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Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 85,536

Journal Archives

Edward Snowden memoir to reveal whistleblower's secrets

Source: The Guardian

After multiple books and films about his decision to leak the biggest cache of top-secret documents in history, whistleblower Edward Snowden is set to tell his side of the story in a memoir, Permanent Record.

Out on 17 September, the book will be published in more than 20 countries and will detail how and why the former CIA agent and NSA contractor decided to reveal the US government’s plans for mass surveillance around the world and in the US – which included monitoring phone calls, text messages and emails.

UK publisher Macmillan said the book would see him “bringing the reader along as he helps to create this system of mass surveillance, and then experiences the crisis of conscience that led him to try to bring it down”.


“Edward Snowden decided at the age of 29 to give up his entire future for the good of his country,” said Macmillan chief executive John Sargent. “He displayed enormous courage in doing so, and like him or not, his is an incredible American story. There is no doubt that the world is a better and more private place for his actions.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/aug/01/edward-snowden-memoir-to-reveal-whistleblowers-secrets-permanent-record

For the second time in two years, they survived a mass shooting


After surviving the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, three friends were not expecting history to repeat itself two years later.

In 2017, Christopher and George Cook were in Las Vegas during the Route 91 Harvest festival, an outdoor country music concert, when a gunman fired into the crowd killing 58 and injuring more than 500. They managed to escape with no injuries.

Their escape from the gunfire was captured by a photographer at the time. It showed George, who is in a wheelchair, being pushed by a woman, who Christoper said was an off-duty nurse.

Sunday, the brothers attended the Gilroy Garlic Festival when a gunman opened fire. Three people were killed and 12 injured.

Physically the Cook brothers escaped unharmed, however mentally, Christopher told CNN he's been dealing with a wave of emotions.

Dutch 'burqa ban' rendered largely unworkable on first day

Source: The Guardian

The Netherlands’ so-called burqa ban has been rendered largely unworkable on its first day in law after both the police and Dutch transport companies signalled an unwillingness to enforce it.

Under the terms of the Partial Ban on Face-Covering Clothing Act, the wearing of ski masks, full-face helmets, balaclavas, niqabs and burqas is prohibited in public buildings including schools and hospitals and on public transport.

Wearers of the banned clothing are to be given the option to remove the offending item or face a police fine of between €150 and €415. There is no prohibition on wearing such garments in the street.

But the law appears to have been fatally undermined after police said its enforcement was not a priority and signalled their discomfort with the idea that veiled women could be put off from entering a police station to make unrelated complaints.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/01/dutch-police-signal-unwillingness-enforce-new-burqa-ban

US urges Germany to reconsider Persian Gulf mission

Source: Politico

BERLIN — Washington isn't happy that Germany has rejected its request to join a U.S.-led naval security mission in the Persian Gulf.

America’s ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell urged Berlin to consider its responsibilities, telling the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper that “America has sacrificed a lot to help Germany remain a part of the West." Pointing to the fact Germany is the largest economic power in Europe, he added: “This success brings with it global responsibilities.”

Washington has formally asked Germany to participate in its mission to secure the Strait of Hormuz alongside Britain and France.

But German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday during a trip to Warsaw that "the German government will not take part in the sea mission presented and planned by the United States," German media reported. Maas added that Germany is in "close coordination with our French partners."

Read more: https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-heiko-maas-rejects-us-request-to-join-security-mission-in-persian-gulf/

Giffords and March For Our Lives Team Up to Host Nation's First Presidential Forum on Gun Safety

Gabby Giffords

Historic forum will be held on October 2, 2019, one day after the second anniversary of the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting

August 1, 2019 — Today, Giffords and March For Our Lives announced a partnership to host the nation’s first ever presidential forum dedicated to addressing gun violence in America. The event will take place on October 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada, one day after the second anniversary of the deadliest mass shooting in recent American history. On October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival from the 32nd-story window of the Mandalay Bay hotel, killing 58 people and injuring more than 800.

In organizing this forum, Giffords and March for Our Lives will provide candidates with a meaningful opportunity to directly engage voters and present their plans to address America’s gun violence epidemic. Democratic candidates who are eligible to participate in Democratic presidential debates this fall will be invited to participate in the forum. Additional logistical and format details will be announced in the weeks leading up to the event.

“Never before has our country had a presidential forum singularly dedicated to the issue of addressing gun violence, but this year, we’re changing that,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. “If we’re serious about tackling the biggest problems facing our country, we need serious conversations about solutions. This forum will create an important opportunity for candidates concerned about gun violence to speak with voters about their plans to make our country a safer place to live, work, learn, and play.”

“Since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, we have organized and demanded that elected officials in Washington and across the country take action to end gun violence in every form in every community, especially those ravaged by endemic violence,” said David Hogg, co-founder of March For Our Lives. “It’s our hope that the candidates come to Las Vegas prepared to discuss bold and holistic plans, like restorative justice, to end gun violence epidemic and its root causes. We have to look at the totality of the problem, not just mass shootings that too often capture the media’s attention, but suicides and other forms of gun violence that go unreported. The vast majority of Americans are ready and have been waiting for common sense gun reforms. They too believe enough is enough.”

Gun deaths in the United States have reached their highest level in almost 40 years, with nearly 40,000 Americans killed by a gun in 2017. The ripple effects of this crisis have been felt by communities across the country. The American public has been subjected to repeated mass shootings in schools and other civic spaces. Too often, communities of color disproportionately bear the continued impact and trauma of our nation’s gun violence epidemic.

Calls from voters to address gun violence in the Democratic primary continue to deepen. Following the 2018 midterms, NBC exit polling found that gun policy ranked as the #2 issue for Democratic voters, behind health care and ahead of the economy and immigration. The 2018 midterms saw the highest participation of young voters aged 18–29 in the past 25 years, with gun violence and the fear of school shootings a top issue driving their decision to vote in 2018. With Americans ready to take action, candidates are finally coming around.

In a remarkable shift, Democrats in the 2018 election ran on robust gun violence prevention platforms and took back the House of Representatives, in part because of increased voter focus on this issue. That change included a 22-fold increase from the last midterms in the number of ad spots promoting safer gun laws. In the summer of 2016, only 4 of 36 Red-to-Blue candidates backed stronger gun laws in their platforms for the 2016 campaigns. But by July of 2018, 38 of the 59 Red-to-Blue Democrats supported gun safety in their official platforms.

Like every state in our nation, Nevada has been severely impacted by the gun violence crisis in ways that extend far beyond the tragedy of lives lost. Prior to the mass shooting on October 1, 2017, the annual economic cost of gun violence in Nevada was $2.3 billion. According to a report from Giffords Law Center, the Las Vegas massacre increased that toll by 26 percent. The report, The Las Vegas Massacre’s $600 Million Financial Toll, highlights how after the shooting, victims, businesses, and Las Vegas residents continue to struggle under the economic burden of our nation’s deadliest mass shooting.

Tonight, everyone's getting their website into the close...

Senator Chris Coons is in the theater...apparently skipping the budget vote?

Chairman Tom Perez giving a stemwinder of a speech in the theater.

Much better than last night.

Being the conniving person I am...

I figured out a w way to get someone else into the theater with my ticket from last night.

But I left it in my hotel room.

I'm pretty much in the same row I was in last night...

It is VERY hot in the theater...