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AZProgressive

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Hometown: Arizona
Home country: USA
Member since: Wed Jul 16, 2008, 08:35 PM
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Journal Archives

The Political Depravity of Unjust Pardons

50 years of tax cuts for the rich failed to trickle down, economics study says

Tax cuts for the wealthy have long drawn support from conservative lawmakers and economists who argue that such measures will "trickle down" and eventually boost jobs and incomes for everyone else. But a new study from the London School of Economics says 50 years of such tax cuts have only helped one group — the rich.

The new paper, by David Hope of the London School of Economics and Julian Limberg of King's College London, examines 18 developed countries — from Australia to the United States — over a 50-year period from 1965 to 2015. The study compared countries that passed tax cuts in a specific year, such as the U.S. in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan slashed taxes on the wealthy, with those that didn't, and then examined their economic outcomes.

Per capita gross domestic product and unemployment rates were nearly identical after five years in countries that slashed taxes on the rich and in those that didn't, the study found.

But the analysis discovered one major change: The incomes of the rich grew much faster in countries where tax rates were lowered. Instead of trickling down to the middle class, tax cuts for the rich may not accomplish much more than help the rich keep more of their riches and exacerbate income inequality, the research indicates.

https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/tax-cuts-rich-50-years-no-trickle-down/?__twitter_impression=true

One thing that has bothered me over the years is the media hasn't called out the Republicans for pushing discredited Hoover economics for years.

Report: Phoenix police officer said, 'If the mayor defunds the police, I'm going to shoot her'

On the afternoon of October 21, seven Phoenix police officers gathered for a briefing in a Cave Creek station when the meeting diverged into a discussion about the defund-the-police movement.

When Officer Steven Poulos expressed his thoughts, the room went quiet: "If the mayor defunds the police, I'm going to shoot her," Poulos' sergeant recalled hearing the officer say, referring to Mayor Kate Gallego.

The sergeant broke the silence, saying, "You're not going to shoot the mayor."

Poulos doubled down, "That's a promise," he responded.

https://amp.azcentral.com/amp/4062470001?__twitter_impression=true

Murder In The Consulate: Oscar Contender 'Kingdom Of Silence' Parses Brutal Killing Of Journalist

For years the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked a tightrope—balancing his access to powerful Saudi Royals while pushing for reform in the kingdom—until the tightrope became a noose.

Khashoggi’s murder in 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul—where a “kill team” allegedly dispatched by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman suffocated and then dismembered him—brought a gruesome end to a career of remarkable firsts. Among Kashoggi’s journalistic scoops had been reporting on his fellow Saudi Osama bin Laden, long before anyone in the West paid much attention to the radical Islamist.

“He was right there at the beginning when al-Qaeda was being formed, the first journalist to ever take a photograph of Bin Laden,” notes Rick Rowley, director of Kingdom of Silence, the Showtime documentary about Khashoggi. “He was right there in the halls of power in London and in Washington and in Riyadh after September 11th, when the U.S.-Saudi relationship was being re-navigated. He was right there when the Arab Spring erupted.”

Kingdom of Silence, which is contending for Oscar recognition, shows how Khashoggi tried to do the impossible—that is, practice true journalism in a country where the few hold power and there is no such thing as a First Amendment.

https://deadline.com/2020/12/kingdom-of-silence-director-rick-rowley-jamal-khashoggi-showtime-documentary-interview-news-1234661326/

Ivanka Trump was deposed Tuesday in DC attorney general's inauguration lawsuit

(CNN)Ivanka Trump, the President's daughter and adviser, sat for a deposition Tuesday with investigators from the Washington, DC, attorney general's office as part of its lawsuit alleging the misuse of inaugural funds, according to a court filing.

In January, the DC attorney general's office sued the Trump Organization and Presidential Inaugural Committee alleging they abused more than $1 million raised by the nonprofit by "grossly overpaying" for use of event space at the Trump hotel in Washington for the 2017 inauguration.

Depositions of witnesses as part of the lawsuit have been underway over the past several weeks.

Tom Barrack, chairman of the inaugural committee, was deposed on November 17, according to the court filing.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/12/02/politics/ivanka-trump-deposition/index.html?__twitter_impression=true

Kushner to visit Saudi Arabia, Qatar to try to mend Gulf rift

US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser will visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week. The Trump administration is making several Middle East policy-related pushes before President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.

Jared Kushner will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Reuters reported on Sunday.

It is unclear what Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law, will discuss with the two Gulf leaders. The timing of the visit comes shortly after Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed. Both the United States and Israel believe Iran is seeking to build a nuclear weapon, which Iran denies. Iran has already blamed Israel and the United States for the killing. Saudi Arabia is also a staunch opponent of Iran’s policy in the region.

Kushner will be joined by the US envoy for international negotiations Avi Berkowitz and former Iran envoy Brian Hook, according to the US government-funded Radio Free Europe. US International Development Finance Corporation head Adam Boehler will also reportedly attend.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/11/kushner-visit-mbs-thani-saudi-qatar-adviser-trump.amp.html?skipWem=1&__twitter_impression=true

Biden to face test over access to sensitive information as he inherits Trump's secret server

Washington(CNN)President-elect Joe Biden and his team will soon have to decide whether to share transcripts of presidential calls with foreign leaders to a broad, security clearance-holding audience, or maintain a lockdown on official transcripts of the calls and other highly sensitive information imposed by the Trump administration over concerns they might be leaked.

A person close to the Biden transition team told CNN that no decisions have been made about how these sensitive materials will be handled when the President-elect takes office on January 20, and that it's likely they will maintain the Trump administration's close hold on such information, at least at first, until they are settled in and Jake Sullivan, Biden's pick for national security adviser, can assess their information security needs.

A senior US official said that the Biden team will be given access to a secret server containing sensitive information related to President Donald Trump's more controversial conversations with foreign leaders on a need-to-know basis and the Trump administration is prepared to share any information that they deem to be relevant to their future decision-making process.

While Biden's team will likely aim to be more transparent, much has changed since many of his senior appointees were in government and the politically charged atmosphere in Washington on the heels of the election has some officials urging caution in the early months, to prevent leaks and assess the needs and boundaries of sharing sensitive information.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/11/26/politics/biden-trump-sensitive-information/index.html?__twitter_impression=true

How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps

The U.S. military is buying the granular movement data of people around the world, harvested from innocuous-seeming apps, Motherboard has learned. The most popular app among a group Motherboard analyzed connected to this sort of data sale is a Muslim prayer and Quran app that has more than 98 million downloads worldwide. Others include a Muslim dating app, a popular Craigslist app, an app for following storms, and a "level" app that can be used to help, for example, install shelves in a bedroom.

Through public records, interviews with developers, and technical analysis, Motherboard uncovered two separate, parallel data streams that the U.S. military uses, or has used, to obtain location data. One relies on a company called Babel Street, which creates a product called Locate X. U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), a branch of the military tasked with counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and special reconnaissance, bought access to Locate X to assist on overseas special forces operations. The other stream is through a company called X-Mode, which obtains location data directly from apps, then sells that data to contractors, and by extension, the military.

The news highlights the opaque location data industry and the fact that the U.S. military, which has infamously used other location data to target drone strikes, is purchasing access to sensitive data. Many of the users of apps involved in the data supply chain are Muslim, which is notable considering that the United States has waged a decades-long war on predominantly Muslim terror groups in the Middle East, and has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians during its military operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Motherboard does not know of any specific operations in which this type of app-based location data has been used by the U.S. military.

The apps sending data to X-Mode include Muslim Pro, an app that reminds users when to pray and what direction Mecca is in relation to the user's current location. The app has been downloaded over 50 million times on Android, according to the Google Play Store, and over 98 million in total across other platforms including iOS, according to Muslim Pro's website.

https://www.vice.com/amp/en/article/jgqm5x/us-military-location-data-xmode-locate-x?__twitter_impression=true

The Republican Party Is Racist and Soulless. Just Ask This Veteran GOP Strategist.

(Snip)

He huffed that the Republican Party had not merely drifted away from its core positions, as sometimes occurs with political parties: “Fair trade, balanced budgets, character, family values, standing up to foreign adversaries like Russia—we’re all against that now. You have to ask, ‘Does someone abandon deeply held beliefs in three or four years?’ No. It means you didn’t ever hold them.” He added: “I feel like a guy who was working for Bernie Madoff.”

Stevens, an erudite fellow who is also a novelist and a travel writer, has become an emblematic ex-Republican. He once believed in GOP ideals and ideas. Now he saw it all as a huge con. His new book is a confession and cri de coeur. The first line is blunt: “I have no one to blame but myself.” In these pages, Stevens self-flagellates, calling himself a “fool” for his decades of believing—and lying to himself—that the Republican Party was based on “a core set of values.” Acknowledging his role, Stevens writes, “So yes, blame me. Blame me when you look around and see a dysfunctional political system and a Republican Party that has gone insane.” The book offers one overarching prescription for the GOP: “Burn it to the ground and start over.”

In our conversation, Stevens exploded with loathing for the party he once faithfully (and lucratively) served. He rejected the common view that Trump had hijacked the GOP. No, he explained, the triumph of know-nothing Trumpism marked the culmination of an internal conflict that had existed for decades between the party’s “dark side” and its professed ideals. Even William F. Buckley Jr., often hailed as a grand public intellectual and the founding father of the modern conservative movement, was “a stone-cold racist” in the 1950s, Stevens pointed out. (Buckley at that time considered white people more “advanced” and more fit to govern.)

“A lot of us in the party liked to believe the dark side was a recessive gene, but it’s a dominant theme,” Stevens, a seventh-­generation Mississippian who was named for Confederate Gen. Jeb Stuart, told me. “And it’s all about race. The Republican Party is a white party and there still are more white people than non-white people.” So that is whom the party aims at—even if this will eventually be a losing proposition as the nation’s demographics continue to shift. Ronald Reagan achieved a landslide victory in 1980 by bagging 56 percent of white voters; 28 years later, John McCain lost with 55 percent of white voters. Perhaps the party’s fixation on white voters can work one more time with Trump in 2020. “But we’re talking about the Confederacy—literally,” Stevens said.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/08/racism-republican-party-stuart-stevens/?utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=naytev&utm_medium=social

Louisville police, county attorney's office hide 738,000 records in Explorer sex abuse case

Louisville Metro Police concealed at least 738,000 records documenting the sexual abuse of Explorer Scouts by two officers — then lied to keep the files from the public, records show.

The Courier Journal last year requested all records regarding sexual abuse of minors by two officers in the Explorer Scout program for youths interested in law enforcement careers.

Police officials and the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office said they couldn't comply, insisting all the records had been turned over to the FBI for its investigation.

But that wasn't true, according to records The Courier Journal recently obtained in the appeal of its open records case.

https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/crime/2020/11/11/lmpd-explorer-scandal-lawyers-say-police-lied-conceal-records/6224382002/
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