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#981
Jessica

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Smugglers are sawing through new sections of Trump's border wall-WAPO
https://www.washingt...a6ef_story.html

SAN DIEGO — Smuggling gangs in Mexico have repeatedly sawed through new sections of President Trump’s border wall in recent months by using commercially available power tools, opening gaps large enough for people and drug loads to pass through, according to U.S. agents and officials with knowledge of the damage.

The breaches have been made using a popular cordless household tool known as a reciprocating saw that retails at hardware stores for as little as $100. When fitted with specialized blades, the saws can slice through one of the barrier’s steel-and-concrete bollards in a matter of minutes, according to the agents, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the barrier-defeating techniques.

 

 

lol



#982
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Democrat Andy Beshear Just Beat Republican Matt Bevin in the Kentucky Governor’s Race

 

https://www.motherjo...bevin-kentucky/

 

Introduction:

 

 

(Mother Jones) In an upset, Democrat Andy Beshear has knocked off Kentucky’s Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. 

 

Over his four years in office, Bevin developed a persona as the Trumpiest governor in the country. And for a time, that may have seemed like smart politics in a state exceedingly friendly to Republicans—one where President Trump won by 30 percent in 2016, and where Republicans control both arms of the state legislature. But he ended up in a tight race thanks to a political styling that has Bevin consistently ranked as one of the least popular governors in the country. He’s spent the past several years in office name-calling his political opponents, particularly singling out the state’s public school teachers for scorn. And while that bombastic style has won the support of Trump conservatives nationally, it turns out even Republican voters aren’t always thrilled to have a politician at home who picks petty fights to distract from his political troubles.

 

Here is a link to a Courthouse News article on the same topic:

 

https://www.courthou...nor-matt-bevin/


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#983
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Democrats Just Swept Into Full Control of Virginia’s Government

 

https://www.motherjo...ias-government/

 

Introduction:

 

 

(Mother Jones) For the first time in more than two decades, Democrats now have full control of Virginia’s state government. According to projections, Democratic candidates have won enough seats in the state Senate and the House of Delegates for majority control of the state’s legislature.

 

Virginia’s off-off-year state elections drew an unprecedented amount of national attention—and money—as Democratic fundraisers and national progressive groups seized upon the opportunity to flip the Virginia legislature. After the gains Democrats made in the state in 2017, Republicans held only a slim majority in both the state Senate and House. And, thanks to redrawn district maps that favored Democrats in several key districts, that majority was under serious threat, even after a trio of scandals involving the state’s Democratic governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

 

Democrats needed only one seat to flip the state’s Senate, which they clinched with John Bell defeating Geary Higgins in District 13, a seat vacated by the retiring Sen. Richard H. Black. In the state’s House of Delegates, Democrats won the three they needed to gain control, with wins in District 76, where Clinton Jenkins defeated the incumbent Chris Jones, as well as in District 94, where Shelly Simonds—who lost in 2017 in race that was decided by a coin flip—defeated incumbent David Yancey.

 

Here is a link to a Courthouse News article on the same topic:

 

https://www.courthou...use-and-senate/


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#984
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Republican Tate Reeves Elected Governor in Mississippi

 

https://www.courthou...in-mississippi/

 

Introduction:

 

 

(Courthouse News) – With the support of President Donald Trump, Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves was elected governor Tuesday night, defeating Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in a race that secures the state’s status as a Republican stronghold ahead of the 2020 presidential contest.

 

Reeves, a former state treasurer who served two terms as lieutenant governor, will replace Republican Governor Phil Bryant, who was barred from seeking a third term because of term limits.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#985
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Kentucky Senate president thinks GOP-controlled state legislature could review gubernatorial election and challenge Democrat’s victory

 

https://www.alternet...shears-victory/

 

Exract:

(AlterNet) But Bevin has the option of requesting a recount. And under Kentucky state law, a candidate has 30 days to formally contest an election’s results after they have been certified by the Kentucky Board of Elections. As of Wednesday morning, Beshear’s victory has not been certified.

 

The 57-year-old Stivers, the Courier Journal reported, said that according to the research of his staff, the election could ultimately come before the Kentucky State Legislature for review. And The Week notes that Section 90 of the Kentucky State Constitution says that “contested elections for governor and lieutenant governor shall be determined by both houses of the General Assembly, according to such regulations as may be established by law.”

 

According to the vote count on Tuesday night, Beshear won by about 5100 votes. Stivers asserted, “There’s less than one-half of 1%, as I understand, separating the governor and the attorney general. We will follow the letter of the law and what various processes determine.”

 

Sam Marcosson, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Louisville, told the Courier Journal that it’s a risky “proposition to suggest that the General Assembly would take vague allegations of unspecified irregularities and call into question a gubernatorial election.” And Joshua Douglas, a law professor at the University of Kentucky, told the Courier Journal that in order for the Kentucky State Legislature to review the election results, Bevin would need to call a special session of the Kentucky General Assembly; after that, a panel consisting of eight members of the Kentucky House of Representatives and three members of the Kentucky Senate “would hear evidence and make a final determination — and that determination would be final.”

 

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#986
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Judge voids Trump administration’s ‘conscience rule’ letting health-care providers refuse to give care for religious, moral reasons

https://www.washingt...-moral-reasons/


 

U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan declared the rule unconstitutional in a decision stemming from a lawsuit by New York and 22 other mostly Democratic states and municipalities. The rule, which was set to go into effect later this month, gave health-care providers greater latitude to refuse to participate in abortions, sterilizations or other procedures they disagree with on religious or moral grounds.



Updated story:
The lawsuit, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, argued the rule illegally favored the personal views of health-care workers over the needs of patients and threatened to hobble the ability of state-run health-care facilities to provide effective care.

The rule, proposed by Trump’s Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights more than a year ago, would have protected “conscience rights” of health care providers by boosting enforcement of at least two dozen laws that allow doctors, nurses, technicians and other providers to opt out of procedures such as abortions or gender-change procedures they object to on personal or religious grounds.

“Health care is a basic right that should never be subject to political games,” James said in a statement. “... The refusal of care rule was an unlawful attempt to allow health care providers to openly discriminate and refuse to provide necessary health care to patients based on providers’ ‘religious beliefs or moral objections.’” Many physician and health advocacy groups contended the rule would have disproportionately harmed certain groups of patients, including LGBTQ patients. “We are heartened by today’s ruling, and we will not stop fighting to prioritize patients’ need for standard medical care over health care personnels’ personal religious or moral beliefs,” the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association said in a statement.

 



#987
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Just when I was starting to feel all warm and fuzzy about the home town of my childhood.

 

 

Amazon's Major Money Dump in Seattle's City Council Election Seen as 'Dangerous and Ominous Development'

 

https://www.commondr...ous-and-ominous

 

Introduction:

 

 

(Common Dreams) An attempt by Amazon to fill the Seattle city council with members more supportive of the company than the current progressive slate was called a chilling development for city government by critics of the move after Tuesday's election.

 

Socialist councilor Kshama Sawant, one of the company's top targets, told The Guardian that her race had been uphill and that the power of a massive corporation like Amazon stacked against her campaign had been difficult to overcome.

 

"We have run a historic grassroots campaign, with working people, community members rejecting Amazon and billionaires' attempt to buy this election, and that doesn't mean we're going to win every battle against the billionaires," said Sawant. "What matters is the political clarity that the billionaires are not on our side and that this is going to be a struggle."

 

Seattle is still waiting for the final results in the race—Washington has a mail-in voting system that makes final counts unavailable for days after voting—but as of Wednesday, it looked likely that Sawant and fellow socialist Shaun Scott were headed for defeat against Amazon-backed candidates Egan Orion and Alex Pederson, respectively. Neither Scott nor Sawant had conceded at press time. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#988
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Here is more on that Kentucky race:

 

 

As 'Working Class Revolt' Topples Kentucky's Trump-Backed Governor, a Warning to McConnell: 'You're Next'

 

https://www.commondr...mcconnell-youre

 

 

Introduction:

 

 

(Common Dreams) Beshear's apparent victory was widely viewed as a powerful rebuke to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, both of whom rallied for Bevin just 24 hours earlier in a last-ditch effort to drive turnout for the deeply unpopular Republican governor.

 

With McConnell and Trump both up for reelection in 2020, Ball argued that national Democrats should "learn from this 'red state' that unexpectedly turned blue on the back of a working class populist backlash."

 

"Kentucky Democrats did not win by launching esoteric attacks on Bevin about the norms and guardrails of Democracy or lofty ideals like freedom of the press, even though Bevin is probably even more hostile to the press than Trump," Ball wrote. "They did it by staying lightning focused on the way that Bevin had hurt working class families."

 

As The Intercept's Ryan Grim wrote Tuesday night, "the Kentucky race has implications for Mitch McConnell, as one of the potential candidates who'd be most formidable against him, sports radio host Matt Jones, said he was watching Bevin's race before deciding whether to get in."

 

"Amy McGrath, who's already in, has more than $10 million but virtually no chance to win," Grim wrote. "Charles Booker, a progressive Louisville state legislator, is also looking at the race. He told me tonight to 'stay tuned!' when I asked if he was jumping in."

 

 

If Kentucky decided not to re-elect McConnel, that would give the Democrats a real shot at winning back control of the Senate, particularly if they also win the presidency in 2020.  (In the event of a tie vote in the Senate, the Vice-President casts the deciding vote). There are at least a couple of other Republican Senators that will be highly vulnerable in that 2020 election.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#989
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After Racist Attacks, Former Refugee Makes History as First Somali-American Elected to City Council in Lewiston, Maine

 

https://www.commondr...an-elected-city

 

 

Introduction:

 

 

(Common Dreams) After a campaign marred by racist attacks, the victory Tuesday of a Somali-American woman who won a city council seat in Lewiston, Maine garnered national attention for the winner.

 

Safiya Khalid, who came to the U.S. in 2006 as a refugee, became the first Somali-American to be elected to city council in Lewiston, a city with a long history of racism against its immigrant community.

 

Khalid told supporters and the press on Wednesday that her victory was the result of a commitment to connecting with voters—even as online trolls were harassing her with comments saying, as the Washington Post reported, "that Muslims had no place in American government and she should go back to where she came from."

 

"Community organizers beat internet trolls," Khalid told supporters after results came in Tuesday night.

 

The 23-year-old is also the youngest person to ever be elected to the city council. She told reporters that she was inspired to run for office after seeing the city grow more racially and ethnically diverse while the government remained homogenous.

 

 

From what I know of Lewiston, it is probably a little bit unfair to write of it as having  "a long history of racism against its immigrant community."  The spouse of  somebody I know who once worked as a teacher in that community once explained to me a little bit of the town's history.  As she explained it, a non-profit agency targeted Lewiston as a community that could receive immigrants.  The town has a long history as a working class community, so there was a lot of relatively cheap property available for habitation.  This put a strain on the community's welfare assistance capabilities as well as its school system. 

 

The teacher that I know actually worked there briefly because he like the idea of reaching out to teach in such a low-income area.  He may very well have been one of Saifya's instructors.  If not her personally, then a lot of her Somalian friends and associaites.  A lot of such people of conscience are probably quite happy to see Safiya succeed in the political arena, even as they feel frustration at what they regard as an unfair share of the burden of low-income refugees that Lewiston was forced to accept.   

 

I should add that as a result of complaints along the lines I have described, that the city of Portland has accepted some of the burden.   In the long run, I think this will all be to the good for Maine.  This is a state that suffers a chronic shortage of entry level workers.  Most young people are not willing to accept such low wage jobs because they have the opportunity to either attend one of the local ivy league colleges or because they go out of state for a college education or and/or higher paid jobs.  Refuges who learn basic language skills can thus fill a real need in that state.  A point that is often repeated in the local news media.

 

When I lived in Maine, I also took advantage of  some of the many church related services to volunteer my own efforts to help such refugees adjust to their new circumstances. It was quite gratifying to find so many in Maine who were willing to give of their time and effort to organize such charitable assistance.  Mainers are very proud of their identity as second or third generation plus residents of the state.  Yet, for the most part, I found them to be very open hearted to the many immigrants who showed up in their state.  That was probably a factor in  Safiya's electoral success.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#990
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Here is yet another angle on that Virginia election:

 

 

The NRA’s big loss in Virginia, explained

 

https://www.vox.com/...ing-gun-control

 

 

Introduction:

  

 

(Vox) The nation’s most powerful gun rights organization was dramatically outspent in Virginia in 2019 by gun control organizations, helping Democrats gain control of the state legislature for the first time in more than two decades.

 

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, the National Rifle Association spent $350,269 this cycle to help pro-gun rights candidates beat back Democrats who were running on a gun control platform, one that became particularly poignant after a mass shooting in Virginia Beach on May 31 left 12 people dead. (An NRA spokesperson cautioned that total spending numbers for the organization will not be available until later this month.)

 

But gun control groups spent far more, hoping to help get Democratic candidates into office who could push forward a package of proposals aimed at stemming gun violence, including background checks on all firearms sales and a ban on so-called “assault weapons.” Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund (backed in part by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg) report that they spent $2.5 million in Virginia, making the group the biggest outside donor in the race — and Giffords PAC, named for former Rep. Gabby Giffords, spent $300,000 on a digital ad campaign alone


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#991
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The Equal Rights Amendment May Pass Now. It’s Only Been 96 Years.

 

November 6, 2019

 

Virginia, soon to be under Democratic control, will likely be the 38th state to ratify the amendment. The Supreme Court could decide what happens next.

 

https://www.nytimes....-amendment.html


"Since we first emerged, a few million years ago in East Africa, we have meandered our way around the planet. There are now people on every continent and the remotest islands, from pole to pole, from Mount Everest to the Dead Sea, on the ocean bottoms and even, occasionally, in residence 200 miles up - humans, like the gods of old, living in the sky."


#992
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This is so weird.  Just a couple of days ago I was sitting next to a Parks Commissioner carrying on a very lengthy conversation about swimming pools. Though interesting, I found myself so distracted that I eventually stood up and walked away so that I would not be distracted by the conversation.  (Surprise, surprise - I was trying to finish reading a book at the time).  So, now, today, I come across this article (see below).  I very much suspect that the Park Commissioner(s?)  would have enjoyed reading this article.

 

Inequality And The Iron Law of Decaying Public Services

 

https://ourfuture.or...public-services

 

Introduction:

 

(Our Future) Fires are raging everywhere in California these days, and firefighters are having enormous trouble keeping up. Chronically understaffed local fire departments simply don’t have the resources to handle act one of what climate change has in store for us.

 

California’s wealthy aren’t particularly worrying about that lack of resources — because they have more than enough of their own. They can afford to shell out up to $25,000 per day for one of the private firefighting services that are popping up in California wherever the rich call home.

 

In a deeply unequal America, none of this should surprise us. Public services almost always take it on the chin in societies where wealth starts furiously concentrating. Why should inequality have this impact? A little incendiary parable — on tennis — might help us understand.

 

Imagine yourself in a comfortable suburban county. Every corner of the county has a pleasant public park, and most every park sports a tennis court or two. All comers can volley away on these free public courts, and every once in a while, on especially beautiful Saturday mornings, the courts can get a bit crowded. Players may even have to wait for court time.

 

But some local racket enthusiasts, the county’s wealthiest racket enthusiasts, never have to wait to play tennis. These players have had private tennis courts installed on their own ample grounds. They play whenever they want.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#993
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Here is more on that Kentucky race:

 

 

As 'Working Class Revolt' Topples Kentucky's Trump-Backed Governor, a Warning to McConnell: 'You're Next'

 

 

 

 

If Kentucky decided not to re-elect McConnel, that would give the Democrats a real shot at winning back control of the Senate, particularly if they also win the presidency in 2020.  (In the event of a tie vote in the Senate, the Vice-President casts the deciding vote). There are at least a couple of other Republican Senators that will be highly vulnerable in that 2020 election.

Seems unlikely, the Republicans swamped every other race including taking the AG spot for the first time in a few decades, the issue is that the governor candidate for the Republicans was just especially hated by everyone.



#994
caltrek

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^^^Think Texas and Maine.  Of course, there would probably also have to be an upset victory in another state as Alabama will be very difficult to hold onto.  

 

Edit: Also, as to your main point concerning McConnell - he may not be as popular as you think.  Remember, he spearheads what amounts to the Senate absolutely refusing to do its job of even considering  a truck load of legislation presented by the House. Apparently, this has not gone unnoticed by a lot of folks in the good state of Kentucky. 

 

Also remember - the leading voice of a libertarian alternative in the Senate is the other senator from Kentucky.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#995
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Also, Trump may very well have made a fatal mistake when he threw the Kurds under the bus.  

 

If you were to create a country and call it Kurdistan, it would probably be composed of northern Iraq, southern Turkey, and western Syria.  Just to the northwest of Turkey lies much of Europe.  The Kurds earned a special place in the heart of a lot of U.S. servicemen.  The Kurds may not be able to vote in U.S. elections, but there are a lot of servicemen who do.  Servicemen who come from southern states like Alabama and Texas.  You can also throw Arizona into the mix. Remember Arizona?

 

John McCain and all of that.  


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#996
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Progressives Declare Victories in San Francisco District Attorney and Seattle City Council Races

 

https://www.commondr...nd-seattle-city

 

Introduction:

 

(Common Dreams) Progressives on Sunday celebrated the triumphs of two West Coast candidates who were finally able to declare victories in their elections after officials in Seattle and San Francisco spent days tallying votes.

 

Chesa Boudin, a public defender and the son of parents who were incarcerated when he was a child, won San Francisco's election for district attorney, promised to confront mass incarceration, institutionalized racism, and police violence in the city.

 

"In voting for this campaign," Boudin told the Washington Post, "the residents of San Francisco have demanded radical change and rejected calls to go back to the tough-on-crime era that did not make us safer and destroyed the lives of thousands of San Franciscans."

 

Boudin ran against interim district attorney Suzy Loftus, who previously served as a police commissioner before stepping into the role just weeks ago and had the support of the California's Democratic Party and several establishment figures.

 

Boudin had won the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressives with his pledges to eliminate cash bail, implement restorative justice programs to help end mass incarceration, and introduce community-based initiatives to reduce gun violence.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#997
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Well, my warm and fuzzy feeling about Seattle remain intact after all.

 

Socialist claims victory in Seattle election contested by Amazon-backed challenger

 

https://www.independ...t-a9196901.html

 

Introduction:

 

(Independent) A socialist politician in Seattle has declared victory, after Jeff Bezos and Amazon poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a local election to support “business friendly” candidates.  

 

Kshama Sawant, 46, has celebrated with supporters after a late surge saw her pass the person seeking to oust her from Seattle’s city council.

 

That person, Egan Orion, had been backed by a political action committee or PAC, called Civic Alliance For A Sound Economy (CASE) that was headed by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, to which Amazon had given around $1.5m to support candidates it approved of.

 

Reports suggested CASE spent around $450,000 supporting Mr Orion, and Ms Sawant’s victory marked defeat for five of the seven candidates supported by the PAC. Ms Sawant is a member of the Socialist Alternative party.

 

“It looks like our movement has won, and defended our socialist city council seat for working people against the richest man in the world,” Ms Sawant said at a press conference on Saturday, at which she took aim at Mr Bezos,  according to the Seattle Times. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#998
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Democratic Governor Wins Reelection in Deep-Red Louisiana

 

https://www.motherjo...-red-louisiana/

 

Introduction:

 

(Mother Jones) In a major show of strength in a deep-red state, Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has defeated his Republican challenger, Eddie Rispone, whose frequent attempts to nationalize the election by bringing in President Donald Trump proved futile in Saturday’s gubernatorial election. 

 

Conclusion:

 

His failure to reach 50 percent of the vote in the October 12 “jungle primary” and avoid a runoff was likely due in large part to lower turnout among African American voters, says Robert Mann, a political historian at Louisiana State University. Edwards’ decision to tout his pro-law enforcement stance in campaign ads probably contributed to the lack of enthusiasm among black voters. 

 

However, his decision to expand Medicaid early in his tenure as governor won him major points among his Democratic base and may have helped propel him to victory. Two years after the state’s Medicaid expansion, the rate of uninsured had fallen by half, from 22.7 percent in 2015 to 11.4 percent in 2017. Edwards’ position on Medicaid also created a stark contrast between him and Rispone, who vowed to “freeze” all new enrollment into Medicaid in the state.

 

Edwards’ brand of economic populism mixed with conservative abortion politics makes him an outlier in today’s national Democratic Party. However, his victory on Saturday shows that there may still be a place for an anti-abortion Southern Democrat in an increasingly progressive party. 

 

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#999
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President Trump signs bill making animal cruelty a federal felony

Source: ABC News



Animal cruelty has officially become a federal felony after President Donald Trump signed the bill into law on Monday afternoon.

The bipartisan bill, Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, criminalizes certain acts of animal cruelty. The bill was passed in the Senate by unanimous decision on Nov. 5 after being approved in the House in late October.

"Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer," Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said earlier this month when the bill, which Toomey sponsored along with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., passed in the Senate. "Evidence shows that the deranged individuals who harm animals often move on to committing acts of violence against people. It is appropriate that the federal government have strong animal cruelty laws and penalties."

The bill, introduced in the House by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., is an expansion on the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the creation and distribution of "animal crushing" videos illegal

 


Read more: https://abcnews.go.c...ory?id=67295654



#1000
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Trump to Cut Financial Contribution to NATO


https://politicalwir...bution-to-nato/
 


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“The Trump administration has moved to substantially cut its contribution to NATO’s collective budget according to several US and NATO officials, a symbolic move that comes as many continue to question President Trump’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance as he prepares to attend a summit to mark its 70th anniversary in London next week,” CNN reports.

 







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