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Judge rejects request from Trump ally Roger Stone to delay sentencing hearing

Judge rejects request from Trump ally Roger Stone to delay sentencing hearingThe decision comes after a contentious week for the Justice Department, as it faces allegations of political meddling in criminal cases tied to the president.


Mike Bloomberg is not the lesser of two evils

Mike Bloomberg is not the lesser of two evilsLike the vast majority of Americans, I have been effectively disenfranchised in the last few presidential elections. In 2011, I moved to Washington, D.C., which is so heavily Democratic that any vote for president is totally meaningless — in 2016, Hillary Clinton won with 93 percent of the vote. But last year, I moved to famously swingy Pennsylvania, and suddenly I'm a full citizen again. (I'm already lording it over my friends from California and New York.)As I have written on many occasions, I think Bernie Sanders is the best candidate. But given the abominable Trump presidency, I have also said that I'll vote for whoever wins the Democratic nomination.However, that was before Mike Bloomberg became a serious presidential contender (currently in third place in national polls and rising fast). I have given it very serious thought, and while I would happily vote for Elizabeth Warren, grudgingly vote for Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar, or secure an entire bottle of Southern Comfort to get sufficiently hammered to vote for Pete Buttigieg, I will not vote for Mike Bloomberg in November if he is nominated.To start with, it is not at all obvious that Bloomberg would even be a better president than Trump. As Alex Pareene writes at The New Republic, he is a right-wing authoritarian with nakedly racist views who constantly violated civil rights laws during his time as mayor of New York City. He locked up thousands of protesters during the 2004 Republican National Convention (where he gave a speech warmly endorsing George W. Bush, and thanked him for starting the war in Iraq), and a judge held the city in contempt for violating due process law. He created what amounted to a police state for New York Muslims, subjecting the entire community to dragnet surveillance and harassment, and filling mosques with spies and agent provocateurs. The city had to pay millions in settlements for violating Muslims' civil rights. (All this did precisely nothing to prevent terrorism, by the way.)As Nathan Robinson writes at Current Affairs, he drastically escalated the infamous "stop-and-frisk" program in New York, in which innocent black and brown youths were jacked up by cops literally millions of times. Typically 85-90 percent of the stops found nothing, and many police used it as a handy pretext to vent their racist prejudice. At its peak in 2011, there were more stops of young black men than there were young black men in the entire city. And because it was mainly young men being targeted, some were stopped dozens of times. Innocent people were routinely beaten senseless.Bloomberg justified the policy with straightforwardly racist collective guilt. In a 2015 speech, he said "it's controversial, but first thing is, all of your — 95 percent of your murders, murderers and murder victims, fit one M.O. ... They are male minorities, 15 to 25."These statistics are hideously inaccurate. In reality, the relatively few whites stopped under stop-and-frisk were more likely to be carrying weapons, and as The Atlantic's Adam Serwer points out, after the program was halted, crime continued to fall unabated. The whole thing was completely useless — unless the point was to constantly remind black and brown New Yorkers that they were second-class citizens. Bloomberg also espouses the racist theory that the financial crisis was caused by government efforts to reduce prejudice in home lending — thus scapegoating minorities to deflect blame from the real culprit, Wall Street oligarchs like himself.Bloomberg's newfound commitment to progressive policies is so transparently fraudulent that his campaign apparently plagiarized huge chunks of his campaign platform. He is just trying to trick the Democratic electorate with a tidal wave of cash (with evident success).Now, Bloomberg does have a legitimate history of supporting gun control and climate policy. But it is exceedingly unlikely that he will be able to get past a Senate filibuster on gun control, especially given his sneering know-it-all approach. And given his politics and personal wealth, his climate policy would probably look a great deal like Emmanuel Macron's diesel tax in France — a carbon tax whose revenues would go towards cutting taxes on the rich. Macron's move sparked violent protests and was quickly abandoned.Does this sound like a guy who would do anything substantial to reverse Trump's worst policies? If we're lucky, he might reverse the Muslim ban and let a few people out of the CBP camps. If we're not, he'll implement a much quieter and more effective version of the same policies, and partisan Democrats will reverse-engineer justifications for these being somehow necessary (or just ignore them, as they did during the Obama years). Recall that Bloomberg once argued that every Social Security card should have fingerprints so unauthorized immigrants would be unable to get jobs.On the other hand, in some areas Bloomberg would likely be worse than Trump. As Mehdi Hasan writes at The Intercept, Bloomberg is a committed and pitiless warmonger — he supported the war in Iraq and repeated the Bush administration's lie that Saddam Hussein had plotted 9/11. (In January he said he had no regrets about doing so.) He opposed President Obama's Iran deal, and had few complaints about Trump's assassination of Iran's Qassem Soleimani. While Trump has escalated conflicts across the globe, he appears to have at least a mild hesitation about starting new full-scale wars of aggression. The chances of a shooting war with Iran probably increase if Bloomberg wins in 2020.Given his wretched politics, even Bloomberg's superior competence is a mark against him. Right now one tiny silver lining of the Trump administration is that the people trying to commit atrocities through the federal bureaucracy are so inept they keep fumbling the legal procedures and getting stopped in the courts. Bloomberg is sure to appoint competent authoritarian maniacs.And for all the people who complain that Bernie Sanders is not a real Democrat, Bloomberg was literally a Republican up until 2007, and worked to elect Republicans until very recently. In 2014, he or his political action committee donated to the senate campaigns of Susan Collins in Maine and Bob Dold in Illinois. In 2016, he donated $11.7 million to Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania — making it the most expensive Senate race in history up to that point, and likely securing victory for Toomey, who won by less than two points. Though he has also donated a lot to Democrats, Bloomberg is a guy who did more than almost anyone to help protect Mitch McConnell's Republican majority in the Senate, and hence to put two more conservatives on the Supreme Court.At bottom, Bloomberg is basically just like George W. Bush, with a dollop of maddening nanny-state condescension. Without question he would be one of the top five worst major-party presidential nominees in the last century of American history.This stance will no doubt infuriate the "vote blue no matter who" crowd who view Donald Trump as some kind of Lovecraftian nightmare. But even aside from how horrible a president Bloomberg would be, perhaps the most compelling reason not to vote for him is what his nomination would reveal about American democracy. It would mean that the oligarch class has so thoroughly corrupted the system that the voice of the people is drowned. His entire candidacy is a cartoonishly blatant instance of how money can corrupt democracy. Right now he is scooping up thousands of campaign operatives and field organizers by offering them as much as $6,000 a month — creating a desperate shortage for other campaigns. He's racking up endorsement after endorsement — of representatives, mayors, and one governor, so far — who have cashed checks from his vast empire of bribery. His nomination would mean the Democratic Party can be "bought over the counter like so many pounds of cheese."Partisan Democrats insist that everyone has an obligation to vote tactically — that is, to always pick the lesser of two evils in the voting booth. But as Daniel Davies argues, given that one's individual vote has virtually no chance of actually deciding the outcome, the truly tactical choice is to not bother to vote at all. The only compelling reason to vote is about civic duty and one's patriotic conscience. And as Davies writes, "it seems pretty clear that there is some point at which it becomes obvious that a morally and politically valid response is simply to declare that the fundamental basis of the implied contract has broken down, and that it's a reasonable choice to simply refuse to participate further." If the choice is Cthulhu versus Nyarlathotep, I for one see little point in voting for the candidate that might have one fewer grasping eldritch tentacle.Among Bernie Sanders supporters, I am far from the most die-hard. If I simply cannot countenance putting my name down for Bloomberg in November, there are millions more who would do the same — plus no small number of supporters of the other candidates, in all likelihood. Then there is the general fact that Bloomberg's extreme wealth and extensive record of racism and sexual harassment would negate most of the strongest attacks against Trump. Bloomberg would be highly likely to bleed enough support to third parties (or no one) to lose to Trump, just as Hillary Clinton did.Luckily, it will be easy to avoid this dreadful possibility. Simply vote against Michael Bloomberg in the Democratic primary.Editor's note: This article originally wrongly described the number of black men arrested under stop-and-frisk, and the percentage of stops that found nothing. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.More stories from theweek.com The Democratic Party is weak. Mike Bloomberg could break it. Bloomberg campaign says he'll sell his company if elected president Ben Affleck says an associate warned 'you'll drink yourself to death' if he didn't drop out of The Batman


South Korea coronavirus cases jump by half

South Korea coronavirus cases jump by halfSouth Korea reported 15 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday -- increasing its total by nearly 50 percent -- including a cluster of at least 11 centred on the southern city of Daegu. The trade-dependent South has been hit by the economic fallout from the virus outbreak in neighbouring China, but until Wednesday's jump, its own case numbers had hardly changed for several days. The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement that 15 new coronavirus cases had been confirmed, raising its total from 31 to 46.


U.S. Coronavirus Cases Nearly Double With No End in Sight

U.S. Coronavirus Cases Nearly Double With No End in SightConfirmed cases of the new, deadly coronavirus in the United States almost doubled over the holiday weekend thanks to the messy evacuation of Americans from a cruise ship in Japan, while fresh numbers from China suggested the disease might be deadlier than first believed.The U.S. government evacuated 328 American passengers from Tokyo early Monday on two chartered cargo jets, leaving dozens others behind who preferred to stay on the Diamond Princess cruise ship—despite a strong disembarkation recommendation from the federal government. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said over the weekend that it recommended repatriation so that it could take responsibility for care of the Americans and “to reduce the burden on the Japanese healthcare system.”All travelers from Japan were screened before boarding the aircraft “to prevent symptomatic travelers from departing Japan,” according to the CDC. But 14 people who ultimately proved to be infected with the disease were included in the evacuation anyway, with officials later explaining that the positive results came back as passengers were already heading to the airport.Dr. William Walters, managing director of operational medicine at the State Department, told reporters Monday that authorities evacuated passengers without knowing their test results because it was “unpredictable” when the results would come back. None of the diagnosed evacuees were showing symptoms, and they flew home in separate chambers—made of 10-feet-tall plastic sheets—from the other 314 passengers. The government planned to house all uninfected evacuees for 14 days at federal quarantine sites at Travis Air Force Base in California and Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas.‘It Failed’: Cruise Ship Coronavirus Snafus Stoke Fears of Global PandemicInfected evacuees, on the other hand, were sent to hospitals in California and at the University of Nebraska for treatment. Another five passengers on the flights had reportedly been put in isolation after developing fevers, a development that was likely to add to public skepticism of the U.S. and Japanese governments’ response to the virus, even as officials insisted that the risk to the general American public was still “low.”Eiji Kusumi, a doctor specializing in infectious diseases at Navitas Clinic in Tokyo, told The New York Times that the quarantine of the cruise ship, which remained docked in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, was an “unprecedented failure” and that officials should “learn from this lesson that a quarantine on a ship is impossible.”The cruise ship has for weeks housed the largest outbreak outside of China, and Japanese health authorities said Tuesday there were a total of 542 confirmed cases on the Diamond Princess—88 new ones since last count—out of 3,700 passengers and crew members. As of Tuesday, 2,404 people on board had tested negative for the virus.The vessel-wide quarantine, which began on Feb. 3, was set to end on Wednesday, but those who bunked with passengers or crew members who tested positive were slated to remain on board for longer. Only about 500 people were expected to be released on Wednesday, while more than 100 total U.S. citizens remained either on board or in hospitals in Japan, according to the CDC.Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institutes of Health, also admitted on Monday that the quarantine on the cruise ship “failed.” After weeks of debate about the subject, Japan said it would test everyone aboard the ship before allowing them to disembark.Outside of evacuees from the Diamond Princess, the CDC said there remained 15 confirmed cases in the U.S. on Tuesday out of 467 people under investigation for the coronavirus. Some 392 of those patients tested negative, while 60 remained pending on Tuesday. Several Americans who, before being released Tuesday, were stuck in federal quarantine in San Diego after returning from Wuhan earlier this month voiced concern over the effectiveness and thoroughness of the CDC’s response, some going so far as to draft a petition after the government mistakenly reintroduced an infected woman to the general population.Jacob Wilson, a 33-year-old American evacuee who works at a tech start-up in Wuhan, told The Daily Beast that he and his fellow evacuees were “swamped” by press at the airport after they were released.“Now hopefully I can get back to some normalcy,” he said.Meanwhile, as of Tuesday morning, China had reported 72,528 coronavirus cases, including 1,870 related deaths, according to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization. Outside of China, there were 804 cases in 25 countries, he added, with 12 other countries having confirmed instances of human-to-human transmission.“At the moment, we don’t have enough data on cases outside China to make a meaningful comparison on the severity of the disease or the case fatality rate,” said Tedros.But as the Times reported, an analysis by Chinese authorities from data on 44,672 patients suggested that about 2.3 percent of cases of the disease had been fatal as of Feb. 11. Nearly 14 percent of people who tested positive for the infection had severe cases, and about 5 percent had critical illnesses, according to Chinese authorities. The data showed that 30 percent of those who died from the virus were in their 60s, 30 percent were in their 70s, and another 20 percent were 80 or older. Since then, daily figures indicated the virus’s fatality rate had only increased. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


The Turkish Trap: How Erdogan Made New Enemies and Enraged the Arab Community

The Turkish Trap: How Erdogan Made New Enemies and Enraged the Arab CommunityAs Recep Erdogan sends Turkish troops and Syrian rebel fighters into Libya, it has become clear that the Syrian forces Turkey-backed were never meant to fight for Assad but instead do Turkey's bidding.




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Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One

Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nation’s military, the mind’s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagon’s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.

Living Wages Are A Global Problem

The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.

Ukraine: Not What It Seems

After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.

In a Five to Four Decision, Voting Just Got Harder

In a five to four decision along party lines, the Supreme Court ruled on the controversial Shelby County v. Holder case. The ruling, believed by many sets the nation back decades in Civil Rights, while others see it as the fault of Congress dropping the ball on updating the act when it should have years ago.

Coup Or Civil War In Egypt

The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.

 

 
 
 
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