2020-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2020-06-02 11:21:59 UTC
2020-06-02 11:25:04 UTC
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Following reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, President Trump authorized the launch of Tomahawk cruise missiles against a base in Syria. The Russian government was notified prior to the launch as they have resources in the area that was attacked.
According to NBC News:
The United States launched dozens of cruise missiles Thursday night at a Syrian airfield in response to what it believes was Syria's use of banned chemical weapons that killed at least 100 people, U.S. military officials told NBC News.
Two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea fired 59 Tomahawk missiles intended for a single target — Ash Sha'irat in Homs province in western Syria, the officials said. That's the airfield from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired the banned weapons.
There was no immediate word on casualties. U.S. officials told NBC News that people were not targeted and that aircraft and infrastructure at the site were hit, including the runway and gas fuel pumps.
Also at Al Jazeera:
The United States has launched 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles against Syrian government targets in retaliation for what the Trump administration charges was a Syrian government chemical weapons attack that killed scores of civilians, a US official says.
The targets hit from US ships in the Mediterranean Sea included the air base in the central city of Homs from which the Syrian aircraft staged Tuesday's chemical weapons attack, the US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
[...] He [Trump] called on "civilised nations" to join US in "seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria".
Syrian state TV said "American aggression targets Syrian military targets with a number of missiles".
The poison gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on Tuesday killed at least 86 people, including 27 children, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Turkey said samples from victims of Tuesday's attack indicate they were exposed to sarin, a highly toxic nerve agent.
The New York Times adds:
The Pentagon informed Russian military officials, through its established deconfliction channel, of the strike before the launching of the missiles, the official said, with American officials knowing when they did that that Russian authorities may well have alerted the Assad regime. "With a lot of Tomahawks flying, we didn't want to hit any Russian planes," he said.
[...] It was Mr. Trump's first order to the military for the use of force — other operations in Syria, Yemen and Iraq had been carried out under authorization delegated to his commanders — and appeared intended to send a message to North Korea, Iran and other potential adversaries that the new commander in chief was prepared to act, and sometimes on short notice.
The airstrikes were carried out less than an hour after the president concluded a dinner with Xi Jinping, the president of China, at Mar-a-Lago, sending an unmistakably aggressive signal about Mr. Trump's willingness to use the military power at his disposal.
Mr. Trump authorized the strike with no congressional approval for the use of force, an assertion of presidential authority that contrasts sharply with the protracted deliberations over the use of force by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.
[...] Mr. Trump moved with remarkable speed, delivering the punishing military strike barely 72 hours after the devastating chemical attack that killed 80 people this week.
Wikipedia notes: Use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war .
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has reportedly offered to testify about President Trump's campaign and Russia:
President Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has reportedly told the FBI that he is willing to testify about the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russia, in exchange for immunity from prosecution, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Flynn resigned in February, after it was reported that he misled White House staff on his interactions with Russia and had discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak ahead of President Trump's inauguration. The Journal reported, citing officials familiar with the matter, that the FBI and the House and Senate Intelligence committees that are investigating Russia's attempts to interfere in the U.S. election have not taken his lawyers up on the offer.
Flynn's lawyer said in a statement that "General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit."
[...] In September, criticizing Hillary Clinton over former aides being given immunity deals as part of an investigation into her private email server, Flynn said, "When you're given immunity that means you've probably committed a crime."
The rise of populism has rattled the global political establishment. Brexit came as a shock, as did the victory of Donald Trump. Much head-scratching has resulted as leaders seek to work out why large chunks of their electorates are so cross.
The answer seems pretty simple. Populism is the result of economic failure. The 10 years since the financial crisis have shown that the system of economic governance which has held sway for the past four decades is broken. Some call this approach neoliberalism. Perhaps a better description would be unpopulism.
Unpopulism meant tilting the balance of power in the workplace in favour of management and treating people like wage slaves. Unpopulism was rigged to ensure that the fruits of growth went to the few not to the many. Unpopulism decreed that those responsible for the global financial crisis got away with it while those who were innocent bore the brunt of austerity.
2017 Davos says: The 99% should just try harder.
The former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party is charged with forgery and voter fraud for allegedly forging his wife’s[*] mail-in ballot from last year’s election, according to court records and sources.
Steven Curtis was the chairman of the state party from 1997 to 1999. He was charged Feb. 1 with one count of forgery of a public record, a fifth-degree felony, and an elections mail-in ballot offense, a misdemeanor.
Curtis spoke about voter fraud ahead of last year’s election.
"It seems to be, and correct me if I’m wrong here, but virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats,"
[* Note that she is described as his "former spouse" elsewhere, such as ...]
Also covered in more depth, and perhaps more accurately, at Salon.
1 down, 2,999,999 illegal votes to go!
Drupal founder Dries Buytaert expelled Larry "Crell" Garfield from the Drupal community (archive) for his involvement in the BDSM community. Garfield claims this was done at the demand of Drupal Security team member Klaus "klausi" Purer and unknown others secretly pressuring Drupal leadership to have him removed for his private sex life.
takyon: From Larry's response:
I am involved in two such communities, specifically the BDSM community and the Gorean (Gor) community. The former is by far the larger of the two and more varied, although I spend more of my time and activity in the Gorean community. It's a small community, and sadly much of what is found online about it is utter crap, just as most in the BDSM community find the "50 Shades" representation of BDSM to be harmfully misleading. The Gorean subculture is inspired by a science-fiction book series written from the 1960s onward to today, and predicated on a strong sense of personal honor, integrity, and community. It also practices consensual Master/slave relationships, and has a strong gender bias toward male-Dom/female-sub relationships, but that is not the cornerstone of Gorean culture. There are other groups that are biased the other way, or have no gender bias. There are even groups in Chicago (where I live) that have regular "fem-dom" parties. To each their own.
The only diary known to be written by President John F. Kennedy is up for auction on April 26th:
A diary kept by President John F Kennedy as a young man travelling in Europe, revealing his fascination with Adolf Hitler, is up for auction. Kennedy, then 28, predicted "Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived". "He had in him the stuff of which legends are made," he continued.
Kennedy wrote the entry in the summer of 1945 after touring the German dictator's Bavarian mountain retreat. It is thought by historians to be the only diary [ever] kept by the 35th US president.
[...] He wrote that Hitler "had boundless ambition for his country which rendered him a menace to the peace of the world, but he had a mystery about him in the way he lived and in the manner of his death that will live and grow after him". The 61-page diary was kept by Kennedy around four months after Hitler committed suicide. [...] In a description of the auction, [Deirdre Henderson] wrote: "When JFK said that Hitler 'had in him the stuff of which legends are made', he was speaking to the mystery surrounding him, not the evil he demonstrated to the world."
Past administrations have increased military spending, but typically to fulfil a specific mission. Jimmy Carter expanded operations in the Persian Gulf. Ronald Reagan pursued an arms race with the Soviet Union, and George W. Bush waged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Trump has not articulated a new mission that would require a military spending increase. This has left analysts wondering what goals he has in mind. Erin M. Simpson, a national security consultant, called Mr. Trump's plans "a budget in search of a strategy."
[Related]: 2017 Outlook for Navy Shipbuilding
What do you think about the proposed increase in military spending ? Does USA really need more weapons ?
Submitted via IRC for Runaway1956
More than a decade ago, many Democrats still in office now went along with Gorsuch as he was unanimously confirmed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in July 2006. Things are different today, ahead of his hearing for the highest court in the land.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., expressed deep doubts during a press conference last Wednesday about the nominee and asserted Gorsuch "may act like a neutral, calm judge," but "his record and his career clearly show he harbors a right wing, pro-corporate, special interest agenda."
[...] Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said he would demand "real answers" to questions he has about Gorsuch's judicial philosophy.
"I hope next week, when the president's Supreme Court nominee will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he provides transparent, truthful answers to Senators' questions," Leahy said in a statement. "I will insist on real answers from Judge Neil Gorsuch, because there are real concerns about his record and his judicial philosophy."
When he was in office, former President Barack Obama earned the ire of anti-war activists for his expansion of Bush's drone wars. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning head of state ordered ten times more drone strikes than the previous president, and estimates late in Obama's presidency showed 49 out of 50 victims were civilians. In 2015, it was reported that up to 90% of drone casualties were not the intended targets.
Current President Donald Trump campaigned on a less interventionist foreign policy, claiming to be opposed to nation-building and misguided invasions. But less than two months into his presidency, Trump has expanded the drone strikes that plagued Obama's "peaceful" presidency.
"During President Obama's two terms in office, he approved 542 such targeted strikes in 2,920 days—one every 5.4 days. From his inauguration through today, President Trump had approved at least 36 drone strikes or raids in 45 days—one every 1.25 days."
That's an increase of 432 [sic] percent.
First, armed police seized some of its books. Next, its director was put on trial accused of stirring up ethnic hatred. And now, quietly, its shelves have been emptied and its volumes packed up, ready to be merged into another library's collection. A year and a half after Russia's only state-run Ukrainian language library, Moscow's Library of Ukrainian Literature, was dragged into a political dispute between the two countries, Reuters has learnt that authorities are quietly winding it down.
Officially, what is happening to the library -- its 52,000 books are being transferred to Russia's main foreign language library -- is "a change of address" not a closure. But the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, some of the library's employees, and members of Russia's large Ukrainian diaspora say it is a closure in all but name.
Tatyana Muntyan, a library employee, said that even before the transfer its director had reduced opening hours, stopped home lending, halted acquisitions, and made readers show passports to gain entry. The library's director declined to comment. The saga, along with other measures, suggests political differences between Moscow and Kiev are driving a wedge between two peoples whose cultures have been interwoven for centuries. It is likely to stoke Ukrainian fears that their culture, as well as their territorial integrity, is under siege.