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US Diplomat Fired by Trump-Appointed Ambassador for Merely Mentioning Obama in a Speech: Report

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A career foreign service officer says he got fired by a Trump-appointed ambassador simply for mentioning former President Barack Obama during a speech.

Journalist Julia Ioffe reports in GQ that Lewis Lukens, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in London, was fired shortly after delivering a speech at an English university in which he touted the benefits of America’s relationship with the United Kingdom.

During the speech, Lukens told a brief story about how Obama had handled a disagreement over LGBT rights with the government of Senegal. The former diplomat tells Ioffe that Woody Johnson, the Trump-appointed ambassador to the U.K., approached him shortly after and told him to pack his things, seven months before he was scheduled to take on a new assignment.

The State Department declined to comment when Ioffe asked them to verify Lukens’s account.

“This incident, which has not been previously reported, offers a stark example of the politicization of the foreign service under Trump,” writes Ioffe. “It’s also a grim illustration of how the administration — through three years of attempted budget cuts, hiring freezes, and grotesquely personal attacks — has eviscerated the country’s diplomatic corps and put highly sensitive matters of national security in the hands of politically appointed novices.”

Read the whole report here.

Image by Penn State via Flickr and a CC license

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YOU CAN'T DO THAT

DeSantis Administration Blows Off Court Ruling – Strips Funding From Schools Defying Unlawful Mask Mandate Ban

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The administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is going ahead with plans to financially punish schools that defy his ban on mask mandates for students.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran withheld funds from the Alachua and Broward county school districts that are equivalent to the salaries paid to school board members’ salaries.

Both counties had defied DeSantis by implementing mask mandates and refused to back down in the face of the governor’s threats.

However, there is some question of whether the decision to withhold the funding from the schools will hold up in court.

“Corcoran’s announcement Monday came after Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper on Friday ruled that DeSantis’ overstepped his constitutional authority in issuing the executive order,” reports the Tampa Bay Times. “Cooper issued an injunction barring Corcoran, the Department of Education and the State Board of Education from enforcing DeSantis’ order. It was not clear Monday evening whether the announcement about withholding funds from the Alachua and Broward districts conflicts with Cooper’s ruling.”

Despite this, the Florida Department of Education released a statement Monday saying that “the withholding of funds will continue monthly until each school board complies with state law and rule.”

RELATED –
Florida Judge Shreds Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order Banning Mask Mandates: CDC Is ‘Gold Standard’

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Madison Cawthorn Attacks Dr. Fauci: ‘We Want to Prosecute This Guy to the Full Ability of the Law’

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U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying House Republicans will “prosecute” the esteemed immunologist and director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as a “pawn of the Chinese Communist Party” and for lying to Congress.

There is no evidence either of those claims are true.

Speaking to former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, the host of “Just the Truth” on the Real America’s Voice website, Cawthorn falsely claimed Dr. Fauci has “directly lied to Congress,” echoing a claim made by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on Wednesday. Ellis, who claims to be a “constitutional law attorney,” did not mention to Cawthorn that the House of Representatives does not have the power to criminally prosecute.

“I’ll tell you when we take the majority back in 2022, I’ll make sure consequences are doled out,” Cawthorn promised. “But we want to prosecute this guy to the full ability of the law because I’ll tell you to lie to the American people just to get your name in the news just to see your face on the cover of books just to get fame or fortune, I’ll tell you, Dr. Anthony Fauci does not deserve either fame or fortune.”

On Wednesday Cawthorn told Newsmax, “I think we should indict Jill Biden.”

Watch:

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Guns for Hire?: GOP Governor Accused of ‘Renting’ Out South Dakota’s National Guard Troops as For-Profit ‘Mercenaries’

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It may be called South Dakota but the “Mount Rushmore State” is pretty far up in the northern United States. And yet Governor Kristi Noem, a Trump-loving far right Republican, is sending her National Guard troops to patrol the border: the Southern Border, in Texas.

The capitol of South Dakota, Pierre, is over 1100 miles from Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s capital city of Austin, about a 17 hour drive according to Google, if you don’t stop to eat or sleep.

Gov. Noem is sending her National Guard troops down to the Lone Star State to help out Gov. Abbott with the “ongoing violations of state and federal law by illegal aliens crossing the unsecured border,” she has just announced.

Who’s paying for these soldiers?

In a statement Noem says “private donations,” the source of which she does not disclose. Nor does she say where the funds are going.

“The Biden Administration has failed in the most basic duty of the federal government: keeping the American people safe,” Governor Noem’s statement reads.. “The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide.  We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem President Biden’s Administration seems unable or unwilling to solve.  My message to Texas is this: help is on the way.”

“The deployment will be paid for by a private donation.”

Many are furious that the governor has turned U.S. troops into “a mercenary force.”


Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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