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The DC: Alleged Russian spy pleads guilty to conspiracy, and... 🦋 Should a butterfly sanctuary be bulldozed for Trump’s border wall?

by Countable | 12.13.18

Welcome to Friday, Alabamians to Wyomingites...

To paraphrase Paul Simon: "Where have you gone, Joe McCarthy? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you."

Maria Butina has plead guilty to engaging in conspiracy to influence U.S. politics.

As part of the deal, Butina admitted to being involved in an organized effort, backed by Russian officials, to infiltrate Republican political circles.

Butina attended conferences with the National Rifle Association and the National Prayer Breakfast where she "sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics," prosecutors said.

Butina is the first Russian national convicted for attempting to influence U.S. politics during the 2016 election.

How do you feel about Butina's guilty plea?

On the Radar

  • In a Thursday tweet, Trump declared that he’d made good on his campaign promise that Mexico will pay for the construction of a wall on the U.S. border by renegotiating NAFTA with the leaders of Canada and Mexico. “I often stated, ‘One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall.’ This has never changed. Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!” What's your reaction to Trump's statement?

Under the Radar

  • President Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico will require the partial bulldozing of a butterfly sanctuary near the Rio Grande River in Mission, Texas. Marianna Treviño-Wright, director of the National Butterfly Center, told the San Antonio Express-News that bulldozers could start plowing through the preserve as soon as February 2019. “[H]aving a wide swath of our property bulldozed is going to negatively impact the volume of the species and diversity of the species.” But Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in October that the flow of unauthorized immigrants and drugs along the border confirmed “an acute and immediate need” for a wall. Should a butterfly sanctuary be bulldozed for Trump’s border wall?

Your Gov at a Glance 👀

The White House: President Trump in D.C.

  • At 5:15pm and 8:30pm EST, the president and First Lady Melania Trump will attend Christmas receptions.

The House of Representatives: Out

  • The House is expected to return Wednesday, December 19th.

The Senate: Out

  • The Senate is expected to return Monday, December 17th.

What You're Saying

Here are some of your thoughts on Reforming the Congressional Sexual Harassment Claims Process & Making Members Personally Repay Settlements

(Follow Teresa's comment here.)

(Follow Doug's comment here.)

But wait, there's more!

And, in the End…

Should "revenge porn" be protected free speech?

“Revenge porn” is sharing sexually explicit images or videos of a person without their consent, typically by a former partner.

40 states and Washington D.C. currently have revenge porn laws. But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will decide whether the practice should be punishable by law in the Lone Star State.

Three years ago, Texas passed a bill that criminalized revenge porn. But a state appeals court ruled in April that the law was unconstitutional, writing:

“It violates rights of too many third parties by restricting more speech than the [U.S.] Constitution permits.”

Is revenge porn protected free speech?

Enjoy some nice overpriced street nuts for Roast Chestnuts Day (and maybe feed them to a primate for Monkey Day),

—Josh Herman

Talk to us via email at contact [at] countable.us. And don’t forget to keep in touch @Countable.

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