Tag: Day

‘It’s not the law of Amy’: SCOTUS nominee Barrett faces Dem skepticism on Day 2 of hearings

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett batted away Democrats’ skeptical questions Tuesday on abortion, health care and a possible disputed-election fight over transferring presidential power, insisting in a long and lively confirmation hearing she would bring no personal agenda to the court but decide cases “as they come.”

The 48-year-old appellate court judge declared her conservative views with often colloquial language, but refused many specifics. She declined to say whether she would recuse herself from any election-related cases involving President Donald Trump, who nominated her to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is pressing to have her confirmed before the the Nov. 3 election.

“Judges can’t just wake up one day and say I have an agenda — I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion — and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee during its second day of hearings.

“It’s not the law of Amy,” she said. “It’s the law of the American people.”

Barrett returned to a Capitol Hill mostly locked down with COVID-19 protocols, the mood quickly shifting to a more confrontational tone from opening day. She was grilled by Democrats strongly opposed to Trump’s nominee yet unable to stop her. Excited by the prospect of a judge aligned with the late Antonin Scalia, Trump’s Republican allies are rushing ahead to install a 6-3 conservative court majority for years to come.

The president seemed pleased with her performance. “I think Amy’s doing incredibly well,” he said at the White House departing for a campaign rally.

Trump has said he wants a justice seated for any disputes arising from his heated election with Democrat Joe Biden, but Barret testified she has not spoken to Trump or his team about election cases. Pressed by panel Democrats, she skipped past questions about ensuring the date of the election or preventing voter intimidation, both set in federal law, and the peaceful transfer of presidential power. She declined to commit to recusing herself from any post-election cases without first consulting the other justices.

“I can’t offer an opinion on recusal without short-circuiting that entire process,” she said.

A frustrated Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, all but implored the nominee to be more specific about how she would handle landmark abortion cases, including Roe v. Wade and the follow-up Pennsylvania case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which confirmed it in large part.

“It’s distressing not to get a good answer,” Feinstein told the judge.

Barrett was unmoved. “I don’t have an agenda to try to overrule Casey,” she said. “I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come.”

She later declined to characterize the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion as a “super-precedent” that must not be overturned.

Democrats had no such reticence.

Let’s not make any mistake about it,” said California Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic

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‘Most of It Hasn’t Seen the Light of Day’

The past couple years have been rife with stokedness-inducing news of the UAP (unidentified aerial phenomenon) variety, thanks in large part to frequent updates from To the Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences revitalizing interest in such phenomena for new generations.

Now, by way of James Fox’s new documentary The Phenomenon, Harry Reid—who served as a U.S. Senator from 1987 to 2017 and boasts a stacked history with the UAP research push that famously has ties to TTSA co-founder Tom DeLonge—has returned to headlines with some enticing comments about the field that further strengthen the interpretation that recent developments are indeed key in moving the conversation forward.

“All we’re saying—nobody has to agree why it’s there—but shouldn’t we at least be spending some money to study all these phenomenon?” Reid tells Fox in a clip from the documentary, which is now available via VOD services. “Shouldn’t we study the stuff? The answer is yes and that’s all this was about. And why the federal government all these years has covered up, put brake pads on everything, stopped it. I think it’s very, very bad for our country.”

Asked if Reid was signaling that there was “some evidence that still hasn’t seen the light of day,” Reid took it a step further.

“I’m saying most of it hasn’t seen the light of day,” Reid said.

Reid’s comments here are in line with his own previous comments on the importance of unity in the UAP research field, as well as with the central messaging of the aforementioned DeLonge and the TTSA team. As the latest clip from Fox’s doc started making the rounds over the past few days, both DeLonge and TTSA advisor Christopher K. Mellon addressed Reid’s most recent remarks with some words of approval:

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The Latest: Senate panel ends confirmation hearing for day | National politics

Feinstein and Democrats are expected to focus on healthcare during the hearings. Feinstein still faces criticism for her comments during Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearing to be a federal judge. Feinstein had joined Republicans on the panel in asking Barrett about her Roman Catholic faith, but then went further by telling Barrett, then a Notre Dame law professor, that “when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you.″

Republicans are pushing to confirm Barrett before Election Day.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham says Judge Amy Coney Barrett is in a “category of excellence” as a law professor and legal scholar.

Graham, R-S.C., praised Barrett as he opened Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Republican-led panel. Barring a dramatic development, Republicans appear to have the votes to confirm the 48-year-old conservative appellate judge to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.

Graham acknowledged “the COVID problem in America is real,″ but said, “We do have a country that needs to move forward safely.” Barrett was wearing a face mask, as were all the roughly 100 people in the cavernous hearing room.

Graham cited Barrett’s testimony that she follows the judicial philosophy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she clerked two decades ago. He called that a good summary of “who Amy Barrett is in terms of the law.″

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Protests in Indonesia against new jobs law enter third day

By Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Willy Kurniawan

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Nationwide protests and labour strikes against a polarising new jobs law in Indonesia continued across the country for a third straight day on Thursday.

The “omnibus” jobs creation bill, passed into law on Monday, has seen thousands of people in Southeast Asia’s largest economy take to the streets in protest against legislation they say undermines labour rights and weakens environmental protections.

In the past two days, almost 600 people have been detained, and two students seriously injured, while police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators.

On Thursday morning, crowds gathered across major cities on the most populous Java island, including Jakarta and Bandung, according to local media and video footage shared by Kahar S. Cahyono, a spokesman from the Confederation of Indonesian Workers’ Union (KSPI).

Maulana Syarif, 45, who has worked at Astra Honda motors for 25 years, told Reuters he joined the protests in Jakarta to fight for the rights of future generations.

“We ask that the law be repealed immediately,” he told Reuters. “This is our struggle for our children and grandchildren, and our future generations…If it’s like this (with the new law) our well-being will decrease, and we will lack certainty in jobs.”

In conjunction with 32 other trade unions, Said Iqbal, KSPI president, said its strike would continue for a third and final day on Thursday.

The government of President Joko Widodo has championed the flagship legislation as key to boosting Indonesia’s ailing economy by streamlining regulations, cutting red tape and attracting more foreign direct investment.

Met with cautious optimism by some financial analysts, the bill has sparked a significant outcry, with labour unions, students and academics criticising it for a perceived lack of consultation, expedited passage, and problematic clauses they say will harm workers and the environment.

(Additional Reporting by Tabita Diela; Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Florida extends voter registration deadline by one day

Florida is extending the voter registration deadline in this year’s 2020 general election following problems Monday night with the state’s online registration system.

Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee announced midday Tuesday that the deadline would be extended to 7 p.m. Tuesday for registration online, in person or by mail.

The original deadline to register to vote had been midnight Monday. But as that deadline neared, users encountered slow responses and error messages on the state’s online voter registration site, RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov.

Lee said Tuesday that, during the last few hours, the site had been accessed by an “unprecedented” 1.1 million requests per hour.

She said the Florida Department of State is working with state and federal law enforcement to look at whether there were any “deliberate acts against the voting process” that caused or contributed to outages Monday night to the state’s voter registration website.

“We are working with local supervisors of elections and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to ensure that all eligible registrants have the ability [to] submit a voter registration application by 7 p.m. this evening,” Lee said in a statement.

In addition to registering online, voters can submit applications to their county supervisor of elections offices, through their local driver’s license offices or tax collector’s office or mail an application as long as it is postmarked by Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office has asked that all tax collectors’ offices extend their office hours until 7 p.m. in order to accept voter registration applications. The state will work with other offices about extending their hours Tuesday to assist people registering to vote.

Lee said anyone who already registered to vote online after the deadline would be included in being eligible to vote in the Nov. 3 general election.

Lee also asked anyone not trying to register to vote to stay off the online voter registration site.

Voting rights groups apply pressure

A number of voting rights groups had called for Florida’s voter registration cutoff to be extended multiple days after the problems Monday night with RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov.

On Tuesday, a coalition of voting rights groups, including the League of Women Voters of Florida, All Voting is Local Florida, ACLU Florida and the Florida NAACP, sent a letter to DeSantis and Lee demanding that the voter registration deadline be extended two days, until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

“Florida’s online voter registration system has unfortunately broken repeatedly at precisely the moment it is needed most — the high volume days just before the voter registration deadline, or in this case, just hours before the book closing deadline,” the groups wrote in the letter.

Brad Ashwell, Florida state director of voting rights group All Voting is Local, said that there would need to be time to get the word out about any deadline extension, and added that there was no guarantee at this point that the website wouldn’t crash again if the deadline were extended.

The coalition also asked in the letter that

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Trump Makes America More Like Russia Every Day

Russian spies have undermined America for nearly a century. Their goals during and after the cold war were the same: Subvert the United States, sabotage its power, poison the body politic. They used the weapons of political warfare: deception, disinformation, espionage.

Their American agents held positions of power and authority. They infiltrated the Justice Department, the State Department, and all of America’s national-security agencies. Turncoats at the FBI and the CIA gave the Russians keys to the kingdom of American intelligence. Their treason went undetected for many years. A Nazi-hunting congressman, Samuel Dickstein of New York, became a Kremlin spy in 1937. His work stayed secret for six decades.

Four years ago, the KGB veteran Vladimir Putin pulled off the greatest coup of political warfare since the Trojan Horse: He helped put Donald Trump in the White House. Ever since, Trump has been a priceless asset for the Russians, a point man for their war on American democracy. It’s no secret that Trump echoes Russia’s political propaganda, stands with Putin against American spies and soldiers, and undermines the pillars of American national security. No secret that he tried to erase the evidence of Russia’s attacks on the last presidential election. Now he’s trying to drown out warnings that they’ll attack the next one.

The mystery is why.

I’m not saying Putin pays him. No one has a grainy photo of Trump pocketing Kremlin gold. But there are many kinds of secret agents in the annals of political warfare. Some were compromised by money troubles or blackmailed over sex. Some served their cause without comprehending Russia’s goals—they were poleznyye duraki, useful idiots. Some were in thrall to Russia’s authoritarian ideology. And most served Russia without ever being recruited. They volunteered.

Trump serves Putin in a very specific way. He’s an agent of influence.

That’s someone in a position of authority who’s under the sway of a hostile government. Someone who can use their power to influence public opinion or make political decisions that benefit whoever manipulates them. That’s how American intelligence defines it. The Russians, who first perfected the concept, see it a little differently. To them, an agent of influence doesn’t have to be controlled, recruited, or paid. They just have to be useful.

Leon Panetta, who ran the CIA and the Pentagon under President Obama, has no doubt about it. He told me that, by any definition, “Trump, for all intents and purposes, acts as an agent of influence of Russia.”

I’ve interviewed veteran American spies, spymasters, and spy-catchers all summer for a podcast called Whirlwind, based on my new book, The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia, and Political Warfare: 1945-2020. Almost all concur with Panetta. But they have other theories as well. There’s the useful idiot scenario. Or maybe it’s money: the Russians might have kompromat—compromising information—about Trump’s finances. And some think it might be worse than that.

All agreed with Fiona Hill, who served under Trump as the National Security Council’s director for Russia,

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