ONTD Political



Ben Carson has demonstrated the ability to do two things at a world-class level: perform surgical operations, and run lucrative scams. By his own admission, he is patently unqualified to run a federal agency. Nonetheless, he has accepted the job as secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a policy field in which he has no experience or expertise. One might think that this background makes Carson uniquely unsuited for the role of HUD secretary. But from another, more cynical perspective, he is absolutely perfect for the job.



HUD is traditionally a magnet for scandal under Republican administrations, for two reasons. First, its mission of providing affordable housing for the urban poor is marginal, at best, to the core Republican agenda. (Jack Kemp, George H. W. Bush’s HUD secretary, is a rare exception of an activist Republican HUD secretary.) Second, the agency’s program structure lends itself naturally to profiteering. HUD works closely with private developers to build affordable housing. Without careful oversight, the agency can easily become a slush fund to distribute sweetheart contracts to the administration’s buddies.



Samuel Pierce, Ronald Reagan’s HUD secretary, turned the agency into a slush fund for cronies. Reagan’s HUD regularly handed out loans and grants on the basis of political contacts. Moderate Republican Representative Chris Shays denounced one pair of profiteers for running “a dirty, smelly, slimy business.” Ultimately, a slew of Reagan-era HUD officials were convicted, including three assistant secretaries, for such crimes as accepting illegal loans, obstructing justice, and illegal gratuities.



George W. Bush’s housing secretary, Alphonso Jackson, resigned in 2008 after a series of scandals. These included sweetheart deals and inflated salaries for his friends, threats against whistleblowers, instructing his staff to steer contracts to Bush supporters, and even stating publicly that he once denied an otherwise suitable contract because the bidder criticized Bush. “Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president?” said Jackson. “Logic says they don’t get the contract. That’s the way I believe.” Jackson faced investigations by HUD’s inspector general, the Department of Justice and the FBI, none of which resulted in a conviction.



There is an additional risk factor in Trump’s administration. The president is planning to continue to run his business empire in office, without disclosing his income. And so Carson, a man with no experience in government but extensive experience in the field of bilking, and a proven loyalist of Donald Trump, will apparently oversee an agency whose mission lends itself to corruption. If Trump’s priority was to ensure the most effective and efficient use of every housing dollar, Carson would make a very strange choice. But that may not be Trump’s priority at all.



(source)



I'm so angry about this appointment. I work in the field of affordable housing and I can't express how upsetting this is.

Beaver caught 'shopping' for Christmas decorations, causes property damage to Md. store

CHARLOTTE HALL, Md. (ABC7) — A beaver left his or her dam in Charlotte Hall Monday on a quest to find Christmas decorations at a local dollar store, the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office reports.

Witnesses say they saw the beaver attempting to select the perfect Christmas tree and checking out other discounted holiday decor.

Corporal Yingling was called in after the beaver reportedly caused some property damage to the store.

Officials say the beaver attempted to flee the area when Yingling arrived but he or she was safely "apprehended" by Animal Control.

The beaver was eventually released to a wildlife rehabilitator.

source is local news


ASSOCIATED PRESS
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) at left, alongside then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and then-Israeli President Shimon Peres at a dinner in Tel Aviv in March 2007.


Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) enjoys the support of over 100 Democratic lawmakers in his quest to chair the Democratic National Committee ― more than any other candidate.

But virtually from the moment Ellison announced his bid, there has been a steady campaign to undermine his candidacy to head the Democratic Party leadership body, mainly focused on his past ties to the Nation of Islam.

Ellison helped organize a Minneapolis delegation to the Million Man March, a rally for black men organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Years earlier, while Ellison was in law school, he defended Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam in a few newspaper columns. The congressman has expressed regret for not speaking out more forcefully at the time against Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism and bigotry. And his law school columns reveal an idealist committed to redressing the wrongs of slavery and institutional racism, not a radical.

On Thursday, however, newly unearthed comments Ellison made in 2010, where he questioned the outsize influence of concern for Israel on U.S. Middle East policy, drew the condemnation of the Anti-Defamation League, an influential Jewish anti-racism organization with hawkish Middle East views.

The ADL’s criticism deserves to be assessed on its merits. But some members of the media have gotten a little premature in their pronouncements that it doomed Ellison’s candidacy.
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Source


DALLAS — I am a Republican presidential elector, one of the 538 people asked to choose officially the president of the United States. Since the election, people have asked me to change my vote based on policy disagreements with Donald J. Trump. In some cases, they cite the popular vote difference. I do not think presidents-elect should be disqualified for policy disagreements. I do not think they should be disqualified because they won the Electoral College instead of the popular vote. However, now I am asked to cast a vote on Dec. 19 for someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office.

Fifteen years ago, as a firefighter, I was part of the response to the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation. That attack and this year’s election may seem unrelated, but for me the relationship becomes clearer every day.

George W. Bush is an imperfect man, but he led us through the tragic days following the attacks. His leadership showed that America was a great nation. That was also the last time I remember the nation united. I watch Mr. Trump fail to unite America and drive a wedge between us.

Mr. Trump goes out of his way to attack the cast of “Saturday Night Live” for bias. He tweets day and night, but waited two days to offer sympathy to the Ohio State community after an attack there. He does not encourage civil discourse, but chooses to stoke fear and create outrage.

This is unacceptable.
For me, America is that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan envisioned. It has problems. It has challenges. These can be met and overcome just as our nation overcame Sept. 11.

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source

It's a long shot, but what the hell, I hope more GOP electors defect. I think it would be naive to expect them to give their votes to Hillary, but if enough of them throw out their votes to random write-in candidates that Trump dips below 270, the House of Reps then has to hold a vote. The Republicans hold the majority right now, but he's still got a lot of enemies in there. Idk man anything is possible in 2016.

Picture from Roger Waters' recent Desert Trip show

While many Donald Trump protests have taken place across the country, the latest in Chicago takes its inspiration from an unusual source. Four golden pig balloons are proposed to reign across the President-elect's Trump Tower in Chicago, a nod to Pink Floyd's 1977 Animals album cover.

Animals famously features an inflated pig and Chicago-based design firm New World Design Ltd. is suggesting the use of flying pigs to block out the word "Trump" from Trump Tower.

A statement released from the company's Website reads:

Comprised of four gold colored balloon pigs tethered to buoys in the Chicago River, the folly is a design effort by NWD to provide visual relief to the citizens of Chicago by interrupting the view of the ostentatious Trump Tower Chicago sign. The design scheme follows rigorous rationale in providing layers of meaning while allowing for nuanced interpretations by viewers.

The protest follows Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters' use of a giant inflatable pig which flew over the crowd at Desert Trip. On that occasion, the pig was printed with the phrases “F--k Trump and his wall” and “Ignorant, lying, racist, sexist".

Source

Just an idea for now, but I'd love to see it actually happen!

Favorite Pink Floyd album, ONTD_P?


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the wearing of full-faced veils should be prohibited in the country "wherever it is legally possible".

At a meeting of her CDU party, she backed a burka ban in schools, courts and other state buildings.

It is widely accepted that a total ban would violate Germany's constitution.

Mrs Merkel was re-elected CDU leader but faces a tough challenge by the right-wing anti-immigration AfD party in next year's polls.

She has seen her approval ratings slip since her decision to allow about a million asylum seekers into German during last year's Europe-wide migrant crisis.

However the centre-right chancellor, who has been power since 2005, still retains wide support.

She was re-elected Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader on Tuesday with 89.5% of the votes cast by about 1,000 delegates.

Mrs Merkel told the annual CDU congress in the city of Essen that it was right to expect integration from newcomers.

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SOURCE
New York City's mayor is asking the federal government for tens of millions of dollars to cover costs surrounding President-elect Donald Trump's security.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday he's asking for $35 million to cover security costs between November 8 and January 20. That comes out to an average of $472,973 per day for 74 days. He said he just sent a letter to President Obama with the request.

"We will be continuing very aggressively in the next few days -- calls and meetings with members of the Obama administration and Congress -- to nail down the reimbursements for the time between Nov. 8 and Jan 20," de Blasio said. "That will be the responsibility of the current administration."

The mayor also said he called Treasury Secretary Nominee Steven Mnuchin.

Since Trump was elected, armed police officers have heavily guarded Trump Tower - the home of the president elect -- on Fifth Avenue in Midtown.

ABC 7 New York
OP: This article is depressing af, but this is something real that's going on that I think we all need to be informed about. Especially since things are about to get worse with You-Know-Who about to take office. *gag*
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“Hello. I just found out that I am four weeks pregnant.

“I cannot carry on with this pregnancy for numerous reasons and I want to have an abortion. Though it is an option for me in the United States, in reality, it is not really an option because the $600-$700 to have it done is simply out of the question.

“I’m hoping you can advise me and are able to help. I am absolutely desperate.”

Martina read through her email once again and hovered her finger over the send button. The message was addressed half a world away to Women on Web, a Dutch not-for-profit group that mails abortion drugs to pregnant women who live in countries where abortion is outlawed.Warning: Contains heart-breaking details about what some women are forced to go through to terminate an unwanted pregnancyCollapse )

Source: The Guardian

Note: The link to Women on Web is incorrect in the source. I have corrected it in this post and notified The Guardian accordingly.

‘People on War’ poll, last taken in 1999, shows coarsened attitudes on wartime treatment of civilians among people in US, UK, Russia, China and France


Nearly half of Americans believe it acceptable to torture enemy combatants, according to a new survey which suggests that 15 years of warfare have significantly recast American attitudes on torture.

The poll, conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), found that 46% of Americans believe it acceptable to torture enemy combatants, with just 30% opposed to the practice and another 24% unsure or unwilling to answer.

Only Nigeria and Israel record higher rates of support for torturing captured enemy fighters, with 70% and 50% endorsements, respectively.
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Fiji's police and military using torture with 'near impunity', Amnesty says



Report details beatings, rape, sexual violence, attack by police dogs and even murder being used by security forces

Fiji’s police, corrections officers and military personnel consistently use torture against people accused of crimes or in custody, a new report from Amnesty International says.

The report, launched in Suva on Monday, details beatings, rape, sexual violence, attack by police dogs and even murder being used by security forces with impunity.

Security forces who commit human rights abuses rarely face sanction – Fiji’s current constitution entrenches immunities for any government action between 2006 and 2014 – and even when security officials are convicted of crimes, they are often quickly pardoned and released from prison, the Amnesty report says.

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After most campaigns the combatants share cocktails and swap war stories — but the bitter 2016 battle for the White House is turning into a forever war with Hillary Clinton’s tormented team vowing a four-year insurgency against Donald Trump.

There are no consolation prizes from a loss as humbling and catastrophic as the heavily-favored Clinton suffered on Nov. 8. But for her aides, there is a measure of liberation, freedom from the constraints of having to defend their flawed, awkward front-runner and adopt the hell-to-pay role of insurgents.Read more...Collapse )

Source: Politico

I'm all for anything that will make Drumpf's seat in the oval office as uncomfortable as possible. GO for it, Dems. Drag him, bedevil him, hound, harass, and heckle him, hold his feet to the fire, do not let him get away with ANYTHING without calling him out.

P.S. Kellyanne Conway, you pestiferous twit: NO, your orange overlord has NOT "denounced every single element of that awful movement.” (I.e., white supremacy) Not even close.
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