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Critics say Trump can't be trusted with America's national secrets after leaving office — here's why

November 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

Can a scorned President Donald Trump be trusted with the United States’ national secrets after leaving office next year? It’s a question floating around as the embattled president wages war on not only the Democratic Party but also certain aspects of his own party.

Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer David Priess and other former intelligence officials are warning President-elect Joe Biden to forego the country’s longstanding tradition of briefing the former president on international developments due to the potential threat he may pose after exiting the White House.

According to NBC News, Jack Goldsmith, who served as a senior U.S. Department of Justice official under the George W. Bush administration, expressed concern about Trump compared to past presidents who have left the office.

“This is not something that one could have ever imagined with other presidents, but it’s easy to imagine with this one,” said Goldsmith.

He went on to explain why Trump poses a threat based on his past behavior. The president’s negotiation skills also raise questions about what he could do to potentially wreak havoc or promote his own agenda.

“He’s shown as president that he doesn’t take secret-keeping terribly seriously,” Goldsmith said in an interview. “He has a known tendency to disrespect rules related to national security. And he has a known tendency to like to sell things that are valuable to him.”

With the possible criminal charges Trump could face after leaving office in addition to the ailing hotel industry due to pandemic-related challenges, there is speculation Trump could be faced with financial challenges which could make him more “vulnerable to foreign influence.”

In his book titled, “The President’s Book of Secrets” which discusses former presidents and government intelligence, Priess noted that Trump most certainly poses a risk.

“Is that a risk?” Priess wrote. “If it were someone applying for a security clearance, damn right it would be a risk.”

While most presidents have made profits after leaving the White House, none have had international ties like Trump does which poses more of a risk.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Anti-vax advocacy groups online are helping to radicalize the QAnon movement

November 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

The alliance between anti-vaxxers and QAnon followers is rapidly increasing as they continue their plight to spread massive amounts of disturbing misinformation amid the pandemic. One glaring example centers around one incident that occurred last week.

Facebook opted to nix a massive anti-vaccination propaganda group with more than 200,000 members last week. However, the group was not shut down for the dangerous public health misinformation its members posted, but rather, the disturbing promotion of QAnon, reports Huffington Post.

On Monday, Larry Cook, the founder of the “Stop Mandatory Vaccination” movement took to Facebook in his final Facebook Live video before the group was removed to warn that vaccines were a plot “to literally enslave every human on the planet,” In the video, Cook also included the QAnon hashtag #WWG1WGA in the upper left corner and the QAnon logo in the upper right corner.

“The purpose of vaccination is to literally slaughter the population and dumb everyone down and render them helpless,” Cook said. “It is a global plan to literally enslave every human on the planet.”

As he spoke, comments poured in from viewers who expressed gratitude for the “truth” and “awakening” he shared in his video. Like Cook, other anti-vaxxers including David Wolfe along with Ty and Charlene Bollinger have all begun to expose their large followings to the QAnon rhetoric.

Laura Muhl, one of Instagram’s most popular anti-vax influencers has also shared relatively dangerous claim insisting the government “engineered” many of the problems currently plaguing the United States. In a meme, she criticized the media with a comparison of covering up the so-called “rigged election” to an attempt to cover up “the truth about vaccines.”

“The virus is engineered. The pandemic is engineered. The second wave is engineered. The need for a vaccine is engineered,” said the mother of five.

Now, the anti-vaccination pushback and in misinformation rapidly circulating on social media has accelerated with groups joining forces with QAnon. The result is accelerating the effort to discredit science and the integrity of public health.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here's how anti-KKK laws could be an effective way to go after Trump

November 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

President Donald Trump’s campaign continues to come up short in its post-election legal battle, observers are mulling over ways to go after the president, his campaign, and Republican Party’s efforts to suppress votes.

In an editorial published by The Bulwark, Section 1985(3) of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 is being highlighted as a possible form of legal consequence for Trump’s actions.

The law, passed by Congress, aimed to enforce consequences for voter suppression and intimidation giving voters the right to sue those “who, motivated by race, conspire…for the purpose of preventing or hindering the constituted authorities of any State…from giving… to all persons within such State… the equal protection of the laws; or… to prevent by force, intimidation, or threat, any citizen who is lawfully entitled to vote, from giving his support or advocacy… in favor of the election of any lawfully qualified person as an elector for President.”

While the publication specifies that Trump’s post-election legal challenges, alone, would not be enough to support Section 1985(3) claims, actions taken by the Trump campaign “‘[hinder] the constituted authorities’ of the states in order to disqualify presidential votes in disproportionately Black jurisdictions such as Philadelphia (42.3 percent Black), Detroit (78.6 percent), Atlanta (51.8 percent), and Milwaukee (38.8 percent). Black voters in these jurisdictions can bring lawsuit.”

The publication outlined the process of voter certification. After all votes are counted and resolutions have been reached for court challenges, state and local officials are required to certify votes. Any form of interference, at this point, can likely be classified as a form of interference.

The state of Michigan was used an example of interference as it was noted that the Trump campaign has gone “beyond ‘hindering’ to ‘intimidation’ and ‘threat.’”

A Republican member of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers initially advocated denying certification for Detroit ballots, but not those from whiter cities. Both Republican members then voted against certification (deadlocking the board), before later reversing themselves. Then, after a call from President Trump, they sought to rescind their votes to certify. Next, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Michigan GOP Chair Laura Cox asked to delay state certification for 14 days, which would bump up against the December 7 statutory certification deadline. There have also been requests to disqualify huge numbers of Wisconsin ballots and do a second Georgia recount.

Defendants accused …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Could Trump pardon himself? The latest bizarre turn is being debated

November 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

As President Donald Trump leaves office in January 2021, he could be faced with a barrage of criminal investigations into his personal and business finances. But could Trump avoid the possibility of jail time by using his presidential powers before leaving office? There are debates about how that could play out. Although it would be a relatively bizarre occurrence, it is no secret that strange things have happened in the world of Trumpism.

According to Newsweek, there is growing speculation about Trump possibly pardoning himself before leaving office. However, the seemingly rare occurrence has inspired many debates because many are wondering if the president has the power to self-pardon. Since no precedent exists, the possibility has become a fascinating legal discussion. There are also questions about whether or not a self-pardon could be overturned. Does it signal an admission of guilt?

CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp discussed the matter during a segment that aired on Thursday. She suggested that maybe it is time to consider possible changes to the laws surrounding presidential pardoning powers. She also mulled over how it would look if Trump were to pardon himself.

“If the president has designs on running again for president, this would certainly imperil that, and I would think encourage other justice departments to really look at what he had done while in office if he is tacitly admitting he needed to be pardoned for stuff,” Cupp said.

“I’m not sure this is constitutional or legal, but it seems pretty clear it would be inadvisable for him to do that.”

Asha Rangappa, a lawyer and senior lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs who also serves as a CNN commentator, also weighed in with a similar stance. She noted how “risky” a self-pardon could be for Trump as she noted that the future Department of Justice should consider challenging that particular action if the outgoing president chooses to do so.

She said, “I think that it would be incumbent on a future Department of Justice to try to challenge that, because you don’t want that to be the precedent, or at least you want the Supreme Court to clarify the bounds of this.”

Although Trump has not alluded to making this decision yet, there was speculation he would pardon former national security advisor Michael Flynn—and, he did.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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MAGA attorney: Trump-appointed judge who ruled against campaign part of 'activist judicial machinery'

November 27, 2020 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

Jenna Ellis, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney and the Senior Legal Adviser to the Trump campaign is once again being mocked, this time for her near-immediate response to a unanimous 3-0 ruling against the campaign in a Pennsylvania election case.

Ellis says she and Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, have decided that the three judges, who were all appointed by Republican presidents – including the one who wrote the opinion who was appointed by Trump himself – are all part of the “activist judicial machinery” in Pennsylvania.

She is also vowing to take the case – which the judges say has “no merit,” to the Supreme Court.

Ellis was quickly mocked.

<br …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Biden won — but Trump gave authoritarians a disturbing lesson on ‘how to steal an election': political analyst

November 27, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

During the 2020 presidential election, many of President Donald Trump’s critics — from liberals and progressives to Never Trump conservatives — warned that democracy itself was on the line in the United States and that Trump would become even more dangerously authoritarian during a second term. Trump was defeated by President-elect Joe Biden, but journalist Jeff Greenfield — in an op-ed published in Politico this week — isn’t so sure that U.S. democracy came out of the election unscathed.

“That breeze you felt recently was a national sigh of relief that the 2020 election might finally, at long last, be over,” Greenfield writes. “Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and the other close states have, or soon will have, certified the results. Judges have unceremoniously thrown out the dubious legal claims that thousands, or hundreds of thousands or millions of votes should be disallowed….. The guardrails held, right?”

But Greenfield isn’t so sure.

The journalist argues, “Though it appears the rightful winner is heading to the White House in January, this post-election season has revealed that those ‘guardrails’ are dangerously weak — and in some cases nonexistent. It was heartening to see state and local officials of both parties, and state and federal judges, resist the demands of Trump and his allies to reject the results. But the fact that it came to that at all is troubling — and shows just how plausible it would be for things to break the other way next time.”

According to Greenfield, Trump has given future authoritarians “very powerful lessons in just how to steal an election” — and those lessons range from “convince your voters that the election has been stolen from them” to “make sure local and state officials are loyal” to “open the door to state legislatures seizing the vote.”

“What Republicans have learned from this election — apart from their willingness to dismiss as utterly irrelevant the fact that their candidate lost by 7 million popular votes — is that the ancient machinery of conducting elections is rusted, frail and highly vulnerable,” Greenfield warns. “They have seen exactly where the stress points of the system are, and how to pressure those stress points, and how it is raw political pressure — not …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'We're not able to process what's about to happen to us': Shep Smith highlights doctors' warnings on COVID

November 27, 2020 in Blogs

By Melanie McFarland

At several points during Salon’s recent conversation with CNBC anchor Shepard Smith, he talks about noise. “The noise is just so loud. You’ve got have some quiet time,” he said, referring to the space he carves out for himself during the workday when he retreats to his spartan office, puts his feet up and listens to music to harvest a little peace from the day’s cacophony.

This philosophy also guides his approach to “The News with Shepard Smith,” and it shows. Each weeknight at 7 p.m. Eastern since the program’s Sept. 30 launch, Smith delivers the news of the day, regardless of what it may be, with an old-school broadcast anchor’s mellow sobriety. Pressing events of the day top the hour and from there Smith and his correspondents zero in on an assortment of issues that stand to have significant local and regional impact.

“We try to find stories . . . tell them factually and dig into data a lot, and then hear from people about how they feel about the issues through their own personal experiences and how it’s affected them,” he explained. “And we’re not looking for, ‘How do you feel about what he said?’ or ‘How you feel about what she said?’ We’re trying to just seek the truth, find the truth and tell the truth in context and with perspective.”

Having spent 23 years with Fox News, Shepard’s new chapter at CNBC intentionally veers away from the argumentative clamor and enraged punditry that has defined cable news in the 21st century. Instead, “The News” offers something so rare and refreshing that people presumed it to be extinct: fact-based reporting, delivered calmly by a plain-spoken anchor uninterested in ginning up arguments.

When developing each day’s story slate, Smith says he and his staff adhere to a set of sensible axioms: Get it right. Add in whatever context is important. Explain why the story they’re covering matters because of what the consequences will be, if those are known consequences. Then put it into perspective, historical and otherwise.

His show intentionally declines to participate in the cycle of back and forth fueled by false equivalency and both sides-ism.

“We have to ignore the signal and focus on the prize,” Smith told Salon. “There’s a lot of, ‘Look over here!‘ in life, and there’s always been a lot of ‘Look …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Fauci warns pandemic not ​expected to ease for holidays as US hospitalizations hit new record

November 27, 2020 in Blogs

By Jessica Corbett

After millions of people crowded into airports in recent days despite public health experts’ warnings against traveling for Thanksgiving—the Thursday holiday that coincided with a record number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the United States—the nation’s top infectious disease doctor expressed concerns that conditions could continue to worsen through the end of the year and beyond.

“If the surge takes a turn of continuing to go up and you have the sustained greater than 100,000 infections a day and 1,300 deaths per day and the count keeps going up and up… I don’t see it being any different during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays than during Thanksgiving,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told USA TODAY.

In his interview with the newspaper last week, published Friday, Fauci shared how his own family is handling the winter holiday season in the midst of a deadly pandemic:

Fauci said he’s most likely scrapping Christmas plans this year as he did for Thanksgiving. Instead of receiving his three daughters this year, who live in different parts of the country, he opted to send his love over Zoom and enjoy a quiet dinner with his wife.

“For my own family, I’m saying we had a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas last year. We’re looking forward to a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2021,” he said. “Let’s now make the best of the situation and show our love and affection for people by keeping them safe.”

Newsweek noted Friday that despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation against traveling around Thanksgiving, “nearly three million people passed through airport security checkpoints the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before the long weekend, according to the Transportation Security Administration.”

As of Friday afternoon, the U.S. death toll topped 264,000 and the nation had seen more than 12.9 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University’s global tracker. Thanksgiving marked the country’s 24th consecutive day of over 100,000 new daily cases in the United States, with 110,611 infections and 1,232 deaths.

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Fox News analyst complains the media trashed Jared and Ivanka — and won’t do the same with Biden’s kids

November 27, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

President Donald Trump once bragged, during an interview, that he considered nepotism a good thing — and in that sense, he practiced what he preached, hiring Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, as White House senior advisers despite their lack of experience in politics. In contrast, President-elect Joe Biden has been picking highly experienced people for his administration. And Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz is claiming that there will be a double standard when it comes to mainstream media coverage of Biden’s picks.

Kurtz’ comments about Biden’s incoming administration followed an analysis by New York Magazine journalist Olivia Nuzzi’s on the podcast “The Fourth Estate.” Nuzzi argued that if the White House Correspondents Association are “terrified of pissing off” the Trump Administration, what will they be like under a Biden Administration?

Kurtz claimed that journalists in the mainstream media have been afraid to say anything favorable about Ivanka Trump and Kushner for fear of offending their colleagues.

“It’s like if you don’t trash Jared and Ivanka, you’re out of the cool kids club,” Kurtz claimed.

The Fox News media analyst also said, “Look, I don’t think most reporters want to be patted on the head. I do think they like to be respected and not attacked as an enemy of the American people and all of that… But there’s little question that much of the news business for the last four years has treated President Trump as a dangerous liar and used that to justify a blatant double standard in the coverage. Most reporters happen to like Joe Biden personally.”

Kurtz claimed, “There is a backlash from more left-wing journalists against any working reporter who dares to portray anybody from Trumpworld with a little bit of sympathy, treating them as human beings.”

Watch the video below:

Watch the latest video at foxnews.com

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Mother of all superspreader events': Expert warns daily COVID deaths 'will double' in days after Thanksgiving

November 26, 2020 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

As millions of Americans are traveling across the country this Thanksgiving, ignoring CDC guidance to stay home and not mix households, a medical expert warns daily COVID-19 deaths will soon double.

“It’s potentially the mother of all superspreader events,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, tells CNN Thursday.

The U.S. saw more than 181,000 new cases on Wednesday. Current daily deaths are now about 2000 per day. Dr. Reiner says they could come close to 4000 per day soon.

“I expect that the daily death rate will double in the next 10 days,” Reiner says. “We’ll be seeing close to 4,000 deaths a day.”

There’s already been a massive increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations over the past few weeks, fueling the potential for spread – and death.

“Every day since November 3,” CNN reports, “more than 100,000 new infections have been reported. Every day for more than two weeks, climbing hospitalizations hit another national record. And every single day, hundreds of Americans die of the virus, with both Tuesday and Wednesday recording a daily death toll of more than 2,100 deaths.”

The CDC projects another 60,000 deaths in less than four weeks, 321,000 total coronavirus deaths by December 19.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET