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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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”.

Tuesday’s Elections Show Impeachment Might Not Boost GOP As Much As It Hoped

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Tuesday’s Elections Show Impeachment Might Not Boost GOP As Much As It Hoped

President Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Lexington, Ky., Monday. His efforts don’t appear to have been enough to carry incumbent GOP Gov. Matt Bevin over the finish line.

Susan Walsh/AP

Tuesday’s statewide elections in Kentucky and Virginia were a big night for Democrats. And the results tell us a few things about national politics, consequential issues and President Trump.

In Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear, the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear, claimed victory Tuesday night and narrowly leads incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin by about 5,000 votes. Bevin has not yet conceded the race.

In Virginia, Democrats took over both chambers of the state legislature and now have full control of the state’s political apparatus, a sweeping change from a decade ago when Virginia was considered the nation’s bellwether.

Republicans kept hold of the governorship in Mississippi, but the margin — 5 percentage points — was far smaller than Trump’s 18 points in 2016.

Here are seven lessons from Tuesday night’s results:

1. Impeachment did not help Republicans fire up conservatives in rural areas

Republicans have been saying that impeachment would backfire on Democrats and enthuse Trump’s rural base. But that didn’t pan out Tuesday in Kentucky and Virginia. Democratic voters in urban areas, on the other hand, are clearly fired up.

They showed up, especially in Kentucky, in higher-than-usual numbers, while voters in rural areas didn’t. Trump, who only won 46% of the national popular vote in 2016, needs every last one of the people who voted for him then to come out again, especially as he has done almost nothing to try to win over persuadable voters this time around. Kentucky and Virginia could be warning signs that impeachment, even though the Trump campaign has raised lots of money off it, simply isn’t the issue Republicans hoped it would be with voters.

2. Trump won’t like this

“You can’t let that happen to me!” Trump said at his Kentucky rally Monday night, imploring Kentucky voters to go to the polls for Bevin. He did not want the the narrative to be: “Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world.”

Well, it wasn’t the greatest defeat in the history of the world. But it is bad news for Trump, despite his campaign dismissing the loss as the result of problems with Bevin’s campaign. So what will the results mean for his mood and state of mind, as congressional investigators keep asking questions in their impeachment inquiry?

3. The suburbs remain a warning sign for Republicans

Republicans want to dismiss the results in Kentucky as Bevin being unpopular and acerbic, and that is a point to consider, especially considering that Republican candidates swept all of the other statewide races, mostly by double-digit margins. But Bevin’s unpopularity does not explain the results in Virginia.

The fact is what we’ve seen in election after election since Trump has been in office is Democrats outperforming prior performances — and that strength has been rooted in the suburbs. Remember, Republicans lost the House in 2018 because suburban voters turned on Trump and the GOP — and Republicans haven’t fixed that problem.

4. Governing still matters

Kentucky is a state Trump won by 30 points. So this should have been a layup for any generic Republican candidate. But Bevin is no generic Republican. He picked fights with all kinds of constituencies in the state.

We’ve seen it time and again — take Kansas, for example — that when a governor governs ideologically, they wind up in political trouble. And the opposite is true, too. The three most popular governors in the country are Republicans in liberal states: Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, Larry Hogan in Maryland and Phil Scott in Vermont. That should be a lesson that the GOP pays attention to.

5. Kentucky likely does not mean much for Mitch McConnell’s and Trump’s chances in the state in 2020

Sure, Bevin was unpopular, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unpopular in his home state, too. And, yes, Trump was not quite able to drag Bevin across the finish line Tuesday night.

But that does not mean either Trump or McConnell is in trouble in Kentucky next year. Over the past decade, McConnell has often been among the least popular senators with his constituents and yet has comfortably won reelection each time. He and Bevin have different brands in the state, and a McConnell protégé won handily for attorney general.

What’s more, having Trump on the ballot will help McConnell. It’s important to remember that while turnout was up substantially from the last governor’s race in 2015, it was still down about 35% from the presidential election. Expect those numbers to shoot back up in 2020.

6. Virginia is now officially a blue state

My, how times change and can change quickly. The results Tuesday night in Virginia mean Democrats in the state now control the legislature and every statewide elected office — governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Virginia has outpaced the rest of the country, is no longer a swing state and is moving to being reliably Democratic. And that shift came in a year when the top trio of elected Democrats in the state faced a variety of scandals that hobbled their ability to campaign for down-ballot candidates.

7. The politics of health care and guns may be moving left

Before Bevin came into office, Kentucky had one of the best-run Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) exchanges in the country. It also expanded Medicaid under Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat.

Bevin took a very different approach. He tried to institute work requirements for Medicaid, which would have resulted in tens of thousands of Kentuckians losing health insurance. That was hotly divisive, and his loss Tuesday proves that once you give people the benefit, it is very difficult to take it away.

That has long been the argument Democrats have made in favor of the Affordable Care Act even when it was unpopular. And guess what? As predicted, it has grown more popular, and without an alternative, Republicans have struggled to figure out what to do about it.

In Virginia, guns were a top issue after a raft of mass shootings nationally and in the state. Gun-control groups outspent the National Rifle Association by about $500,000, and Tuesday’s Virginia results showed that with a concerted effort, lots of money and focused activism, the tide could be turning on gun policy.

So, You Think Russia/Putin Only Interfered In The 2016 General Election, Really?

So, You Think Russia/Putin Only Interfered In The 2016 General Election, Really?

 

This letter to you today is just an opinion piece from my thoughts to your eyes, it is for the purpose of getting us all to think a little bit about the chances of, what if.  For those of you who do not know me I am a 63 year old Christian white guy who lives in the state of Kentucky. I believe my political leanings to be a registered Independent who has voted Republican and Democratic in the past but I honestly can’t see me ever voting for a Republican again because of them backing our current President. I consider myself to be a moderate, sort of right down the middle between being a Conservative on some issues and a bit Liberal on others. So, I don’t agree with either extreme to the left nor to the right. In 2016’s Presidential Election I voted for Gary Johnson, not because I thought he had any chance of winning but because I could not get myself to vote for either Hillary or Trump. I feel the same now as I did then, I could not get myself to vote for a person I totally believe to be a very intelligent, hate filled, habitual liar (Hillary) nor for a totally ignorant, hate filled, ego-maniac, habitual liar (Trump).

 

As most everyone whom has an I.Q. above 2 now knows that President Putin of Russia had his people interfering in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections in an effort to get Donald Trump elected as our 45th President. But I have a question that I would like for you to ponder, do you honestly believe that the Russians only screwed with the General Election in November of 2016? As over 20 U.S. State Election Boards also said that there is plenty of evidence that they were interfered with from the Russian Government. What I believe is that there is a very good chance that Mr. Trump did not win nearly as many of the State Republican Primaries as he was given credit for. He could never have been the Republican Nominee if he didn’t win enough of the Primaries. So, what if Trump via actual American votes did not win a lot of those Primaries that he was given credit for? Would John Kasich have been the Republican Nominee? Just as if the Democratic National Convention had not had the farce of so called “Super Delegates” I believe that Senator Bernie Sanders would have been the Democratic Nominee, not Hillary. Personally I believe that if Senator Sanders had been the Democratic Nominee that he would have beaten Mr. Trump in the November election. What I am saying is that I believe that the American voters totally got scammed in 2016 and to me it is looking like the Republican Party big wigs of today are bound and determined to make sure that we can have another Russian scam election in November of 2020.

 

Another side thought for you, something I just thought of while writing this letter to you. Thinking back to the 2016 General Election, it was a given that the Democrats would win the Congressional Elections but the question was by how much. A bigger question was how many Senatorial Seats would the Republicans lose to the Democrats. Turns out that the Democrats didn’t win near as many Congressional Seats as most Annalists thought they would and the Republicans actually picked up a few Senatorial Seats, not lose them. You know if a person wins the White House from one Party but the opposite Party rules both the House and the Senate the President will be vastly limited in getting anything his Party wants passed into law. So, how many Senate and Congressional Seats did the Republicans ‘win’ that they actually did not win with the American peoples votes? Looking at this issue through an “Independents” glasses it becomes obvious why the Republican Party’s Leadership isn’t concerned about “the Russians” interference. This letter is simply meant as ‘food for your thoughts’.

Tunisian Judiciary Rejects All Appeals Against Presidential Elections Results

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

 

Tunisian Judiciary Rejects All Appeals Against Presidential Elections Results

Tuesday, 24 September, 2019 – 11:00
Presidential candidate Kais Saied speaks as he attends a news conference after the announcement of the results in the first round of Tunisia’s presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia September 17, 2019. Reuters/Muhammad Hamed
Tunis – Mongi Saidani
The Administrative Court in Tunisia rejected six appeals by former presidential candidates who lost in the first round of elections, limiting the second round to candidates Kais Saied (Independent) and Nabil Karoui for Qalb Tounes (Heart of Tunisia Party).

Tunis Administrative Court’s spokesperson Imed Ghabri told Asharq Al-Awsat that Seifeddine Makhlouf, Abdelkrim Zbidi and Slim Riahi’s demands were rejected for not meeting the formal requirements to file the appeal.

Neji Jalloul, Hatem Boulabiar and Youssef Chahed’s demands were also rejected.

Thus, the administrative court, which specializes in resolving electoral disputes, has initially legitimized the results of the first round of the presidential race, pending the possibility of appeal by appealing candidates.

The appeals submitted against the results of the first round accused the winning candidates of relying on political publicity in the election campaign as well as violating the rules of the campaign.

While announcing the election results on Sunday, Independent High Authority for Elections (IHAE) President Nebil Baffoun said violations committed are not election crimes and don’t affect the results announced.

The first round of the presidential elections resulted in the victory of law professor Saied, who was ranked first among 26 candidates and won 18.4 percent of the votes, and Karoui, ranked second with 15.6 percent of the votes.

They will both compete during the second round, which is scheduled to be held on October 6 or 13.

On the other hand, Chahed suggested forming an alliance with Zbidi, the resigned defense minister who is backed by Nidaa Tounes party, following their loss in the first round of the elections.

Observers say both parties need one another to return to the competition in the parliamentary elections, during which power-sharing will be determined for the next phase.

Trump-Ukraine suspicions raise specters of collusion and impeachment

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER)

 

Trump-Ukraine suspicions raise specters of collusion and impeachment

Presidential impeachment looms, and perhaps even removal, because Donald Trump may have colluded after all.

Or, to use the correct legal terminology, maybe the president tried to engage in a “conspiracy” with a foreign government, to wit, an effort to use American assets in a quid pro quo arrangement to directly affect a national election and both nations’ systems of criminal justice.

This is what House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California and other Democrats suspect with regard to a whistleblower’s complaint that reportedly was “prompted by President Trump’s interactions with a foreign leader.”

The evidence already indicates a significant likelihood that the suspicions are correct. If — repeat, only if — the reports do prove true, then Trump is in massive trouble.

Granted, Schiff himself is hardly a reliable interpreter of events. He’s a far-left ideological enemy of Trump’s, a publicity hound prone to grandstandinggullibility, and prevarication. Still, even political hacks sometimes stumble upon important information.

What’s known is this: First, former Vice President Joe Biden is suspected by many in Trump world of having used undue influence to kill a Ukrainian investigation into potential illegalities by his son, Hunter. If Biden did so, that would almost surely be illegal and would by all reasonable standards make him unfit for the presidency.

It is not, however, obvious that Biden did what is suspected. Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani, though, obviously want Ukraine to r-open the investigation into Biden. It long has been evident that Trump world believes that among the current Democratic presidential candidates, Biden would be his most serious challenger. If Ukraine finds Biden actually did something wrong, or even if they publicly are investigating him, Trump’s reelection prospects surely would improve.

Hence, Giuliani’s now-admitted efforts to ask Ukraine’s current regime to ensnare Biden in a major investigation. If Giuliani did so at Trump’s request, which is certainly not far-fetched, that alone would be dicey behavior. As the United States is a key ally for Ukraine’s very survival, any implied pressure on it from someone acting for the president, on behalf of the president’s political interests, would be ethically questionable.

Yet Trump is now suspected of doing even worse, than that. A whistle blower filed a report to the inspector general for the U.S. intelligence community — a complaint the White House is withholding from Congress, but whose existence if not exact details are known — alleging an “urgent” matter arose from a “promise” Trump made in a phone call with a foreign leader. Available evidence makes it almost certain that the complaint involved July 25 call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, at a time when Trump was delaying a $250 million military assistance package for Ukraine already approved by U.S. law.

Trump subsequently allowed the aid to go forward.

In sum, Democrats suspect Trump conditioned the aid delivery on Ukraine’s willingness to investigate Biden.

Every bit of circumstantial evidence so far, including Giuliani’s similar mission and including a Ukrainian official summary of that July 25 phone call, makes that suspicion entirely plausible. If so, it would be a serious conspiracy indeed.

Substitute “Ukraine” for “Russia,” in this sentence from special counsel Robert Mueller’s explanation (p. 66) as to what potential crime he was investigating: “coordination or conspiracy … with respect to Russia providing assistance to the campaign in exchange for any sort of favorable treatment in the future.” In the new Ukraine case, the suspected quid pro quo is obvious and far worse than what Mueller investigated. If the president uses U.S. taxpayer-financed military supplies as, in effect, a bribe to induce a foreign government to harass the president’s domestic opponent, it’s a horrible crime.

If it is true, this is a scandal much worse than Watergate. If it’s true, Trump must be removed from office.

China: British PM in limbo after MPs reject his Brexit plan, elections

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

British PM in limbo after MPs reject his Brexit plan, elections

AFP
British PM in limbo after MPs reject his Brexit plan, elections

AFP

A handout photograph released by the UK Parliament shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson gesturing as he reacts to main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during his first Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons in London on September 4, 2019.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government was left in limbo on Wednesday after MPs voted to derail his Brexit plan and rejected his call for an early election to break the political deadlock.

Just six weeks after taking office, Johnson lost his majority in the House of Commons as his own MPs joined opposition parties to stop him taking Britain out of the EU next month without a deal.

On Wednesday evening, they approved a bill that could force Johnson to delay Brexit to January or even later if he cannot agree exit terms with Brussels in time.

Johnson says he does not want a “no deal” exit on October 31 but says he must keep that option open in order to get an agreement.

He said the bill, which was being debated in the upper House of Lords into the night, “destroys the ability of government to negotiate” — and said he had no option to call an election to win a new mandate.

“If I’m still prime minister after (the vote on) Tuesday October 15 then we will leave on October 31 with, I hope, a much better deal,” he told MPs.

Labour rejects ‘cynical’ move

But in yet another twist in the tortuous Brexit process, the opposition Labour Party refused to vote for the election, which requires the backing of two-thirds of MPs.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that while he wanted an election, he would not support the prime minister’s “cynical” call until the law blocking “no deal” was implemented.

The default legal position is that Britain will leave the EU on October 31 unless it delays or asks to stay in the bloc.

Corbyn said: “Let this bill pass, then gain royal assent, then we will back an election so we do not crash out with a no-deal exit from the European Union.”

Johnson accused Corbyn of being frightened of losing, but urged the opposition to reconsider over the next few days.

For now, he is unable to pursue his Brexit plan — the central focus of his leadership — or call an election that might change the situation.

Across the Atlantic, US President Donald Trump earlier offered his support, telling reporters: “Boris knows how to win. Don’t worry about him. He’s going to be OK.”

‘Sham’ negotiations

Johnson took office in July, three years after the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU, promising to deliver Brexit whatever happens.

He says he wants to renegotiate the divorce deal his predecessor Theresa May agreed with Brussels, while at the same time stepping up preparations for a disorderly exit.

Johnson insisted his team was making “substantial progress.”

But the bloc has so far refused to reopen the text, and a senior EU source poured cold water on the idea that a deal could be struck at next month’s Brussels summit.

The European Commission says Britain has yet to come up with any alternative for the most controversial element of the current deal, the so-called “backstop” plan for the Irish border.

Corbyn said the negotiations Johnson talked about “are a sham — all he’s doing is running down the clock.”

The European Commission also said the risk of a “no deal” exit has increased, a prospect many fear because of the economic damage risked by severing 46 years of UK-EU ties overnight.

England: Boris Johnson’s intention is clear: he wants a ‘people v parliament’ election

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LONDON GUARDIAN)

 

Boris Johnson’s intention is clear: he wants a ‘people v parliament’ election

The plan to prorogue parliament is a nakedly populist move that Johnson hopes will lead to a parliamentary majority

 Boris Johnson confirms plan to suspend UK parliament – video

Boris Johnson’s plan to prorogue parliament ahead of a Queen’s speech on 14 October is intended to provoke parliamentarians into blocking a no-deal Brexit, or triggering a general election through a vote of no confidence. Both are feasible in the time available.

The last time parliament stepped in to block no deal earlier in the year, the necessary legislation was passed in just three days. Johnson has deliberately left enough time for parliament to seize control again. That’s because Johnson’s real objective is to use Brexit to win a general election, rather than use a general election to secure Brexit. By forcing the hands of his opponents, he has defined the terrain for a “people versus parliament” election. Expect him to run on “Back Boris, Take Back Britain”. He will say that the only way to definitely leave on 31 October is to give him a parliamentary majority to do so. The man of Eton, Oxford and the Telegraph will position himself as the leader of the people against the hated establishment and “remainder elite”.

Johnson’s electoral strategy is simple: unite the Brexit-supporting right of politics behind him while remainders are fractured across Labor, the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Greens. Since the day he took office, Johnson has been acting to consolidate the votes of leave supporters behind him. From Brexit party supporters to leave-backing Labor voters, Johnson has sought to create a winning electoral coalition.

The Tories have spent recent weeks closing off predicted Labor attack lines. Sajid Javid has announced a one-year spending review will take place on 4 September. After nearly a decade of relentless reductions in spending, the public have plainly tired of austerity. Waiting times in the NHS are longer; class sizes are larger; and the police are no longer able to keep up with rising crime or keep many communities safe. Johnson’s government has already promised more spending in each of these areas.

Sajid Javid
Pinterest
 ‘The Tories have spent recent weeks closing off predicted Labor attack lines. Sajid Javid has announced a one-year spending review will take place on 4 September.’ Photograph: Matt Dunham/PA

But these are very Tory announcements, with an added right-wing edge. So the leaked proposal to invest in schools is to be accompanied by proposals to allow teachers to use “reasonable force” against pupils, and the additional resources for the police include proposals to allow all officers to carry Tasers. There is no serious public policy discussion about precisely how much force grown adults should use against children, just as the problem with knife crime is not the police’s ability to pacify knife-wielding youths with Tasers. These plans are red meat for the Tory base, designed to distract from rather than solve the problems our society faces.

The political logic is obvious. In 2017, Theresa May lost the slim Tory majority she inherited from her predecessor in an election campaign that turned away from Brexit and towards the state of the country at home. Labor’s clear anti-austerity message resonated across the Brexit divide and paid electoral dividends for the party. Johnson is aiming to prevent such a turn taking place this time.

Yet the public will be skeptical that the same people who needlessly degraded public services are now prepared to invest in them. While Johnson is unconstrained by principle or the shackles of ideology, he leads a cabinet of the hard right of the Conservative party. For those who have dedicated a lifetime to hacking back the state and severing Britain’s ties with the European Union, it seems unlikely that they are on board with a project of investment in public services. But they are certainly committed to a no-deal exit that is an Atlanticist project rather than a unilateral one – and to the aggressive tax cuts that Johnson has promised. This is a government that intends to realign Britain to the US and is set to govern just like US Republicans – cut taxes first, then maintain spending to blow up the deficit before using that to justify far deeper spending cuts.

So why would the public believe what Johnson says? The real secret of populists, from Donald Trump to Matteo Salvini to Johnson, is the conflation of transgression with truthfulness. The willingness to engage in bigotry and violate hard-won social norms against racist, homophobic or misogynistic language convinces people that these politicians “speak their mind” and “say what they think”. Paradoxically, their lack of virtue confirms their veracity.

Their bigotry is the result of calculation rather than miscalculation – and the predictable howls of outrage from critics only serves to amplify the message. The upcoming election will turn on whether Johnson is found out for what he is: Trump with a thesaurus, whose real agenda of a Brexit for the elite is disguised behind the thin veneer of a few spending announcements that come after a desperate decade of the degradation of Britain at home and abroad.

 Tom Kibasi is director of the Institute for Public Policy Research. He writes in a personal capacity

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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.

Diana Qeblawi

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