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Journal Archives

Tense Epstein Hearing Airs Sex Claims Against Alan Dershowitz...

By JOSH GERSTEIN 03/06/2019 11:56 AM EST Updated 03/06/2019 11:04 PM EST

NEW YORK — A federal appeals court panel signaled Wednesday that it is strongly inclined to set in motion a process likely to expose more sordid details in the politically charged scandal surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier and philanthropist whose relatively cushy plea deal on underage-sex charges a decade ago has become a political liability for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.

Sparks flew during arguments before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan as a lawyer for Virginia Roberts Giuffre, an Epstein accuser, repeatedly reiterated his client’s claim leveled several years ago that the Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz not only defended Epstein but also had sex with some of the women Epstein victimized.

Giuffre’s attorney Paul Cassell, a former federal judge, told the three-judge panel that his client favored a “broad unsealing” of the records in a suit that Giuffre brought against Ghislaine Maxwell, an Epstein friend accused of helping procure girls for Epstein and others to engage in sexual activity.

“It will demonstrate Epstein and Maxwell sexually trafficked her to Epstein’s friends, including Alan Dershowitz,” Cassell told the court. “She wants all the documents unsealed substantively.”

The claim raised tension in the courtroom because Dershowitz, who adamantly denies the allegation, was sitting just feet away in the courtroom gallery. He rose a short time later to pass a note to his attorney and later took up a seat in the well of the courtroom.


ZOA Appalled: Toothless House Dem. Antisemitism Res. Protects/Defends Antisemites in Congress

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein, ZOA Chairman Mark Levenson, Esq., and ZOA Director of Special Projects Elizabeth Berney, Esq. released the following statement:

The House Democrats’ toothless, counterproductive, disappointing draft resolution on antisemitism, scheduled to be voted on tomorrow, sends a distressing message to American Jewry that the House Democratic leadership will do nothing to curb radical antisemitic Congresspersons’ persistent, ugly, erroneous defamatory attacks on the Jewish people and the Jewish State, and will instead deflect attention from the real problem of Jew-hatred and Israel-hatred by invoking the specter of “Islamophobia.” The draft resolution fails to name, condemn and urge any action against Congresspersons Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for making and publicizing repeated antisemitic statements. Even worse, the draft resolution contains counterproductive language defending and protecting the very same radical Muslim Congresspersons who are guilty of making repeated Jew-hating statements (and who have involvements with Israel-bashing groups such as unindicted Hamas-funding co-conspirators the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)).

The draft Democratic resolution also never mentions Reps. Omar, Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez’s statements reflecting their hatred of the Jewish State, and fails to explain that the State Department official definition of antisemitism makes clear that hatred and bias towards the Jewish State of Israel is a form of antisemitism.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders wrote the draft antisemitism resolution following Rep. Ilhan Omar’s latest antisemitic “dual loyalty” charges against Jews. (See “Dems Draft Anti-Semitism Resolution Following Omar’s Remarks,” AP, Mar. 5, 2019.) However, instead of condemning or even mentioning Rep. Ilhan Omar and fellow-Israel- and Jew-basher Rashida Tlaib, the draft resolution asserts that Muslim Congresspersons are victims, stating:

“Whereas accusations of dual loyalty generally have an insidious, bigoted history, including— . . . (4) the post-9/11 conditions faced by Muslim-Americans in the United States, including unfounded, vicious attacks on and threats to Muslim-American Members of Congress.”


Pentagon Relaunches Cold War-Era Assault Breaker Program To Fend Off Russia & China - Report

Published time: 6 Mar, 2019 19:55

The Pentagon has dusted off a Cold war era concept to deal with large attacking forces, revamping it to fight Russia and China. While all the technologies are in place, the new-look program will come to fruition only in 10 years.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is resurrecting the decades-old Assault Breaker concept, Aviation Week reported Monday. The concept, once intended to prevent hordes of Soviet tanks from steamrolling NATO forces in western Europe, is now refurbished to fight China and Russia (again). Or, at least, to dissuade them from launching any “surprise attacks” on the US and its allies.

The original Assault Breaker project, conceived in late 1970s, focused on creating precision-guided munitions and submunitions, which could identify and destroy the armored targets of the Soviets.

In case of a surprise attack, B-52 strategic bombers and JSTARS command and control aircraft would be dispatched to stop and cripple the advancing forces. Each plane would carry at least 20 Assault Breaker ‘bus’ missiles, each packed with 40 smart submunitions. On top of that, submunition ‘buses’ could have been fired by ground-based MRLS systems.


Oh goody, another multi-billion dollar boondoggle to add to the national debt.

Ilhan Omars Criticism Raises the Question: Is Aipac Too Powerful?

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg
March 4, 2019

WASHINGTON — When Representative Ilhan Omar landed a coveted seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Stephen Fiske began working the phones to Capitol Hill.

Alarmed by messaging that he saw as anti-Semitic and by Ms. Omar’s support for the boycott-Israel movement, Mr. Fiske, a longtime activist with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, began texting and calling his friends in Congress to complain. He is hoping Aipac activists will punish Ms. Omar, a freshman Democrat from Minnesota, with a primary challenge in 2020.

On Wednesday, House Democratic leaders will mete out one form of punishment: Spurred by outrage over Ms. Omar’s latest comments suggesting that pro-Israel activists “push for allegiance to a foreign country,” they will put a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on the House floor.

“Many other people involved in the pro-Israel community, a lot of Aipac-affiliated members, there’s a lot of concern; there’s a clarion call for activism,” said Mr. Fiske, who is the chairman of a political action committee that backs pro-Israel candidates. “It really hit a nerve, and the grass-roots Jewish community in South Florida is not one to treat it as an ostrich, putting their heads in the sand.”


Not O-KKK: School Under Fire For Play Featuring Klansmen

The Sioux Falls School District in South Dakota has apologized after high school students appeared dressed in Ku Klux Klan costumes during a play, saying proper performance vetting guidelines weren’t followed.

The Roosevelt High School’s performance of The Foreigner sparked outrage this weekend after student actors performed in KKK costumes. Images were soon shared on social media, igniting disgust and debate across Twitter.

Sioux Falls School District addressed the furore after concerns were raised by a local organization, Establishing Sustainable Connections, the Argus Leader reports.

“The district has guidelines in place for vetting plays and other such works and the district failed to follow those guidelines,” school district spokeswoman DeeAnn Konrad said.


We Aren't Slaves: Erdogan Defies US Pressure Over S-400 Deal With Russia, Says S-500 May Follow

Published time: 7 Mar, 2019 01:14

Ankara is not a slave to an America in which Washington decides which weapons system Turkey can purchase, the country’s president proclaimed, stressing its deployment of Russia's S-400 air defense systems will proceed as planned.

Ankara’s resilience against US pressure over the purchase of the S-400 systems remains rock solid, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan clarified on Wednesday, stressing that Turkey is a sovereign nation which has the right to choose its trade partners and arms suppliers.

“It’s done. There can never be a turning back. This would not be ethical, it would be immoral. Nobody should ask us to lick up what we spat,” Erdogan told Kanal 24.

We’re an independent country, not slaves.

The fuss over the Russian deal is now even forcing Turkey to consider upgrading to the next-generation of Russian air defense systems, the S-500, once it enters Russian military service sometime in 2020, Erdogan said.


Trump Works To Maintain Illusions Of Progress, As His Main Promises Go Unfulfilled

MAR 06, 2019

President Trump, now in the third year of his term, is struggling to maintain the illusion of accomplishment as some of his biggest promises remain unfulfilled.

Though his showy summit diplomacy with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed in Vietnam last week, dashing Trump’s prediction of “fantastic success,” the president continues to insist that he’s made unprecedented progress toward getting that nation to relinquish its nuclear arms program — even as his intelligence advisors say otherwise.

Over the weekend, Trump yet again boasted to supporters that his border wall is under construction, as if it were nearly finished. In fact, no new miles of any barrier have been built during his presidency and a Republican-controlled Senate is poised to join the Democratic-controlled House in rejecting his declaration of a national emergency to pay for an installment.

Also, Trump is lately hailing progress in trade talks with China as if a landmark deal were imminent. Yet he’s said so for months, and this week his secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, traveled to politically influential Iowa to persuade farmers hurt by China’s retaliatory tariffs that the president’s trade war ultimately will push Beijing into an agreement benefiting them. Even if a deal takes shape this month in time for Trump’s planned meeting with China’s Xi Jinping, it’s not expected to include the long-sought concessions he’s talked of.

In another blow to Trump’s trade promises, on Wednesday the Commerce Department reported that in 2018 the U.S. trade deficit grew to $621 billion, a 10-year high, and the gap with China set a record — defying the president’s vows to reverse the trend.


US Growth To Slow 'Considerably' In 2019: NY Fed

/Live news

Date created : 06/03/2019 - 20:31

Washington (AFP)

The US economy should slow "considerably" in 2019 as the boost from last year's economic stimulus fades, the president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank said Wednesday.

Amid economic uncertainty, the Federal Reserve could "wait" before raising interest rates again, John Williams said in remarks to the Economic Club of New York.

Williams holds the number two position on the central bank's rate-setting monetary policy committee.

Global markets have fallen in recent weeks as investors grow fearful the world economy will slow.


GM Plant In Ohio To Close This Month Resulting In Loss Of 1,700 Hourly Jobs

Updated Mar 6, 1:59 PM;
Posted Mar 6, 1:59 PM

By Benjamin Raven |

After more than 50 years in operation, General Motors will close its Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio at some point this month resulting in the loss of about 1,700 hourly positions.

The Associated Press reports Dan Flores, a spokesperson with the Detroit-based automaker, says that the plant’s parts-stamping work will continue through most of this month. Mark Reuss, GM’s new president as of January, has said that the automaker can’t keep operating a facility responsible for an underperforming vehicle such as the Chevy Cruze.

GM’s Lordstown Plant comes in at 6.2 million square feet, and Flores said the automaker will keep it heated and maintained after it closes so it is ready in case it reopens. A.P. reports that a final decision regarding its future is expected this summer once contract talks with the United Auto Workers open up.

This comes after GM announced in November it would close three assembly plants and two propulsion plants in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland and Ontario by the end of 2019. These closures will result in the loss of about 14,700 jobs including 8,100 white-collar, salaried employees.


House Democrats erupt in protests over indirect sanction of Rep. Omar for alleged anti-Semitism

Mike DeBonis, Rachael Bade 2 hrs ago

House Democrats erupted in fury Wednesday, challenging leaders over indirectly sanctioning freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar for alleged anti-Semitic remarks amid an outcry over party inaction to President Trump’s divisive comments on race.

In a closed-door session, Democrats protested plans to vote this week on a resolution condemning religious hatred, a measure prompted by Omar’s comments last week suggesting supporters of Israel have “allegiance to a foreign country.”

The remarks have exploded into a larger debate over how Congress should respond to individual racial and religious grievances. It also touched off Democratic concerns that the splintering was overshadowing the newfound majority’s agenda, with Republicans seeking to capi­tal­ize politically on the divide.


Many of those speaking out Wednesday were members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who bristled at the notion that Omar (Minn.) would be targeted for a rebuke — even an indirect one, as Democratic leaders had planned — while lawmakers remain silent about Republican behavior, especially that of Trump.

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