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    Why You Should Stop Feeding Your Baby From Trendy Little Food Pouches


    This story is part of a series on ocean plastics.For the over-stretched parent who doesn’t have time to puree plums or soak grains overnight, portable plastic packs jammed with organic and healthful ingredients are a godsend.On-the-go moms can just...






    This story is part of a series on ocean plastics.


    For the over-stretched parent who doesn’t have time to puree plums or soak grains overnight, portable plastic packs jammed with organic and healthful ingredients are a godsend.


    On-the-go moms can just twist off the cap and hand a pouch of blueberry flax and oat to a hungry baby to suck on by himself. No spoon or spoon skills required.


    While these packs are pricey ― a 4-ounce pouch can cost north of $2  ― families are willing to fork over the funds for the convenience factor. But this convenience comes with another price: Most of these plastic pouches can’t be recycled and are destined for landfills ― or worse, the oceans. The demand is growing even though reasonably priced alternatives are available that can be used over and over again. 



    The problem with the disposable pouches is that they’re made from multiple layers of materials and the recyclable components can’t be separated out, said Brent Bell, vice president of recycling at Waste Management, the largest residential recycler in North America. 


    Empty food packs and other types of trash end up in the ocean due to a mix of mismanaged trash disposal and littering. When a person litters, for example, that item can easily blow into a storm drain, travel through sewer pipes and eventually land in waterways. 


    Stuffing loads of unusual and healthful foods into plastic casings isn’t sitting well with environmentalists.


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    “There’s definitely a push for clean eating both for kids and grown-ups,” Lindsay Gallimore, a mother of two who blogs about green issues, told HuffPost. “But all the buzz words that are associated with a ‘greener’ lifestyle are packaged into a packaging that’s not green at all.”


    If the baby food industry doesn’t come up with a solution soon, the amount of plastic piling up from these products is only going to grow at an explosive rate.


    In 2015, sales from baby food pouches reached $45 million. That was up from $8 million in 2010, according to a report from the Freedonia Group, a market research firm. 


    The demand for this niche product is increasing as oceans are being overloaded with plastic. 



    By 2050, experts estimate oceans will have more plastic than fish (by weight). Plastics are believed to threaten at least 600 different wildlife species, according to the Ocean Conservancy. When plastic reaches the landfill, it can take up to 1,000 years to decompose and can leak pollutants into the soil and water.


    While plenty of plastic products are harming the environment, activists take specific issue with baby food packs because a number of convenient and eco-friendly alternatives exist, even for time-strapped parents.


    “I can’t get everyone to use washable menstrual pads. I certainly can’t get everyone to use cloth diapers,” Gallimore said. “Feeding your baby healthy purees could happen in so many other ways that don’t require the little squishy packs.”


    Gallimore likened the advent of plastic baby food packs to the K-Cup phenomenon. While some of these one-time-use coffee pods are technically recyclable, the process is so painstaking that consumers are more likely to throw them in the trash after using them for a few seconds. In fact, John Sylvan, the inventor of the Keurig machine, said he regrets the innovation. 


    “It was along the same lines as K-Cups for coffee,” Gallimore said of the similarities between the coffee pods and plastic baby food packs. “We were doing fine without them before.”



    Before the plastic squeezy packs hit the market, baby food was mostly packaged in glass jars, which are recyclable, reusable and cheaper. Responding to the surge of plastic packs, a number of companies have developed receptacles that work similarly, but can be washed and used more than once. 


    Rhoost, for example, manufactures 4.5-ounce plastic pouches that can be filled with pureed food repeatedly and washed by hand or in the dishwasher. They run $12.99 for a four-pack. 


    Though most of the disposable plastic packs can’t be recycled, some experts say there is some merit to them.


    They usually require fewer raw materials to produce than recyclable materials, which results in net energy and greenhouse gas emissions savings, Bell, of Waste Management, said. The packages are also designed in such a way to reduce food waste, which is where the “greatest environmental savings are realized,” he said.



    Hain Celestial ― the company behind Earth’s Best and Ella’s Kitchen baby food ― is reducing its plastic footprint by partnering with recycling company TerraCycle. After consumers finish with their packs, they can download free shipping labels and send the waste to TerraCycle.


    Since the products can’t be separated, they’re shredded and melted into a plastic and pelletized. That material is then sold to manufacturers who can use recycled plastic in their products, Lauren Taylor, TerraCycle’s global director for communications, said.


    While this process is a start, it’s not capturing many plastic packages. Celestial sells about 20 million pouches annually in the U.S. alone, said Jared Simon, vice president of marketing for Better-for-You-Baby at Hain Celestial United States. TerraCycle has collected about 3.3 million pouches in the U.S. and the U.K. since it started doing so in 2013.


    Even if those numbers increased, environmentalists likely still wouldn’t be satisfied. 


    “Recycling is awesome ― it’s great. But recycling is not the be all and end all of environmentalism. It’s expensive and it’s not a perfect solution.” Gallimore said. “Instead, how can we replace what we’re using and throwing away with something that we don’t throw away?”

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    Hold The Phone. Trump Tweets He Now Wants More Money For Health Care

    Hold The Phone. Trump Tweets He Now Wants More Money For Health Care


    Donald Trump had concerned Americans scratching their heads Sunday night after he tweeted that he now wants to pour more money into health care.“I say we add more dollars to the Healthcare and make it the best anywhere,” he wrote.I suggest that we...

    Donald Trump had concerned Americans scratching their heads Sunday night after he tweeted that he now wants to pour more money into health care.


    “I say we add more dollars to the Healthcare and make it the best anywhere,” he wrote.



    I suggest that we add more dollars to Healthcare and make it the best anywhere. ObamaCare is dead - the Republicans will do much better!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017


    That was strange because Trump’s budget plan submitted just days ago called for cutting at least $610 billion from Medicaid and slicing an additional $250 billion from health care by repealing Obamacare. The White House plan also calls for cuts in future spending on health care for children from low-income households. There is no additional spending for any health care in the plan.


    The weird disconnect on health care wasn’t a first for the president. When Trump met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York in early May the president praised the nation’s health care system. “You have better health care than we do,” Trump said.


    He was apparently unaware that Australia has a government-run, publicly funded universal health care system — and at a fraction of the cost of American health care. It’s a system Trump would be more likely to denigrate as socialist and even worse than Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office estimated last week that Trump’s health care proposal would leave an additional 23 million Americans with no health care coverage by 2026 — so that plan could hardly be the “best anywhere.”


    The White House later said that Trump was just being nice and not pushing for the Australian system in America.


    In another tweet-glitch on Sunday Trump boasted that his tax reform package was moving along “ahead of schedule.”



    The massive TAX CUTS/REFORM that I have submitted is moving along in the process very well, actually ahead of schedule. Big benefits to all!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2017


    In fact neither Trump nor Congress has yet proposed a comprehensive tax plan. The White House has released a single page of bullet points in search of a plan that leaves many detail unaddressed and questions unanswered. 


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    Minnesota Museum Removing Gallows Exhibit After Native American Protest

    Minnesota Museum Removing Gallows Exhibit After Native American Protest


    The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has agreed to remove a controversial outdoor “gallows” sculpture following protests by local Native Americans. The large work includes design elements of seven different historical U.S. gallows, including one...






    The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has agreed to remove a controversial outdoor “gallows” sculpture following protests by local Native Americans. The large work includes design elements of seven different historical U.S. gallows, including one used to hang 38 Dakota Indians in the state in 1862.


    “I regret the pain that this artwork has brought to the Dakota community and others,” museum executive director Olga Viso said in a statement announcing the decision Saturday. “This is the first step in a long process of healing.”



    Walker Art director apologizes, regrets not involving American Indians in new sculpture acquisition, "Scaffold." https://t.co/LETqMFuLJo pic.twitter.com/NWJQkmUWd4

    — Star Tribune (@StarTribune) May 26, 2017


    The two-story structure entitled “Scaffold,” created in 2012 by Los Angeles artist Sam Durant and inspired by a dark history of American hangings, was intended as a criticism of capital punishment. But many in the local community considered it insensitive. The hanging of the “Dakota 38” after the U.S.-Dakota War in Minnesota was the largest state-sanctioned mass execution in U.S. history.


    The artist now supports dismantling his exhibit, saying: “It’s just wood and metal – nothing compared to the lives and histories of the Dakota people,” Viso said in her statement.



    Not our proudest moment. #walkerartcenter #minneapolissculpturegarden #scaffold #takeitdown https://t.co/lWfqvXgk0p pic.twitter.com/bloCF51I2W

    — Pamela Espeland (@bebopified) May 28, 2017


    “I am in agreement with the artist that the best way to move forward is to have Scaffold dismantled in some manner and to listen and learn from the elders,” she added.





    Viso said she had hoped the choice of the work would trigger a valuable dialogue and increased awareness about capital punishment and violence. But added: “I regret that I did not better anticipate how the work would be received in Minnesota, especially by Native audiences. I should have engaged leaders in the Dakota and broader Native communities in advance of the work’s siting,” she wrote in an open letter last week.


    The details of how the work will be dismantled will be determined in meetings this week with tribal elders.


    The large work — with steps for visitors to climb to the gallows— was to be one of 18 new works in a renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the center to be unveiled June 3.


    Protesters on the scene applauded the decision when it was announced, but many plan to camp out at the space until the exhibit is removed. And anger was still running high, with some on the scene brandishing signs reading: “This isn’t art; this is murder.”


    James Cross, who identifies as Anishinaabe and Dakota, said the decision to erect the scaffold without any input from the Native American community was a “slap in the face,” he told The Pioneer Press.” 


    “Scaffold” was praised by critics when it was shown in 2012 in Germany and in Scotland.





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    'Deferential' Kellyanne Conway Says Her Gender Helps With Trump

    'Deferential' Kellyanne Conway Says Her Gender Helps With Trump


    Kellyanne Conway told Business Insider that her gender “helps” when dealing with boss Donald Trump as long as she’s “very deferential.”“I think there’s a femininity that is attached to the way one carries herself or the way one executes on...






    Kellyanne Conway told Business Insider that her gender “helps” when dealing with boss Donald Trump as long as she’s “very deferential.”


    “I think there’s a femininity that is attached to the way one carries herself or the way one executes on her duties,” the president’s counselor said in the interview published Sunday.


    “I could tell you a great way that my gender has helped me with the president,” she said. “I’m actually unafraid to express my mind, but I do it very respectfully — very respectfully and very deferentially.”


    And she also often serves it up with a “big smile,” she said last year.


    Conway said that she considers Trump not only her boss but her “elder.”


    “I don’t consider [Trump] my peer. He is my boss and he is my elder,” Conway said. “That has actually allowed me, in my view, to respectfully but forcefully express my opinion on certain matters.”


    Conway, 50, presents an unusual figure in the White House. She can appear to be coquettish and sometimes wears eye-popping clothing color strikingly different from the typically more conservative fashion of a working woman. 



    She was called out earlier this year on Twitter when she curled her legs beneath her on a couch in the Oval Office to snap photos of visiting heads of historically black governors with the president.





    She considers herself “post-feminist, anti-feminist and non-feminist,” she said in the interview, because she believes feminists are “anti-male.”


    She’s not big on the concept of sexism, except when the media calls her out, which she considers sexist. She recently blasted Anderson Cooper as sexist for an eye roll while he was interviewing her. It occurred as a testy Conway confusingly attempted to explain Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey among the shifting sands at the time of White House reasons.





    Sexism has not been the case for Hillary Clinton, however, Conway insists. “Let me tell you,” she said in a Fox interview,  “Hillary Clinton is in search of sexism as a lame excuse for why her disastrous candidacy and campaign lost six months ago.”


    There are only a smattering of women in a White House overwhelmingly dominated by white men. Only four of 24 Cabinet posts are filled by women, while more than 50 percent of the population is female.


    “Attaching a hard and fast number to it is not as relevant as the contributions that are made by the woman who are at the table,”  Conway insisted to Business Insider.


    “We’re heard and we’re seen and we’re listened to and we are sought out and sought after for our opinions and our judgment and our ideas and our insight.”


    Trump told The New York Times in an interview last year that his then-campaign press secretary Hope Hicks gave him advice “in a very low-key manner so it doesn’t necessarily come in the form of advice. It’s delivered very nicely.”


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    LGBTQ Community Faces An 'Invisible' Hollywood Summer Movie Season

    LGBTQ Community Faces An 'Invisible' Hollywood Summer Movie Season


    ”Moonlight,” and its story of a young black gay man struggling with his identity, may have won the coveted best picture Oscar this year, but it is still hard to find an LGBTQ character in a major Hollywood movie, according to a report on...






    ”Moonlight,” and its story of a young black gay man struggling with his identity, may have won the coveted best picture Oscar this year, but it is still hard to find an LGBTQ character in a major Hollywood movie, according to a report on Thursday.


    Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group GLAAD said that only 23 of the 125 films released by the seven major Hollywood studios in 2016 includes LGBTQ characters. The “Q” stands for Questioning or Queer.


    While U.S. television has made great strides in recent years with LGBT stories and characters, Hollywood movie studios are lagging way behind, the GLAAD report said.


    Worse still, some are still featuring outdated humor, including the new “Baywatch” movie which has a scene where stars Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson respond in horror to accidentally kissing one another, it noted.


    “The time has come for the film industry to step up and show the full diversity of the world that movie audiences are living in today,” said GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis.


    “Films like ‘Moonlight’ prove there is a huge opportunity to not only tell LGBTQ stories worthy of Oscar gold, but to open the hearts and minds of audiences here and around the world in places where these stories can be a lifeline to the people who need it most,” she added.


    While GLAAD said that its findings were up one percentage point from 2015, when 22 films contained an LGBTQ character, 10 of the 2016 crop gave such characters less than one minute of screen time.


    Hollywood studios also fall far behind other media in portraying transgender characters. GLAAD counted just one character (in “Zoolander 2”) in its 2016 report, and said that character existed solely as a punchline.


    Despite some notable examples earlier this year, including a gay character in the new live action blockbuster “Beauty and the Beast,” GLAAD said “the forecast for the summer blockbuster season is a continuation of LGBTQ invisibility.”


     


     


    (Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Richard Chang)

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    Russian Retail Store Displays Sign Reading 'No Entry For Faggots'

    Russian Retail Store Displays Sign Reading 'No Entry For Faggots'


    (Please note this story contains language in para 3 that readers may find offensive)May 26 A chain of Russian food stores run by a devoutly religious nationalist businessman has placed signs in its windows saying gay customers will be refused...


    (Please note this story contains language in para 3 that readers may find offensive)


    May 26 A chain of Russian food stores run by a devoutly religious nationalist businessman has placed signs in its windows saying gay customers will be refused entry.


    Russia decriminalised homosexuality in 1993, two years after the fall of the Soviet Union, and Russian law prohibits sexual discrimination. But prejudices still run deep and much of the gay community remains underground.


    “No entry for faggots,” read a wooden plate at the entrance to one of German Sterligov’s shops in central Moscow.


    Sterligov, 50, became a millionaire by opening a mercantile exchange shortly before the Soviet Union’s demise. Later in his career he turned devoutly religious and retreated with his family to rural Russia to sell organic farm produce.


    “Our planet is full of filth and sick humans,” Sterligov told Reuters Television at a country fair outside Moscow. 



    “In front of our eyes is the historical experience of Sodom and Gomorrah when God burned these towns,” he said, referring to a passage from the Old Testament.


    Addressing the farm fair through a loudspeaker, Sterligov praised U.S. President Donald Trump, who was swift to revoke his predecessor Barack Obama’s landmark guidance to public schools allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.


    “We thank him. May God give him health,” Sterligov said.


    Yulia Gorbunova, a Human Rights Watch researcher, said the retail chain’s disregard for the law sent a dangerous message in a country where homophobia remains prevalent.


    “It seems like they are promoting homophobia in an already homophobic society and it only leads to rising tensions,” she told Reuters Television. “The state certainly has a responsibility to stop that and step in.”


    Alyona, a young assistant in one of Sterligov’s Moscow stores, said she shared the chain’s stance on homosexuals “as a true Christian.”


    “It’s our guarding talisman,” she said.


    Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied he discriminates against sexual minorities. (Reporting by Gennady Novik; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Richard Lough)

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    Trump Had At Least 15 Chances To Address The Portland Attack On Twitter. He Didn't.

    Trump Had At Least 15 Chances To Address The Portland Attack On Twitter. He Didn't.


    President Donald Trump has been tweeting regularly throughout the weekend, but not once has he mentioned the fatal stabbing in Portland, Oregon that left two men dead after they confronted a man spewing hatred to two Muslim girls.On Friday, Ricky John...

    President Donald Trump has been tweeting regularly throughout the weekend, but not once has he mentioned the fatal stabbing in Portland, Oregon that left two men dead after they confronted a man spewing hatred to two Muslim girls.


    On Friday, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche were stabbed to death while traveling on one of Portland’s MAX trains. They both stood up to confront a man verbally attacking two girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab.


    Police say Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, who has ties to white supremacist groups, targeted the girls for “religiously and racially motivated reasons.” When confronted by Best, Namkai-Meche and a third man, 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher, Christian violently attacked them with a knife. Fletcher survived the stabbing but remains in the hospital with serious injuries. 


    Since the fatal attack made national news on Saturday, Trump has sent more than a dozen tweets. Not one of those messages mention Portland, the two deceased men being hailed as “heroes,” or a condemnation of the attacker’s actions that are being investigated by police as a hate crime.


    Instead, Trump has focused his public comments on deriding the news media, congratulating Republicans on a congressional win in Montana and his recent trip to the Middle East and Europe.



    Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017



    It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media.

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017


    Trump’s most recent tweets appear to address the seemingly never-ending Russia scandal troubling his administration. Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that Russia’s ambassador Sergey Kislyak told Moscow officials that Trump’s key advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner discussed possibly setting up a secret communication channel between the then-incoming president’s transition team and the Kremlin. 


    Twitter users have noticed the omission of the tragedy in Portland from Trump’s tweets, most notably by former “60 Minutes” host Dan Rather. The newsman wrote an impassioned letter pleading with the president to acknowledge the attack.


    “Perhaps Portland, Oregon is off your radar. It is, after all, a rather liberal place. It’s even a “sanctuary city,” Rather wrote. “But it is still an American city. And you are its president.”



    Dan Rather's open letter to POTUS urging him to take notice of the two heroes that were killed by a racist/Islamaphobic man in Portland. pic.twitter.com/jUXUHn7fen

    — Yashar Ali (@yashar) May 28, 2017



    .@realDonaldTrump I'm a reporter in Portland. Do you have a comment about what happened here Friday night? Thanks.

    — Rob Davis (@robwdavis) May 29, 2017



    Out of Trump's 10 tweets today, most have been about the "fake news" media. 0 about Memorial Day. 0 about Portland. 0 about Mississippi.

    — Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) May 29, 2017



    Trump tweeted 2x today celebrating a candidate that assaulted a journalist but has said nothing yet about the 2 heroes murdered in Portland.

    — Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) May 28, 2017



    The President of the United States has tweeted 10 times today — 5 times about “fake news” — and not one word about the Portland train heroes pic.twitter.com/yaf0ZboJUn

    — Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 29, 2017



    Trump tweets today attacking the media: 4

    Trump tweets today honoring the murdered Portland men who stood up to anti-Muslim abuse: 0 https://t.co/iaacJ8agpA

    — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 29, 2017



    An Army vet & a college graduate sacrificed their lives in Portland, but Trump would rather congratulate an assaulter in Montana.

    — Laurie Crosswell (@lauriecrosswell) May 28, 2017

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    Baltimore Mayor Says City Will 'Look To' Removing Confederate Monuments

    Baltimore Mayor Says City Will 'Look To' Removing Confederate Monuments


    Days after New Orleans officials removed a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, the last of four Confederate monuments the city promised to take down, Baltimore’s mayor said she would look to follow “in the footsteps” of The Big Easy.In an...






    Days after New Orleans officials removed a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, the last of four Confederate monuments the city promised to take down, Baltimore’s mayor said she would look to follow “in the footsteps” of The Big Easy.


    In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, mayor Catherine Pugh said, “The city does want to remove these. We will take a closer look at how we go about following in the footsteps of New Orleans.”


    Pugh’s predecessor, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, originally commissioned a review of the city’s Confederate monuments and an inquiry into how to remove them. She did not order for the removal of any of the statues, instead punting the decision to Pugh.


    Before leaving office, the Baltimore Sun reported Rawlings-Blake placed signs in front of four Confederate monuments that called the statues “part of a propaganda campaign of national pro-Confederate organizations.”


    Pugh’s decision to revive the city’s inquiry into removing the statues will likely be met with protest. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) received death threats over his ruling to remove four statues. But in a speech some have heralded as historic, Landrieu doubled down on his commitment to removing statues that symbolize white supremacy. 


    “These statues are not just stone and metal,” Landrieu said before a crowd. “They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy, ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement and the terror that it actually stood for.”


    Watch the full speech here.

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    Ex-CIA Director Slams Jared Kushner's 'Hubris' And 'Ignorance'

    Ex-CIA Director Slams Jared Kushner's 'Hubris' And 'Ignorance'


    Former CIA Director General Michael Hayden said that the reported plan by chief White House adviser Jared Kushner’s to arrange secret communications with the Russians during President Donald Trump’s transition was “off the map” and like...




    Former CIA Director General Michael Hayden said that the reported plan by chief White House adviser Jared Kushner’s to arrange secret communications with the Russians during President Donald Trump’s transition was “off the map” and like nothing he has seen in his lifetime.


    Hayden wants to chalk up the stunning plan to “naivete” rather than evil intentions — but that’s not reassuring, he said in an interview on CNN.


    “Right now, I’m going with naivete, and that’s not particularly comforting for me,” he said. “What manner of ignorance, chaos, hubris, suspicion, contempt would you have to have to think that doing this with the Russian ambassador was a good or an appropriate idea?” 


    Hayden was commenting on reports, which first appeared in The Washington Post Friday, that Kushner discussed last December establishing a secret communication channel with the Kremlin — using Russian facilities — without any monitoring by the U.S.


    Kushner discussed the idea in Trump Tower with Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., who was surprised by the request, the Post reported, because of security risks such an arrangement would pose to both countries.


    Kushner emerged last Thursday as a person of interest in the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election.


    Without specifically mentioning the report about Kushner, Trump tweeted Sunday in an apparent response to a number of recent stories about his administration that “leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies.”



    It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media.

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017


    Kushner’s reported plan is evidence of an extreme cynicism about “organs of the state,” said Hayden, and a belief that government institutions only serve the self-interests of the president currently in power. The apparent implication of such a Kremlin link was that the Trump team trusted Russian agents more than the outgoing Obama administration or the U.S. intelligence community.


    “What degree of suspicion of the existing government, what degree of contempt for the administration they were replacing would be required again to think this was an acceptable course of action?” he asked. 


    Hayden added: “It says an awful lot about us as a society that we could actually harbor those kinds of feelings that the organs of the state would be used by my predecessor to come after me or ... to disrupt my administration in a way that made it seem legitimate to me to use the secure communications facilities of a foreign power — a foreign power that some in government alleged you were cooperating with to affect the American election.”


    It’s evidence, he added, that “we are in a really dark place as a society.”


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    100 Middle Schoolers Refuse Photo-Op With Paul Ryan During D.C. Trip

    100 Middle Schoolers Refuse Photo-Op With Paul Ryan During D.C. Trip


    Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) may be the House Speaker and third in line for the presidency, but that reportedly didn’t sway roughly 100 middle school students to take a photo with him earlier this week.The students were visiting Washington, D.C., from New...


    Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) may be the House Speaker and third in line for the presidency, but that reportedly didn’t sway roughly 100 middle school students to take a photo with him earlier this week.


    The students were visiting Washington, D.C., from New Jersey’s South Orange Middle School on Thursday when they were offered the chance to pose with Ryan, according to reports.


    Accompanying parents told New Jersey’s Village Green that about half of the students opted not to stand beside him.





    “It’s not just a picture,” student Matthew Malespina told ABC 7 News of his decision not to join Ryan. “It’s being associated with a person who puts his party before his country.”


    Fellow student Wendy Weeks said she also opted to not take a photo, telling the Village Green that to have stood next to Ryan would have given the wrong impression of how she feels about him.


    “I think that taking the picture represents that you agree with the same political views and I don’t agree with his political views so I chose not to be in it,” said the eight-grader.



    Not everyone felt this way or at least chose to pose with Ryan, who has helped repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act with the Republican-backed American Health Care Act. Ryan reportedly wasn’t even aware of the mass dissent, some students said.


    Student Miles Handelman, who was one of those who went to stand with Ryan, said his appreciation rested with it being such a rare opportunity.


    “I thought it would be very cool just seeing the man who is the third most powerful man in our country. It would be cool, even if you disagree with him,” he told ABC News.


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    Channing Tatum And Adam Driver Are Your New Favorite Criminals

    Channing Tatum And Adam Driver Are Your New Favorite Criminals


    Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are the comedy duo we deserve.In “Logan Lucky,” they play Southern nitwits turned criminal masterminds who hatch a plan for a detailed heist during a NASCAR race. The first “Logan Lucky” trailer previews Steven...




    Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are the comedy duo we deserve.


    In “Logan Lucky,” they play Southern nitwits turned criminal masterminds who hatch a plan for a detailed heist during a NASCAR race. 


    The first “Logan Lucky” trailer previews Steven Soderbergh’s first film since the director said he would retire from filmmaking in 2013. Soderbergh has described the project as an “anti-glam version of an ‘Ocean’s’ movie.”


    Riley Keough plays the protagonists’ sister, who joins their scheme with the help of Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), a prison inmate who knows a thing or two about blowing up bank vaults. Also on hand to test out their Southern charm: Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston, Katie Holmes, Seth MacFarlane, Sebastian Stan and Jim O’Heir.


    “Logan Lucky” opens Aug. 18.

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    Eddie Vedder And Guns N' Roses Pay Tribute To Chris Cornell During Europe Concerts

    Eddie Vedder And Guns N' Roses Pay Tribute To Chris Cornell During Europe Concerts


    Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder was emotional Saturday during the opening stop on a European solo tour, his first gig since longtime friend and former collaborator Chris Cornell died on May 18.Vedder made no direct mention of Cornell, the lead vocalist...


    Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder was emotional Saturday during the opening stop on a European solo tour, his first gig since longtime friend and former collaborator Chris Cornell died on May 18.


    Vedder made no direct mention of Cornell, the lead vocalist for Soundgarden and Audioslave, during his Amsterdam show in the Netherlands, according to Consequence of Sound, but he altered lyrics and addressed substance abuse, an issue that plagued Cornell prior to his suicide. During the set’s first song, “Long Road,” Vedder amended the words to say, “Without you, something is missing.”





    Vedder also performed a cover of Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done,” a song about heroin addiction.


    Later during the gig, when a fan shouted “I love you,” Vedder reportedly responded, “Thank you. I need it ― we all need it. I’m thinking of a lot of people tonight, and some in particular and their families. And I just know that healing takes time, if it ever happens. It takes time, and that means you have to start somewhere. So let it be music. Let it be love and togetherness. And let it be Amsterdam.”


    Vedder and Cornell worked together when Cornell was the lead singer of the rock band Temple of the Dog, which united the founding members of Pearl Jam. 


    Guns N’ Roses also paid tribute to Cornell on Saturday, during a show in Ireland. The band performed “Black Hole Sun,” Soundgarden’s defining hit. 





    Duff McKagan, Guns N’ Roses’ bass guitarist, collaborated with Cornell in the supergroup Mad Season, which also featured members of Alice in Chains and Queens of the Stone Age. 


    Guns N’ Roses are among many acts that have covered “Black Hole Sun” in recent days, including Ryan Adams, Ann Wilson and Norah Jones.










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    The Portland Heroes Who Stood Up To Hate

    The Portland Heroes Who Stood Up To Hate


    On the surface, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche appeared to lead very different lives. A retired Army veteran and a married father of four, 53-year-old Best worked for the city of Portland. At 23, Namkai-Meche was a recent college...






    On the surface, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche appeared to lead very different lives. A retired Army veteran and a married father of four, 53-year-old Best worked for the city of Portland. At 23, Namkai-Meche was a recent college grad who worked at an consulting firm focused on environmental issues. 


    What they shared, according to friends and family, was a willingness to put others first and stand up to wrongdoing.


    On Friday, Best and Namkai-Mechei were stabbed to death while traveling on one of Portland’s MAX train ahead of Memorial Day Weekend. The men had stood up from their seats to confront a man harassing two teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab. Police say Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, who has ties to white supremacy, targeted the girls for “religiously and racially motivated reasons.”


    “He was saying things about how Muslims should die and how they’ve been killing Christians for years,” Dyjuana Hudson, one of the girls’ mothers, said. 


    When Best and Namkai-Mechei tried to intervene, along with a third man, 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher, Christian violently attacked them. Fletcher survived the stabbing but remains hospitalized with serious injuries.


    Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Saturday called all three men heroes.



    “They were attacked because they did the right thing,” Wheeler said. “Their actions were brave and selfless and should serve as an example and inspiration to us all.”


    ‘Man, he’s just the best person.’




     

    Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche was a friend who would “never forget about you,” said Christoper Landt, who grew up with him in Ashland, Oregon.


    Landt told The Oregonian/Oregon Live his friend was a voice of reassurance and kindness to those who were struggling, and would look out for others even if it meant putting himself in harm’s way.


    “If he knew he was going to die, he still would have done what he did,” Landt said.


    “This is a guy who had so many friends and he seemed to have a special connection with every single one,” Landt said. “We’d all say the same thing: ‘Man, he’s just the best person.’”


    Namkai-Meche graduated in 2016 from Portland’s Reed College, where he studied economics and made a lasting impression on students and teachers.


    “He was thoughtful, humble, smart, inquisitive, and compassionate,” Reed religion professor Kambiz GhaneaBassiri said in a statement. “He was a wonderful human being. As good as they come. And now he is a hero to me.”


    Namaki-Meche’s mother, Asha Deliverance, memorialized her son in a statement on Facebook. “He was a hero and will remain a hero on the other side of the veil. Shining bright star I love you forever,” she wrote. 



    Namkai-Meche’s sister, Vajra Alaya-Maitreya, said in a statement to HuffPost on her family’s behalf that her brother “lived a joyous life.” 


    “He was resolute in his conduct and respect of all people. In his final act of bravery, he held true to what he believed is the way forward. He will live in our hearts forever as the just, brave, loving, hilarious and beautiful soul he was.”



     
    “I can’t stand by and do nothing.”

    When his friends or family needed aid or comfort, Ricky John Best was often who they turned to. 


    “He was always the first person you would go to for help,” Kareen Perkins, one of Best’s colleagues, told The Oregonian/Oregon Live. “I’ve talked to most of his coworkers today, and several of them said it’s just like Rick to step in and help somebody out.” 


    Best, who spent part of his childhood in Salem, Oregon, served 23 years in the Army, retiring as a platoon sergeant for Corps maintenance. After his military service, Best ran for Clackamas County commissioner. 


    In a 2014 profile that ran during his campaign, the Oregonian/Oregon Live said that Best “repeatedly stresses that he stands by his moral convictions, no matter what.”


    Best, a Republican, said he entered the non-partisan commissioner’s race because he wanted to seek change in the local government instead of just complain about it. “I can’t stand by and do nothing,” Best said at the time.


    Best also rejected campaign contributions, even from people who wanted to purchase a yard sign to support him in his unsuccessful bid. 


    “No one can say I’m in it for the money, because I don’t want it,” Best said.


    Best worked as a technician for Portland’s city Bureau of Development Services ― a job friends said he loved because it allowed him to spend more time with his four children. He was reportedly heading to his home in the Portland suburb of Happy Valley when Christian attacked on Friday afternoon. 


    ‘I’m proud of him for standing up.’

    Micah Fletcher’s mother, Margie, said she knew her son was the type to standup to wrongdoing ― for better or worse. 


    “Micah’s always done that,” she told CNN. “I’ve always worried about it.”


    His mother on Saturday said he was in “really bad condition.” Fletcher’s neck was punctured, his jaw broken and he had to undergo hours of surgery to remove bone fragments from his throat, according to CNN. 


    The Portland State University student is an avid poet whose works have addressed racism, bigotry and social justice. As a high school student in 2013, Fletcher won the Verselandia poetry slam with work that included a poem condemning anti-Muslim hate. 


    “I’m proud of him for standing up,” his mother said. “I’m grateful that he’s here. It’s hard for me to say I want people to stand up, but two girls might be alive because of them.” 


    Right-wing extremism on the rise 

    As tributes to the men poured in over the weekend, politicians, including President Trump, were slow to respond. 


    The relative silence over the Portland killings from Trump and his Republican allies has not gone unnoticed ― especially after some of the same politicians failed to rebuke a Montana Republican Congressional candidate who recently became physically violent with a reporter. 


    At the same time that Islamaphobic attacks are on the rise in the U.S., with at least 385 documented instances in 2016 alone, attacks by perpetrators who are white, non-Muslim and are confirmed or suspected of holding white supremacist or white nationalist views typically receive less sustained media coverage ― and condemnation from politicians ― than acts perpetrated by a suspect believed to be motivated by an extremist Muslim ideology. 


    Up until the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando where a man with views sympathetic to the self-described Islamic State slaughtered 49 people, white supremacists were a greater danger to Americans than foreign terrorists, according to a 2015 study by the New America Foundation, a non-partisan D.C.-based research firm. 


    President Donald Trump has drawn criticism since his days as a candidate for his strong anti-Muslim stance and feeble efforts to distance himself from white nationalist and white supremacist supporters ― actions Muslim and other minority group advocates say have fueled more Islamaphobic incidents.  


    Destinee Mangum, the 16-year-old girl who was one of the targets of Christian's rage thanked the three men who stood up for her and her friend.


    "I just want to say thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me because they didn't even know me," a tearful Mangum said. "They lost their lives because of my friend the way we looked. Without them, we probably would be dead right now."


    On Sunday, veteran newsman Dan Rather posted a message to Facebook calling on Trump to condemn Christian’s alleged actions and recognize the slain and injured men as heroes. 


    “This story may not neatly fit into a narrative you pushed on the campaign trail and that has followed you into the White House. They were not killed by an undocumented immigrant or a ‘radical Islamic terrorist,’” Rather wrote.  


    “This ‘extremism’ may be of a different type than gets most of your attention, or even the attention in the press. But that doesn’t make it any less serious, or deadly. And this kind of ‘extremism’ is on the rise, especially in the wake of your political ascendency,” he continued.


    “Most people who study these sorts of things do not think that is a coincidence. I do not blame you directly for this incident. Nor do I think other people should. But what a President says, who he has around him, and the tone he sets can set the tone for the nation at large.”  

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    Jeremy Corbyn’s Surprising Gains

    Jeremy Corbyn’s Surprising Gains


    Something strange appears to be happening on the way to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s anticipated victory after her clever strategy of calling a snap election.The ploy could backfire on her―just the way her predecessor, David Cameron, got...






    Something strange appears to be happening on the way to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s anticipated victory after her clever strategy of calling a snap election.


    The ploy could backfire on her―just the way her predecessor, David Cameron, got caught when he thought he could shut up the ultra-nationalists by calling a referendum on British membership in the European Union. The result was Brexit, and Cameron’s own hasty exit.


    Until a few weeks ago, the general assumption in Britain was that the Labour Party was doomed to a sweeping defeat in the June 8 general election. In April, the Tories had an overwhelming lead in the polls.


    May, who had succeeded the hapless Cameron, was an opponent of Brexit who now vowed to make Brexit work. She was seeking a strong mandate, so that she could negotiate the best possible terms.


    May also moved to the center on domestic issues, promising more generous spending on public services, so as to pre-empt Labor’s domestic appeal. As politics, all this sounded positively brilliant.


    Labour, meanwhile, was stuck with a leftwing leader in Jeremy Corbyn, who was far behind May in the polls. Labour looked to lose dozens of seats and be consigned to political oblivion.


    Well, that was then.



    While Corbyn is an old-fashioned class warrior, class in Britain has not gone away.



    In recent weeks, Corbyn gained dramatically on May. Even the horrible bombing in Manchester, the kind of gruesome event that normally causes voters to rally behind the government, did not slow Labour’s momentum.


    According to the Guardian, more than a third of voters (37%) say their opinion of the prime minister is more negative than at the start of the campaign, against 25% who say it is more positive.


    The opposite is true for Corbyn, with 39% saying they have a more positive view of Corbyn compared with 14% who now have a more negative view. 


    Corbyn also leads by 13 points among voters under 50, and is tied with May among women.


    If the election were held today, the governing Tory party would lose seats. Labour is in striking distance of winning a majority, and the momentum appears to be with Labour. So, what on earth happened?


    First, May’s ploys struck a lot of voters as too clever by half. She seems like an opportunist, first opposing Brexit, then supporting it; first promising not to call a snap election, then changing her mind. Just another scheming politician.


    But something more fundamental could at work. When Corbyn made public Labour’s platform, known in the U.K. as its manifesto, (“For the Many, Not the Few,”) the initial commentary from the usual suspects was that the program was hopelessly leftwing – raising taxes on the affluent, increasing public investment, re-nationalizing the national rail grid, capping rents — that sort of outmoded stuff.


    Well, it turns out that a lot of ordinary Brits have been hungry for this kind of program. They certainly didn’t get it from the last two Labour governments, under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who joined the globalist, neoliberal parade.


    A lot of the protest vote for Brexit came from disaffected Labour voters, who concluded that their party had joined the ruling elite. But Corbyn may bring them back to Labour.


    While Corbyn is an old-fashioned class warrior, class in Britain has not gone away; and a lot of the British left-behinds are evidently looking for just that sort of champion. Corbyn is similar to Bernie Sanders, and not just ideologically. A lot of people who may not agree with all of his program have a grudging respect for his honesty.


    Corbyn drew barbs from Conservatives when he said that British support for ill-considered Mid-East wars had increased the risk of terrorist attack. But it turned out that most Britons agreed with Corbyn. 


    And Corbyn may have drawn the perfect opponent in Theresa May, who looks more conniving and opportunist by the day.


    The point is that a great deal of the mass disaffection from politics and conventional politicians can go right, or it can go left. Sanders or Trump; Le Pen or Melanchon; Brexit or Corbyn.


    The difference between Corbyn and Sanders is that Corbyn is in a head-to-head race against an establishment candidate in a general election. He may not win, but these are complicated cross currents—and he was counted out far too soon.


    Robert Kuttner is co-editor of The American Prospect and professor at Brandeis University’s Heller School. His latest book is Debtors’ Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility


    Like Robert Kuttner on Facebook.


    Follow Robert Kuttner on Twitter.

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    Burger King's 'Who Is The King?' Vote Reportedly Angers Belgian Royal

    Burger King's 'Who Is The King?' Vote Reportedly Angers Belgian Royal


    Burger King appears to be eyeing more than just business expansion this summer.The fast-food giant has launched a mock, online vote titled “Who Is The King?” that pits its fictional, royal brand name against Belgium’s King Philippe ahead of the...






    Burger King appears to be eyeing more than just business expansion this summer.


    The fast-food giant has launched a mock, online vote titled “Who Is The King?” that pits its fictional, royal brand name against Belgium’s King Philippe ahead of the company’s first Burger King restaurant in the Western Europe country.


    “Two kings, one single crown, who shall reign?” it asks.


    Unfortunately for the advertising campaign ― as playful as it may be ― it’s reportedly broiled more than just burgers.



    A spokesman for Belgium’s royal family told the BBC that they have reached out to Burger King to express their disapproval of the advertisement, which features a cartoon image of King Philippe.


    “Since it is for commercial purposes, we would not have given our authorisation,” royal spokesman Pierre Emmanuel de Bauw told the British news network.


    As of Sunday, the online election appears to remain underway. Participants are encouraged to select a king, though measures are in place to sway users to select Burger King.



    Votes can be cast until June 19, according to the website.


    A Burger King spokesperson, reached by news agency EFE, said they have not received any communication from the royal family.


    A request for comment from Burger King by HuffPost was not immediately returned on Sunday.


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