August 13, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 6:46 PM


In suburban Texas, 'it feels like there's no place for lifelong Republicans like me' (MELANIE MASON, AUG. 13, 2019, LA Times)\

COLLEYVILLE, Texas --  Vanessa Steinkamp is the kind of voter that Texas Republicans counted on. She's a devoted conservative who volunteered for Bob Dole's presidential campaign, interned for former GOP Sen. Bill Frist and lives in an affluent suburb between Fort Worth and Dallas that is the reddest pocket of a reliably Republican district.
These days, though, Steinkamp feels alienated, not energized, by her party. The thought of voting in 2020 brings on a weary sigh.

"It feels like there's no place for lifelong Republicans like me," she said.

Her unease underscores a larger problem for Texas Republicans: Female suburban voters like Steinkamp are no longer a sure bet for the party, injecting new competitiveness into the Lone Star State's politics. [...]

The suburbs have become increasingly purple thanks to an influx of new residents. Some are coming from the state's big cities in search of larger, more affordable houses and better school districts. Others are coming from out of state, and around the world, as the healthy economy attracts more workers.

Republican woes have been compounded by a flagging performance among white women in suburban areas. GOP operatives around Dallas-Fort Worth acknowledge this constituency was a glaring weakness in 2018.

Jill Tate, a Colleyville resident who is active in Republican Party groups, said she consistently heard other suburban women express qualms about the GOP over healthcare and immigration.

"They saw the kiddo being separated from their mom at the border, and it's sad," said Tate, 45. "We had a lot of [women] voting with their heart."

Posted by orrinj at 6:21 PM


Police Keep Arresting Young White Men For Trying to Copycat El Paso (Tess Owen, Aug 12 2019, Vice News)

Brian Levin, who leads the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said it's not unusual for crimes to "manifest in clusters around publicity." However, Levin said, there's another element to what we're currently seeing in response to the shootings.

"What makes these different is that many of these offenders consider themselves as part of an allied chain of so-called 'lone' warriors who combine their violence with a memorialization on social media, with references to past terrorists and bigoted folkloric texts."

Experts also say that the string of arrests serves as a reminder of the increasing pervasiveness of far-right terror in America.

"Obviously, there's a lot of focus on the attacks that occur when there are bodies in the street," said Oren Segal, director of the ADL's Center on Extremism. "But what these arrests serve as a reminder of is that the threat is broader than any one attack. It's an ongoing, consistent threat, and this underscores the role of law enforcement in tracking it."

At a recent hearing, FBI director Christopher Wray said that they'd arrested 100 subjects of domestic terror investigations over a 10-month period, a significant number of whom adhered to white supremacist ideology.

Last week's arrests offer a glimpse into a world of violent threats and plots that consume law enforcement on a regular basis...

..these would all be white men who love guns and hate minorities...

Posted by orrinj at 3:25 PM


Posted by orrinj at 3:03 PM


Moscow court reverses Sergei Mitrokhin election ban (Deutsche Welle, 8/13/19)

A Moscow court on Tuesday canceled a decision by the election commission to bar opposition candidate Sergei Mitrokhin from running in Moscow's upcoming city council vote.

The Moscow city court ruled that the electoral commission should immediately register Mitrokhin of the centrist Yabloko party as a candidate, according to Russian state news agencies.

Posted by orrinj at 12:33 PM


Posted by orrinj at 12:16 PM


'Never seen anything like this': Devin Nunes lawsuits are confusing fellow Republicans (KATE IRBY, AUGUST 08, 2019, McClatchy)

The new case names four California residents, one of whom is Paul Buxman, a retired farmer who says he voted for Nunes in the past. [...]

Even some of those within Nunes' own party are unwilling to defend his latest move. Half a dozen California Republicans -- most of whom have defended Nunes in the past -- contacted by McClatchy either did not return a request for comment or outright said they would not comment on the issue.

Two Republican consultants who have managed political campaigns in the San Joaquin Valley, Kevin Spillane and Carl Fogliani, were willing to speak on the record, both saying they were confused by Nunes' tactics.

"There seems to be no strategy other than to attack his enemies," Spillane said. "He should focus on working his district and stay out of the politics of Washington, D.C."

Asked if these lawsuits helped further the perception that Nunes had become less concerned with his district -- a frequent criticism of Nunes by Democrats -- Spillane said, "Well, I don't think it helps him."

...for electing him.  Although it is fun watching Adam Schiff pummel him routinely.

Posted by orrinj at 12:07 PM


Cuccinelli rewrites Statue of Liberty poem to make case for limiting immigration (Devan Cole, 8/13/19, CNN)

"Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus's words etched on the Statue of Liberty, 'Give me your tired, give me your poor,' are also a part of the American ethos?" NPR's Rachel Martin asked Cuccinelli on "Morning Edition" in an interview published Tuesday.

"They certainly are: 'Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,'" he replied.

One further tweak: insert "whites"

Posted by orrinj at 12:01 AM


How an unarmed 65-year-old stopped a gunman from attacking a Norwegian mosque (Rick Noack August 12, 2019, Washington Post)

A 65-year-old former Pakistani military officer is being credited with thwarting an attack at a mosque in Norway after he tackled a heavily armed gunman who allegedly stormed into the house of worship with the intent of carrying out a mass shooting motivated by hatred of Muslims.

Mohammad Rafiq said he threw the gunman to the ground after the man entered the al-Noor Islamic Center in Baerum near the Norwegian capital of Oslo on Saturday, before the two other men inside the mosque rushed to help him pin down the gunman.

Rafiq's quick action helped avert an attack that brought back painful memories of the Christchurch shootings in New Zealand this year, when a gunman attacked two mosques and killed 51 people during Friday prayers.

"There is no doubt that the swift and firm response from the persons inside the mosque stopped the aggressor," acting police station chief Rune Skjold said in a statement. "These persons showed great courage."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Trump's (Almost) All-White GOP Emerges (Dean Obeidallah, 08.12.19, Daily Beast)

After the 2014 midterm election, there was a sense the GOP was becoming a more racially diverse party when African-American Tim Scott won a seat to the U.S. Senate from South Carolina and Will Hurd and Mia Love were both elected to the House. Even NPR noted then about these historic victories that the Republican Party seemed to be "building momentum for diversifying the GOP ranks."

Those days are long gone. There are currently five times as many Republicans in the House named Jim as there are black Republicans in that chamber. And it's about to get worse. Will Hurd, the only black Republican currently in the House, announced last week he was retiring. Before that, in 2018, Mia Love was defeated and then mocked by Donald Trump, "Mia Love gave me no love and she lost," adding tauntingly, "Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The Uneasiness Of Joe Biden's Presidential Campaign Is About More Than The Gaffes (Henry J. Gomez, 8/13/19, BuzzFeed News)

 Joe Biden's fight for the soul of America often feels like a fight for the soul of Joe Biden.

His four-day swing through Iowa began with a confident rebuke of President Donald Trump's racist rhetoric. The Wednesday speech in Burlington was timely, given the domestic terrorism days earlier in El Paso, Texas, but also consistent with the themes Biden has campaigned on for months.

The next night, Biden's gravitas gave way to rambling. At an Asian & Latino Coalition event in Des Moines, the former vice president twice ignored a fearless moderator's requests that he shorten his answers. When a teen asked how he would protect her generation from school shootings, Biden alternated between empathetic and defensive. He talked at her: hunched over, palms down flat on the table in front of her as they locked eyes. He wanted her to know that the survivors of last year's school shooting in Parkland, Florida, had come to visit him -- and, in Biden's telling, only him.

"Me," he said. "Nobody else. Me. I met with them. I met with their families."

It can be easy to miss and hard to put your finger on, especially when Biden leads the Democratic presidential field in polling and puts on his aviator-clad frontrunner's face. But Biden presents with a vibe of doubt. He can come across as a candidate who's worried that he's running out of time -- and that he's wasting yours. And he's not always sure how to make the most of it.

Pick a great governor for VP and step down immediately, having saved the Republic.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Serial Hoaxers Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman Swear They'll Solve Epstein's Death (Will Sommer, 08.12.19, Daily Beast)

On Monday, lobbyist Jack Burkman and conservative operative Jacob Wohl--the hapless serial hoaxers behind several earlier failed schemes--announced that they were going to "enter the fray" and investigate Epstein's death. 

"We're hardly alone in the belief, but we strongly feel that this was a murder," Burkman said in a press release. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Trump is impeaching himself (Julian Zelizer,  August 13, 2019, CNN)

It turns out Speaker Nancy Pelosi might have been onto something when she talked about Trump being "almost self-impeaching" several months ago. This August, Trump seems to be on a path of impeaching himself.

Despite the continued skepticism from Democratic leaders, the drive toward impeachment has accelerated. Over 50% of House Democrats, including some legislators from moderate swing districts, have announced their support for impeachment proceedings.

Even House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, the emerging moral conscience of the party, said that he favors an impeachment inquiry, and contended that formal impeachment proceedings are already underway. He told CNN's Erin Burnett: "This is formal impeachment proceedings. We are investigating all the evidence, gathering the evidence. And we will (at the) conclusion of this -- hopefully by the end of the year -- vote to (send) articles of impeachment to the House floor. Or we won't. That's a decision that we'll have to make. But that's exactly the process we're in right now."

Nadler has done more than any other senior Democrat in talking about the "I" word and making the case to the public for moving forward with hearings -- the job of opposition leaders in these historic moments.

It is not clear that Robert Mueller's testimony before the House is the reason the impeachment process has accelerated. While the substance of Mueller's presentation was devastating, just like the written report, Trump himself has been the driving force in energizing Democrats to take a stand.

Even the Trumpbots seem exhausted by having to drop the pretense and defend open racism.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The strongmen vs. the streets (Dave Lawler, 8/13/19, Axios)

The world's two most powerful authoritarian states have been unable to quell pro-democracy demonstrations that have now spanned several weeks and drawn global attention.

The latest: Flights out of Hong Kong were canceled today after protesters flooded into the airport, while Moscow witnessed its largest protests in seven years over the weekend. Video of police battering demonstrators has emerged from both cities. Broader crackdowns now seem likely, particularly in Hong Kong.

While neoliberal fascism--as the Left now calls protestantism/capitalism/democracy--just keeps rolling along.

The Promise of Liberalism Is Alive in the Streets of Hong Kong (NOAH ROTHMAN, 8/12/19, Commentary)

Thirty years ago, defying Mao Zedong's invasive gaze, pro-democracy demonstrators armed with foam and paper-mâché cobbled together an icon. Combining the aesthetics of Soviet statuary with Western classicism, the 33-foot Goddess of Democracy was not intended to evoke the Statue of Liberty. Indeed, the student protesters who designed it were self-conscious about the comparison between their idol and the colossus in New York's harbor, but the ideals and emotions the two sculptures invoke are so universal that their distinguishing cosmetic features were inconsequential. It could not be allowed to stand, and it was destroyed after just five days, along with China's student-led democracy movement, by the People's Liberation Army.

The Goddess of Democracy was born again in Hong Kong by a new generation of democratic activists who are far less concerned with offending the sensibilities of Beijing's elite. Replicas of the famous statue have become objects of renewed veneration and antipathy as anti-government protests enter their 10th week. But the citizens who have taken to the streets to protest Beijing's encroachment into China's bastion of political liberalism are far less shy about conveying pro-American sentiments. Demonstrators have been seen flying U.S. flags, singing the American national anthem, and demanding civil liberties akin to those enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Sadly, the affection the people of Hong Kong have shown Americans is not entirely reciprocal.

Trump says it's up to China to deal with Hong Kong 'riots'  (Reuters, 8/27/19) 

U.S. President Donald Trump has described protests in Hong Kong as "riots" that China will have to deal with itself, signaling a hands-off approach to the biggest political crisis gripping the former British colony in decades.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Gun safety is actually a consensus issue (MARK PENN, 08/12/19, THE HILL)

The politics of gun safety has confounded the country for decades. Poll after poll finds solid support for background checks, banning assault rifles, and even licensing. And yet, since the 1994 congressional elections, most in Congress have been wary of passing tough legislation.

Measures to improve background checks for gun ownership are backed by almost the entire public. The last time we polled it in the Harvard-Harris Poll in March 2018, 90 percent favored it. Closing loopholes in background checks is not a controversial issue -- it is an issue of national consensus. [...]

Americans do not want guns banned; 68 percent in the June Harvard-Harris poll rejected restricting gun ownership to only the police and the military. They do want gun ownership to come under the same kind of prudent legislation as for any dangerous product, like a car, a medicine or anything else that can easily threaten lives. Consequently, it's not a surprise that 69 percent support licensing guns just like autos.

And all the shooters are gun nuts.