Bowe Bergdahl gets dishonorable discharge, avoids prison time

Fort Bragg, North Carolina (CNN)Bowe Bergdahl received a dishonorable discharge from the US Army, but will avoid prison time for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after abandoning his outpost in Afghanistan in 2009, a military judge ruled Friday.

The judge ordered that Bergdahl’s rank be reduced from sergeant to private. Additionally, Bergdahl will be required to pay a $1,000 fine from his salary for the next 10 months.
“Sgt. Bergdahl has looked forward to today for a long time,” Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s civilian attorney, said at a news conference after the proceedings.
    “As everyone knows, he was a captive of the Taliban for nearly five years, and three more years have elapsed while the legal process unfolded. He has lost nearly a decade of his life.”
    The sentence is effective immediately, except for the dishonorable discharge, which Bergdahl is appealing, according to Fidell.
    Bergdahl appeared visibly shaken as the sentence was announced, according to CNN affiliate WRAL. Two of his attorneys stood by his side with their hands on his back while the judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, read the sentence.
    The soldier, whom the Taliban held for five years after he deserted his Afghanistan outpost, pleaded guilty last month to the charges.
    Bergdahl was released in May 2014 in a controversial exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.
    He originally faced the possibility of life in prison, but the prosecution asked the judge for a 14-year sentence. Bergdahl’s attorneys asked Nance for a punishment of dishonorable discharge.
    Bergdahl had chosen to be tried by a military judge instead of a jury.
    Gen. Robert Abrams, the commanding general of Forces Command and the convening authority in Bergdahl’s case, will review the sentence, according to Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman. Abrams could potentially reduce Bergdahl’s sentence.

    Defense: Bergdahl ‘should not have been in the Army’

    Bergdahl’s attorneys asked the judge for leniency during sentencing hearings, arguing he had a previously undiagnosed mental illness when he left his post.
    “Hypothetically, he probably should not have been in the Army,” said Capt. Nina Banks, one of his military defense attorneys, in her closing argument.
    Bergdahl suffered from numerous mental illnesses, including schizotypal personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Dr. Charles Morgan, a forensic psychiatrist and professor at the University of New Haven and Yale University. He testified for the defense Wednesday.
    Morgan said Bergdahl was raised in a tense and sometimes scary household that contributed to social anxiety and cognitive defects that he was suffering from before he enlisted in the Army.
    The defense also argued the information Bergdahl was able to provide upon his return — and his willingness to share that information and cooperate with investigators — warranted a more lenient sentence.

    Prosecution: Bergdahl put soldiers in danger

    But government prosecutors said Bergdahl was aware of the risks when he deserted, and that doing so put his fellow soldiers in danger.
    Soldiers who searched for Bergdahl after he deserted were called to testify and shared stories of the grueling conditions they endured while looking for him.
    One witness, Capt. John Billings, was Bergdahl’s platoon leader in Afghanistan. Billings said the platoon searched for the then-private first class for 19 days, going without food or water.
    Retired Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer James Hatch testified that he and his dog came under fire while looking for Bergdahl. He was shot in the leg, and his K-9 partner, Remco, was shot in the face and killed.
    “I thought I was dead,” said Hatch, who now walks with a heavy limp after 18 surgeries. He said he was concerned because there was little time to plan the search for Bergdahl, and other soldiers knew he had willfully walked away.

      Report: Bergdahl diagnosed with personality disorder

    When asked why he would go searching for Bergdahl, Hatch said, “He is an American.”
    “He had a mom,” he added.
    Bergdahl tearfully apologized this week to the service members who searched for him.
    “My words can’t take away what people have been through,” he said. “I am admitting I made a horrible mistake.”

    Lawyer: Trump’s remarks ‘preposterous’

    Following the sentencing, President Donald Trump tweeted that the decision was a “complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military.”
    Bergdahl became a political talking point in 2014 after President Barack Obama’s administration traded five detainees at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for his release.
    In February, Bergdahl’s defense team argued he was unable to have a fair trial after Donald Trump became president because of comments Trump made on the 2016 campaign trail.
    During the campaign, Trump called Bergdahl a “dirty, rotten traitor” and said he “should be shot” for deserting his post. “In the good old days, he would have been executed,” Trump said.
    Fidell had denounced Trump’s critical campaign comments, saying “every American should be offended by his assault on the fair administration of justice and his disdain for basic constitutional rights.”
    Bergdahl’s attorneys argued that Trump’s comments, as well as critical words from Sen. John McCain, violated his right to due process. But Nance ultimately ruled against dismissing the charges, saying that while Trump’s comments were “troubling,” they did not constitute a due process violation.
    “Trump — when he was a candidate, of course — made really extraordinary and reprehensible comments targeted directly at our client,” Fidell said Friday. “It’s one of the most preposterous state of affairs that I can think of in American legal history.”

    Investigator said jail time would be ‘inappropriate’

    Since his return home to the United States, the 31-year-old from Idaho has been the subject of scrutiny while the US military investigated his decision to leave his post.
    Bergdahl has said he abandoned his post because he wanted to travel to a larger base to report “a critical problem in my chain of command,” though he did not specify what the problem was.
    He was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in March 2015.
    Kenneth Dahl, the Army general who led the investigation into Bergdahl’s actions and interviewed the soldier for a day and a half, previously testified in a preliminary hearing that jail time would be “inappropriate.”
    During his time in captivity, Bergdahl said he was tortured, beaten and spent months chained to a bed or locked in a cage while his health deteriorated. For five years, he said, he was completely isolated, had no concept of time and was told he would be killed and never see his family again.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/03/politics/bowe-bergdahl-sentenced/index.html

    Coming Soon to Washington: An Anti-Trump Hotel for Liberals

    The first thing you’ll see when you walk into Eaton Workshop, a hotel opening in late spring 2018 in Washington, is a custom-commissioned video art installation by AJ Schnack, shown on a series of vintage-style television screens. All day long, it’ll broadcast a montage of footage from the presidential elections of 2012 and 2016 that’s built around one pointed question: How did our country get where it is today?

    It’s not a subtle statement, and it’s not meant to be.

    In Trump’s Washington, Eaton is planting a clear flag as a haven for Democrats. It’s the world’s first politically motivated hotel, the flagship for a global brand that’s built around social activism and community engagement. And it comes with a pedigree: As the daughter of Ka Shui Lo, the creator and executive chairman of Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group Ltd., founder Katherine Lo knows a thing or two about luxury hotels and world-class service.

    The Big Idea

    An artist’s rendering of the reception desk of the Eaton.
    Source: Gachot Studios

    Lo firmly believes that hotels ought to be catalysts for good. In a world where we can be conscious consumers—of everything from clothing to food to baby products—she argues there’s a place for conscious hotels, too. This isn’t a revolutionary idea: Already, 1 Hotels has built a small collection of luxury properties entirely around the idea of sustainability, and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts has made a significant, brand-wide commitment to bolster community programming for disadvantaged children in all of its destinations. It’s one of many five-star brands that have a conscious ethos but choose not to flaunt it.

    Eaton Workshop is different. With a premise that’s built around liberal activism and civic engagement, the brand will weave a liberal philosophy into every aspect of the guest experience, some more obvious than others.

    Among the subtler points is the significance of the company’s name: a nod to the high-end shopping mall of that name in Montreal that captured the fascination of Ka Shui Lo when he fled the Cultural Revolution in China. The mall, says Katherine, was a beacon of freedom to her father—and when she found an archival photo bearing its old motto, “Progress and better living,” the two Eatons became forever intertwined.

    The Washington hotel—which has 209 rooms just north of the National Mall—will be the brand’s flagship, with a second location opening in Hong Kong in 2018 and new constructions set to rise in San Francisco and Seattle no sooner than 2019.

    A Hotel With an Agenda

    The lobby of the Eaton.
    Source: Gachot Studios

    Among the Washington location’s programming signatures will be a sort of TED talk series driven by the liberal agenda, consisting of fireside chats and rooftop lectures that Lo hopes will be free, open to the public, and streamable as Eaton-branded podcasts. Then comes the art program, which—aside from the political statement piece at check-in—will include commissions from at least a half-dozen up-and-coming local artists and a street-facing exhibition window curated in partnership with local museums and institutions. A co-working space will prioritize memberships for progressive startups, activists, and artists, while a wellness program will offer “inner-health-focused treatments” such as Reiki and sound baths, rather than facials and massages. (Some of these features will roll out a few months after the hotel opens.)

    Just as important, partners and staff will be brought on board, both for their skills in the food and beverage worlds and their activist track records. For instance, Lo saw the cocktail director of the famed Columbia Room, Derek Brown, as a perfect fit to be the hotel’s beverage director—not just because he’s won such awards as magazine’s Bartender of the Year but because he “cares deeply about social justice.” To wit, Brown actively champions policies that fight sexual harassment in the bartending industry and acts as chief spirit advisor for the National Archives.  

    Similarly, Lo says that the “amazing life story” of house chef Tim Ma “perfectly expresses our brand ethos.” The Chinese-American culinary up-and-comer was an engineer at the National Security Agency for years before discovering his true passion in food. At Eaton’s to-be-named restaurant, Ma is planning a menu with a heavy focus on vegetables from an on-site garden.

    A guest who does nothing other than check in, sleep atop Eaton’s organic mattresses, and check out will still have a sense of the hotel’s mission, says Lo. “We plan to have new ideas in the minibar—an activist toolkit, for example, that includes sheets with information to help you call your congresspeople. And if we’d been open during this year’s Women’s March, I could have seen us putting poster boards and markers in the rooms!”

    Political statements such as these will be tailored to each property. In Hong Kong, for instance, Lo says she’d like to replace Bibles in the nightstand drawers with copies of the United Nations Declaration for Human Rights.

    A Place for Thought Leaders (but Not All of Them)

    The library at the Eaton
    Source: Gachot Studios

    Lo understands that Eaton Workshop isn’t for everyone. “Self-selection is definitely one of our strategies,” she says about branding and marketing materials that directly appeal to the “woke” crowd. “We wanted to emphasize that it’s a place for people who are thinking outside the box and want to effect a change in the world,” she says.

    Though she repeatedly talks about fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion, Lo also tells Bloomberg that “the goal isn’t to bring together left and right.” Instead, she wants to create “a diversity of fields and backgrounds as well as gender and ethnicity.” In other words, her hotel should represent the antithesis of the Trump hotel that’s just a few blocks away, offering an intellectual playground to those who may feel marginalized by the current administration’s agenda.

    This is partisan politics playing out on the city’s hotel scene; whether that will hurt or help Lo’s bottom line remains to be seen. But if the Trump Hotel is any indication, Lo may be poised for big success. According to the , the president’s hotel brought in $1.97 million in profits during the first four months of the year, despite business projections that had forecast a loss of $2.1 million.

    “It’s Like a Non-Profit but Better”

    Though her goal is to create a successful, scalable business, Eaton Workshop is not built to pad Lo’s pockets. On the contrary, she sees the entire enterprise as a means to a philanthropic end, and hopes to use the hotel profits to fund community arts initiatives in the brand’s respective destinations. 

    Each location will have a radio station, cinema, and music venue so local talent can produce or showcase work in a state-of-the-art space at low—or no—cost. In Washington, the building’s history as a printing venue has inspired Lo to create a writer’s residency, where investigative reporters can be hosted on site for several months while pursuing important stories.

    Artists will be invited to create short films, podcasts, or other types of content under the emblem of Eaton’s in-house multimedia studio; the results will be available for guests to stream on personal devices, and each piece will feature a clear activist message and a call to action.

    “We’re hoping that our hotel revenues will propel our creative projects,” says Lo, who likens the hotel to “a non-profit, but better.” Still, room rates won’t be extravagant; prices in Washington are likely to hover in the upper $200s. Thankfully, for members of both political parties—who are, no doubt, tired of dropping Benjamins for vodka drinks at the Trump International—the price of a martini should be less radical.

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-13/coming-soon-to-washington-an-anti-trump-hotel-for-liberals

      Universities deplore McCarthyism as MP demands list of tutors lecturing on Brexit

      Tory whip writes to every vice-chancellor to ask for syllabus and any online material

      Academics are accusing a Tory MP and government whip of McCarthyite behaviour, after he wrote to all universities asking them to declare what they are teaching their students about Brexit and to provide a list of teachers names.

      Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative MP for Daventry and a staunch Eurosceptic, wrote to vice-chancellors at the start of this month asking for the names of any professors involved in teaching European affairs with particular reference to Brexit. Neatly ignoring the long tradition of academic freedom that universities consider crucial to their success, his letter asks for a copy of each universitys syllabus and any online lectures on Brexit.

      Prof David Green, vice-chancellor of Worcester University, felt a chill down his spine when he read the sinister request: This letter just asking for information appears so innocent but is really so, so dangerous, he says. Here is the first step to the thought police, the political censor and newspeak, naturally justified as the will of the British people, a phrase to be found on Mr Heaton-Harriss website. Green will be replying to the MP but not be providing the information requested.

      MP's
      Heaton-Harriss letter

      Prof Kevin Featherstone, head of the European Institute at the LSE, is also outraged: The letter reflects a past of a McCarthyite nature. It smacks of asking: are you or have you ever been in favour of remain? There is clearly an implied threat that universities will somehow be challenged for their bias. Featherstone says LSE academics had already feared Brexit censorship after the Electoral Commission made inquiries during last years referendum campaign about academics debates and research, following a complaint by Bernard Jenkin, another Tory MP. Jenkin filed a complaint when the LSE hosted an event at which the secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said there was no upside for the UK in Brexit. Jenkin, a board member of the Vote Leave campaign, also accused the LSEs Centre for Economic Performance of producing partisan research designed to convince the public to stay in the EU. The commission, whose job is to ensure fair campaigning, investigated and took no action against the university.

      A spokesman for the LSE strenuously denies all allegations of political bias. The freedom for academics to study the major issues facing society, reach their own conclusions, and engage in public debate is essential for the health of our universities and the UKs world-leading research base, he says.

      Featherstone says: I understand the LSE received calls from the Electoral Commission asking about speakers and the costs of events on an almost daily basis throughout the campaign period. He argues that both Heaton-Harriss letter and the Electoral Commissions investigation pose a threat to the role of universities as free intellectual spaces where academics can explore and question ideas without political interference. He says both developments risk plunging universities into dangerous new political waters.

      The Electoral Commission says universities have nothing to fear from its inquiries. We produce guidance to help all non-party campaigners understand the rules on campaigning and we can advise universities in cases where they may be affected. These do not prevent campaigning or engagement in public debate, but provide the public with transparency about who is spending what in order to influence their vote.

      Prof
      Prof David Green, vice-chancellor of Worcester University: Here is the first step to the thought police, the political censor. Photograph: James Watkins

      More than 80% of academics voted to remain, according to a YouGov survey [pdf] commissioned by the University and College Union in January. And within university departments focusing on European affairs, Brexiters are a rarity.

      However, university experts on Brexit insist their personal views do not jaundice their teaching, and students are encouraged to question received assumptions and look at issues from all sides.

      Julie Smith, director of the European Centre in the politics and international studies department at Cambridge University, says she told a lecture full of graduates about Heaton-Harriss letter last week. I told the students what my personal views were and emphasised that they were personal views. I voted to remain, but as an academic, my job is to impart knowledge, encourage debate and develop skills of analytical argument, not to impose doctrine.

      Smith, who is also a Liberal Democrat peer, adds: If it is the case that a politician thinks he should interfere in the content of what universities are teaching and look at syllabi in order to see whether the correct line is being delivered, that is profoundly worrying.

      Prof Piet Eeckhout, academic director of University College Londons European Institute, says it is unsurprising if most academics working on Europe are in favour of the EU. I have been teaching EU law for the last 25 years. The fact that I am sufficiently interested to spend all my days working on it obviously means I think EU law is a good thing.

      Prof
      Prof Kevin Featherstone, director of the European Institute at the LSE: The letter reflects a past of a McCarthyite nature

      Pro-Brexit academics working in this area are also unhappy with the MPs behaviour. Lee Jones, reader in international politics at Queen Mary University of London, is one of the few openly pro-Brexit academics in his field. During the referendum campaign I said what I wanted and no one tried to shut me up, but I know colleagues elsewhere who have been blanked in the corridors because they voted to leave.

      Yet Jones, too, is outraged by Heaton-Harriss investigation. It is really troubling that an MP thinks it is within his remit to start poking his nose into university teaching, he says. Universities are autonomous and politicians have no right to intimidate academics by scrutinising their courses. I have colleagues who are die-hard remainers. But I know what they teach and it is not propaganda.

      Chris Bickerton, reader in modern European politics at Cambridge University, and a fellow leave voter agrees. He adds: In my institution there is strong support for academic freedom. I applied for promotion after the referendum and never did I worry that my views on Brexit would affect the results or my promotional prospects. Nor did I feel any institutional pressure to think one way or the other in the runup to the vote itself.

      Heaton-Harris did not respond to requests for a comment.

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/oct/24/universities-mccarthyism-mp-demands-list-brexit-chris-heaton-harris

      Chelsea Clinton understandably can’t take Trump’s crude ‘joke’

      What a pair.
      Image: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

      It would be that in an exposé of Vice President Mike Pence, it’s a reported comment from President Donald Trump about his veep’s views that’s putting the president right back in the hot seat.

      A new New Yorker story, “The Danger of President Pence,” dug out incredible details about Pence’s history, his rise to the vice presidency, and his relationship to Trump. Toward the end of the lengthy piece, author Jane Mayer reported on what Trump thinks about his political partner. 

      “Trump thinks Pence is great,” Bannon told me. But, according to a longtime associate, Trump also likes to “let Pence know who’s boss.” A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, “Did Mike make you pray?” Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. “You see?” Trump asked Pence. “You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.” When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”

      The last part about gay rights was picked up as especially cruel, and not at all funny. Chelsea Clinton, who has called out Trump before (and before that), was quick to reprimand the president about having a little basic decency.

      Others chimed in to share how upsetting it is to hear the president speak about the gay community in such a violent and flippant manner.

      As this is one of countless inappropriate, cruel, and inhuman comments Trump has uttered, the fear is that the revelation isn’t likely to change anything — or even get noticed much beyond today’s tweets. 

      Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/16/pence-new-yorker-trump-gay-chelsea-clinton/

      Key GOP Senator Susan Collins Lays Out Her Demands for Tax Bill

      Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said Monday she’s opposed to two tax breaks for the wealthy that her party leaders are pushing for, indicating that her vote won’t be easy to win on President Donald Trump’s top legislative priority.

      “I do not believe that the top rate should be lowered for individuals who are making more than $1 million a year,” Collins said during an interview with Bloomberg News. “I don’t think there’s any need to eliminate the estate tax.”

      Repealing the estate tax and cutting the individual rate from 39.6 percent for top earners “concern me,” she said, adding that she’s conveyed her opposition to party leaders.

      Collins, a moderate Republican who played a decisive role in thwarting several iterations of Obamacare replacement legislation, offered her most pointed comments on her priorities for a tax bill to date.

      She added that the structure of the estate tax — a 40 percent levy applied to estates worth more than $5.49 million for individuals or $10.98 million for couples — means it avoids hitting “the vast majority of family-owned businesses and farms and ranches.” She said she’s open to adjusting the cutoff level slightly upward.

      The White House and GOP leaders released a tax framework last month that calls for a top individual rate of 35 percent and leaves room for tax committees to add another rate above that. It also proposes the repeal of the estate tax. The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to release its version of a tax bill on Wednesday. Collins said the Senate will likely offer a tax bill that differs from the House version.

      Collins’s demands are important because Republicans have only 52 seats in the 100-member Senate and little hope of Democratic support — they can’t afford to lose more than two members to get a bill passed. 

      Still, she said: “There is far more outreach on the tax bill” than there was on health care.

      Collins declined to say she’ll oppose a tax bill that adds to the deficit, in contrast to her colleague Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. But she said she cares about the debt and doesn’t want the tax bill to “blow a hole” in the deficit. She argued that “certain tax cuts done right will increase economic growth” and produce revenue.

      “I hope very much to be able to support a tax reform package," Collins said. "It’s very difficult — I’m not going to say I can guarantee that because I don’t know what’s going to be in it.”

        Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-30/key-gop-senator-susan-collins-lays-out-her-demands-for-tax-bill

        Trump: ‘We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values’

        Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump dove into America’s culture wars on Friday, touting his administration for “returning moral clarity to our view of the world” and ending “attacks on Judeo-Christian values.”

        Trump, nine months into his presidency, has found it harder to get things done than the ease with which he made promises on the campaign trail, making speeches to adoring audiences like Friday’s in Washington key to boosting the President’s morale. And the audience at the Values Voter Summit, an annual socially conservative conference, didn’t fail to deliver.
        “We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values,” Trump said to applause, before slamming people who don’t say “Merry Christmas.”
          “They don’t use the word Christmas because it is not politically correct,” Trump said, complaining that department stores will use red and Christmas decorations but say “Happy New Year.” “We’re saying Merry Christmas again.”
          The comment drew thunderous applause.
          Heated debates over the “War On Christmas” have raged for years, with many on the right complaining that political correctness has made it less acceptable to say Merry Christmas. Trump has seized on these feelings, regularly telling primarily religious audiences that his presidency has made it acceptable to “start saying Merry Christmas again.”
          “You go into a department store. When was the last time you saw ‘Merry Christmas?’ You don’t see it anymore,” Trump said on the campaign trail. “They want to be politically correct. If I’m president, you will see ‘Merry Christmas’ in department stores, believe me, believe me.”
          “America is a nation of believers and together we are strengthened and sustained by the power of prayer,” Trump said.

            Trump ends insurance subsidies for poor people

          This is not the first time Trump has addressed the group and initially he was not universally well received. Speaking before the group in 2015, Trump got booed when he referred to Sen. Marco Rubio, then a 2016 presidential candidate, a “clown.”
          Trump, facing difficultly in getting Congress to work with him on a host of issues, has focused more on his political base lately, catering to the conservative voters for vaulted him from reality TV star to President.
          The President needled Congress on Friday.
          “Congress forgot what their pledges are,” he said about health care, faulting them for requiring the Trump administration to take a “different route” on repealing Obamacare.
          Most recently, Trump rolled back an Obamacare rule that required employers to provide birth control coverage as part of their health insurances packages. Trump scraped that plan with a new rule that would exempt employers whose religious or moral beliefs conflict with providing contraceptive coverage.
          Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, heralded that decision, arguing that it showed Trump is committed to “undoing the anti-faith policies of the previous administration and restoring true religious freedom.”

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/13/politics/trump-values-voters-summit/index.html

          A timeline of the rogue Twitter employee’s last day at work before deleting Trump’s account

          Image: mashable composite. max knoblauch; shutterstock

          This post is a part of Mashable Humor. It is not real. We drew the bird, though, and think it’s pretty good.

          A Twitter customer support employee is responsible for temporarily deactivating the account of President Trump for 11 minutes on Thursday night, just before 7:00 p.m. EST. According to a statement from the company, it was said employee’s last day, and they acted without the approval of anyone else at Twitter.

          What follows is a comprehensive timeline of the “rogue” employee’s infamous last day at Twitter HQ.

          9:05 a.m.: Employee arrives at office on their last day. Employee sits at desk.

          9:15 a.m.: Employee’s manager approaches, asks employee if they received email. “I haven’t checked my email,” employee replies. “Oh, okay. Well, when you get a chance,” manager answers. The employee will not look at the email.

          9:20 a.m.: Employee tells coworker Devin that his coffee mug is on their desk, technically, and has been every day for several months.

          9:25 a.m.: Employee leaves for “early lunch.”

          1:15 p.m.: Employee returns from lunch.

          1:19 p.m.: Employee sends email recommending lunch spot’s Moscow Mules to full New York office.

          1:25 p.m.: Employee forwards Moscow Mule email to global staff list with message, “In case any of you are ever in town.”

          1:30 p.m.: Using Sharpie, employee writes, “This bread taste like DOGGGG SHIT” on a loaf of bread in the employee kitchen.

          1:35 p.m.: Employee reminds coworker Devin about the coffee mug’s location, asking him, “Did you know?”

          1:40 p.m.: Employee leaves for “late lunch.”

          4:10 p.m.: Employee returns from late lunch.

          4:45 p.m.: During team meeting, employee is asked to say a few words. Employee uses full time to again recommend the Moscow Mules. The employee has worked at Twitter for 4 years.

          5:00 p.m.: Employee enters back room and adjusts office thermostat to 68 degrees.

          5:03 p.m.: Employee arrives at HR for exit interview.

          5:10 p.m.: Employee responds to HR’s question of, “How do you feel about your time here?” with simply, “Bad.”

          5:12 p.m.: Employee responds to HR’s question of, “Is there anything you feel you have not been able to do in your time here?” with, “Delete the president’s Twitter.” Employee tells HR they think they will be deleting President Trump’s account later in the day. The HR representative chuckles.

          5:15 p.m.: Employee returns to desk.

          5:30 p.m.: Employee watches the first 25 minutes of Netflix’s What the Health at desk without headphones.

          5:55 p.m.: Employee says, “Wow.”

          5:56 p.m.: Employee messages manager that the office chairs are very uncomfortable. Manager replies with, “Well, I don’t furnish the office lol.” Employee replies, “I do not like you and I have not liked you for some time now.” Manager does not reply.

          6:00 p.m.: Employee stands on desk and announces that they will be drinking Moscow Mules at the lunch spot nearby if anyone wants to go.

          6:48 p.m.: Employee returns to office to retrieve coat.

          6:49 p.m.: Employee throws Devin’s mug in the garbage.

          6:50 p.m.: Employee deactivates the president’s Twitter account.

          6:55 p.m.: Employee returns to lunch spot for Moscow Mules.

          Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/04/rogue-twitter-employee-deletes-trump-timeline-satire/

          Americans Are Officially Freaking Out

          For those lying awake at night worried about health care, the economy, and an overall feeling of divide between you and your neighbors, there’s at least one source of comfort: Your neighbors might very well be lying awake, too.

          Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, report being stressed about the future of the nation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh Stress in America survey, conducted in August and released on Wednesday.  This worry about the fate of the union tops longstanding stressors such as money (62 percent) and work (61 percent) and also cuts across political proclivities. However, a significantly larger proportion of Democrats (73 percent) reported feeling stress than independents (59 percent) and Republicans (56 percent).

          The “current social divisiveness” in America was reported by 59 percent of those surveyed as a cause of their own malaise. When the APA surveyed Americans a year ago, 52 percent said they were stressed by the presidential campaign. Since then, anxieties have only grown.

          A majority of the more than 3,400 Americans polled, 59 percent, said “they consider this to to be the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.” That sentiment spanned generations, including those that lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. (Some 30 percent of people polled cited terrorism as a source of concern, a number that’s likely to rise given the alleged terrorist attack in New York City on Tuesday.)

          “We have a picture that says people are concerned,” said Arthur Evans, APA’s chief executive officer. “Any one data point may not not be so important, but taken together, it starts to paint a picture.”

          The survey didn’t ask respondents specifically about the administration of President Donald Trump, Evans said. He points to the “acrimony in the public discourse” and “the general feeling that we are divided as a country” as being more important than any particular person or political party.

          Yet he and the study note that particular policy issues are a major source of anxiety. Some 43 percent of respondents said health care was a cause. The economy (35 percent) and trust in government (32 percent) also ranked highly, as did hate crimes (31 percent) and crime in general (31 percent). 

           

          “Policymakers need to understand that this is an issue that is important to people, that the uncertainty is having an impact on stress levels, and that stress has an impact on health status,” Evans said, pointing out that the relationship between stress and health is well-established

          • And keeping up with the latest developments is a source of worry all its own. Most Americans—56 percent—said they want to stay informed, but the news causes them stress. (Yet even more, 72 percent, said “the media blows things out of proportion.”)

          The APA survey did find, however, that not everyone is feeling the same degree of anxiety. Women normally report higher levels of stress than men, though worries among both genders tend to rise or fall in tandem. This year, however, they diverged: On a 10-point scale, women reported a slight increase in stress, rising from an average 5.0 in 2016 to 5.1 in 2017, while the level for men dropped, from an average 4.6 to 4.4. 

          Racial divides also exist in reported stress. While the levels among blacks and Hispanics were lower in 2016 than the year before, they rose for both groups in 2017, to 5.2 for Hispanic adults and 5.0 for black adults. Among whites, meanwhile, the average remained the same, at 4.7. 

          The report also notes that many Americans are finding at least one healthy way to feel better: 53 percent reported exercising or doing other physical activity to cope. Social support is also important,  Evans said. “Third,” he says, “I think it’s really important for people to disconnect from the constant barrage of information.” 

          1. The 2017 Stress in America survey was conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of the APA. It was conducted online between Aug. 2 and Aug. 31, and had 3,440 participants, all ages 18 and up living in the U.S. It included 1,376 men, 2,047 women, 1,088 whites, 810 Hispanics, 808 blacks, 506 Asians and 206 Native Americans. Data were then weighted by age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, education and household income to reflect America's demographics accurately. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.

          Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-01/americans-are-officially-freaking-out

          Jeff Flake 2

          Jeff Flake is going out with a bang, and Donald Trump is notgoing to like it. 

          The Republican senator from Arizona announced on Tuesday that he’s not running for re-election in 2018. And then he denounced President Donald Trump and everything Trump represents on the Senate floor. 

          “We must never regard as ‘normal’ the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals,” Flake said, according to his prepared speech.

          He continued, “Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as ‘telling it like it is,’ when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.”

          “And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy.”

          He also laid into Republican politicians, who have enabled Trump by biting their tongues when he goes off the rails. 

          “When we remain silent and fail to act when we know that that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do — because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseum — when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations and imperatives in defense of the institutions of our liberty, then we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations.”

          “Despotism loves a vacuum”

          Finally, he warned that abandoning our values would benefit America’s enemies. 

          “Despotism loves a vacuum.  And our allies are now looking elsewhere for leadership. Why are they doing this? None of this is normal. And what do we as United States Senators have to say about it?”

          Reaction was split between those who found Flake brave for standing up to Trump and his own party …

          … to those who noted that Flake still supported much of Trump’s agenda, and faced a tough primary and general election in 2018, which means it’s no guarantee he’d win anyway. 

          Regardless, Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell now have one more Republican enemy in Congress. Sen. Bob Corker announced last month that he also wasn’t running for re-election in 2018, and hasn’t been shy about his disdain for the president. 

          And John McCain — who torpedoed Trump’s health care plan — has also been speaking out against the president. On Tuesday, McCain tweeted his support for his fellow Arizona senator. 

          Donald Trump spent Tuesday morning slamming Corker with childish insults. It’s a pretty good bet he’s about to rage-tweet about Flake very soon. 

          Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/24/jeff-flake-anti-trump-speech/

          Trump: We cannot aid Puerto Rico ‘forever’

          Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that Puerto Rico is going to have to shoulder more responsibility for recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria, saying the federal government’s emergency responders can’t stay there “forever.”

          His comments — in which he also blamed the beleaguered island for a financial crisis “largely of their own making” and infrastructure that was a “disaster” before the hurricane — come as Puerto Rico still reels from a lack of electricity, public health access and a rising death toll. The remarks quickly prompted cries from Democratic lawmakers, who argue that Puerto Rico still needs a lot of help, as well as the mayor of San Juan, who said they were “unbecoming” and appeared to come from a “hater in chief.”
          Meanwhile, Texas and Florida — two states Trump won during last year’s presidential election — also were struck by severe hurricanes recently, but the President has made no public indication that the federal government is pulling back on its response there.
            The President wrote in two separate tweets, “‘Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.’ says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of……..accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend…”
            He continued in a third tweet: “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”
            Attkisson is a journalist who works for conservative Sinclair Broadcasting.
            White House chief of staff John Kelly said at the White House briefing Thursday that Trump’s tweet was “exactly accurate” because first responders “are not going to be there forever.”
            “The minute you go anywhere as a first responder, and this would apply certainly to the military, you will try really hard to work yourself out of a job,” he said. “There will be a period in which we hope sooner rather than later, the US military and (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), generally speaking, can withdraw because then the government and people of Puerto Rico are recovering sufficiently to start the process of rebuilding.”
            A FEMA official told CNN the agency has “no hard deadline” on when it plans to pull resources from the island.
            “It all will be determined by the conditions on the ground,” the official said.
            The official said once things are “stabilized” in Puerto Rico, FEMA will “pull back resources as appropriate,” adding that’s the “natural progression of a response to a disaster.”
            FEMA’s focus, the official said, is to “move from the response phase to recovery,” adding the recovery phase often takes years.

            Dire situation

            Trump’s tweets come three weeks after the hurricane first struck the island, which remains largely without power. The death toll from the storm has risen to 45, authorities have said, and at least 113 people remain unaccounted for, according to Karixia Ortiz, a spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Safety.
            The recovery has moved slowly since Maria struck the US territory on September 20, leaving most of the island without basic services such as power and running water, according to residents, relief workers and local elected officials. Hospitals throughout the cash-strapped island of 3.4 million people have been running low on medicine and fuel, and residents and local elected officials have said they expect the death toll to rise.
            The water situation is so dire, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release Wednesday, that residents on the island have reportedly been trying to obtain water from Superfund sites — which are bodies of water contaminated by hazardous waste. The EPA advised against “tampering with sealed and locked wells or drinking from these wells, as it may be dangerous to people’s health.”
            Administration officials sought to downplay Trump’s comments Thursday morning.
            Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, testifying before the House financial services committee, said that he has “no intention” of abandoning recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
            “They’re a very important part of who we are,” he said, later adding: “(Puerto Rico) should not be abandoned.”
            And White House press secretary Sarah Sanders reaffirmed federal support to the island.
            “Our job in any disaster affected location is to help the community respond and recover from that disaster. We continue to do so with the full force of the US government and its resources in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and other affected areas,” she said. “Successful recoveries do not last forever; they should be as swift as possible to help people resume their normal lives.”
            Democrats, however, pounced on Trump’s tweets.
            “Puerto Ricans are Americans, and we don’t abandon each other. The federal government should stay in Puerto Rico as long as necessary,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, tweeted.
            Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted, “Puerto Rico is still facing a humanitarian crisis. @realDonaldTrump seems more worried about blaming hurricane victims than helping them.”
            And San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has feuded publicly with the President over the federal response, said on Twitter that Trump was incapable of fulfilling the moral imperative to help the people of PR. Shame on you.!”
            Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a news conference Thursday that he called the White House looking for clarification on Trump’s tweets.
            “The law establishes that the aid we are getting from FEMA has to be established for the duration of emergency efforts,” he said. ‘It’s not a decision as is, it’s a law that all the resources must be available for Puerto Rico.”
            However Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, who is a member of the House foreign affairs committee, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday there’s only “so much” the US can do to help Puerto Rico.
            “I would then again say, ‘What is enough?’ What is the right amount to satisfy whoever says we’re not doing enough,” he said on “New Day.” “It’s regrettable and it’s sad for those people but there only is physically, humanly possible so much that any nation could do in the wake of devastation.”
            He continued: “I lived through it myself, a victim of floods on numerous occasions, had to clean it up, and I will tell you, nobody came to help us, we handled it ourselves.”

            House to vote on disaster relief

            Acting Department of Homeland Security Elaine Duke will make her second trip to the island on Thursday.
            House Speaker Paul Ryan will lead a bipartisan delegation visiting Puerto Rico on Friday, according to the speaker’s office.
            Ryan will travel to the island with House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey and Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, the top Democrat on the panel. Puerto Rico’s sole representative in Congress, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers also will be part of the congressional delegation.
            The House of Representatives approved a $36.5 billion disaster aid package Thursday to help victims struggling to recover from a string of devastating hurricanes and wildfires. The measure now heads to the Senate, which returns from a weeklong recess next week.

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/12/politics/donald-trump-puerto-rico-tweets/index.html