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Trump nominee for top prisons job busted for racism against blacks and Asians

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President Donald Trump has nominated controversial lawyer William Otis, with a troubling history of racist and “flatly ahistorical” remarks, to a coveted seat on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, The Root reported Saturday.

“Trump’s pick for the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which determines what criminal sentences to dole out, has written that black people and Latinx commit more crimes because of their collective sub-standard values, and appears to think that selling an eighth of weed (a low-level offense) is akin to child rape,” The Root explained. “The comments Otis makes on his blog aren’t racist dog whistles. They’re the air-horn of racism. They’re also terrifyingly recent—all made within the last 5 years.”

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NPR noted that Otis commented on a popular legal blog that “it is precisely because race and criminality have no causative relationship that our side cannot be cowed when the other side starts bellowing about racial disparities in imprisonment, and then claiming they are caused by racism. They are not caused by racism, and as you quite correctly say, they are not caused by race. They are caused by making choices.”

The Root dug up the full passage.

“This is the reason that, for example, Orientals have less incidence of crime than whites. Orientals were unquestionably the victims of long and rancid racial bigotry; coolie labor was little more than slave labor. And Yick Wo v. Hopkins is one of the most famous civil rights cases of all time,” Otis wrote. “The reason Orientals stay out of jail more than either whites or blacks is that family life, work, education and tradition are honored more in Oriental culture than in others.”

“This is not a person who will be guided by evidence and data,” Kevin Ring, the president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums told The Washington Post. “The Senate should reject this nomination.”

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Otis was a counselor for the Drug Enforcement Administration under President George W. Bush.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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How techbros seduced the Pentagon: Moguls at Amazon and Google received unprecedented — and lucrative — access

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On Aug. 8, 2017, Roma Laster, a Pentagon employee responsible for policing conflicts of interest, emailed an urgent warning to the chief of staff of then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Several department employees had arranged for Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, to be sworn into an influential Pentagon advisory board despite the fact that, in the year since he’d been nominated, Bezos had never completed a required background check to obtain a security clearance.

Mattis was about to fly to the West Coast, where he would personally swear Bezos in at Amazon’s headquarters before moving on to meetings with executives from Google and Apple. Soon phone calls and emails began bouncing around the Pentagon. Security clearances are no trivial matter to defense officials; they exist to ensure that people with access to sensitive information aren’t, say, vulnerable to blackmail and don’t have conflicts of interest. Laster also contended that it was a “noteworthy exception” for Mattis to perform the ceremony. Secretaries of defense, she wrote, don’t hold swearing-in events.

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Has anything changed since Burning Man’s sex assault and labor issues were exposed?

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The last weekend in August marks the start of Burning Man, a week-long, festival in the Nevada desert consisting of freewheeling performance art, fanciful costumes, and a lot of drugs. The anarchic party with more than 50,000 attendees constitutes a pilgrimage for many attendees, lured by the promise of leaving the “default world” behind in exchange for a transformative or even spiritual experience.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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Elementary school cheer squad parents raffling off an AM-15 automatic weapon as a fundraiser

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Just weeks after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people, only 200 miles away in Richmond, the cheer squad is selling raffle tickets to sell a semi-automatic gun.

Fox19 reported Wednesday that the Junior Lions Cheer Team have infuriated Heather Chilton, who's 7-year-old daughter is on the squad for the first time.

"This is absurd, you're having elementary kids sell your AR-15. Why?" Chilton said. "I highly doubt that something would happen with the gun, but say it did. Say one of the kids in the high school got a hold of it — got the AR-15 or AM-15 and shot up a school with it, and I'm the one that sold the raffle ticket to his dad?"

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