Which One Would It Be?

Which One Would It Be?

 

This title is something that I just had cross across my mind a few moments ago. Turns out it is a short thought but with a very real possibility of coming true, maybe. And, is the thought here, what if is the answer to the question, what if, one of these Democratic candidates for President was going to be our Nations next President whether we like the person at all, or not, which one would you choose? I know that it is still months away, this Presidential voting season, yet eventually we are all going to have to choose someone, even if we choose to not vote at all, that is still a vote you gave away to someone else to do for you.

 

I am not saying that Donald Trump won’t be our next President, or some yet unannounced candidate Or even Mr. Putin. What I am saying is what if, what if one of those top dozen of so candidates running for the office of President, which one would you honestly say is your first choice? Maybe even who would then be your choice for VP? I guess I am just not fully satisfied with the choices, I am not fully sold on anyone of them, are you? I guess my leanings are as an independent that leans toward the conservative/moderates in the Democrats direction. I have turned my face from the Republican side of the Isle mainly because of folks like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Fox News. Hate, hate and more hate, very sad. This is not the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan.

 

Mr. Biden they say is probably the most ‘conservative’ yet for me I just don’t trust him and as far as I believe, to old, and I am a 63 year old saying that. I don’t know who is going to win, I certainly have not been shown such a thing. What if, just what if now, what if (already to old) Bernie Sanders was our next President and lets say, Senator Warren as the VP? What if? I am being serious, what if one of the folks was going to be our next President, who would you choose? This short article was designed to be a little snack for your inner thoughts, I hope you enjoyed this food for your thoughts on this matter. May God have mercy on us all, no matter what flesh and bones sits in That Chair.

Brazil: 68% Believe Lula Would Beat Bolsonaro in Elections

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Vox Populi: 68% Believe Lula Would Beat Bolsonaro in Elections

Lula remained a 508-day political prisoner at the Curitiba Federal Police after conviction in the triple case – in a sentence by former judge Sérgio Moro, who was awarded the post of Bolsonaro minister, journalist Esmael Morais points out

(Photo: Ricardo Stuckert | Reuters)
 

By Esmael Morais, in his blog – Vox Populi states that 68% of the population believes that former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (PT) would have beaten Jair Bolsonaro in 2018 if he was not prevented from competing for Planalto Palace due to unjust imprisonment.

According to the institute, had there been a confrontation between Lula and Bolsonaro, the petista would have been victorious with 51% of the voting intentions.

Vox Populi still reports that the same 51% consider the current government worse or much worse than the petista.

Former President Lula says the poll numbers have renewed his hopes to counter Jair Bolsonaro’s already failed misrule.

Lula remained a 508-day political prisoner at the Curitiba Federal Police after conviction in the triple case – in a sentence by former judge Sérgio Moro, who was awarded the post of Bolsonaro minister.

Knesset dissolves, sets unprecedented third election in under a year

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Knesset dissolves, sets unprecedented third election in under a year

Israelis to head back to polls on March 2 in latest bid to solve political deadlock that has engulfed country; short-lived 22nd Knesset automatically disperses at midnight

Benny Gantz walks during a session of the Knesset in Jerusalem on December 11, 2019.(Gali TIBBON / AFP)

Benny Gantz walks during a session of the Knesset in Jerusalem on December 11, 2019.(Gali TIBBON / AFP)

Israelis will return to the ballot box for the third consecutive national election in 11 months on March 2 after its top politicians again failed to build a governing coalition, in the latest twist in a sprawling and unprecedented crisis that has left the country in political limbo for a year.

The Knesset was automatically dispersed at midnight on Wednesday, but lawmakers continued debating until early Thursday on the date of the vote.

With no Knesset member having gained the support of 61 MKs by the midnight deadline, the Knesset officially dissolved and new elections set for 90 days time, March 10.

However, having started the debate before midnight, Knesset members had until President Reuven Rivlin’s official announcement on Thursday, that no MK gained enough support to build a coalition, to pass the law setting the date for the new elections.

A general view of the Israeli parliament during a vote on a bill to dissolve the parliament, at the Knesset, in Jerusalem on December 11, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

With March 10 falling on the Jewish festival on Purim and various other calendar considerations, MKs eventually finalized a bill setting the elections for March 2.

The second and third readings of the vote passed by 96 in favor with seven against. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was absent for earlier proceedings, showed up for the votes that were passed just before 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

That vote brought to an official close attempts by Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to assemble a coalition following the September election. Talks between Netanyahu and Gantz, leaders of the two-largest parties, on a unity arrangement broke down with both sides trading blame.

Over the past 21 days, lawmakers also had the opportunity to nominate any MK for a shot at forming a government by gathering 61 signatures, but no such candidate was nominated.

This combination picture created on September 18, 2019 shows, Benny Gantz (R), leader of the Blue and White political alliance, waving to supporters in Tel Aviv early on September 18, 2019, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing supporters at his Likud party’s electoral campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv early on September 18, 2019. (Emmanuel Dunand and Menahem Kahana / AFP)

The April 2019 election made history when by the end of May it became the first-ever Israeli election that failed to produce a government. At the time, Netanyahu was short just one vote of a majority. Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman had refused to join over disagreements on the ultra-Orthodox enlistment law with Netanyahu’s Haredi political allies, precipitating the repeat vote in the fall.

Following both elections, neither Gantz’s Blue and White nor Netanyahu’s Likud had enough allies to form a government without the other or the support of the Yisrael Beytenu party, but the two parties could not finalize the terms for a unity coalition.

Netanyahu will be campaigning in the upcoming election in the shadow of criminal charges against him in three corruption probes, which were announced by the attorney general last month. He faces an indictment over bribery in one case, and fraud and breach of trust in the three cases. He denies all wrongdoing.

He also faces an internal leadership challenge by Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar in an upcoming party primary.

A member of the Israeli Druze community casts her ballot during Israel’s parliamentary elections on September 17, 2019, in Daliyat al-karmel in northern Israel. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

The criminal charges have been a sticking point in the coalition talks since September, with Blue and White insisting it won’t serve under a prime minister facing trial and calling for Netanyahu to publicly declare he won’t seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution, which the prime minister is widely expected to request.

The centrist party has also been critical of the prime minister’s insistence on negotiating on behalf of all 55 MKs in his bloc of right-wing and religious parties. The parties also could not agree on who would serve as prime minister first under a power-sharing framework proposed by President Reuven Rivlin.

Even as another election has now been called, some recent polls indicated it may not resolve the political deadlock, with Liberman again potentially holding the balance of power.

A Tuesday poll showed Blue and White increasing its lead over Likud, expanding its current one-seat advantage to a four-seat lead — 37 seats to Likud’s 33 in the 120-member Knesset. Meanwhile, the rightist Haredi bloc of parties backing Netanyahu is set to fall by three seats, according to the Channel 13 poll, from the current 55 total to 52, far short of the 61 seats it would need to form a coalition in the 120-seat Knesset.

The poll predicted Likud falling even further if the party drops the scandal-laden Netanyahu in favor of his main challenger, Sa’ar.

When asked who they blamed for the expected third election, 41 percent of respondents blamed Netanyahu, followed by Yisrael Beytenu leader Liberman at 26%, and Gantz at a mere 5%. Twenty-three percent said “everyone is equally responsible.”

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Israel: Elections to be held on March 2 if no coalition formed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Elections to be held on March 2 if no coalition formed

Two days before deadline, Likud and Blue and White agree on prospective date, a Monday, which must still be approved by Knesset

File: Officials count the ballots from soldiers and absentees at the Knesset in Jerusalem, a day after the general election, April 10, 2019 (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

File: Officials count the ballots from soldiers and absentees at the Knesset in Jerusalem, a day after the general election, April 10, 2019 (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Blue and White and Likud have agreed that the next round of elections will be held on Monday, March 2, 2020, barring a last-minute coalition deal in the next two days.

The Knesset is expected to dissolve on Wednesday night, confirming the failure of both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to form a governing coalition following the inconclusive September elections.

If no lawmaker manages to get the support of at least 61 members of the 120-strong Knesset by Wednesday — and no candidate appears poised to do so — elections will be called for the third time in less than a year. The months-long political paralysis has continued since a previous round of voting in April failed to result in a majority government.

The proposed election date must clear three Knesset plenary readings to be approved, though even with just Likud and Blue and White’s support it already has a parliamentary majority.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said Monday the three votes would be scheduled for Wednesday.

“Even when it seems that there is no chance of preventing these costly and unnecessary elections, we will not begin this legislative process before Wednesday, to allow the party leaders to come to their senses in the eleventh hour, a moment before it’s too late,” said Edelstein.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz at a memorial ceremony marking 24 years since the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in the Knesset on November 10, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The unprecedented third round of elections in under a year will also be held on a Monday, a first for Israel, which generally holds the national vote on a Tuesday.

The change was due to a series of anniversaries and holidays that fall out on March’s Tuesdays, including a memorial day for soldiers whose burial sites are unknown, the Purim carnival, and the death anniversary of a Hasidic sage that sees a large ultra-Orthodox pilgrimage to his Polish hometown.

On Sunday, Hebrew media reports said Netanyahu’s Likud was seeking the latest possible date for the elections, while Blue and White sought the earliest.

Following September’s vote, Netanyahu and Gantz publicly supported a unity government of their parties under a power-sharing deal outlined by the president, but neither would bend on who would serve as premier first; the prime minister insisted on negotiating on behalf of his allied bloc of 55 MKs; and Blue and White ruled out serving under Netanyahu due to the criminal charges against him.

Both leaders have traded blame over the logjam.

Netanyahu will be facing a challenge within his party — Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar will by vying for the Likud leadership — and will campaign in the shadow of criminal charges against him, announced last month by the attorney general, in three corruption probes.

On Sunday, Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel was appointed to head the Central Elections Committee, replacing Hanan Melcer, who presided over the previous two elections.

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Pelosi warns: ‘Civilization as we know it today is at stake’ in 2020 election

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Pelosi warns: ‘Civilization as we know it today is at stake’ in 2020 election

Washington (CNN)House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that “civilization as we know it today is at stake” in the 2020 presidential election, saying that she does not want to “contemplate” the possibility that President Donald Trump could be elected to serve as second term in office.

“Let’s not even contemplate that,” Pelosi said at a CNN town hall Thursday evening in response to an audience question about what checks will exist in the House of Representatives if Trump is reelected and the impeachment process is over.
“Civilization as we know it today is at stake in the next election, and certainly our planet,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s participation at the town hall event came on the same day that she announced that the House will take the momentous step of moving forward with articles of impeachment against Trump. That announcement adds a new level of intensity to the impeachment effort and likely paves the way for Trump to become the third President in US history to be impeached.
Pelosi called her decision “quite historic” during a CNN town hall moderated by Jake Tapper.
In response to an audience question, she said, “I have to admit that today was quite historic. It was taking us, crossing a threshold on this that we just had no choice. I do hope that it would be remembered in a way that honors the vision of our founders, what they had in mind for establishing a democracy.”

‘I’m not on a timetable, I’m on a mission’

Pelosi, who is guiding House Democratic caucus through the impeachment process as the top Democrat in the chamber, sidestepped a question whether she would step aside if a Democrat wins the White House in 2020.
“I’m not on a timetable, I’m on a mission,” Pelosi said, an answer that met with applause from the audience.
As House Democrats grapple now with how to draft articles of impeachment, Pelosi said during the town hall that Democrats are working “collectively” on determining what will be included in the articles.
Asked by Tapper whether she would proceed if Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler recommends including obstruction of justice charges from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Pelosi said, “We’re operating collectively. It’s not going to be — somebody puts something on the table. We have our own, shall we say, communication with each other.”
Pelosi declined to go further. “We’re not writing the articles of impeachment here tonight.”
Articles have not been finalized, but Democrats are now signaling that the articles of impeachment could go beyond the scope of the Ukraine investigation that has dominated Washington for the past two months.
Whether to include Mueller’s findings of obstruction of justice has been debated internally for weeks as some moderate Democrats only got behind an impeachment inquiry because it was narrowly focused on Ukraine.
Pelosi took aim at Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani during the town hall when asked about his continued efforts in Ukraine as Democrats move forward with their impeachment inquiry.
“I’m a busy person,” Pelosi said, “I don’t have time to keep track of Rudy Giuliani, I just don’t, but I do think that it is further indication of the arrogance of it all.”

‘Disgusting’ question over hate

During the town hall, Pelosi also explained why she had reacted so strongly to a reporter who asked her if she hates President Donald Trump, calling the question “really disgusting.”
Asked by Tapper during a CNN town hall about her reaction during her weekly press conference to the question, Pelosi cited her Catholic upbringing and responded, “The word hate is a terrible word … so for him to say that was really disgusting to me.”
The California Democrat added, “I’d rather like to think that America is a country that is full of love, whatever we think about what somebody else might believe that might be different from us, that that isn’t a reason to dislike somebody. It’s a reason to disagree with somebody.”
Pelosi issued a stark warning to the reporter from Sinclair who had asked her the question, responding forcefully, “Don’t mess with me” — a sign of the tension amid the House of Representatives’ impeachment push.
During CNN’s town hall, Pelosi questioned whether the person who asked the question is actually a reporter, saying, “Was that a reporter? Is that what reporters do?” when Tapper asked about the exchange.

‘I don’t think we’re headed for a shutdown’

Pelosi also predicted during Thursday’s town hall that there will not be a government shutdown later this month.
“I don’t think we’re headed for a shutdown. I don’t think anybody wants that,” Pelosi said.
“We’re on a good path, if we were not, we would just go to a continuing resolution until after Christmas,” Pelosi said, referring to a stop-gap measure to keep funding in place.
Lawmakers will need to take action to avert a government shutdown before the end of the month, making the month even busier in Congress as the impeachment inquiry dominates headlines in Washington.
The President’s contacts with Ukraine are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry and investigators have focused on probing the now-famous July 25 phone call where Trump asked the President of Ukraine for a “favor” and pushed for investigations into the family of a potential political rival, former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The President has argued that the call was “perfect,” and congressional Republicans have defended the President and his administration, saying that Trump did not commit an impeachable offense.
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.

Algeria´s Presidential Campaign Marred by,Protests, Apathy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Algeria´s Presidential Campaign Marred by,Protests, Apathy

Sunday, 1 December, 2019 – 12:45
In this Oct. 18, 2019, file photo, Algerians take part in a protest against the government in Algiers. Algeria’s presidential campaign is in trouble. Candidates are struggling to fill rally venues, two campaign chiefs have quit, voters have pelted candidates’ headquarters with tomatoes and eggs, and a 9-month-old pro-democracy movement calls the whole thing a sham. Poster reads “An illegitimate Government that decides the Future of the Country.” (AP Photo/Toutik Doudou, File)
Algiers- Asharq Al-Awsat
Algeria´s presidential campaign is in trouble. Candidates are struggling to fill rally venues, campaign managers have quit, voters have pelted campaign headquarters with tomatoes and eggs, and the country´s 9-month-old pro-democracy movement calls the whole thing a sham.

The five candidates seeking to replace President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the Dec. 12 election have failed to captivate a disillusioned public. Bouteflika was pushed out in April after 20 years in power amid an exceptional, peaceful protest movement, and now demonstrators want a wholesale change of political leadership.

Instead, the election is managed by the long-serving power structure of this oil- and gas-rich country with a strategic role in the Mediterranean region. Instead of new faces, two of the candidates are former prime ministers and one is a loyalist of Algeria´s influential army chief.

The Hirak protest movement held their 41st weekly demonstrations Friday, denouncing the presidential election. But for the first time, thousands of pro-government supporters held their own rally Saturday.

The candidates have tried to convince voters that taking part in the election is the only alternative to chaos, an allusion to the civil war that ravaged Algeria in the 1990s. But that argument falls flat among the protesters, who have been overwhelmingly peaceful, with demonstrators calming each other down and ensuring that no one provokes police. It´s a sharp contrast to the sometimes deadly protests and security crackdowns shaking Iraq, Lebanon, and other countries in recent weeks.

Former Prime Minister Ali Benflis, considered a leading candidate, was heckled in Tlemcen, Guelma, Oued Souf, Annaba, while he had to cancel a meeting altogether in Maghnia on Algeria´s western edge.

His campaign director in the important region of Kabylie resigned, citing pressure from his family. Many in Kabylie oppose holding the election at all.

Candidate Abdelamdjid Tebboune, considered the candidate of army chief Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah, had to cancel his first rally in Algiers because not enough people signed up.

His campaign manager also resigned, without explanation. And then one of his leading campaign funders was jailed on corruption charges.

Another candidate, Abdelakder Bengrina, began his campaign on the esplanade of the central post office in Algiers – the emblematic site of the protest movement. He had to interrupt his speech to dive into his car under police cover to escape a crowd of angry demonstrators. The portrait on the balcony of his campaign headquarters has been bombarded with eggs and tomatoes.

Many poster boards around Algiers meant to hold candidates´ portraits remain empty. In other sites, Algerians have covered the portraits with garbage bags and signs reading “candidates of shame.”

In some towns of the Kabylie region, protesters have blocked access to campaign offices by piling the entrances with bricks.

Tensions mounted last week when Algerians started holding evening marches to denounce the elections. Several demonstrators were arrested, and some have already been convicted to prison terms for disturbing election campaigns or destruction of public property, according to protest organizers.

Given troubles in the capital and Kabylie, the candidates are focusing on small campaign events in areas where the protest movement is less active.

The president of the body overseeing the election, Moahamed Charfi, has minimized the campaign troubles, saying the candidates are “accepted by the population.”

Army chief Gaid Salah has yet to publicly acknowledge the problems either, instead praising Algerians in a recent speech for “the adherence of the people around their army, chanting, with one voice, patriotic slogans expressing their collective the will to head massively to the polls on December 12, in order to make the presidential election succeed and thus contribute to build a promising future.”

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent in the first round, the election goes to a second round in the ensuing weeks.

New York Times and Washington Post declare Kamala Harris doomed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER)

 

‘Flailing … teetering’: New York Times and Washington Post declare Kamala Harris doomed

Both the New York Times and Washington Post published stories arguing that Sen. Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign is on uneasy footing and nearing a collapse.

Harris, despite declaring her candidacy in front of over 20,000 people in January, has experienced a significant dip in the polls in recent months in part because voters still have questions about who she is and what she supports.

The Post reported, “As a result, her candidacy is now teetering, weighed down by indecision within her campaign, her limits as a candidate and dwindling funds that have forced her to retreat in some places at a moment she expected to be surging,” and labled her campaign “flailing.”

The Harris campaign recently laid off staffers to the ire of those left in the offices. Campaign manager Juan Rodriguez was pelted by questions from other members of the campaign following those layoffs earlier this month. Kelly Mehlenbacher, the Iowa operations director, roasted Rodriguez and Harris’s sister Maya, who’s also the campaign chairwoman, in her resignation letter. She has since joined the Bloomberg campaign.

The Times obtained Mehlenbacher’s resignation letter, in which she claimed, “This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly,” and added that, “With less than 90 days until Iowa we still do not have a real plan to win.”

They also reported that factions have been created within the Harris campaign and that she is no longer on good terms with Rodriguez. Rep. Marcia Fudge, who has endorsed Harris and is a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, argued that while Harris is not absolved of responsibility, she needs to get rid of Rodriguez in order to regain her footing in the primary.

Hong Kong elections: Record numbers vote in district council polls

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Hong Kong elections: Record numbers vote in district council polls

Hong Kong voters queue to cast their ballots in district council electionsImage copyright EPA
Image caption There were long queues at polling stations even as night started to fall

Voters have turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots in Hong Kong’s district council elections.

Nearly 2.9m people had voted an hour before polls shut, a 69% turnout. Just 1.47m voted at the last such poll.

The election is seen as a test of support for embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Pro-democracy protest groups hope the vote will send a message to the Chinese government after five months of unrest and anti-government protests.

In the run-up to the election, pro-democracy protest groups had urged people not to cause disruption. No trouble has been reported so far.

Long queues formed on Sunday amid fears polls might be closed by authorities if violence disrupted the election.

Media caption The identity crisis behind Hong Kong’s protests

A record 4.1 million people had registered to vote, or more than half the population of 7.4 million.

Pro-democracy campaigners hope they will be able to increase their representation on Hong Kong’s district council, which traditionally has some influence in choosing the city’s chief executive.

Pro-Beijing candidates are urging voters to support them in order to express frustration at the upheaval caused by continuous clashes between protesters and police.

What’s happening?

Polls opened at 07:30 local time (23:30 GMT) and closed at 22:30 on Sunday. Counting of ballots has now begun.

By 21:30 almost 2.9 million people had voted – or more than 69% of all registered voters.

In total, 1.467 million people voted in the last poll in 2015, when 3.1 million people were registered to vote.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks to the press after casting her vote during the district council elections in Hong Kong on November 24, 2019Image copyrightAFP
Image captionChief Executive Carrie Lam welcomed the “peaceful environment” for the vote

More than 1,000 candidates are running for 452 district council seats which, for the first time, are all being contested. A further 27 seats are allocated to representatives of rural districts.

Currently, pro-Beijing parties hold the majority of these seats. Counting will start immediately after polls close at 22:30, and results are expected to start coming in before midnight.

Police were seen outside some polling stations and on the streets but correspondents said they kept a low profile.

“Facing the extremely challenging situation, I’m pleased to say… we have a relatively calm and peaceful environment for [the] election today,” Carrie Lam said after voting.

Grey line

Ballots send a message

By Jonathan Head, BBC News, Hong Kong

This was a local election, for largely powerless district councils, yet it felt far more significant.

Queues formed early at Taikoo Shing in beautiful sunny weather, and by the time voting began they snaked around the block. The picture was similar at other polling stations. Local issues were on the minds of some voters, but the importance of this election as a clear test of support for the government and its opponents was lost on very few.

Some voters were uneasy about expressing any opinions in front of others. The sight of Democratic Party candidate Andrew Chiu sitting outside, chatting to reporters, and showing the bandaged left side of his head where an assailant bit off part of his ear earlier this month, offered a grim reminder of how far Hong Kong’s crisis has divided communities and families.

Andrew Chiu, a candidate in Hong Kong's district council elections in November 2019, sat outside a polling station chatting to voters
Image captionAndrew Chiu spoke to reporters outside a polling station amid voting in the district council elections

Nonetheless some told us they treasured this opportunity to send a message with their ballots, a free vote with a wide choice of candidates they said they were all too aware is not available in other parts of China.

Ten out of thirty-five seats in this district were uncontested at the last local council election, where pro-government parties have long enjoyed the advantage of better funding. This time every seat is being contested.

The opposition pan-democratic alliance has adopted the five demands of the protest movement as its slogan, and hopes public sentiment over the five-month crisis will give it an opportunity to take control of many of the district councils for the first time.

Grey line

Why are these elections important?

District councils themselves have very little actual power, so usually these elections take place on a very local level.

But this election is different.

Election officials empty ballot boxes to count votes in Hong Kong (2011)

Getty
Hong Kong district elections

  • 479seats across the territory
  • 1,090candidates – all seats being contested for the first time
  • 4.13mregistered voters – the highest number ever
  • 117councillors sit on committee that elects chief executive

Source: Hong Kong government

They are the first elections since anti-government protests started in June, so they will act as a litmus test, reflecting how much support there is for the current government.

“People in Hong Kong have begun to see this election as an additional way to articulate and express their views on the state of Hong Kong in general and the government of Carrie Lam,” Kenneth Chan, associate professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, told Reuters news agency.

Then there is the issue of Hong Kong’s chief executive. Under Hong Kong’s electoral system, 117 of the district councillors will also sit on the 1,200-member committee that votes for the chief executive.

So a pro-democracy district win could translate eventually to a bigger share, and say, in who becomes the city’s next leader.

Who is running?

There are some notable names running in the elections, including pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho, one of the most controversial politicians in the city. He was stabbed earlier this month by a man pretending to be a supporter.

Media captionJoshua Wong says Beijing can’t keep him down

The lawmaker has openly voiced his support for Hong Kong’s police force on multiple occasions. He was in July filmed shaking hands with a group of men – suspected of being triad gangsters – who later assaulted pro-democracy protesters.

Jimmy Sham, a political activist who has recently risen to prominence as the leader of the Civil Human Rights Front – a campaign group responsible for organising some of the mass protest marches – is running for the first time.

Mr Sham has also been attacked twice, once apparently with hammers. Photographs showed him lying on the street covered in blood.

Who is not running is also notable. Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was barred from running in the elections, a move he referred to as “political screening”.

Republican Matt Bevin concedes defeat in Kentucky governor’s race

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Republican Matt Bevin concedes defeat in Kentucky governor’s race

(CNN)Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin conceded defeat on Thursday to Democratic state Attorney General Andy Beshear.

“We’re going to have a change in the governorship based on the vote of the people,” Bevin said at a news conference.
The concession comes after Bevin requested all 120 counties in the state recheck the results from last week’s gubernatorial election. That re-canvass showed Beshear still leading over Bevin.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said in a statement that Beshear received 5,136 more votes than Bevin.
“I’m not going to contest these numbers that have come in,” Bevin said Thursday.
“I truly wish the attorney general well as the next governor of this state as he assumes these responsibilities,” Bevin said. Bevin said his team has already been working with Beshear’s and that he expects a smooth transition.
“I love the fact that we’re blessed to live in a nation where things do transition in ways that much of the world wishes they had,” he said.
Beshear said at a news conference he appreciated Bevin’s concession, which he noted came quickly after the re-canvass.
“The race is now officially over,” Beshear said, “which means we can look forward and we can move forward.”
Beshear was elected attorney general of Kentucky in 2015 and is the son of Steve Beshear, Bevin’s predecessor.
The governor-elect tweeted: “It’s official – thank you Kentucky. @GovMattBevin and his team have already begun a smooth transition. It’s time to get to work!”
A Democratic victory in Kentucky, a state Donald Trump carried by 30 percentage points in the 2016 election, could be seen as an ominous sign for the President heading into his 2020 reelection bid. The result shows that Trump wasn’t able to carry his preferred candidate over the finish line. Bevin had the strong backing of the President, and Trump held a rally in Lexington, Kentucky, the night before the election.
Bevin, elected governor in 2015, has faced backlash for seeking to undercut the state’s Medicaid expansion and calling teachers “selfish” and accusing them of a “thug mentality” when they protested after he threatened to cut their pensions.
Bevin requested a re-canvass after the results from last week’s election showed Bevin trailing Beshear by more than 5,000 votes.
The re-canvass began on Thursday morning. Unlike a standard recount of votes, a re-canvass is a reprint of the receipts from voting machines to check for reporting or clerical errors. After ballots are scanned, the machine tabulates those votes and prints out a receipt with the total.
During the re-canvass, those receipts were reprinted and checked again to make sure they were reported properly. It’s not uncommon for some clerical errors to occur during the initial vote tabulation.
Kentucky law does not allow for a recount in a gubernatorial general election, but a campaign may request a re-canvass of the votes with the secretary of state. There is no threshold or margin requirement for a re-canvass.
Bevin previously told CNN affiliate WKYT: “It’s not likely to change a lot numerically, but you have to go through this as a first step … to make sure the numbers that were written down and communicated are accurate.” He said his office is also preparing for Beshear to assume the governorship.
“There are very good odds, he could be the next governor — no question about it,” Bevin told WKYT. “Right now, he is numerically ahead and would seemingly be the next governor, and if that is corroborated and held up through this process, I’ll be his number one cheerleader.”
Representatives from both political parties and the media were allowed to be present for the re-canvass.

Author warns that Trump ‘will not exit quietly,’ even if defeated or impeached

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWS)

 

‘Anonymous’ author warns that Trump ‘will not exit quietly,’ even if defeated or impeached

USA TODAY

The anonymous official who has written a scathing account of the presidency of Donald Trump suggests the president might refuse to leave office even if convicted in impeachment hearings or defeated narrowly in the 2020 election – and says Trump is preparing his followers to see either outcome as a “coup” that could warrant resistance.

“He will not exit quietly – or easily,” the author, self-described as a senior administration official, writes in A Warning, a book that builds on an explosive op-ed by the same unnamed author last year. USA TODAY obtained an early copy of the book.

“It is why at many turns he suggests ‘coups’ are afoot and a ‘civil war’ is in the offing. He is already seeding the narrative for his followers – a narrative that could end tragically.”

From ‘Anonymous’:Read key excerpts from inside Trump White House on Putin, Pence, Hillary

As the House of Representatives prepares to open public impeachment hearings Wednesday, the book also says that Trump ordered aides more than a year ago to pursue a “deliberate and coordinated campaign” to obstruct an impeachment inquiry and other congressional investigations. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has said he is considering obstruction of Congress as a possible Article of Impeachment.

The book’s author is identified only as “a senior official in the Trump administration,” and its forthcoming publication has created a firestorm over both its depiction of a dysfunctional president and the decision by the writer to remain anonymous.

Cover of "A Warning" by an anonymous senior Trump administration official.

“The coward who wrote this book didn’t put their name on it because it is nothing but lies,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

Many of the disclosures echo news stories that have portrayed the president as impulsive, sometimes uninformed and regularly willing to defy established norms. There is already no shortage of books by Trump critics, including former FBI director James Comey and others who have served in his administration, that raise questions about the president’s fitness for office.

But The New York Times op-ed in 2018 and the new book, being published next Tuesday by Twelve, have commanded enormous attention because the author had an inside view, often participating in small White House meetings where crucial decisions were made.

The author portrays himself or herself as sharing some policy views with Trump and initially having a positive if wary view of the possibilities of his presidency.

The author says the intended audience for A Warning isn’t those who closely follow politics but rather those who don’t, particularly voters from across the country who were drawn in 2016 to Trump’s promise to shake up the establishment.

Dropping Pence from the ticket?

The book says that Trump “on more than one occasion” discussed with staffers the possibility of dropping Vice President Mike Pence before the 2020 election.

“Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley was under active consideration to step in as vice president, which she did not discourage at first,” the author writes, saying some advisers argued that putting Haley on the ticket would help the president bolster his support among female voters.

In an interview Friday with USA TODAY, Nikki Haley dismissed out of hand the suggestion that she might replace Pence. In her new book, With All Due Respect, Haley offers a generally positive portrait of Trump, and the president rewarded her with a friendly tweet urging his millions of followers to buy a copy.

Pathway of impeachment:How it works, where we are

“Anonymous” depicts Trump as impatient, immoral, cruel, even dangerous as he rejects the limits placed on presidents by Congress and the courts.

As the 2018 midterm elections approached, the book says, the White House counsel’s office began to develop a “contingency plan” to shield the administration if Democrats gained control of Congress, and with that the ability to launch investigations and issue subpoenas. New lawyers were hired and internal procedures revamped, the author writes.

“The goal wasn’t just to prepare for a barrage of legislative requests,” the book says. “It was a concerted attempt to fend off congressional oversight. When Democrats finally took the House, the unspoken administration policy toward Capitol Hill became: Give as little as possible, wait as long as possible. Even routine inquiries are now routed to the lawyers, who have found unique ways to say “We can’t right now,” “Give us a few months,” “We’re going to need to put you on hold,” “Probably not,” “No,” and “Not a chance in hell.”

Trump impeachment inquiry:Early findings and how Republicans are opposing them

The author says the administration’s refusal to comply with congressional requests and even subpoenas “go beyond standard practice and have turned into a full block-and-tackle exercise against congressional investigators across an array of Trump administration controversies.”

On the president’s actions with Ukraine, now the heart of the impeachment inquiry, the author writes that the idea Trump was trying to battle corruption abroad – rather than gain some partisan political advantage at home – was “barely believable to anyone around him.”

But the book provides no significant new information or insights into that episode.

‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards

The author’s agent, Matt Latimer, said the author didn’t take an advance payment for the book and plans to donate a substantial amount of the royalties to nonprofit organizations that encourage government accountability and an independent press.

Among other allegations, the book says:

  • Several top advisers and Cabinet-level officials last year discussed a mass resignation, “a midnight self-massacre,” intended to call attention to what they saw as Trump’s questionable and even corrupt behavior. “The idea was abandoned out of fear that it would make a bad situation worse.”
  • If a majority of the Cabinet called for Trump’s removal under the rules of the 25th Amendment, Pence would have been willing to go along with them. But the author provides no evidence to back up that assertion, and Pence in recent days has strongly denied it.
  • Trump told officials that, if they took illegal actions on his behalf, he would give them presidential pardons. “To Donald Trump, these are unlimited ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards on a Monopoly board.”
  • Trump was “particularly frustrated that the Justice Department hasn’t done more to harass the Clintons.” The president suggested to his first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, that he might “un-recuse” himself from the Mueller inquiry into Russian election interference, presumably so he would feel free to order a more aggressive inquiry into Trump’s 2016 opponent. “You’d be a hero,” the president told him.