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Joe Biden reveals why he doesn't want Trump to get intelligence briefings anymore

February 5, 2021 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

In a new interview with CBS News, President Joe Biden said that he doesn’t think former President Donald Trump should get briefings on intelligence matters anymore now that he’s out of office.

As a courtesy, former presidents are typically permitted to continue receiving such briefings. But the decision is left up to the sitting president.

Biden suggested that because of Trump’s “erratic behavior,” it would not be appropriate for him to continue getting briefed. This consideration, he said, was apart from concerns about Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

One reason former presidents are often given briefings is that the current president may choose to consult them on decisions that could impact national security. But Biden’s comments indicate, unsurprisingly, that he doesn’t foresee that happening.

In fact, he suggested there would be a risk Trump would reveal information that should be kept secret.

“What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than he might slip and say something?” he said.

Sue Gordon, who served as a leader in the intelligence community under Trump before she resigned, recently wrote an op-ed arguing the former president shouldn’t receive these briefings anymore.

“My recommendation, as a 30-plus-year veteran of the intelligence community, is not to provide him any briefings after Jan. 20. With this simple act — which is solely the new president’s prerogative — Joe Biden can mitigate one aspect of the potential national security risk posed by Donald Trump, private citizen,” she wrote in the Washington Post. “This is an intelligence assessment born of my years of experience.”

She added: “Either way, before Trump departs, the intelligence officials should have the conversation — as they do with all outgoing presidents — about the risks every president faces simply because of what he has already seen or told. He leaves office with knowledge of some of our most precious intelligence assets in his head.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The Super Bowl ends the most toxic season ever

February 5, 2021 in Blogs

By TomDispatch

Overwhelmed by the intertwined plagues of Covid-19 and Trumpism, sports didn’t stand a chance in 2020. No wonder I’m weirded out by the strange, metaphorical moments of that last disastrous year and the first days of this one. To mention just three among so many: Dr. Anthony Fauci’s errant pitch on opening day of the Major League Baseball season; Ben and Jerry’s announcement of its newest ice cream flavor, Colin Kaepernick’s Changing the Whirled; and President Trump’s awarding of the Medal of Freedom to three pro golfers the day after his own all too “proud” team stormed the Capitol.

Much of sports was crammed not only into bubbles of physical isolation but of intense scrutiny that led to the inevitable certainty that sports still does matter (though far less than it did before the reign of Trump) — but also that something is truly the matter with sports. The greedy, entitled manner in which most of its overseers, college and pro, responded to the dangers of the virus illustrated vividly their commercial priorities. Profitable games über alles. It also mirrored Trump’s unmasked attitude toward the citizenry he had sworn to protect, especially the 450,000 virus victims he helped to kill.

And now, as the National Football League season ends with the Super Bowl, that annual spectacle celebrating socialism for billionaires and patriotism for poor people, it’s hard not to wonder whether sports, at least as we’ve known it, can survive exposure not just to the coronavirus but to Trumpism Lite.

The Three Promises

Like democracy, sports has been up for grabs ever since the big three promises offered by its corporate version — real live amusement, a moral crucible for exhibiting individual models of behavior, and a sense of belonging (that is, fandom) — disappeared or were co-opted just when we needed them most.

Having spent the last 64 years as a reporter and sports columnist, mostly covering jock culture’s relationship to the larger society, none of this surprised me. (I expected no less once I grasped the nature of the pandemics of both Trumpism and the coronavirus.) What did, however, sadden me was the diminishment of sports at its brightest: the power to enrich young lives, bring health to older …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Journalist says the lead impeachment manager wants to force 'Trump to adopt an impossible position'

February 5, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

When Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial gets underway in the U.S. Senate next week, it will mark the first time in U.S. history that a former president has faced such a trial. And Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, is asking Trump himself to appear as a witness. Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist, argued that Raskin’s “gambit” will force Trump into a difficult choice.

In response to an opening brief that Trump’s lawyers, Bruce L. Castor, Jr. and David Schoen, submitted earlier this week, Raskin wrote, “I write to invite you to provide testimony under oath, either before or during the Senate impeachment trial, concerning your conduct on January 6, 2021. We would propose that you provide your testimony (of course including cross-examination) as early as Monday, February 8, 2021, and not later than Thursday, February 11, 2021. We would be pleased to arrange such testimony at a mutually convenient time and place.”

Raskin went on to say, “If you decline this invitation, we reserve any and all rights, including the right to establish at trial that your refusal to testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2021.”

Wheeler offers some analysis of Raskin’s request for testimony from Trump in her Empty Wheel blog.

“Until today, the conventional wisdom was that Senate Republicans would hide behind their claim that it was not constitutional to try Donald Trump on the single count of impeachment for inciting an insurrection, and Democrats would lose badly in an effort to convict Donald Trump,” Wheeler explains. “That’s still likely. But Donald Trump’s inability to follow good legal advice and Jamie Raskin’s exploitation of that weakness may change that. In response to the opening brief Trump’s lawyers submitted earlier this week, in which Trump went beyond a claim that the entire trial was unconstitutional and feigned responses to the actual facts alleged, lead impeachment manager Raskin invited Trump to testify.”

According to Wheeler, Trump’s “safest” response to Raskin “would be to refuse, and let the House assume Trump’s entire claim to offering any factual response is false, as it is.” Yet Raskin likely is trying to force “Trump to adopt an impossible position.”

“But because Trump is Trump,” Wheeler argues, “he’s likely to choose between two more dangerous options: invoke the Fifth, thereby admitting that his First Amendment speech might expose him criminally …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here's what Marjorie Taylor Greene and her ilk are really afraid of

February 5, 2021 in Blogs

By John Stoehr

Last night, nearly a dozen Republicans joined all the Democrats in the House to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Donald Trump protégé from Georgia, of her committee appointments — in particular, her place on the powerful House Budget Committee. This was in response to her incendiary speech and fear-mongering before taking office. In effect, they neutralized her, as it were. If you don’t have a seat at the table, especially the big government money table, you don’t have much in the way of leverage or bargaining.

You could say, however, this was her second neutralizing. The first one she did herself. As Jonathan Bernstein noted this morning, it’s not like Greene went to Washington to govern. Her role is demagogic. Leverage and bargaining, bills and laws—these are beside the point. The main point is creating conditions in which she can appear to be in a near-total state of persecution to speak for Americans who feel the same way.

Marjorie Taylor Greene did not go to Washington to represent the will of the people, because, to God’s chosen people, representing the will of “the people” is an abomination.

Constituents from Georgia’s most conservative corner didn’t send her to the United States Congress to represent them, to fight for their interests or their share of the big government money, to “bring home the bacon.” They sent her to Capitol Hill to die on that hill, like Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary, in order to reenact the suffering of God’s chosen at the hands of His enemies. Her job is to manufacture crisis in the absence of one. “The whole point of evangelicalism is that you get to constantly be persecuted,” said Chrissy Stroop, “and you enjoy moral superiority from that.”

A worldview in which you’re always persecuted is a worldview in which you’re never responsible, because being responsible would mean you’re possibly to blame, which is impossible, because the persecuted are always blameless. Acting out some measure of contrition, when absolutely forced to, is an opportunity to show why you’re always persecuted. Before the vote last night, Greene said she was being wrongfully accused, and because of that, the Democrats should be apologizing to her, not the other way around, which totally makes sense given they’re the enemies of God’s chosen people.

I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true, and I would ask …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Pro-Trump priest under fire after attending Jan. 6 rally saying he performed an exorcism on Congress

February 5, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

A Catholic priest who attended former President Donald Trump’s “Save America” rally is now facing backlash for not only attending the event but his claim of performing an exorcism on Congress.

According to The Washington Post, Rev. David Fulton of Central City, Neb., has outraged the Archdiocese of Omaha and its parishioners with his recent, bizarre interview with Eddie Becker detailing his recent trip to Washington, D.C.

Fulton, who wore his clerical collar to Trump’s rally that led to the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, was asked what it was like to attend. He claimed it was “pretty awesome” to be around pro-Trump supporters who were passionate about stopping “the obvious steal.”

He added, “I didn’t get way up there, but the crowd was awesome, the atmosphere. It’s good to see so many people who care about the country concerned about the country. People who know what’s going on, the obvious steal.”

After Fulton claimed he had performed an exorcism on Congress, Becker asked, “What has possessed the Capitol?” He replied saying a “demon called Baphomet” set on “dissolving the country.”


David Fulton Exorcist Priest Full Interview

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Now, the chancellor for the Archdiocese of Omaha has pushed back with scathing remarks about Fulton’s actions. While speaking with the Omaha World-Herald, Chancellor Tim McNeill openly condemned Fulton’s remarks and actions.

“He should not have been there dressed as a priest. It was a misuse of his priestly ministry,” McNeill said. He later added, “Whether or not Fr. Fulton broke any laws, I condemn his participation in the event in the strongest terms.”

In wake of heightened scrutiny, Fulton read a statement of apology. Despite footage of his interview, he claimed Becker “weaponized” his remarks. However, he also conceded that he “used bad judgment” by attending the “Save America” rally and “spoke and acted in a way that was not consistent with my vocation as priest.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Inside Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump's multi-million-dollar profits made while working in government

February 5, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

Despite the pandemic, which took a toll on many businesses across the United States, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner reportedly made substantial profits during their time working for the U.S. government under former President Donald Trump’s administration.

According to a report published by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the affluent couple’s final financial disclosure reports, which cover the duration of 2020 up to Jan. 20, 2021, signal monetary profits of “$23,791,645 and $120,676,949 in combined outside income.”

The analysis also highlights a number of questionable aspects of Trump’s disclosure reports that centers on “fixed guaranteed payments she arranged to receive from a few entities to prevent a situation in which she would have a stake in their performance while she worked in the White House.”

CREW reports:

Starting in 2018, Trump began receiving annually $100,000 from T International Realty LLC, $800,000 from TTT Consulting LLC, and $600,000 from TTTT Venture LLC. In her latest financial disclosure report, however, she reported receiving an extra $62,500 from TTTT Venture LLC and only $362,500 from TTT Consulting LLC. While the extra income from TTTT Venture LLC could be explained by the longer reporting period covered by her annual/termination report, it is not clear why she received less than half of the $800,000 guaranteed payment from TTT Consulting LLC in her final year working for the government.

As for Kushner’s financial disclosure report, CREW noted that although the former White House senior advisor had committed to selling his $25 to $50 million stake in Cadre over conflict of interest due to his work for the government, “the Office of Government Ethics withdrew the certificate of divestiture related to his plans to sell his interest in the company in June 2020,” per his request.

Kushner also unveiled “Kushner Companies BVI Limited,” a new company he has formed offshore in the British Virgin Islands. The publication reports that it appears the new offshore company, which is one of many for Kushner, was formed in an effort to restructure some of his assets.

The latest reports come as former President Donald Trump, as well as his family business, faces a number of pending investigations into potential fraud and tax evasion.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner took no salaries from the government, according to previous disclosures; advisers of their status tend to make around $183,000 a year. But their decision to forgo this payment isn’t …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Niagara Movement

February 5, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

In 1905, a group of prominent Black intellectuals led by W.E.B. Du Bois met in Erie, Ontario, near Niagara Falls, to form an organization calling for civil and political rights for African Americans. With its comparatively aggressive approach to combating racial discrimination and segregation, the Niagara Movement served as a forerunner to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the civil rights movement.

Founding of the Niagara Movement

As the 20th century began, the promises of the 14th and 15th Amendments—civil rights for African Americans—had fallen well short. Reconstruction had failed, and the Supreme Court had sanctioned Jim Crow segregationist policies in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).

Against this background of widespread racial discrimination and segregation, Booker T. Washington became one of the era’s most influential Black leaders. He argued that Black people should advance themselves through learning skills such as farming and carpentry, rather than look to legal and political means to advance as a group. “We shall not agitate for political or social equality,” Washington declared in 1895, in a speech known as the Atlanta Compromise. “Living separately, yet working together, both races will determine the future of our beloved South.”

In 1905, Du Bois, then a professor at Atlanta University, and William Monroe Trotter, founder of the activist newspaper the Boston Guardian, issued a call to a select group of Black men who opposed Washington’s accommodationist stance. In response to their call, 29 men from 14 states gathered in Buffalo, New York that summer. The group then headed across the border to Canada, meeting at the Erie Beach Hotel in Ontario, near Niagara Falls, from July 11-14, 1905.

Historians have long assumed that Du Bois’ group chose the Erie Beach meeting site after being refused accommodation in Buffalo due to racial discrimination. But more recent research by local scholars found that hotel managers in Buffalo did in fact comply with anti-discrimination laws at the time, making this explanation unlikely. According to Du Bois’ own writings at the time, the group sought a “quiet place outside the city near the water where we can be to ourselves, hold conferences together” and have access to recreation; the Erie Beach Hotel apparently met these requirements.

Niagara Movement (TV-PG; 3:44)

Goals and Growth of the Movement

At their initial meeting, the founding members of the Niagara Movement adopted a …read more

Source: HISTORY

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World Health Organization officially names novel coronavirus disease COVID-19

February 5, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

A few months after the first known case was detected in Wuhan, China, and approximately three weeks after the first U.S. case was reported, on February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially named the illness that would go on to cause a pandemic “coronavirus disease 2019,” shortened to the acronym COVID-19.

Often referred to as the “Wuhan virus” in its very early stages, and also “nCoV-2019,” WHO guidelines state that names for new infectious diseases may not include geographic locations, animals, individuals or groups of people and must be pronounceable. CO stands for corona, VI is for virus, D is for disease and 2019 represents the year it was first discovered.

“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing announcing the name. “It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”

Since its onset, COVID-19 rapidly spread to every continent. By February 2021, it resulted in more than 105 million global cases and 2.3 million deaths, including more than 455,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.

Read all our pandemic coverage here

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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How Many US Presidents Have Faced Censure?

February 5, 2021 in History

By Dave Roos

More than a dozen sitting presidents have faced Congressional censure, but the official reprimands do not carry the weight of law.

Since 1800, 14 sitting presidents have faced censure by either the Senate or the House of Representatives, but only a handful of those official rebukes were ever adopted by Congress, and the one that arguably stung the most was later “expunged” from the record.

A censure is a reprimand issued by one or both chambers of Congress usually directed at one of their own members, but occasionally it targets other elected officials, federal judges and even the President of the United States. The word “censure” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution, but Congress derives its disciplinary power from Article I, Section 5, which reads:

“Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.”

Notice that Article I, Section 5 only explicitly gives Congress the authority to censure or otherwise punish its own members, not the president. So any censure resolution passed by Congress against a sitting president does not carry the weight of law. Such proclamations, if adopted, merely communicate the “sense of” the Senate or House in response to a perceived presidential misdeed.

The impeachment process, briefly outlined in Article II, Section 4, is Congress’s only true mechanism to convict a president of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and remove him or her from office.

READ MORE: How Many US Presidents Have Faced Impeachment?

Presidents Censured by Congress

Even though Congress lacks clear constitutional authority to censure a president, lawmakers have used censure resolutions as a way to brand political opponents as corrupt.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), 12 sitting presidents have been censured by the Senate or House through a resolution, and only four of those resolutions were adopted by a majority vote. An additional two presidents were censured by other means, specifically a House committee report and an amendment to an unrelated resolution.

The Legislative Branch (TV-PG; 4:18)

WATCH: The Legislative Branch

The four presidents who were censured by an adopted resolution were Andrew Jackson (1834), James Buchanan (1860), Abraham Lincoln (1864) and William Howard Taft (1912).

The other 10 presidents who were targets of congressional censures that were ultimately never adopted (multiple times in some cases) were John Adams (1800), <a target=_blank …read more

Source: HISTORY