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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

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.”

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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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‘Clear Call to Violence’: Experts Slam Gaetz for ‘Inciting Another Insurrection’

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U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) says Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is “urging people to shoot Silicon Valley employees.” Congressman Lieu is not alone. Others, including experts, are delivering similar criticism and warnings after Gaetz on Thursday delivered disturbing remarks calling for Americans to fulfill their constitutional “obligation” to “use” the Second Amendment.

“The internet’s hall monitors out in Silicon Valley, they think they can suppress us, discourage us — maybe if you’re just a little less patriotic, maybe if you just conform to their way of thinking a little more, you’ll be allowed to participate in the digital world,” Gaetz said at a Thursday rally with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

“Well, you know what? Silicon Valley can’t cancel this movement or this rally or this congressman. We have a Second Amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it.”

“The Second Amendment – this is a little history lesson for all the fake news media. The Second Amendment is not about, it’s not about hunting, it’s not about recreation, it’s not about sports. The Second Amendment is about maintaining, within the citizenry, the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government if that becomes necessary,” Gaetz, who is under DOJ investigation for possible sex trafficking and possible sex with a 17-year old, told supporters.

To be clear, Gaetz’s claim is false.

Lieu once again called for Gaetz to be removed from the Judiciary Committee.

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois reminded Americans the First Amendment does not offer blanket protection to say anything you want.

Former Director, U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency:

Yale Historian Dr. Joanne Freeman:

Arizona Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego says Gaetz may lose his Second Amendment “rights” given the investigation into multiple possible felonies:

Democratic consultant:

Historian:

Former GOP Congressman:

Kremlin, Russian mafia specialist:

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