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ColemanMaskell's Journal
ColemanMaskell's Journal
January 16, 2018

That's overly cynical

While a lot of trouble between people appears to be due to religion, those same people could disagree with equal enthusiasm over other issues if they didn't have religion. Leaders find religion a convenient tool, if available. Where it is not available, they can turn some other convenient tool to the same ends. Groups of people can become dangerously enthused over communism, anti-communism, apartheid, xenophobia, nationalism, Trumpism or any demagoguery, fear of almost any kind.
And people of divergent religions can get along. The current Pope and Dalai Lama probably find themselves agreeing on most earthly considerations, though not on the afterlife. When I used to read religious texts from different religions I was struck by seeing that some form of the Golden Rule appeared as a teaching in every one of them if you read long enough to get that far, at least that was true for the ones I looked at. The analogy that stuck with me -- it was from either a Buddhist or Hindu source I think -- it said to envision a circle with the ultimate truth (or call it enlightenment, or salvation) at the center of the circle. People start out at different points on the circumference of the circle. (The analogy works as well if you prefer to imagine a sphere, with people scattered on the surface.) Each different religious path is like a radius leading from the outside, where the people are, to the center, where the goal is. As people follow such a path and draw nearer the center, they also at the same time draw nearer to each other. At the start of the path two people might be completely opposite in their views, and take paths that start very far apart. But the more progress they make on the path toward the truth at the center, the closer they come to each other. Hence people who follow completely different religions find that as they develop in their spiritual progress they find more and more in common. Love your neighbour. Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie.
Twelve gates to the city, you might say.

April 4, 2017

Democratic Congressman Wants to Force Trump Tax Disclosures

Source: Law News

submit to reddit
Signing my tax return…. pic.twitter.com/XJfXeaORbU

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2015

House Democrats on Monday offered a resolution in an attempt keep the issue of the release of Donald Trump‘s tax returns on the negotiating table in exchange for any tax reform bills in the House of Representatives.

Democratic Rep. Hakeen Jeffries introduced the rather unique resolution, according to The Hill, because “it would direct the House to delay consideration of tax-reform legislation until after lawmakers review Trump’s tax returns and determine how the president could benefit from tax-code changes”

As a member of the House Democratic leadership, Jeffries maintains the ability to tag measures as “privileged.” This entitles him to have his matters brought before the House for action within 48 hours, or two legislative days.

Jeffries’ resolution also seeks for the House Ways and Means Committee to be given the ability to obtain and Trump’s returns and review them in a closed session.

. . .

Read more: http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/democratic-congressman-wants-to-force-trump-tax-disclosures/

March 7, 2017

N. Korea, Malaysia ban each other's citizens from leaving

Source: AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — North Korea said Tuesday it was banning Malaysians from leaving the country as its bitter diplomatic battle with Malaysia escalated dramatically over the poisoning death of Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean leader's estranged half brother.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the travel ban was tantamount to hostage-taking and said his country would immediately respond in kind by banning North Koreans from leaving Malaysia.

. . .

About 1,000 North Koreans are believed to be working in Malaysia. Before diplomatic ties disintegrated, Malaysia had been one of the few places in the world where North Koreans could travel without a visa. As a result, for years, it's been a quiet destination for Northerners looking for jobs, schools and business deals.

Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Marican told reporters at parliament that there are 11 Malaysians in North Korea: Three working at the Malaysian Embassy, two United Nations workers and six family members.

. . .

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/n-korea-malaysia-ban-each-others-citizens-leaving

March 7, 2017

Trump Ally Proposes Purge Of Leftists From The Executive Branch

Source: TPM

Conservative congressman and Trump ally Rep. Steve King (R-IA) urged the President on Sunday to “purge Leftists” from his administration before they “sink us.”

On his Twitter account, King made the recommendation while posting a story from Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz.

@RealDonaldTrump needs to purge Leftists from executive branch before disloyal, illegal & treasonist acts sink us. https://t.co/o1DYtgA7aL

— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) March 6, 2017

In his article, Horowitz wrote that there had been “a silent coup within the intelligence agencies” against Trump, and he argued for a wholesale firing of political appointees who don’t “share the views of the president.”

“Any open borders official within DOJ and DHS should be gone,” he wrote. “Any pro-government-run health care supporter within HHS has to go. Any official within Treasury who is not on board with the OMB spending cuts and pro-growth tax cuts should go . . .”
. . .

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/steve-king-purge-leftists

November 6, 2016

Comey says FBI stands by decision to not pursue case against Clinton

Comey says FBI stands by decision to not pursue case against Clinton
By JOSH GERSTEIN 11/06/16 03:30 PM EST Updated 11/06/16 04:31 PM EST
. . .
In a letter sent to House and Senate committee leaders, Comey said FBI agents had completed their review of all messages to or from Clinton on a laptop seized last month from the estranged husband of a Clinton aide and had found nothing momentous.

"Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton," Comey wrote. "I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short-period of time."
. . .

November 6, 2016

Trump Just Told The Truth . . . Two horrifying policy announcements (Huffington Post)

Trump Just Told The Truth, And It’s More Terrifying Than His Racism And Lies
Grant Stern
11/05/2016 05:37 pm ET | Updated 9 hours ago

Donald Trump just released a pair of true statements about policy . . .

only days from the election ending, Donald Trump’s campaign just released the Republican nominee’s plan to cut $100 billion dollars in federal climate change spending over eight years, presumably to pay for the ridiculous tax cuts to the rich he proposes.

In late October, Trump also announced another policy; to turn America’s highways and byways into a for-profit business venture . . .

The Trump private roads and transportation plan was unveiled on Oct. 27th, but the full impact took a few days to be understood.

When the Republican candidate claims at rallies to want a trillion dollars in infrastructure spending, naturally voters assume that the assets would be publicly owned and free to use.
. . .
In fact, Trump’s transportation infrastructure plan would privatize most of the new construction, make it all toll driven and concentrated in wealthy areas . . .

Luckily, Bloomberg noticed something amiss and reported extensively on the pernicious Trump campaign climate change spending plan:

Donald Trump says he would save $100 billion over eight years by cutting all federal climate change spending—a sum his campaign says would be achieved by eliminating domestic and international climate programs.
. . .
Anyone who doesn’t want new taxes on driving, big giveaways to the ultra-wealthy and to end America’s investment in a green economy had better come to grips with the sad facts of the situation

As you can see, when Donald Trump tells the truth about his plans for America, it’s definitely more terrifying than his racism and lies.

November 6, 2016

Tim Kaine: Some FBI Employees Are ‘Actively Working’ To Help Trump

Here is the link to the story. Embedded in the story looks like a video link.

Tim Kaine: Some FBI Employees Are ‘Actively Working’ To Help Trump
11/05/2016 11:20 pm ET Updated 3 hours ago

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine accused people in the FBI of “actively working” in support of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign on Saturday, becoming the most prominent politician yet to level the charge after a week of extraordinary FBI leaks that appear to be intended to influence the outcome of the election.

In an interview with Fusion’s Alicia Menendez, Kaine speculated that FBI Director James Comey wrote his letter to Congress because “he knew that the FBI was not only a leaky sieve, but there were people within the FBI actively working ― actively working ― to try to help the Trump campaign.” Calling the situation “absolutely staggering,” Kaine said the events of the past eight days have been “a massive blow to the integrity” of the FBI.
. . .

Kaine said, “There are clearly people in the organization” who are trying to “put their thumb on the scale in an election."

November 4, 2016

FBI examining fake documents targeting Clinton campaign

FBI examining fake documents targeting Clinton campaign
Reuters POLITICS | Thu Nov 3, 2016 | 7:42pm EDT

By Mark Hosenball | WASHINGTON

The FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies are examining faked documents aimed at discrediting the Hillary Clinton campaign as part of a broader investigation into what U.S. officials believe has been an attempt by Russia to disrupt the presidential election, people with knowledge of the matter said.

U.S. Senator Tom Carper, a Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has referred one of the documents to the FBI for investigation on the grounds that his name and stationery were forged to appear authentic, some of the sources who had knowledge of that discussion said.

In the letter identified as fake, Carper is quoted as writing to Clinton, “We will not let you lose this election,” a person who saw the document told Reuters.

The fake Carper letter, which was described to Reuters, is one of several documents presented to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice for review in recent weeks, the sources said.
. . .
A spokesman for the FBI confirmed the agency was “in receipt of a complaint about an alleged fake letter” related to the election but declined further comment. Others with knowledge of the matter said the FBI was also examining other fake documents that recently surfaced.

U.S. intelligence officials have warned privately that a campaign they believe is backed by the Russian government to undermine the credibility of the U.S. presidential election could move beyond the hacking of Democratic Party email systems. That could include posting fictional evidence of voter fraud or other disinformation in the run-up to voting on Nov. 8, U.S. officials have said.

Russian officials deny any such effort.

In addition to the Carper letter, the FBI has also reviewed a seven-page electronic document that carries the logos of Democratic pollster Joel Benenson’s firm, the Benenson Strategy Group, and the Clinton Foundation, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The document, identified as a fake by the Clinton campaign, claims poll ratings had plunged for Clinton and called for “severe strategy changes for November” that could include “staged civil unrest” and “radiological attack” with dirty bombs to disrupt the vote.
. . .
November 3, 2016

California woman accusing Donald Trump of rape when she was 13 cancels press conference amid threats

California woman accusing Donald Trump of raping her when she was 13 cancels press conference amid threats
New York Daily News

The anonymous woman behind a lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of raping her when she was an underage teen said she was too scared to go public with her allegations.

The California plaintiff, known only as “Jane Doe,” was scheduled to break her silence in a Wednesday press conference, but backed out at the last minute.

"Jane Doe has received numerous threats today, as have all the Trump accusers that I have represented,” said the woman’s attorney, Lisa Bloom.

“She is living in fear. She has decided that she is too afraid to show her face. She has been here all day, ready to do it, but unfortunately, she's in terrible fear. So we're going to have to reschedule. I apologize to all of you who came."

. . .
“Immediately following this rape, Defendant Trump threatened me that, were I ever to reveal any of the details of Defendant Trump’s sexual and physical abuse of me, my family and I would be physically harmed if not killed,” the plaintiff said in an affidavit.


p.s. If this was already posted by someone earlier, apologies for the duplication.

Addendum 4 November:
In answer to anyone who thinks this is a fake story (!?) here is a link to Snopes:

October 31, 2016

Banana Republicans monkey around with emails : FBI Violations of Fourth Amendment -- Again

In getting the ‘new’ Clinton emails, did the FBI violate the Constitution?

Raw Story : 30 OCT 2016 AT 14:22 ET

. . .
In his letter, Comey says the FBI “has learned” of the existence of emails “that may be pertinent” to … Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server during her tenure as secretary of state … although “the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant,”
. . .
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution states that no search warrant can be issued unless it “particularly describes the place to be searched and the things to be seized.” Did the warrant for Weiner’s laptop “particularly describe” emails sent to or received by Abedin while working at the State Department as material that could be seized as evidence of the alleged sexting crime? That seems highly unlikely.
. . .
Indeed, why were federal agents looking at any emails belonging to the suspect’s estranged spouse? Surely the FBI didn’t think Abedin was involved in the alleged sexting crime.

The agents might make the implausible claim that they saw Abedin’s emails inadvertently when looking for evidence related to the sexting crime. … the FBI could have sought a new search warrant for specific Abedin messages, swearing to a federal judge that there was probable cause those particular emails were evidence of a crime
. . .
there is clear evidence that the FBI regularly and deliberately oversteps constitutional boundaries with regard to Americans’ email messages.

In one case now pending in New Jersey, the FBI went completely beyond the limits of a search warrant to download the entire contents of a lawyer’s cellphone. Incredibly, federal prosecutors in that case are telling a federal judge they can legally keep and use the downloaded data even if the judge rules it was obtained in violation of the Constitution.
In New York City, federal court records reveal the government obtained another search warrant that clearly violated the Fourth Amendment. That one ordered Microsoft to turn over the entire contents of a web-based email account and authorized “email by email review.”
. . .
Last spring, a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress that would . . . create a National Commission on Security and Technology Challenges including experts from many sectors such as law enforcement, the technology industry, the intelligence community, and the privacy and civil liberties communities. The commission would review the laws about warrants for digital data and recommend changes in how they should be used.

That effort followed the FBI’s ill-advised attempt to get a court order forcing Apple to create and give to the government software eliminating the user privacy and security features of the iPhone.

In the wake of this week’s new evidence of further overstepping by the FBI, passing this bill should be one of the first tasks for Congress when it reconvenes after the election.

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