Update: 10:44 AM EST
Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been elected as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives after a vote by the full House.
Final Vote Total:
Ryan (R): 234
Pelosi (D): 185
Webster (R): 9
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the chair of the house Republican conference nominated Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), the chair of the house Democratic conference nominated former Speaker and current house minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Ryan was expected to easily win after gaining the support of the House Freedom caucus.
The election was prompted after Speaker John Boehner announced that he would be stepping down from his position in late September.
Ryan did not immediately throw his hat into the ring to be the next speaker, indicating that he would prefer to stay in his job as the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
However, after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy couldn’t gain the confidence of the Tea Party wing of the Republican conference, the then frontrunner for the job choose to stand down.
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Hey Raul Castro, Here’s A List Of Current Political Prisoners In Your Jails, AssholeBy Staff Report
After being pressed by CNN reporter Jim Acosta on why Cuba won’t release its political prisoners, the island’s premier, Raul Castro got a bit testy.
Here’s how it all went down according to Business Insider:
“‘Did you ask if we had political prisoners?’ Castro asked back.
Acosta replied: ‘I wanted to know if you have Cuban political prisoners and why you don’t release them.’
Castro then got defensive.
‘Give me a list of the political prisoners and I will release them immediately,’ Castro said.”
But wait, it gets better.
“Just mention a list,” Castro said. What political prisoners? Give me a name or names or when, after this meeting is over, you can give me a list of political prisoners and if we have those political prisoners they will be released before tonight ends.”
Alright jerk-face, here’s that list you want.
There are literally 47 people on it- a pretty healthy amount of folks if you were to ask just about anyone.
The following list was compiled by the advocacy group Cuban American National Foundation. We have put the full list below:
Name Prison/Location Sentence Date of Imprisonment 1 Liusban John Utra PRISION PROVINCIAL LAS TUNAS 7 years March 6 2013 2 Ricardo Pelier Frómeta COMBINADO DE GUANTANAMO 3 years May 15 2014 3 Eglis Heredia Rodríguez BONIATO, SANTIAGO 5 years May 13 2014 4 Daniel Ernesto Dufó Preval COMBINADO DE GUANTANAMO 2 years May 15 2014 5 Yoelkis Rosabal Flores COMBINADO DE GUANTANAMO 4 years May 15 2014 6 Amado Verdecia Díaz MAR VERDE, SANTIAGO 5 years Oct 20 2014 7 Mario Ronaide Figueroa Dieguez AGUADORES, SANTIAGO 3 years Dec 2 2014 8 María del Carmen Cala Aguilera CARCEL DE MUJERES, HOLGUIN Pending April 24 2015 9 Yosvani Arostegui Armenteros CERAMICA ROJA, CAMAGÜEY Pending Feb 8 2015 10 Santiago Cisneros Castellanos AGUADORES, SANTIAGO Pending July 21 2014 11 Enrique Bartolomé Cámbara KILO 8, CAMAGÜEY 8 years July 21 2014 12 Edilberto Arzuaga Alcalá CERÁMICA ROJA, CAMAGÜEY 1 year Sept 27 2011 13 David Fernández Cardoso Bungo 8, CONTRAMAESTRE 10 months Nov 11 2015 14 Maikel Mediaceja Ramos La Granjita. Mar Verde 6 months Nov 11 2015 15 Laudelino Rodríguez Mendoza Granjita Boniato Pending Nov 5 2015 16 Yosvani Izaguirre Hernández AGUADORES, SANTIAGO 6 months Nov 5 2015 17 Alexeis Serrano Avila AGUADORES, SANTIAGO 4 years Oct 12 2015 18 Fernando Isael Peña Tamayo PRISION PROVINCIAL LAS TUNAS Pending Aug 15 2015 19 Leonardo Cobas Pérez MOSCU, CONTRAMAESTRE 5 years June 29 2015 20 Silverio Portal Contrera VALLE GRANDE 1 year ————- 21 Osvaldo Rodriguez Acosta MAYABEQUE 9 years April 2 2013 22 Osvaldo Rodriguez Castillo MAYABEQUE 7 years April 2 2013 23 Mario Alberto Hernández Leyva VALLE GRANDE Pending June 16 2015 24 Orlando Contrera Aguilar QUIVICÁN, MAYABEQUE 6 years June 16 2015 25 Augusto Guerra Márquez VALLE GRANDE 2 years Dec 12 2015 26 Reinier Rodríguez Mendoza SAN JOSE, LA HABANA (VIH) 2 years July 31 2015 27 Ernesto Ortega Sarduy VALLE GRANDE Pending Sept 30 2015 28 Isaín López Luna 1580 3 years July 8 2015 29 Warley Pérez Cruz TACO TACO 6 months Oct 13 2015 30 Nora Lisset Hernández Bulís MANTO NEGRO 18 months ————- 31 Jordys Manuel Dosil Fong 1580 3 years Aug 5 2015 32 Alexander Alan Rodríguez VALLE GRANDE Pending July 8 2015 33 Emilio Serrano Rodríguez VALLE GRANDE Pending Oct 22 2015 34 Carlos Amaury Calderín Roca VALLE GRANDE 3 years July 8 2015 35 Misael Delgado Romeu KM 5 Y MEDIO, P DEL RIO 6 years ————- 36 Yoanny Thomas González COMBINADO DEL ESTE, HABANA life sentence ————- 37 Elieski Roque Chongo ARIZA, CIENFUEGOS 5 years Oct 17 2014 38 Alfredo Limonte Rodríguez ARIZA, CIENFUEGOS 2 years ————- 39 Joel Mariano Bencomo Martínez GUAMAJAL, VILLA CLARA 3 years ————- 40 Yaxiel Espino Aceval ARIZA, CIENFUEGOS 4 years March 29 2014 41 José David González Fumero NIEVES MOREJON Pending ————- 42 Mario Morera Jardines EL CHIVO, VILLA CLARA 3 years ————- 43 Miguel Borroto Vázquez VALLE GRANDE Pending July 31 2015 44 Osvaldo Arcís Hernández PROVARI (Campamento) 2 years Dec 9 2015 45 Ricardo González Sendiña COMBINADO DEL ESTE, HABANA 6 years ————- 46 Ariel González Sendiña COMBINADO DEL ESTE, HABANA 6 years ————- 47 Leudis Reyes Cuza COMBINADO DEL ESTE, HABANA 5 years Sept 24 2015
Guess they should all be free about now, right Raul?
H/T: NBC Miami
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Fake American Embassy In Ghana Forged Visas For A Decade
Media outlets, government officials and citizens of the world were all astounded when news reports arose that a fake embassy in Ghana had been selling US visas for the past decade without arousing any suspicion.
For a decade, an American flag flew outside a battered pink building in Ghana, welcoming unsuspecting, out of town tourists.
Inside a painting of Barack Obama, the current President of the United States adorned the wall.
Located in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, the embassy sold illegally obtained authentic visas for a price of up to $6,000.
The embassy was said to be operated by a criminal network made up of Ghanaian and Turkish gangsters.
Operatives posed as consular officers and staffed the operation in the fake embassy.
The operatives were not American but spoke English and Dutch.
The State Department issued a statement which said “The criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials to look the other way, as well as obtain legitimate blank documents to be doctored.”
The officials also said that the embassy was shut down in the summer after a tip from an informant reached the Regional Security office.
Raids conducted resulted in the arrest of a number of operatives and also to the seizure of authentic and counterfeit Indian, South African and Schengen Zone visas as well as passports from over 150 countries.
It is unknown as to how the criminals managed to get their hands on these authentic visas.
The fake embassy was in stark contrast to the real US embassy which is a heavily fortified complex located in one of the country’s most expensive neighborhoods.
The fake embassy was open three days a week and did not accept walk-in customers. Instead, advertising was done openly on billboards.
Despite the size of the scam, the State Department told the Associated Press that no people entered the United States by using forged visas.
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Post-truth politics actually dates back to AristotleBy Contributor
Following Donald Trump’s inauguration as President the world is anticipating a new, and potentially radically different era for the US.
The inauguration also prompts questions about this new style of politics.
Trump’s surge to leading the most powerful nation in the world was fuelled by a rhetoric we associate with a new term: ‘post-truth’.
The Oxford Dictionary named post-truth its word of the year in 2016, and defined it as “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.
Brexit, and Trump’s success were new lows for many of us, particularly in higher education, precisely because facts came a distant second to populist appeals.
But, as a number of people have identified, post-truth didn’t begin with Trump.
One reference point for the two campaigns 2016 will be remembered for has been the propagandism of the 1930s, and two wickedly cynical pieces of advice: repeat lies often enough until they are accepted as true, or remember if you are going to lie, tell a big lie.
But almost a century earlier, in the 1850s, there was a far dirtier US election campaign where an anti-immigration party, the “know nothings”, actively thrived on pretending to be ignorant of their own party’s activities.
Further back still, before US independence, the satirist John Arbuthnot wrote: “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it, so that when Men come to be undeceived, it is too late… like a physician who has found out an infallible medicine after the patient is dead.” The title of his 1712 essay? The Art of Political Lying.
And way, way before Arbuthnot, in 350 BC, Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens describes the demagogue Cleon in a way Trump critics might recognise: “The cause of the corruption of the democracy by his wild undertakings.”
A closer look at Cleon invites several parallels with how critics see Trump. Cleon inherited his wealth from his father in the form of a tannery – a leather factory: certainly the Athenian equivalent of blue-collar.
He rose to power in 430 BC, during a desperate time for Athens – it was at war with Sparta and was devastated by plague. Plutarch describes him as someone who “catered to the pleasure of the Athenians” with a combination of “mad vanity”, “versatile buffoonery” and “disgusting boldness.”
Cleon had a distinctive and shocking communication style, one Athenians had never seen before.
While speaking, he would hitch his cloak up and slap his thighs, running and yelling at the crowds.
Aristotle says he was “the first to use unseemly shouting and coarse abuse”. Aside from this radically new communication style, Cleon’s populism was based on attacking two enemies.
First, though wealthy himself, he was an anti-establishment figure, pursuing a “relentless persecution of the upper classes”.
Second, he was a flag-waving xenophobe, antagonistic towards Athens’ rival and (partly thanks to Cleon) bitter enemy Sparta, as well as to the city of Mytilene, who wanted independence from Athens.
The Athenian general and historian Thucydides even records a speech where Cleon expresses admiration for Mytilene’s “unassailable” walls.
Parallels don’t end there. A later Athenian writer, Lucian, suggests Cleon profited from exploiting his office as some warn Trump is set to do and that he was “venal to excess” (as Trump detractors suggest).
He was boastful, once bragging that he could win a war against some Spartans by himself. He was thin-skinned and censorious, as well as a litigious bully.
Cleon tried, unsuccessfully, to have the satirist Aristophanes prosecuted for writing The Babylonians, which he considered a treasonable play – in the process turning Aristophanes into a life-long enemy.
He accused Athenian generals of incompetence and, in establishment-bashing mode tried, unsuccessfully, to prosecute one of them, Laches.
Cleon was held responsible for the eventual exile of another, Thucydides, who as well as being a general is sometimes described as the founder of history.
Indeed Thucydides’ contribution was to found a tradition of historians as being concerned with facts and the truth.
Throughout this period Cleon was the biggest obstacle to normal relations with Sparta and within a year of his death a peace treaty was agreed.
History was certainly not kind to Cleon, and perhaps Trump will not be showered in praise either.
In Cleon’s case this was no surprise perhaps given that he exiled the most eminent Athenian historian and tried to silence the most eminent Athenian satirist.
Nowadays Cleon is most well-known through Aristophanes’ play, The Knights (far ruder than Saturday Night Live).
This has an unusually small cast because it is essentially a relentless assault on the character Paphlagon, who is obviously based on Cleon: “the leather-seller” with a “gaping arse”, “a perfect glutton for beans” who loudly “farts and snores”, an “arrant rogue” and “mud-stirrer” with a “pig’s education” and the “stink of leather” – “this villain, this villain, this villain! I cannot say the word too often, for he is a villain a thousand times a day”.
Cleon may well have had a front-row seat for The Knights, where he would have seen Aristophanes playing Paphlagon/Cleon, presumably because no-one else dared to.
Characters in these plays were masked, but no prop-maker dared make a mask resembling Cleon.
We might imagine Cleon later reviewing The Knights as: “A totally one-sided, biased show – overrated! The theatre must always be a safe and special place. Apologize!”
What matters is that Aristophanes’ contemporaries awarded The Knights first prize at the Lenaia festival (something like Athens’ Cannes Festival).
Cleon’s brand of post-truth politics flourished because when life is extremely hard, facts are not as novel or distracting as sensationalism.
Some Athenians were won over by the novel spectacle of yelling, coarse abuse and thigh-slapping – and distracted by diversionary ranting against Sparta.
Critics of Brexit and Trump might say voters were won over by bus-sized gimmicks or tweet-sized slogans – where both camps painted “enemy” over an anonymous other.
2016 was a bad year in which millions were desperate for change, but perhaps what we saw was an age old spectacle. Populism and appeals to emotion always work on some people. When times are bad enough they work on enough people.
One consolation for Trump’s opponents and Remainers is that the Athenians kept Cleon partly in check using existing governance mechanisms – the courts.
They can also take comfort that contemporary culture remembers Cleon through the eyes of his bitter enemy Aristophanes. Cleon’s era was horrific yet it also became a golden age for satire and saw the birth of the discipline of history.
The worst fears for the Trump presidency are bleak, but civilisation survived Cleon. Shortly after his death we saw another kind of Athenian golden age – with Socrates, Plato and Aristotle laying down the basis for Western philosophy and civilisation.
They taught the importance of scepticism and scrutiny, and of virtue. They placed the ultimate premium on the search for knowledge and truth.
In the Rhetoric Aristotle gave us all the tools we need to see through a Cleon. Indeed, he wanted rhetoric to be widely understood so politicians’ arguments were evaluated on their merits rather than the wrapper (or bus) they arrived in.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Kevin Morrell is a Professor of Strategy at Warwick Business School, UK. He researches rhetoric in politics.
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