Moscow Mitch McConnell The Trumpian And Putin Bitch

Moscow Mitch McConnell The Trumpian And Putin Bitch

 

This letter to you today is not the type of letter that I ever thought I would need to write but it has become very clear that these thoughts and opinions need to be vocalized. First, Mitch McConnell is one of my home states two Senators, the other being Rand Paul so I have been reading up on Moscow Mitch for a long time now and the more I learn about this douche bag the sicker I get of him. I am going to pop some realities at you about this man then simply think what you will. I know that many folks won’t care if everything I say was to be proven to be the total truth beyond a doubt and some of you will probably get even more pissed off at him than you are now.

 

Mr. McConnell has already stated that he is running for re-election in the November 3rd, 2020 election cycle. He was born on February 20th of 1942 so if he wins re-election as our state Senator he would be just barely shy of his 79th birthday when the new cycle begins letting him be in Office until just shy of his 85th birthday. This would also be his 8th term in the Senate and the reality is that he is the second most powerful person in our Nation so for a person as power hungry and money hungry as he is I believe that he will try to stay in Office until the day he dies.

 

Now, lets talk about our Nations elections that is and has been fixed by Russian interference since at least 2016. Our security agencies have proven that the Russian government at the direction of Mr. Trumps good friend President Putin have been trying to ‘fix’ all of our elections even at the State level. Even though Mr. Trump supposedly won the most electoral votes in 2016 he did lose to crooked Hilary by more than 3 million actual votes. But think about what I am getting ready to discuss with you about 2016, even during the primaries. The CIA, FBI and NSA all know that Russia was infiltrating the elections in all 50 States. Do you remember how most folks thought that Trump was nothing but a joke running for the Office of President, then he started winning primaries? What if he actually didn’t win most or any of those primaries, Putin did? Think about it, why would Putin wait until the main election to start fixing things for his puppet Trump? Really, if Russia hadn’t fixed the State and Federal elections Mr. John Kasich would probably be our President now. But, then again if the DNC hadn’t fixed the Democratic primaries for crooked Hilary Senator Bernie Sanders would probably be our President, but certainly not this idiotic Clown we have now.

 

Now, back to Moscow Mitch and why he won’t allow any bill to be brought to the Senate floor that would help stop the Russian interference in our next set of elections. First, he using his position as the Head of the Senate to totally nullified the existence of the Federal Congress. Anything and everything that the Congress has passed and sent onto the Senate he has not allowed it to hit the Senate floor for a vote. This is why he is the second most powerful person in our Nation. He is controlling not only the Senate but the House also. There is good reason why he doesn’t want to stop the Russians form messing up our elections, as the votes get fixed for Trump to win, the Republican Senators win riding Trump’s coat tails. As long as this is allowed to continue the Republicans will control the Senate thus keeping McConnell in this high perch of power. In other words it behooves him personally ego wise and financially to not stop the election interference. Just like Mr. Trump has sold out America and all of our people to Mr. Putin, so has Moscow Mitch.

 

 

Every Democratic Presidential Candidate Has Proven They Are Racists To Their Core

Every Democratic Presidential Candidate Has Proven They Are Racists To Their Core

 

Most of the day I have been trying to think of a catchy title that would fit in the box provided and the above is what I settled on. Now, you may well be trying to figure out why I said such a thing, and that answer is simple, at least to me. After watching the debates the last couple of nights and listening to several of the candidates talk about how our government should give from 100 billion dollars up to one trillion dollars to the descendants of slaves as restitution for them being kidnapped from Africa and brought here against their will to become white folks slaves, I say no. I realize that some of you who don’t know me are probably saying things like “what a racist ass this guy is” but that is because you don’t know me. Yes I am a southern white male yet I know that neither me nor any of my descendants were ever wealthy enough to have owned anything, not even any land back in those days. Yes, we were all just poor white trash in many folks eyes. I do hope that if anyone of my descendants had been in a financial position to ‘own’ a slave that they through basic morals would not have done so, but I do not know that for a certainty.  I have always been of a financial class as my descendants were, working poor, always having a ‘bossman’ and a ‘landlord’ looking over us. I am sure that they, just like myself have always worked right alongside people of all races. So I don’t feel that I should have to pay for what happened to black folks hundreds of years ago.

 

Now, the main crux of what this letter is all about. I am a believer in the reality that if you give the very wealthy tax breaks or a financial windfall that they tend to just stick it into one of their bank accounts, usually offshore and do nothing to help the economy. Give that same trillion dollars to the poor, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian or any other Nationality and they will spend it, thus getting themselves out of debt which helps banks and businesses in their local economies. If our government were to give let us say 500 billion dollars in cash just to Black folks this is what most of the folks would do, spend it in their local economies which helps everyone. But, this is an issue that would further divide this Nation and cause a lot of physical hate and crime. There is the issue not only of racism rising even worse against Black folks from non-blacks but you would have a lot of Black on Black hatred because what about all the Black folks who can’t PROVE that their personal descendents were slaves who would get nothing? Personally if this 500 billion or maybe a trillion dollar fund would be used to help raise up the minority (meaning Black) neighborhoods then I believe that for the purpose of helping ALL OF these folks get to a better lifestyle that the money should go toward rebuilding the inner cities. Fix the streets, tear down the slums and build new housing, fix the cities plumbing and water supplies. Bring in as many National Guard Military Police as is necessary to clean out the drug gangs, make their streets safer.

 

But, yet I say the Democratic Presidential Candidates are racists because they are only trying to smooze up to the Black voters and to me their is the racism. Here is what I personally believe should be done FIRST, I didn’t say only, just first. All of the White folks distant relatives as well as the Black folks, even those brought over here in slave ships, all of the Asians and the Hispanic and everyone else are Illegal Aliens, even the Trump clan. What I am saying is that these Democratic candidates NEVER SAID ONE WORD about funding help for the Native Americans that are still alive that our ancestors didn’t murder when they stole all of their land. Have you ever been on an Indian Reservation? You should go take a look at how these Native Americans are living, it is pathetic what their living conditions are. First, bale these folks out of their third world poverty then and only then talk about any other bail out plans. The reason, at least in my belief that these Presidential candidates skip right over the rightful owners of North America is because they are a much smaller voting block. You see, these candidates don’t give a damn about the Black folks of our Nation, they only care about getting them to vote for them, at least that is my belief.

The second Democratic debate: Opening up the centrist lane

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BROOKINGS BRIEF)

 

The second Democratic debate: Opening up the centrist lane

Elaine Kamarck

Ever since the 2018 election, the storyline around the Democratic Party has been at odds with the facts. The Democratic Party is, as it has been for many decades now, a center-left party and not a left-wing party in the style of European political parties. In the first Democratic debates in June, many of the candidates fell blindly into far-left ideological traps, causing panic among Democrats concerned about beating Trump.

But by round two of the Democratic debates, it was clear that some of the candidates had done a little homework and learned a little history.

With some exceptions, the American electorate changes slowly. For nearly four decades, the ideological composition of the electorate in presidential elections has remained more or less the same. As the following table (updated from a paper I published with my colleague William A. Galston in 2011) shows, there is no possibility of a purely liberal or purely conservative governing coalition: “To win, each party needs to form a coalition with moderate voters. But the structure of those coalitions is very different.”

Although the number of self-identified liberals has increased in recent presidential elections, they are still out-numbered by self-identified conservatives.

Table 1: The composition of the electorate in presidential election years

1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016
Liberal 18 17 18 21 19 22 21 22 25 26
Moderate 51 44 45 48 48 49 45 44 41 39
Conservative 31 35 33 31 34 30 34 34 35 35

Source: CNN National Exit Poll

Playing only base politics is a dangerous game. For instance, President Trump may be making a big political mistake in spending so much attention on fueling his racist, immigrant-hating, xenophobic base. It cost him the votes of moderate suburban women (and other groups) in 2018, and Democrats and some Republicans think it will cost him in 2020. But if base politics is bad for Republicans, playing only to your base is even more dangerous for Democrats because of the simple fact that the Democratic base is smaller. While neither party can write off moderate voters, Democrats need them more than Republicans do. Table 2 shows that in the years when Democrats have won the presidency, they’ve done so by winning more than 55% of the moderate vote.

Table 2: Democratic share of the major party moderate vote

1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016
46 47 51 61 62 53 54 60 56 52

Source: Author’s calculation based on CNN National Exit Poll. In the bolded years, Democrats won the presidency.

This week, the Democratic race moved into a new and more realistic phase. Clearly some of the contenders got the message about the dangers of moving too far left. Early on in the first night’s debate, former Congressman John Delaney (Md.) called for “real solutions, not impossible promises.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) said her bold ideas were “grounded in reality.” For 45 minutes, they attacked Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) on Medicare-for-All—especially the provision that would take away private insurance. Congressman Tim Ryan (Ohio) contended that union members who have fought so hard for good health care coverage would be unhappy to learn that Sanders’ plan would take it away from them. He also pointed out that the problem with giving illegal immigrants free health insurance is that “everyone else in America is paying for health insurance.” Warren held her ground as did Sanders, but the attack of the centrists never let up.

Night two of the Democratic debate was not very different, but this time former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading centrist, was the punching bag. Nonetheless, the fault lines were similar. The fight over Medicare-for-All centered, once again, on whether Americans would be allowed to keep private insurance. Biden defended the centrist option—Obamacare plus a public option—and contrasted with another dimension: the $32 trillion in taxes he said Sanders’ bill would cost. The debate moved on to immigration, where several candidates attacked Biden and Obama for the deportations that happened in the Obama administration. They also attacked Biden on crime, but Booker, Harris, and de Blasio turned out to have clay feet on that issue, since each one of them had been in positions where their pursuit of justice was less than perfect and open to criticism.

Unlike the first debate, Biden was more energetic and ready for the attacks against him. He reminded everyone of his work with President Obama, something that will probably help him hold onto his support among African Americans and other mainstream liberals who happily voted for the 44thpresident. Biden’s performance was just good enough to stop the bleeding, and he probably disappointed the other centrists hoping to step into that lane. But in contrast to the first debate, it is now clear that at least there is a centrist lane in the Democratic primary which, as history tells us, is not a bad place to be. It may well be the path to the nomination.

Author

Counting All Votes For An Honest Election Should Be All That Matters

Counting All Votes For An Honest Election Should Be All That Matters

 

Well, another election has come and gone here in the U.S., well, not really. The Election was one week ago today yet there are still questions and acquisitions flying all over from Republicans about the counting and the recounting of people’s votes. For those of you who know me you know that I am a registered Independent. The reason for this is because quite honestly, both the Democratic and the Republican parties disgust me with their platform and voting records. We the people (at least with me) did not vote for Mitch McConnell (even though he is one of my home state Senators) nor did I cast a vote for Paul Ryan or Nancy Pelosi. Yet it is these folks and others like them who tell all of the Senators and Congressmen/Congresswomen how they are going to vote on every issue. This is why you have cases like the current one where when you have 51 Republican Senators and 49 Democratic Senators on basically all votes in the Senate on any Bill tends to be passed or failed at a 51/49 ratio. As a citizen I am sick of this garbage, I just want all parties to work toward the middle and to quit the partisan BS. This is why I am an Independent voter.

 

The reason for the first paragraph was just s you wouldn’t think a was some staunch Democrat who was just looking for a chance to slam the Republicans. For the purpose of this article I am just going to speak of the current election cycle issues in the state of Florida. In the state of Florida the current Republican Governor who will be out of Office soon because of term limits went up against the current Democratic Senator in an attempt to unseat the Senator. Also, for the position of the new Governor a Republican Congressman went up against the current Mayor of the States Capitol who was the Democrat. In both of these cases as last Tuesday night was closing out the Republican candidates were looking like they were going to win, but my very very narrow margins. The issue was that in the states largest counties not all of the votes had been counted yet, there were still many thousands left uncounted. So as the days have worn on these other ballots were being counted and being they were in areas that were heavily Democratic the vote count flipped over to where the Democratic candidates have overtaken the Republicans. Now the Republicans like Donald the habitual liar Trump and the other Florida Senator Marco Rubio are crying foul, saying the election commissions are cheating but they have shown no proof of any foul play. The current Governor (the Republican candidate for the Senate) has even ordered the State Police to investigate even though the State Police have told him there is nothing to investigate. Even a Federal Judge in Florida has chastised the Republicans for spreading fake news, fake conspiracy accusations.

 

Here is my take on this situation, I just want the real winner to be declared the winner, whether it be a Democrat or the Republican. I want honesty! As is typical of him the President has been crying and demanding that the votes stop being counted and that the Republicans be declared the winner, whether they were or not. People like our President do not care one little bit about honesty, only winning. Do not get me wrong on this, as I said I am not a Democrat. I believe without a doubt that if the tables were turned that there would be many Democratic politicians doing the exact same thing that these Republicans are doing. With these folks honesty seems not to matter at all. I will close with this last thought. I am not a big fan of early voting, I believe the time limit should be cut way down except for military personnel stationed overseas. Also, I believe that these early votes should be tallied before election day and once the polls have closed in their State put those votes out first, not last. Thank you for your time, I appreciate you reading.

Republican Politicians And Their Sham Against Democracy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

Republicans Are Casting Doubt On Normal Election Processes For The Sake Of Winning

By characterizing basic safeguards as illegitimate, Rick Scott and President Trump are undermining democracy.
X

On Thursday night, two days after Election Day, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) stood on the steps of the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee and unleashed a nuclear bomb aimed at the very foundation of democracy. Scott suggested there was “rampant fraud” in the state. “No ragtag group of liberal activists or lawyers from D.C.” was going to steal the election from Floridians, the governor said.

When Scott made his comments, Florida hadn’t even hit the deadline to submit unofficial election results to the state. Scott asked the state’s law enforcement agency to investigate his allegations, but the agency quickly said there was nothing to investigate.

That hasn’t stopped President Donald Trump from continuing to insist that there was fraud in the state. There is no evidence of fraud to support his claim.

Scott’s election night lead over Nelson has shrunk significantly, and the margin is now so slim that the state is in the midst of a legally required recount. But election experts say there’s nothing unusual or nefarious about vote tallies changing days after an election. Instead of letting election officials count the ballots as usual, the comments from Scott and Trump amount to an effort to undermine normal election processes.

Steven Huefner, a law professor at Ohio State University, wrote that it was “beyond unseemly” and “downright destructive of public trust in our elections” for election officials to attribute changing vote totals to nefarious actions.

Florida allows voters to cast ballots by mail and accepts them until 7 p.m. on Election Day. Election officials then have to verify signatures on the ballots in addition to determining whether provisional ballots cast on Election Day can count. That process can take time, which is why Florida and other states give counties time to conduct what’s called a canvass and review the votes. In Florida, the deadline for counties to submit unofficial results to the state was Saturday and the deadline for official results is Nov. 18.

“Results on election night, it’s actually never been final on election night. Ever in the history of our country. There’s always been this continuation of calculating the results and all that,” said Amber McReynolds, the former top elections official in Denver who is now the executive director of the National Vote at Home Institute, a group that advocates for voting by mail. “This is not new. Florida’s doing exactly what other states are doing right now. California has even more to count. But in California, there’s not a Republican that might win, so it’s not getting any attention.”

Charles Stewart, the director of the MIT Election Lab, noted that, in addition to trying to deal with mailed-in ballots, counties also had to tally their early votes. Florida law doesn’t allow officials to count early votes until after the polls have closed. Different counties may also tally at different speeds because of the equipment available, the kinds of ballots they receive and staffing, experts say.

Scott has complained that Brenda Snipes, the supervisor of elections in Broward County, refused to turn over information about how many ballots still needed to be tallied. He secured a court order on Friday requiring her to hand over the information.

Ned Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University, has studied the way that vote totals change during a canvass after Election Day. Those shifts tend to benefit Democrats and are a “relatively new phenomenon,” he said, because more people are voting by mail and Congress passed a law in 2002 requiring officials to offer provisional ballots.

“Both of those things have the effect of having ballots eligible to be counted but not available for counting on election night,” he said. “For demographic reasons, groups that tend to vote Democratic Party ― students, younger voters, more mobile voters ― you’re more likely to get caught up in the need for a provisional ballot if you’re just a more transient population.”

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Usually, shifts in vote counts after Election Day go unnoticed because they aren’t enough to overcome the initially reported margin of victory. But in Florida, the changing tally is getting scrutinized because the margin separating the candidates is so thin, Foley said. A similar process is playing out in Arizona, where election officials are still counting the ballots in close races for U.S. Senate and secretary of state.

California has even more to count. But in California, there’s not a Republican that might win, so it’s not getting any attention.Amber McReynolds, executive director of the National Vote at Home Institute

Trump tweeted Monday that Florida shouldn’t consider any of the votes tallied after election night, a move that would disenfranchise military voters whose ballots can be accepted until Nov. 16.  Scott’s campaign is also suing in state court to block officials in Broward County, a key bastion of Democratic votes, from officially counting any ballots that weren’t tallied by the state’s Saturday deadline for unofficial results.

Foley said the allegations of fraud and election stealing in Florida were particularly worrisome because there could be shifts of tens of thousands of votes during a presidential election. The allegations in Florida could serve as a prelude for a candidate to undermine the results in 2020. A key part of democracies, he said, is that the candidates accept the results of elections as legitimate.

“Every election has a winner and a loser, and the loser has to accept defeat,” he said. The loser “has to think that, even though they really wanted to win and thought they should have won ― or maybe even thought the vote-counting process was inaccurate in some respects ― that we can accept it.”

The talk of fraud got the attention of the chief state judge in Broward County, who urged lawyers for both campaigns who were in court Monday to “ramp down the rhetoric” about voter fraud.

Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, who specializes in elections, wrote in Slate that that kind of questioning of election results could lay the foundation for a constitutional crisis.

“If President Trump is ahead in his re-election bid on the night of the election, only to lose that lead as more ballots in larger — mostly Democratic — counties are counted through a normal process in the days and weeks after Election Day, it seems reasonable to be concerned that he will contest such a legitimate vote,” Hasen wrote. “We don’t know if he would even vacate his office in such a scenario, triggering the possibility of a real constitutional crisis.”

Both The Democratic And Republican Parties Are Anti-Christ Parties!

THE DEMOCRATIC AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTIES ARE ‘ANTI-CHRIST’ PARTIES!

(I FIRST PUBLISHED THIS ARTICLE ON SEPTEMBER 4TH OF 2016, TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE U.S. ELECTIONS.)

(THE CURRENT EVENTS HERE IN NOVEMBER OF 2017 IN ALABAMA WHERE A POLITICAL CANDIDATE ‘ROY MOORE’ WHO HAS A 40+ YEAR HISTORY OF SEXUALLY ABUSING VERY YOUNG GIRLS IS BEING ALLOWED TO CAMPAIGN FROM THE PULPIT OF A BAPTIST CHURCH. FOLKS, THIS IS VERY DETRIMENTAL TO,  THE OPPOSITE OF THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST. CHRISTIAN CHURCHES AND EVEN PEOPLE WHO CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS WHO ARE BACKING SUCH A PIECE OF ‘LUKE WARM WATER’ ARE WALKING UP TO THE CROSS AND SLAPPING CHRIST IN THE FACE BY THEIR ACTIONS!) (trs) 

When I was a young child back in the 1950’s-60’s I was raised in a family who believed in the Democratic Party. My parents were folks who believed in the reality that working people if they wanted to be able to financially survive needed Union protections. They also believed that the Republican Party was solely for the wealthiest people and was clearly anti-working people. They also believed that the Democratic Party, because they cared about the poor was the party that the Churches backed. I never remember going to a Church that had a Republican Minister simply because the Republicans agendas were in direct contrast to the love, kindness and sharing teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court with their ruling on ‘Roe v Wade’ abortion ruling seemed to change the political map within the Churches. The teachings of abortion within the Scriptures are definitely anti-abortion yet almost all of the Churches and their Ministers remained as Democrats because they could not transcend over to a Party (Republicans) who were against basically all of the teachings of Jesus about how we should all treat each other. Yet, my question is how can a Church, a Minister, or their congregation openly or even behind closed door’s back abortion? How can you say you or a Minister (that word means, Servant) say you are a Christian (follower of Christ) and at the same time back abortion?

 

What I do not understand is why the people who say they are Christians have not created a third National Party! The Democratic Party strongly backs a woman’s “right” to have an abortion at any time during a pregnancy. The Republican Party wants to end all abortions seeing them as the murdering of over a million children here in the U.S. each year. So, Republicans have garnered the “conservative Christians” into their camp because of the abortion issue. This is even though the Republican Party Platform is still strongly anti-working people, and anti the people having the right to work under Union protections.

 

I am a registered voting Independent because I see both Parties as crooked and pure evil. When the people go to the polls this November we just like every other election know that either a Republican or a Democrat is going to win at every level of Government. To vote for anyone else is nothing more than a protest vote that has no effect on who actually wins the elections, it will be a Democrat or a Republican. So, just like this November we Voters are having to consider which one of the two Evils win. Especially concerning the Presidency this year, which Evil is less Evil, that is what we have to look forward to. For either of these political parties to claim to be close or closer to God is total BS. Evil is still Evil, neither of these Political Parties has the endorsement of the Scriptures of God, so how can anyone who calls themselves a Christian or Jewish endorse or support either of these Demonic structures? I used the title of them being anti-Christ, I am not saying that either Parties leadership is ‘the anti-Christ’. What I am saying is that both Parties policies are in direct indifference to the teachings of God’s Holy Scriptures, thus both Parties are Anti-Christ!

Democrats just keep winning Republican seats they shouldn’t be winning

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Democrats just keep winning Republican seats they shouldn’t be winning

(CNN)Roy Moore’s victory in Alabama dominated the news on Wednesday. But, it was two far less high-profile races on Tuesday night — one in Florida, one in New Hampshire — that may well give us the best indication of where we are headed in the 2018 midterm elections.

In Florida, Democrat Annette Tadeo won a Republican-held state Senate district 51% to 47%. In New Hampshire, Democrat Kari Lerner beat a former Republican state representative to fill a state House district that Donald Trump won by 23 points last November.
Those twin wins make it eight Republican-controlled state legislative seats that Democrats have flipped in 2017 alone. (Republicans flipped a Democratic state House seat in Louisiana earlier this year although Democrats didn’t even field a candidate in that race.)
That means that of the 27 Republican-held state legislative seats that have come open in 2017 to date, Democrats have now flipped almost 30% of them — a remarkable number in anycircumstance but especially so when you consider the average Trump margin in these seats in 2016 was 19 points.
Yes, each of these races have unique dynamics. In the Florida race, for example, the seat was open because the Republican incumbent was forced to resign after making racists comment to several black lawmakers at a bar in Tallahassee. It’s not exactly easy to run as a Republican in the district in the wake of that sort of scandal.
Despite the differing circumstances in each of these races, however, Republicans ignore this trend at their own political peril. While Democrats at the federal level haven’t been able to pull off the wins they have scored downballot, in virtually every House special election this year Democrats overperformed — by a large amount — Hillary Clinton’s 2016 showing in these congressional seats.
There’s also the fact that approval for the Republican party hit its lowest point ever recorded in a CNN poll this month. And that Democrats held a 9-point lead over Republicans on the generic ballot question in that same poll.
Then there’s the daunting history facing the GOP. According to Gallup, the average seat loss for the president’s party in midterm elections with a president under 50% approval (as Trump is now) is 36 — a number that, if past predicted present, would cost Republicans their House majority.
The signs, in other words, are all there for an electoral reckoning for Republicans in 2018.
So, why aren’t we hearing more about it? Because state legislative races aren’t sexy. Because Democrats haven’t been able to win one of the more high profile GOP-held House seats in a series of special elections so far this year. Because there’s still more than a year left before the midterms. Because the congressional lines have been drawn to make it very difficult for Democrats to make large-scale gains.
All true!
But, don’t mistake what we are seeing: Considerable over performance by Democrats often in heavily Republican areas. That’s true at the state legislative and federal levels. And, if it continues to anything close to the extent we’ve seen in the first nine months of 2017, Republicans could be headed for major problems at the ballot box next November.

Iraqi City (Kirkuk) Set to Implode if the Kurd’s Vote for Independence

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

Kirkuk's provincial governor Najim al-Din Karim third from right, who was recently sacked by the Iraqi parliament, attends a rally in support of the upcoming independence referendum in Kirkuk on Sept. 19, 2017
Kirkuk’s provincial governor Najim al-Din Karim third from right, who was recently sacked by the Iraqi parliament, attends a rally in support of the upcoming independence referendum in Kirkuk on Sept. 19, 2017 Marwan Ibrahim—AFP/Getty Images

The Iraqi City Set to Implode if the Kurd’s Vote for Independence

For decades, even a census has been considered too risky in the hotly contested northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, claimed by Kurds, Arabs and the Turkmen ethnic group. But on Monday, the city’s residents will join people across northern Iraq in a vote on Kurdish independence.

Kirkuk is the most significant of Iraq’s disputed territories under de facto Kurdish control that will vote in the controversial referendum Sept. 25. After a century of Kurds pushing for independence, Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurds’ semi-autonomous region has promised his people the chance to vote on their future. The governments in Baghdad and in Washington have urged the Kurdish leadership to postpone or cancel the vote, seeing it as a divisive distraction from the fight against ISIS.

But for some non-Kurdish residents of Kirkuk and other disputed areas, the referendum is seen as a provocation and an attempt by Kurds to assert power in contested territory. Experts fear the vote could lead to unrest and even violence.

“This is a very dangerous move,” says Kamal Chomani, a nonresident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. “If the referendum is held there will be violence between the ethnic groups of Kirkuk.”

The contention here is not just about Kurdish self-rule, it is about what happens to the tens of thousands of Arab and Turkmen residents of Kirkuk under Kurdish rule. Arab residents already seemed hesitant to discuss the referendum this week, many refusing to say if they will even vote, but Turkmen leaders have been more outspoken.

“We won’t allow Kirkuk to be part of Kurdistan,” says Ali Mehdi Sadiq, who is with the Iraqi Turkmen Front and member of the Kirkuk Provincial council. Sitting in his central Kirkuk office behind tall cement blast walls guarded by armed men, Saddiq says the Turkmen will take up arms to stop the Kurds from annexing the city. Earlier this week, clashes outside another Turkmen party office left at least one person dead. “We will fight to the last Turkman,” Sadiq says.

Posters encouraging people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum are seen in central Kirkuk on Sept. 21, 2017. Posters encouraging people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum are seen in central Kirkuk on Sept. 21, 2017.  Marwan Ibrahim—AFP/Getty Images

Similarly, the city’s mostly Sunni Arabs worry what will happen if the Kurds declare independence. “There are no guarantees of rights for Arabs if Kirkuk gets attached to Kurdistan. The only thing they mention is the rights of the Kurds and the Turkmen,” Ramla Al-Obaidi, an Arab member of the Kirkuk provincial council. “This will lead to more marginalization and neglect of the Arabs in Kurdistan.”

The Kurdish forces took control of Kirkuk in 2014 without firing a single bullet. As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) advanced the Iraqi army crumbled and thousands of troops fled their posts in Iraq, including in Kirkuk. The Kurdish region’s military forces — known as the Peshmerga — walked in, taking control of the long-contested city and millions of dollars of arms.

Many Kurds cite the Iraqi forces’ desertion as a reason why the Peshmerga fighters can’t give back the city. The Iraqi army, they say, is unable or unwilling to protect them or Kirkuk.

Kurdish flags now fly over the checkpoints at the entrance to the city and a 20-meter statue of a Peshmerga fighter, made from cement and iron, guards the main road from Erbil. The Kurds says it a sign of appreciation for the Kurdish fighters protecting the people of the area from ISIS, but it feels like a reminder of who is in charge here.

“The Peshmerga will definitely not leave Kirkuk even if they sacrifice their lives for the city,” says Hawer Ali, who was serving in the Iraqi army in 2014 and has now joined the Peshmerga. Some fear the mostly-Shia militia of the Popular Mobilization Units, having grown in power and influence during the fight against ISIS, could enter Kirkuk in support of the government, and clash with the Peshmerga.

Ali, like many Kurds, has historic reasons for wanting an independent state. The regime of Saddam Hussein began pushing Kurds out of Kirkuk in the mid-1970s as part of a campaign of Arabization across mixed areas of northern Iraq. Tens of thousands of Kurds were evicted and Arabs from other parts of the country were brought to settle here, changing the demographics in a bid to cement Arab control of the oil-rich city. Ali was just one year old when his family was pushed from Kirkuk.

During the U.S. invasion of 2003, the Kurdish Peshmerga fought alongside American troops and took control of Kirkuk. Ali’s family returned to the city that same year. “All the Kurds came back,” says Ali. The Kurds soon gave control back to the national government but in the almost 15 years since, hundreds of thousands of Kurds have returned to Kirkuk, many lured by free land and homes courtesy of Kurdish political parties.

Ali acknowledges the referendum is increasing tensions in his city, but he says it’s necessary for what is to come. “I don’t think there is any country that declared independence without paying for it,” says Ali. “And we are ready to pay for it. We are ready to sacrifice.”

In an era of profound cultural transformation, elections and referendums have very real consequences

 

THE WEEKEND ROUNDUP 

In an era of profound cultural transformation, elections and referendums have very real consequences ― such as the repeal of environmental regulations or crackdowns on press freedom. But as much as they reveal how markedly divided societies are at this historical moment, they settle little. For those who are nostalgic for an ideal past, the challenges of a complex future wrought by globalization, digital disruption and increasing cultural diversity remain unresolved. For those looking ahead, there is no going back. The present political reaction is only the first act, not the last. It is the beginning, not the end, of the story of societies in fluid transition.

The recent Turkish referendum, like Brexit and U.S. President Donald Trump’s election, fits a pattern of a territorial divide. Residents in large cities and coastal zones linked to global integration and cosmopolitan culture represented just under half of the vote; rural, small-town and Rust Belt regions linked more to the traditions and economic structures of the past were just over half. But there is also a major difference. The populist, nationalist narrative that won the day in Great Britain and the United States championed the “left behind” and splintered the unresponsive mainstream political parties. In Turkey, the day was won by a conservative, pious and upwardly mobile constituency already empowered by some 15 years of rule by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party. The cultural duel there, backed up by neo-Islamist and nationalist statism, will thus be more intense than elsewhere.

In an interview following the historic vote in her country, novelist Elif Shafak says, “The referendum has not solved anything. If anything, it deepened the existing cultural and ideological divisions.” She also laments the decline of Turkey’s long experiment as a majority-Muslim country attempting to balance culture, secularism and Western democracy. “This is the most significant turning point in Turkey’s modern political history,” she declares. “It is a shift backwards; the end of parliamentary democracy. It is also a dangerous discontinuation of decades of Westernization, secularism and modernization; the discontinuation of Atatürk’s modern Turkey.”

Writing from Istanbul, Behlül Özkan explains the details of the constitutional referendum, how the playing field was tilted in Erdoğan’s favor and how it will have massive implications for Turkey’s future. He also emphasizes the historic importance of Turkey’s reverse. Özkan cites the political theorist Samuel Huntington who, in an essay decades ago on transitions from authoritarian rule, once defined Turkey as a clear example of a one-party system becoming more open and competitive under the constitution put in place by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It is rare in history to move in the other direction, as Erdoğan has now accomplished.

Also writing from Istanbul, Alev Scott believes Turkey is in for “a decade of paranoia under a modern-day Sultan” who was unnerved by the slim margin of his victory. Noting a widely circulated photograph of the president at his moment of triumph, she saw a man not “celebrating victory” but “a man alarmed by near-defeat.”

Even as critics within Turkey and others abroad expressed concern over the extinguishing of democracy, Trump again showed his affinity for strongman politics by calling to congratulate Erdoğan on his victory. Yet, as with other countries from India to Argentina, there is likely another element as well to this potentially budding bromance. Sam Stein and Igor Bobic report on ethical issues raised by Trump’s business ties with Turkey. In 2012, Erdoğan joined Trump and his family to mark the opening of Trump Towers Istanbul.

Trump Accuses Obama Of “Nixon/Watergate” Type “Bugging” Of Trump Tower Phones

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

President Trump on Saturday angrily accused former president Barack Obama of orchestrating a “Nixon/Watergate” plot to tap the phones at his Trump Tower headquarters last fall in the run-up to the election.

Citing no evidence to support his explosive allegation, Trump said in a series of five tweets sent Saturday morning that Obama was “wire tapping” his New York offices before the election in a move he compared to McCarthyism. “Bad (or sick) guy!” he said of his predecessor, adding that the surveillance resulted in “nothing found.”

Trump offered no citations nor did he point to any credible news report to back up his accusation, but he may have been referring to commentary on Breitbart and conservative talk radio suggesting that Obama and his administration used “police state” tactics last fall to monitor the Trump team. The Breitbart story, published Friday, has been circulating among Trump’s senior staff, according to a White House official who described it as a useful catalogue of the Obama administration’s activities.

A spokesman for Obama did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Trump has been feuding with the intelligence community since before he took office, convinced that career officers as well as holdovers from the Obama administration have been trying to sabotage his presidency. He has ordered internal inquiries to find who leaked sensitive information regarding communications during the campaign between Russian officials and his campaign associates and allies, including ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

What is next for Trump and the intelligence community?

Washington Post reporter Adam Entous breaks down Friday’s intelligence report on Russian involvement in the 2016 election. (Dalton Bennett/The Washington Post)

Some current and former intelligence officials cast doubt on Trump’s assertion.

“It’s highly unlikely there was a wiretap on the president-elect,” said one former senior intelligence official familiar with surveillance law who spoke candidly on the condition of anonymity. “It seems unthinkable. If that were the case by some chance, that means that a federal judge would have found that there was either probable cause that he had committed a crime or was an agent of a foreign power.”

A wiretap cannot be directed at a U.S. facility, the official said, without finding probable cause that the phone lines or Internet addresses were being used by agents of a foreign power — or by someone spying for or acting on behalf of a foreign government. “You can’t just go around and tap buildings,” the official said.

Trump sent the tweets from Palm Beach, Fla., where he is vacationing this weekend at his private Mar-a-Lago estate. It has long been his practice to stir up new controversies to deflect attention from a damaging news cycle, such as the one in recent days about Sessions and Russia.

Trump’s tweets took numerous top White House aides by surprise, according to a second White House official who was not authorized to speak publicly. There was an expectation that Saturday would be a “down day, pretty quiet,” this official said, and there was little if any attempt to coordinate the president’s message on the wire-tapping allegations.