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Testimony In Jussie Smollett Case Scrapped After "Hail Mary" Phone Call


      I haven't seen anything about the Smollett case on this site, so I will take a stab at it. Of course we don't know who is telling the truth. However, I am not impressed with how the Chicago Police Department has handled the case.

      The CPD questioned and release two men they initially said were people of interest in the reported attack. Smollett didn't identify these people. The CPD did. After the two said Smollett actually paid them to stage the attack, CPD released them.

      Here is my problem with this action by the CPD. Even if the two bothers are telling the truth, they admitted that they participated in the "hoax" and accepted payment for their participation. Isn't THAT a crime in and of itself? Why would you release those people after they admitted to participating in a crime. If it is a crime for Smollett to pay to stage a crime, isn't it also a crime for the people he paid to participate in it, to participate in it???


      BS News has learned that a last-minute phone call may have saved "Empire" star Jussie Smollett from potentially being indicted. Last month, the actor claimed he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack as he walked home in the middle of the night. Two brothers have now told Chicago police Smollett paid them to stage the assault.

      A source close to the investigation tells CBS News the brothers were set to appear in front of a grand jury Tuesday. But CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds reports those plans were abruptly scrapped after a "Hail Mary" call from Smollett's defense team.

      CBS News has learned that Nigerian brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo were waiting outside the grand jury chambers, just minutes from testifying, when prosecutors got the call from Smollett's lawyers.

      It's unclear what the defense said, but the Cook County state's attorney decided to postpone the brothers' testimony, which would have been the first step toward indicting the 36-year-old actor for filing a false police report.

      "I'm p---ed off. How do you not believe that? It's the truth!" he said recently on "Good Morning America."

      According to a source close to the investigation, after the brothers told police they conspired with Smollett, his lawyers told police he would not do a follow-up interview.

      About a dozen search warrants have now been issued, including ones for Smollett's financial and phone records, and detectives are waiting for those records to come back.

      The Osundairos told detectives they conspired with Smollett in the fake January 29 attack.

      CBS Chicago reports the brothers now also claim Smollett was behind the threatening letter sent to him a week before the alleged assault.

      On Tuesday, Smollett's brother and sister posted Instagram messages appearing to criticize media coverage of the case. "It will make the criminal look like he's the victim and make the victim look like he's the criminal," read a quote attributed to Malcolm X.

      Two other siblings defended Smollett last week.

      Jake Smollett said, "When one is affected, we are all affected. So it definitely was a time we came together. And we are a strong family."

      Smollett has also denied involvement with the threatening letter.

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      How To Fix The American Urban - Rural Divide


          One of President Obama's goals was to improve and extent broadband across the country, into rural areas where people were largely cut off from the internet and to improve our infrastructure with better schools, roads and transportation options. Unfortunately, Obama was thwarted in those goals by a sociopath in the Senate who promised from the beginning to make him a one term president.

          This opinion piece by Jem Specter describes in detail the importance of not forgetting those goals.



          By Jem Spectar
          February 20 at 2:09 PM

          Jem Spectar is president of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

          In his State of the Union speech earlier this month, President Trump touched briefly on an area where he and Democrats could easily make common cause for the sake of the country: infrastructure. Yet by skipping over the details he missed an important opportunity to connect his rhetoric of greatness to something tangible, impactful and transformational.

          The omission is particularly striking when you consider what the right kind of infrastructure program could do for rural America, a core part of Trump’s base. While metropolitan America surges forward, rural areas continue to be riven by an onslaught of demographic decline, loss of manufacturing jobs, rising poverty, opioid abuse, blight, insufficient capital, anemic investment, poor infrastructure and an abysmally low participation rate in the global digital economy.

          Urgent infrastructure needs are placing a severe drag on the prospects of rural America and deepening the rural-urban divide. These communities desperately need school renovations, upgrades to water and sewage treatment systems, and improved transit to metropolitan centers.

          Such improvements will, of course, take plenty of time, effort and money. But there’s one area where decisive action could have positive effects relatively quickly: the digital economy. The dearth of broadband Internet connectivity is the bane of many rural areas, exacerbating demographic decline by contributing to out-migration of millennials and loss of business opportunities.

          The United States ranks low in comparison with other industrialized nations in broadband connectivity, and this is a particularly acute problem in rural areas, where 39 percent of people (more than 24 million Americans) lack high-speed Internet. (In urban communities, the figure is 4 percent.)

          Providing broadband to rural have-nots will boost economic growth; Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has called it a “game-changer for rural Americans.” Several studies have shown the introduction of broadband connectivity correlates favorably with increasing job growth and economic productivity gains. For example, a 2016 World Bank report found GDP per capita growth is 2.7 percent to 3.9 percent higher after the introduction of broadband; every 10 percentage point increase in fixed broadband household penetration increases GDP per household by 0.77 percent. Transformative broadband investments will provide an economic stimulus, enabling Trump to deliver on his promise to lift up the “forgotten people” in his base.

          Yet merely installing high-speed fiber-optic networks across rural America, while vital, will not be enough. Significant public and private investment in K-16 education is required to build a new digital economy future for rural America. In addition, innovative public-private partnerships, including university-community-industry-partnerships (UCIPs) can galvanize action around the urgency of digital literacy in rural areas. Key to this strategy would be significantly increasing participation in expanded coding and STEM programs from K-16 as well as vocational and workforce development programs.

          An increasing number of entrepreneurial UCIPs are showing promising results. Companies such as Revature and Trilogy have been partnering with universities, including liberal arts colleges, to implement successful coding boot camps. Meanwhile, social media companies such as Facebook and Google have launched partnerships with universities and communities to close the digital skills gap. Microsoft is leading an ambitious effort in partnership with telecommunications companies to provide connectivity to up to 3 million rural Americans through its Airband projects. My institution, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, is spearheading the CODE for Commonwealth and Country initiative, working with state government, industry and schools to enhance workforce readiness.

          By increasing digital literacy, distressed communities can emerge as tech talent hot spots that generate higher-paying jobs, attract millennials and rejuvenate downtown areas. These rural hot spots will be attractive to businesses seeking lower-cost rural production compared to the relatively higher wages of metropolitan or foreign locations. Millennials who prefer the independence, affordability and comfort of stress-free telecommuting will gravitate to these hot spots, injecting new life into moribund main streets. Thriving ventures and rising incomes will provide an organic economic stimulus and mitigate rural-urban migration. With enhanced infrastructure and digital economy talent, perhaps companies such as Amazon may someday establish their new headquarters in rural towns that will be all too happy to embrace them.

          Upgrading broadband infrastructure in rural America is a matter of great urgency. Trump’s omission of this issue is striking, given how strategic investments could transform rural areas that are facing the interlocking forces of globalization, digitization and automation. Failing to address these issues will deepen the chasm between rural and urban areas, with ominous implications for national cohesion.

          Solving the problem will be anything but easy. Yet, to echo President John F. Kennedy, we should take on these hard things because it is part of our national character to do so. The great nation that choreographed the first moonwalk, wove the World Wide Web and hurled the Voyager into interstellar space confronts another pressing challenge. Closing the rural-urban digital gap will contribute to general prosperity and stability of a more perfect union.

          Read more:

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          Welcome To The The 2020 Campaign


              This morning there is a post smearing Mr. Beto from many years ago, and for a man as young as Beto his many years is just a short while. The right wing with a Putin chaser is starting up.

              It’s amazing good and competent people will still consider sacrificing their privacy to run for office to serve the nation. It’s always been difficult to open yourself, professional and private life to the scrutiny and mine field of public life.

              Certainly now with social media, trolls, zealots (both real and pretend) and the vacuum created by conservative stupidity and hate it’s more dawnting than ever.

              Someday people with any ounce of intelligence or honor will decide not to run at all.

              Then the only choice will be among the bottom rung of Republicans or the top rung, no damn difference at all, anymore

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              How Stephen Miller Single-Handedly Got The U.S. To Accept Fewer Refugees


                  I have contemplated writing about one Stephen Miller, Senior Advisor to Donald J. Trump for some time. Due to other commitments and frankly, struggling with how I wanted to present my thoughts here on the forum, I believe I have arrived at a point where I am ready to do so.

                  Let me be candid, I do not know Stephen Miller. I have never met the young man. Yet, based on what seems to be his fervor to stop all immigration legal an illegal by any means necessary, I consider him one of the most dangerous advisors that Trump has whispering in his ear.

                  I believe we should indeed be concerned that such a significant policy is in the hands of a now 33-year-old racist by the name of Stephen Miller. Calling Miller a racist may be a bit inflammatory, but, I believe his actions past and present provide me with a firm basis from which I can make the statement without needing to know what is in his heart, his actions, and words are enough proof to substantiate my contention he is a racist.

                  Miller is Trump’s go-to person around immigration, as indicated in this New Yorker Article by Jonathan Blitzer

                  But they had all been forced to compete with one influential White House official: Stephen Miller, the thirty-two-year-old former aide to Jeff Sessions who has become Trump’s top immigration adviser.

                  I feel comfortable appending this title to Miller, given what Cliff Sims wrote in his book Team of Vipers: My 500 extraordinary Days in the Trump White House: wrote: "I would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched American soil."

                  This is who Trump turns to for advice and presumably counsel on a problem

                  that is older than Miller. The Immigration Reform Act of 1986 or as hard-right conservatives like to refer to as, the Amnesty Act. Reagan’s great sin was he granted amnesty to those immigrants already in the US illegally. Miller was still popping in his diapers when this was passed into law. Now he is Trump’s immigration whisper.

                  As a sovereign nation having secure borders is the right of the country. Along with a clear set of policies on who can and cannot enter the country. It is reasonable for a vast and wealthy country such as the US have immigration laws that govern the flow individual seeking to come whether it is to visit, study, or seek asylum from persecution. The latter is the case of Mr. Miller’s family which his Uncle David S. Glosser writes about in Politico. It is also a topic we will discuss in our follow on pieces.

                  My point, there are rules and regulations which govern who can and cannot become legal residents of the country. However, many of these R&R’s have been broken by those who circumvented them and those who aided and abided. Overstaying one’s visa, entering the country illegally is breaking the law, and usually, the system can handle those problems.

                  For a nation as large as the US failing to maintain this system has resulted in a rats nest of complicated immigration laws, and policies and procedures that are far too difficult than need be.

                  It doesn’t help with both Democratic and Republicans use immigration as a political hot button. With both parties continuing to kick the can down the road instead of actually fixing the system.

                  The result of this continuous abdication has become the compost for the resurgence of abject, and in your face racism, the demagogic Donald J. Trump spews with his Incubus Stephen Miller whispering in his ear how right he is to hate all people who are not white attempting to come to the United States, illegally or legally.

                  If at this point dear reader you have surmised my intense dislike for Trump and Miller, I accept your conclusion as correct. Having said that, I humbly ask you, to stay with me as I proffer my case for my contempt for these spawn of Mephistopheles.

                  First, as I have stated, both political parties have danced around the immigration problem for decades. Offering little in the way of meaningful solutions that would result in comprehensive immigration reform.

                  Second, the country’s continual failure in addressing this problem has provided racists like Trump, Miller, and all the MAGA malcontents who show up for Trump rallies, along with conservative talkers, like Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham, and “the president is an idiot” Coulter a new racial target. Immigration. Mind you not just illegal immigration, but, legal immigration also.

                  Remember the quote attributed to Miller, I would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched American soil.”

                  If he were willing to suppress a study that showed revenues generated by refugees would more than pay for resettling them according to the NY Times, what wouldn’t he do or say?

                  Third, Miller’s previous association with Richard Spencer wasn’t for naught. In the Mckay Coppins Atlantic piece, he pointed out that Spencer had been a “mentor” to Miller. According to Coppins Miller denied it, but, as the old saying goes, “you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” Miller's, denial, rings hollow to me in light of what he has done to discount individuals of Latin heritage as he did his one-time friend, according to Coppins:

                  “Yet there were also signs that Miller’s persona expressed something deeper. Shortly before they started high school, Islas recalled, Miller informed him that they couldn't be friends anymore, citing Isles’ “Latino heritage” as one of several reasons.”

                  Keep in mind this is not something Miller acquired from his family, whose history is one steeped in immigration.

                  So, yes I have a strong dislike for Stephen Miller. No, let me rephrase it, I have nothing but contempt for this despicable individual.

                  I close this first piece with the following. Trump, Miller and former Attorney General Jeff Session whom Miller worked for before becoming Trumps’ demon spawn have done their utmost to quash immigration in all forms. They have also placed their collective thumbs on race relations scale as well.

                  The fact Sessions is gone does not negate Trump and Miller’s effort to stoke the fires of racial resentment.

                  Trump and Miller’s coin of the realm is racial discord. The current fervor around the Southern border is all about what Trump tweeted last week from the Gallup poll stating that 42 million Latin Americans want to come to the US.

                  This falls right into Trump’s playbook where fear of others is the central theme of his campaign messaging.

                  W.G and C.W Stephan are cited in the academic paper entitled: The threat of increasing diversity: Why many White Americans support Trump in the 2016 presidential election

                  “Increasing diversity poses a threat to White Americans, as an increase in minorities represents a real threat to White Americans’ resources, as well as a symbolic threat to White American values. Both types of threat have been shown to lead to increased prejudice against immigrants.”

                  This study plays right into Trump's handbook, which is why he’s pushing so hard on the Southern Border, an claiming a fake national emergency to hijack lawfully appropriated military funds to build a wall no one wants.

                  Standing right by his side ready to lead the charge to champion the cause is his version of a pet dog, Stephen Miller. Salivating to be the ultimate usurper of all Civil Rights legislation along with that remotely resembles immigration reform.

                  Attempting to be as disruptive as possible, relishing in the role as a provocateur of injustice. But as Martin Luther King wrote,


                  My next post: Stephen Miller the 21st Century Adolf Eichmann.

                  Is is me or do these two have a slight resemblance? I'm pretty sure their philosophy on non-whites is simpatico.




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                  Constitutional Reform Is The Real American Crisis


                      The real crisis in America is the need for Constitutional reform. We must realize that the document contains provisions totally outdated to modern times. A person must be 35 to be a presidential candidate was a condition made in a time when people had 50 year life expectancies. Congress should vote on shutdowns and presidential powers should be thoroughly analyzed. Congress was originally given only appropriation powers and that needs to be changed with increased Congressional power and less executive authority. Supreme Court judges should not be lifetime appointments. These and many other elements of the document need to be altered and made more applicable to our times.

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                      Rule By Executive Fiat?


                          So the jig is up, Trump's moved on to that authoritarian standard, bypass the legislative branch, rule by executive fiat? Now a real contrived emergency, maybe a few exploding buildings, a war with Iran, Venezuela, and Donald can keep you out of harms way through 2024.

                          The American people have looked the other way for too long, have believed the advertising. All Congress has to do to rein in Trump is pass bills and override his veto. Too weak, too bought and paid for? Maybe.

                          This is a provocative wrinkle in time, and may signal a new beginning for the shining city on the hill, which is really a drained swamp, rule by executive fiat. It's faster, with Congress a rubber stamp, and the Supreme Court , just packed, good luck with your separation of powers, your democratic values, you know where you can put them.

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