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Auburn85

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  1. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coast-guard-removes-employee-from-florence-duty-over-alleged-white-supremacist-gesture/ "The U.S. Coast Guard says it removed one of its members from Florence duty after he made an alleged white power gesture in the background of a televised interview."
  2. Auburn85

    Politicize the weather

    http://theweek.com/articles/795722/politicize-weather Hurricane Florence struck the Carolinas on Thursday, moving slowly inland. By Friday morning, it had brought a 10-foot storm surge and sever flooding to parts of North Carolina. Multiple people have needed to be rescued and power companies are reporting more than 150,000 outages due to strong winds topping 90 miles per hour. Yet for all of its destruction, it's just one of many terrible weather events that have caused humanitarian disasters in the United States over the past two years — most notably Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. It's time to realize one simple truth: Republicans are very largely to blame. Democrats should not hesitate to point this out. There are two main reasons why. First, natural disasters become humanitarian emergencies primarily due to poor preparation and response, either through incompetence or poverty. For instance, a 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed perhaps 100,000 people, while a much, much stronger one in Chile killed only 525 (mainly due to superior building construction). The United States is very rich, and should be able to handle anything short of the most severe disasters. But Republicans are not only apathetic and incompetent at governance in general, they are particularly terrible at emergency response. Democrats, for all their other faults, are generally pretty good at this. President Clinton appointed James Lee Witt to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who was widely hailed as turning the agency into a model of competence and efficiency. George W. Bush immediately destroyed that effectiveness with cronyism and corruption, appointing his oafish horse breeder pal Michael Brown (a man with zero disaster management experience) to run FEMA, who thengrotesquely botched the response to Hurricane Katrina. At least 1,245 people died as a result. President Obama successfully restored basic competence among the disaster agencies, and managed an Ebola outbreak and numerous hurricanes of his own without any massive death tolls. Now we have President Trump, who is almost certainly the most inept president of all time. His administration's handling of the preparation and response to Hurricane Maria was, as evidenced by Nidhi Prakash's on-the-ground reporting, astoundingly incompetent. It took a full 11 months to restore power, and many communities remained without reliable food or water access for much of that time. Things were so bad that death tolls had to be estimated via demographic sampling instead of direct counting. A Harvard study calculated excess deaths at around 4,600, while a more preciseGeorge Washington University study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government put the total at 2,975. As Mattathias Schwartz writes, the post-Maria death spree was a man-made disaster. But not only did Trump fail to take any responsibility whatsoever for the disaster, he now insists that the study was fabricated by Democrats to cast doubt on him. His fellow Republicans are, as usual, doing nothing whatsoever to hold Trump accountable in any way or even conduct an official inquiry into why so many Americans died after Maria — just like they are doing with his dozens of corruption scandals. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan bizarrely commented that "Casualties don’t make a person look bad, so I have no reason to dispute these numbers," and blamed the death toll on the power outage. Other Republicans just dodged the issue or offered the limpest of criticism: Twitter Ads info and privacy Meanwhile, Republican grandees like former President George W. Bush are doing their best to keep Republicans in control of Congress, where they can continue to collaborate with Trump. Their priorities are clear: Tax cuts for the rich and deregulation are worth the occasional deadly disaster. The second reason to blame Republicans is, of course, climate change. The strength and intensity of weather disasters is likely being intensified by global warming, while the flooding from hurricanes is certainly being worsened by sea level rise. A climate policy package to cut domestic emissions, massively strengthen American communities against weather disasters, and pursue international diplomacy to help coordinate emission cuts in other countries is unquestionably the number one policy priority for this country. Republicans categorically oppose all of this. The Republican Congress refuses to even consider a serious green investment package. The Trump administration pulled out of the Paris climate accords and has rolled back Obama's Clean Power Plan in favor of something that might actuallyincrease emissions (and will lead to thousands of pollution-caused deaths according to their own science). The Republican Party is effectively doing all it can to worsen climate-fueled weather disasters. It is also largely incapable of preparing for the ones that do happen or conducting rescue operations afterwards. If Americans want to survive the gathering clouds, Republicans must be held accountable.
  3. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/coast-guard-member-flashes-white-power-hand-signal-tv-n909856 A member of a U.S. Coast Guard team responding to Tropical Storm Florence in South Carolina appeared to flash a white power hand gesture in the background as a captain was being interviewed Friday by MSNBC. The man has since been removed from the Florence response operations and the incident is under investigation, said Coast Guard Lt. J.B. Zorn. The decision from the federal agency came after heavy backlash online to the apparent gesture captured on "Live with Ali Velshi." "Whatever that symbol means, it doesn't reflect the Coast Guard and our core values," Zorn said. "It won't be tolerated." Coast Guard officials wouldn't identify the man and declined to discuss possible disciplinary action. He flashed the signal as Capt. John Reed, commander of Florence response efforts in Charleston, South Carolina, was explaining a new tactic as the storm changed direction. A man in a red shirt was seen casually displaying the 'OK' hand signal against the right side of his face as he sat at a table in the background. While the gesture appears innocuous and may have started as an online troll campaign, it has seemingly become a symbol used by alt-right supporters to "trigger" liberals with the implicit suggestion that white nationalist views have become more prominent. The Coast Guard has been at the forefront of rescue operations in the Carolinas, where at least five people have died since the storm reached the coastline Friday morning. "We’re not going to let one person detract from the good work the Coast Guard is doing in the region," Zorn said. "We're going to stay focused."
  4. http://reason.com/blog/2018/09/12/clinton-pushes-fake-news-about-kavanaugh In recent weeks, prominent Democrats have cheered thebanning of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from social platforms and have floated proposals for regulating the dissemination of foreign ads and "fake news." At the same time, they have gleefully spread conspiracy theories and falsehoods about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The latest lunacy comes courtesy of none other than Hillary Clinton, who today tweeted out talking points popularized by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)—talking points that mainstream and nonpartisan factcheckers have labeled false. Harris had shared a video clip in which Kavanaugh appears to refer to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs." The video was edited to elide the part that makes it clear that Kavanaugh was not expressing his own views but was describing the position taken by the plaintiffs in a case he had ruled on. Harris—and now Clinton—used this as supposed evidence that Kavanaugh is a zealot who wants to ban birth control. Kavanaugh's own words on the issue not only include no such indication but also recognize a "compelling interest" in ensuring access to birth control. Kavanaugh has also written that while society should accomodate religious objections to participating in the provision of contraception, those religious beliefs could not be used to justify restricting the actions of others. "The Government may of course continue to require the religious organizations' insurers to provide contraceptive coverage to the religious organizations' employees, even if the religious organizations object," wrote Kavanaugh. "As Judge Flaum correctly explained, [federal religious freedom law] 'does not authorize religious organizations to dictate the independent actions of third-parties, even if the organization sincerely disagrees with them.'" Yet no amount of plain evidence can counter the "dog whistles" that Democrats think (or pretend to think) they're hearing. "Kavanaugh didn't use [the term "abortion-inducting drugs"] because he misunderstands the basic science of birth control," said Clinton—so far, so good. But rather than explain that Kavanaugh was using the language of the plaintiffs in the case he had specifically been asked about, Clinton claims he used the term "because it's a dog whistle to the extreme right," signalling that "legal abortion isn't the only fundamental reproductive right at grave risk if he is confirmed. Access to birth control is, too." From there, Clinton conjures an imminent world where doctors are criminalized for providing birth control pills. We saw the same mysticism on display at the start of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings last week, when his assistant's resting hand position and use of what appeared to be the "OK" symbol had prominent progressives seriously warning that Kavanaugh was beholden to white supremacists. (A 4chan prank from 2017 has turned the innocent hand gesture suspect.) Just yesterday, the progressive outlet Think Progress was outraged that the push to censor "fake news" on Facebook had netted their content—even though the headline of said content referenced Kavanaugh statements that do not exist. The headline claimed that Kavanaugh "said he would kill Roe v. Wade" but "almost no one noticed." No one noticed, of course, because he didn't actually say that, or anything like it. And no amount of reading into his comments on legal precedent can justify claiming someone said something when they did not. Depending on your perspective, all this may seem infuriating, amusing, or just like business as usual. But it's certainly bad for the reality-based dialogue, the "civility," and the transparency that Democrats claim to want, and that they slag Republicans for failing to uphold. If politics is turning into a toxic sludge of disinformation and paranoia, both major parties share the blame. There are enough concrete things in Kavanaugh's record to be wary of—and plenty of people in federal government gearing up to erode women's equality, consumer choice, and the rights and power of minorities—without invoking Margaret Atwood novels or the Illuminati. But conspiracy theories and propaganda seem to sell, and to bring in donations, better than mere facts can, so Democrats are choosing to wallow in this disgusting swamp right alongside their #MAGA counterparts.
  5. https://www.mediaite.com/online/new-york-times-issues-serious-editors-note-to-nikki-haley-curtains-report-created-unfair-impression/ New York Times Issues Major Editor’s Note to Nikki Haley Curtains Report: Created ‘Unfair Impression’ A few hours after publication, the New York Times changed the headline on the report, removed the featured photo of Haley, and issued a large editor’s note at the top of the page. Now the report is headlined “State Department Spent $52,701 on Curtains for Residence of U.N. Envoy.” The editors’ note admitted it was unfair to Haley to make her the focus of the piece:
  6. https://www.mediaite.com/online/the-new-york-times-smears-nikki-haley-for-the-obama-administrations-interior-decorating/ The Trump administration has been plagued with reckless spending scandals, most notably from EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, HHS secretary Tom Price, and VA secretary David Shulkin, all who have lost their jobs. Now, it’s Nikki Haley who is being accused of such carelessness. The New York Times ran a story with the headline “State Department Spent $52,701 on Curtains for Nikki Haley’s Residence.” Obviously, such a headline does not look good for the Ambassador to the United Nations as it clearly suggests she, or at best her staff, made the decision to splurge like royalty while the State Department experiences cuts. But if you took the time to read the article, there is more to learn than what the headline offers. This comes four paragraphs in: It also appears the luxurious curtains serve an actual purpose: So, between those pieces of information — that the Obama administration ordered the curtains and that Haley’s residence is used to entertain diplomats — one wonders what exactly is so controversial. Because the only thing controversial is the headline. And that’s enough to do damage. Let’s see how the story is being carried on Twitter: State Dept., suffering from budget cuts, paid $52,000 for curtains in Nikki Haley’s Manhattan apartment. Scoop by@GardinerHarris. https://t.co/JOnhgPajxJ The rent is $58,000 per month. Taxpayer funded. Dear Nikki Haley, There are starving children in America everyday and you have the audacity to misappropriate thousands of tax dollars for your own lavish lifestyle. Resign immediately sincerely, America https://t.co/j9h5t50GPb — David Hogg (@davidhogg111) September 14, 2018 Twitter Ads info and privacy Aggregators of the report are no less irresponsible than the Times: Twitter Ads info and privacy In the age of social media, a misleading headline like the one used by the Times reaches millions who do not read past the first couple of paragraphs. A headline like “State Department Spent $52,701 on Curtains for Nikki Haley’s Residence” certainly arouses the #Resistance, and flies around social media faster than critics blowing the whistle. The author of the piece, Gardiner Harris, surely knew with the headline he used and burying the key facts about those curtains that it would cause unnecessary trouble for Haley as this story has spread like wildfire. The question for Harris is that why would he purposefully stir up a fake controversy about one of the most competent and respected figures in the Trump administration, especially in such turbulent times? Whatever his answer may be, this smear attempt is the latest example why conservatives and Trump supporters don’t trust the media. It is disgusting whenever President Donald Trump calls the media the “enemy of the people,” but when they run misleading stories like this one or get bombshell reports completely wrong like we’ve seen time and time again, this hostile rhetoric resonates further with his base. Despite the attacks from this president, The New York Times continues to be one of the most credible news outlets in the country. And if they want to preserve such a reputation, they shouldn’t publish these ludicrous hit pieces.
  7. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/09/08/obama_i_complained_plenty_about_fox_news_i_never_called_them_enemies_of_the_people.html Former U.S. President Barack Obama spoke Friday at the University of Illinois, where he received an award for ethics in government. "FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say that we don’t threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don’t like. I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down or call them enemies of the people. It shouldn’t be democratic or Republican to say we don’t target certain groups of people based on what they look like or how they pray.We are Americans. We’re supposed to stand up to bullies. Not follow them. We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad"
  8. Will come back and eat crow, but eventually Jeff Sessions will resign. He will come back to Alabama and defeat Doug Jones in the next Senate election.
  9. https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/dallas/article218059190.html Dallas- Mayor Mike Rawlings said Saturday that he’s sure justice will be served for Botham Shem Jean. Jean, 26, was killed in his own apartment on Thursday night by an off-duty, uniformed Dallas Police officer who said she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own when she got off work at about 10 p.m Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said yesterday “at my request, we are in the process of obtaining a warrant based on the circumstances we have now.” She later added the warrant would be for manslaughter. Though Rawlings said that justice will be served, he didn’t say if the warrant has already been issued. “The Texas Rangers are now in charge (of the investigation),” he said. “This is not the Dallas Police Department. … Chief Hall is not calling the shots.” Both Rawlings and state Sen. Royce West asked for Dallas residents to be patient as they work to figure out what exactly happened Thursday night. “Is this a white on black crime? Yes,” West said. “It was a white, female Dallas police officer who shot and killed a person from St. Lucia of African descent. Is this a race-related crime? Don’t know. I would hold any type of decision you make on what happened until all of the facts come in.” Several questions still remain — such as how the officer got into the apartment, why she thought it was hers, and if she and Jean knew each other. Several questions still remain — such as how the officer got into the apartment, why she thought it was hers, and if she and Jean knew each other. “For some strange reason, the door was open and she was able to gain entry into the apartment. We need to find out whether there was a personal relationship,” West said. “There are so many facts that need to be looked at before determining what kind of homicide this is.” “Botham Jean was exactly the sort of citizen we want to have in the City of Dallas,” he said. “A professional ... a believer in his church, a neighbor to his friends. A man that always had a smile on his face. And for that reason, this is a terrible, terrible thing that has happened. Not only has he lost his life, but we’ve lost a potential leader for this city.” The mayor said he’s met with Jean’s mother and sister. Jean’s father will be arriving in Dallas in the coming days. Rawlings has also spoken with the prime minister of Saint Lucia, where Jean is from. “I offered my apologizes on the behalf of the City of Dallas,” Rawlings said. Hall has previously said that a blood test was ordered to check if there were drugs or alcohol in the officer’s system. The police chief also said the officer won’t be identified until charges are file, which she said is the same process for citizens accused of a crime.
  10. http://thehill.com/homenews/media/402810-april-ryan-white-house-should-have-to-pay-for-my-body-guard-since-theyre Journalist April Ryan said in a new interview that the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders should cover the costs for Ryan's security detail amid death threats from people who are critical of her coverage of the Trump administration. “I've had some people wait for me outside the White House,” Ryan told The Hollywood Reporter. “There is a concern now. I mean, I've had death threats, I've had craziness, so I have a real concern.” “Do I have a bodyguard?” Ryan said. “Yes, I do. Am I paying for it? Yes, I am. And, I think [Sanders] should have to pay for it, especially if she's stirring it up with her boss.” “I did not sign up for this. I was just doing a job,” Ryan, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, added. Ryan said months ago that she received death threats after she asked Sanders if President Trump had considered resigning. “They’re angry. I’ve been getting death threats and we’ve been calling the FBI and I mean, I put one on social media and this is real,” Ryan said at the time to CNN, where she is a contributor. Ryan, who has repeatedly clashed with Sanders during White House briefings in the past year, is promoting her new book, “Under Fire: Reporting From the Front Lines of the Trump White House.” When asked why she decided to write it, Ryan told The Hollywood Reporter that she has “been under attack” as she covers the Trump administration. “And if I don't tell the story, you won't get it. So, I'm putting it out there, because people see one side of it. I'm giving you the whole thing,” Ryan said. “The way they've treated me for asking questions that are fair and logical.” “They're still very angry at me for asking the question, ‘Mr. President, are you a racist?’ And that's why I'm on a list,” Ryan said in reference to what she later called “The White House blacklist,” which she claims also includes CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. “People they don't like,” Ryan said. “Since when is asking a question of a president making you a criminal? Or making you an ‘enemy of the people?’” Ryan asked.
  11. https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2018/08/he_brought_an_american_flag_to.html Warning: This story contains graphic content Paul Welch came to the downtown protest Aug. 4 to let his political leanings be known. With pride he clutched his U.S. flag as he moved among the crowd of like-thinking demonstrators. Soon a group of black-clad anti-fascist protesters, also known as antifa, demanded he lose the flag, calling it a fascist symbol. Welch refused, and a tug-of-war ensued. It ended with Welch taking a club to the back of the head, lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood. Only Welch was not a Proud Boy, a Patriot Prayer supporter or among the other conservative activists who descended into the area that day, many from out of town. He was one of hundreds of progressive Portlanders who had turned out to oppose the right-wing rally held at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. "I didn't come as a part of any one group," Welch said in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive. "I was just protesting outsiders coming here for their tacitly fascist event." Anger following the demonstration has largely been directed at Portland police, whose use of "less-lethal" riot-control weapons on counter-protesters hospitalized at least three people and injured several others. But others, like Welch, became targets of violence at the hands of protest participants, even as police kept rival political factions apart. A video taken of his attack has been viewed more than 800,000 times online. Many have assumed the tussle over a U.S. flag placed Welch squarely in the right-wing camp. Not so. "I had felt like showing that a liberal, free Portland — or any major city, really — is much more American and much more numerous and strong than any of these interloping groups," he said. A "slightly progressive leftist" by his telling, Welch is a registered Democrat in Oregon, voting records show. He cast his ballot for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary and Hillary Clinton in the general election, he said. The 38-year-old line cook is also no stranger to street protests in Portland. He said he attended the Women's March held during the weekend of Donald Trump's inauguration. This summer, Welch, who works six days a week at a catering company, stopped by the Occupy ICE encampment on his days off to bring protesters water, toilet paper and sunblock, he said. He's no fan of Trump or the president's policies. Nor of Patriot Prayer, whose repeated rallies in Portland, Welch believes, have little purpose other than to inflame the city's liberal residents. "They're just offensive," he said. That is why Welch said he decided to show up to the counter-protest with an American flag, an emblem more common among the conservative activists than those who have demonstrated against them. "The right and certainly a lot of smaller groups like Patriot Prayer might rush to things like the flag and try to take it up as, 'This is our symbol exclusively,'" he said. "Part of my thinking was to take it back." Aside from a few odd looks, Welch did not encounter any problems when he joined hundreds of other counter-protesters who gathered at City Hall late that morning. In fact, Welch said, he saw several other people with American flags sprinkled among the group of progressives, union members and social justice activists. The trouble started as the throng began to march east along Southwest Salmon Street toward Naito Parkway about 12:30 p.m. As he carried his flag, two people dressed in black and covering their faces approached Welch and demanded he turn it over to them, calling it "a fascist symbol," he said. Welch refused, and the counter-protesters ripped it out of his hands, he said. Welch wouldn't relinquish the flag. Video captured by Mike Bivins, a freelance journalist, shows what happened next. As Welch and the counter-protesters wrangle over the flag, another masked counter-protester begins to strike Welch's body from behind using a weapon concealed in black fabric. That person then uses the weapon to club Welch on the back of the head, causing him to collapse instantly. The demonstrator with the weapon wanders off. "My bones turned to Jell-O and I just went down," said Welch, who believes he was struck with a metal object affixed to the end of the weapon. The video shows a crowd of onlookers watching as Welch lay on the ground in a fetal position. Another counter-protester, holding a shield, appears to stand above the injured man and jabs him with a makeshift weapon. "I remember thinking there was a very good chance that I could be beaten to death," Welch said. As blood began to pool around Welch's head, a group of volunteer street medics rushed to his aid, he said. Another medic eventually got Welch into a car and drove to an urgent care clinic on North Interstate Avenue. It took four staples to close the 3-inch gash in the back of his head, Welch said. He spent the next two days recovering from a concussion, though he was able to return to work. That week, Welch filed a police report. Sgt. Chris Burley, a Portland police spokesman, confirmed the bureau opened an investigation into the incident. Effie Baum, a spokesperson with Popular Mobilization, a group that helped organize the counter-protest at City Hall, declined to comment for this story. In the days since the attack, Welch has felt conflicted and a bit disappointed, he said. "It strikes me as the worst sort of political theater," he said of what happened to him. "It's kind of like you're playing into your opponents' hands when you do that sort of thing. That's not what I was there for."
  12. https://reason.com/archives/2018/08/24/aclu-teams-up-with-nra The official view of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) remains that the Second Amendment protects a "collective right rather than an individual right." But the organization nevertheless is helping the National Rifle Association (NRA) fend off extralegal attempts by New York state officials to put it out of business. In a brief filed in federal court today, the ACLU argues that New York's strong-arm efforts to compel banks and insurance companies to ditch the NRA as a customer represent a glaring violation of the First Amendment. "Although public officials are free to express their opinions and may condemn viewpoints or groups they view as inimical to public welfare, they cannot abuse their regulatory authority to retaliate against disfavored advocacy organizations and to impose burdens on those organizations' ability to conduct lawful business," the ACLU says. The ACLU's amicus brief never says the group agrees with the NRA's positions on firearms. Instead, the group invokes a long series of First Amendment cases to argue that the regulators should not use their power in office to punish political enemies. A timeline prepared by the NRA suggests the intimidation campaign began last fall. The anti-gun group Everytown for Gun Safety met with New York officials in September 2017; a month later the Department of Financial Services began an investigation that started with a company called Lockton, which administered the NRA-branded personal liability insurance program known as Carry Guard. Despite a 20-year relationship, Lockton responded by abruptly ditching the NRA as a customer in February; so did Chubb and Lloyd's. Emboldened by this initial success, Maria Vullo, head of the state's Department of Financial Services, sent a pair of ominous letters to all banks, financial institutions, and insurers licensed to do business in New York. Vullo warned companies to sever ties with pro-Second Amendment groups that "promote guns and lead to senseless violence" and instead heed "the voices of the passionate, courageous, and articulate young people" calling for more restrictions on firearms. All companies receiving the letter, she advised, should "review any relationships they have with the NRA or similar gun promotion organizations, and to take prompt actions to managing these risks and promote public health and safety." New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo underlined the regulatory threat in a tweet the next day: "The NRA is an extremist organization. I urge companies in New York State to revisit any ties they have to the NRA and consider their reputations, and responsibility to the public.'" As a result of those not-very-veiled threats, the NRA says, multiple banks withdrew bids to provide basic depository services. The NRA is also worried about being able to continue producing its NRA TV channel, with hosts including Dana Loesch and Cam Edwards, unless it can obtain normal media liability insurance. (In May, NRA sued Cuomo and Vullo, a former Cuomo aide when he was attorney general. See J.D. Tuccille's Reason coverage at the time.) "If Cuomo can do this to the NRA, then conservative governors could have their financial regulators threaten banks and financial institutions that do business with any other group whose political views the governor opposes," David Cole, the ACLU's legal director, wrote in a blog post today. "The First Amendment bars state officials from using their regulatory power to penalize groups merely because they promote disapproved ideas." Today's brief filed by the ACLU points to examples of how liberal groups like Planned Parenthood can also be targeted by governments based on their political views, an approach that courts have shot down on First Amendment grounds: For its part, New York State insists that Cuomo's and Vullo's warnings that regulated businesses should ditch the NRA and other pro-Second Amendment groups are perfectly legal. The letters to regulated companies "do not constitute unconstitutional threats as a matter of law," New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a brief filed on August 3. The brief adds: "The Guidance Letters encouraged insurers and financial institutions to evaluate and manage risks that might arise from their dealings with gun promotion organizations in the face of the polarized political debate. Both the Guidance Letters and the Press Releases are classic government speech—they are expressing the government's position in the public gun control debate, which is entirely permissible." Cuomo's social media announcements aren't likely to help his attorney general fend off the NRA's allegations of unlawful bias. Earlier this month, Cuomo posted on Facebook: "The regulations NY put in place are working. We're forcing the NRA into financial jeopardy. We won't stop until we shut them down." Two days later, Cuomo, who is fending off a primary challenge next month from actress Cynthia Nixon, posted on YouTube: "New York has the NRA on the brink. Together, we can end the gun lobby's stranglehold on American politics." Cuomo titled his video: "Stand with us in the fight to end the NRA's stranglehold on American politics. VOTE SEPT. 13" Cuomo, of course, is the same vocally anti-gun governor who, in 2013, promised the "toughest assault weapons ban in the country"—which became a problem when he belatedly realized he mandated gun magazines that don't actually exist. As far back as 2000, Cuomo referred to supporters of gun rights as "the enemy." In its own supplemental brief filed today, the NRA warns of the slippery slope that occurs when regulatory scrutiny is weaponized against political enemies: "The state could enact onerous building regulations, then make it known that such regulations will be enforced only against landlords that rent space to the NAACP or Black Lives Matter. Or, the state could begin charging a sales tax for internet purchases, but only enforce the tax against merchants who stock books by a dissident author. The Court should not indulge this end-run around equal protection." A hearing on New York State's motion to dismiss the lawsuit is set for September 10.
  13. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-mollie-tibbetts-trump_us_5b7ed217e4b072951510d3cb Last month, I joined about 15,000 other cyclists in a weeklong bike ride across Iowa. We rode past cornfields and through small towns, which welcomed us with pork barbecue, slices of pie and all the trappings of a rolling state fair. Every so often, alongside the lemonade stands or in people’s yards, I spotted posters. They featured the smiling face of a young woman named Mollie Tibbetts. She was missing, the posters said. Please call with information Tibbetts, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student, went out for a run on July 18 in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, and never returned. A massive search was on. Her family held out hope she’d been kidnapped and would be found alive. Iowa law enforcement officials announced the worst on Tuesday morning. A woman’s body, believed to be that of Tibbetts, had been found buried beneath corn stalks in a field near the town where she’d grown up. A 24-year-old man named Cristhian Bahena Rivera led police to the site. He’s been charged with Tibbetts’ murder. Rivera is a native of Mexico who is believed to have been living in the area for four to seven years. He worked at a dairy farm. And he is in the United States without papers. And with that last detail, Tibbetts’ death has instantly become a red-hot wedge that President Donald Trump and his supporters are wielding to their political advantage this midterm election cycle (and will surely continue to use long after the race). By Tuesday evening, the killing of the college student, allegedly at the hands of an undocumented immigrant, was the biggest story on FOX News. Never mind the blockbuster courtroom developments that same day that resulted in Trump’s personal lawyer and his former campaign chairman being convicted of multiple felony crimes. Iowa’s Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, quickly weighed in with a statement of her own. “We are angry that a broken immigration system allowed a predator like this to live in our community,” Reynolds said, as though her state’s economy doesn’t rely on immigrants ― legal or otherwise ― to prop up its agricultural and manufacturing sectors. Trump himself tossed the bone to a crowd of supporters at a rally in West Virginia on Tuesday night. “You heard about today, with the illegal alien coming in from, very sadly, from Mexico,” he said. “And you saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful young woman.” A rational response would be, “What’s your point?” As the president and his administration remind us constantly, thousands of undocumented immigrants enter the United States every year. But what this administration repeatedly fails to mention is that multiple studies have shown they are much less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans. The number who commit serious violent crimes is smaller yet. But Trump is not a rational leader, and these are not rational times. The noxious group known as FAIR, or the Federation for American Immigration Reform, keeps a running list of “serious crimes by illegal aliens.” Trump in June attempted to deflect attention from his administration’s policy of separating parents and children at the border by inviting family members of Americans who’d been killed by undocumented immigrants to the White House. And now, just as special counsel Robert Mueller’s vise of an investigation tightens, and pundits warn of Democratic gains in November, current events have served up Mollie Tibbetts and Cristhian Bahena Rivera. The beautiful, quintessentially wholesome Iowa girl allegedly murdered by the illegal alien from Mexico. (Who, by the way, worked on a dairy farm owned by the family of a prominent Iowa Republican.) Suddenly, every immigrant who has entered the United States without papers is a potential menace. They are not human beings with joys, sorrows and stories; they are felons in the making. Round them up. Build the wall. There is nothing Trump would rather talk about. In her death, Mollie Tibbetts is quickly becoming an unwitting tool of the haters. It doesn’t matter what she thought about undocumented immigrants or immigrants in general. It doesn’t matter that members of her extended family have asked that her killing not be politicized. The seal-the-border crowd has drawn Tibbetts into its fold and is using her name and her tragic death to benefit its cause. They will distill her memory into that of the young woman in Iowa murdered by the undocumented immigrant, when in fact she was so much more than that. Hours after police found her body, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Axios that “if Molly Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble.” That’s the plan, and it’s reprehensible. Fair-minded Americans must push back against this cynical ploy to use a family’s tragedy to rip a new seam in an already divided nation. Barbara Shelly is a freelance journalist in Kansas City and a long-time observer of Missouri politics.
  14. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/nyregion/sexual-harassment-nyu-female-professor.html "The case seems like a familiar story turned on its head: Avital Ronell, a world-renowned female professor of German and Comparative Literature at New York University, was found responsible for sexually harassing a male former graduate student, Nimrod Reitman." More at the link