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Why International Women's Day Isn't Going Away

Why International Women’s Day isn’t going away. NYT: 'After a series of historic firsts and long-overdue breakthroughs, 2018 was called “the Year of the Woman.' A record 36 women won seats in the United States House of Representatives in midterm elections in November. Ireland voted to repeal one of the world’s most restrictive abortion bans. Ethiopia appointed its first female president. And women in Saudi Arabia were not only allowed to attend a public soccer match for the first time, they were also permitted to drive legally. But it was also the year when there were fewer female Republicans in the United States Senate than men named John in the same chamber. International Women’s Day, observed on March 8, has always been a way to celebrate women’s achievements and to call attention to all the work still left to be done on a global scale. In fact, more than 30 female leaders — past and present — recently warned in an open letter that progress was eroding, with Susana Malcorra, the former Argentine foreign minister, telling The Guardian that some countries led by 'macho-type strongman' leaders are a factor."

Manafort Sentenced To Prison

Manafort sentenced to 47 Months in prison. NPR: "President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced in a Virginia court Thursday to 47 months in prison for his financial crimes. He faces another sentencing next week in D.C. Judge T.S. Ellis said that Manafort's crimes are undeniably serious. He made that clear. We're talking about tax fraud, failing to disclose a foreign bank account and bank fraud. Those are the charges that a federal jury here in Alexandria, Va., convicted Manafort on. Now, the tax fraud, Judge Ellis said, basically amounts to stealing from every American who pays taxes, and that is a nefarious thing. Judge Ellis said that he took all sorts of factors into consideration when making his sentence - deterrence, looking at similar cases. And that last issue - similar cases appeared to be a big factor in Manafort's sentence. The guidelines' range for this was 19 to 24 years. Judge Ellis called that way out of whack. He landed on ultimately a sentence of 47 months for Manafort and financial penalties of 24.8 million in restitution and a $50,000 fine."

McConnell Works To Freeze Campaign Finance Reform

McConnell works to freeze support for Dem campaign finance effort. The Hill: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pulling out all the stops to make sure not a single Republican senator backs the campaign finance and ethics reform bill that House Democrats are set to pass on Friday. McConnell, a longtime opponent of campaign finance reform who battled the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over the issue, made clear in December that the House proposal would never see floor time in the Senate. He’s continued to pummel the legislation, sending a stern warning to any GOP colleague who may be thinking about supporting it. 'This is an issue that I’ve dealt with for decades,' McConnell said at a press conference with Senate and House GOP colleagues on Wednesday. “This is a terrible proposal, it will not get any floor time in the Senate. 'For myself, I don’t see anything in here salvageable,' he added. 'This is a solution in search of a problem. What it really is is a bill designed to make it more likely Democrats win more often.' A senior Republican aide described McConnell as making a “full tilt” effort to quash the House bill. White House counsel Don McGahn spoke to the Senate GOP conference Wednesday to explain why it would be a mistake for any Republican to support it."

Trump Expands Indefinite Detention At Guantanamo

Trump expands Guantanamo’s indefinite detention facilities. Common Dreams: "President Trump is increasing indefinite detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, it has been revealed. Middle East Eye and the Miami Herald have revealed that administrators for the detention camp have sought to 'identify potential contractors' for a new 5,000-square-foot prison compound at Guantanamo. This compound will apparently include three handicapped-accessible prison cells, suggesting that President Trump plans to keep detainees – the vast majority of whom are currently held without charge or trial - at the prison well into old age. There are currently 40 men still held at Guantanamo. 5 men still held there have been cleared for release but remain detained. Guantanamo’s oldest inmate is 71 year old Saifullah Paracha. He has had two heart attacks and suffers from diabetes, coronary artery disease, hyperlipidaemia, diverticulosis, and gout. He has been detained for 14 years without charge or trial. President Trump has threatened to send more people to Guantanamo – he campaigned on a promise to 'load it [Guantanamo] up with bad dudes' and has since made clear that sending men to Guantanamo remains an option for the administration’s counter-terrorism policy."

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Progressives Must Agree to Disagree About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Miles Mogulescu: "Progressives and Democrats must agree to disagree among themselves about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Otherwise, they could split apart in mutual recriminations. This could lead to losing the chance to regain political power and implement a progressive agenda around issues about which they mostly agree—including defeating Trump, combating climate change, taxing the wealthy, mass incarceration, universal health care, free or debt-free college, a woman’s right to choose, reinstating the Paris Climate Accord and the Iran Nuclear Treaty, and many other vital issues. Progressives who oppose Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory are not anti-Semitic, and progressives who support settlements as necessary for Israeli security are not racists. Using slurs of “anti-Semitism” or “racism” against fellow progressives only splits the progressive movement into toxic factions, undermining the unity necessary to defeat Trump and the Republicans and implement a progressive agenda."

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