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2020-06-02 11:21:59 UTC
2020-06-02 11:25:04 UTC
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A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been charged with conspiring to hack Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a new indictment in the probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
The 12 were members of Russian military intelligence, known as the GRU, and are accused of engaging in a sustained effort to hack the computer networks of Democratic organizations and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein detailed the new charges at a mid-day press conference. Mueller, as has been his practice, did not attend the announcement. Court records show a grand jury Mueller has been using returned an indictment Friday morning.
The announcement comes days before President Trump is due to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland. Rosenstein said he briefed Trump earlier this week on the charges
[...] Rosenstein said the suspects worked to "hack into computers, steal documents, and release those documents with the intent to interfere with the election."
The Center for American Progress reports
Patagonia will continue its record of encouraging its workers and customers to be politically engaged by closing its doors on Election Day 2018, the Washington Post reports.
Citing low voter participation and its own history of advancing environmental causes, the outdoor retailer decided giving its workers a chance to vote was the right thing to do. Company spokeswoman Corley Kenna told the Post, "What's the most impactful thing we can do in an election? That's to get people to vote."
This isn't the first time the outdoor retailer has made Election Day a holiday for its workers. The company also closed its doors on Election Day 2016 as part of its "Vote Our Planet" campaign. Patagonia again cited low voter turnout across the country as the basis for its decision and said that "America needs strong leadership to confront the fundamental threat of climate change."
[...] During the 2016 election, it hosted political events in its own stores, inviting customers to talk environmentalism and the role of politics in keeping the planet healthy.
Patagonia also used the opportunity to help customers register to vote. Its "Vote Our Planet" campaign was aimed at turning out environmentally conscious voters in races at every level of government.
President Trump announced his selection of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be his second Supreme Court justice Monday night. Speaking in the East Room of the White House, the president said that what mattered to him was "not a judge's political views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require."
"I am pleased to say that I have found, without a doubt, such a person," he said in announcing Kavanaugh's nomination. "There is no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving," the president also said. The D.C. Circuit Appeals Court judge "has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and aproven commitment to equal justice under the law," the president continued. He's "a judge's judge, a true thought leader among his peers. He's a brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time."
Kavanaugh thanked the president for the nomination, and in anticipating his coming meetings with senators on Capitol hill tomorrow, said, "I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic." He promised, "If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case and I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law."
Within a few days of Justice Anthony Kennedy's announcement that he would retire from the court this summer, Mr. Trump had narrowed the field to four: Judges Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman and Raymond Kethledge -- all young and all viewed as conservative. Ultimately, the president settled on Kavanaugh, the establishment favorite.
On the issue everyone wants to know about:
Kavanaugh has stated that he considers Roe v. Wade binding under the principle of stare decisis and would seek to uphold it, but has also ruled in favor of some restrictions for abortion.
In May 2006, Kavanaugh stated he "would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully" and that the issue of the legality of abortion has already "been decided by the Supreme Court". During the hearing, he stated that a right to an abortion has been found "many times", citing Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
In October 2017, Kavanaugh joined an unsigned divided panel opinion which found that the Office of Refugee Resettlement could prevent an unaccompanied minor in its custody from obtaining an abortion. Days later, the en banc D.C. Circuit reversed that judgment, with Kavanaugh now dissenting. The D.C. Circuit's opinion was then itself vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Garza v. Hargan (2018).
Previously: SCOTUS's Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire
In a legal setback for the Trump administration's immigration policies, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled that the government may not arbitrarily detain people seeking asylum.
The ruling comes in a case challenging the administration's policy of detaining people even after they have passed a credible fear interview and await a hearing on their asylum claim.
The lead plaintiff in the case is a teacher from Haiti, Ansly Damus, who has been confined in Ohio for more than a year-and-a-half. He fled his homeland fearing violence and political persecution and asked for asylum in the United States. An immigration judge granted him asylum not just once, but twice. But Damus remains locked up indefinitely as the government appeals those decisions.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, in his 38-page opinion, said that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement violated its own procedures by not granting Damus release under what's known as humanitarian parole.
"This Opinion does no more than hold the Government accountable to its own policy, which recently has been honored more in the breach than the observance. Having extended the safeguards of the Parole Directive to asylum seekers, ICE must now ensure that such protections are realized," Judge Boasberg wrote.
A legislative bill summary says the law will give Californians "the right to know what PI [personal information] is being collected about them and whether their PI is being sold and to whom; the right to access their PI; the right to delete PI collected from them; the right to opt-out or opt-in to the sale of their PI, depending on age of the consumer; and the right to equal service and price, even if they exercise such rights."
Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, was an early supporter of the ballot initiative. While the organization said it was pleased that many of the initiative’s provisions were included in the new law, it urged changes to certain aspects of the law that are different from the ballot initiative, and pledged to work for more substantial reforms.
Justin Brookman, the Director of Consumer Privacy and Technology Policy for Consumers Union, said, “We appreciate that this law advances consumer protections in several ways. It gives people access to the information that companies have about them. It extends the right to control the sale of your data, and it provides new security protections in the wake of the Equifax breach.
“However, we have serious concerns about how this legislation introduces very troubling concepts into law. We oppose a provision in the law that allows companies to charge higher prices to consumers who decline to have their information sold to third parties. The California state constitution grants people an inviolable right to privacy. Consumers should not be charged for exercising that right.
Covered pretty much everywhere (front page of CNN/FOX/younameit).
With the main swing vote in the U.S. Supreme Court leaving, and a replacement nominated by President Trump, the right wing of the court should become clearly dominant, allowing Roe v. Wade opponents, and other right-wing causes, a new chance at victory.
takyon: SCOTUSblog has a round-up of coverage:
Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement today, effective July 31, 2018. Amy Howe covered the news for this blog; her coverage first appeared at Howe on the Court. Other early coverage comes from Richard Wolf of USA Today, Michael D. Shear of The New York Times; Bill Mears of Fox News; Robert Barnes of The Washington Post; Jessica Mason Pieklo of Rewire.News; Nina Totenberg of NPR; Lawrence Hurley of Reuters; Greg Stohr of Bloomberg; and Pete Williams of NBC News. Analysis of Justice Kennedy's legacy comes from Noah Feldman of Bloomberg; Wolf of USA Today; Mears of Fox News; and Reuters staff. Coverage of the reaction from Congress and the President comes from Carl Hulse of The New York Times; Alex Pappas and Mears of Fox News; Seung Min Kim and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post; and Alex Seitz-Wald and Rebecca Shabad of NBC News. Patrick Gregory of Bloomberg has a piece looking at potential replacements for Kennedy.
Early commentary comes from Jill Lawrence for USA Today; Bill Blum in The Progressive; Emily Bazelon for The New York Times; Elizabeth Slattery for The Daily Signal; Garrett Epps for The Atlantic; Richard Hasen for Slate; Ian Millhiser of Think Progress; and Joshua Matz for The Washington Post. Another piece in the Post comes from Philip Bump, who focuses on control of the Senate. More commentary comes from Scott Lemieux for NBC News and Matt Ford for The New Republic. Andrew Cohen writes for TNR, and he also has a piece in Rolling Stone. Commentary from Vox comes from Dylan Matthews, Andrew Prokop and Matt Yglesias. Pieklo and Imani Gandy released an emergency podcast reacting to the news. Various law professors give their analysis for Stanford Law School Blog.
Anthony Kennedy was sworn in on February 18, 1988.
Apple is launching a dedicated section in Apple News to cover the US midterm elections. US Apple users will be able to view the latest updates for the election inside the Apple News app through November.
It will feature content from Fox News, Vox and other curated publications including some exclusives from the Washington Post, Axios and Politico.
[...] The midterm section will include features including 'The Conversation', opinion columns from diverse sources, and 'On the Ground' which is more localized reporting to individual constituents.
Apple's longstanding approach of using human editors to select a limited number of stories from reliable sources stands in contrast to Facebook's approach of letting publishers and users post stories, then relying on a mixture of technology and human editors to weed out less reliable sources. Facebook has faced sharp criticism for its role in spreading fake news in the runup to the 2016 presidential election, including posts created by Russians attempting to sway the election to Donald Trump, according to a grand jury indictment.
Facebook is taking measures to avoid similar criticism in the runup to the 2018 midterm elections. The company last week said it was ramping up its efforts to fight fake news, including expanding fact-checking programs to more countries and for the first time fact-checking photos and videos.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant on Friday night because she works for President Donald Trump. A co-owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, asked Ms Sanders and her family to leave as a protest against the Trump administration.
She told the Washington Post that she decided to ask the Trump spokeswoman to leave the 26-seat, "farm-to-table" restaurant after talking to her staff. "Tell me what you want me to do. I can ask her to leave," she said she told them. "They said yes."
The incident comes days after Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was booed at a Mexican restaurant in Washington DC. Critics of the Red Hen's decision said that it was discriminatory. However, others compared the restaurant's decision to a recent Supreme Court ruling in favour of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, in a case seen by many conservatives as a test for religious freedom.
[...] She [Ms Wilkinson (the proprietor)] knew Lexington, population 7,000, had voted overwhelmingly against Trump in a county that voted overwhelmingly for him. She knew the community was deeply divided over such issues as Confederate flags. She knew, she said, that her restaurant and its half-dozen servers and cooks had managed to stay in business for 10 years by keeping politics off the menu.
[...] It was important to Wilkinson, she said, that Sanders had already been served — that her staff had not simply refused her on sight. And it was important to her that Sanders was a public official, not just a customer with whom she disagreed, many of whom were included in her regular clientele.
"They offered to pay," Wilkinson said. "I said, 'No. It's on the house.' "
See also: A(ustralian)BC news
The Macedonian parliament has begun the process of changing the country's name, ending a long-running dispute with Greece:
Macedonia's parliament has ratified an agreement with Greece to change the former Yugoslav republic's name at a plenary session that was boycotted by the main opposition party.
Lawmakers on June 20 voted 69-0 to ratify the agreement, which changes the country's formal name to the Republic of North Macedonia. [...] Lawmakers on June 19 launched the process of ratifying the accord, as hundreds of protesters gathered in the center of Skopje for a third day to vent anger over the deal.
[...] The agreement, signed by the two countries' foreign ministers on June 17, ends a 27-year dispute between Athens and Skopje and paves the way for Macedonia to begin membership talks with the European Union and NATO.
But it will take months to complete and faces several hurdles along the way, with President Gjorge Ivanov pledging to veto the deal. That would force lawmakers to repeat the vote, and if the deal is ratified again – this time with an absolute majority -- then Ivanov will be unable to block it.
When Republicans in Congress passed a big, fat tax break bill in December, they insisted it meant American workers would be singing "Happy Days Are Here Again" all the way to the bank. The payoff from the tax cut would be raises totaling $4,000 to $9,000, the President's Council of Economic Advisers assured workers. But something bad happened to workers on their way to the repository. They never got that money.
In fact, their real wages declined because of higher inflation. At the same time, the amount workers had to pay in interest on loans for cars and credit cards increased. And, to top it off, Republicans threatened to make workers pay for the tax break with cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. So now, workers across America are wondering, "Where's that raise?". It's nowhere to be found.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this week that wages for production and nonsupervisory workers decreased by 0.1 percent from May 2017 to May 2018 when inflation is factored in. The compensation for all workers together, including supervisors, rose an underwhelming 0.1 percent from April 2018 to May 2018.
That's not what congressional Republicans promised workers. They said corporations, which got the biggest, fattest tax cuts of all, would use that extra money to increase wages. Some workers got one-time bonuses and an even smaller number received raises. But not many. The group Americans for Tax Fairness estimates it's 4.3 percent of all U.S. workers.
The New York Times story about this record breaker describes the phenomena this way: "Companies buy back their shares when they believe they have nothing better to do with their money than to return capital to shareholders." So despite promises from the GOP and the President's Council of Economic Advisers, corporations believed further enriching their own executives and shareholders was a much better way to use the money than increasing workers' wages--wages that have been stagnant for decades.