PolWorld, Author at POLSKA УКРАЇНА

Boy Scouts of America Files Bankruptcy to Deal With Abuse Lawsuits

The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in a U.S. federal court Tuesday in a move it says will allow it to compensate men who were abused as boys while taking part in its programs.The group has faced a surge in lawsuits in recent years as multiple states enacted changes to laws allowing those victimized as kids to bring legal action later in life.Several thousand men accuse scoutmasters and other leaders of molestation, with many of their cases dating back to the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.Paul Mones, a lawyer representing many people suing the group, said in a series of Tuesday tweets that the Boy Scouts deliberately concealed sexual abuse for decades and “made their decision to protect their reputation over the safety of innocent children.”It is not clear how large an eventual settlement could be if the Boy Scouts and victims are able to reach an agreement.”The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting,” President and Chief Executive Officer Roger Mosby said in a statement.  “We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children.”The group says the bankruptcy filing involves only its national organization and not the individual chapters spread throughout the country that will continue carrying their meetings and activities.

Federal Judges to Hold Emergency Meeting on Trump Admin Interference in Politically Sensitive Cases

A national association of federal judges will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday after Justice Department officials intervened in the case involving a close confident of U.S. President Donald Trump.The head of the independent Federal Judges Association, District Judge Cynthia Rufe, tells VOA the judges are “concerned about the attacks on individual judges” and it will be the main issue to be discussed.Rufe declined to give any more details, but said the jurists “could not wait” until their spring meeting.The Justice Department stunned the political and legal community last week when it overruled its own prosecutors and recommended a lighter prison sentence for Roger Stone — a longtime friend and confident of Trump who was convicted on lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice stemming from the Russian election meddling probe.Prosecutors in the case had recommended seven to nine years prison time for Stone — a recommendation based on sentencing guidelines for such crimes.But the Justice Department recommended a lighter sentence after Trump complained in a tweet that the seven to nine years would be “horrible” and “unfair.”Three prosecutors in the Stone case withdrew and a fourth quit the agency altogether.Stone is to be sentenced Thursday and it is up to Judge Amy Berman Jackson to decide how long he is to be locked up.This courtroom sketch shows former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, Roger Stone talking from the witness stand as Judge Amy Berman Jackson listens during a court hearing at the U.S. District Courthouse in Washington, Feb. 21, 2019.Jackson has scheduled a Tuesday conference call with attorneys in the Roger Stone case, two days before the former Trump associate is set to be sentenced.Former President Barack Obama appointed Judge Jackson and Trump has been notoriously critical of many decisions and policies made by his predecessor. Trump complained last week about Jackson’s decision to jail former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in solitary confinement and not to try to prosecute former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.Judge Rufe says the Federal Judges’ Association has no interest in getting involved in the Stone case, but does support Jackson.”We are supportive of any federal judge who does what is required,” she said.The Roger Stone case has raised questions in Congress about political interference in what is historically suppose to be an independent judiciary.Trump congratulated Attorney General William Barr last week for “taking charge” of the Stone case. But both deny that Trump asked Barr to intervene.Barr is scheduled to appear before Congress next month.More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials have called on Barr to resign, saying his handling of the Stone case “openly and repeatedly flouted” the independence of the judicial branch.Barr told ABC News last week that Trump’s tweets “make it impossible for him to do his job,” saying he will not be “bullied or influenced by anybody, whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president.”   

Outspoken US Labor Leader Owen Bieber Dies at 90

Former U.S. labor leader Owen Bieber, one of the country’s most outspoken anti-apartheid activists who also backed Poland’s Solidarity labor movement, has died at 90.A longtime union member, Bieber took over as the head of the United Auto Workers Union in 1983, securing good wages, job security and other benefits for blue-collar auto workers at a time of recession and rising global competition.He rallied the UAW behind the Solidarity movement in Poland and was a fierce critic of apartheid in South Africa. He traveled to the country, speaking out against racism and imprisonment of labor activists, smuggling photographs of tortured prisoners out of the country back to the U.S.Bieber was arrested demonstrating outside the South African Embassy in Washington. He hosted Nelson Mandela in Detroit, Michigan, after the South African political leader’s release from prison in 1990.
 

Hamlin Wins 3rd Daytona 500; Newman Hospitalized

Denny Hamlin won his second straight Daytona 500 and third overall, beating Ryan Blaney in an overtime photo finish marred by a terrifying crash that sent Ryan Newman to the hospital on Monday.Newman had surged into the lead on the final lap when Blaney’s bumper caught the back of his Ford and sent Newman hard right into the wall. His car flipped, rolled, was hit on the driver’s side by another car, and finally skidded across the finish line engulfed in flames.It took several minutes for his car to be rolled back onto its wheels. He was placed in a waiting ambulance and taken directly to a hospital.Denny Hamlin, right, celebrates as he and crew members hoist the championship trophy after winning the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 17, 2020, in Daytona Beach, Fla.Hamlin is the first driver since Sterling Marlin in 1995 to win consecutive Daytona 500s, but his celebration in victory lane was subdued.“I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are and number one, we are praying for Ryan,” Hamlin said.Runner-up Blaney said the way the final lap shook out, with Newman surging ahead of Hamlin, that Blaney locked in behind Newman in a move of brand alliance for Ford.“We pushed Newman there to the lead and then we got a push from the 11 … I was committed to just pushing him to the win and having a Ford win it and got the bumpers hooked up wrong,” he said. “It looked bad.”NASCAR gave no immediate announcement on Newman’s status and officials moved bystanders away from the crash scene.Hamlin had eight Ford drivers lined up behind him as the leader on the second overtime shootout without a single fellow Toyota driver in the vicinity to help him. It allowed Newman to get past him for the lead, but the bumping in the pack led to Newman’s hard turn right into the wall, followed by multiple rolls and a long skid across the finish line.Hamlin’s win last year was a 1-2-3 sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing and kicked off a yearlong company celebration in which Gibbs drivers won a record 19 races and the Cup championship.Now his third Daytona 500 win puts him alongside six Hall of Fame drivers as winners of three or more Daytona 500s. He tied Dale Jarrett — who gave JGR its first Daytona 500 win in 1993 —Jeff Gordon and Bobby Allison. Hamlin trails Cale Yarborough’s four wins and the record seven by Richard Petty.This victory came after just the second rain postponement in 62 years, a visit from President Donald Trump, a pair of red flag stoppages and two overtimes. The 0.014 margin of victory was the second closest in race history, and Hamlin’s win over Martin Truex Jr. in 2016 was the closest finish in race history.That margin of victory was 0.01 seconds. The win in “The Great American Race” is the third for Toyota, all won by Hamlin. Gibbs has four Daytona 500 victories as an owner.

US Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Transgender Pronoun Dispute

A judge dismissed a professor’s lawsuit against a small, public university in Ohio that rebuked him for not addressing a transgender student using the student’s preferred gender terms.
    
Nicholas Meriwether’s federal lawsuit alleged that Shawnee State University officials violated his rights by compelling him to speak in a way that contradicts his Christian beliefs.
    
Schools officials contended that such language was part of his job responsibilities, not speech protected by the First Amendment, and that the case should be dismissed. U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott dismissed it last week, agreeing that the manner in which Meriwether addressed the student wasn’t protected under the First Amendment.
    
A message seeking comment was left Monday for Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Meriwether.
    
He had received a written warning for violating the school’s nondiscrimination policy and unsuccessfully challenged his reprimand in a grievance process. Meriwether said he treated the student like “other biologically male students.”

Rivals Target Bloomberg as He Rises in Democratic Presidential Race

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s name is not on any of the ballots for the first four U.S. Democratic presidential nominating contests, and he has yet to qualify for the candidates’ next debate on Wednesday night.But it is Bloomberg who has quickly become a key figure in the Democratic contest, rising to third in national political surveys of Democratic voters behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.Bloomberg has also become the target of stinging barbs from his fellow Democratic rivals, as well as Trump, who mocked him last week as a “mass of dead energy,” and calling  him “Mini Mike” for his short stature.In turn, Bloomberg called Trump “a carnival barking clown,” adding, “Where I come from, we measure your height from the neck up.”Democratic opponents have accused Bloomberg, said to be worth $62 billion, of trying to buy the party nomination.Bloomberg reportedly has spent nearly $400 million of his own money on a wide array of campaign ads, and has hired hundreds of campaign workers ahead of the March 3 voting in 14 states, known as Super Tuesday, when he will be on the ballot.People listen as Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks at a campaign event in Raleigh, North Carolina, Feb. 13, 2020.Bloomberg accumulated his wealth as the founder of his eponymous business information company and also the Bloomberg News website.A late entrant in the Democratic race, he is skipping the four February contests, including Saturday’s caucuses in the western state of Nevada.Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist, has increasingly attacked Bloomberg, who was New York’s mayor from 2002 to 2013.“Mayor Bloomberg, with all his money, will not create the kind of excitement and energy we need to have the voter turnout we must have to defeat Donald Trump,” Sanders said at  one rally.Sanders attacked Bloomberg’s “racist” policy of “stop-and-frisk” arrests of people in high-crime New York neighborhoods when he was mayor, a policy Bloomberg has apologized for as he runs for president.’Stop and frisk’A 2015 recording surfaced last week of Bloomberg saying the best way to reduce gun violence among young, minority men was to “throw them up against a wall and frisk them.”Bloomberg acknowledged over the weekend, “I’ve gotten a lot of grief for (stop and frisk) lately, but I defended it for too long, and because I didn’t fully understand the unintentional pain it caused young black and brown kids and their families. I should have acted sooner, and I should have stopped it. I didn’t, and I apologized for that.”Biden, on NBC’s “Meet the Press” news program Sunday, said, “Sixty billion dollars can buy you a lot of advertising, but it can’t erase your record.”On the same show, another presidential contender, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, said, “He just can’t hide behind the airwaves. I can’t beat him on the airwaves, but I can beat him on the debate stage, and I think people of America deserve that to make a decision.”Bloomberg said he will participate in the Wednesday debate in Nevada if he qualifies. He lacks one poll out of the four needed that shows him with at least 10% support of Democratic voters.Sexist commentsBloomberg has also drawn new scrutiny by major U.S. news outlets. Over the weekend, The Washington Post published a lengthy story of Bloomberg’s profane, sexist and misogynist comments targeting women who worked at his financial services company.Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told the “Fox News Sunday” show, “The way Michael Bloomberg treated employees — female employees, who were under his wing, who were relying on him for their livelihoods, for their health benefits, for their 401ks — to have created that kind of culture, that unsafe workplace, to feel like you’re being harassed because of your gender, that is problematic. I think you’re going to hear more of it.”The Bloomberg campaign denied some of the quotes attributed to him in the newspaper story, while the candidate offered a more general comment on his attitude toward professional women in the workplace.”I’ve depended on their leadership, their advice and their contributions,” he wrote on Twitter. “As I’ve demonstrated throughout my career, I will always be a champion for women in the workplace.”As for the sudden spate of attacks, the Bloomberg campaign was dismissive.“It’s not surprising that as Mike continues to rise in the polls, other candidates, including Donald Trump, start to get nervous,” it said. 

Bloomberg Takes Veiled Swipe at Rival’s Aggressive Loyalists

With the Nevada caucuses less than a week away, Democratic presidential candidates campaigning were fixated on a rival who wasn’t contesting the state.
    
Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg all went after billionaire Mike Bloomberg and made clear they were eager to take him on in a debate.
    
“He thinks he can buy this election,” Sanders told a Carson City rally Sunday. “Well, I’ve got news for Mr. Bloomberg, the American people are sick and tired of billionaires buying elections!”
    
Bloomberg hit back Monday with a video mashup posted to Twitter of aggressive and threatening comments made by people who appear to be Sanders supporters, juxtaposed with Sanders calling for “civil discourse.”
    
“We need to unite to defeat Trump in November,” the former New York mayor tweeted.”This type of `energy’ is not going to get us there.”
    We need to unite to defeat Trump in November. This type of “energy” is not going to get us there. https://t.co/bPuUZMs2d6pic.twitter.com/Tdp6mpWjcX— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 17, 2020Their attacks are a sign of how seriously the field is starting to take Bloomberg as he gains in the race and is on the cusp of qualifying for Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas. Bloomberg has bypassed the traditional early voting states including Nevada, focusing instead on the 14 states that vote in the Super Tuesday primary on March 3. He has spent more than $417 million of his own multibillion-dollar fortune on advertising nationwide, an unprecedented sum for any candidate in a primary.
    
The focus on Bloomberg comes with many establishment-aligned Democrats anxious about the early strength of Sanders, who won last week’s New Hampshire primary and essentially tied for first place in Iowa with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Sanders is hoping to notch a victory in Nevada on Saturday as moderates struggle to unite behind a candidate who could serve as a counter to the Vermont senator, who has long identified as a democratic socialist.
    
The hundreds of millions of dollars that Bloomberg has pumped into the Super Tuesday states has only heightened the sense of uncertainty surrounding the Democratic race.
    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., makes a point during a campaign stop late, Feb. 16, 2020, in Denver.At Sanders’ rally, the crowded cheered as the Vermont senator joked that Bloomberg is “struggling, he’s down to his last $60 billion” and derided him for skipping the early primary states.
    
It marked an escalation of the salvo Sanders launched Saturday against the former mayor, when he ticked off conservative positions Bloomberg has taken in the past, including opposing a minimum wage hike and a number of Barack Obama’s policies while president. On Saturday, Sanders suggested the former mayor’s past conservatism and controversial comments make him a weak candidate against President Donald Trump, charging that Bloomberg, “with all his money, will not create the kind of excitement and energy we nee”’ to beat Trump.
    
And on Sunday, he was joined by the current mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, who endorsed Sanders days ago. De Blasio introduced Sanders with an attack of his own on his predecessor, telling the crowd, “I’m sorry to report to you the chief proponent of stop and frisk is now running for president.”
    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks at the Clark County Democratic Party “Kick-Off to Caucus 2020” event, Feb. 15, 2020, in Las Vegas.Klobuchar, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” accused Bloomberg of avoiding scrutiny by blanketing the airwaves and sidestepping debates or tough televised interviews.
    
“I think he cannot hide behind the airwaves and the money,” she said. “I think he has to come on the shows. And I personally think he should be on the debate stage.”
    
Klobuchar said she’s raised $12 million since her better-than-expected finish in third place in New Hampshire. She’s maintained her campaign through a series of strong debate performances and argued that Bloomberg being on stage with his rivals would level the playing field.
    
“I’m never going to beat him on the airwaves, but I can beat him on the debate stage,” she said.
    Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, greets supporters at a campaign event in Columbia, S.C., Feb. 11, 2020.Biden, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” suggested that Bloomberg will face increased scrutiny as the race continues, pointing to his record on issues relating to race. He said: “$60 billion can buy you a lot of advertising, but it can’t erase your record.”
    
Biden knocked Bloomberg’s past support of stop-and-frisk policing policies and his comments suggesting that cracking down on racist mortgage lending practices, known as “redlining,” contributed to the financial crisis. Biden also criticized him for failing to endorse Obama for president in 2008. Bloomberg has released ads that tie him closely to Obama on issues like gun control and climate change.
    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., aknowledges supporters at a primary election night rally, Feb. 11, 2020, in Manchester, N.H.When asked on MSNBC whether Bloomberg shares the values of the Democratic Party, Warren also went after the former mayor over his comments on redlining, declaring that “anyone who is out there trying to blame African Americans for the financial crash of 2008 … is not someone who should be representing our party.”
    
Even as the front-running candidates kept one eye on their Super Tuesday showdown with Bloomberg, they focused on the more immediate task of winning over minority voters, who are expected to be pivotal in Nevada and South Carolina.
    
Biden reminded older parishioners at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in North Las Vegas of 1960s television footage of black protesters in Birmingham, Alabama, being attacked by police dogs and sprayed with fire hoses on the orders of city official Bull Connor.
    
Biden said today’s racists are not “Bull Connors, not out in overalls. They’re wearing fine suits, and they’re living in the White House.”
    
The former vice president is relying on his strength among black voters and an explicit appeal to Latinos and other minorities to deliver him a strong showing in the coming contests after posting disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, which both feature electorates that are whiter on average than the national population.
    
Biden has been hammering home the need for any Democratic candidate to appeal to voters of color. On Sunday, he told black lawmakers and other political figures at the Nevada Black Legislative Caucus’s Black History Month observance that “the black community has in its power to determine who the next president of the United States is going to be.”

Is The West Dying Or Thriving? US And Europe Clash Over Transatlantic Alliance

The United States and Europe appear divided over the health of the transatlantic relationship following a key security conference in Germany over the weekend, attended by hundreds of political and military leaders. Europeans accused Washington of ‘rejecting the idea of an international community’ – but the U.S. said the alliance is in good shape. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the Munich conference, there is an emerging disagreement between Western allies over what exactly represents the biggest threat to Western democracy