This might be the shortest peace deal in history.
Cracks start to show in Taliban peace deal
Less than 24 hours after the agreement was signed, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejected the Taliban’s demand.
Afghanistan: bomb attack kills three as Taliban ends partial truce
I like hearing about what Sen Angus King did today…some bipartisan and preservation potential of our lands.
The real story here isn’t that he’s gay, of course, it’s that he had to hide it in the GOP and has long been a hypocrite.
A disgraced former Republican congressman has come out as gay.
Aaron Schock, who resigned in 2015 after he was charged with 24 felony counts related to misuse of campaign funds, announced on his personal blog that he had decided to live openly as a gay man, and tried to justify his past votes against LGBTQ rights.
“I am gay,” Schock wrote. For those who know me and for many who only know of me, this will come as no surprise. For the past year, I have been working through a list of people who I felt should finally hear the news directly from me before I made a public statement. I wanted my mother, my father, my sisters, my brother, and my closest friends to hear it from me first.”
Now that he’s made those private announcements, Schock decided to go public.
“I can live openly now as a gay man because of the extraordinary, brave people who had the courage to fight for our rights when I did not: community activists, leaders, and ordinary LGBT folks,” Schock wrote. “Gay bloggers who rallied people to our cause. I recognize this even in the face of the intense and sometimes vicious criticism that I’ve received from those same people.”
“The truth is that if I were in Congress today, I would support LGBTQ rights in every way I could,” he added. “I realize that some of my political positions run very much counter to the mainstream of the LGBTQ movement, and I respect them for those differences. I hope people will allow for me the same.”
Don Jr.’s “Very Political” Mongolian Sheep Hunt Cost Taxpayers More Than $17k
Vietnamese curator banned from UK event after being told ‘Asians are seen as coronavirus carriers’
AG Tish James putting it out there to curb the use of 3D printed Ghost guns…and she’s right. We do not need more guns out there.
The fight over 3D-printed guns has gone back and forth for years. One side wins, the other appeals and so on. Now, 21 US attorneys general are banding together to renew the fight and sue the Trump administration. Their lawsuit, submitted Thursday, challenges new federal regulations that could, once again, allow blueprints for making 3D-printed guns to be posted on the internet.
The 3D-printed weapons are also known as “ghost guns” because they don’t contain registration numbers that could be used to trace them. Opponents fear that if blueprints are shared online, criminals who aren’t legally allowed to purchase firearms, might be able to obtain the so-called ghost guns.
The battle over 3D-printed guns began in 2013, when the Texas-based company Defense Distributed posted blueprints for a 3D-printed pistol. More than 100,000 copies were downloaded before the US State Department stepped in, ruling that Defense Distributed was violating International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
Defense Distributed countered that it had a First Amendment right to post the blueprints online. For a few years, the case bounced between a Texas district court, a US Court of Appeals (both of which denied Defense Distributed’s injunction request) and the Supreme Court (which declined to hear the case). That could have been the end, but in 2018, under the Trump administration, the US State Department and Defense Distributed reached a settlement, which allowed Defense Distributed to continue sharing its firearm files.
But the debate was far from over. States quickly joined together to sue the Trump administration, arguing that the settlement violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Tenth Amendment. There was a temporary ban on 3D-printed firearms, then an extension. Meanwhile Defense Distributed used a loophole to share the blueprints with private customers. In November, a Seattle judge overturned the settlement between Defense Distributed and the US State Department because it failed to give a proper explanation and thus violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act.
Apparently not ready to give up, yesterday, the Trump administration finalized new rules that transfer the regulation of 3D-printed guns from the Department of State to the Department of Commerce. According to a press release shared by New York AG Letitia James, “loopholes in Commerce regulations mean the agency will lack the power to regulate 3D-printed guns in any meaningful way – effectively allowing their unlimited distribution.”
In the lawsuit filed yesterday, the AGs argue that the new rules are unlawful. At this point, it’s hard to say if this legislation will be any more successful than the last.
A whole lot going down around the world.
Leaders in Crisis…
MBS facing a coup
Xi facing brutal impact of #corona & social unrest
@realDonaldTrump facing #corona & re election
While Putin instigates oil markets madness
Chaos…just what Putin was hoping for
The newsletter from Heather Cox Richardson puts it out there that economic crisis looms even bigger with oil war (Putin benefits)
Heather Cox Richardson Mar 9
As a political historian, I am accustomed to seeing a lot of political news, even political news that riles other people up, as run-of-the-mill, not worth noticing. I often think of it as the mixture that comes out of cement truck: lots of gray muck flowing fast, but while there are individual granules, there is nothing that stands out. Nothing that stands out, that is, until something does, like a child’s bright plastic dump truck in that mix, or a live cod leaping out of the mud.
In July 2016, in the midst of an angry nomination season, I sat up and took notice of the story that Russia was interfering in that year’s election. In September 2019, the story that the chair of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff had written an angry letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire telling him to turn over the whistleblower’s complaint as the law required—that is, a story about a leading congressman charging a member of the executive branch with breaking the law-- made me sit up and take such notice that I began these Letters From an American.
Today, there was a tweet that has had me on edge all day. Dan Scavino, Trump’s director of social media, tweeted an image of Trump playing a violin, with the meme: “My next piece is called… nothing can stop what’s coming.” That meme—nothing can stop what’s coming-- is common among the QAnon crowd. And then Trump retweeted it with the comment, “Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!”
The image clearly depicted Trump as the murderous Roman emperor Nero, fiddling while Rome burned.
What the [expletive]?
It’s entirely likely that Trump did not understand the reference, and it’s even possible that Scavino didn’t. But whoever made the meme did. Did they mean that Trump would fiddle while the coronavirus burned? News on the coronavirus front has been bad all day, with Italy quarantining millions of people and the U.S. State Department warning older people not to take cruises. The U.S. death toll rose to 21 today and the total number of cases is over 530. Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Arizona Representative Paul Gosar are in self-quarantine after shaking hands with someone who tested positive for the novel coronavirus at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, last weekend.
As I wondered, I listened tonight to Leslie Stahl’s interview on 60 Minutes with Russia expert Fiona Hill, who served on Trump’s National Security Council and testified in the impeachment hearings about the Trump administration’s plot to get Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into Joe and his son Hunter Biden. In her testimony before Congress, Hill warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin was attacking our elections. Tonight, she reiterated that Putin was deliberately pitting the extremes of American society against the great middle to tear us apart and destroy democracy. When asked to speculate on why the Russians are backing both Trump and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, she said, “What the Russians are looking for is the two candidates who are kind of the polar opposites… So that it exacerbates… the polarization in the country.”
But Hill didn’t say much new that would shed light on the weird meme. And then a friend in Ukraine alerted me to the night’s news.
Oil prices have been dropping as the coronavirus has weakened economies and slowed demand. On Friday, OPEC—the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries—which includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq, met in Austria and proposed to cut oil production to stabilize prices. Russia, a major oil producer in its own right, told them to pound sand. On Saturday, in retaliation, Saudi Arabia cut its prices by $6-$7 a barrel, and is threatening to increase production by as much as 2 million barrels a day.
This oil war, sparked by Putin, will yank the bottom out of the U.S. oil industry, which is heavily in debt with loans that must be repaid in the next two to four years. As prices fall and credit tightens, many companies will not be able to repay those loans.
Tonight, international oil prices fell more than 30% and U.S. stock futures tumbled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is expected to drop tomorrow by as much as 1200 points on opening. Asian markets are plunging tonight in anticipation.
The White House has no strategy for stabilizing the economy, and the Trump loyalists in the administration are both unwilling to cross him and jealous of their turf. They will be unable to mount a coherent strategy to counter this oil war.
Maybe “nothing can stop what’s coming” referred to the economic news. It looks as if Putin is deliberately sparking an economic crash that will create chaos before our election. If the oil war continues past the very short term—that is, if Russia and the Saudis are not just playing chicken—our summer and fall will be very messy indeed.
In any case, this oil war is a bright child’s toy in the gray sludge; a cod leaping from a river of cement.
Yes, “Nothing can stop what’s coming,” is of course popular phrase linked to the far-right online conspiracy theory QAnon. All of the madness comes full circle with neo-Nero.
So the man responsible for trickle down economics, which caused the current wealth gap that has so many Americans unable to make a living, loves the Payroll Tax Cut?
Well hell, that’s the best endorsement I ever heard to NOT adopt it!
The deputy who stopped him early Tuesday was responding to a family disturbance call, according to an affidavit. The caller had said there was a “disturbance between her and her husband,” and that he had driven off and was possibly drinking.
When the deputy stopped the car driven by Jones, 46, and with the plate number given by the caller, he “detected a strong odor of alcohol,” according to the affidavit.
Jones told the deputy he had consumed a bottle of Sake wine while having dinner with his wife at a sushi restaurant at about 8 p.m. Monday, the affidavit said. After getting into an argument with his wife, Jones said he walked home, about three miles away, the document said. When the argument continued at home, he left to go to another of his residences “to get away from his wife.”
Jones was booked into Travis County Jail at 12:37 a.m. local time, and his bail was set at $3,000, according to Kristen Dark, senior public information officer at the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.
Remember when Putin dissolved and re-constituted the Russian government? This is why:
Putin Backs Proposal Paving Way for New Presidential Term
Russian parliament adopts a proposal that would reset Putin’s presidential term count