Tag Archives: call

AP Explains: Kentucky race for governor too close to call

AP Explains: Kentucky race for governor too close to callAs the tally of votes in Kentucky’s race for governor drew to a close late Tuesday night, Democrat Andy Beshear held a lead of a few thousand votes over Republican incumbent Matthew Bevin out of more than 1.4 million votes counted. Beshear’s lead of a little over 5,000 votes is less than 0.4 percentage points. There is no mandatory recount law in Kentucky.



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Trump fumes about reports that he wanted Barr to host news conference clearing him on Ukraine call

Trump fumes about reports that he wanted Barr to host news conference clearing him on Ukraine callThe president is lashing out on Twitter over news first reported by the Washington Post that he wanted the attorney general to hold a press conference declaring he had broken no laws during the July 25 phone call in which he urged Ukraine’s new president to investigate his political rival.



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Trump enraged by reports he wanted Barr to clear him over Ukraine call

Trump enraged by reports he wanted Barr to clear him over Ukraine callPresident Trump is fuming over news, first reported by the Washington Post, that the president wanted Attorney General William Barr to hold a press conference declaring that he had broken no laws during a phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.



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Let’s Call ‘Religious Freedom’ by Its Real Name: Poisonous, Anti-LGBTQ Bigotry

Let’s Call ‘Religious Freedom’ by Its Real Name: Poisonous, Anti-LGBTQ BigotrySarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via GettyReligious zealots don’t think LGBTQ people should be able to get married. They don’t think they should be able to have, adopt, or foster children. And they really don’t like the presence of laws enshrining the equality of LGBTQ people, or laws that afford them equal treatment when it comes to leading their lives as fellow American citizens, like becoming foster and adoptive parents.Hence, on Friday, the explosion of another homophobic stun grenade by the anti-LGBTQ Trump administration.LGBT Alarm as President Trump Signs ‘Religious Liberty’ Executive OrderThe Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was introducing new federal rules that meant faith-based groups could ignore any Obama-era nondiscrimination regulations.Under the proposed new rules, taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies can cite “religious beliefs” as a reason to deny placement of children into homes of LGBTQ couples—simply on the basis of those couples being LGBTQ.Under the proposal, all the discrimination protections in HHS’ grant programs would be eliminated. As The Washington Post reported, this wouldn’t just mean that faith-based groups can finally discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents, as they have long so desired to do. It will also apply for other HHS grants around HIV and sexually transmitted disease prevention, other public health initiatives, health education, and prekindergarten programs.It is, simply, bigotry enshrined in law; cruelty written into statute. Church and State are currently the very opposite of separated; they are dancing a delirious tango, with LGBTQ rights trampled underfoot.“Religious liberty” and “religious freedom” are now the twinned rallying call for anyone wishing to decline service to LGBTQ people, or diminish their rights and access to equality—and the Trump administration squarely supports it (indeed, the president signed a religious liberty executive order in 2018). This is the new way of expressing anti-LGBTQ prejudice. Without explicitly stating that you hate LGBTQ people, or wish to deny them equality, you can say that you’re upholding your religious liberty or freedom instead. It’s a neat trick: you’re the bully, out to attack or diminish an LGBTQ person, but you’re playing the victim, unfairly put upon by having to treat the LGBTQ person equally and fairly. This absurdity was encapsulated in the best question at last month’s CNN/HRC Democratic candidates’ Town Hall when audience member Andrew Beaudoin asked Pete Buttigieg: “As a Christian, can you point me to any teachings or faith which state things like, ‘Thou shall not serve the gays meatloaf in diner’”? LGBTQ people have been under sustained attack for the three years of the Trump administration, with “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” the now all-too-familiar battering rams of choice. Renowned homophobe Vice President Mike Pence is apparently on a mission to cause as much misery to LGBTQ people as possible, and Trump himself—an adulterer and alleged sexual assaulter of women—has become close buddies with the religious right.Their transactional relationship is darkly absurd, the hypocrisy laughable were it not so vindictive in intent. Both parties need each other. Trump needs evangelical support in 2020, and the religious right need him to help realize their anti-LGBTQ animus in legislation. Kismet.Do true Christians realize that the new HHS rules will hurt people—LGBTQ people, sure, but also children who need love and loving homes? That is probably the sickest aspect of this enactment of prejudice; everything that the religious right says it holds dear—the protection of family life and well-being of children—they are happy to destroy to pursue their crusade against LGBTQ people. Of course, they maintain that LGBTQ people should not be anywhere near children; that they cannot be parents.There is no rational reason behind this virulent desire to discriminate. Beyond it seeming utterly un-Christian, there is no scientific, proven rationale that LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents make worse parents than straight people purely on the basis of their sexual and gender identities.All that lies behind the proposals is prejudice, and the religious right’s single-minded determination to roll back as many LGBTQ advances and protections as possible. The HHS announcement was their latest success under Trump. The political winds are currently in their favor.On Oct. 29, Brian Brown, the National Organization for Marriage’s co-founder and president of the World Congress of Families, tweeted a photo of himself with two SCOTUS justices, Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito. The justices were criticized. They are presently considering three high-profile LGBTQ discrimination cases, to which Brown and NOM had submitted an anti-equality amicus filing. Why were Kavanaugh and Alito happy to pose with Brown in this context? What does it say about their impartiality?* * *Pence and the administration’s other religious-minded zealots (and supportive groups like NOM) are most furious about marriage equality, and so—ever since it was established in federal law—have set about chipping away at it in any malign way they can. “Religious liberty” and “religious freedom” have become their charge-words.In 2015, as governor of Indiana, Pence signed into law the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which—after much outrage from equality organizations and big business—was amended to protect LGBTQ people. “Religious liberty” and “religious freedom”: These benign-sounding phrases don’t mean—as they sound—being free to go to your church, and/or worship whatever it is you believe in, and/or try to freely exercise the godly qualities of compassion and goodness towards your fellow humans. Or to simply cherish your faith.Instead, these phrases mean: attack LGBTQ people, attack their hard-won (and still shamefully few) legal advances and protections in the courts and in law, and all this under the guise that you are being attacked by having to treat them as equal human beings. So far, there is no sustained political fightback against this outrageous, and growing, attack on LGBTQ rights. The right-wing sponsored court cases—like Masterpiece Bakery—keep coming. The rights of LGBTQ Americans to be treated equally are not a given or safe (the Equality Act is stalled; the Supreme Court is currently considering whether it should be OK to fire LGBTQ people). LGBTQ people’s ability to simply live equally alongside their neighbors is—for some reason—up for debate and legal challenge.Trump has embraced the “religious freedom” wrecking ball wholeheartedly. The media and Americans generally have stood idly by as the straw-man arguments have taken hold in state and federal courtrooms. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions even set up a Religious Liberty Task Force, to make this anti-LGBTQ crusade an inter-departmental affair.The right wing, so long the bullies, who could attack and demonize LGBTQ people with impunity, realized that overtly hateful narrative was wearing thin and losing support. Their new narrative, as it has become with so many powerful people with influence and money, is to cast themselves as victims and the bullied. It’s a gaslighting exercise. And still, just as when they voiced their homo- and transphobia more freely, the victims are LGBTQ people, who are simply asking for legal equality, and to be treated equally and fairly in their communities.Politicians, so nervous about religion, do not know how to confront the nebulous straw man; and the Trump administration has been placing judges in courts—including the Supreme Court—who would swing favorably to “religious liberty” arguments.And so, the gnarly problem, which really shouldn’t be a problem, becomes how to counter the “religious liberty” bandwagon. Who will be brave enough to confront and neuter this corrosive coming together of faith and policy-making?One approach is to face it directly. When asked at the CNN/HRC town hall, “Do you think religious institutions—like colleges, churches, charities—should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?” Beto O’Rourke, who has now left the Democratic presidential nonination race, responded, “Yes. There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break, for anyone or any institution, any organization in America, that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us.”Buttigieg himself told Andrew Beaudoin that night: “Without telling others how to worship, the Christian tradition that I belong to instructs me to identify with the marginalized and to recognize that the greatest thing that any of us has to offer is love.“Religious liberty is an important principle in this country, and we honor that. It’s also the case that any freedom that we honor in this country has limits when it comes to harming other people… The right to religious freedom ends where religion is being used as an excuse to harm other people.”“When religion is used in that way, to me, it makes God smaller,” Buttigieg added. “It to me is an insult, not only to us as LGBTQ people, but I think it’s an insult to faith, to believe that it could be used to hurt people in that way.”In late October, Buttigieg told Mara Keisling, founding executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, “The freedom to religious expression—which is very important to me personally—does not mean that you can harm people in the name of religion and say that’s OK.”Buttigieg was speaking as part of the NCTE’s “Transform the White House” series of candidate interviews. He added, “My message to fellow people of faith on this issue is to remember that when you have policies that try to invoke religion as a way to harm people or exclude people, that isn't just an insult to the separation of church and state—it’s an insult to religion. Every faith tradition I know of, certainly the Christian tradition I belong to, speaks so much about needing to support those who are marginalized, those who are most vulnerable, those who are ostracized. “The entire New Testament is full of stories that teach us about the importance of lifting one another up. And what you see is, in my view, a very narrow, dim, and even backwards idea of what religion is about when people would use it as a pretext to exclude trans Americans or any Americans.”These are heartening, powerful words, especially from a high-profile Christian gay man aspiring to the highest office in the land. They show the humane breadth of what “faith” can mean, but alas they do not address the tougher question: What would a progressive president like Buttigieg actually do to protect LGBTQ people add rights from these relentless “religious freedom” attacks?To journalist Adam Wren on Sunday, Buttigieg appeared to go further, raising the possibility of “enforcing anti-discrimination expectations, even on private organizations, and I think that bar goes even higher when we’re talking about anybody seeking federal funds.”That is an evolution, but how? And it will be cold comfort to all those LGBTQ people negatively impacted by the HHS’ attack on their ability to be loving parents, or to access healthcare services; and to those affected by whatever new attacks in the guise of “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” are to come.The HHS’ move shows that the right wing was never going to stop at defending those poor, persecuted bakers being asked to make wedding cakes for gay couples. The Trump administration and its supporters intend to use “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” to inflict as much damage on LGBTQ people and rights as they can—bullies causing as much pain as possible, while all the time playing the whining victims.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Turkey's Erdogan may call off a visit to Washington next week in protest

Turkey's Erdogan may call off a visit to Washington next week in protestTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may call off a visit to Washington next week in protest of votes in the House of Representatives to recognize mass killings of Armenians a century ago as genocide and to seek sanctions on Turkey, three Turkish officials said.



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Perry defends urging Trump to make call in impeachment focus

Perry defends urging Trump to make call in impeachment focusOutgoing U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Saturday that he asked President Donald Trump to make the phone call at the center of the impeachment inquiry because it was “important” for the country’s energy needs and had nothing to do with former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter. Perry told The Associated Press that he urged Trump to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to offer Ukraine “an alternative to Russian gas” and said he never once heard the word Biden or Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that once employed Biden’s son. The impeachment inquiry is investigating whether Trump was withholding military aid unless Zelenskiy went public with a promise to investigate the Bidens.



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Rudy Giuliani rants about money, Middle East and Bidens in accidental call to reporter

Rudy Giuliani rants about money, Middle East and Bidens in accidental call to reporterPresident Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani can be heard discussing Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, former secretary of state John Kerry and a need for cash on two voicemails accidentally left on a reporter's mobile phone.Mr Giuliani had reportedly "butt dialled" NBC reporter Rob Shapiro when Mr Giuliani was in the middle of a conversation with another man about business in the Middle East, a few weeks after he had accidentally called the same reporter, leaving a voicemail attacking the Bidens while in conversation with another person.



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Protest Leaders Ignore Ban, Call for March: Hong Kong Update

Protest Leaders Ignore Ban, Call for March: Hong Kong Update(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong protest organizers said they would lead demonstrators through Kowloon on Sunday in a march despite losing an appeal against a police ban on the procession.The Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions supported the police’s refusal to approve the march because of the potential for violence, Radio Television Hong Kong reported. The rally was originally called to protest a government ban on masks and comes after Wednesday’s attack on Civil Human Rights Front’s organizer Jimmy Sham by hammer-wielding thugs in Mong Kok.Protesters are seeking to keep the pressure on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam with a 20th straight weekend of demonstrations. Earlier this week, Lam was twice shouted down in the city’s legislature by opposition lawmakers as she discussed her annual policy address.The protests began in opposition to Lam’s since-scrapped bill allowing extraditions to mainland China and have expanded to include calls for greater democracy and an independent inquiry. The unrest has turned increasingly violent, with frequent clashes between protesters and police.Here’s the latest (all times local):March to go ahead (5:17 p.m.)Civil Human Rights Front convener Figo Chan said he will lead a march Sunday along the route originally planned and he will be joined by other prominent pro-democracy activists including Leung Kwok-hung, Albert Ho and Cyd Ho, RTHK reported.Demonstrators planned to walk from Tsim Sha Tsui to the express rail terminus in West Kowloon before the police banned the march. The protesters could face arrest, but all of the city’s protests have had to deal with risks, whether they received police permission or not, RTHK cited Chan as saying.March ban upheld (2:30 p.m.)Hong Kong protesters lost an appeal against the police ban of their planned march on Sunday through Tsim Sha Tsui on concern about violence, RTHK reported.Organizers had planned to march through Tsim Sha Tsui to the west side of the district, where the high-speed train station to mainland China is located. Civil Human Rights Front Sham was one of the organizers of the event.Despite the police ban, protesters could still go ahead with the march. Activists mostly ignore restrictions on their gatherings and have continued to show up at events that lack police permits, with some devolving into violent clashes.On Friday night protesters formed human chains citywide, with everyone covering their faces in some way in defiance of the mask ban. People masqueraded as Disney characters, animals and super heroes, but the most popular mask was one of China President Xi Jinping. In Tsim Sha Tsui a long line of protesters linked hands, all wearing a facade of Xi’s smiling face.Lam may reshuffle ExCo (1 p.m.)Chief Executive Lam said she would consider reorganizing the city’s Executive Council, its de facto Cabinet, but would wait until protests had ended.The beleaguered leader of Hong Kong said on an RTHK radio program that she doesn’t “blindly” support the actions of each officer but fully supports the force in enforcing the law. She urged people to wait for a report from Independent Police Complaints Council into the recent clashes, RTHK said. Lam again rejected calls for an independent inquiry into police brutality, the latest coming from Chinese University’s vice-chancellor, Rocky Tuan.Taiwan gets letter (10:45 a.m.)Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau confirmed it had received a letter from the Hong Kong police offering assistance in the case of Chan Tong-kai, Central News Agency reported.There is no precedent for the cooperation and the Taiwan bureau will follow up with relevant departments for discussion, CNA reported.Homicide suspect to surrender himself to Taiwan (11:28 p.m.)Hong Kong’s Chief Executive received a letter Friday from Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong man who’s been accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend during a Valentine’s Day trip to Taiwan, saying that he’d decided to surrender himself to Taiwan, according to a statement on the website of Hong Kong’s government.Chan, who’s currently serving a prison sentence for money laundering in a Hong Kong jail, “requested the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to assist him in making the relevant arrangement,” according to the statement.Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported earlier on Friday, citing a person it didn’t identify, that Chan made the decision after consulting with a pastor.Protesters march across city (1 p.m.)Demonstrators marched in the Central financial district on Hong Kong Island, temporarily blocking traffic, as well as in the Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok neighborhoods of Kowloon. Some carried a banner calling on the Hong Kong government to agree to their five demands, which include an independent inquiry into police violence, an amnesty for arrested protesters and greater democratic freedoms.Police deny weekend permit (12:30 p.m.)Hong Kong police denied a protest permit for the Civil Human Rights Front’s planned march in Kowloon on Sunday. The group — whose organizer Jimmy Sham was hospitalized this week — has been behind some of the largest protests during the last five months, including a few that have drawn over one million people. In many cases, protesters have continued to show up at events that lack police permits, with some devolving into violent clashes with police.\–With assistance from Dominic Lau.To contact the reporter on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Stanley JamesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Hondurans call for president to step down after drug verdict

Hondurans call for president to step down after drug verdictOpposition groups called Saturday for continuing protests to demand that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández be removed from office after his younger brother was convicted of drug trafficking in a New York court. President Hernández insisted via Twitter that the verdict is not against the state of Honduras, saying his government has fought drug trafficking. On Saturday he attended a parade to honor the country’s armed forces and posted pictures of himself on Twitter smiling alongside the U.S. chargé d’affaires to Honduras, Colleen Hoey.



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Rick Perry confirms Trump's Ukraine policy passed through Giuliani, recounts a wild call with Rudy

Rick Perry confirms Trump's Ukraine policy passed through Giuliani, recounts a wild call with RudyEnergy Secretary Rick Perry led the U.S. delegation to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration in May. In a subsequent May 23 meeting in the White House, President Trump said he wouldn't agree to meet Zelensky until the Ukrainians "straightened up their act," Perry told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, adding that he later understood Trump to be referring to concerns about his 2016 presidential campaign. In order to resolve those concerns, Perry said, Trump told him to "visit with Rudy," meaning Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.Perry says he agreed to call Giuliani in the hopes it would ease the way for Trump to meet with Zelensky. "And as I recall the conversation, he said, 'Look, the president is really concerned that there are people in Ukraine that tried to beat him during this presidential election,'" Perry told the Journal. "Rudy didn't say they gotta do X, Y, and Z," he added. "He just said, 'You want to know why he ain't comfortable about letting this guy come in? Here's the reason.'"Those reasons, Perry recalled, involved three conspiracy theories: That Ukraine was responsible for former British spy Christopher Steele's dossier on Trump; that Ukraine had Hillary Clinton's email server; and that Ukrainian's "dreamed up" evidence that led to Paul Manafort's conviction and imprisonment.Trump's former homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, said last month he was "deeply frustrated" that Giuliani had poisoned Trump's mind with those "completely debunked" conspiracy theories. Perry had a more detached response. "I don't know whether that was crap or what," he said, "but I'm just saying there were three things that he said. That's the reason the president doesn't trust these guys."Trump finally called Zelensky on July 25, and their conversation — specifically Trump's request that Zelensky investigate Joe Biden and his son — led to a whistleblower complaint and a House impeachment inquiry. In that inquiry, several diplomats have expressed concerns about Giuliani's shadow diplomacy in Ukraine on behalf of Trump and possibly other clients. Federal prosecutors in New York are also reportedly investigating Giuliani's Ukraine business dealings. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.



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