November 4, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 8:07 PM


'No Blame'? ABC News finds 17 cases invoking 'Trump' in connection with violence, threats or alleged assaults (MIKE LEVINE Nov 4, 2018, ABC News)

[A] nationwide review conducted by ABC News has identified at least 17 criminal cases where Trump's name was invoked in direct connection with violent acts, threats of violence, or allegations of assault.

Nearly all -- 16 of 17 -- cases identified by ABC News are striking in that court documents and direct evidence reflect someone echoing presidential rhetoric, not protesting it. ABC News was unable to find any such case echoing presidential rhetoric when Barack Obama or George W. Bush were in the White House.

The perpetrators and suspects identified in the 17 cases are mostly white men, as young as teenagers and as old as 68, while the victims represent an array of minority groups -- African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and gay men.

Federal law enforcement authorities have privately told ABC News they worry that -- even with Trump's public denunciations of violence -- Trump's style could inspire violence-prone individuals to take action against minorities or others they perceive to be against the president's agenda.

Posted by orrinj at 8:02 PM

NIKKI 2020:

Exclusive poll: Trump's 2020 woman problem (Kim Hart, Alexi McCammond, 11/04/18, Axios)

President Trump would lose the 2020 election against every woman mentioned as a possible Democratic opponent, according to an Axios poll by SurveyMonkey, aired first on HBO Sunday night. [...]

Even though they're unlikely to run, both Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey would crush Trump if the election were held today, according to the poll conducted by SurveyMonkey.

And both women lead by double digits in favorability. Trump's favorability is just 40% among registered voters, per the poll, compared to 62% for Obama and 55% for Winfrey.

More probable but lesser-known candidates -- Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) -- would all beat Trump, too.  [...]

The two women who barely edge out Trump are Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is in a virtual tie with the president. 

Could Haley beat Trump? Among some key voters, the answer could be 'yes' (BRISTOW MARCHANT, October 12, 2018, The State)

Of likely GOP primary or caucus voters in 2020, 52 percent in New Hampshire and 51 percent in Iowa said they would consider casting their vote for the outgoing U.N. ambassador over Trump. 

Posted by orrinj at 5:47 PM


The Luck of the Democrats (Ross Douthat, Nov. 3, 2018, NY Times)

[W]hile they were obviously unlucky in their disastrous 2016 defeat, in most respects liberalism and the Democratic Party have been very lucky since. So their optimism isn't just a gritted-teeth pose; it's an appropriate reaction to a landscape that's more favorable than it easily might have been.

To understand this good fortune, consider two counterfactuals. In the first, the last 21 months proceeded in exactly the same fashion -- with the strongest economy since the 1990s, full employment almost nigh, ISIS defeated, no new overseas wars or major terrorist attacks -- except that Donald Trump let his staffers dictate his Twitter feed, avoided the press except to tout good economic news, eschewed cruelties and insults and weird behavior around Vladimir Putin, and found a way to make his White House a no-drama zone.

In this scenario it's hard to imagine that Trump's approval ratings wouldn't have floated up into the high 40s; they float up into the mid-40s as it is whenever he manages to shut up. Even with their threadbare and unpopular policy agenda, Republicans would be favored to keep the House and maintain their state-legislature advantages. All the structural impediments to a Democratic recovery would loom much larger, Trump's re-election would be more likely than not, and his opposition would be stuck waiting for a recession to have any chance of coming back.

Then consider a second counterfactual. Imagine that instead of just containing himself and behaving like a generic Republican, Trump had actually followed through on the populism that he promised in 2016, dragging his party toward the economic center and ditching the G.O.P.'s most unpopular ideas. Imagine that he followed through on Steve Bannon's boasts about a big infrastructure bill instead of trying for Obamacare repeal; imagine that he listened to Marco Rubio and his daughter and tilted his tax cut more toward middle-class families; imagine that he spent more time bullying Silicon Valley into inshoring factory jobs than whining about Fake News; imagine that he made lower Medicare drug prices a signature issue rather than a last-minute pre-election gambit.

This strategy could have easily cut the knees out from under the Democrats' strongest appeal, their more middle-class-friendly economic agenda, and highlighted their biggest liability, which is the way the party's base is pulling liberalism way left of the middle on issues of race and culture and identity. It would have given Trump a chance to expand his support among minorities while holding working-class whites, and to claim the kind of decisive power that many nationalist leaders around the world enjoy. It would have threatened liberalism not just with more years out of power, but outright irrelevance under long-term right-of-center rule.

But instead all the Trumpy things that keep the commentariat in a lather and liberals in despair -- the Twitter authoritarianism and white-identity appeals, the chaos and lying and Hannity-and-friends paranoid style -- have also kept the Democrats completely in the game.

Posted by orrinj at 5:40 PM


Kamala Harris's Big Policy Idea Is Even Worse Than I Thought (JORDAN WEISSMANN, NOV 04, 2018, Slate)

This bill would put a lot of money into the hands of working families, and lift millions out of poverty. So what's wrong with it? Last month, I noted three issues: First, it's extremely similar to a program that already exists--the Earned Income Tax Credit--and it's not clear why you'd want to add even more complexity to our hard-to-navigate welfare state by creating a totally new benefit rather than modernize and expand the one that already exists. Second, because only workers (and some college students) receive the bill's benefits, it offers nothing to the absolute poorest Americans--those who don't have jobs. At the same time, it give zilch to families who make more than $100,000. And whether or not you think those households--which make up about 29 percent of the country--need any help, that fact alone will probably undercut its political support.

Which is a problem, since a program this expensive would be an enormous political lift. Harris's office did not score the bill before circulating it (which seemed like a bit of a gamble). But since then, the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Wharton Budget Model has concluded it would cost $3.1 trillion over a decade. The conservative Tax Foundation estimates it would be slightly cheaper: $2.8 trillion. Either way, you're talking about a big, fat chunk of federal change. If one were to total up all of the money that Washington is expected to spend on Obamacare's private insurance subsidies, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Social Security Disability Insurance program over the next ten years, that only gets you to $2.7 trillion.

As a couple of anti-poverty experts pointed out to me, the LIFT Act also contains a fairly serious design flaw. As it's currently written, the bill creates a serious financial penalty for getting married.

Posted by orrinj at 5:29 PM


Posted by orrinj at 8:37 AM


Customers Buy Out Doughnut Shop Early Every Day So Owner Can Be With Sick Wife (CBSLA, 11/02/18)

Donut City owner John Chhan just wants more time with his ailing wife, so his customers are helping out, a dozen doughnuts at a time.

Chhan and his wife, Stella, have owned Donut City in Seal Beach for three decades. The couple came to Orange County as refugees from Cambodia in 1979. Since then, they've worked side by side every morning to serve doughnuts at their Pacific Coast Highway shop - until recently.

Customers who missed Stella Chhan's presence behind the counter were shocked to discover she had suffered an aneurysm. She's alive, but is weak and in rehab, and John Chhan rushes home every day to be with her as soon as the shop sells out of doughnuts.

Chhan declined customers' offer to set up a GoFundMe account for the couple, saying he simply wants more time with his wife. Instead, customers have endeavored to help Donut City sell out early every day so he can return to the rehabilitation center where she is recovering.

Posted by orrinj at 6:27 AM


Anti-Liberal Zealotry Part I: Our Immoderation (Peter Berkowitz, September 14, 2018, Real Clear Policy)

Our politics increasingly encourages citizens -- members of the intellectual and political elite particularly -- to take to an extreme the perennial human propensity to take one's opinions to an extreme. This imperils liberal democracy in America.

More than most forms of government, American liberal democracy is a hybrid, multi-dimensional regime. Grounded above all in the conviction that human beings are by nature free and equal, the American constitutional order embodies a mix of principles. It draws upon and shelters a variety of traditions. And it calls upon citizens to tolerate a diversity of beliefs and practices, including beliefs with which they may intensely disagree and practices of which they may strongly disapprove.

To accommodate these manifold tendencies, the Constitution establishes complex institutional arrangements that summon the political moderation -- that is, the ability to combine and reconcile competing claims about sound policy and justice -- on which the American experiment in self-government depends. 

Resisting the Constitution's incentives to combine and reconcile, leading figures on the left and right seem bent on heightening tensions and magnifying divisions. Donald Trump's ascent to the White House exacerbated both camps' growing determination, in evidence well before Trump upended the 2016 presidential campaign, to insist that the apocalypse is just around the corner. Powerful conservative voices argued that a Hillary Clinton victory would irreversibly entrench a ubiquitous progressivism that ruthlessly uses government to redistribute wealth, regulate the economy, and restrict worship and speech. Since the election, many prominent progressive voices, joined by a few vehement conservatives (and ex-conservatives), have accused Trump of wrecking democracy in America by debasing political discourse, trampling on norms, corrupting political institutions, empowering working-class bigots and white supremacists, and undermining the rule of law.

The reality is that our politics is so partisan precisely because there are so few differences over policy at the End of History.  And this has, ironically, made compromise more difficult, because while the two sides advocate identical policies, they desperately want to deny the other side credit for achieving them.  This generates the strange phenomenon where Bill Clinton vetoes his own Welfare to Work program so Newt Gingrich doesn't get sole credit for it, where Democratic Senators (including Barrack Obama) defeat immigration reform so that W doesn't get credit for it and where Republicans fight hammer and tongs to deny the value of their own Heritage Plan for healthcare--though, revealingly, they never use their power to do anything about it.

This is why it would be so useful to organize an Obama/Bush Roadshow and have the two ex-presidents tour the country and expound upon our commonalities and discuss the sorts of overlap between the two parties on extant issues, so we could see the shape of possible compromises.  

For instance, on immigration, we could easily forge a coalition around the twinned policies of Closed Borders and Open Immigration.  What bothers even non-racists about our current situation is the aesthetics--that by allowing so much illegal immigration we essentially have no policy and no control over our own borders.  Americans don't want less immigration--nor much more--we just want an orderly process that is fair to all seeking to come here. 

A bill that set aside money to "Build the Wall" and that adopted an Ellis Island model for processing newcomers would restore that sense of orderliness.  

The recording and issuance of official identification would pull millions out of the shadow economy and help them find work, help businesses hire honestly, help law enforcement find wrongdoers, etc.   

We would get the more diverse immigrant population that many on the Right desire because people would not have to rely on sneaking over the border to get in.  Just as prior generations knew that they would be welcomed once they got here by boat, folks could fly in to anywhere and know they had not wasted their life's savings.  

Just as importantly, a more open and legalized system would allow people to return home to their nation of origin if they fail to adapt or simply choose to live elsewhere.  In the past, this was a great boon to both them and their homelands. Anyone who has ever worked with many immigrants will be familiar with the desire of some to take their experience and new wealth and return home to open their own business. A healthy policy would make that easier to do.

Given the increasing demand for labor and raw population, one can easily see a future where businesses and states would have recruiting operations at points of entry to try and lure immigrants.  This would entail offering benefits that would only speed their adaptation to and assimilation into American society. (Even illegals are currently assimilating faster than any prior cohorts, thanks to mass media.)

Of course, the fact remains that some portion of the Right--the hardcore ethno-nationalists--and of the Left--the anti-religious, environmental extremists and paleo-organized labor types--would not be satisfied with such a compromise, because they genuinely oppose immigrants.  But even that opposition would serve American purposes because it would expose their marginality.

Meanwhile, America would have moved beyond one big divisive issue.

Posted by orrinj at 6:12 AM


Roy Hargrove 1969 - 2018: A heart attack claims one of jazz's leading trumpeters at 49 (Michael J. West, 11/03/18, Jazz Times)

Roy Anthony Hargrove was born on Oct. 16, 1969 in Waco, Texas, and grew up in Dallas, where he began playing trumpet at age nine and attended the city's famous Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts. During his junior year, Wynton Marsalis visited the school on an educational tour and heard young Hargrove play, encouraging him to pursue a career in jazz. Hargrove took his advice, enrolling at Berklee College of Music in 1988.

Hargrove stayed at Berklee only a year, during which he spent more time commuting to New York and attending jam sessions than he did attending class (a fact that, amusingly, he enjoyed sharing with his students after he became a teacher at Berklee). The following year he transferred to Manhattan School of Music, becoming a permanent fixture on the New York scene; that same year, 1989, he recorded his first album (Diamond in the Rough), which began a long association with alto saxophonist Antonio Hart. Other regular collaborators included bassist Christian McBride, pianists Stephen Scott and Marc Cary, and saxophonist Ron Blake. He won two Grammy Awards in 1997 and 2002.

Along with Hart, McBride, and tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, Hargrove became the face of a new generation of "Young Lions" for jazz in the 1990s. Like those musicians, Hargrove at first made music that was steeped in the swinging hard bop tradition, but gradually began branching out into the funk, soul, and hip-hop with which he grew up. In 2000, he was featured on the seminal album Voodoo by R&B singer D'Angelo; a few years later he formed the neo-fusion project RH Factor, featuring D'Angelo as well as rappers Common and Q-Tip and his former Dallas schoolmate, singer Erykah Badu. "I had to go all the way in there," he explained about starting the band.

Hargrove never abandoned the hard bop matrix with which he'd broken through, however; he led a stable longtime quintet with saxophonist Justin Robinson, pianist Sullivan Fortner, bassist Ameen Saleem, and drummer Quincy Phillips to continue that pursuit. His soulful 2006 hard bop composition "Strasbourg-St. Denis" became both his theme song and a latter-day jazz standard. In these contexts, Hargrove also moonlighted as a singer, drawing on the deep well of Great American Songbook lyrics he'd learned over the years and proving a competent scatter.

Posted by orrinj at 6:01 AM


Drama builds around Stone in Mueller probe (MORGAN CHALFANT, 11/03/18, The Hill)

Robert Mueller continues to zero in on Roger Stone as speculation builds that the special counsel could take a major overt step in his Russia investigation following the midterm elections next week.

Stone, a longtime adviser to President Trump who briefly worked on his campaign, is viewed as central to the question of what, if anything, members of the Trump campaign knew in advance about Democratic emails hacked by Russian operatives and then released by WikiLeaks.

Legal analysts say Mueller is likely interested in determining whether the campaign helped coordinate the document dump, and views Stone as key to making that judgment.

Stone, who both publicly and privately referenced contacts with WikiLeaks during the campaign, has drawn the interest of Mueller in recent weeks and months.

Get Me Roger Stone Profiles the Man Who Created President Trump (SOPHIE GILBERT, MAY 11, 2017, The Atlantic)

Stone, at the age of 19, was the youngest person to testify to the Watergate grand jury, as an employee of the Committee to Re-elect the President. He was, he says, behind the Brooks Brothers riot during the 2000 election. And, in perhaps the most influential act of his career, he persuaded Donald Trump to get into politics. "[Stone] always likes to take on somebody that at least has a good chance of winning," the president says in an on-camera interview, showcasing his characteristic flair for self-aggrandizing compliments.

But the film, which follows Stone through his fluctuating role on the Trump campaign, is also an incisive portrait of how Stone's brand of dirty tricks--in which the only motivating factor in politics is to win--came to dominate the current state of disarray. Stone, as he's wont to do, cheerfully takes credit for all manner of shifts in the last four decades of U.S. elections, from the birth of PACs and superPACs to the rising influence of lobbyists to the dominance of anger and fear in the media. You may find yourself wondering, as the Fox host Tucker Carlson does at one point, whether all of these developments can actually be traced back to Stone, or whether he's just the most dastardly self-promoter in history. But Get Me Roger Stone is a thorough and entertaining primer into how American politics got so ugly, not to mention a crucial window into the mentality of the unorthodox 45th president.

Now in his 60s, sporting bow-ties, suspenders, and an overbearing air of insouciance, Stone resembles no one so much as a senior Pee-wee Herman. He stokes the caricature of the mustache-twirling plutocrat, being interviewed in an opulent dining room next to a three-olive martini, where he expounds on "Stone's Rules," one-sentence aphorisms like, "It's better to be infamous than never to be famous at all," and "One man's dirty trick is another man's civil political action." Extremely charismatic and unabashedly outspoken, he's a documentarian's dream. And this before the film even gets to unpacking Stone's involvement in the rise of Trump, or his embrace of the alt-right.

The Stone mystique is carefully curated. Stone recalls early on how, at a mock election at his elementary school, he took a liking to John F. Kennedy because he had "better hair" than Nixon, and he persuaded his classmates to vote for JFK by assuring them Nixon planned to introduce school on Saturdays. "For the first time ever, I understood the value of misinformation," Stone says, with a glint in his eye. [...]

This indomitable spirit pushed Stone toward his lobbying years with the firm Black, Manafort, and Stone (yes, that Manafort, and he's also interviewed in the film), which became known as "the torturer's lobby" for its list of highly unsavory clients. Stone, Toobin explains, "sees morality as a synonym for weakness." Then, in 1988, the lawyer Roy Cohn introduced Stone to Trump, and Stone was immediately taken with the brash businessman's potential. Again, the two seemed like twin souls, with their penchant for attention and their dyed blonde combovers. "I was like a jockey looking for a horse," Stone recalls. "And [Trump's] a prime piece of political horse flesh in my view."

The key to Stone's success, Paul Manafort explains, is that he sees things that others don't. Where other, more ethically minded strategists might choose optimism when it comes to the will of the American people, Stone's dogged lack of morality gives him a keen instinct for tactics that might reverberate across swing states. Hence his stoking of the flames of the birther movement, which echoed Nixon's "southern strategy." And his recent alignment with InfoWars' Alex Jones, seen hollering in one clip about "chemicals in the water that turn the frigging frogs gay." The "Lock Her Up" chant is Roger Stone. So were the guests Trump brought to a presidential debate to claim the Clintons were victimizers of women, at least one of whom was paid to appear by Stone's superPAC.

Posted by orrinj at 5:57 AM


Trump stumps in cities that don't look that much like US (JOSH BOAK, 11/03/18, AP) 

President Donald Trump is in the final stretch of a 44-city blitz for the midterm elections, but the America he's glimpsed from the airport arrivals and his armored limousine is hardly a reflection of the nation as a whole.

The president has mostly traveled to counties that are whiter, less educated and have lower incomes than the rest of the United States, according to Census Bureau data. It's a sign that he is seeking to galvanize the same group of voters that helped carry him to victory in 2016.

Posted by orrinj at 4:50 AM


'Jim Crow's Last Stand' In Louisiana May Fall To Ballot Measure (Debbie Elliot, 11/04/18, NPR Morning Edition)

The split-jury system is a vestige of Louisiana's 1898 constitution, adopted in the period after the Civil War when slavery was abolished.

Henderson says when former Confederates regained power after Reconstruction, they created a system to more easily ensnare free black people.

"They realized the only way we're going to disenfranchise all these African-Americans and be able to get this free labor, you know, we have to devise a way," Henderson says. "And this is what they concocted."

At the time, the state would lease convict labor to private landowners.

Historians and legal scholars say the intent was clear.

"That constitutional convention is really interesting," says Andrea Armstrong, a law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans.

"It put into place a number of measures in order to -- this is a quote from the convention itself -- 'to maintain the supremacy of the white race.'"

Armstrong says the legacy of the non-unanimous jury is evident today in racial disparities in the criminal justice system of Louisiana, which has the second highest incarceration rate in the country.

Posted by orrinj at 4:34 AM


GOP Candidate: No Peace In Israel Until Jews Convert To Christianity (Aiden Pink, 11/02/18, The Forward)

Mark Harris, who served as a Baptist pastor in Charlotte until resigning last year to run for office, recounted in 2011 his visit to the Holy Land.

"You cannot be in that land, as powerful and as moving as it is, without realizing the incredible tension that is constantly in that land between the Palestinians and the Jews," Harris said. "There will never be peace in Jerusalem until the day comes that every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."

Harris went on to say that no Jewish or Muslim resident of Jerusalem would find peace unless they accepted Jesus Christ. [....]

A Harris campaign spokesperson did not return CNN's request for comment. The polling website FiveThirtyEight calls the race between Harris and Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina's 9th district a "toss-up."

Posted by orrinj at 4:32 AM


The Myth of a 'Tight Labor Market' (Andrew L. Yarrow, August 31, 2018, RCB)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which sorely needs some new terminology to describe the state of the U.S. workforce, counts only those who have looked for a job within the last four weeks as unemployed. Less noticed are its counts of how many Americans are "participating" in the labor force by working or being "unemployed" as a proportion of the entire "working age" population. Unfortunately, BLS seems stuck in a long-ago world where "prime working age" is still defined as between 25 and 54 years old.

The reality is that millions of us older than 54 work or seek jobs, and a fair number of Americans under 25 also work. If one expands the "prime working age" to age 64, about 18  percent of prime working age men are not in the labor force.

There are further problems with this number: 64 doesn't even bring us up to full Social Security retirement age (and many work longer); it fails to include the nation's two million incarcerated men, the at least 10-15 million men who work part-time or in the gig economy -- often not by choice -- and men like a once high-earning 60-year-old New Yorker who said: "I retired after failing to find a suitable opportunity." Also uncounted are the several million males between 16 and 24 called "NEETS" (not in education, employment, or training).

Cutting these numbers another way, millennial men's labor force participation rate is about 15 percentage points lower than that of 45-to-54-year-old men. Many, if not most of America's 17-20 million male ex-felons don't work. Despite the political focus on the Trumpian white working class, Millennials, those who have done time, and men higher up the socioeconomic ladder are also among what I call "men out."

We're left with the reality that the percentage of men not employed today is about three times what it was during the Truman and Eisenhower eras: well over 20 million men. Not the four million officially deemed to be unemployed.

The other myth is that labor force participation is too low, when the fact is that it remains at unsustainably high levels historically.  The heights were reached by simply adding women and minorities to the force without removing any white men for perfectly good political reasons. But economic forces always trump political and now white men have to compete for those jobs, so the rate is returning to historical norms and technology stands to drive the rate far lower.

Posted by orrinj at 4:30 AM


Ready for a fight: Voter enthusiasm surges among U.S. Hispanics (Chris Kahn, Daniel Trotta, 11/04/18, Reuters) 

Hispanics are more interested in voting this year than in the last U.S. congressional midterm elections in 2014 and their enthusiasm outpaces that of all U.S. adults, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national tracking poll released on Sunday.

Volunteer Bea Nevarez stands for a portrait during door-to-door canvassing in Tucson, Arizona, U.S., October 31, 2018. Picture taken October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Caitlin O'Hara
The poll also found likely Hispanic voters nearly twice as inclined to support Democrats for the House of Representatives as Republicans in Tuesday's elections.

Voter registration groups are using Republican President Donald Trump's nationalist, anti-immigrant rhetoric as an opportunity to drive up Latino enthusiasm. In an illustration of their passion, one group that is part of an alliance that has reached out to more than 1 million potential voters in Arizona took its name from the Spanish word for "fight."

Posted by orrinj at 4:20 AM


Iraq Blasts U.S. For Statements On Iranian-Backed Militias (Radio Liberty, November 04, 2018)

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has issued a rare rebuke of its American ally, asserting that a U.S. Twitter posting concerning neighboring Iran "goes beyond diplomatic norms" and represents an "interference" in Iraq's internal affairs.

In a Twitter posting on October 30, still on its account, the U.S. State Department told Iran it must "permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shi'a militias" operating in Iraq.

In a statement issued on November 3, the ministry called on the U.S. to delete the comments and "to avoid their recurrence in the future and to observe the rules of international law." [...]

Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias operating in Iraq took part in the U.S.-led campaign to drive the Islamic State (IS) militant group from Iraqi territory.

Iraq has since formally integrated many of the militias into its security forces, but the United States has demanded that militias be disarmed and disbanded.

The Foreign Ministry said it "would like to point out that...the statement [concerning the militias] goes beyond diplomatic norms and mutual respect for the sovereignty of states as a well-established principle of international law."

Posted by orrinj at 4:12 AM


Bahrain opposition leaders get life term over Qatar spying case (Al Jazeera, 11/04/18)

The Sunni-ruled Gulf state has been hit by waves of unrest since 2011 when security forces crushed Shia-led protests demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

Opposition movements have been outlawed and hundreds of dissidents have been imprisoned - with many stripped of their nationality.

Bahrain last year ratified a constitutional amendment granting military courts the authority to try civilians charged with "terrorism", a term that is loosely defined by the Bahraini penal code.

In June, the kingdom amended its law on political rights, prohibiting "leaders and members of political associations dissolved for violating the kingdom's constitution or its laws" from running in legislative elections.

Bahrain, a key ally of the United States and home to the US Fifth Fleet, accuses Shia Iran of provoking unrest in the kingdom. Iran denies the allegations.

The United Nations and rights groups including Amnesty and HRW have criticised the Bahraini monarchy over its treatment of protesters.

A democratic Bahrain will have a Shi'a popular government.

Posted by orrinj at 4:05 AM

THE lEFT IS THE rIGHT (profanity alert):

As Brooklyn Hate Crime Suspect is Arrested, Time for the Left to Rethink Its Attitude to Anti-Semitism (Liel Leibovitz, November 3, 2018, The Tablet)

Earlier today, the New York Police Department arrested the man suspected of vandalizing the Union Temple in Brooklyn by scrawling "Hitler" and "Die Jewish rats" on its wall. The man, James Polite, is also being investigated for allegedly attempting to set several Jewish institutions throughout the city on fire.

Polite, 26, is not a white supremacist. He is African-American, was raised in part by Jewish foster parents, and was sent to Brandeis University with the help of a charity run by The New York Times. He was a Democratic party activist, a protégée of former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and a one-time City Hall intern who, according to the Times, worked on "initiatives to combat hate crime, sexual assault and domestic violence."

But Polite's journey through so many of contemporary liberalism's most vaunted paths--academia, politics, activism--and the kindness shown him by Jews were apparently not enough to prevent him from contracting the mind-numbing virus of anti-Semitism. [...]

Coming, as it does, on the heels of the deadly attack in Pittsburgh, Polite's case merits a moment of consideration. After the shooting in the Tree of Life synagogue left 11 dead, some pundits pointed out that President Trump bore some measure of responsibility for the attack, if only for fomenting the sort of chaotic atmosphere that empowered and invigorated the alt-right.

It's a serious accusation, and one well-worth considering carefully and at length (Benjamin Kerstein does an excellent job promoting this very argument here). But in Polite we have an equally terrifying counter-argument, one that suggests that in today's America, no one side has a monopoly on hate and chaos. When the Democratic Party's leaders, including a former president and a former attorney general, stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Louis Farrakhan on the stage at Aretha Franklin's funeral, is it any wonder that some are prone to listen when Farrakhan refers to Jews as termites? And listen they do: Earlier this week, a rabbi, Avram Mlotek, was harassed on the subway in Manhattan by a Farrakhan supporter who blamed the Jews for all the violence directed against them everywhere in the world.

And now, we've Polite. If the left is honest, it will spend the coming days and weeks asking how someone educated at a fine liberal university, on a scholarship from a fine liberal newspaper, could graduate from a job with a fine liberal politician--helping curb hate crimes, no less--to trying to intimidate and incinerate Jews. 

They're the same side.

Labour Party branch 'voted down motion condemning Pittsburgh synagogue attack' (Benjamin Kentish, 11/03/18, Independent)

A local Labour Party branch has refused to pass a motion condemning the antisemitic attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh that left 11 people dead, according to a party activist.

Steve Cooke, the secretary of Norton West branch in the Stockton North constituency, said he was "aghast" that the motion was voted down after members claimed there was too much focus on "antisemitism this, antisemitism that".

Posted by orrinj at 4:03 AM


Myanmar by-election results 'a lesson' for Suu Kyi's party (Thu Thu Aung, Simon Lewis, 11/04/18, Reuters) 

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) expects to have won only seven of 13 seats up for grabs in by-elections, a spokesman said on Sunday, conceding that Myanmar's ruling party needed to do more for voters from ethnic minorities.