Congress which questioned existence of Lord Ram now talking about Hinduism?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Congress which once questioned existence of Lord Ram now talking about Hinduism, says Smriti Irani

Referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on prime minister Narendra Modi that he did not understand the foundation of Hinduism, Smriti Irani said that it was strange that the party which had once raised question on Lord Ram’s existence was talking about Hindu and Hinduism.

INDIA Updated: Dec 02, 2018 22:20 IST

Union minister Smriti Irani hit out at the Congress saying the party which had once questioned the existence of Lord Ram was now talking about Hinduism.(PTI)

Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani on Sunday hit out at the Congress saying the party which had once questioned the existence of Lord Ram was now talking about Hinduism.

Referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on prime minister Narendra Modi that he did not understand the foundation of Hinduism, Irani said that it was strange that the party which had once raised question on Lord Ram’s existence was talking about Hindu and Hinduism.

“Where was the Hindu in Rahul Gandhi when Congress had submitted an affidavit that Lord Ram does not exist?..,” she asked.

In September 2007, the then UPA government withdrew from the Supreme Court its two affidavits, including a controversial one filed by the ASI claiming there was no historical or scientific evidence to establish existence of Lord Ram and Rama Setu as a man-made bridge. The then government had backtracked after the ASI affidavit triggered a massive controversy.

Read: Owaisi will have to flee like the Nizam if BJP wins, says Adityanath

When questioned on Punjab minister Navjot Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan and his remarks on chief minister Captain Amrinder Singh, Smriti Irani said that Congress president needed to answer on it.

“Why does a Congress minister insult chief minister of his state? Rahul Gandhi should answer it. Why does a Congress leader love Pakistan more than India, Congress should think about it,” she said.

She also questioned the “silence” of Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Navjot Sidhu’s Pakistan visit.

“Pakistan foreign minister said Pakistan could throw a ‘googly’ at India due to action of this (Sidhu) Congress leader. But, Rahul Gandhi is quiet on the issue..,” she said.

Also Read: Congress leaders offer prayers in temples when polls near, but for BJP they are cultural issues, says Rajnath Singh

Earlier in the day, home minister Rajnath Singh in reply to a question in Jaipur said Congress was talking about Hinduism which it has avoided discussing till now.

“Hinduism should not be connected with any sect, caste and religion. It is a way of living life and it is a human religion. What will they talk about Hindu and Hinduism? They have called Lord Ram a fictional character in the affidavit submitted in Supreme Court in Ram Setu case in 2007,” he said.

First Published: Dec 02, 2018 22:13 IST

Trump seethes, two weeks after midterms

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HILL NEWSPAPER)

 

Trump seethes, two weeks after midterms

 

Donald Trump is seething, publicly and privately, almost two weeks after midterm elections in which he at first believed he had scored a moral victory.

Democrats have run up the score in the House of Representatives and the political world has turned its focus to ominous signs for the president’s reelection hopes. In response, Trump has hit out on Twitter, in impromptu comments to reporters, and in a Sunday TV interview.

Behind the scenes, it’s no better.

“The issue was not election night. But 10 days later, we are still seeing the fallout and losing races,” said one source familiar with the president’s thinking.

Other sources who spoke with The Hill described a similar atmosphere.

“Right after the election, we felt a sense of relief that the impact of the blue wave had not been so great,” said one GOP operative with ties to the White House. “But there has been a rising tide of Democrats flipping Republican seats over the past week-and-a-half, and that has really concerned Republicans and raised eyebrows.”

People close to the administration recall, somewhat wistfully, the buoyant mood in the White House on election night, as early returns seemed to point toward a respectable showing for the GOP.

Trump’s spirits had already been lifted by the adoring crowds that had greeted him during an intense bout of campaigning in the run-up to Election Day.

On election night, the initial sense was that he had been vindicated — and not just in Senate contests.

The projection that Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) had won his competitive reelection race was met with particular pleasure at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The president had campaigned for Barr in mid-October.

But the sweetness of moments like that have curdled as Democratic gains keep ticking up. And the president seems to be taking it personally.

“All in all, it’s not bad. We are now at 37, going on 40,” the source familiar with Trump’s thinking said, referring to total seat losses for the House GOP.  But “the expectation was, for a guy who spent as much time and effort, that it would have been better.”

The president’s souring mood has been evident on Twitter, where initial proclamations of victory have given way to familiar complaints about unfair treatment by the media.

“People are not being told that the Republican Party is on track to pick up two seats in the U.S. Senate, and epic victory: 53 to 47,” he tweeted on Friday. “The Fake News Media only wants to speak of the House, where the Midterm results were better than other sitting Presidents.”

In a “Fox News Sunday” interview with Chris Wallace, Trump insisted that his mood was not dark, as Wallace posited, but “very light.”

But his later answers belied that claim. He sought credit for some victories while arguing that GOP defeats showed only that Republican candidates could not match his appeal to voters.

“I have people that won’t vote unless I’m on the ballot, okay? And I wasn’t on the ballot,” Trump told Wallace.

In and around the White House, there is speculation about how the president’s political team might change.

Political director Bill Stepien, who is held in broadly high regard even in the faction-riven White House, has been seen as likely to join the president’s reelection campaign — though some question where he would fit into a chain of command that already has a campaign manager, Brad Parscale.

Renewed speculation over chief of staff John Kelly’s future also impacts the picture.

Kelly is seen, by allies and detractors alike, as more concerned with policy and managerial order than with the finer points of electoral politics.

Were he to be replaced by a more political figure — such as Nick Ayers, currently chief of staff to Vice President Pence — that would likely have ripple effects through the in-house team.

Trump fueled the Kelly gossip during his “Fox News Sunday” interview when he pointedly declined to repeat his prior pledge that his chief of staff would remain in place until 2020.

Trump noted of Kelly, “There are a couple of things where it’s just not his strength. It’s not his fault, it’s not his strength.” Those comments could be seen as a reference to Kelly’s perceived lack of interest in campaign-style politics.

A brief but intense return to the trail could provide one salve for Trump’s spirits, however.

On Nov. 26, he will hold two rallies in Mississippi, where Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith is seeking to hold off Democrat Mike Espy in a Senate runoff set for the next day.

Meanwhile, some Trump loyalists rationalize his mood as an understandable swing after the rigors of the campaign trail.

“The last couple of days, he looked tired. I think he is probably exhausted from the [pre-election] sprint,” said Barry Bennett on Friday. Bennett served as a senior advisor to Trump’s 2016 campaign.

But, Bennett insisted, there was no underlying reason to fear for Trump’s reelection hopes.

“Structurally, I just don’t see much there,” he said. “Of course I wish we’d kept the House, but that was historically improbable.”

There are warning signs for Trump, however, including the strong performance of Democratic senators in the Rust Belt states that made the difference between winning and losing in 2016.

Democratic senators in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio all won reelection comfortably. All four states were carried by Trump two years before.

Brad Blakeman, a member of the senior staff in President George W. Bush’s administration and a supporter of the current president, demurred when asked if those results were troubling.

“I don’t think it’s troubling. I think it’s concerning,” Blakeman said. “Any president up for reelection should be concerned with his support in battleground states. But there is some comfort that can be taken from the shellacking President Obama and President Clinton took, and yet they both won reelection handily.”

In the broader Republican world, however, there is concern not just at the bottom-line results but at exit polls that showed the party faring poorly with college educated voters, female voters and in the suburbs.

Some more establishment-friendly voices place the blame on Trump, contending that his fiery rhetoric on topics such as immigration and the caravan of migrants that originated in Central America, put off as many voters as it attracted.

“I think the immigration rhetoric lost us several seats in Hispanic districts, and it’s not going to get better in 2020,” lamented one GOP operative who worked on the midterms. “There is no district we lost here that we are going to win in 2020 — and it’s going to hurt recruiting, quite honestly.”

Independent experts agree that there are portents of trouble for Trump in the midterm results, even though they stress plenty of caveats.

“Midterms are not presidential elections, and they are not predictive,”cautioned Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

“But the president’s standing is undeniably shaky and his deliberately divisive style is not allowing him to capitalize on a time of relative peace and prosperity.”

That’s the kind of verdict likely to stoke Trump’s ire to new heights.

The Memo is a reported column by Niall Stanage, primarily focused on Donald Trump’s presidency.

Congressional Freshman Class Photos Show How Different The House Will Look

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘BUSTLE NEWS’)

 

These 2019 Congressional Freshman Class Photos Show How Different The House Is Going To Look

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

A week after the midterm elections, newly elected lawmakers took their 2019 congressional freshman class photo in front of the U.S. Capitol. In addition to the fact that the incoming representatives all look very happy, images from the photo shoot also illustrate just how much more diverse this Congress will be from previous ones.

Although there are still some races that have yet to be called, Democrats are on track to win 38 seats in the House of Representatives, giving them control of the chamber for the first time since 2010, while losing at least one seat in the Senate. Democrats’ projected gain in the House is their biggest since 2006, according to FiveThirtyEight, when they won 32 seats.

The midterms were historic for several reasons. For one, turnout was higher than in any midterm election in more than 100 years: According to a preliminary analysis by the United States Election Project, 49.2 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in 2018. The previous high was 1966, when 48.7 percent of eligible Americans voted, and midterm elections generally average around 40 percent turnout.

In addition, the midterms produced what will be the most diverse Congress in American history, with a record number of women and people of color winning their elections.

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The new Congress will feature more female legislators than ever before, according to NPR. At least 121 women will be serving in the House or Senate once the new Congress is sworn in, meaning that 23 percent of federal lawmakers will be women.

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In addition, Congress will continue to get more racially diverse, with more legislators of color in the 116th Congress than at any other point in U.S. history. According to The Conversation, 26.7 of the new Congress will be non-white; as a share of the legislature, there will be more Black and Latinx lawmakers in Washington than ever before, while the number of Asian-Americans in Congress will hold steady.

Several individual candidates set records in the midterms as well. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib will be the first Muslim women to serve in Congress; additionally, Omar is the first Somali-American and Tlaib the first Palestinian-American woman to win seats. Meanwhile, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland became the first Native American women elected to Congress.

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Finally, the midterms will result in a much younger Congress than the one that currently serves: Thanks to successful millennial candidates such as Abby Finkenauer, Xochitl Torres Small, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — the youngest woman ever elected to Congress — the age of the average federal lawmaker will drop by 10 years once the new Congress is sworn in.

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The changes in Congress’s diversity are due almost entirely to Democratic candidates. While the majority of newly elected Democrats are women, all but one of the newly elected Republicans are men, according to the Washington Post. In fact, House Republicans will have seven fewer women in their ranks in 2019 than they do now, according to PBS, and three fewer people of color. Elections analyst Dave Wasserman reports that the percentage of House Republicans who are white men is set to rise from 86 percent to 90 percent once the new members are sworn in.

Congress Next To Legalize Marijuana?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘MOTHER JONES’)

 

Three States Passed Marijuana Legalization Measures Tuesday. Congress Might Finally Be Next.

Say goodbye to weed’s biggest opponent on the Hill.

bubaone/Getty

During a House Rules Committee debate in January, the chairman, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), was blunt. “I, as probably everybody in this rooms knows, have a strong opinion on drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol,” Sessions said while members argued over an amendment that would protect states with legal cannabis from federal interference. “Marijuana is an addictive product, and the merchants of addiction make it that way. They make it for addiction. They make it to where our people, our young people, become addicted to marijuana and keep going.”

While mostly false—marijuana has been shown to be mildly addictive, but many patients rely on it as a medicine to treat chronic pain and other ailments—it was a pretty typical statement from the congressman. Having served more than two decades in the House, Sessions had become a powerful, if not the most influential, opponent of marijuana on the Hill, halting dozens of measures related to legalization. But on Tuesday, he lost, and lost pretty big—by more than 6 points—to his Democratic challenger, civil rights attorney Colin Allred, to represent Texas’ 32nd District.

In addition to losing Pete Sessions, Washington rid itself of the other Sessions last week—now-former Attorney General Jeff Sessions (no relation)—and with that, two of the biggest roadblocks to legalizing marijuana are finally gone, boosted by a blue wave that took the House and, in turn, created a more friendly environment for marijuana. Now, advocates are planning their attack.

With Democrats in control of the House, “the debate we’re going to have is not should we legalize, but how we’ll legalize marijuana,” an optimistic Michael Collins, interim director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, tells Mother Jones. “We’re closer than we’ve ever been.”

Already, 33 states have medical marijuana laws on the books, 10 allow adult recreational cannabis use, and 66 percent of the country supports legalizing marijuana, according to an October Gallup poll, including more than half of Republicans.

“Marijuana law reform is not a ‘red’ or ‘blue’ issue, it is a nonpartisan position favored by most Americans, including those residing in the heartland of America,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of marijuana advocacy group NORML, tells Mother Jones.

Even still, Congress has failed to pass any meaningful marijuana legislation in the past few years, and in the House, that was in large part due to Rep. Sessions. In a blog post on Election Day, NORML political director Justin Strekal called Sessions the “single greatest impediment” in the chamber to the passage of “common-sense, voter-supported marijuana law reform measures.” According to analysis by Tom Angell at Marijuana Moment, a cannabis news site, the House Rules Committee has blocked marijuana law reform proposals in at least 34 instances just in this congressional session, which began January 2017. During his career as rules committee chair, beginning in 2013, Sessions thwarted amendments that would have expanded research on medical marijuana, allowed Native American tribes to participate in the cannabis industry, and enabled the federal government to tax marijuana sales, among other proposals, according to Angell.

“[Sessions] made it clear from day one of his House tenure that no marijuana amendments would be heard on the House floor,” Armentano says. “He kept that promise.”

Another key marijuana opponent, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), is also retiringin January. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Goodlatte controlled the fate of bills relating to criminal justice. He blocked severalpieces of cannabis legislation during his tenure, including the 2018 STATES Act, which would have officially protected states with marijuana laws from federal punishment, and was supported by President Donald Trump. (The president has actually voiced support for states’ right to regulate cannabis independently.)

Replacing this old guard will be more than two dozen cannabis-friendly candidates who won their races, including Allred. “I support the use of medical marijuana as an alternative to the habit-forming opioids that have become a national crisis,” Allred told Politico in March. “This common-sense approach to alternative treatments has been opposed by Pete Sessions, and is something I will fight to expand.” In Virginia’s 6th District, Goodlatte will be succeeded by Republican Ben Cline, who has sponsored and passed progressive marijuana legislation in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Advocates say they are eager to work with these members to pass any and all legislation they can. Some of their biggest goals include securing access to marijuana for veterans, allowing banks to accept money from state-legal cannabis businesses, and de-scheduling weed from its Schedule 1 status (the same category as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy), Armentano says.

“We’ve taken out a big opponent of marijuana and the House has flipped,” Collins adds. “There’s a world of possibilities out there for marijuana reform.”

And with Attorney General Sessions out, advocates are hopeful Trump’s new appointee will recognize where the public stands on marijuana and be open to the possibility of reform. “Sessions, no doubt about it, was a disaster on drug policy,” says Collins. “[He had] very regressive positions on marijuana legalization, sentencing, and the opioid epidemic, and we’re glad to see the back of him.”

Boosting advocates’ hopes even further, Election Day saw plenty of other victories for marijuana. Michigan approved recreational cannabis, while Missouri and Utah—both red states—passed ballot measures that will legalize medical marijuana. (Though, as I recently wrote, Utah lawmakers and backers of the ballot measure, under rather unique circumstances, agreed to pass a “compromise” bill ahead of the election no matter the outcome of the vote.) And in Florida, voters passed Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to up to 1.4 million disenfranchised felons in the state, including tens of thousands convicted of marijuana-related offenses, according to NORML.

Of course, there are still plenty hurdles left to jump—the Senate and White House are still under Republican control, and there’s nothing to indicate a new attorney general will actually be more friendly to legalization—but advocates again emphasize that cannabis legalization isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a partisan issue, especially because Trump has supported states making their own decisions about weed.

But either way, advocates are doing their best to ensure that opposing legalization isn’t a winning strategy. “Opposition on this issue—you’re on the wrong side of history,” Collins says. “There’s a train coming in your direction, and it’s best to get on board.”

“This year, it really, really is the most important contest in decades,”writes David Corn. Nothing less than American democracy is on the ballot. See the full list of our election stories here.

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Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn’t fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jonesplease join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2018 demands.

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Triad Of Evil: The Three Most Dangerous Men In The World

Triad Of Evil: The Three Most Dangerous Men In The World

 

American Presidents, at least since the time of old man Bush was in the Office, have liked to use slogans for about everything. Do you remember “1,000 points of light”, “Desert Shield and Desert Storm” and how about “the Axis of Evil”. The three Counties whose Leaders I will be speaking of here in a moment, I do not consider to be my enemy nor the enemy of the people of the United States, the issue is their Leaders. There are many very bad, very dangerous people in the world we live in and most are not leaders of Nations, but these three are. Unfortunately throughout history the people of a Nation tend to be known by the Leaders they keep. How many hundreds of millions or even billions of innocent people have died throughout history because they had a bad apple at the top? If you have a five gallon basket of apples that are beautiful and tasty, then you lay one rotten apple on the top of the pile, soon the whole basket will be as worthless as the one on top, rotten to the core.

 

There are people who run terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban whom I believe are very evil to the core of their souls. There are also people like the “Supreme Leader” Ali Khomeini of Iran and his hand-picked murderers within the IRGC who seem to think it is okay to murder at will, even though they officially have nothing to do with the Iranian Government, I would not consider these folks to be kind loving people either. These days we are all hearing about the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia ordering the torture death of a journalists in Turkey. The Crown Prince doesn’t sound like a Saint himself, just a Royal. Yet in my opinion none of these folks are in the position to be able to display their evil as fully as the Triad of which this article is about.

 

The three men of which this article is about are all Presidents of their Nations. First, and in my opinion the most dangerous of the three is Xi Jinping of China. The other two men are a tie for second most dangerous person in the world, they are Vladimir Putin of Russia and Don-key Trump of the United States. Obviously the “Don-key Trump” name is one I call him personally because of what I think of him personally. The following are the reasons why I feel these three men, in my opinion, are the modern-day “Triad of Evil”.

1.) Xi Jinping of China: Mr. Jinping is a devout follower of Communist China’s original founder and Mass Butcher Chairman Mao. When Chairman Mao and his Communists murderers took control of the Mainland back in the late 1940’s from the legitimate government of China they killed tens of millions of the citizens and once he had taken control he and his government then killed hundreds of millions of the citizens through enforced starvation. When Xi Jinping took Office in March of 2013 he was supposed to be President for 10 years. With the past several Presidents they have a gathering of all of the Communists Party Leadership after 5 years in which at the 5 year break the residing President gives his nod to whom he wants to be the next President when the last 5 years of his term is over, Mr. Jinping did not do this. Every indication is that Mr. Jinping has decided to be “President for life” of China. Mr. Jinping is a very smart person, this is one of the things that makes him so dangerous to the rest of the world, that and his belief that his version of China is the legitimate ruler of at least the eastern half of the globe. The Communists Leaders of this version of China play the “long game”, they always have. Here in the U.S. the politicians can’t ever think past the next election and Mr. Jinping plays them for the fools they are because of this flaw. It is my belief that as long as China does attack a U.S. military ship or plane in the (Indo-Asian Sea) also known as the “South China Sea”, nor attack another NATO vessel that Xi Jinping’s government will be able to get away with a wide range of aggression in the area. It is my personal opinion that this aggression does include attacking Taiwan as it is my total belief that the U.S. would not help the people of Taiwan if this happens. The most that I believe would happen is that the U.S. government would put heavy sanctions on China such as stopping all U.S. imports into China and of course China would do the same with U.S. imports. This would be very unpopular here in the States though because of the financial damage it would do to our economy for as you know, money is more important than blood, as long as it is someone else’s blood. Besides, wouldn’t Wal-Mart go bankrupt if they weren’t allowed to buy from China?

2.) I had to put #2 as a tie between Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump. But if I had to give it a nod I probably would put Mr. Putin in as #2 because he has a rubber stamp government that will do what ever he decides he wants to do. Mr. Trump is a wanna-be Dictator who I believe would be worse than Mr. Putin except that we do have a Congress and a Senate as well as a Supreme Court that is designed to help keep him in check. Trouble is that with the jelly spine of the Republican Party Mr. Trump may well reach the level of Mr. Putin quite soon.  I believe that if in the mid-term election in a couple of weeks if the Republicans can maintain the Leadership of the Congress and the Senate, the worst of Mr. Trump’s actions are yet to come.

Simply put, President Putin is a mass murderer and he has balls of steel but he is a rather intelligent person. Mr. Trump on the other hand is an idiot, the man is simply a very ignorant, very dangerous ego-maniac that just like these other two “Leaders” care nothing about the “rule of law.” Mr. Trump only cares about his ego, having unchecked power, and how much wealth he can steal from other people. But, come to think of it, doesn’t that describe all three of these individuals?

Leaked RNC Poll Reveals the Midterms Are All About Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BLOOMBERG NEWS)

 

Leaked RNC Poll Reveals the Midterms Are All About Trump

The internal report was conducted last month for the Republican National Committee by the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.

President Donald Trump speaks on Monday before boarding Marine One from the White House’s South Lawn in Washington.

PHOTOGRAPHER: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

President Donald Trump told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he won’t be to blame if the GOP loses big on Nov. 6, but a private Republican Party survey leaked to Bloomberg Business week concludes that he will. The internal report, conducted last month for the Republican National Committee by the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, states explicitly that “research indicates the determining factor in this election is how voters feel about President Trump.” A representative for the RNC declined to comment.

The conclusion of a poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies
The conclusion of a poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies

In a sense, Trump doesn’t really disagree with the survey’s finding that the election will be all about him, so long as the outcome is positive for Republicans. In the interview, he said he senses that voter enthusiasm rivals what it was in 2016, when Republicans swept into power by winning control of the White House and Congress. “I think I’m helping people,” Trump said. “I don’t believe anybody’s ever had this kind of impact.”

But the president’s conditional braggadocio contains an out clause. “It’s a tough year,” he told the AP. “The midterms are very tough for anybody the opposite of president—for whatever reason, nobody has been able to say.”

The cover of a polling report conducted by Public Opinion Strategies.
The cover of a polling report conducted by Public Opinion Strategies.

It’s true that midterms are generally tough on a president’s party, but it’s no mystery why that is. The out party typically thrives because midterms are viewed as a referendum on the president. A Bookings Institution study found that in 18 of the past 20 midterm elections, the president’s party lost an average of 33 House seats.

There’s little reason to think this year will be different. A new survey from Morning Consult find that Trump’s approval rating is a meager 43 percent, while 52 percent disapprove of his performance. The same survey also suggests that voters find it increasingly difficult to distinguish between Trump and Republican members of Congress.

That could turn out to be a positive for Republican Senate candidates challenging incumbent Democrats in states that went for Trump, such as North Dakota and Missouri. But if Republicans lose the House, the party’s own polling suggests Trump will deserve the lion’s share of the blame, whether he cares to accept it or not.

Before it’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg Terminal.

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Trump Blasts Sessions Because Sessions Obeyed The Law–How Ignorant, How Sick

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘POLITICO NEWS’)

 

Trump blasts Sessions over charges against GOP congressmen ahead of midterms

Updated 

President Donald Trump on Monday attacked his Justice Department for indicting two Republican congressmen ahead of this fall’s midterm elections, admonishing Attorney General Jeff Sessions for potentially robbing the GOP of “two easy wins” in November.

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff.”

Trump has made a habit of tweeting insults at Sessions ever since the attorney general recused himself from oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe in March 2017. But Monday’s jabs marked an extraordinarily brazen suggestion by the president that America’s chief law enforcement officer should have weighted the political repercussions of the indictments against the basic integrity of the U.S. justice system.

According to a March 2012 Justice Department memorandum from then-Attorney General Eric Holder: “Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party.”

Rep. Chris Collins of New York and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California — the first two lawmakers to endorse the president’s 2016 bid for the White House — were indicted last month. Both were in the middle of reelection campaigns in districts that are now considered competitive in a season where Republicans were already playing defense.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, declined to comment on the president’s online remark.

Collins and his son were charged as part of an insider trading scheme, and the third-term congressman from the Buffalo area faces multiple counts of securities fraud, as well as charges of wire fraud and lying to investigators. He has since suspended his re-election campaign and will attempt to remove his name from the ballot.

Hunter and his wife are accused of improperly using hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars as a personal slush fund for expenses including family vacations and dental work.

Hunter, a five-term incumbent, is also accused of filing false campaign reports and wire fraud. Unless he were to pass away before Aug. 31, California Republicans will not be able to replace him on the ballot in his San Diego-based district this November, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.

Trump ripped into Sessions again in a tweet posted minutes later Monday, suggesting that the attorney general, who was confirmed over “no” votes from all but one Democratic senator, is sure to win favor from Capitol Hill’s minority party for prosecuting the two GOP House members.

“The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now. Same thing with Lyin’ James Comey,” Trump posted. “The Dems all hated him, wanted him out, thought he was disgusting – UNTIL I FIRED HIM! Immediately he became a wonderful man, a saint like figure in fact. Really sick!”

Corporate concentration threatens American democracy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE WORLD POST’)

 

Corporate concentration threatens American democracy

By Nathan Gardels, WorldPost editor in chief

Corporate concentration in the United States is not only increasing inequality but also undermining competition and consumers’ standard of living. Politically, the commensurate lobbying influence of big tech, big finance and other large conglomerates has created what political scientist Francis Fukuyama calls a “vetocracy” — where vested concerns have amassed the clout to choke off legislative reforms that would diminish their spoils.

Why the opposite is happening in the European Union is an unfamiliar tale of how governance one step removed from electoral democracy has been able to resist the lobbying of organized special interests to make policy that benefits the average person.

Active antitrust policies in the second half of the 20th century fairly leveled the playing field of American commerce. “But starting around 2000, U.S. markets began to lose their competitive edge,” Germán Gutiérrez and Thomas Philippon write, based on a new study of theirs.

“Now, Internet access and monthly cellphone plans are much cheaper in Europe than in America, as are flights. Even in Mexico, mobile data plans are better priced than in the United States. … Meanwhile in the United States, deregulation and antitrust efforts have nearly ground to a halt. The United States has not completed a major reform to the goods and services market since 1996, and as a result, its industries have grown increasingly concentrated.”

What explains this stunning shift is deliberate policy choices. As the authors relate: “European countries created the single market, which took effect in 1993, and deregulated their domestic markets. Today, most European Union countries score better than the United States in enacting policies that make industries more competitive. Not surprisingly, antitrust enforcement remains active in Europe, with two recent cases against Google resulting in over $7.7 billion in fines. European markets are also less concentrated than U.S. markets.”

Gutiérrez and Philippon argue that “free markets are supposed to discipline private companies, but today, many private companies have grown so dominant that they can get away with bad service, high prices and deficient privacy safeguards. … If America wants to lead once more in this realm, it must remember its own history and relearn the lessons it successfully taught the rest of the world.”

Mario Monti — who was Italian prime minister from 2011 to 2013 as well as the E.U. competition commissioner from 1999 to 2004 and is famous for “shooting down mergers in flames” — agrees with Gutiérrez and Philippon. But he adds an important dimension they don’t discuss: how the much-maligned “technocratic” European Commission has been more able than American antitrust authorities to resist undue corporate influence over policy decisions.

While antitrust efforts in the United States are highly sensitive to election cycles and outcomes, Monti points out, the European Commission (which is indirectly elected by the European Parliament) operates at arm’s length from politics and can make decisions that are independent from lobbyist pressures on parliaments at both the national and European level. As he put it in a recent interview, “the more far away you are, the less you feel under pressure.”

The result is policy decisions that are more disinterested because the process is less politicized. This same technocratic distance in Brussels that has enabled a vigorous competition policy also applies to Europe’s landmark privacy regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), passed earlier this year.

Yet as Giovanni Buttarelli, the E.U.’s data protection supervisor charged with implementing the GDPR, laments, passing a law is only the beginning of reining in big tech abuses. “First came the scaremongering. Then came the strong-arming. After being contested in arguably the biggest lobbying exercise in the history of the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation became fully applicable at the end of May,” he writes from Brussels. “Since its passage, there have been great efforts at compliance, which regulators recognize. At the same time, unfortunately, consumers have felt nudged or bullied by companies into agreeing to business as usual. This would appear to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the new law.”

The challenge of implementing the law now, says Buttarelli, is continually challenging big tech. As he puts it, “The E.U. is seeking to prevent people from being cajoled into ‘consenting’ to unfair contracts and accepting surveillance in exchange for a service.”

Buttarelli is looking ahead to the next phase of reform. Under that reform, “Devices and programming would be geared by default to safeguard people’s privacy and freedom. Today’s overcentralized Internet would be de-concentrated, as advocated by Tim Berners-Lee, who first invented the Internet, with a fairer allocation of the digital dividend and with the control of information handed back to individuals from big tech and the state.”

While big tech lobbyists have so far frustrated privacy legislation at the national level in the United States, California has been able to pass curbs on abuses of personal data. Ironically, this was due not to technocratic insulation from politics but its opposite: the citizens’ ballot initiative. A San Francisco real estate magnate funded the gathering of qualifying signatures for a proposition that would impose the same kind of limits on use of personal data in California as contained in the GDPR, forcing big tech to come — reluctantly — to the table.

State legislators then negotiated and passed a measure this summer along GDPR lines that would be open to amendment as technology evolves. With legislation secured, the initiative was withdrawn from the public ballot. (If law is made by the citizens’ ballot initiative, it can only be amended by another vote of the public.) As state Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D), who crafted the compromise between privacy advocates and the tech companies, notes, the law in effect makes California’s attorney general the nation’s “chief privacy officer,” since most of the big tech companies affected are located in Silicon Valley.

Making a market that works for the average citizen requires government that acts in the public interest, not at the behest of the largest players in the economy who underwrite the electoral and legislative process. To the extent that elected legislatures are captured by organized special interests, the “vetocracy” can be circumvented either by indirectly elected technocratic authorities or by direct democracy through the citizens’ ballot initiative.

The experiences with antitrust and privacy regulation examined in The WorldPost this week suggest that a mixed system that combines disinterested technocrats, elected representatives and direct democracy — each as a check and balance on the other — would be the most intelligent form of governance.

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The unimpeachable integrity of the Republicans

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

The unimpeachable integrity of the Republicans

 2:10
Devin Nunes just tied the Mueller probe to the 2018 midterms

The Fix’s Aaron Blake analyzes the key takeaways from a secret recording of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. 

ColumnistAugust 10 at 6:38 PM

Finally, Rep. Devin Nunes has given Americans a reason to reelect Republicans.
They want to have an impeachment!
No, not that impeachment.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee told donors that “most” Republicans are on board with impeaching Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, according to a recording broadcast this week by MSNBC. They just don’t have time “right before the election.” Hence the need to retain a GOP majority.
Rosenstein must have done something truly and utterly horrible, because these guys don’t impeach just anybody. In fact, they impeach nobody. Until now they hadn’t given a moment’s thought to impeaching a single member of the Trump administration:
Not Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who, Forbes reports, has been accused by former associates of siphoning or outright stealing roughly $120 million.
Not former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, who, while in office, got a bargain condo rental from a lobbyist’s wife, used his job to find work for his wife and had taxpayers procure for him everything from a soundproof phone booth to moisturizing lotion.
Not the former national security adviser who admitted to lying to the FBI,not the former White House staff secretary accused of domestic violence, not the presidential son-in-law who had White House meetings with his family’s lenders, not the housing secretary accused of potentially helping his son’s business, not the many Cabinet secretaries who traveled for pleasure at taxpayer expense, not the former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director who bought tobacco stock while in office.
And certainly not the president, whose most recent emolument bath was poured by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince: Bookings by his highness’s entourage spurred a spike in the quarterly revenue at the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan.
What Rosenstein has done must be worse than all that, and worse than the behaviors of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Rick Gates that inspire no curiosity among House Republican investigators.
So what grave act of corruption has finally stirred them? Well, according to impeachment articles filed last month , Rosenstein “repeatedly failed to produce documents” that House Republicans demanded as part of their ongoing effort to discredit the Russia probe and revive investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Now that is pure evil. But it gets worse! Some of the documents Rosenstein provided “were heavily and unnecessarily redacted.”
This is nigh unto treason.
Among the allegations in the impeachment articles: “The Department of Justice, under the supervision of Mr. Rosenstein, unnecessarily redacted the price of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s $70,000 conference table.”
Has there ever been a higher crime committed?
The House Republicans are ideally positioned to sit in judgment of Rosenstein because of their own unimpeachable conduct. So above reproach are they that one of their first votes after swearing in was an attempt to kill the House ethics office.
But I quibble with Nunes (Calif.) on the timing of Rosenstein’s impeachment. It must be immediate, even if it postpones confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, for one reason: House Republicans are running out of prospective impeachment managers.
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), an obvious candidate, resigned over his use of public funds to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit.
Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), another ideal choice, resigned after word got out of a sexual-harassment settlement with a staffer the married congressman called his “soul mate.”
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) also can’t be of use. He resigned over allegations that he urged his mistress to seek an abortion.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) likewise won’t be available. He quit when a former aide alleged that he offered her $5 million to have his child as a surrogate.
But if Nunes acts soon against Rosenstein, he still has talented prospects to name as impeachment managers. May I suggest:
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who remains tentatively available to sit in judgment of Rosenstein, after his arrest this week on charges of insider trading. Five other House Republicans who invested in the same company but haven’t been charged are also available.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), assuming he has free time after battling allegations by seven former Ohio State wrestlers that he turned a blind eye to sexual misconduct when serving as a coach.
Others who could judge Rosenstein: Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), who pleaded guilty to assault after body-slamming a reporter; Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who is retiring after a naked photograph of him leaked online; and Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.), who is under investigation by the FBIover the alleged use of campaign funds for his children’s tuition, shopping trips and airfare for a pet rabbit.
Nunes himself is battling allegations that he got favorable terms on a winery investment and used political contributions to pay for basketball tickets and Las Vegas trips.
Let’s hope these trifles don’t distract him from the nation’s urgent business: impeaching Rosenstein for the high crime of redacting the price of a conference table.
Read more from Dana Milbank’s archivefollow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

If Our President Is Found Guilty Of Treason: Then What? Part 1 of 2

 

For those of you who follow this blog I know that you are aware that I am not a fan of Donald Trump or of Mike Pence. You would also know that I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton, the Republican Party or of the Democratic Party. I believe that all of the fore mentioned are selfish, self-centered, crooked, ego maniacs who care nothing about America or of the people of this Country. I believe that by definition, they are all guilty of Treason toward the American people and of the Constitution they swore on a Bible to uphold.

 

I looked up the word Treason online to see what Google had to say about the definition of the word and it gave me a couple of responses of which I am going to share with you now.

  1. A violation of allegiance to one’s Sovereign or to one’s State. 2. The betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith, treachery.

In yesterday’s edition of the Washington Post under a column they call their “Truth Checker” it said that since Donald Trump became our President he has averaged telling 7.6 untruths per day. You know something, I really do wish that the American Media Outlets would quit saying “untruths” and simply call them what they are, they are called lies folks. Think about it folks, our own President has averaged lying to you and to me 8 times every day since he took Office. Mr. Trump is averaging lying to us more than 50 per week, every week. How would you feel if your spouse lied to you more than 50 times every week? How about your supervisor at your job? How could you or I be expected to believe a single thing that ever comes out of their mouth? I’m sorry but there is no way I could! I love my wife but if I realized that she was constantly lying to me about basically everything, I would insist she find another place to live, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you feel that you had been betrayed? How in the heck is it any difference with our President, shouldn’t ‘we the people’ insist that Mr. Trump find another place to live, like in the basement in Leavenworth Federal Prison?

 

I have heard several people say that “they just can’t believe that someone has not shot him (Mr. Trump) yet.” I have told them that I believe a much better response by the American people and legal system would be if that whole Trump crew were impeached, imprisoned for life and to have all of their earthly possessions stripper from them, sold to the highest bidder with all of the money being used to pay down the National Debt. I believe that would hurt them much more than lets say, a firing squad. Obviously I believe that President Trump is guilty of several impeachable crimes, including treason against America and our people. Honestly I believe that a Country, any Country, is their people, not their government. I believe that every single day since Mr. Trump became a viable/possible Presidential contender during his Campaign up until this moment that he and several members of his direct family and staff have been committing treason against us, the American people.

 

Folks, now comes the basic question of this letter to you. If the Republican Party, and my glorious Senator Mitch McConnell (Senate majority leader) grows a set, what is next? I know quite a few folks from Indiana including family members who have lived there for decades who have told me over and over again that they believe that Vice President Mike Pence is even more dangerous to the American people than Donald Trump is.  Until Mr. Pence became a VP Candidate I honestly didn’t know a lot about him but what I have seen of him since then has given me no confidence at all in him as a Leader. By the American legal code set up in the U.S. Constitution if Mr. Trump is impeached then Mr. Pence becomes our President. Will that mean that with him America will get “back on track?” Honestly I don’t believe that Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party will do anything toward impeaching Mr. Trump until after the elections this November. I believe that the Republican Party has decided to ‘throw their hat’ in with the President for the Elections this fall. I believe that they will live or die with him until then. Personally I believe that in November the Republicans will lose the House by a large margin, the Senate is the main question. The biggest question will be if the Democrats can pick up two Senate Seats to take over the Leadership of the Senate. If this were to happen I believe that Mr. Trump will be impeached by the Senate. This November only 5 Republican ‘at risk’ Senate Seats are on the Ballot, in the 2020 Presidential Elections more than 20 of these Republican Seats ‘will be at risk.’ If the Republicans lose both Houses this November they will not want to go into that election in 2020 with Mr. Trump in the White House. This is what I believe it will take for the Republicans to vote for impeachment. I also believe that if Mr. Trump is impeached that Mr. Pence, as our new President, will pull a ‘Gerald Ford’ and Pardon him as his first official act as President to ‘help America start to heal.” Question is, can we the American people ever really heal with either the Republicans or the Democrats at the Helm of Our Ship?

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