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Be facebook smart, only post what you want to be known. MA

Grete Suarez 23 hours ago
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie blasted Facebook’s (FB) continued influence after its widely publicized data scandal, amid a recent controversy over the site’s refusal to remove a Trump campaign ad that makes false assertions about Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden.
The advertisement claims the former vice president tried to pressure a Ukrainian prosecutor to drop a probe of his son, Hunter — an argument that’s been widely debunked. It forms the basis of a widening controversy that’s sparked an impeachment inquiry in Congress, and given Facebook’s critics new ammunition to blast the platform’s practices.
Recently, Facebook said that it would not attempt to fact-check political ads — a position the company reasserted as the Biden campaign moved to have the spot taken down.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, Wylie — who blew the lid on the data scandal that walloped Facebook last year — insisted that the site was “making a choice” to spread false information. He compared the company to a “stalker” on a date.
“So if one campaign is basing itself on a scaled spread of disinformation and fake news in its advertising campaign, and you say we’re just not going to do anything about it, you are making a choice, whether you like it or not, to help one side,” Wylie said to Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM.

Wylie just released a new book “Mindf*ck,” which reveals the inside story of “the data mining and psychological manipulation behind the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum, connecting Facebook, WikiLeaks, Russian intelligence, and international hackers.”
The Cambridge Analytica scandal led to 87 million Facebook users’ data being sold and used for voter targeting campaigns for Brexit and Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.
The scandal resulted in Facebook having to fork over a record $5 billion in fines, and forced the social media giant to rethink key aspects of its data management — even as it continues its march into other business lines.
“This is a company that is everything from your photo album, to a communications network, to where we now have our public discourse and host elections… and at the same time wants to become a financial system,” Wylie said — referencing the company’s embattled cryptocurrency project, Libra.
“I question the wisdom of allowing a company to concentrate so many aspects of our society into one product,” he added.
Facebook is a publicly traded company, which Wylie points out is only accountable to their shareholders and CEO/founder Mark Zuckerberg. He called for independent regulators who will speak for its users — something several politicians have called for in the wake of the Cambridge scandal.
He believes the Internet “is part and parcel of democracy now” — which begs the question of whether the rules need updating.
Wylie used an analogy of Facebook as a perfect blind date — only to find out that person has spent two years stalking the person they’re courting.
“You are more vulnerable, because there’s an imbalance in power, because one entity, or one person, knows a lot more about you than vice versa,” he explained.
“Facebook is like that stalker – and that’s powerful… people will pay money to access the knowledge of that stalker,” he added.
Grete Suarez is producer at Yahoo Finance for YFi PM and The Ticker. Follow her on Twitter: @GreteSuarez

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Igor Volsky

Updated 05.20.19 10:28AM ET / Published 05.18.19 11:27PM ET

In 2018, President Donald Trump addressed the NRA’s annual conference for the second time as a sitting president. He was only the second sitting president to do so. In 1983, then-President Ronald Reagan became the first.
Both Reagan and Trump had at one time supported a ban on military-style assault weapons, a completely rational policy that the gun lobby views as a gun grab. Reagan came out for the reform ten years after he addressed the NRA; Trump endorsed it before he entered national politics. Reagan delivered his remarks with trademark passion and conviction; Trump rattled off a list of platitudes before launching into a recitation of his political conquests.
But both men delivered a similar message 35 years apart, and both distorted history.
Reagan said in 1983: “And by the way, the Constitution does not say that government shall decree the right to keep and bear arms. The Constitution says, ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’”
Trump said in 2018: “Since the first generation of Americans stood strong at Concord, each generation to follow has answered the call to defend freedom in their time. That is why we are here today: To defend freedom for our children. To defend the liberty of all Americans. And to defend the right of a free and sovereign people to keep and bear arms.”
Reagan and Trump framed the Second Amendment as an absolute right to own and carry firearms. The men (and yes, they were all men) who wrote our Constitution, however, saw that Second Amendment right to bear arms as a civic responsibility that white men had to meet in order to serve and protect their communities. The amendment was rooted in notions of responsible and ordered citizenship and was never seen as an unlimited and unregulatable right. The modern view of the Second Amendment articulated by Reagan and Trump, the one that views almost all gun regulations as contradictory to the right to bear arms, did not take hold until many years later, invented and perpetuated by a gun lobby intent on helping the firearms industry sell more guns.
For centuries, Americans had accepted and even promoted strict gun controls.
During the Revolutionary War period, for instance, the colonists heavily regulated firearms within a militia structure. Service was mandatory, and the militias were made up of white male landowners, who were required to carry and obtain their own firearms—guns they used to strip Native Americans of their land and rule enslaved Africans. To facilitate this dirty work—and ensure that guns did not fall into the “wrong” hands—early Americans employed stringent gun regulations. The early colonies required that guns be registered and inspected. Regulation of firearms in the colonies both during and after independence included policing powers over nonmilitary use of the weapons. Colonial governments tracked citizens’ firearms, and militiamen faced stiff penalties if they failed to report to muster. While many individual colonies had rules governing the storage of gunpowder, some regulations went even further.

Boston residents were not permitted to store a loaded firearm in their home, and individuals faced stiff penalties for violating this prohibition. Boston, along with New York, prohibited the firing of guns within city limits. Rhode Island conducted a house-by-house census of gun owners. Pennsylvania law allowed the government to disarm individuals deemed insufficiently loyal to the state.
By the time the 13 states came together in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention in 1787, four state constitutions protected the right to bear arms within a militia, but only Pennsylvania allowed broader ownership. (Given its high number of pacifist Quakers, the state could not form a standing militia and had to rely on armed individuals for protection.)
Most importantly, all of these early state constitutions described the right to bear arms as a civic obligation: citizens were required to arm themselves in order to participate in a militia that could protect them from foreign armies and internal threats. This understanding of self-defense was rooted in the English Bill of Rights of 1689, wherein the government tightly regulated firearms. The American colonists followed that norm, bearing arms “for the defence of the State” (North Carolina, Article XVII) or “for the common defence” (Massachusetts, Article XVII).
We spend a lot of time debating the particulars of the Second Amendment today, but it may surprise you to learn that the right to bear arms was not particularly important to the men who penned the Constitution. They did not include it in their original draft, nor was there any great public clamoring for such a provision in the fiery debates that followed the Constitutional Convention. To the extent that guns were discussed at all, the debate focused on the merits of state-run militias versus a national standing army. Before the Convention, states had controlled and regulated their own militias. The authors of the new document sought to put the federal government in charge. This change caused great divisions. One camp of delegates—the Federalists—feared that state-run citizen militias would be ill equipped to deal with future threats. They wanted a professional nationwide armed force. Other delegates—the Anti-Federalists—argued that Congress could abuse its power, disarm the state militias, and strip landowners of their rights. Eventually, the Federalists and Anti-Federalists agreed to a compromise: the federal government would be given the authority “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States,” while the states controlled military training and the appointment of military officers.
The Philadelphia Convention adjourned with that compromise, without any language about the “right to bear arms,” and the founders sent the document to special conventions held within state legislatures for ratification. Nine out of 13 states had to approve the Constitution for the document to go into effect. The newly proposed order unleashed feverish debates all over the country.
Early Americans penned essays and pamphlets arguing about the role of government and its size in daily life. But here too, they spent almost no time debating the gun question.
In Massachusetts, the state convention actually rejected the statement that the “Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress… to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.” In Pennsylvania, a provision “that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own state, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals” was similarly voted down. That clause allowed for significant police regulation of firearms, but it was still lampooned by the leaders of the day. Noah Webster, the political writer and “father of American scholarship and education,” asked sarcastically if Congress should not include language “that Congress shall never restrain any inhabitant of America from eating and drinking, at seasonable times, or prevent his lying on his left side, in a long winter’s night, or even on his back, when he is fatigued by lying on his right.”
In other words, the minority view that the Constitution should explicitly allow for a right to self-defense never picked up any significant steam, and its adherents made no campaign to advance it.
So how did the Bill of Rights come to include the Second Amendment? It originated from one of the nation’s first attempts to satisfy a political constituency!
The Constitution’s chief author—James Madison—had a problem. He wanted to win a congressional seat in Virginia, but he needed the votes of white southern Baptists to do so. What did they want? After years of oppression by the Episcopal Church, they demanded a guarantee that the new American government would never prioritize one religion over another. As Michael Waldman, author of The Second Amendment: A Biography, put it, “Madison found himself one of the first American politicians to pirouette, in the course of a campaign, from a deeply held view to its opposite—all the while insisting (and trying to convince himself) that he had not changed his view at all. The Bill of Rights was born of a pander to a noisy interest group in a single congressional district.”
“In the 18th century, the Second Amendment was about militias and musters. It was not about the politics of rugged individualism or a God-given right to own as many firearms as possible.”
Madison did indeed initially oppose significantly changing the Constitution, arguing that enumerating specific rights would not prevent governments from trampling them and could disrupt the delicate balance of power between the federal government and the states as laid out in the document. Political expediency, however, convinced him to meet the Baptists’ demand for an amendment guaranteeing religious freedom. Madison explained his change of mind: “It is my sincere opinion that the Constitution ought to be revised, and that the first Congress meeting under it ought to prepare and recommend to the States for ratification, the most satisfactory provisions for all essential rights, particularly the rights of Conscience in the fullest latitude, the freedom of the press, trials by jury, security against general warrants &c.”
Note that Madison’s list did not initially include a “right to bear arms,” though as he drafted the Bill of Rights, he incorporated language from the recommendations sent by the states’ ratification conventions. Those amendments included provisions about a right to bear arms within the context of a militia and did not appear to endorse an individual right to bear arms, even for hunting or self-defense.
Madison’s amendment echoed that sentiment, and after some revisions, it was codified into the 27 words of the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Consider this amendment piece by piece:
“A well regulated militia”: The founders were concerned about protecting the militia from the dangers of a centralized standing army as the phrase “the security of a free State” suggests. The first clause of the amendment qualifies the right articulated within it.
“A free State”: Every time that phrase is used in the Constitution it refers to individual states, not the government as a whole.
“The people”: The founders used this phrase to mean not individual persons, but rather the body politic, the people as a whole. During the ratification debate in Virginia, speakers used the phrase “the people” 50 times when discussing the militia. Every single mention referred to Virginians as a group, not as individuals.
“Keep and bear arms”: If you search the phrase “right to bear arms” in the Congressional Record, you won’t find a single mention outside of the context of the military. Searching a database of all the writings and papers of our founding fathers (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, and Madison) also reveals that the “right to bear arms” referred only to the formation of militias.
In the 18th century, the Second Amendment was about militias and musters. It was not about the politics of rugged individualism or a God-given right to own as many firearms as possible. Understanding of the amendment evolved in the decades that followed, as our interpretation of the Constitution adapted to changing times. Yet the “right to bear arms” almost always reflected a collective spirit rather than an individual obligation, a duty that could be regulated to address concerns of public safety. A group of colonial historians explained it succinctly: “The authors of the Second Amendment would be flabbergasted to learn that in endorsing the republican principle of a well-regulated militia, they were also precluding restrictions on such potentially dangerous property as firearms, which governments had always regulated when there was ‘real danger of public injury from individuals.’”
During the 19th century, state militias began to give way to standing armies, and as the United States expanded west, violence increased. An organization dedicated to improving the marksmanship of American soldiers formed; it evolved into an association dedicated to undermining all gun regulations throughout the country. Before long, this group would launch a multimillion-dollar campaign to rewrite the history of the Second Amendment and distort the writings of our founding fathers to fit its message and political agenda.
Copyright © 2019 by Igor Volksy. This excerpt originally appeared in Guns Down: How to Defeat the NRA and Build a Safer Future with Fewer Guns, published by The New Press and reprinted here with permission.

Igor Volsky is the author of Guns Down: How to Defeat the NRA and Build a Safer Future with Fewer Guns. He is co-founder and executive director of Guns Down America, an organization dedicated to building a future with fewer guns. He made headlines in 2015 for shaming lawmakers who took money from the NRA and sent “thoughts and prayers” after mass shootings. A lively interlocutor, he has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC television, and many radio shows. He lives in Washington, DC.

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Just a few highlights of a “stable genius’s” thinking?

Stuart Carlson Comic Strip for October 11, 2019 Drew Sheneman Comic Strip for October 11, 2019 Tom Toles Comic Strip for October 14, 2019 Ken Catalino Comic Strip for October 11, 2019 Dana Summers Comic Strip for October 09, 2019 Bob Gorrell Comic Strip for October 14, 2019

Chris Britt Comic Strip for October 12, 2019

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The scammers continue to assail everyone to deflect from their own quasi-legal activites. Fortunately, we as voters have options and that is to remove this cancer from our government and investigate these miscreants. There may come a time when a semi trailer with bars may back up to the Whitehouse MA

By Noah Bierman and Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times 11 hrs ago
WASHINGTON — Eric Trump sounded shocked that Hunter Biden hadn’t drawn more criticism for his lucrative business deals in Ukraine and China while his father, Joe Biden, was vice president. “Can you imagine if I took 3 cents from the Ukraine or 4 cents from China?” President Donald Trump’s second-oldest son asked in a recent Fox Business appearance. Eric Trump and his older brother, Donald Trump Jr., run the Trump Organization, which conducts business — and takes in tens of millions of dollars annually — around the globe and is still owned by the president. The company is forging ahead with projects in Ireland, India, Indonesia and Uruguay, and is licensing the Trump name in such turbulent areas as Turkey and the Philippines.
Their sister Ivanka is a senior adviser to the president. She kept her international fashion business going for 18 months after she was given a loosely defined White House portfolio that includes interacting with heads of state and working with domestic and international corporate chiefs on economic programs.
On the same day Trump and his daughter dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in Florida in April 2017, China awarded her three preliminary trademark approvals for jewelry, handbags and spa services. In all, she has obtained more than a dozen Chinese trademarks since entering the White House, ensuring her access to the world’s second-largest economy if she goes back into business.
Time and again, Trump’s children have blurred the lines of family, nation and business — essentially the charge the president makes against the Bidens as he battles a House impeachment inquiry focused on whether he improperly pushed Ukraine to investigate his political rivals for what he claims were shady dealings.
Trump’s children “appear to people all over the world to be his bagmen,” said Richard Painter, who served as White House ethics czar under President George W. Bush. “This is the Trump business empire. It’s owned by Donald Trump, the president, and they are managing it for him and collecting business on his behalf.”
While Hunter Biden’s overseas deals may have embarrassed his father, now a Democratic presidential candidate, no evidence has emerged to suggest wrongdoing by the former vice president.
“There’s no substantiated or credible allegation that I know of that Hunter Biden’s work was personally financially benefiting Joe Biden,” said Robert Maguire, research director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit that is suing Trump and alleges he is illegally profiting from the presidency.
“With President Trump, we know his two adult sons are going around the country and the world to make money for a company that President Trump himself personally profits from, that he also personally promotes using the White House,” he added.
The White House declined to comment for this story and the Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment. But family members have angrily denied profiting from Trump’s time in the Oval Office.
During an August business trip to Indonesia, Trump Jr. dismissed reporters’ questions about potential conflicts of interest as “totally asinine.”
Eric Trump said Thursday at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in New York that his family would go “down as one of the few families that have actually made a tremendous sacrifice.”
“We’ve lost a lot of money based on the fact that we don’t do any deals, that we’re sitting silent” while his father is in office, he said.
Since the company is privately held, that’s impossible to prove. In the meantime, both brothers sometimes travel on Air Force One — Eric was aboard Thursday when the president flew to a rally in Minneapolis — and in June, both brothers dined at Buckingham Palace in London during Trump’s state visit. Both also spoke at Trump’s reelection kickoff rally in June in Orlando, Fla., and Trump Jr. is a leading surrogate at campaign events.
After he was elected, Trump pledged not to seek new foreign business deals while president.
He never divested from the Trump Organization, however, which had licensed his name for real estate developments around the globe.
Trump owns more than $130 million in assets across 30 countries under the trust controlled by his children, according to an analysis of his financial disclosures by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group in Washington that tracks money in politics.
The assets generated more than $100 million in income in 2017 and 2018 combined, according to the group, which calls those estimates conservative because the president has only disclosed ranges, not specific figures, in public.
While some Trump properties have “taken a nosedive” since he became president, according to Anna Massoglia, a researcher for the center, others — such as his hotel in Washington — have benefited from foreign interests that moved events to his properties after Trump took office.
Trump’s children have also looked to expand their overseas holdings, she said.
“In many cases, they’ve gone back and, to some extent, reactivated or given new life to long-dormant projects,” Massoglia said, citing projects in the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and Uruguay that are in various phases of development.
“Trump’s travels or his family’s travels across the world have appeared exploratory” toward “the possibility of new business and setting themselves up to expand following the presidency,” she added.
The Trump Organization, as part of a stated commitment to return foreign profits to the U.S. Treasury, said it sent $191,538 to the government last year. But the company has not explained how it calculated that figure.
Since Trump refuses to release his tax returns and the company keeps much of its financial data confidential, it’s unclear whether he is following the ethics rules he set for himself after the election. Even if he is, some of the largest gaps in the self-imposed guidelines involve foreign projects.
The projects can benefit from local zoning or infrastructure improvements, or even when U.S. military crews are billeted there. The House Oversight Committee is investigating why the Pentagon has spent nearly $200,000 at Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland since 2017 for overnight stays and other expenses during refueling stops in nearby Glasgow.
The Trumps also can market existing projects under the guidelines, and actively sell luxury condos to foreign buyers, among other investments.
Last month, Trump Jr. hosted about 100 people in New York who had purchased homes in Trump-branded luxury towers near New Delhi. Visitors flew over Manhattan in helicopters, dined at Trump’s hotel and listened to a “fireside chat” between Trump Jr. and an Indian business partner.
Trump Jr. repeatedly told Indian reporters of his desire to do more business in India and other countries once his father leaves office.
“I’d love to be in the market right now,” he told CNBC-TV18, a major channel for business news in India. “But there is a bigger picture and there’s an important picture for us, for our country, for what my father is doing, and for Americans. There will be time to be back in that later on, and I’m sure those relationships will remain.”
Trump Jr. told Mint, an Indian business publication, that India would be “a market that we would be very interested (in), post-politics” and that “it would be easier for me to get going in India because of the relationships we have built up in the last decade.”
Those relationships predated Trump’s presidency — the company laid the groundwork for the developments years before he won in 2016 — but they have been strengthened from the White House.
Last month, President Trump lavished praise on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and held an unusual joint rally with him in Houston, gushing about the size of the crowds that packed the stadium.
“My personal chemistry (with Modi) is as good as it can get,” the president said two days later while discussing trade with the Indian leader on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York.
In 2017, the Trumps marketed another project in India — this one in Mumbai — with a picture of President Trump, calling it “an opportunity worth its weight in gold” to be associated with “celebrity & POTUS Donald Trump’s Trump Organisation,” using the abbreviation for president of the United States and the British spelling for organization.
After the Wall Street Journal raised questions about the materials, the Trump Organization said they were sent by an outside firm without its authorization.
When they took over the Trump organization, Trump Jr. and Eric Trump agreed to stay away from their father’s official duties, in part to signal foreign governments or corporate leaders that they could not curry favor with the White House by doing business with the president’s sons.
But that line seems murky at best.
In January, Eric Trump boasted of his father’s local political connections while reviewing construction of a Trump-branded property in Uruguay.
Speaking to an Argentine website, he cited his father’s “deep respect” for Argentine President Mauricio Macri — Trump did business with Macri’s father in the 1980s — and discussed where he would like to invest when Trump leaves office.
“Now we have other major international brands, which are being introduced in the market, and that is very good for the region,” he said. “Without a doubt, we have raised the standards. Our goal is to have the standards of New York.”
In August, Trump Jr. attended “pre-launch” events in Indonesia for two resorts being developed with a partner who founded one of the country’s political parties and remains highly active, with a daughter seeking a cabinet position there.
Indonesia, like many countries where the Trump sons do business, is negotiating with the Trump administration in Washington over trade policy. The government in Jakarta is seeking to avoid the tariffs the White House has imposed on other countries with a trade surplus.
Trump Jr. dismissed questions about a potential conflict of interest, telling reporters that his father “wouldn’t make decisions on a country based on a real estate deal.”
“I would like to shut down that nonsense right here,” he said.
———
©2019 Los Angeles Times

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Apparently, TOTUS is staying true to his long time M.O. of not paying for goods and services in other words “stiffing everyone”. This what scammers do. MA
Pay freeze at the UN? Trump administration owes the United Nations $1 billion

John Fritze and Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY 4 hrs ago

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump brushed aside warnings from the United Nations on Wednesday that the 74-year-old organization risks being unable to pay its staff and bills if member nations don’t cough up their annual dues soon.

Washington owes the U.N. $381 million in back payments and $674 million this year, according to the U.S. mission to the U.N. As the largest contributor to the 193-member organization, the U.S. has long sought to pressure the U.N. to rein in spending.
Trump, who has openly questioned the value of the U.N., has made skepticism of multinational organizations a central component of his foreign policy. Trump has demanded European countries contribute more to NATO and has pressed allies in Asia and the Middle East to rely less on U.S. military might and spend more on their own security.
Trump v. Thunberg: Is the UN moving on from Donald Trump?
Trump v. climate: Trump drops by UN climate summit, ditching initial plan to skip it
Trump v. world: Trump grapples with Ukraine scandal, other pitfalls at United Nations
Responding to reports of deep U.N. budget deficits, Trump returned to the theme.
“So make all Member Countries pay, not just the United States!” he wrote Wednesday.
U.N. officials say 129 countries have paid their 2019 dues, two-thirds of all members. Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said that nearly $2 billion has been paid to the organization this year and that the outstanding balance for other countries amounts to another $1.3 billion.
Dujarric described the financial situation as “the worst cash crisis facing the United Nations in nearly a decade” and said it “runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors.”
Created in 1945 on the heels of World War II, the United Nations charter tasked the organization with ending conflict and human rights abuses. Its real power lies in the 15-member Security Council, which can authorize sanctions and military action.
The U.S. has quarreled with the U.N. for decades over funding. A U.S. mission official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal decisions, said the U.S. paid $600 million to peacekeeping efforts this year and will pay “the vast majority of what we owe to the regular budget this fall, as we have in past years.”

But the longstanding tension has received renewed attention because of Trump, who once described the U.N. as “not a friend of democracy” and has consistently questioned multinational efforts such as NATO and the annual G-7 and G-20 summits.

Trump spent three days in New York last month for the annual U.N. General Assembly, pressing his case for sovereignty while also seeking support from allies to address a suspected Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia. Despite the international audience, Trump has used his U.N. addresses to speak more to domestic audiences.
“The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots,” Trump told his counterparts on Sept. 24. “The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations.”

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Politics

Ed Mazza, HuffPost 4 hours ago

CNN’s Chris Cuomo reached into the Republican Party’s past to find a quote that could haunt GOP lawmakers today as the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump gets underway in Congress.
In 1950, Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine) took on Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy, a member of her own party, in a speech she called a “Declaration of Conscience.” While Chase didn’t mention McCarthy by name, she urged her fellow Republicans to stand up for the basic American values being trampled by McCarthyism:
It is high time that we stop thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans about national security based on individual freedom. I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horsemen of calumny: fear, ignorance, bigotry, smear.
“Wow, did she resonate,” Cuomo said before noting that Chase’s words served as a reminder to her fellow politicians.
“She reminded them your duty was to the people,” he added. “Not to party alone.”
Then, Cuomo called on today’s lawmakers to follow Smith’s example.
“Please give the people a reason to believe again, Mr. and Mrs. Office Holder,” he said. “If you are not man or woman enough to say it out loud like Margaret Chase Smith, then listen to her words and let it guide your actions.”

Cuomo Prime Time

@CuomoPrimeTime

CNN’s @ChrisCuomo cites Sen. Margaret Chase Smith’s 1950 speech, “Declaration of Conscience,” for how to deal with the “tactics of division.”

“She reminded them, your duty was to the people, not to party alone,” Cuomo said.

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Compounding the immigrant crisis created by an inept “leader” is the loss of aid to our less fortunate world neighbors. The idea of aid is to assist these countries in improving their countries and their citizenry.  This allows the fleeing citizens to remain at home and improve their own lots.MA

September 17, 20199:48 AM ET
Tim McDonnell

Eulalio Barrera Barrera’s family was one of 6,000 to receive a monthly stipend funded by USAID that was cut off last month because of President Trump’s foreign aid funding freeze. Like many families in the program, he spent the last cash on chickens.
Tim McDonnell for NPR
For Carlos Marroquín, the chickens are all that’s left.
For the past several years, Marroquín has struggled to feed his wife and five children with the proceeds from their 10-acre corn farm. They live in a mud-brick house with a sloped terra cotta roof, nestled among pines, acacias and prickly pear cactus in Guatemala’s mountainous northern Quiché region, part of the country’s Dry Corridor that has been gripped by a multiyear drought.
Last November, his family was one of the 6,000 poorest families here to be selected for a U.S. government-backed humanitarian relief program. The family began receiving a monthly cash transfer of around $60, which it was encouraged to spend on fresh fruit, cereal, dairy products and other grocery staples to supplement a diet that rarely varied beyond black beans and homemade corn tortillas.

Goats and Soda
How To Fix Poverty: Why Not Just Give People Money?
“The first time we got the money, we thought it was a dream,” he recalls. “How was it possible to get money we hadn’t earned? It was only when we had it that we believed it was real.”
But this summer, as Marroquín watched his corn wither once again, he noticed that the cash was also starting to dry up. The $60 became $40, which became $18. Then he learned that in the last week of August, the program would come to an end, at least a year earlier than its organizers had hoped.
The reason: a decision in April by President Trump to freeze $450 million in U.S. foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — what’s known as the Northern Triangle — over what he described as their failure to stem the outflow of northbound migrants.
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In 2018, at least 116,000 Guatemalans crossed the southern U.S. border — more than from any other country except Mexico. Its people were fleeing rural poverty, food insecurity, climate change and drug-related violence. Over the past few decades, the U.S. government has sought to remedy these internal problems by channeling hundreds of millions of dollars through dozens of local and international nongovernmental organizations that carry out development and humanitarian programs on its behalf.
The months since the freeze was announced have been chaotic for those groups, which in the Northern Triangle usually rely on the U.S. for the lion’s share of their operating budget. Now, as their coffers run dry, they’re scaling back programs or ending them early, closing their offices and laying off dozens of staff. And from the highlands to gang-ravaged urban neighborhoods, as America closes down its foreign aid operation in this region, people like Marroquín are being left stranded.
Marroquín, like several of his neighbors, spent his last transfer on a few adolescent chickens, an investment in eggs and meat that could last into the uncertain months ahead.
“The money kept us from falling into extreme poverty,” he says. “At least we are left these little chickens, like a souvenir.”
Leslie Karina Azañón González, another beneficiary of the cash transfer program in the neighboring town of Las Rosas, says U.S. aid was the community’s only lifeline.
“There’s no support from our government at all,” she says. “Any aid or investment the government sends goes to the municipal government, and then everyone takes a piece and nothing gets to us.”
The cash transfer program was implemented by Save the Children, a Washington, D.C.-based NGO that has worked on food insecurity, primary education and other issues in Guatemala for more than 40 years. It was financed by Food for Peace, a long-standing global initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development that since 2017 has invested nearly $60 million to fight hunger in Guatemala.
It’s far from the only program facing the ax, according to interviews with more than a dozen NGO administrators, independent researchers and American and Guatemalan government officials. Groups like Mercy Corps, Project Concern International, Catholic Relief Services, CARE International, Cristosal and others active in Guatemala all report that they are being forced to curtail or terminate programs. The projects in jeopardy include a series of discount agricultural supply markets in the highlands; rural health clinics; community savings and loans funds; after-school tutoring for kids in violent urban neighborhoods; shelters for victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking; re-integration services for returned migrants; trainings aimed at improving the transparency and effectiveness of local governments; and support for conserving ecologically sensitive landscapes.

Guatemala’s rural highlands have suffered from a multiyear drought. This year the corn crop across much of the region was completely lost.
Tim McDonnell for NPR
A USAID spokesperson responded to NPR’s questions about the closures via email, noting that the agency is “working to ensure responsible closeout of those programs, consistent with our obligation to be good stewards of taxpayer funds.” The spokesperson added that the U.S. government “expects the Northern Triangle governments to keep their commitments to stem illegal immigration to the United States.”
Not every USAID-affiliated program is shutting down immediately. The freeze only affects money that was moving through the multiyear USAID approval pipeline and hadn’t yet been transferred into an NGO’s bank account. So in some cases groups are finding ways to stretch the money they already have or piece together funding from European development agencies, private donors or other sources. But others, like Save the Children, have had to shut down programs completely. The situation is “really like the Hunger Games for funding right now,” says Alejandra Colom, an independent development researcher in Guatemala.
“This is unprecedented,” says Paul Townsend, the Guatemala country representative for Catholic Relief Services. “Public funding is always subject to political decisions, but you almost never see this scale of a cut.”
The freeze comes at a particularly bad time: Fall is the beginning of the dry season, when food and rural employment opportunities are scarce even in the best years. And the cutoff may undermine the very foreign policy objective — reducing migration to the U.S. — that prompted it. An April survey by Mercy Corps of 400 people who had participated in a two-year agricultural support program in Guatemala found a 30% drop in “youth who reported seriously considering migrating ‘all the time’ or ‘frequently’ ” after participating in the program.
“Nobody thinks these programs are going to magically stabilize Central America or reduce migration figures overnight,” says Geoff Thale, vice president for programs at the Washington Office on Latin America, a think tank. “But cutting them off just increases peoples’ vulnerability and can make a real difference in peoples’ calculations to leave.”
Elvis Flores runs a hole-in-the-wall juice and sandwich shop in La Verbena, a notoriously high-crime neighborhood in Guatemala City where he grew up. Four years ago, several of his family members fled to Los Angeles after their cousin, a 21-year-old mother of three, was killed in a gang shooting in the neighborhood.
In February, Mercy Corps spent $100,000 from USAID to clean up a street facing Flores’ shop that had become a de facto trash dump and gang member hangout. In its place, the organization installed a small concrete park with benches, lighting, a pastel-colored mural and exercise equipment.
Since then, the street has emerged as a community gathering place, Flores says — and his business has boomed as people stop in for a post-workout refreshment. The park alone hasn’t done much to curb gang violence, he says, but it has made his neighbors feel safer and renewed their sense of investment in the community.
“This park really helps people feel like they can stay here,” Flores says.
Mercy Corps originally had plans to build up to 80 parks like this across the city. After the cuts, that number was reduced to around a dozen.
Although the April freeze was extreme, it was in line with a longer-term drawdown in U.S. foreign aid funding in Central America that has been in process since Trump took office. Between fiscal years 2016 and 2019, the aid budget for the region dropped from $750 million to $530 million, according to WOLA. Under that umbrella, the biggest reductions have been to programs that target rural economic growth and food security. The budget for programs that support border enforcement and drug control has gone slightly up.
Congress may be able to reinstate some of the frozen funding in the latest round of budget negotiations that will be gathering steam in the coming months. The current version of the House of Representatives bill that dictates foreign aid funding contains a new clause that would require the executive branch to spend money appropriated for that purpose. That’s a critical change from the existing, long-standing language that merely allows it to do so, says Congressman Jim McGovern, a Democrat who represents central Massachusetts.
McGovern was a member of a congressional delegation to the Northern Triangle led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August. Dismantling foreign aid to those countries is especially cynical, he says, given that, in his view, the U.S. has a decades-long history of interfering in the region’s tumultuous politics and civil conflicts behind the poverty and instability that drive migration today. During the trip, he says, career development officers privately expressed concern about the impact of undoing years of their work.
“The embassy staff in all three countries dutifully gave us the administration line,” McGovern told NPR. “But under questioning, they basically conceded that this freeze is a rotten thing to do. Rather than trying to fix the situation, we’re making it worse.”
By the end of this month, the Save the Children office in Santa Cruz del Quiché, the regional capital where the cash transfer was administered, will close. Before the cuts, it employed more than 200 people, all Guatemalans. During my visit this month, the office had the feeling of a ghost town. The few remaining staff sat on the floor to sort through a pile of three-ring binders, office supplies, plastic boxes, a megaphone and other trappings of development work.
Josefa Inés Molina González had worked as a janitor there for 16 years. U.S.-backed NGOs were a rare opportunity for steady, relatively high-paying employment in the community, she says. During her time there, she says, she also picked up some computer skills she would never have learned otherwise.
“With the work I had here, I was able to educate all of my children, thank God,” she says. She’s not sure what she’ll do next.
Even if some funding is reinstated, or if NGOs manage to scrounge up money from other sources, the sudden disappearance of U.S. funding threatens to topple the years of painstaking trust-building with local governments and community leaders that makes foreign aid possible.
“There’s always going to be that sense of distrust: ‘You came and then left us,’ ” says Pascale Wagner, Guatemala country director for Project Concern International. “You close a program, and it will affect all of us for years to come.”
Given the failure of the maize harvest, some people may not be able to wait to see whether aid comes back, says Francisco Chibalán, a community leader in Cimientos, another town in the cash transfer program.
“With the drought there’s no work here, and without the transfer many of us may need to travel again,” he says. “That small stipend was so important to us. We really hope the U.S. president will reconsider.”

Tim McDonnell is a journalist covering the environment, conflict and related issues in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
U.S. foreign aid
migration
Guatemala

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Begs to wonder what else is bogus about funders of this institution since they spent millions to restrict their company insurance from allowing certain female health issues to be covered. MA 

KEN MILLER,Associated Press Sat, Oct 5 9:14 AM CDT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Museum of the Bible in Washington quietly replaced an artifact purported to be one of a handful of miniature Bibles that a NASA astronaut carried to the moon in 1971 after an expert questioned its authenticity.
The move follows an announcement last year that at least five of 16 Dead Sea Scroll fragments that had been on display at the museum were found to be apparent fakes.
The museum replaced the original microfilm Bible with one that was donated by an Oklahoma woman who wrote a book about the Apollo Prayer League, which arranged for Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell to carry tiny Bibles to the moon.
“We know for sure that one on display right now went to the moon, but we could not verify for sure that the one we had originally on display had gone to the moon,” museum spokeswoman Heather Cirmo said. “We couldn’t disprove it, it just wasn’t certain.”
The $500 million museum was largely funded by the Green family, evangelical Christian billionaires who run the Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores. The purported “lunar” Bible is just the latest item purchased by the family to come under scrutiny.
Steve Green, museum founder and president of Hobby Lobby, also purchased thousands of Iraqi archaeological artifacts for a reported $1.6 million, but was forced in 2018 to return them to the Iraqi government and Hobby Lobby paid a $3 million fine after authorities said they were stolen from the war-torn country and smuggled into the U.S. Museum officials have said none of those items were ever part of its collection.
As for the Dead Sea Scrolls that were called into question, the 11 remaining fragments are being tested, with results expected by the end of the year, Cirmo said. Two of the fragments remain on display with signs noting that they are being tested.
The museum did not announce that it was replacing the lunar Bible — a decision Cirmo defended.
“It’s pretty ridiculous to think that any museum, that every time you switch something out you’re going to announce it on plaques,” Cirmo said. “Collectors make mistakes all the time. … This is not something that is unique to Steve Green.”
The item that was previously displayed is now in storage, Cirmo said.
Tulsa author Carol Mersch, who had raised concerns about its authenticity, donated the replacement Bible.
“(Green) is thankful, as is the museum, that someone came forward and donated one that actually went to the moon … and that one didn’t cost anything,” Cirmo said.
Mersch was given 10 lunar Bibles by then-NASA chaplain the Rev. John Stout, a co-founder of the Apollo Prayer League.
Green, chairman of the museum’s board, bought the original Bible for about $56,000. It had also been displayed at the Vatican.
Mersch questioned its authenticity because it had a serial number that was only three digits; she said Stout engraved the authentic lunar Bibles with five-digit numbers. Mersch said the Bible she provided was authenticated by both Stout and Mitchell.
“I thought (donation) the best thing I could do to honor Rev. Stout. He had asked me to donate them to museums,” Mersch said.
Green bought the item that was originally on display from Georgia-based Peachstate Historical Consulting, which acquired the Bibles from Stout’s brother, James Stout. The Stout brothers are both dead, as is Mitchell. Peachstate owner David Frohman did not respond to requests for comment.
In an interview with The Associated Press a month before the museum’s 2017 opening, Green acknowledged the museum had made some mistakes early on.
“There’s a lot of complexities in areas that I’m still a novice at,” he said. “But we are engaging the best experts we can to advise and help us in that process.”

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If you are enamored with TOTUS then the current impeachment activities are upsetting. If you are the dyed in the wool American you think you are then impeachment is still upsetting but necessary to ensure we have an honest (?) government as provided for under the Constitution. If you are anti TOTUS then these issues delight you and make you eager to see it go forth. We should remember that the bigger issue is that our neer do well Congress is doing little to none of the work they are supposed to be doing and have been negligent in their duties for at least the past ten years. In the grand scheme of things (or politics) any or all Congressional members of the GOP  who are campaigning are downplaying the Presidential misdeeds and ignoring the glaring facts that this White House resident is totally inept in his job and cannot tell the truth if it’s written down for him. It is the duty of Congress to act as a part of the check and balance government system, not as an adjunct to the misdeeds of the current occupant of the Oval Office and his minions. It is our duty as voters to elect representatives who work for us (voters), not themselves. Election to public office (supposedly) elevates a person to place that would enable them to do the best for ALL voters. When I read and hear the statements issued by our elected officials on a daily basis I am reminded of the Movie quote “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate”. This trend will continue until voters remove them.

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Is this a blip or is there some sort of sanity here? MA.

Conrad Duncan, The Independent 2 hours 41 minutes ago

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has criticised Donald Trump for encouraging Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden in a rare break from his staunch support for the president.
Mr. Carlson, who is one of Fox News’ leading presenters, fell short of backing impeachment in an op-ed on Friday but admitted that Mr. Trump should not have raised the prospect of an investigation into Mr. Biden and his son Hunter.
“Donald Trump should not have been on the phone with a foreign head of state encouraging another country to investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden,” he said.
“Some Republicans are trying, but there’s no way to spin this as a good idea.”
Mr. Trump is accused of using the call with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, as part of a wider campaign to force Ukraine into investigating the Bidens that may have included withholding a White House visit and financial aid to the country.
The Fox News host co-wrote the op-ed for The Daily Caller, the right-wing website he helped set up, with fellow co-founder Neil Patel.
Mr. Carlson added: “Our leaders’ official actions should not be about politics…
“Once those in control of our government use it to advance their political goals, we become just another of the world’s many corrupt countries.”

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