Trump attacks Gillibrand in tweet critics say is sexually suggestive and demeaning  

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Trump attacks Gillibrand in tweet critics say is sexually suggestive and demeaning

 December 12 at 12:14 PM
President Trump smiles as he speaks before hosting a lunch with Senate Republicans in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Dec. 5. (Evan Vucci/AP)

President Trump attacked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in a sexually suggestive tweet Tuesday morning that implied Gillibrand would do just about anything for money, prompting a swift and immediate backlash.

“Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Charles E. Schumer and someone who would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump,” the president wrote. “Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!”

Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!

The tweet came as Trump is already facing negative publicity from renewed allegations from three women who had previously accused him of sexual harassment, which are coming amid the #MeToo movement that is roiling the nation and forcing powerful men accused of sexual misbehavior from their posts.

 2:51
Trump’s accusers speak out, again: ‘This time, the environment’s different’

Three of the women accusing President Trump of sexual misconduct speak out again, in hopes a new “environment” will yield change.

The president ignored a reporter’s question about the tweet after he signed a defense authorization bill shortly after noon.

The backlash and criticism was near instantaneous, with Gillibrand replying directly to Trump on Twitter. “You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office,” she wrote. 

At a news conference later on an unrelated issue, Gillibrand called Trump’s tweet “a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice.”

“I will not be silent on this issue, neither will women who stood up to the president yesterday and neither will the millions of women who have been marching since the Women’s March to stand up against policies they do not agree with,” she added.

Gillibrand once again called on GOP congressional leaders to launch investigations into the allegations made by women against Trump, saying, “It’s the right thing to do and these allegations should be investigated, they should be investigated thoroughly. That is the right thing to do and I’m urging them to do that — as should their constituents.”

Asked about her interactions with the president, Gillibrand told reporters that Trump was “just a supporter — a supporter of my first campaign.”

Several female senators also rallied around Gillibrand, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who pointedly asked Trump on Twitter if he were trying to “bully, intimidate and slut-shame” Gillibrand.

“Do you know who you’re picking a fight with?” Warren said. “Good luck with that, @realDonaldTrump.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) also weighed in on Twitter, writing that there is “nobody tougher than @SenGillibrand & she won’t be intimidated. Women will continue to speak up.”

Gillibrand was attending a bipartisan Bible study Tuesday morning when Trump’s tweet landed, and her phone was immediately filled with supportive and befuddled messages, wondering just what the president was thinking, a Gillibrand aide said.

Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News personality whose lawsuit against Roger Ailes for sexual harassment led to the resignation of the late network chairman, also weighed in with a duo of tweets defending Gillibrand.

“What do u mean @SenGillibrand would ‘do anything’ for campaign contributions? By the way she isn’t a lightweight,” she wrote. In a second tweet, Carlson continued: “Sexual harassment is apolitical. Women will not be silenced no matter what party they are in. Period.”

Katty Kay, an anchor for BBC World News America, also took to social media to respond to the president’s missive against Gillibrand, casting it in tweets as “clearly sexual” and “demeaning to women.”

“What is so maddening about the Gillibrand tweet is that women can be smart, work hard, become Senator and STILL get sexual c**p thrown at us,” she wrote. “Enough.”

Trump offered no evidence to support his wink-and-nod claim that Gillibrand had gone to him “begging” for campaign donations “and would do anything for them.” In fact, according to Open Secrets, a nonprofit website that tracks campaign contributions, since 1996, Trump has donated $8,900 to Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and $5,850 to Gillibrand.

Gillibrand met with Trump once in 2010, the Gillibrand aide said, and Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, who has tried to cast herself as a champion of women, attended the meeting,

On Monday, Gillibrand, a leading voice in Congress for combating sexual assault in the military, became the fifth Democratic senator to call on Trump to step down because of the allegations of sexual misconduct against him — accusations the president has denied and the White House dismissed again on Monday.

“President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign,” Gillibrand said on CNN. “These allegations are credible; they are numerous. I’ve heard these women’s testimony, and many of them are heartbreaking.”

She joined Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in calling for Trump’s resignation.

Trump has not commented on the male senators’ demand that he resign.

Gillibrand, New York’s junior senator and a rising political star, is widely considered a likely 2020 presidential candidate against Trump, and the president’s Twitter assault Tuesday offered an early glimpse of just how vicious the next race for the White House could become.

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Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, called Trump’s tweet “disgusting,” but also noted, “it will make the Gillibrand folks ecstatic,” implying that the sparring with Trump would raise her profile.

Gillibrand, however, does have her critics. After she said in November that Bill Clinton should have resigned as president following his inappropriate affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, longtime Hillary Clinton adviser and confidant Philippe Reines excoriated her on Twitter for being ungrateful and two-faced.

“Senate voted to keep POTUS WJC. But not enough for you @SenGillibrand? Over 20 yrs you took the Clintons’ endorsements, money, and seat. Hypocrite. Interesting strategy for 2020 primaries. Best of luck,” Reines wrote.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about why the president sent the tweet, or what exactly he was insinuating.

John Wagner, Ed O’Keefe and Joshua Dawsey contributed to this report.

THE REPUBLICAN TAX FRAUD AGAINST THE NON TOP 1% RICHEST

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

As tax plan gained steam, GOP lost focus on the middle class


A statue of George Washington stands in the Capitol. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
 December 9 at 7:16 PM
The GOP tax plan on the cusp of becoming law diverges wildly from the promises President Trump and top advisers said they would deliver for the middle class — an evolution that shows how traditional Republican orthodoxy swamped Trump’s distinctive brand of economic populism as it moved through Washington.The bill was supposed to deliver benefits predominantly to average working families, not corporations, with a 35 percent tax cut Trump proposed on the campaign trail as part of the “Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act.”

“The largest tax reductions are for the middle class, who have been forgotten,” Trump said in Gettysburg, Pa., on Oct. 22, 2016.

But the final product is looking much different, the result of a partisan policymaking process that largely took place behind closed doors, faced intense pressure from corporate lobbyists and ultimately fell in line with GOP wish lists.

As top lawmakers from the House and the Senate now rush to complete negotiations to push the tax plan into law, it amounts to a massive corporate tax cut, with uneven — and temporary — benefits for the middle class that could end up increasing taxes for many working families in future years.

 3:19
5 tax issues Republicans need to resolve in conference

Now that the Senate and the House have passed two tax bills, there are some crucial differences they need to resolve in conference.

All told, the plan would cut taxes for businesses by $1 trillion, would cut an additional $100 billion in changes to the estate tax for the wealthy, and spreads the remaining $300 billion over 10 years among all households at every income level.

White House officials defend the tax bill emerging from the House and Senate negotiations, saying it follows through on Trump’s long-held promise of benefits for the middle class through a combination of exempting more income from taxation, expanding a tax credit benefiting families and cutting business taxes in a way that will flow through to workers in the form of higher wages.

“The middle class gets a tremendous benefit,” Trump said Wednesday.

Yet a review of more than 40 public statements that stretch back to the 2016 campaign and interviews with key officials in the White House and Congress shows how Trump and his top advisers have continuously prioritized corporate cuts — even though they have promised that middle-class cuts would be their focus.

Over several months, tax cuts for families were either stymied or scaled back. And corporate benefits only grew, a development that increasingly made some Republicans nervous as they saw the bill’s true impact.

“Fundamentally, the bill has been mislabeled. From a truth-in-advertising standpoint, it would have been a lot simpler if we just acknowledged reality on this bill, which is it’s fundamentally a corporate tax reduction and restructuring bill, period,” said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.). “I think they were particularly concerned about innuendo and what that might mean, so it was labeled as a middle-class tax cut.”

Big promises

After Trump was elected, his transition advisers faced immediate questions about whether he’d hold true to his promise of a tax cut focused on the middle class.

They could not have been clearer.

“Any reductions we have in upper-income taxes would be offset by less deductions, so there would be no absolute tax cut for the upper class,” Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s national finance chairman and future Treasury secretary, told CNBC.

Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, dubbed it the “Mnuchin Rule.”

After Trump was sworn in, his top aides immediately began discussions with House and Senate leaders on how to combine his campaign promises with long-held GOP views that cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations ultimately benefit workers.

Inside the White House, Trump was being urged by his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, a key voice behind the president’s economic populism, to hit the very wealthy.

At a meeting in April, Bannon urged that the Trump tax plan create a new 44 percent tax rate on income above $5 million, said three people briefed on his proposal who weren’t authorized to talk about Oval Office discussions. He argued that this was a way to ensure that the wealthiest Americans didn’t benefit too much from any changes and that working-class Americans could support the proposal.

Bannon “pushed that for several weeks as a way to gather political support for the tax bill. He’s more of a populist, obviously,” said Steve Moore, a conservative economist who helped Trump craft his tax plan during the campaign.

Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, both former bankers at Goldman Sachs, argued against the 44 percent tax rate, saying such a high rate would harm investment, pile up costs for small businesses and ultimately hurt growth.

As Trump neared his 100th day in office in late April, he was becoming restless because he didn’t have a concrete tax plan.

So he ordered Cohn and Mnuchin to present a version of the tax plan to the public by April 26. They scrambled to put together a one-page blueprint that called for lowering tax rates on all Americans and exempting more income from federal income taxes. The document said it would “provide tax relief to American families — especially middle-income families.”

But there was no mention of a 44 percent rate. Rather, the document revealed other clues that foreshadowed how the tax plan would take shape. It called for eliminating the estate tax and the alternative-minimum tax and lowering the top income tax rate — changes that would all benefit the wealthy.

As they faced questions about those provisions, White House officials began to walk back the promises about the wealthy not winning in the tax plan.

“What I said is the president’s priority has been not cutting taxes­ for the high end,” Mnuchin said in May at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2017 Fiscal Summit. “His priority is about creating a middle-income tax cut. So we’ll see where it comes out.”

Abandonment

Just after midnight on July 28, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) shocked the Republican Party by voting to end a GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The summer had made at least two things painfully clear to Republican leaders.

There was virtually no hope of getting Democrats, even red-state moderate Democrats such as Sen. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) or Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), on board with the plan. That meant Republicans were going to have to make it on a party-line vote, and, as the ACA experience had reminded them, they had only two votes to spare.

So leaders began to make a priority of what they thought the entire party could rally around: big corporate tax cuts. The idea of reducing tax rates on American businesses had been core to the identity of the Republican Party ever since President Ronald Reagan did it as part of a comprehensive tax overhaul in 1986.

Within the White House, Cohn and Mnuchin were running the show. Bannon, a deeply controversial figure in the administration, had left, a voice for a more populist tax plan exiting with him.

On Sept. 27, the White House and GOP leaders issued another tax blueprint, this one called the “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code.” It proposed reducing the current seven brackets in the individual tax code to as few as three, dropping the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, and creating a new rate of 25 percent for millions of companies that pass their income through to partners and sole proprietors, changes that could help small businesses but also law firms and professional sports teams.

Nonpartisan tax experts estimated the vast majority of the plan’s benefits would flow to the wealthy. Trump, by contrast, insisted that it would help the average worker.

“Our framework includes our explicit commitment that tax reform will protect low-income and middle-income households, not the wealthy and well-connected,” Trump said on the day of the plan’s release. “They can call me all they want. It’s not going to help. I’m doing the right thing, and it’s not good for me. Believe me.”

His advisers couldn’t say the same.

“When you’re cutting taxes across the board,” Mnuchin told Politico, “it’s very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy with tax cuts to the middle class.”

Seeking balance — and failing

Until now, Republicans had the benefit of not explaining how they’d pay for their tax overhaul, which was going to cost trillions of dollars without offsets. Ultimately, Republicans agreed to borrow up to $1.5 trillion to finance the tax cut.

The $1.5 trillion ceiling on borrowing would ultimately force Republicans to make tough trade-offs between helping the middle class on the one hand and the wealthy and corporations on the other.

In writing their bill, House GOP leaders had created a new $300 “family flexibility credit” that could help Americans lower their taxable income. It wasn’t large, but it would be widespread — and an easy way for Republicans to show they were trying to help the middle class.

But the night before they would release the bill, when top tax writer Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) was trying to sort out the tax changes and monitor the performance of his Houston Astros in the final game of the World Series, they made a major change to this provision, according to a person briefed on the changes who was not authorized to discuss private congressional deliberations.

Corporations were concerned their tax cut would last only eight years, a limitation that was necessary to keep the bill under the $1.5 trillion limit. Brady agreed. So in a last-minute decision, Republicans cut the duration of the family tax credit in half — ending it after only five years — to make the corporate tax cut permanent.

In effect, Republicans handed $200 billion from families to corporations. (GOP aides said, however, that the situation was fluid and that they always had hoped to make the corporate rates permanent.)

On Nov. 16, the House passed the tax overhaul, 227 to 205.

Senate doubles down

The Senate would take the principle of Brady’s last-minute move and extend it further by making virtually all of the tax cuts for families and individuals sunset after 2025.

GOP leaders tried to explain this discrepancy by saying they needed to give businesses long-term assurances about the tax environment so they could invest and make plans, but it fed into allegations from Democrats that the package was meant for businesses and the wealthy, not the middle class.

“We had to thread the needle,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in an interview. “Why did we make it permanent for corporations? Because they have to make investment decisions.”

Senate Republicans had hoped to pass their tax cut bill on Nov. 30, but there was a last-minute­ insurrection led by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who was concerned about the impact of the bill on the federal deficit.

Corker’s queasiness forced GOP leaders to search elsewhere for assurances that they had the votes to pass it, and that led them into the expensive demands of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

Johnson wanted a significant expansion of “pass through” tax cuts that benefit business owners who pay their taxes through the individual code. Although he and others described the beneficiaries of the pass-through rate as primarily small businesses, nonpartisan tax experts say it mainly benefits the top 1 percent of earners.

Ultimately, Johnson managed to extract an additional $114 billion in tax cuts for these entities out of GOP leaders.

Meanwhile, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Susan Collins (Maine) were pushing proposals that would expand a child tax credit for working families, offsetting the cost by slightly bumping up the corporate tax rate.

“You’re telling me that if we have a corporate tax rate that goes from 35 percent to 20.94 percent, that [will] hurt growth?” Rubio asked on the Senate floor. “Twenty percent is the most phenomenal thing we’ve ever done for growth, but if you add 0.94 percent to that, it’s a catastrophe? We’re going to lose thousands of jobs? Come on.”

His amendment was voted down 71 to 29, and the bill’s other tax changes were still alluring enough to attract Rubio’s, Lee’s and Collins’s support in the final vote. Only one Republican, Corker, voted against the measure, out of concern that it would drive up the deficit.

A complete picture

GOP leaders are now working to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills, but the broad contours have come into focus.

The legislation would lower taxes for many in the middle class, but mostly temporarily, and fall far short of the 35 percent cut for everyone in the middle class that Trump promised last year.

For example, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has estimated that in 2019, a household earning between $50,000 and $75,000 would save $780 a year if the Senate bill’s changes become law. This is essentially an 8.9 percent tax cut.

Beginning in 2023, households that bring in less than $30,000 would all average a tax increase, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s official scorekeepers. And by 2027, all income groups that earn less than $75,000 would see their taxes go up. That’s because although the bill allows all the individual tax code provisions to expire, it retains a less generous method of calculating inflation than are currently in use, which effectively pushes workers into higher tax bracket faster.

Larry Kudlow, who advised Trump during the 2016 campaign and is a big supporter of the tax cuts for businesses, said the changes for individuals and families amounted to a “mishmash.”

Asked if the tax package in aggregate would mean a middle-class tax cut, Edward Kleinbard, a former chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation, said: “That’s delusional or dishonest to say. It’s factually untrue.”

He added, “The only group you can point to that wins year after year and wins in very large magnitude is the very highest incomes.”

White House officials defend the temporary nature of many of the tax cuts, saying they will inevitably be extended by a future president and Congress because they are politically popular. They also say the tax savings for middle-class families would be much larger than outsiders have suggested, particularly when factoring in an expansion of a tax credit for working families.

Still, on Wednesday, for the first time, Trump acknowledged that some Americans may not benefit from the tax package, and he said they would try to make last-minute changes. But he didn’t specify what they might be.

“There are very, very few people that aren’t benefiting by it, but there’s that tiny little sliver, and we’re going to try to take care of even that very small group of people that just through circumstances maybe don’t get the full benefit of what we’re doing,” he said at a meeting with his Cabinet. “But the middle class gets a tremendous benefit, and business, which is jobs, gets a tremendous benefit.”

Erica Werner and Paul Kane contributed to this report.

Scientists are unlocking the secrets of the Earth’s mysterious hum

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Scientists are slowly unlocking the secrets of the Earth’s mysterious hum

 December 8 at 5:57 PM

(NASA via AFP/Getty Images)

“In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”

— Cormac McCarthy, “The Road”

The world hums. It shivers endlessly.

It’s a low, ceaseless droning of unclear origin that rolls imperceptibly beneath our feet, impossible to hear with human ears. A researcher once described it to HuffPost as the sound of static on an old TV, slowed down 10,000 times.

It’s comforting to think of Earth as solid and immovable, but that’s false. The world is vibrating, stretching and compressing. We’re shaking right along with it.

“The earth is ringing like a bell all the time,” said Spahr Webb, a seismologist at Columbia University.

The hum is everywhere. Its ultralow frequencies have been recorded in Antarctica and Algeria, and — as announced this week by the American Geophysical Union — on the floor of the Indian Ocean. We still don’t know what causes it. Some have theorized that it’s the echo of colliding ocean waves, or the movements of the atmosphere, or vibrations born of sea and sky alike.

But if we could hear this music more clearly, scientists around the world say, it could reveal deep secrets about the earth beneath us, or even teach us to map out alien planets.

And the hum is getting clearer all the time.

It rings at different frequencies and amplitudes, for different reasons. Earthquakes are like huge gong bangs. When an enormous quake hit Japan in 2011, Webb said, the globe kept ringing for a month afterward. People sitting on the other side of the world bounced up and down about a centimeter, though so slowly they didn’t feel a thing.

In 1998, a team of researchers analyzed data from a gravimeter in east Antarctica and realized that some of these vibrations never actually stop.

“They discovered features in the data that suggested . . . continuous signals,” a University of California at Santa Barbara researcher recounted in 2001. These seismic waves ranged from 2 to 7 millihertz — thousands of times lower than the human hearing range — and continued endlessly, regardless of earthquakes.

The phenomenon became popularly known as the “hum of the Earth.”

Webb was one of many researchers who searched for the hum’s cause in the 21st century. Some thought interactions between the atmosphere and solid ground caused the shaking, though he discounts the idea.

Rather, Webb said, most recent research suggests the primary cause is ocean waves — “banging on the sea floor pretty much all the way around the Earth.”

Sometimes waves sloshing in opposite directions intersect, sending vibrations deep down into Earth’s crust. Sometimes a wave on a shallow coast somewhere ripples over the rough sea floor and adds its own frequencies to the hum.

“I think our result is an important step in the transformation of mysterious noise into an understood signal,” an oceanographer with the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea told Live Science after publishing a 2015 paper detailing the ocean wave theories.

Whatever the origin, the result is a harmony of ultralow frequencies that resonate almost identically all over the globe — and that’s potentially invaluable to those who want to know what goes on beneath its surface, where the core spins and tectonic plates shift.

Scientists already measure how fast earthquake waves travel through different regions of the underground to make detailed subterranean maps.

But earthquakes come randomly and briefly, like flashes of lightning on a dark night. A constant, uniform vibration could act like a floodlight into the underworld.

Some researchers believe the hum extends all the way down to the Earth’s core, and some have even fantasized about using hums on other planets to map out alien geography.

And yet we’re still only beginning to understand our planet’s hum. And scientists have been limited for years because they only knew how to measure it from land, while nearly three-quarters of the globe is underwater.

That’s where a team led by French researchers comes in, as described in a paper published last month in the American Geophysical Union’s journal.

The scientists collected data from seismometer stations that had been placed in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar several years ago. These stations were meant to study volcanic hot spots — nothing to do with the hum — but the team worked out a method to clean the data of ocean currents, waves, glitches and other noise.

They “were able to reduce the noise level to approximately the same level as a quiet land station,” the Geophysical Union said in an accompanying article.

And when they were done, they were left with the first-ever underwater recording of the hum.

It peaked between 2.9 and 4.5 millihertz, they said — a tighter range than the first hum researchers in the 1990s had recorded. It was also similar to measurements taken from a land-based station in Algeria.

So — more evidence that the hum goes all the way around the world; and more hope that we may one day reveal all that goes on beneath it.

Argentine ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner charged with treason

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Argentine ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner charged with treason

 1:06
Argentine ex-president Fernández charged with treason

According to a court ruling on Dec. 7, a federal judge asked for the arrest of Argentine ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. 

 December 7 at 6:04 PM
 A federal judge on Thursday indicted former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on treason charges and sought her arrest over allegations that she covered up possible Iranian involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.In court documents, Judge Claudio Bonadio accused Fernández of obfuscating the Iranian role in the attack, which killed 85 people, in exchange for a potentially lucrative trade deal. The court requested the lifting of her immunity from prosecution, a protection she enjoys as a sitting senator.

Underscoring the seriousness of the charges, authorities conducted raids linked to the case on Thursday, arresting three of Fernández’s former aides and associates. Héctor Timerman, her former foreign minister, was placed under house arrest.

The charges stem from an investigation initially conducted by Alberto Nisman, a crusading prosecutor who accused Fernández of a coverup in 2015 and was later found dead in the bathroom of his apartment with a bullet in his right temple.

Though rare, the lifting of parliamentary protection is not unprecedented. In October, Congress voted to lift the protection afforded to her former planning minister, Julio De Vido, who was facing charges of fraud and corruption.

Fernández, a Peronist, served as president of Argentina from 2007 to 2015 and once formed part of a cadre of left-leaning leaders in Latin America, including Venezuela’s late Hugo Chávez. She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing while in office, and on Thursday she lashed out at the fresh charges.

“This has nothing to do with justice or democracy,” Fernández told reporters in Buenos Aires. “There’s no cause, no crime, no motive. There was a judgment without cause. God knows it, the government knows it, President [Mauricio] Macri knows it, too.”

There is little precedent for prosecuting treason in Argentina. Local media has reported that the country’s only previously applied charge of treason dates to 1936, when Maj. Guillermo Mac Hannaford was accused of selling information to Bolivia and Paraguay.

And while Fernández has only about a dozen hardcore supporters in the Senate, observers say it doesn’t look probable that the chamber will revoke her immunity. Some argue that such a move could risk turning her into a political martyr for a left-wing Peronist movement that has been losing traction in the country since Macri took office in 2015.

The charges come a month after a new police report reignited the Nisman case, which has captivated Argentina. His mysterious death came only days after he alleged that Fernández and Timerman had colluded to shield Iran’s role in the car-bomb attack on the AMIA jewish community center. In 2005, Nisman concluded that Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a Hezbollah operative from Lebanon with Iranian backing, had carried out the act of terrorism.

An initial report concluded that Nisman had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But a new police report obtained by the Associated Press in November listed key evidence that suggested foul play. Nisman’s nasal septum, for instance, was broken and he had suffered blows to his hip and elsewhere. A strong anesthetic was found in his body.

Before his death, Nisman reportedly wiretapped officials and uncovered information in connection to a “Memorandum of Understanding’ that Argentina signed with Iran on January 27, 2013, in Ethiopia. He argued that it outlined a plan to “collaborate with Iran on its goal to accelerate and support nuclear development” in exchange for an oil-for-grain trade deal and a finding by Argentina that the Iranians were innocent in the 1994 attack, official court documents said.

However, the timing of Fernández’s indictment also focuses the  spotlight on Bonadio, the judge. He is under investigation over allegations of money laundering and illicit enrichment, with some critics suggesting that he may be targeting Fernández as a smokescreen.

“The higher his profile, the more involved he is in politically sensitive cases and the less able anyone will be to bring him down for corruption,” said Mark Jones, a fellow of political science at Rice University’s Baker Institute. “He’ll be able to deflect them as being politically motivated.”

Faiola reported from Miami.

How History Got The Rosa Parks Story Wrong

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

How History Got The Rosa Parks Story Wrong

The quiet seamstress we want on our $10 bill was a radical active in the Black Power movement.

 December 1, 2015

Jeanne Theoharis is distinguished professor of political science at Brooklyn College of CUNY and author of the award-winning “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.” Theoharis and Brian Purnell are editors of the forthcoming book, “The Strange Careers of the Jim Crow North.”

Sixty years ago, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. Her courageous act is now American legend. She is a staple of elementary school curricula and was the second-most popular historical figure named by American students in a survey. When Republican presidential contenders were asked to pick a woman they wanted pictured on the $10 bill, the largest number of votes went to Parks.

Americans are convinced they know this civil rights hero. In textbooks and documentaries, she is the meek seamstress gazing quietly out of a bus window — a symbol of progress and how far we’ve come. When she died in 2005, the word “quiet” was used in most of her obituaries and eulogies. We have grown comfortable with the Parks who is often seen but rarely heard.

That image of Parks has stripped her of political substance. Her “life history of being rebellious,” as she put it, comes through decisively in the recently opened Rosa Parks Collection at the Library of Congress. It features previously unseen personal writings, letters, speech notes, financial and medical records, political documents, and decades of photographs.

There, we see a lifelong activist who had been challenging white supremacy for decades before she became the famous catalyst for the Montgomery bus boycott. We see a woman who, from her youth, didn’t hesitate to indict the system of oppression around her. As she once wrote, “I talked and talked of everything I know about the white man’s inhumantreatment of the negro.”

Parks was a seasoned freedom fighter who had grown up in a family that supported Marcus Garvey and who married an activist for the Scottsboro boys. She joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP in 1943, becoming branch secretary. She spent the next decade pushing for voter registration, seeking justice for black victims of white brutality and sexual violence, supporting wrongfully accused black men, and pressing for desegregation of schools and public spaces. Committed to both the power of organized nonviolent direct action and the moral right of self defense, she called Malcolm X her personal hero.

The Rosa Parks Collection, which opened in February, reveals how broadly Parks has been distorted and misunderstood. Her papers languished unseen for years following her death because of disputes over her estatethe hefty price the auction house put on the archives, and its refusal to allow any scholars to assess the papers before the sale. Last year, the Howard Buffett Foundation bought the archive and gave it to the Library of Congress on 10-year loan.

Though Parks later wrote an autobiography, her notes from decades earlier give a more personal sense of her thoughts. In numerous accounts, she highlighted the difficulty of navigating a segregated society and the immense pressure put on black people not to dissent. She wrote that it took a “major mental acrobatic feat” to survive as a black person in the United States. Highlighting that it was “not easy to remain rational and normal mentally in such a setting,” she refused to normalize the ability to function under American racism.

For her, the frustration began in childhood, when even her beloved grandmother worried about her “talking biggety to white folks.” She recounts how her grandmother grew angry when a young Rosa recounted picking up a brick to challenge a white bully. Rosa told her grandmother: “I would rather be lynched than live to be mistreated and not be allowed to say ‘I don’t like it.’ ”

Parks viewed the power of speaking back in the face of racism and oppression as fundamental — and saw that denying that right was key to the functioning of white power. Parks’s “determination never to accept it, even if it must be endured,” led her to “search for a way of working for freedom and first class citizenship.”

[Don’t criticize Black Lives Matter for provoking violence. The civil rights movement did, too.]

Parks carried that determination into adulthood, though she made clear the impossible mental state it required. She lyrically described the difficulty of being a rebel, the ways black children were “conditioned early to learn their places,” and the toll it took on her personally: “There is just so much hurt, disappointment and oppression one can take…. The line between reason and madness grows thinner.”

In the longest piece of the collection, an 11-page document describing a near-rape incident, Parks decisively uses the power of speaking back. When the document became public in 2011, there was controversy around its release and questions about whether it was a work of fiction. But it does not appear that Parks wrote fiction, and details of the story correspond to Parks’s life. Like the narrator of the story, Parks was doing domestic work during the Scottsboro trial, during her late teens in 1931. It’s written in the first person, though the narrator is unnamed.

In the account, a young Rosa is threatened with assault by a white neighbor of her employer, who was let into the house by a black worker, “Sam.” The heavy-set white man she aptly called “Mr. Charlie” (a term black people of the era used for white people and their arbitrary power) gets a drink, puts his hand on her waist, and attempts to make a move on her.

Furious and terrified, she resolved to resist: “I was ready and willing to die, but give any consent, never, never, never.” When Mr. Charlie said he’d gotten permission from Sam to be with her, she replied that Sam didn’t own her, that she hated the both of them, and that nothing Mr. Charlie could do would get her consent. “If he wanted to kill me and rape a dead body,” Parks wrote, “he was welcome but he would have to kill me first.”

It is significant that Parks’s philosophy of resistance is framed through an experience of sexual aggression. She was committed to women’s rights throughout her life — from working to get justice for black women who had been raped, such as Gertrude Perkins and Recy Taylor, to defending the rights of women prisoners. When Joan Little, a 20-year-old black woman serving a seven-year sentence for robbery, killed a white guard who sexually assaulted her, Parks co-founded Detroit’s Joan Little Defense Committee. Little was acquitted, becoming the first woman in U.S. history to successfully use self-defense against sexual assault in a homicide case.

Parks used this power of speaking back again on the evening of Dec. 1, 1955, when bus driver James Blake ordered her to give up her seat to a white passenger and she refused. Blake chose not simply to evict her from the bus, as he had done in the past, but to have her arrested. Calling attention to the larger power in the system, Parks questioned the arresting officers, “Why do you push us around?” One officer answered, “I don’t know, but the law is the law and you’re under arrest.”

[I was a civil rights activist in the 1960s. But it’s hard for me to get behind Black Lives Matter.]

After years of activism, Parks had reached her breaking point on the bus that December evening: “I had been pushed around all my life and felt at this moment that I couldn’t take it any more.” Her writings reveal the burden that this decade of political activism — which, with a small cadre of other Montgomery NAACP members, had produced little change — had been on her spirit. Describing the “dark closet of my mind,” she wrote about the loneliness of being a rebel: “I am nothing. I belong nowhere.”

Repeatedly in her writings, Parks underscored the difficulties in mobilizing in the years before her bus protest: “People blamed [the] NAACP for not winning cases when they did not support it and give strength enough.” She found it demoralizing, if understandable, that in the decade before the boycott, “the masses seemed not to put forth too much effort to struggle against the status quo,” noting how those who challenged the racial order like she did were labeled “radicals, sore heads, agitators, trouble makers.” Indeed, Rosa Parks was red-baited and received death threats and hate mail for years in Montgomery and in Detroit for her movement work.

Though the righteousness of her actions may seem self-evident today, at the time, those who challenged segregation — like those who challenge racial injustice today — were often treated as unstable, unruly and potentially dangerous by many white people and some black people. Her writings show how she struggled with feeling isolated and crazy, before and even during the boycott. In one piece of writing, she explained how she felt “completely alone and desolate as if I was descending in a black and bottomless chasm.”

Despite the boycott’s successful end, the Parks family still faced death threats and could not find steady work. In August 1957, they left Montgomery for Detroit, where her brother and cousins lived — “the promised land that wasn’t,” as she called it. There, in Detroit, she remained active in various movements for racial, social, criminal and global justice in the decades to come. Mountains of fliers, programs, letters, mailings, meeting agendas and conference programs document the span of her political activism there — though very few writings have survived in her personal papers from these later years.

The few that remain tell us that her radicalism never weakened. “Freedom fighters never retire,” she noted in a testimonial for a fellow activist. As she had for decades, Parks drew sustenance from the militancy and spirit of young people, working in and alongside the growing Black Power movement. Understanding the impact that years of activism with limited results can have on a person, she continued calling for rapid and radical change. In a 1973 letter posted at the Afro-American Museum in Detroit, she noted the impact that years of white violence and intransigence had on the younger generation:

The attempt to solve our racial problems nonviolently was discredited in the eyes of many by the hard core segregationists who met peaceful demonstrations with countless acts of violence and bloodshed. Time is running out for a peaceful solution. It may even be too late to save our society from total destruction.

Writing this after what many mark as the successful end of the modern civil rights movement, Parks clearly believed that the struggle was not over. In the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, she continued to press for change in the criminal justice system, in school and housing inequality, in jobs and welfare policy and in foreign policy. She worked in U.S. Rep. John Conyers’s office and spoke out against Clarence Thomas’s nomination to the Supreme Court, dismayed by his poor record on civil rights. Sometime in the 1990s, an older Parks doodled on a paper bag (preserved in the collection): “The Struggle Continues…. The Struggle Continues…. The Struggle Continues.”

[Five myths about Rosa Parks]

Much of the memorializing of the Montgomery bus boycott and the civil rights movement misses this side of Parks. Instead, we’ve become content to celebrate her “quiet” bus protest as a historic triumph in a movement that has long since run its course. But listening to Rosa Parks forces us to reconsider our view not only of our civil rights history, but also the demands of our civil rights present. We are forced to reckon with the fact that today’s rebels could be tomorrow’s heroes.

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American Tourist Killed By a Shark While Scuba Diving in Costa Rica

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS AND THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

By Jennifer Calfas

11:45 AM EST

An American tourist died after a tiger shark mauled her legs while she was scuba diving off the coast of Costa Rica last week, authorities said.

The tourist was identified by media outlets as Rohina Bhandari, a New York private equity director. Bhandari died after she sustained severe bites on her legs, according to the statement from Costa Rica’s ministry of environment and energy, translated by The Washington Post. The official statement identified the victim by her last name, Bhandari, and her scuba diving guide by the last name Jiménez.

The dive instructor was also bitten by the shark, but did not suffer life-threatening wounds. Doctors on site treated Jiménez’s wounds and confirmed Bhandari’s death, according to officials.

The incident occurred on Nov. 30, was an isolated incident and was the first of its kind at Isla del Coco National Park, according to officials. The attack happened as the group was reaching the end of their dive.

Rohina Bhandari attends MIGUEL FORBES Birthday Party at The Highlander on August 9, 2008 in Montauk, NY. (Patrick McMullan—Getty Images)
Rohina Bhandari attends MIGUEL FORBES Birthday Party at The Highlander on August 9, 2008 in Montauk, NY. (Patrick McMullan—Getty Images)
Patrick McMullan—Getty Images)

Bhandari’s dive took place at Cocos Island, which sits off Costa Rica’s mainland. The National Park is known for its scuba spots, where divers can spot a diverse array of marine life, including rays, dolphins and 14 different species of sharks, including hammerheads, according to authorities.

Bhandari was well-known in New York’s charity world, according to the New York Daily News. Bhandari was a senior director at WL Ross & Co. LLC, an investing group founded by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that she had worked at since Oct. 2013, according to her LinkedIn page. Before then, Bhandari was the managing director for institutional sales at PineBridge Investments.

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North Korea’s latest missile launch puts Washington, D.C., in range

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

North Korea’s latest missile launch appears to put Washington, D.C., in range


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (KCNA via Reuters)
 November 28 at 4:26 PM
 North Korea appears to have launched another intercontinental ballistic missile, the Pentagon said Tuesday, with experts calculating that Washington, D.C., is now technically within Kim Jong Un’s reach.The launch, the first in more than two months, is a sign that the North Korean leader’s regime is pressing ahead with its stated goal of being able to strike the United States mainland.

“We will take care of it,” President Trump told reporters at the White House. It is a “situation we will handle.”

The missile traveled some 620 miles and reached a height of about 2,800 miles before landing off the coast of Japan early Wednesday local time, flying for a total of 54 minutes. This suggested it had been fired almost straight up — on a “lofted trajectory” similar to North Korea’s two previous ICBM tests.

 3:11
Why does North Korea hate the U.S.? Look to the Korean War.

Why does North Korea hate the U.S.? Look to the Korean War. 

If it had been flown on a standard trajectory designed to maximize its reach, this missile would have a range of more than 8,100 miles, said David Wright, co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“This is significantly longer than North Korea’s previous long-range tests, which flew on lofted trajectories for 37 minutes and 47 minutes,” Wright said. “Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C.”

The U.S. capital is 6,850 miles from Pyongyang.

Although it may be cold comfort, it is still unlikely that North Korea is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the U.S. mainland.

Scientists do not know the weight of the payload the missile carried, but given the increase in range, it seems likely that it carried a very light mock warhead, Wright said. “If true, that means it would not be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to this long distance, since such a warhead would be much heavier,” he said in a blog post.

The Pentagon said the missile did indeed appear to be an ICBM.

“Initial assessment indicates that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile,” a Pentagon spokesman, Col. Robert Manning, said of the launch.

The South Korean and Japanese governments both convened emergency national security council meetings, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said such launches “cannot be tolerated.”

In Washington, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the missile was fired “higher, frankly, than any previous shots” that North Korea has taken.

He said Kim Jong Un’s continued effort to develop nuclear weapons “endangers world peace, regional peace and certainly he United States.”

The missile was launched just before 3 a.m. Wednesday local time from the western part of North Korea.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said it landed in waters inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, off the coast of Aomori prefecture. The coast guard told ships to watch for falling debris, and the Japanese government condemned the launch.

South Korea’s military conducted a “precision strike” missile launch exercise in response, the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Although it was the firstNorth Korean missile launch in more than two months, there had been signs that the North was making preparations. The Japanese government had detected radio signals suggesting that North Korea might be preparing for a ballistic missile launch, Kyodo News reported Monday, citing government sources.

Pyongyang has been working to fit a nuclear warhead to a missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, a weapon it says it needs to protect itself from a “hostile” Washington. It has made rapid progress this year, firing two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, the second of which was technically capable of reaching as far as Denver or Chicago, or possibly even New York.

A senior South Korean official said Tuesday that North Korea could announce next year that it has completed its nuclear weapons program.

“North Korea has been developing its nuclear weapons at a faster-than-expected pace. We cannot rule out the possibility that North Korea could announce its completion of a nuclear force within one year,” Cho Myoung-gyon, the unification minister, who is in charge of the South’s relations with the North, told foreign reporters in Seoul.

Kim Jong Un opened 2017 with a New Year’s address announcing that North Korea had “entered the final stage of preparation for the test launch of intercontinental ballistic missile.”

Then, in July, his regime launched two ICBMs, the first on U.S. Independence Day. The second, on July 28, flew almost straight up for 45 minutes and reached a height of about 2,300 miles before crashing into the sea off Japan. But if it had been launched on a normal trajectory designed to maximize its range, it could have flown 6,500 miles, experts said.

After its most recent missile launch, an intermediate-range missile that flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido on Sept. 15 , North Korea said it was seeking military “equilibrium” with the United States as a way to stop American leaders from talking about military options for dealing with Pyongyang.

That was the second launch over Japan in less than three weeks and came less than two weeks after North Korea exploded what was widely believed to be a hydrogen bomb.

Those events triggered ire overseas, with Trump denouncing North Korea’s regime during a speech to the United Nations General Assembly and mocking Kim as “little rocket man.”

That label triggered an angry and unusually direct response from the North Korean leader, who called Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” and warned the U.S. president that he would “pay dearly” for his threat to destroy North Korea.

But despite an increase in tensions over the past two months, including a U.S. Navy three-carrier strike group conducting military exercises in the sea between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, 74 days had passed without any missile launches by the North.

That was the longest pause all year, according to Shea Cotton, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif. North Korea has now tested 20 missiles this year, compared with 24 by this time last year.

The pause had raised hopes that North Korea might be showing interest in returning to talks about its nuclear program.

In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations late last month, Joseph Yun, the State Department’s special representative for North Korea policy, said that if North Korea went 60 days without testing a missile or a nuclear weapon, it could be a sign that Pyongyang was open to dialogue.

GOP’s New Tax Scheme Revels The Scam At Its Core

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

The Plum Line

GOP’s new scheme to save Trump’s tax plan reveals the scam at its core

 November 28 at 10:13 AM

(Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

THE MORNING PLUM:

Amid the final push to pass the Senate tax plan, which is at a make-or-break moment today, Republicans have now hatched two separate schemes, each designed to win over a different bloc of undecided senators. But the two maneuvers could contradict each other — and the contradiction would neatly reveal the big scam at the heart of this whole enterprise.

Several deficit-hawk senators, such as Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), are demanding that some kind of “trigger” be added to the bill, which would raise taxes later if the plan’s tax cuts end up adding to the deficit. The bill would boost the deficit by $1.4 trillion in the short term. Some Republicans have argued that the spectacular growth unleashed by the plan would offset that, but Corker and company (and many economists) are skeptical; hence the demand for a tax-hike trigger. As of now, how this trigger would work, and whose taxes would go up, are unspecified.

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At the same time, Senate Republicans are currently looking at ways to make the bill more generous to owners of “pass-through” businesses, to win over holdouts Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana. Research has shown that most pass-through income goes to the top 1 percent: As the New York Times put it, to win them over, Republicans are “increasingly tilting” their plan “to benefit wealthy Americans.”

 2:10
Why the GOP deficit hawks sound a little less hawkish lately

The Washington Post’s Damian Paletta looks at the arguments that Republicans are using to promote their tax overhaul.

But here’s the rub of the matter: As one tax analyst tells me, if Republicans make the plan more generous to the wealthy by doing more for pass-throughs (to win over some senators), this would also add to the deficit (which should drive away the others). And this leads us right back to the con at the heart of this whole affair.

The center of the Senate GOP tax plan is a large permanent cut to the tax rate paid by corporations. These would themselves overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, because the vast majority of their benefits would go to shareholders and capital. But Republicans face two challenges. The first is to sell this primarily as a middle-class tax cut, so voters accept it. They do this by front-loading a bunch of preferences for the middle class along with cuts to individual rates across the board. The second challenge is to do this while simultaneously making the case that the plan would not balloon the deficit, to hold on to deficit-hawk senators and because if it raises the deficit in the long term, procedural it can’t pass by simple majority with only Republican votes. Republicans address this problem by ending all the middle-class preferences and individual rate cuts after 2025.

But the problem is that the second imperative undermines the first. Because the middle-class benefits must be temporary to avoid busting the long-term deficit, analyses have found that in the long run, it would shower enormous long-term benefits on the rich while the benefits to the middle class fade away and taxes go up later for many less-fortunate earners. The whole point of back-loading the losses on to that latter group later is to prevent the permanent corporate tax cuts from ballooning the long-term deficit, allowing a huge permanent tax cut overwhelmingly benefiting the rich to pass with no Democrats.

The two new maneuvers Republicans are now contemplating both typify and exacerbate this core problem. Senators who want the plan to be more generous to pass-throughs saythey want the small businesses in their ranks (there are some) to get equivalent treatment to wealthy corporations. But Joseph Rosenberg, a senior research associate at the Tax Policy Center, tells me that this itself would add to the deficit.

“Changes that would make the pass-through provision more generous would further increase the cost of the bill and the deficit,” Rosenberg emailed me. What’s more, Rosenberg notes that such a change would likely be something the wealthy in particular can take advantage of, because they’d be more inclined and able to reclassify their income as pass-through. As “taxpayers look for opportunities to take advantage of the tax benefit,” Rosenberg says, this would “disproportionately benefit higher-income households.”

For all of this to go through, consider the most likely way it would happen: The deficit hawks would have to accept a plan that on paper does balloon the deficit in the short term, on the basis of triggers that allow them to claim tax hikes will kick in if growth doesn’t offset that. (Either these triggers remain unspecified, or Republicans will be declaring that some specific groups may be hit with tax hikes later.) Meanwhile, to make conservatives happy, the plan would have to include still more benefits for the rich under the guise of mainly helping small businesses.

All that could very well happen. But if so, it will just underscore how many different ruses are necessary to paper over the basic con at the center of it all: Republicans are giving the wealthy a large permanent tax cut while selling it as mainly a large middle-class tax cut andas something that won’t bust the deficit.

Update: Reporter Steven Dennis points out that Johnson and Daines are proposing to pay for their idea of making the bill more generous to pass-throughs by doing away with some deductions enjoyed by corporations.

But Seth Hanlon, a tax analyst with the Center for American Progress, tells me that we should not presume this offset will prove to be real until we actually see it in the bill and it’s subjected to serious scrutiny. If not, Republicans would have to find the money to pay for this elsewhere, or it would increase the deficit.

Beyond this, the broader point still holds: The underlying problem here has always been that Republicans are trying to push a permanent tax cut that would overwhelmingly benefit the rich, while selling it as primarily a middle-class tax cut and claiming it won’t bust the deficit.

* TAX CHANGES WON’T DO MUCH FOR MIDDLE CLASS: Even as the plan is being changed in ways that will further reward the wealthy, the New York Times reports that Senate GOP leaders aren’t that interested in helping another group of taxpayers:

Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida, for example, appear to be making little progress in persuading party leaders to expand access to the child tax credit for low-income families, by allowing the credit to be refundable against payroll tax liability. Such a move would allow working parents who do not currently face income tax liability to still benefit from the expanded credit envisioned in the bill.

Per usual, it appears the changes are geared toward winning over conservative holdouts, because Republicans who say they want a less regressive bill can be counted on to vote “yes” in the end.

North Korea Has Launched A Ballistic Missile

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

North Korea has launched a ballistic missile after a two-month pause, according to South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff

 November 28 at 1:51 PM
The last North Korean missile launched before today’s report was fired over Japan on Sept. 15. That launch capped a bout of activity that had heralded a number of technological developments in North Korea’s weapons program, including the test of its most powerful nuclear bomb yet.
This is a developing story. It will be updated.

Washington Post Says a Woman Tried to Give Them a Fake Roy Moore Story  

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM NEWS)

(oped: FOLKS THERE IS HABITUAL LYING POND SCUM WHO ARE BOTH REPUBLICANS, AND DEMOCRATS. THIS EVENT IS BOTH FRAUD AND THEFT AS WELL AS WIRE FRAUD, HOPEFULLY THE FBI WILL SHUT THESE FRAUDSTERS DOWN AND GIVE THEM NICE LONG PRISON SENTENCES.)(trs)

By Aric Jenkins

7:19 PM EST

The Washington Post said on Monday that a woman tried to give the paper a false story about embattled GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore. The Post‘s subsequent reporting indicates that the woman attempted to deceive the paper as part of a undercover sting operation likely led by a conservative activist.

According to the Post, a woman by the name of Jaime Phillips reached out to one of the paper’s reporters earlier this month with a claim that Moore — who is battling sexual harassment allegations from women who say they were teenagers at the time —impregnated her in 1992 when she was 15, prompting an abortion. After a series of interviews, the Post began fact-checking Phillips’ allegation and background, which became increasingly inconsistent throughout the reporting process, the paper said.

The Post said it was able to trace Phillips back to Project Veritas, an organization formed by right-wing activist James O’Keefe that frequently targets mainstream news outlets with deceptive tactics like covert video recordings in order to expose what it believes is media bias.

Post reporters said they witnessed Phillips walk into Project Veritas’ office in Mamaroneck, N.Y., about 30 miles north of Manhattan. O’Keefe denied subsequent requests for comment regarding Phillips’ appearance at the office in addition to questions asking if he was working with Moore, former White House adviser and Moore supporter Steve Bannon, or other Republican officials. Both O’Keefe and Moore’s campaign did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment.

The Post said one of its researchers also found a GoFundMe campaign created by a “Jaime Phillips” asking for contributions to move to New York for a new job. “I’ve accepted a job to work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceipt of the liberal MSM,” the page read. Two months earlier, Project Veritas had posted job listings on Facebook seeking candidates to “adopt an alias persona, gain access to an identified person of interest and persuade that person to reveal information,” according to the Post.

These findings prompted the paper to publish Phillips’ off-the-record comments because “we can’t honor an ‘off-the-record’ agreement that was solicited in maliciously bad faith,” Post executive editor Martin Baron said in the report. That decision cleared the way for Post videographers to accompany reporter Stephanie McCrummen as she confronted Phillips in an Alexandria, Va. restaurant last week with a printout of the GoFundMe page.

“We have a process of doing background, checking backgrounds and this kind of thing, so I wanted to ask you about one thing,” McCrummen says in the video recording as she pulls out a copy of the GoFundMe page. “So I just wanted to ask you if you could explain this, and I also wanted to let you know, Jaime, that this is being recorded and video recorded.”

Phillips responded by saying that she was going to take a job with the Daily Caller last summer but it “ended up falling through.” Daily Caller executive editor Paul Conner told the Post that none of the publication’s top editors had interviewed a woman by the name of Jaime Phillips.

“I think I probably just want to cancel and not go through with it at this point,” Phillips said to McCrummen in the restaurant shortly before ending the interview. “I’m not going to answer any more questions. I think I’m just going to go.”

Later that day, the GoFundMe page was gone, replaced by a new one, according to the Post.

“Campaign is complete and no longer active,” the posting read, according to the paper.

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