Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from Syria   

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Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from SyriaMitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham lead condemnation of foreign policy move that could prove ‘disaster in the making’Donald Trump with Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, in the Cabinet Room on Monday. Lindsey Graham said abandoning the Kurds would be ‘a stain on America’s honour’. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/APDonald Trump was dangerously isolated on Monday as, in a rare rebuke, some of his most loyal allies revolted against his decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell led a chorus of Republicans who, having defended the president on almost every other issue – including over impeachment – decided to draw a line in the sand.“A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said. “And it would increase the risk that Isis and other terrorist groups regroup.”He added: “As we learned the hard way during the Obama administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal.”The criticism was significant because McConnell is usually at pains not to cross Trump even at his most capricious. Last week the Kentucky senator released a Facebook video promising to stop Democratic-led impeachment in its tracks.Article 1 of the United States constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to initiate impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" – although the constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are.The process starts with the House of Representatives passing articles of impeachment. A simple majority of members need to vote in favour of impeachment for it to pass to the next stage. Democrats currently control the house, with 235 representatives.The chief justice of the US supreme court then presides over the proceedings in the Senate, where the president is tried, with senators acting as the jury. For the president to be found guilty two-thirds of senators must vote to convict. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 of the 100 senators.Two presidents have previously been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868, though neither was removed from office as a result. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before there was a formal vote to impeach him.Martin BelamThe unusual fracture emerged on Sunday night when, shortly after a phone conversation between Trump and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House announced removal of US troops from the Syria-Turkey border area. “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” it added.Critics of all political stripes have long feared that the move could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area. Kurdish groups have fought alongside a small US presence in Syria to drive Islamic State militants from the region.The Republican backlash was rapid and potentially unnerving for a president whose fate is tethered to the party and the assumption that it will acquit him in the Senate if, as widely expected, the Democratic-led House of Representatives votes for impeachment.Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, who has become an outspoken defender (and frequent golf partner) of Trump, did not acquiesce this time. Abandonment of the Kurds would be “a disaster in the making”, he said, and “a stain on America’s honour”.Graham told Fox News: “I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is. I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”Graham wrote on Twitter that if the plan goes ahead, he will introduce a Senate resolution opposing it and seeking reversal of the decision. He added: “We will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate.”Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, whose attempts to defend Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president have provoked mockery, said: “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”Michael McCaul of Texas, the lead Republican on the House foreign affairs committee, also urged the president to reconsider. “The United States should not step aside and allow a Turkish military operation in north-east Syria,” he said. “This move will undermine our ongoing campaign to prevent an Isis resurgence and will ultimately threaten our homeland.“Additionally, the United States needs to stay engaged to prevent further destructive involvement in the region from our adversaries like the Assad regime, Putin and Iran.”Notably, senator Marco Rubio of Florida, reluctant to criticise Trump even when the president suggested that China investigate former vice president and 2020 election rival Joe Biden, was clear , describing the retreat as “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria”And Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, admonished Trump without mentioning his name. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she tweeted. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. TurkeyIsNotOurFriend”Ominously for Trump, even conservative Fox News aired dissent. Host Brian Kilmeade described the pullout as “a disaster”, telling viewers of Fox & Friends: “Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?”Republicans who have contradicted Trump before did so forcefully again. Utah senator Mitt Romney described Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal”, adding: “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”Romney and Democratic senator Chris Murphy issued a joint statement insisting Trump’s administration “explain to the American people how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests”.Democrats also piled in but there was a lone voice of support for the president on Capitol Hill. Republican senator Rand Paul, long a critic of foreign intervention, said: “So many neocons want us to stay in wars all over the Middle East forever. [Trump] is absolutely right to end those wars and bring the troops home.”Trump himself was undeterred by the blowback. Speaking at the White House on Monday, he said he has “great respect” for the prominent Republican critics. And added: “People are extremely thrilled because they say it’s time to bring our people back home. We’re not a police force. They’re policing the area. We’re not a police force. The UK was very thrilled at this decision … many people agree with it very strongly.”



          

Thomas Jefferson on whether the American Constitution is binding on those who were not born at the time it was signed and agreed to (1789)   

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Thomas Jefferson on whether the American Constitution is binding on those who were not born at the time it was signed and agreed to (1789)


          

Tiedeman states that the police powers under the constitution are strictly limited to enforcing the maxim: "use your own property in such a manner as not to injure that of another" (1886)   

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Tiedeman states that the police powers under the constitution are strictly limited to enforcing the maxim: “use your own property in such a manner as not to injure that of another” (1886)


          

Spooner states the importance of the 9th Amendment to the American Constitution which protects the natural rights of the people not enumerated in the 1st 8 Amendments (1886)   

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Spooner states the importance of the 9th Amendment to the American Constitution which protects the natural rights of the people not enumerated in the 1st 8 Amendments (1886)


          

Captain John Clarke asserts the right of all men to vote in the formation of a new constitution by right of the property they have in themselves (1647)   

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Captain John Clarke asserts the right of all men to vote in the formation of a new constitution by right of the property they have in themselves (1647)


          

John Adams predicts a glorious future for America under the new constitution and is in "reverence and awe" at its future prospects (1787)   

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John Adams predicts a glorious future for America under the new constitution and is in “reverence and awe” at its future prospects (1787)


          

Percy Bysshe Shelley on the new Constitution of Naples which he hoped would be "as a mirror to make ... blind slaves see" (1820)   

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Percy Bysshe Shelley on the new Constitution of Naples which he hoped would be “as a mirror to make … blind slaves see” (1820)


          

James Madison argues that the constitution places war-making powers squarely with the legislative branch; for the president to have these powers is the "the true nurse of executive aggrandizement" (1793)   

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James Madison argues that the constitution places war-making powers squarely with the legislative branch; for the president to have these powers is the “the true nurse of executive aggrandizement” (1793)


          

The IVth Amendment to the American Constitution states that the people shall be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures and that no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause (1788)   

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The IVth Amendment to the American Constitution states that the people shall be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures and that no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause (1788)


          

Lance Banning argues that within a decade of the creation of the US Constitution the nation was engaged in a bitter battle over the soul of the American Republic (2004)   

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Lance Banning argues that within a decade of the creation of the US Constitution the nation was engaged in a bitter battle over the soul of the American Republic (2004)


          

Edward Gibbon believed that unless public liberty was defended by "intrepid and vigilant guardians" any constitution would degenerate into despotism (1776)   

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Edward Gibbon believed that unless public liberty was defended by “intrepid and vigilant guardians” any constitution would degenerate into despotism (1776)


          

Find me at the Huffington Post!   

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Yes, that's right, Fleur Flaneur's expanding her Internet horizons. I'll keep posting here (probably adhering to a new schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday updates), but some slightly tidier journalism of mine (under my real-life name) now appears at the Huffington Post!


When Off The Beaten Path Becomes Mainstream: Rediscovering A 'Discovered' City In Tbilisi, Georgia


A few nights ago, at an Ossetian dive bar in the heart of the Tbilisi's historic district, my long-suffering English boyfriend was forcibly (if amiably) abducted by a table of Georgian men who insisted on testing his Anglo-Saxon constitution with copious amounts of cha cha (essentially gasoline schnapps). They had grown up nearby, on the street on which I now live. Their ringleader had emigrated to Strasbourg; this was his first visit back in 10 years.
Together they toasted and drank and sang along to gloriously kitschy folk songs and celebrated the old coterie come together again; they celebrated wine and women and the street on which they had lived. I -- an expat with a respectable command of Georgian and the ability to hold my cha cha -- was just along for the ride.

          

House Democrats are finally catching up with Maxine Waters on impeachment   

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“The Constitution never envisioned anything like this.”
          

Flashback: Pelosi warns Little Red Riding Hood ‘Don’t go to the theatre’   

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  In case anyone still out there has any sense of humor…a Saturday flashback from an old post. Warning to Little Red Riding Hood  – don’t go to the theatre no one can warn you. Ok. I exaggerated. What she said was:   Nancy Pelosi: “The constitution does not say that a person can yell […]
          

Impeachment and Senate Trial   

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When the House impeaches an official, does the Senate have to act? The Constitution does not directly address this question, but Senate rules do. Matt Glassman:


But, but, but...


          

Supreme Court Case Could Overturn Oregon’s Problematic Spilt-Jury Rule   

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by Blair Stenvick
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A case going before the United States Supreme Court on Monday morning could fundamentally change Oregon’s criminal court system—and while most legal experts in Oregon support the potential change, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is urging the Supreme Court to maintain the status quo.

The case, Ramos v. Louisiana, asks the court to consider whether state-level split-jury convictions—that is, criminal convictions that do not require a fully unanimous jury—are constitutional or not. The case concerns Evangelisto Ramos, a man who was convicted of second-degree murder by a 10-2 jury decision in 2016.

A 10-2 jury split was the minimum standard for most criminal convictions in Louisiana, but voters overturned the policy in a statewide ballot measure last year. That left Oregon as the last remaining state in the nation to allow split-jury decisions—which would change if the Supreme Court rules that all split-jury convictions are unconstitutional.

Both Louisiana and Oregon’s split-jury rules had roots in racism and xenophobia; in Louisiana, the policy stemmed from Jim Crow-era law, while Oregon’s law can be traced back to 1930s anti-immigrant sentiment. A recent Pulitzer Prize-winning analysis by Louisiana newspaper The Advocate found that split-jury convictions affect Black defendants much more often than white ones.

Both criminal justice reform advocates like the Oregon Justice Resource Center and mainstream legal groups like the Oregon District Attorneys Association (ODAA)—two groups that often find themselves on opposite ends of an issue—support overturning Oregon’s split-jury rule.

“[It]t is a hallmark of our justice system that it should be difficult to take someone’s liberty,” wrote an ODAA member in an Oregonian op-ed last year. “That’s exactly why defendants in criminal cases enjoy the presumption of innocence and the prosecutor must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Adding the requirement of unanimity is another important safeguard against both wrongful convictions and wrongful acquittals.”

Rosenblum is also on the record as opposing split-jury convictions, saying she would support a statewide ballot measure banning them. But when it comes to Ramos in particular, Rosenblum falls on the side of stalling change, going so far as to submit a legal brief to the Supreme Court asking them to rule in favor of Louisiana.

In a statement shared with media in August, Rosenblum said she was concerned that a ruling in favor of Ramos could “require new trials in hundreds, if not thousands, of cases” in Oregon, which could in turn clog Oregon’s court system. She said her brief “in no way undercuts my view that Oregon should require juror unanimity in criminal cases going forward"—rather, she is worried about the potentially retroactive nature of a Ramos decision.

Aliza Kaplan, a law professor at Lewis & Clark and the co-founder of the Oregon Innocence Project, told the Mercury that in her opinion, Rosenblum is “acting like the sky is falling,” and that her estimate of cases that could be re-opened is likely overblown. Rosenblum’s office recently furnished Kaplan with a list of 292 cases that could be re-tried should the Supreme Court rule in favor of Ramos, but when Kaplan analyzed 110 of them, she found just 14 that she said would fit the legal requirements for relitigating.

And even if the ruling would overwhelm state courts, Kaplan said, that isn’t reason enough to oppose it.

“The Constitution should always trump any administrative inconvenience or burden,” she said. “This is about preserving individual rights and liberties.”

There are many moral and racial arguments for doing away with non-unanimous jury convictions. There are also commonsense arguments for keeping split-jury decisions: namely, that they make for a more efficient legal system, because they reduce the risk of having a hung jury. But Monday’s Ramos hearing will likely center around a more technical legal issue.

It is already established law that people are entitled to a unanimous jury at the federal level, thanks to the Sixth Amendment, which is part of the original Bill of Rights. But it is yet to be determined whether that right is extended to the state level through the 14th Amendment, which guarantees “due process,” or fair legal proceedings, to states. This practice—extending federal Bill of Rights protections to states through the 14th Amendment—is known as the “incorporation doctrine.”

The Supreme Court has already made many rulings based on incorporation doctrine—earlier this year, for example, it ruled that a right to not face excessive fines should apply to states, as opposed to only applying at the federal level. If the Supreme Court decides that split-jury verdicts are unconstitutional, it will likely be for that same reason.

Although the Supreme Court will hear arguments for Ramos on Monday morning, it is not required to release its decision until June 2020.

It remains to be seen what the exact effect of a pro-Ramos ruling could have on Oregon’s legal system. But for Kaplan, no cost could outweigh the benefit of abolishing split-jury decisions.

“Too much justice,” she said, “is not really a problem.”

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Georgia's controversial "heartbeat bill" won't go into effect in 2020   

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If you were worried about the country turning into one big Handmaid's Tale scenario, you can sleep a little easier tonight. A federal judge blocked the bill from going into effect while it's being challenged. The restrictive law, which would ban abortion after a heartbeat is detected in the fetus, was supposed to go into effect on January 1st of next year. Abortions would be illegal at around six weeks into pregnancy, a point where many women don't even know they're pregnant. Currently, Georgia allows an abortion up to the 20th week of pregnancy, and that's the way it's going to stay for now.

In his ruling, Judge Jones noted that the U.S. supreme court has "repeatedly and unequivocally" held up Roe vs. Wade, and that the Constitution allows a woman to receive an abortion about 24 weeks into her pregnancy. "By banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, HB 481 prohibits women from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy at a point before viability," District Judge Steve C. Jones said.


The bill also would also count a fetus as a person once the heartbeat was detected, counting the fetus as part of the population of Georgia before they were born. Judge Jones had a problem with this change as well. "HB 481 changes the definition of a natural person in Georgia, but defendants have been unable to point to any guidance for law enforcement or the judiciary on how to implement that change throughout the code," Judge Jones wrote.

The federal judge's ruling comes after an intense debate over the bill. Despite an outcry against HB 481, it was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp in May. Both the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and Planned Parenthood sued the state of Georgia in June, shortly after the bill was signed. Other attempts at restrictive abortion laws in Arkansas and Mississippi have also been blocked.

The groups that moved to prevent the ban from going into place are celebrating. "To the countless Georgians who spoke out against this ban and were ignored, we promised to keep fighting every step of the way and we have," Staci Fox, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Southeast said in a statement. "To our partners, we promised we were in this together and we are. To Governor Kemp, we promised to see you in court, and we did. But most importantly, to our patients, we promised to protect access to safe, legal abortion and together we have."

RELATED: Who are the 1 in 4 American women who choose abortion?







The bill still has to go through the courts, and its fate has yet to be determined. But for now, the block on the ban should come as good news for those opposing the restrictive rule.


          

Hillary Clinton discusses Trump's impeachment to a crowd chanting 'Lock him up!'   

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One of the darkest refrains of the Trump presidency have been the crowds at his rallies chanting "Lock her up" at the mention of Hillary Clinton's name.

The idea that an American president would threaten to imprison a political rival smacks of authoritarian tactics that have no place in a democracy.

These days, the chants seem rather ironic being that Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives for trying to extort the president of Ukraine. If Trump is removed from office, he may face legal consequences for his actions which could mean jail time.


"The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert had fun with the idea of Trump being locked up on his show Monday night when his guests were former Secretary of State Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea.

Amber Guyger, the off-duty cop who murdered an unarmed black man in his own apartment, found guilty

At the start of the interview, Colbert asked Clinton about the impeachment inquiry saying, "Is it time to — dare I say — lock him up?"

Then the crowd began chanting "Lock him up" to Clinton's chagrin and then she motioned with her hand to tamp down the chanting.

When the crowed quieted, Clinton said that the impeachment inquiry is "exactly what should be done."

"I believe strongly that this particular incident has had such a huge impact because we've known for a long time that he [Trump] was a corrupt businessman who cheated people, and we've known that he and his campaign asked for aid from Russia, we've known that," said Clinton.

"But to see him in the office of the president putting his own personal and political interest ahead of the national security of our country just pierced through whatever confusion or denial people had. And, at that point, Speaker Pelosi rightly said this is something we have to investigate and that's what's going on."

Colbert admits that Trump's dealings with Ukraine have changed his opinion on impeachment.

"I was never a big 'let's impeach him' fan," Colbert said. "I thought we should go to the ballot box. But when someone is clearly using the office that they're in to subvert the ballot box. To use by corrupt means influence fro other countries to maintain their office, what good is that ballot box at that point?"

RELATED: Ivanka claimed the 'force is strong' in her family and Luke Skywalker wasn't having it

Clinton knows about impeachment. Her husband was impeached in 1998 and, as a young lawyer, she worked on the case against Richard Nixon. She believes that Trump's actions are exactly what the framers of the Constitution were defending against.

"To undermine the oath that he took to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people that's what falls right into the definition of an impeachable offense," she said.

Colbert also asked Clinton's thoughts on current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was on the call when President Trump attempted to extort the president of Ukraine.

"How many times when you were Secretary of State did you have to say to Barack Obama 'You can't extort foreign countries'?

"Yeah, that never happened," Clinton laughed.


          

Os dois pesos e duas medidas da Organização dos Estados Americanos   

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Losing Legitimacy? The Organization of American States and its inconsistent defense of democracy, por Adam Ratzlaff (Global Americans):
Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), has been an outspoken proponent for democracy in Venezuela. Even before Juan Guaidó invoked the country’s Constitution and declared the Venezuelan presidency vacant, under Almagro’s direction the OAS has become a fierce promoter of democracy in the Americas and the defender of free and fair elections. But although Almagro has championed the cause of democracy in Venezuela and Honduras, he has failed to protect democracy in other countries in the region and, in so doing, has threatened the legitimacy of the OAS to respond to democratic crises like the one currently occurring in Venezuela.

          

Six-way fight ends with no clear winner in leaders’ debate   

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OTTAWA— A two-hour election debate Monday saw federal party leaders clash over ethics, climate change and the economy but saw no one immediately emerge as the clear winner, although they slung one-liners, insults and criticisms across the stage as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s rivals sought to stake a claim to his job as prime minister.

The English debate got off to a hot and bitter start between front-runners Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer after a question from the audience about how each leader would represent Canada’s values and interests on the international stage.

Scheer immediately attacked Trudeau as a “phoney and a fraud” as he challenged the Liberal leader’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair, energy projects, and his economic record. “Justin Trudeau pretends to stand up for Canada,” Scheer said. “He cannot even remember how many times he put blackface on.”

“He’s always wearing a mask,” Scheer continued, pointing to Trudeau’s claims to be an advocate of Indigenous reconciliation, feminism and the middle class.

“You’re a phoney and you’re a fraud and you do not deserve an opportunity to govern this country,” he charged.

The leaders of the progressive parties fought to stake out turf on environmental and everyday concerns of Canadians, while the conservative leaders fought over immigration, pipelines and deficits.

In a second direct challenge between the two main contenders, Scheer turned to attack Trudeau over his failure to present a platform that had been completely costed by the parliamentary budget officer, and over the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Trudeau countered that his platform was costed, and that the Conservatives haven’t presented their entire policy book. On SNC-Lavalin, he said Scheer did not realize the job of a prime minister is to fight for Canadians jobs.

New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh jumped in: “What we have here is Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Scheer arguing for who’s worse for Canada,” he said.

The debate marked the first time all six leaders shared a stage. It devolved into a confusing free-for-all at times, but also had moments of collegiality.

Scheer and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May praised Singh for handling incidents of racism in the campaign with grace and class. Singh was accosted by a man in Montreal last week who told him to cut off his turban so he would “look like a Canadian.”

Trudeau agreed Singh had handled racism with “eloquence ... but I’m the only one on the stage that said yes, the federal government may have to intervene” in a court challenge of a Quebec law that prohibits some public servants from wearing visible symbols of their religious faiths.

“Every single day of my life is challenging people who think that you can’t do things because of the way you look,” Singh shot back. “Every single day of my life I channel people who feel that as well.”

Singh said the fact he’s in the race is a challenge to Quebecers to see past his religious garb. “I am running to be prime minister of this country,” he said. “I am going to Quebec and telling people that I want to be your prime minister.”

But later, Singh told reporters that, as prime minister, he might intervene if the case went to the Supreme Court.

There were moments of levity too. In fending off criticisms on the right and left, Trudeau twice called the NDP leader “Mr. Scheer,” prompting laughter. “I’m very, very different from Mr. Scheer,” Singh replied.

When a moderator later also called him “Mr. Scheer,” Singh cracked that “a lot of people are getting me mixed up,” to laughter from the audience. “I wore a bright orange turban on purpose today.”

Singh was the easily the most personable and relaxed leader onstage, and his supporters claimed he’d “won” the night.

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier was challenged on his social media posts, which described diversity as a cult and called environmental leader Greta Thunberg “mentally unstable.”

“We don’t want our country to be like other countries in Europe where they have a huge difficulty to integrate their immigrants,” Bernier said, prompting Trudeau to claim that Bernier says publicly what Scheer thinks privately.

Singh called Bernier out, saying, “You could have just said, ‘Hey man, I messed up’ because those are pretty horrible tweets.”

Scheer said that Bernier, a former Conservative cabinet minister, was someone who used to believe in an immigration policy that was “fair, orderly and compassionate.

“Now you are making your policy based on trying to get likes and retweets from the darkest parts of Twitter,” Scheer said.

Trudeau was the target in the English debate more than he had been in last week’s French debate. He was taken to task by Bernier, Scheer and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet for fighting with provinces.

Scheer portrayed Trudeau’s carbon-pricing plan as a tax that would raise the price of cost of living, which Trudeau disputed.

He said he’d reversed the pattern of the previous Conservative government under Stephen Harper, whom he accused of refusing to work with the provinces.

But he acknowledged “fighting the defining issue of our time” with some provinces because Alberta Premier “Jason Kenney and (Ontario Premier) Doug Ford, and other Conservative premiers don’t want to do anything on climate change and we need a government in Ottawa that is going to fight them and fight for Canadians.”

May said the Liberal goal for cutting emissions is a “target for losing the fight against climate change,” and she repeatedly challenged Scheer for having no climate action targets.

Singh got off one of the best lines of the night as Trudeau and Scheer bickered over climate change: “Ladies and gentlemen, you do not have to choose between Mr. Delay and Mr. Deny.”

At times, the format choked discussions among the two leading contenders as a cacophony of voices drowned out the debate.

With polls showing a close race between the Liberals and Conservatives, Scheer and Trudeau took direct aim at each other when they could, with Trudeau grilling Scheer in the last half-hour over his position on abortion. Trudeau had tried to stay above the fray, adopting a measured and at times oddly low-key stance, but late in the evening exhibited more fire.

He took Scheer to task over backing Conservative candidates who have pledged to take away a woman’s right to choose. Scheer said while he was personally against abortion, the “laws of access” to abortion services have not changed in Canada in 30 years under Liberal or Conservative governments, and would not change under a government led by him.

Singh jumped in, saying, “A man has no position in a discussion on a woman’s right to choose, let me clear on that.”

Singh and Blanchet targeted May for failing to rule out working with Scheer’s Conservatives.

On Indigenous issues, Scheer was challenged for resisting the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights and its requirement that development projects have the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous people. May told Scheer the Canadian constitution requires it, and it doesn’t mean you say “we’ll consult you until you agree with us.”

The debate, organized by a group of media organizations that included the Toronto Star, CBC and CTV, is the first of two this week. A French debate is scheduled for Thursday night.

Tonda MacCharles is an Ottawa-based reporter covering federal politics. Follow her on Twitter: @tondamacc

Bruce Campion-Smith is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @yowflier


          

Kshama Sawant and Seattle: National Reverberations of a Critical Decision   

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  In November, Seattleites will vote again on the constitution of their City Council. Few cities in the United States, likely, will witness the same level of intensity and acrimony regarding what many outside this particular city will no doubt deem “just a local” issue. Most closely watched will be the elections for Seattle’s District Three, in which Kshama Sawant[Read More...]

The post Kshama Sawant and Seattle: National Reverberations of a Critical Decision appeared first on Countercurrents.


          

Supreme Court ruling on unanimous juries in criminal trials   

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Source: csnbbs.com - Monday, October 07, 2019
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019...ument.html "...But as the term began on Monday, a majority of justices seemed poised to trigger an earthquake that could unsettle hundreds or even thousands of criminal convictions. The court appears prepared to rule that the Constitution require juries to reach unanimous verdicts in both state and federal court, abolishing a legal aberration that subordinates the power of minority jurors. Louisiana and Oregon have long been the only two states that allow nonunanimous verdicts in felony trials. That means juries can reach a verdict by a vote of 10–2 or 11–1. In 2018, Louisiana voters eliminated nonunanimous verdicts moving forward, but individuals charged with a crime that occurred before 2019 can still be convicted by a divided jury. Oregon’s law remains in place despite a recent stab at reform...."
All Related

          

PPARβ/δ recruits NCOR and regulates transcription reinitiation of ANGPTL4   

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Abstract
In the absence of ligands, the nuclear receptor PPARβ/δ recruits the NCOR and SMRT corepressors, which form complexes with HDAC3, to canonical target genes. Agonistic ligands cause dissociation of corepressors and enable enhanced transcription. Vice versa, synthetic inverse agonists augment corepressor recruitment and repression. Both basal repression of the target gene ANGPTL4 and reinforced repression elicited by inverse agonists are partially insensitive to HDAC inhibition. This raises the question how PPARβ/δ represses transcription mechanistically. We show that the PPARβ/δ inverse agonist PT-S264 impairs transcription initiation by decreasing recruitment of activating Mediator subunits, RNA polymerase II, and TFIIB, but not of TFIIA, to the ANGPTL4 promoter. Mass spectrometry identifies NCOR as the main PT-S264-dependent interactor of PPARβ/δ. Reconstitution of knockout cells with PPARβ/δ mutants deficient in basal repression results in diminished recruitment of NCOR, SMRT, and HDAC3 to PPAR target genes, while occupancy by RNA polymerase II is increased. PT-S264 restores binding of NCOR, SMRT, and HDAC3 to the mutants, resulting in reduced polymerase II occupancy. Our findings corroborate deacetylase-dependent and -independent repressive functions of HDAC3-containing complexes, which act in parallel to downregulate transcription.

          

Circularization of flavivirus genomic RNA inhibits de novo translation initiation   

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Abstract
Members of the Flaviviridae family, including dengue virus (DENV) and yellow fever virus, cause serious disease in humans, whilst maternal infection with Zika virus (ZIKV) can induce microcephaly in newborns. Following infection, flaviviral RNA genomes are translated to produce the viral replication machinery but must then serve as a template for the transcription of new genomes. However, the ribosome and viral polymerase proceed in opposite directions along the RNA, risking collisions and abortive replication. Whilst generally linear, flavivirus genomes can adopt a circular conformation facilitated by long-range RNA–RNA interactions, shown to be essential for replication. Using an in vitro reconstitution approach, we demonstrate that circularization inhibits de novo translation initiation on ZIKV and DENV RNA, whilst the linear conformation is translation-competent. Our results provide a mechanism to clear the viral RNA of ribosomes in order to promote efficient replication and, therefore, define opposing roles for linear and circular conformations of the flavivirus genome.

          

The Constitution or Donald Trump, it's time to choose   

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We can choose America and our Constitution, or Donald Trump and victory at any cost, but we can't choose both

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