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posted by on Thursday March 09 2017, @11:20AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the the-word-alleged-sure-is-used-often dept.

Submitted via IRC for Runaway1956

Federal lawmakers are investigating how a former Iraqi insurgent fighter was able to lie about his identity and still get through America's 'extreme' vetting process.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to find out why the terror suspect's pending arrest was allegedly spiked just over a week before the election. Trump had run on a tough-on-terror platform and had been critical of President Obama's refugee policy.

"When [Joint Terrorism Task Force] and the U.S. Attorney's office for the Western District of Texas sought to prosecute this refugee, the local law enforcement and prosecutors allegedly 'met resistance' from officials within the National Security Division's Counter Terrorism section in Washington DC," Committee chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said in a March 6 letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


Original Submission

posted by on Wednesday March 08 2017, @02:46PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the freedom-to,-not-freedom-from dept.

Charles Murray, controversial author of The Bell Curve, which promoted links between intelligence and race, was shouted down by protesters at Middlebury College last Thursday. PBS reports:

Murray had been invited by Middlebury's student group affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank at which Murray is a scholar. [...] Prior to the point when Murray was introduced, several Middlebury officials reminded students that they were allowed to protest but not to disrupt the talk. The students ignored those reminders and faced no visible consequences for doing so. [...]

After the students chanted for about 20 minutes, college officials announced that the lecture would not take place but that Murray would go to another location, which the college didn't name, and have a discussion with a Middlebury faculty member — livestreamed back to the original lecture site.

According to Middlebury officials, after Murray and the professor who interviewed him for the livestream attempted to leave the location in a car, some protesters surrounded the car, jumped on it, pounded on it and tried to prevent the car from leaving campus.

Other sources note that political science professor Allison Stanger, who agreed to moderate the discussion, was attacked while accompanying Murray to the car, ultimately requiring treatment at a hospital for neck injuries caused by protesters pushing her and pulling her hair.

Murray himself later gave an account of his experience on the AEI blog. He emphasized that Middlebury's administration and staff displayed in exemplary ways their encouragement of free speech:

Middlebury's stance has been exemplary. The administration agreed to host the event. President Patton did not cancel it even after a major protest became inevitable. She appeared at the event, further signaling Middlebury's commitment to academic freedom. The administration arranged an ingenious Plan B that enabled me to present my ideas and discuss them with Professor Stanger even though the crowd had prevented me from speaking in the lecture hall. I wish that every college in the country had the backbone and determination that Middlebury exhibited.

But Murray notes that the outcome was very different from his previous controversial appearances:

Until last Thursday, all of the ones involving me have been as carefully scripted as kabuki: The college administration meets with the organizers of the protest and ground rules are agreed upon. The protesters have so many minutes to do such and such. It is agreed that after the allotted time, they will leave or desist. These negotiated agreements have always worked. At least a couple of dozen times, I have been able to give my lecture to an attentive (or at least quiet) audience despite an organized protest.

Middlebury tried to negotiate such an agreement with the protesters, but, for the first time in my experience, the protesters would not accept any time limits. [...] In the mid-1990s, I could count on students who had wanted to listen to start yelling at the protesters after a certain point, "Sit down and shut up, we want to hear what he has to say." That kind of pushback had an effect. It reminded the protesters that they were a minority. I am assured by people at Middlebury that their protesters are a minority as well. But they are a minority that has intimidated the majority. The people in the audience who wanted to hear me speak were completely cowed.

The form of the protest has been widely condemned even by those who vehemently disagree with Murray, as in the piece by Peter Beinart in The Atlantic that claims "something has gone badly wrong on the campus left." He argues strongly that "Liberals must defend the right of conservative students to invite speakers of their choice, even if they find their views abhorrent."

Meanwhile, student protesters have responded with their own account, disclaiming the hair-pulling incident as unintentional and "irresponsible" but condemning the Middlebury administration for their "support of a platform for white nationalist speech." They further claimed "peaceful protest was met with escalating levels of violence by the administration and Public Safety, who continually asserted their support of a dangerous racist over the well-being of students."

Personal note: My take on all of this is that the actual subject of Murray's Middlebury talk has been lost in the media coverage, namely his 2012 book Coming Apart, which (ironically) is a detailed discussion of the problems created by a division of the intellectual elite from the white working class. He explicitly dilutes his previous connections of social problems with a black underclass by noting that many of the same issues plague poor white communities. While his argument is still based on problematic assertions about intelligence and IQ, the topic of his book seems very relevant given recent political events and issues of class division. There's some sort of profound irony in a bunch of students at an elite school refusing to allow a debate on the causes and results of division between elite intellectuals and the (white) working class. I personally may think Murray's scholarship is shoddy and his use of statistics frequently misleading (or downright wrong), but I don't see how that justifies the kind of threats and intimidation tactics shown at this protest.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday March 06 2017, @09:26PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the bakufu-is-back-baby dept.

Peter Thiel's former chief of staff, Michael Kratsios, to join Trump as Deputy CTO.

I was not aware that the US Government had a CTO. In fact, I am not sure what a CTO is , or what one does [Ed-Really, aristarchus? CTO]. But the fact that this one is a former chief of staff of Peter Thiel, well, that brings pause. In fact, I don't believe it. So we look for verification!

OK, Techcrunch says yes.

Also along for the ride: Michael Kratsios, Thiel's chief of staff, and Charlie Kirk, a 23-year-old wunderkind who blew off college to start a grass-roots organization dedicated to training young conservatives in the art of persuasion — and plugging them into the right networks.

Well, I guess at least one gets plugged, according to Politico.

And, according to "The Street", it is reported in Politico. I love how the news we aggregate is so self-referential and recursive, it is almost like an actual Unix file directory.

takyon: The Chief Technology Officer of the United States is a position within the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The positon was created under President Obama and requires Senate confirmation. The current U.S. CTO is Megan Smith.

Original Submission

posted by on Sunday March 05 2017, @07:24AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the who-stole-the-strawberries? dept.

President Trump has accused former President Obama of... something:

In a string of tweets posted early Saturday morning, President Trump let loose a barrage of accusations at his predecessor. He alleged that former President Obama had his "wires tapped" in Trump Tower before Election Day last year, accusing Obama of "McCarthyism" and being a "bad (or sick) guy."

Trump, who is under significant scrutiny for his administration's contacts with Russia before he took office, offered no evidence to support his claims Saturday morning. Neither the White House nor Obama's office has responded immediately to NPR's requests for comment.

[...] Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

Also at WaPo, NYT, Reuters, Fox News, BBC, and Snopes, which hints that it may be related to this story.

Original Submission

posted by on Saturday March 04 2017, @10:33AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the the-daily-red-meat dept.

Victor Davis Hanson writes at The Hoover Institution:

The media suffer the lowest approval numbers in nearly a half-century. In a recent Emerson College poll, 49 percent of American voters termed the Trump administration "truthful"; yet only 39 percent believed the same about the news media.

Every president needs media audit. The role of journalists in a free society is to act as disinterested censors of government power—neither going on witch-hunts against political opponents nor deifying ideological fellow-travelers.

Sadly, the contemporary mainstream media—the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN), the traditional blue-chip newspapers (Washington Post, New York Times), and the public affiliates (NPR, PBS)—have lost credibility. They are no more reliable critics of President Trump's excesses than they were believable cheerleaders for Barack Obama's policies.


Submitted via IRC for Runaway1956

Original Submission

posted by on Thursday March 02 2017, @01:50PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the race-to-the-bottom dept.

People's Action Institute reports via Common Dreams

People's Action Institute released a report today [February 28] that details the dire need for jobs that pay a living wage, and for public investment in communities that are most neglected.

[...] The report, Prosperity, Not Poverty,[PDF][1] shows the gap between job seekers and jobs that pay a living wage. According to the report, nationally there are seven job seekers for every job opening that pays the national single adult living wage of $17.28 per hour.

[...] The odds are much worse for a single parent hoping to be paid enough to support herself and a child. Prosperity, Not Poverty includes living wage figures and job gap ratios for each state and Washington, D.C., as well as the national number.

[...] Policy Recommendations from Prosperity, Not Poverty:

If done well, public infrastructure programs and investments will benefit all, and especially marginalized communities and the places they live.

  • Create high wage jobs and target hiring and training in local communities, especially marginalized communities. Wages from full-time work should be at least enough for a single adult to make ends meet.
  • Increase access to affordable health coverage. Low-wage workers are less likely to have access to employer-sponsored health care than higher-wage workers.
  • Strengthen Social Security so all workers can retire with dignity.
  • Expand and strengthen equal opportunity statutes to apply to the LGBTQI community as well as women and people of color.

[1] I have replaced the goofy link in TFA with a direct link. Google cache text of the 40-page report.

Original Submission

posted by on Wednesday March 01 2017, @07:34PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the totally-normal,-right? dept.

America's new president gave an address to a joint session of Congress. The Los Angeles Times posted a full transcript of the speech (along with remarks from its staff that may require Javascript to view); Bloomberg uploaded a video of the event.

The New York Times called it "the most presidential speech Mr. Trump has ever given — delivered at precisely the moment he needed to project sobriety, seriousness of purpose and self-discipline."

[Ed. Note: This is the first story specifically placed into the Politics Nexus. The intent is that most stories with a predominantly political topic will be in this Nexus. They will appear on the main page with other stories under default settings, but individual logged in users can choose to turn off any Nexus so the stories published therein are not shown. The setting to change visibility of Nexi is on your preferences page under the tab marked "Homepage."]

Original Submission