The United States said it will not recognise the result of the independence vote in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, calling it an "illegal" attempt to create division and disorder. Pro-Russian rebels organised the independence vote in eastern Ukraine on…
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January 18, 2021
The man's smartphone camera pans the crowd on the east side of the U.S. Capitol. It's smaller than what had amassed on the west side, but still an impressive sight. As he pans from atop the steps, he gives a front-line dispatch at 2:10 p.m., an hour after President Donald Trump had finished his remarks goading on the thousands of supporters who had come to Washington to protest the official certification of his electoral defeat.
“The cops were shooting us for a while, then they stopped," the man says, referring to an earlier series of flash-bang grenades. “We're up on the Capitol. I think they're going to breach the doors. It's getting serious. Someone's going to die today. It's not good at all."
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January 18, 2021
The National Rifle Association filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday and said it would eventually reincorporate in Texas — a move experts say is a legal maneuver to escape an aggressive lawsuit being pursued by the New York attorney general.
Officials in Texas — which is known as both a gun-friendly and debtor-friendly state — welcomed the NRA's announcement Friday, embracing the NRA's stance that it is fleeing a "toxic political environment" in New York.
<p>In August, New York's attorney general filed a lawsuit against the organization alleging decades of fraudulent use of the NRA's funds by its executives. New York Attorney General Letitia James accused NRA leaders of knowingly signing off on fraudulent statements.</p><p>Texas Gov. <a href="https://www.texastribune.org/directory/greg-abbott/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Greg Abbott</a>, in a<a href="https://twitter.com/GregAbbott_TX/status/1350191813571784704" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> tweet</a>, celebrated the announcement: "Welcome to Texas — a state that safeguards the 2nd Amendment." Other conservative Texas lawmakers also welcomed the news.</p><p>But bankruptcy experts said the NRA's filing is less of a physical relocation and more of a legal play to avoid a potentially disastrous case in New York.</p><p>The move to Texas, legal experts said, will likely be on paper.</p><p>"They probably figured they'd have a more friendly judge in Texas," said Josh Wolfshohl, a bankruptcy attorney at Porter Hedges LLP in Houston.</p><p>"They're trying to do a preemptive strike" against New York, said Sidney Scheinberg, a bankruptcy attorney at Godwin Bowman PC in Dallas. "It's a clever maneuver. Whether it's going to work, I don't know."</p><p>Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy pauses pending litigation, and the New York attorney general's case will now be battled in a Dallas bankruptcy court instead of a civil court in New York.</p><p>"I suspect the NRA's plan is to consolidate pending litigation in the bankruptcy court," said Kevin Lippman, a bankruptcy attorney at the Texas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr PC law firm. But, he said, New York could challenge the move and try to bring the case back.</p><p>Texas also has one of the most generous homestead exemptions in the country. NRA executives who might receive judgments against them stemming from the New York suit could feasibly move to Texas, "buy a very nice home, and no one could ever take it away from them," Scheinberg said.</p><p>The NRA said it would seek to reincorporate in Texas, pending court approval. While it was chartered in New York, the organization's headquarters and much of its operations are in Fairfax, Virginia.</p><p>"There will be no immediate changes to the NRA's operations or workforce," the NRA said in a statement.</p><p>Nevertheless, Texas politicians jumped on the move as proof that Texas is attracting new businesses and organizations due to its business-friendly regulatory environment.</p><p>"Welcome to Texas," state Sen. <a href="https://www.texastribune.org/directory/dawn-buckingham/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Dawn Buckingham</a>, R-Lakeway, wrote in a tweet tagging the NRA. "Unlike New York, we protect and uphold our citizens' right to bear arms."</p><p>"This is a wonderful place for [the NRA] both financially and for our community," said Andi Turner, legislative director for the Texas State Rifle Association.</p><p>Texas Democrats, meanwhile, criticized the move. U.S. Rep. <a href="https://www.texastribune.org/directory/veronica-escobar/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Veronica Escobar</a>, D-El Paso, criticized Abbott for "courting" the NRA "instead of taking meaningful actions to reduce gun violence in Texas."</p><p>The NRA emphasized in its statements Friday that it was not in financial trouble and focused on political reasons for leaving New York.</p><p>The NRA listed between $100 million and $500 million in liabilities, the same range it reported for its assets, in its filing. The organization claimed in its press statements it is in its "strongest financial condition" in years.</p><p>"The NRA is not insolvent," the group said in a statement. "This action is necessitated primarily by one thing: the unhinged and political attack against the NRA by the New York Attorney General."</p><p>But while experts said organizations file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for a variety of reasons, typically there is some sort of financial cause — otherwise, the courts may toss out the case.</p><p>"Very rarely do [organizations] file when they're not in financial trouble," said Josh Wolfshohl, a bankruptcy attorney at Porter Hedges LLP in Houston. "Partly because of the stigma, and also, it's expensive."</p><p>Beyond the costly litigation, filing for bankruptcy can also put funding for nonprofits like the NRA in jeopardy, because donors might become concerned that the organization will use their money to pay claims instead of, for example, using it to protect gun owners' rights.</p><p>"I don't think it was their first choice to file bankruptcy, because typically it will impact their fundraising," Lippman said.</p><p>Texas bankruptcy attorneys theorized that perhaps the NRA decided it needed to file bankruptcy to move the New York lawsuit and decided Texas would be the friendliest place to do it.</p><p>"The government is welcoming them here, while the New York attorney general is doing everything in her power to put them out of business," Scheinberg said. And while the political tide may be shifting in the state, he said, "This is still Texas."</p>
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Donald Trump: We warned you of the dangers of his presidency 5 years ago -- how do we stop it from happening again?
January 18, 2021
In two days, the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, will leave the White House. As specially-trained experts remove his staff's COVID cooties from the building, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take their oaths of office, ending what many experts believe is the worst presidency in our country's history. But America will never be the same.
Nearly 5 years ago to the day, we issued the following warning from neuroscientist Bobby Azarian, who made the case that Trump "has a mental disorder that makes him a dangerous world leader." By our estimates, more than 30 million people have read this story -- and it remains far and away the most popular story we've ever published. --Roxanne Cooper
<p>According to a number of top U.S. psychologists, like Harvard professor and researcher Howard Gardner, Donald Trump is a "<a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/11/donald-trump-narcissism-therapists" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">textbook" narcissist</a>. In fact, he fits the profile so well that clinical psychologist George Simon told Vanity Fair, "He's so classic that I'm archiving video clips of him to use in workshops." This puts Trump in the same category as a number of infamous dictators like Muammar Gaddafi, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Saddam Hussein. And although there are narcissists out there who entertain us, innovate, or create great art, when a narcissist is given immense power over people's lives, they can behave much differently. As the 2016 presidential election grows nearer we must ask ourselves, if elected president would Donald Trump act on the behalf of the will of the people, or would he behave more like a dictator—silencing any dissenting voices, perpetually refusing to compromise, and being oppressive to certain groups? To answer that, we should ask a little bit more about what makes a narcissist tick, and how they tend to behave when given free rein.</p><p>What is it exactly that makes someone a certifiable narcissist and not simply a person who has a healthy amount of confidence and a burning desire to achieve great goals? According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder is "a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others."</p><p>Trump's shortage of empathy can be seen clearly by his stances on topics like immigration. Instead of recognizing that the data shows that most Mexican immigrants are not violent, but instead people simply looking for a place where actual opportunity exists, with a broad brush he claims that they are "criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc." In a similar vein, Trump has vowed to ban all Muslims from entering the country should he be elected. It appears that his lack of empathy has distorted his mind's ability to grasp the fact that the refugees he speaks of are actually seeking safety from the same murderous maniacs that he wants to keep out. Perhaps if Trump had relatives in countries like Syria and Iraq, he might understand the constant fear that most live under, and in turn become more willing to welcome them with open arms rather than leaving them to be slaughtered.</p><p>But a lack of empathy is just one part of narcissistic personality disorder. Just beneath the surface layer of overwhelming arrogance lies a delicate self-esteem that is easily injured by any form of criticism. We have all seen Trump unjustifiably lash out at a number of people with harsh and often extremely odd personal attacks. When he thought he had been treated unfairly by Fox News host and Republican debate moderator Megyn Kelly, he responded by calling her a "bimbo" and later saying that she had "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever." In response to the strange, misogynistic comments Kelly said that she "may have overestimated his anger management skills." If the news host would have pegged him as a bona fide narcissist from the beginning she might have expected such shamelessly flagrant behavior.</p><p>To be fair, it is certainly true that not all narcissists are terrible people. Some of our most beloved celebrities and musicians have been suspected narcissists, including Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, Kanye West, and even Alec Baldwin. Not only are these decent people, some have also done a lot of good through philanthropic work. Surely Donald Trump has more in common with these individuals than he does with a psychopath like Saddam Hussein.</p><p>There is no doubt that this has been true of the past, yet there is one critical difference between those people and Trump or Saddam. Only the latter two were in or are pursuing positions as heads of state—a role that grants enormous power over world affairs and people's lives. While a narcissistic personality might be one of the traits that allowed Trump to be such a successful businessman and reality TV star, it is also the trait that makes him potentially dangerous as a political leader.</p><p>What happens when another world leader who is a loose cannon doesn't give Trump the admiration that he feels he deserves? We can be sure that notoriously anti-American dictators like Kim Jong-un of North Korea or Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei aren't going to give him any respect, let alone praise. How would a President Trump react when he feels he is being put down or undermined? Will we see the start of World War III because the leader of the most important nation in the world doesn't feel that others are kissing his ass as much as they should be? Narcissistic personality disorder is known to have strong negative effects on relationships, and when it comes to being an effective and responsible world leader, diplomacy is everything.</p><p>If it is not clear how the promise of great power can change an essentially harmless narcissist into someone oppressive, let's see how Donald Trump's political views have changed thus far. Prior to this presidential race, most of us knew Donald Trump as a charismatic, cheeky, highly entertaining figure that seemed like anything but a bigot. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York told CNN that the Trump he knew, and the Trump New York knew, was nothing like the intolerant xenophobe he appears to be today. It is a well-known fact that in the past Trump was a registered democrat who was in favor of liberal causes like abortion rights and pals with the Clintons. But since the promise of power has consumed him, he has become the poster boy for ultra-right wing intolerance. This change in personality and core values perfectly illustrates how the promise of power can transform narcissists. And as the race for the Republican nominee progresses, it has become increasingly obvious that Trump's yearning to rule greatly exceeds his desire to "Make America Great Again," as his slogan says.</p><p>The position of President of the United States is one that requires great empathy, a certain amount of humility, the ability to preserve relationships, and a willingness to establish new ones. These are all qualities that the narcissist lacks, and with their absence comes danger. Do we really want to put all Americans, and even the entire world, at great risk by giving a narcissist the nuclear code? Donald Trump is very much like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, and the presidency is his "one ring to rule them all." In this case we do not have the option of destroying the ring. The best we can strive for is keeping it out of the possession of those who cannot resist abusing its power.</p><p><em>Bobby Azarian is a neuroscientist affiliated with George Mason University and a freelance journalist. His research has been published in journals such as Cognition & Emotion and Human Brain Mapping, and he has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Psychology Today, and Scientific American. Follow him on Twitter </em><a href="https://twitter.com/BobbyAzarian" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><em>@BobbyAzarian.</em></a></p>
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