There has been worldwide fallout over the recent shooting in Christchurch. One of the perhaps unexpected consequences of that shooting is that critics from around the world blame the Unite States for spreading such the kind of white supremacist ideology that inspired the Christchurch killer. Donald Trump denied that white supremacy is on the rise around the world a a consequence of the United States.
Critics, however, say otherwise. Karam Dana, a professor of Middle East politics and director of the American Muslim Research Institute at the University of Washington, Bothell, has said that the “United States is the epicenter of the world in terms of how white identity is seen.”
Former FBI agent Ali H. Soufan, founder of the security consultancy Soufan Group, predicted last year that Trump’s rhetoric would lead to violence. According to a CBS report, white supremacist violence in the U.S. is on the rise. The FBI has around 900 domestic terrorism cases, including those with links to white supremacists and such ideology.
Jim Accosta from CNN has rebuffed the president’s denials, saying in an interview with Anderson Cooper that the Christchurch killer used the same kind of language as Trump, “so, the White House can’t whitewash the white nationalism every time.”
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The drama continues to unfold after a recent FBI investigation uncovered the largest ever college admissions scheme. The scheme was orchestrated by William Singer, owner of college admissions companies Key Worldwide Foundation and Edge College & Career Network. Singer pled guilty to accepting bribes totaling $25 million, and he has claimed to have worked with over 750 families.
Two of Singer’s most famous clients are Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. They allegedly paid Singer to engineer their children’s admission into top universities. Singer had associates take admissions tests for students, ensuring perfect scores. He also got the students labeled disabled in some way or faked athletic credentials to bribe coaches. These bribes were often disguised as charitable donations.
Enter the lawsuit. Jennifer Kay Toy alleges that Loughlin and Huffman’s actions prevented her child from getting into a top school. The $500 billion lawsuit seems fairly ridiculous, but it is a sign of things to come. “I’m now outraged and hurt because I feel that my son, my only child, was denied access to a college, not because he failed to work and study hard enough, but because wealthy individuals felt it was OK to lie, cheat, steal and bribe their children’s way into a good college,” Toy claimed.
Students have also sued universities. The Hallmark channel dropped Loughlin from their lineup, though she had worked with the network since 2010.
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As the dust settles from the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s recent history, more news about the attacks is surfacing and the country is struggling to deal with the tragedy.
One man is being hailed as a hero for confronting the attacker and preventing an untold number of deaths. Abdul Aziz, 49, saw the gunman approaching the mosque, shooting anyone in his way. Though his wife and young sons urged him to take refuge in the mosque, he instead grabbed the first thing he could reach––a credit card machine––and sprinted into the parking lot. He shouted and ran towards the shooter. Aziz picked up an empty gun the shooter had discarded and launched it at the now retreating shooter, shattering his car windshield and scaring him off. The shooter was apprehended soon after.
Reddit has responded to the mass shooting by banning its most violent, goriest subreddits: /r/watchpeopledie and /r/gore.
Also in response to the shooting New Zealand will ban semi-automatic weapons. The Prime Minister made that bold announcement, but there have been other, unsuccessful attempts to change the gun laws in the past.
The New Zealand Jewish community has taken the unprecedented step of closing their synagogues for Shabbat in solidarity with the community.
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Although Beto O’Rourke’s bid for one of Texas’s Senate seats was ultimately unsuccessful, his electrifying campaign made national headlines. His fame was such that he believed––and many of his supporters and advisors believed––that he could be a viable candidate for the Democratic nomination for president.
Last week, he launched his campaign:
The announcement was accompanied by a Vanity Fair piece.
Almost immediately, O’Rourke came under fire for a variety of things.
First, it was his wife’s silence during the announcement video. She sat quietly, gazing lovingly at her husband and smiling, for the entire video. Observers point out that the silent-wife routine does not fit into a candidate pool with powerful women leaders.
Then critics accused Beto of having a huge ego, the result of white male entitlement. Other accused him of being a “poor man’s Obama.”
Beto himself soon increased his own problems by making inappropriate jokes about his marriage, white privilege, and his teen hobbies. He has made public apologies and vowed to be more thoughtful. He admitted to benefitting from white privilege.
Beto was already coming off a deficit because he lost his Senate bid in the midterms. Trump already has a ready-made insult for Beto: He’s a loser. But it looks like Beto may not make it very far.
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President Donald Trump issued a thinly veiled threat on Monday in an interview with Breitbart News. He said:
“You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump–I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough—until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”
News outlets have pointed out that these statements are highly authoritarian, but Republicans don’t seem to mind. The Washington Post suggests that Trump’s mention of the police and the military is especially frightening.
Trump’s boasting on Monday was not a random threat. It must be taken in the context of the week’s political climate. The Mueller report is going to drop any time now, and the House of Representatives just passed a resolution for making the report public with a stunning 420-0 vote in favor. Trump, seeing the potential for a presidency-ending––or an election-killing––report, may be posturing to save his own neck.
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Following a House vote to override Trump’s national emergency proclamation, twelve Senate Republicans broke ranks and also voted against the proclamation in a 59-41 vote. To see which Republicans broke ranks, see this Politico run down. The vote sets Trump up for the first veto of his presidency. Unsurprisingly, Trump took to Twitter almost as soon as the news broke to express his displeasure and his intent:
Followed by a slightly more articulate tweet, “I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country. I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!”
The support of twelve Republicans is a serious rebuke to Trump, who used the national emergency declaration to attempt to avoid congressional budgetary approval for his vaunted border wall. Earlier this week, seven Republicans voted against Trump’s wishes and voted to end US involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. Trump is also expected to veto that bill.
Thus we enter a new stage in the Trump presidency. Time will tell if Congress can muster enough votes for a veto override. In the case of the national emergency declaration, they would only need seven more votes.
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A recent FBI investigation has revealed the largest ever college admissions scam.
William Singer, owner of college admissions companies Key Worldwide Foundation and Edge College & Career Network, the alleged ringleader of the scam, has pled guilty to accepting bribes totaling $25 million. He also to have worked with over 750 families.
Parents paid Singer, who would in turn have people take admissions tests for students, ensuring perfect scores. He would get the students labeled disabled in some way. He would fake athletic credentials and bribe coaches. These Bribes were often disguised as charitable donations.
While most of the students seem to have been unaware of their parents schemes, some did know. Take the case of Isabelle Henriquez, for example. She is the daughter of Manuel Henriquez of Hercules Capital. Isabelle took her SAT at a special location, where the proctor worked with Singer. The proctor sat next to Isabelle and gave her the answers “After the exam, he ‘gloated’ with [Isbelle’s mother] Elizabeth Henriquez and her daughter about the fact that they had cheated and gotten away with it.”
What should be done with these students? To maintain the credibility of higher education, there can be only one option: all students who benefitted from this scheme must be immediately expelled or, if they have already graduated, their degrees must be nullified. If they wish to try again, then they must re-apply to colleges under a pseudonym, carefully monitored by an independent agency. Allowing anyone to benefit from cheating devalues the degrees of the millions of Americans who worked hard to earn those degrees, and it makes a mockery of those who make massive financial sacrifices to attend college. The parents of these students should donate money to provide scholarships for low-income students.
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In yet another instance of a faked hate crime, right-wing propagandist Jacob Wohl has faked death threats against himself. This is merely the latest in a long string of such events.
Several months ago, actor Jussie Smollett claimed to have been attacked by two white men wearing ski masks. According to Smollett, the men threw an unknown chemical on him, wrapped a rope around his neck like a noose, yelled racist and anti-homosexual slurs at him, and then shouted “This is MAGA country!” before fleeing the scene.
The incident led civil rights activist groups to denounce the incident for its racism and homophobia, and to claim that America was still very racist and homophobic. The attack was the most recent in a series of allegedly racist and homophobic incidents perpetrated against cast of the show “Empire.”
Journalist Andy Ngo has listed a variety of fake hate crimes on his Twitter feed. Ngo argues that the Southern Poverty Law Center––an organization that has been criticized for its liberal bias––is trying to incite panic against Trump and Republicans. This line of reasoning suggests that a fake hate crime may be a political ploy, or a means of bringing attention to causes.
Ngo’s Twitter long list of hoaxes shows that they are occurring more frequently. While most of his examples are progressive hoaxers, the Wohl incident serves as a reminder that the both extremes of the political spectrum are seeking to profit off the contemporary culture of victimization.
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The United States and Canada are the only two countries that have not banned the Boeing 737 Max 8. The nearly worldwide decision to ground the plan follows the crash Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which plummeted shortly after takeoff. The plane struggled to ascend at a stable speed, and then the pilot issued a distress call after the. The jet was cleared to return to Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, but it lost contact with air traffic control six minutes after takeoff and then crashed. The plane had 157 people on board, including passengers from at least thirty-five different countries.
The crashed plane, a Boeing 737 Max 8, was the same kind of plane involved in the Lion Air crash in Indonesia in which 189 people died. Both American and Indonesian officials suggest that automated anti-stall software may have caused the Lion Air crash.
The UK, Oman, Singapore, Australia, Ireland and France and Norwegian Airlines suspended the whole Boeing 737 Max range. India, Dubai, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iceland, Germany and the airlines LOT Polish, TUI Airways, GOL Linhas Aereas, Aeromexico, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Cayman Airways, Comair Airways, Eastar Jet, Jet Airways, Mongolian Airlines, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Lion Air and Silkair have suspended the Max 8. Turkey suspended Max 8 and 9 models.
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Higher education has gotten so competitive and so expensive that you might be tempted to think it’s just one big scam. According to a recent FBI investigation, you would be right to feel that way. Fifty people have been charged with participating in a massive college admissions cheating scheme––the largest such scam ever.
Those who have been indicted so far have been accused of paying up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into schools like Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, and the University of Southern California––among others.
William Singer, owner of college admissions companies Key Worldwide Foundation and Edge College & Career Network, the alleged ringleader of the scam, has pled guilty to accepting bribes totaling $25 million. The scam worked like this: parents would pay Singer, and Singer would in turn render their child’s application much more likely to be accepted. He had people take admissions tests for students, ensuring perfect scores. He would get the students labeled disabled in some way. He would fake athletic credentials and bribe coaches (as was the case with Yale soccer coach who accepted a $400,000 bribe to let a non-soccer player in as an “athlete”). Bribes were often disguised as charitable donations, Aunt Becky from Full House (Lori Loughlin), for example, “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”
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On Sunday, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoff. The pilot issued a distress call after the plane struggled to ascend at a stable speed. The jet was cleared to return to Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, but it lost contact with air traffic control six minutes after takeoff and then crashed. The plane had 157 people on board, including passengers from at least thirty-five different countries. Among the passengers were United Nations delegates.
The crashed plane was a Boeing 737 Max 8. It was the same kind of plane involved in the Lion Air crash in Indonesia in which 189 people died. Both American and Indonesian officials suggest that automated anti-stall software may have caused the Lion Air crash.
As a result of this second crash, both China and Indonesia have grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 flights. The Chinese aviation oversight agency said that it had a zero tolerance policy for safety hazards: “Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity.” This is enough of a risk for China to ground all flights.
A variety of airlines––many of which operate in the United States––are still operating 737 Max-8 jets.
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President Trump has just proposed the largest budget in history. The whopping $4.75 trillion dolor proposition includes massive increases in military spending––more money than the Pentagon actually asked for, as well as $8.6 billion for a border wall. If that bit about the border wall sounds like déjà vu, you’re right. Trump’s $5 billion border wall ask shut the government down for the longest period in history.
The budget will also $1.9 trillion in cuts (which the White House is calling “cost savings”) from domestic programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
The budget is so bad that even some Republicans tried to shy away the from its key details. White House Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought said, “We need to continue to secure the country. We need to continue to secure the border. We’re not going to be bashful about that. But at the same time, we’re also going to say that we have many, many programs that are wasteful and inefficient that we can no longer afford.”
Congress sets the budget, so Trump’s proposal will likely have little impact on what actual government spending will look like. Nevertheless, the proposal is significant because it signals the President’s campaign strategy for the upcoming election.
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