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          Takes on the World: Jeff Blankfort:News/Op:Yemen, Iran Sanctions, Corbyn Caves, Segment 1      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
I begin with comment on USG and mainstream media minimizing Yemeni casualties while accepting unconfirmed Syrian death stats reported only by the Syrian Observatory on Human Rights, a one man anti-Syrian government operation run by a Syrian clothing store owner in Coventry, England, I then speak about the US re impositions of sanctions on Iran and secondary sanctions of any company or country that continues do business with Iran and the likely failure of the Europeans who oppose the sanctions to resist US threats and pressure. I note that Trump's bullying tactics reflect the way the US operates in the world and quote from a letter from Sen. Ted Cruz and 9 fellow Republican senators to the embassies of Britain, France and Germany, warning them against going against the wishes of the US Congress. I add a segment about the sanctions impact on SWIFT, the key outfit that facilitates global finance and note that its member banks have been warned that they, too, will be punished if they don't comply with US demands. I finish with a report on how the British Jewish establishment has been hounding Jeremy Corbyn over his and the Labour Party's alleged antisemitism and how, rather than stand and fight the allegations, Corbyn has caved.

          Pentagon, Vice President Pence tout groundwork for future 'Space Force'      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Pentagon, Vice President Pence tout groundwork for future 'Space Force'The Pentagon is laying the groundwork for a future Space Force, moving closer to an order from President Trump earlier this summer to create a sixth branch of the armed forces. Speaking at the Pentagon on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced sweeping changes that reorganize how the Department of Defense handles space operations, even if Congress does not authorize the establishment of a separate Department of the Space Force.

          Ministros do STF aprovam reajuste nos próprios salários para 2019      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Por 7 votos a 4, a maioria dos ministros do Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) decidiu, há pouco, enviar ao Congresso Nacional proposta de aumento dos salários dos ministros da Corte , para 2019. O salário atualmente é de R$ 33,7 mil e o percentual de reajuste, de 16%. Caso o reajuste seja aprovado no Orçamento […]
          GOP congressman from New York charged with insider trading      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Republican U.S. Rep. Christopher Collins of New York is vehemently denying charges he fed inside information he gleaned from sitting on the board of an Australian biotechnology company to his son (Source: ABC News: Health)
          Pentagon Space Force plan at a glance      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The Trump administration's plan to establish a Space Force as a new branch of the military will unfold in phases and will require congressional approval.
          Puerto Rico: 1,400 died from hurricane but toll still at 64      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Puerto Rico is estimating in a report to Congress that Hurricane Maria killed more than 1,400 people, though an island official said Thursday that the confirmed toll remains frozen at 64 pending a scientific review due out soon.
          Democrat running for Congress convicted of DUI in Georgia      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
A candidate for Congress has been jailed in Georgia while he awaits sentencing for a drunken-driving conviction.
          First Muslim woman to be elected to US Congress after winning primary      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

WASHINGTON (Web Desk) Former Michigan legislator Rashida Tlaib on Wednesday won the Democratic nomination to run unopposed for a House seat, setting her up to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.According to The Guardian, no Republicans or third-party candidates ran in district 13 primary race, which means that Tlaib is set to win …

The post First Muslim woman to be elected to US Congress after winning primary appeared first on Home Page.

          Playing with all the toys      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Meanwhile, Trump and Pence are sweating with excitement at their big plans to put SOJERS in SPASE.

The creation of a new branch of the military — the first since the Air Force was created in the wake of World War II in 1947 — could require a significant reorganization of the Pentagon. Some officials within the military and national security communities fiercely oppose the idea. The Air Force in particular might lose key responsibilities. The proposal would also need congressional approval.

Also it would be a little pricey, but hey, they can just get rid of Medicare and Social Security and bob’s your uncle.

White House officials have been working with national security leaders to aggressively move ahead

Read the rest

          The Captain's AMERICA Third Watch For August 9...      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
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Enjoy our Thursday Podcast of "The Captain's AMERICA Third Watch" hosted by Retired Captain Matt Bruce heard LIVE 2-6 AM ET broadcasting across America from Tampa, FL.... "The Captain's AMERICA Third Watch" is on the Radio with Breaking News from across America & around the World as it happens! ***Tomorrow's News, TONIGHT!*** Where it's ALL about America & WE the PEOPLE with 'The Captain' LIVE Thursday August 9th from 2-6 AM ET broadcasting from Tampa, FL in the #MausNissan Studio of our Salem Media Group Flagship Radio Station #am860theanswer in the #19 Radio Market of America. Our Radio Show is also heard on the #TalkAmericaRadio Network. The Radio Show is heard in over 130 Countries around the World via our Digital Internet Streams. We proudly support our Nations Active Duty Military, Veterans, EMT's, Firefighters, Police & ALL First Responders... Our Guests Tonight Are: Kyle Warren - The Professor of Politics, Ms Rosemary - Prayer Intercessor, Denise Simon - Founders Code, Ron Edwards - The Edwards Notebook, Boe Browning - National Aviation Academy & Veterans News along with the Truckers 'National Highway Report' every hour. We're also happy to take your phone calls on the air LIVE at 1-877-969-8600... We are currently heard on 80 radio affiliates in 28 States & more new affiliates coming in 2018! Atlanta, you hear us on our Salem Radio Affiliate AM 920 The Answer. Orlando, we're on AM 660 & FM 105.5 The Answer. We are also heard on our Salem Media Group Tampa Sister Stations: 930 The Answer Sarasota, FM 103.1 Bradenton, FM 93.7 Bayshore Gardens & 1380 The Biz in St Petersburg FL. Talk America Radio Network Stations 92.1 WDDQ FM in Valdosta GA, Talk 107.5 WJHC in Jasper FL, & AM 1330 WLBB in Carrollton GA. Seattle you hear us on #Megatalk 920 KGTK AM and 1400 KITZ AM in Seattle-Olympia-Tacoma-Bremerton WA. You can also hear the show on the Internet via these websites: The Captain's AMERICA Third Watch, Cowboy Logic Radio, Freedom In America Radio, iHeart Radio, IPBN-FM, iTunes, KTalk Radio, Radioways in Germany, ROKU, Talk Stream Live, Top Talk Radio & TuneIn... Download our FREE app for your iPad, iPhone, Laptop or Personal Computer by going to the AM 860 The Answer website. Find Out Why We Are The FASTEST Growing Overnight News Talk Radio Show On Your Radio Dial!!!!! #America #Afghanistan #Border #Congress #Conservative #DonaldTrump #EchoInRamadi #Economy #Guns #Iran #Iraq #Israel #Immigration #Military #Mueller #NATO #News #Korea #Politics #Russia #Socialism #Syria #Terrorism #Truckers #Veterans #walkaway
          Secret Recordings Reveal Why Congress Hasn't Moved to Impeach Rosenstein      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
And What They're Waiting For
          8/10/2018: World: Tight finish alarms Republicans      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

A paper-thin Republican byelection victory in a congressional seat that President Trump’s party won by 37 points two years ago has rung alarm bells and raised the prospect of a defeat in November’s midterms. Troy Balderson declared himself the winner...
          Congress members on corporate boards? It's legal      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
As long as they aren't compensated for it, Congress members can serve on boards of nonprofits, charities and corporations

          Announcement: More Web Archives, Less Process      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
From the announcement: The Library of Congress Digital Content Management Section is excited to announce the release of 4,240 new web archives across 43 event and thematic collections on, our largest single release of web archives to date! Web archives such as Slate Magazine from 2002 to present, Elizabeth Mesa’s Iraq War blog, and...

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          Indicted ex-congressman offers ’emotional’ advice to GOP’s Chris Collins over his insider trading arrest      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

A GOP ex-congressman indicted while in office is offering advice to fellow New York Republican Chris Collins following the current congressman’s Wednesday arrest. In an interview with The New York Times, former congressman Michael Grimm implored Rep. Collins (R-NY) to remain strong in the face...

The post Indicted ex-congressman offers ’emotional’ advice to GOP’s Chris Collins over his insider trading arrest appeared first on Raw Story.

          Rescuing Retirement with Teresa Ghilarducci and Tony James      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

At a time when Congress can’t seem to agree on much, lawmakers are acknowledging that the main retirement savings vehicle, the 401(k), needs some fixing. Before you get too excited, the changes being considered are more like touch ups, rather than a complete renovation.

Early conversations include: requiring plan sponsors to let participants know how much their total savings would translate into monthly income; a repeal of the age limit on IRA contributions; a more liberal approach to pooled 401(k) plans, which would help more small businesses offer retirement benefits to their employees; and the option to use a portion of a tax refund to fund retirement.

While none of these ideas represents a game-changer for retirement savers, it would be the first major enhancement since 2006. But if lawmakers wanted to seek a more radical approach, they would consult with Teresa Ghilarducci and Tony James, co-authors of Rescuing Retirement: A Plan to Guarantee Retirement Security for All Americans, who claim that "The U.S. experiment with 401(k)s and IRAs, launched in the early 1980s, has failed miserably to deliver on its promises."

Ghilarducci, a labor economist and leading expert in retirement security, and James, Executive Vice Chairman of the investment firm Blackstone Group, have a detailed, well-researched and more extreme recommendation for rescuing the U.S. retirement system. It starts with a concept called a “Guaranteed Retirement Account” (“GRA”), which would be offered to every worker, "from Uber drivers to CEOs."

The GRA would be portable, whether you work for a number of different companies or for yourself – and each individual would control his or her account. It would be funded by a minimum 3 percent of salary, half contributed by the worker and half by the employer.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the GRA is that it fixes some of the big problems that are prevalent in current plans, the biggest of which is that right now, saving for retirement is voluntary. The GRA would mandate retirement savings for everyone, including those who work part-time or are self-employed.

If it all sounds too good to be true, I encourage you to check out the book. I was a cynic, but after reading it and interviewing Ghilarducci and James, I’m a convert.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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"Better Off" theme music is by Joel Goodman,

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          IT'S A RICO CASE:      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

          Re: Why America’s Torture-Chief Now Runs the CIA      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

> The reason why America’s torture-chief now runs the CIA, is that this is the way a dictatorship has to act in order to stay in power.

To be more precise, it's how an evil empire acts. One of the things which emerged from the Church committee hearings was how four MKULTRA sub-projects involved torturing children in attempts to create mind controlled assassins with multiple personality disorder. But nobody was ever punished for these outrageous crimes. The CIA still has a secret budget, it still operates without oversight, and congress still continues to flood the unconstitutional agency with essentially-stolen cash while rampant criminality continues to increase. The CIA is secretly running the country now, through bribery, threats and blackmail... and it's been that way since they killed JFK.

Here is the tip-off that Haspel is dirty:

1) She basically told the congress that she did not want the job of director if she had to answer questions about the torture business.

2) She has no interest in flushing out the 9/11 conspirators in the CIA


Mind Control: Rosetta Stone of the JFK Assassination

John Marks, a former high-level CIA employee, warned decades ago that the agency’s technology, developed in a crash, covert program by the elite of America’s psychiatric establishment, could be used not only to create "planned destructiveness" on a personal level but to terrorize entire populations targeted by the CIA. Unfortunately, Marks' classic warning went unheeded. The torture techniques developed under MKULTRA are now being used in an international system of American torture prisons as part of an official policy of torture and designed to terrorize not only individuals but entire Arab [AND AMERICAN] populations. (As Marks concisely stated in The Search For The Manchurian Candidate: “MKULTRA subprojects dealt with ways to maximize stress on whole societies”.)

This is what the public voted for when they vote for a president and a congress which funds the CIA.

1963: Hypnotist George Estabrooks admits creating multiple personality assassins

Wag the Dog: CIA spied on congress

Haspel is Not the Problem. The CIA is the Problem.

CIA is out of control

          Comment on Criminal Tweets: Trump Critics Should Not Respond To Acts Of “Fake News” With Fake Law by George      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Bill Plante, March 7: "Mr. President, when did you first learn that Hillary Clinton used an email system outside the U.S. government for official business while she was secretary of state?" Obama: "The same time everybody else learned it through news reports." ____________________________________________________ Lisa Page to Peter Strzok, "...POTUS wants to know everything we're doing." Lisa Page to Congress, "...the texts mean what the texts say."
          Comment on Gates Admits To Embezzling From Manafort As Government Portrays A High-Living Defendant With Shrinking Income by Mr Kurtz      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
you mean manafort. judge will have to follow the UFSG meuller will keep on plodding along, that is what he is, a jarhead elevated to the level of a federal prosecutor, just plodding along following orders to get the bad guy the US executive branch is a disgusting leviathan; the article iii judges are unelected tyrants; and the congress is an emasculated bunch of narcissists the federal government is a mess the only good news is, other countries are even more screwed up than us, in general
          3 Fabulous stories of women changing the rules      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Service women national treasures!

MJ Hegar Sued the Pentagon and Won. Now She's Running for Congress
MJ Hegar served in the Air Force for 12 years, first as an aircraft maintenance mechanic and later as a pilot. She deployed three times to Afghanistan, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross on her final tour. Courtesy MJ Hegar’s campaign

Carla Provost Becomes the First Woman to Lead the Border Patrol
Ms. Provost, who was appointed acting chief of the Border Patrol last year, will become the first woman to lead the Border Patrol in its 94-year history.
Carla Provost, who has been serving as acting chief of the Border Patrol, is being promoted to lead the agency. Credit:Lexey Swall for The New York Times

This all-female flight crew just made history
"While we are very proud to have made history yesterday by being the first all-female flight crew, we are more proud of the mission we are doing and the safety we are providing for people," said Waddington, who has been a pilot with the NOAA Corps for eight years.
Pilots Rebecca Waddington and Kristie Twining made history on their flight to Hurricane Hector.

Add those women to these!

          Many American states are making voting harder      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

AMERICA’S mid-term elections in November will be hugely consequential. If the Democrats capture the House of Representatives, as The Economist’s model suggests they have a three-in-four chance of doing, they will control congressional committees that now protect President Donald Trump from harsh investigation. If Republicans hold on, they can pick up their attempt to repeal Obamacare. Yet few Americans are expected to vote in the mid-terms. Last time, in 2014, just 37% of eligible voters turned out. Worse, many legitimate voters this autumn will be deterred or blocked from casting ballots.

In some states voters have been “purged” from the rolls in overzealous clean-up efforts (see article). Other states demand ever more documentary proof that people are eligible to vote. Well-off homeowners...

          How to safeguard national security without scaring off investment      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

IT WAS like “selling Mount Vernon to the redcoats”. That was the cry when Fujitsu, a Japanese technology giant, proposed a friendly takeover of Fairfield, a once-pioneering Californian semiconductor firm, in 1986. At stake, in the eyes of the deal’s critics, were America’s economic strength, military security and technological competitiveness. So emerged the first effort to screen foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States on national-security grounds. Since then, things have become immeasurably more complicated.

Now the main predator is China. The prey is all manner of technology and data, some with overlapping military and civilian uses. The security and surveillance concerns have gone global. President Donald Trump has a bill on his desk, approved in recent weeks with bipartisan support in Congress, that expands the scope of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency body able to block deals that may threaten national security....

          GOP congressman indicted for insider trading used $250,000 in campaign funds to pay legal fees      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) reportedly used over $250,000 in campaign funds to pay his legal fees over the past two years, CNBC reported. While this…
          GAO: DOT Needs to Finalize the Congressionally-Mandated Strategy for Sustaining U.S.-Flag Fleet      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The U.S. Department of Transportation needs to expeditiously finalize a national maritime strategy for sustaining the U.S.-flag fleet and ensuring the availability of American mariners, the Government Accountability Office said in a report. In a crisis, the United States’ government relies on oceangoing, U.S.-flag ships and U.S.-citizen crews to help the military transport goods. To […]
          Vilniaus centre, viešbutyje, rastas negyvas užsienietis      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Ketvirtadienį, 13.34 val., Vilniaus policija gavo pranešimą iš Gedimino pr. esančio viešbučio „Congress Avenue“. Viešbučio darbuotojas pranešė, kad kambaryje rastas negyvas užsienietis (gim. 1977 m.).
           Venezuela's opposition protests arrest of lawmaker       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress is leaving a seat empty for a member they say has been kidnapped by President Nicolas...
           Collins' arrest emboldens Democrats in GOP-heavy district       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Emboldened Democrats on Thursday seized on GOP Congressman Chris Collins' arrest, saying it boosts their odds in a heavily Republican...
           Michigan turnout surge cheers Democrats; GOP expects...       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Strong feelings about President Donald Trump, a competitive governor's race and congressional retirements fueled what probably was...
           Member of Congress, member of corporate board? It's...       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
WASHINGTON (AP) - The indictment of Rep. Chris Collins on insider trading charges is drawing new attention to the freedom members of Congress have to serve...
          White House Describes Military 'Space Force,' Aims To Create It By 2020       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Vice President Pence described the White House's plans for a Space Force, a sixth branch of the U.S. military that would be responsible for operations in outer space, in a speech on Thursday. The White House says that the Space Force will be created by 2020. The change, which would require approval from Congress, would be a dramatic change in the organization of the Defense Department. "We must have American dominance in space, and so we will," Pence said in his speech at the Pentagon. Pence said that President Trump will request $8 billion over the next five years to support military operations in space. Space is "becoming a contested war-fighting domain," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday. "We have to adapt to that reality." Critics, even those who agree with the strategic significance of space, argue that creating a Space Force is "an unnecessary and expensive bureaucratic endeavor," as Reuters put it. Trump announced his plan for the Space Force in June. As NPR noted at
           Some of ex-Pennsylvania congressman's convictions tossed       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
A federal appeals court on Thursday threw out some of the convictions for which a Pennsylvania ex-congressman is serving a decade-long prison term but upheld...
           Puerto Rico: 1,400 died from hurricane but toll still...       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Puerto Rico is estimating in a report to Congress that Hurricane Maria killed more than 1,400 people, though an island official...
           Poet laureate Tracy K. Smith will tour this fall       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
NEW YORK (AP) - The country's poet laureate is going on the road.The Library of Congress announced Thursday that Tracy K. Smith will be visiting Alaska,...
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La sfida della pastorale urbana. Dall’America latina all’Europa
L'Osservatore Romano
Come trasmettere la fede. Come trasmettere oggi la fede? È l’interrogativo di fondo trattato in un articolo uscito su «Teologia», trimestrale della Facoltà teologica dell’Italia settentrionale, che analizza alcuni modelli di pastorale. Pubblichiamo ampi stralci del passaggio riguardante la pastorale urbana.
(Paolo Carrara) Il confronto con l’urbanesimo ha comportato da sempre una sfida per la Chiesa. Talvolta essa è stata percepita come problematica; altre come affascinante, nonché necessaria. L’attenzione alla città deriva dalla constatazione di come sia in essa che si generano i nuovi paradigmi culturali.
E poiché il binomio cultura-fede è costituivo del processo di evangelizzazione, una Chiesa che vuole annunciare il Vangelo in modo adeguato al tempo non può sottrarsi a tale confronto. È di questo avviso anche la linea della “pastorale urbana” che si innesta nel solco della “teologia del popolo” di matrice latinoamericana. Attraverso il pontificato di Francesco la sua diffusione ha superato i confini del Sud America per imporsi anche nel dibattito europeo. Si tratta di comprendere se questo modello pastorale con forti implicazioni di carattere teologico ed ecclesiologico sia in grado di rivitalizzare anche la Chiesa del vecchio continente. Se il problema dell’Europa occidentale è costituito dall’indifferenza religiosa e dall’ateismo, il contesto latinoamericano, pur presentando alcuni aspetti negativi tipici del tempo presente, sembra ancora custodire un orizzonte complessivamente religioso, dentro cui la questione di Dio viene data per presupposta.
Il progetto della “pastorale urbana” è l’esito di un cammino che la Chiesa latinoamericana compie nei decenni successivi al Vaticano II e risponde al dato di fatto di una regione che è la più urbanizzata del mondo. Essa trova il suo trampolino di lancio nel documento con cui si chiude la quinta Conferenza generale dell’episcopato latinoamericano e dei Caraibi, tenutasi ad Aparecida nel 2007. Nell’orizzonte di una generale rottura della trasmissione, la Chiesa latinoamericana riconosce la sua fatica in ordine alla trasmissione della fede soprattutto ai giovani a causa di una non conoscenza/comprensione dei nuovi codici esistenziali che le mutazioni culturali hanno determinato. La risposta di una Chiesa che non vuole chiudersi nella paura, ma che vuole mantenere il proprio slancio missionario impone il confronto con quei grandi laboratori di cultura che sono le città, dentro cui si elaborano i nuovi linguaggi e i nuovi simboli. Mosso dall’istanza teologica secondo cui il progetto di Dio è una città, la città santa, il documento suggerisce alla Chiesa di assumere uno sguardo contemplativo, capace di riconoscere che Dio è presente in città. Seguono alcune prospettive pastorali e la proposta di un progetto comune di pastorale urbana, i cui cardini sono: la costruzione di una rete tra le diverse istituzioni ecclesiali, il tentativo di una presenza della Chiesa nei nodi in cui si elabora la cultura, l’opera di decentramento dei servizi ecclesiali.
Le affermazioni del documento di Aparecida tracciano un cammino dentro cui si innestano i diversi contributi che, in questo decennio, hanno favorito lo sviluppo del modello della “pastorale urbana”. A procedere da una condivisione delle premesse, essi tentano di lavorare attorno alle azioni che la Chiesa è chiamata a incentivare con l’obiettivo di passare da una pastorale di conservazione a una pastorale missionaria, dall’essere «arca di Noé» al divenire «barca di Pietro». In continuità con il documento stesso, si suggerisce di «migliorare la mediazione umana nell’esperienza religiosa» — dando quest’ultima per presupposta — attraverso alcune attenzioni così sintetizzabili: la valorizzazione di uno stile kérygmatico che favorisca l’incontro personale con Dio; la tensione tra il movimento centripeto della comunione tra i discepoli di Gesù e quello centrifugo della missione verso le periferie dei più poveri; le nuove forme della pietà popolare con cui si esprime il rapporto con Dio mediato dal sacro. Queste azioni non vanno viste come fine a se stesse, ma sono in funzione dell’attivazione di alcuni dinamismi in diversi ambiti dell’esperienza ecclesiale: nel campo delle attitudini, occorre passare dal timore conservatore all’audacia missionaria; nel campo dei processi, da una pastorale autoreferenziale a una aperta; nel campo degli operatori, dall’individualismo e clericalismo a una mentalità ecclesiale di comunione; nel campo dei linguaggi, dal monologo fatto da termini ermetici a un dialogo che assume un’andatura narrativa che possa rendere ragione della speranza.
Che Bergoglio, ancor prima di accedere al soglio pontificio, si assestasse nella linea della “pastorale urbana” è attestato, oltre che dalla sua partecipazione alla segreteria della Conferenza di Aparecida e alla stesura del documento conclusivo, da un discorso che tenne a Buenos Aires in occasione del primo congresso regionale di “pastorale urbana” (2011) in qualità di arcivescovo della megalopoli argentina. In quel discorso, tornano i temi classici del modello: la Chiesa si trova immersa nello «shaker dell’ibridazione culturale»; essa deve combattere la paura e lasciarsi coinvolgere nei processi, secondo la logica del «fermento». Emergono tuttavia alcune accentuazioni particolari: la convinzione che non si tratta di elaborare progetti dotti e astratti «al fine di “pensare” come si dovrebbe fare affinché Dio viva in una città senza Dio», ma di affinare uno sguardo contemplativo che riconosce che «Dio già vive nella nostra città e ci costringe — mentre riflettiamo — a uscire ad andargli incontro per scoprirlo». Di conseguenza, Bergoglio precisa che la riforma della pastorale non deve essere troppo preoccupata di elaborare progetti e itinerari: «Le mediazioni vanno elaborandosi mentre viviamo e conviviamo».
Sotto il profilo delle azioni ecclesiali, vengono rafforzate due convinzioni: la valorizzazione della pietà popolare intesa come espressione di quell’autentico substrato religioso dei popoli, che sono soprattutto i poveri e gli esclusi a custodire; la preoccupazione della Chiesa di annunciare il kérygma, ovvero il nucleo essenziale della fede, con la scommessa che l’incontro diretto tra l’effettività del singolo e il Vangelo consenta il prodursi dell’atto di fede e vada a beneficio della qualità ecclesiale della fede stessa. In conformità alla sua identità, il kérygma esige che l’annuncio che di esso viene proposto soddisfi alcune qualità: deve esprimere che l’amore di Dio sta prima di ogni obbligazione morale e religiosa; non è riducibile a una formazione dottrinale; non deve imporre la libertà, ma appellarsi a essa; deve infondere gioia e forza; pur essendo centrato sulla Parola, deve esibire gli adeguati rimandi ai segni liturgici e alle esigenze della vita di carità; deve sfruttare le possibilità che la via della bellezza offre; deve essere azione ecclesiale e non avventura in solitaria. Vicinanza, apertura al dialogo, pazienza, accoglienza cordiale che non condanna sono, in continuità con il contenuto, le qualità dell’evangelizzatore. Il primato evangelico della persona ne è la condizione di possibilità. Va forse intesa in questa prospettiva la reticenza di Francesco a insistere sulla dottrina, con un’evidente opzione in favore della rivitalizzazione del “cuore” del cristianesimo (e della stessa dottrina), il kérygma appunto (la gioia, l’amore di Dio che sta prima e ci precede — primerea, la misericordia e il perdono, l’amore verso i poveri, l’istanza di conversione).
In questi ultimi anni, grazie soprattutto alla provocazione di Papa Francesco, anche le Chiese europee stanno tentando di confrontarsi con le prospettive offerte dalla “pastorale urbana”. Sulla scia degli autori latinoamericani, l’obiettivo consiste in un ripensamento dell’istituzione che, lungi dall’indulgere a un abbandono della stessa, la conduca ad assumere una forma plurale, accogliente, solidale e umile. Soltanto così — si ritiene — è possibile per la Chiesa trasformare un incontro temuto, quello con la città, in una opportunità. Quanto al processo di edificazione della Chiesa, secondo l’istanza della soggettività del “popolo di Dio evangelizzatore”, si riconosce il ruolo attivo del credente, con la necessità di un processo evangelizzatore che ne assuma l’esperienza effettiva. Proprio per questo motivo, ci si spinge a parlare di “comunicazione” del Vangelo più che di annuncio. Appare significativo, sotto questo profilo, il superamento di un appiattimento del kérygmatico sull’antropologico e il riconoscimento che il kérygma, che è più della dottrina, interpella l’uomo nella sua singolarità effettiva.

L'Osservatore Romano, 9-10 agosto 2018.

          ‘Be Like Maxine’ Campaign Launches Tote Bag Line Paying Homage To U.S. Rep. Waters      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Liberal tolerance in action. Via Daily Wire: Color of Change, which claims to be the largest online racial justice group in the United States, has launched a limited-edition tote bag line paying homage to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) — the controversial congresswoman who earlier this summer instructed allies to harass members of the Trump […]
          Shock: Ohio County ‘Finds’ Hundreds Of Uncounted Ballots In Tight Special House Election      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Just lying around. Via Daily Wire: With all votes counted in Ohio’s 12th congressional district special election on Tuesday, Republican candidate Troy Balderson narrowly defeated Democratic challenger Danny O’Connor. The margin — out of 202,521 votes cast — was just 1,754 in favor of Balderson. But Ohio election officials on Wednesday “found” some 588 previously […]
          Election results as of Wednesday      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
With approximately 40,000 ballots left to count, the AFIS fingerprint system that King County law enforcement relies on was passing with 56% of the vote.

The last results were released on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at 6:30pm.

Sen. Maria Cantwell will face former republican state chair Susan Hutchinson in the November election. Sen. Cantwell took 55% of the vote against a field of 29 opponents.

In the 7th district congressional race, Pramila Jayapal took over 80% of the vote. The 7th district includes both Shoreline and Lake Forest Park.

In the 46th legislative district which includes Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, and northeast Seattle, all three incumbents - Sen. David Frockt, Rep. Gerry Pollet, and Rep. Javier Valdez, who is running for the office he was appointed to - won over 80% of the vote in their races.

In the 32nd legislative district - Shoreline, Woodway, northwest Seattle, parts of Edmonds, Lynnwood, and Mountlake Terrace - Shoreline Deputy Mayor Jesse Salomon will meet long-time Senator Maralyn Chase in the November election.

Rep. Cindy Ryu took 71% of the vote and will be on the November ballot against Diodato (Dio) Boucsieguez.

In the contest for the open seat left by retiring Rep. Ruth Kagi, Lauren Davis, who was endorsed by Kagi, took 50% of the vote. Her two opponents, former Shoreline Mayor Chris Roberts and republican Frank Deisler are running virtually neck and neck. The race for second place and a spot on the November ballot will go down to the wire.

King county reports that 28% of eligible voters turned in ballots for this election.

--Diane Hettrick

          Equity Must Be Center Stage in ‘New’ Career & Technical Education      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

We need to understand the role of career and technical education (CTE) programs in creating transformative solutions around education, equity and poverty with the July 25 congressional passage of the Perkins act, the federal law that provides direction and standards for CTE.

The post Equity Must Be Center Stage in ‘New’ Career & Technical Education appeared first on Youth Today.

Equity Must Be Center Stage in ‘New’ Career & Technical Education was first posted on August 9, 2018 at 9:00 am.
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          Democrat Texas Congressional Candidate Colin Allred Is Anti-White Hate-Monger      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
  Republican political consultant Matt Mackowiak discovers dangerous ideas embraced by Democrats hoping to ride a “blue wave” in November: One of the prized Democratic recruits of the 2018 cycle is former NFL player and Obama administration official Colin Allred, who was just endorsed by former President Obama. He is running against House Rules Committee […]
          Devin Nunes Admits Receiving Stolen Emails From Foreigners Is A Crime      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Devin Nunes Admits Receiving Stolen Emails From Foreigners Is A Crime

Rep. Devin Nunes admitted that if a political campaign colluded with a foreign government to release stolen emails, it is a criminal act. He told donors this at a private fundraiser for Cathy McMorris Rodgers, which was secretly recorded by Fuse Washington.

Sound familiar?

Fuse Washington recorded the fundraiser in Spokane, and passed the recording on to Rachel Maddow.

Chairman Nunes is one of Donald Trump‘s most trusted surrogates and defenders in Congress and he has completely destroyed the integrity of the House Intelligence Committee of which he chairs by his own partisan and despicable actions in attempting to derail Robert Mueller's special counsel to protect Trump.

The release of this recording shows how corrupt he is. In a portion of the tape obtained by the Rachel Maddow show, Rep. Nunes describes in detail why it would be criminal for any U.S. campaign to use stolen emails from a foreign government.

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          'Not From Around Here': GOP Rep Dog-Whistles Sharice Davids Right Before She Wins Primary      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
'Not From Around Here': GOP Rep Dog-Whistles Sharice Davids Right Before She Wins Primary

Just in case Kansas Republican Kevin Yoder was going to have to run against an Indigenous, LGBQT woman, he wanted to make sure everyone knew how low he'd be willing to sink to defeat her. Before all the votes were even tallied in Tuesday night's primary for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Yoder lobbed this claim against Davids (and one of his other potential opponents, Brent Welder):

“[N]either of them are from around here, and both want to force their radical ideas on those of use who have dedicated our entire lives to this community and this state....[They] don’t know Kansas. They don’t know our values.”

Um...Sharice Davids is an Indiginous woman who is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. She is soooooooo "from around here." Way more "from around here" than Yoder's Irish, German, English ass is.

She doesn't know "our values?" Is that because she is LGBQT? Or because she knows how to work her way up from community college to Cornell Law School? I don't know, Congressman. Which one of you took a taxpayer-funded trip to Israel to "learn more about the Holy Land" with 30 of your colleagues only to get drunk and skinny dip in the Sea of Galilee with 20 of them?

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          Funniest Fox News Clip All Week: Giuliani Promises 'Watergate Reforms'!      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

If they weren't so stupid, this would be terrifying.

Rudy Guiliani was on Hannity's show Wednesday night and promised that once "everything is revealed" about how mean the deep state is towards Trump, there will be massive reforms in government, like "after Watergate."

Hannity: "My sources tell me, that when the American people get to the bottom of this, it will shock the heart, the soul, and the mind..."

Giuliani: "I think it will lead to some very big reforms, just like WATERGATE."

After picking myself up off the floor about Hannity bragging botu "my sources" -- the scriptwriters from the Fox board room...

I am absolutely sure there will be reforms, Rudy!

  • Presidential candidates will be REQUIRED to release at least ten years of tax returns in order to appear in a presidential debate and on state ballots.
  • Members of Congress will be forbidden from serving on boards of publically traded corporations.
  • There will be paper ballots and universal voter registration, and an end to gerrymandering for all political parties nationwide. Districts will be drawn mathematically, not by politicians.

That's just the start of "post-Watergate" reforms, Rudy.

          Puerto Rico cites storm death toll of 1,427 in damage report       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico is now estimating that Hurricane Maria killed more than 1,400 people, far more than the official death toll of 64, in a report to Congress seeking billions to help the island recover from the devastating storm.
          Corrupt GOP Rep. Collins has been paying huge legal bills with campaign contributions      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Congratulations to Rep. Chris Collins’ (R-NY) donors. Not only has he been arrested for insider trading, but you guys have been paying his rather impressive legal fees—up to $60,000 a month!

A spokesman for the Collins legal team confirmed that the payments from the campaign were for the investigation by the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics and an ongoing inquiry by the House Ethics Committee. Going forward, the congressman will pay for his legal bills out of his own pocket, the spokesman added.

Isn’t that big of him—now that he’s actually been arrested in a criminal case and not just investigated by ethics offices, he’ll pay his own bills. What a guy.

          Democrats seize on Trump's corruption ahead of midterm: 'the fish rots from the head'      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

When Democrats introduced an anti-corruption plank of their "Better Deal for our Democracy" platform in May, it didn't exactly make waves. But competing headlines this week about the indictment of one of Donald Trump's earliest congressional backers, New York Rep. Chris Collins, for insider trading and the serial grifting of Trump Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross have given a new group of young anti-corruption Democrats a chance to raise their initiatives once again with the American people. The AP writes:

“The fish rots from the head,” Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., told reporters Thursday in a conference call. He added that Trump is “the most ethically blind president we’ve ever seen.”

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said Trump, Rep. Chris Collins and other Republicans have made the U.S. a country “of the rich, by the powerful and for the lobbyists.”

The proposition of these up-and-coming Democratic leaders isn't just that Trump and the GOP are corrupt and therefore voters should elect Democrats, it's that the problem is systemic and Democrats are going to offer a way to fix it.

Sarbanes told MSNBC in May that when they talk to voters about issues like improving the economy and health care, voters often say, "We support all those things but we don't think you can get it done" because Washington is so broken. That's why, Sarbanes explained, "in addition to an economic agenda, we have to have a reform agenda."

As Sarbanes noted during the reporter call, Rep. Collins was at a White House Congressional Picnic in June of 2017 when he called his son to alert him the stock of a biotech company they were both heavily invested in was about tank due to a failed drug trial.

“It’s almost as though he walked into an ethics-free zone when he got to the White House that day,” Sarbanes quipped.

Sarbanes and Bustos are promising to introduce legislation aimed at empowering voters and protecting access to the ballot box, boosting ethics and accountability in Congress, and fighting big-money influence in Washington. 

          Virginia Republican who complained about women all up 'in my grill' poised for defeat by a woman      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

What goes around often comes around in politics, as Rep. David Brat (R-VA) is learning. Brat is the tea party turned Freedom Caucus guy who stunned the Republican establishment in 2014 when he topped then-majority leader Eric Cantor in a primary—arguably the tipping point for the Republican Party, when the maniacs took over and they ended up selling their souls to the likes of Trump. Now a new wave is coming, led by women, and they're preparing to bring Brat down.

He brought this on himself, whining last year about how he couldn't hold town meetings because "Since Obamacare and these issues have come up, the women are in my grill no matter where I go. … They come up—'When is your next town hall?' And believe me, it's not to give positive input."

So now a candidate who isn't afraid of her future constituents, Abigail Spanberger, a well-credentialed former C.I.A. officer, is up in his grill electorally. She's got the backing of the Liberal Women of Chesterfield County, all those women who were making Brat's congressional life such hell by doing things like asking him to protect their families' health care. They're mobilizing women in the district to do to Brat what he did to Cantor, and they're making the race viable for Spanberger. "Republicans are now feeling like me when the Tea Party emerged," Becky Stuart Conner, a member of the Chesterfield County group, told The New York Times. "I think it is ironic, humorous," says Ms. Spanberger. "I read it as a cautionary tale of coming into the scene saying you want to do things differently, and not really doing it differently."

Virginian's 7th congressional district is one of those, like Ohio's 12th, that has traditionally been rock-solid red but is changing—a mix of conservative rural and increasingly progressive suburbs around Richmond. A lot of that has to do with population growth and that population having many college-educated women. Both Henrico and Chesterfield counties have had population surges in the last two decades—65,000 residents in Henrico, and 82,000 in Chesterfield since 2000. That's changed the face of the district, and Trump's election has made that face much more female. For example, the Liberal Women of Chesterfield County started as a Facebook post by resident Kim Wright Drew looking for like-minded women who shared her pain. Her first meeting had 100 people, and now the Facebook group has 3,000. They don't just hang out in social media, either, meeting to write postcards for candidates and to organize get out the vote efforts locally.

Those are the women who helped now-Gov. Ralph Northam win Chesterfield County by 700 votes last year, keeping the governorship blue. So they are definitely getting up in Brat's grill these days.

Let's keep them scared. Please give $1 House funds to take it back.

          Washington's top-two primary is highly predictive of November. For the GOP, the prediction is pain.      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Your attention on Tuesday night was probably focused on the special election in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, or maybe statewide primaries in Kansas or Michigan. The primaries in Washington state may have been something of an afterthought; the results don’t come in until much of the nation has already gone to bed, and the only statewide race in Washington this year is an entirely uncompetitive Senate seat held by Maria Cantwell. If you haven’t taken a gander at the results, though, you probably should, if you want a more in-depth look at not just the height but the width of the building wave in November’s midterms.

Conventional wisdom has been that there’s one competitive House race in Washington, in the 8th district, a CD in the suburbs of Seattle where Democratic presidential candidates have narrowly won but where Republican Rep. Dave Reichert has proven a slippery target for many years. Reichert, however, has already retired this year (probably sensing what’s coming), and former state Sen. Dino Rossi—better known for narrowly losing three different statewide races (the governor’s race in 2004 and 2008, and the Senate race in 2010)—stepped up to succeed him. Rossi was considered the best possible GOP recruit here, if only because he won the precincts found in today’s 8th district in all three of his losing races.

Fast forward, however, to this week’s primary—keeping in mind that Washington, like California, uses a Top Two primary system where all candidates run against one another in one pool, and the two with the highest totals advance to November regardless of what party they claim to be in. As of the evening of August 8 (one other quirk of Washington elections is that they’re conducted entirely vote-by-mail, with ballots received after Election Day still counted as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day, so it’ll be at least another week until we have a full count), Rossi is at a not-very-imposing 42.71 percent of the vote.

One way to spin it is, that’s great, because he’s way ahead of his nearest competition, Democratic candidate Kim Schrier, who’s at 19.07 percent. The real way to look at it, though, is that there were two other strong Democratic candidates here close behind Schrier, and, when you add it up, the total Democratic vote in the district was 50.49 percent compared with 46.62 percent for all Republicans (with the balance going to independents or minor parties).

          Devin Nunes makes it clear that Republicans have just one job: Protecting Trump from justice      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

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In comments recorded at a closed-door fundraiser, Republican Congressman Devin Nunes admitted that his primary goal is to protect Donald Trump. Not to look for the truth. Not to carry out Congress’s constitutionally mandated role of serving as a check on executive power. But to protect Trump even if—especially if—Special Counsel Robert Mueller returns a report indicating that Trump is guilty of an impeachable offense.

In audio clips that were first played on The Rachel Maddow Show, on Wednesday evening, Nunes makes it clear that he views not just his role, but that of Republicans in Congress, as forming a Big Red Wall to keep justice from touching Donald Trump.

Nunes: If Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones, which is really the danger.

Nunes is bluntly saying that if the attorney general won’t end the investigation, and the special counsel actually produces a finding of fact, then Republicans in Congress have to save Trump. When Nunes mentions “danger,” he’s not talking about the danger to the country created by intervention in the US election by a foreign power. He’s not talking about the danger of an executive deeply involved in money-laundering and tax evasion on top of conspiracy and obstruction. Nunes is talking about the danger that Trump will he held accountable for this own actions.

According to Devin Nunes, the biggest reason to vote for Republicans, is that Republicans will safeguard Trump from having to face the consequences of his own crimes. Which is why Devin Nunes should be in every Democratic commercial for the 2018 cycle. The position he represents here isn’t just partisan, it’s capitulation. 

Of course, the willingness to do anything for Trump has defined Devin Nunes since before Trump actually arrived at the White-r House. Nunes successfully derailed any investigation of Trump in the House, first by throwing a fit over “unmasking,” which didn’t happen. Then by blocking every single request to subpoena evidence by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee. Then by creating a memo designed to assist Trump in degrading the FBI and DOJ, which turned out to be a complete dud. Then by authoring a report whose entire content boils down to a rehash of every “no collusion” tweet ever issued by Trump … which Trump now uses as proof there was no collusion.

          Trump brags about his elections effect, but Republican alarm bells are ringing      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Although Republican Troy Balderson leads narrowly, Tuesday’s as-yet-uncalled special election in Ohio still gives Republicans another reason to be worried about November’s midterm elections. After all, Ohio’s 12th Congressional District had been held by Republicans since Ronald Reagan’s first term and Donald Trump won it by 11 points in 2016. This was not supposed to be close, so despite Trump's characteristic bragging, alarm bells are ringing in Republicanland. 

Republican groups are getting their check books ready, but since Republicans outspent Democrats dramatically in OH-12, it’s clear that money has its limits. As the head of one Republican Super PAC told the Washington Post, “This remains a very tough political environment.” And Trump isn’t making it any easier, by his very existence or by his continuing Trumpy behavior:

White House officials have been giving Trump weekly or biweekly updates on races and showing him polling and pictures of candidates along with the staff or party leadership recommendation of what to do in each contest, according to the people briefed on the discussions.

But Trump doesn’t always listen to advisers and has been driving the strategy himself, informally polling his inner circle about how far he might go on trade policy and a possible government shutdown over immigration policy without crippling the GOP field, according to Republicans involved in the discussions. 

Division and anger remain Trump’s only strategies, and while there are places where that will work, there are many where it will hurt his party. That gave Washington’s Democratic governor an opening to troll a little bit:


Indeed! Washington Republicans are in much more danger than we’d realized! Please, turn out to help them, Donald.

          Gun-grabber (presumably) defeated in Ohio's 12th Congressional District special election      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Any gun owner who excuses his or her absence from the ballot box on the claim that their vote doesn't matter need look no further than Ohio's 12th Congressional District to recognize their folly.

On August 7, a special election was held in central Ohio to fulfill the remainder of Rep. Pat Tiberi's (R) term. Tiberi resigned to take a job in the private sector. BFA- and NRA-endorsed Troy Balderson came away from election night with a 1,754 vote (0.9%) lead over NRA "F"-rated, Gabrielle Giffords-endorsed Danny O'Conner (D) , with 3,435 provisonal ballots and 5,048 outstanding absentee ballots still to be counted. When the final vote is counted, Ohio law calls for an automatic recount if the two candidates are separated by less than half a percentage point.

The 12th District has traditionally been a solid conservative district, leaving many (including President Trump, who held a rally for Balderson days before the election), to recognize that, come November, NO district is safe and NOTHING can be taken for granted when it comes to protecting our Second Amendment rights.


NEWARK - President Donald Trump's endorsed candidate appeared to eke out a win in an extremely tight central Ohio race in Ohio Tuesday – but it should have never been this close.

Trump's name wasn't on the ballot in the reliably Republican district, but his brand was. Trump repeatedly endorsed Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson over Democrat Danny O'Connor, a county elected official, to fill the remaining months of former U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi's term.

Trump flew to Ohio Saturday to campaign for Balderson in a crowded, overheated high school gymnasium. "(Balderson)'s really tough. He's really smart. He never stops working," Trump said of Balderson, a former Ironman race competitor. "It's Ohio's 12th district, and he's going to hopefully be here a long time."


Trump immediately took credit for the victory, tweeting "after my speech on Saturday night, there was a big turn for the better."

Balderson thanked the president during his brief victory speech. “America is on the right path, and we’re going to keep it going that way,” he said.

While it is presumed Balderson will take office next month, both he and O'Connor will be back on the campaign trail almost immediately. They will face off again in November for the next full two-year term.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

          Morning Digest: New York GOP congressman arrested for insider trading scheme      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

NY-27: On Wednesday, federal prosecutors indicted Republican Rep. Chris Collins on charges that he engaged in insider trading when he privately received word that the principal drug of a pharmaceutical company in which he was a major investor had failed in clinical trials and then informed his son, Cameron, who sold over one million shares of the firm's stock before the news became public. Prosecutors say Cameron Collins and four other individuals he tipped off (including his fiancée) collectively avoided $768,000 in losses by selling before the company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, announced the failure the following day.

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Chris Collins, who at one point owned 17 percent of Innate, became indelibly linked with the company last year when, shortly after the sell-off prosecutors allege, he lost $17 million when the stock tanked. Collins had long encouraged others to buy in—a number of GOP colleagues in the House did in fact do so—and even bragged once, "Do you know how many millionaires I've made in Buffalo the past few months?"

That high-profile association prompted an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics, which concluded last year that there was "substantial reason to believe" that Collins had engaged in insider trading, as well as a separate, ongoing probe by the House Ethics Committee. Wednesday's indictment prompted House Speaker Paul Ryan to remove Collins from his lone committee assignment, though the congressman has much graver worries now—both legal and, perhaps, electoral.

The ultra-wealthy Collins made a name for himself in early 2016 when he became the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump, and has often behaved like him. (He once compared a Jewish New York politician to Adolf Hitler and also opined that elected officials shouldn't have to release their taxes.) Protecting Collins is his congressional district: Like everywhere else in upstate New York, it veered to the right in 2016, voting 60-35 for his man Donald.

But it voted for Mitt Romney by a slightly less daunting 55-43 margin four year earlier, and Democrats actually won a special election for the predecessor version of this district in 2011. Now, with the congressman under indictment, could we see another upset? Collins, despite Innate's implosion, can still self-fund enormous sums, and his Democratic challenger, Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, had just $82,000 in the bank at the end of June.

But McMurray ought to be able to raise some serious cash off of his opponent's predicament, and there might be a few angry ex-millionaires in Buffalo eager for some payback, too. However, barring a resignation as part of a plea deal, odds are Collins will still win another term, and there's precedent, too—from New York, naturally: In 2014, then-Rep. Mike Grimm won re-election despite getting indicted for fraud earlier that same year. Of course, Grimm soon wound up resigning and serving seven months in prison, so even if Collins is victorious at the polls, his political future may nevertheless be quite short.

          Abbreviated pundit roundup: Tuesday's results boost 'blue wave' talk; Congress makes corruption easy      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

John Nichols at The Nation writes—A Huge Win for Organized Labor in Missouri:

Americans want strong unions. That’s the message from polling that shows more than 60 percent of voters nationwide approve of organized labor. And that’s certainly the message from Missouri, where voters on Tuesday overturned the state’s so-called “right-to-work” law by an overwhelming margin. [...]

In a state where Republicans have won the last five presidential elections and where the GOP now controls the executive and legislative branches of state government, 65 percent of the Missourians who cast ballots on Tuesday voted to scrap the “right-to-work” measure that was enacted just months after a corporate-aligned Republican grabbed the governorship from the Democrats in 2016.

“The defeat of this poisonous anti-worker legislation is a victory for all workers across the country,” declared AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka as the results came in Tuesday night. “The message sent by every single person who worked to defeat Prop. A is clear: When we see an opportunity to use our political voice to give workers a more level playing field, we will seize it with overwhelming passion and determination. 

The False Equivalency Column of the Day  comes to us via The Washington Post’s George F. Will column. In Poor Portland progressives: So much to protest, so little timehe spreads the notion that standing up to fascists equals being fascist.


          Stateside 8.9.2018      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Today on Stateside , Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib will soon be the first Muslim-American woman to serve in Congress. Plus, how wild turkeys became the "poster child" for conservation success stories in Michigan. To listen to individual segments, click here or see below:
          Rashida Tlaib will push for “new era” of Democratic leadership in Congress       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
She made history in Michigan as the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature. Now, Rashida Tlaib will become the first Muslim woman in Congress. On Tuesday, August 7, Tlaib won the primary race to fill the 13th District seat, formerly held by U.S. Congressman John Conyers. Tlaib joined Stateside to talk about her historic win and what she wants to accomplish.
          Comment on How It Happens– Illinois Republican Party officials withdraw support for conspiracy theorist GOP congressional nominee by Matt      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Right on 9-11, wrong on everything else. It puzzles me why a real person would pay one minute's attention to any of these topics other than 9-11. They're diluting the power of the 9-11 movement; that's all it's jam 9-11 down the memory hole.
          HUD releases its Federal Register Notice for $10.03 billion in Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

HUD has released its Federal Register Notice (FRN) for $10.03 billion in Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds – approved by Congress in April – for unmet housing and infrastructure needs in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

          America First: The MAGA Manifesto      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Before Thomas Paine published Common Sense in January, 1776, in the British North American colonies, no one would utter the word “Independence”.  By July 4th, a little over six months later the Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence. In more recent times, the concept of placing America First was something like “independence”, not to […]
          Upstate New York Congressman Chris Collins arrested on federal insider trading charges      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Insider trading was a family affair for upstate New York congressman Chris Collins, federal prosecutors charged Wednesday. The Republican lawmaker, one of President Trump’s earliest supporters, was charged along with his son Cameron Collins and the father of Cameron’s fiancée, Stephen Zarsky, in a scheme that allowed them to avoid $768,000 in stock losses, prosecutors say. The trio are accused of securities fraud related to Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotechnology company. The elder Collins sits on the firm’s board of directors and is one of its largest shareholders. Manhattan federal prosecutors say the upstate New York congressman passed to his...
          Congressman Chris Collins Charged with Insider Trading by Federal Prosecutors      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Congressman Chris Collins was indicted by a federal grand jury of conspiracy to commit securities fraud on Wednesday morning. Collins, along with his son Cameron, and Cameron's future father-in-law Stephen Zarsky, were accused of insider trading related to the Australian biotechnology company Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited. The indictment alleged that in June of 2017, Congressman Collins violated the duties he owed to the biotechnology company by passing material, nonpublic information regarding the drug trial results to his son so that Cameron could use that information to make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others. Cameron Collins allegedly traded on that...
          First Congressman to back Trump arrested. TRANSCRIPT: 8/8/2018, The Beat w Ari Melber.      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
          Comment on First major piece of NASA’s Space Launch System assembled by James Lunar Miner      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Prompt Launch on Need fast crew rescue capability in LEO and across all of CisLunar Space is one of many important possible uses for the SLS and International Orion to help reduce some of the high risks of human LEO and Cislunar missions. Full launcher reusability adds mass and reduces by about 50% a launcher’s LEO payload when compared to a similar but non-reusable launcher. That mass inefficiency of a fully reusable launcher equals about twice the direct damage to the Ozone Layer when compared to a similar but lower mass non-reusable launcher doing the same mission. If Congress wants full SLS reusability, that option should be quite doable. Note also: “Previous studies have suggested that lunar soil and water ice in certain craters of the moon may be mined and converted to fuel. Assuming that such technologies are established at the time of a mission to Mars, the MIT group has found that taking a detour to the moon to refuel would reduce the mass of a mission upon launch by 68 percent.” And, “The paper shows clearly that leveraging water and other valuable in-space resources will lower the cost for human exploration of the solar system,” says Gerstenmaier, who was not involved in the research.” From: “To save on weight, a detour to the moon is the best route to Mars” At:
          USAO, SEC Charge Congressman, Son with Insider Trading      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Those who engage in insider trading often try to conceal their activity. Individuals involved in insider trading schemes in some instances, for example, take elaborate steps to separate the tipper from those who trade....
By: Dorsey & Whitney LLP
          The 2nd Congressional District GOP Primary: An Interview with Lynne Blankenbeker      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
As part of a series of interviews with GOP candidates in the 2nd Congressional District primary, we sit down with Lynne Blankenbeker . Blankenbeker has served in the Middle East for the U.S. Air Force as an officer and trauma flight nurse, and later in the Navy Reserve Nurse Corps. She was a representative in the N.H. legislature, where she worked in veterans and public health issues. She is an attorney and served as a healthcare policy advisor at the Pentagon. This interview will air live from 9:40 to 10 a.m. on Friday, August 10th.
          Sharice Davids Will Get A Chance To Be One Of The First Native American Women In Congress      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Sharice Davids Will Get A Chance To Be One Of The First Native American Women In CongressSharice Davids, a former MMA fighter and White House fellow, won the

          La scoperta del protone      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Con il post di oggi completo il poker delle scoperte alla base del modello atomico: elettrone, neutrone, neutrino e ora protone.
Il fondamentale atomo d'idrogeno

Ernest Rutherford
Dopo la scoperta dell'elettrone nel 1897 da parte di Joseph John Thomson, era presumibile immaginare l'esistenza anche di una particella di carica positiva. D'altra parte già nel 1815 William Prout propose l'idea che tutti gli atomi fossero composti da atomi di idrogeno. Misure sempre più accurate verificarono l'inesattezza della tesi di Prout, ma l'idea di un "oggetto" che fosse la base per gli altri era ormai seminata.
La scoperta della particella di carica positiva sembrava, però, non così semplice: il rapporto carica massa dei raggi anodici, scoperti da Eugen Goldstein nel 1886, aveva valori differenti per gas differenti, a differenza di quanto avveniva con i raggi catodici.
Un importante passo avanti venne fatto nel 1911 quando Ernest Rutherford scoprì i nuclei atomici come la sede della carica positiva di un atomo(1). Tale scoperta indusse Antonius van den Broek, avvocato olandese con la passione per la fisica, a suggerire che la posizione degli atomi nella tavola periodica dipendesse dalla carica del nucleo(2). Tale idea venne sperimentalmente confermata nel 1913 da Henry Moseley utilizzando la spettroscopia a raggi X(3). Morì nel 1915 durante la prima Guerra Mondiale e secondo Rutherford avrebbe sicuramente vinto il premio Nobel per la sua scoperta.
L'esperimento di Rutherford era abbastanza semplice: bombardò una sottile lamina d’oro con dei raggi alfa. Dal lato opposto rispetto al punto di collisione, osservò la distribuzione delle particelle alfa che attraversavano la lamina. Dai risultati di questa collisione, Rutherford dedusse l’esistenza, al centro, di un nucleo di carica positiva.
Attraversare l'azoto
In un esperimento condotto nel 1917 e i cui risultati vennero diffusi prima in un articolo nel 1919 e quindi il 24 agosto del 1920 durante il congresso della British Association for the Advancement of Science a Cardiff, Rutherford scoprì anche la particella positiva che costituisce la base elementare del nucleo: il protone:
Dobbiamo concludete che l'atomo di azoto si è disintegrato sotto la forza intenza sviluppata in una collisione ravvicinata con una particella alfa veloce, e che l’atomo di idrogeno che si è liberato forma una parte costituente del nucleo dell’azoto.(4, 5)
Il nucleo dell'idrogeno aveva, dunque, un ruolo elementare all'interno dei nuclei di ogni elemento atomico, motivo per cui Rutherford propose l'uso di un nome apposito. La sua proposta di protone (proton) venne accettata dalla comunità scientifica (l'alternativa, sempre proposta da Rutherford, era protyle proposto da Prout per identificare l'atomo di idrogeno come fondamentale) e anche se oggi sappiamo che né il protone né il neutrone sono particelle elementari, il primo sembra comunque volersi comportare come tale grazie alla sua incredibile stabilità.
Il decadimento del protone
Il fatto che il neutrone decada producendo un protone, un elettrone e un neutrino, ha sempre suggerito l’esistenza di un processo di decadimento analogo anche per il protone, qualcosa del tipo: \[p^+ + e^- \rightarrow n + \nu_e\] Questo, però, non è un processo spontaneo e ha bisogno di energia per poter avvenire e in ogni caso il decadimento del neutrone entro 15 minuti garantisce il ritorno del protone.
La ricerca sperimentale sul decadimento del protone, invece, si concentra su altri canali, come nella produzione di un antimuone e di un pione neutro o di un positrone e un pione neutro. Entrambi questi decadimenti sono stati testati dal Super-Kamiokande in Giappone determinando come limiti inferiori $6.6 \times 10^{33}$ anni e $8.2 \times 10^{33}$ anni rispettivamente. Il Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada, invece, ha determinato come limite inferiore il valore di $2.1 \times 10^{29}$ anni.
Questo vuol dire che da quando ha avuto inizio l'espansione dello spaziotempo, nessun protone dell'universo è mai spontaneamente decaduto, il che lo rende una particella decisamente molto stabile nonostante non sia elementare: una grande soddisfazione per un piccolo attore del nostro cosmo!
  1. Rutherford, E. (1911). LXXIX. The scattering of $\alpha$ and $\beta$ particles by matter and the structure of the atom. The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 21(125), 669-688. (html)
  2. Broek, A. van den (1913). “Die Radioelemente, das periodische System und die Konstitution der Atome”. Physikalische Zeitschrift. 14: 32–41.
  3. Moseley, H. G. J. (1913). XCIII. The high-frequency spectra of the elements. The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 26(156), 1024-1034. doi:10.1080/14786441308635052 (
  4. Rutherford, E. (1919). LIV. Collision of α particles with light atoms. IV. An anomalous effect in nitrogen. The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 37(222), 581-587. doi:10.1080/14786440608635919
  5. Citazione da The Manhattan Rare Book Company

          A Greve dos Caminhoneiros X Lições      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

*Conceição Cinti

Aprendi muito assistindo a luta daqueles trabalhadores afadigados, que pleiteavam tão pouco. Experimentei pela primeira vez na minha vida, um sentimento intenso de pertencimento a este país, como nunca senti antes.
E fizeram me também constatar o obvio: De fato, a união faz a força. E fizeram mais por mim: Fizeram me ver, que não dá mais para assistir os desmandos, e seguir indiferente.
Espero também que a Greve tenha motivado cada brasileiro a sair da sua “Zona de Conforto”, e começar a mobilizar se democraticamente, pela reconstrução do Brasil.
Que o povo brasileiro tenha percebido que sem a participação popular, e sem transparência será impossível combater a corrupção, e realizar as imprescindíveis mudanças .
Percebeu-se também que a maioria absoluta dos grevistas eram caminhoneiros autônomos cansados de ser extorquidos por um governo ganancioso e indiferente a miséria do povo.
Obvio, que pegando carona no movimento dos caminhoneiros, também haviam pessoas cujo objetivo era apenas desestabilizar e provocar o caos, dentro daquela nefasta política, do quanto pior melhor, cujo objetivo era forçar a renúncia, e ou derrubada do Governo.

Mas ficou claro, também, que existe mesmo uma minoria que acredita que a solução para nossos problemas está em mais uma Ditadura Militar. Fato esse, lamentável!
O povo precisa refletir melhor antes de agir, sobre o que deseja para o Brasil.
Não estamos questionando a legitimidade, ou a competência do atual governo, estamos sim, considerando apenas o que será melhor para o Brasil e seu povo. E o melhor para o Brasil será continuar aperfeiçoando nossa Democracia ainda muito jovem.
Estamos a pouco mais dois meses das próximas eleições. Quando teremos a oportunidade de mudar através do nosso voto, não apenas o Congresso Nacional, o Presidente da República, e os Deputados Estaduais. Isso é fantástico! Esse é o único meio legítimo que temos e devemos exercê-lo.
O povo brasileiro precisa amadurecer, e entender, que mudanças sociais, não acontecem com mágicas, mas sim que é resultado das árduas lutas através da participação democrática. E que as mudanças que estamos necessitando precisam ser buscadas por nós mesmos.
Que o Brasil não precisa de um Salvador da Pátria, mas de um idôneo Administrador de Pessoas. Porque somente alguém vocacionado para administrar pessoas será sensível para investir o que for necessário, para que os Serviços Públicos Essenciais sejam prestados com Excelência.
É disso que precisamos. E ninguém ignora o valor e a falta que nos faz uma Educação de qualidade, em regime integral. De que é imprescindível valorizar e remunerar com dignidade os professores. Assim como ninguém ignora, a importância de termos uma Saúde eficiente, onde médicos e paramédicos sejam honrados integralmente. Também é impossível banalizar a importância dos valorosos serviços prestados pelas nossas polícias (Militar, Civil, Federal, e Guardas Municipal, e do glorioso Corpo de Bombeiros), porque Segurança Pública é fundamental para a paz social.  É imprescindível também honrar as forças armadas para que seus contingentes, continuem empenhados em suas nobres tarefas na defesa (interna e externa) do país.  Todos juntos, e cada categoria de trabalhador executando sua função é o que garantirá o êxito econômico e social do Brasil, contra o caos que reina hoje no nosso país.

Cada brasileiro de baixa renda sabe que é através dos Serviços Públicos Básicos, que é possível conferir a eles alguma dignidade humana.  Que o transporte público de qualidade, moradias descentes, cursos profissionalizantes de ponta no mercado de trbalho, para nossos jovens. Práticas esportivas e culturais, e a criação de mecanismos que facilitem o ingresso ao primeiro emprego, (principalmente, para nossos jovens, de baixa renda), que há décadas, vem sendo assassinados devido ao precoce recrutamento pelo crime organizado, e à ausência total do Poder Público.
Embora, as pessoas tenham razão de estar decepcionadas, com o Poder Público, é necessário que entendam com clareza que existe basicamente e apenas dois Regimes de Governo: O democrático e a ditadura.
Na prática tanto as ditaduras, como as democracias têm suas nuances. Entretanto, a maioria absoluta dos países nesse universo são democráticos. Principalmente, os mais avançados, ricos, (de maior IDH- Índice de Desenvolvimento Humano), como por exemplo: Estados Unidos, Canada, Japão, Alemanha, Noruega, Suécia, Finlândia Dinamarca, Nova Zelândia, Correa do Sul, Inglaterra, dentre outros.
Que apenas um terço da população do mundo está sob regime totalitário. Logo, se conclui, que a opção nesse universo é pela democracia.  Mas é muito importante que percebamos que não há uma terceira Via. Há nuances diferentes dentro dos dois Regimes: Totalitário e Democrático. Há inclusive UMAS pouquíssimas Democracias Plenas. O Brasil não é uma Democracia Plena, ainda.
Mas é bom que fique claro que não há uma terceira Via. E se não há uma terceira Via, isso quer dizer que precisamos ter convicção ao escolhermos o Regime que queremos para nosso país. Hoje somos uma Democracia, ainda precisando de muitos ajustes, temos inúmeras falhas, mas somos uma democracia.  E Isso já é importante. Prossigamos aperfeiçoando-a!
Ficamos mais de 20 anos sob um Regime Autoritário. Não preciso dizer que foram anos muito difíceis. Quem não sabe nada sobre esse assunto precisa informa-se melhor, antes de sair pedindo o que não conhece bem, e ou não viveu.
Agora estou falando, mais precisamente para meus amigos de Araçatuba- SP, (e daquela Região), preciso perguntar a vocês, se todos vocês sabem que aí em Araçatuba, e Região, inúmeras famílias foram vitimadas pelo Regime Ditatorial Militar? Quantos sabem que famílias araçatubenses passaram pela horrenda dor de ter seus filhos perseguidos, exilados, e, que filhos araçatubenses foram assassinados pelo Regime?
Houve família aí em Araçatuba que perdeu, não apenas um filho para ditadura. Houve mãe que chegou a ter dois filhos assassinados pela ditadura militar, aí em Araçatuba. Sim isso ocorreu aí na nossa querida Araçatuba.
Procure informa-se melhor sobre a tragédia que vitimou também as famílias araçatubenses, gente que provavelmente você conheceu, ou conhece seus familiares.
A Ditadura Militar foi um fato funesto que vitimou milhares de pessoas diretamente, e indiretamente, um país inteiro. Precisamos acorda para a veracidade e a barbárie deste fato.
Não há melhor Regime Político, que o Regime Democrático. Por que? Porque somente no Regime Democrático, os nossos direitos fundamentais podem ser garantidos.
Só no Regime Democrático, os imprescindíveis direitos: de Ir e Vir; e de Poder Expressar nossa Opinião Livremente; e de Cultuar, Poderão Ser Respeitados.
Só a Democracia confere valor a vida, e a liberdade; e elege-os a condição de bens soberanos, fundamentais. Enquanto, que a   Ditadura subtrai nossos bens mais valorosos: Vida e Liberdade. Pense nisso!
Finalizando, a greve dos caminhoneiros foi oportuna e pedagógica. Primeiros porque ocorreu pacificamente, fato inédito, num país de dimensões continentais gigantesca; segundo, desmascarou o conceito leviano que se propagou sobre a pessoa do caminhoneiro, mas que com a visibilidade da greve puderam mostrar seu verdadeiro perfil: Homens e mulheres comprometidos com a família, o trabalho, e a pátria; que mostraram responsabilidade e sensibilidade. Terceiro, nos faz refletir no fato de que precisamos sair do “muro”, deixar nossa Zona de Conforto, e   lutar pelos nossos direitos fundamentais.
Xingar os maus políticos, como se costuma fazer nas rede sociais, não resolve o nosso problema. Muito menos ficar de gracinha fazendo piadinha de nós mesmos, no face, WhatsApp, etc. 
Não votar em Candidatos  Ficha Suja é a única solução que temos para ajudar o Brasil a sair desse lamaçal. Há candidatos pousando de "Santo", mas que é corrupto. Se há pedidos de CPI, contra alguém é um sinal consistente que devemos olhar para essa pessoa, no minimo com reservas e procurar averiguar com muita cautela. 
Precisamos urgentemente de Justiça Social. E Justiça Social realiza se através da prestação com excelência, dos Serviços Públicos Essenciais.
Mas, para isso teremos uma longa jornada pela frente. Sim. Teremos que Faxinar não apenas a Presidência da República, mas todos os Palácios Estaduais); Faxinar o Congresso Nacional, que concentra uma absurda quantidade de (513 deputados federias  e 81  senadores), a maioria corruptos, isso sem falarmos no enorme contingente de  deputados estaduais, que na sua maioria, também à custa de propinas, garantem Executivos Corruptos, nos Palácios Estaduais. Difícil missão? Difícil, mas perfeitamente possível.
Anteriormente, escrevi alguns artigos onde aponto a pessoa do vereador como um aliado do povo, para ajudá-lo nessa faxina.
Você conhece os vereadores da sua cidade? Junte se a eles e milite pela sua cidade.

Conceição Cinti. Advogada e educadora. Especialista em Tratamento de Dependente de Substâncias Psicoativas, com experiência de mais de três décadas em Dependência química e Delinquência Juvenil.

          Appeals Court Tosses Some Convictions Against Former Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Read on Philly Today
          Saraki A ‘Traitor,’ Unfit As Senate President – APC      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The All Progressives Congress (APC) claimed that Senate President Bukola Saraki is unfit for the exalted position, saying he is a traitor. 

The post Saraki A ‘Traitor,’ Unfit As Senate President – APC appeared first on Concise News.

          Venezuela’s opposition protests arrest of lawmaker      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress is leaving a seat empty for a member they say has been kidnapped by President Nicolas Maduro’s ruling party. The National Assembly on Thursday marked Juan Requesens’ seat with a sign saying he’s missing or kidnapped. Officials arrested Requesens on Tuesday. He and fellow lawmaker Julio Borges are […]
          Collins’ arrest emboldens Democrats in GOP-heavy district      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Emboldened Democrats on Thursday seized on GOP Congressman Chris Collins’ arrest, saying it boosts their odds in a heavily Republican district this November — but it may take more than insider trading allegations to turn this red corner of western New York blue. Collins pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges […]
          Michigan turnout surge cheers Democrats; GOP expects battle      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Strong feelings about President Donald Trump, a competitive governor’s race and congressional retirements fueled what probably was record turnout for a Michigan primary, with more than half-million more people voting than in 2010 — the last time the governorship was open. Nearly 2.2 million votes were cast, a 28 percent spike […]
          Comments on proposed DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) implementation of the Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA)      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

August 9, 2018

Mr. Chris Casto
Senior Advisor
Bureau of Justice Assistance
810 Seventh Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531
Re: Death in Custody Reporting Act Collection, 83 Fed. Reg. 27023 (June 11, 2018)
Comments submitted via  
Dear Mr. Casto:

On behalf of Human Rights Watch, I am writing in response to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request for comment on proposed DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) implementation of the Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA). Established in 1978, Human Rights Watch (HRW) is known for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups. Each year, we publish more than 100 reports and briefings on human rights conditions in some 90 countries, generating extensive coverage in local and international media. The United States Program of HRW protects and promotes the fundamental rights and dignity of every person subject to the authority of the US government.

DCRA was enacted as a result of bipartisan efforts on December 18, 2014, so that the government could account for the number of arrest-related deaths and other deaths in custody that are occurring in the United States. Nearly four years later, DCRA has not been implemented and the public continues to rely on media outlets for the number of people killed by police each year, which is estimated at 1,000.

DOJ must immediately adopt the near-final compliance guidelines for DCRA that were published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2016. These guidelines reflect extensive review and public engagement by DOJ around DCRA implementation through two comments periods, the first initiated on August 4, 2016, and a second initiated on December 19, 2016. Under the last set of guidelines published by DOJ in December 2016, states were to begin reporting arrest-related deaths in April of 2017, with reporting on all deaths in custody to begin in October 2017.

We are asking DOJ to immediately adopt the near-final compliance guidelines for DCRA that were published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2016. These guidelines reflect extensive review and public engagement by DOJ around DCRA implementation through two comments periods in 2016, during which HRW provided comments and joined the civil and human rights community in calling for implementation. DOJ must proceed with implementing DCRA as set forth in the proposed December 2016 guidelines and as described below:

  1. States must proactively report all deaths in custody to DOJ and DOJ must verify the state data with open source research and data.

States should be required to initially report all deaths in custody to DOJ as required by DCRA. DOJ should then use media reports and other open source information to identify deaths in custody for purposes of comparison and supplementation.  This hybrid methodology recognizes state obligations to proactively report deaths in custody to the federal government, allowing states to develop dedicated programs and resources to ensure compliance with DCRA. A hybrid approach also helps ensure the most accurate, reliable, and complete method of securing national data.

  1. DOJ must further define what deaths are reportable under DCRA to ensure standardized and full compliance by states.

DCRA requires states and federal law enforcement agencies to report information about the death of anyone who is “detained, under arrest, or is in the process of being arrested, is en route to be incarcerated, or is incarcerated.” DOJ’s latest proposal for DCRA compliance defines “reportable death” to broadly include “deaths that occurred during interactions with law enforcement personnel or while the decedent was in their custody or in the custody, under the supervision, or under the jurisdiction of a state or local law enforcement or correctional agency, such as a jail or prison.” To ensure compliance and reduce variation among state reporting, DOJ should provide a list of broad, yet specific, circumstances that qualify as reportable deaths.  For example, DOJ should specify that a reportable death includes any death “due to any use of force by law enforcement personnel.” It is critical that any law enforcement action that results in a civilian death be reported.   

  1. DOJ must require reporting on any disability of those who die in custody.

DOJ must require states to report disability-related data for deaths in custody. It is estimated that a quarter to half of fatal police encounters involve a person with a disability. These disabilities include physical, intellectual, and psychiatric disabilities. To ensure comprehensive data on deaths in custody, a decedent’s disability should be reported just as race, gender, and other characteristics are to be reported. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) should consult with the nationwide network of disability protection and advocacy (P&A) agencies in each state, as well as seek information from community-based disability organizations, to ensure that disability is properly captured in deaths in custody reporting.

  1. States must adopt compliance plans. 

Each state should be required to submit a detailed data collection plan to DOJ that summarizes how it will comply with DCRA. States should indicate how they will meet DCRA’s quarterly reporting requirements in a timely, accurate, and complete manner. These state compliance plans would facilitate data collection from local police departments to the states, which would then report to DOJ. Plans should also provide for audits of state reporting to ensure full compliance.

  1. Federal grants must be used to ensure state compliance.

States that do not comply with DCRA should have federal funding reduced until compliance is met as permitted by the statute. DCRA gives the Attorney General the power to subject noncompliant states to a 10 percent reduction of Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne JAG) funds. After years of inadequate reporting, Congress included this provision in its reauthorization of DCRA to ensure compliance. DOJ must provide states with details on how and when Byrne JAG funds will be reduced for DCRA noncompliance.

In our May 2015 report, Callous and Cruel, HRW documented deaths behind bars of persons with mental health problems who were stunned with electric shock devices, restrained, subjected to massive amounts of pepper spray, and/or struck by correctional staff. Deaths of inmates (with or without mental health problems) at the hands of jail or prison staff continue to surface with unfortunate regularity in the news media. Yet our research, including conversations with correctional experts, suggests that there may be jail and prison inmates whose deaths following staff use of force are not reported publicly. Unknown deaths in custody that constitute homicides by correctional officers should not be permitted.

Information pertaining those who died following staff use of force in jails and prisons, such as  the role of involved staff, surrounding circumstances and related custodial settings is as important as similar information for arrest-related deaths. We do not believe the burden of providing full information to the BJS on use of force deaths would outweigh the benefit to the public and to agencies themselves.

We appreciate your engagement on this matter and look forward to your response. If you have any questions, please contact me at 202-612-4343.


Jasmine L. Tyler
US Program, Advocacy Director

          A Long-Shot Democrat Now Has a Chance at Congress After Trump’s Buddy Got Indicted      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
When Nate McMurray, the long-shot Democratic candidate in New York’s ruby-red 27th District, went out for a jog on an 88-degree Wednesday morning, he had just four campaign volunteers and a hair’s breadth of a chance to unseat Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY).   Then, everything changed.  “My phone started melting,” McMurray told Mother Jones the next […]
          Argentina’s Senate Votes to Reject Legal Abortion      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
In a highly anticipated vote, Argentinian senators early Thursday rejected a bill that would have legalized abortion for pregnancies no further along than 14 weeks. The vote, which followed 16 hours of deliberation, was 38-31, with two senators abstaining. In anticipation of an announcement, enormous crowds gathered outside the Argentinian congress, where both supporters and opponents […]
          Why Jentezen Franklin Invited John Gray to the White House      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

One headline read, almost immediately after President Trump met with a group of Hispanic and black pastors in the White House last week: "Trump gives thumbs-up to prison sentencing reform bill at pivotal meeting." What that headline didn't reveal is the amazing amount of work it has taken to move this issue to a place where true reform is finally possible.

As is the case with any profound change in the top branches of government, it's the story behind the story that has made all of the difference. I've been honored to have been a part of a small group of Christian leaders, including Pastor Paula White, Pastor Jack Graham, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Bishop Harry Jackson and Rev. Johnnie Moore who have been working over the course of the last year in order to help advocate for this long-needed reform, and—in fact—a few of us met again immediately before the president's much-publicized meeting last week with many of the nation's most influential pastors from our minority communities.

While I celebrate the thousands upon thousands of lives that will be positively affected by these reforms, I am shocked and saddened to see the attack that some of those pastors received at the hands of thousands of their social media followers, many of which I'm sure they consider friends. And some are just vicious and outright evil.

One of those who has received vicious criticism is John Gray, a pastor I have known for over 15 years. He was a pastor at our church, and I had the honor of conducting his wedding ceremony. John went to that White House meeting at my invitation, knowing he could be one of the deciding voices on an issue that affects thousands of African-Americans nationwide and their families as well.

I invited John because I knew three things: First, I knew he was passionate about matters related to racial inequality in this country, as was the case for every pastor at that table. Second, I knew that when it came to the topic of prison reform, he was not only passionate, he was informed. And finally, I invited John knowing he is the last man to run from a fight on this topic, and that includes the highest office in the land. I knew he wouldn't be swayed by the magnitude of the moment or the trappings of the location. On all three points, I was correct. While there were powerful words spoken by the pastors in the room, John, while sitting at the president's side, spoke eloquently, competently and persuasively and made a difference.

When we were done with that meeting, the president then called a meeting with the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa; and Sens. Mike Lee, Utah; Lindsey Graham, South Carolina; Tim Scott , South Carolina; and the White House's most passionate and unrelenting advocate for prison reform, Jared Kushner. Then, immediately after, they emerged with a press conference declaring that the president had decided he was ready to move toward making these desperately needed changes a reality, and soon. You will notice that two of the senators key to this legislation are senators from the state where John Gray now resides and pastors, South Carolina.

This reform is right and smart. The number of inmates in federal prisons has swelled from 25,000 in 1980 to more than 205,000 in 2015, and taxpayer spending on federal inmates has increased from $330 million to $7.5 billion over that span, according to the Congressional Research Service. The core of the proposed prison reform agenda is to dramatically affect the lives of nonviolent offenders in both sentencing, rehabilitation services and reentry into everyday life, ultimately removing "felon" from their records, which has been a major cause of preventing returning citizens from getting the jobs they need to live and support their families.

In any other setting, people from both sides of the aisle and certainly Christians would celebrate this legislation as a victory and a major step forward in rehabilitating and restoring lives to millions of forgotten men and women. But because John sat at a table with Donald Trump, he and a few others have been vilified and maligned by the very people who otherwise would agree with everything that just happened. I'm not talking merely about a disagreement; we all have the right to disagree with one another. But when it turns to personal attacks and language that is intentionally hurtful and destructive, it is wrong. It's pure hatred, not for the cause John stood for, but for even attending the meeting.

Every single time in the Old or New Testament when God's people were brought before the rulers and judges in the land for counsel or anything else, they stood before the ruler, sometimes even with a pagan ruler. But when that moment arose where they were called upon, they responded and gave the counsel God placed in their hearts to give. Joseph, Esther, Daniel and prophet after prophet stood before kings and rulers and spoke what God told them to say, and many times, it altered the trajectory of a nation. Why would we think it any different today?

Every time I have prayed for or given counsel to a government leader, it has always been at their request, and every time I am able, I go where I am invited and speak what the Lord lays on my heart to say. It matters not if that person is a Republican or a Democrat, left or right. They are a human being just like me and they have the same Creator I do. God can move the heart of any leader, so why wouldn't I go and give them the counsel they have asked to receive? Proverbs 14:34 says, "Righteousness exalts a nation."

Our spiritual leaders represent the voice of righteousness in our culture.

I've faced serious criticism, but never like what Pastor John Gray endured last week. I admire his unwavering commitment to be a voice of righteousness, and to care more about the opinion of Jesus than the opinion of critics.

Within a few short months, I am hopeful we will see this legislation pass, and the trajectory of thousands of lives and families altered forever. I am also praying for those who would heap this kind of hatred on a man of God like John Gray, for the Bible is very clear about the consequences for leaders who raise their voices in judgment against those anointed by God.

John Gray is a leader for our time and a true man of God. I'm honored to stand with him in advance of prison reform.

Pastor Jentezen Franklin is the senior pastor of Free Chapel, a multi campus church. Each week his television program, Kingdom Connection, is broadcast on major networks all over the world. A New York Times best-selling author, Jentezen has written eight books, including his latest, Love Like You've Never Been Hurt.

          One up for BJP      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
NDA demonstrated its dominance in the Upper House for the first time

The Congress-led opposition alliance suffered a major, even embarrassing setback after the ruling NDA’s candidate easily won the election for the deputy chairmanship of the Rajya Sabha. Janata Dal (United) member Harivansh Narayan Singh’s election as M Venkaiah Naidu’s deputy is politically significant. For the first time, NDA demonstrated its dominance in the Upper House that was till recently controlled by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) with its sheer numbers. The UPA had utilised its numbers in the Rajya Sabha over the last four years to stall several legislations, drag government business and reform bills. In fact, several conciliatory measures were adopted by the government benches for the government to have its say in the House and go past the Congress-led opposition. From GST, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes bill and triple talaq, the NDA had faced major hurdles from opposition.

Singh’s election is the first instance in over four years when NDA stood up on its own and had its way in the House. Till July 1, Congress member PJ Kurien was deputy chairman and completed a six-year term as a member necessitating election afresh. By convention, the positions of deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha and deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha are held by opposition parties. Given that the NDA and the UPA do not see eye to eye in the present Parliament, this convention seems to have been given the go-by.

While NDA had settled for AIADMK member M Thambidurai as deputy speaker in the Lok Sabha, fielding its own ally JD-U member Harivansh gave it heft in the Rajya Sabha. The fact that rival DMK was part of the UPA must have worked in favour of Thambidurai, though his faction ridden party, AIADMK, is not part of the NDA. Pushing for JD-U nominee seems to have given peeved NDA allies a sense of purpose in the present government. BJP president Amit Shah seems to have made use of the opportunity to the hilt to reach out to not only traditional allies but find new friends to garner “issue based support” — case in point was Biju Janata Dal (BJD) led by Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik that supported Harivansh’s candidature. Retaining all traditional allies and getting the support of the nine-member BJD, allowed Harivansh to secure 125 votes vis-à-vis Congress opponent BKHari Prasad who polled 105 votes. Most interestingly, edgy NDA ally Shiv Sena turned around to support the official candidate.

Meanwhile, the opposition camp appears to have realised the limitations of trumped up unity. The result of the election is a grim reminder that assorted opposition parties coming together on an anti-BJP platform may not work in the next Lok Sabha elections. Contradictions from within are bound to show up as the campaign picks up pace. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and its archrival, YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh voted for the Congress candidate. Does this meant that there will be a Congress-TDP-YSR Congress combine going forward? Competitive political stakes in Andhra Pradesh need to be taken into account for this.

Similarly, the Bahujan Samaj Party led by Mayawati and Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav stuck together with the Congress in the elections. It will be interesting to see whether they operate as belonging to the same political formation. On the fluid political chessboard, even the NDA may have to go through twists and turns in Odisha when it challenges BJD’s hegemony in the state. The Shiv Sena cannot be reined-in as a reliable ally in Maharashtra given that it is jostling for the same political space in which BJP has entrenched itself firmly.

But, the BJP seems to have done well by beginning to mend fences with its allies. To sustain NDA, BJP will have to make more sacrifices and demonstrate its dexterity.

          Puerto Rico Estimates It Will Cost $139 Billion To Fully Recover From Hurricane Maria      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Puerto Rico has submitted a report to Congress in which it pegs $139 billion as the amount it will need to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.
          Puerto Rico Estimates It Will Cost $139 Billion To Fully Recover From Hurricane Maria      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Puerto Rico has submitted a report to Congress in which it pegs $139 billion as the amount it will need to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.
          Fundraise or 'look for a job,' Republicans warn after close election races      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Fundraise or 'look for a job,' Republicans warn after close election racesAs Republican candidates backed by President Donald Trump clung to small leads in closely watched races in Ohio and Kansas on Wednesday, nervousness grew in Republican circles about their ability to continue extending millions of dollars in aid to candidates in November's Congressional elections. Republican Troy Balderson may have eked out a victory in a special election for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in a reliably conservative district in Ohio, but was leading the Democrat Danny O'Connor by only about 1,700 votes or less than 1.0 percent.

          Puerto Rico sends costlier reconstruction plan to U.S. Congress      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Puerto Rico sends costlier reconstruction plan to U.S. Congress(Reuters) - Puerto Rico submitted a recovery plan to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday that carries an estimated price tag of $139 billion, which is 47 percent more than the bankrupt U.S. commonwealth requested in November. The economic and disaster recovery plan allocates the money to housing, water and energy systems, education, transportation, public buildings, communications, planning, municipalities, as well as to the economy and environment, according to Governor Ricardo Rossello's office. Puerto Rico's severe financial problems, which led to bankruptcy court in May 2017 to restructure about $120 billion of debt and pension obligations, were compounded by destructive hurricanes that hit the island in September.

          Justiça da Costa Rica ordena a Congresso revogar proibição de casamento gay      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
          Barroso diz que reajuste de ministros do STF é assunto do Congresso      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
          Tulare County farmer asking court to make Devin Nunes stop calling himself one, too      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Several residents within California’s 22nd Congressional District filed a petition in Sacramento Superior Court on Thursday morning, asking the court to remove “farmer” from Rep. Devin Nunes’ description on California … Click to Continue »
          Nunes to donors in secret recording: GOP majority is necessary to protect Trump      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
During a meeting with donors last month, Rep. Devin Nunes made clear, among other things, the importance of retaining a GOP-lead Congress in the midterm elections. “We have to keep … Click to Continue »
           ‘AAP would be history if not for Cong’       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The AAP would have been “history” if the Congress party had not supported it to form government in Delhi in the year 2013, the party’s Delhi chief Aj
          Congress activists clash at Quit India Day function      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Supporters of MLC Ivan D’Souza and those of District Youth Congress president Mithun Rai clashed with one another just after the end of a party functi
          Security lapse at Rajaji Hall left Rahul Gandhi exposed       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The Congress president got separated from his SPG detail at Rajaji Hall; there were no metal detectors or surveillance cameras at the venue
          AAP will not be part of anti-BJP alliance for 2019 Lok Sabh polls, says Arvind Kejriwal      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Hours after the Congress accused Aam Aadmi Party of helping the BJP by abstaining from the voting to the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that his party will not join the proposed opposition alliance against the BJP for the 2019 general elections. He said that the parties who […]

AAP will not be part of anti-BJP alliance for 2019 Lok Sabh polls, says Arvind Kejriwal

          Kurt Cobain: "Republicans Are An Incarnation Of Satan. I Hate Them"      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

I know they don't teach basic civics in school any longer, but I'm old enough to have learned that we are a country of immigrants and that America was great because it was a melting pot-- even better than Canada which was disparaged as a mosaic in comparison. When Trump unchains his in-house neo-Nazi co-conspirator, Stephen Miller, and allows him to turn his energy (and bigotry) against legal immigrants, the Regime is directly attacking every family in the country. Remember when you read below, that Miller was the brilliant strategist behind family separation and border kidnappings. Yesterday the Jewish Daily Forward warned its readers that Miller's new plan stops citizenship for legal immigrants. The story originates with Julia Ainsley at NBC News, explaining how the Trumpist regime plans to "make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare."

And they plan to institute this newest Miller attack against America without congressional approval. He's drafting a plan that would target "immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children's health insurance, food stamps and other benefits."
Immigration lawyers and advocates and public health researchers say it would be the biggest change to the legal immigration system in decades and estimate that more than 20 million immigrants could be affected. They say it would fall particularly hard on immigrants working jobs that don't pay enough to support their families.

Many are like Louis Charles, a Haitian green-card holder seeking citizenship who, despite working up to 80 hours a week as a nursing assistant, has had to use public programs to support his disabled adult daughter.

Using some public benefits like Social Security Insurance has already hindered immigrants from obtaining legal status in the past, but the programs included in the recent draft plan could mean that immigrant households earning as much as 250 percent of the poverty level could be rejected.

...Miller, along with several of his former congressional colleagues who now hold prominent positions in the Trump administration, have long sought to decrease the number of immigrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year. And even before the rule is in place, the administration has made it more difficult for immigrants to gain green cards and for green-card holders to gain citizenship.

[Note: Miller was never in Congress, although he worked for several Republican racists and xenophobes-- Jeff Sessions, Michele Bachmann, Dave Brat and John Shadegg.]

Charles, the Haitian green-card holder who works as a nursing assistant in a psychiatric hospital near Boston, said he was stunned to learn his application for citizenship had been denied. He had used a fake passport given to him by smugglers when he entered the U.S. from Haiti in 1989, but confessed to border officers and received a waiver from USCIS absolving him of his wrongdoing and allowing him to obtain a green card in 2011.

Now 55, Charles is a homeowner and a taxpayer and thought obtaining citizenship would be a smooth process. "I thought in this country everything was square and fair," Charles said.

But when he went for his citizenship interview in August 2017, the USCIS officers told him they were going to revisit the decision to waive the fake passport incident, meaning he could potentially lose his green card as well.

Then he received a letter in September telling him his request for citizenship had been denied.

He appealed the decision, but as he waits for a final verdict, his lawyer says his green-card status may also now be in question.

In late November, the Trump administration announced they would end temporary protected status for Haitians who came to the U.S. after the deadly 2010 earthquake. Charles's wife was a recipient of that protection and without him becoming a citizen, he would be unable to vouch for her.

But Charles's biggest concern is his daughter. Although she is in her 20s and a U.S. citizen, she has severe disabilities that make it impossible for her to live by herself.

Charles is unaware of Miller's new plan to limit citizenship for immigrants who have used public assistance. But it is likely to affect him because he has used public assistance to help care for his daughter, so she could end up further hurting his chances for citizenship.

Though its effects could be far-reaching, the proposal to limit citizenship to immigrants who have not used public assistance does not appear to need Congressional approval. As the Clinton administration did in 1999, the Trump administration would be redefining the term "public charge," which first emerged in immigration law in the 1800s in order to shield the U.S. from burdening too many immigrants who could not contribute to society.

..."Any policy forcing millions of families to choose between the denial of status and food or health care would exacerbate serious problems such as hunger, unmet health needs, child poverty, and homelessness, with lasting consequences for families' wellbeing and long-term success and community prosperity," said the National Immigration Law Center in a statement.
There's a Kurt Cobain quote-- a fake Kurt Cobain quote, as it turns out-- being circulated on the Internet. I know it's fake because Danny Goldberg, the manager of Cobain's band, Nirvana, decided to write about it this week at The Nation. The fake quote, which was first posted on the Trump Train Facebook page asserted that Cobain predicted "We’ll elect a true outsider. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a business tycoon… Someone like Donald Trump." Danny set the record straight:
I know that the quote is not only made up but it is also a grotesque perversion of Kurt’s beliefs. He often differentiated Nirvana from more overtly political punk bands like Dead Kennedys and Fugazi, but Kurt was unambiguous about where his political sentiments lay and, although he identified with anarchist imagery in some contexts, Kurt had no problem making choices at election time.

I remember the excitement in his voice when he called to tell me that he and Courtney Love had just contributed $100 each to Jerry Brown’s campaign for president in the Democratic primary in 1992. A few months later, Sergio Marchi, an Argentinian journalist, asked Kurt if he planned to vote in the general election, and Kurt answered “Yeah, I’ll vote for Clinton. The Democrats are very conservative but at least they are not as conservative as the Republicans.” Regarding the billionaire businessman third-party candidate Ross Perot, Kurt was equally clear: “The guy sucks. He’s rich; I don’t trust him as president.”

After the election, in an interview for The Advocate, Kurt elaborated: “I was helpless when I was 12 and Reagan was elected and there was nothing I could do about it. But now this generation is growing up and they’re in their mid-20s and they’re not putting up with it. I would rather have had Jerry Brown but I’m definitely happy that Clinton is in…. Chelsea seems like a pretty neat person, a Birkenstock wearing kid,” adding “Amy Carter’s pretty cool too from what I’ve heard. She’s been seen at Butthole Surfers concerts.”

Trump’s misogynistic attitude towards women would have deeply offended Kurt, who detested bullies and sexists. Explaining the lyrics to his song “In Bloom” when Nirvana’s breakthrough album Nevermind was released, Kurt was explicit: “I don’t like rednecks, I don’t like macho men, I don’t like abusive people.”

I suspect that Kurt would also have been appalled by the idea of a reality-TV star becoming president. In his famous chorus to “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Kurt sang, “With the lights out, it’s less dangerous, here we are now, entertain us.” He was not endorsing hypnotic passivity, he was satirizing it. As those who program Trump-supporting bots know, apathy and cynicism help discourage some people from voting, a syndrome that inevitably helps Republicans.

...To make his values clear Kurt wrote in the liner notes of the Nirvana compilation Incesticide, “I have a request for our fans. If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, please do this one favor for us-- leave us the fuck alone! Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records.”

No one can know for sure how Kurt would view the coming mid-terms, but he did say in that Argentinian interview that he did just before the 1992 election: “Republicans are an incarnation of Satan. I hate them.”

          How To Win In November      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

There was some excellent news for progressives Tuesday night. If you think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is wonderful, you're going to love Rashida Tlaib from Detroit. And James Thompson from Wichita was the first candidate Alexandria (with Bernie) went to campaign for after her own win. His win was a landslide. In southwest Michigan, Matt Longjohn is likely to prove himself to be one of the best members of the class of '19.

I'm not a big fan of identity politics. I'm happy Rashida will serve as a positive role model for Muslim women and Palestinian-Americans-- she will be the first member of both groups to be a member of Congress-- but the reason I'm so excited about her is because she has proven herself to be an effective progressive while she served in the Michigan legislature. That said, The Atlantic ran an interesting report by Elaine Godfrey about Netroots Nation over the weekend that is based on winning in November by putting together a multiracial coalition. That's good, as long as the candidates are the best candidates, although the point was mostly about voters rather than candidates per se. Alexandria: "Our swing voter is not red to blue. It’s nonvoter to vote."
The line was met with huge applause from the audience at Netroots Nation, the annual gathering for progressive candidates, activists, and organizers. Whereas last year’s conference attendees saw a gubernatorial candidate’s speech interrupted with shouts of “Trust black women,” this year’s felt like a very intentional tribute to people of color, especially women. The conference offered more than 20 training sessions and panels specifically addressing how to reach those voters, as well as the millions of eligible Americans who aren’t registered to vote. The majority of panelists and presenters, according to Netroots organizers, were people of color.

Democrats have been grappling with key questions about coalition building since the 2016 election: Should they prioritize winning back the voters they lost to Trump? Should they attempt to woo the white voters gradually fleeing the party? Progressives this weekend said, emphatically, no. It’s a genuine attempt to remake the Democratic Party at a time when racial and class tensions are the highest they’ve been since the 1960s-- and it’s also put them on a collision course with party leaders and other Democrats.

“I think Trump’s win scared the shit out of everybody,” said Anoa Changa, a progressive activist and the host of the podcast The Way With Anoa. “I think it’s been a wake-up call for a lot of people that we have to invest. We can’t just do the traditional model where we only talk to super voters.”

That doesn’t mean ignoring whites and Trump voters, she says. Instead, “it’s rejecting the notion that our way to victory is having a centrist, moderate right-leaning strategy that feels like we could peel off Romney Republicans, versus investing in communities of color, marginalized groups, and progressive white people,” Changa said. “There is this notion that … we can’t address the issues of race, systemic oppression, because we don’t want to piss these voters off. We have to find a way to do both.”

A key voting group that progressives want to mobilize consists of the more than 4 million voters who supported President Barack Obama in 2012 but didn’t vote in 2016. More than 50 percent of them were people of color, and almost one-quarter were under the age of 30, according to data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study. “If 2016 had happened with the same voter-turnout patterns as 2012 then [Hillary] Clinton would have won,” said Brian Schaffner, a political-science professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who helped conduct the survey. “Clearly turnout can influence outcomes.”

But it’s bigger than the Obama voters. Roughly 59 percent of black Americans and 48 percent of Hispanic Americans voted in 2016, compared to 65 percent of whites. If progressives could just close this gap, they argue, Democrats would win more often. They aim to do that by mobilizing already registered voters—and by registering new ones: Roughly 30 percent of the citizen voting-age population is unregistered, and those Americans are more likely to be young people and people of color. These are the people activists call the “New American Majority.”

The Democratic Party so far has leaned into economic messaging as a way to win in 2018: After the 2016 election, they unveiled “A Better Deal” aimed at appealing to moderates and weary Trump supporters. They’ve been backing Conor Lamb–type candidates who, through their backgrounds and a focus on jobs and wages, are able to come off as more independent. In 2016, Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York told the New York Times last week, “there was a blind spot that we had as Democrats with respect to engaging with the American people around the economic anxiety that they continue to experience.”

But progressives are adamant that the only way to win in November and beyond is to be about more than economics, and that the right message-- the one that will appeal to progressive whites, as well as turning out more people of color to the polls-- invokes both race and class equally. Two Netroots trainings on developing a “Race-Class Narrative” were completely filled this weekend, with activists and organizers participating in mock-canvassing sessions in which they practiced delivering lines that contained both racial and economic messages. “The status quo has been not to talk about race, and there’s a myth out there is that if you talk about race you’ll lose,” said Causten Rodriguez-Wollerman, one of the leaders of the training and a strategist with the public-policy organization Demos. “You cannot build a multiracial coalition by being silent on race.”

Some Democrats have poked holes in this “emerging majority” strategy on logistical grounds. “I don’t think there’s a secret progressive nonvoter bloc that, if we just say the magic words, is gonna show up and, voila, fix the Democrats’ problems at the polls,” said Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, the vice president for social policy and politics at Third Way, a think tank advocating for center-left ideas. Nonvoters, she said, are going to be hard to engage. “Is it easier to activate a whole bunch of people that haven’t voted in 20 years or persuade the people who are already showing up?”

To counter that, though, progressives offer up Alabama as a test case: In December, Doug Jones became the first Democrat elected to the Senate from the state in 25 years with the help of 96 percent of black voters. They also point to the Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, an African American woman who structured her campaign around minority empowerment and outreach in order to beat her more moderate primary opponent. To defeat the Republican Brian Kemp, Abrams is attempting to do what Obama did in 2008: build a coalition of progressive whites, but also turn out minorities to the polls at far greater numbers than usual. If Abrams can pull that off, writes Time’s Molly Ball, “the implications would be profound, not just for Georgia but for the whole region and potentially the nation.”

On Saturday, the final night of this year’s Netroots conference, a small group of young protesters from the “Black-Ass Caucus” took to the stage. “We will no longer be tokenized by so-called white allies,” one man shouted to the audience. Another protester, a young woman, criticized progressives who speak about economics and class without mentioning race. “Everything-- including class issues-- are built on race issues!” she yelled into the microphone.

“I’m a woman of color and people do not pay attention to us, even in the littlest things, but we are always the ones saving the Democratic Party,” the 27-year-old Ianthe Metzger, a staffer for the Human Rights Campaign and a Netroots attendee, told me earlier in the weekend. “Finally it feels like we have a say … It’s like finally, this is our moment.”
I'd be very happy to see Georgia elect a woman as governor, I'd be very happy to see Georgia elect an African-American as governor. I'd be happier yet to see Georgia elect an exceptionally good governor. Fortunately Stacey Abrams is all three in one. As the NY Times mentioned a couple of weeks ago, "Georgia’s captivating governor’s race between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams has taken on the dimensions of a defining moment, one that will, regardless of outcome, determine what the state represents and how it is perceived. That voters chose these two candidates reflects how Americans are embracing politicians on the basis of culture and identity, and how Georgia’s politics are catching up with its rapid demographic change: The nonwhite population has grown to 40 percent from 29 percent since 1990. But Georgia’s political middle, long the dominant force behind the state’s thriving commerce and pragmatic leadership, suddenly finds itself all but abandoned."
Ms. Abrams, 44, a brainy Yale Law graduate from Atlanta, has leveraged the prospect of becoming the country’s first female African-American governor to nationalize her campaign and its fund-raising. By contrast, Mr. Kemp, 54, is a drawling agri-businessman from Athens who has revived a populist style that has lain dormant in Georgia since the late 1960s. Both campaigns say they are committed to maximizing turnout by their most rabid supporters rather than moderating in order to broaden their appeal to centrists and independents.

Each side frames the election of the other in doomsday terms. Mr. Kemp, the Democrats fear, will take Georgia the way of North Carolina and Indiana, which were tarnished by recent legislative battles over issues like gay rights and the use of public restrooms by transgender people. Republicans warn that Ms. Abrams, who hopes to expand Medicaid health coverage for the poor and disabled, will raise taxes they have cut, reverse the state’s job growth, deplete its rainy-day surplus and threaten its superior bond ratings.

...To those in between, the chasm between Mr. Kemp, who has adopted President Trump’s language on guns and immigration, and Ms. Abrams, who supports an assault rifle ban and says her “soul rests with those seeking asylum,” feels as vast as Tallulah Gorge.

“It would be nice if we had a more moderate option,” said Kathrine DeLash, who works at a pet store in suburban Cobb County and doesn’t identify with either political party. “You don’t get that with the candidates we have right now. The people who shout the most to their own people get the most attention, and it doesn’t matter what they’re saying as long as they shout the loudest.”
The Times has it half right: Kemp is an extremist. But Abrams is not. Her policy agenda is widely popular with the American people and the only reason people call her as extreme as Kemp is because she's black. I would have expected a more discerning look from The Times in their hunt for the elusive, beloved middle. People like the policies Abram is offering even if some of them are a little tepid about electing Georgia's first woman governor and first black governor. Get over it; it's 2018, not 1875. And, luckily, the "middle" is defined by actual voters, not by the privileged members of the elite media.

          Korea prepares for the 14th International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA)      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Korea prepares for the 14th International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA) aRestanis Thu, 08/09/2018 - 10:54

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          Janet Jackson, Shawn Mendes And More To Headline 2018 Global Citizen Festival      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Janet Jackson: Profile

International advocacy organization Global Citizen today announced that headliners Janet Jackson, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, and Janelle Monae will perform at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival, the free-ticketed event on the Great Lawn in Central Park, New York City on Saturday, September 29, 2018.

For the fifth consecutive year, MSNBC & Comcast NBCUniversal will air a live simulcast of the Festival on MSNBC and for the seventh consecutive year, iHeartMedia has been named the exclusive audio media partner.

A special guest performance will be given by John Legend.

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness return as lead hosts for the 5th year.

Co-hosts will include Camren Bicondova, Cynthia Erivo, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, Gus Kenworthy, Kal Penn, La La Anthony, Naomi Campbell, and Rachel Brosnahan.

The 2018 festival will serve as a platform from which millions of Global Citizens around the world will demand that world leaders fulfill their obligation to achieve the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development and end extreme poverty by 2030.

Building off momentum by activists and students from across the globe, Global Citizens and music fans will stand together to call on world leaders to uphold their responsibilities towards improving the quality of health care and nutrition that women receive during adolescence and childbirth, ensuring girls do not marry before they are ready, reducing, reusing and recycling plastic waste worldwide, ending the criminalization of poverty, providing quality education for all, and ensuring the United States fully funds its foreign aid budget.

Coinciding with the annual UN General Assembly meetings, this year’s Festival is a continuation of Global Citizen’s “Mandela 100” campaign; a series of global events honoring the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela in his centenary year.

Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen, said, “In 2018, it is more important than ever for Global Citizens here in the United States and around the world to demand their voices be heard – through activism and at the polls – so that we can continue progress towards a world free from needless suffering and want. We are truly grateful to have such incredible artists, hosts and partners standing with us in a moment of history so pivotal in our fight to achieve the global goals and end extreme poverty.”

“We’re incredibly proud to take our support of Global Citizen Festival to the next level as Presenting Partner. As a global bank that is committed to welcoming what’s next, we look forward to helping bring together citizens around the world to stand for issues that matter most and foster meaningful change,” said Jennifer Breithaupt, Global Consumer CMO, Citi

The Weeknd said, “It is invaluable to be in a position where I can use my voice to help the millions of people in need. I am honored to align myself with Global Citizen in the fight to end world poverty.”

Shawn Mendes said, “I’m so excited to be a part of the Global Citizen movement. It’s an honor to be able to use my platform and music to help those in the world who need it most.”

John Legend said, “I’m proud to be supporting Global Citizen again to help focus people’s energy and attention on the issues that matter. I believe we need to look at human beings across the world as our brothers and sisters and do everything we can do to end extreme poverty to make life more livable. We are more powerful when we come together like this.”

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness said, “We are thrilled to be returning for this year’s Global Citizen Festival. It is important that we continue to work towards ending extreme poverty. On September 29, tens of thousands of Global Citizens will come together to celebrate being a part of this movement and the impact of their actions, and we cannot wait to be a part of it.”

Camren Bicondova said, “I am beyond honored and thankful to be a host at this year’s Global Citizen Festival, advocating for rising voices and actions taken. Here’s to making the world a better place.”

Cynthia Erivo said, “I am thrilled to join the millions of Global Citizens who are helping to make our world a better place. By joining together to make our voices heard, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of the world’s poor.”

Forest Whitaker said, “This year, it’s more important than ever that we bring attention to extreme poverty and ask our leaders to take action. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish at this year’s Global Citizen Festival.”

Gus Kenworthy said, “I believe that if we all speak up and do our part, we can accomplish great things for the world’s poor. I’m excited to support Global Citizen and join a movement that will help put an end to extreme poverty.”

Kal Penn said, “Our voices remain potent and powerful. It is critical that we reject the culture of fear and cynicism, and instead lift up those among us who need our help. That is why I continue to be a proud supporter of Global Citizen and believe that together we can end world poverty.”

La La Anthony said, “Being a part of the Global Citizen movement and helping to end extreme poverty continues to be important to me. I can’t wait to see what commitments we can achieve by September.”

Rachel Brosnahan said, “Global Citizen is about creating a movement and bringing attention to the difficult choices people living in extreme poverty have to face every day. I’m so happy to be back for another year of supporting this organization that unites people all over the world to tackle some of the world’s biggest issues.”

The 2018 Global Citizen Festival will be presented for the first time by Citi. The leading global bank has been a proud partner of the festival since inception.

Live Nation return for the third consecutive year as production partner.

For the fifth consecutive year, MSNBC & Comcast NBCUniversal will air a live simulcast of the Festival on MSNBC and The Festival broadcast will be produced by Emmy Award-winning producer Ken Ehrlich (Grammy Awards).

For the seventh consecutive year, iHeartMedia has been named the exclusive audio media partner and will broadcast live from Central Park on over 150 radio stations across the U.S. and streamed on the iHeartRadio app.

The Festival will also be livestreamed on YouTube and Twitter, presented by Johnson & Johnson.

Proud partners of the 2018 Global Citizen Festival include Global Citizen’s global health partner and major partner Johnson & Johnson, and major partners P&G, CHIME FOR CHANGE Founded by Gucci, Verizon, House of Mandela, and NYC Parks.
Associate Partners include Microsoft, Great Big Story, and One Championship.

Global Citizens can earn their admission to the free-ticketed Festival by joining the movement at by downloading the Global Citizen app. Ticket draws will occur throughout the summer and fans will be notified by Global Citizen when they have been selected.

Specific goals for the 2018 Global Citizen Festival campaigns include:
Calling on Congress to resist the White House’s proposed cuts of 32% to American aid programs, which would devastate the fight against extreme poverty.
Calling on the G7 countries to contribute to the $2 billion needed to tackle the world’s maternal health crisis that sees more than 5 million mothers and children die of preventable conditions every year.

Ending the criminalization of poverty, through eliminating and drastically reducing the use of cash bail in jurisdictions including New York State.

Since the first Global Citizen Festival in New York in 2012, Global Citizen has grown into one of the largest, most visible platforms for people around the world calling on world leaders to honor their responsibilities in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and ending extreme poverty by 2030.
Global Citizens have generated commitments and policy announcements from leaders valued at over $37.9 billion that are set to affect the lives of more than 2.25 billion people. This year alone Global Citizens have secured 29 commitments totaling over $2.9 billion that are set to affect the lives of more than 501 million people by 2030.


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          Nuclear Energy Institute - Congress Directs DOE Study of Micro-Reactor Deployment      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Nuclear Energy Institute - Congress Directs DOE Study of Micro-Reactor Deployment: The National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress this week includes language directing the Secretary of Energy to develop a report on a pilot program for deploying micro-reactors at national . . .
          Why the Democratic Socialists of America Won’t Stop Growing      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

If Salazar makes it to Albany, she will join the ranks of 42 DSA-endorsed candidates who are now or will soon be serving in offices from the Moorhead, Minn., school board to Capitol Hill (that is, if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins the general election as handily as she did her primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District). So far this year, local chapters have endorsed at least 110 candidates.

By the time this article goes to press, DSA may well have 50,000 members across 200 local groups in all 50 states—up from 6,000 members in 2015. The surge in freshly minted socialists came in three waves: First, those energized by Bernie Sanders’ primary run; second, those brought in by Donald Trump’s election and the Women’s March; and third, those inspired by 28-year-old DSA member Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory in May over incumbent—and Democratic heavyweight—Joe Crowley.

So what is DSA, exactly, and what is it doing with this growing army?

DSA’s electoral work has attracted national media attention in the wake of Ocasio-Cortez’s historic win. Yet it’s just one part of a bottom-up approach to politics that sees the ballot box and state power as tools for advancing toward a more radically democratic society. Members—most of them millennials, in small towns and big cities in every corner of the country—are engaged in everything from occupying Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices to evangelizing about Medicare for All. Many reporters have tried to divine what DSA believes, be that the group’s policy prescriptions or its ideology. DSA, though—to crib from Karl Marx—isn’t looking merely to interpret the world, but to change it, campaign by campaign, door by door. What’s made DSA’s ascendance remarkable is less its analysis of capitalism than its ability to put people angry about capitalism to work.

IT’S TELLING THAT, UNLIKE MOST SOCIAList groups, DSA was formed out of a merger—not a sectarian split. In 1982, at the dawn of the Reagan era, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) and the New America Movement (NAM) combined forces. DSOC had been founded in 1973 by socialist intellectual Michael Harrington and other members of the Socialist Party who had grown disenchanted with political irrelevance. NAM, founded in 1972 by former members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), was rooted in ’60s counterculture, the New Left and second-wave feminism. (In 1976, members of DSOC and NAM moved to Chicago to found In These Times, and for the next decade the then-newspaper reported diligently on the ins and outs of DSOC, NAM and DSA.)

The 1980s would prove a tough decade for left politics, the 1990s and 2000s even more so. DSA shed members and closed chapters around the country as a few loyalists and a steady trickle of young recruits kept the organization running.

Enter Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign and his stalwart identification as a “democratic socialist,” a surprise boon for an organization with those two words in its name. DSA’s commitment to being a pluralistic, “multi-tendency” organization also meant it was open enough to accommodate thousands of newcomers.

Democratic socialism itself has always been a heterodox term, encompassing everyone from ideological Trotskyists to New Deal Democrats. The surge of new, mostly 20-something members include anarchists, Marxist academics and— most numerously—political neophytes excited about Sanders’ message and frustrated with the Democratic establishment.

DSA isn’t keen to enforce a strict definition of “democratic socialism”—although mainstream media outlets newly hip to DSA are desperately looking for one. On its website, DSA writes:

At the root of our socialism is a profound commitment to democracy, as means and end. As we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism tomorrow, DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people ...

Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives. We call this vision democratic socialism—a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society.

Members I spoke with took this to mean everything from taking public goods like healthcare off the private market (along the lines of Scandinavian social democracies) to worker-ownership of the means of production. Central Iowa DSA co-chair Caroline Schoonover was among many to say that democratic socialism means “taking power from the few and giving it to the many.” All saw small-d democracy—people having a say in the decisions that affect them—as central, both in politics and workplaces, and in DSA itself.

For this story, I spoke with around two dozen DSA members from chapters around the country. The primary source of their excitement was that DSA chapters seemed to be actively working on something, not just sitting around reading Marx. Like the citizen action group Indivisible, which also exploded after the election, DSA let people shake off a feeling of helplessness about the political climate and roll up their sleeves.

DSA also offers a community. Chapters host regular beach days, parties, fundraisers and social events, like Metro D.C. DSA’s recent “No ICE Cream Social.” If Indivisible was able to connect many alienated, middle-class suburbanites jarred out of their political comfort zone, DSA has provided a home for tens of thousands of downwardly-mobile, debt-ridden millennials grappling with a system that simply isn’t working for them.

Adam Shuck and Arielle Cohen, 32 and 29, joined Pittsburgh DSA in its infancy; Shuck was among the seven people who first met at a bar in 2016 to talk about getting the chapter together. Each was energized by Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign but disillusioned by his presidency. “I thought we were going to see some kind of New Deal,” Shuck says. The frustration led him at first to join the International Socialist Organization before the Sanders campaign brought him to DSA. While a student at SUNY Purchase, Cohen grew disillusioned with the sausage-making and compromise that created the Affordable Care Act, and organized with Occupy Wall Street before moving to Pittsburgh and finding her way to DSA. Now, Shuck and Cohen co-chair the Pittsburgh chapter.

Pittsburgh DSA held its first general meeting in December 2016 with around 100 people. Now it has a dizzying number of working groups: a health justice committee campaigning for Medicare for All; reading groups tackling Marx and Engels; an anti-imperialism committee lobbying for legislation criticizing Israel’s occupation of Palestine; a socialist feminist working group exposing crisis pregnancy centers; an ecosocialist group fighting the privatization of the city’s water and sewer system; a housing rights group pushing for protections for renters; and a number of inward-facing groups handling tasks like recruitment and communications.

The chapter also brought the newly revived DSA one of its early electoral victories, rattling the local Democratic machine. In December 2017, the group threw its weight behind Summer Lee’s campaign to represent House District 34. In the May primary, with the help of DSA and groups like Our Revolution and the Sierra Club, Lee, 30, a recent law school grad, beat Paul Costa, 57, a 19-year incumbent and member of a dynastic Pittsburgh Democratic family.

Lee had experience working on school board races and on a coordinated campaign to elect Katie McGinty governor and Hillary Clinton president in the 2016 general election, and she was impressed with DSA’s electoral work on Mik Pappas’ judicial campaign. Pappas ran on a platform of ending cash bail and working to end mass incarceration, and won in a landslide, with the help of a dedicated grassroots turnout effort staffed in part by DSA members.

“They were running 20 or more canvassing shifts a week,” says Lee. “I had never seen that type of energy around magistrate elections. I realized that ideologically we aligned.” She joined DSA shortly thereafter and sought them out as her first endorsement.

It wasn’t easy. DSA’s candidate endorsement process is a microcosm of its baked-in commitment to direct democracy. For every decision, at every level, there’s deliberate space for members to duke things out, combined with a commitment to ultimately supporting the group decision rather than splitting off into rival factions. The very question of whether to engage in the electoral process—and in particular, to work within the Democratic Party—remains fraught, with many members skeptical of investing limited organizational resources into elections rather than base-building.

New York City DSA hotly debated whether to endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s challenger from the left, Cynthia Nixon, after she declared herself a democratic socialist. Several dozen DSA members signed a “vote no” statement arguing that universal healthcare and rent control will be won not by electing candidates to office but by “building working-class power that holds [them] accountable,” citing the successful teachers’ strikes in Republican states. As this issue went to press, NYC-DSA chapters were voting on the endorsement.

“We have folks who distrust electoral work, and even among those that don’t, there are different ways of thinking of how to approach it,” says DSA National Director Maria Svart, 38, a former SEIU organizer. “Everybody appreciates that electoral success only comes when you have an organized base. Having all these tendencies in conversation means that everybody learns from each other.”

While the endorsement process varies from chapter to chapter, in some cases—including Lee’s—the first step is filling out a lengthy form with quest ions from each of t he chapter’s working groups. Typically, one is whether the candidate identifies as a socialist. Members weigh that alongside specific policy questions (“Do you support universal rent control? Abolishing the police?”) and a range of other concerns: How much of an impact could the chapter have on the race? How will it build the chapter’s capacity and the movement to challenge the capitalist class?

Next comes the interview process. After filling out Pittsburgh DSA’s questionnaire, Lee was interviewed by a roomful of members. The group voted to endorse both Lee and Sara Innamorato, a state representative candidate, and the two supported one another’s campaigns.

Ocasio-Cortez, in New York, jumped through even more hoops. Because her congressional district spans the Bronx and Queens DSA chapters, she had five interviews: with the electoral committees and membership of each branch, and then the citywide convention. “We put her through hell,” jokes Michael Kinnucan, a DSA member now comanaging the state Senate campaign of Julia Salazar (whom the organization endorsed alongside Ocasio-Cortez in a parallel process).

Abdullah Younus, co-chair of NYC-DSA and a member of DSA’s National Electoral Committee, explains that the extensive endorsement process isn’t just a means of vetting candidates, but of building members’ commitment to them. “It makes it a lot easier to have the same folks who write the questions come out and knock for those candidates,” he says. “They’re talking about work they’re invested in.”

SALAZAR, 28, ESTIMATES THAT SOME 800 DSA MEMbers live in and around her district, which has translated into hundreds of volunteers spreading the word about her September primary. Even in her short time with the group (she joined in late 2016), she’s seen a change in how fellow leftists relate to electoral politics. “I think part of it is people seeing the term ‘democratic socialist’ normalized in the electoral realm, through Bernie mostly, at least initially, and so seeing it as an actually viable strategy,” she told me between knocking doors.

Though she’d worked on legislative campaigns as a staff organizer with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Salazar only recently began to think about electoral work. “It’s not something I ever thought about before—not just for myself, but in seeing leadership development in community organizing as a path toward seizing state power,” she says. “That sounds like a jump, right? But ultimately that’s the goal.”

Thanks in part to the Sanders campaign and Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning upset, that goal feels more within reach now than it has since the days of the Socialist Party’s Eugene Debs. Big, universal programs like a federal job guarantee or Medicare for All draw overwhelming popular support. And small, local races offer an opportunity for the grassroots to tip the balance.

Establishment candidates in Democratic-controlled cities effectively depend on low turnout. Their political consultants tend to rely more on advertising and glossy mailers, and less on actually talking to people—particularly people who don’t usually vote. Mobilizing even a few thousand new voters in that context, then, is a fairly straightforward formula for victory. When DSA member Lee Carter won a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates in November 2017, he beat his Republican opponent by 9 points—a margin of 1,850 votes.

“Our party structure protects incumbency, and relies on an ignorant electorate,” Summer Lee says, noting how much time her campaign spent educating voters about the election itself. “If everybody were voting, we’d have a completely different system.”

Depending on the city, DSA can offer a large, self-organized volunteer base to candidates who navigate its endorsement process. Pittsburgh DSA estimates that its volunteers knocked on some 70,000 doors through the course of Lee’s campaign. Turnout in Lee’s district was 14 percent higher than in others around Allegheny County and 54 percent higher than in the last midterm election.

Still, it’d be nearly impossible for DSA-endorsed candidates for higher offices to make do with only DSA’s support, and they often work alongside other organizations like Justice Democrats, Our Revolution and the Working Families Party—especially for bigger races. Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, for example, convinced OcasioCortez to run and helped staff her campaign, and she gained the backing of Black Lives Matter-Bronx and People for Bernie Sanders, among others. Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign reached 120,000 doors overall.

By being an organization that does much more than campaign for candidates, DSA hopes to upend the notoriously transactional, short-term nature of electoral work, enabling its members and elected officials to build relationships with and commitments to their communities that extend beyond election day. DSA is still figuring out how to build independent political organizations to hold the politicians it helps elect accountable. Thus far they’ve relied on their close ties with dyed-in-the-wool DSA members-turned-candidates like Lee Carter. DSA, Carter says, has “been the core of my support since I’ve been in the legislature. I still go to meetings whenever I can, and they help me get in contact with other groups.”

DSA member, Hawai’i state representative and now U.S. House candidate Kaniela Ing says he hopes that DSA remains “part of an independent Left, and does not get too caught up in electoral and legislative politics”—and that it holds politicians to account, himself included.

“I’m a movement candidate,” Ing says. “Hopefully my role is to help push whatever movements are building over the finish line. Elected officials really like to take too much credit for bills they pass that are really the result of the public waking up and forcing politicians to act.” He says he hopes to have regular check-ins with DSA should he make it to Washington.

ELECTORAL WORK ALSO FEEDS INTO DSA’S OTHER campaigns. Pittsburgh DSA’s membership swelled in the wake of Lee and Innamorato’s wins. “[Email] list building, data tracking, how to talk to people at the doors— that all helps build the muscle that can also help with canvassing for housing justice,” Shuck says.

“When we canvass an area, we’re often knocking a door many times, whether for a candidate, for Medicare for All or for housing justice,” Cohen adds. “At this point, people know us when we come to the door, and they know what DSA is.”

NYC-DSA’s Abdullah Younus sees electoral work as a training ground. He says that canvassers for the New York Health Act, legislation to create a statewide single-payer system, “got skilled on this kind of work by going through the electoral working group.”

For all the recent attention to DSA’s upstart electoral success, it’s only one part of the group’s work nationwide. Many chapters don’t engage at all with elections, or are just starting to think about whether they would like to run candidates. Michael I. Esealuka, co-chair of New Orleans DSA, says, “It would be difficult for us as a small chapter to develop the type of accountability mechanisms we need to hold people [we elect] accountable to our socialist vision.”

Prior to the victories of Carter, Lee and then OcasioCortez, DSA was perhaps best known for agitating to push Medicare for All into the national spotlight—a campaign adopted by delegates from around the country at DSA’s biennial convention in August 2017 as one of three national political priorities, alongside building electoral power and stronger and more militant unions. Forty-five chapters across 20 states held a weekend of action for Medicare for All in April, tabling at farmers’ markets, hosting public events and, as always, canvassing. On the labor front, DSA chapters in West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma raised money for strike funds to support the militant teacher walkouts this spring, and the national DSA sent an email encouraging members around the country to contribute what they could.

Many individual chapters have their own priorities, reflecting local concerns and political climates. Providence DSA, for example, is campaigning for more democratic control over investor-owned electric utilities. New Orleans DSA has focused on base-building work that includes running clinics to help people deal with medical debt, coordinating with the AFL-CIO in developing young rank-and-file labor leaders, and mending broken brake lights, an excuse used by police in the traffic stops that can be “especially perilous and life-disrupting to undocumented immigrants and PoC [people of color],” as the chapter explains on Facebook.

Because there are big DSA chapters in cities with expensive housing stock—Los Angeles, Chicago and the Bay Area, for instance—the fight for affordable housing has emerged as a major priority. “Housing justice is probably the biggest issue in Los Angeles; the homelessness crisis is at a tipping point,” says Arielle Sallai, a member of DSA Los Angeles’ steering committee. DSA-LA and other California chapters are canvassing to pass Proposition 10, an initiative on the ballot in November that would loosen a statewide limit on rent control. Similarly, Chicago DSA is supporting a campaign to overturn Illinois’ rent control ban, with the back ing of A lder man and DSA member Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.

On many issues, including housing and homelessness, DSA chapters are well aware that their members often don’t look like the populations most directly affected. Although DSA does not have up-to-date member demographics, it has historically leaned white and male.

Coalition-building is one way to correct for this. “Housing work is a great chance to be part of a radical coalition and talk to as many individuals as possible,” Sallai says. DSA-LA has teamed up with local groups like the LA Tenants Union that have been working for years against gentrification.

Esealuka, a black woman, is frank about the fact that New Orleans DSA is a majority white organization in a majority black city. “It’s a problem, obviously, but it’s nothing that can’t be overcome,” she says. “It’s not like we have to write DSA off because it’s majority white and majority male. … Because we have 45,000 members [nationwide], we have so much potential to do good in this country. It’s just a matter of being more intentional about embedding ourselves into things that matter to working-class people.”

Noting the high proportion of women taking on leadership roles in her chapter, Esealuka suggests that all chapters equip members with the organizing skills to develop the leadership of women and people of color. Internally, many chapters have also created specific spaces, such as the national Afrosocialist Caucus or Socialist Feminist working groups, for DSA members who aren’t white or male to feel welcome and build community.

THOUGH SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-ILL.) INFAmously said after Ocasio-Cortez’s primary win that socialist politics can’t work in the Midwest, they’ve certainly found an audience in the heartland. Iowa, for instance, has the highest number of DSA chapters per capita of any state. Members in chapters outside of big blue coastal cities may talk about socialism a little differently than their counterparts and run different campaigns, but they agree on the basics of what they’re fighting for. Chapters in blue cities like Denver are quick to say they don’t automatically find a warm reception just because they’re talking to Democrats, and chapters in red or purple states note they don’t necessarily face open hostility. For the past two years, Central Iowa DSA has marched in the state fair parade through Des Moines, flanked by Trump floats and those from local businesses. “You get thumbs up about Medicare for All and everybody needing healthcare,” says cochair Joe Ellerbroek. “You might get a middle finger at an ICE protest every once in a while.”

After decades of socialism being nonexistent in mainstream political debates, however, most people simply are not familiar with the term itself. “I didn’t know I was a democratic socialist when I decided to run, and I didn’t know that this group existed,” says Summer Lee. “I just knew that these policies are policies that we need. When you go to black communities, we really are more inclined to socialism. We don’t always have that language in our communities, but we know that these policies are what’s needed for our communities.”

Asked how they talk about democratic socialism with voters, all seven DSA-endorsed candidates I interviewed offered some variation on the same answer: “I don’t lead with that.”

Ocasio-Cortez says she opts instead to “show people what we’re fighting for. What I talk about is Medicare for All, tuition-free public college and housing as a human right. In my interpretation of what democratic socialism is, it is the fight for a basic level of dignity that our society refuses to violate.”

Ing says, “Usually, when I talk about money in politics or the government not representing us, that transcends any left-right values. Most people see the world from bottom versus top: Are you with us, or them?”

DSA candidates running for office and DSA members knocking doors, then, articulate socialism as a common sense set of practices and beliefs: swearing off corporate donations, supporting big, universal programs that promise to redistribute society’s resources more equitably, and returning decisions to the hands of the people most directly affected. As DSA makes inroads selling the public on the virtues of democratic socialism and infiltrating the halls of power, it will also figure out what to do once it gets there.

For the moment, DSA members and candidates are making the road to a 21st-century American socialism by walking it—and knocking on a few hundred thousand doors along the way.

          A Bold Foreign Policy Platform for the New Wave of Left Lawmakers      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

ACROSS THE COUNTRY, A NEW COHORT OF PROGRESSIVES IS RUNNING FOR—AND WINNING—ELECTIONS. The stunning victory of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic congressional primary in New York is perhaps the most well-known, but she is far from alone. Most of these candidates are young, more than usual are people of color, many are women, several are Muslims, at least one is a refugee, at least one is transgender—and all are unabashedly left. Most come to electoral politics after years of activism around issues like immigration, climate and racism. They come out of a wide range of social movements and support policy demands that reflect the principles of those movements: labor rights, immigrant and refugee rights, women’s and gender rights, equal access to housing and education, environmental justice, and opposition to police violence and racial profiling. Some, though certainly not all, identify not just with the policies of socialism but with the fundamental core values and indeed the name itself, usually in the form of democratic socialism.

Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American woman in Detroit, just won the Democratic primary for the legendary Congressman John Conyers’ seat. Four women, two of them members of Democratic Socialists of America and all four endorsed by DSA, beat their male incumbent opponents in Pennsylvania state house primaries. Tahirah Amatul-Wadud is running an insurgent campaign for Congress against a longstanding incumbent in western Massachusetts, keeping her focus on Medicare-for-All and civil rights. Minnesota State Rep. Ilhan Omar, a former Somali refugee, won endorsement from the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, and is running for Keith Ellison’s former congressional seat as an “intersectional feminist.” And there are more.

Many highlight their movement experience in their campaigns; they are champions of immigrant rights, healthcare, student debt organizing and the fight for $15. Intersectionality has grown stronger, as the extremism of Trump’s right-wing racist assault creates significant new gains in linking separate movements focused on racism, women’s rights, immigrant rights, climate, poverty, labor rights and more.

But mostly, we’re not seeing progressive and socialist candidates clearly link domestic issues with efforts to challenge war, militarism and the war economy. There are a few exceptions: Congressional candidate and Hawaii State Rep. Kaniela Ing speaks powerfully about U.S. colonialism in Hawaii, and Virginia State Rep. Lee J. Carter has spoken strongly against U.S. bombing of Syria, linking current attacks with the legacy of U.S. military interventions. There may be more. But those are exceptions; most of the new left candidates focus on crucial issues of justice at home.

A progressive foreign policy must reject U.S. military and economic domination and instead be grounded in global cooperation, human rights, respect for international law and privileging diplomacy over war.

It’s not that progressive leaders don’t care about international issues, or that our movements are divided. Despite too many common assumptions, it is not political suicide for candidates or elected officials to stake out progressive anti-war, anti-militarism positions. Quite the contrary: Those positions actually have broad support within both our movements and public opinion. It’s just that it’s hard to figure out the strategies that work to connect internationally focused issues, anti-war efforts, or challenges to militarism, with the wide array of activists working on locally grounded issues. Some of those strategies seem like they should be easy—like talking about slashing the 53 cents of every discretionary federal dollar that now goes to the military as the easiest source to fund Medicare-for-all or free college education. It should be easy, but somehow it’s not: Too often, foreign policy feels remote from the urgency of domestic issues facing such crises. When our movements do figure out those strategies, candidates can easily follow suit.

Candidates coming out of our movements into elected office will need clear positions on foreign policy. Here are several core principles that should shape those positions.

A progressive foreign policy must reject U.S. military and economic domination and instead be grounded in global cooperation, human rights, respect for international law and privileging diplomacy over war. That does not mean isolationism, but instead a strategy of diplomatic engagement rather than—not as political cover for—destructive U.S. military interventions that have so often defined the U.S. role in the world.

Looking at the political pretexts for what the U.S. empire is doing around the world today, a principled foreign policy might start by recognizing that there is no military solution to terrorism and that the global war on terror must be ended.

More broadly, the militarization of foreign policy must be reversed and diplomacy must replace military action in every venue, with professional diplomats rather than the White House’s political appointees in charge. Aspiring and elected progressive and socialist office-holders should keep in mind the distinction between the successes and failures of Obama’s foreign policy. The victories were all diplomatic: moving towards normalization with Cuba, the Paris climate accord and especially the Iran nuclear deal. Obama’s greatest failures—in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen—all occurred because the administration chose military action over robust diplomacy.

Certainly, diplomacy has been a tool in the arsenal of empires, including the United States. But when we are talking about official policies governing relations between countries, diplomacy—meaning talking, negotiating and engaging across a table—is always, always better than engaging across a battlefield.

A principled foreign policy must recognize how the war economy has distorted our society at home—and commit to reverse it. The $717 billion of the military budget is desperately needed for jobs, healthcare and education here at home—and for a diplomatic surge and humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to people of countries devastated by U.S. wars and sanctions.

A principled foreign policy must acknowledge how U.S. actions—military, economic and climate-related—have been a driving force in displacing people around the world. We therefore have an enormous moral as well as legal obligation to take the lead in providing humanitarian support and refuge for those displaced—so immigration and refugee rights are central to foreign policy.

For too long the power of the U.S. empire has dominated international relations, led to the privileging of war over diplomacy on a global scale, and created a vast—and invasive—network of 800-plus military bases around the world.

Now, overall U.S. global domination is actually shrinking, and not only because of Trump’s actions. China’s economy is rapidly catching up, and its economic clout in Africa and elsewhere eclipses that of the United States. It’s a measure of the United States’ waning power that Europe, Russia and China are resisting U.S. efforts to impose new global sanctions on Iran. But the United States is still the world’s strongest military and economic power: Its military spending vastly surpasses that of the eight next strongest countries, it is sponsoring a dangerous anti-Iran alliance between Israel and the wealthy Gulf Arab states, it remains central to NATO decision-making, and powerful forces in Washington threaten new wars in North Korea and Iran. The United States remains dangerous.

Progressives in Congress have to navigate the tricky task of rejecting American exceptionalism. That means recognizing that it is often a good thing when U.S. global military and economic efforts fail, because they are generally aimed at maintaining domination and control. Without that U.S. domination, the possibility arises of a new kind of internationalism: to prevent and solve crises that arise from current and potential wars, to promote nuclear disarmament, to come up with climate solutions and to protect refugees.

That effort is increasingly important because of the rapid rise of right-wing xenophobic authoritarians seeking and winning power. Trump is now leading and enabling an informal global grouping of such leaders, from Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to Victor Orban in Hungary and others. Progressive elected officials in the United States can pose an important challenge to that authoritarian axis by building ties with their like-minded counterparts in parliaments and governments—possibilities include Jeremy Corbyn in the United Kingdom and Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, among others. And progressive and leftist members of Congress will need to be able to work together with social movements to build public pressure for diplomatic initiatives not grounded in the interests of U.S. empire.

In addition to these broad principles, candidates and elected officials need critical analyses of current U.S. engagement around the world, as well as nuanced prescriptions for how to de-escalate militarily, and ramp up a new commitment to serious diplomacy.


RUSSIA: Relations with Russia will be a major challenge for the foreseeable future. With 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons in U.S. and Russian hands, and the two powers deploying military forces on opposite sides of active battlefronts in Syria, it is crucial that relations remain open—not least to derail potential escalations and ensure the ability to stand down from any accidental clash.

Progressives and leftists in Congress will need to promote a nuanced, careful approach to Russia policy. And they will face a daunting environment in which to do so. They will have to deal with loud cries from right-wing war-mongers, mainly Republicans, and from neo-con interventionists in both parties, demanding a one-sided anti-Russia policy focused on increased sanctions and potentially even military threats. But many moderate and liberal Democrats—and much of the media—are also joining the anti-Russia crusade. Some of those liberals and moderates have likely bought into the idea of American exceptionalism, accepting as legitimate or irrelevant the long history of U.S. election meddling around the world and viewing the Russian efforts as somehow reaching a whole different level of outrageousness. Others see the anti-Russia mobilization solely in the context of undermining Trump.

But at the same time, progressive Congress members should recognize that reports of Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 and 2018 elections cannot be dismissed out of hand. They should continue to demand that more of the evidence be made public, and condemn the Russian meddling that has occurred, even while recognizing that the most serious threats to our elections come from voter suppression campaignsat home more than from Moscow. And they have to make clear that Trump’s opponents cannot be allowed to turn the president’s infatuation with Vladimir Putin into the basis for a new Cold War, simply to oppose Trump.

CHINA: The broad frame of a progressive approach should be to end Washington’s provocative military and economic moves and encourage deeper levels of diplomatic engagement. This means replacing military threats with diplomacy in response to Chinese moves in the South China Sea, as well as significant cuts in the ramped-up military ties with U.S. allies in the region, such as Vietnam. Progressive and socialist members of Congress and other elected officials will no doubt be aware that the rise of China’s economic dominance across Africa, and its increasing influence in parts of Latin America, could endanger the independence of countries in those parts of the Global South. But they will also need to recognize that any U.S. response to what looks like Chinese exploitation must be grounded in humility, acknowledging the long history of U.S. colonial and neocolonial domination throughout those same regions. Efforts to compete with Chinese economic assistance by increasing Washington’s own humanitarian and development aid should mean directing all funds through the UN, rather than through USAID or the Pentagon. That will make U.S. assistance far less likely to be perceived as—and to be—an entry point for exploitation.

NATO: A progressive position on NATO flies straight into the face of the partisan component of the anti-Trump resistance—the idea that if Trump is for it, we should be against it. For a host of bad reasons that have to do with personal enrichment and personal power, Trump sometimes takes positions that large parts of the U.S. and global anti-war and solidarity movements have long supported. One of those is NATO. During the Cold War, NATO was the European military face of U.S.-dominated Western anti-Communism and anti-Sovietism. With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, peace activists from around the world called for the dissolution of NATO as an anachronistic relic whose raison d’etre was now gone.

Instead, NATO used its 50th anniversary in 1999 to rebrand itself as defending a set of amorphous, ostensibly “Western” values such as democracy, rather than having any identifiable enemy—something like a military version of the EU, with the United States on board for clout. Unable to win UN Security Council support for war in Kosovo, the United States and its allies used NATO to provide so-called authorization for a major bombing campaign—in complete violation of international law—and began a rapid expansion of the NATO alliance right up to the borders of Russia. Anti-war forces across the world continued to rally around the call “No to NATO”—a call to dissolve the alliance altogether.

But when Trump, however falsely, claims to call for an end to the alliance, or shows disdain for NATO, anti-Trump politicians and media lead the way in embracing the military alliance as if it really did represent some version of human rights and international law. It doesn’t—and progressives in elected positions need to be willing to call out NATO as a militarized Cold War relic that shouldn’t be reconfigured to maintain U.S. domination in Europe or to mobilize against Russia or China or anyone else. It should be ended.

In fact, Trump’s claims to oppose NATO are belied by his actions. In his 2019 budget request he almost doubled the 2017 budget for the Pentagon’s “European Deterrence Initiative,” designed explicitly as a response to “threats from Russia.” There is a huge gap between Trump’s partisan base-pleasing condemnation of NATO and his administration&rdqou;s actual support for strengthening the military alliance. That contradiction should make it easier for progressive candidates and officeholders to move to cut NATO funding and reduce its power—not because Trump is against NATO but because the military alliance serves as a dangerous provocation toward war.


What George W. Bush first called “the global war on terror” is still raging almost 17 years later, though with different forms of killing and different casualty counts. Today’s reliance on airstrikes, drone attacks and a few thousand special forces has replaced the hundreds of thousands of U.S. and allied ground troops. And today hardly any U.S. troops are being killed, while civilian casualties are skyrocketing across the Middle East and Afghanistan. Officials from the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations have repeated the mantra that “there is no military solution” in Afghanistan, Syria, or Iraq or against terrorism, but their actions have belied those words. Progressive elected officials need to consistently remind the public and their counterparts that it is not possible to bomb terrorism out of existence. Bombs don’t hit “terrorism”; they hit cities, houses, wedding parties. And on those rare occasions when they hit the people actually named on the White House&rdqou;s unaccountable kill list, or “terrorist” list, the impact often creates more terrorists.

The overall progressive policy on this question means campaigning for diplomatic solutions and strategies instead of military ones. That also means joining the ongoing congressional efforts led by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and others  to challenge the continued reliance on the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

In general, privileging diplomatic over war strategies starts with withdrawing troops and halting the arms sales that flood the region with deadly weapons. Those weapons too often end up in the hands of killers on all sides, from bands of unaccountable militants to brutally repressive governments, with civilians paying the price. Congress members should demand an end of massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other U.S. allies carrying out brutal wars across the Middle East, and they should call for an end to the practice of arming non-state proxies who kill even more people. They should call for a U.S. arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Jordan and Israel (which presents a whole other set of arms-related challenges), while urging Russia to stop its arms sales to Syria, Iran and Pakistan. Given the power of the arms industries in the United States, arms embargoes are the most difficult—but perhaps the most important—part of ending the expanding Middle East wars.

Progressives in Congress should demand real support for UN-sponsored and other international peace initiatives, staffing whole new diplomatic approaches whose goal is political solutions rather than military victories—and taking funds out of military budgets to cover the costs. The goal should be to end these endless wars—not try to “win&rdqou; them.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE: The most important thing for candidates to know is that there has been a massive shift in public opinion in recent years. It is no longer political suicide to criticize Israel. Yes, AIPAC and the rest of the right-wing Jewish, pro-Israel lobbies remain influential and have a lot of money to throw around. (The Christian Zionist lobbies are powerful too, but there is less political difficulty for progressives to challenge them.) But there are massive shifts underway in U.S. Jewish publicopinion on the conflict, and the lobbies cannot credibly claim to speak for the Jewish community as a whole.

Outside the Jewish community, the shift is even more dramatic, and has become far more partisan: Uncritical support for Israel is now overwhelmingly a Republican position. Among Democrats, particularly young Democrats, support for Israel has fallen dramatically; among Republicans, support for Israel’s far-right government is sky-high. The shift is particularly noticeable among Democrats of color, where recognition of the parallels between Israeli oppression of Palestinians and the legacies of Jim Crow segregation in the United States and apartheid in South Africa is rising rapidly.

U.S. policy, unfortunately, has not kept up with that changing discourse. But modest gains are evident even there. When nearly 60 members of the House and Senate openly skipped Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech when he came to lobby Congress to vote against President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, the sky didn’t fall. The snub to the Israeli prime minister was unprecedented, but no one lost their seat because of it. Rep. Betty McCollum’s bill to protect Palestinian children from Israel’s vicious military juvenile detention system (the only one in the world) now has 29 co-sponsors, and the sky still isn’t falling. Members of Congress are responding more frequently to Israeli assaults on Gaza and the killing of protesters, often because of powerful movements among their constituents. When Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz acknowledged the divide: “While members of the Republican Party overwhelmingly expressed support for the move, Democrats were split between those who congratulated Trump for it and those who called it a dangerous and irresponsible action.”

That creates space for candidates and newly elected officials to respond to the growing portion of their constituencies that supports Palestinian rights. Over time, they must establish a rights-based policy. That means acknowledging that the quarter-century-long U.S.-orchestrated “peace process” based on the never-serious pursuit of a solution, has failed. Instead, left and progressive political leaders can advocate for a policy that turns over real control of diplomacy to the UN, ends support for Israeli apartheid and occupation, and instead supports a policy based on international law, human rights and equality for all, without privileging Jews or discriminating against non-Jews.

To progress from cautiously urging that Israel abide by international law, to issuing a full-scale call to end or at least reduce the $3.8 billion per year that Congress sends straight to the Israeli military, might take some time. In the meantime, progressive candidates must prioritize powerful statements condemning the massacre of unarmed protesters in Gaza and massive Israeli settlement expansion, demands for real accountability for Israeli violations of human rights and international law (including reducing U.S. support in response), and calls for an end to the longstanding U.S. protection that keeps Israel from being held accountable in the UN.

The right consistently accuses supporters of Palestinian rights of holding Israel to a double standard. Progressives in Congress should turn that claim around on them and insist that U.S. policy towards Israel—Washington’s closest ally in the region and the recipient of billions of dollars in military aid every year—hold Israel to exactly the same standards that we want the United States to apply to every other country: human rights, adherence to international law and equality for all.

Many supporters of the new crop of progressive candidates, and many activists in the movements they come out of, are supporters of the increasingly powerful, Palestinian-led BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, that aims to bring non-violent economic pressure to bear on Israel until it ends its violations of international law. This movement deserves credit for helping to mainstream key demands—to end the siege of Gaza and the killing of protesters, to support investigations of Israeli violations by the International Criminal Court, to oppose Israel’s new “nation-state’ law—that should all be on lawmakers’ immediate agenda.

AFGHANISTAN: More than 100,000 Afghans and 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed in a U.S. war that has raged for almost 17 years. Not-Yet-President Trump called for withdrawal from Afghanistan, but within just a few months after taking office he agreed instead to send additional troops, even though earlier deployments of more than 100,000 U.S. troops (and thousands more coalition soldiers) could not win a military victory over the Taliban. Corruption in the U.S.-backed and -funded Afghan government remains sky-high, and in just the past three years, the Pentagon has lost track of how $3.1 billion of its Afghanistan funds were spent. About 15,000 US troops are still deployed, with no hope of a military victory for the United States.

Progressive members of Congress should demand a safe withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, acting on the long-held recognition that military force simply won’t work to bring about the political solution all sides claim to want.

Several pending bills also would reclaim the centrality of Congress’ role in authorizing war in general and in Afghanistan in particular—including ending the 2001 AUMF. Funding for humanitarian aid, refugee support, and in the future compensation and reparations for the massive destruction the U.S.-led war has wrought across the country, should all be on Congress’ agenda, understanding that such funding will almost certainly fail while U.S. troops are deployed.

IRAN: With U.S. and Iranian military forces facing each other in Syria, the potential for an unintentional escalation is sky-high. Even a truly accidental clash between a few Iranian and U.S. troops, or an Iranian anti-aircraft system mistakenly locking on to a U.S. warplane plane even if it didn’t fire, could have catastrophic consequences without immediate military-to-military and quick political echelon discussions to defuse the crisis. And with tensions very high, those ties are not routinely available. Relations became very dangerous when Trump withdrew the United States from the multi-lateral nuclear deal in May. (At that time, a strong majority of people in the United States favored the deal, and less than one in three wanted to pull out of it.)

The United States continues to escalate threats against Iran. It is sponsoring a growing regional anti-Iran alliance, with Israel and Saudi Arabia now publicly allied and pushing strongly for military action. And Trump has surrounded himself with war-mongers for his top advisers, including John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, who have both supported regime change in Iran and urged military rather than diplomatic approaches to Iran.

Given all that, what progressive elected officials need to do is to keep fighting for diplomacy over war. That means challenging U.S. support for the anti-Iran alliance and opposing sanctions on Iran. It means developing direct ties with parliamentarians from the European and other signatories to the Iran nuclear deal, with the aim of collective opposition to new sanctions, re-legitimizing the nuclear deal in Washington and reestablishing diplomacy as the basis for U.S. relations with Iran.

It should also mean developing a congressional response to the weakening of international anti-nuclear norms caused by the pull-out from the Iran deal. That means not just supporting the nonproliferation goals of the Iran nuclear deal, but moving further towards real disarmament and ultimately the abolition of nuclear weapons. Progressives in and outside of Congress should make clear that nuclear nonproliferation (meaning no one else gets to have nukes) can’t work in the long run without nuclear disarmament (meaning that the existing nuclear weapons states have to give them up). That could start with a demand for full U.S. compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which calls for negotiations leading to “nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament.”

SYRIA: Progressive candidates and elected officials should support policies designed to end, not “win” the war. That means withdrawing troops, ceasing airstrikes and drone attacks, and calling for an arms embargo on all sides of the multiple proxy war. The civil war component of the multiple wars in Syria is winding down as the regime consolidates its control, but the sectarian, regional and global components of that war have not disappeared, so continuing a call for an arms embargo is still important. The first step is to permanently end the Pentagon’s and the CIA’s “arm and train” policies that have prolonged the war and empowered some of its most dangerous actors.

There will also need to be negotiations between the regional and global actors that have been waging their own wars in Syria, wars that have little to do with Syria itself, but with Syrians doing the bulk of the dying. That means support for the UN’s and other internationally-sponsored de-escalation efforts, and serious engagement with Russia towards a permanent ceasefire, as well as the arms embargo. U.S. policy should include absolute prohibitions on Washington’s regional allies—including Saudi Arabia and Turkey—sending U.S.-provided arms into Syria. And progressive supporters of diplomacy should also maintain pressure on the United States to back multi-lateral diplomatic processes organized by the UN and others—on humanitarian issues in Geneva, and political issues in Astana. Cutting the United States’ multi-billion dollar arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Turkey and other U.S. allies involved in the Syrian wars would also lend legitimacy to U.S. efforts within those diplomatic processes to press Russia to stop providing arms to the Assad regime.

IRAQ: Congress has largely abrogated its responsibilities even as the 15-year war initiated by the United States continues. Progressive policymakers would do well to join the existing efforts to end—not replace, but cancel—the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq, and reopen congressional debate, with the goal of ending funding for war in Iraq once and for all. When President Obama withdrew the last troops from Iraq at the end of 2011, stating that “war in Iraq ends this month,” many assumed that the authorization ended as well. But it was never officially repealed and had no expiration date, and three years later Obama claimed that the then-12-year-old authorization justified the war against ISIS in Iraq. While Trump has relied primarily on the 2001 AUMF, the Iraq-specific authorization of 2002 remains in place and should be withdrawn. 

In the meantime, progressives in Congress should support many of the same policies for Iraq as for Syria: withdraw the troops and special forces, stop the assassination program that is the heart of Washington’s “counter-terrorism” campaign and cease sending arms. Congress should end funding to force the closure of the network of small “forward operating bases” and other U.S. military bases that may remain in U.S. hands in Iraq despite earlier agreements to turn them over to the Iraqi government. The U.S. must figure out new ways to provide financial compensation and support to the people whose country and society has been shredded by more than a dozen years of crippling U.S.-led economic sanctions bookended by two devastating wars (Desert Storm, starting in 1991, and the Iraq War, starting in 2003)—while somehow avoiding the further empowerment of corrupt and sectarian political and military leaders.

YEMEN AND SAUDI ARABIA: The ongoing Saudi-led war against Yemen reflects the most deadly front of Saudi Arabia’s competition with Iran for regional hegemony. The United States is providing indirect and direct support, including U.S. Air Force pilots providing in-air refueling so Saudi and UAE warplanes can bomb Yemen more efficiently, and Green Berets fighting alongside Saudi troops on the border, in what the New York Times called “a continuing escalation of America’s secret wars.”

The U.S.-backed Saudi war against Yemen has also created what the UN has declared the world’s most serious humanitarian crisis. Congress’ first action must be to immediately end all U.S. involvement in the war. Next, Congress must reject all approvals for arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as long as they continue to bomb and blockade Yemen.

Ending these arms sales may be a serious challenge, given the power of the arms manufacturers’ lobby, Israel’s strong support of Saudi Arabia against Iran and the fact that Saudi Arabia remains the top U.S. arms customer. But recent efforts and relatively close votes in both the House and Senate, while not successful, indicate that challenging the longstanding process of providing the Saudis with whatever weapons they want may be closer to reality than anticipated. The House called the U.S. military involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen “unauthorized.” Reps. Ro Khanna, Marc Pocan and others have introduced numerous House bills in recent months aimed at reducing U.S. arms sales and involvement in the Saudi-led assault. In the Senate, a March resolution to end U.S. military involvement in the Yemen war failed by only 11 votes, a much narrower margin than anticipated. Progressive candidates and new members of Congress should support all those efforts, and move further with a call for ending the longstanding U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia, especially military sales and support for the Saudi-Israeli partnership against Iran.


NORTH KOREA: Progressive elected officials will need to support Trump’s diplomatic initiatives, challenging mainstream Democrats willing to abandon diplomacy because Trump supports it (however tactically or temporarily). Progressives will also need to condemn U.S. military provocations that undermine that same diplomacy, and build public and congressional support for the inter-Korean diplomatic moves already underway. That should include pushing for exemptions in the U.S.-imposed sanctions that would allow inter-Korean economic and other initiatives to go forward. Progressives in Congress can also play a major role in supporting people-to-people diplomacy with North Korea, and they can lead the way in replacing the current armistice with a peace treaty finally ending the Korean War.

AFRICA: Across the continent, there is an urgent need to reverse the militarization of foreign policy, including reducing the size, breadth of responsibilities and theater of operations of AFRICOM.  The wide-ranging but unauthorized and largely secretive special operations and other military actions across the continent violate not only international law, but U.S. domestic law as well.

LATIN AMERICA: In Latin America, there is an urgent need for a new anti-interventionist policy, not least to stop the current attempts to take advantage of serious domestic crises in Venezuela, Nicaragua and elsewhere. Progressives will need to challenge the U.S. economic and foreign policies that create refugees from Central America in particular (including the consequences of the U.S. wars of the 1980s), even while fighting to protect those migrants seeking safety in the United States as a result of those earlier policies. Regarding Mexico, Congress needs to fight for a U.S. position in trade negotiations that is not based on economic nationalism, but rather on making sure that Mexican workers and U.S. workers are both equally lifted up. Left policymakers will also have the chance to play a leading role in forging a new relationship with Mexico’s just-elected progressive President Lopez-Obrador. 

All of the areas where U.S. wars are or were underway, as well as places where U.S. economic and climate policies have helped create crises threatening people’s lives, also become areas from which migrants are forced to flee their homes. U.S. policymakers must acknowledge that U.S. policies are direct causes of the refugee crises that exist in and around the war zones and climate crisis zones of the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere—and that the refugees seeking asylum in Europe, and the far fewer trying to come to the United States, are a consequence of those policies. So progressive candidates and policymakers should support massive expansion of funding for these victims of war, including humanitarian support in their home regions and acceptance of far greater numbers of refugees into the United States. They must directly challenge the xenophobic policies of the Trump administration that include the Muslim Ban, the separation of children from their families at the border and the vast reduction in refugees accepted into this country. In Congress, that might include introducing bills to cut funding for ICE or eliminate the institution altogether.

Finally, progressive candidates and elected officials will need to continue to craft policy proposals that recognize what happens when the U.S. wars come home. This requires more voices in Congress challenging the military budget because it’s used to kill people abroad and because the money is needed for jobs, health care and education at home. It means challenging Islamophobia rising across the United States because of how it threatens Muslims in the United States and because it is used to build support for wars against predominantly Muslim countries. It means exposing—on the floor of the House and beyond—the fact that the Muslim bans targeted primarily countries the United States was bombing, sanctioning or stationing soldiers in. And it means being clear that protecting refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants has to include ending the wars that create refugees in the first place.

Certainly, we shouldn’t expect every progressive or even every socialist running for national office to become an instant expert on every complicated piece of U.S. foreign policy. And for those running for state and local office, there may seem to be even less urgency. But we’ve seen how the Poor People’s Campaign, with its inclusion of militarism and the war economy as one of its four central targets (along with racism, poverty and environmental destruction), has demonstrated to all of our movements the importance of—and a model for—including an anti-war focus within multi-issue state and local mobilizations. The Movement for Black Lives has created one of the strongest internationalist and anti-war platforms we’ve seen in years—including calls for cutting the military budget, supporting Palestinian rights, stopping the Global War on Terror and the so-called War on Drugs, ending the militarized U.S. interventions across Africa, and linking U.S. military and economic policies with the rise in Haitian and other—predominantly Black—immigration.

Immigrant rights activists are linking movements for sanctuary (and against ICE) with opposition to the wars that create refugees. Campaignsare underway to reject the training of U.S. police by Israeli police and military forces. Battles are being waged to get local law enforcement agencies to refuse Pentagon offers of weapons and equipment left over from U.S. wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere. These campaigns all play out at the local and state level.

So especially for those running for Congress, but really for all candidates at every political level and venue in this country, there is a clear need for a strong, principled position on at least a few key foreign policy issues. And the key to making that happen still lies with our movements.

          Hope n' Change: A Dimly Remembered History      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
obama, obama jokes, political, humor, cartoon, conservative, hope n' change, hope and change, stilton jarlsberg, history, origin, earwigs, red meat, archive
Harp glissandos are more magical when you don't see who's playing them.
As Hope n' Change wraps up 8 years of publication, it seems like a good time to take a nostalgic stroll down memory lane - the better to answer the question that is on so many lips: "What the hell were you thinking?!"

As preamble, I'll say that for my entire adult life I've earned my living by writing comedy in various forms - for radio, television, print, and even film. Long before Obama was on the horizon, one of my favorite gigs was writing topical comedy punchlines every evening which would then be faxed to radio DJ's nationwide to use on their morning shows to prove they were spontaneous and witty.

Around the same time, to keep my writing skills in practice I started taking odd pieces of old black & white clipart and adding multiple goofy captions. I called those cartoons (never published anywhere) "Earwigs" as a tribute to the nightmarish insects which are alleged to crawl into people's ears, burrow into their brains, and cause madness. Because that's the sort of thing I find funny.

This is an Earwig cartoon. It may or may not be laying eggs in your brain.

I liked playing with the clipart because, while I loved to doodle, I wasn't really a terrific cartoonist...

But if I'd drawn this with my foot, you'd be impressed - right?
One of my favorite comic strips at the time (2008) was the wonderfully dark and demented "Red Meat" by Max Cannon. His highly stylized, retro-look characters would change very little (if at all) from frame to frame, and the comedy all came from the writing.

To my delight, I discovered that the Red Meat website allowed users to try making their own comic strips by selecting the characters and giving them dialogue. Here are a few of my early efforts (none of which are any sicker than the actual comic strip):

Yes, I could genuinely enjoy writing this kind of thing all day.
That's when I had an epiphany (or maybe it was scotch): I could assemble my own cast of distinctive characters from properly licensed clipart and do a comic strip! With a little investigation, I discovered the program "ComicLife" which made it easy to drag and drop from a library of images and add word balloons.

But what should be my subject? On something of a lark (little knowing how much time I'd eventually devote to giving others the bird), I decided on "Hope n' Change" - inspired by the still fresh and singularly idiotic presidential victory of Barack Hussein Obama.

Seriously, the man won based on preposterously meaningless slogans like "Yes We Can," "Hope and Change," and "We are the ones we've been waiting for." He had no successful track record of legislation or management, and for those who bothered to read his autobiographies (which didn't include the news media), he had an exalted view of himself and a dim view of America.

With a complete lack of understanding how blogging works, I published the first cartoons under the Hope n' Change banner in January, 2009. Not every cartoon that week was political - although this one was...

My choice of retro artwork was more than just a nod to "Red Meat." It was intended to echo the unsubtle "black and white" campaign promises which Obama had made and the American people had fallen for. Additionally, I liked the contrast between the nostalgic "classic Americana" look and the radical social upheaval being pushed by the Democrats.

By February 2009, I'd (barely) figured out what I was doing and began a daily publication schedule. That's right, 7 times a week...

Actually, that daily schedule was pretty easy to maintain because I was publishing just the cartoon with maybe an occasional sentence or two to go with it. No editorials. No comments to read or respond to. And, uh, no readership.

The first real surge in online views came after the conservative blog site Sondrakistan (called "SondraK" at the time) gave us a good review and suggested that their readers pay us a visit. From there, readership grew slowly but steadily thanks to word of mouth and a growing public awareness that, with Barack Obama in charge, we were in real trouble...

Over the course of a year I started adding more editorial content to go with the cartoons; I wanted to get the laugh, but also had more that I wanted to say. Moreover, Mrs. Jarlsberg (who is wise in all things) encouraged more editorializing because it made the strip more engaging for people - as did the addition of an open comments section.

Due to the extra work (cartoons are easy, wordification is hard), publication of Hope n' Change was cut to 5 days a week, then (in 2012 or so) 3 days a week.

The goal, however, always remained the same: to give conservatives a laugh and some hope that we could eventually get Barack Obama out of office and wrest control of Congress out of the filthy, spider-like hands of the Democrats. And by this time, the fight was getting serious...

Around this time, I started adding color to a number of the strips. It was a break from the classic look - but one I hoped would make the cartoons more appealing to a broader readership...

Over time, I then made the jump to frequently using actual photographs of people in the news, though I never completely dropped the black and white retro images of the coffee couple, chicken-boy, bear & cow, and other characters who remained (and still remain) dear to my odd little heart...

When Barry was eventually elected to a second term, it was a personal blow...

And alcohol was still available in stores.
I had never intended to make an unpaid career out of Hope n' Change, but the cause seemed more important than ever. Not that I ever had any illusions about how much impact I was making with the blog's modest (but highly intelligent and stunningly attractive) number of readers. 

Of course, there was always the hope that the site would magically go viral (Rush Limbaugh, would it have killed you to give me a shout out?) - but in times of need, real Americans pitch in and do what they can, big jobs or small. And if my job was to be the Rosie the Riveter of online conservative comic strips, I was happy to serve until the scourge of Barry's administration was finally over...

And we've also seen a lot of people who belong BEHIND bars.
And the rest, as they say, is history - or at least, soon will be history as we prepare the transition from an active blog to a lovingly preserved archival site in which Obama and his dishonorable band of scoundrels will always be roasting on our eternal flame.

On Friday, I'll be back with some closing remarks and personal thoughts on this long, crazy experience we've shared. See you then! - Stilton

          Forgive Is Forgot      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
obama, obama jokes, political, humor, cartoon, conservative, hope n' change, hope and change, stilton jarlsberg, trump, inauguration, donnel, protests
In lieu of flowers, send angry tweets and unfriend people on Facebook.
The cartoon above, created decades ago by Stilton's father, seems particularly apt at this volatile moment in time. On Friday, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as President of the United States with an historically low approval rating and rabid, foam-dribbling opposition from those on the Left.

Congressman John Lewis, among 40 or so other elected Democratic plantation owners, will be skipping the inauguration to protest John Podesta's inability to understand that "password" is not a secure password. Entertainers are running for cover rather than have their names (and careers, if any) forever associated with the Inaugural festivities. New York mayor Bill de Blasio will even spend Inauguration Day taking part in a protest staged at Trump's NY City International Hotel, linking arms with liberal chowderheads like Alec Baldwin and Michael "Are you going to finish that pie?" Moore.

And this is all before Trump's first day in office.

In the past, Inauguration Day was a celebration of the American Way as much as the simple transfer of power to a new President. A time for people of all political persuasions to come together, however briefly, to give the new guy a chance. A honeymoon period which the Right has always granted the Left, even when unqualified radical community organizers with vaguely terrorist-sounding names are sworn into office solely on the basis of being "clean" and having perfectly creased pants.

But not this time. It seems there are indelible battle lines drawn already and the zeitgeist is about to hit the fan with a loud and foul-smelling splat.

On Friday, Hope n' Change predicts we'll see the official kick-off of a four year (at least) culture war unlike anything which has come before. A clash not predicated on policies or even reality, but rather on ideology and blind emotion. The coasts versus flyover country, and the over-educated versus the overlooked. We would metaphorically suggest that it will be like previous manifestations of the Left on meth, only we're not at all sure that they weren't already on meth.

Editorially speaking, this would be the perfect spot for us to insert solemn words intended to heal our national rifts and call for unity, tolerance, and mutual understanding. But, and we can't emphasize this point strongly enough, screw that.

Whether they like it or not, it is these same strident Leftists who bear the responsibility for Donald Trump's election. For that reason alone, they should try to just shut the hell up for a little while and reflect on the fact that the "monster" to which they so stridently object is of their own creation.

Tweets we wish were real.

We'll admit we're a little confused. Obama has recently been telling us that our entire system of democracy has been undermined by the theft of secrets which ended up on Wikileaks.  Which is why it's so puzzling that Barry has just commuted the 35-year espionage sentence of Private Bradley Manning (now "Chelsea Manning" through the politically popular miracle of gender reassignment) for the theft of secrets which ended up on Wikileaks.

Rather than struggle to ascertain the president's baffling reasoning in making this anti-security decision, Hope n' Change is instead going with Occam's Razor: we think he did it because he's an asshole.

          Presentazione di “IL MATTINO SOTTO LA PIOGGIA” di Stefania Barbetta (Italic, 2018).      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Lunedì 13 agosto 2018, davanti al Palazzo dei Congressi di Riccione, per il IV FESTIVAL DELLE STORIE E DELLE ARTI
Pubblicato da: Giancarlo Garoia - RETERICERCA

          Comment on Julian Assange To Tell Congress Who Really Leaked DNC Emails by clarioncaller      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
These DC Swamp-creatures are worried about who opened the barn door, when the horse that got out won the Triple Crown. We all know that everything exposed was true because nobody ever challenged the emails as fake. They just wanted to bury the story.
          How many people died in Hurricane Maria?       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

How many people died in Hurricane Maria? It's a question we've been asking, and getting vague answers to, ever since the storm ended. The government of Puerto Rico has now revealed that many more people died in Hurricane Maria and its aftermath than was originally reported. The death toll from the storm on September 20, 2017 was suspected to be magnitudes higher than the official count of 64. A report to Congress, released today, confirmed that suspicion.

How many people died in Hurricane Maria?

So, how many people died in Hurricane Maria? In the report, which requests $139 million in recovery funds, the Puerto Rico government says that it's likely 1,427 people died in Hurricane Maria — 20 times higher than the original estimate.

“Although the official death count from the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety was initially 64, the toll appears to be much higher,” said the report, titled “Transformation and Innovation in the Wake of Devastation.” It adds: "According to initial reports, 64 lives were lost. That estimate was later revised to 1,427.”

The official count of how many people died in Hurricane Maria might be higher still. To arrive at it, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has commissioned a study from George Washington University’s school of public health.

"We definitely acknowledge this is a realistic estimate,” said Pedro Cerame, a spokesman for the Puerto Rican government’s Federal Affairs Administration, in the report to Congress. “We don’t want to say it out loud or publicize it as an official number. The official number will come, and it could be close. But until we see the study, and have the accuracy, we won’t be able to recognize the number as official.”

Last September, the category 4 Hurricane Maria was the strongest storm to make landfall in more than 80 years, battering an island that had not recovered from the recent Hurricane Irma. Power was knocked out to almost all of the island, which took months to repair in some cases. The government was criticized for underestimating the number of deaths. In the following weeks, there were reports that people died without access to lifesaving medications or technology but were not being counted.

          Turkey’s diplomatic crisis is hastening an economic one      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

WHEN members of America’s Congress passed the Magnitsky Act in 2012 to pursue Kremlin officials responsible for the death of a Russian whistleblower, and even when they extended it to include foreigners involved in corruption and human-rights violations, few of them imagined the law would ever be used against the government of a NATO ally.

Yet that is precisely what happened on August 1st, when the US Treasury Department imposed an asset freeze on two senior Turkish officials, the ministers of justice and the interior, over their role in the prolonged detention of an American pastor. True to form, Turkey responded by announcing sanctions against two members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet. Both sides, including Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, suggested that they would find a way out of the crisis, but the markets seem to think otherwise. The Turkish currency set record lows against the dollar for six consecutive days, while the yield on government bonds reached a new high,...

          High suspense in Brazil’s general election      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

IF BRAZILIAN politics were a telenovela, the general election in October would make for a riveting finale. A motley cast of suitors is vying for the hand of a disappointed electorate. They include an old flame, who is pressing his suit from a jail cell, a swain who has all the attributes brides normally want but is a bit of a bore, and a rascal who promises excitement and danger. Unlike the plots of past political dramas, this one is building up to an ending that is impossible to guess.

That is because this election, in which voters will choose Brazil’s president, all members of the lower house of congress and two-thirds of the 81-seat senate, plus governors and legislators in the 26 states and the capital, is different from any that has come before. The voters are more disgusted than at any time since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985. More than a quarter are undecided, an unusually high share just two months before the first round on October 7th; 31% say they might spoil their...

          Iván Duque takes charge in Colombia      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

A GUST of wind struck the Plaza Bolívar in Bogotá while Iván Duque was sworn in as Colombia’s president on August 7th. During his inauguration speech, delivered on a massive stage thronged with Latin American presidents and other dignitaries, a man struggled to shield him from a light rain with an umbrella. Seeking to banish the bitterness of a polarised election campaign, Mr Duque promised to “govern Colombia with a spirit of construction, never destruction”.

That was not the tone used by Ernesto Macías, the president of congress, who introduced Mr Duque and administered the oath. Mr Macías, a member of Mr Duque’s Democratic Centre party, attacked the former president, Juan Manuel Santos, and vowed to modify the agreement that in 2016 ended a 52-year war with the FARC guerrilla group.

The contrast illustrates the main political difficulty that the new president will face: keeping the support of his party, which is militantly opposed to the peace accord, while...

          Peterson urges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to grant a permit to begin work on the Beltrami Island land trail connection and public facilities projects      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

WASHINGTON – Congressman Collin C. Peterson called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to grant a special work permit in order for construction to begin on the Beltrami Island State Forest LUP lands trail connection and other public facilities projects in Grygla/Fourtown area.

After hearing concerns from area sportsmen’s clubs, including the Fourtown Grygla Sportsmans Club, Congressman Peterson has spent months working with sportsmen and state and federal agencies on a plan to complete a section of trail that had previously been washed out due to flooding in the Roseau River. Completion of the trail connection was further complicated due to overlapping Federal and State management of these lands in the Beltrami Island State Forest. After months of negotiations, the project is finally moving forward following a land exchange deal between the Minnesota DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Finalizing this trail connection will be a boon to the area sportsmen’s clubs, and would allow for the area’s natural resources to be properly utilized by those who are most invested in them and their care,” Peterson states in the letter.

The Congressman’s letter can be read below:

Director Tom MeliusMidwest Regional DirectorU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service5600 American Blvd. West, Ste. 990Bloomington, MN, 55437-1458

August 8th, 2018

Dear Director Melius,

I am writing today to follow up on our on-going discussions regarding the finalization of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land exchange and the completion of the trail section in the Beltrami Island State Forest LUP lands. Finalizing this trail connection will be a boon to the area sportsmen’s clubs, and would allow for the area’s natural resources to be properly utilized by those who are most invested in them and their care.

It is my understanding that DNR and FWS have agreed on the parcels and the process to move forward, including about 383 acres, which will be transferred to the state from LUP. As this process moves forward, I am requesting that FWS grant a special use permit to begin work on the trail connection, as well as the Winner Silo Toilet, which is also part of the deal under consideration, concurrent with the completion of the exchange. This will allow local Parks and Trails staff, as well as area sportsmen’s clubs, to begin work on the projects that have underpinned this agreement.

I appreciate your understanding and continued work on this matter. Once completed, this project will be a great benefit to the many sportsmen and women in the region who care for and utilize our great natural resources we have in northern Minnesota.


          Harper: Air Force Cuts Could Hurt Northwest Florida      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the proposal by the U.S. Air Force to reduce its active-duty force by 22,500 or 7 percent in 2014. The more aggressive one-year reduction plan compares to previously announced plans to reduce the force by about 25,000 over five years. “That of course is not happy news for Northwest Florida,” says Harper, who notes that over half of the active-duty military personnel in the state are based in the Northwest from Pensacola to Panama City. And, with Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, Okaloosa County is the most-densely populated military jobs county in the state. Harper references comments by Congressman Jeff Miller that the cuts won’t hit Northwest Florida hard, given the missions that are based here including Special Ops, the F-35 training program, and weapons testing. Also, the January ADP Jobs report is out and shows an estimated reduction in the rate of jobs growth for the month. The report shows the private sector added
          Harper: Air Force Cuts Could Hurt Northwest Florida      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the proposal by the U.S. Air Force to reduce its active-duty force by 22,500 or 7 percent in 2014. The more aggressive one-year reduction plan compares to previously announced plans to reduce the force by about 25,000 over five years. “That of course is not happy news for Northwest Florida,” says Harper, who notes that over half of the active-duty military personnel in the state are based in the Northwest from Pensacola to Panama City. And, with Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, Okaloosa County is the most-densely populated military jobs county in the state. Harper references comments by Congressman Jeff Miller that the cuts won’t hit Northwest Florida hard, given the missions that are based here including Special Ops, the F-35 training program, and weapons testing. Also, the January ADP Jobs report is out and shows an estimated reduction in the rate of jobs growth for the month. The report shows the private sector added
          08/09 Links Pt2: A homicidal Jew-hatred is going viral, again; Son of Imam Linked to WTC Bombing and Linda Sarsour, Ran Jihad Camp, Allegedly Trained Children to Shoot Up Schools      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
From Ian:

A homicidal Jew-hatred is going viral, again
The culture of suspicion against Jews circulates now in a country that had not participated in the Holocaust, , which did not have ghettos, but where today for a mixture of Thirdworldism, consistent Islamic electoral interests, anti-colonial madness out of maximum time and anti-Zionism practiced by the progressive elites, the English citizens of Jewish origin today no longer feel at ease.

The previous day there was the indictment of an imam of Copenhagen who in a sermon invited the faithful to kill the Jews. The day before there was the reconstruction of the history of the Imam of the Great Mosque in Toulouse, also guilty of having invited the faithful to get rid of the Jews.

Previously, there was a pan-European flotilla of solidarity to Hamas and Gaza which stopped in many Italian ports. Also a law in the Senate of Ireland which sanctions with prison those who import post-1967 Israeli goods.

And then the launch of hundreds of missiles on the Israeli houses in the south. And then the threats of elimination of the Jewish people coming from the spiritual father of Iran, Ali Khamenei.

And we do not stop here, since the last few weeks have seen nothing short of attacks on Jews in the cities of Germany and France.
Watchdog Group Sues US Government to Obtain Records of BDS Groups Under Obama Administration
A conservative watchdog group has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense over Obama-era records pertaining to anti-Israel BDS groups.

Judicial Watch filed the FOIA lawsuit in order to obtain records from 2015 of groups affiliated with BDS movement, which lobbied “the Obama administration to adopt policies to harm companies doing business with Israel,” the group said in a statement.

The lawsuit occurred “after all three agencies failed to respond to nearly identical April 23, 2018, FOIA requests,” the organization explained.

“Americans deserve to know if the Obama-era agenda of supporting anti-Israel radicals in subverting US law is ongoing,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These entrenched bureaucrats of the Deep State clearly require lawsuits to compel observance of FOIA law.”

The lawsuit states, despite Obama signing the 2015 Trade Enforcement Act, “the Customs and Border Protection Bureau restated the West Bank Country of Origin Marking Requirement rules requiring labeling of goods as being from the ‘West Bank,’ despite the fact that it is not a sovereign country,” reported Judicial Watch.

The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) applauded the move by Judicial Watch.
Israeli Air Force Gets First-Ever Female Squadron Commander
The Israeli Air Force has appointed the first female squadron commander in its 70-year history.

According to Israel’s Channel Two, the commander, who for security reasons is referred to only as “G.,” will be promoted to lieutenant colonel and put charge of the 122nd Squadron, known as “Nachshon.” The squadron is composed of planes specifically geared toward intelligence gathering.

The 34-year-old G. has been active in the Air Force since 2003, and has served in several command positions, including deputy commander of the “Nachshon” Squadron itself.

G. — currently a major — said that she was “happy with the appointment,” which she called “a great privilege alongside a great responsibility.”

“The real work is ahead of me,” she added. “I’m proud to serve in the Air Force.”

Son of Imam Linked to WTC Bombing Kept Children in 'Filthy' Compound, Allegedly Trained Them to Shoot Up Schools
Horrifying details emerged on Wednesday in the case of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the son of an imam linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, who was arrested in New Mexico on charges of keeping 11 starving children in a filthy compound. According to court documents filed by prosecutors, Wahhaj was training the children to carry out school shootings.

Prosecutors asked the judge to hold Wahhaj without bond for felony child abuse. He is also the subject of an extradition warrant from Georgia on charges of kidnapping his own son from the state in December. His son was not among the starving children rescued from the compound. There are fears the remains of an as-yet unidentified child found at the compound could be Wahhaj’s son.

Prosecutors said on Wednesday that Wahhaj and four accomplices possessed an AR-15 rifle and four pistols with ample ammunition and were training the children to commit school shootings.

Wahhaj’s father, who was born under the name Jeffrey Kearse but now also uses the name “Siraj Wahhaj,” is an imam in New York who was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He served as a character witness in the trial of mastermind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, also known as the “Blind Sheikh.”

The New York Post reported on Monday that the elder Wahhaj is currently the head of the Majid at-Taqwa mosque in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The other defendants in the compound case are the younger Siraj Wahhaj’s wife, his two sisters, and his brother-in-law.

Palestinians celebrate relative's victory in U.S. Congressional race
Sharing smiles and hugs, the extended family of Rashida Tlaib, who is set to become the first Muslim woman to join the US Congress, celebrated her election victory in the courtyard of their West Bank house on Wednesday.

The oldest of 14 children born to a family of Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib is a Detroit native. Her father worked at a Ford Motor Company plant in the city, home of the US car industry, and she became the first Muslim woman elected to the state legislature.

On Tuesday, she won her district's Democratic nomination for Michigan's 13th Congressional district, encompassing parts of Detroit and surrounding suburbs and home to one of the largest Muslim and Arab-American populations in the United States.

Since no one ran in the Republican primary, Tlaib is poised to win the seat.
Nick Cohen: The old left and the new anti-Semitism
Only the handful of Jews who have stuck with the far left believe that now. There are abundent examples of Labour members endorsing racism. The supernatural Jew of Nazi Europe has been reinvented by the left. The Jew is now ‘the Zionist’: the sinister force behind 9/11, the Iraq War, the banking crisis and attacks on the beloved leader.

This sounds like fascism. The convergence between the extremes should not hide the fact that the disgrace of the British Labour party flows from distinctly left-wing sources that threaten the German and wider European left.

The first is failure to come to terms with the crimes of communism. Corbyn was a regular writer for Britain’s communist newspaper, the Morning Star. His chief adviser, the upper-class socialist Seumas Milne, defended the old GDR. The racism on the British left, in its content and tone, dates back to Stalin’s almost forgotten ‘anti-Zionist campaigns,’ at the time of the Slansky trial and ‘doctors’ plot’. I have no doubt that if Corbyn and his allies were Germans, they would be in Die Linke.

There is a second factor. After the fall of communism, the dominant section of the British far left preferred to make common cause with radical Islam or the secular Middle Eastern dictatorships of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad than to make their peace with liberal democracy. Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories did them no harm for decades. In Britain, as in Germany, Jews are a tiny minority. The far larger Muslim minority is a key part of Labour’s base now. Although it is a libel to say that all British Muslims are anti-Semitic, it is a statement of fact that the Islamist groups who back Corbyn are reactionary on all questions including Judaism. In any case, because Britain never experienced communism or fascism there is little understanding here about what anti-Semitism is and how dictatorial movements from the Tsarists to Islamic State have used it to attack liberal values.

Let me end with a warning. Labour under Corbyn has avoided the collapse in support that has afflicted social democratic parties across Europe. Corbyn’s acolytes are now telling German social democrats to follow his example. Let the shameful state of the once proudly anti-fascist Labour party stand as a warning to them. They may win more votes. But they will never produce a centre-left politics worth having.
Britain’s Labor Party Is Now the Party of Anti-Semitism
Since the hard-left parliamentarian Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015, the UK’s Labor party has seen near-continuous anti-Semitic outbursts by its members and revelations of Corbyn’s own association with vicious Israel-haters, coupled with several ostensible attempts to set things right which proved to be shams. Most recently, the party has disciplined two MPs for complaining about anti-Semitism. Tamara Berens concludes that this is far more than a passing problem:

Many focus on the question of whether Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite himself. He may or may not be. However, his deliberate actions to reject the Jewish community’s concerns, silence his moderate Labor detractors, and pedal anti-Zionism as central to his political image show that he is more than happy to utilize anti-Semitism for political purposes.

Anti-Zionism—and by extension, giving credence to anti-Semites—is fundamental to the worldview Corbyn has cultivated on his journey to political stardom. For most of his political career, Corbyn was a fringe socialist politician and supporter of the USSR, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, the Iranian ayatollahs, and the Venezuela of Nicolas Maduro [and Hugo Chavez]. After becoming Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn toned down some of this support for radical anti-Western groups. Nonetheless, he has consistently maintained his support for anti-Zionist causes. What’s undoubtable is that throughout his career, his ultimate goal has remained the same: rejecting Western values and embracing the alliance between radical socialists and Islamists in a strategic bid to normalize and implement socialism in the UK.

Politically, Corbyn’s strategy is working: according to a recent YouGov poll, 61 percent of the party believes Corbyn is handling accusations of anti-Semitism well. And 80 percent of the party deems him a good leader overall. The events of the past few weeks indicate that the Labor leadership has been able to build on their apparent success to . . . distance themselves from the overwhelmingly Zionist British-Jewish community. This perhaps became most apparent last Friday, when Jeremy Corbyn published another article in the Guardian disregarding his part in normalizing anti-Semitism in the party. The piece came out at 5:00pm, when the majority of Jews in the country were busy preparing for the Sabbath.

Jeremy Corbyn and the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories of a “Very Honoured Citizen”
In one of his bids to escape the antisemitism crisis engulfing the Labour party, last Friday Jeremy Corbyn offered this line in The Guardian:

Labour staff have seen examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one individual who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.

Mr Corbyn should know all about 9/11 conspiracy bunkum. He has been an enthusiastic champion of Raed Salah, one of the notable peddlers.

Raed Salah is the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. It is close to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Salah visited the UK in 2011, planning to speak alongside MPs as part of his tour, including Mr Corbyn.
UK Labour MP under fire for accusing Israel of ‘genocide’ in Gaza in 2012
A senior lawmaker in the British Labour party has come under fire after a 2012 video surfaced that saw him claiming Israel was attempting to commit “genocide” against the Palestinians.

The opposition party, which has been mired in an ongoing anti-Semitism scandal, defended John McDonnell after the clip was published by the Daily Telegraph.

McDonnell is the UK’s shadow chancellor of the exchequer, having been appointed to the post in 2015 by Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been repeatedly been accused of being soft on anti-Semitism among his party members.

In the video, taken in November 2012 during a round of violence between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip known as Operation Pillar of Defense, McDonnell said: “Nobody can speak without expressing some form of solidarity with the people of Gaza … as the children are murdered and the bombs are flying from Israel.”

“I think it’s absolutely critical now that we use every platform we can to expose what’s going on, which is effectively an attempt at genocide against the Palestinians,” he charged at a far-left rally organized by the Unite the Resistance organization.
Extremist-Linked Assad Fan Lord Sheikh and His Zionist-Bashing Group
Sheikh is on the record publicly praising the controversial group the Al Muntada Trust. The group faced scrutiny after fears were raised that its funds had ended up with Boko Haram extremists. It has been linked to a series of anti-Semitic, homophobic and extremist preachers. In the video above, Lord Sheikh calls the group “marvellous”…

Then there is Lord Sheikh’s praise for the East London Mosque. Sheikh said:

“I would certainly commend the Mosque and Centre: not only do you provide a place of worship, but you provide a holistic service and more importantly the empowerment for women.”

Once again, the East London Mosque has well-known and established links to a series of misogynistic and homophobic speakers.

It gets worse. Lord Sheikh has links to the hugely controversial Interal charity, which was investigated by the Charity Commission over its links to Hamas.
Birthright co-founder: Don't criticize Israel on our nickel
Birthright Israel co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Charles Bronfman said on Wednesday that young Jews are free to criticize Israel, but not while enjoying a free trip, JTA reported.

“If people want to call Israel names and say bad things about the country, they certainly have the right to free speech. But they don’t have the right to do it on our nickel,” he was quoted as having told Haaretz in an interview.

His comments came after at least two groups of American Jews visiting Israel on the 10-day trip left the tour to join leftists groups on visits to Palestinian Arabs. The walk-offs reportedly were encouraged by the leftist American-Jewish group IfNotNow.

The young Jews who walked off the trip and some others who remain on them are critical of what they say is Birthright’s failure to deal with Israel’s alleged “occupation” of Judea and Samaria. Some have complained that maps handed out to participants do not draw a proper distinction between Israel and Judea and Samaria.

Bronfman said in his interview with Haaretz that participants on Birthright can extend their trip and join any kind of group they want or travel on their own to areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

“If they want to go to the West Bank or Gaza, they are certainly free to go,” he was quoted as having told Haaretz.

“What is not fair is making a big tzimmes while the trip is on. Frankly, I just don’t think that is fair to their fellow participants,” added Bronfman.
Another Jump the Shark Moment from JVP
The latest email from Jewish Voice for Peace's Deputy Directory Stefanie Fox may be a jump the shark moment for the anti-Israel group. The subject line reads "Why is the ADL training ICE in Israel?" Maybe Stefanie is secretly hoping you don't bother to read the rest of her offering. (Spoiler alert: they aren't)

Stephanie claims ICE has been learning techniques and tools from the Israeli military. She doesn't care if Peter Edge was in Israel studying cyber-security or attempting to learn from Israel's remarkable sucess at curtailing human trafficking. If it involves Israel, it must be made to be nefarious. Stefanie Fox spews typical JVP vitriole: "The real-world results of these trips have been Israeli & US officials sharing “worst practices” -- deportation and detention, shoot-to-kill policies, massive spying and surveillance -- that have become the go-to policies of agencies like ICE."

Why the hyperbole? Because 3 years ago, during the Obama administration the Deputy Associate Director of Homeland Security Investigations, one man, Peter Edge joined a delegation to Israel sponsored by the ADL.
American Association of University Professors: Don’t boycott the anti-Israel academic boycotters
But if you uphold the right to boycott, you necessarily need to uphold the right to counter-boycott.

The problem with this is that AAUP upholds the right to boycott, but only on one side. Substantively it opposes both the boycott and counter-boycott, but procedurally it upholds only the right of the boycotters.

AAUP also sent a letter to Israel regarding Israel’s denial of entry to Columbia Law Professor Katherine Franke, an academic boycott supporter.

Additionally, AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure sent a letter to the Israeli government in regard to the interrogation, subsequent expulsion, and apparent banning from Israel of Columbia Law School Professor Katherine Franke over her supporter of the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) movement in April. The letter urges the government of Israel to “reconsider your immigration officer’s decision and to revoke any further ban on Professor Franke’s entry for purposes of collaborative academic and scholarly work in Israel.”

Again, AAUP upholds Professor Franke’s right to boycott Israel and Israelis, but does not uphold the reverse. It does not matter that it is the Israeli government boycotting Professor Franke, since the BDS movement regularly seeks to impose government boycotts of Israel. So governmental power is used by both sides.

By turning academia into war by other means, the anti-Israel academic boycotters invited relatiatory boycotts. By affirming the rights of the boycotters to boycott Israel, but rejecting the right of Israel and supporters of Israel to counter-boycott, AAUP is not consistent or principled.
Legal action taken against first BDS motion by Latin American municipality
An organization of Chilean-Israelis has filed a legal action against the municipal council of the Chilean city of Valdivia and its mayor, which recently approved the first municipal BDS motion in Latin America. BDS refers to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel.

The Chilean Community of Israel (CCHIL) organization sent a letter on July 30 to the Chilean state comptroller arguing that the motion contravenes Chilean law, that a municipal council has no jurisdiction to take such actions and that the mayor has overstepped his legal authority by advancing and signing the motion.

In Spain, dozens of municipal authorities have adopted BDS motions against Israel prompted by the pro-Palestinian advocacy of the left-wing populist Podemos Party.

Anti-BDS activists are now concerned that this phenomenon could spread to Latin America, and the legal motion to the Chilean state comptroller is an effort to try and stop it in its tracks.

The ACOM organization in Spain has successfully sued 33 local municipal authorities out of at least 100 that approved BDS motions. It is hoped that the widespread adoption of such measures can be avoided in Chile and the broader region.

Indeed, the Valdivia municipal decree itself, passed in June, references the BDS motions in Spanish cities, saying that its own measure was following in those footsteps.
Anti-Semitism Soars on U.S. College Campuses
Anti-Semitic incidents on U.S. college campuses have continued to grow in 2018, with at least 384 recorded incidents in the first half of this year, according to a new report showing the number of genocidal expressions towards Jewish hit new highs on campuses across the United States.

A new report by released Wednesday by pro-Israel organization the AMCHA Initiative, a group that tracks anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on college campuses, shows that much of the anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses is the result of activity by anti-Israel activists who promote imagery such as swastikas and tropes calling for the destruction of the Jewish people, according to the report.

Genocidal expression, such as images and language promoting the killing of Jews and destruction of Israel, "rose dramatically" over the past years, with at least 75 percent of such incidents "involving classic anti-Semitism" and "genocidal expression," according to the report. The number of such incidents appear to have dropped slightly from 2017 to the first part of 2018, the report notes.

Most notably, according to the report, "Israel-related incidents were significantly more likely to contribute to a hostile campus," the report found.

The AMCHA report puts figures to a range of anecdotal and reported conflicts on college campuses across the United States, where anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity continues to flourish. Pro-Palestinian campus activists continue to aggressively silence those in the Jewish community and foster an unsafe environment for many Jewish students.
Christian Science Monitor Highlights Benefits of Jewish Sovereignty
One underlying message that modern mass media offers about Israel is that Jewish power and sovereignty in the land of Israel is a threat or obstacle to the welfare of people living in the Middle East. This dishonest narrative, which fits the agenda of authoritarian regimes and de-stabilizing political movements that use anti-Zionism as a unifying political agenda, infects much, if not most of the media coverage of the Jewish state. This “blame-Israel” narrative is so ubiquitous that it comes as a shock when a news outlet gets it right and portrays Israel as a force for good in the Middle East. But it does happen.

It happened in an article published on July 11, 2018 in the online edition of The Christian Science Monitor and reprised in the July 30, 2018 issue of The Christian Science Monitor Weekly.

The article, titled “Syrian war comes to Israel’s doorstep, brings swirl of changing attitudes,” was written by Dina Kraft. In the article, Kraft recounts how 10,000 people fleeing from Syrian Civil War have come to rely on Israel for their welfare and safety. They have gathered near Syria’s border with Israel because of the protection the Jewish state affords them under “Operation Good Neighbor.” The program provides food, fuel, medical supplies and in some instances medical treatment to people living in villages near Israel. As a result of the program, “[s]ome 5,000 Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals,” Kraft reported.

These acts of kindness have changed how many Syrians view the Jewish state, the article indicates.
BBC double standards in reporting social media incitement evident again
In April of this year the BBC News website’s domestic pages reported the sentencing of a Salford man previously found guilty of “encouragement of terrorism”.

“Muslim convert Adam Wyatt, 48, admitted disseminating a terrorist publication that said “Britain must atone for its sins in Palestine” and posting on social media that jihad was an obligation for all Muslims.”

The following month the website reported the sentencing of a man from Sunderland who had previously pleaded guilty to similar offences.

“A shopkeeper who tweeted support for Islamic State (IS) and called for “death to Shias” has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Mohammed Zahir Khan, of Nora Street, Sunderland, had admitted encouraging terrorism, dissemination of a terror publication and stirring up religious hatred.”

Unsurprisingly, the BBC did not send a reporter to interview either of those men before they were sentenced. Neither did it promote the notion that they were put on trial because of their identity to millions of audience members or portray either of their cases as being about “free speech”.

However, when an Israeli-Arab woman was sentenced to five months in prison after having been convicted of incitement to violence in her poems and social media posts, the BBC News website amplified her claims of political persecution in a July 31st report titled “Dareen Tatour: Israeli Arab poet sentenced for incitement“.
Shocking documentary shows how Sweden’s ruling leftist party ‘helped’ Nazi Germany
A shocking documentary about Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party, shows how the leftist party ‘inspired and helped’ Nazi Germany.

The documentary, produced by the party’s right-wing opponent, the Sweden Democrats, was removed by YouTube yesterday in an act of censorship.

But after a backlash it is now visible again on the social media channel of broadcaster Samtiden Dokumentär.

Ironically the documentary starts with the leader of the leftist Social Democratic Party, Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven, telling how the right-wing Social Democrats historically have Nazi roots.

But now the Sweden Democrats are hitting back and have produced this documentary to tell the truth about their leftist opponents.

And it is revealing as it shows that the Swedish Social Democrats inspired Nazi Germany on the issue of Eugenics or “ethnic cleansing”.
Jewish couple in Belgium targeted with death threats
A Jewish woman living in Belgium said her family has been targeted with anti-Semitic abuse since one of their neighbors discovered they were Jews.

The woman, identified only as Nicole, 43, in an article published last month by the La Meuse regional daily about her ordeal, had been living for over two years in Marchienne-au-Pont, a suburb of Charleroi 30 miles south of Brussels, without incident, according to the report.

But this summer, the report said, she and her family have been targeted in a campaign of harassment that has featured written death threats stuffed into their mailbox and the scrawling of anti-Semitic graffiti on their front door.

“We are too afraid to leave our home since this started,” Nicole, a Chile native, was quoted as telling the newspaper. “Several people discovered we’re Jewish and ever since we’ve been getting death threats.” One letter addressed to Nicole called her a “dirty whore” and other insults.

The couple have filed several complaints with police but no suspects have been brought in.
Mayoral candidate: Questioning Holocaust isn't anti-Semitism
A self-proclaimed Holocaust revisionist is planning a run for mayor of Hilton Head, South Carolina, but says his beliefs will not impact his local anti-development platform.

Michael Santomauro, 59, filed papers to enter the race on Monday, according to the Island Packet.

Santomauro, who founded a roommate-matching service, made headlines in New York City in 2003 when subscribers to his service received a stream of emails spreading his beliefs denying historical accounts of the Holocaust.

In 2004, protesters surrounded his home and chanted “evict the Nazi.” He told the New York Post then that the Nazi label is “totally inaccurate.” He told the Island Packet this week that the protesters were “part of a domestic terrorism group.”

In 2011, Santomauro urged his child’s school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to acquire the book “Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides.” The book collects essays denying key aspects of Holocaust history, including the death toll, the accounts of survivors, the physical evidence found at death camps and the feasibility of the methods the Nazis used to carry out mass murder. Santomauro runs American operations for a publisher of e-books dedicated to Holocaust denial.
Germany lifts ban on Nazi symbols in video games
Computer and video games can include swastikas and other Nazi symbols, a German industry body said Thursday, after a heated debate over the “Wolfenstein” franchise in which gamers battle Third Reich forces.

The game was previously deemed to have fallen foul of the German criminal code, which bars any depiction of so-called “anti-constitutional” symbols, including Nazi swastikas.

Accordingly in “Wolfenstein II,” images of Adolf Hitler were doctored to remove his mustache and the swastika in the Nazi flag was replaced with a triangular symbol.

This sparked an uproar in the gaming community, prompting calls for games to be treated like films.

Because movies are deemed works of art, they are exempt from the ban, similar to material used in research, historical or scientific purposes.

Films set in the World War II-era, for instance, are allowed to be screened in Germany with Nazi symbols.
Curator of Elie Wiesel Museum Welcomes Global Outpouring of Support, as Romanian Police Arrest Vandalism Suspect
In the wake of this past weekend’s vandalism incident at the childhood home of the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel in Romania, there has been an outpouring of solidarity from across the globe, the curator of the museum at the site told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.

Alina Marincean said the incident — in which antisemitic graffiti was scrawled on the home — came as a surprise to both museum staff members and local residents in the city of Sighetu Marmatiei, located in northwestern Romania near the border with Ukraine.

“Nothing of this sort ever happened to us and we are organizing yearly public events with a great impact on the local and regional community,” she noted.

Following the discovery of the graffiti on Saturday, Marincean recalled, “I spent the whole next day responding to emails and answering calls from friends, visitors, people I know from around the world from Finland to South America, Israel and the US, people who expressed their concern and also support.”

“There were also visits at the museum from politicians and intellectuals from Romania who wanted to point out the importance of this place that keeps Elie Wiesel’s work and memory alive, as well as the memory of all those 38,000 Jews who never returned to their homes after May 1944,” she added.
Patented Israeli Laser Technology Could be Used to Fight Forest Fires Across the World
Texas, Oregon, Florida, New Jersey, as well as Canada, Greece, India, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK are among other areas battling massive forest fires, a phenomenon experts expect will only increase due to climate change.

It was the massive forest fires in Israel over the past several years that gave electro-optics physicist Daniel Leigh the idea of using algorithm-controlled laser beams from helicopters or trucks to zap leaves, thin branches and pine needles off treetops in the path of fire. The flames are forced downward, where they can be more easily controlled by conventional methods.

Leigh explains that leafy treetops provide a highly combustible smorgasbord for hungry forest fires. Fanned by extreme wind and weather conditions, a forest fire that rises to the treetops spreads out of control in the blink of an eye.

When Leigh shared his idea with ecologist Zvika Avni, former chief of the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) Forestry Department, Avni agreed to be the ecology and the wildfire fighting specialist for Leigh’s startup, Fighting Treetop Fire (FTF).
Swedish Christian Zionists to sail to Israel
Following Swedish pro-Hamas operatives’ failed attempt to reach Gaza by sea, a Christian supporter of Israel from Sweden announced he would take dozens of pro-Zionists to Israel on his yacht.

Stefan Abrahamsson today announced on Facebook that his yacht, Elida, will set sail from Sweden on Aug. 25 to Israel to show solidarity with the Jewish State and Middle East Christians.

“We want to break the silence of the severe persecution and cleansing of the Christian population that is taking place in this region,” he wrote. “As the only democracy in the Middle East amid ​​dictatorships, Israel welcomes us on this show of solidarity with human rights, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and fundamental democratic values. In turn, we are taking a stand for the values ​​that Israel stands for.”

Abrahamsson wrote that on Aug. 24 he will organize a sendoff party at the Gothenburg marina from which his yacht, carrying about 40 activists, will set sail for Herzliya, Israel. The Elida is expected to reach Israel in October and dock there for several weeks. The sendoff will feature a discussion on “precisely these important issues,” he wrote. Lars Adaktusson, a lawmaker from Sweden in the European Parliament, is scheduled to speak at the event.
Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter wins gold at European Championships
Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter won the women’s 10,000-meter run at the 2018 European Athletics Championships in Berlin Wednesday, completing the race in 31 minutes, 43.29 seconds.

Israeli-Kenyan Salpeter came 9 full seconds ahead of Susan Krumins of the Netherlands, winning the gold medal. Sweden’s Meraf Bahta came third.

The 29-year-old became the first Israeli to be crowned European champion.

“I still don’t believe it,” she said afterwards. “I’m really happy. I dreamed of this, but I didn’t believe it happened.”

Salpeter will receive a grant of NIS 40,000 (some $11,000) from Israeli sports authorities for her win.

Born in Kenya, she first came to Israel in 2008, working as a caretaker at Kenya’s embassy in Tel Aviv. While running at a Herzliya park, she was noticed by running coach Moti Mizrahi, who suggested she train professionally.
2.4 million tourists came to Israel so far in 2018, ministry says
Israel’s Ministry of Tourism has announced that 2.4 million tourists have visited Israel since the beginning of 2018, a 17% increase in tourists for the same period in 2017.

Citing findings from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the ministry said in a statement that the number of tourists is 46 percent more than in 2016, almost double the number of tourists that entered during the same period that year.

According to the ministry, 293,400 tourists entered Israel during July 2018 alone, which is around eight percent more tourists than in July 2017.

Over 250,000 tourists came by air, the release said, an 8.8% increase compared to July 2017. 26,200 of them came through land crossings into Israel, a 3.1% increase compared to that month the year before. (Israel only has land border crossings with Egypt and Jordan.)

“Month after month, we are witnessing new achievements and record highs in incoming tourism,” Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin (Likud) said in a statement. “I am pleased that, in the last month, we have also seen an impressive rise in incoming tourism... the tourism industry continues to be a significant factor in making exceptional impact and contributions to the Israeli economy and workforce.”

Levin also praised the ministry’s marketing initiatives and “innovative activities… Together with the incentives for airlines and investments in infrastructure,” for contributing to the rise in tourism.
2,200-Year-Old Earring Found in Jerusalem Excavation Sheds Light on Hellenistic Period in Judea
A 2,200-year-old golden earring was discovered at the City of David’s archaeological excavation just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, shedding light on life in the city after it was conquered by the Greeks.

The rare artifact depicts a finely-crafted head of a horned animal and delicate filigree work, and is believed to date back to the second or third century BCE, a period during which the Temple was the center of Jewish life, but the region was controlled by the Greeks and a significant percentage of the Jewish populace was influenced by Greek culture and beliefs.

During the time period the earring is believed to be connected to, Judea was a semi-autonomous Hellenistic vassal first under the rule of Ptolemaic Egypt from 301 to 198 BCE, and then under the Seleucid Empire, after Antiochus III conquered Jerusalem. Shortly afterwards, Jews who were not Hellenized ultimately took part in the Maccabean Revolt of 167 BCE, which is commemorated in the Hanukkah story.

According to Professor Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University, co-director of the Givati Parking Lot excavation, the find is the first earring discovered in Jerusalem from the Hellenistic period, found in an early-Hellenistic period building deep inside the dig.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
          Bruce Ohr Docs Raise Serious Questions      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Bruce Ohr and Peter Stzrok
“Ohr was basically allowing himself to be run as a source so the FBI could communicate with Steele even after they fired him,”
New docs were written by Ohr roughly 2 weeks after the 2016 presidential election
Notes mention Strzok & Page and have many lawmakers and investigators concerned 
Separate docs show FBI had backchannel investigation which they never disclosed to FISC

A law enforcement sensitive document written by senior Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr, is raising serious concerns amongst congressional investigators regarding testimony provided to Congress on the involvement of FBI special agents in the probe into the Trump campaign and its alleged Russian ties.
Nov. 21, 2016, the handwritten document lists former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, his paramour FBI Attorney Lisa Page and Special Agent Joe Pientka (who along with Strzok interviewed former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn).

More @ Sara Carter

          Dianne Feinstein Was An "Easy Mark" For China's Spy: Sperry      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Dianne Feinstein - vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a ranking member on the Senate Intel Committee, was an "easy mark" for the Chinese spy who operated within her inner-circle for two decades, reports journalist Paul Sperry in the New York Post.

A Chinese-American who doubled as both an office staffer and Feinstein’s personal driver, the agent reportedly was handled by officials based out of the People’s Republic of China’s consulate in San Francisco, which Feinstein helped set up when she was mayor of that city. He even attended consulate functions for the senator. -New York Post

According to Feinstein, the staffer was fired "immediately" after the FBI warned her five years ago that Chinese intelligence had infiltrated her office. Feinstein claims he had "no access to sensitive information" and that he was never charged with espionage. 

That said - FBI officials warned Feinstein in June of 1996, after the staffer began working for her, that the agency had detected efforts by the Chinese government to seek favor with the Senator - possibly in the form of illegal and laundered campaign contributions. Feinstein was on the East Asian and Pacific affairs subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee at the time. 

That warning was right on the money, notes Sperry: 

One Chinese bagman, Nanping-born John Huang, showed up at Feinstein’s San Francisco home for a fundraising dinner with a Beijing official tied to the People’s Bank of China and the Communist Party Committee. As a foreign national, the official wasn’t legally qualified to make the $50,000-a-plate donation to dine at the banquet.

After a Justice Department task force investigated widespread illegal fundraising during the 1996 Clinton re-election campaign, Feinstein returned more than $12,000 in contributions from donors associated with Huang, who was later convicted of campaign-finance fraud along with other Beijing bagmen. The DNC and the Clinton campaign had to return millions in ill-gotten cash. -New York Post

Despite the jig being up, Beijing still received an extension of its favored trade status, "thanks in part to Feinstein," who in turn embarked on a campaign to minimize China's human rights abuses - for example equating Beijing's 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre to the 1970 Kent State shootings in terms of both nations "charting the evolution of human rights in both countries over the last 20 to 30 years," that "would point out the successes and failures — both Tiananmen Square and Kent State — and make recommendations for goals for the future."

Feinstein was also key in bringing China into the World Trade Organization in 1999 - giving Beijing a permanent normal trade relations status, as well as removing Congress's mandate to review human rights abuses and weapons-proliferation records

According to Sperry, Feinstein still travels to China every year with her multi-milionaire husband, Richard C. Blum, who appears to have benefitted enormously from the relationship. 

Starting in 1996, as China was aggressively currying favor with his wife, Blum was able to take large stakes in Chinese state-run steel and food companies, and has brokered over $100 million in deals in China since then — with the help of partners who sit on the boards of Chinese military front companies like COSCO and CITIC. -New York Post

 No wonder she's one of the richest members in Congress! 

          Bankrupt America: A Fragile Nation Grappling With Unprecedented Debt Problems      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

America, you officially have a debt problem, and I am not just talking about the national debt. 

Consumer bankruptcies are surging, corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, state and local government debt loads have never been higher, and the federal government has been adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the federal debt ever since Barack Obama entered the White House. 

We have been on the greatest debt binge in human history, and it has enabled us to enjoy our ridiculously high standard of living for far longer than we deserved.  Many of us have been sounding the alarm about our debt problem for a very long time, but now even the mainstream news is freaking out about it.  I have a feeling that they just want something else to hammer President Trump over the head with, but they are actually speaking the truth when they say that we are facing an unprecedented debt crisis.

For example, the New York Times just published a piece that discussed the fact that the bankruptcy rate among retirees is about three times higher than it was in 1991…

For a rapidly growing share of older Americans, traditional ideas about life in retirement are being upended by a dismal reality: bankruptcy.

The signs of potential trouble — vanishing pensions, soaring medical expenses, inadequate savings — have been building for years. Now, new research sheds light on the scope of the problem: The rate of people 65 and older filing for bankruptcy is three times what it was in 1991, the study found, and the same group accounts for a far greater share of all filers.

Infographic: Bankruptcy Surging Among Older Americans | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Overall, Baby Boomers are doing a whole lot better financially than the generations coming after them, and so this is very troubling news.

And here is another very troubling fact from that same article

Not only are more older people seeking relief through bankruptcy, but they also represent a widening slice of all filers: 12.2 percent of filers are now 65 or older, up from 2.1 percent in 1991.

The jump is so pronounced, the study says, that the aging of the baby boom generation cannot explain it.

Of course it isn’t just Baby Boomers that are drowning in debt.

Collectively, U.S. households are 13.15 trillion dollars in debt, which is the highest level in American history.

All over the nation, companies are also going bankrupt at a staggering pace.  This week we learned that the biggest mattress retailer in the entire country “Is considering a potential bankruptcy filing”

Mattress Firm Inc, the largest U.S. mattress retailer, is considering a potential bankruptcy filing as it seeks ways to get out of costly store leases and shut some of its 3,000 locations that are losing money, people familiar with the matter said.

Mattress Firm’s deliberations offer the latest example of a U.S. brick-and-mortar retailer struggling financially amid competition from e-commerce firms such as Inc (AMZN.O).

We have seen retailer after retailer go down, and it is being projected that this will be the worst year for retail store closings ever.

But it isn’t just retailers that are hurting.  Yesterday, I came across an article about a television manufacturer in South Carolina that just had to lay off “94 percent of their workforce”

A TV manufacturer based in South Carolina have blamed Trump’s trade tariffs for laying off 94 percent of their workforce.

Element Electronics now has just eight employees in their company after letting 126 members of staff go.

They said the tariffs imposed on goods from China mean they can no longer buy essential components for their TVs.

During this next economic downturn, I believe that we are going to see the biggest wave of corporate bankruptcies that this country has ever seen.

State and local governments don’t go bankrupt, but they are drowning in debt as well.  State and local government debt has ballooned to the highest levels on record in recent years, and one of the big reasons for this is because we are facing a coming pension crisis that threatens to absolutely overwhelm us

Many cities and states can no longer afford the unsustainable retirement promises made to millions of public workers over many years. By one estimate they are short $5 trillion, an amount that is roughly equal to the output of the world’s third-largest economy.

Certain pension funds face the prospect of insolvency unless governments increase taxes, divert funds or persuade workers to relinquish money they are owed. It is increasingly likely that retirees, as well as new workers, will be forced to take deeper benefit cuts.

Meanwhile, the federal government continues to engage in incredibly reckless financial behavior.  When Barack Obama was elected, we were 10 trillion dollars in debt, and now we are 21 trillion dollars in debt.

What that means is that we have been adding more than a trillion dollars to the national debt per year since 2008, and we continue to steal more than 100 million dollars every single hour of every single day from future generations of Americans.

And even though the Republicans have been in control in Washington, very few of our leaders seem to want to alter the trajectory that we are on.  But if something is not done, absolute disaster is a certainty.  At this point, it is being projected that our debt will reach 30 trillion dollars by 2028 if we stay on this current path.  It would be difficult to overstate the grave danger that we are facing, but nothing is being done to turn things around.  Here are some more projections from the Congressional Budget Office

In 2022, the Highway Trust Fund will run out of full funding. In 2026, the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund follows. In 2032, the Social Security trust fund surpluses run dry, and all beneficiaries regardless of age or income level will face a 21 percent across-the-board benefit cut. Before 2030, we could have trillion-dollar annual interest payments. Interest rates have been low until now, but that is changing. As rates go up, we have to pay more on new debt and on all accumulated debt.

The amount we pay in interest on the debt is set to triple over the next ten years. But if interest rates rise just 1 point higher than expected, the government will owe an extra $1.9 trillion over 10 years.

On top of everything else, everyone else around the world has been on a massive debt binge as well.

Total global debt is well above 200 trillion dollars, and it has nearly quadrupled over the past 17 years.

Are you starting to understand why they call this a “debt bubble”?

Unfortunately, all debt bubbles must burst eventually, and the one that we are in right now is definitely on borrowed time.

          Going where no president has gone before, Trump wants Space Force by 2020      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday announced an ambitious plan to usher in a new "Space Force" as the sixth branch of the military by 2020, but the proposal was scorned by opponents and may struggle to get liftoff in a divided Congress.

          Comment on Software Development Freshers Jobs in Chennai by Sebastian      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
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          Comment on Software Development Freshers Jobs in Chennai by Merle      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
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          Department Press Briefings : Department Press Briefing - August 9, 2018      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Heather Nauert
Department Press Briefing
Washington, DC
August 9, 2018

Index for Today's Briefing
  • IRAQ





    3:00 p.m. EDT








    MS NAUERT: Hi, everybody. How are you today? And why are so many of you showing up on an August afternoon? You’re supposed to all be on vacation or something, but I notice a few empty seats. But Gardiner’s back from vacation. Gardiner, welcome.








    QUESTION: Thank you.








    MS NAUERT: How’ve you been?








    QUESTION: I’ve been good.








    MS NAUERT: Good. A couple announcements to start before we get started with your questions today.








    First, I would like to express our condolences to the victims of the recent earthquakes and also the aftershocks in Indonesia. The United States has experts and partner organizations on the ground. We’re consulting with the Government of Indonesia at this time. We’re closely monitoring the situation, and we stand ready to provide additional aid to the Government of Indonesia. Our U.S. consulate personnel are assisting affected U.S. citizens. At this time, we do not have any reports of U.S. citizen casualties associated with the earthquakes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Indonesian people. As many of you know, we were recently on the ground in Indonesia and had some terrific meetings with government officials there.








    Next, I have some staffing news to bring you now. And I’m really excited about this one, because it affects our Bureau of Public Affairs and specifically the folks that you will working with. Today I’d like to announce that Robert Palladino will be joining our press team as the State Department’s deputy spokesperson. Robert is a career Foreign Service officer and I believe known well to some of you or perhaps many of you.








    Over the past year, Robert has served as director of press and acting National Security Council spokesperson. In that role he’s helped to prepare Sarah Sanders for her briefings at the White House. He was also a spokesperson to the White House press corps and worked as NSC communications lead for both Asia and Europe. Robert’s Foreign Service career has included postings in Washington, where he worked for our Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Office of the Under Secretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy, and also on Capitol Hill. Overseas, he’s worked in Milan, Italy; Guangzhou, China; and also Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.








    Prior to joining the State Department, he practiced law in Asia and Europe in the Army JAG Corps. His service included deployment to Rwanda. He is a graduate of Notre Dame University, Washington and Lee School of Law, the U.S. Army War College, and he also speaks Chinese and Italian. Pretty impressive.








    We are delighted that he is coming back to the State Department from the White House. I know you will enjoy working with him. For those of you who have not met him, he is a terrific guy. We’ve worked closely together for the past year or so. I asked him what his children thought, because he has two young girls – I asked him what they thought of his job, and I love these quotes. His youngest daughter said, “I’m proud of America and I’m proud of you, Dad, but it sounds really boring.” And then his older daughter said this – and you’ll appreciate it – “But wait a minute, everybody yells questions and they’re angry. That’s the worst job in the world.” That actually might be the White House press corps, not you all. But we look forward to welcoming Robert when he joins us on the 20th of August. But try not to bug him between now and then; he’s on vacation with his family. So another addition to our press family.








    And that’s it. With that, I’d be happy to take your questions.








    QUESTION: Okay, thanks. We’ll try not to be so angry.








    MS NAUERT: I said not you all.








    QUESTION: Let’s – me, yes me. I just wanted to ask you briefly before I ask you about Yemen. I noticed the statement that you guys put out about Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe elections and the Zambian decision to deport the opposition leader.








    MS NAUERT: Right.








    QUESTION: And in that statement it said that you are reviewing certain aspects of your cooperation with the Zambian Government. Can you be a little bit more specific? What aspects of --








    MS NAUERT: Some of those will be conversations that will be had privately with both governments. But my understanding is that there are certain agreements in which that government was taking steps that the Zimbabweans weren’t completely familiar with and weren’t supportive of, and there were some concerns related to that. But let’s just --








    QUESTION: No, I understand, but I was just --








    MS NAUERT: But let’s just back up a couple steps for folks who’ve not been following this perhaps as closely as you have. Elections on July the 30th – those were promising, very promising. We thought it was a historic chance to sort of move beyond the political and economic crises of the past and toward a more democratic change and better dialogue in that country. People turned out massively in those elections. We put out a statement just after those elections complimenting them on those elections.








    However, the success in delivering an election day that was peaceful and open to international observers was then marred by violence, which we’ve been seeing and has been heavily reported, at least in the international press, over the past about week and a half. We’ve seen a disproportionate use of deadly force against protestors by the security forces, which is a great concern of ours. We’re concerned by those numerous reports of human rights violations since the elections had taken place about a week and a half or two ago. We have received credible allegations of detentions, of beatings, and other abuses of the people of Zimbabwe, particularly targeting opposition activists.








    Now, the latest news today is the foreign – excuse me, the former minister of finance had left to go to Zambia. Zambia returned him to Zimbabwe, we understand. And some of this is still fresh so we don’t have all the details at this point. But I understand he was detained and possibly let go.








    So I’m going to pause there because some of this is still unfolding, and I don’t want to give you any inaccurate information since it’s still developing.








    QUESTION: I get that. I just wanted to know is this a threat to withhold or suspend some aid to Zambia when you say you’re reviewing certain aspects of our cooperation?








    MS NAUERT: Matt, I’m not going to get into that at this point, but we’re watching the situation carefully.








    QUESTION: All right. Let me ask you about this airstrike in Yemen, which appears to have killed dozens of children. The Saudis obviously are the ones who conducted this, but they do that with weapons supplied by the U.S., with training supplied by the U.S., and with targeting information, targeting data, supplied by the U.S. How can something like this happen?








    MS NAUERT: How can something like that report happen?








    QUESTION: Yeah.








    MS NAUERT: Well, I think we would start by saying --








    QUESTION: It’s more than a report. I mean, it’s – they admitted that it happened.








    MS NAUERT: Yeah. How can situations like this happen? We don’t have the full details about what happened on the ground. We’ve certainly seen the news reports of what has been reported happened, okay? I can’t confirm all the details because we are not there on the ground.








    We can say that we’re certainly concerned about these reports that resulted – that there was an attack that resulted in the deaths of civilians. We call on the Saudi-led coalition to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident. We take all credible accounts of civilian casualties very seriously. We call on the parties to take appropriate measures to protect civilians in accordance with international law and urge all parties to investigate all reported incidents of civilian casualties.








    QUESTION: Okay. Well, they say – already the coalition says that they acted in accordance with international law. But if you look at the photographs, the video that come from the scene, it doesn’t look like that’s a really – that that’s a credible answer. So are you okay with the coalition on its own doing an investigation, or would you like to see some kind of an international component to it or an international investigation?








    MS NAUERT: Well, I think I just answered that and we said that we would call upon the Saudi Government --








    QUESTION: So you’re --








    MS NAUERT: -- to do a full and thorough investigation, as we always do. And we call upon all parties in any kind of situation like this to take appropriate measures to try to mitigate the risk of civilian casualties.








    QUESTION: So you don’t think --








    MS NAUERT: DOD and other entities put out reports on this after the fact as they all start to investigate, and so we will look forward to any information on that.








    QUESTION: Right. But my question is you don’t see a need for there to be something other than a coalition investigation, you don’t see a need for an independent --








    MS NAUERT: Matt, I’m not going to get – this is something that is fresh, that just happened, so I’m not going to get ahead of any kind of investigation that may take place. Okay?








    QUESTION: It’s only the latest in a huge number of civilians killed during these operations though.








    MS NAUERT: I would encourage you to take a look – and that is we regret any loss of civilian life. That is something that the United States Government – in particular, any time you talk to the Department of Defense about civilian casualties, they will say the same thing --








    QUESTION: Well --








    MS NAUERT: -- that – I’m not finished, okay? And they will say the exact same thing, that all parties take very strong responsibility and measures to try to protect against the loss of civilian life. As we have seen – and you all very rarely ask about the issue that has been unfolding and the devastation that has taken place in Yemen – let’s look at some of the things that have been happening in Yemen.








    You have the Houthi rebels who continue to attack Saudi Arabia. They continue to do that with Iranian weapons, missiles, and rockets. They continue to try to attack civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, for example, and that is part of the reason why these actions are being taken.








    Let me go back and remind you what I just said a moment ago, and that is we call for an investigation and we anticipate that a thorough investigation will be done. I don’t have anything more for you on that.








    QUESTION: The Secretary isn’t planning on having a conversation with --








    MS NAUERT: I don’t have any information for you on that. Okay.








    Hi, Nick.








    QUESTION: Is this – hey, Heather. Is this latest incident or the previous incidents causing the U.S. to re-evaluate in any way the role that it’s playing in the situation, in terms of its relationship with Saudi Arabia?








    MS NAUERT: Look, we provide a tremendous amount of humanitarian assistance in Yemen to try to support civilians in Yemen and try to mitigate against the devastation that’s taken place there in that country. I don’t have anything more for you on that.








    QUESTION: But you also supply a tremendous amount of weaponry and the data for targeting to the Saudis.








    MS NAUERT: Well, then – sorry.








    QUESTION: Right? No?
















    QUESTION: Am I wrong? Is that wrong?








    QUESTION: That’s not wrong.








    MS NAUERT: Sorry, these ladies over here are laughing. On that I would refer you to the Department of Defense that is involved with that, but as you know, Saudi Arabia is an important strategic partner in the region to the United States.








    Okay. Hi, Gardiner.








    QUESTION: Just a follow-up on that. Hey. So obviously, there’s growing concerns in Congress about the toll this war is taking within Yemen. It’s the worst humanitarian disaster on the planet. Aren’t you concerned that incidents like this will further erode congressional support and lead to further support for legislation that could cut off Saudi Arabia from arms sales and the rest?








    MS NAUERT: I mean, I think that is an entirely hypothetical question and we don’t comment on congressional proposals in any event, but I would ask – all of you have been very silent on the issue of Yemen, and times --








    QUESTION: Well --








    MS NAUERT: Although Said has asked. You’ve been the one reporter who’s asked a lot about Yemen and the situation there.








    QUESTION: Well I would suggest that if you had more than two briefings a week and they lasted for longer than a half an hour or 40 minutes that you might get questions about something other than the actual main topic of the day.








    MS NAUERT: Matt, I think you and I talk every single day.








    QUESTION: Yes, we do.








    MS NAUERT: You have my phone number. You have all my numbers, and anytime you want to talk about Yemen, I’d be more than happy to answer your questions and provide you additional expert briefings --








    QUESTION: Okay.








    MS NAUERT: -- on Yemen anytime anyone is interested, but I have not seen a major level of interest on the part of our press corps, with the exception of Said, on the issue of Yemen.
















    QUESTION: Why does that matter, though? There’s news today, so --








    MS NAUERT: Yeah.








    QUESTION: Can you request an expert on Yemen?








    MS NAUERT: Yeah, certainly, I’d be happy to. Yeah.








    QUESTION: Wait, so first of all, I think that when there have been attacks against Saudi installations or missiles and stuff, I think you’ve seen that there have been just as vigorous of reporting.








    MS NAUERT: I don’t – I disagree, but --








    QUESTION: Well, I mean, that’s – it’s not our job to, like, sit here and go back and forth on that. We’re asking today. The U.S. has tried to increase its target training with – to try and improve the targeting of the Saudi coalition. Is that still continuing?








    MS NAUERT: Elise, I think that would be a DOD issue, so I’d encourage you to talk with my --








    QUESTION: But these are foreign – okay, but these are foreign military financing.








    MS NAUERT: Yeah, yeah.








    QUESTION: Which is out of the State Department.








    MS NAUERT: And I would encourage you to talk to DOD about that. So some --








    QUESTION: Well, maybe --








    MS NAUERT: Some of this – some of this is a State Department equity, but much of this is Department of Defense, so I’d encourage you to talk with them about it.








    Hey, Laurie.








    QUESTION: Hi. On Iraq, the road between Erbil and Kirkuk, which was cut as a result of fighting last October, is being rebuilt, but Baghdad has said that it will establish a customs border on that road and collect revenues. Is that consistent, a customs border in the middle of the Erbil-Baghdad road, in which one party, the Iraqi Government, is going to collect revenues? Is that consistent with your view of a unified Iraq?








    MS NAUERT: I would – there are other countries that have done this in the past, including our own country years ago in which this type of thing has been done. I think this is largely an internal matter for the Government of Iraq, between Iraq and Erbil, to try to work out. We do encourage them to resolve any remaining issues between Baghdad and Erbil.








    QUESTION: You don’t have a position beyond that?








    MS NAUERT: Look, we believe that a strong KRG government within a unified and federal Iraq is something that’s essential to Iraq’s long-term stability and the enduring defeat overall of ISIS.








    QUESTION: Okay, if I could ask you about Turkey. So the deputy foreign minister was here; it seemed there was no progress. Is that the case? And was pastor – were the American hostages the only issues that were discussed or were there other questions like the Turkish purchase of the S-400 discussed as well?








    MS NAUERT: Yeah. I mean, obviously you all know that we have a very broad relationship with Turkey and a host of issues that we talk about with the Turkish Government whenever we do meet. Yesterday we had a wide-ranging conversation with Turkish Government officials. We made it clear that Pastor Brunson needs to be returned home. Much of this, though, we’re not going to negotiate in public.








    QUESTION: Can you tell us --








    MS NAUERT: Go ahead. Hi.








    QUESTION: Can you tell us if you made any progress about the situation of Pastor Brunson?








    MS NAUERT: Yeah, I would say we would define progress as Pastor Brunson being brought home.








    QUESTION: So in other words, no.








    MS NAUERT: And so progress is --








    QUESTION: Until he – until he’s --








    MS NAUERT: Progress is Pastor Brunson being brought home to the United --








    QUESTION: So until he’s home there is no progress?








    MS NAUERT: -- to the United States.








    QUESTION: Did you give any --








    MS NAUERT: Yeah.








    QUESTION: Did you give any deadline? Did you give Turkish officials any deadline?








    MS NAUERT: I don’t have any information for you on that.








    Thanks. Hi.








    QUESTION: I think progress is kind of coming closer towards an agreement, like you’re not – you don’t have full North Korean denuclearization but you say that there is progress in working towards that goal. So is there progress in coming to some kind of deal with the Turks or are you still as far apart as you were the day that he was being hospitalized?








    MS NAUERT: Yeah, I’m not going to characterize it that way. As you know, we had – we met yesterday. They had wide-ranging meetings at the State Department and with other departments here in Washington. I’d refer you to those other departments that met with the Turkish Government. The progress that we want to be made is to have Pastor Brunson return home. And I’ll leave it at that. Okay?








    QUESTION: So is that saying you will not engage with the Turks anymore on this issue until Pastor Brunson comes home?








    MS NAUERT: I’m not going to speculate on that, and I’m not going to get ahead of the administration on that issue. Hey, Said.








    QUESTION: Hi. Thank you, Heather. Could we move – could you comment on the escalation in Gaza? There has been escalation in Israeli bombardment of Gaza as we speak.








    MS NAUERT: I’m sorry, start that over again.








    QUESTION: There is an escalation as we speak of Israeli bombardment of Gaza. They said that they killed a 23-year-old woman, pregnant, with her toddler. Do you have any comments on that?








    MS NAUERT: Yeah. I mean, overall we’ve been watching this as it has been unfolding, and it’s a very concerning situation that has taken place in Gaza. Overall, we condemn the launching of missile attacks into Israel and call for an end to the destructive violence. We’ve seen reports that 180 or so rocket attacks have taken place, shot from Gaza into Israel, and we fully support Israel’s right to defend itself and to take actions to prevent provocations of that nature.








    QUESTION: But this last round of bombardment, Israeli bombardment, actually began by the Israelis. It was not Hamas that started this latest round.








    MS NAUERT: Look, I’m not going to get into how this thing started. Let’s not forget that Hamas bears ultimate responsibility for the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. It’s a tremendous concern of ours.








    QUESTION: Okay. Let me ask you about the peace efforts that are taking place. Now, there are reports that the unveiling of the plan, the deal of the century, has been pushed back. Can – do you have any comment on that?








    MS NAUERT: I would object to the premise of the question, your statement in that question. We have not unveiled the peace plan at this time. That will be unveiled by Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt when it is ready. And when it’s ready to be unveiled, they will unveil it.








    QUESTION: And lastly, last week you guys released some funds or some aid to the Palestinian Authority. I believe it was sent to the security forces. Can you share with us the amount of that aid? Is that a one-time thing, or is it part of the sort of unfreezing of the funds to the Palestinian Authority?








    MS NAUERT: I’m going to have to get back to you on that issue. I don’t have any information for you on that today. Okay?








    QUESTION: Russia?








    MS NAUERT: Hi.








    QUESTION: Russia?








    MS NAUERT: Yeah, go right ahead.








    QUESTION: Okay, two quick questions. First of all, on the sanctions that were announced yesterday, one of the requirements for Russia to avoid further sanctions is to allow inspections to make sure that they’re not using chemical weapons. Does the State Department have any reason to think that Russia is going to allow that? And is the U.S. expecting Russia to allow that?








    MS NAUERT: I mean, that’s asking us to look into the future, and we don’t know what the future holds. I think that’s a hypothetical question, so I don’t have an answer for you.








    QUESTION: But the U.S. is fully expecting to have some kind of inspections take place, then, according to this law?








    MS NAUERT: I don’t have anything for you on that today, and I’m not going to get ahead of anything that happens in the near future. Okay?








    QUESTION: Okay, well, that’s what the law says.








    MS NAUERT: Yep.








    QUESTION: But my other question is on the – is the U.S. then currently preparing for this next round of sanctions, then?








    MS NAUERT: As you well know, we don’t forecast sanctions. We have complied with the law in announcing those sanctions just yesterday, and we will comply with the law going forward, of course, as we always would. Okay?








    QUESTION: Heather, just to get a follow-on on that?








    MS NAUERT: Yeah, sure. Hi, Gardiner.








    QUESTION: So you – in the case of Iran, you have this 12-point plan of what behavior you want the government to implement in order to lift sanctions. You have a whole series of sanctions that are now revolving around Russia having to do with CAATSA, Magnitsky, now weapons. Can you give us some global sense of what these sanctions are trying to achieve from an American foreign policy perspective? What are you looking for from Russia? Why do we have sanctions on them? What’s your goal? And when’s the – when’s the periodicity of these things?








    MS NAUERT: Sure. I think I would start by answering that question with this: That we approach every country very differently. Every country that we have a relationship or even countries that we don’t have relationships with are viewed through a separate lens. So what may be appropriate for one country is maybe not necessarily appropriate for another country.








    The United States Government has determined that sanctions can be a very effective tool in trying to bring various governments to the table to negotiate with us or try to encourage countries to comply or to return to a better set of behaviors. So this is one tool that we have in a very big toolkit. The State Department works closely with Treasury and OFAC and other entities to implement, study, and enforce sanctions, and that is part of what you’ve seen yesterday. Let’s remember that one of the things that has brought North Korea to the table is sanctions. And we have found sanctions to be very effective in many cases around the world. So the U.S. Government looks at that as an overall tool.








    QUESTION: Right, so North Korea is a great example. Sanctions – as a result, you want to get rid of their nuclear program. Again, Iran, you’ve got a list of 12 things. Venezuela, you’ve got sort of a clear list. I’m trying to understand what your policy is with Russia. You’ve got a variety – myriad now of sanctions. What’s your goal?








    MS NAUERT: Well, I think the President has addressed this and so has Secretary Pompeo. We’d like to have a better relationship with the Russian Government, recognizing that we have a lot of areas of mutual concern. It is a major country; we are a major country as well. And so when you have that, you are forced to have to have conversations with other governments. And sanctions is a way that we can try to encourage better behavior on the part of government. Now, I’m speaking in a broad-based sense, but that’s one way that we can encourage better behavior. Okay.








    QUESTION: Same topic?








    QUESTION: Could I ask a follow-up on that?








    QUESTION: (Off-mike)








    MS NAUERT: Sure. What is your name, miss?








    QUESTION: My name’s Emily, I’m from Buzzfeed News.








    MS NAUERT: Emily, hi.








    QUESTION: So if these sanctions are in part meant to encourage better behavior with Russia, Russia today came out and said that these sanctions – sort of as was expected – that these sanctions are not in keeping with the spirit of Helsinki. So – and I understand these sanctions were – they’re in keeping with the law, et cetera, but does this – or to put it a different way, is the cooperation that was sort of established at Helsinki – is the U.S. Government still planning on having that with Russia after yesterday’s sanctions?








    MS NAUERT: We tend to believe that dialogue is always an important issue. I think I had just addressed this with Gardiner, and that is trying to build a better relationship with countries that we need to cooperate with or we need to be able to have relations with, and that would be one example.








    QUESTION: And then just on the other point on the second tranche, and I don’t mean to get you into hypotheticals, but yesterday at the briefing they did say that if Russia doesn’t do certain things, including sort of admit wrongdoing and say that they weren’t going to do it again, that there would be second tranche. And today, Russia said this is ridiculous, we didn’t do that. So if they keep that position for the next 90 days, won’t there – won’t there, under the law, have to be a second tranche?








    MS NAUERT: And that’s why I would go back and say that we will comply with the law. We are well aware of what the law contains; we will comply with the law. But I’m not going to get ahead of what could happen 90 days from now. Okay.








    QUESTION: The same topic – same topic?








    QUESTION: (Off-mike)








    MS NAUERT: Janne, go right ahead.








    QUESTION: Thank you, thank you, Heather. On North Korean and South Korean issues.








    MS NAUERT: Okay.








    QUESTION: And – recently, South Korea imported North Korean coal. What is the U.S. position on the smuggling of North Korean coal into South Korea? Is that – do you think this is the – South Korea has violated sanctions?








    MS NAUERT: I think – we’d say this: that we have a great relationship with the Government of South Korea. My understanding is that they are looking into reports of this. We encourage all countries to maintain sanctions, and to not skirt sanctions and make sure that sanctions are adhered to.








    QUESTION: But two days ago, John Bolton, national security advisor, and South Korean national security advisor Chung Eui-yong, they had telephone conversation and John Bolton said that he trust or believe in the South Korean Government. What does it mean that you trust the South Korean Government, so --








    MS NAUERT: Well, the Government of the Republic of Korea is an ally and longstanding partner of ours, and we closely coordinate with that government.








    QUESTION: But allies – but they do something behind the United States is smuggling something else, so how you going to trust them?








    MS NAUERT: Look, we trust when they say that they will investigate that they will investigate. We closely coordinate with them. They’ve been longstanding allies and partners, and we have a strong relationship with them.








    QUESTION: Are you still investigations or waiting --








    MS NAUERT: I don’t have anything more for you on that, okay?








    QUESTION: All right, thank you.








    MS NAUERT: Thanks.








    QUESTION: (Off-mike.)








    MS NAUERT: Kylie, go right ahead.








    QUESTION: So there’s been discussion of potentially having another meeting with North Korea. Has there been any progress on that that --








    MS NAUERT: We have no meetings, no travel plans to announce today, and by the way, we just got back from a long flight, which I will remind you was a very long flight. Headed over to Asia, a long flight back. We’re okay with being here for a while.








    QUESTION: All right.








    QUESTION: (Off-mike.)








    MS NAUERT: Okay. Hi. Go ahead.








    QUESTION: Well wait, can I just follow up real quick on that?








    MS NAUERT: Just hold on, hold on, hold on. He asked first. Go right ahead.








    QUESTION: Oh, I’m sorry.








    QUESTION: Yes. So about the North Korean coal, yeah. And South Korean Government is going to announce the result of investigation about North Korean coal smuggling maybe later today. So now the issue is that – whether the United States is going to apply the second boycott to the Korean companies, which it appears to be violated the sanctions. So I just wonder whether you are going to apply the secondary boycott to the companies.








    MS NAUERT: I think I just answered that, that the investigation was initiated by the Government of South Korea, and we will wait to hear from them on any announcements with regard to that, okay?








    And we’re going to have to wrap it up in just a minute. Elise, go right ahead.








    QUESTION: Just on the – you said there’s nothing new to announce. Are the delegations trying to get another negotiating session? Like your team in Asia, are they trying to get another negotiating session together with the North Koreans?








    MS NAUERT: Look, I mean, I can tell you we continue to have conversations virtually every day, every other day or so --








    QUESTION: With the North Koreans?








    MS NAUERT: -- with the North Koreans, and when I say “conversations,” that can be by phone, that can be my message, that can be by email. Those are – they take different forms, those conversations do. So we continue to have conversations with the government. When – if and when we have travel announcements to make, I will certainly let you know, but we have nothing yet.








    QUESTION: But I mean, obviously that you’ll make those announcements, but I’m just wondering if like – if there is efforts being made to put together another negotiating session.








    MS NAUERT: I don’t have anything for you on that right now.








    QUESTION: Can I have one question on the sanctions?








    MS NAUERT: Okay? Okay. Sir, go right ahead.








    QUESTION: Yeah. Just to follow up, you said you have nothing planned, but Mr. Bolton mentioned that in the letter that Secretary Pompeo gave to Foreign Minister Ri, there was an offer to meet. Has North Korea responded to that offer yet?








    MS NAUERT: I don’t have any information for you on that. This was a letter from the President to Chairman Kim, so I don’t have any visibility on what was actually in that letter or what conversations the White House may or may not be having. I’d have to refer you to the White House for anything on that.








    QUESTION: So you can confirm that there was an offer?








    MS NAUERT: I can confirm there was a letter. Anything that the White House has said about that or Ambassador Bolton has said about that, I’d refer you back to them on those matters. When I have something to let you know, I certainly would be happy to.








    Okay, last question.








    QUESTION: (Off-mike.)








    MS NAUERT: Yeah.








    QUESTION: Two days ago, President Trump claimed most Chinese students in the United States are spies. I’m not asking you to comment on what he said, but State Department as a agency to issue visa to Chinese students, do you share the view – do you think most Chinese students in the United States are spies?








    MS NAUERT: Yeah, I don’t have the President’s comments in front of me. I have not seen those comments, so I would hesitate to comment on his comments without having read it and had the full context. As you are well aware, we have many Chinese students studying in the United States. We have strong people-to-people ties with the Government of China, but of course there are concerns with some who might come into the United States and try to pick up some of our technology and other information and bring it back home for reasons that the United States Government would be concerned about. But we have a strong relationship with China and we enjoy having students studying in the United States from China, and I’ll just leave it at that.








    Okay, thanks. We’ve got to go, guys. We’ll see you soon.








    (The briefing was concluded at 3:28 p.m.)








    # # #








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          Comment on Barrasso widens money lead with out-of-state backing by Thom Stines      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
No doubt there seems to be a bias here. Truth is, people are tired of the same ol', same ol' in politics, and desperate for change, any change. But change alone isn't the solution. Washington is completely messed up, our "Representatives" often completely out of touch with Constituents. The country is quite angry, bitter, and getting angrier, often misplacing the blame for that anger. People are looking for "warriors" to fix that messed up system, unaware of how disastrous our system has become. Those "warriors" however, become mere corporate puppets. Have you ever read the following: National Security and Double Government by Michael J Glennon A Republic No More by Jay Cost Both are good reads. Both, in their own ways, outline the truth of how special interests have hijacked politics and government. From Politicians to Bureaucrats, big money is buying legislation (and Executive Orders), most often in complete disregard of the rest of "the People", the average citizens of the U.S. Are you a numbers man, Sen. Burns? Have you ever thoroughly examined the BLS stats, in detail? Ignoring the highly manipulated propaganda? Look at the numbers. 95.598 MILLION Americans are still out of work, yet we're being told the economy is "booming". Yeah, booming for a few, while the rest struggle. Consider that truly staggering number - 95.598 MILLION. • There are approx 326 million people in the U.S. • Less 15-under and 65-older leaves us with approx 212 million people of working age. • Of those 212 million (not taking into account full-time parents, disabled, etc), 95.598 MILLION ARE STILL UNEMPLOYED. Yet we're told things are "great", "best economy ever". Billionaire presidents, surrounded by millionaire Congress people, getting richer quickly, telling the rest of us how great things are. And people wonder why this nation is so angry? Herr Trump is bragging about how his tax cuts have made billionaires, like the Kochs, even richer. Herr Trump brags about the "largest tax cut ever", but then passes one of the largest tax increases in history (his tariffs, which are just veiled taxes). John Barrasso has more than an estimated net worth of $7,947,007 (2016). That makes him the 14th wealthiest person in the U.S. Senate. His wealth climbed tremendously since 2014 (from $5 million to almost $8 million), in just two years. Wonder how much richer he is now? He has over $3 million invested in Vanguard, one of the "Big Three" money management firms, which is one of the largest institutional shareholders of the largest "competing" corporations in most every single industry. Vanguard, along with BlackRock and State Street own corporate America. In the S&P 500 – the benchmark index of America’s largest corporations – the situation is even more extreme. Together, these Big Three are the largest single shareholder in almost 90% of S&P 500 firms, including Apple, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, General Electric and Coca-Cola. These firms are profiting more than anyone else from special interest legislation and Executive Orders. They are among the largest shareholders of the largest "competing" hospitals, the largest "competing" insurance companies, the largest "competing" pharmaceutical companies (profiting off Obamacare), the largest private prison companies (such as Geo Group and CoreCivic, profiting off the immigration mess). The largest "competing" tech firms (whom are selling every details of our private lives and activities to the government, and their big-business allies). The list goes on and on. Our government and political systems have become wholly corrupt. This is why people are so desperate for change.
          Comment on Republican Congressman Who Backed Trump Indicted On Securities Fraud Charges by Tyrell      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
I am certainly opposed to white collar crime. It seems the only time anything is done about it is when it involves some celebrity, rich person, or politicians. I know an older couple who recently were the victims of a scam. The police brushed it off. The bank did not seem to care (they were lax and money was lost). The average working people are hung out to dry when it comes to white collar crime hitting them. These federal judges and investigators need to help them out instead of just some rich people. Look at the recent carnage in Chicago: at least fifty shot and ten killed in one weekend from gang violence. People there say it is worse than when Al Capone was in town. Director Mueller should do some real crime fighting - get his team together and head up there to hit the streets and round up the gangs, hoodlums, and other criminals. These Federal prosecutors and judges need to get out there too. Give the people their neighborhoods back.
          Georgia Democrat running for Congress is convicted of DUI, awaits sentencing      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
A Georgia Democrat running for Congress was arrested this week and now awaits sentencing after a jury convicted him over a drunken-driving incident from last year.
          Ivn Duque Takes Charge in Colombia      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The Economist
A gust of wind struck the Plaza Bolvar in Bogot while Ivn Duque was sworn in as Colombia's president on August 7th. During his inauguration speech, delivered on a massive stage thronged with Latin American presidents and other dignitaries, a man struggled to shield him from a light rain with an umbrella. Seeking to banish the bitterness of a polarised election campaign, Mr Duque promised to govern Colombia with a spirit of construction, never destruction.That was not the tone used by Ernesto Macas, the president of congress, who introduced Mr Duque and administered the oath. Mr...
          Huge Win For DoD Workers As Congress Ends Per Diem Travel Cuts      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

          Lewandowski rebate crítica sobre aumentos: “recuperamos milhões”      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

O ministro Ricardo Lewandowski, do Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF), a repercussão negativa da proposta de reajuste de 16,38% para os salários de ministros da Corte. Ele respondeu que as execuções fiscais determinadas por juízes recuperam milhões aos cofres públicos. Uma resposta sem sentido, pois este aumento de 16% pode custa até R$ 4 bilhões aos cofres públicos. Com o reajuste, cuja inclusão na previsão orçamentária do Poder Judiciário foi aprovada em sessão administrativa do Supremo, o salário dos ministros da Corte pode passar de R$ 33,7 mil para mais de R$ 39 mil. É preciso ser confirmado em votação no Congresso. Efeito cascata Isso pode gerar um impacto de até R$ 4 bilhões aos cofres públicos, devido ao chamado efeito cascata, uma vez que o salário de ministros do Supremo serve de teto para todo o funcionalismo público. Somente no Poder Judiciário, a estimativa de impacto é de R$ 717 milhões. O Ministério Público recuperou R$ 1 bilhão para a Petrobras por meio de acordos de delação premiada no âmbito da Operação Lava Jato. “Portanto, só essa devolução já representou uma quantia muito maior do que aquela que será remanejada no orçamento do Poder Judiciário, isso sem falar nos milhões e milhões que os juízes federais e estaduais recuperam aos cofres públicos em execuções fiscais. Dinheiro público que já era nosso, fora roubado. A recuperação não foi mais do que obrigação e não houve ganhos com isso, apenas a recuperação de perdas. Lewandowski foi um dos que votaram a favor do reajuste, juntamente com os ministros Dias Toffoli, próximo presidente do STF; Luiz Fux; Luiz Roberto Barroso; Gilmar Mendes; Marco Aurélio Mello e Alexandre de Moraes.
          Congressman Charged With Insider Trading; Slack Secures More Funding; SEC Probes Musk’s Tweet      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The Water Coolest is a free daily business news and…
          Please Enjoy the Chillest Campaign Ad You’ve Ever Seen      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
In which Hawaii congressional candidate and Democratic Socialist Kaniela Ing strums a ukulele and explains the tenets of his platform.
          Re: Thursday's open line and news roundup      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Woo hoo! The secretly recorded audio of Douche Nunes speaking at a private Trumpublican fund raiser is causing quite a stir. It's more damning that Mitt's secret recording! Don't you wish someone would secretly record our 6 turds in Congress?
Posted by DeathbyInches
          Comment on Wilkes-Barre, PA and Atlantic City: Two peas in a pod? by marshwren      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
As someone who suffers the double indignity of living (and voting) in CD-2, and LD-3 (Sweeney/Norcross), i find it quite impossible to be the least bit enthused to see LoBiondo being replaced by Van Drew. If Big Frank changed his mind and mounted a last minute write-in campaign, i'd vote for him. Which i never did all the times he ran for Congress, the state legislature, or freeholder.
          E811: News Roundtable! Iain Thomson, The Register & Brian Alvey, Clipisode: Zuck testifies to Congress, Facebook’s data dilemma, Trump orders USPS review, YouTube demonetization fallout, self-driving car accidents & the dangers of human distraction      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
          BONUS TWiST Breaking News: Big tech testifies to congress over Russia’s interference in election      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
          CNN’s Wolf Blitzer dismantles GOP Congressman who says Mueller investigation ‘really needs to go away’      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

On Thursday, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer grilled Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) over the Special Counsel Robert Muller’s probe into President Donald Trump. “Is it appropriate, congressman, for the president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani to be treating this investigation as a political footbal...

The post CNN’s Wolf Blitzer dismantles GOP Congressman who says Mueller investigation ‘really needs to go away’ appeared first on Raw Story.

          Walters: Congressional Candidate Drops Out on Live Radio      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
This story has been updated.

Just a few days in advance of next Tuesday's Vermont primary, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) saw one of his two Democratic challengers drop out of the race and endorse the other.

He literally saw it, because it happened during a live debate on Vermont Public Radio Thursday with all three candidates in the same studio.

Ben Mitchell, an educator from Westminster, took part in the debate and then, during his closing statement, announced he was withdrawing and endorsing Dan Freilich, a physician from Brownsville. Both candidates have made campaign finance a centerpiece of their efforts to defeat Welch, who routinely raises most of his money from corporations and political action committees. As of July 15, Welch's campaign fund had a balance of  nearly $2.1 million.

"Because, Peter, you have taken money from corporations ... your decisions will be colored by that," Mitchell said, addressing Welch directly. He then turned to Freilich and said, "We don't agree on everything, but I think we need someone to represent Vermont who does not represent the corporations."

Freilich replied that he was "humbled and honored" by Mitchell's endorsement.

When reached by phone after the debate, Freilich acknowledged that he knew in advance what Mitchell intended to do. "We had a discussion a couple of days ago," Freilich said. "He told me he was going to announce it [during the debate]. He asked me to keep it quiet."

Freilich thanked Mitchell for "fighting the good fight," and for realizing that "the best way to fight the good fight was to drop out and ask his supporters to vote for me."

"Dan is a sincere individual who's trying to do what's right for Vermont," Mitchell said in an interview late Thursday afternoon. "He's worked hard, he's raised more money than I have, and I think he has a better chance to win."

Mitchell's name will remain on the ballot, but his withdrawal essentially leaves Freilich as the sole option for Democratic primary voters concerned with Welch's acceptance of corporate cash. But Freilich is still a long shot in Tuesday's primary, since Welch is broadly popular with Democratic voters.  …
          New Hampshire congresswoman talks hiring, investment at Kittery shipyard      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is meeting with union members.
          Airlines, consumer groups spar over proposed changes to travel regulations      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Legislation under review in Congress would affect seating, overbooking, price transparency, extra fees, pilot training, disruptive passengers and more.
          03/08/2018 - Último dia para atualização profissional no Congresso      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
          Puerto Rico cites hurricane death toll of 1,427 in damage report      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico is now estimating that Hurricane Maria killed more than 1,400 people, far more than the official death toll of 64, in a report to Congress seeking billions to help ... - Source:
          Puerto Rico cites storm death toll of 1,427 in damage report      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico is now estimating that Hurricane Maria killed more than 1,400 people, far more than the official death toll of 64, in a report to Congress seeking billions to help ... - Source:
          Devin Nunes says Trump is sunk if Democrats take over Congress – Politics Video      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

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link: Devin Nunes says Trump is sunk if Democrats take over Congress – Politics Video

          This Caribbean Island Spent Millions On Tourism Promotion Last Year      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

By NAN Business Editor News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. Aug. 10, 2018: A British Caribbean island territory spent millions on promoting tourism in six months out of the last year, News Americas has found. A NAN analysis of the latest FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) report, released by the DOJ to Congress this month, shows […]

The post This Caribbean Island Spent Millions On Tourism Promotion Last Year appeared first on Caribbean and Latin America Daily News.

          Kinzinger pays visit to thank Dixon High School resource officer who thwarted shooting      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Mark Dallas still isn’t comfortable with the hero tag he earned May 16, but he is embracing the platform he’s been given to advocate for more school resource officers.

State Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, was at City Hall on Wednesday to present Dallas with a copy of the statement on the Dixon school shooting he read into the Congressional Record on May 24.

“One of the worst things that can happen when you’re in Congress is to get a call about a school shooting in your district,” Kinzinger said. “Then I heard that there was a hero who stopped it from becoming a much bigger tragedy.”

Kinzinger read the entire statement he made on the House floor. Dallas then received a standing ovation from about 100 people who were on hand, including Dixon lawmakers state Rep. Tom Demmer and state Sen. Tim Bivins.

Dallas said he shared the honor with school resource officers throughout the nation who wouldn’t hesitate to run into harm’s way to defend the children they are sworn to protect.

“In the next few weeks, children throughout our country will be returning to school. Every one of them deserves to be safe, but sadly, not all of their schools will be protected by school resource officers,” Dallas said.

Dallas thanked Kinzinger for advocating for the use of more officers in the nation’s schools. He said he is excited that more area schools are talking about adding resource officers. Rock Falls schools will have an officer in place this fall, and Morrison soon could have one if its police levy referendum passes in November.

“I’m really excited for Rock Falls because I used to work there in the late ’90s, and I knew they needed one then,” Dallas said. “I hope they get officers in all of the smaller schools because they are needed.”

Kinzinger would like to see some action taken at the federal level to help schools with funding. Although education funding is the state’s responsibility, the financial situation in Illinois makes him doubt that any money will be coming from Springfield.

          Kharge, Goyal exchange barbs in Lok Sabha      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Kharge, Goyal exchange barbs in Lok Sabha New Delhi: Lok Sabha on Thursday witnessed a heated exchange between interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge with the minister challenging Kharge to fight an election against him from Mumbai. Goyal, who was speaking on the four GST bills taken up by the House […]

The post Kharge, Goyal exchange barbs in Lok Sabha appeared first on

          Misunderstanding leads to Scuffle Between Youth Congress Leaders      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Misunderstanding leads to Scuffle Between Youth Congress Leaders Mangaluru: Scuffle erupted between two groups of the youth Congress after the 76th anniversary of Quit India Movement programme held at the Town hall here on August 9. When contacted District Youth Congress President Mithun Rai, he said, “I was not involved in any fight. I […]

The post Misunderstanding leads to Scuffle Between Youth Congress Leaders appeared first on

          Appeals court overturns U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah's bribery convictions, upholds guilty verdict on other counts      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The decision offered a small measure of vindication for the former Democratic congressman but may not dramatically affect the decade-long sentence he received for other corruption-related crimes.
          Dems pounce on GOP lawmaker's downfall, blast 'cesspool'      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats are jumping on a Republican congressman's insider trading indictment to decry a culture of corruption they say President Donald Trump has fostered, a theme they hope will help them seize congressional control in November's elections.
          Trump and Congress Are Trying to Breathe Life Into Long-Delayed Criminal Justice Reform Package      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Jon Ponder has lived both sides of the debate on criminal justice reform. After two convictions for robbery, Ponder, 52, […]
          Serious Question       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Is there a more despicable person in Congress than Rep. Devin Nunes?


          Trump Can't Save the Republican Establishment       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

It’s not unprecedented for a fairly popular president (with his own base) to discover that loyalty and enthusiasm for him does not transfer to his party’s members of Congress. President Barack Obama was unable to bring out his base in the midterm elections of 2010 and 2014, with crippling consequences for his presidency and for the Democratic Party as a whole. But Donald Trump may soon discover that he has the same problem to a much higher degree. After all, Obama did not run on the premise that his Democratic Party rivals were a bunch of low energy, lying, weaklings. He didn’t run against the Democratic establishment and its leadership in Congress.

Donald Trump surprised people when he was rewarded for brutally attacking the Bush family, disparaging John McCain’s military service, calling Mitt Romney a choke-artist, and trashing other popular Republican politicians like Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz. He called Washington a swamp and properly cast the Republican establishment as his enemy. It’s just not clear why a Trump supporter would be a natural voter for an incumbent member of Congress from any party.

Once in office, Trump has not shied away from criticizing congressional Republicans, especially when they failed to repeal Obamacare. His base must know on some level that he needs Republican majorities to protect himself, but a large percentage of his voters were never partisan Republicans or traditionally supportive of Republican majorities. Why would these people be motivated to show up to vote for Ted Cruz?

There’s obviously a reshuffling of the electorate going on, as we could see in last night’s election results. Several Republican members of Congress are no longer looking safe despite representing districts that have had a strong historic right-wing lean. This isn’t new. We’ve seen the Republicans underperform consistently in special elections for more than a year now.

Some of this is the natural pendulum swing we usually see in a new president’s first midterm, as the opposition gets motivated to counterattack. Some of it a result of the GOP nominating some truly awful people like Judge Roy Moore. Some of it is buyer’s regret from Trump supporters who thought they’d be getting something different.

But I think a significant part of the problem is that a big chunk of Trump’s voters hate Congress, are not partisan Republicans, and don’t support incumbents or either party. I’ve written about this before, and I’m still uncertain about the size of the contingent, but there’s a significant number of people who always cast their ballot as an effort to vote the bums out. In the matchup of Clinton vs. Trump, this translated to a vote for Trump. In a congressional race, it means (assuming they bother to show up at all) that the challenger is likely to get their support.

It’s not easy to turn a successful anti-establishmentarian campaign into a movement for reelection. This is especially true if you hero of the movement is not actually on the ballot and he’s asking people to vote for the establishment.

In a way, Trump has been campaigning against the Republican majorities in Congress from the very beginning. This isn’t because they’re Republicans. It’s because the whole premise of his campaign was that Washington DC is filled with bums.

I think it’s a failed premise to think that Trump supporters will save the GOP from midterm disaster. On the evidence so far, that it not going to happen.


          Crooks of a Feather Flock Together       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Maybe your mother told you that you can judge someone’s character by the company that they keep, and I think that is at least accurate enough to serve as a basic self-defense mechanism.  Today, Donald Trump’s deputy campaign chairman, who is facing substantial jail time despite copping a plea, finished testifying in the first of two trials against Trump’s campaign chairman.  Both of them are guilty of a plethora of crimes, including conspiracy, money laundering, and bank and wire fraud. But they are hardly the only close Trump associates who are already in big trouble.

It appears facially obvious that Donald Trump Jr. lied to Congress. Trump’s personal lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen had his offices and hotel room raided and is sure to face a number of criminal charges regardless of whether or not he decides to become a cooperating witness. Felix Sater, Trump’s longtime business associate and the point man for the failed attempt to build a Moscow Trump Tower, became a cooperating witness months ago. The same is true of Michael Flynn, Trump’s first National Security Advisor. Roger Stone appears to be quickly approaching his time in the barrel, as his friend Kristin Davis (the Manhattan Madam) is scheduled to appear before a grand jury this Wednesday.

There’s a much longer list of Trump-affiliated people who have legal vulnerabilities or who have already resigned for unethical and/or scandalous behavior, but I’m just focusing on people who were very important to either Trump’s business or his political success.

On the political front, very few elected Republicans were willing to endorse Trump. The first to do so in the Senate was Jeff Sessions of Alabama. His reward was to be given the responsibility of organizing a foreign policy team for the campaign and transition and to then get his dream job of attorney general of the United States.  Unfortunately, he lied about his contacts with Russians during his confirmation hearings and has had to recuse himself from the subsequent investigation of Russia’s interference on Trump’s behalf.

The first congressperson to endorse Trump was Rep. Chris Collins of New York. He has just been indicted for insider trading.

The charges against Collins, filed in the Southern District of New York, claimed he was part of a scheme to sell off stock of biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics in June 2017. Collins’s son, Cameron, was also charged, as was Stephen Zarsky. The trio have been accused of engaging in sales of Innate stock after the congressman fed them information about a failed trial of a drug meant to treat multiple sclerosis.

Chris Collins, who was on Innate’s board, learned of the failed trial and “violated the duties he owed to Innate by passing material, non-public information regarding the drug trial results to his son…so that Cameron Collins could use that information to make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others,” the indictment read.

The sales, which also involved six other unnamed and uncharged co-conspirators, allowed the congressman, his son and Zarsky to avoid more than $768,000 in losses. When the failed drug trial was released to the public, Innate stock plummeted by 92 percent, according to the indictment.

People of bad character are attracted to other people of similarly bad character. With Trump, this works both ways. He flocks to people like Roy Cohn and Roger Stone, while people like Jeff Sessions and Chris Collins flock to him. The result is a collection of truly deplorable criminals.

They are getting rolled up now.


          Culberson's questionable stock trades resurface in wake of Collins arrest      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Congratulations to Lizzie Pannill Fletcher for the big break.

The arraignment of US Rep. Christopher Collins yesterday in federal court for violating the laws regarding insider trading is bad news for Trump, but five other Republican Congressmen, including  Texans John Culberson and Michael Conaway, are also caught in the undertow.

Via Raw Story, which counts them as six but that number includes Tom Price, who has cycled through the swamp faster than anyone, from Georgia Congresscritter to HHS Secretary to out on his ass cushy healthcare industry board job, i.e. lobbyist.  Raw Story's reporter also apparently didn't realize that the Houston Chronicle piece they mentioned but did not link regarding John 'Keeps His Word' first appeared in June of 2017 (it referenced Culberson's opponent only as a "research physician", aka Dr. Jason Westin).  Excerpt from the Chron:

Culberson says his interest in Innate was sparked by "press reports," though he has declined to specify which ones. News reports in January -- just before he and Conaway bought Innate stock -- focused on the controversy surrounding the purchase of shares at discounted prices by Collins and then-Georgia U.S. Rep. Tom Price, now (formerly) the secretary of health and human services.

An article in the New York Times in early January, two weeks before Culberson bought his stock, hardly inspired confidence. It described Innate as "a tiny pharmaceutical company from Australia that has no approved drugs and no backing from flashy venture capital firms." The piece also noted that the company had run out of money "more than once" and nearly folded.

On Capitol Hill, the focus was on Collins, who was being accused by Democrats of promoting Innate stock to colleagues in the halls of Congress. Collins has repeatedly denied the charge.

Earlier this month The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, published an "exclusive" report citing a half-dozen Republican lawmakers -- all speaking anonymously -- who said they heard Collins "talking up" Innate at various congressional gatherings.

Again, Collins denied it, telling The Hill, "I've never encouraged anyone to buy the stock. Ever."

A number of ethics watchdog groups and legal analysts say that if Culberson and other lawmakers were steered into their Innate investments with non-public information, they could be in potential violation of the Stock Act, which bans insider trading by members of Congress - whether or not they make money.

Culberson has declined repeated requests from the Chronicle to talk about the details of his Innate stock purchase, including whether he was still holding on to the stock Tuesday when its price plummeted. He has relied instead on a written statement that his investment was motivated by the death of a family friend from multiple sclerosis. He also acknowledged in a statement that he "rarely" buys or sells stock.

That admission has deepened interest in his decision to buy stock in Innate, a struggling biotech company that generally has been trading for less than $1 on the Australian Stock Exchange.

So Big Bad John has some 'splain' to do, and whether he does it to federal prosecutors or the Congressional ethics committee or the media or the voters of the 7th Congressional District ... well, we'll just have to wait a little longer and see.

Also from Bloomberg: "Charges Against Rep. Chris Collins Highlight Lack of Trading Limits for Congress".

At least one of the lawmakers, John Culberson of Texas, reported selling his holdings a few weeks before the company was privately informed in June 2017 of negative results from a clinical drug trial. When the news was announced, the company’s share price tanked. He said in a statement Wednesday that he didn’t have any inside information when he sold.

As for Conaway, the 11th District of Texas is a pretty safe one.  A quiet backbencher for most of his seven terms, Conaway took over in April from Devin Nunes (who you might have seen and heard on the news just last night) the Congressional 'investigation' into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, which includes collusion as well as election-related meddling.  Prior to that, he would have been in charge of investigating Collins, Culberson, and himself on these stock trades, as he was the House Ethics Committee chair.  And his Democratic challenger, Jennie Lou Leeder, while seemingly a good progressive -- the words 'single-payer' show up in the first sentence on her healthcare issues page -- is still, sadly, a long way from getting some traction.

But Ms. Fletcher and all the centrist Democrats in the Seventh ought to be waking up this morning feeling elated at their good luck and the fortuitous timing of these developments.

          Rashida Tlaib Wants To ‘Humanize’ Palestinians Once She's In Congress      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
With her primary win, Tlaib is set to become the first Palestinian-American congresswoman.
          Energy Secretary Perry to tour North Dakota coal facilities      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Republican members of North Dakota's congressional delegation say U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is scheduled to tour the state's biggest coal mine and adjacent power plant next week.

North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer say the former Texas governor is scheduled to tour ...

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          Appeals court overturns U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah's bribery convictions, upholds guilty verdict on other counts      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The decision offered a small measure of vindication for the former Democratic congressman but may not dramatically affect the decade-long sentence he received for other corruption-related crimes.
          Comment on DML: I Respond to Your Emails, Plus the Photo of the Day by Charlotte Moring      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
I voted for Trump and will do so again. I am not to thrilled about his tweets either but I do understand this is the only way he can get the truth out to the people. I hope he will stop this feud with the news media in the future as I do believe he is dividing our country also. I was always taught you can get more from people by treating them with respect rather than argueing with them constantly. Dennis I follow you everyday and I sometimes don’t always agree with you but I respect you for what your doing. May you keep up your good work and hope that our congress will get together and start working for the people instead of themselves.
          Will Congress ever do its job?      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Private persons can only offer advice and have no coercive power if their advice should not be accepted. And the law should have coercive power in order to induce others effectively to virtue, as the Philosopher says in the Ethics. But the people or a public personage has such coercive power and the right to […]
          Half of (corporate) marriages don't work out      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
There are no trade stories in today's podcast (you're welcome). Instead, we're talking about mergers and acquisitions. This summer has seen several high-profile deals go through and others fall apart. That's not unusual. In fact, one out of five announced mergers don't end up happening at all, and only half are successful. Why do they fall apart? Mostly because of people. Then, in light of the insider trading charges against Rep. Chris Collins, we'll look at congressional investing do's and don'ts. Plus, the business of the Academy Awards and what "outstanding achievement in popular film" means anyway.
          Argentina Senate rejects bill to legalize abortion      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug 9, 2018 / 10:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Concluding a 16-hour legislative session in the early hours of August 9, the Argentina Senate rejected a bill to legalize first-trimester abortion.

Pro-life advocates welcomed the results of the vote.

“Argentina has embraced life despite huge international pressure to give up existing legislation protecting life and freedom of conscience,” said Neydy Casillas, senior counsel for ADF International.

The vote against the bill was 38-31, with two senators abstaining and one absent.  

The legislation, which narrowly passed the House of Representatives in June, sought to allow abortion on-demand up to 14 weeks gestation, and through the ninth month of pregnancy on the grounds of rape, if doctors deem the mother’s life or health to be endangered, or if the baby receives a diagnosis of non-viability.

It would have allowed minors under 16 to get an abortion without having to inform their parents, and would have prohibited conscientious objection by healthcare institutions.

With the result, the bill is dead for this legislative year, although it could be reintroduced in a congressional debate in 2019.

The current law in Argentina prohibits abortion, except when the mother’s life or health is determined to be in danger, or in cases of rape.

Senator Silvia Elías de Pérez was one the final presenters against the abortion bill during the legislative debate.

She stressed that legalizing abortion would mean “establishing a new discrimination between those who are wanted and those who are not.”

Rather than abandoning desperate women to abortion, she said, the state should accompany those in difficult pregnancies. “To legalize abortion is really to admit plainly and simply the failure of the State.”

The senator also charged that during the months of public discussion surrounding the bill, “those of us who profess the Catholic faith have been reviled as has never before happened in Argentina.”

During the Senate debate, a Mass for Life was celebrated, with Argentinian Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli presiding. Attendees overflowed from the Buenos Aires cathedral out into the streets.

In his homily, the cardinal reiterated that “abortion will always be a tragedy” and “is far from being a solution.” He voiced prayers that the senators would “legislate for the common good, put forward the best of your experiences in order to safeguard everyone’s right to life, especially the weakest and most defenseless.”

Between 70 and 90 percent of Argentinians are estimated to be Catholic. A pro-life march in the country earlier this year drew approximately 150,000 attendees.

Despite wind and rain, thousands of Argentinians spent the evening outside the National Congress building to await the results of the vote.

When the final tally was announced, pro-life demonstrators celebrated with cheers and fireworks.

Some abortion advocates lit fires and threw rocks at police, according to local media reports. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons, and most of the clashes were quickly settled, CNN said.

Amnesty International Argentina, which supports abortion, lamented the vote, saying that the senators “lost an historic opportunity to be leaders in human rights” and announced that they will not rest “until there is legal abortion.”

However, Paul Coleman, executive director of ADF International, countered that “There is no ‘right to abortion’ under international law.”

“We applaud the Argentinian Senate for upholding the fundamental rights to life and conscience,” he said. “The people of Argentina may now continue to live in a country where both lives matter: the life of the mother and the life of the child.”


          Food and Drug Administration signs controversial contract with fetal tissue provider      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Washington D.C., Aug 9, 2018 / 07:30 am (CNA).- Legislators, pro-life groups, and ethicists have condemned a new government contract to obtain human tissue from aborted children for use in medical research and in the creation of “humanized mice.”

The Food and Drug Administration signed a $15,900 contract to acquire human fetal tissue for use on mice on July 25. The contract was signed with Advanced Bioscience Resources Inc., a California based not-for-profit. It is the eighth contract between the FDA and ABR since 2012, seven of the contracts appear to relate to the same or similar programs.

The fetal tissue used in such research is obtained from elective abortions, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.

The fetal tissue the FDA intends to purchase would be injected into mice with compromised immune systems in order to create a “chimeric animal” with an immune system like that of a human being.

ABR was mentioned in a series of videos secretly filmed by the Center for Medical Progress, released in 2015, accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue obtained through abortions. At that time, Politico reported that, in one video, a former medical director for Planned Parenthood said that the abortion provider had been “using ABR for over 10 years – a really long time.”

Pro-life groups have condemned the contract. The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a statement calling the deal “unconscionable” and said that contracts with organizations like ABR makes the FDA “directly complicit in these abortions.” CMP suggested that the contracts imply that unborn children are “worth more to the U.S. Government dead than alive.”

There are numerous ethical concerns, not only with the purchase of aborted fetuses but with a lack of respect for their dignity, a Catholic ethicist told CNA.

“The FDA contract with Advance Bioscience Resources appears to be problematic on a number of different levels,” Dr. Jozef Zalot, staff ethicist at the National Catholic Bioethics Center said Aug. 8.

“The use of fetal tissue and cells for medical research is ethically very complicated in any situation,” he explained, saying that any research conducted with these tissues is “simply wrong.”

Scientists attempting to make new discoveries through the use of aborted fetal parts are “treating the aborted persons not as ends in themselves, but as a mean to some other end,” said Zalot.

“This violates their dignity and it demonstrates a very dangerous utilitarian perspective on human life.”

Zalot also told CNA that he is concerned that the government, along with American taxpayers, could be complicit in abortion if taxpayer money used to “sustain and grow a market for the remains of aborted children.”

“This creates a serious concern for Catholics, who are effectively funding not just the research but the underlying immoral practices that provide the biological materials necessary for the research.”

The FDA released a statement defending the contract and the research, saying that the agency is “committed to ensuring that its research is conducted responsibly, conforms with all legal requirements, and meets the highest ethical standards,” and noting that this type of research is a “very small fraction” of the agency’s work.

The FDA further defended the use of aborted remains in research, saying the practice “has led to a better understanding of a number of conditions and diseases that affect millions of Americans.”

At least one member of Congress was upset with the new contract. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Co.) tweeted on Tuesday that the FDA was using federal money to create demand for aborted fetal remains, and that “Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund this grotesque practice.”

Speaking to CNA, Congressman Lamborn said it was “unconscionable” for a government agency to contract with an organization collecting and selling tissue from aborted children.

“There is absolutely no excuse for the FDA to use federal dollars to procure ‘fresh’ fetal tissue for research. Advanced Bioscience Resources’ unethical practices of fetal tissue harvesting have been well documented in both House and Senate investigations.”

The congressman said that as a state legislator he had authored a law prohibiting the sale of fetal body parts, and had written a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

“I have voted to end taxpayer funding of this grotesque practice, and will continue fighting for the dignity of the unborn. Unborn children are worth more than the sum of their parts.”

          Democrat Poised To Snag House Seat Says It’s Unlikely She’d Pick Pelosi For Speaker      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
A Michigan Democrat who is poised to be elected to Congress said Thursday she would be unlikely to vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker if Democrats retake the House.
          8/10/2018: Front Page: First Muslim woman poised to be elected to US Congress      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Rashida Tlaib’s opposition to President Donald Trump began while he was still candidate Trump and before she decided to run for Congress. The 42-year-old attorney, who is set to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress, was booted from a 2016...
          8/10/2018: From The Cover: Day of pride and celebrations for extended family in West Bank      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The Michigan primary victory of Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American who is expected to become the first Muslim woman to serve in the US Congress, triggered an outpouring of joy in her ancestral village. Relatives in Beit Our Al Foqa, where Tlaib’s...
          Defections: Mandatory Party Education is a must for Politicians – APC chieftain      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
nigerian politics 300x185 - Defections: Mandatory Party Education is a must for Politicians - APC chieftain

An All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Chief Ismail Fagbemi, has advocated mandatory training and certification on party ideology for members seeking public office to stem the wave of defections among politicians. Fagbemi, who is Treasurer of APC, South Africa Chapter and House of Representatives aspirant for the 2019 elections, said such political education was critical […]

The post Defections: Mandatory Party Education is a must for Politicians – APC chieftain appeared first on Politics Nigeria.

          My expulsion from APC is laughable – Oyo Deputy Speaker      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
apcparty 300x200 - My expulsion from APC is laughable - Oyo Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr Musah Abdulwasiu (APC-Saki West), has described his purported expulsion from the All Progressives Congress (APC) as laughable and undemocratic. Abdulwasiu, spoke through his media aide, Mr Yemi Azeez, on Thursday in Ibadan. “I am still a financial member of the party till date. “I have not […]

The post My expulsion from APC is laughable – Oyo Deputy Speaker appeared first on Politics Nigeria.

          First Muslim Woman Wins Congressional Primary      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Rashida Tlaib is set to become the first Muslim woman in Congress — and she's part of a historic wave of diverse women candidates who are reshaping the Democratic Party.

The post First Muslim Woman Wins Congressional Primary appeared first on The National Memo.

          Rep. Collins Busted For ‘Idiotic’ Insider Trading      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

A top Trump cheerleader in Congress faces serious charges for an unbelievably obvious attempt at insider trading.

The post Rep. Collins Busted For ‘Idiotic’ Insider Trading appeared first on The National Memo.

          The Members of Congress Who Are Worst for Women      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Ten of them will face a female opponent in the November midterms.
          Meet The Politician Who Is Poised To Become The First Muslim Woman In Congress      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

          LIBERAÇÃO DE SAQUES DO PIS/PASEP COMEÇA HOJE PARA TODAS AS IDADES      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Os pagamentos do Fundo PIS/Pasep voltam a ser realizados aos cotistas a partir desta quarta-feira (8). No total, cerca de 23,8 milhões de pessoas de todas as idades, que trabalharam com carteira assinada entre 1971 e 1988, têm direito a acessar os recursos até 28 de setembro, quando se encerra a janela do novo cronograma permitido pela legislação.
Após essa data, o benefício volta a ser concedido exclusivamente ao público habitual, formado por cotistas maiores de 60 anos, aposentados, pessoas em situação de invalidez (inclusive seus dependentes) ou acometidas por enfermidades específicas, participantes do Programa de Benefício de Prestação Continuada (BPC) e herdeiros de cotistas falecidos. O benefício tem potencial para injetar R$ 35,7 bilhões na economia do país, considerando o rendimento de 8,97% do último exercício anual do Fundo. 
Os cotistas que tiverem conta corrente na Caixa Econômica Federal (PIS) ou no Banco do Brasil (Pasep) e que estiverem com o cadastro do Fundo atualizado receberão o depósito automaticamente, sem necessidade de se dirigir às agências. De acordo com o cronograma vigente, Caixa e Banco do Brasil começa a efetuar os depósitos automáticos a partir de hoje. Devido à compensação noturna, os correntistas desses bancos poderão verificar os valores em suas contas no dia seguinte (9). Somente esse público soma cerca de 6,3 milhões de pessoas e garante a injeção direta de R$ 5,5 bilhões na economia.
Saque nas agências
A partir do dia 14 deste mês, o saque estará liberado para todos os cotistas, bastando que se dirijam às agências bancárias da Caixa (trabalhadores que atuaram na iniciativa privada) ou do Banco do Brasil (trabalhadores que atuaram no serviço público). São cerca de 17,5 milhões de pessoas que poderão sacar entre 14 de agosto e 28 de setembro. Para isso, basta levar ao banco um documento de identificação ou o número de registro do PIS/Pasep, consultando na hora o valor que tem direito de sacar.
Os dois bancos – Caixa e BB –  também oferecem essas consultas por meio de suas páginas na internet. "É importante frisar que, dos 23,8 milhões de cotistas com direito ao benefício, cerca de 15 milhões têm são pessoas com menos de 60 anos, as quais, a partir de 29 de setembro, não terão mais direito de resgatar os recursos, de acordo com a Lei 13.677/2018. Daí a importância de todos os trabalhadores que atuaram naqueles anos buscarem informação sobre os seus saldos disponíveis", informou o Ministério do Planejamento, em nota. 
Desde o início do processo de flexibilização dos saques do fundo PIS/Pasep, em 2017, até junho de 2018, cerca de 4,8 milhões de cotistas já realizaram seus saques, totalizando R$ 6,6 bilhões pagos aos beneficiários.
Quem tem direito
Têm direito ao saque servidores públicos e pessoas que trabalharam com carteira assinada de 1971, quando o PIS/Pasep foi criado, até 1988. Quem contribuiu após 4 de outubro de 1988 não tem direito ao saque. Isso ocorre porque a Constituição, promulgada naquele ano, passou a destinar as contribuições do PIS/Pasep das empresas ao Fundo de Amparo ao Trabalhador (FAT), que paga o seguro-desemprego e o abono salarial, e ao Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES).
Desde a criação do PIS/Pasep, em 1971, o saque total só podia ser feito quando o trabalhador completasse 70 anos, se aposentasse, tivesse doença grave ou invalidez ou fosse herdeiro de titular da conta. No segundo semestre do ano passado, o governo já tinha enviado ao Congresso duas medidas provisórias (MPs) reduzindo a 60 anos a idade para saque, sem alterar as demais hipóteses de acesso aos recursos. O Projeto de Lei de Conversão 8/2018, decorrente da MP 813/2017, que permitiu os saques, foi aprovado pelo Senado no dia 28 de maio e sancionado pelos presidente Michel Temer em junho, quando a flexibilização do saque passou a valer na prática.

          Member of Congress and a Corporate Board? It’s Allowed      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Members of Congress can serve on corporate boards as long as they don't receive any compensation.

The post Member of Congress and a Corporate Board? It’s Allowed appeared first on Money & Markets.

          Climate Hawk Rashida Tlaib will be first Muslim woman elected to congress      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Rashida Tlaib won her primary Tuesday night with 33.2 percent of the vote among six candidates.  Michigan’s 13th District is a deep blue district where no Republicans filed, so she has effectively won her November election early. Rashida is, simply, the best environmental justice-focused candidate we’ve seen in 2018. She ran on a message of taking on […]

The post Climate Hawk Rashida Tlaib will be first Muslim woman elected to congress appeared first on Red, Green, and Blue.

          Going where no president has gone before, Trump wants Space Force by 2020      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday announced an ambitious plan to usher in a new "Space Force" as the sixth branch of the military by 2020, but the proposal was scorned by opponents and may struggle to get liftoff in a divided Congress.

          How U.S. rightwingers learned to love Putin      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Millions of Republicans either support or don’t give a damn about Russian interference in the midterm elections this year. According to a Yahoo Finance/SurveyMonkey poll of 2,509 Americans conducted July 25-27, 11 percent of people who identify as Republican or lean Republican say it’s “appropriate” for Russia to help the GOP retain control of Congress […]

The post How U.S. rightwingers learned to love Putin appeared first on Boulder Weekly.

          Nunes Should Resign From Congress-- And Take Cathy McMorris Rodgers With Him      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

This morning, conservative writer Jennifer Rubin penned an OpEd, Devin Nunes, Trump's Political Stooge, Is At It Again, based on the Maddow report last night. If you missed it, watch the video above. She wrote that "The Post reports on the secretly recorded remarks of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) at a fundraiser for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)":
[Nunes] appears to have moved from criticizing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election to strategizing about how to blunt its impact should it imperil President Trump...

In comments captured in an audio recording aired Wednesday by The Rachel Maddow Show, Nunes laid out in stark terms the rationale for preserving the GOP majority in Congress.

“If [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions won’t unrecuse and [special counsel Robert S. Mueller III] won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones, which is really the danger,” Nunes said… “I mean, we have to keep all these seats,” Nunes added. “We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.”
Nunes also suggested the impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein is just a matter of “timing,” claiming that impeachment (which has yet to be formally taken up) would impede the Senate confirmation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. (It’s hard to tell if Nunes is offering a weak, illogical excuse for not impeaching Rosenstein or is promising that Rosenstein will get impeached if the GOP keeps its majority in the House.)

Nunes also seemed to imply that a candidate [McMorris Rodgers in this case] would be in trouble if a foreign national gave a candidate stolen information that the candidate later released. (“Well, if that’s the case, then that’s criminal.”) Like Trump, Rudy Giuliani and so many Trump spinners, Nunes seems unaware that soliciting something of value from a foreigner to be used in a campaign is illegal, whether the valuable item is stolen or not.

There is nothing illegal in Nunes’s admissions, nor do they seem particularly new. All but Trump partisans realize that Nunes is acting as the president’s political stooge, not as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. We knew he cared only about protecting Trump, not the country, when he made up the “unmasking” scandal, put out a patently misleading memo concerning the FISA warrant application to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, started demanding confidential documents relating to an ongoing investigation (of Trump and his cronies), had a role in outing a confidential intelligence source and began his crusade to smear the FBI. The admissions, however, do reveal Rodgers, a member of the House leadership, to be joined at the hip with Nunes, perfectly content to let him run amok as a partisan hack. (She at one point seems to try to bolster Nunes’s excuse that they cannot impeach Rosenstein because the Senate would have to take it up and divert attention from the Kavanaugh confirmation.)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) has played dumb when asked about Nunes’s antics. That’s for the Intel Committee. Not really aware of that. Not something I know much about. That’s preposterous. Not only do Ryan and Rodgers know exactly what Nunes is up to; they are also more than willing to let him raise money for them and to allow him to pursue his base-- pleasing partisan gamesmanship. In short, Ryan and Rodgers are weak, non-leaders who haven’t the nerve or the sense of obligation to remove Nunes from his chairmanship to protect the country’s national security interests. Without Rodgers and Ryan, we might have a responsible House Intelligence Committee chairman.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) tweeted, “Under our Constitution, the duty of Congress is not to clear the President. The duty of Congress is to be a check and balance on the Executive Branch, and to pursue the facts wherever they may lead.” He added, “Devin Nunes should resign for perverting the oath he took.” True, but the very same thing could be said of Ryan and Rodgers, who indulge Nunes. None of them seems to understand the oath of office. If we want representatives to uphold their oaths and quit acting like Trump’s TV lawyers, voters will have to turn the House over to the Democrats. There is no way on Earth that Ryan, Rodgers and Nunes are ever going to put country over party.
Nunes and McMorris Rodgers seem prepared to commit treason on behalf of Trump. They should both resign. I'm not especially a fan of Andrew Janz but he would certainly make a better congressman than Nunes. And McMorris' opponent, Lisa Brown, is one of the best candidates for Congress running anywhere. She's likely to win the contest between them anyway.

          Democrat Congressional Candidates’ Gun-Free Utopia for You, NOT Them      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

We all need to think about the foregoing as Democrats sing the “You’re too stupid to own a gun” refrain, over and over.

The post Democrat Congressional Candidates’ Gun-Free Utopia for You, NOT Them appeared first on

          Space Force: 5 things to know about Trump’s controversial plan      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Pentagon today about the Trump administration’s controversial plan to establish a Space Force as a new branch of the military, on par with the Air Force and the Marine Corps. But support for the plan in Congress and the military establishment has been far from unanimous.

  • The Space Force would be the first new branch since 1947, when the Air Force was established as its own branch. During the 1980s, in the wake of the Iran hostage crisis and with terrorism an issue around the world, there were proposals in Congress to create a sixth branch to handle “special operations,” but the idea was ultimately rejected.
  • Trump can’t create a new branch without Congressional action, but he and the Pentagon can take steps to reorganize how the military handles space. The Defense Department is taking steps to establish a U.S. Space Command, on par with organizational structures like the Pacific Command, and an acquisitions office to streamline purchases of satellites and other space equipment across services, The Washington Post reports.
  • Trump has said the name “Space Force” began as a bit of a joke. But proponents say the proposal is intended to be a serious response to threats from other nations–including Russia and China–to U.S. military and commercial operations in space. Satellites are critical to communication, navigation, and other functions, and they and the systems they talk to on the ground could come under attack in a military conflict.
  • Military support for a Space Force is limited. Current and former top Air Force leaders have said the new branch could create unnecessary organizational headaches and bureaucracy, and even Defense Secretary James Mattis has spoken out against the idea, although Mattis has backed the idea of a space combatant command. He’s more recently said he’s “in complete agreement” with Trump, though it’s unclear if he’s actually come around on the Space Force idea.
  • A Space Force won’t pop up overnight, even if Congress signs off on the idea. Planning and actually creating the new branch could take years, reports. While the Air Force was created from an already somewhat independent service within the Army, no comparable space-focused entity exists today, meaning the Space Force would have to be created largely from scratch.

          Computing’s Hippocratic oath is here      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Computing professionals are on the front lines of almost every aspect of the modern world. They’re involved in the response when hackers steal the personal information of hundreds of thousands of people from a large corporation. Their work can protect–or jeopardize–critical infrastructures, such as electrical grids and transportation lines. And the algorithms they write may determine who gets a job, who is approved for a bank loan, or who gets released on bail.

Technological professionals are the first, and last, lines of defense against the misuse of technology. Nobody else understands the systems as well, and nobody else is in a position to protect specific data elements or ensure that the connections between one component and another are appropriate, safe, and reliable. As the role of computing continues its decades-long expansion in society, computer scientists are central to what happens next.

That’s why the world’s largest organization of computer scientists and engineers, the Association for Computing Machinery, of which I am president, has issued a new code of ethics for computing professionals. And it’s why ACM is taking other steps to help technologists engage with ethical questions.

[Photo: Hero Images/Getty Images]

Serving the public interest

A code of ethics is more than just a document on paper. There are hundreds of examples of the core values and standards to which every member of a field is held–including for organist guilds and outdoor-advertising associations. The world’s oldest code of ethics is also its most famous: The Hippocratic oath that medical doctors take, promising to care responsibly for their patients.

I suspect that one reason for the Hippocratic oath’s fame is how personal medical treatment can be, with people’s lives hanging in the balance. It’s important for patients to feel confident their medical caregivers have their interests firmly in mind.

Technology is, in many ways, similarly personal. In modern society, computers, software, and digital data are everywhere. They’re visible in laptops and smartphones, social media and video conferencing, but they’re also hidden inside the devices that help manage people’s daily lives, from thermostats to timers on coffeemakers. New developments in autonomous vehicles, sensor networks, and machine learning mean computing will play an even more central role in everyday life in coming years.

[Photo: Hero Images/Getty Images]

A changing profession

As the creators of these technologies, computing professionals have helped usher in the new and richly vibrant rhythms of modern life. But as computers become increasingly interwoven into the fabric of life, we in the profession must personally recommit to serving society through ethical conduct.

ACM’s last code of ethics was adopted in 1992, when many people saw computing work as purely technical. The internet was in its infancy and people were just beginning to understand the value of being able to aggregate and distribute information widely. It would still be years before artificial intelligence and machine learning had applications outside research labs.

Today, technologists’ work can affect the lives and livelihoods of people in ways that may be unintended, even unpredictable. I’m not an ethicist by training, but it’s clear to me that anyone in today’s computing field can benefit from guidance on ethical thinking and behavior.

[Photo: Hero Images/Getty Images]

Updates to the code

ACM’s new ethics code has several important differences from the 1992 version. One has to do with unintended consequences. In the 1970s and 1980s, technologists built software or systems whose effects were limited to specific locations or circumstances. But over the past two decades, it has become clear that as technologies evolve, they can be applied in contexts very different from the original intent.

For example, computer vision research has led to ways of creating 3D models of objects–and people–based on 2D images, but it was never intended to be used in conjunction with machine learning in surveillance or drone applications. The old ethics code asked software developers to be sure a program would actually do what they said it would. The new version also exhorts developers to explicitly evaluate their work to identify potentially harmful side effects or potential for misuse.

Another example has to do with human interaction. In 1992, most software was being developed by trained programmers to run operating systems, databases, and other basic computing functions. Today, many applications rely on user interfaces to interact directly with a potentially vast number of people. The updated code of ethics includes more detailed considerations about the needs and sensitivities of very diverse potential users–including discussing discrimination, exclusion, and harassment.

More and more software is being developed to run with little or no input or human understanding, producing analytical results to guide decision making, such as when to approve bank loans. The outputs can have completely unintended social effects, skewed against whole classes of people–as in recent cases where data-mining predictions of who would default on a loan showed biases against people who seek longer-term loans or live in particular areas. There are also the dangers of what are called “false positives,” when a computer links two things that shouldn’t be connected–as when facial-recognition software recently matched members of Congress to criminals’ mug shots. The revised code exhorts technologists to take special care to avoid creating systems with the potential to oppress or disenfranchise whole groups of people.

[Photo: Hero Images/Getty Images]

Living ethics in technology

The code was revised over the course of more than two years, including ACM members and people outside the organization and even outside the computing and technological professions. All of these perspectives made the code better. For example, a government-employed weapons designer asked whether that job inherently required violating the code; the wording was changed to clarify that systems must be “consistent with the public good.”

Now that the code is out, there’s more to do. ACM has created a repository for case studies, showing how ethical thinking and the guidelines can be applied in a variety of real-world situations. The group’s “Ask An Ethicist” blog and video series invites the public to submit scenarios or quandaries as they arise in practice. Word is also underway to develop teaching modules so that concepts can be integrated into computing education from primary school through university.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. My personal favorite was the comment from a young programmer after reading the code: “Now I know what to tell my boss if he asks me to do something like that again.”

The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct begins with the statement “Computing professionals’ actions change the world.” We don’t know if our code will last as long as the Hippocratic oath. But it highlights how important it is that the global computing community understands the impact our work has–and takes seriously our obligation to the public good.

Cherri M. Pancake is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at Oregon State University. This post originally appeared on The Conversation.

          Puerto Rico concedes: Death toll from Hurricane Maria is 20 times higher than estimates      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The government of Puerto Rico has quietly revised the death toll from Hurricane Maria. While initial government reports put the number at 64, that number has now been revised to 1,427 people. The news, first spotted by the New York Times, was tucked into a request to Congress asking for $139 billion in recovery funds.

The initial death toll estimate came from Puerto Rico’s Demographic Registry, but critics had decried the number as wildly underestimating the damage. The category-five storm blasted the island, knocking out power, destroying homes, erasing roads, and cutting off food and water supplies.

“We have always said that the official number [of deaths] will definitely increase,” Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, said in a conversation with Fast Company earlier this year. However, he was waiting for the results of a report commissioned by the Government of Puerto Rico, which asked researchers at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health to find the true cost of the storms. The report is expected to be released this month.

While the death toll is a bleak number, it’s far less than the number shown in a Harvard study that concluded it was closer to a staggering 4,600 people. Harvard’s study noted that 83% of the households in Puerto Rico were without electrical power for the time period looked at, more than 100 days, from the date of the hurricane until the end of 2017, which contributed to the number of deaths.

          Collins is tip of congress corruption      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Link. Getting rich in Congress
          Democrat Lead in August Generic Ballot Drops to Two Points      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

 Voters fill out primary ballots at a Polk County polling place at East Side Library in Des Moines, Iowa, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Five Democrats are competing for their party's nomination to oppose Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, and big fields of Democrats also are running for U.S. House seats, reflecting …

There are a number of possible explanations for this fairly dramatic movement away from the Big Blue Wave. To begin with, we have had some undeniably good economic news of late, which voters are crediting President Trump for.

The latest round of polls that look at the generic ballot show a dramatic  drop for Democrats as we head into the 2018 mid-terms elections.

In the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, Democrats enjoyed a seven point advantage last week. As of Thursday, that lead has slipped to just five points.

That five point lead, though, includes polls going back to mid-July, including an outlier Quinnipiac poll that gave Democrats a 12 point lead.

More @ Breitbart

          Lewandowski cita dinheiro recuperado para justificar reajuste de salários no STF      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

iG São Paulo

Ministro disse que execuções fiscais determinadas por juízes recuperam milhões aos cofres públicos; aumento pode gerar impacto de até R$ 4 bilhões

Ricardo Lewandowski defendeu a proposta de reajuste de 16,38% para os salários dos ministros da Corte

Ricardo Lewandowski defendeu a proposta de reajuste de 16,38% para os salários dos ministros da Corte

Foto: Carlos Moura/SCO/STF - 7.6.2017

O ministro do Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) Ricardo Lewandowski rebateu nesta quinta-feira (9) a repercussão negativa da proposta de reajuste de 16,38% para os salários dos ministros da Corte.

Ao ser questionado sobre o impacto fiscal do aumento dos salários dos ministros, aprovado na noite de quarta-feira (8), ele respondeu que as execuções fiscais determinadas por juízes recuperam milhões aos cofres públicos.

Com o reajuste, cuja inclusão na previsão orçamentária do Poder Judiciário foi aprovada em sessão administrativa do Supremo, o salário dos ministros da Corte pode passar de R$ 33,7 mil para mais de R$ 39 mil. O aumento ainda precisa ser confirmado em votação no Congresso, para onde a proposta será encaminhada.

Devido ao chamado efeito cascata, uma vez que o salário de ministros do Supremo serve de teto para todo o funcionalismo público, isso pode gerar um impacto de até R$ 4 bilhões aos cofres públicos. Somente no Poder Judiciário, a estimativa de impacto é de R$ 717 milhões.

Confrontado com os números, Lewandowski lembrou o anúncio feito na quarta-feira(8) pelo Ministério Público de que recuperou R$ 1 bilhão para a Petrobras por meio de acordos de delação premiada no âmbito da Operação Lava Jato.

“Portanto, só essa devolução já representou uma quantia muito maior do que aquela que será remanejada no orçamento do Poder Judiciário, isso sem falar nos milhões e milhões que os juízes federais e estaduais recuperam aos cofres públicos em execuções fiscais”, disse o ministro.

Lewandowski foi um dos que votaram a favor do reajuste, juntamente aos ministros Dias Toffoli, próximo presidente do STF; Luiz Fux; Luiz Roberto Barroso; Gilmar Mendes; Marco Aurélio Mello e Alexandre de Moraes.

Congresso deve votar reajuste dos salários dos ministros

Salários dos ministros do Supremo Tribunal Federal servem de teto para todo o funcionalismo público

Salários dos ministros do Supremo Tribunal Federal servem de teto para todo o funcionalismo público

Foto: Carlos Moura/SCO/STF - 18.4.18

Nesta quinta-feira, Moraes também justificou seu voto. “Agora o Congresso analisa, vai cruzar os dados. O que a gente não podia era, mais um ano, subtrair do Congresso essa apreciação”, disse o ministro.

Mais cedo, a atual presidente do STF, ministra Cármen Lúcia, disse estar convencida de que o aumento dos salários dos ministros não é o melhor para o País e que não desejaria estar ao lado dos vencedores na votação que aprovou o reajuste. Também votaram contra a proposta os ministros Edson Fachin, Rosa Weber e Celso de Mello.

          Cármen Lúcia lamenta aumento do próprio salário: "não é o melhor para o Brasil"      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

iG São Paulo

Nesta quarta, reajuste dos vencimentos dos ministros do Supremo foi aprovado; ministra votou contra o aumento, mas perdeu a votação por 7 a 4

Presidente do STF%2C ministra Cármen Lúcia foi contra o aumento do salário dos ministros da Corte, aprovado ontem

Presidente do STF%2C ministra Cármen Lúcia foi contra o aumento do salário dos ministros da Corte, aprovado ontem

Foto: Rosinei Coutinho/SCO/STF - 15.3.18

O resultado da votação desta quarta-feira (8), no Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF), em que os ministro definiram o aumento dos próprios salários, foi comentado publicamente, nesta quinta-feira (9), pela presidente da Corte, a ministra Cármen Lúcia. Em seu comentário, a ministra que votou contra o aumento, lamentou a decisão do colegiado. 

"Às vezes lutamos muito, mas não ganhamos, mas o objetivo de lutar pelo Brasil e conviver com o diferente que muitas vezes vence faz parte da democracia", disse Cármen Lúcia. Em seu comentário, a ministra disse também que não se envergonhava de ter ficado vencida no tema, por estar convencida de que não era o melhor para o Brasil.

"Os que venceram e como venceram não era o que eu queria mesmo, e continuo convencida de que não era o melhor para o Brasil", disse a presidente do STF. "Perco quase todo dia, ontem perdi, provavelmente hoje perco de novo em alguma votação. Mas eu não queria estar ao lado dos vencedores", disse a ministra.

Leia também: Ministra Cármen Lúcia critica o descumprimento de ordens judiciais

Ela foi uma das pessoas que defenderam que os salários dos ministros permanecessem em R$ 33,7 mil por pelo menos mais um ano. O reajuste dos salários foi aprovado ontem, junto a uma inclusão no orçamento do Poder Judiciário de 2019, a ser encaminhada ao Congresso. Na decisão, ficou decidido um aumento de 16% nos salários dos ministros, que poderão chegar a R$ 39 mil.

Votaram a favor do aumento os ministros Ricardo Lewandowski, Marco Aurélio, Luís Roberto Barroso, Gilmar Mendes, Dias Toffoli, Luiz Fux e Alexandre de Moraes. Cármen Lúcia votou contra o reajuste, assim como os ministros Rosa Weber, Edson Fachin e Celso de Mello.

As declarações da ministra foram dadas durante um evento sobre os 30 anos da Constituição, em uma universidade particular de Brasília. Em sua fala, Cármen fez um relato sobre a luta por direitos durante a ditadura militar, na qual houve sucessivas derrotas, mas que culminou com a vitória do atual texto constitucional.

Leia também: Dias Toffoli é eleito presidente do STF e substitui Cármen Lúcia já em setembro

Além de Cármen Lúcia, participavam da mesa também a procuradora-geral da República, Raquel Dodge, o ministro dos Direitos Humanos, Gustavo do Vale Rocha, e a diretora-presidente da Agência Nacional das Águas (ANA), Christianne Dias.

* Com informações da Agência Brasil.

          Rep. Kevin Yoder says Democratic rival Sharice Davids doesn’t have Kansas values. Huh?      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
We endorsed Sharice Davids to be the Democratic nominee in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District not knowing if she’d win or finish closer to the bottom among the six candidates competing … Click to Continue »
          After milestone win, Sharice Davids to test Dems’ strategy in key suburban district      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Sharice Davids broke through a crowded Democratic field Tuesday to win her party’s nomination to take on Republican congressman Kevin Yoder in November. But the Johnson County lawyer did something … Click to Continue »
          Washington US House race may feature 2 Democrats      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
A progressive Democrat has edged into the second spot in the race for Washington's 9th Congressional District, potentially setting up a November contest between two Democrats. Under Washington's primary system, … Click to Continue »
          Candidate wants GOP primary opponent to quit over attack ads      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
An Arizona congressional candidate on Thursday asked one of his opponents to quit the Republican primary after she aired attack ads deriding the modeling agency he works for. State Sen. … Click to Continue »
          Tinubu: Some senators are plotting to impeach Buhari.      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

  Tinubu: Some senators are plotting to impeach Buhari. National leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, said on Wednesday some senators and members of House of Representatives are plotting to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari. Tinubu advised them to drop their plan because it is “not possible for a lizard to wrestle an antelope.” […]

The post Tinubu: Some senators are plotting to impeach Buhari. appeared first on The Express News.

          Sky’s The Limit for Military Waste: $717 Billion ’19 Budget      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

With near consensus from both sides of the aisle, congress just rubber-stamped a nearly three quarters of a trillion dollar spending plan for defense contractors. There is no limit on what we will spend on weapons, according to today’s guest

The post Sky’s The Limit for Military Waste: $717 Billion ’19 Budget appeared first on Keeping Democracy Alive.

          'A Nonsense Idea': Retired 4-Star Army General Explains Why Trump's Space Force Is Ludicrous — and Probably Doomed to Fail      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
"We don't want space militarized."

Vice President Mike Pence doubled down on President Donald Trump's proposal for a new branch of the military — the 'Space Force — in a speech Thursday, despite the fact that few experts support the proposal. Even Defense Secretary James Mattis, who was appointed by Trump himself, is reportedly opposed to the notion.

On MSNBC's "The Beat" with host Ari Melber, retired four-star Army General Barry McCaffrey explained exactly why "Space Force" is a terrible idea.

"It's actually a very bad idea," he said. "It's expensive. It will take a decade or more to unravel space operations, which are built into all the services. And at the end of the day, I don't think Congress is going to pay for it anyway."

He continued: "We've also got some concerns, I might add, on international foreign policy. We don't want space militarized, and we've signed treaties to that effect. So there's a lot of issues with this, and I think it's actually a nonsense idea and probably won't happen at the end of the day."

Watch the clip below:

          Collins' Spokesperson Confirms Republican Congressman Has Been Paying Huge Legal Bills with Campaign Contributions      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Things keep looking worse for the overtly corrupt congressman.

Congratulations to Rep. Chris Collins’ (R-NY) donors. Not only has he been arrested for insider trading, but you guys have been paying his rather impressive legal fees—up to $60,000 a month!

A spokesman for the Collins legal team confirmed that the payments from the campaign were for the investigation by the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics and an ongoing inquiry by the House Ethics Committee. Going forward, the congressman will pay for his legal bills out of his own pocket, the spokesman added.

Isn’t that big of him—now that he’s actually been arrested in a criminal case and not just investigated by ethics offices, he’ll pay his own bills. What a guy.

          Donald Trump sets goal to create US military Space Force by 2020 - ABC News      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

ABC News

Donald Trump sets goal to create US military Space Force by 2020
ABC News
US President Donald Trump's administration has set a goal of creating a sixth branch of the US military by 2020 known as the Space Force and says it will work to build bipartisan support in Congress for the plan.
Pence details plan for creation of Space Force in what would be the sixth branch of the militaryWashington Post
US VP Mike Pence announces Space Force as sixth branch of
Trump's push for Space Force highlights serious vulnerabilityUSA TODAY
all 1,700 news articles »

          Internet Rips Ben Shapiro for $10K Offer to Debate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: He'll 'Pay a Woman Just to Talk to Him'      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The proposal was an open display of entitled male privilege.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro offered New York Democratic primary congressional winner Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez $10,000 to publicly debate him.

The offer backfired as the public reaction was one of mockery to Shapiro's desperation.

"I would love to have a real conversation with you about the issues," Shapiro said.

"Not only am I eager to discuss the issues with you," he continued. "I'm willing to offer $10,000 to your campaign today for you to come on our Sunday special."

Shapiro said he wants to "really probe" her belief system during the proposed hour-long conversation.

Twitter reacted with amusement to the entitled offer from Shapiro.

Read some of the best reactions below.

          Wall Street Journal Blows Up Trump's 'Red Wave' Fantasy — And Blames Him for Eroding Republican Support      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The president's claim is a delusion.

The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal delivered a reality check to President Donald Trump on Thursday morning, saying his claim of a “red wave” in the coming midterms could not be further from the truth.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump tweeted a simple all-caps “RED WAVE!,” on Twitter expressing his belief that the GOP will be making large gains in November.

According to the WSJ, the Republican Party is instead looking at devastating losses tied directly to the president’s unpopularity and even more unpopular policies.

“Republicans on present trend are poised in November to lose their majority in the House of Representatives and a slew of governorships,” the editorial bluntly began. “That’s the clear message from Tuesday’s election contests and a growing body of evidence. The President’s persona is trumping positive policy results among voters, and without some intervening news or a change in strategy the result is likely to be a national left turn.”

According to the editors, the GOP narrowly averted a devastating loss in an Ohio special election, and that is a warning sign that there is major trouble on the horizon for Republicans seeking to hold both houses of Congress.

“The ominous news for Republicans is that they hold about 68 House seats that are less Republican than this Ohio district. Most include stretches of suburbia that have been GOP strongholds but where many voters dislike Mr. Trump’s abrasive style and polarizing governance,” the editorial warned, noting Democrats only need to pick up 23 seats to retake the House.

According to the WSJ, the GOP’s biggest problem going into the midterms is the face of the party; President Donald J Trump.

“Tuesday’s results cast doubt on the current White House strategy to make the election a referendum on Donald J. Trump,” the piece maintained. “His omnipresence also motivates Democrats, while it may de-motivate soft Republicans and independents who dislike Mr. Trump.”

Touching on “swing voters” Republicans need to stave off losses, the Journal said Trump is driving them away.

“They aren’t impressed by Mr. Trump’s name-calling, his brawls with the media or taunts of LeBron James,” they wrote. “They don’t like the debacle of family separations driven by immigration-enforcement obsessives inside the White House.”

The Journal’s editors unsurprisingly also focused on Trump’s economy-damaging tariffs.

“Trade protectionism also doesn’t help among Republicans who work in large companies (and live in those swing districts) and are beginning to see the cost of tariffs. GOP policy successes on the economy and taxes are drowned out by the Trump cacophony,” the piece continued, before noting that the Senate is in play.

“In this political environment, even the GOP’s Senate majority isn’t safe,” the editors continued. “Only three or four GOP seats are in play, but the party could lose Nevada, Arizona, and Tennessee. Republicans need to defeat Democratic incumbents to hold the Senate, which isn’t easy in this kind of year.”

Then came the big warning.

“Our sense is that Republican voters haven’t recognized how much jeopardy the party is in,” they explained. “Many are content to listen only to their safe media spaces that repeat illusions about a ‘red wave’ and invoke 2016 when the media said Mr. Trump couldn’t win”

You can read the whole piece here (subscription required).


          Republicans Are Panicking over Ohio’s Special Election Results      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Democrats are energized and fielding quality candidates even in places that have not been competitive for them in recent election cycles.

Ohio’s special election to fill the seat of retiring Republican Congressman Pat Tiberi was too close to call by the morning after the election. Republican Troy Balderson’s lead was less than 1 percent ahead of his opponent, Democrat Danny O'Connor. Provisional and absentee ballots are being counted.

The results in the election, like previous special elections this cycle in the Georgia 6th Congressional District and Pennsylvania’s 18th, signal that Democrats are energized and fielding quality candidates even in places that have not been competitive for them in recent election cycles.

The story of this special election has become familiar across the country: Democrats are angry, motivated and active even in districts that have traditionally been safely Republican. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to enjoy advantages in congressional elections.

These advantages are mainly due to gerrymandering, which has been easier for Republicans because their voters are spread out across suburban and rural areas in a way that lets Republicans control more space. Those advantages have given Balderson a slight lead, but Republicans across the country may be concerned after this election.

This was supposed to be easy

In the 2010 elections, Republicans won the Ohio governor’s race and control of the state legislature. They used that power to redraw congressional districts in their favor, rendering districts like the OH-12 largely uncompetitive. President Donald Trump carried the district by 11 points in 2016.

That environment meant that Democrats faced significant barriers even with Tiberi’s retirement. And Republicans seemed to do all the right things to ensure they kept the seat. Balderson is a fine candidate. He has a resume as a reliable Republican state legislator and has played by the rules. He holds mainstream Republican positions and avoids extremist rhetoric.

He is not a Rick Saccone, the firebrand who lost to Conor Lamb in a Pennsylvania special election earlier this year. Nor is he a Roy Moore, the controversial Senate candidate who lost the special Alabama election after allegations of sexual assault and statutory rape came out.

The Republican Party, at both state and national levels, got heavily engaged in this special election. They spent a lot of money on the race, particularly in the last weeks of the campaign. Millions of dollars were spent on television ads, saturating the airwaves at a level usually reserved for presidential elections in the days leading up to the election.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both held rallies in support of Balderson, and he received endorsements from Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Gov. John Kasich. The Ohio Republican Party was as active and united as they could be.

The midterm environment

The party not in control of the White House tends to do better in midterm elections, so it should come as no surprise that Democrats in Ohio were energized. One common explanation for this is that the difficulty of turning campaign promises into real results drives down enthusiasm among voters who become disappointed by their party’s struggles.

At the same time, enthusiasm rises among voters who see the governing party’s failures as confirmation of their own beliefs. This dynamic is, of course, exacerbated by President Trump’s historic unpopularity.

There are dozens of other House seats currently held by Republicans that will be at least as vulnerable as Ohio’s 12th Congressional District in November. Many things went right for Republicans in this special election: a strong candidate, lots of advertising, and strong party unity among key actors. They probably put forth their best possible effort – yet it is still too close to call.

Will Republicans be able to devote resources to all of those other races? If not, or if those resources aren’t enough, then Democrats could make strong gains this year.

          Rashida Tlaib’s Victory Is a Win for Muslims and Democracy      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Muslims haven’t had a lot of reasons to be excited about our government lately. Under President Trump, open hostility has become business as usual. From the proposed Muslim ban to the president casually telling Anderson Cooper that he believes Islam hates the United States, a heightened sense of anxiety now infects the lives of Muslim Americans, and we have real reasons to feel abandoned by our government. Hate crimes against Muslims have surpassed even the spike after 9/11, and within the United States, American terrorists have targeted fellow Americans who happen to be Muslim. Meanwhile, Trump invites hatemongers into the White House, hires them to his staff, and retweets anti-Muslim propagandists.

But if Muslims see a failure of democracy under Trump, Tuesday’s election results offer at least a glimmer of hope that the process can still work. In Michigan, Rashida Tlaib is now poised to make history by becoming not only America’s first female Muslim member of Congress, but also the first Arab-American Muslim, after winning the Democratic primary in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, which covers most of Detroit and some of its suburbs. Tlaib will run unopposed in the upcoming election, and Muslims in the U.S. and abroad are already celebrating her victory.

In an email, Tlaib told me she thinks “this win shows a lot of Muslim Americans that even with Trump in the White House and the Supreme Court telling us the Muslim Ban is legal, our voices are powerful, and reminds people that we belong in this country like everyone else.”

As it turns out, Muslim Americans are happy to try and represent themselves if the current government refuses to. A former Michigan state legislator, Tlaib is one of the first to win in a wave of more than 90 Muslim candidates, mostly running as Democrats, who’ve entered the local, state, and national race for public office.

Her victory doesn’t advance some kind of Muslim agenda. She ran on a platform focused on economic and environmental justice, Medicare for All, and a $15 minimum wage—all issues that understandably resonate with people living in Detroit. Her identity, she told me, didn’t play a central role. “I’m proud of my faith and am raising my family to be proud of our identity,” she told me in an email. “A lot of people expect that my race and religion was an issue in this campaign, but it really wasn’t. Voters on the doors don’t care that I’m Muslim, they just want to know that I’ll work hard for them and never sell them out.” She received over 27,000 votes, edging her over her opponent by only 1 percent. “How I pray doesn’t matter to them,” she added.

But to Muslims everywhere, her victory will help revive a marginalized community’s hope in fighting for an egalitarian democracy. Tlaib’s win stunned American Muslims everywhere who’d given up on seeing themselves in the people responsible for governing them. Representation, especially for American Muslims, matters. The Pew Research Center concluded that familiarity with a Muslim was directly linked with positive views toward Islam, and in America, more than half of the population have never met one. So with more Muslims in government, we’ve got a better shot at curbing the problem of Islamophobia, and we’ll have at least a few elected leaders who can relate to the struggle.

For the first time in a long time, I’m excited about democracy. Without it, the prospect of fighting for representation—and winning—would be impossible. In her acceptance speech, Tlaib reaffirmed her commitment to our shared American values. “I’m going to push back against everything that’s so un-American that’s coming out of this administration,” she promised a cheering crowd. And that’s something all Americans should celebrate.

          What Trump Could Learn From Al Gore on How to Handle an Election Interference Scandal      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

A foreign adversary trying to curry favor with a major American political party. Surreptitious and illegal efforts to influence the election in that party’s favor. A national officeholder and White House staff targeted. A resulting political furor, followed by criminal and congressional investigations. Replace Russia with China, the 2016 election with 1996, and President Donald Trump with Vice President Al Gore, and there are disturbing parallels. But unlike Trump, the Clinton-Gore White House adopted an approach of reasonable, albeit begrudging, accommodation of investigators, including Gore’s voluntary participation in an interview with federal prosecutors. It was a better legal strategy to protect Gore, and much healthier for the country, than Trump’s scorched-earth attacks on intelligence and law enforcement professionals.

As a young attorney for Gore, I responded to congressional and criminal subpoenas in the ensuing investigations. The way the Clinton-Gore operation handled the crisis helped mitigate the political damage. Even more importantly, it navigated the legal and political minefield within the framework and legitimacy of essential American institutions of law enforcement and the intelligence community, rather than targeting them with political attacks.

As details of the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting on the promise of Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton have emerged, a number of old Gore and George W. Bush staffers recall an episode from the 2000 campaign. A debate preparation binder compiled by the Bush campaign was delivered to an adviser to the Gore campaign. Instead of using stolen insider information, the Gore campaign immediately reported it to the FBI. That was the honorable path, and one that should have been apparent to Trump campaign officials when they were approached by Russians.

Another stark example of integrity occurred when Gore implored those of us on his staff to tamp down efforts by supporters to take to the streets in mass demonstrations after the Supreme Court decided the 2000 presidential election in his opponent’s favor. His deep-seated commitment to the rule of law and the peaceful transition of power—even under what we all considered outrageous circumstances—led him to understand that continuing the fight after that point could imperil the long-term health of the country.

Gore’s commitment to American institutions informed his management of fallout from an earlier controversy—apparent Chinese efforts to influence the 1996 re-election campaign of President Bill Clinton against his challenger, Republican Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole.

In April of that year, as the presidential campaign was in its early stages, then–Vice President Gore attended an event at the Hsi Lai Temple in California. It later turned out that Maria Hsia, a longtime Gore fundraiser, had laundered some $60,000 in campaign donations to Democratic political entities through straw donors, including Buddhist nuns Gore had met at the temple. Gore had received support from Hsia dating back to his 1990 Senate campaign. He said that he originally understood the temple event as a Democratic National Committee occasion to reach a segment of the Asian-American community, but he later conceded it was probably finance-related. At the time, questions loomed about whether the campaign’s top leaders might have known about the illicit contributions.

Republicans pounced. They designated a fellow Tennessean, Republican Sen. Fred Thompson, to conduct a congressional investigation with the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, the precursor to what is now the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Republicans also wanted then–Attorney General Janet Reno to appoint an independent counsel. Although she didn’t take that step, the Department of Justice nevertheless aggressively prosecuted the case.

The Thompson investigation, investigative reporting by news media, and ultimately a criminal investigation conducted by a Campaign Finance Task Force within the Justice Department revealed other foreign influence efforts emanating from Asia as well. The players included John Huang, a DNC official with responsibility for constituency outreach and fundraising among Asian Americans, and a fundraising entity called the Pacific Leadership Council formed by Hsia, Huang, and the wealthy Riady family of Indonesia.

Most disturbing were allegations that Chinese intelligence was orchestrating these efforts to cultivate political contacts within the Democratic Party. The Justice Department uncovered evidence that the Chinese Embassy had been used for planning illegal political contributions to the DNC. The Thompson investigation alleged that Hsia was a Chinese intelligence agent. Johnny Chung, a Democratic fundraiser, told federal investigators that China’s military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Ji Shengde, had funneled $300,000 through Chung to support Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign.

The Chinese Embassy denied the allegations. White House spokesman Jim Kennedy responded by saying the White House had no prior knowledge of the source of Chung’s funds and declined to comment further about “allegations regarding intelligence matters.”

Justice Department prosecutors won convictions against the primary players in the illegal fundraising schemes:

• In May 1999, Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie, who had been in the Clinton orbit for some time, pleaded guilty after he was indicted for campaign finance violations and obstruction of justice related to some $600,000 in opaquely sourced political donations.

• The same month, Huang pleaded guilty to a single felony charge in return for substantial cooperation in the investigation.

• In March 2000, amid Gore’s primary battle with Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hsia was convicted of funneling more than $100,000 in illegal campaign contributions to Democratic candidates during the 1996 campaign cycle. Significantly, at her trial, prosecutors “contended [Gore] was unaware of any problems with Hsia’s activities.”

• In January 2001, James T. Riady pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to defraud the United States related to illegal campaign contributions, and LippoBank California, which Riady headed, pleaded to 86 related misdemeanor charges and agreed to pay an $8.6 million fine.

The Chinese election interference scandal came at a political cost to Gore. Republicans did their best to maximize the damage in order to hobble Gore’s anticipated presidential campaign. Republicans on the Hill leaked the transcript of Gore’s April 2000 FBI interview on the eve of the Democratic National Convention that nominated Gore for president.

But Gore’s choices about how to respond to the scandal—and when to avoid comment—mitigated those political costs. More importantly, Gore’s patriotism and common sense meant that Clinton and Gore did not go to war with federal law enforcement and the U.S. intelligence community.

The following were the hallmarks of the Clinton-Gore legal, official, and political response:

1.   Reinforce with public statements that American elections should be free of interference by foreign governments. It’s a pretty simple concept, and it places the White House firmly on the side of American democracy. For example, Senate Democrats, who criticized perceived partisan excesses of the Thompson committee Republicans, still began their minority report by affirming the importance of election integrity: “Clean and fair elections lie at the very heart of our democratic system of government, and the American people are entitled to know whether the electoral process was compromised or corrupted during the 1996 election cycle.” I can’t recall Trump or his Hill allies making a clear statement on the need for American election integrity in the face of foreign threats. To the contrary, he has denied or prevaricated at every turn, either insisting that the Russians didn’t interfere, contrary to the findings of his own intelligence agencies, or falsely asserting that the agencies found there was no effect on the outcome.

2.  Assure the public that policy was not affected by tainted Chinese political donations. In response to the campaign finance investigation, Bill Clinton spoke about the process by which policy decisions had been taken. In one case, for example, he asserted, “The decisions we made, we made because we thought they were in the best interests of the American people.” On a sensitive trip to China, in the face of Chinese denials, Gore told Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng the allegations would not affect U.S.-Chinese relations unless the accusations proved true. Even there, Gore took for granted that U.S. law enforcement and intelligence professionals, rather than the White House, would make those determinations about Chinese culpability.

3.  Allow the investigation to run its course. Unlike Trump’s repeated attacks on the Russia investigation as a “witch hunt,” Clinton told the public, “I think the investigation ought to proceed, and whatever the facts are, we’ll take appropriate action at that time.” Embedded in that statement are three important points: (a) The president is not trying to interfere with law enforcement processes; (b) he won’t prejudge the facts; and (c) if there is wrongdoing, those responsible should be held accountable.

It’s also notable that, while the White House under both Clinton and Trump responded to investigators’ requests for documents, Gore also submitted to an interview with campaign finance investigators. Gore’s interview performance and candor became the subject of debate, but there was no barrage of attacks from Gore’s team against the investigators. It remains to be seen whether Trump will follow suit with his own FBI interview.

Trump’s continued public and private efforts to interfere and impede the Russia investigation will be one of his signature legacies of damage to American democratic institutions and the rule of law. In contrast, White House responses to the Chinese influence investigation in the 1990s did not seek to delegitimize the investigation or attack the investigators.

Such a principled response can also pragmatically cauterize the White House from subsequent factual revelations. As long as evidence does not directly implicate the knowledge or conduct of the president or vice president, they don’t own it. Consider, in contrast, Trump’s refusal to embrace the intelligence community findings that Russia interfered in the election and did so to support Trump. Now Trump stands in opposition to every additional fact about Russian active measures that comes out, even though each fact basically proves what the public, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement officials already collectively know to be true. Why take on all that unnecessary liability?

4.  Minimize comment about the pending investigation. This approach—a top-line recognition that a legitimate inquiry is ongoing that would limit commentary—mitigates the additional legal problems brought on by public commentary about a pending investigation. Every criminal defense lawyer advises the client not to speak about the subject of the investigation absent some pressing justification. In contrast, Trump continues to engulf his administration in controversy as he pours gasoline on the fire with each statement. He has abandoned a time-honored approach of refusing to comment absent a few well-crafted and evidence-based responses. A principled refusal to comment also has the practical benefit of allowing the White House to move on to other topics and advance its affirmative agenda. Instead, the Trump White House criticizes its negative press coverage without acknowledging its own hand in fueling it.

The biggest problem Gore faced was that he had to walk back his initial characterization of the Buddhist temple event as “community outreach.” Once it became clear by a review of documents that there was a paper trail connecting the temple event to DNC fundraising efforts, Gore conceded it was “finance-related.” In January 1997, he told the press: “I knew it was a political event and I knew there were finance people who were going to be present,” Gore said. “And so that alone should have told me this was inappropriate, this was a mistake, don’t do this. And I take responsibility for that.” On one hand, it was a sign of Gore’s character that he wanted to correct the record based on evidence. However, it also gave fodder to press skeptics and political opponents that a story that changed once could change again.

This is another cautionary tale of investigative legal defense for political figures: It’s critical to get your arms around the facts in the face of initial pressure to comment on a potential scandalworthy event. Better to hold off those demanding an immediate account of events to give the lawyers and communications staff time to figure out what happened.

5.  Push back on political attacks or unsubstantiated allegations with evidence. Minimizing comment did not mean unilateral disarmament from political attacks. As the Republicans prepared to showcase Thompson’s hearings, the White House released documents, memoranda, and emails demonstrating that Gore was unaware of any illicit fundraising scheme in connection with his appearance at the Hsi Lai Temple. These documents chronicled the evolution of the event planning that morphed into fundraising activity but also demonstrated a lack of awareness of that change on Gore’s part. White House communications staff and lawyers appropriately walked reporters through these materials. But rather than defense by screed, it was a defense grounded in facts and the reasonable inferences they supported.

* * *

It has been well-chronicled that the Clinton-Gore political operation and White House made mistakes and cut corners as they engaged in the arms race for campaign cash. But there was no evidence that Gore was aware of any straw-donor campaign contribution scheme by a foreign adversary, which he would never have countenanced.

I also do not mean to suggest that the Clinton-Gore White House response to scrutiny was perfect. Or that these events weren’t political, or politicized, at the time. But a responsible and effective strategy allowed law enforcement processes to run their course and minimized fallout for the White House. In the end, American institutions were preserved, Gore survived the period with limited damage, and the whole Chinese influence effort is a near-forgotten footnote of our political history.

More From Just Security:

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Just Following Orders: Overdue Oversight and Unanswered Questions on Family Separations

          Democratic Women Are Winning House Primaries in Record Numbers. Republican Women—Not So Much.      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

As of Tuesday’s primaries, a record number of women have secured major-party nominations for this November’s U.S. House elections. Democratic and Republican voters have nominated 185 women in House races so far, toppling the previous record of 167 nominees in 2016. And there may be even more women nominees to come, with 94 additional female House candidates running in upcoming primaries and one state runoff. (Three women in Washington are still waiting for the final results in their too-close-to-call races, too.)

That jump in absolute numbers from 167 to 185 obscures the real source of this gender shift. The previous record for Democratic women House nominees came in 2016, when there were 120. This year, there are 143. Meanwhile, just 42 Republican women have secured House nominations, the smallest cohort in a decade.

After the 2016 election, the president of the National Federation of Republican Women told me that Donald Trump ignited “excitement and enthusiasm” among conservative women, providing a “natural springboard” for them to run for office. The numbers don’t bear out that claim. In March, Politico counted 494 women running for the House and Senate; 76 percent of them were Democrats. This enthusiasm gap has also manifested at the polls. In the 2018 primaries, Democratic women running for House seats have mostly bested their male opponents. NPR reports that in open Democratic primaries with both genders represented in the candidate pool, women have won 69 percent of the time. In Republican races under the same circumstances, only 34 percent of female candidates have won.

Past research has shown that women are elected and re-elected at the same rates as men in comparable races. At the same time, a 2016 poll reported that a plurality of both Republicans and Democratic men said they’d be more likely to vote for male candidates than female ones, while Democratic women were the only group that said they prefer female candidates.

When Democratic women haven’t succeeded this year, it’s often because they’ve lost to other Democratic women. In one Pennsylvania district, six women and four men were on the Democratic ballot. A woman won that race, but five others inevitably lost.

Progress in gender equity within the Democratic Party won’t necessarily lead to a major gender shakeup in Congress. Many of the female Democratic nominees are running in heavily Republican districts they are all but certain to lose; others are running against incumbents, who enjoy a substantial statistical advantage. And though 185 seems like a lot of candidates, there are still far more men running for House seats, in part because this year saw a surge of new male candidates in addition to female ones. The New York Times reported in May that even if a female candidate won in every district where a woman was running, men would still outnumber them by almost 2-to-1 in the House. (Women currently hold 84 of 435 seats in the House, or 19.3 percent.)

Still, advocates for greater representation for women in Congress see a few heartening trends in the types of women running for office. Historically, women have waited to run until they have a ton of experience and a good chance of winning. Men have not. (In one survey, 79 percent of women said the first office they’d seek would be local, compared to 67 percent of men—and twice as many men as women said they’d pick a federal position as their first.) Thus, female candidates on the ballot have often had better qualifications than their male counterparts. This imbalance is a demonstration of women’s logical decision-making, not succumbing to imposter syndrome: Some research has shown that when comparing candidates of equal quality, men win more often than women. In other words, an excellent female candidate will only fare as well as a mediocre male one.

But this election cycle, women aren’t letting a relative lack of experience hold them back, according to analysts at the Center for American Women in Politics. That may not bode well for the 2018 midterms—in addition to the barriers they face in voter perception, inexperienced women sometimes choose to run in districts that heavily favor their opponents—but it’s a good precedent for future elections. Voters of all genders will get accustomed to seeing female first-time candidates with varying levels of experience, following their campaigns, and watching a few succeed. With role models like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a congressional candidate who’s already become a national celebrity despite having never held public office, women may stop waiting to hit traditional thresholds of readiness before filing to run—and if female candidates with low-to-average levels of experience become the norm rather than the exception, the biases in voter perception may finally begin to shift. Today’s record-breaking roster of female candidates is best interpreted as an investment in gender equity, not an immediate payout.

          Mike Pence Is Trying to Convince America That Space Force Will Be Real and Spectacular      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

President Trump floated a sixth military branch dedicated to slipping the surly bonds of Earth and touching the face in God in March, when he told Marines, “You know, I was saying it the other day, because we are doing a tremendous amount of work in space. I said maybe we need a new force. We’ll call it Space Force. And I was not really serious. Then I said what a great idea. Maybe we’ll have to do that. That could happen.”

Well, five months later, the American government, from the Pentagon to the vice president, is working to make it happen—or at least talking about making it happen. In a speech today at the Pentagon, Mike Pence said, “America will always seek peace, in space as on the Earth. But history proves that peace only comes through strength. And in the realm of outer space, the United States Space Force will be that strength.”

The plan, Pence said Thursday, was for an operational Space Force by 2020, which would include, of course, its own band of elite operators—that’s right, space SEALs: “Just like special operations forces, a space operations force will draw men and women from across the military and will grow into their own unique and cohesive community.”

The process started in June, when Trump formally told the Pentagon to establish a sixth branch of the military for space. But Space Force will remain a fantasy until Congress directs money to and provides authorization for a new branch—and the latest defense spending bill didn’t include it, with many members of the Senate Armed Services Committee opposed or skeptical of the idea.

Update, 4:01 p.m. Here are some prospective Space Force logos sent out by Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale for upcoming Space Force merch.

          Is Republican Leadership Secretly Backing Devin Nunes’ Plan to Impeach Rod Rosenstein?      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

On Wednesday, The Rachel Maddow Show released leaked audio of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes that was recorded at a private fundraiser for his Republican colleague, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. The recording shows Nunes’ commitment to using the power of his office to obstruct Robert’s Mueller investigation of Donald Trump, with the congressman acknowledging his aim to protect the president from investigators to ensure the GOP remains in power.

“If [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones,” Nunes said to the crowd of Republican donors. “Which is really the danger. That’s why … we have to keep all these seats. We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.”

These private remarks are the opposite of shocking given what Nunes has said and done in public. Since Trump took office, Nunes has publicized classified information meant to support a claim by Trump that Barack Obama had personally “tapped” his phones without revealing that his source was the White House itself; hyped and produced a memo, which Trump’s own Justice Department described as misleading, that was meant to discredit the FBI; prematurely closed the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation and reached conclusions that contradicted the findings and beliefs of the intelligence community and even some of the committee’s Republican members; campaigned to publicize classified information that intelligence officials have described as directly threatening intelligence-gathering sources and methods; and spent the last few months building a campaign to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a way Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called “cavalier.”

There is one way, though, in which Nunes’ fundraiser comments might reveal something important: They show his belief that he has the support of Republican leadership in his campaign to shield Trump. For her part, McMorris Rodgers, the chair of the House Republican Conference, seemed to indicate he is correct in that view.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, told me last week that he felt that Ryan has at least tacitly “endorsed” Nunes’ “malfeasance.” Ryan has portrayed the situation as otherwise, publicly distancing himself from the efforts to impeach Rosenstein and pressing his colleagues to back off that attempt after articles of impeachment were submitted last week.

Hardline Republicans, however, have promised that impeachment options “remain on the table.” Rosenstein has become the top target of the president’s defenders, because he has ultimate authority over the Mueller probe that Trump has so vocally and consistently declared to be a “witch hunt.” (On Thursday, he called it a “rigged witch hunt.”)

Nunes’ comments reveal that his current plan is to wait until Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed to the Supreme Court by the Senate and then to return to trying to get Rosenstein impeached. Here’s the relevant portion of audio:

Audience member: “But also, on things that came up in the House on Rosenstein impeachment thing. And it appears from an outsider that the Republicans were not supported.”

Nunes: “Yeah, well, so it’s a bit complicated, right? And I say that because you have to, so we only have so many months left, right? So if we actually vote to impeach, OK, what that does is that triggers the Senate then has to take it up. Well, and you have to decide what you want right now because the Senate only has so much time. Do you want them to drop everything and not confirm the Supreme Court justice, the new Supreme Court justice? … I’ve said publicly Rosenstein deserves to be impeached. I mean, so, I don’t think you’re gonna get any argument from most of our colleagues. The question is the timing of it right before the election.”

McMorris Rodgers: “Also, the Senate has to start –”

Nunes: The Senate would have to start, the Senate would have to drop everything they’re doing and start to, and start with impeachment on Rosenstein. And then take the risk of not getting Kavanaugh confirmed. So it’s not a matter that any of us like Rosenstein. It’s a matter of, it’s a matter of timing.

Nunes states that the Rosenstein impeachment is merely being delayed, not entirely tabled. McMorris Rodgers, too, seems to acknowledge that the dynamics of the Senate, which is hoping to hold hearings on Kavanaugh’s nomination next month, prevent a Rosenstein impeachment from going ahead right now.

It’s unclear whether McMorris Rodgers is speaking for the House Republican leadership. It’s possible McMorris Rodgers is patronizing Nunes. It’s also possible she’s serious about giving him the chance to impeach Rosenstein. Given the persistence of Trump’s House supporters and the timing of Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation, we’ll likely have answers to these questions very soon.

          Comment on Suggestions for Posts? by Plan 9 for Outer Space      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
"U.S. President Donald Trump is not giving up on his dream of a Space Force, Congressional budget be damned. On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech at the Pentagon stating the case for a new military branch focused on defending America’s interests in space and laying out a plan to bring it to fruition."
          Michelle Obama Joins Voter Registration Drive for the Midterms      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is featured in a video along with celebrities Tom Hanks, Janelle Monáe, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Lin-Manuel Miranda to encourage people to register and vote. In less than 100 days, the midterm elections that will either expand President Trump’s power or greatly restrict it, will take place on November 6. There has been much talk about the likelihood of a “blue wave” that could give Democrats the gavel and investigative power in Congress over the next two years of Trump’s presidency. The underlying urgency of Michelle Obama’s message is an unspoken aspect of her new registration effort. The name of the new effort, “When We All Vote,” is also an indication that the former first lady is well aware of the fact that higher voter turnout usually leads to Democratic victories at the polls. The effort is also a challenge to registered voters to participate in elections “both big and small.” Though the effort is billed as “non-partisan,” the sense of urgency about the country’s direction under President Trump’s leadership is an unavoidable backdrop. Several live events are also expected as part of the effort between now and election day. Former President Barack Obama is expected to hit the campaign trail to assist Democrats who are looking to take back the House and Senate in 2019. On July 31, the former President announced that he is endorsing 81 Democratic candidates on the ballot this November. There is a record number of women on the ballot this year. Many of the endorsements former President Obamaread more

The post Michelle Obama Joins Voter Registration Drive for the Midterms appeared first on Houston Forward Times.

          Washington US House race may feature 2 Democrats      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
A progressive Democrat has edged into the second spot in the race for Washington's 9th Congressional District, potentially setting up a November contest between two Democrats. Under Washington's primary system, … Click to Continue »
          Candidate wants GOP primary opponent to quit over attack ads      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
An Arizona congressional candidate on Thursday asked one of his opponents to quit the Republican primary after she aired attack ads deriding the modeling agency he works for. State Sen. … Click to Continue »
          The Latest: Wash. US House race may feature 2 Democrats      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The Latest on the Washington state primary (all times local): 5:02 p.m. A progressive Democrat has edged into the second spot in the race for the 9th Congressional District. After … Click to Continue »
          Comment on Top Gun Demetries Grimes, a Naval War Hero, Runs for 26th Congressional District by Eugene Roberts      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
You and H.Peters do not understand the 2nd amendment. It is to give the general population the right to protect themselves from the superiority of armed intruders (including "government" intruders, for what ever reason). Sorry, your "bill" is basically a disarming of the population and YOU KNOW IT. We're not stupid. I am a combat disabled Vietnam veteran.I know what weapons are for. I do not want liberals/"progressives" disarming me to the point that I have no way to protect my rights or my family. As an example; I believe in paying fair taxes, but remember, all types of taxes are collected in the U.S.A. at the point of a gun. You don't believe me; then quit paying your taxes and see how long it takes for someone with a weapon to show up to collect your $$$ or property.
          PAN AFRICANIST CONGRESS WOES: PAC ‘Unity’ conference to go ahead this weekend after urgent interdict bid fails      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
As the 2019 elections draw closer, the Pan Africanist Congress is battling to unite and redefine itself amid ongoing court tiffs and infighting. In the latest move, a court bid to block a member-initiated unity conference from going ahead under the banner of the PAC failed.
          By-Elections: ANC lose ward to DA in Burgersdorp but remain rock solid in Mbhashe      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The African National Congress (ANC) lost a ward to the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Walter Sisulu municipality in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday night, but also had a convincing hold in a rural ward in Mbhashe, also in the Eastern Cape.
          Member of Congress, member of corporate board? It’s allowed      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

WASHINGTON (AP) — The indictment of Rep. Chris Collins on insider trading charges is drawing new attention to the freedom members of Congress have to serve on corporate boards or to buy and sell stock in industries they’re responsible for overseeing. Collins, a New York Republican, has denied any wrongdoing stemming from his involvement with […]

The post Member of Congress, member of corporate board? It’s allowed appeared first on The Lima News.

          Going where no president has gone before, Trump wants Space Force by 2020      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday announced an ambitious plan to usher in a new "Space Force" as the sixth branch of the military by 2020, but the proposal was scorned by opponents and may struggle to get liftoff in a divided Congress.

          Mike Pence Reveals the 4 Steps that Will Make the Space Force a Reality      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Vice President Mike Pence asked Congress to appropriate $8 billion over the next five years for President Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force, during a speech at the Pentagon Thursday morning. “As President Trump has said in his own words, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space,” Pence said Thursday. “We…
          Democrat Star Who’s Headed to Congress Throws Nancy Pelosi Under the Bus      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Even if the Democrats take back control of the House, Nancy Pelosi might be facing an uphill battle to regain her place as House Speaker. The Washington Free Beacon reports that over 20 Democrats have expressed apprehension about backing the former speaker, and now, Democratic congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib — running to represent parts of…
          Pentagon Space Force plan at a glance      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The Trump administration's plan to establish a Space Force as a new branch of the military will unfold in phases and will require congressional approval

The post Pentagon Space Force plan at a glance appeared first on

          Blitzer dismantles GOP Congressman who says Mueller investigation 'really needs to go away'      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Blitzer grilled Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) over the Special Counsel Robert Muller's probe into President Donald Trump. "Is it appropriate, congressman, for the president's attorney Rudy Giuliani to be treating this investigation as a political football?" Blitzer asked. "I think Rudy Giuliani is doing what he thinks is best for the president to move forward," Yoho said. "This investigation really needs to go away. On Russian collusion and Russian meddling in our election: We know they meddled. There is no evidence of collusion. The FISA warrants were issued on those pretenses."
          American Boatbuilders Are the Latest Casualty in Trump's Trade War      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The aluminum tariffs are causing boat prices to jump.

Add boatbuilders to the list of American industries taking a beating due to Trump's new tariffs and resulting trade war. A retaliatory European Union tariff of 25 percent is drying up sales overseas, and Trump's aluminum tariffs just happen to hit the thing that small recreational boats need a lot of: aluminum.

A typical pontoon might sell for about $30,000, but that could soon rise to as much as $37,000, according to CEO Doug Smoker. That’s largely because of the rising cost of aluminum, “the No. 1 commodity” that goes into his boats. (Five years ago, Smoker moved to all-American purchasing wherever feasible, but the company is still getting squeezed, because demand for U.S.-made aluminum surged with the tariffs, pushing prices up.)

Nonetheless, Smoker figured the company was in decent shape — until retaliatory tariffs were imposed by Canada, where more than a quarter of his fishing boats are sold. He rushed as much inventory as he could north of the border. But since the levies went into effect July 1, sales there have “dried up.”

Potential boat purchasers may be inured to the notion of chucking money into their new watery hobby, but still: a sudden $7,000 increase in the price of a $30,000 boat is something most purchasers are going to notice, and it's very likely that anyone who does need a recreational boat right-the-heck-now will be waiting until someone, somewhere talks some sense into Rich Orange Trade War Guy. And there are very few people in America who need a recreational boat right-the-heck-now.

While the tariffs are impacting small and large boatbuilders alike—the Los Angeles Times notes a builder of multimillion dollar crafts is suffering as well—there is no word on how these tariffs will affect the sale of fresh new Cayman Islands flags. For that we'll have to ask someone like Trump Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and so far she's not commenting on any of this.


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          Bolsonaro representa risco à democracia, escreve The Economist      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

(FOLHAPRESS) - Com o título "Brasilia, we have a problem" (Brasília, temos um problema), a revista britânica The Economist publicou editorial em que afirma que Jair Bolsonaro (PSL), candidato à presidência, oferece riscos à democracia.

A publicação destaca que, dois meses antes da eleição brasileira, ninguém é capaz de prever o resultado, já que o ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva está preso e nenhum outro candidato supera os 20% de intenção de votos no primeiro turno.

A revista destaca que Bolsonaro vem adotando táticas baseadas em provocação e uso hábil de redes sociais.

Também cita declarações controvérsias, como a de que ele preferia ter um filho morto a um filho gay e que já disse a uma congressista que ela merecia ser estuprada. 

          Nanico, PSL de Bolsonaro lança candidato a governador em metade do país      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

SALVADOR, BA, BRASÍLIA, DF, E SÃO PAULO, SP (FOLHAPRESS) - Um dos menores partidos do país, com apenas 8 dos 594 congressistas, o PSL de Jair Bolsonaro lançou candidato a governador em metade dos estados brasileiros.

Caso a sigla confirme os 13 candidatos até o dia 15 -prazo final para registro das chapas na Justiça Eleitoral-, ela deve se igualar ou superar pesos-pesados da política nacional, como o MDB de Michel Temer e o PSDB de Geraldo Alckmin, com 13 e 12 postulantes a governos estaduais, cada um.

Isso também representará um salto em relação a 2014, quando o PSL disputou apenas um governo estadual, o do Rio Grande do Norte, acabando em último lugar -o advogado Araken Farias recebeu pouco mais de 13 mil votos (0,9%).

Os partidos encerraram no domingo (5) o período de convenções, mas isso não significa que o quadro de candidatos esteja consolidado.

Pode haver recuos até o dia 15, além de alguns deles correrem o risco de serem barrados pela Justiça Eleitoral.

A expressiva lista de candidatos do PSL, que contrasta com o seu tamanho, tem como causa, naturalmente, o ingresso de Bolsonaro na sigla.

Por um lado, o lançamento de candidaturas é estimulado pela atual força eleitoral do capitão reformado do Exército, que lidera as pesquisas de intenção de voto nos cenários sem o ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Por outro, o isolamento de Bolsonaro, que só conseguiu aliança com outro partido nanico, o PRTB, exige que haja mais candidatos próprios nos estados que possam lhe dar palanque.

Um dos principais aliados de Bolsonaro, o deputado Major Olímpio (PSL-SP) disse que a ampliação do número de candidatos a governador não faz parte de uma estratégia para promover o presidenciável.

"Esse impulsionamento de candidaturas foi porque tivemos muitas filiações e vários estados passaram a ter opções competitivas", disse.

Para Olímpio, apesar de cada candidato regional ajudar a promover o nome de Bolsonaro, esse não será um fator determinante na eleição.

"O maior palanque do Bolsonaro é a própria figura dele. Não é o fato de ter ou não candidatura a governador que trará maior sucesso ou não", afirmou.

Dos 13 candidatos do PSL, contudo, apenas dois conseguiram firmar palanques mais amplos e entrar na disputa com candidaturas competitivas.

Em Roraima, Antonio Denarium será candidato em chapa com oito partidos. Já no Espírito Santo, Carlos Manato (PSL) firmou aliança com o senador Magno Malta (PR), considerado favorito na disputa pelo Senado.

Nos demais estados, apesar da falta de aliados, os candidatos se dizem otimistas e acham que podem ser impulsionados pela popularidade de Bolsonaro.

"Bolsonaro tem um exército para defender ele e isso vai se refletir nos estados. Vamos estar no segundo turno", afirma João Tarantella, candidato a governador de Sergipe pelo PSL.

Candidato ao Senado em Santa Catarina, Lucas Evangelista (PSL) diz que, em quatro meses, montou diretórios do partido em 150 municípios do estado. E diz que o partido vai forte para as urnas: "Representamos a mudança".

Em sua primeira eleição nacional, a Rede, de Marina Silva, também é uma sigla nanica que terá candidatos ao governo em quase metade dos estados. Em sua maioria, são concorrentes que correm por fora na disputa local e que terão a função de abrir palanque para a presidenciável, como Rogerio Portanova (SC) e Célia Sacramento (BA).

Um dos nomes considerados competitivos é o do juiz aposentado Márlon Reis (TO) um dos idealizadores da Lei da Ficha Limpa.

A Folha identificou pelo menos 186 candidatos a governo nos estados, leve crescimento em relação a 2014, quando foram 176.

A comparação dos dados entre uma eleição e outra mostra que neste ano haverá uma maior leva de concorrentes que representam siglas de direita, como o PSL e o Novo.

O fenômeno segue tendência verificada desde os protestos de rua de junho de 2013, que deram força a movimentos identificados com a direita e que integraram as forças pró-impeachment de Dilma Rousseff.

Em relação às grandes siglas, PT e PSDB devem lançar um número similar de candidatos nas disputas estaduais. Já o MDB de Temer caiu de 18 para 12.

Sem a força que dispunha em eleições presidenciais anteriores, o PT tenta abrir espaço na disputa nacional com candidatos a governador em 14 estados e no DF. Além de quatro governadores que buscam a reeleição, há veteranos que entram na campanha sem estar entre os favoritos e com coligações enxutas, como Doutor Rosinha (PR), Décio Lima (SC) e Luiz Marinho (SP).

O DEM, que em 2014 ainda não havia conseguido se reerguer do declínio verificado nos anos anteriores, recuperou parte da força política nos anos seguintes, principalmente após o impeachment de Dilma e a vitória de Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ) para a presidência da Câmara.
Isso se reflete nos números: em 2014 a sigla disputou em dois estados, perdendo em ambos. Agora, lançou oito candidatos a governador.

Quem são os candidatos do PSL aos governos

AC Coronel Ulysses

AL Josan Leite

AP Cirilo Fernandes

CE Hélio Góis

ES Carlos Manato

MA Maura Jorge

PI Fábio Sérvio

PR Ogier Buchi

RO Marcos Rocha

RR Antonio Denarium

SC Carlos Moisés

SE João Tarantella

TO César Simoni 

          Trump tax cuts are ballooning the deficit, so get ready for the GOP attack on Medicare and Medicaid      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Get ready for Republican screeching about cutting Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security (after the midterms, of course). Because a new Congressional Budget Office estimate showing how much the deficit has increased since they passed the tax scam law signals that it's time for them to pretend the deficit matters again.

The CBO says that the federal deficit increased by 20 percent in just the first 10 months of the 2018 fiscal year. Spending outpaced revenue to the federal government by $682 billion from October 1, 2017 to the end of last month, a $116 billion increase over the same period last year. While tax revenues from individuals rose (get that? Regular people are being taxed more) corporate taxes have fallen—a lot. That, combined with the spending bill passed in March which increased budget caps on both domestic and defense spending, has resulted in the deficit hike.

So that promise from Trump and the Republicans that a corporate tax cut would stimulate so much growth that the deficit would come down isn't happening. What a shock. The CBO doesn't see a turnaround in the situation, either, estimating a $793 billion deficit by the end of this year and more than $1 trillion in 2019.

A large deficit isn't in and of itself a terrible thing. If that deficit was a result of a surge in spending in people to increase employment, provide access to health care, cut higher education expenses, or any myriad other programs that could boost private income and spending and boost the economy, that would be one thing. But this one, built on massive corporate tax cuts being plowed back into said corporations for executive bonuses and stockholder enrichment? This one is bullshit.

And that bullshit is going to be used by Republicans—again—to try to decimate all the social insurance programs, whether it's food stamps or health care. And they'll probably try to do it after the election, in the lame duck session. They've set up the 2019 budget bill with a broad reconciliation instructions that require $302 billion in mandatory program spending cuts, mandatory programs being things like Medicaid and Medicare. That reconciliation would allow the Senate to pass the bill with a simple majority, preventing a Democratic filibuster.

So the next time you hear a Republican scream about the deficit, tell them this: It's your fault, and you're not going to use it to destroy the safety net.

          Trump endorses Ted Yoho ahead of Florida primaries      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
President Trump on Thursday endorsed Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) ahead of his district's Republican primary later this month. "Congressman Ted Yoho of Florida is doing a fantastic job and has my complete and total Endorsement! Tough on...
          Sen. Steve Smith accuses Wendy Rogers of fraud, asks her to withdraw from CD1 race