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Bill Decriminalizing Domestic Violence Passes First Reading in Russian Parliament
The Moscow Times
Jan 11, 2017 — 16:53
[Various elements of the misogynist "alt-right" have advocated for this]
A bill decriminalizing domestic violence has passed its first reading in Russia's State Duma.
Some 368 lawmakers voted in favor of the law, with just one deputy voting against the plans. One other deputy abstained from the vote.
The bill would remove the charge of "battery within families" from Russia's Criminal Code, downgrading it to an administrative offense. Criminal charges would only be brought against offenders if familial beatings took place more than once a year.
The bill was spearheaded by ultra-conservative Russian lawmaker Yelena Mizulina, who is already notorious for successfully lobbying Russia's controversial “gay propaganda” law.
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Remedy for Russian meddling should be new election
By Chris Edelson, opinion contributor
The Hill - 01/11/17 02:20 PM EST
[For the record, I don't think this is a good idea. I think the ramifications are bad. But it's being put out there.]
It sounds like a story lifted from the pages of a spy novel. U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin led a cyberespionage scheme designed to help Donald Trump win the presidential election.
What's even worse is that Putin's plan worked and Trump now seems to be siding with Russia against U.S. intelligence agencies. It's hard to know how to respond to this because it is unprecedented. But it is essential to take whatever action is necessary to make this right, as difficult, complicated and even uncomfortable as that may be.
The hard reality is that the presidential election we just held was delegitimized by foreign interference. This is not some conspiracy theory or fevered fantasy; it is a conclusion that flows directly from the unanimous assessments of the U.S. intelligence community.
It would be an enormous mistake to ignore this, as Trump has suggested we should.
In fact, if we can confirm the intelligence report's conclusion that Putin intervened with the goal of electing Trump, there must be a new election in the United States.
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Republicans Have No Good Reason Not To Impeach Donald Trump
Alex Pareene | The Concourse
Wednesday 11 January 2017 4:50pm
It’s been fun, but it’s about time for Republicans to admit that the great Donald Trump experiment isn’t going to work out—for them.
One hypothetical version of President Trump—the ideal version, for Republicans, and one that many convinced themselves he would become, given practice and training—is a new Reagan: a mouthpiece for the ideas and policies inserted into his empty head by members of an ascendant conservative movement riding his television-mastery to power. Surround this version of Trump with good party men like Reince Priebus and Mike Pence, and he takes care of entertaining the masses—and distracting the opposition—while true-believing conservatives actually run the country, enacting their entire agenda too forcefully and quickly for anyone to effectively fight them.
We could still get some twisted version of this, especially since Trump is still going to outsource all actual governing and policy decisions to others, but what Trump showed today, in his unhinged press conference, is how quickly and impetuously he can (and will) undermine and sabotage their efforts.
Another version of Trump—the nightmare for liberals and not one conservatives would welcome either—could be a second Nixon, with no real political philosophy, but a willingness to do anything to maintain his grip on power. Not just through unethical and criminal means, like the Watergate break-in or the sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks, but also in his willingness to do decidedly un-conservative things if they’d benefit him politically—like the wage and price controls he implemented, to great popular acclaim, in 1971. This is the model Steve Bannon likely hopes to emulate.
But Trump will fail to be either, and by now Republicans should recognize this.
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Top Trump aide in frequent contact with Russia's ambassador
AP Top News
13 January 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump's national security adviser and Russia's ambassador to the U.S. have been in frequent contact in recent weeks, including on the day the Obama administration hit Moscow with sanctions in retaliation for election-related hacking, a senior U.S. official said Friday.
After initially denying that Michael Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak spoke Dec. 29, a Trump official said late Friday that the transition team was aware of one call on the day President Barack Obama imposed sanctions.
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Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele's frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months
Exclusive: Steele was so concerned by revelations he worked without payment after Trump's election victory in November
Kim Sengupta Defence Editor | The Independent
Saturday 14 January 2017 12:04 BST
Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who investigated Donald Trump’s alleged Kremlin links, was so worried by what he was discovering that at the end he was working without pay, The Independent has learned.
Mr Steele also decided to pass on information to both British and American intelligence officials after concluding that such material should not just be in the hands of political opponents of Mr Trump, who had hired his services, but was a matter of national security for both countries.
However, say security sources, Mr Steele became increasingly frustrated that the FBI was failing to take action on the intelligence from others as well as him. He came to believe there was a cover-up, that a cabal within the Bureau blocked a thorough inquiry into Mr Trump, focusing instead on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
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Jason Chaffetz Doesn’t Care About Ethics
The Republican in charge of government oversight wants to prohibit criticism of Trump’s ethical violations.
By Dahlia Lithwick | Slate.com
It is going to be practically impossible for Donald Trump to take office next Friday and stay on the right side of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause without divesting and placing his businesses in a blind trust. This fact is—with a clutch of dissenters—not in dispute. Ethics experts across the political spectrum have explained carefully what needed to be done to avoid the appearance that the president was benefiting financially from foreign gifts, payments, or favors. But Trump announced this week that he has no intention of creating a blind trust, arguing that voters don’t care about the issue and declaring that he would donate any hotel profits from foreign governments to the Treasury and let his sons manage his business for the duration of his presidency.
At his Wednesday announcement, Trump’s lawyer, Sheri Dillon, disputed claims that he even has any such constitutional obligations: “These people are wrong. This is not what the Constitution says, paying for a hotel is not a gift or present and has nothing to do with an office. It is not an emolument,” she said. She added that “President-elect Trump should not be expected to destroy the company he built,” meaning, I suppose, that the normal rules don’t apply to rich presidents. (Mitt Romney was willing to divest in 2012, so maybe it’s just that the normal rules don’t apply to Trump).
The director of the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, immediately dismissed the president-elect’s dramatic nonplan as “meaningless.” He was quoted this week as saying at an unprecedented press conference at the Brookings Institution, “It’s important to understand that the president is now entering the world of public service. He’s going to be asking our men and women in uniform to risk their lives in conflicts around the world. So, no, I don’t think divestiture is too high a price to pay to be the president.”
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This Is Why You Don't Kiss The Ring
Hamilton Nolan, for Deadspin
11 January 2017 | 2:40pm
Ethical guidelines exist for a reason. Norms exist for a reason.
The reason is not “Jerks who think they’re smarter than us trying to control our lives from on high.” The reason is that human history is long, and all of the mistakes that could possibly be made have been made, and at a certain point people figured out that following some common sense rules could prevent us from making the same dire mistakes over and over again. Mistakes that come from human nature. Mistakes like: allowing powerful people to use their powerful positions to make money for themselves, or allowing powerful people to use their powerful positions to squelch legitimate dissent, or allowing powerful people to use their powerful positions to flout the very ethical guidelines and norms that prior people in powerful positions established to keep people in powerful positions in check.
Today we saw a “press conference” by our incoming president at which he put forth a farcical plan to allow his own sons to continue running his vast business empire while he is president, and spoke at length about his belief that as president it is impossible for him to have meaningful conflicts of interest, which is why he felt comfortable presenting his decision to turn down a $2 billion business deal with a Middle Eastern real estate mogul as something noble, rather than as an obvious decision that would be made as a matter of course under a normal presidential administration. He dismissed serious reporting that reflected poorly on him as “fake news,” and promised to retaliate against news outlets that displeased him. These things are not normal. These things are not okay. These are actions that flout well-established ethical and civil norms. Admittedly, there is something thrilling about watching him do this. What will he do next? It always keeps us tuning in, in the same way that a violent alcoholic father will always keep his children on his toes. But we should not fool ourselves about what is happening in front of our eyes. We are all coming to realize that our civil society institutions may not be strong enough to protect the flawed but fundamentally solid democracy that we thought we had. We are witnessing the rise to power of a leader who does not care about norms. Since these norms were created to prevent political, social, economic, and cultural disasters, we do not need to wonder how this will end. It will end poorly.
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Rep. Borders courts needless controversy with birth certificate bill
by Amber Stearns
January 12, 2017
A bill proposed today in the Indiana House would directly affect transgender persons born in Indiana.
This morning Rep. Bruce Borders filed House Bill 1361, which would prohibit any change on a birth certificate and the permanent birth record of the gender of an individual. (The bill makes exception for typographical or clerical errors. The bill also allows for a change if a DNA test — the presence or absence of a Y chromosome — determines a different result from the recorded gender.)
ote against the Senate. They needed to be FOR something; namely, the ACA.