Is Hillary Still Thinking about Running in 2020?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL REVIEW)

 

Is Hillary Still Thinking about Running in 2020?

Hillary Clinton, accompanied by her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton (L) and running mate Senator Tim Kaine, addresses her staff and supporters at a hotel in New York, November 9, 2016. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

My friend Maureen Callahan (who, like me, is a longtime fan of Howard Stern’s celebrity interviews, which elicit more frankness than anybody’s) says Hillary Clinton’s appearance on the Stern show amounts to her “biggest hint yet that she’s mulling a 2020 presidential run.” Clinton is ostensibly on tour to promote one of those “book projects” — I didn’t say “books” — slapped together by ghostwriters that she and her daughter keep putting their names on for the apparent sole purpose of giving them a hook for television appearances. As Callahan notes, on the Stern show Clinton more or less dropped the pretense that she was there to promote a book. She was there to promote herself, and as Callahan also notes, Stern’s style provides a nearly unique opportunity for anyone who wants to come across as human and genuine. Stern thinks that Clinton’s avoidance of his show in 2016 cost her the election. She certainly could have used some help in the human-and-genuine department. Stern reaches exactly the sort of audience Hillary needs to hate her a bit less.

Where I differ from Callahan is on this point: Clinton isn’t doing anything new. She keeps saying the same thing in slightly different ways. What she’s saying is this: I am open to running again, so please, American people, beg me to get in this race. She’s doing this because she wants the pollsters to go out and see if she would vault to the top of the field. She sent her Renfro, Philippe Reines, out more than a year ago to beg pollsters and pundits to add her to the list of contenders: “It’s curious why Hillary Clinton’s name isn’t in the mix — either conversationally or in formal polling — as a 2020 candidate,” Reines said last October. “She’s younger than Donald Trump by a year. She’s younger than Joe Biden by four years. Is it that she’s run before? This would be Bernie Sanders’ second time, and Biden’s third time. Is it lack of support? She had 65 million people vote for her,” etc.

Yet the only people who want Hillary to run are comics, Republicans, Republican comics . . . . people like me. Democrats realize she blew it. Democratic fundraisers are furious with her for being such a poor candidate that she created the Trump presidency. There was an open path to the White House, she had a huge fundraising advantage, she had only token opposition from a batty old socialist in the primary, she had Barack Obama’s blessing, and she lost against a total novice because people just can’t stand her. Her token opposition turned into the siege of Leningrad. Her convention speech underwhelmed. She did not and indeed could not explain the clandestine means she set up for removing her communications from public scrutiny, committing the felony of taking classified information out of secure channels in the process. She did not and indeed could not offer a better rationale for her candidacy than a combination of “I deserve this” and “Trump is worse.”

This is not to say she won’t run. Maybe she will. Lately she has taken to skipping the part in which she persuades the public to clamor for her and has taken to claiming, with zero evidence, that she has been “deluged” with entreaties to run. “I’d have to make up my mind really quickly,” she said on the U.K.’s Graham Norton Show, “because it’s moving very fast.” She has been saying a version of this ever since 2016, making it clear that she is not retired and could be persuaded to run. Usually she says, in the same interview, some variant of “I’m not running,” meaning not currently running, and Democrats choose to hear that part of it because they’re sick of her.

But how would Hillary even run a campaign? She is now well to the right of the thinking of the party. She was instrumental to the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act. She voted for the Iraq War and continued to support it for years. She’s way too old to portray herself as a force for radical change. So she’d go after Biden voters, I guess. Maybe she sees delegates being divided among her, Biden, and three or four other candidates. Maybe she foresees a brokered convention from which she emerges as the Hubert Humphrey-style safe choice amid 1968-like chaos. Could Milwaukee 2020 be Chicago 1968? That’d be fun to watch.

The Struggle of Wills Between Revolution, Regime Reshapes Iraq

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

 

The Struggle of Wills Between Revolution, Regime Reshapes Iraq

Tuesday, 3 December, 2019 – 12:45
Demonstrators gather at a protest during a curfew, three days after the nationwide anti-government protests turned violent, in Baghdad, Iraq October 4, 2019. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani
Baghdad- Fadhel al-Nashmi
Iraq today has to decide between one of two choices: either answering to the protesters’ demands and overthrowing the post-2003 regime or reforming the current regime. The latter is what the vast majority of parties in power want. This either/or binary, though often dreadful in politics, is precisely the case in Iraq today.

The protesters are putting forward specific demands that they are not willing to compromise. Most notably, they insist on replacing Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s government with a government that will hold those responsible for the murder of hundreds of protesters accountable, draft new electoral legislation, and form an independent electoral commission. The protesters want these steps to be taken in coordination with the parliament that will then resign to allow for early elections under international monitoring.

The protesters have already achieved their first demand. They have overthrown Abdul-Mahdi’s government, an indication that the regime is aware that it needs to compromise by scapegoating specific figures to satisfy the protesters.

The regime insists on finishing the remaining three years of its term, even if with a new Prime Minister, because of their fear that criticism of their notorious ties with Iran will prevent them from securing the 50 seats they need in the next elections. The Kurds are no longer heavily invested in Barham Saleh, with their interest in him restricted to demands that he secures budget that allows the nearly autonomous region to remain sustainable, protects minorities, and safeguards against the return of dictatorship.

This is similar to the young Sunni position highlighted in the May 2018 elections led by Mohamed al-Halbousi in that it insists on finishing its term to consecrate the new rule, while definitively excluding the old leaderships.

After Muqtada al-Sadr’s Saeron alliance withdrew their candidacy two days ago, the regime is in a better position to insist on finishing its term, and while doing so, propping up several obstacles and dragging the selection of a new prime minister for months. This will potentially spread despair among the protesters. It seems that Saeron withdrawing their candidacy was a pragmatic decision to save face with the revolution. A source from the alliance stated that it would go against their interests in front of their supporters and the protesters, in general, to get involved in this.

Besides, the alliance thinks that their competitors want to incriminate them in this vicious cycle of finding a new prime minister in order to reign in on whatever is left of Saeron’s popular support. Generally, no one side can be declared victorious yet. Still, the revolutionary forces are insisting on their demands and on crushing whoever stands against them. Whatever the outcome, the country is standing at the doorstep of radical change, and the scene after October will look nothing like it did before.

Kamala Harris Drops Out Of Presidential Race

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Kamala Harris Drops Out Of Presidential Race

Sen. Kamala Harris is dropping out of the 2020 presidential race after her support and funding fell in recent months.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Updated at 3:25 p.m. ET

California Sen. Kamala Harris is dropping out of the presidential race, citing a lack of funds. She informed her campaign staff of the decision on a conference call and later sent an email to supporters, in which she wrote “my campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.”

Harris’ departure, two months before voting and caucusing begin in the presidential contest, marks an abrupt end to a campaign that, for much of the winter and spring, looked like that of a top-tier presidential contender.

“I’ve taken stock, and I’ve looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days, I have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Harris said in a video announcing her decision. “As the campaign has gone on, it has become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete.”

Harris kicked off her campaign in front of 20,000 supporters in Oakland, Calif., and consistently drew large crowds in Iowa, South Carolina, and other early primary states. She was among the top tier of candidates in both polling and fundraising and briefly surged toward the very top of the field shortly after the first presidential debate, when she confronted former Vice President Joe Biden about his early opposition to federal busing policies.

But that exchange was a high-water mark of sorts for her campaign, and as Harris dropped in the polls over the summer and fall, she had to lay off campaign staff and all but shutter operations in New Hampshire, and she struggled to raise money from donors.

Harris, who came from behind in the polls in her runs for both San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general, tried to stay in the race by focusing her efforts on Iowa but ultimately ended her bid exactly two months before the caucuses there.

Amid a crowded field filled with both moderate and progressive candidates, Harris struggled to carve out her own policy lane. She shifted positions several times on a defining issue for Democrats: health care. Harris initially backed the total elimination of private health insurance, only to later roll out a health care plan that allowed private plans as long as they met government standards.

Harris backtracked in several other high-profile moments, including her criticism of Biden’s anti-busing stances as a senator. She later admitted that her views of the federal government’s role in setting local policies was essentially the same as Biden’s.

Still, Harris was one of only seven candidates to qualify for December’s debate. At the moment, nine days before the deadline, no other nonwhite candidate has qualified for the debate stage.

That means that after a historically diverse field of candidates entered the Democratic primary race, the next debate is likely to consist of all white candidates.

Brazil: Lula tries to resume alliances with center parties

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

Lula tries to resume alliances with center parties

Gradually, former President Lula tries to rebuild alliances with center-right or even center-right politicians who gave political support to his governments and former President Dilma Rousseff before the 2016 coup.

Squid
Squid
 

247 – Former President Lula has returned to politics and attempted to rebuild alliances with politicians who supported his governments and former President Dilma Rousseff, according to journalist Daniela Lima, editor of the Panel, in her column . “Lula’s emissaries have begun looking for center party leaders with messages that the petist wants to talk about politics. The reception to the call has been reticent but polite. sought, there is also no hurry to reactivate contact, “writes the journalist.

“Even strong acronyms in the Northeast, where the PT is influential, hesitate. In municipal elections, they say, national polarization tends to have little impact. Lula has returned to active activity with ease. Governors of Allied acronyms are taking advantage of trips to Sao Paulo to mark meetings with the petista in his old institute “, he points out.

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.

Brazil: Bolsonaro undermines Brazilian leadership in Latin America

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

 

For political scientist, Bolsonaro undermines Brazilian leadership in Latin America

The direction of international policy practiced by President Jair Bolsonaro undermines Brazil’s international insertion, says Ibmec political scientist Christopher Mendonça

Bolsonaro Diplomacy Ribs Latin America
Bolsonaro’s diplomacy ribs in Latin America (Photo: Alan Santos / PR)
 

Sputnik: According to political scientist Christopher Mendonça, it is daunting that Brazil’s influence on Latin American politics is declining, but this picture is worsened by Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right government and the foreign policy it adopts. 

“Brazil since the end of the Cold War, in the transition from the 1980’s to the 1990’s, has been aiming to be a leader in the region given the almost absence of the United States in our bloc. It is important to emphasize that the presidents who came to the redemocratization had a major role in the constitution of Brazil as a power and leadership, especially in the Southern Cone, “says Ibmec’s professor of international relations in an interview with Sputnik Brazil. 

Mendonça says Bolsonaro breaks the principle of nonintervention in other countries’ internal affairs when he expresses preference in extraneous electoral processes, as when he said that Brazil would suffer from waves of refugees if the left returned to power in Argentina and also when it elected its preferred candidate. in the election of Uruguay.

Luis Lacalle Pou, Bolsonaro’s favorite, was eventually elected president of Uruguay, but rejected the support of the Planalto occupant. Already in Argentina, the fans had no effect and leftist Alberto Fernández will occupy Casa Rosada. Bolsonaro had publicly supported current president Mauricio Macri, who was defeated at the polls. 

“Unconventionally, Brazil has publicly stated in foreign policy positions [in favor of] more right-wing regimes,” says Mendonça. 

The Ibmec professor points out that “for the first time in recent history,” a Brazilian president does not greet the president of Argentina for the election and also refuses to participate in his inauguration. 

Kentucky election brings new hope for medical cannabis

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT)

 

Kentucky election brings new hope for medical cannabis

Andy Beshear voiced strong support for reform throughout his campaign — contact your legislators today and urge them to work with the new governor to pass a medical cannabis law!

Dear Ted:

After years of frustration, advocates for medical cannabis may finally have their best chance to succeed in the 2020 legislative session. Newly elected Governor Andy Beshear has indicated that he strongly supports medical cannabis, so the challenge will be getting a bill through the legislature and to the governor’s desk.

Rep. Jason Nemes has already pre-filed a medical cannabis bill in advance of the legislative session, which begins January 7. Last year, the House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly approved a medical cannabis bill, but time ran out, and it never received a floor vote. Please write your legislators today and urge them to legalize medical cannabis in 2020!

After you write your legislators, please share this message with your friends and family.

Sincerely,


Matt Simon
Legislative Analyst
Marijuana Policy Project

 

 


 

Marijuana Policy Project
P.O. Box 21824​ | Washington, D.C. 20009
202-462-5747 | [email protected]

The mayor of Muncie, Indiana, was arrested by the FBI in a corruption probe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

The mayor of Muncie, Indiana, was arrested by the FBI in a corruption probe

Muncie, Indiana, Mayor Dennis Tyler was arrested Monday morning by the FBI.

(CNN)Dennis Tyler, the Democratic mayor of Muncie, Indiana, was arrested at his home on Monday morning, according to the FBI.

An arrest warrant was executed at Tyler’s home at 7:30 a.m., and he is currently in FBI custody, according to Chris Bavender, spokeswoman with the FBI in Indianapolis.
The US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Indiana said acting US Attorney Josh Minkler will hold a press conference Monday afternoon to announce charges related to public corruption. Sarah Beach, information coordinator with Muncie, said the city will release further information when they receive it.
Tyler’s administration has been under scrutiny for several years now as investigators conducted a federal corruption probe, CNN affiliate WXIN reportedThe Star Press first reported in 2016 that the FBI was investigating Muncie’s former building commissioner Craig Nichols and the Muncie Sanitary District for possible wrongdoing.
Nichols, who was appointed by Tyler, was charged in a 2017 federal indictment with wire fraud, money laundering and theft for allegedly fraudulently awarding contracts to his own private company, the US Attorney’s Office said.
The federal corruption-related investigation in Muncie has led to indictments against five other people, prosecutors have said. Earlier this year, Nichols pleaded guilty to two counts and was sentenced to two years in prison, court records show.
Tyler, who grew up in Muncie and worked as a line captain for the Muncie Fire Department, has led the city as mayor since 2012. He did not run for reelection earlier this month, and Republican Dan Ridenour was elected to take over as mayor in 2020.
Muncie, a city northeast of Indianapolis, has a population of about 70,000 people.

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.

Giuliani accidentally calls reporter, leaves voicemail about needing ‘a few hundred thousand’ dollars

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HILL NEWS)

 

Giuliani accidentally calls reporter, leaves voicemail about needing ‘a few hundred thousand’ dollars

President Trump‘s lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared to accidentally call an NBC News reporter and leave a voicemail in which he can be heard discussing money, NBC reported Friday.

The call came in after 11 p.m. on Oct. 16 and Giuliani appeared to be speaking with someone else in the same room, according to the news outlet, which published a portion of the audio.

The former New York City mayor discussed the kingdom of Bahrain and someone named Robert, according to NBC.

“You know, Charles would have a hard time with a fraud case ‘cause he didn’t do any due diligence,” Giuliani said.

It was not clear who Charles is, NBC reported.

“Let’s get back to business,” he reportedly continued. “I gotta get you to get on Bahrain.”

Giuliani is then heard saying he has “got to call Robert again tomorrow.”

“Is Robert around?” Giuliani asked.

“He’s in Turkey,” responded the other man in the room.

“The problem is we need some money,” Giuliani said, adding after several seconds of silence, “we need a few hundred thousand.”

NBC News reported that Giuliani had worked with somebody called Robert Mangas in the past, who is a registered agent of Turkey’s government and co-shareholder of the law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, which Giuliani worked for until May 2018.

But a spokeswoman for the law firm noted, “It could not have been Robert Mangas on the phone since [he] has not been to Turkey since 2013 and Mr. Mangas has not spoken to Mr. Giuliani since before he left Greenberg Traurig in May 2018.”

“Mr. Mangas and Mr. Giuliani never worked together on any matters related to Turkey, including the Zarrab case,” she added. “In fact, affidavits were filed with the court confirming that the two representations were and would be separate and that the firm put up an ethical screen to be sure these matters were kept separate, which is how these situations are handled.”

NBC also noted Giuliani’s connections in Bahrain, including a meeting last December with King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa.

This isn’t the first time Giuliani has accidentally called an NBC reporter; last month he left another voicemail in which he insisted he was the target of attacks because he was making public accusations about former vice president Joe Biden, NBC reported

— Updated at 6:29 p.m.