‘Politics of love’: the end of Marianne Williamson’s bizarre and mesmerizing campaign

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN NEWS)

 

‘Politics of love’: the end of Marianne Williamson’s bizarre and mesmerizing campaign

The author enthralled listeners with attacks on ‘the psychic force of hatred’. And sometimes she was surprisingly practical

Marianne Williamson blows a kiss before the first night of the second 2020 Democratic presidential debate, in July.
 Marianne Williamson blows a kiss before the first night of the second 2020 Democratic presidential debate, in July. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Marianne Williamson announced the end of her 2020 presidential campaign on the day of the wolf moon eclipse, as the year’s first full moon moved into the Earth’s outer shadow. The self-help author and spiritual adviser to Oprah, who as a presidential candidate charmed and confused Americans with her “politics of love”, told supporters that though her path had diverged from the campaign trail, “a politics of conscience is still yet possible”.

Even before she announced in January 2018 that she was jumping in the race to unseat Donald Trump, she floated a mysterious job listing for a social media director to join a presidential bid that was “part campaign” but also “part startup, part spiritual movement”. If the 2020 Democratic presidential field was broad, Williamson’s campaign was so out there she may as well have been on another astral plane.

On the one hand, Williamson, 67, was the only candidate to strongly advocate for reparations for African Americans. She advocated for stronger environmental protections, in discussing the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In part due to Donald Trump’s rollback of environmental protections, “we have communities, particularly communities of color and disadvantaged communities all over this country, who are suffering from environmental injustice”, she said during the first Democratic primary debate in July.

Her contributions were unexpectedly lucid at times, though she often distracted from the otherwise strictly structured debate.

Williamson discussed Trump’s legacy as a “dark psychic force of collectivized hatred”. She referred to “toxicity” and “emotional turbulence” that required “healing”. She flouted norms by referring to the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, as “girlfriend”.

While Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden presented policy proposals, Williamson dismissed such discourse as “wonkiness”. In this way, she was not unlike candidate Trump, who favored provocative but vague missives and catchphrases over carefully laid plans.

Williamson’s own views were scrutinized as not just wonky, but sometimes dangerous. Critics worried that her vacillating over vaccines – she fashioned herself as a supporter of “safe pharmaceuticals” rather than an anti-vaxxer – could mislead families. And when Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas, Williamson was criticized for implying that prayer was a substitute for policy in suggesting that people could harness “the power of the mind” to pray away the storm.

“Millions of us seeing Dorian turn away from land is not a wacky idea,” she wrote in a tweet that she later deleted. “Two minutes of prayer, visualization, meditation for those in the way of the storm.”

Still, throughout her complicated candidacy, Williamson remained eminently watchable, her throaty voice enthralling audiences of presidential debates and Goop conventions alike.

Till the end, she remained both befuddlingly practical and mesmerizingly odd. In a sign-off statement on her campaign website, Williamson listed among her proudest moments “proactively waging an agenda for peace and making humanity itself America’s greatest ally”.

She said she was dropping out because she didn’t want to “get in the way of a progressive candidate winning” the Democratic nomination. She also said that though she had put her year-long campaign to rest, “I have faith that something is awakening among us … And yes … love will prevail.”

Column: Iraqis storm our embassy, another sign of U.S. failure

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

 

Iraqi protesters use a plumbing pipe to break the bulletproof glass of the U.S. Embassy's windows in Baghdad on Dec. 31, 2019.
Iraqi protesters use a plumbing pipe to break the bulletproof glass of the U.S. Embassy’s windows in Baghdad on Dec. 31, 2019. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP)
It’s a matter of official record that Afghanistan has been the longest war in American history, still going on after more than 18 years. But you could make a case that the longest war is really Iraq. We initiated hostilities there in January 1991, and they’ve never really stopped.

You know something has gone wrong when a mob of the people you thought you were helping storms your embassy chanting “Death to America.” It brings back memories from 2003, when Dick Cheney informed Americans that our invading troops would be “greeted as liberators.” Yet the objects those Iraqis were hurling at the diplomatic compound were not flowers.

The protest came in response to U.S. airstrikes against sites in Iraq and Syria, which were directed at an Iranian-supported militia that killed an American contractor in a rocket barrage. Iran’s proxy forces have made several attacks on U.S. military facilities in recent weeks, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. “will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy.”

Why Americans are still in Iraq to be put in jeopardy is a long story. Why Iranian-backed insurgents want to kill them is another complicated tale. But the latest events are a reminder that when it comes to Iraq, we still don’t have a clue.

Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg have raised the issue because Joe Biden makes much of his foreign policy expertise. But as a senator, he voted for the invasion. Sanders voted against it, and Buttigieg thinks it relevant that Biden “supported the worst foreign policy decision made by the United States in my lifetime.”

Mayor Pete is too kind. The Iraq War was the worst foreign policy decision made by the United States in anyone’s lifetime. Over time, our leaders have made it even worse. And its effects have billowed like a toxic cloud over the national landscape, where they will foul our politics for years to come.

The 2003 war followed 12 years in which we enforced no-fly areas in Iraq, sometimes bombing targets and killing Iraqi civilians. That approach failed at one of its objectives: toppling dictator Saddam Hussein. Our leaders’ frustration at his survival served as motivation for the invasion, which was sold on deception and misinformation.

The invasion was a case of “catastrophic success.” We accomplished one mission only to be surprised and overwhelmed by the forces it uncorked. George W. Bush’s administration claimed the victory would be easy, cheap and quick. It turned out to be insurmountable, astronomically expensive, long-lasting and not exactly a victory.

By smashing Saddam’s regime, we eliminated one enemy but helped another. It’s been said that the U.S. and Iraq fought a war, and Iran won. The mullahs became a dominant factor in the aftermath, thanks to their close relations with numerous groups that had opposed Saddam.

As The New York Times reported in 2017, “Iran never lost sight of its mission: to dominate its neighbor so thoroughly that Iraq could never again endanger it militarily, and to use the country to effectively control a corridor from Tehran to the Mediterranean.”

The U.S. occupation pushed the two regimes into a close alliance. In the country we set out to liberate, our forces now face attacks from militias that Iran supports.

We left in 2011, because the Iranian-allied Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to sign an agreement protecting American troops from prosecution in Iraqi courts. The space we vacated was filled by militants known as Islamic State. In 2014, we returned to fight this new enemy in tacit cooperation with … Iran.

The bewilderment and regret the war fostered back home served to discredit leaders in both parties, as well as the premises of U.S. foreign policy. They fostered a widespread cynicism that sunk Hillary Clinton — who had supported the invasion — and boosted someone whose chief foreign policy credential was having nothing to do with such failures.

When respected experts were so wrong about something so important, the public might well wonder if maybe Donald Trump’s stupendous ignorance could really be worse. But it’s not clear he learned the lesson that military might does not solve all problems. It would surprise no one if he lurched into a war with Iran or North Korea — or expanded the one in Iraq.

This much is true: The Iraq War was the worst U.S. foreign policy decision of Mayor Pete’s lifetime. At least so far.

Steve Chapman, a member of the Tribune Editorial Board, blogs at www.chicagotribune.com/chapman.

Twitter @SteveChapman13

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Law professor writes Kentucky newspaper op-ed accusing McConnell of breaking two oaths

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HILL NEWS PAPER)

 

 

Law professor writes Kentucky newspaper op-ed accusing McConnell of breaking two oaths

A Kentucky-born law professor went after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in an op-ed Friday, saying that the senator broke two of the three oaths in the U.S. Constitution.

The Boston College law professor, Kent Greenfield, criticized McConnell’s comments about an impeachment trial for President Trump.

“We Kentuckians know that our word is our bond. Oaths are the most solemn of promises, and their breach results in serious reputational — and sometimes legal — consequences,” Greenfield wrote in his op-ed published by the Courier Journal.

“President Donald Trump will soon be on trial in the Senate on grounds that he breached one oath,” Greenfield wrote. “Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is about to breach two.”

The first oath McConnell is breaking, Greenfield states, is the oath that he took when took office. It’s an oath that all state and federal officers take, an “Oath … to support this Constitution.”

The second oath pertains to the impeachment trial that will take place sometime after the new year.

“In Article I, the Constitution gives the Senate the ‘sole’ power to ‘try all impeachments,’ and the Constitution requires that ‘when sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation,’ ” Greenfield wrote.

Continuing, he wrote: “The framers wanted to make sure the Senate would never take such a trial lightly — this oath requirement is over and above the oath each senator has already taken to support the Constitution.”

McConnell has openly said that he plans to coordinate with Trump’s defense team and that he doesn’t view himself as an “impartial juror.”

Greenfield, a sixth-generation Kentuckian, targeted those comments in his op-ed.

“McConnell’s loyalty to Trump should not overwhelm his loyalty to the Constitution,” he asserts. “If he fails in this, he is not only violating his Article I oath but his Article VI oath.”

Greenfield concludes his piece by stating that history will be a “harsh judge,” and urges the longtime Kentucky senator to take his “obligation of faithful impartiality seriously.”

Which One Would It Be?

Which One Would It Be?

 

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

 

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

 

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

Trump top adviser: ‘Traditionally, it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Trump top adviser: ‘Traditionally, it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes’

The campaign aide, who was recorded at a private event, said later he was referring to false allegations against the GOP.
Image: President Donald Trump listens to questions in the Oval Office on Dec. 17, 2019.

President Donald Trump listens to questions in the Oval Office on Dec. 17, 2019.Evan Vucci / AP

By Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — One of President Donald Trump’s top re-election advisers told influential Republicans in swing state Wisconsin that the party has “traditionally” relied on voter suppression to compete in battleground states but will be able to “start playing offense” in 2020 due to relaxed Election Day rules, according to an audio recording of a private event obtained by The Associated Press.

“Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places,” Justin Clark, a senior political adviser and senior counsel to Trump’s re-election campaign, said at the event. “Let’s start protecting our voters. We know where they are. … Let’s start playing offense a little bit. That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”

Asked about the remarks by AP, Clark said he was referring to false accusations that the GOP engages in voter suppression.

“As should be clear from the context of my remarks, my point was that Republicans historically have been falsely accused of voter suppression and that it is time we stood up to defend our own voters,” Clark said. “Neither I nor anyone I know or work with would condone anyone’s vote being threatened or diluted and our efforts will be focused on preventing just that.”

Clark made the comments Nov. 21 in a meeting of the Republican National Lawyers Association’s Wisconsin chapter. Attendees included the state Senate’s top Republican, Scott Fitzgerald, along with the executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party.

Audio of the event at a country club in Madison obtained by the liberal group American Bridge was provided to AP by One Wisconsin Now, a Madison-based liberal advocacy group.

The roughly 20-minute audio offers an insider’s glimpse of Trump’s re-election strategy, showing the campaign is focusing on voting locations in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which form the the so-called “blue wall” of traditional Democratic strength that Trump broke through to win in 2016. Both parties are pouring millions of dollars into the states, anticipating they’ll be just as critical in the 2020 presidential contest.

Image: Justin Clark
Justin Clark discusses the tentative ruling by a federal judge to halt a California law that’s aimed at forcing the president to release his tax returns, in Sacramento, Calif., on Sept. 19, 2019.Rich Pedroncelli / AP file

Republican officials publicly signaled plans to step up their Election Day monitoring after a judge in 2018 lifted a consent degree in place since 1982 that barred the Republican National Committee from voter verification and other “ballot security” efforts. Critics have argued the tactics amount to voter intimidation.

The consent decree was put in place after the Democratic National Committee sued its Republican counterpart, alleging the RNC helped intimidate black voters in New Jersey’s election for governor. The federal lawsuit claimed the RNC and the state GOP had off-duty police stand at polling places in urban areas wearing armbands that read “National Ballot Security Task Force,” with guns visible on some.

Without acknowledging any wrongdoing, the RNC agreed to the consent decree, which restricted its ability to engage in activities related to ballot security. Lifting of the consent decree allows the RNC to “play by the same rules” as Democrats, said RNC communications director Michael Ahrens.

“Now the RNC can work more closely with state parties and campaigns to do what we do best, ensure that more people vote through our unmatched field program,” Ahrens said.

Although the consent decree forced the Trump campaign to conduct its own poll monitoring in 2016, the new rules will allow the RNC to use its multi-million dollar budget to handle those tasks and coordinate with other Republican groups on Election Day, Clark said. State directors of election day operations will be in place in Wisconsin and every battleground state by early 2020, he said.

In 2016, Wisconsin had 62 paid Trump staff working to get out the vote; in 2020, it will increase to around 100, Clark said.

Trump supports the effort, he said in the audio recording.

“We’ve all seen the tweets about voter fraud, blah, blah, blah,” Clark said. “Every time we’re in with him, he asks what are we doing about voter fraud? What are we doing about voter fraud?’ The point is he’s committed to this, he believes in it and he will do whatever it takes to make sure it’s successful.”

Clark said Trump’s campaign plans to focus on rural areas around mid-size cities like Eau Claire and Green Bay, areas he says where Democrats “cheat.” He did not explain what he meant by cheating and did not provide any examples.

“Cheating doesn’t just happen when you lose a county,” Clark said. “Cheating happens at the margin overall. What we’re going to be able to do, if we can recruit the bodies to do it, is focus on these places. That’s where our voters are.”

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Wisconsin.

“If there’s bad behavior on the part of one side or the other to prevent people from voting, this is bad for our democracy,” Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said in reaction to Clark’s comments. “And frankly, I think will whoever does that, it will work to their disadvantage. It will make them look, frankly, stupid.”

Wisconsin’s attorney general, Democrat Josh Kaul, represented the Democratic National Committee in a 2016 New Jersey lawsuit that argued the GOP was coordinating with Trump to intimidate voters. Kaul argued then that Trump’s campaign “repeatedly encouraged his supporters to engage in vigilante efforts” in the guise of ferreting out potential voter fraud. The Republican Party disputed any coordination.

“It is vital that Wisconsinites have free and fair access to the polls, and that we protect the security and integrity of our elections,” Kaul said in a statement in reaction to Clark’s comments. “The Wisconsin Department of Justice has been and will continue working with other agencies to protect our democratic process.”

Mike Browne, deputy director of One Wisconsin Now, said Clark’s comments suggest the Trump campaign plans to engage in “underhanded tactics” to win the election.

“The strategy to rig the rules in elections and give themselves an unfair partisan advantage goes to Donald Trump, the highest levels of his campaign and the top Republican leadership,” Browne said. “It’s clear there’s no law Donald Trump and his right-wing machine won’t bend, break or ignore to try to win the presidency.”

Brazil: Mayan attacks foreign policy on Bolsonaro and Ernesto Araújo, who ‘bullshit’

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

 

Mayan attacks foreign policy on Bolsonaro and Ernesto Araújo, who ‘bullshit’

House Speaker Rodrigo Maia (DEM) made harsh attacks on Thursday on Jair Bolsonaro’s foreign policy and his submission to the United States, and severely criticized Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo, who is “bullshit”

(Photo: Luis Macedo / House of Representatives)
 

247 – Visiting Europe with a delegation of deputies, the Speaker of the House of Representatives opened a new front for fighting against the government of Jair Bolsonaro – foreign policy. 

Aboard a FAB plane to Geneva, Switzerland, More talked to Roberto Azevedo, the WTO’s director-general.

In the coming days, the DEM deputy will visit international organizations and the UN, an organization often criticized by the head of the far-right government of Brazil, notes journalist Jamil Chad , an expert on international policy coverage. 

When questioned by Brazilian journalists about Brazilian diplomacy in his first year of managing Ernesto Araújo at Itamaraty and the option for an alignment with the US, Maia was harsh and warned that there is no reciprocity today, the journalist says.

In Maia’s view, the White House’s priority today is not Brazil and it is only interested in Latin America because of the threat that may exist from further Chinese involvement in the region.

Asked if Bolsonaro’s foreign policy should change, he made clear his dissatisfaction with Araújo.

The president has been elected and foreign policy belongs to the government. Now my position on the foreign minister is a very critical position. I think he is very ideological and does not defend the practical, pragmatic interests of Brazilians in their relationship with other countries. Made changes in ambassadors only ideologically, just because they had been Ministers of Dilma, bullshit, ambassadors are career officials, will meet all governments respecting the direction of the elected government.

Brazil: Lava Jato has no evidence of corruption against Lulinha, admits prosecutor

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

 

Lava Jato has no evidence of corruption against Lulinha, admits prosecutor

“We have to wait for the results of the search, this research can mature in this respect,” says Roberson Pozzobon to Globo, who published an analysis text about the operation against Lula’s son in which he says, “So far, there is no document that prove the thesis “

 

247 – As in the investigations and accusations made against former President Lula, the Lava Jato task force also has no evidence against the petista’s son, Fabio Luis Lula da Silva, known as Lulinha, who is the target of a phase of the operation. triggered this Tuesday 10.

“We have to wait for the results of the search, this investigation to mature in this respect,” said Prosecutor Roberson Pozzobon, who was known to say during the presentation of Deltan Dallagnol’s Power Point on the triplex charge that the task force he had no evidence yet, but convictions that Lula was running a major corruption scheme.

“The PF and MPF maintain that payments may be related to the executive action of President Lula that allowed the merger of Oi with Brasil Telecom. So far, there is no document to prove the thesis,” says Globo, in an analytical test. about Wednesday’s operation, signed by Thiago Herdy. “Obtaining this evidence is currently the biggest challenge of research,” he adds.

The highlight for the lack of evidence was noted by GGN newspaper, journalist Luis Nassif , who explains the case:

Since Monday (10), prosecutors in Curitiba have sold in the mainstream media – which even after the Intercept Brazil dossier, follows without any critical sense regarding the Lava Jato – the narrative that Oi’s business with Gamecorp group, from Squid and partners, need to be investigated.

The task force claims that it is possible that some money paid by Oi to the company linked to Lula, Suassuna and Bittar, was used to buy the Atibaia site.

The hypothesis is all that Lava Jato has at the moment. It was out of the realm of imagination that they launched a blatant police operation with more than 40 search and seizure warrants, hoping to find something to prove them right.

Knesset dissolves, sets unprecedented third election in under a year

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Knesset dissolves, sets unprecedented third election in under a year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Brazil: Bolsonaro Harasses Argentina

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

 

Bolsonaro harasses Argentina and cancels minister’s move to Fernández’s inauguration

In an unprecedented move, Jair Bolsonaro decided to hostile Argentina, Brazil’s largest importer of industrial products, and canceled Minister Osmar Terra’s move to the inauguration of Alberto Fernández and Cristina Kirchner on Tuesday.

Alberto Fernández
Alberto Fernández (Photo: Agustin Marcarian / Reuters)
 

247 – Brazil ‘s Minister of Citizenship Osmar Terra was inaugurated by Alberto Fernández and Cristina Kirchner on Tuesday (10) canceled by Jair Bolsonaro. Brazil should not have representatives at the ceremony. The information comes from the local Clarín newspaper.

In early November Bolsonaro said the government would not send anyone into possession, but changed his mind and said Osmar Terra would represent Brazil in Argentina.

Alberto Fernández has invited former president ousted by the recent coup in Bolivia, Evo Morales, and former president Lula. 

On Thursday (5), the elected president of Argentina met with the president of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), and other parliamentarians: Aguinaldo Ribeiro (PP-PB), majority leader, Paulo Pimienta (PT-RS), PT leader, Baleia Rossi (MDB-SP), MDB leader, Elmar Nascimento (DEM-BA), Democrat leader, Orlando Silva (PCdoB-SP), Sérgio França Danese, Brazilian Ambassador to Argentina; and Marcelo Dantas, Maia International Relations advisor.

Clarín reported that the presence in the delegation of Maia Paulo Pimenta and Orlando Silva, both left, bothered Bolsonaro.

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.

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