A turbulent election season that tested President Donald Trump’s slash-and-burn political style against the strength of the Democratic resistance comes to a close as Americans cast ballots in the first national election of the Trump era on Tuesday.
US voters will decide whether Trump will keep his Republican majority in Congress or face a hostile Democratic majority after a bitter campaign for midterm elections described by both sides as a battle for America's soul.
For almost two years, Trump's rule-breaking, sometimes chaotic administration has enjoyed a largely free hand from the twin Republican-controlled chambers, but the midterms could finally see his wings clipped.
The entire 435-member House of Representatives and a third of the 100-seat Senate are up for grabs.
Anxious Republicans privately expressed confidence in their narrow Senate majority but feared the House was slipping away. Trump, the GOP’s chief messenger, warned that significant Democratic victories would trigger devastating consequences.
“If the radical Democrats take power they will take a wrecking ball to our economy and our future,” Trump declared in Cleveland, using the same heated rhetoric that has defined much of his presidency. He added: “The Democrat agenda is a socialist nightmare.”
Tuesday’s results will be colored by the dramatically different landscapes in the fight for the House and Senate.
Most top House races are set in America’s suburbs where more educated and affluent voters in both parties have soured on Trump’s presidency, despite the strength of the national economy. Democrats were buoyed by a wave of Republican retirements and an overwhelming fundraising advantage.
They need to pick up two dozen seats to claim the House majority.
Democrats face a far more difficult challenge in the Senate, where they are almost exclusively on defense in rural states where Trump remains popular. Democratic Senate incumbents are up for re-election, for example, in North Dakota, West Virginia, and Montana — states Trump carried by 30 percentage points on average two years ago.
Democrats need to win two seats to claim the Senate majority.
Given Trump’s stunning victory in 2016, few were confident in their predictions.
“I feel less comfortable making a prediction today than I have in two decades,” Republican pollster Frank Luntz said.
'Awakening of the Democratic Party'
Democrats, whose very relevance in the Trump era depended on winning at least one chamber of Congress, were laser-focused on health care as they predicted victories that would break up the GOP’s monopoly in Washington and state governments.
“They’ve had two years to find out what it’s like to have an unhinged person in the White House,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who leads the Democratic Governors Association. “It’s an awakening of the Democratic Party.”
Democrats could derail Trump’s legislative agenda for the next two years should they win control of the House or the Senate. Perhaps more important, they would claim subpoena power to investigate Trump’s personal and professional shortcomings.
Some Democrats have already vowed to force the release of his tax returns. Others have pledged to pursue impeachment, although removal from office is unlikely so long as the GOP controls the Senate or even maintains a healthy minority.
Democrats’ fate depends upon a delicate coalition of infrequent voters — particularly young people and minorities — who traditionally shun midterm elections.
If ever there was an off-year election for younger voters to break tradition, this is it. Young voters promised to vote in record numbers as they waged mass protests in the wake of the February mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 students and staff dead.
Democrats are drawing strength from women and college-educated voters in general, who swung decidedly against Trump since his election. Polling suggests the Republican coalition is increasingly older, whiter, more male and less likely to have a college degree.
Diversity in national elections
Democrats boast record diversity on the ballot.
Three states could elect their first African-American governors, while several others are running LGBT candidates and Muslims. A record number of women are also running for Senate, House, governorships and state legislative seats.
“The vast majority of women voters are angry, frustrated and they are really done with seeing where the Republican Party is taking them, particularly as it related to heath care and civility,” said Stephanie Schriock, who leads EMILY’s List, a group that help elect Democratic women. “You’re going to see the largest gender gap we’ve ever seen.”
The political realignment, defined by race, gender and education, could re-shape US politics for a generation. The demographic shifts also reflect each party’s closing argument.
While the economy continues to thrive, Trump has spent much of the campaign’s final days railing against a caravan of Latin American immigrants seeking asylum at the US border. He dispatched more than 5,000 troops to the region, suggesting soldiers would use lethal force against migrants who throw rocks, before later reversing himself.
Republicans have privately encouraged the president to back off, to no avail.
Democrats, meanwhile, have beat their drum on health care.
“Health care is on the ballot,” former President Barack Obama told Democratic volunteers in Virginia. “Health care for millions of people. You vote, you might save a life.”
Bernie Sanders, the leftist populist who some feel would have had a better chance than Clinton to take on Trump in 2016, lashed out Monday at the president, calling him a "pathological liar".
"He is a sexist, a racist, a homophobe, a xenophobe and a religious bigot. He is trying to do what we have never seen in the modern history of this country, to do what he is doing right now, to gain votes by trying to divide the American people up based on where we came from," Sanders said on SiriusXM Progress radio.
Conscientious non-voters have many reasons for not voting. Don't listen to them.
by Katie Herzog
David Becker/Getty Images
You'd think after nearly 250 years we'd have this voting thing down by now, yet all across the country Americans are once again marking Election Day by waiting in long-ass lines. (Except, that is, for the three enlightened states that have adopted vote-by-mail, which, coincidentally, were also the first three states to legalize weed.)
Voter participation is expected to be record high this week, but voting rates in the U.S. are still abysmally low compared to many countries. Australia, where voting is mandatory, ranks at the top of the heap, followed by Malta, Chile, Belgium, Italy, and Luxembourg, all of which have a voter turnout of over 90 percent. On the lower end, you have Russia, Switzerland, Pakistan, and the United States, where, on a good year, only around 60 percent of eligible voters show up. Why doesn’t nearly half the popular vote? I suspect it's because most people just don't give a shit and their stories are on. If you asked this apathetic portion of the populace who the Attorney General is, I’m guessing they'd say, "What army?" But there's also a population of people who do give a fuck but who still opt not to participate in this particular part of the civic process: conscientious non-voters.
For some conscientious non-voters, it all comes down to who's running. A 53-year-old home-builder who is primarily concerned about government spending (and who benefits from it) told me that he will "vote again when we have a viable third party that values freedom for all, not just the ones whose ideas they favor but especially for those who have ideas they despise." He will not, he added, "vote again until I see politicians that understand and prioritize spending within our means."
I also spoke with a 28-year-old conservative who told me that he was so disappointed in Obama's victories in 2008 and 2012 that the prospect of getting invested and losing again just isn't worth it. Another non-voter, an anarchist and philosophy PhD student, said that voting is damaging because it allows people to "focus on policy and what people in power do instead of what they can do themselves." When I asked what the public should do about policies they disagree with—for example, separating and imprisoning immigrant families—he advocated for direct action like assisting immigrants at border crossings instead. "Voting does matter in the aggregate," he said, "but it doesn't matter if you are talking about the individual.”
This point—that individual votes don't matter—is also made by Katherine Mangu-Ward, the editor-in-chief of Reason, the libertarian magazine based in Washington, D.C. For her, it all comes down to numbers. "You are very, very, very, very, very, very unlikely to be a decisive vote," Katherine said. "Your vote turning the outcome of an election is vanishingly rare, whereas, there are all kinds of things you can do with the hour or two hours of your time that it takes you to vote that are objectively, clearly good."
When I asked Katherine if voting took less time—if she could, say, vote-by-mail, which takes about as much time as walking to your mailbox—she would still feel it’s a waste of time, she said that there are other, more affirmative arguments against voting. "If you think the system is basically corrupt or broken, I think there's a very strong case to make that you actually have a duty not to vote."
On that, we disagree. Democracy isn't inherently corrupt. It's corrupt when the people running it are corrupt, and one of the only means of swaying who is steering the ship is to show up and vote. Sure, your individual vote might not change the outcome of an election, but as Kant would argue, if everyone failed to vote, the system itself would fail. For some non-voters (for instance, the anarchist philosophy student), that may be the goal, but Katherine says she's not in favor of the collapse of the system as we know it. Rather, she prefers to participate in the system in other ways, including calling her elected representatives.
Still, I'm not convinced. Sure, calling your representative is one way to be heard, but if your representative is, say, a rabid, God-fearing, conservative who thinks non-Christians should burn on Earth and will burn in hell, he's probably not going to listen when you call up and demand he vote in favor of access to abortion. Same if you're represented by a member of the DSA and you've got a complaint about tax rates on the rich. So what can you, as an individual, actually do? Show up to vote. Your particular vote might not change the election, but the collective vote does, and the collective is just a bunch of individuals taking action.
Now, I understand why people don't trust the system. Just look at recent history, namely the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections, both of which were ultimately won by the person who got fewer votes. But the only way to correct the system is to elect candidates who will at least try and fix it—and right now, there's only one party in the running that is even remotely interested in that. The other side is busy starting trade wars and locking up children. When the stakes are this high, when the chance to curb Donald Trump comes down to our ballots, I don’t see how not voting can be morally justified—unless, that is, you vote Republican. In that case: Listen to Katherine.
Ten new books coming to Kindles, bookstores, and libraries near you. George R.R. Martin, Michelle Obama, Joanna Gaines, Liane Moriarty, J.K. Rowling and more have new books coming out this November! Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave by Joanna Gaines November 6 In Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, Joanna Gaines walks you through how to create a home that reflects the personalities and stories of the people who live there. Using examples from her own farmhouse as well as a range of other homes, this comprehensive guide will help you assess your priorities and instincts, as well as your likes and dislikes, with practical steps for navigating and embracing your authentic design style. Room by room, Homebody gives you an in-depth look at how these styles are implemented as well as how to blend the looks you’re drawn to in order to create spaces that feel distinctly yours. A design template at the end of the book offers a step-by-step guide to planning and sketching out your own design plans. The insight shared in Homebody will instill in you the confidence to thoughtfully create spaces you never want to leave. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane [...]
Politico: "The general consensus among Republicans is that they will lose the House, and end up in at least a five-seat minority-- that would correspond to a 28-seat loss. Senior Republicans tell us that even in a worst-case scenario, they do not expect to lose 40 seats. A prescient prediction or famous last words?" Of all the senior Republican lawmakers they spoke with over the weekend, "only one made the case that the GOP will keep the House." If it's who I think it was, he was staggering drunk for the entire weekend. Many Republicans expected the House races to tighten up by election day. Instead the generic ballot polls have gotten even worse for them. The last one for CNN by SSRS shows an absolutely massive 55% to 42% preference for Democrats among likely voters. As I've said before, the pollsters' likely vote modeling is wrong because it is not taking increased Latino and millennial voting into account. Polls predicting less than 30 flipped seats will all be off by as much as 100% tonight.
Let's look at Florida. Yesterday's Marist poll shows Andrew Gillum leading Ron DeSantis in the gubernatorial race-- 50% to 46%-- and Bill Nelson leading Scott in the Senate race by the same 50% to 46%. Democrats are very lucky to have Gillum at the head of the ticket instead of dull conservative Gwen Graham, who had been the establishment candidate and who would have dragged the party down the toilet with her. But it's a shame Florida doesn't have any good congressional candidates who could ride the wave and Andrew's coattails into office. Instead, it's a bunch of DCCC-recruited backs from the Republican wing of the party-- New Dems and Blue Dogs. This is the key today: "Democrats in both races are performing better than their Republican counterparts with likely voters who are independents, minorities and women."
Stoking domestic terrorism goes over especially badly with independent voters
Results from Quinnipiac are nearly identical: seven point leads for both Gillum and Nelson, entirely because of double-digit leads for both among women, minorities and independent voters. Writing Sunday for the Miami Herald Steve Bousquet reported on the surge in early voting for Democrats. On Sunday, "Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough and Orange, the five biggest 'blue' counties, all reported their highest one-day early voting totals of the 2018 campaign. As a result, on a day when President Donald Trump rallied thousands of Republicans in Pensacola, the GOP’s ballot advantage over the Democrats shrank to six-tenths of 1 percentage point (0.6), with GOP ballots at 40.8 percent of the statewide total and Democrats at 40.2 percent." By Monday morning Dems had a +0.5% lead over Republicans in ballots cast. In 2014 Republicans held almost a 6% lead over Dems going into election day. So how many Democratic candidates will Gillum's coattails and the anti-red wave drag to victory in Florida today? Most of the candidates are so terrible that it's hard to say-- but even the worst of them are less horrible than the Republicans they're opposing. Donna Shalala, as bad a candidate as you'll find anywhere, will probably beat Maria Salazar in bright blue FL-27 (PVI- D+5) despite herself. Nate Silver gives her a 6 in 7 chance to win (84.7%). Next door in Carlos Curbelo's district (FL-26-- where the DCCC and Pelosi's PAC have spent $7,175,066 attacking Curbelo-- another weak Democrat, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell looks like she'll take the seat (PVI is D+6). Silver gives her a 5 in 9 chance (55.6%). The other Republican-held Miami-Dade seat, Mario Diaz-Balart's 25th district (PVI- R+4) has the best of the 3 Democratic challengers, Mary Barzee Flores, but in the toughest race. Silver gives her a 2 in 7 chance (27.8%) to beat Diaz-Balart. The wave will have had to have turned into a tsunami tonight for her to win.
Silver gives Wasserman Schultz a 99.9% chance of retaining her seat in a 3-way contest against progressive Tim Canova and some Republican sacrificial lamb, more or less the same chance Joe Crowley had in beating Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The only polling in the district-- by a GOP firm-- shows Wasserman Schultz exactly tied with Canova. The DCCC has 4 other Democratic candidates on their Red to Blue page-- Nancy Soderberg (FL-06, Ron DiSantis' open seat with an R+7 PVI), Kristen Carlsen (FL-15, Dennis Ross' open seat stretching from the Tampa suburbs to the Orlando area with an R+6 PVI), David Shapiro (FL-16, Vern Buchanan's Sarasota, Bradenton seat with an R+7 PVI) and Lauren Baer (FL-18, Brian Mast's Treasure Coast district with an R+5 PVI). Silver doesn't give any of them much of a chance to win. Soderberg 1 in 4, Carlsen 3 in 7, Shapiro 1 in 7, and Baer 1 in 12. Soderberg, Baer and Shapiro (as well as Mucarsel-Powell) are all New Dems. The 2 Florida candidates in red districts with the best shot are 2 normal Dems, Kristen Carlsen and Mary Barzee Flores. The DCCC has spent modestly in a few of the races-- $499,932 in FL-06, $146,362 in FL-16, $868,290 in FL-18, and $694,360 in FL-15 .
Matt Haggman is one of the progressive Democrats Blue America endorsed this cycle but who didn't win his primary, losing out, in this case, to an establishment nothing with lots of name recognition and money but with nothing to offer the voters except that she's not a Trumpist. Tragic waste of a blue seat but Matt has been good sport about it, endorsed her and has been working to help elect her. He agreed to catch us up on what he's been up to down in South Florida. He reiterated that "This is the most important mid-term election in our lifetimes. It’s a moment when we will decide as a country who we are and who we are not. Here in Florida I have been working to help Andrew Gillum, Donna Shalala, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Mary Barzee Flores and Bill Nelson all win. Just this weekend I was out canvassing. But, before this, I was a candidate. I was one of the many across the country who left good jobs to up and run for Congress following the 2016 presidential election. For me, it didn’t go as hoped. I lost to Donna Shalala in Florida’s Congressional District 27. Howie asked that I share a blog post I wrote in the weeks after the Aug. 28 Florida primary. It’s a reminder of the reasons why this mid-term is so important. Why each of us can have a big impact even if we’re not on the ballot. And why, whether a candidate or supporter, we must do all we can to ensure everyone gets out to vote this Election Day to turn a new page in our politics." Until Next Time, Thank you It’s been a few weeks since the primary election. Obviously, for me, it was a disappointment. But the many great wishes since election night from friends and supporters has been wonderful. I wanted to write a post and say thank you. And also reflect a bit on the past 13 months campaigning for US Congress. Before doing that, I again congratulate Donna Shalala on her victory. This is a moment in our politics that is bigger than any individual and it’s critical that the Democratic party take control of the U.S. House of Representatives. We must unite behind her. In addition, we have to elect Andrew Gillum as our next Governor! His campaign has energized us all, and it’s time to bring it home. Looking back on the primary, my overriding feeling is gratitude. I’m extremely thankful to my wife Danet, who supported me in this effort, and thankful to all of the people who propelled our campaign-- the volunteers, fellows, staff, donors and, ultimately, voters. I had never run for any elected office, yet so many went all-in supporting our campaign. Thank you very, very much. Our fellows were, in particular, an inspiration to me. We recruited more than 50. Most were in college, some still in high school. Working on the campaign after class or full-time during summer break. Weekends, nights. Calling voters, knocking on doors. They were passionate and dedicated. Now, they are back on campus. At schools from Miami Dade College and Michigan to Boston University and Palmetto Senior High School. At a time when our political system badly needs a reset, they showed what it means to take hold of our democracy. With them, our future is so blazingly bright. Along with our fellows, what I loved about being a candidate was talking with voters and being out in the community. I loved it. Going door to door on sweltering summer afternoons in Kendall, or Little Havana, or Richmond Heights. Evenings canvassing in Westchester or Palmetto Bay. Unfiltered and alone, it was just us; talking about our community and country. On those days and nights there was no place I would rather be. Life revealed itself in its many forms on these unannounced visits. The couple celebrating their daughter who was headed to college. The single mom working three jobs to keep current on her mortgage. The middle-aged woman who tried to chat amiably but, after a time, couldn’t hold it back any longer, sharing that she’d just been diagnosed with cancer. “I need a hug,” she said, a tear running down her cheek, which she quickly and defiantly wiped away. The conversations were always so real-- standing at front doors, sitting in living rooms, meeting people where they are, learning about their hopes and concerns, aspirations and struggles. At a time when Washington has so fundamentally and collectively lost its way, at the grassroots people are making sense. We need to spend more time listening to them. Indeed, throughout the campaign I often said the best ideas come from the community, not candidates. I really meant it. Change happens from the ground up, and that’s never been more true than today. From start to finish, our campaign sought to stay true to that ethos. Namely, we focused on voters, rather than cutting down competitors as a means to win. We visited every precinct, we knocked on some 45,000 doors. Again and again, I found a sincerity, thoughtfulness and a belief that things will get better. I always thought we lived in a special community, but over the last year I’ve vividly seen it with my own eyes in one neighborhood after another. Those thousands of conversations leave me today more hopeful and optimistic than ever. If only our politics can be as good as them. I think it can, but we are going to have to change in big ways. To me, election night 2016 was a shattering moment-- and it’s what ultimately prompted me to run. I had believed that America would never elect a person who said and did the things that Donald Trump said and did. I believed that America today would never elect a bully, a liar, someone who preyed upon our worst fears and sought to divide us to win support. We might come close to electing such a demagogue, but at this stage in our country’s history we would never actually do it. I was obviously wrong. The better angels of our nature had given way to our most base sensibilities. A presidency built on hope was followed by one grounded in our worst fears. In early January, as President Obama prepared to leave office, he gave his farewell address, warning that we can’t take democracy for granted. That it “falls on each of us to be anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy.” What the speech said to me is that, yes, America is a special place. But it’s only special because generation after generation has continually engaged in making it so-- even as there are setbacks, sometimes dramatic setbacks, along the way. Then, at Danet’s urging, on January 21st we attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. My sister Meghan and our friend Lissette went too. It was an extraordinary day as millions around the world rose up. It was there that I thought to myself that this remarkable moment of protest must also be a moment of real and lasting change-- and wondered how to try and live that. It was there that I decided to run. The reason I decided to drop everything, leave my job at Knight Foundation and do something I’d never done before was because I believed we were-- and are-- at a pivotal moment. This is not a normal election year. I firmly believe that years from now people will ask about this time, what did we do? What did we do when a President-- along with a compliant Republican-controlled Congress-- called for border walls, Muslim bans, tore thousands of immigrant children from their parents, bowed to a foreign power that meddled in our election, sympathized with neo-Nazis, sought to use law enforcement as a means to settle political scores, and declared the press an enemy of the state. This election is our moment to reaffirm and declare who we are-- and who we are not-- as a country. But, in doing so, we have to realize that this election is about what’s next. It can’t just be about what we’re against, but it has to be about what we’re for. Indeed, while Donald Trump has contributed much to our dysfunctional politics, the truth is that he’s the result of a dysfunctional system that has been spiraling for some time. We are only going to achieve the change we need if we dispense with the incrementalism that has defined our politics for so long and think-- and do-- in dramatic new ways. And allow new leaders to emerge in a political system that’s long become stuck. Put another way, it’s a two-part challenge: ensure that today does not become the new normal, and provide a vision for what tomorrow will look like. With that in mind, we sought to run a campaign that actually represented the change we seek. At a time when money is undermining our democracy, we didn’t accept any funding from political action committees, federal lobbyists or special interests like big sugar. At a time when so many have given up on politics, our campaign was powered by extraordinary campaign fellows who were the heart and soul of our effort. At a time when so many are disconnected from our government, we built a field program that sought to personally engage voters in every neighborhood in every part of the district. At a time when the leadership in Congress hasn’t changed in years, we called for an entirely new slate of people in leadership roles in the House. The new faces in the next Congress must not be just newly elected members, but the leaders at the top too. Of course, our efforts did not result in a victory. But I have no regrets. After all, this is a moment to take chances. And throughout my life I’ve always sought to take chances by diving into entirely new things; and going all-in when I do. Whether it was going to New Orleans to write a biography on Professor Longhair (still unfinished). Or moving to Miami-- where I didn’t know a soul (but met my soulmate)-- to become a journalist (where I had a great run that lasted nearly a decade). Or leaving the Miami Herald to join Knight Foundation (where I had an even better run), in which I launched an entirely new program that planted the seeds and propelled Miami’s rapidly emerging startup and entrepreneurial community. I want to stretch myself, test boundaries and be willing to do entirely new things. Incumbent to that approach will be wins and losses. It’s the in-between that I want to avoid. Make no mistake, I dearly wish I was part of the Blue Wave at this critical point in our country’s history. But I’m not. This moment belongs to candidates with names like Gillum, O’Rourke, Pressley, Lamb, Ocasio-Cortez, and so many others. I will be cheering every one of them on, and support in any way I can. We need them to win and be good leaders when a new Congress is sworn in in January. And, each in our own way, we all need to lean in and help. The moment is too important. The challenges are too great. The stakes too high. No one can sit this out. So what’s next? The short answer is, I don’t know. I do know that I have many people to thank. I remember when I decided to run, a friend advised that people look at you differently when you’re a political candidate. He cautioned that you’ll be disappointed by friends you thought would be there. But he also said you’ll be surprised by the support from those you didn’t know before or never expected. Focus and delight in the latter, he said. And I will. (One quick note: Danet and I took some time away after the election. If you haven’t heard from me yet, you’ll be hearing from me soon.) After such an all-consuming period I also have many friendships to renew, which I am looking forward to doing. Life is about chapters and seasons. The thing about political campaigns is the chapter ends so suddenly. After such an intense period, it’s quickly and suddenly over. It’s a crash landing. But a new chapter begins. There is power in blank canvases. I’ve experienced it before. It’s at moments like these when you can edit your life and think completely anew. It’s often at these moments when the unimagined happens, when you follow completely new paths and find unexpected success. I have no idea what this next chapter will bring, but I’m excited to find out. After the race, I spoke with Reggie, who is a great friend and the father of Joshua, my little through Big Brother Big Sister for more than a decade. Reggie said to me: “You gotta keep pressing on my man. It’s all good.” That pretty much says it all. Keep pressing on.
Perhaps trying to torture Señor Trumpanzee, a 4 month old Pew Research poll was widely circulated on the internet over the weekend, showing that President Obama, by far, is the president who the most Americans think was the best in their lifetimes (31%) followed by Reagan (21%) and Clinton (13%). I didn't have time to conduct a poll, but I'm going to tell you who the best non-incumbent candidates running for Congress on Tuesday are. In alphabetical order-- based strictly on how well they will perform in Congress if they are elected. These are a dozen potential superstars:
• Lisa Brown (WA-05) • Randy Bryce (WI-01) • Kara Eastman (NE-02) • Jared Golden (ME-02)
Nor did I poll anyone about who the worst Democrats are running for the House. I'm tempted to put this list in order of horribleness but I'll keep it alphabetical, so I don't get into any arguments about why I say Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02) is worse than, for example, Abigail Spanberger (VA-07). Hard to narrow it down to just 12 and I was tempted to sneak in another, calling it a baker's dozen, but I'll save Paul Davis (KS-02) and Anne Kirkpatrick (AZ-02) for another time. 12 Democrats-- bolstering and strengthening the Republican wing of the Democratic Part-- who will make Congress a far worse and less productive place than it would be without them:
• Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) • Gil Cisneros (CA-39) • Jason Crow (CO-06) • Gretchen Driskell (MI-07) • Brendan Kelly (IL-12) • Joseph Kopser (TX-21) • Susie Lee (NV-03) • Kathy Manning (NC-13) • Dan McCready (NC-09) • Max Rose (NY-11) • Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) • Abigail Spanberger (VA-07)
[Oops, I forgot New Jersey Blue Dog Jeff Van Drew... probably because I don't even think of him as a Democrat. But he's the worst Democratic candidate this cycle. The DCCC begged him to run. And he has absolutely no chance of being defeated. He will be in Congress next year, a real tragedy.] Hold your nose and vote for these lunks so Trump winds up getting checked and balanced. The only horrible Democrat running for the House who I would not hold my nose, shut my eyes, vomit in my mouth and vote for is an incumbent, the shockingly Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23). But in that case, the alternative is a progressive running as an independent, Tim Canova, who will caucus with the Democrats, making not just the House, but the wretched party, a better institution. The video message from Elizabeth Warren below is specifically about the Senate but... same, same; the principle works for the House as well. I have a question for progressives-- real ones only, please-- in Arizona: Are you going to vote for Sinema? One more thing about the Senate. With a horrible map for Democrats, the likelihood of it flipping from red to blue in minimal-- though not impossible. Trump is counting on ignoring his likely evisceration in the House by claiming he saved the GOP from doom in both houses. That will be fun.
Michael Walsh wants us to understand that the Obama administration was in charge of the CIA and national security when intelligence operatives around the world were exposed, compromised and even murdered.
No one cares about the story because the story exposes the rank dereliction of the Obama administration and because it is too complicated for most people to understand.
Walsh points the finger of blame:
A rollup of networks across the world -- an event that began in Iran, where the Obama administration would soon enough be negotiating its much sought-after "nuclear deal framework" -- and ended with numerous deaths is the kind of thing of which intelligence nightmares and national-security disasters are made. One's first instinct is to look back and see who was CIA director during that period: Leon Panetta (Feb. 2009-June 2011); Michael Morell (acting director, July-Sept. 2011); David Petraeus (Sept. 2011-Nov. 2012); Morell again (acting, Nov. 2012-March 2013; and finally John Brennan, who served out the remainder of the Obama administration.
The story was reported by Yahoo! News. Note that everyone familiar with the events describe them as a catastrophic failure:
In 2013, hundreds of CIA officers — many working nonstop for weeks — scrambled to contain a disaster of global proportions: a compromise of the agency’s internet-based covert communications system used to interact with its informants in dark corners around the world. Teams of CIA experts worked feverishly to take down and reconfigure the websites secretly used for these communications; others managed operations to quickly spirit assets to safety and oversaw other forms of triage.
“When this was going on, it was all that mattered,” said one former intelligence community official. The situation was “catastrophic,” said another former senior intelligence official.
It was about the websites that CIA used to communicate with operatives around the world.
From around 2009 to 2013, the U.S. intelligence community experienced crippling intelligence failures related to the secret internet-based communications system, a key means for remote messaging between CIA officers and their sources on the ground worldwide. The previously unreported global problem originated in Iran and spiderwebbed to other countries, and was left unrepaired — despite warnings about what was happening — until more than two dozen sources died in China in 2011 and 2012 as a result, according to 11 former intelligence and national security officials.
CIA knew it and did nothing to repair the problem:
More than just a question of a single failure, the fiasco illustrates a breakdown that was never properly addressed. The government’s inability to address the communication system’s insecurities until after sources were rolled up in China was disastrous. “We’re still dealing with the fallout,” said one former national security official. “Dozens of people around the world were killed because of this.”
It all began in 2009:
One of the largest intelligence failures of the past decade started in Iran in 2009, when the Obama administration announced the discovery of a secret Iranian underground enrichment facility — part of Iran’s headlong drive for nuclear weapons. Angered about the breach, the Iranians went on a mole hunt, looking for foreign spies, said one former senior intelligence official.
The mole hunt wasn’t hard, in large part, because the communications system the CIA was using to communicate with agents was flawed. Former U.S. officials said the internet-based platform, which was first used in war zones in the Middle East, was not built to withstand the sophisticated counterintelligence efforts of a state actor like China or Iran. “It was never meant to be used long term for people to talk to sources,” said one former official. “The issue was that it was working well for too long, with too many people. But it was an elementary system.”
But a sense of confidence in the system kept it in operation far longer than was safe or advisable, said former officials. The CIA’s directorate of science and technology, which is responsible for the secure communications system, “says, ‘our s***’s impregnable,’ but it’s obviously not,” said one former official.
CIA officials knew about the problem and chose not to believe it, until Iran started arresting and executing CIA spies:
By 2010, however, it appears that Iran had begun to identify CIA agents. And by 2011, Iranian authorities dismantled a CIA spy network in that country, said seven former U.S. intelligence officials. (Indeed, in May 2011, Iranian intelligence officials announced publicly that they had broken up a ring of 30 CIA spies; U.S. officials later confirmed the breach to ABC News, which also reported on a potential compromise to the communications system.)
Iran executed some of the CIA informants and imprisoned others in an intelligence setback that one of the former officials described as “incredibly damaging.” The CIA successfully exfiltrated some of its Iranian sources, said former officials.
At a time when the Obama administration was in full appeasement mode toward Iran, it had no good intelligence from inside the country:
The Iranian compromise led to significantly fewer CIA agents being killed than in China, according to former officials. Still, the events there hampered the CIA’s capacity to collect intelligence in Iran at a critical time, just as Tehran was forging ahead with its nuclear program.
It was an unmitigated catastrophe.
But the events in Iran were not self-contained; they coincided roughly with a similar debacle in China in 2011 and 2012, where authorities rounded up and executed around 30 agents working for the U.S. (the New York Times first reported the extirpation of the CIA’s China sources in May 2017).
U.S. officials believe that Chinese intelligence obtained physical access to the transitional, or temporary, secret communications system used by the CIA to correspond with new, unvetted sources — and broke through the firewall separating it from the main covert communications system, compromising the CIA’s entire asset network in that country, Foreign Policy reported earlier this year.
If you want to know why John Brennan is angry, look at his record.
At one of his final pre-midterm rallies in Missouri, President Donald Trump made an utterly bizarre claim: Democrats are coming for your ... Obamacare.
"One of their very first projects will be a socialist takeover of American health care, you know what's happening, and your taxes are going to triple, maybe quadruple," he said. "You're not going to be happy, I know you well. The Democrat plan would obliterate Obamacare, it will also — which is good, but will leave the bad parts behind."
Even Trump seemed to realize halfway into that rant the absurdity of claiming Democrats will "obliterate Obamacare" — the party's landmark accomplishment that he and Republicans have spent years sabotaging and trying to repeal.
And in no time, social media exploded with mockery and disbelief at the president:
Trump getting confused: "The Democrat plan would obliterate Obamacare (he meant to say Medicare). It will also, which is good, but leave the bad parts behind." He never admits he has misspoken, simply strains to make the sentence make sense.
Yesterday Trump warned that "the Democrat plan would obliterate Obamacare," and I am thinking about all the conservatives who will have to get their stories straight about what really happened these last eight years.
It's not hard to find news stories about waste, fraud, abuse and downright theft in the school privatization sector.
For years, the policy window for privatizing public schools has been wide open, and what was once considered an extreme or at least rare idea—such as outsourcing public schools to private contractors with few strings attached, or giving parents public tax money to subsidize their children’s private school tuitions—has become widespread as charter schools are now legal in all but a handful of states, and voucher programs have proliferated in many forms across the country.
Politicians of all stripes have been extremely reluctant, especially at the national level, to lean into a real discussion of the negative consequences of redirecting public education funds to private operators, with little to no regulation for how the money is being spent. Candidates have instead stuck to a “safe boilerplate” of education being “good” and essential to “the workforce” without much regard to who provides it.
But policy windows can be fleeting (remember “the deficit crisis”?), and multiple factors can rejigger the public’s views. Indeed, in campaigns that candidates are waging in the upcoming midterm elections, one can see the policy window on school privatization gradually shifting back to support for public schools and increasing skepticism about doling out cash to private education entrepreneurs.
It is the wave of new progressive candidates who appear to be the ones who are shifting the policy window on school privatization.
Take the campaign of progressive superstar Randy Bryce, running for the congressional seat Paul Ryan held in Wisconsin. The Badger State recently expanded statewide a voucher program that was confined to Milwaukee and Racine, and charter schools have expanded significantly under the leadership of Republican Governor Scott Walker.
On his website, Bryce provides the usual bromides about “every child deserves a quality education” and “charter, private and traditional public schools can all thrive,” but he then adds the curious statement that “no student should see money taken from their classroom in order to serve another.” What does that mean?
Click through the “learn more” prompt and you’ll watch a video in which he makes a much stronger statement about the problems of privatizing public schools. “We can’t afford two school systems, a public one and a private one,” he elaborates, and he blasts “vulture schools that don’t have the same accountability and don’t have the same rules.”
The example of the school he brings up that closed after head count day, and the owners “moved to Florida,” is a real school run by a husband-and-wife team who abruptly closed their Milwaukee private school, after taking more than $2.3 million of state voucher money, and moved to Florida to start another one.
The latest scandal breaks from Arizona, where the state auditor found that parents who used the state’s voucher-like education savings program spent more than $700,000 on cosmetics, music, movies, clothing, sports apparel, and other personal items. Some even tried to withdraw cash with the state-issued debit cards. The state has not recovered any of the money. But the state legislature recently passed a bill to expand the voucher program, which is now being challenged by a recall effort on the ballot on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, in Florida, the founder of a company that operated charter schools in seven counties was found guilty of using those schools to steer millions of dollars into his personal accounts. In one school district alone, “nearly 1,000 students were affected by the chaos and disruption that ensued.”
In California, a recent audit of a charter school found the married couple who ran the school made almost $850,000 in less than two years and secretly hired people and created positions without approval from the school’s board.
A video from Florida that went viral shows an African American boy being denied admission to a private school that his parents used public school voucher money to enroll him in. An enormous white cross adorns the school’s front lawn. This and other similar occurrences of discrimination by voucher-funded private schools in the Sunshine State has prompted the NAACP to call for an investigation into all private schools accepting vouchers. Around the same time, an op-ed appeared in a Florida newspaper recounting the scandal of a voucher-funded private school that stiffed teachers and skipped rent payments. Teachers filed formal complaints about a “lack of basic school supplies,” academic “irregularities,” student safety concerns, and inadequate staffing. But when the school was evicted, it simply moved to a new location and started the whole flimflam all over again.
In Georgia, a police investigation of a charter school found the governing board terminated the school’s leader, made no public announcement of the firing, and never told parents why. At another Georgia charter school, parents were told to “watch your bank accounts” after 6,000 school records were mysteriously transferred to a personal email account.
In Nevada, an analysis of the state’s charter school industry found they increase racial and economic segregation by enrolling far fewer low-income kids and far more white and Asian students than public schools do. A state audit of a charter school in New Mexico found tens of thousands of dollars have been stolen by the school’s employees.
Some Regulatory Control, Please
One doesn’t need to “cherry pick” to find news stories about waste, fraud, abuse, and downright theft in the school privatization sector. The above examples all happened within the last month.
Of course, financial scandals happen in public schools too. That’s why they’re heavily regulated. But the notion that “parent choice” can keep charter schools and private voucher schools clean and honest is disproven nearly every day.
In Washington, D.C., there now seems to be an inkling to address the mountain of fraud created by charter schools and voucher programs. Prompted by a massive scandal involving an online charter school in Ohio, Democratic senators want the top watchdog agency for the federal government to investigate the business practices of online charter schools.
Their investigations can’t stop there. A recent analysis of states with the most charter schools and the most charter closures finds the federal government dumps millions into these schools but provides little oversight and guidance for what to do when these schools close, leaving millions of dollars in taxpayer money at risk to scamming.
More Progressive Democrats Against Privatization
The endless revelations of corruptions in the charter school and school voucher racket are now what’s driving policy, more so than dry, empirical studies about whether privatizing public schools “works” academically.
You can see that especially in the campaigns of progressive standouts like Andrew Gillum, who is running against Ron DeSantis to be the next governor of Florida, a state that is rife with charter school and voucher scandals.
While members of the family of U.S. Secretary DeVos are bankrolling the DeSantis campaign to push their agenda for charters and vouchers, Gillum is determined to stanch the flow of public dollars to the state’s many voucher programs and make charters more accountable for how they spend public money.
A review compiled by the Intercept of progressive candidates running for Congress singles out Leslie Cockburn running in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District. Cockburn opposes school vouchers and shows her skepticism for charter schools by noticing their problems with teacher turnover and their lack of oversight. At a recent meet-and-greet, she said, “We want more funding for public schools, not less. We need to not take away funds from public schools and give them to charter schools or private schools.”
Another candidate, Kara Eastman, running in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, says on her website, “We must resist the administration’s political nominees who advertise the benefits of expanding charter schools.”
A candidate endorsed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), Dana Balter, running in New York’s 24th Congressional District, is a special education teacher turned Syracuse professor who got the endorsement of the powerful state teachers’ union largely because she “understands that giving money away to charter schools is not the right approach.”
Candidates for state houses have similar positions. In the race for West Virginia Senate 1st District seat that pits Democrat William Ihlenfeld against Republican Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, Ihlenfeld says, “I am not a supporter of charter schools … I don’t think charter schools are a good idea for West Virginia. I don’t think we can afford to allow the private sector to come in and profit from precious education resources.”
Of course, some progressive candidates still stick to the old script of “investing in schools” with little regard to who runs them, and a few still cling to the school privatization cause. But the trend that made privatizing public schools an acceptable if not preferential policy has at least stalled, if not completely been thrown into reverse.
Make no mistake: Health care protections are on the ballot today.
In the 2010 midterms—when President Barack Obama was serving his first term and Republicans retook the House of Representatives with a 63-seat landslide—health care was not a winning issue for Democrats. The GOP had successfully vilified the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare, and Fox News viewers actually believed the buffoonish Sarah Palin when she claimed that “death panels” for older Americans were a feature of the ACA. But in 2018, millions of Americans realize that the only “death panels” are insurance companies and Republicans, and the ACA has increased in popularity: according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released earlier this year, 54% of Americans now approve of the ACA.
Health care has become a winning issue for Democrats, many of whom have been lambasting the GOP relentlessly for its efforts to overturn the ACA and deprive millions of Americans of health insurance—especially if they have pre-existing health conditions, which could be anything from diabetes to asthma to heart disease to back problems. In the 2018 midterms, many Republican candidates have been addressing health care as well, insisting that protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions is a high priority for them. But it’s important to look at what Republican candidates do rather than what they say, and as Obama has been stressing in his recent speeches, many of them are flat-out lying when it comes to health care.
Here are five deceitful Republican candidates in key races who been campaigning on protecting Americans’ health coverage while fighting relentlessly to take it away.
1. Arizona Senate Candidate Martha McSally
In the Arizona Senate race, Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema has been attacking her GOP opponent, fellow congresswoman Martha McSally, nonstop over health care—stressing that McSally would gladly throw Americans with pre-existing conditions to the wolves. And McSally has responded by insisting that protecting them is a high priority for her. But McSally showed her true colors when, in late October, she snapped at a reporter and asked, “Can we please talk about the things that matter to most voters, instead of repeating the Arizona Democrat Party press releases? Do you have anything to talk about, like the caravan or job opportunities?” And McSally also showed her true colors when, in 2017, she voted for the GOP’s American Health Care Act, which would have repealed the ACA and allowed insurance companies to charge much higher premiums for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
2. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker has been running ads insisting that he will protect Americans with pre-existing conditions if reelected. But when Obama was in Milwaukee recently stumping for Walker’s Democratic opponent Tony Evers, he pointed out that Walker has signed on to a GOP lawsuit that seeks to end those protections (Texas v. Azar). Evers has been calling for Walker to drop Wisconsin from the lawsuit—which, of course, he hasn’t done. When Walker insists that he is looking out for cancer patients or diabetics who are worried about keeping their health coverage, he is—as Obama asserted in Milwaukee—flat out lying.
3. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
In 2018, incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz has received a surprisingly strong challenge from Democrat Beto O’Rourke in the Texas Senate race—and health care is one of the issues that O’Rourke has been campaigning on aggressively. Cruz has maintained that protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions is a priority for him, but his record says otherwise. Cruz once helped shut down the federal government over his demand that the ACA be reversed, and he happily voted for the American Health Care Act in 2017.
4. California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
In 2017, incumbent Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher voted for the American Health Care Act. But in 2018, the California congressman has had the audacity to campaign on protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions—and his Democratic challenger, Harley Rouda, has been calling him out. While Rouda has described the ACA as a “great program,” Rohrabacher has called it “disastrous.” In other words, Rohrabacher is much more interested in playing partisan politics than protecting Americans who have had the misfortune of suffering from cancer, heart disease and other illnesses that insurance companies consider pre-existing conditions.
5. Florida Gov. and U.S. Senate Candidate Rick Scott
Florida’s two-term Republican governor, Rick Scott, is term-limited in the Sunshine State and has been trying to capture Democrat Bill Nelson’s seat in the U.S. Senate. It’s been a tight race, with some polls showing Scott slightly ahead and others showing Nelson slightly ahead—and Scott has been running ads asserting that if he is elected to the U.S. Senate, he will help protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. But Scott’s record shows that he is lying.
Scott has repeatedly called for a full repeal of the ACA, and he is among the 20 GOP governors who has signed on to the Texas v. Azar lawsuit. In contrast, Nelson voted for the ACA in 2010. And Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum, is a strong opponent of Texas v. Azar.
A look at the age of Trump from November 2016 to November 2018 -- and beyond
Who could forget that moment? The blue [red] wave -- long promised but also doubted -- had, however modestly [however massively], hit Washington and [the Democrats had just retaken Congress] [the Republicans had held Congress] [the Democrats had taken the House]. The media, Fox News and the usual right-wing websites aside, hailed the moment. [Fox News and the usual right-wing websites cheered the president on.] Donald Trump’s grip on America had finally been broken [reinforced]. Celebrations were widespread. Congressional investigations, possibly even impeachment, were only months and a new Congress away [were now a faint memory], and it was then, of course, that the unexpected struck. It was then that President Trump, citing national security concerns and a crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, began the process whose end point we, of course, already know...
Okay, consider that the dystopian me speaking. We don’t, of course, really know how our story yet ends, not faintly. While I was writing this piece, I didn’t even know how Tuesday’s vote would turn out, though by the time you read it, you may. Given the experience of election 2016, it would take a brave [foolish] soul to make a prediction this time around.
I certainly learned a lesson that November. During the previous months of campaigning that election season, I never wrote a piece at TomDispatch that didn’t leave open the possibility of Donald Trump winning the presidency. In the couple of weeks before that fateful November day, however, I got hooked on the polling results and on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website and became convinced that Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in.
Of course, I was in good company. As Michael Wolff would later report in his bestselling book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, on election eve, few in the Trump campaign, including the candidate himself, expected to win. Most of them, again including The Donald, were already trying to parlay what they assumed was an assured loss into their next jobs or activities, including in the candidate’s case a possible “Trump network.”
So when, sometime after midnight, reality finally began to sink in -- fittingly enough, I had a 103-degree fever and was considering heading for an emergency room -- I was as disbelieving as the president-to-be. (He had, Wolff tells us, “assured” his wife, Melania, who was reportedly in tears of anything but joy that night, that he would never win and that she would never find herself in the White House.) By then, it was for me a fever dream to imagine that bizarre, belligerent, orange-haired salesman-cum-con-artist entering the Oval Office.
Honestly, I shouldn’t have been the least bit surprised. During election campaign 2016, I grasped much of this. I wrote of the future president, for instance, as a con artist (particularly in reference to those taxes of his that we couldn’t see) and how Hillary Clinton’s crew hadn’t grasped the obvious: that many Americans would admire him for gaming the system, even if they couldn’t do the same themselves. As I wrote at the time: “It’s something Donald Trump knows in his bones, even if all those pundits and commentators and pollsters (and for that matter Hillary Clinton’s advisers) don’t: Americans love a con man.”
I also saw that he was daring in ways unimaginable to an American politician -- because, of course, he wasn’t one -- particularly in promoting his slogan, MAGA, whose key word few of the political cognoscenti paid the slightest attention to: “again.” At that moment, for presidents or politicians who wanted to become just that, it was obligatory to claim that the United States wasn’t just great but the greatest, most exceptional, most indispensable land ever. (As Hillary Clinton typically put it that election season: “America is indispensable -- and exceptional -- because of our values.”) Trump’s “again” in Make America Great Again suggested something quite different and so rang a bell in the heartland. In the process, he became America’s first declinist presidential candidate. Early that October, I wrote this:
“[A] significant part of the white working class, at least, feels as if, whether economically or psychologically, its back is up against the wall and there’s nowhere left to go. Under such circumstances, many of these voters have evidently decided that they’re ready to send a literal loose cannon into the White House; they’re willing, that is, to take a chance on the roof collapsing, even if it collapses on them. That is the new and unrecognizable role that Donald Trump has filled. It’s hard to conjure up another example of it in our recent past. The Donald represents, as a friend of mine likes to say, the suicide bomber in us all. And voting for him, among other things, will be an act of nihilism, a mood that fits well with imperial decline.
“Think of him as a message in a bottle washing up on our shore...”
And yet, on that day of decision, I evidently reverted to the boy I had once been, the boy who grew up with a vision of an idealized America that would always do the right thing. So I was shocked to the core by Donald Trump’s victory.
In that fever dream of a night, when he washed up on all our shores, I had certainly been trumped, but then, so had he, so had we all. Under the circumstances, I’m sure you’ll understand why I’ve remained hesitant about putting my faith in polls in this election season or giving special significance to reports that the White House staff was glum as hell about the coming midterms and expected the worst. (After all, mightn’t this be that Michael Wolff election night all over again?)
The American Shooting Gallery
Two years after that fateful November night in 2016, we’re still living in a fever dream of some sort, enveloped 24/7 by the universe of President Trump and the “fake news media,” that provides him and the rest of us with a strange, all-encompassing echo chamber. America, you might say, now has a 103-degree temperature and there isn’t an emergency room in sight.
And it’s unlikely to get better, whatever happens in the midterm elections. Those who expect that a Democratic victory or a devastating Mueller reportin the weeks to come will be the beginning of the end for the Trump presidency (or, for that matter, that the victory of an ever more extreme Republican Party will simply prove more of the grisly same) might want to reconsider. Perhaps it's worth weighing other grimmer possibilities in the as-yet-unending rise of what’s still called “right-wing populism,” not just locally but globally. Here in the United States, with hate and venom surging (and, yes indeed, being encouraged by President Trump for his own purposes), a genuinely ugly strain central to this country’s history is being resurrected. In the process, a burgeoning number of deeply disturbed (and deeply animated) figures from among the most over-armed civilian population on the planet -- Yemen, of all the grim places, comes in a distant second -- are turning this country into a shooting gallery.
Win or lose today, don’t think that the Donald Trump we have is the one we’re fated to have until the day he goes down in flames. He is distinctly a work in progress, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say: in regress. In that context, let me mention an evolution of a grim sort in my own thinking over the last two years.
For some time now there have been both thinkers and activists who have been convinced that Donald Trump is an American Mussolini, an outright fascist. (According to his ex-wife, in the early 1990s he kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside and, during the 2016 election campaign, he retweeted a Mussolini quote, defending himself for doing so.) I’ve always disagreed, however. To my mind, he’s clearly been a man who wants to be idolized and adulated (as happens at any of his rallies) -- wants, that is, to have fans, not (in the fascistic sense) followers; applause and the eternal spotlight, not a social movement. That, it seems to me, has been an accurate description of the president who entered the Oval Office and occupied it in such a suggestive way these last nearly two years. But I’ve recently started to wonder. After all, once upon a time, Donald Trump wasn’t a Republican either. Let’s face it, he’s a quick learner when it comes to whatever may benefit The Donald.
And keep in mind that he entered an unsettled world already well preparedfor such a presidency by his predecessors in Washington. If the fascist or, if you prefer, autocratic tendency that lurks in him and in the situation that surrounds him does come out more fully, he will obviously be aided by the ever more imperial presidency that was created in the decades before he left Trump Tower for the White House.
When he entered the Oval Office, he found there a presidency in which -- particularly on the subject of war (the president was, for instance, already America’s global assassin-in-chief) -- his powers increasingly stood outside both Congress and the Constitution. The weapons he’s now bringing to bear, including executive orders and the U.S. military, were already well prepared for him. The refugees he makes such effective use of, whether from Syria or Central America, came to him, at least in part, thanks to this country’s war and other policies that had already roiled significant parts of the planet. Before entering the Oval Office, the only aspect of such preparations he had any role in was the increasingly staggering inequalitythat gave a “populist” billionaire president, always ready to put more money in the hands of his .01% pals, a pained but receptive audience in the heartland.
In other words, this world and the fever dream that goes with it were Donald Trump’s oyster before he ever lifted a finger in the White House. As a result, no election results, no matter whether the Democrats or the Republicans “win,” are likely to bring that temperature down. In fact, if the Democrats do take the House (or even Congress), Donald Trump is unlikely to become more pliable. If the Mueller report results in impeachment proceedings in the House, he won’t be humbled. In the face of any such development, my guess is that his impulse will be to become more autocratic, more imperial, and even possibly more fascistic. And the same may hold if the Republicans hang onto both houses of Congress.
Waiting for the Red Hats
Even before the vote was in, the evidence was there. In the lead-up to the election, 5,000-plus U.S. troops (or maybe 15,000?) are headed for the U.S.-Mexico border to deal with what the president has called both an “invasion” and a “national emergency.” ("Fake news!") There, those troops will essentially twiddle their thumbs (since they are legally allowed to do little) simply because the president wanted it so. There may, in fact, be two soldiers for every desperate refugee, including children and babies, headed toward the U.S. border in that now notorious “caravan” from Honduras. In other words, on a whim, Donald Trump is already capable of building a wall (of troops) at that border. The question worth asking is this: In an embattled near-future moment in which a truly Trumpian military figure (think of “him” as the next John Bolton) is in place as secretary of defense and another “national emergency” is declared, where might those troops go next because the president wanted it so?
In the days before the election, the president also threatened to sign an executive order to nullify birthright citizenship -- in the process, threatening to functionally nullify the Constitution (see the 14th Amendment), while bringing back to life the ugliest strains of American racial history just because he wanted it so. At the moment, he might not even sign that order or, if he does, it might go down big time in Congress and the courts. But who knows what the future of an executive-order presidency holds, especially with another Supreme Court justice pick or two in place, no matter who controls Congress?
As for those rallies of his: tell me you can’t conceive of a future America in which his adulatory crowds have stopped simply cheering and shouting for him (“Build the wall!” “Lock her up!”) and are now marching for him as well. Is it really so hard to imagine a future in which there would be a place for a Trump Corps or for “the Red Hats”; for, that is, the kind of social movement that would no longer be confined to the arenas and stadiums of red-state America or even the polling booths of Election Day, one that might indeed be in the streets of this country at the beck and call of a fierce and autocratic billionaire?
In an increasingly unsettled world, an Autocrats, Incorporated moment globally, with an ever more powerful chief executive, and a right wing still on the march, everything that Donald Trump inherited could certainly be intensified further. And he might be just the man to do it. In a world in which Congress is no longer fully in his camp, in which legal charges against him, his family, and his cronies only grow, to adapt a title from a Russian novel of the early twentieth century, unquiet could flow The Don -- and in that lies peril for us all.
Common Core sucked all the energy, money, and motivation right out of desperately needed potential reforms to U.S. public schools for a decade, and for nothing. Its been about nine years since the Obama administration lured states into adopting Common Core sight unseen, with promises it would improve student achievement. Like President Obamas other big promises If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor this ones been proven a scam. If you set and enforce rigorous and challenging standards and assessments; if you put outstanding teachers at the front of the classroom; if you turn around...
Hay diputadosy diputadas en mi terruño que su grado letrado es saber preparar la tierra, sembrar semillas y recoger cosechas, otros es saber usar calculadoras para manejar tiendas de venta al mayoreo o para ejercer la usura tiburonera…, otros son doctos en cabalgar caballos y machos…. Y los que tienen "título" académico algunos lo consiguieron de las universidades chafas que en los 80s (decía en broma mi tata), tenían puestos en varios mercados vendiendo títulos de abogansters.
La elección de los jueces de la Suprema Corte no tiene nada que ver con calificaciones o evaluaciones de ONGs o entidades colegiadas, algunas corruptas y algunas responsables, la mayoría mangoneadas por colegiados chafas …, o académicos abiertamente inclinados por tal o cual corrupto candidato.
Son 84 los "padres y madres de la patria", mayoríacorruptos diputad@s que tienen la "constitucional" obligación de elegir a los próximos cuatro corruptos chuchos finqueros para que hagan jurisprudencia ilícita o inventadas al negrero íberosajón y seguir saqueando las arcas de la hacienda pública si gana las elecciones…., o gobernarles otra vez la finca a los oligarcas tipo proxy en el "desastroso" caso que el turco Nayib Bukele compita y gane las elecciones.
Tamos jodidos por donde sea.
Los nombramientos o elecciones de segundo grado de jueces y fiscales, etc., siempre ha sido de cuotas. La derecha siempre los ha elegido porque los partidos de derecha siempre han sido y siguen siendo mayoría y han corrompido todo el sistema socio-político-económico en mi terruño para proteger intereses del "gran capital" o "el poder de facto"..., que yo le llamo lo que es: oligarquía criollo-extranjera.
Daydreaming digo qué vergón sería que Nayib tuviera
tres huevos, o que fuera XYY, y ya con el hueso emprendiera lo que trató de hacer el huevudo catracho en 2009: Llamar a plebiscitoy preguntarle al pueblo a través del voto si está de acuerdo en mandar a la mierda la Constitución que Dabuison impusoen 1983 y nombrar una asamblea constituyentepara redactar nueva Constitución.
Pero cuidado Nayib con permitir a corrompidos grupos colegiados como el CNJ, FUSADES y otros que vengan a pervertir el proceso… Tampoco permitir al virreinato meter la cuchara con ideólogos rapaces, aunque amenacen con cortar ayuda o con la paja del gusano rubio marquito de parar o poner más impuestos a las remesas… es pura paja porque en USA no trabaja así de chiche ese volado, bloqueo económico a El Salvadorhoy día no es como Cuba o Irán. Es un proceso político y judicial.
Escribir una nueva Constitución quizás sería más sano y prudente pedir ayuda a la ONU o la Unión Europea. Pero NO a la OEApara que nos manden al enano Uribe u otro fascista o ultra izquierdista.
Si Nayib da el paso el virreinato esta vez sí va a pensar bien las consecuencias de darle vueltegato a Nayib como sucedió con el golpe a Zelaya en 2009, precisamente porque saben hoy los resultados de esa cagada de Obamay la aún recién gran cagada de Narcisocon el fraudulento Hernández…
¿O por qué creen que el bully Narciso no le da vueltegato a Ortega y Maduro y escasamente los menciona?
Los racistas de Narciso no quieren más caravanas.
Nayib puede modernizar nuestro país…, si no resulta chafa ya con el hueso. No sería raro se vuelva chafa, pero con él sería una herida política grave para mi gente, especialmente con nuestros milenios porque ya no tendrían en quien creer.
Con una nueva Constitución se puede mandar a la mierda lo que hoy está entrampando la elección de los 4 chuchos finqueros y lo mismo será con la elección del nuevo fiscalito tipo "pollo crudo", que de paso dice quiquito en su pasquín que obtuvo su títulode una de esas chafas universidades que fueron señaladas en 2001 de haber tenido un enorme puesto en La Tiendona vendiendo títulos de abogansters por mayoreo…
Hasta un "fiscal especial"tipo Muller se nombró por el escándalo, lástima que este también era de los corruptos de FUSADES y las malas lenguasdicen encubrió algunas universidades chafas que pagaron cuotas a cierto partido político…, ¡Aún el mismo "pollo crudo" fue su asistente!… una muestra más del Verbo Corrupto...
El Alma Materdel actual showman fiscalito, que acaba de anunciar subliminalmente acepta el apoyo de Arena y va a reelección, no se escapó porque la "Universidad de Las Américas" ya no existe.
Pobechitoel perro policía porque se quedó sin Alma Mater... ¡Ah! pero tiene entre sus classmates nada menos que a míster finiquito exprés Rafael Hernán Contreras del PCN.
Nayib, por favor, 14-24 diputados sería suficiente para mi terruño en la nueva Carta Magna.
Ojalá Nayib también se deshaga del ejército… ¿Para qué necesitamos un ejército que consume $141 millones del presupuesto año tras año?
Hay que andar endeudándosepara que alcancen los centavitos teniendo ese revergo de millones invertidos en un ejército. Hay que merger los soldados con la PNC y hacer un sencillo cuerpo civil policial.
Actualmente eso es lo que hacen hoy: labor policial anyway.
Los ejércitos solo sirven para que los corrompanoligarcas o virreyes (como el que viene pronto). Todos los ejércitos de Centroamérica debían desaparecer… esa fue la clave del actual éxito de Costa Rica cuando disolvió su ejército en 1949.
Pero lo crucial e importante, si no se puede echar al basurero esa amañada Constitución escrita por asesinos, es quitarles a los políticos la elección de los jueces de la Corte Suprema y del Fiscal General.
En el estado de Michigan tendrán un plebiscito a votarse hoy precisamente en la que se pregunta a los electores del estado si quitarle a la legislatura y al gobernador la potestad de hacer amañados mapas de los distritos (municipios) de donde salen los diputados y nombrar y conformar una comisión independiente de 13 ciudadanos ordinariosde 4 republicanos, 4 demócratas y 5 independientes escogidos al azar en una aplicación abierta a todo michoagense.
Copiemos estas ondas positivas del imperio.
¡Olas cuotas nunca desaparecen!
En este artículode elfaro.net, -donde hace un gigantesco esfuerzo por encubrir su favoritismo partidista-, el articulerole pregunta a un diputado del clan Salgado, miembro del partido derechista prostituto de GANA:
Al decir "baremos" se refiere al sistema de méritos que usan agrupaciones ONG y organizaciones corruptas como el Consejo Nacional de La Judicatura –CNJ- donde una de sus miembros, María Marenco de Torrento, sigue de miembro pero también es candidata apoyada por nada menos que la troika de la corrupción: Arena, PDC y PCN… Esto es corrupción aquí y en Júpiter.
El articulero la hace de pendejo, o deshonesto, al tratar de cercar al diputado corrupto de GANA usando parámetros torcidos.
Como dicen nuestros hermanos mayores al norte, "todos estos bueyes son una bola de pendejos corruptos".
El flamante Presidente de la Asamblea Legislativa, que gana 6 mil vergas mensuales en un paisito donde el salario mínimo es alrededor de 250 al mes, rindió su informe de seis meses donde anunció, sacando pecho, de la reducción en gastoscomo los famosos viajes de los diputados… pero dijo que el presupuesto de la Asamblea de ¡$58 millones de dólares!... ¡No va cambiar!..., será la misma multimillonada o un poquitito más, o sea, entre líneas, el finquero quiso decir que la hueviadera seguirá en diferente forma.
Un alcalde mexicano lo dijo humilde a los mexicanos
On 11.05.18 02:15 PM posted by Kay Coles James
Listening to the pundits and prognosticators, youd think control of Congress has already been decided. But the fight for our nations future is far from finished. Its happening this week when millions will take part in their civic responsibility on Election Day.
Regardless of who wins and who loses, there are certain issues the next Congress will be forced to address.
The cost of health care is not sustainable for many Americans. Most polls show this is the top issue for votersand for good reason. Eight years after President Barack Obama signed it into law, the Affordable Care Act has proved to be anything but affordable. Its time for Congress to enact reforms that help reduce health care costs while increasing coverage choices for everyone.
The debate over immigration has once again been pushed into the public square, as a caravan of several thousand people makes its way through Mexico toward the United States. The...
Keeping control of the House would validate President Trump's governing style and mean full speed ahead for Hill Republicans to move his agenda. But if the GOP loses its majority it will need to to go on defense to protect Trump. When the Democrats lost the House in 2010, they rapidly saw President Barack Obama's legislative agenda die. Former Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor says that's what Republicans can expect if they fail to maintain their majority. "Look, it's no fun to be in perpetual minority, I can tell you that," he says. "And especially in the House where a simple majority gives you almost absolute power to again set the agenda and get bills across the floor." Cantor says he thinks more Republicans will head for the exits if they lose. But Karl Rove, former top adviser to President George W. Bush, has a different prediction about how Republicans will react if they lose the House. "I think they will be both miserable and emboldened," says Rove. "They'll be miserable
Veteran Democratic strategist Paul Begala doesn't think it's hyperbolic to say that "everything" is at stake for Democrats heading into Tuesday's elections. "They always say it's the most important election of your life," he says, explaining that in the past two years, Democrats learned the consequences of being "completely shut out" as the GOP controlled both Congress and the White House. If Democrats fail to take back the House and make significant gains at the state level, they'll be shut out again, without a say in legislation and judicial appointments. Ron Klain, a former top aide in the Clinton and Obama White Houses, calls the upcoming election an issue of "life and death" for Democrats. He says if Democrats lose on Tuesday, their worst fears come true and President Trump has a free hand. "[It will mean] he can fire Jeff Sessions and essentially end the Mueller investigation and replace him with the attorney general of his choosing. It means that Trump could continue to roll
Who, or what, gets the blame if the Ds can't get it done tomorrow? Voter suppression, from Georgia to North Dakota to Texas college campuses like Prairie View A&M and Texas State? Voting machines flipping straight-ticket votes (to Ted Cruz?) There will still be plenty of finger-pointing at Russian hackers and Green candidates, I feel certain. Even if some dropped out of their race and endorsed the Democrat.
[The old Catch-22: "Greens should run in state and local races and build up to presidential races" instead of playing spoiler (sic) every four years. "Greens should drop out and endorse Democrats because this is the most important election of our lifetime". You know, since the one two years ago. That was their fault Democrats lost. Blah blah.]
There may be some less nefarious, more legitimate reasons the election will be won -- or lost; for example, the strength of women voters. Notable for the demographers, moderate Republican women who live in suburban America turning out to cast their ballots against Trump and the GOP. No, wait; it's the youth vote. That's it *snaps fingers*, the children are our future. Either is better than blaming the Latinxs, after all. We're all tired of hearing that.
Hold on a minute: this is a midterm election, and Texas Democrats who haven't elected one of theirs since, you know, Jim Hightower was Ag Commissioner always lose because they can't raise any money for consultants, advisers, pollsters, etc. Except they did, a shitpot full of dough, in 2018 -- at least those running for Congress; not so much the statewides save Congressman SuperBeto, whose massive Bernie-like ATM machine reversed both the prevailing Texas narrative and the cash flow, doubling the take of Senator Serpent Covered in Vaseline.
The Cult of RFO'R aims for the upset tomorrow evening. Rumor has it happening.
Hearing from more Texas Republicans tonight that they think @tedcruz is under water. It is Saturday before the election #TXSen#txlege
So as President Shitler is fond of saying: we'll see what happens. I'm ready it to be over; how about you? Here's your roundup of lefty blog posts and news from the final week before E-Day.
One unplumbed premise that the midterms might reveal is whether the strength of the Lone Star grassroots has shifted from one major party to the other, either because of 'outsiders' becoming 'insiders' or because there needs to be a "bad guy" to focus on and motivate the base.
Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, says Democrats nationally — and in some parts of Texas — have unleashed the kind of intensity we used to see from the tea party.
“So the question of whether there is still that ability to motivate Republican voters on the other side is the big question going into this cycle,” Henson said.
Henson believes one reason the tea party’s galvanizing force has slipped in local and congressional races is that conservatives no longer have Barack Obama to target. And Donald Trump has taken over the role of chief agitator of conservatives.
Tea party-backed candidates have also been elected. In Texas, the movement has been changed by that success.
“I think once you have people who are part of institutions, it inevitably looks different, because you aren’t banging from the outside,” Henson said. “Like it or not, you are part of the status quo, and you are part of the establishment.”
In addition to the TV ads, Paxton’s recent campaign finance filings have indicated that Republicans in high places are tuned in to the race in its home stretch. In recent days, the attorney general has received a $282,000 in-kind donation from Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign; more than $350,000 in in-kind contributions from Texas for Lawsuit Reform, the political arm of the tort reform group; and $10,000 each from two of the biggest donors in the Republican Party: Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.
(D)espite being the one-time Chairman of the Galveston County Democratic Party, a two-time Democrat nominee for the State Legislature and the once rumored Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor. However, of late, Buzbee has been appointed to the Board of Regents of his alma matter, Texas A&M University, and become a key financial supporter of both Perry and (Gov. Greg) Abbott.
Socratic Gadfly, returning from a recent vacation, took a look at a major nature and environment issue that fired up up opposition to Trump — the Bears Ears downsizing — and offered his thoughts on the value of the original national monument site versus critics of several angles, and things that could make it even better.
Therese Odell at Foolish Watcher also leavens the politics with some Game of Thrones news.
Sanctions may indeed be coming but will they have the bite that Donald Trump is hoping for? It’s a good question as we open November with a flurry of edicts from Trump’s State and Treasury Departments. Let’s go over them all and see just how contradictory they are while at the same time acceding to the reality of just how much the world has changed in the six years since President Obama first went nuclear on Iran with sanctions. It starts with Trump’s tweet that “Sanctions are Coming.” Okay, fine we knew this. But sanctions don’t account for much if … Continue reading →
WEB Notes: We knew this was coming from Trump’s movie style tweet the other day. How politicians love to take “action” before election day. The Trump administration on Friday restored U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted...
Były prezydent Barack Obama utrzymuje, że stawką dzisiejszych wyborów do Kongresu jest charakter Stanów Zjednoczonych. Obecne głosowanie to w praktyce referendum na temat Donalda Trumpa. Plebiscyt, jaka ma być Ameryka – otwarta i progresywna czy też,...
A la veille des élections de mi-mandat qui détermineront la majorité au Congrès jusqu’en 2020, MM. Trump et Obama se sont affrontés par meetings de campagne interposés. Ils ont proposé deux visions radicalement divergentes des Etats-Unis.
Un fils de ministre parmi les personnalités expulsées
Parmi les personnalités du PDGE expulsées, figurent l’ancien ambassadeur de Guinée équatoriale au Tchad, Enrique Nsue Anguesomo, l’ex-directeur de la sécurité du président Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Julian Ondo Nkumu, un ancien juge au tribunal de Bata, Ruben Clemente Engonga Nguema, ainssi que le juge Martin Obiang et le fils du ministre de l’Intérieur Clemente Engonga Nguema Onguene.
Le deuxième parti de l’opposition équato-guinéenne, Convergence pour la démocratie sociale (CPDS), rappelle dans un communiqué avoir annoncé en mars que la tentative de coup d’Etat avait été organisée au sein du PDGE, ce qui « confirme et justifie le mécontentement généralisé » à l’égard de « la mauvaise politique du régime d’Obiang ».
Début janvier, Malabo avait annoncé avoir déjoué un « coup d’Etat » et l’arrestation d’une trentaine d’hommes armés Tchadiens, Centrafricains et Soudanais au Cameroun où ils sont toujours détenus.
A quand le procès ?
Le ministre de la Sécurité, Nicolas Obama Nchama, avait alors affirmé dans un communiqué que les mercenaires arrêtés avaient été « contactés par des Équato-guinéens militants de certains partis d’opposition radicale avec le soutien de certaines puissances » étrangères.
Le procès de cette tentative de coup d’Etat pourrait se tenir en février 2019 prochain, selon des sources proches du pouvoir à Malabo. Mais les négociations pour l’extradition des mercenaires étrangers arrêtés et détenus au Cameroun tardent cependant à aboutir.
La Guinée équatoriale a connu une histoire agitée de coups et tentatives de coups d’Etat depuis son indépendance de l’Espagne en 1968.
In his re-election campaign’s final hours, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is still deploying a smartphone app created by a software team at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica controversy.
The app, Cruz Crew, was developed by AggregateIQ, a small Canadian data firm that was for years the lead developer used by the infamous data analytics consultancy that made headlines last spring for harvesting user data on millions of unsuspecting Facebook users while working for the Trump campaign. Since that firm’s demise, AggregateIQ has become one focus of an international investigation into alleged data misdeeds during the 2016 Brexit campaign, and is the first company to be targeted by regulators under Europe’s new data privacy law.
Both Cruz Crew as well as an app for Cruz’s presidential campaign in 2016 share an interconnected history of developers and clients linked to Cambridge Analytica, its British affiliate SCL Elections, and architects of the Republican Party’s recent digital efforts. Part of a group of apps presented as walled-garden social networks for political supporters, the software helps campaigns collect voter data and microtarget messages.
In April, Facebook announced it had suspended AggregateIQ over its possible improper access to the data of millions of Facebook users. But over a dozen apps made by AggregateIQ remained connected to Facebook’s platform until May and June, when Facebook belatedly took action against them.
A Facebook spokesperson told Fast Company that it was still investigating AIQ’s possible misuse of data, amid an ongoing investigation by Canadian prosecutors. The Cruz campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
David Carroll, a professor at Parsons School of Design at the New School in New York, who has brought a legal challenge against SCL and Cambridge Analytica for release of his voter data profile, said Cruz’s continued relationships with AggregateIQ highlighted problems with the use of data by a growing ecosystem of partisan election apps and databases. The risks are particularly high, he said, when the vendors are combining data from multiple sources and processing Americans’ data overseas.
“Despite the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, it seems that the Republican data machine is still a shadowy network that includes international operators, tangled up with vendors under intense scrutiny for unlawful conduct in multiple jurisdictions,” he said. “I don’t understand why Republicans don’t insist on working with domestic tech vendors and technologists who are U.S. citizens.”
The Cruz-Cambridge Analytica connection
During the 2016 race, a U.S.-based software firm named Political Social Media, but better known as uCampaign, was credited as developer and publisher for the official “Ted Cruz 2016” presidential primary app. At the time, the app achieved modest notoriety as a somewhat novel data collection tool– appearing alongside Cambridge Analytica under headlines like, “Cruz App Data Collection Helps Campaign Read Minds of Voters”–with the app colloquially referred to in the press as “Cruz Crew.”
As in 2016, the 2018 Cruz re-election campaign relies on constant polling and voter modeling to understand and target mainstream conservatives in Texas. Cruz and his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, who has repeatedly brought up Cambridge Analytica during the campaign and has refused to use big data analytics, have both heavily invested in social media. The media blitz hasn’t been cheap: According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the candidates in the 2018 Texas Senate race have set the all-time record for most money spent in any U.S. Senate election.
As part of its digital push, the Cruz campaign rolled out a new app, officially named “Cruz Crew,” which awards points to users for tweeting pro-Cruz messages, volunteering, and taking part in other campaign activities. On the app’s pages in the Google and Apple stores, AggregateIQ is not mentioned, but its name is visible as the developer in the app URL and in internal code. The app’s publisher is listed as the political marketing agency WPA Intelligence, or WPAi.
Chris Wilson, WPAi’s founder and chief executive, is a veteran GOP pollster who previously worked for George W. Bush and Karl Rove. WPAi’s past campaign successes include a trio of high profile Tea Party-cum-Freedom Caucus sympathizer senators: Cruz, Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ron Johnson (R-WI). By far, however, Cruz has been WPA’s biggest political client in the U.S. Between his bids for senator and president, Cruz campaign committees have paid out over $4.3 million to Chris Wilson’s firm since 2011.
As the director of research, analytics and digital strategy for Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, Wilson oversaw a large data team that included Rebekah Mercer and Steve Bannon’s Cambridge Analytica. Rebekah’s father, Robert Mercer, footed the $5.8 million bill for Cambridge Analytica by doubling that amount in donations.
Wilson and the Cruz team have repeatedly said that Cambridge Analytica represented to the campaign that all of the data it had was legally obtained. They also claimed that Cambridge did not deliver the results expected of them, neither through their much-discussed psychographics work nor through an important piece of software called Ripon.
In schematics, Ripon was drawn up as an all-in-one campaign solution to manage voter data collection, ad targeting, and street canvassing. According to files retrieved by computer security analyst Chris Vickery, Ripon was intended to tap into something called “the Database of Truth.” Documents revealed that the Truth project “integrates, obtains, and normalizes data from disparate sources,” beginning with the Republican National Committee’s Data Trust database, combined “with state voter files, consumer data, third-party data providers, historical WPA survey, and projects and customer data.”
Despite being a deliverable promised by Cambridge Analytica, the work on Ripon was outsourced to AggregateIQ. More recently, WPAi hired the firm to develop and manage the software for Cruz Crew, along with its two other currently available apps: one for Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign, and one for Osnova, a Ukrainian political party dedicated to the long-shot presidential aspirations of its oligarch founder, Serhiy Taruta.
In the 2018 race, WPAi and the Cruz campaign have said Cruz’s effort isn’t using new Cambridge Analytica-style “psychographic” modeling, but it is using social media data for specific targeting, and relying on previous campaign data. “We use social data to ID voter groups in our core universes,” WPA’s Chris Wilson previously told Fast Company. “A lot of those are 2016 voters who we know are persuaded by specific messages.”
Beyond the existing campaign app, however, AIQ’s current involvement in the Cruz campaign’s data management and software development is unknown. A report by the New York Times last month found that when users shared their friends’ contact information with the Cruz app, that data was still being sent to AggregateIQ domains.
Wilson told the Times that his company, not AggregateIQ, received and controlled app users’ information. Representatives for AggregateIQ did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and WPAi did not respond to questions about the data firm.
AIQ, founded in 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia, is currently under investigation in the U.K. and its homebase of Canada for electoral impropriety during the Brexit Leave campaign. The company’s name has come up repeatedly in parliamentary testimony for its alleged campaign finance and data protection misdeeds in connection with the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.
“Concerns have been raised about the closeness of the two organizations including suggestions that AIQ, [SCL Elections, and Cambridge Analytica] were, in effect, one and the same entity,” stated a recent report by the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office.
In testimony to a U.K. parliamentary committee, former Cambridge Analytica executive Brittany Kaiser said that AggregateIQ was the exclusive digital and data engineering partner of SCL, the British parent affiliate of Analytica.
“They would build our software, such as a platform that we designed for Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign,” she said. “That was meant to collect data for canvassing individuals who would go door-to-door collecting and hygiening data of individuals in those households. We also had no internal digital capacity at the time, so we did not actually undertake any of our digital campaigns. That was done exclusively through AggregateIQ.”
AIQ founders Zack Massingham and Jeff Silvester had been brought into the fold a year prior by their friend Christopher Wylie, then an SCL employee, who blew the whistle on the firm’s practices earlier this year. According to Wylie, the founders registered their company in their hometown of Victoria as a result of an SCL contract, which subsequently led to political work in the Caribbean.
After the two firms first made contact in August 2013, while SCL was performing its first American political work in the Virginia gubernatorial race, AIQ designed solutions for deployment in campaigns under SCL’s supervision in Trinidad and Tobago. Part of the intent, according to records obtained by the Globe and Mail, was to harvest the internet histories of up to 1.3 million civilians in order to more accurately model their psychographics for message targeting.
In December 2013, an SCL employee proposed requesting the data from the country’s internet provider by posing as academic researchers, while seeking to tie internet addresses to billing addresses, without naming customers. In response, AIQ CEO Massingham replied by email that he could use every bit of data they could get. “If the billing addresses are obfuscated, we’ll have a difficult time relating things back to a real person or household,” he wrote. It remains unknown if that data was obtained.
The primary work AIQ performed was to design software that could be used to motivate volunteers, canvassers, and voters. This software concept was repeated for multiple clients, including Petronas, an oil company that sought to influence voters in Malaysia.
AggregateIQ’s work across the pond
During the U.K.’s Brexit campaign in 2016, Vote Leave hired AIQ to place online ads, with AIQ paying for all 1,034 Facebook ads run by the campaign. AIQ’s services were also retained to develop and administer a piece of software that Vote Leave executives, including chief technology officer and former SCL employee Thomas Borwick, later credited with a large portion of the campaign’s success.
Vote Leave campaign director Dominic Cummings wrote an extensive blog post about the project, called the Voter Intention Collection System (VICS).
“One of our central ideas was that the campaign had to do things in the field of data that have never been done before,” Cummings wrote. “This included a) integrating data from social media, online advertising, websites, apps, canvassing, direct mail, polls, online fundraising, activist feedback . . . and b) having experts in physics and machine learning do proper data science in the way only they can, i.e. far beyond the normal skills applied in political campaigns.”
As the voter-facing front end for the Leave campaign data team, uCampaign was brought in and paid by AIQ to deliver the smartphone apps that helped to gather users’ cell numbers, email addresses, phone book contacts, and Facebook IDs for integration, exactly as it had done during the previous months for the Cruz 2016 campaign. Just as in that case, the app collected voter information for use in AIQ tools.
“We could only do this properly if we had proper canvassing software,” Cummings wrote. “We built it partly in-house and partly using an external engineer who we sat in our office for months.”
AIQ’s Zach Massingham repeatedly flew to the U.K. as his company was paid hundred of thousands of pounds for its Vote Leave work in 2016 after a series of transactions between several campaigns that Canadian officials have questioned as “money laundering” and British authorities are investigating as criminal offenses. Nonetheless, after the referendum, Cummings released an open-source version of VICS code on Github for future micro-targeters to use.
In early 2018, one of Vote Leave and SCL vet Thomas Borwick’s handful of data firms, Kanto, was hired to do canvassing and social media work during the Irish abortion referendum. Anti-abortion activist groups also contracted uCampaign to build two separateapps, which alarmed campaign finance and privacy watchdogs and led to a ban on internet advertising.
As with uCampaign, which has also made apps for the likes of Donald Trump and the NRA, AIQ’s smartphone apps were designed to gather information via Facebook Login, a tool offered by Facebook to streamline user registration across the internet. Though Facebook tightened some restrictions this year as a direct response to the Analytica flare-up, Login has allowed third-party developers to gain access to a wide range of Facebook account information about registered users.
As part of its investigation into Cambridge Analytica and its affiliates, on April 7, Facebook said that it had suspended AIQ, effectively ending its ability to deploy Facebook Login. However, security researcher Chris Vickery discovered that AIQ’s access to the Facebook platform was still active as of May 17. Additionally, he found, AIQ had already collected info on nearly 800,000 Facebook account IDs in a database, with many matched to addresses and phone numbers. Facebook removed more AIQ apps two weeks later, but it was not until June 19 that the Facebook Login feature was removed from the apps for Cruz, Osnova, and Abbott.
In written testimony to Parliament, AIQ chief technology officer Jeff Silvester, who visited British prime minister Theresa May’s office with Massingham in the weeks after the Brexit vote, explained the history of the relationship between SCL and AIQ, which began in late 2013.
After building a “customer relationship management (CRM) tool” for SCL in Trinidad and Tobago, AIQ created “an entirely new CRM tool” for the 2014 U.S. midterm elections. “SCL called the tool Ripon,” Silvester wrote. AIQ was then required to transfer all software rights to SCL before working “with SCL on similar software development, online advertising, and website development” in support of Cambridge Analytica’s work for the Ted Cruz 2016 campaign.
A referral from “an acquaintance who was working with Vote Leave” led to AIQ being hired by Vote Leave in April 2016, the day before the campaign was designated as the official Leave organization.
This past May, after questioning the legality of AggregateIQ founder Zach Massingham’s work on British soil while developing VICS, parliamentary committee chair Damian Collins asked Silvester about AIQ’s recent work for WPAi.
Silvester explained, “They sell their software that we create for them to whomever they like, and we just simply support that work.”
In March, WPAi CEO Chris Wilson told Gizmodo that he had almost no knowledge of the controversy surrounding AIQ, despite their work for the Cruz 2016 campaign. “I would never work with a firm that I felt had done something illegal or even unethical,” he said. The firm’s work for WPA was the result of a competitive bidding process, he said, and AIQ “offered us the best capabilities for the best price.”
Leaving the nest
In February 2017, a story on the Politico Pro website announced Archie, WPA Intelligence’s new piece of software for 2018 campaigns. The software goes by a nickname used by Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s political team, referring to Archimedes, the Greek mathematician who said, “Give me a lever and I can move the world.”
“The program allows campaigns to work across all formats and vendors to collect data in one place,” the article said, and campaign staffers “will be able to use the app to generate models, target audiences, cut lists, and produce data visualization tools to make strategic decisions.”
From that description, Archie sounded very much like AIQ’s Ripon and VICS all-in-one campaign solutions. AIQ’s smartphone app for WPAi client Greg Abbott first appeared on Google Play and Apple’s iOS Store three months later, in May 2017.
Archie’s predictive modeling of Texan voters “yielded approximately 4.5 million individual targets for turnout efforts,” according to WPAi. That helped the Abbott campaign win the 2018 Reed award for Best Use of Data Analytics/Machine Learning in Field Program. In attendance at the March ceremony were representatives from Cambridge Analytica, which was nominated for Best Use of Online Targeting for Judicial Campaign.
Three weeks after the Reed awards, Christopher Wylie’s whistleblower account in the Observer were splashed across the world’s front pages. By the following month, SCL and Analytica were claiming bankruptcy, and AIQ’s cofounders were appearing at Canadian Parliament and dealing with its suspension from Facebook as developers.
In June, a week before AIQ’s WPA apps finally removed Facebook Login, Silvester appeared before Canadian Parliament for a second time, where he was admonished by Vice Chair Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who remarked, “Frankly, the information you have provided is inadequate.” After being threatened with a contempt charge for excusing himself from sworn testimony with a one-line doctor’s note, Massingham later spoke with the committee via audio-only link from his lawyer’s office.
In July, AggregateIQ was served with the U.K.’s first-ever enforcement notice under the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation, known as GDPR. The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office subjected AIQ to millions in fines if it did not “cease processing any personal data of U.K. or EU citizens obtained from U.K. political organizations or otherwise for the purposes of data analytics, political campaigning, or any other advertising purposes.”
After AIQ appealed the order, it was merely mandated to “erase any personal data of individuals in the U.K.,” though it was found to have “processed personal data in a way that the data subjects were not aware of, for purposes which they would not have expected, and without a lawful basis for that processing.”
As Ted Cruz wraps up his campaign, he continues to outsource part of his voter data harvesting to a foreign firm that has been blacklisted by Facebook and British and European regulators. The total data amassed through apps like Cruz Crew and projects like Ripon and Archimedes remains unknown, but they raise concerns that Cruz acknowledged when he launched his presidential campaign at Liberty University in March 2015. “Instead of a government that seizes your emails and your cell phones,” he said, “imagine a federal government that protected the privacy rights of every American.”
Jesse Witt (@witjest) is an independent researcher, writer, and filmmaker.
Lat week, we established that it’s odd for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz to try to be in on the joke that people suspect he’s the Zodiac Killer. Do you know who is more than capable of building on that joke, though? Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
The fuzzy, felt-skinned creation of veteran comedy writer Robert Smigel showed up on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Monday night to unveil a video documenting the Texas senate race. At one point, while interviewing some Cruz supporters, Triumph takes the Zodiac joke to an unexpected place. He describes Cruz’s desire to repeal Obamacare as something that could potentially kill “way more people than the Zodiac,” emphasizing the “way more” again and again so many times that the Cruz supporters chuckling at his joke (but still supporting Cruz) have to actually think about it.
The last time we saw Triumph the Insult Comic Dog in action, in a 2016 Election special from back when we thought that comedy mattered, he was lamenting the fact that he couldn’t get an interview with Ted Cruz. He doesn’t quite pull off a full interview this time either, but he does get the chance to briefly come come face-to-fur with Cruz as he works his way through the crowd at a rally, and boy is it ever worth the effort.
Before getting to the Cruz segment of the video, Triumph starts off gently poking fun at Beto O’Rourke and his supporters. He offers to coach some Latinx voters in the O’Rourke crowd on how to pass as white so they won’t have a problem voting. “Repeat after me,” he tells them, “‘Have you seen the new season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?'”
When it comes time to interview the man himself, Triumph/Smigel can’t resist flinging a few zingers O’Rourke’s way. He refers to him as “the 12th man on any basketball team” and asks questions like “Does it concern you that half your base thinks they can vote for you through Instagram?”
Obviously, Beto is getting off lightly. This is merely the bark; the bite is reserved for Ted Cruz. Without giving them all away, here are the seven sickest burns Triumph lands on Ted Cruz.
“What do you have that Ted Cruz doesn’t have?” Triumph asks Beto O’Rourke before adding, “besides the ability to regenerate your tail?”
“I’m here at the Ted Cruz rally,” Triumph announces, “or a Duck Dynasty cosplay convention. Not really sure.”
“Which do you think was harder for Ted to forgive?” Triumph asks someone in the crowd at a Cruz rally. “Donald Trump for insulting his wife or that mongoose for eating his offspring. See, because he’s a reptile.”
“If Ted loses, do you think he’ll end up back with his first love, that mute lady from The Shape of Water?” Triumph asks that same Cruz supporter. “See, because he’s a hideous fish monster.”
“Ted, I have a pre-existing condition that makes me vomit out of my eyes whenever I see you,” Triumph shouts from the back of the room during the Cruz rally. “Is that covered under the GOP healthcare plan?”
“You can’t ignore me, Ted,” Triumph says in the crowd as he nears Cruz. “I’m not ‘overwhelming scientific evidence of global warming.'”
“Ted, is it true that you will defend the constitution at all costs?” Triumph asks when he finally has a brief audience with Cruz. “Except when Donald Trump insults it on Twitter?”
Finally, Cruz tries to get in a zinger about how it was the Democrats who neutered Triumph, and the Insult Comic Dog is ready for it. “I support spaying and neutering,” he says. “Just like Trump did to you.”
Oof! There is no recovering from a burn like that. Ted Cruz now lives inside of a burn ward. While he treats his wounds, watch the entire video from Monday night’s Colbert show below.
Just days after the awful events of Pittsburgh, disgusting neo-Nazi graffiti was found Thursday inside a Brooklyn synagogue.
NYPD officials told Breaking911 that the suspect entered Brooklyn's Union Temple around 8:30 p.m. Thursday night and used a black marker to deface three different locations with the messages, " rats we are here," " better be ready," and "Hitler."
As one would expect, New York's officials were extremely quick to decry the disgusting actions, with NY Governor Cuomo releasing the following statement - with a clear intent to pin the blame on one side:
"I am disgusted by the discovery of anti-Semitic graffiti at a house of worship in Brooklyn. At a time when the nation is still reeling from the attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, New Yorkers stand united with the community and against hate in all its forms.
"In New York, we have zero tolerance for discrimination in our laws or in our spirit. I have directed the State's Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate this hideous act and hold those responsible accountable to the full extent of the law.
"As Governor, I am also doing everything in my power to ensure our religious institutions are free from violence and intolerance. This week, we announced the launch of an additional $10 million grant program to help protect New York's non-public schools and cultural centers, including religious-based institutions.
"The disgusting rhetoric and heinous violence in this nation has reached a fever pitch and is ripping at the fabric of America, and it must stop. In New York, we have forged community through chords of commonality and we will always stand together against hate and discrimination."
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the hateful messages "tremendously upsetting."
"Coming at a time when New Yorkers are feeling a profound sense of loss and sadness because of what happened at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue and all those who were killed there because of their faith."
But, in an interesting twist, according to Breaking911, surveillance footage released by authorities captured a photo of the suspect, "described as a male Black, approximately 20-years-old, 5'8'', 140 lbs, with black hair and last seen wearing a red suit jacket."
And yesterday morning, the local CBS station confirms a man is in custody for the 'hate crime'.
26-year-old James Polite, of Brooklyn, allegedly wrote the graffiti, according to police.
The suspect also drew a picture of the Puerto Rican flag and wrote "Free P.R."
Additionally, sources tell CBS2, Polite could be behind a series of fires at other shuls and yeshivas in the area. He was charged with criminal mischief, hate crime, and making graffiti in connection to the messages scrawled at Union Temple.
So not quite the white-supremacist, Trump-supporting, , bigot everyone was expecting?
But, in an even more potentially shocking twist, it is possible that the alleged serial anti-semitic graffiti artist is a former Barack Obama volunteer and liberal media darling...
Is this the same guy that volunteered for you during your campaign? https://t.co/hOG05xhc pic.twitter.com/XSMXwrl1X4
- Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 3, 2018
In 2017, The New York Times wrote a lavish lovefest of a story:
James Polite spent much of his childhood in foster care.
In high school alone, Mr. Polite estimates, he was placed in 10 different homes. And he received little encouragement from social workers to go to college.
But Mr. Polite, now 25, still believed that college was the best next step. He found encouragement as a volunteer in his teens, registering voters and canvassing neighborhoods in New York City during Barack Obama's first presidential bid.
Manhattan Democrat Christine Quinn still remembers their introduction on the steps of City Hall. "James was telling me his story," she recalled recently in an interview. "And I said, ' you have an internship?' And he said 'No.' And I said, 'Well, you now.'"
"James was the adopted child of the Quinn administration," she said. "And it wasn't just me. It was the entire City Council staff."
Of course, there could be another 26-year-old (25 in 2017) black male, living in Manhattan with the same name as James Polite, but we suspect that is a little unlikely.
As The New York Times reports, towards the bottom of their puff-piece:
Despite the assistance, Mr. Polite struggled at Brandeis. Smoking marijuana, he said, became a coping mechanism to manage his stress. He had first tried the drug at a foster home in his early teens, but in college his habit grew to three times a day. He was placed on a health leave of absence in late 2015 and required to enter a rehabilitation program. During treatment, he learned he had bipolar disorder, for which he is now medicated.
More likely is the young man with a bright future, heralded by the liberal media and politicians as a success story waiting to happen, has seen his life take a much darker route. At the end of the day, democrats are still retarded.
from Fellowship Of The Minds: Did you know that the latest Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll has President Trump’s approval numbers among “African Americans” at 40%? Blacks traditionally vote Demonrat, so low black voter turnout is really bad for Democrats. When Obama won Wisconsin in 2012, black voter turnout was at 74%, but that number plummeted […]
Alyssa Mastromonaco is no stranger to tough conversations: she served as White House deputy chief of staff for operations under President Obama, was an executive at Vice and A&E, and is Senior Advisor and spokesperson at NARAL Pro-Choice America. So when Mastromonaco switched to a new antidepressant, she decided to tell her boss.
"I told the CEO that I was on Zoloft and was transitioning to Wellbutrin," Mastromonaco said.
REGGIE Selma was a CNN photojournalist. Based out of the same Washington, DC bureau as I once was, he was the first African-American cameraman assigned to the White House. He covered every US president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. He travelled...
The record of the Democrats proves that voting for the “lesser evil” doesn’t stop evil.
NO ONE reading this article needed one, but the last weeks were a reminder anyway: that there is no low point of hate and fearmongering that Donald Trump can’t sink below.
Trump and his “brain” trust decided that the Republicans’ best bet for the midterm elections would be to slander a caravan of refugees from violence and oppression in Central America — and to send who knows how many U.S. soldiers to the border to meet this grave threat.
They succeeded in whipping up their right-wing base. But they also sharpened the outrage and anger of millions of people who already oppose Trump — and who will vote in today’s elections with a sense of alarm about stopping the fanatic in the White House.
In almost every case, those millions who want to vote against Trump will have no real choice but to vote for the Democratic Party, which has also been determined — but not about stopping Trump’s crimes.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had the same infuriating message of evasion last weekend that she’s repeated for months. Rather than let voters “think the Democrats are all about impeachment, investigation, caravans, ‘scaravans,’” Pelosi recommended: “Don’t take the bait, just stick with health care, good-paying jobs and clean government.”
The Democrats are likely to make gains at all levels of government in today’s elections, probably enough to win a majority in the House, if not in the Senate. It will be a pleasure to watch some of the most monstrous Republicans go down to defeat.
If the Democrats win big, it will be because millions of people use this election to register their opposition to Trump, the Republican Party and the right wing agenda.
It won’t, however, be because the Democratic Party is providing an alternative to the Trumpian status quo, much less a lead to the popular resistance that has confronted the Trump administration from its first day in office.
This election has been a departure in one respect: The media spotlight has fallen on a number of left-wing candidates running as Democrats in this election, including members of the Democratic Socialists of America. The left needs to absorb the lessons of this development.
But we do know that those candidates won’t be calling the shots come January. As an institution, and under the leadership of those who will call the shots, the Democrats aren’t committed to the kind of change that most of their voters would like to see.
Whatever they say — or don’t say — on the campaign trail, the Democrats’ dismal record in office shows that they will disappoint their liberal base with compromises and capitulations to the Republicans.
Unless, that is, both Democrats and Republicans face pressure from outside the two-party system.
This is the key to building an actual resistance to Trump and the Republicans: Not voting for Democrats in the hope that they will change anything for us, but relying on the strength of our co-workers, our fellow students and our community to educate, agitate and organize struggles that put forward a left-wing alternative.
THE MISERY of living under Trump has produced some of the largest protests in U.S. history, starting with the Women’s March on the day after his inauguration.
These demonstrations have been an ongoing reminder of both the rejection of Trump and his politics by a majority of people in the country and the desire of millions of people to start doing something about it.
Democratic Party leaders have a use for the first part — but not so much for the second.
Thus, throughout the upsurge of anger over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, Democrats expressed their opposition — most of them, anyway — while trying to channel people’s outrage toward the voting booth and warning that protests could go too far and “alienate” potential supporters.
The unions and large liberal organizations, including organizers of the Women’s Marches, didn’t make the call to mobilize another massive show of anti-Trump strength, so the protests against Kavanaugh that did take place were angry and powerful, but scattered.
The dynamic is even more telling when it comes to immigrant rights.
The most recent of the truly massive anti-Trump demonstrations was the Families Belong Together mobilizations in late June that brought out hundreds of thousands of people for protests and marches in 750 cities and every state to vent their anger at the administration’s cruel family separation policy.
But this fall, the Democrats were mostly silent on the issue. They were advised — by the progressive think tank, the Center for American Progress, among others — to “spend as little time as possible” talking about immigration during election season, so as not to emphasize an issue where it’s taken for granted that the Republicans have an advantage.
Actually, the mass protests and even more massive public revulsion at Trump’s policies showed the potential for putting Republicans on the defensive — and on an issue they depend on to rev up their right-wing base.
But the Democrats followed the same election-year strategy they always do: chase every last “swing voter” in the political middle of the road, and that means avoiding anything controversial.
THE PROBLEM goes beyond timid campaign tactics. The Democrats’ strategy is the logical outcome for a party that says it stands for immigrant justice to satisfy its more liberal base at election time, but that stands in practice for a status quo where implementing justice would be a social and political threat.
It is no coincidence that the Democratic Party’s actual agenda on immigration issues mirrors that of Corporate America: support for a system that allows immigration to supplement the U.S. workforce at various levels, but that disciplines that workforce by keeping most immigrants in a second-class status.
Thus, the hopes in 2008 that Barack Obama would pass real immigration reform during his first months in office were fated to be dashed.
Not only did Obama fail to achieve any initiative, even a compromised one, to legalize the status of any undocumented workers, but he followed through on Corporate America’s other priority of using enforcement to maintain control over workers — and deportations went up, not down.
This experience illustrates the problems with voting for the Democrats as the lesser of two evils. On immigration, the “lesser evil” candidate in 2008 ended up presiding over more actual evil than his “greater evil” predecessor, George W. Bush.
In the era of Trump, it usually isn’t hard to figure out who the greater evil is in any one election. But as the American socialist Hal Draper wrote, the problem isn’t the answer, but the question itself — because it accepts the limits of the two-party system and distorts the political outlook of people who need to be a part of changing the world.
Let’s go back to Obama and the issue of immigration. In 2008, the immigrant rights movement was only two years away from an amazing high point that really did achieve a victory. The mega-marches and “day without an immigrant” strikes of 2006 stopped reactionary Republican legislation that would have criminalized all of the undocumented in the U.S.
But under Obama, the same liberal forces that helped organize the 2006 upsurge were far quieter, hoping that they could work with their supposed ally in the White House. Calls to protest Obama’s lack of action were met with warnings that being too radical would hand the Republicans an issue to hammer the Democrats with.
And so Barack Obama became the deporter-in-chief without facing mass opposition on the scale of 2006 — and the promise of any reform, even with the twisted compromises that the Democrats insisted on, went unfulfilled.
Malcolm X once said that “you put the Democrats first and the Democrats put you last.” When Nancy Pelosi and the leaders of the Democratic Party know they can count on the party’s liberal base to vote for their candidates, no matter what, they can move in the direction that inevitably feels more comfortable: to the right.
THOUGH YOU’D never know it to listen to Pelosi, there are more Democratic candidates this year who progressives might want to vote for, rather than only voting against the Republicans.
The anti-Trump upsurge of the past two years has helped the Democrats field a more diverse group of candidates than ever before, and more Democrats are willing to say they stand for progressive proposals like Medicare for All.
This is also the result of a surge of candidates who, following the lead of Sen. Bernie Sanders, explicitly identify themselves as democratic socialists. Their successes are a direct result of the hard organizing work of members of DSA and other left forces, and those successes have, in turn, raised the prominence of DSA and socialism in general.
Among DSA members in particular, there is sharp opposition to the neoliberal, pro-corporate program championed by the likes of Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Though many DSAers will likely choose to vote for establishment-sanctioned Democrats in 2018 and 2020, others will make the principled decision to refuse to support those Democratic candidates who don’t support them.
This is an important development for anyone who looks forward, as we do at SW, to the establishment of a left-wing political force independent of the two-party system.
But our analysis would be inadequate if we didn’t point out the dangers for socialists trying to build their forces within a capitalist party that is hostile to their aims. The very success of left-wing candidates within the party makes it harder to resist the pressure that draws them further in.
Thus, DSA member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a primary election upset for a seat in Congress from New York City over powerful party boss Joe Crowley. Her victory was a blow to the party leadership — but her new prominence led to requests, to which she agreed, to endorse and campaign for Democrats who are well to her right.
Historically, the Democrats have been willing to tolerate a left within the party and a certain amount of criticism as a price worth paying for having well-known figures who can build enthusiasm among the party’s liberal base.
The great danger for the left has been to be drawn in — and to, as a consequence, tailor and limit its message and strategy based on the needs of the Democrats, rather than the Democrats changing the party’s aims and actions in any significant way.
Socialist Worker has maintained since its founding that we look forward to the creation of an independent left alternative to the two-party system, and we put this into practice in every election by supporting only independent left-wing candidates. We say that the Democratic Party doesn’t deserve your votes — and you shouldn’t give it something it doesn’t deserve.
There are only a few such independent left candidates around the country in 2018 offering an opportunity to cast a protest vote against the limitations of the two-party system.
More numerous are the very important referendums where socialists should take a stand: Issue 1 (drug law reform) in Ohio; Question 1 (safe staffing) and Question 3 (transgender rights) in Massachusetts; and Proposition 10 (rent control) and Proposition 11 (paramedics’ rights on the job) in California, to name a few that SW has written about recently.
Ultimately, organizing a socialist resistance in the Trump era depends much more on the struggles of every day other than Election Day. That was our task every day leading up to November 6 — and every day after, when we look forward to uniting to fight the Trumpian right, as well as its Democratic Party enablers.
Elizabeth Schulte documents the new low points that Trump and the Republicans are reaching — and the dismal failure of Democrats to stand up for justice.
YOUR PRESIDENT wants you to hate and fear immigrants.
That was the message of a new attack ad that Donald Trump himself tweeted a little over a week before the midterm elections. The ad featured an undocumented immigrant jailed for killing two California sheriff’s deputies and then scenes of the refugee caravan currently making its way through Mexico to seek asylum from poverty and violence in Central America.
Lettering above the man on trial reads: “He killed our people.”
The last-minute campaign ad aimed to create an indelible image of immigrants as murderers who are “invading” the U.S. with the Democrats’ blessing — and an equally indelible conclusion that only Trump and the Republicans will protect you from violence.
Numerous Republicans running for office embraced and echoed Trump’s ramped-up campaign of racist scapegoating against immigrants.
Rep. Duncan Hunter of California issued an ad claiming that his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Labor Department official, is trying to “infiltrate Congress” on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood and is a “security risk.”
In upstate New York, the National Republican Congressional Committee aired several commercials attacking a Democratic candidate for Congress, Antonio Delgado, who is Black, for having been a rap musician. In one ad, several white upstate New Yorkers speak to the camera: “Antonio Delgado would be fine in Los Angeles, maybe New York City,” but “nobody talks like that around here.”
In 1988, the presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush ran a commercial featuring “Willie” Horton — his name was William Horton, but “Willie” fit the stereotype the ad makers were after — a Black man accused of a killing a white woman while free on a prison work-release program in Massachusetts under then-Gov. Michael Dukakis.
The ad aimed to whip up fear about crime — and the fear of Black people committing crimes in particular.
But Republicans aren’t the only ones to pander to racism during their campaigns.
During the 1992 presidential campaign, Democratic candidate Bill Clinton thought he could score points by attacking anti-racist activist and recording artist Sister Souljah for her comments about the Los Angeles rebellion that year. For that matter, Clinton’s running mate Al Gore was the first candidate of either party to use Horton against Dukakis — during the 1988 Democratic primaries.
It says a lot about the cynicism of the politicians of the “world’s greatest democracy” that they’ve used coded and not-so-coded racism so freely during elections over the decades.
IN THAT sense, Trump’s ads are very much a part of the U.S. political system. But under the current circumstances, there’s a twist: Trump’s racist anti-immigrant ad is advising his supporters to do more than fear and hate immigrants. It encourages them to take action.
Militia units told the Associated Press that they were planning on gathering with guns and bulletproof vests. Immigrants are “just laughing in our face,” fumed Shannon McGauley, president of the Texas Minutemen. “It’s a free-for-all in America.”
The vigilantes won’t be alone, of course. Hundreds of U.S. troops have already arrived at the border near Hidalgo, Texas, with more to come. Their stated mission is to help U.S. Customs and the Border Patrol, and there were plenty of photo ops of soldiers setting up barbed-wire fence along the Rio Grande.
“I saw that beautiful barbed wire going up,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Montana. “Beautiful sight.”
All of this is part of Trump’s “Operation Faithful Patriot,” which grows larger by the day, depending on the whims of the president — from 5,000 active-duty troops last Wednesday to 15,000 a few days later. This is in addition to thousands of National Guard troops who are also gathering at the border.
The Trump administration is preparing for a confrontation — not just at the ballot box with the midterm elections, but literally a confrontation at the border, led by racists inspired by Trump’s America First rhetoric that demonizes immigrants seeking relief from poverty and violence.
THIS IS an important moment for those who oppose anti-immigrant racism to stand up and be counted. And yet at exactly that moment — as the elections have provided a spotlight for political leaders to step forward and oppose Trump’s anti-immigrant racism — the Democrats are...silent.
Instead of meeting Trump’s racist campaign message with the alarm it deserves, the Democrats are doing the opposite.
It isn’t just the party leadership, either. Down the line, that’s how Democrats are responding: stay on message, because the winning campaign message isn’t about protecting the caravan, it’s about health care.
Yes, health care is an important issue — and one that affects millions of Americans. But championing health doesn’t mean not challenging anti-immigrant racism.
Not that the Democrats are even addressing health care in any effective way. The most that the Democrats are putting forward on health care is a defense of Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — which many people support against Republican efforts to dismantle it, but which is deeply flawed and ineffective at its supposed goal of universal coverage.
Democrats are drawing the line at stopping Republicans from letting insurers use pre-existing conditions as an excuse not to cover people. The GOP should be stopped, of course — but it’s not exactly a bold stand in defense of health care justice.
But this is the perennial logic of the Democratic Party under the constraints of the two-party system in the U.S.: Don’t make the message too radical, because the party’s base of support that would agree with a more radical message is going to vote for you anyway, since they have nowhere else to go.
IN MANY ways, immigration is the perfect message for Trump. Not just because racism plays to the Republicans’ right-wing base, but because the Democrats have so little to say in response.
The Democratic Party has no long-term solution to the suffering of refugees who are part of the caravan to the border.
Even the most liberal Democrats agree that while reforms are needed and programs like DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) should be protected, there’s also a need for strict immigration standards and heavily militarized border security enforcement.
This summer, U.S. immigration policies took center stage when it was revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was separating undocumented children from their families and detaining them in cages.
The inhumane conditions endured by undocumented children sparked protests around the country, many organized by liberal organization like MoveOn and Indivisible, which ordinarily don’t stray too far left of the Democratic Party line.
Outrage at what the U.S. government was doing led to calls to “Abolish ICE” — and in short order, some Democratic Party figures were adopting a slogan that weeks earlier would have only been heard from the left.
The demand to do away with a hated government enforcement agency that terrorizes millions of undocumented immigrants fit the moment like a glove. The unbelievable cruelty of the Trump administration had come together with the explosive nature of the struggles of ordinary people against him.
But that was then. For the past months leading up to the midterm elections, the Democrats have been running away from the issue of immigration in any form. The Center for American Progress, a well-known liberal think tank, advised Democratic candidates to avoid the discussion of immigration and pivot to...you guessed it: health care.
Even democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — whose primary victory last spring over a machine Democrat helped popularize the Abolish ICE slogan — had softened her message by late August, when she said in a tweet, “#AbolishICE means not having an agency that incarcerates children and sexually assaults women with impunity. It does not mean abolish deportation.”
Trump is sowing fear to whip up his conservative base. But the Democrats are sowing fear of a different kind among their base — fear of Trump and fear of talking too radical and “alienating” moderate voters.
The resistance to Trump’s atrocities on immigration will need to ignore the Democrats’ cynical political calculations and organize opposition that stands proudly under the banner of “Abolish ICE.”
We need a socialist alternative that understands that the real “immigration problem” in the U.S. is the billions wasted militarizing a border and persecuting the vulnerable that could be used to welcome people across it if they want to come.
En quelques mois, QAnon ou simplement « Q » s'est construit une base massive de partisans dont les cibles préférées sont Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George Soros, la famille Rothschild ou encore la famille royale saoudienne.
The digital media company Attn: has made ads for IBM, Freeform, and Everytown for Gun Safety in recent weeks ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections.
Some of the ads have the company's logo, but the publisher is also experimenting with white-label content for brands like Sprite.
Taking a stand can backfire for brands — think Pepsi and Starbucks — but Attn: says its advocacy background can help brands find the right messaging.
Sprite's newest ad campaign is less a commercial than a public service announcement to vote.
The campaign, called "Get Vocal," encourages people to record and upload a video of themselves freestyling about an issue they care about. Clips are then pulled into a microsite and distributed through social media.
Some of the user-uploaded videos wade heavily into political territory.
"Police killing all my people, yeah they wildin' / So I gotta take a knee like I'm Colin," Izze the Producer raps, referring to Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback who last year started kneeling during the national anthem before games to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
Tweet Embed: //twitter.com/mims/statuses/1055588457119182848?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Yes, Izze the Producer made the beat... But Izze the rapper definitely has something to say! @Sprite x #GetVocal 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/IeES2bOKq0
Another video uploaded by J. Latelle starts with "We got a president who always lies to us."
It's the kind of work that a few years ago may have been deemed too risky for brands to weigh in on. But as they increasingly wade into political issues, brands like Sprite and others are hoping to connect with younger consumers.
Behind the scenes of the campaign is Attn:, a digital publisher that has used its roots in civic engagement and its massive audience of these younger consumers to crank out a handful of voting- and cause-related campaigns for brands leading up to the midterm elections on Tuesday.
"Being apolitical or non-issue-driven is no longer an option with millennial and Gen Z consumers," Attn: CEO Matthew Segal told Business Insider. "Brands now know that they need to take a position or stand for something — or at the very least stand for civic engagement in the year 2018."
Brands are pushing people to the polls
Several brands have dived into hot-button issues over the past few years, and some have been more successful (like Nike and Patagonia) than others (like Starbucks and Pepsi).
Katie Canales/Business Insider
Ahead of the midterms, a coalition of 150 companies has poured money into encouraging consumers to vote and tweaking policies to allow employees time off to vote.
Brands are trying to make sense of what they should say
Attn: created the microsite for Sprite's campaign and stitched together some of the clips into videos being distributed on the brand's social channels. VFiles, a fashion-geared social-media platform, sourced some of the talent for the campaign.
In addition to Sprite, Attn: has also worked with IBM, Freeform, and Everytown for Gun Safety on voting-related campaigns over the past few months.
Similar to its editorial content, Attn:'s branded content aims to break down complex issues into easy-to-understand videos. Before founding the company, Segal ran the voter-empowerment organization Our Time.
For IBM, Attn: created a two-minute Facebook clip titled "Why Your Vote May Be at Risk This November" to explain misinformation and voting schemes.
And for Freeform, the two media companies used their talent to create a series of PSAs, airing on TV and social media, that focus on the statistic that the average voter waited in line for 11 minutes to vote in the 2016 presidential election, comparing it with the amount of time people spend on things like scrolling through Instagram.
Attn: is making white-label content for brands
The Freeform and IBM campaigns use Attn:'s audience for distribution.
But the Sprite campaign is a bit different. Attn:'s logo isn't splashed on the videos, nor is it distributed across the publisher's network of social platforms. It's an example of white-label work that the publisher is taking on for brands and is based on insights instead of reliant on its audience.
"A lot of our partners obviously want our audience and distribution, but I think we have a lot of value to add that can certainly rival some ad agencies, so to speak," Segal said. "I think brands not only know that we know how to produce spots for social media, but also know that we have a finger on the pulse on how young people feel and how to best make these topics digestible."
Taryn Crouthers, the head of brand partnerships at Attn:, said that about half of the company's work with brands on corporate-social-responsibility campaigns came from brainstorming together, as opposed to issuing requests for proposals.
"Brands are coming to Attn: because they value the fact that we understand how to talk and speak about these complex issues in a way that's both entertaining but also informative," she said.
Attn: is also paying to make its own voting-themed editorial content, including videos with former President Barack Obama and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Long queues and malfunctioning machines marred the first hours of voting in some precincts across the US. Some of the biggest problems today were in Georgia, a state with a hotly contested gubernatorial election. Voters reported waiting up to three hours to vote. At a polling place in Snellville, Georgia, more than 100 people took turns sitting in children’s chairs and on the floor as they waited for hours. Voter Ontaria Woods said about two dozen people who had come to vote left because of the queues. At a poll site in Atlanta, voters waited in the rain in long lines that stretched around the building. Hannah Ackermann said officials at the polling site offered various explanations for the delay, including blaming workers who did not show up and overloaded machines. Democrat Stacey Abrams will be the first black female US state governor if she is elected in Georgia in a tight race with Brian Kemp who is the Republican candidate. President Donald Trump and vice-president Mike Pence campaigned for Mr Kemp while former president Barack Obama and talk show host Oprah Winfrey were among those to join Ms Adams on the campaign trail. The state has been strongly Republican in recent decades but is seen to now be a Democratic target. Former president Jimmy Carter, who was governor of Georgia before his stint in the White House, has also backed Ms Abrams.
Tomorrow’s elections might be the most important of our lifetimes. The health care of millions is on the ballot. Making sure working families get a fair shake is on the ballot. The character of our country is on the ballot.
REPUBLICAN Donald Trump and Democrat Barack Obama have made duelling election appearances, offering sharply different views on the country’s problems but agreeing on the high stakes for voters in the final hours of a tight campaign. With opinion polls...
On election day I have a big question regarding Trump's and GOP tax breaks for who? In two years of this POTUS not only I didn't get any tax breaks but further more my taxes are higher. Also so many new jobs and busting bright economy...where? Not in this county and not at my groceries and other necessities bills that have been affected by a huge inflation with just a dozen eggs double or triple price as everything else.
The GOP's are inflating this huge balloon called economy by giving tax breaks to themselves and the other Greedy Opulent People aka GOP and on our backs because the Trump-oso in 2 years raised our debt left by Obama at 586 billions to 786 billions now. But sure this GOP Congress and their minions are not crying out loud about the debt ceiling now like their chastised Obama!
Man this FL Senate seat may mean lots of hundreds of millions as Ricky S candidate invested 12.5 millions of his own Medicare fraud acquired funds in his FL Senate campaign. https://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/11/01/nine-days-11-million-rick-scott-pumps-more-of-his-wealth-into-florida-senate-race/
Těsně před úterními volbami do Kongresu zažívají republikáni mírný vzestup preferencí. Podle průzkumů je jedním z nejsilnějších motivů volební účasti osobnost Donalda Trumpa. V očích konzervativců záruka prosperity a tradičních hodnot.
Gelmiş geçmiş en kaliteli <a href="https://www.beyazfilmseyret.org/category/erotik-film" title="erotik filmler" rel="nofollow">erotik filmler</a> 'i siz değerli izleyiciler ile buluşturan bu film sitesini mutlaka ziyaret edebilir, dilediğiniz erotizm filmini hd kalitede izlemeye başlayabilirsiniz.
Democrats now distance themselves from each other. And for the right reason: political expediency. I can’t think of a single Democrat running on Obama’s failed policies. They pretend to long for the “bad ol’ days” and the Era of Obama, but know America isn’t buying it. Kyrsten Sinema, Democratic senate candidate in Arizona barely admits […]
I keep asking the simple question of why the media doesn’t offer WIDE shots of Democrat rallies? Ok, I can understand a Hillary Clinton rally, where more Secret Service people are present than attendees. And Bernie Sanders now has his woes, bring less than 10 percent of his former crowds. But what about Barack Obama? […]
Remember when Iran intimidated the United States and the rest of the world. That was when America had a useless presidential stooge at the helm. But those days are over. And it’s become increasingly clear to Iran that they are indeed “tiny”. Keep in mind that prior to calling Iran “tiny”, Obama had called Iran […]
Obama’s got a real conundrum on his hands. And so do Democrats in general. Obama’s been asked to campaign for a guy who is in so much trouble, the candidate actually runs on President Trump’s agenda. As Newmax reports, Former President Barack Obama’s national campaign tour to boost Democratic candidates takes an unusual path Sunday […]
President Trump reminded Leftists, size matters. Talk about hitting Obama in his little “naughty bits”. Size matters! At least when it comes to the type of crowds a politician can draw. And in that measurement, Trump is the big swinging “Obama”. I wrote recently of Barack Obama’s inability to fill a phone booth. It’s clear […]
I contend that Barack Obama was the dumbest president in our history. I know Democrats publicly disagree. However, I suspect that privately they agree with me, wholeheartedly. How could you possibly believe a man to be the political Messiah who lost over 1,000 seats to the “competition” during his tenure? That’s insane. And the fact […]
Editor’s note: This is the last in a four-part series considering the outcome of the November 2018 elections for the United States House of Representatives in the context of our Monopoly Politics projections. Read the first part here, the second here and the third here.
Following all 435 U.S. House of Representative races on Election Day can be a daunting task. Not to worry; we’ve done the work for you, using our Monopoly Politics model to project not only who will win, but by how much.
Compare actual results to our projections for a 50-50 baseline year to determine just how red or blue the much-discussed “wave” taking the House will be.
Pay special attention to these key races; we’ll be right there with you.
This short list, based on analysis by several political commentators and our own Monopoly Politics projections, highlights races that might indicate whether 2018 favors Democrats or Republicans retain control.
Key Races with Women Candidates
A pink wave may be looming thanks to a record number of women candidates on the ballot. According to FairVote’s analysis, as many as 29 new women legislators could join the U.S. House in 2019. Monopoly Politics has not made high-confidence projections for 19 of these contests nor for the seven in which women incumbents are in danger of losing their seats, making these races to watch.
Pennsylvania is a state to watch thanks to the new maps created after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the state’s 2011 districts were unconstitutional. In the first general election since the lines were redrawn, it’s likely the balance of seats each party holds will shift.
Monopoly Politics projects that Democratic candidates will win five seats, Republicans eight, and the winners of the five remaining seats are not projected. FiveThirtyEight and The Cook Political Report characterize four of these as favoring the Democrat and one as a toss-up, meaning Democrats could pick up an additional three to four seats, dramatically altering the partisan breakdown of the state’s congressional delegation.
A final race to watch in Pennsylvania is the 17th Congressional District, which features two incumbents: Keith Rothfus of the former 12th Congressional District and Conor Lamb of the former 18th Congressional District.
The U.S. House races in Maine will make history no matter who wins because the seats will be determined using ranked choice voting (RCV). In the 1st Congressional District, incumbent U.S. Rep. Democrat Chellie Pingree and Republican challenger Mark Holbrook said they will not rank candidates. Meanwhile, independent candidate Marty Grohman has been an outspoken backer of RCV.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Republican Bruce Poliquin is facing Democratic challenger Jared Golden and independents Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar in the 2nd Congressional District. The two independents in the race are forecasted to receivea little over 4 percent of the vote share. Under the traditional single-winner plurality system, the two independents could pull enough votes from the other candidates to “spoil” the race. A “spoiler effect”does not occur with RCV however, because votes are counted until one candidate secures a majority.
If Democrats retake the House in 2018, it will likely be by a very slim margin of seats. Monopoly Politics projects the outcomes for 379 of the 435 seats at the highest level of confidence—projections which have proven to be 99.9 percent accurate. Of those, 206 seats are projected to go to Republicans, and 173 to Democrats.
The remaining 56 seats are too competitive to call with a high level of confidence, but a few could make the difference in control of the House.
Could our projections be wrong?
There are some instances in which Monopoly Politics’ projections — though made with our highest level of confidence — might be off. There are two potential reasons.
First, our high-confidence projections may be inaccurate due to a change in voter behavior. Our projections take into account only the last presidential election’s partisan dynamic. Whether the shift from 2012 to 2016 was temporary or indicative of a lasting “Trump Effect” could impact the accuracy of our 2018 projections. Consider, for example, the close race in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. The district favored Obama in 2008 and 2012, then swung to Trump in 2016. Polls show the Republican incumbent is trailing, though Monopoly Politics projects a Republican winner.
Following the election, FairVote will analyze how accurate our partisanship metric is compared with those that include both 2016 and 2012 election data. If our metric is more predictive of the results, we’ll know that the Republican base has shifted, with Trump voters forming the new base for Republicans. If it doesn’t, that suggests Trump’s base may be willing to vote for Trump, but not for down-ballot Republicans.
The other reason our projections might be wrong is that partisan waves can increase the chance of a statistical fluke. While our model requires at least a 56 percent partisan preference before making a high-confidence projection, an overall 54 percent Democratic wave would bring those seats which favor Republicans by 56 percent within competitive range.
(Note: Such a wave year would be far outside the norm, which is why our high-confidence projections do not anticipate waves. Our full projections do take this kind of partisan shift into account, and we remain confident our projections will prove reliable when adjusted for 2018’s two-party preference.)
That control of the House rests on just a few competitive seats highlights how broken the American political system is. Monopoly Politics’ projections are both extremely accurate and extremely simple, without regard to fundraising, scandals or polls. Until the reforms outlined in the Fair Representation Act are in place — including multi-winner districts elected via ranked choice voting — only a fraction of seats will ever be truly competitive.
The upcoming release of Monopoly Politics 2020, the next edition of our series, will project U.S. House race winners nearly two years in advance, underscoring the problematic predictability of our system.
“Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade told Eric Trump early Tuesday that the GOP “blew it” by not having a repeal and replace plan for ObamaCare. “They set themselves up for this,” he said, referring to Democrats campaigning heavily on health care. Trump, one of the president’s sons, was explaining the Democrat’s midterm election strategy […]
Early exit polls show that a plurality of voters identified healthcare as the most important issue in the 2018 midterm elections.
The polls could be a good sign for Democrats, who made healthcare their top issue during the campaign.
Preelection polls also showed voters trusted Democrats over Republicans on healthcare.
But exit polls can be unreliable and it's unclear how the focus influenced individual races.
Healthcare was the driving issue for many Americans in Tuesday's midterm elections, according to early exit polls, and the focus could be a good sign for Democrats.
According to early exit polls, healthcare was the most important issue for a plurality of voters in the midterms. An exit poll conducted by CNN, NBC, and other major outlets found 40% of Americans picking healthcare as their most important issue. Immigration came in second with roughly 20% of people selecting it as the top issue.
An exit poll conducted by the Associated Press' Votecast system also found that healthcare was the most important issue, but by a slimmer margin. 26% of Americans selected healthcare as the top issue with immigration nabbing a 23% share and 19% of people picking the economy.
Healthcare was a dominant theme for Democrats throughout the election season with both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer imploring candidates to focus on the issue during the waning days of the campaign.
"I write to acknowledge the vital role Congressional Democrats played in protecting the Affordable Care Act and exposing the GOP’s monstrous health care agenda – and I urge all of us to continue to push this message in the next 24 hours," Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues on Monday.
The focus on healthcare may also be a good, though incredibly early, sign for Democrats' hopes of retaking the House of Representatives. According to polling done before the election, Americans generally trusted the party more on healthcare and Democrats poured money into advertising on the issue.
On the flip side, Trump and the GOP largely played defense on healthcare and attempted to turn the focus onto the strong economy or immigration issues like the migrant caravan. But that fight seems to have been blunted.
The results do come with a few caveats. Exit polls are prone to unreliability and just because voters were focused on healthcare doesn't mean that they voted for Democrats.
But Democrats largely wanted the midterm elections to be a referendum on the GOP's handling of healthcare and it appears the party got its wish.
Maybe you once thought the CIA wasn’t supposed to spy on Americans here in the United States.
That concept is so yesteryear...
Over time, the CIA upper echelon has secretly developed all kinds of policy statements and legal rationales to justify routine, widespread surveillance on U.S. soil of citizens who aren’t suspected of terrorism or being a spy.
The latest outrage is found in newly declassified documents from 2014. They reveal the CIA not only intercepted emails of U.S. citizens but they were emails of the most sensitive kind — written to Congress and involving whistleblowers reporting alleged wrongdoing within the Intelligence Community.
The disclosures, kept secret until now, are two letters of “congressional notification” from the Intelligence Community inspector general at the time, Charles McCullough. He stated that during “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computer systems,” the CIA collected emails between congressional staff and the CIA’s head of whistleblowing and source protection.
McCullough added that he was concerned about the CIA’s “potential compromise to whistleblower confidentiality and the consequent ‘chilling effect’ that the present [counterintelligence] monitoring system might have on Intelligence Community whistleblowing.”
“Most of these emails concerned pending and developing whistleblower complaints,” McCullough stated in the letters to lead Democrats and Republicans at the time on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), and Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.).
According to the CIA, the spy agency has been limited since the 1970s to collecting intelligence “only for an authorized intelligence purpose; for example, if there is a reason to believe that an individual is involved in espionage or international terrorist activities” and “procedures require senior approval for any such collection that is allowed.”
But here’s where it gets slippery. It turns out the CIA claims it must engage in “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computers” to make sure certain employees aren’t doing bad things. Poof! Now, all kinds of U.S. citizens and their communications can be swept into the dragnet — and it’s deemed perfectly legal. It’s just an accident or “incidental,” after all, if the CIA happens to pick up whistleblower communications with the legislative branch.
Or maybe it’s a lucky break for certain CIA officials.
The only reason we know any of this now is thanks to Sen. Chuck Grassley(R-Iowa), whose staffers were among those spied on. Grassley says it took four years for him to get the shocking “congressional notifications” declassified so they could be made public. First, Grassley says, Clapper and Brennan dragged their feet, blocking their release. Their successors in the Trump administration were no more responsive. Only when Grassley recently appealed to current Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who was sworn in on May 17, was the material finally declassified.
“The fact that the CIA under the Obama administration was reading congressional staff’s emails about Intelligence Community whistleblowers raises serious policy concerns, as well as potential constitutional separation-of-powers issues that must be discussed publicly,” wrote Grassley in a statement.
Legal or not, there was a time when this news would have so shocked our sensibilities — and would have been considered so antithetical to our Constitution by so many — that it would have prompted a swift, national outcry.
But today, we’ve grown numb. Outrage has been replaced by a cynical, “Who’s surprised about that?” or the persistent belief that “Nothing’s really going to be done about it,” and, worst of all, “What’s so bad about it, anyway?”
The evidence points to bad actors targeting candidate Donald Trump and his associates in part to keep them — and us — from learning about and digging into an even bigger scandal: our Intelligence Community increasingly spying on its own citizens, journalists, members of Congress and political enemies for the better part of two decades, if not longer.
(Reuters) — The U.S. Very best Courtroom on Monday refused a request through the Trump management and the telecommunications trade to wipe away a decrease courtroom resolution that had upheld Obama-era web neutrality regulations aimed toward making sure a unfastened and open web, regardless ...
Les élections de mi-mandat sont traditionnellement délicates pour le président en place. Pour rappel, deux ans après l'arrivée de Barack Obama à la Maison Blanche, les démocrates avaient subi une cuisante défaite. Les Etats-Unis pourraient donc se ...
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Monday to take up a case concerning the government's decision to phase out an Obama-era initiative that protects from deportation young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.
GOP Rep. Steve King (Iowa) said Monday that he hopes former President Obama’s Supreme Court appointees, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, will “elope to Cuba.”King, who has often made headlines for controversial remarks, made the comment at...
“He’s been dubbed the ‘hipster terrorist’ for the glamorous social media shots of him posing in snazzy shirts and designer sunglasses, an iced latte in hand and jacket slung casually over a shoulder,” the Chicago Tribune reports. The hipster terrorist is Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab, and last week in Chicago he pleaded guilty to aiding a terrorist organization and lying to U.S. immigration officials.
Though also described as a “California man,” al-Jayab came to the United States in 2012 as a refugee from Syria, Agence France-Presse reported, and later returned there to fight with al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Islam. Al-Jayab told immigration officials he was going to Turkey to visit his grandmother. When the Islamic fighter returned to the USA he moved to Sacramento, California, took courses at American River College, and worked at a Ramada Inn.
After his arrest in early 2016, the Sacramento Bee reported, “On the surface, Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab appears to be a typical young man trying to make it in America.” He was a student, worked at a hotel and judging by photos on Facebook “he evidently likes sleek, fast cars,” and “has a penchant for posing before the Golden Gate Bridge and elsewhere wearing the chic clothing you might see young hipsters wearing at any American shopping mall.” But as federal officials charged, al-Jayab has “another, darker side.”
The Bee cited al-Jayab’s public defender, Benjamin Galloway, that “there is no indication that Mr. Al-Jayab planned any acts of terror in this country.” In similar style, U.S. Attorney, Benjamin Wagner, an appointee of POTUS 44, said al-Jayab represented “a potential safety threat” but “there is no indication that he planned any acts of terrorism in this country.” This was not the first time Wagner had played down the prospects of terrorism.
In early 2015 a Bee reporter asked him, what is our first line of defense? Wagner cited a “community resilience exercise” at Sacramento State University with 30 members of the Muslim community along with law enforcement. The Muslim community, Wagner said, wants to be seen as “part of the solution.”
By Wagner’s count, about 150 Americans had tried to join ISIS but “a lot of people who have been recruited didn’t have a long-term, religious involvement. A lot of this seems to be a teenaged fantasy.” Recruiters “have an appeal to angry, disaffected young people, and that really doesn’t have much to do with religion.” The Bee reporter then asked Wager if Californians were in danger from the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
“I would say it’s not a very high threat,” Wagner responded. “What I’m more concerned about is some sort of backlash crime here – something gruesome will happen in Syria and someone will take revenge on the local community.” Wagner quoted POTUS 44 that “We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.” Religion doesn’t cause terrorism, Wagner said, and “with grisly story after grisly story, there’s been a growth in Europe of xenophobic, anti-Islamic political movements.” Someone in his community project said “negative feelings toward Muslims in the U.S. are even worse than they were after 9/11.”
In August, 2018, the FBI Joint Terrorism Taskforce arrested Omar Abdulsattar Ameen, 45, an accused ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorist who lied about his background to gain entry to the United States. Ameen had been an al-Qaeda member since 2004 and teamed with ISIS in Iraq.
In 2012, Ameen showed up in Turkey asking for asylum in the United States, claiming that his father had been killed because he had cooperated with U.S. forces. In June, 2014, Ameen gained approval to come to the United States as a refugee but he returned to Iraq many times. At the time of his arrest Ameen was living in Sacramento, taking college classes, and working an at auto body shop.
In 2005, federal officials broke up an al-Qaeda cell in Lodi, California and charged Hamid Hayat, 22, with traveling to Pakistan for terrorist training. Hayat was born in California but attended a madrassa in Pakistan and never considered himself American. In recorded interviews, Hayat said he was “so pleased” that jihadis had cut “Jewish” Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl “into pieces,” which was a “good job.”
CAIR and the Muslim Legal Fund of America pushed for a new trial in and last January federal judge Deborah Barnes ordered an evidentiary hearing. Hayat’s defenders charged “anti-Muslim bias in American courtrooms” and contended that his 2006 attorney Wazhma Mojaddidi, a former CAIR president in Sacramento, failed to provide adequate defense. The hearing allowed friends and relatives of Hayat to testify in a live video feed from Pakistan.
In March, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Hayat’s 2006 conviction. Current U.S Attorney McGregor Scott, who served in that office at the time of Hayat’s conviction, told reporters, “Hamid Hayat remains a terrorist convicted in the open courts of this country,” and described the prosecution as “righteous” and the result “just.”
Meanwhile, “hipster terrorist” Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab will be sentenced on April 26, 2019.
I have lived and worked in the Muslim Middle East for the past thirty-five years, and have many dear friends who are Muslims. Most recently, I prayed with a 38-year old Muslim man in the ruins of his house in the old city of Mosul, as he told me his story of surviving the ISIS occupation.
I stumbled upon Azam Nejim Abdallah by accident, while inspecting the devastation wrought upon the magnificent 4th and 5th century churches of West Mosul with an Iraqi police brigadier general and activists from the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, a local group dedicated to protecting Iraqi minorities.
Azam and an older neighbor, Abu Ibrahim Mohsen, were among the hardy few who had returned to the ruins and were attempting to rebuild. Their problem on this particular day was that they had no water, and no electricity. “People just three blocks down the street have water,” they complained to the brigadier general. Why not us?”
To us, the answer was obvious. The fact that Azam and his neighbors were alive was nothing short of miraculous. One neighbor’s house was just a pile of rubble. Bomb squads were still combing through the neighborhood, more than a year after the liberation, for ISIS booby-traps and unexploded ordinance. There was not a single house left standing in the neighborhood. Water? Electricity? Really?
When Azam saw me, he wanted to tell me the story of how his four-year son and father were killed in the final days of the ISIS occupation. He kept pointing to an alleyway, and in the end, I let him take me by the hand to his house a bit further away. He had already started to rebuild the walls, but that wasn’t what he wanted to show me: it was a picture of his four-year old son, Omar, and the jagged hole a coalition bomb had torn through a metal door. “I was crouching, right there,” he pointed. “Omar was crouching here, with my father. They were both killed,” he wept. All I could do as he showed me a photograph of his son was to pray with him.
I am reminded of this story by an encounter with a pastor in an Anglican church in Europe recently, who commented that ISIS and all their barbarity were “such a distortion of true Islam.”
I must have raised an eyebrow, for he went on: “You know, the Koran says to protect the People of the Book.”
“Those are the Meccan verses,” I countered. “In Medina, Mohammad preached violence and conquest.”
“You must read the Koran in its entirety,” he said. “It’s like the Bible: you can’t just take things out of context.”
I was floored by that statement, and not wanting to get into an argument in Church, I left it there. So instead, I am writing this column.
As anyone knows who has actually studied Islam – Islam itself, not the version purveyed by the apologists of the “religion of peace” – Mohammad changed his tune after the hijira or migration from Mecca to Medina.
While in Mecca, he attempted to win over local Christians and Jews, and so preached a doctrine that allowed for a modicum of tolerance, even while relegating the People of the Book to second-class citizen status, or dhimmitude.
But once in Medina, where he built a powerful army, he jettisoned that baggage and verbalized the famous Verse of the Sword proclaimed by ISIS and millions of Muslim warriors over the past fourteen centuries as they slaughtered unbelievers.
He also pronounced the Verses of Abrogation, which explicitly annulled the Mecca verses of relative tolerance. My Anglican friend was either ignorant of the doctrine of Abrogation, or for some reason felt that he, as a Christian, was somehow a better judge of its relative merit than the unanimous verdict of fourteen hundred years of Islamic scholarship, which has always upheld abrogation.
In other words, Islam as a religion explicitly rejects tolerance of others. The Koranic verses proclaiming relative tolerance have been declared null and void by Allah himself, according to Mohammad and 14 centuries of Muslim scholars.
My Anglican friend clearly preferred the illusion of Islam, rather than its harsh and often barbaric reality, the one I had witnessed in Mosul and the Nineveh Plain.
The overwhelming majority of ordinary Muslims I have met have little notion of what the Koran actually says. It is, frankly, an unreadable book. Much of it makes no sense at all. Some contemporary scholars believe this is because it was actually written in Syro-Aramaic, the common language of the time.
So most Muslims believe what their imam tells them to believe, or if they are not practicing, whatever their parents and grandparents have handed down to them. And for the most part, that is a religious code based on what we would call family values, aimed at keeping societies that are 100 percent Muslim from crime and disorder.
Over the centuries, these Muslims have coexisted with Christian and Jewish neighbors because those neighbors brought them prosperity and innovation, something the imams did not. From time to time, roused by Islamic “radicals,” these peaceful Muslims rose up and slaughtered their neighbors. In the most famous of these pogroms, Muslims slaughtered nearly half the Assyrian, Greek, and Armenian Christians in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey during the final years of WWI, just one hundred years ago.
In my experience, there are three broad categories of self-aware Muslims in the world today, all of whom understand the Doctrine of Abrogation.
There are the Reformers, who dare to proclaim that Islam must be better than violence and the sword. These are brave or foolhardy people, most of them men. They have a better chance of surviving in the Shiite world, which has a long tradition of ijtihad – Islamic jurisprudence or interpretation – something that died among the Sunna in the 12th century, if indeed it had ever existed as more than an afterthought.
Then there are the Seducers, the public intellectuals and politicians who proclaim that Islam is a religion of peace and that anyone who says the contrary is committing blasphemy. These are powerful people, who have won much support from wishful thinkers in the West.
The wishful thinkers have so thoroughly bought into their denials of the Doctrine of Abrogation that it has now become illegal in Europe to even write about it, something the United Nations General Assembly has not managed to accomplish, despite the best efforts of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to support Resolution 1618.
Finally, there is the Muslim Brotherhood and its evil Salifist spawn, from al Qaeda and the Taliban to Hamas, ISIS, and beyond. They simply point to the Book, shout out “Koran says,” and eagerly behead Christians or Muslims who refuse to adopt their version of Sharia law, which happens to be drawn from authentic Islamic texts and 1400 years of unanimous Muslim scholarship.
Want to know the true face of Islam? Ask the Christians of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain. Or the Christians of Syria. Or the Muslims whose better nature rejected the barbarity of ISIS and who paid for their humanity with their lives.
Or ask Tara Fares, the former Miss Baghdad, who was gunned down last month in Iraq because she was a Christian who dared show her face in an outdoor market.
To my Anglican pastor friend, I say: wishful thinking will only get you dead. If not in this generation, then in the next.
Monday November 5, one day before the election, marked the resumption of sanctions on the Islamic regime by the Trump administration. Nation of Islam boss Louis Farrakhan flew to Iran to speak out on behalf of the ruling mullahs.
As Fox News reported, Farrakhan told Mohsen Rezaei, Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council: “Today, I warn the American government that sanctioning Iran is a big mistake.” The eager Farrakhan failed to flag any mistakes by the Iranian Islamic regime, the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism. And Farrakhan took care to time his visit with an important event.
Thirty-nine years ago, in 1979, the Islamic regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini invaded the U.S. embassy in Tehran, took more than 50 American diplomats and civilians hostage, and held them for 444 days. Farrakhan marked the anniversary by telling law students at the University of Tehran, that “America has never been a democracy” and then led the students in a chants of “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!”
No one in America had ever seen a performance quite like that. On the other hand, in his live Tehran show the Nation of Islam boss was not advancing any new themes.
On October 14, the 23rd anniversary of the Million Man March, Farrakhan addressed a cheering audience in Detroit: “To the members of the Jewish community that don’t like me — thank you very much for putting my name all over the planet…I’m not mad at you, ‘cuz you’re so stupid.” The Nation of Islam leader also claimed “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite,” and repeated that message in a tweet.
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz denounced the speech and called out presidents Obama and Clinton, along with former DNC boss Keith Ellison, for their ties to Farrakhan. Even so, prominent Democrats running for office were not swift to denounce Farrakhan for his Jews-are-termites speech. In fact, Farrakhan thrives on special treatment from high-profile Democrats.
“Louis Farrakhan has ingratiated himself with the liberal elite in the United States,” Howard Feldman noted after the “termites” speech. “Both Obama and the Clintons have been photographed alongside him. And whereas they publicly denounce his attitude towards Jews, the fact that they continue to be seen with him is that which empowers him.”
True to form, at the funeral of Aretha Franklin, who passed away in August, Farrakhan got a place of honor, right up front with Democrats Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Erica Holder. Many speakers exploited the occasion to bash President Trump, but none of the prominent Democrats took Farrakhan to task about anything. Viewers got the impression the Democrats liked being seen with him.
Back in 2005, a smiling Illinois Senator Barack Obama duly posed with Farrakhan for a photograph that only recently emerged. That was no surprise because the senator’s 1995 Dreams from My Father portrayed the Nation of Islam in a completely favorable light.
The author’s hatemongering Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright, who prefers “God damn America” to “God bless America,” was a longtime pal of Farrakhan, and the Dreamsauthor participated in the Million Man March. In 2008, when the dreamer ran for president, Farrakhan called him the “messiah.”
Once elected, POTUS 44 preferred to target conservatives rather than take Farrakhan or Wright to task. In similar style, for the most part, the establishment media have remained uncritical of the Nation of Islam boss, even though his racist views were no secret.
As Stanley Crouch explained in the Village Voice in 1985, in the view of Louis Farrakhan, “the white man was a devil ‘grafted’ from black people in an evil genetic experiment by a mad, pumpkin-headed scientist named Yacub. That experiment took place 6000 years ago. Now the white man was doomed, sentenced to destruction by Allah.” It follows that, regardless of self-image, anyone who believes that Dave Brubeck, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Wright Brothers are the devilish result of Yacub’s failed experiment is a racist.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton was quick to target Trump supporters as racists, sexists, homophobic, islamophobic, and so forth, a veritable “basket of deplorables.” When it comes to racism, the former First Lady and Secretary of State, who would still like to be president, pretty much gives Farrakhan a free pass.
For his part, the Nation of Islam mouthpiece knows he can call Jews termites, denounce America from Tehran, and most prominent Democrats will treat him gently. In reality, his “Death to America” chant differs from the Democrats only in degree, not in kind.
Now completely dominated by the left, Democrats despise the America that actually exists, with its culture, history, traditions and borders. Their dream is the future social justice America, with no borders. In the Democrats’ vision, only their party prevails, with help from an imported electorate.
"No Trump, no wall, no USA at all,” the refrain of leftist Democrats, is no great distance from “Death to America,” as chanted by Louis Farrakhan in Tehran. Democrats have effectively empowered this loathsome racist and anti-Semite. At election time or any time, non-Democrats, journalists and civil rights leaders would be wise call them on it.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
There are over 12,000 American military personnel stationed in Italy. It’s a larger active-duty military presence than Afghanistan. We maintain seven bases in Italy at a cost of billions of dollars.
But as President Trump dispatched a mere 5,000 troops, the first wave of a reported 15,000, to secure the border against the migrant caravan invasion, the media threw a tantrum over the cost.
The Washington Post warned darkly that the deployment could cost as much as... $200 million. That would be more impressive if our annual defense budget weren’t hovering around $600 billion.
And those are only the parts that we know about.
To put that into perspective, President Trump has proposed that we spend 0.03% of our military budget on the core mission of the military, protecting our own borders from an invasion. It’s as if he had suggested that we spend at least 0.03% of NASA’s budget on space exploration, instead of global warming and Muslim self-esteem, or 0.03% of the Department of Education’s budget on education instead of on closely monitoring the sexual habits and Halloween costumes of college students.
Deploying soldiers abroad is far more expensive than deploying them at home. And it’s a lot cheaper to stop drug dealers, gang members and terrorists at the border than it is inside the country.
What does $200 million buy us when it comes to national defense?
$200 million is being spent on special glasses and goggles for pilots to protect their eyes from laser devices fired into cockpits. We spend around $260 million on military bands. The military ad budget is in the high hundreds of millions of dollars.
We’re spending $200 million on military aid to Ukraine. If we can spend that much money to help the Ukrainians keep the Russians away, perhaps we can spend some that money to keep gang members and drug dealers out of our own backyard. The Russians are a menace, but they won’t be chopping up our children with machetes tomorrow. The MS-13 thugs riding along in that caravan just might.
If the media really has a problem with that, let its talking heads pretend that the caravan is Russian.
Every dollar we spend on border security is a fortune we don’t have to spend on police officers, surveillance cameras, insurance, ER visits, prisons, funerals and the larger sense of insecurity.
Let’s put that $200 million into its proper perspective.
An audit this year found that the Defense Logistics Agency couldn't account for $800 million in construction projects.
The money that President Trump may end up spending to protect our border from an invasion could fit four times over into a government accounting error.
None of this is to suggest that the work the military does at home and abroad isn’t vitally important. We should be protecting our pilots; military bands serve a vital purpose and so does our presence in Italy.
But if we don’t have a country, then it doesn’t matter how good our military bands are.
If there’s no United States of America, then why bother having seven bases in Italy? Why does the political establishment expect taxpayers to spend a fortune on geopolitics, but not on the home-front?
The purpose of the United States military is not to protect Italy, it’s to protect America. We built bases and stationed forces across Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America for our own needs.
If we can’t use our own soldiers to protect our own country, what is the whole thing for?
While the media is notoriously parsimonious with the military budget, Obama’s presidential center will cost taxpayers $199 million. Throw in another million and that’s the cost of keeping more gang members from reaching Chicago and boosting the summer weekend death toll from 39 to 43.
Will the youth of Chicago benefit more from another museum no one visits (the Windy City already has more museums that no one visits than any other city in the country) or staying alive not to visit them?
Obama’s Africa trip costs were estimated in the neighborhood of $100 million. His corrupt Solyndra deal cost taxpayers over $500 million. His illegal cash shipments to Iranian terrorists alone could have paid for the latest border deployment eight times over. The media would rather we send billions to the Islamic terrorists murdering American soldiers than spend a fraction of that to send soldiers to the border.
But forgot how much money we’re spending to stop the illegal caravan invasion. Let’s look at how much we’re saving.
A new Center for Immigration Studies report estimates that we're spending $4 billion a year on illegal alien births alone.
FAIR estimated that taxpayers are spending $134 billion a year on illegal aliens. That’s around $8,000 per illegal alien. The annual cost of the 7,000, mostly male, migrants would be $56 million in one year.
If the military deployment stops the caravan, then it will have paid for itself in 4 years. If we fail to stop the migrant caravan, we will lose more than double that $200 million by 2026.
And that 7,000 is just a drop in the bucket. There are 12,000 migrants in Mexico. And more are coming every day. If we can deter these invaders, we will have sent a message that will save lives and billions.
Detaining an illegal migrant invader costs between $100 to $200 a day. This is expensive, but far less than the cost of a single murder, drunk driving accident or assorted forms of illegal migrant crime.
If the illegal migrant invaders make it into this country, detaining them will cost us $700,000 a day. In a month, the average length of time an illegal alien is detained, that will balloon to $21 million.
In under a year, the cost would surpass that $200 million that the media is bellyaching about.
Of course they won’t be held that long.
Budget and capacity strains would force their release. That’s already happened again and again.
It’s how a key World Trade Center bomber ended up on the streets. It’s how countless MS-13 gang members and other criminals have flooded our cities.
That original World Trade Center bombing back in 1993 may have cost as much as $1.1 billion. (Not accounting for inflation.) If you think immigration enforcement is expensive, just wait until a skyscraper gets bombed.
Between 2011 and 2018, a quarter of a million aliens were booked into Texas jails. Think about the cost of every single one of those inmates. The cost of the 1,351 murders, 7,156 sexual assaults and 815 kidnappings they committed in just one state. Then think about the human cost of all those horrors.
We spend hundreds of billions of dollars protecting the rest of the world. The least we can do is spend $200 million, as a down payment on an $18 billion wall, to protect ourselves, our families and our future.
If the media thinks the cost of deploying the military to the border is expensive, imagine the cost of deploying it in our cities.
Many of the countries that the migrants are arriving from use the military for domestic law enforcement. They are forced to do it because their brand of organized crime is so lethal that they have no other choice. Now those same gangs and crime families are flooding across our border.
If Texas and California go the way of Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador, we will have no other choice.
Opponents of border security have put their partisan political interests ahead of America’s national security, its stability and its survival. Americans are being murdered every day by the gang members they have allowed into this country in order to expand their districts and build up their political power.
Is $200 billion too much?
Chicago’s police budget is approaching $1.5 billion. So is the police budget in Los Angeles. New York passed $5 billion a while back.
That $200 million border deployment? It wouldn’t buy you the cost of a month of policing in New York.
If you think immigration enforcement is expensive, try not enforcing it. Chicago, Los Angeles and New York have.
Israel’s current preoccupation with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and the Jamal Khashoggi murder in Istanbul, have diverted attention from the nefarious activities carried out by the Islamic Republic of Iran throughout the Middle East, and particularly in Syria. For now, the above developments have put on hold the anti-Iran alliance the Trump administration has been pressing for last month, and has given the Iranian regime a respite. The downing of the Russian spy plane over Syria by the Assad regime, which was initially blamed on Israel, has impacted somehow on the previous understanding between Israel and Putin’s Russia. In the meantime, Russia has supplied the Assad regime with the S-300 Missile defense system. Israel has significantly reduced its operations in Syria, which enabled Iran to increase its activities inside Syria, and foment trouble in Gaza.
The recently imposed U.S. sanctions against Iran have had a deleterious impact on the Iranian economy. It has placed the regime of the Ayatollahs in a defensive mode. A second wave of U.S. sanctions commenced on November 5th, 2018, targeting Iran’s energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors, as well as transactions with the Central Bank of Iran. The aim of this set of sanctions is to deprive the Iranian regime of funds to advance their nuclear program, and the development of ballistic missiles. The Iranian people, in an unprecedented wave of protests that spread throughout Iran’s major cities, and in spite of severe consequences, demanded that the regime invest in Iran, and the Iranian people. The protesters charged the regime with enabling the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to waste the nation’s oil revenue and the $150 billion it received as a “bonus” from the Obama administration (for agreeing to sign the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) on imperial schemes. They have argued that the money should be invested at home instead of spending it in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.
The Saudi-Qatari rift has also hampered the creation of a unified anti-Iranian bloc. It has weakened the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The Qataris are now allied with Turkey. Ankara has sent an expeditionary force of 3,000 strong to Doha and in return, received $15 billion from Qatar to cover its swollen debt. The Saudis have accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, and in fact the Doha regime has been a staunch supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Hamas in Gaza. Turkey’s dictator, Erdogan, has been flirting with Russia and Iran, and has openly exhibited his anti-western sentiments. He has purchased from Russia the S-400 surface-to-air missiles, and helped Iran launder its oil revenue. In the initial Trump administration calculation, Turkey was meant to be a part of the anti-Iran coalition, along with Israel and the Gulf states. Instead, Erdogan is currently busy with embarrassing the Saudis over the Khashoggi murder at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.
The Islamic Republic is worried that the U.S. might join Israel in its efforts to expel the Iranian extensive presence in Syria. Iran however, is using this window of opportunity when Israel is limiting its attacks on Iranian targets in Syria, and the U.S. being preoccupied with the mid-term elections, to provide Hezbollah with sophisticated guidance systems that would improve the accuracy of the missiles aimed at Israel. According to a western intelligence officer, “The Iranians are trying to come up with new ways and routes to smuggle weapons from Iran to its allies in the Middle East, testing and defying the West’s abilities to track them down.”
For too long, the U.S. refrained from confronting the Iranian regime, out of hope that inaction against the Iranian regime would empower the purported moderates in Tehran. The previous U.S. administration also held an overriding desire to wash its hands of the Middle East. This entrenchment however, has only encouraged the Ayatollahs regime inherently maligned behavior, including its periodic testing to the limits of the nuclear deal, continued progress on advanced centrifuges, ballistic missile testing, and regional expansion. In addition, the Tehran regime supports terrorism and the propagation of virulent anti-American ideology. Ironically, many of these actions make the regime increasingly unpopular at home, and overextended abroad.
According to the U.S. State Department Executive Summary report titled “An Outlaw Regime: A Chronicle of Iran’s Destructive Activities, “The regime’s primary tool to execute this mission since 1979 has been the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is the most powerful conglomerate in Iran, spreading and consolidating its control over much of Iranian life. Its navy regularly threatens freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf while its Aerospace Force directs the country’s ballistic missile program in defiance of Security Council resolutions. Its Ground Forces are deployed abroad to bolster the Assad regime and its Basij paramilitary force is mobilized at home to surveil and harass ordinary Iranians. Finally, its extra-territorial IRGC Quds Force (IRGC-QF) leads the Islamic Republic’s destabilizing support for proxies and terrorist groups.”
The Islamic Republic’s illicit activities include undermining the integrity of the global financial system. The Iranian regime relies on opaque and fraudulent financing activities to fund its proxies and support its proliferation of ballistic missiles and other weapons. Last year, the IRGC-Quds Force was exposed for using front companies to move funds, procure restricted materials and technologies, exploit currency exchange networks in neighboring countries, and produce counterfeit currency.
Iran’s repeated and systemic abuse of human rights is in violation of international laws and norms. It persecutes civil society activists and marginalizes ethnic and religious minorities. The Ayatollah regime denies due process, and regularly falls short of its own legal standards. Its prisons are notorious for mistreatment and torture, and its use of capital punishment is excessive and extends to minors. Outside its borders, Iran and its proxies have committed numerous human rights abuses, including targeting innocent civilians in Syria, and arbitrarily detaining Sunnis in Iraq.
Last September in New York, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, to advance what the administration coined as the “Arab NATO.” Secretary Pompeo stressed the need to defeat the Islamic State, and other terrorist organizations, as well as ending the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, and “stopping Iran’s malign activity in the region.” Unfortunately, President Trump’s willingness to remain engaged in the Middle East following the defeat of the Islamic State is questionable. The burden of compelling Iran to roll back its regional presence, especially in Syria, and interdicting Iran’s military supplies to Hezbollah in Lebanon, falls primarily on Israel’s shoulders. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are involved in confronting Iran’s weapons proliferation in Yemen. U.S. involvement in the anti-Iran alliance is limited to partnering with the Kurds on the ground in Syria and Iraq. The latter presents a significant obstacle to Iran’s ambitions to dominate both Syria and Iraq.
Without strong military backing from the U.S., Israel might be constrained by Russia from freely operating in Syria against Iran. The Khashoggi murder, as contemptible as it was, must be put behind us, and allow the Saudis and the UAE to focus on Iran. The rest of the Sunni Arab states are unlikely to contribute to the anti-Iran alliance, and Turkey’s support in such an alliance is certainly not forthcoming. The U.S. envisioned anti-Iran coalition can only become a viable reality if the U.S. is ready to actively participate, and commit its military might only when it becomes necessary.
‘Das Boot’ (1981): Gewoonweg de beste duikbootfilm ooit. En zweten dat je met deze Duitse film doet. ‘Crimson Tide’ (1995): Democraat Denzel Washington en Republikein Gene Hackman maken ruzie in een duikboot. Een beetje Obama en Trump onder...
Tổng thống Mỹ Donald Trump lúc vận động bầu cử ở bang Missouri, 05/11/2018.
Trong khuôn khổ cuộc bầu cử giữa nhiệm kỳ, hôm nay 06/11/2018, hơn 250 triệu cử tri Mỹ được kêu gọi đi bỏ phiếu để bầu lại toàn bộ các dân biểu ở Hạ viện, một phần ba Thượng viện, 36 thống đốc và một số đại biểu địa phương.
Các phòng phiếu mở cửa sớm nhất là tại bờ Đông, từ lúc 6 giờ sáng (11 giờ GMT).
Lo ngại nếu phe Dân Chủ giành được đa số tại Hạ viện, ngăn cản các chính sách của mình trong hai năm còn lại của nhiệm kỳ tổng thống, cho đến tận hôm qua, nguyên thủ Mỹ Donald Trump đã liên tục tham gia các cuộc mít-tinh với khẩu hiệu « Make America Great Again » ; từ Ohio, Indiana, cho đến Missouri…Donald Trump chỉ quay về Nhà Trắng sau nửa đêm.
Do không có các ứng cử viên tầm cỡ, phía đảng Dân Chủ đã dựa vào cựu tổng thống Barack Obama và cựu phó tổng thống Joe Biden.
Từ Washington, thông tín viên RFI Anne Corpet gởi về bài tường trình :
« Tên ông Donald Trump không có trên lá phiếu, nhưng lại hiện diện trong mọi ý nghĩ. Tổng thống Mỹ coi cuộc bầu cử giữa kỳ này như một cuộc trưng cầu ý kiến về bản thân ông, và hành xử theo hướng này, cho dù có gây bối rối cho các ứng cử viên Cộng Hòa ra tranh cử tại các khu vực ngoại ô, nơi mà trước đây, cử tri đã bầu cho tổng thống và nay đã dè dặt hơn với ông chủ Nhà Trắng.
Các cuộc mít-tinh của Donald Trump tập trung vào vùng nông thôn, những nơi ông đã giành được số phiếu cao hồi năm 2016. Tài diễn thuyết của ông là tuyệt vời, ông Trump thổi bùng lên ngọn lửa đam mê, gợi lên sự sợ hãi về di dân và thúc đẩy những cử tri da trắng đến phòng phiếu, trình bày với họ kỳ bầu cử này là vấn đề sống còn cho tương lai bản sắc của họ.
Chiến lược ấy tuy lần này vẫn cho kết quả tốt, nhưng có thể thất bại trong trung hạn. Theo quy luật về dân số, chẳng bao lâu nữa phe Cộng Hòa sẽ không còn có thể chỉ dựa vào cử tri người da trắng để thắng cử.»
Cuộc bầu cử giữa kỳ lần này thu hút sự quan tâm của cử tri : đã có trên 30 triệu lá phiếu bầu tại các tiểu bang cho phép bỏ phiếu trước hoặc cho ủy quyền.
Theo dự báo, Dân Chủ sẽ thắng thế tại Hạ viện, còn Cộng Hòa vẫn chiếm đa số ở Thượng viện. Tuy nhiên kết quả thăm dò rất khít khao ở khoảng 20 đơn vị bầu cử, và người ta chưa quên thắng lợi bất ngờ của ông Donald Trump trong kỳ bầu cử tổng thống. Có điều ông Trump sẽ phải e dè trước lá phiếu của phụ nữ : 62% cử tri nữ ủng hộ Dân Chủ.
Vote! If you live in the US and are registered to vote, then vote! Today, Tuesday November 6th 2018, is the day of “the most important midterm election of our lifetime” as both the left and right seem to agree. It is one of the few things that both former president Barack Obama and right-wing […]
A panel of three federal appeals court judges named by former Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama will hear the Justice Department's appeal of a ruling allowing AT&T Inc to acquire Time Warner, court records show.
Two years ago Donald Trump lost the popular vote but still managed to become President thanks to the Electoral College. Americans now have the opportunity to weigh in on his performance, and early returns in many states are pointing to a significantly higher-than-normal turnout for a midterm election. By late Saturday, more than 33 million Americans had already cast their ballots.
The President’s name may not be on the ballot, but make no mistake; now we exist in Trump’s universe and it’s all about him.
A recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll had two-thirds of respondents saying Trump will be a factor in their midterm votes. A similar poll taken before the midterm elections of 2014 found that then president Barack Obama would be a factor in voting for only 47% of respondents.
Trump Faced Iran Sanctions Rebellion From Allies on the Right Nick WadhamsNovember 6, 2018, 10:23 PM GMT+8 Further cuts in imports of Iranian oil will be harder: analyst
As the U.S. prepared to impose new sanctions against Iran’s energy and banking sectors, senior Trump administration officials faced an internal rebellion from conservatives who accused them of being too weak toward the Islamic Republic.
That 11th-hour rupture sent officials at the departments of State and Treasury rushing last week to reassure normally steadfast political allies and harden their messaging on the sanctions announced Monday against 700 banks, individuals and other entities, according to three people familiar with the discussions.
Opposition to Trump’s sanctions strategy -- particularly the decisions to issue temporary oil waivers to eight countries and how aggressively to target Iranian ties to global financial networks -- arose most prominently from a handful of Republican senators and National Security Adviser John Bolton, according to the people.
Trump justified the decision to issue waivers, telling reporters Monday that “we want to go a little bit slower because I don’t want to drive the oil prices in the world up. It would cause a shock to the market.”
That approach worked, with crude prices declining over the past several weeks as reports of waivers leaked into the energy market. But the last-minute pressure and the administration’s response could have lasting ramifications.
For one thing, the administration will be hard-pressed to justify extensions to the waivers when they come up for review in another 180 days. Recipients are supposed to use the waiver period to make significant progress cutting Iranian oil imports, which have already been reduced by about one million barrels per day since May.
“You take a million barrels out of the market, that’s a lot,” said Kevin Book, managing director of Washington-based consultancy ClearView Energy Partners. “But the next million, million and a half, may not be easy and it could be impossible.”
A National Security Council spokesman declined to comment on internal deliberations.
There were two major points of contention as the clock ticked toward Nov. 5, the day that the sanctions would snap back. One was how many countries should get so-called Special Reduction Exemptions to keep importing Iranian oil. The other was how hard to pressure Swift, the Brussels-based financial messaging service that’s crucial to the global movement of money, to cut off Iranian banks. Hardliners argued for a complete break, while others within the administration wanted a looser approach.
One person familiar with the deliberations said the concern among some officials at Treasury was that kicking all Iranian banks off the messaging service would only further alienate European allies -- who wanted to sustain ties with Iran -- and shut the door on financial transactions related to food and medicine.
All through the process, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and his team had to address competing interests. If they offered too many loopholes they’d be accused of being weak on Iran. If they clamped down so hard that oil prices spiked and gas prices in the U.S. jumped, they’d infuriate the president and possibly hand a campaign talking point to Democrats on the eve of the congressional midterms.
The State Department had to fend off a last-minute challenge to its planning process last week when Dan Brouillette, the deputy energy secretary, sent a memo to the department objecting to the decision to grant waivers and saying the administration should take a tougher line against Iran, one of the people said.
Officials at the Energy and State departments didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment about the internal deliberations. A Treasury spokesman declined to comment.
Waivers DebateMore significantly, displeasure over the measures reached into the White House. According to the three people familiar with the matter, National Security Adviser Bolton felt that the oil waivers especially were too lenient. The waivers also prompted conservative U.S. critics of the administration’s approach -- including Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz -- to say the White House was caving in on its tough line and to vow legislation to close what they consider loopholes.
“Sanctions waivers being given to key purchasers of Iranian oil, most alarmingly China, give Iran a financial reprieve, and should be eliminated as soon as possible,” Rubio said in a press release on Friday. Cruz said it was important that “final policy imposes maximum pressure” on Tehran.
The criticism was more blunt from United Against Nuclear Iran, an outside group chaired by former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman that has advocated a tough stance.
‘They Caved’“Widespread waivers granted under Iran sanctions. Whatever happened to maximum pressure? They caved. Big time,” read a Nov. 2 tweet from UANI.
The criticism put Pompeo on the defensive in an interview on Fox News Sunday, when he was asked repeatedly to explain the decision to issue waivers.
“I’ve been at this a long time,” Pompeo said. “No one’s going to argue that Secretary Pompeo isn’t tough on Iran, and no one is going to argue that President Trump isn’t doing the same.”
When Mnuchin spoke to reporters on Nov. 2, he was explicit that Swift risked being punished unless it disconnected any Iranian banks designated for sanctions.
At the same time, the State Department has declined to say how much it will require countries to reduce oil exports to keep getting waivers. It’s also refused to say how much they’ll be allowed to import. One of the people familiar with the discussions said the administration would demand more than the 20 percent reductions the Obama administration required for new waivers.
“I believe the Trump administration would not be satisfied with 20 percent more over the next six months,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based nonpartisan policy institute. “They still want to get to zero.”
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By the end, the shift to a more aggressive strategy from Pompeo and Mnuchin seemed to work -- at least for the time being.
Stepping away from its earlier criticism, Lieberman’s group praised the sanctions. Even Bolton, who had been silent on the matter since late last week, did a media appearance on Fox News on Monday to underscore the seriousness of his intent to strangle Iran’s economy.
“I think we’ve said for a long time that zero should mean zero,” Bolton said. “We’re going to do everything we can to squeeze Iran hard -- as the British say, to squeeze them until the pips squeak.”
Done? Yay, you!! Now, let me tell you about open enrollment for health insurance with the Affordable Care Act, because it’s also that time, until December 15 in most states. These are the exceptions:
California – January 15, 2019
Colorado – January 15, 2019
D.C. – January 31, 2019
Massachusetts – January 23, 2019
Minnesota – January 13, 2019
New York – January 31, 2019
Rhode Island – January 31, 2019
There are some great tools to help you or people you are helping figure out what options are available all across the country. Now that all the voting is done, get out there and get people signed up for Obamacare. It’s your second chance to give Trump and the Republicans the finger.
You know where to go, right? Healthcare.gov, because even Trump hasn’t been able to blow it up.
NBC reporter Katy Tur was unfortunate enough to land the joke assignment of reporting on Donald Trump’s announcement that he was entering the presidential race. After attending the golden escalator moment, Tur ended up following Trump around the country for the rest of the campaign, enduring hurled insults—and more substantial objects—at rally after rally. This week, Tur returned to her first Trump rally in two years. And what did she find?
It was my first Trump rally in two years but nothing had changed — the same adoring crowds, same MAGA gear and same “Women For Trump” signs. There were socks stamped with Trump’s face and shirts emblazoned with some new slogans, including: “TRUMP 2020 the Sequel: Make the Liberals Cry Again.” …
Meredith Koehler was wearing a red MAGA hat, dark sunglasses, and a chunky rhinestone necklace. She told me she just needs to go one place for her news: “Fair and balanced. I only watch Fox.”
But Trump’s rally wasn’t the only pit stop Tur made this week. She also dropped in on someone whose rallies she had never attended before—Barack Obama. Obama was in Georgia to support gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, and visiting that rally was like stepping into a whole new world.
Nearly everything about this rally was new to me. The mood, the message, the attitude, the stagecraft, even the clothes the supporters wore were different.
It wasn’t that the people who came to support Obama wore blue hats, or that they had clothing covered in his image. It was that … they didn’t. “Obama supporters came in everyday street clothes.” There was no giant Obama banner over the stage. His name wasn’t even on any of the signs that decorated the hall. The rally was completely lacking in vendors selling messages of hate and signs filled with messages of fear. The people at the Democratic rally weren’t just there to participate in a cult of personality. They were ready to talk about their issues, ready to engage with reporters on multiple topics, excited about the possibilities that come with this election.
The two rallies were like a summary of the country. And as a showcase of the two sides Abrams and Obama were definitely on the side of reason, hope, and honesty.
Lauren Underwood, a 32-year-old nurse and health policy expert from Naperville, has unseated incumbent Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren in the 14th Congressional District, according to reports from the Associated Press.
With 94 percent of McHenry County precincts reporting, Hultgren received 24,172 votes, or roughly 54 percent of the total vote, to Underwood's 20,347, according to unofficial results. However, this was the only county that Hultgren, who has been in office since 2010 was able to win.
“As a registered nurse and lifelong health care advocate, Lauren Underwood has a tremendous record of service to her community and a deep understanding of the challenges they face," House Majority PAC Executive Director Charlie Kelly said in a news release. "She’ll bring that needed perspective and experience to Congress."
Underwood – who has received a number of high-profile endorsements, including from former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden – has said she would fight to keep the Affordable Care Act intact after having worked on it in her role as a senior advisor in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Her stances on health care were also her basis for running for office after she felt Hultgren broke a promise not to back legislation that didn't provide coverage options for patients with pre-existing conditions by voting for the American Health Care Act.
Hultgren, meanwhile, has said the American Health Care Act stated that insurance companies cannot ask about pre-existing conditions so long as individuals are continuing coverage and not starting anew.
During his campaign, he also voiced concerns over the Affordable Care Act's premium and deductible increases and lack of coverage choices. In certain parts of the 14th district, Hultgren said residents may be limited to one insurance provider: Blue Cross Blue Shield.
President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Hultgren is doing a great job and has his "total endorsement."
The midterm elections are here, and McHenry County residents have many races of great interest to them on the ballot.
The Northwest Herald will be updating readers with election results on Election Central throughout the night, but here are some of the races readers will want to keep an eye on:
14th Congressional District
Naperville Democrat and nurse Lauren Underwood has made health care a cornerstone of her campaign to dethrone incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren.
Hultgren has been representing the 14th Congressional District – which covers parts of DeKalb, McHenry, Kendall, Lake, DuPage and Will counties – since 2011. Underwood shifted to politics after former President Barack Obama appointed her a senior adviser in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Underwood has criticized Hultgren for voting to repeal Obamacare and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but the Plano incumbent has defended himself, claiming he would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act if a replacement that included protections for people facing pre-existing conditions is brought forward.
Hultgren holds one of the seats Democrats hope to turn Tuesday with a so-called blue wave to retake the U.S. House of Representatives.
6th Congressional District
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, has his work cut out for him against challenging Downers Grove Democrat Sean Casten.
The highly competitive race has sparked national interest, as Roskam holds one of the 23 seats Democrats hope to flip to retake the U.S. House.
Roskam has accused Casten of mudslinging and unfairly tying him to President Donald Trump. Casten has painted Roskam as a flip-flopper and Trump enabler.
McHenry County Board
County Board Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 all have seats up for grabs.
The night's storyline could involve the incumbents holding their ground or challenging Democrats putting down stakes in a historically Republican county.
All candidates for Districts 1, 2 and 3 said they support reducing the size of the County Board. McHenry County’s existing board members voted earlier this year to reduce the number of members from 24 to 18. Those changes are expected to take effect with the 2022 election.
McHenry County clerk
The two men hoping to become McHenry County clerk both have promised to safeguard elections and smoothly fold the recorder’s office into the clerk’s office.
And one of those men already is working as the county's recorder: Joe Tirio, a Woodstock Republican who says he would hold both offices if elected.
Drew Georgi, a Democrat from Hebron, said he’s worried voter equipment is not kept in a secure location and would work to improve the election process.
In March, McHenry County residents overwhelmingly voted to eliminate the recorder’s office and fold it into the clerk’s office. The office will cease to exist Dec. 1, 2020.
The county clerk’s office now is held by Mary McClellan.
Last year, McClellan announced that she would not seek a second term so she could run to fill the seat of former Judge Maureen McIntyre. She lost the race for that seat in the March primary election.
As the chief election authority, the county clerk is mandated to provide voter and candidate services, and to administer elections in an unbiased and efficient manner.
Voters will have much power to wield during this election.
In McHenry Township, the ballots will include a referendum question asking whether the road district should be abolished. If voters decide to abolish the road district, no changes would take place until the end of McHenry Township Highway Commissioner James Condon’s term in 2020.
In the city of McHenry, residents have two decisions to make: whether the city should build an addition to the McHenry Recreation Center and whether McHenry High School District 156 should make significant changes to the McHenry West and East high school campuses.
ABD Temsilciler Meclisi ve ABD Senatosu'nun bir kısmının seçileceği ara seçimler bugün yapılıyor. Seçimler ABD Başkanı Donald Trump'ın aldığı desteği göstermesi ve Demokratların ABD Temsilciler Meclisi'nde çoğunluk sağlama ihtimali sebebiyle önem taşıyor.
Donald Trump'ın ABD Başkanı seçilmesinin ikinci yılının ardından ABD ara seçimleri bugün yapılıyor. Seçimlerde ABD Senatosu ve ABD Temsilciler Meclisi üyelerinin bir kısmı seçilecek.
Trump'ın başkanlığı için bir referandum işlevi de görecek olan ara seçimlerde Demokratların hedefi ABD Temsilciler Meclisi'nde çoğunluğu sağlamak.
ARA SEÇİMLER NE İÇİN YAPILIYOR?
Ara seçimlerde ABD Temsilciler Meclisi'nin 435 üyesinin tamamı yeniden seçilecek. Temsilciler Meclisi, şu anda 193'e karşı 235 koltuğa sahip olan Cumhuriyetçilerin kontrolünde. Demokratların seçimlerde çoğunluğu ele geçirmesi olası görünüyor.
Seçimlerde ayrıca ABD Senatosu'nun 100 üyesinden 35'i belirlenecek. Anketlere göre ABD Senatosu'nda Cumhuriyetçiler çoğunluğa sahip olmayı sürdürecek.
DEMOKRATLAR ÇOĞUNLUĞU SAĞLARSA NE OLACAK?
Seçim sonuçları beklendiği gibi çıkarsa ve Demokratlar ABD Temsilciler Meclisi'nde çoğunluğa sahip olursa, senatonun Cumhuriyetçilerin kontrolünde olması sebebiyle sistemin kilitlenmesi olası.
ABD'de yasamanın işleyebilmesi için ABD Kongresi'ni oluşturan ABD Temsilciler Meclisi ve ABD Senatosu'nun birlikte çalışabilmesi gerekiyor.
Demokratların Temsilciler Meclisi'nde çoğunluğu sağlaması, kimi konularda Trump'ın elini zayıflatacak. Ancak Çin'le ticaret gerilimi gibi kimi konularda Demokratlarla Cumhuriyetçiler arasında ortaklık sağlanabileceği düşünülüyor.
Undeterred by rain and lines, Richmond voters turn out in high numbers.
By 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, more than 700 voters from precinct 204 had already cast their ballots at First Baptist Church. According to the city registrar’s office, that precinct saw 865 ballots in the 2014 midterms and 1,856 in the 2016 presidential election.
For some, it’s the first time voting for any office other than the president. Sahba Saravi, a 25-year-old law student recalls the political landscape when she was younger.
“When Obama first became president I was still in high school and didn’t really understand what was going on, but later I learned that the House blocked a lot of things that he wanted to do, and I find that that’s not happening in our current situation as much as we would like,” she says, adding that she pays more attention to national politics now. “If I can do my part in it then I’m going to.”
Saravi says she doesn’t identify with one party or the other, but today she voted for the Democrats on her ballot: Tim Kaine for Senator and Don McEachin for the 4th District.
Omi Eaddie, who’s 38 and works for a nonprofit, says she always votes in midterms, but “everything happening in the world right now” made her especially motivated to come out on this drizzly morning.
“People think smaller elections don’t matter,” Eaddie says. “But I’m even more inclined to vote now. Every little vote counts.”
As someone who’s made her career in the nonprofit sector and notes that national and state policies often impact her work, Eaddie says she wants “people in office that respect [her] as a working person.”
Derek Lewis, 49, voted for one Republican and one write-in.
“I think it’s our privilege and responsibility to vote,” he says. “There are a lot of people in the world who don’t have the opportunity to vote.”
President Donald Trump's administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to allow it to end a programme introduced by former President Barack Obama that protects thousands of young immigrants who live in the United States without legal status.
You may recall that current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seethed with rage when during the period that McConnell was Senate Minority Leader, Democrats got rid of the filibuster for confirming most federal judges. McConnell coldly promised that Democrats would regret that decision a lot sooner than they thought. He was right about that. In a tit for tat exercise once Republicans had majority status in the Senate again they eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court justices. McConnell also predicted that Republicans would put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court despite solid Democratic opposition. He was right about that as well. McConnell said that the Democratic approach to Kavanaugh backfired and helped to unify and inspire Republicans. “The tactics that were used completely backfired,” said Mr. McConnell. “Harassing members at their homes, crowding the halls with people acting horribly, the effort to humiliate us really helped me unify my conference. So I want to thank these clowns for all the help they provided.” LINK Rage and fear work well to motivate and unify conservatives and many Republicans. It's why despite the economy doing well by many standards, Republicans in general and Trump in particular aren't making political appeals based on positivity, optimism and economic well being. Instead they are making appeals on racial national solidarity and fear that THOSE people are gonna come get you. The latest Republican created Trump tweeted ad before Tuesday's election goes all in on this fear.
It remains to be seen if this approach will work or not. I know that it will definitely appeal to some voters in some areas. But to enough of them? I don't know. Right now my best guess is that the Republicans keep the Senate and lose the House. But who really knows. The 2016 election results should have shown everyone that predictions are a mug's game. It also should have shown people that illegal immigration is a major, though not primary motivation for Republican voters. The thing that Democrats have going for them in 2018 is that even Republican voters don't want to get rid of ObamaCare or at least its most popular parts. Republican politicians who once boasted of wanting to pull up ObamaCare root and stem are now clamoring to protect pre-existing condition requirements even as many of them have voted to get rid of such protections. So it goes. Anyway after Tuesday we should have a better idea of whether this ad spoke to enough Americans or not. What wins? Fear of the other or fear of losing health coverage? Or maybe it's fear that the other will take your health coverage?
President Donald Trump’s administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to allow it to end a program introduced by former President Barack Obama that protects thousands of young immigrants who live in the United States without legal status. The day before congressional elections in which Trum...
VOTE VOTE VOTE 44 Tells the Truth…did you listen last time? I did. "The character of our nation is on the ballot," says former President Obama at a rally for Democrats in Chicago. https://t.co/vxxMsZVnzG pic.twitter.com/iv3MpEVkTr — The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) … Continue reading →
Tôi không theo dõi tạp chí Foreign Policy nhiều bằng Foreign Affairs vì nhiều nguyên do, một phần vì phẩm chất về nội dung và phần khác vì có không có nhiều thời gian. Nhưng mỗi khi mở FP ra đọc, tôi thường chú ý đến các bài viết của giáo sư Stephen Walt. Ông luôn có những suy nghĩ phê phán và chiến lược đối với các chính sách ngoại giao và thành trì ngoại giao của Hoa Kỳ, và luôn có những dữ kiện và biện luận vững chắc cho các quan điểm của mình. Ông không đứng về phía Cộng hòa hay Dân chủ mà thẳng thắn nói lên suy nghĩ của mình. Các phê bình của ông nhắm đến các chính sách ngoại giao thời Bill Clinton, George W Bush và Barack Obama, cũng như với Donald Trump hiện nay.
Tuy không cùng quan điểm với ông về nhiều vấn đề hay các khía cạnh của vấn đề, cách phân tích nhận định và cách đặt vấn đề của Walt làm cho người đọc, trong đó có tôi, suy nghĩ và phản ánh các quan niệm đang có của mình. Tôi luôn quan niệm không có một sự thật tuyệt đối, và do đó không nên bảo thủ ôm cứng các quan niệm của mình, nhất là khi có dữ kiện mới hay lý luận thuyết phục. Vì thế nên tôi nhận thấy tầm quan trọng trong các bài viết của Walt, và đây là sự thành công của ông, dù chúng ta có đồng ý với ông hay không. Làm cho người khác suy nghĩ (lại) đã là một thành công trong việc viết lách rồi.
Walt hiện đang giảng dạy quan hệ quốc tế tại trường đại học Harvard. Ông thuộc trường phái hiện thực trong quan hệ quốc tế (realist school of international relations, tức realism). Nhưng khác với những nhà sáng lập hay trụ cột trong trường phái này, Walt có vẻ là người hiện thực hơn bởi vì tuy coi trọng lý thuyết (điều mà ông cho là tất cả mọi người đều chịu ảnh hưởng dù có ý thức hay có công nhận hay không), ông không câu nệ hay phụ thuộc quá nhiều vào nó, và vì thế ông không phải là người giáo điều. Nói cách khác, Walt là người hiện thực theo nghĩa thực dụng.
Cũng cần nhắc lại một chút về chủ nghĩa hiện thực (realism) và tân hiện thực (neo-realism). Những người như Hans Morgenthau, tác giả của Chính trị Giữa các Quốc gia (Politics Among Nations, xuất bản đầu tiên năm 1948, một thời là sách gối đầu cho sinh viên ngành bang giao quốc tế), được xem như là cha đẻ của trường phái hiện thực cổ điển. Trong thời cao điểm của Chiến tranh Lạnh, Kenneth Waltz đã tái cấu trúc lại chủ nghĩa hiện thực, và ông là tác giả của Lý thuyết về Chính trị Quốc tế (Theory of International Politics, xuất bản năm 1979). Trong thời Chiến tranh Lạnh, hai trường phái quan điểm ảnh hưởng mạnh mẽ nhất vào chính sách đối ngoại của Hoa Kỳ nói riêng và bang giao quốc tế nói chung là chủ nghĩa tân hiện thực và tân cấp tiến.
Chủ nghĩa hiện thực, theo quan điểm của Walt, là cố gắng giải thích chính trị thế giới như những gì chúng là, chứ không phải những gì chúng nên là. Nó có một quá khứ lâu dài và có nhiều khác biệt trong cùng trường phái, nhưng nồng cốt của nó dựa vào tập hợp các ý tưởng đơn giản. Ông tóm gọn nó như sau. Một, đối với người hiện thực, quyền lực nằm trung điểm của đời sống chính trị. Mặc dầu các yếu tố khác cũng đóng vai trò quan trọng, nhưng chìa khóa để hiểu chính trị nằm ở chỗ ai đang nắm giữ quyền lực và đang làm gì với nó. Hai, đối với các nhà hiện thực, nhà nước là nhân vật chính trong hệ thống chính trị thế giới. Vì không thể trông chờ một trung tâm quyền lực giải quyết các tranh chấp, mọi nhà nước phải dựa vào tài nguyên và chiến lược của chính mình để tồn tại. Do đó an ninh là quan tâm muôn đời của mọi nhà nước, mà tất cả đều lo lắng ai trở nên mạnh hay yếu, và xu hướng thay đổi nấc thang quyền lực lên xuống ra sao. Ba, hợp tác không phải là điều bất khả, có lúc nó cần thiết để sống còn, nhưng nó rất là mỏng manh. Các nhà hiện thực xác định rằng nhà nước có xu hướng phản ứng với đe doạ bằng cách chuyển nhượng cho người khác việc đối phó với hiểm nguy, và nếu không thành công thì họ tìm cách cân bằng mối đe dọa đó, bằng cách tìm đồng minh hoặc xây dựng khả năng của riêng mình.
Tuy chịu ảnh hưởng về chủ nghĩa hiện thực hoặc tân hiện thực của những người thầy và các thế hệ đi trước, Walt có tư duy phóng khoáng và cởi mở hơn. Walt ghi nhận chủ nghĩa hiện thực không phải là cách duy nhất để giải thích, để thấu hiểu các vấn đề phức tạp của chính trị quốc tế, bởi vì luôn có nhiều xu hướng khác thích hợp và hữu lý hơn, tùy theo từng vấn đề. Nhưng theo Walt, nếu suy nghĩ như một người hiện thực, trong khoảng thời gian nào đó, thì nhiều khía cạnh mập mờ, mơ hồ của chính trị quốc tế sẽ trở thành dễ hiểu hơn. Ngoài ra trong cuộc tranh luận với giáo sư G. John Ikenberry (một người nổi tiếng trong trường phái chủ nghĩa quốc tế cấp tiến), tuy phê bình thẳng thắn tác phẩm Liberal Leviathan của Ikenberry vì cho rằng trường phái cấp tiến là quá lạc quan (nên thiếu thực tế), Walt cũng công nhận rằng phần lớn ông cũng đồng ý với các quy định cụ thể trong cuốn sách này, và thế giới sẽ trở nên tốt hơn nếu các nhà nước hành xử như Ikenberry đề nghị.
Trong bài mới đây trên FP, “Thế giới chúng ta đang hướng tới là thế giới kiểu nào?”, Walt cho rằng chính trị quyền lực vẫn còn đây, không đi đâu cả, và chúng ta chưa bao giờ thật sự rời nó. Thế giới vào năm 2025, chẳng hạn, sẽ tiếp tục đánh dấu cuộc cạnh tranh càng gây gắt giữa Trung Quốc và Hoa Kỳ, và có thể tiếp tục kéo dài sau đó. Tuy nhiên không có quốc gia nào như Hoa Kỳ có đủ các yếu tố tổng hợp về ảnh hưởng kinh tế, công nghệ tinh tế (technological sophistication), sức mạnh quân sự, an ninh lãnh thổ, và dân số thuận lợi để qua mặt Hoa Kỳ, mặc dầu khoảng cách của thế thượng phong sẽ ngày càng nhỏ hơn so với trước đây cũng như các vấn đề về tài chính dài hạn và sự chia rẽ chính trị sâu sắc trong nền chính trị nội địa của quốc gia này.
Walt là người cổ võ cho chiến lược “cân bằng ngoài nước” (offshore balancing). Chiến lược này đề cao việc sử dụng quyền lực vùng (regional powers, tức các quốc gia có tiềm lực trong vùng) để kiềm chế và cân bằng sự trổi dậy của các cường quốc thù nghịch có tiềm năng trổi lên, thay vì chiến lược “vượt trội/lãnh đạo cấp tiến” (liberal hegemony). Walt biện luận rằng các chính quyền từ thời Clinton, Bush cho đến Obama đều chủ trương sử dụng sức mạnh đồ sộ của nó để phát huy các giá trị cấp tiến trên toàn thế giới, bằng biện pháp hòa bình nếu có thể, không thì bằng vũ lực. Walt phê phán chiến lược này, cho nó là thất bại hoàn toàn, làm hao mòn quyền lực và uy tín của Hoa Kỳ một cách không cần thiết.
Tựu chung Walt biện luận rằng Hoa Kỳ nên tự chế trong cung cách sử dụng quyền lực của mình, nên áp dụng chiến lược “cân bằng ngoài nước” vì có nhiều điểm lợi. Một, tiết kiệm được hàng tỷ đô la, không bị tốn kém quá mực về chi phí quân sự, mà thay vào đó sử dụng nguồn lực này cho các chiến lược ưu tiên khác, nhất là các chi phí cần thiết cho quốc nội. Hai, nó tôn trọng sức mạnh của chủ nghĩa dân tộc, như thế không tìm cách áp đặt các giá trị của Hoa Kỳ lên những quốc gia khác (qua đó ít bị phản đối hơn), và nên tập trung vào việc làm gương cho các quốc gia khác noi theo.
Chính sách đối ngoại của chính quyền Trump hiện nay một phần nào đó phản ảnh một chiến lược ngoại giao có vẻ tự chế hơn, không tham vọng bao trùm như trước. Thoạt nhìn thì chủ trương của Trump và quan niệm của Walt có vẻ tương đồng. Cho nên đã có người khác như sử gia Hal Brands biện luận rằng những người như John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen và Stephen Walt - là những học giả phê bình gây gắt các chính sách ngoại giao thất bại của Hoa Kỳ - và Donald Trump cũng phê phán như thế, nên tựu chung họ tương đồng với nhau. Nhưng Walt bác bỏ điều này vì theo ông vấn đề là phức tạp hơn nhiều, và không thể bóp méo các luận điểm của ông đã trình bày nhiều thập niên qua.
Vào tháng Ba năm 2013, Walt được nhân viên Kế hoạch Chính sách của Bộ Ngoại giao Hoa Kỳ mời nói chuyện và yêu cầu ông nên thẳng thắn “khiêu khích” (be provocative). Nhận lời, Walt trình bày đề tài “Vì sao các chính sách ngoại giao Hoa Kỳ tiếp tục thất bại”. Sau bài nói chuyện này, Walt có ý định viết thành cuốn sách hẳn hoi. Ông đã hoàn tất bản thảo vào tháng 10 năm 2016, và dự trù cuốn sách sẽ ra mắt khoảng chừng một năm sau khi bà Hillary Clinton làm tổng thống, tức khoảng cuối năm 2017. Ông tính vậy thì nghĩ rằng bà Clinton cũng sẽ như các người tiền nhiệm của mình lập lại các lỗi lầm chiến lược. Ông không ngờ bà Hillary lại bị ông Trump đánh bại cuối năm đó. Vì thế nên việc ra mắt sách của ông bị hoãn lại và đã thay đổi nội dung sâu sắc cho phù hợp. Ông cho ra mắt tác phẩm mới của mình vào tháng 10 vừa qua.
Thomas J. Reese, SJ, senior fellow at Georgetown University's Woodstock Theological Center, talks about white and Hispanic Catholic voters and suggests how President Obama's own biography could help him connect with ethnic Catholics. More →
·VNTB - Công đoàn độc lập có đe dọa sự tồn vong của chế độ? (VNTB) - Thảo Vy (VNTB) - Dự thảo lần 2 của Nghị định “Quy định chi tiết một số điều của Luật An ninh mạng” mà Bộ Công an vừa đưa ra lấy ý kiến, cho thấy tất cả những hành vi có “tác động đến sự tồn tại của chế độ và Nhà nước Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam” đều phạm vào an ninh quốc gia. [http://bit.ly/2AK49lo]. Điều này hàm ý đe dọa rằng mọi ý kiến ‘bàn ra – tán vào’ dính líu tới sự lãnh đạo toàn diện của đảng cộng sản Việt Nam, có thể bị chụp chiếc mũ ‘an ninh quốc gia’.
·VNTB - Hai sự kiện trong tuần: Innova nóng và Nghị định an ninh mạng lạnh (VNTB) - Ánh Liên (VNTB) - Có hai sự kiện xuất hiện trong tuần vừa qua, nhưng tác động sự kiện đối với dư luận lại hoàn toàn khác nhau... Innova nóng quá mức? Câu chuyện về một chiếc xe Innova với tài xế nồng nặc mùi rượu, chở quá số người và chạy lùi trên đường cao tốc. Xe này sau đó va chạm với xe conterner, kết quả, tài xế conterner lãnh án 6 năm tù, và phải bồi thường dân sự gần 500 triệu đồng.
·Việt Nam lo ngại hình thành ‘công đoàn vàng’ (VOA) - Hôm 5/11 các nhà làm luật Việt Nam bàn đến khả năng thành lập tổ chức đại diện người lao động bên cạnh tổ chức công đoàn nhà nước để phù hợp theo CPTPP, nhưng các chuyên gia nhận định với VOA rằng nếu có thì đây cũng chỉ là “hình thức phái sinh” của công đoàn nhà nước.
·Hội Nghị Thượng Đỉnh Thế Giới Những Người Bảo Vệ Nhân Quyền (RFABLOG) - Từ ngày 29 tới ngày 31 tháng 10 vừa qua, tại Paris, CH Pháp các tổ chức NGO quốc tế lớn như Front Line Defenders, Amnesty,… đã tổ chức Hội nghị thượng đỉnh thế giới những người bảo vệ nhân quyền 2018. Hội nghị đã có sự tham dự của gần 200 những người bảo vệ nhân quyền từ khắp nơi trên thế giới, có sự tham gia của các quan chức từ EU, LHQ trong lĩnh vực nhân quyền.
·Anh công bố tài liệu vụ tàu Trung Quốc đe dọa tàu Mỹ ở Biển Đông (RFI) - Vụ tàu Trung Quốc cản đường chiến hạm Mỹ tuần tra ở Biển Đông cuối tháng 9 vừa qua nghiêm trọng hơn những gì được biết cho đến nay. Theo nhật báo Hồng Kông South China Morning Post số ra hôm qua, 04/11/2018, tài liệu nội bộ về sự cố mà bộ Quốc Phòng Anh đã cung cấp cho tờ báo, cho thấy là ngoài việc áp sát nguy hiểm tàu Mỹ, khu trục hạm Trung Quốc còn lớn tiếng đe dọa đối phương.
·Dân tố cáo bị đánh tại trụ sở công an (RFA) - Một nam công dân tại thị trấn Dương Đông, huyện Phú Quốc, tỉnh Kiên Giang tố cáo bị đánh bầm dập toàn thân sau khi bị công an Phú Quốc tạm giữ.
·Xã hội dân sự tất yếu sẽ ra đời (BoxitVN) - Lưu Trọng Văn - Một xã hội được quản lý bởi Nhà nước và một xã hội do người dân tự chủ cùng hoạt động bình đẳng, cùng tuân thủ Hiến pháp, Pháp luật sẽ tạo nên nền móng cho một Xã hội dân chủ. Một quốc gia vì dân, do dân muốn hùng cường không thể không hình thành và phát triển Xã hội dân chủ được. Trước đây, ai đó oang oang nước gã có dân chủ, gã đương nhiên không tin. Nhưng với việc nước gã kí kết hai hiệp định ...
·Tâm thế nô lệ (Phần 2) (BoxitVN) - Mai V. Phạm (Tiếp theo phần 1) - Nghĩ Trump quan tâm đến dân chủ cho Việt Nam, thì chẳng khác nào nghĩ Hồ Chí Minh, Mao Trạch Đông, Hitler, Kim Jong-un… tôn trọng quyền con người. Từ lúc làm tổng thống cho đến nay, trong hơn 5.000 lần tweet, đã bao nhiêu lần Trump đề cao nhân quyền, dân chủ và pháp trị? Thưa: hiếm vô cùng. Đã bao nhiêu lần Trump thể hiện lòng tôn trọng dành cho Tập Cận Bình, Kim Jong-un, Putin…? Thưa: hơn 3 lần. Đã bao nhiêu lần Trump tấn ...
·Hãy để mầm hy vọng trồi lên (VOA) - Người Việt trong hay ngoài nước đều nhìn Trung Quốc với ánh mắt chung. Họ chia sẻ sự manh động của Trung Quốc qua các cuộc chiến tranh biên giới năm 1979 và còn kéo dài nhiều năm sau nữa...
·Thấy gì từ vụ đàm phán ‘trả Trịnh Xuân Thanh cho Đức’? (VOA) - Đây là lần đầu tiên kể từ thời điểm nổ ra cuộc khủng hoảng Đức - Việt vào tháng Tám năm 2017, Đoàn Xuân Hưng biểu thị cái nhìn tràn trề hy vọng đến thế về tương lai phục hồi quan hệ Việt - Đức. Còn trước đó...
·Thủ tướng Pháp né tránh câu hỏi về nhân quyền Việt Nam (VOA) - TTg Pháp Edouard Philippe nói rằng chính phủ của ông không phớt lờ vấn đề nhân quyền ở Việt Nam, sau khi tìm cánh né tránh các câu hỏi về tình hình ảm đạm của giới bất đồng chính kiến tại quốc gia Đông Nam Á này
·Thủ Thiêm: Từ ‘kẻ xấu nhẹ dạ’ trở thành ‘bà con’ (VOA) - Nếu nghiên cứu kỹ trường hợp Thủ Thiêm may ra có thể rút tỉa được kinh nghiệm, khái quát được quy luật làm cách nào, “dân ngu”, “kẻ xấu” được hệ thống chính trị, hệ thống công quyền nhìn là… “cô bác”, “bà con”.
·Người dân quan tâm đặc biệt công an: vì sao? (BoxitVN) - Ánh Liên - Công an luôn vỗ ngực, họ bảo vệ Chế độ, thế nhưng đây là chế độ nào? Cứ theo như việc họ đối xử với Đại biểu Quốc hội Lưu Bình Nhưỡng, đang giữ nhiều trọng trách trong cơ quan quyền lực cao nhất của chế độ, hay cách họ hăm he đe nẹt Đại tá Nguyễn Đăng Quang, người đã đóng góp công sức cho chế độ hiện hành, thì thấy: thực chất họ chẳng bảo vệ chế độ quái gì, chỉ là bảo vệ túi cơm manh ...
·Suy nghĩ về cuộc bầu cử 6/11 (BBC) - Ý kiến một cử tri Độc lập, có kinh nghiệm làm việc với giới làm chính sách của 2 đảng Cộng hòa và Dân chủ, về bầu cử 6/11.
·Chủ tịch Trung Quốc cam kết nâng mức nhập khẩu (VOA) - Chủ tịch Trung Quốc Tập Cận Bìnhcam kết cắt giảm thuế, mở rộng tiếp cận thị trường và nhập nhiều hàng hóa hơn nữa từ nước ngoài, khi phát biểu khai mạc một hội chợ thương mại nhằm thể hiện thiện chí của nước này trong bối cảnh xích mích tăng cao giữa Trung Quốc với Mỹ và các nước khác.
·Chủ tịch Cuba gặp lãnh tụ Triều Tiên ở Bình Nhưỡng (VOA) - Lãnh tụ Triều Tiên Kim Jong Un và Chủ tịch Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel, hai lãnh đạo cùng hy vọng thoát khỏi sự trừng phạt kinh tế của Mỹ, vừa đồng ý mở rộng và củng cố quan hệ chiến lược giữa hai nước
·Mỹ trừng phạt Iran, Liên Hiệp Châu Âu bất lực (RFI) - Bruxelles phải ra « tuyên bố chính trị » sau khi Washington thông báo đợt trừng phạt thứ hai chống Iran. Đó là tín hiệu duy nhất của Liên Hiệp Châu Âu mà giới quan sát ghi nhận được hồi tuần trước, vài ngày trước khi các biện pháp nhắm vào lãnh vực dầu khí và ngân hàng của Iran bắt đầu có hiệu lực kể từ thứ Hai 05/11/2018. Phản ứng cho có lệ này phản ảnh thái độ bất lực của 28 thành viên Liên Hiệp Châu Âu trước quyết định của Hoa Kỳ. Vì sao và hệ quả ?
·Bầu cử giữa kỳ Mỹ, cuộc « trưng cầu dân ý » về tổng thống (RFI) - Ngày 06/11/2018, cử tri Mỹ sẽ đi bỏ phiếu bầu lại bộ máy lập pháp (toàn bộ Hạ Viện và một phần ba Thượng Viện), nghị viện các tiểu bang và một phần lớn các ghế thống đốc tiểu bang. Cuộc bầu cử ngay từ giờ đã báo hiệu một bước ngoặt cho chính quyền Trump cùng hy vọng cho phe Dân Chủ. RFI tóm lược những tranh chấp của kỳ bầu cử có thể làm thay đổi sâu sắc thế cân bằng chính trị của nước Mỹ sau hai năm nhà tỷ phú Donald Trump đắc cử tổng thống.
·Bầu cử giữa kỳ Mỹ : Nhiều cuộc chạy đua diễn ra sát nút (RFI) - Ngày mai 06/11/2018, tại Hoa Kỳ sẽ diễn ra cuộc bầu cử giữa nhiệm kỳ. Các cử tri Mỹ sẽ bầu lại tất cả dân biểu Hạ Viện, một phần ba số ghế tại Thượng Viện và nhiều dân biểu địa phương khác. Đây cũng là dịp bầu lại 36 thống đốc tiểu bang và ở cấp độ này, ganh đua giữa các ứng viên rất gay gắt.
·Bầu Cử 2018 và Người Mỹ Gốc Việt (VOA) - Tiếng Nói Người Mỹ Gốc Việt đề nghị chúng ta bỏ phiếu theo tiêu chuẩn : Nhiên (bảo vệ môi trường, khí hậu) – Nhân (bảo vệ nhân quyền) – Dân (bảo vệ dân quyền) để song đôi với quan tâm của đồng bào tại Việt Nam trong lúc vẫn đặt nặng giá trị của Hoa Kỳ.
Ngày 06/11/2018, cử tri Mỹ sẽ đi bỏ phiếu bầu lại bộ máy lập pháp (toàn bộ Hạ Viện và một phần ba Thượng Viện), nghị viện các tiểu bang và một phần lớn các ghế thống đốc tiểu bang. Cuộc bầu cử ngay từ giờ đã báo hiệu một bước ngoặt cho chính quyền Trump cùng hy vọng cho phe Dân Chủ. RFI tóm lược những tranh chấp của kỳ bầu cử có thể làm thay đổi sâu sắc thế cân bằng chính trị của nước Mỹ sau hai năm nhà tỷ phú Donald Trump đắc cử tổng thống.
Những vị trí nào sẽ được bầu và những tranh chấp
Dù không mấy khi lôi kéo đông đảo cử tri tham gia nhưng cuộc bầu cử giữa kỳ vẫn đóng vai trò quan trọng. Cuộc bầu cử này diễn ra vào giữa nhiệm kỳ 4 năm của tổng thống có ảnh hưởng lớn đến việc điều hành chính quyền trong 2 năm còn lại của tổng thống.
Toàn bộ 435 ghế ở Hạ Viện và 35 trên 100 ghế ở Thượng Viện sẽ được bầu lại trong kỳ bầu cử 06/11 tới. Dưới chính quyền Trump, đây là thách thức rất lớn cho đảng Dân Chủ đang muốn chiếm đa số tại Quốc Hội. Hiện tại đảng Dân Chủ chỉ có 193 trên 435 ghế ở Hạ Viện và 49 trên tổng số 100 ghế tại Thượng Viện.
Ở cấp độ địa phương, trừ Nebraska, các tiểu bang khác của Mỹ cũng có hai viện lập pháp, lần này cũng sẽ được bầu lại một phần. Tại các cơ quan lập pháp địa phương này, đảng Dân Chủ cũng cần phải kiếm thêm rất nhiều ghế bởi hiện họ mới chỉ kiểm soát được 14 tiểu bang, trong khi phe Cộng Hòa đang nắm tại 31 tiểu bang.
Ngày 6/11 này, cử tri Mỹ còn bầu lại 39 thống đốc tiểu bang (36 tiểu bang ở quốc nội và 3 vùng lãnh thổ hải ngoại của Mỹ). Đây là những vị trí cực kỳ quan trọng vì những thống đốc chính là những người lãnh đạo hành pháp của các tiểu bang và vùng lãnh thổ. Hiện tại đa số các thống đốc này vẫn thuộc phe Cộng Hòa. Họ kiểm soát 30 trên 50 tiểu bang.
Cuộc trưng cầu dân ý về tổng thống
Ngày 6/11 này, tên của Donald Trump không xuất hiện trong bất kỳ lá phiếu bầu nào. Tuy nhiên, ông vẫn luôn là nhân vật trung tâm của cuộc bầu cử. Lá phiếu bầu lần này của cử tri Mỹ còn để bày tỏ sự đồng tình hay phản đối chính sách của tổng thống Trump từ 2 năm qua.
Như đã thành thông lệ cuộc bầu cử Mỹ rơi vào giữa nhiệm kỳ của tổng thống vẫn thường có giá trị như một cuộc trưng cầu dân ý về chủ nhân Nhà Trắng. Nhưng tính cách và những quyết sách bất ngờ của ông Trump trong hai năm cầm quyền đã làm cho tính chất của cuộc trưng cầu dân ý này trở nên sống còn.
Bởi thế mà cả tháng nay, ông Donald Trump liên tục di chuyển hết tiểu bang này đến tiểu bang khác, liên tục xuất hiện trong các cuộc mít tinh kêu gọi cử tri bỏ phiếu cho các ứng viên của Cộng Hòa. Ông biết nếu phe Cộng Hòa mất kiểm soát Quốc Hội thì nửa cuối nhiệm kỳ của ông sẽ bị tê liệt và thậm chí còn có thể tồi tệ hơn thế .
Theo một cuộc thăm dò dư luận của Viện Rasmussen Report, 48% người được hỏi cho rằng cuộc bầu cử này là cuộc trưng cầu dân ý về Donald Trump. 60% cho rằng những dư luận về vị tổng thống tỷ phú này sẽ ảnh hưởng đến lá phiếu bầu của họ. Trong đó : 34% nói sẽ bỏ phiếu chống lại ông Trump và 26% phiếu bầu ủng hộ ông.
Phe Dân Chủ có thể tìm lại sức sống mới
Trong lịch sử chính trị Mỹ, các kỳ bầu cử giữa kỳ vẫn thường có kết quả bất lợi cho tổng thống đương nhiệm. Từ khi kết thúc Thế chiến thứ 2, đảng của tổng thống trung bình mất đi 26 ghế ở Hạ Viện và 4 ghế ở Thượng Viện sau bầu cử giữa kỳ, theo thống kê của trang tin Blooberg.
Các kết quả đó thường có mối tương quan với chỉ số được lòng dân của tổng thống. Hiện tại chỉ số tín nhiệm của Donald Trump đang xuống thấp, chỉ chiếm có 40%, theo Realclear Politics. Tỷ lệ này còn thấp hơn của Barack Obama trong bầu cử giữa kỳ năm 2010. Khi đó đảng Dân Chủ của tổng thống Obama cũng bị thất bại nặng nề, bị mất 63 ghế ở Hạ Viện và 6 ghế Thượng Viện.
Vài ngày trước cuộc bầu cử 2018, đa số các viện thăm dò dư luận đều cho rằng phe Dân Chủ sẽ có thể tận dụng được cuộc bầu cử này để thay đổi cán cân lực lượng. Các cử tri của phe Dân Chủ dường nhưng đang rất phấn khích tham gia bầu cử. Theo một thăm dò dư luận của kênh truyền hình NBC, 65% cử tri Dân Chủ cho biết rất quan tâm đến kỳ bầu cử này. Trong khi đó chỉ có 49% cử tri Cộng Hòa thấy tầm quan trọng của cuộc bỏ phiếu ngày 6/11.
Một số dữ liệu thăm dò đánh giá khả năng đảng Dân Chủ có trên 80% cơ hội giành kiểm soát ở Hạ Viện. Trái lại, cuộc chiến ở Thượng Viện báo hiệu phức tạp và khó khăn hơn nhiều cho phe Dân Chủ. Trên tổng số 35 ghế thượng nghị sĩ phải bầu lại thì có 26 ghế của Dân Chủ và 9 ghế của Cộng Hòa.
Muốn kiểm soát được Thượng Viện, trong tương quan hiện tại đảng Dân Chủ phải có thêm 2 ghế. Con số không lớn nhưng cánh cửa vào Thượng Viện của phe Dân Chủ rất hẹp bởi sự phân vùng địa hạt chính trị rất bất lợi cho các ứng viên Dân Chủ. Theo các viện thăm dò dư luận thì đảng Dân Chủ chỉ có 1/6 cơ hội chiến thắng ở Thượng Viện.
Kết quả có thể làm tê liệt nửa cuối nhiệm kỳ của Trump
Nếu đảng Dân Chủ tạo được làn sóng mới thì đó sẽ là một tin xấu đối với tổng thống Trump. Khi phe Cộng Hòa mất đa số ở Hạ Viện, lịch trình với lập pháp của tổng thống Mỹ sẽ bị đình trệ, nhất là với các hồ sơ nhạy cảm : di dân, hủy cải cách y tế của Obama, hay một số chương trình xã hội khác.
Điều hệ trọng khác là trong trường hợp giành chiến thắng, đảng Dân Chủ sẽ lấy lại kiểm soát các tiểu ban điều tra của Hạ Viện. Giới quan sát Mỹ cho rằng khi đó phe Dân Chủ sẽ không thiếu việc để lôi chính quyền Trump vào các hết cuộc điều trần này đến điều tra khác. Chẳng hạn như phe Dân Chủ vẫn muốn mở lại điều tra về Nga can thiệp vào cuộc bầu cử tổng thống Mỹ 2016. Cuộc điều tra này đã bị phe Cộng Hòa nhanh chóng khép lại.
Tuy nhiên, khi có đa số ở Thượng Viện, tổng thống hiện nay vẫn có thể tiếp tục bổ nhiệm các thẩm phán liên bang thuộc phe bảo thủ. Hơn nữa ông cũng không bị ngăn chặn trong chính sách đối ngoại vì ông có thể đưa phê chuẩn các hiệp định tại Thượng Viện. Tổng thống vẫn có quyền ký các sắc lệnh, có điều các văn kiện như vậy có thể sẽ bị bãi bỏ dễ dàng chỉ bằng một chữ ký của đời tổng thống sau.
Kịch bản tồi tệ nhất đối với ông Donald Trump, nhưng rất ít khả năng xảy ra, sẽ là phe Cộng Hòa bị mất cả hai viện. Khi đó Nhà Trắng sẽ trở thành một boong-ke, cố thủ trong đó là tổng thống với các quyền hành pháp bị phe Dân Chủ phong tỏa.
Liên quan tới bầu cử tổng thống 2020
Đảng Cộng Hòa liệu có đoàn kết thành một khối thống nhất sau ông Trump trong kỳ bầu cử tổng thống năm 2020? Sự ủng hộ này sẽ phụ thuộc vào kết quả cuộc bầu cử giữa nhiệm kỳ ngày 06/11. Nếu đảng Cộng Hòa bị nhấn chìm trong làn sóng xanh (màu biểu trưng của đảng Dân Chủ) thì chắc hẳn lòng trung thành của các nghị sĩ Cộng Hòa sẽ bị lung lay. Không mấy ai dại gì đặt niềm tin vào một người bị mất uy quyền chính trị. Trong trường hợp ngược lại thì vị thế của Donald Trump sẽ được củng cố.
Về phần phe Dân Chủ, đảng này đang rất cần có một gương mặt khả ái mới có khả năng lôi cuốn cử tri vào năm 2020. Đảng Dân Chủ hy vọng kỳ bầu cử giữa kỳ này sẽ giúp họ tìm được nhân vật như vậy.
Nước Mỹ bước vào cuộc bầu cử giữa kỳ “chưa từng có tiền lệ”, với Tổng thống Donald Trump, rất nhiều tiền, sự đa dạng trong ứng viên và sự chia rẽ sâu sắc trong công chúng.
Khi tháng 11 sang và Barack Obama tiến gần đến ngày kỷ niệm 10 năm ông đắc cử tổng thống Mỹ, người ta thấy cựu tổng thống một lần nữa có mặt tại các buổi vận động tranh cử. Lần này, ông không tranh cử để giành lấy lá phiếu có tên mình, mà kêu gọi người dân, đặc biệt là người trẻ tuổi, đi bỏ phiếu cho đảng Dân chủ trong cuộc bầu cử mà ông gọi là “quan trọng nhất trong cuộc đời các bạn, có lẽ còn quan trọng hơn năm 2008 nữa”.
Một người khác cũng đang bay khắp đất nước, có mặt tại những bang chiến lược để vận động cho những lá phiếu “không có tên mình”. Đó là Tổng thống Donald Trump.
Vào ngày hôm nay, 6/11, thế giới sẽ có được cái nhìn đầu tiên về nước Mỹ, 2 năm sau cú sốc Donald Trump đắc cử vào Nhà Trắng, điều mà những người như Obama từng cảnh báo là “một mối đe dọa”.
Cử tri Mỹ sẽ bỏ phiếu để bầu lại tất cả 435 ghế của Hạ viện; 35 ghế, tức khoảng 1/3 của Thượng viện; và chọn ra 36 thống đốc bang.
Trong số 35 ghế Thượng viện sẽ được bầu lại vào hôm nay, chỉ có 9 ghế hiện do người Cộng hòa đang nắm và 26 ghế do phe Dân chủ chiếm, tức cơ hội để đảng Dân chủ giành thêm ghế và kiểm soát Thượng viện là khá thấp, theo trang phân tích dữ liệu bầu cử FiveThirtyEight. Dù vậy, đảng Dân chủ nhiều cơ hội sẽ giành lại được Hạ viện trong lần bầu cử này.
Đây là kỳ bầu cử giữa kỳ sôi động nhất trong vào 20 năm qua tại Mỹ, xét từ cả kết quả thăm dò dư luận, lượng tiền được đổ vào quá trình vận động tranh cử và sự đa dạng của các ứng viên.
Trong số ứng viên ra tranh cử, có 411 người là phụ nữ, người da màu, người thuộc cộng đồng LGBT hoặc 216 người là người da đen, gốc Latin, châu Á, người Mỹ bản địa hoặc đa sắc tộc, đưa cuộc bầu cử năm nay trở thành một trong những cuộc bầu cử đa dạng nhất trong lịch sử.
Cuộc bầu cử này cũng chứng kiến lượng tiền đổ vào từ các “mạnh thường quân” tăng cao và tổng chi tiêu cho vận động tranh cử lần đầu tiên vượt mốc 5,2 tỷ USD (con số ngày 4 và 8 năm trước chỉ xấp xỉ nhau, chưa tới 4 tỷ USD).
Tất cả sự hứng khởi đến từ các cử tri trẻ tuổi với nguồn gốc đa dạng hay “cơn lốc tiền” để vào chiến dịch tranh cử đều tập trung ở đảng Dân chủ. Trong khi đó, những người Cộng hòa lại bước vào cuộc bầu cử với thành quả là Mỹ lần đầu trở lại vị trí nền kinh tế cạnh tranh nhất toàn cầu trong 10 năm qua, tăng trưởng kinh tế trong quý 2 năm nay đạt mức tốt nhất trong 4 năm, tỷ lệ thất nghiệp thấp nhất kể từ năm 1969.
“Lịch sử nước Mỹ vốn luôn chia rẽ…”
Nhưng hiếm khi sự chia rẽ ở Mỹ lớn đến thế này và được cổ súy bởi chính tổng thống đương nhiệm, theo các nhà chỉ trích.
Kết quả thăm dò của viện Pew cho thấy những người Mỹ Dân chủ và Cộng hòa tiếp tục xung đột với nhau ở hầu hết mối quan tâm cơ bản: nhập cư, chăm sóc sức khỏe, công bằng trong kinh tế, phá thai… Hầu như không thể tìm thấy một sự nhượng bộ hay điểm chung nào trong định hướng của những người ủng hộ hai đảng này với nhau.
Tổng thống Trump không làm mọi thứ tốt lên. Những người chỉ trích nói rằng các ứng viên tổng thống thường nói những lời dễ nghe với cử tri tiềm năng của mình và có phần công kích bên kia, nhưng khi đắc cử, nhiệm vụ của tổng thống là phải hàn gắn đất nước. Ông Trump “tuyên chiến” nhiều hơn.
Hơn 10 ngày trước cuộc bầu cử, hàng loạt thành viên đảng Dân chủ – trong đó có cựu tổng thống Barack Obama và cựu đối thủ của Trump, bà Hillary Clinton – cùng văn phòng CNN nhận được bưu phẩm chứa chất nổ.
Tổng thống Trump, sau những tuyên bố mạnh mẽ ban đầu trước một hành động bạo lực, đã hướng chú ý của ông về nỗi lo dành cho đảng mình. “Những người Cộng hòa đang thể hiện rất tốt trong kỳ bầu cử sớm và các cuộc thăm dò, giờ thì chuyện ‘bom’ xảy ra và động lực bị chậm đi. Những gì đang xảy ra rất không may. Những người Cộng hòa, hãy ra ngoài và đi bầu”, tổng thống nói trên Twitter.
Michael Cornfield, phó giáo sư tại Trường Quản lý Chính trị ở Đại học George Washington, nói rằng Tổng thống Trump “đã đi xa khỏi cách mà phần lớn tổng thống sẽ phản ứng lại một hành vi khủng bố trong nước”.
Thay vào đó, ông dùng đặt chữ “bom” trong dấu nháy ở dòng “tweet”, hành động bị chỉ trích là mở đường cho các thuyết âm mưu về nguồn gốc của bưu phẩm này và việc nó xuất hiện ngay kỳ bầu cử.
Tình trạng chia rẽ được dự đoán sẽ kéo dài sau cả cuộc bầu cử. Thậm chí, một chiến thắng của đảng Dân chủ sẽ đẩy tình hình tại Washington D.C. vào thế bế tắc. Bất kỳ dự luật nào do phe Dân chủ đề xuất, dù đã được thông qua bởi lưỡng viện, hoàn toàn có thể bị tổng thống bác bỏ.
Tuy nhiên, Tổng thống Trump không phải là nguyên nhân hay tác nhân duy nhất. Chiến thắng của ông là hiện thân của những bất mãn âm ỉ nhiều thập niên qua trong lòng nước Mỹ còn hai năm vừa qua tại Nhà Trắng và sự ủng hộ mà Trump nhận được từ lưỡng viện, đối với những chính sách đầy tranh cãi, lại là biểu hiện cho sự chia rẽ, một đặc điểm của chính trị Mỹ với lịch sử còn lâu đời hơn những bất đồng bên trên.
“Sự phân cực là một lịch sử lâu dài trong nền chính trị Mỹ. Chúng ta hãy tin vào sự thật rằng chúng ta vẫn sống sót đến ngày nay, và đã vượt qua những giai đoạn còn tồi tệ hơn”, Laura Ellyn Smith, Khoa Lịch sử, Đại học Mississippi, nói với Quartz.
“Năm của phụ nữ” lần 2?
Nhiệm kỳ của Tổng thống Trump đã bắt đầu bằng cuộc Tuần hành Phụ nữ (Women’s March) trên khắp nước Mỹ một ngày sau khi ông nhậm chức. Cũng trong năm 2017, phong trào #MeToo chống quấy rối tình dục đã từ Hollywood và nước Mỹ lan khắp thế giới.
Hai năm sau đó, trong số 962 ứng viên, có 262 phụ nữ đang chạy đua vào các vị trong Thượng viện, Hạ viện và chức thống đốc các bang, và đây là một con số kỷ lục.
“Nếu có ai đó hỏi tôi cách đây 3 năm, ‘cô sẽ ra tranh cử chứ?’, tôi sẽ cười vào họ”, Jasmine Clark, bà mẹ 2 con 35 tuổi và là ứng viên cho vị trí hạ nghị sĩ của bang Georgia, nói với Washington Post.
Clark là nhà khoa học vi sinh tại Đại học Emory. Cô mặc pyjama và khóc trong đêm ông Trump đắc cử rồi tổ chức cuộc Tuần hành Khoa học tại thành phố Atlanta của Georgia, cuộc tụ tập của hàng nghìn người phản đối việc ông Trump chống lại các bằng chứng và cuộc chiến chống biến đổi khí hậu.
“Tôi là phụ nữ, tôi là người da màu và tôi là một nhà khoa học. Tôi cảm thấy từ khi Trump đắc cử, tất cả các phần trong căn tính tôi bị tấn công”.
“Nên tôi ra tranh cử”, cô nói.
Tại Arizona, nơi chưa từng có một người phụ nữ nào bước vào Thượng viện, mọi thứ chắc chắn sẽ thay đổi trong năm nay khi một trong hai người phụ nữ, Kyrsten Sinema và Martha McSally, trở thành thượng nghị sĩ sau ngày 6/11.
Ứng viên của đảng Cộng hòa cho vị trí này là Martha McSally, người có 26 năm phục vụ trong Không lực Mỹ, trở thành phi công đầu tiên bay trong một cuộc tham chiến và ra tranh cử trong bộ đồ phi công màu xanh có may lá cờ Mỹ và tên của bà. McSally chỉ trích đối thủ của mình là “người phụ nữ váy hồng đi biểu tình” trong lúc bà chiến đấu vì nước Mỹ.
Tuy nhiên, sự đa dạng giới trong cuộc bầu cử năm nay không diễn ra ở lưỡng đảng. Trong số 262 ứng viên nữ cho các vị trí, 207 người thuộc đảng Dân chủ, theo thống kê của Trung tâm nghiên cứu Phụ nữ và Chính trị.
Trên CNN, Karine Jean-Pierre của Đại học Columbia lưu ý rằng trong năm bầu cử 1992, người ta cũng gọi đó là “Năm của Phụ nữ”. Đó là cuộc bầu cử sau khi Anita Hill cáo buộc Clarence Thomas, cấp trên cũ của bà và là người đang đợi phê chuẩn cho vị trí thẩm phán Tòa Tối cao Mỹ, đã quấy rối tình dục mình. Đó cũng là số phụ nữ chạy đua vào các vị trí trong cuộc bầu cử nhiều ở mức chưa từng có và Carol Moseley-Braun trở thành người phụ nữ đa đen đầu tiên đắc cử vào Thượng viện.
26 năm sau, khi nước Mỹ là nơi khởi phát cho phong trào #MeToo chống quấy rối tình dục, người ta vẫn cần một “Năm của Phụ nữ” cho các cuộc bầu cử. Và cũng trùng hợp, Thượng viện Mỹ vừa phê chuẩn vị trí thẩm phán Tòa Tối cao đối với Brett Kavanaugh sau nhiều cáo buộc quấy rối tình dục nhắm vào ông.
“Chúng ta đã có ‘Năm của Phụ nữ’ trước đây và đó chỉ là hiện tượng một đêm, nhưng đây là một sự chuẩn bị”,Reuters dẫn lời Celinda Lake, người phân tích thăm dò của đảng Dân chủ. “Sẽ có một số lượng kỷ lục phụ nữ đắc cử, cũng sẽ có một số lượng kỷ lục thất cử. Điều quan trọng là họ tái tranh cử”.
Còn quá sớm để gọi đây là cuộc bầu cử của phụ nữ. Và dù những người phụ nữ có chiến thắng, họ cũng sẽ bước vào Điện Capitol với một tổng thống đã gọi phong trào nữ quyền là “thời khắc đáng sợ với đàn ông” và một thẩm phán tối cao bị ít nhất 3 người phụ nữ tố cáo đã quấy rối tình dục họ.
Cuộc trưng cầu dân ý về Trump
“Tên tôi không có trên phiếu bầu, nhưng tôi vẫn ở trên phiếu bầu, vì đây là một cuộc trưng cầu dân ý về tôi”, Tổng thống Donald Trump đứng trước cử tri tại Southaven, Mississippi và xác nhận điều báo chí đã nói nhiều tháng nay. “Tôi muốn các bạn đi bỏ phiếu. Hãy coi như tên tôi ở trên phiếu”.
Nhiều cử tri Mỹ sẽ bước vào phòng bỏ phiếu và mang theo ký ức về buổi tối ngày 8/11/2016, thời khắc Donald Trump đắc cử tổng thống Mỹ.
“Trái tim tôi chết đi khi đó. Bố tôi lật mồ của ông ấy”,Guardian dẫn lời Maureen Osiecki, một hưu trí 76 tuổi sống tại bang Michigan.
Sống ở bên kia đường so với bà Osiecki, bà Linda Andrews, 66 tuổi,lại nói rằng bà sẽ bỏ phiếu cho những người Cộng hòa.
“Những dòng tweet của Trump không ‘đúng đắn về chính trị’ nhưng những kẻ ‘đúng đắn về chính trị’ lại chẳng làm gì cả. Trump đang làm điều ông ấy nói sẽ làm, ông ấy là người giữ lời. Tôi đã thử những lời đường mật rồi và chúng chẳng giúp gì cả”, bà nói.
Những lá phiếu vào ngày 6/11, dù mang tên hàng trăm người khác, sẽ giải đáp câu hỏi người Mỹ ai đã và ai không hối hận về lựa chọn của họ vào năm 2016. Hai năm đầu nhiệm kỳ của Tổng thống Trump đã chứng kiến hàng loạt vụ bê bối tại Washington D.C., sự thách thức các chuẩn mực hiến pháp và hủy hoại đáng kể đối với các thể chế nước Mỹ đang xây dựng nhiều thập niên qua để duy trì trật tự thế giới.
Nhưng cũng trong hai năm đó, Tổng thống Trump đã giữ rất nhiều lời hứa với cử tri của ông, kể cả những lời hứa gây tranh cãi nhất, trải qua một giai đoạn kinh tế tốt đẹp và định hình Tòa Tối cao Mỹ thêm một thế hệ nữa bằng việc đề cử thành công một thẩm phán bảo thủ.
Một cuộc khảo sát của Wall Street Journal và NBC News, công bố hôm 4/11, cho thấy vai trò của tổng thống trong lá phiếu: 32% người được hỏi nói rằng phiếu bầu của họ là thông điệp ủng hộ Trump, 40% nói rằng đó là thông điệp phản đối và 28% nói rằng đó không phải là về tổng thống.
Ở phía ngược lại, cuộc bầu cử này còn là bài kiểm tra cho những “luồng năng lượng chống Trump” được hình thành từ cuộc Tuần hành Phụ nữ vào năm 2017 để xem liệu phong trào có đủ lớn mạnh để đe dọa đến tổng thống hay chưa.
Đa số các dự đoán cho thấy đảng Dân chủ có nhiều cơ hội giành lại Hạ viện trong khi Thượng viện vẫn do đảng Cộng hòa kiểm soát. Bất kỳ chương trình nghị sự nào của tổng thống hay đảng Cộng hòa đều sẽ bị đình trệ và cản trở nếu đảng Dân chủ có được một chiến thắng ở bất kỳ viện nào.
Đảng chiếm đa số có quyền bổ nhiệm các ủy ban trong viện, nơi sẽ ra “trát tòa” để mở các phiên điều trần. Dưới một Hạ viện do đảng Dân chủ kiểm soát, các cộng sự của Tổng thống Trump có nhiều nguy cơ hơn phải ra trước phiên điều trần, từ mối liên hệ với Nga hay công việc làm ăn của gia đình tổng thống.
Trong kịch bản khó khăn hơn, nếu đảng Dân chủ giành được cả lưỡng viện, hoặc chỉ Thượng viện, tổng thống sẽ đối mặt với chuỗi ngày khó khăn trong việc thuyết phục Thượng viện phê chuẩn cho các vị trí nội các và thẩm phán Tòa Tối cao mà ông đề cử. Với hầu hết trường hợp, luật lệ tại Thượng viện cho phép phê chuẩn một đề cử của tổng thống với đa số tối thiểu, đồng nghĩa với việc trong 2 năm qua, hàng loạt người ông đề cử đã được phê chuẩn mà không cần bất kỳ sự ủng hộ nào của đảng Dân chủ. Tổng thống sẽ thật sự gặp rắc rối nếu điều này xảy ra, trong bối cảnh một cuộc “ra đi hàng loạt” trong nội các đang được dự báo sẽ diễn ra sau kỳ bầu cử giữa kỳ.
Tuy nhiên, điều được nói đến nhiều, sự luận tội tổng thống, không có nhiều cơ hội xảy ra. Quá trình luận đội bắt đầu ở Hạ viện, thế nhưng khi lên đến Thượng viện, sẽ cần 2/3 số phiếu tại đây để phế truất một tổng thống, một con số khiến khó đảng nào có thể tự quyết.
Cuộc bầu cử quan trọng nhất trong ký ức hiện đại
Theo CNBC, không có nhiều cuộc bầu cử giữa kỳ tại Mỹ được theo dõi sát sao đến vậy trên toàn cầu. Lý do rất rõ ràng: Ảnh hưởng của nó đến hình ảnh về sức hấp dẫn của nền dân chủ trên thế giới, một hé lộ về sức chịu đựng của chính quyền Tổng thống Trump và những chính sách đối ngoại của họ cũng như tác động đối với phong trào dân túy trên toàn thế giới.
Một tuần trước khi các thùng phiếu của Mỹ đóng cửa, người Brazil đã bầu lên một tổng thống cực hữu, nước Anh bế tắc trong cuộc đàm phán rời EU, nhưng họ vẫn sẽ rời đi còn sự nghi ngờ đối với các thể chế hợp tác đa phương và nền dân chủ kiểu Mỹ đang lớn dần ở mọi nơi.
Các đồng minh của Washington đang lo lắng mô hình Mỹ đang mất đi hấp dẫn trong lúc Trung Quốc thúc đẩy mô hình của họ cho các nước đang phát triển lẫn đã phát triển.
Stephen Hadley, cựu cố vấn an ninh quốc gia dưới thời cựu tổng thống George W. Bush, gần đây nói với CNN: “Nếu bạn lo lắng về mô hình của Mỹ, chúng ta có nhiều công cụ để vận hành một chính sách đối ngoại phục vụ cho lợi ích của chúng ta, mang lại thịnh vượng và an ninh cho người dân. Nhưng thương hiệu của chúng ta trên toàn cầu đang không ổn”.
“Có lý do để mọi người không xem thường tuyên bố của Trung Quốc rằng họ có một mô hình mới. Vì mô hình của chúng ta đang trông không tốt”, ông nói.
Cuộc bầu cử trở thành cuộc trưng cầu dân ý, không chỉ đối với tổng thống mà còn cả với thương hiệu chính trị dân túy mà ông là người đại diện. Dù phong trào dân túy đã tồn tại từ trước nhiệm kỳ của Tổng thống Trump, chiến thắng của ông là động lực mạnh mẽ, thúc đẩy cả những người ủng hộ dân túy trong nước lẫn nhiều nhà lãnh đạo trên toàn cầu.
Frederick Kempe, Chủ tịch và CEO tại Viện nghiên cứu Atlantic Council, nói rằng chính trị và môi trường xã hội Mỹ nói chung luôn có ảnh hưởng toàn cầu. Nếu phong trào #MeToo, khởi nguồn tại Mỹ, có khả năng lan tỏa toàn cầu thì chính sách “Nước Mỹ trên hết” của Tổng thống Trump cũng sẽ truyền cảm hứng cho những người lãnh đạo có tư duy tương tự ông. Tại châu Âu, những lãnh đạo đó thường tranh cử dựa trên chính sách chống nhập cư, còn tại Mỹ Latin là các kế hoạch chống tham nhũng. Và ở mọi người, các ứng viên dân túy đều nói đến “cảm hứng từ Trump”, bao gồm tổng thống cực hữu vừa đắc cử tại Brazil.
Người ta sẽ phải đợi đến đêm 6/11 tại Mỹ để biết liệu “làn sóng xanh màu tiền” và những gương mặt mới mẻ của đảng Dân chủ có mang lại cho họ quyền kiểm soát Đồi Capitol hay không, hay người dân vẫn sẽ chọn những chỉ số kinh tế đang rất tốt sau 2 năm đảng Cộng hòa hậu thuẫn cho những chính sách của Tổng thống Trump.
Không ai biết liệu người dân Mỹ sẽ chọn những gương mặt có phần đa sắc tộc hơn của đảng Dân chủ hay cảm thấy bị đe dọa bởi đoàn “caravan” di cư đang tiến sát biên giới Mỹ và chọn lấy ứng viên với chính sách nhập cư cứng rắn. Và nếu đảng Dân chủ chiến thắng ở ít nhất một viện của quốc hội Mỹ, nỗi lo sẽ chuyển từ việc đảng chiếm đa số hậu thuẫn và “nuông chiều” tổng thống quá mức sang việc không thể có tiếng nói chung giữa đảng kiểm soát quốc hội với tổng thống, trong bối cảnh sự chia rẽ tại Washington D.C. lẫn nước Mỹ ngày càng rộng ra.
“Tất cả chính trị đều là chuyện địa phương”, Tip O’Neill’s, cựu chủ tịch Hạ viện Mỹ và là một người Cộng hòa, từng nói. Nhưng những lá phiếu địa phương của người Mỹ sẽ vươn ra khỏi các bang mà họ bỏ phiếu, sẽ tiếp tục định hình nước Mỹ và có ảnh hưởng đến thế giới trong ít nhất 2 năm nữa.
Cuộc bầu cử giữa nhiệm kỳ tổng thống sắp tới dự báo một cơn bão ở Mỹ. Nguồn: Stephanie Keith/Getty.
Khi nghiên cứu về chính trị Hoa Kỳ trong những năm 1990, tôi đã được nghe tất cả những lời sáo rỗng đó. Người Mỹ bị mê hoặc vì quan niệm rằng các cuộc bầu cử là những bước ngoặt lớn trong đời sống quốc gia. Giới tuyền thông của Mỹ không ngừng làm nổi bật khái niệm này – dường như để tăng số khán giả theo dõi, họ đã làm cho sự việc thêm phần quan trọng – và những chuyên gia bình luận bầu cử ở Mỹ như Karl Rove, Frank Luntz và James Carville đã xây dựng sự nghiệp của họ quanh ý tưởng này.
Cuộc bầu cử trung hạn năm 2018 đã trở thành một cuộc bầu cử giữa kỳ quan trọng nhất trong một thời gian dài, chắc chắn là trong cuộc đời tôi.
Những cuộc bầu cử giữa kỳ thường không quá hồi hộp và khó thở quá; nhiệm kỳ tổng thống không bị đe dọa, vì thế tác động của cuộc bầu cử sẽ tự động thấp hơn.
Nhưng hầu hết các cuộc bầu cử tổng thống mà tôi còn nhớ cũng không gây ra những hệ quả lớn lao. Theo định nghĩa, chuyện xảy ra thường xuyên, cứ bốn năm một lần thì không thể là sự kiện đặc biệt được. Khi nghĩ lại về những cuộc bầu cử Hoa Kỳ kể từ khi Chiến tranh Lạnh chấm dứt, hai trong số đó “quan trọng nhất trong cuộc đời tôi” là cuộc bầu cử năm 2004 và 2016.
Năm 2004, cuộc bầu cử là sự kiện rất quan trọng bởi vì nó sẽ quyết định cuộc chiến tranh của Mỹ ở Iraq, và tương lai của một tổng thống đắc cử nhưng thua phiếu cử tri vào năm 2000. Chiến thắng năm 2004 của George W. Bush đã củng cố cả tính hợp pháp của nhiệm kỳ tổng thống của ông và sự tiếp tục cuộc chiến tồi tệ nhất của Mỹ kể từ sau chiến tranh Việt Nam.
Nhưng cuộc bầu cử năm 2016 phải là cuộc bầu cử quan trọng nhất sau chiến tranh lạnh của Mỹ. Hoa Kỳ đã bầu một nhân vật làm show truyền hình, vô cùng không nghiêm túc và đang cổ xúy chủ nghĩa độc tài và các quan điểm xã hội cực hữu mà người Mỹ nghĩ rằng họ sẽ không ủng hộ ở thế kỷ 21. Donald Trump đã phơi bầy cho mọi người thấy sự kỳ thị chủng tộc ở Mỹ thực sự lớn hơn nhiều so với những gì mà hầu hết giới tinh hoa người Mỹ da trắng nghĩ là hiện hữu ở đời thường. Trump cũng đã phơi bày khuynh hướng độc tài với dân chúng Hoa Kỳ mà hầu như không ai nghĩ rằng có thể có trong nền dân chủ lâu đời nhất thế giới.
Trump đã cai trị gần với một đảng viên đảng Cộng hòa chính thống, nhưng ông được bầu làm tổng thống với những chủ đề phản động hung hãn khiến mọi người phải giật mình và cho thấy sự mong manh của nền dân chủ của Mỹ nhiều hơn mọi người nghĩ, đặc biệt là sau một nhiệm kỳ tổng thống trung dung, vô vị của Barack Obama.
Đây là một nhiệm kỳ tổng thống Hoa Kỳ gần như một chế độ độc tài nhất trong lịch sử của nó – không, Donald Trump không phải là một kẻ độc tài hay phát xít, nhưng ông gần với vai trò đó hơn bất kỳ tổng thống Mỹ nào khác. Khi tôi nói chuyện trước khán giả trong giới doanh nhân ở Đông Á, câu hỏi thường xuyên là liệu Trump có phải là Mussolini của Mỹ hay muốn trở thành một kẻ độc tài hay không.
Ngôn ngữ của Trump trên Twitter, chẳng hạn như thường xuyên gọi giới truyền thông “kẻ thù của nhân dân” là một dạng rất gần với độc tài. Và quyết định gần đây muốn xóa bỏ quyền công dân của trẻ em con của công dân các quốc gia khác sinh ở Mỹ, được Tu chính án thứ 14 của Hiến pháp Hoa Kỳ bảo vệ, bằng một sắc lệnh hành pháp là một hành động quá đáng và đậm nét độc tài mà gần như chắc chắn sẽ đưa chính quyền của ông ra hầu tòa.
Trump cũng đang xây dựng lại đảng Cộng hòa theo hình dạng của riêng mình, làm cho nó ngày càng trông giống như đảng gần như phát xít National Rally (trước đây là National Front — Mặt trận Quốc gia) ở Pháp. Hoa Kỳ chưa bao giờ có một đảng theo chủ nghĩa dân tộc ở bản xứ, nhưng nếu theo dõi giới truyền thông ủng hộ Trump, rõ ràng nhất là Fox News, trong những tuần trước cuộc bầu cử giữa kỳ này, khán giả sẽ ngạt thở vì luận điệu đậm màu chủ nghĩa dân tộc, nếu chưa phải là công khai kỳ thị chủng tộc.
Do đó, cuộc bầu cử trung hạn năm 2018 đã trở thành một cuộc bầu cử giữa nhiệm kỳ tổng thống quan trọng nhất trong một thời gian dài, chắc chắn trong cuộc đời tôi.
Đây là lần đầu tiên kể từ năm 2016 cử tri Mỹ có thể bày tỏ quan điểm với triết lý cai trị bằng chủ nghĩa Trump chứ không chỉ là một khẩu hiệu vận động bầu cử. Nếu đảng Cộng hòa giữ được đa số ở Quốc hội, Trump, các đảng viên Cộng hòa ở Quốc hội và các cử tri bầu cho GOP sẽ coi đây như là một sự phê chuẩn giá trị của phong trào theo Trump từ năm 2016.
Những đảng viên đảng Cộng hòa không theo Trump như Jeff Flake và Paul Ryan sẽ tiếp tục bỏ cuộc. Họ sẽ được những chính trị gia phù Trump, kiểu Mặt trận Quốc gia, thay thế. Trump sẽ tiếp tục tấn công dồn dập bằng những chủ đề về chủng tộc và “tập đoàn đen” dường như đang đem lại nhiều kết quả tốt cho ông. Và cử tri bầu cho Trump sẽ cảm thấy được giải thoát khỏi sự “đúng đắn chính trị” để được công khai khiêu khích hơn nữa bằng những biểu dương kỳ thị chủng tộc trước mọi người, như ở Charlottesville hồi năm ngoái.
Hiện tại, vẫn có thể lý luận rằng Trump là một ‘tổng thống tình cờ’.
Hiện tại, vẫn có thể tranh luận rằng Trump là một “tổng thống tình cờ”. Ông thua phiếu phổ thông (dù thắng phiếu đại cử tri), và dường như không muốn đắc cử, không coi trọng trách nhiệm, và dường như không có nhiều chương trình chính sách ngoài những bất bình của ông – “thống trị và làm nhục bọn tự do”, tấn công bất cứ điều gì Obama đã làm, làm giầu cho tập đoàn Trump.
Chiến thắng của GOP (đảng Cộng hòa) trong cuộc bầu cử trung hạn lần này sẽ chấm dứt lựa chọn bác bỏ Trump. Nếu cuộc bầu cử 2018 và 2020 không đưa ra được sự đối kháng mạnh mẽ với GOP – không chỉ với Trump, mà với cả GOP nói chung – thì phong trào theo Trump sẽ tiếp diễn. Khối Trumpist sẽ trở nên cực đoan hơn cả bây giờ đặc biệt là về các tiêu chuẩn công bằng về chủng tộc và hiến pháp.
Khi sự phân cực không đối xứng trở nên tồi tệ hơn, nước Mỹ sẽ ngày càng trở nên không thể kiểm soát được nữa. Thủ đoạn kích động chủng tộc của Trump sẽ tiêu cực hóa làm trầm trọng thêm mối quan hệ chủng tộc, và GOP sẽ trôi về phía một đảng của người da trắng giống như Mặt trận Quốc gia phụ thuộc vào một liên minh phân biệt chủng tộc già nua. Khi những cử tri này qua đời, liên minh độc tài thiểu số Trump sẽ không thể thắng cử mà không dùng đến mánh lới vi hiến.
Dưới thời Mitch McConnell và Trump, đảng Cộng hòa đã thí nghiệm dùng những biện pháp có vấn đề pháp lý, chẳng hạn như luật xác định quyền cử tri cực kỳ khắt khe, cố tình để trống ghế thẩm phán ở Tối cao Pháp viện, quân sự hóa biên giới, đóng cửa chính phủ và các đe dọa trốn nợ để hù dọa Đảng Dân chủ, v.v.. Tất cả những việc thế này sẽ tồi tệ hơn, và quyền hành trong tay đảng Cộng hòa sẽ ngày càng châm ngòi bùng nổ những khủng hoảng hiến pháp.
Chính quyền Cộng hòa độc tài, đặc biệt là một loại Mặt trận Quốc gia Trump khắc nghiệt, cũng sẽ có khả năng gây ra một phản ứng dữ dội ở phe tả. Thật vậy nếu Trump thắng cử tổng thống năm 2020 và vẫn thua phiếu phổ thông, khủng hoảng hiến pháp có thể là một tương lai gần.
Đó sẽ là lần thứ ba chỉ trong 20 năm – 2000 và cả 2016 – phiếu Đại cử tri đã cho GOP thắng những cuộc bầu cử mà họ đã thất bại. Khối người Mỹ cánh tả có thể cảm thấy rằng các cơ cấu cai trị của nước Mỹ có cấu trúc bất lợi cho họ và ngăn chặn không cho họ được cầm quyền dù đã thắng cuộc. Một đảng Cộng Hòa sau khi đã Trump hóa sẽ không cai trị quốc gia như một đảng trung hữu dù biết rằng họ chỉ thắng khít khao thậm chí sẽ làm cho sự tức giận của cánh tả trở nên tệ hại hơn nữa.
Tôi viết tất cả những điều trên đây như một cử tri suốt đời ghi danh với đảng Cộng hòa. Tôi đã đi bầu trong những cuộc bầu cử sơ bộ của GOP từ năm 18 tuổi. Tôi đã trở thành cử tri đứng giữa trong cuộc tổng tuyển cử từ khi đảng Cộng hòa trở thành cực đoan dưới thời Bush II, nhưng tôi không bao giờ thay đổi, vẫn ghi danh với đảng (Cộng hòa), vì tôi thấy GOP cần những cử tri bỏ phiếu cho những ứng cử viên ôn hòa trong các cuộc bầu cử sơ bộ. Làm những việc thế này thật không thoải mái dưới thời Bush và sau đó là Sarah Palin, nhưng dưới thời Trump, thì đó là một thảm họa. Lần đầu tiên trong cuộc đời, tôi đã bỏ phiếu 100% cho một liên danh Dân chủ (bằng phiếu khiếm diện) trong cuộc bầu cử lần này, cho cả một ứng cử viên mà tôi tin là kém hơn đối thủ thuộc đảng Cộng hòa GOP.
Nhưng đây là điều hoàn toàn cần thiết, và tôi hy vọng bất kỳ bạn đọc người Mỹ nào cũng sẽ làm như vậy. Donald Trump là một mối đe dọa cho cả nền dân chủ của Mỹ và chủ nghĩa tự do. Ông đang biến Đảng Cộng hòa thành đảng của những người kỳ thị chủng tộc, gần như độc tài, loại Mặt trận Quốc gia (ở Pháp). Trump cần phải được đánh bại một cách dứt khoát bằng những lá phiếu trong tuần này và vào năm 2020. Cách tốt nhất để làm điều đó là bỏ phiếu một cách máy móc cho đảng Dân chủ cho đến khi chủ nghĩa Trump bị đánh gục.
Selfies have become quite the phenomenon. Everyone’s doing it these days; from everyday folks, celebrities, presidents, and even astronauts. Here are some selfies that have been featured and plastered all over the internet: 1. The following picture is a selfie of the president of the United States, Barack Obama, when in a memorial service for […]
Iowa state Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D) is projected to defeat GOP Rep. Rod Blum in the Hawkeye State’s 1st Congressional District, flipping a House seat in a district that voted for both former President Obama in 2008 and 2012 and President...
Sie bezeichnet sich als "Brückenbauerin" zwischen Europa und Afrika. Die Halbschwester des früheren US-amerikanischen Präsidenten Barack Obama pendelt unermüdlich zwischen den Kontinenten, um in Europa für einen anderen Blick auf Afrika zu werben, um die Entwicklungszusammenarbeit neu zu gestalten. Sie will aber auch in Afrika etwas verändern, indem sie ihre Landsleute wachrüttelt und dazu ermuntert, ihr Schicksal selbst in die Hand zu nehmen. Mit ihrer Stiftung "Sauti Kuu" fördert Auma Obama in Kenia Kinder und Jugendliche gemeinsam mit ihren Familien. Sie hat 16 Jahre in Deutschland gelebt und hier studiert, unter anderem in Saarbrücken und Heidelberg.
Indiana Senate candidate Mike Braun, who is pro-life, has defeated pro-abortion Democrat Senator Joe Donnelly in a race that helps republicans hold the Senate and perhaps increase their margins. While Donnelly says he is pro-life, his voting record shows he rarely supports pro-life legislation. In August, Donnelly voted against an amendment that would have defunded Planned Parenthood, which aborts more than 320,000 unborn babies every year. He also voted against a bill that would have replaced Obamacare and defunded Planned Parenthood in 2017. In contrast, Braun is solidly pro-life. He said he is fully committed to protecting unborn babies and...
by Michael CurtisSay it over and over again, never stop saying it. It is a truth that should be universally acknowledged that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not the central nor the only problem preventing a peace process to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Other factors, Arab terrorism, refugees, Jerusalem, Iran, can be considered equally or more important. Nevertheless, the conviction that Jewish settlements in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) are illegal and violate international law are are "imprudent" is widespread in the international community.One example of this conviction was the speech of President Barack Obama in Cairo on June 4, 2009, stating the U.S. does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements, "it is time for these settlements to stop," The U.S. abstained on UN Security Council 2334, passed 14 0 on December 23, 2016, which condemned Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territorities including East Jerusalem as "flagrant vi...
You know who I'm thinking about, not the run-of-the-mill Republican garbage who "just" want to take away peoples' healthcare and see them starving in the streets; I'm mean the real neo-Nazi's inside the pup tent. Many of them are in blood red districts that are infested with brain-washed Fox zombies, like, for example, Matt Gaetz in Florida. But there are a handful up for reelection today who could go down, as long a shot as each case is. The defeat of Chris Collins (NY-27) and Steve King (IA-04) would be immense wins for political decency. So would an abrupt end to the political career of Devin Nunes (CA-22).
No one likes being lumped into the same category as Steve King, but there is another Republican incumbent-- a substance abuser currently out on bail and kicked off his committee by Paul Ryan as a national security risk-- who has earned the company: suburban and exurban San Diego County's Druncan Hunter (CA-50). And there are still hours and hours of voting left in California. Yesterday The Atlantic allowed McKay Coppins to lay the whole ugly Trump Era mess out: Duncan Hunter Is Running the Most Anti-Muslim Campaign in the Country. Before we start down this road though, it's important to know four facts about his progressive Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar. (Yeah, I know, tough name, but otherwise as all American a kid as anyone you'll ever meet; besides, did you pick your name?)
• Ammar was born and raised a Christian and has been active in his church for his whole life • Ammar was born 16 years after his grandfather in question had died. (For any Trump fan who might be reading this: that means he never met his grandfather.) • Ammar worked in the Department of Labor and was thoroughly vetted for the Secret Service, passing a test that Druncan Hunter couldn't pass if his life depended on it • Ammar, when asked, told me his favorite band is Metallica.
Hunter's problem isn't that his R+11 district has changed, it's that he was indicted of various and sundry corruption charges, arrested by the FBI and is hoping to be reelected despite being out on bail. Coppins is a gentleman and steers clear from some of the tawdry details of Hunter's lifestyle-- the hookers, untreated alcoholism, bribery, etc-- but even the polite stuff is eye-popping enough. He explained that "on August 22, federal prosecutors charged the lawmaker and his wife with stealing $250,000 in campaign funds. In a 47-page indictment littered with galling details, the Hunters were accused of using campaign cash to fund lavish family vacations; to pay for groceries, golf outings, and tequila shots; and even to fly a pet rabbit across the country. To cover their tracks, the indictment alleged, the Hunters often claimed that their purchases were for charitable organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project. The political backlash was swift and severe. Hunter was stripped of his committee assignments in the House. His fund-raising dried up, and Democratic money flooded into the district. When he tried to defend himself on Fox News, he exacerbated the crisis by appearing to pin the blame for the scandal on his wife." You want that for a congressman?
Publicly disgraced, out of money, and facing both jail time and a suddenly surging challenger-- what was an indicted congressman to do? Eventually, Hunter seemed to arrive at his answer: Try to eke out a win by waging one of the most brazenly anti-Muslim smear campaigns in recent history. In the final weeks of the election, Hunter has aired ominous ads warning that his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, is “working to infiltrate Congress” with the support of the Muslim Brotherhood. He has circulated campaign literature claiming the Democrat is a “national security threat” who might reveal secret U.S. troop movements to enemies abroad if elected. While Hunter himself floats conspiracy theories from the stump about a wave of “radical Muslims” running for office in America, his campaign is working overtime to cast Campa-Najjar as a nefarious figure reared and raised by terrorists. As multiple fact-checkers in the press have noted, these smears have no basis in reality. Campa-Najjar-- a 29-year-old former Barack Obama aide who is half-Latino, half-Arab-- is a devout Christian who received security clearance when he worked in the White House. His grandfather was involved in the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics, but he died 16 years before Campa-Najjar was born, and the candidate has repeatedly denounced him. (Growing up, Campa-Najjar became estranged from his father, a former Palestinian Authority official, and was raised primarily by his Mexican American mother.) But facts do not appear to be Hunter’s chief concern. The political strategy here is self-evident: Feed on anti-Muslim prejudice to scare enough conservative voters into pulling the lever for the incumbent-- indictment be damned. California’s Fiftieth District hasn’t drawn much attention from horse-race obsessives this year. There are other races with tighter polls, other House seats more likely to flip. But what’s unfolding here in the suburbs of San Diego represents an unnerving microcosm of this campaign season: white Republicans frightened by cynical conspiracy-mongers; religious minorities frightened by the fallout; a community poisoned by Trumpian politics-- and a bitter question hovering over the whole ugly affair: Will it ever get better? Duncan Hunter is not an easy man to find these days. He rarely holds campaign rallies, and doesn’t attend town halls or debates. When I emailed his office asking for an interview, I was politely told my request would be added to the “list”-- and then ignored when I tried to follow up. ...On the whole, Campa-Najjar said he was surprised by how ham-fisted Hunter’s strategy had been. “I thought there would be more finesse to it,” he told me. Now, though, he was more confident than ever that victory was at hand. With Obama-esque audacity, he began ticking off all the reasons to be optimistic. The district was more diverse than many realized. “McCain Republicans” were repelled by the Muslim-bashing. While his own campaign was infused with idealism and “youth,” Hunter’s was cloaked in the stench of “desperation.” Very soon, he assured me, the good voters of the California Fiftieth would reject the ugly politics that had permeated their community this year and send him to Congress. Perhaps detecting my skepticism, Campa-Najjar tried to conjure an alternative happy ending. “And if we fall short,” he tried, “we proved that we exceeded expectations and that...” but then he stopped himself. He couldn’t do it. “I think we’re going to win.”
3 more hours to vote
Come to think of it, one of the House's most horrible creatures, Marsha Blackburn is running for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee. That's a very red state-- PVI is R+14 and Trump beat Hillary there 1,522,925 (60.7%) to 870,695 (34.7%). The results between Blackburn and Bredesen won't look like that tonight. Here's why:
• Early voting in Tennessee is at 95% of the total turnout for 2014. • Early vote turnout among 18 and 29 year olds is up 317% compared to 2014. • Early vote turnout among first time voters increased by 973% from 2014 (57,253). New voters represented 8% of the total early vote. • 566,666 Tennesseans who did not vote in 2014 voted early this year. In other words, 40.81% of this year’s early voters did not vote in 2014. • 105,487 Tennesseans (8% of the early voting electorate) did not vote in August 2018, 2016, or 2014. Half of these voters are under 50 years old. • Women 40 years and younger increased their early vote participation by 266% from 2014. • African American midterm early vote increased by 169% compared to 2014, largely due to increased participation among young African American voters. • African American women vote increased by 172% compared to 2014. Compared to all other states, Tennessee is now: • #1 in overall increase of early votes cast compared to 2014 • #1 in the increase of 18-29 year olds voting
Still... it is Tennessee, so don't get your hopes up too high. Meanwhile, NBC News reported this morning that top Republicans are shitting a brick over Trump's racist, xenophobic closing message. He's costing them independents and he's costing them the suburbs. Most of them believe "that his campaign rhetoric has gone too far and will cost some GOP candidates their races and jobs. Trump has spent the final stretch of this election season in some of the most conservative areas in the country, rallying his base of supporters by warning that Democrats will usher in an age of 'socialism' and 'open borders' if voters put them in charge of either chamber of Congress... [A]s voters head to the polls, some Republicans worry that message could backfire and cost some of the most vulnerable GOP House incumbents and candidates in suburban districts or in districts with larger minority populations." Because the fools looking for red meat and cheap entertainment who come to his rallies cheer all his lies, Trump has lost the ability to understand that 65% of the country doesn't believe a thing he says.
One Republican strategist said that Rep. John Culberson, who is in a tough re-election bid in a solidly Republican district in the Houston area, was polling four points ahead of his opponent, Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, in the days after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. After Trump escalated his anti-immigrant rhetoric and visited Houston, internal polling showed Culberson down three points. In some races, including Culberson's, “the certain tone and the certain issues he’s chosen to focus on is not helpful” the Republican strategist said. ...Other vulnerable Republicans are trying to counter Trump by focusing their campaign on local issues. Rep. Jeff Denham, who represents an agriculture district with a large Hispanic population in central California, has ignored Trump's national messaging on immigration and instead focused largely on water, a crucial issue there. But if Republicans lose a large number of seats, someone will be blamed. And some Republicans are already pointing the finger at Trump.
Lauren Underwood, a 32-year-old nurse and health policy expert from Naperville, has unseated incumbent Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren in the 14th Congressional District, according to reports from the Associated Press.
With 94 percent of McHenry County precincts reporting, Hultgren received 24,172 votes, or roughly 54 percent of the total vote, to Underwood's 20,347, according to unofficial results. However, this was the only county that Hultgren, who has been in office since 2010 was able to win.
“As a registered nurse and lifelong health care advocate, Lauren Underwood has a tremendous record of service to her community and a deep understanding of the challenges they face," House Majority PAC Executive Director Charlie Kelly said in a news release. "She’ll bring that needed perspective and experience to Congress."
Underwood – who has received a number of high-profile endorsements, including from former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden – has said she would fight to keep the Affordable Care Act intact after having worked on it in her role as a senior advisor in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Her stances on health care were also her basis for running for office after she felt Hultgren broke a promise not to back legislation that didn't provide coverage options for patients with pre-existing conditions by voting for the American Health Care Act.
Hultgren, meanwhile, has said the American Health Care Act stated that insurance companies cannot ask about pre-existing conditions so long as individuals are continuing coverage and not starting anew.
During his campaign, he also voiced concerns over the Affordable Care Act's premium and deductible increases and lack of coverage choices. In certain parts of the 14th district, Hultgren said residents may be limited to one insurance provider: Blue Cross Blue Shield.
President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Hultgren is doing a great job and has his "total endorsement."
By Dan Bongino: The book reads like an imaginative spy thriller. Except it is as real as a fist in the stomach. In this case it is our Constitution being victimized by those entrusted with defending it.
"If it matters more to you to protect a Democrat or Republican than it does to protect your nation, you have lost sight of the important part of being an American, to defend our system, not our politicians. If I really thought Donald Trump was a racist, I would not vote for him, but he is not on the ballot, the conspirators are. If you vote for the conspirators against your nation, I don't see how we ever rectify what is wrong with our country.
Set Donald Trump aside. If you are a Democrat and you want to see this nation function as a republic and for laws to mean something, sit this one out. Let the investigations into the coup go forward and let it reveal the traitors to the nation. After that, in 2020, if the rising black support for Trump and the rising Latino support for Trump has not encouraged you that he is not a racist, then vote Democrat." --Christian Mercenary
By Dan Bongino: The book reads like an imaginative spy thriller. Except it is as real as a fist in the stomach. In this case it is our Constitution being victimized by those entrusted with defending it.
The Root’s Jason Johnson, Costa former Obama CoS Jim Messina, former DOJ spox Matt Miller, MSNBC analyst Elise Jordan, and Steve Schmidt on Trump and AG Jeff Sessions warning of potential voter fraud in the midterms
Looks like Mittens will assume the coveted "John McCain Sunday Morning Talk Show" spot since he has the election in the bag:
The latest polling in Utah’s senate race has Mitt Romney up by some 36 points over Jenny Wilson, his Democratic opponent. Barring an enormous upset, Mr. Romney will join the United States Senate. This will put him a few checks and balances away from a president — the leader of his party — whom he once called “terribly unfit for office.”
Ah, don't ever change, New York Times.
Of course, a deeper understanding of the soon-to-be-Senator Romney could be had by a quick perusal of the archives. I'm a little shocked to find that the archives have over a hundred entries on Mitt. (!!!)
He was my Governor when I lived in the People's Republic of Massachusetts. Now All Y'all will get a chance to enjoy his governing style, good and hard. Note to self: Utah doesn't elect Republicans; Utah elects Mormons. But then, I'm clearly biased, having endorsed Obama over Romney*.
I expect that my post tag for him might approach 200 before his career is all and done.
* That was one of my finest rants, althoughI could not predict the rise of Donald Trump back in 2012. I did hint at the reaction, though:
And rather than a million Tea Partiers taking to the streets, it will be two million, or three. Rather than five or ten corrupt GOP Establishment crooks turned out of office, it will be thirty, or fifty.
And this bit (from that same post) is perhaps the most prescient writing I've posted in this last ten years of blogging:
We f***ed up once, trusting him and the rest of the GOP team. How's that working out? Rebuilding a party that Reagan might actually recognize is what this country needs - and right now, damn it - and Mitt Romney isn't the man to do it.
Barack Obama is.
You might want to click through and read the whole thing - and the over 60 (!) comments it drew. Welcome to MittWorld.
The Queen Of The World and I voted today. There was a large turnout, and long lines which everyone seemed to put up with fairly cheerfully.
But while this is important, it's not everything. Standing in line I recalled a post exactly ten years ago, And Back In The Real World:
It seems that lots of folks are freaking out about who's going to win the election. I want to tell you a story that relates to this.
I live is a very pretty small town in Massachusetts. Our house is a very short walk to the town Common, and right beyond that is one of the prettiest cemeteries I've ever seen. Here's a picture I posted a while back of one of the little alleyways in the graveyard.
I take the dogs (Little One-Eyed Dog and Ivan the Terrier) there for their daily constitutional, because there's a big field just on the other side. Nobody much goes to the cemetery, so we don't bother anyone on our way through.
Nobody goes there much, but last Saturday someone did. As I walked up through the graveyard, I saw a car parked by one of the graves. A middle aged guy was sitting in a folding chair - the kind that you'd take to the Little League game. He'd decked out the grave for Halloween - pumpkins, decorations, even an oil lantern.
He was still there when we took the dogs back, so I didn't intrude. Yesterday he wasn't there, so I stopped to see whose grave it was.
It was his son's. #1 Son was with me, and said in a quiet voice, "He was in my grade." Cancer.
The lantern was still there. Still burning. It was burning today, too.
So while I care about who wins the election tomorrow, I don't care who wins. Not care like that. Whatever happens, the Republic will continue. The flag will still wave from sea to shining sea.
And a good man will still grieve over his son's grave. Instead of worrying about the election, go hug your family.
In America, Jews have always been able to fight back against anti-Semitism freely. Never having received their emancipation as an “award” (which was the case in Europe), Jews have had no fears of losing it. Instead, from the beginning, they made full use of their freedom, especially freedom of speech. As early as 1784, a “Jew Broker,” probably the famed Revolutionary-era Jewish bond dealer, Haym Salomon, responded publicly and forcefully to the anti-Semitic charges of a prominent Quaker lawyer, not hesitating to remind him that his “own religious sectary” could also form ”very proper subjects of criticism and animadversion.” A few years later, Christian missionaries and their supporters faced Jewish polemics no less strident in tone. Where European Jews often prided themselves on their ”forbearance” in the face of attack, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the great Reform Jewish leader, once boasted that he was a “malicious, biting, pugnacious, challenging, and mocking monster of the pen.” In more recent times, Jewish defense organizations have taken on anyone who maligned Jews, including national heroes like Henry Ford and General George S. Patton, as well as presidents of the United States.
American anti-Semitism has always had to compete with other forms of animus. Racism, nativism, anti-Quakerism, Anglophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Catholicism, anti-Masonry, anti-Mormonism, anti-Orientalism, , anti-Teutonism—these and other waves of hatred have periodically swept over the American landscape, scarring and battering citizens. Americans have long been extraordinarily pluralistic in their hatreds. Precisely because the objects of hatred have been so varied, hatred has generally been diffused. No one outgroup experiences the full brunt of national odium. Furthermore, most Americans retain bitter memories of days past when they or their ancestors were themselves the objects of malevolence. The American strain of anti-Semitism is thus less potent than its European counterpart, and it faces a larger number of natural competitors. To reach epidemic proportions, it must first crowd out a vast number of contending hatreds.
Anti-Semitism is more foreign to American ideals than to European ones. The central documents of the Republic assure Jews of liberty; its first president, in his famous letter to the Jews of Newport, conferred upon them his blessing. The fact that anti-Semitism can properly be branded “un-American,” although no protection in the formal sense—the nation has betrayed its ideals innumerable times including in our own day—still grants Jews a measure of protection. Elsewhere anti-Semites could always claim legitimacy stemming from times past when the Volk ruled and Jews knew their place. Americans could point to nothing even remotely similar to that in their own past.
America’s religious tradition—what has been called “the great tradition of the American churches”—is inhospitable to anti-Semitism. Religious freedom and diversity, church-state separation, denominationalism, and voluntarism, the key components of this tradition, militate against the kinds of us-them dichotomies (“Germans and Jews,” “Poles and Jews,” etc.) so common in Europe. In America, where religious pluralism rules supreme, there has never been a single national church from which Jews stand apart. People speak instead of American Protestants, American Catholics, American Jews, American Muslims, and American Buddhists—implying, at least as an ideal, that all faiths stand equal in the eyes of the law.
American politics resists anti-Semitism. In a two-party system where close elections are the rule, neither party can long afford to alienate any major bloc of voters—another reason why it is so critical that everyone take the time and trouble to actually vote. For the most part, the politics of hatred have been confined to nonvoters like African Americans, until they won the vote, or to nonvoting immigrants, or to noisy third parties like the anti-Catholic Know Nothings in the 19th century, or to single-issue fringe groups. America’s most successful politicians, now and in the past, have more commonly sought support from respectable elements across the political spectrum. Appeals to national unity, even in the era of Donald Trump, win more elections than appeals to narrow provincialism or to bigotry.
Of course, the fact that America has been “exceptional” in relation to Jews should not obscure the sad reality that there has always been anti-Semitism in America, as well as violence directed against other minority faiths. That history, as I read it, gives cause neither for undue celebration nor for undue alarm.
I recently spoke with Alan Dershowitz at the ZOA Gala at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan, where he was set to make a prominent speech.
Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.
Hannah Grossman: Mr. Dershowitz, can you give us a little preview of what you will be talking about tonight?
Alan Dershowitz: I’m talking about how important it is to have dialogue among people who may not agree. Mort Klein and I don’t agree about a great many things. He’s way to the right of me, but we talk to each other. We dialogue with each other. And I’m here to promote dialogue between the right, the left, [and] the center — not only within the Jewish community, but the more general political community. It’s a tragedy that we now shout at each other, demonize each other, [and] yell slogans instead of having reasoned discourse. We can learn from each other, and I think we ought to.
HG: Where do you think that changed, between the right and left, where the divide became so extreme that it seems that it is impossible to have some dialogue or commonality?
AD: Well, I think there a lot of contributing factors. I think the movement of the left to the hard left in the Democratic Party. I think the movement of the right to the hard right within the Republican Party. I don’t think President Trump has helped with his choice of language, and I don’t think that some of the Democrats have helped with their choice of language. I crave the old days when my friends Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch could sit together, and when Senator McCain could sit and work together with Joe Biden. Those days seem long gone, and I want to do everything in my power to bring them back.
HG: Bret Stephens said today at a panel that Donald Trump’s rhetoric has an effect on the culture. Can you describe that; what you think that is?
AD: I think that’s right. Look, I think President Trump has a mixed record. I think he’s done some very good things. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem was a terrific thing. I think his tough negotiating stance toward Iran has been very good. I don’t approve of his policies toward immigration. I certainly don’t approve of separating families the way he did early on, but you know, I’ve never agreed with anything any president did 100 percent.
I disagreed with a great deal of what President Obama did and if Hillary Clinton had been elected, I’m sure I would’ve disagreed with a lot of what she would do. But you don’t demonize, and he’s still the president, and you respect the office of the president. I was appalled at the so-called leaders in Pittsburgh who refused to welcome the president. I think everybody should welcome the president when there’s a tragedy and allow him to serve in his role as a mourner or bereaver-in-chief.
In a monumental irony, the ECHR’s agreement with an Austrian court that offensive comments about the Prophet Mohammed were ‘beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate’ has handed a big victory to both Islamists and Islamophobes – while infantilising believing Muslims everywhere.
The case concerns an unnamed Austrian woman who held a number of seminars during which she portrayed the Prophet as a paedophile. After she was convicted by an Austrian court of ‘disparaging religion’ (and fined nearly €500), she appealed to the ECHR claiming the punishment breached her right to free expression. The court disagreed.
As a practising Muslim, I find this notion – that the Prophet was a paedophile – to be as abhorrent and nasty as they come; not to mention completely false. Yet I could not disagree more with the ECHR’s ruling.
For a start, it implies there is somehow a balance to be struck between people’s freedom of expression and the right of Muslims not to be offended. I just don’t understand this: how can the views of another individual possibly affect my faith or beliefs? Her ignorance – or anyone else’s for that matter – does not equate to my persecution.
Trump is not the source of the true threats to Jews — anti-Semites are more prominent on the left than the right.
Over the weekend, Bari Weiss, a friend who writes for the New York Times, appeared on Bill Maher’s HBO show. Bari was bat mitzvahed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; she knew many of those who were shot and killed by a white supremacist two weeks ago. Her writing on the subject has been beautiful; she’s obviously both raw and real about the situation.
On Maher’s show, she made a number of good points about anti-Semitism more broadly and its rising threat both in the United States and across the world. But then she concluded with this calculation:
One thing that I think was made stark this week is that there are many Jews, including Jews that I know, who have liked many of Trump’s policies regarding Israel and the Middle East . . . but I hope this week that American Jews have woken up to the price of that bargain. They have traded policies that they like for the values that have sustained the Jewish people and frankly, this country, for forever. Welcoming the stranger, dignity for all human beings, equality under the law, respect for dissent, love of truth, these are the things we are losing under this president, and no policy is worth that price.
I have a number of problems with this statement.
To start, the part with which I agree: There’s no justification for Trump’s callous disregard for the truth, which I’ve criticized routinely. Nor is there justification for Trump’s treatment of the alt-Right from 2015 to 2017.
But Bari is wrong in two areas: First, she suggests that Trump presents a unique threat to Jews and Jewish values that outweighs the threat to Jews from other arenas; second, she links Judaism with her preferred immigration policies.
So, for Jews who are appalled by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric but who still appreciate his policies on Israel, what should they do? Tell the president not to bother trying to “woo” us with Israel? That he so violates Jewish values that his favorable actions on Israel just aren’t worth it? That after Pittsburgh, we’re no longer willing to pay the price of that bargain?
And how would that work exactly? Weiss didn’t specify, but Franklin Foer, writing in the Atlantic, did have a suggestion to enhance Jewish security after Pittsburgh:
“Any strategy for enhancing the security of American Jewry should involve shunning Trump’s Jewish enablers. Their money should be refused, their presence in synagogues not welcome. They have placed their community in danger.”
Never mind that after Pittsburgh, the President said: “Anti-Semitism represents one of the ugliest and darkest features of human history. Anti-Semitism must be condemned anywhere and everywhere. There must be no tolerance for it.”
According to Foer, however, any Jew who still supports the president must be ostracized and shunned.
I wonder if Foer would be willing to stand outside a synagogue on Saturday morning with a sign repeating his message: “If you support Trump, your presence is not welcome. You have placed your community in danger.”
This proposal comprises the following unique elements, tailored to deal with anti-Semitism:
detailed preambular paragraphs documenting the history of anti-Semitism and recalling references to it in international instruments, in statements by senior international figures, and in relevant resolutions of international bodies;
an all-embracing definition of the crime of anti-Semitism and its component elements, based upon the various definitions adopted over the past years by various groups and institutions;
criminalization of manifestations of anti-Semitism that result in or are intended to result in violence;
action by countries to criminalize anti-Semitism in their own domestic law and to prosecute or extradite perpetrators;
international cooperation and exchange information on perpetrators and actions taken;
establishment by states of appropriate national educational programs to combat anti-Semitism;
establishment of an International Anti-Semitism Monitoring Forum for monitoring and coordinating actions by states and international organizations.
With the evident support of the UN Secretary-General and the challenge he placed before the international community, this proposal should be brought before the appropriate UN legal bodies for consideration, with a view to its being studied, amended, and accepted as an international treaty, criminalizing and punishing anti-Semitism.
In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, two things are irrefutable: There are 11 dead innocent Jews and there is one hateful murderer. All else, as they say, is commentary.
The murderer is a classic antisemite of the most despicable sort. Regardless of the political contours of his warped mind, he believes one thing is certain: Jews have no right to live.
Sadly, this horror has brought forth a spate of finger pointing where people are looking to score political points by somehow attributing the deed to those they politically oppose.
This is harmful and wrong. If you want to look behind the curtain, beyond just the actions of the murderer, then you must conclude that the perpetrator here is antisemitism itself – a hatred that enables its adherents to blame anything and everything on Jews, attributing to them all the paranoid delusions that the irrationally hateful suffer from.
I have spent the last two years immersed in American college campuses helping to make the existential case for Israel. I have encountered not just rejection of Israel’s legitimacy, but the most vile Jew-hatred, over and over again, with little pushback from decent people.
There is a big distinction between free speech and moral conduct. I understand and support the right to voice your opinion, no matter how much I might disagree with it. But I also know that free speech cannot be the rationale for not calling out vile and hateful accusations.
The killing of 11 Jews at an American synagogue has now inserted itself into a sequence of other murders targeting Jews and their institutions in past decades.
Among the list of murders of Jews outside of Israel, the most lethal tragedy took place in South America in 1984. In the bombing of the AMIA building in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 85 people were killed. The largest terrorist murder aimed at Jews in Africa was the 2002 bombing of the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Mombassa, Kenya, where 13 people were killed. In Europe, two of the most deadly attacks against a Jewish target took place at the Goldenberg restaurant in Paris, where six people were murdered in 1982 — and in a 2012 terrorist attack on a bus transporting Israelis near the Burgas airport in Bulgaria, where another six people were killed.
There is one major difference between the murders of Jews in the US and the three other continents. In Pittsburgh, the murderer was a white supremacist. In the other attacks, the perpetrators were Muslims. Even a superficial look at mega-antisemitism in the world shows that antisemitism coming out of parts of the Muslim world is currently the greatest threat to the Jewish people. Only there does one find heads of state who promote extreme hatred not only against Israel, but also against Jews. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, for instance, has a long record of verbally attacking all Jews. There is nothing similar among heads of state in much of the Western world.
Liberalism and democracy by necessity overlap to a substantial extent. But they are not identical. France and Germany have learned from their pasts. Both limit hate speech. In Germany, one can spend a number of years in jail for insulting a part of the population. Many Europeans understand that the principle of free speech doesn’t mean that hate speech should also be tolerated.
Today, everybody agrees that combating “cyber-hate,” including antisemitism and anti-Zionism, is a top priority. Israel’s Justice Ministry even has a department dedicated to the fight against online incitement. And the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism, now under the auspices of the Israeli foreign affairs and diaspora ministries, is tackling Christian theological antisemitism, Holocaust revisionism, Palestinian denial of Jewish history, campus antisemitism, legislative assaults on Jewish practices like ritual slaughter and circumcision, and even antisemitism in sports.
Some experts warn that, unless the rising tide of hate crimes in the US is turned back, American Jewry will have to undergo a process of adopting European-style security measures. Synagogues and Jewish community centers in the United States may need to be protected from neo-Nazis, just as synagogues and Jewish community centers in Europe are protected from radical Islamists.
This means the adding of multilayered defenses to Jewish sites, including security screening with armed guards, surveillance systems, panic rooms, and sterile zones. If this is the unfortunate fate of American Jewish institutional life (I hope not), Israeli security expertise undoubtedly will prove helpful.
In the meantime, Israeli and Diaspora Jews should band together to draw strength from solidarity, jointly combat hate, and raise the flag of unafraid and vibrant Jewish life everywhere. Keep partisan politics out of it.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's deputy communications director laughed about charges of anti-Semitism and the growing racism in America that many observers have pinned on a Democratic Party that is increasingly lurching leftwards.
Patrick Burgwinkle, a deputy communications director at the DCCC, responded to a tweet decrying the rise of anti-Semitism in America—which has appeared back on the radar in recent days after controversial National Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan took a trip to Iran and led chants of "Death to America"—by responding, "lol," an acronym for "laughing out loud."
The initial tweet, sent by veteran Congressional staffer Matt Wolking, decried the rise of anti-Semitism and included a link to a Slate article claiming, "The story of the midterms is about how Americans will respond to racism, bigotry, and hate."
"So true," Wolking wrote. "The racism endorsed and tolerated by the Farrakhan Democrats, the bigotry the establishment media exhibits against half the country, and the hatred of Christians, conservatives, and men smeared by the radical left as rubes and rapists."
The DCCC's Burgwinkle, in response to that tweet, wrote, "lol," raising eyebrows among some observers.
Pope Francis lamented anti-Semitic attacks and remarked that “a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite” during an audience with Jewish emissaries on Monday.
The pope received four first time delegates of the World Congress of Mountain Jews at the Vatican.
Two weeks after the attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 worshipers Francis said in a statement: “Sadly, anti-Semitic attitudes are also present in our own times,” during his meeting with the emissaries of the Mountain Jews, the descendants of Jews who left ancient Persia and settled in the Caucasus.
“A Christian cannot be an anti-Semite; we share the same roots. It would be a contradiction of faith and life. Rather, we are called to commit ourselves to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from the human community,” he said.
The day after the Pittsburgh attack, the head of the Catholic Church said in his weekly prayers that “all of us are wounded by this inhuman act of violence.”
In the wake of a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last weekend, White House officials debated who they should send to the grief-stricken town as a representative of the administration.
Their choice was not obvious. The administration has, for two years, declined to appoint traditional envoys to the fight against antisemitism here and around the globe, despite calls from Jewish organizations and a bipartisan group in Congress to do so.
US President Donald Trump has tapped neither a White House Jewish liaison, a post that has been responsible for communicating with the American Jewish community since the 1970s, nor a special envoy at the State Department to monitor and combat antisemitism, a congressionally-mandated position devoted to the fight against antisemitism overseas.
Administration officials instead chose to send Jason Greenblatt, the president's chief envoy for international negotiations, who– while an observant Orthodox Jew and an adviser on Jewish world issues to Trump during the campaign– has neither studied the issue nor spent his time at the White House engaging in outreach with the wider diaspora community.
White House officials tell The Jerusalem Post that in lieu of a formal liaison the president relies on decades-old relationships with Greenblatt and other close advisers, such as his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, for guidance on Israel policy and Jewish world concerns.
On the last Saturday in October, Robert Bowers shot and killed eleven members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, physically injured six other people, including law enforcement officers, and created distress and turmoil for the entire American Jewish community. He’s been indicted in federal court on 44 counts, and may face the death penalty.
Bowers killed eleven Jews solely due to his annihilationist anti-Semitism, which was of the neo-Nazi variety. He provided a political cover – he wrote that he didn’t like the political positions held by some other Jews (not the ones he killed), who support certain immigration policies in this country. But as Alana Newhouse noted in Tablet Magazine, the truth was simply that “he had reached the end point of a brain-eating disease called anti-Semitism.”
One day after these brutal murders, Linda Sarsour once again put herself in the spotlight. She did so while attempting to portray herself as a defender of Jews.
While Sarsour denounced Bowers, she has, in the past, embraced a different unrepentant killer of Jews, Rasmeah Odeh.
Many of us, by now, may have forgotten about Odeh. However, just over a year ago she was deported from the United States, after admitting that she lied on her citizenship application. Odeh also killed two Jews, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, who were students at Israel’s Hebrew University in 1969. She was convicted in a trial that was observed and deemed fair by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Throughout history, antisemites of all stripes have sought to cast the Jews as something utterly worthless yet massively destructive. It was a way of making the act of killing a Jew something that was not only necessary but meaningless. Hitler’s SS troops, therefore, were able to exterminate tens of thousands of Jews in a day. You see, they were killing an infestation, not people.
It may be extreme to compare Farrakhan to Hitler. But he did it himself. During a radio interview, Farrakhan acknowledged the fact. “[T]he Jews don’t like Farrakhan, so they call me Hitler.” Instead of rebuffing the comparison, he embraced it. “That’s a good name,” he said, “Hitler was a very great man.” He then reinforced it. “[Hitler] raised Germany up from nothing,” he explained, adding, “In a sense, you could say there’s a similarity in that we are raising our people up from nothing.” He’s also used the Holocaust as a metaphor to describe what awaited the Jews in hell. My late friend Christopher Hitchens personally heard Farrakhan punctuate a tirade against Jews with this: “And don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!”
The only question that remains is this: how could leading political figures like Bill Clinton have agreed to legitimize such genocidal hate by recently appearing on the same stage as Farrakhan at Aretha Franklin’s funeral? And given the unfortunate association, why didn’t Clinton immediately condemn Farrakhan’s genocidal Jewish reference?
Just days before his “termites” slur, Farrakhan announced the release of a new music album made in collaboration with some of the most powerful men in music, including Stevie Wonder, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg and Common. At least seven members of Congress — including Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Danny Davis, Andre Carson, Gregory Meeks, Al Green and most famously, DNC whip Keith Ellison, have all sat down for personal meetings with Farrakhan while representing the American people in Congress. Farrakhan even attended a 2005 meeting of the Black Congressional Caucus. At that meeting, former president Barack Obama even smiled for a photograph with Farrakhan just three years before becoming president.
American Jews need to draw a line.
It is not only neo-Nazis that need to be condemned by Republicans. It is Farrakhan and his ilk who should be repudiated utterly by Democrats. Never again must mean exactly that: Never Again.
He [Denver Riggleman] views this as a big advantage over Cockburn, a former journalist who has treated Virginia's 5th more like a research project, telling The Intercept she spent three months investigating the district before announcing her run.
"I'm Virginian to the core," he said. "She lives in Georgetown and doesn't have a clue what's happening in the 5th district."
He thinks the media have left a lot of ground uncovered on his opponent.
"Her books are used by Stormfront and white anarchist groups to explain why the Jewish people are trying to take over," he said, referencing the anti-Semitic book Cockburn wrote with her British-born husband Andrew Cockburn. "That got less attention than jokes about Big Foot."
Riggleman read her book and said it was shocking. "She really believes that Israel has orchestrated a cabal to control U.S. foreign policy."
He described Cockburn as "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a scarf," saying she's run a far-left campaign calling for "Medicare for all, open borders, forgiveness of student debt, and free college."
A progressive political advocacy group calling itself “pro-Israel, pro-peace” promised today to get to the bottom of an emerging scandal, in which a politician the group supports in this week’s elections was recorded agreeing that the Jewish State has an unequivocal right to exist, defend itself, and determine its own character, organization sources reported today.
J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami issued a statement to the organization’s donors and employees Tuesday acknowledging that Mike Rotch, a Democratic Congressional candidate running for office in California, had signed a petition circulating in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings two weekends ago, that called on American public officials to denounce antisemitism, including delegitimization of Israel.
“It has come to our attention that Mike Rotch may support Israel in ways that do not reflect the values of this organization,” the statement began. “We have made it clear on several occasions that our mission requires paying only lip-service to a secure Israel, while in reality pursuing an outcome that effectively destroys Israel as a Jewish State. If the reports of Mr. Rotch’s remarks are accurate, they call into question his suitability as a candidate for the sixty-ninth Congressional District. J Street will conduct a full investigation of Mike Rotch and then make its recommendations.”
It’s pretty shocking that cases like this no longer even seem surprising. But the views of Liam Moore are so outrageous I thought this latest example of Labour’s failure to deal with antisemitism warranted a post. Moore, who is an evangelical vicar (and part-time Phil Collins tribune act) has been selected as the Labour councillor candidate for Norris Green in Liverpool – close to Luciana Berger’s constituency. In 2014 he tweeted that “Rothschilds Zionist run Israel and world governments” and earlier this year compared Zionists – or simply those worried about antisemitism – to Judas:
‘We are seeing a very English right wing Zionist coup mate and sadly the Labour Party is infiltrated by sellouts who would sacrifice a labour government for their 30 pieces of silver.’
Sometimes, when challenged over antisemitism, Labour supporters point out that the number of cases identified reflects only a tiny proportion of the membership. But the real problem isn’t that a few members hold such vile views, but that they are able to spout them without being reported and dealt with by others, and are even, as in this case, thought suitable for elected office.
Sussex University is investigating a professor after he claimed Israel were behind the September 11 attacks 'with help from Zionists in the US government'.
Professor Kees van der Pijl, the former head of its international relations department, used as his source an article entitled '9-11/Israel did it' by conspiracy theory site Wiki Spooks, which also claims Al-Qaeda is a front for Mossad, the Israeli spy service.
The retired academic, who was responding to an article criticising US sanctions on Iran, was immediately inundated with a storm of mocking tweets, including one that joked, 'Yes, and Bruce Lee was the first man on the moon, damn media!'
Sussex University said it is aware of the post and has not yet decided whether to take further action.
Van der Pijl tweet was posted on November 3 and read: 'Not Saudis, Israelis blew up Twin Towers with help from Zionists in US gov.'
A professor at the University of Michigan said a recent panel hosted by the school on the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign was “a totally one-sided propaganda fete.”
Victor Lieberman, who teaches a popular history course on the Arab-Israeli conflict, said he was one of some 70 people who attended last week’s “Teach-In Town Hall,” which was organized by U-M’s Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies (CMENAS) after the university sanctioned a BDS-supporting professor who denied a letter of recommendation to a student who sought to study in Israel.
CMENAS director Samer Mahdy Ali said the event, which was backed financially by multiple U-M departments, would include a “decidedly pro-BDS” panel, followed by a discussion.
Lieberman estimated that less than two dozen undergraduates showed up on Monday morning, two days after a gunman killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh while shouting antisemitic epithets.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev demanded from her Spanish counterpart to move a women’s water polo match between Israel and Spain back to its original venue, after Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists had forced its relocation.
“The BDS movements are clearly antisemitic in nature and operate to harm the State of Israel and its citizens,” Regev wrote. “It is my expectation that the government of Spain will take all the necessary steps in order to reverse the decision of the Municipality of Molins de Rei.”
Planned demonstrations by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists led the municipality, just outside Barcelona, where the match was scheduled to take place, to move the game to a different venue and bar supporters.
Regev said Israel expected the organizers to “operate in accordance with the International Olympic Charter, [to] enable all sportsmen to compete as equals in the games.”
As of Tuesday noon, it was still unclear where the game would take place, if at all. Some sources reported that the game was canceled, but a PR company working on behalf of the Culture and Sport Ministry said the game was still on, in a new venue, with supporters banned. The ministry was still working to reverse the decision, the company said.
NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based watchdog that analyzes and reports on international NGO activity in regards to Israel, said the decision by the Spanish municipality came as no surprise, as funding of anti-Israel groups by the Catalonian government are no rarity.
The six falsehoods in the report are as follows: Falsehood #1: “Israeli elections were forced upon the residents.”
Sky reports without challenge the claim from the Syrian government’s official news service (SANA) that the Israeli government forced elections upon residents of the Druze towns. In fact, the impetus for the elections elections was the effort of group of Druze residents of the Golan who fought in Israeli courts for the change of policy. An article in the Israeli “Walla” website elaborates (CAMERA’s translation):
“During the past eighteen months, six Druze petitions were brought before the supreme court, opposing the way the town council members and heads were appointed [prior to 2018, Israel’s Interior Ministry appointed them], and demanding that open municipal elections be held in their communities as well,” lawyer Fahd Safdi from Mas’adeh tells Walla News. “At the same time we launched letters to the Interior Ministry and applied heavy pressure so it would enable us to exercise our right to vote.”
Falsehood #2: “The voter participation rate ranged from between 0% and 1.5%.”
According to official Israeli statistics (in Hebrew), the participation rate in Majdal Shams was 3.3 percent, and 1.3 percent in ‘Ein Qenya. In Mas’adeh and Buq’atha the participation rate was indeed 0 percent, but, as the report itself points out, this was because the election process was cancelled in advance.
Falsehood #3: Israel has been engaged in “Judaization” in the Golan.
“Judaization” (Tahweed in Arabic) is a vague term among Arabic speakers than can signify any increase of either the physical, metaphorical or imagined presence of Jews in a given place; it is often used in the context of Jerusalem. This includes but is not limited to: Scholars searching for archeological findings in the Old City and its surroundings, visitors walking peacefully around the Temple Mount compound, or even a Christian individual trying to set the Al-Aqsa mosque on fire. The question of what “Judaization attempts” the report is alluding to goes unanswered. In 51 years of Israeli control, the construction of Jewish villages in the Golan Heights has rarely faced Druze opposition of any kind. Moreover, how a democratic process initiated by Druze, in which both the voters and the candidates are Druze, can be labeled “Judaization” is a mystery.
Two separate assaults on Jewish teenagers in the Paris area during the last week are being investigated by police as hate crimes, French news outlets reported on Monday.
The first incident occurred last Tuesday in Sarcelles — about ten miles north of the capital. According to news magazine Le Point, a young schoolgirl wearing the uniform of the Jewish school that she attends was approached by an older man who spoke to her in Arabic before punching her hard in the back. The girl told police that her assailant had also mimed the action of shooting a gun at her with his fingers.
Traditionally the home of a large North African Jewish community, tensions have increased markedly in Sarcelles over the last decade between Jews and a growing Muslim population. The neighborhood was the site of a full scale antisemitic riot in July 2014, when 300 mainly Muslims youths looted Jewish-owned shops and attacked a synagogue during a solidarity protest with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
A separate incident the following day was reported in the 19th arrondissement in northeastern Paris. A young man wearing a yarmulke was assaulted by three youths at a bus stop after he noticed that one of them was trying to pickpocket a laptop computer from his bag. After they spotted the young man’s yarmulke, the youths shouted antisemitic insults and pushed him to the ground, punching and kicking him as he fell.
Meanwhile, doctors, nurses, patients and other visitors to the Rothschild Hospital in Paris — named for the illustrious French-Jewish family — were greeted on Sunday morning with a lengthy antisemitic screed scrawled on one of the entrance walls.
A 94-year-old former enlisted SS man went on trial Tuesday in Germany, charged with being an accessory to murder for crimes committed during the years he served as a guard at the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp.
Johann Rehbogen is accused of working as a guard at the camp east of Danzig, which is today the Polish city of Gdansk, from June 1942 to about the beginning of September 1944.
There is no evidence linking him to a specific crime, but more than 60,000 people were killed at Stutthof and prosecutors argue that as a guard, he was an accessory to at least hundreds of those deaths.
Stutthof prisoners were killed in a gas chamber, with deadly injections of gasoline or phenol directly to their hearts or shot, starved and even forced outside in winter without clothes until they died of exposure, prosecutor Andreas Brendel said.
The former SS Sturmmann, roughly equivalent to the US Army rank of specialist, does not deny serving in the camp during the war but has told investigators he was not aware of the killings and did not participate in them, Brendel said.
A doll called Inge that survived the looting during Kristallnacht in November 1938 was recently handed over to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem by its owner and is now on display there.
Lore Mayerfield Stern, a Holocaust survivor from Kassel, Germany, was just 2 years old when the anti-Jewish riots known as Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass," caused massive destruction to Jewish property in her city and across Nazi Germany and Austria. During the pogrom, which took place on Nov. 9-10, 1938, at least 90 Jews were killed, 30,000 Jewish men were rounded up and sent to concentration camps, almost 300 synagogues were destroyed and thousands of Jewish homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.
Inge, along with personal letters Stern had kept from that era, is now part of Yad Vashem's It Came From Within online exhibition, which marks the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
During Kristallnacht, Stern's father, Markus Stern, was one of the Jewish men arrested and was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. Young Lore and her mother, Kaetchen, were taken in and hidden by neighbors, who kept them safe during the riots.
"Lore, already in pajamas, hid with her mother at the neighbors' house until the pogrom was over. When they returned home, they found that the place had been torn apart and was not habitable," Yad Vashem states on its website.
The corporate venture arm of Hyundai Motor Company has made a strategic investment of an undisclosed amount into Israeli startup allegro.ai., a developer of computer vision technologies based on deep learning, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday.
The partnership with allegro.ai will allow Hyundai to “speed up deployment of AI technology in many business areas,” improving the quality of its products and creating “a safer driving environment,” Hyundai CRADLE and allegro.ai said.
Founded in 2016, allegro.ai offers software that simplifies the process of developing and managing solutions and products, such as autonomous vehicles, drones, security and logistics systems, that are powered by artificial intelligence and deep learning. The software also allows customers to update their devices and their learning capabilities while in use, so every device can continue to improve its operations.
“Deep learning computer vision is one of the core technologies that can be applied to autonomous driving to navigate roads and make quick decisions in real-time – and allegro.ai is clearly an innovation leader in that field,” said Ruby Chen, head of Investment at Hyundai CRADLE Tel Aviv.
“Our investment in allego.ai is a further step in enhancing our presence in the Israeli market, a global leader of technological innovation in the fields of automation, artificial intelligence and deep learning,” he said. “This is our fifth investment in an Israeli company and our activities will continue to grow the coming year.”
A few days ago I posted about the FIDF Gala that saw celebrities help raise $60 million for Israel’s IDF. The incredibly talented Pharrell Williams was the musical act, but what I did not know at the time were the touching words he said about the Jewish people, in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.
Providing entertainment was musical guest Pharrell Williams, who took a moment to share a few words about last week’s deadly shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
“Look, what happened in that synagogue was incredibly cruel, it was wrong, and it’s not supposed to be what our nation is,” Williams said. “This group of people have been tested over and over and over again … but you guys show an incredible resilience.”
Four thousand college students from 60 countries gathered in Tel Aviv in October for the latest mass singalong sponsored by the social music project, Koolulam.
The event, at Ganei Yehoshua, was attended by GA 2018 participants, graduates of MASA programs, MASA CEO Liran Avisar Ben Horin, Jewish Agency Chairman Yitzchak Herzog, Government Secretary Tzahi Braverman, and Masa Chairman Ilan Cohen.
Koolulam was founded with the goal of strengthening society through mass singing events in which large groups of non-professionals come together to create a collaborative happening.
The organization gathers as many as 12,000 people at a time from a broad spectrum of Israeli life, and then films the joint singing productions to share on social media.
In June this year, Jews, Muslims and Christians joined together at the Jerusalem Tower of David Museum to sing Bob Marley’s “One Love” in three languages as a show of unity from Israel. The video of the event went viral.
The Israeli military recently discovered the remains of a pilot, Lt. Yakir Naveh, who has been missing since his plane crashed into the Sea of Galilee 56 years ago, the army said Tuesday.
The remains were discovered on October 25 on the bottom of the Sea of Galilee, along with pieces of the aircraft.
Once they were found, the remains were sent to a forensic laboratory for identification, the army said.
The military’s Manpower Directorate informed the pilot’s family that his remains had been found, the army said.
His funeral was scheduled for November 13 at 3 p.m. at Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul military cemetery.
On May 6, 1962, Naveh was training a cadet on a Fouga Magister when their plane got too low over the water and the engine cut out. The nose of the plane hit the water, sending them into a fierce spin, wing over wing.
A year later, a search team found the body of the cadet who had been flying the plane, Oded Kouton, but no trace of Naveh.
Today, ADL presented @maziarbahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist, filmmaker & human rights activist with our Daniel Pearl Award. He demonstrates the same drive for pursuing the truth, defending freedom and helping people understand each other as did Daniel Pearl. pic.twitter.com/2T8ZivObWn
The Palestinian Authority regularly demonizes Jews, Israelis, and those who they call "settlers" and accuse them of believing in precisely the hate ideologies the PA itself espouses to its own people.
While accusing Israelis of participating in a religious war, it is Mahmoud Abbas' advisor who has called Israel "Satan's project" and presented the war with Israel as a religious war to destroy Israel and Jews. The PA Mufti, who is appointed by Abbas, has said extermination of Jews is a religious obligation and Islamic destiny.
In Israel, the isolated cases of Israeli terror against Palestinians are punished and condemned. It is the Palestinian Authority under direct instructions of Mahmoud Abbas that rewards murderers of Israelis with high salaries and calls terrorist murderers "stars in the sky of the Palestinian people."
In this op-ed in the official PA daily, the writer projects the PA's own hate ideologies onto what he refers to as Israeli "settlers." They are demonized as inhuman murderers who kill Palestinians for their own pleasure and at the orders of the Israeli government.
Under the headline "The settlers are sacrificing the Palestinians' blood as a sacrifice to Netanyahu," regular columnist for the official PA daily, Muwaffaq Matar, who is also a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council and hosts a TV program on Fatah-run Awdah TV, portrayed Israelis living beyond the Green Line as "mass murderers obsessed with bloodshed" who are "directed" and controlled by the Israeli army and government:
"Criminals, mass murderers, obsessed with bloodshed, wild unbridled foreigners, but also directed - these are the settlers, the colonialists, the pawns of the racist regime in Tel Aviv. [They are] criminals who are being activated by a remote control with dual controls - one in the hands of the heads of the occupation army, and the second in the hands of the heads of the coalition of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's government. Both of them are trying to inflict a heavy toll on the Palestinian citizens by means of groups of people devoid of the elements of human nature, who have no connection to the civilized societies other than [their] human form..." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 14, 2018]
Anyone with even a passing interest in news from the Middle East will know that all over the region, undemocratic and repressive regimes use their security forces to suppress dissent. The Palestinian authorities in Gaza and the West Bank are no exception, as a recently released Human Rights Watch report documents.
Considering that the report is “the result of a two-year investigation,” it is remarkably meager. According to the summary, HRW exposes the “machineries of repression to crush dissent” by showing that Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza “routinely arrest people whose peaceful speech displeases them and torture those in their custody.” Why Israel Is Right To Expel Human Rights Watch’s Omar Shakir
While this might give the impression that the report focuses exclusively on the abuse of people arrested for “peaceful speech,” there are also chapters that deal with cases of people accused of criminal charges in Gaza and the West Bank.
But what the report leaves out is perhaps more noteworthy than what it covers. A glimpse of what’s missing is provided on page 51, where one sentence suffices to deal with the most egregious abuses:
“Hamas authorities have also carried out 25 executions since they took control in Gaza in June 2017 [sic! Hamas took control in June 2007], including 6 in 2017, following trials that lacked appropriate due process protections and courts in Gaza have sentenced 117 people to death, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.”
In other words, a report that is touted as “the result of a two-year investigation” relies on another human rights organization to provide a one-sentence summary of executions carried out by Hamas. Presumably, two years were too short for the hard-working people at HRW to check their own records, which indicate that Hamas carried out considerably more than “25 executions” since taking power in 2007.
But the appalling sloppiness displayed by HRW when it comes to keeping track of the murderous record of the Islamist terror group that rules Gaza is a telling sign of how little Palestinian human rights matter to HRW when Israel can’t be blamed.
Dore Gold: The Bedouin Encampment of Khan al-Ahmar Violates the Oslo Accords
Khan al-Ahmar is a cluster of Bedouin structures located in the Judean Desert to the east of Jerusalem. This past year this subject has been heating up. It is located on public land and is situated on the main route connecting Jerusalem to the Jordan Valley. Twenty-eight Bedouin families live there. It is too small to really be called a village, so some label it as a hamlet or even other terms. The structures in Khan al-Ahmar were not erected with any sort of building permit, as required by Israel's Civil Administration in the West Bank.
Accordingly, demolition orders were issued in 2009. Though the residents turned to the Israeli Supreme Court, in its ruling the Court stated: "there is no dispute that the entire complex was put up in violation of the zoning laws." In the past the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Jewish families living in illegally constructed dwellings needed to be removed, as was the case in Migron (2012), Amona (2017), and Netiv Ha-Avot (2018).
Some Western commentators have fundamentally misunderstood Israel's decision to dismantle Khan al-Ahmar. A New York Times analysis insisted that Israel sought "to make room for the expansion of Jewish settlements." Of course, anyone familiar with the topography of the West Bank, with the map of the West Bank, knows that the Judean Desert is full of empty territory, so that the argument that the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar was required for settlement expansion really rings hollow.