bend mayor and Democratic nominee hopeful Pete Buttigieg. “Where I come from ‘gig’ is another word for job,” Mayor Pete said in front of the rideshare giant’s front door. “That means you deserve a minimum wage. That means you deserve protections from workplace and sexual harassment. That means you deserve overtime protections. And yes that means you deserve a union,” the mayor assured drivers. The speech, of course, comes at a time when other Democratic presidential candidates are working to court the votes of unions across the country, with Sanders by far rolling out the most expansively pro-labor plan. In recent polls Buttigieg has sunk to a distant sixth place among the crowded Democratic field.

The caravan is timed around an important vote this Friday, where AB5, which already cleared California’s House of Representatives in July, will come before the state’s Senate Appropriations Committee. If successful, it will still require one more vote in the state senate to pass, though momentum appears to be building broadly against technology companies which have grown rich during the current period of deepening inequality in the country.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 28, 2019, 10:23 AM (0 replies)

House candidate says women can be Republicans now because social issues no longer matter


House candidate says women can be Republicans now because social issues no longer matter
Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee (R-IL) decries "identity politics" while running on her own identity.
Josh Israel
Aug 28, 2019, 9:47 am

A Republican congressional candidate went on Fox News Wednesday to highlight the large number of women from her party running in 2020. Her rationale: Women can now vote based on their fiscal conservatism because social issues are no longer a concern for anyone.


“Over the last 25 years, I feel we have started to resolve those social discussions and we are shifting to the fiscal side,” she continued. “As a woman, as a mom, a business woman, someone who runs my household, the fiscal is what I care so deeply about, other women like me, Republican women like me finally are gonna have a chance to come out and say I am a ‘Republican too.'”


Later in the interview, she echoed the popular Republican talking-point that “identity politics” are a bad thing — before attempting to make her own identity a campaign selling point.

“I‘ve always, my whole life, have been careful to [n]ever play identity politics,” she claimed, “because up until, I would say I was in my low 30s, I didn’t see a difference in who I was based on a woman or someone else being a man or being Mexican-American. I judged myself always on performance. But when you say why do we want more women at the table? It’s because it gives a perspective.”

Ramirez Mukherjee then contradicted her claim that social issues no longer matter, saying, “The topics we are talking about around reproductive health, around family, around education, around safety, climate — those are things that I feel someone that has a different background, a different professional background, comes from somewhere else. It gives a perspective that others don’t have at the table currently.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 28, 2019, 10:11 AM (5 replies)

Lawyers: Evidence shows Epstein death 'far more consistent' with murder


Lawyers: Evidence shows Epstein death 'far more consistent' with murder
By Zack Budryk - 08/28/19 09:29 AM EDT

Attorneys for financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein said his death in federal custody was “far more consistent with assault” than suicide in a court hearing Tuesday, according to Newsweek.

"We did not see a despairing, despondent, suicidal person" ahead of Epstein's death Aug. 10, one of Epstein's attorneys told District Judge Richard M. Berman, according to Newsweek.

The lawyers said they could provide further evidence backing their claims.

Epstein’s lawyers said the medical examiner who ruled Epstein died by suicide had only seen nine minutes of footage from a single security camera before making the determination.


“[W]e have a profound problem with the conclusions of the medical examiner,” said one attorney, with another telling Berman "There are conspiracy theories galore … what if the tapes only broke down on the day he was killed or he died?” and inviting Berman to tour Metropolitan Correctional Center, where Epstein was found non-responsive.

Attorneys argued Epstein lacked motive to take his own life, saying that the time of his death, the registered sex offender’s legal team had decided to pursue an appeal challenging prosecutors’ ability to pursue the case that they believed had a high chance of success.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 28, 2019, 10:02 AM (10 replies)

Mattis Reflects on Serving as Trump's Defense Secretary


Mattis Reflects on Serving as Trump’s Defense Secretary
August 28, 2019 at 7:50 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks out for the first time since resigning his post in a Wall Street Journal essay:

“Using every skill I had learned during my decades as a Marine, I did as well as I could for as long as I could. When my concrete solutions and strategic advice, especially keeping faith with our allies, no longer resonated, it was time to resign, despite the limitless joy I felt serving alongside our troops in defense of our Constitution.”

“Unlike in the past, where we were unified and drew in allies, currently our own commons seems to be breaking apart. What concerns me most as a military man is not our external adversaries; it is our internal divisiveness. We are dividing into hostile tribes cheering against each other, fueled by emotion and a mutual disdain that jeopardizes our future, instead of rediscovering our common ground and finding solutions.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 28, 2019, 09:29 AM (4 replies)
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