November 1, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 7:17 PM


The Best Trump Defense (RICH LOWRY, November 1, 2019, National Review)

The best defense Republicans can muster is that nothing came of it. An ally was discomfited and yanked around for a couple of months before, ultimately, getting its defense funding.

All of this bears some resemblance to Trump's alleged obstruction of justice during the Mueller investigation. He hated the investigation and wanted it to go away, and even plotted against it, but at the end of the day, Robert Mueller did his work. More specifically, the Ukraine mess is lot like Trump's order, or purported order, to then-White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller. After drama, internal contention, and tragicomedy, nothing happened.

Brought to you by the People's Committee to free Ramzi Yousef!

Posted by orrinj at 6:15 PM


Trump clearly deserves impeachment - His defense grows increasingly weak and silly (Jason Nichols, 10/31/19,  Fox News)

Evidence of Trump's impeachable conduct when he pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate potential Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden is so overwhelming that there is little Republicans can do to refute it. So they've taken to complaining about unfairness in the impeachment process - an absurd argument, but all they've got to work with.

The truth is that the impeachment process approved by Democrats Thursday is fair to Republicans, in that it allows them to issue subpoenas and question witnesses. And the process is fair to Trump as well.

The most important point is that Democrats have outmaneuvered Republicans at every turn on the road to impeachment in the House - and impeachment now appears very likely.

Before Thursday's full House vote in support of an impeachment inquiry of Trump, Republicans mostly complained that no such vote had been held, and also objected to the fact that the House Intelligence Committee was interviewing witnesses behind closed doors.

Thursday's vote and the Democratic commitment to public hearings destroyed those Republican talking points. But Republicans keep complaining anyway, saying the full House vote should have been taken earlier and raising every technical objection they can think of in a desperate move to derail the impeachment train that is clearly picking up steam.

Unless you're an extreme partisan and blind follower of Trump who will defend him no matter what, the GOP complaints don't hold up.

Posted by orrinj at 5:53 PM


Syria's Assad calls Trump the 'most transparent president' (QUINT FORGEY, 11/01/2019, Politico)

"All American presidents commit crimes and end up taking the Nobel Prize and appear as a defender of human rights and the 'unique' and 'brilliant' American or Western principles," he continued, "but all they are is a group of criminals who only represent the interests of the American lobbies of large corporations in weapons, oil and others."

Assad asserted that Trump, however, "speaks with transparency to say, 'We want the oil,'" adding: "What do we want more than a transparent foe?"

Posted by orrinj at 5:29 PM


A new study shows that even the poorest immigrants lift themselves up within a generation (Nicole Narea, Nov 1, 2019, Vox)
The adult children of immigrants, almost universally, show more upward economic mobility than their peers whose parents were born in the United States. Indeed, a new working paper by Stanford University's Ran Abramitzky; Princeton University's Leah Platt Boustan and Elisa Jácome; and the University of California Davis' Santiago Pérez finds that this is especially true for the lowest-income immigrants and remains true for the most recent cohorts for which data is available.

Drawing from census data, publicly available administrative data, and federal income tax data, they traced the income levels of millions of fathers and sons over time dating back to 1880. The children of immigrants climbed higher in the income rankings than those born to US natives across history and in 44 of the 47 sending countries they studied.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The GOP has mainstreamed white nationalist anti-Semitism: One year on from the Pittsburgh shooting, it's clear that the Trump administration and the GOP, along with their media boosters, have helped create the climate for lethal white nationalist anti-Semitism to thrive. (Ben Lorber, 10/31/19, +972)

We're all used to this pattern by now. White nationalists continue to commit deadly attacks against Jews, immigrants and other minorities, while right-wing leaders continue to deflect from this reality, and instead falsely portray progressive leaders and social movements, from Ilhan Omar to the Women's March, as the chief threats to American Jews. Now, more than ever, we need to understand and confront the threats posed to Jews and other minorities, and multiracial democracy as a whole, by white nationalism and the forces of Trumpism.

It is with this in mind that my organization, Political Research Associates, has just released a new report, "Taking Aim at Multiracial Democracy: Antisemitism, White Nationalism and Anti-Immigrant Racism in the Era of Trump," in collaboration with Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish advocacy group. The report highlights growing white nationalist anti-Semitism in the United States and its amplification by right-wing elected officials, Fox News, and segments of the general public, from the time of the Pittsburgh shooting up to the present.

Since 2016, the United States has seen a frightening escalation of anti-Semitism across the right. This has taken many forms, ranging from Trump's anti-Semitic campaign ads and claims of Jewish "disloyalty" to Republican rhetoric scapegoating George Soros and "globalists," the rise of the internet alt-right movement, white nationalist street mobilizations like the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, and deadly and attempted violence, vandalism, and arson targeting synagogues and Jewish cemeteries. This anti-Semitism is intimately connected to racist and exclusionary rhetoric, policy and violence against non-white immigrants and other minorities.

White nationalists hold the racist belief that non-white "others" are intrinsically inferior. They also imagine Jews as the shadowy architects behind a strategy to undermine white civilization and carry out the "meticulously planned genocide of the European [white] race," in the words of the Poway synagogue shooter. White nationalists believe Jews are orchestrating this so-called "white genocide" by encouraging non-white immigration and engineering a slew of progressive forces, from the civil rights, feminist, and LGBTQ rights movements to multiculturalism, "political correctness," and more.

These ideas don't just exist on the fringes of the right. White nationalist anti-Semitism is increasingly echoed and reinforced, in dog-whistle form, by prominent right-wing elected officials and media pundits, including Trump himself. These right-wing leaders echo the demonization of liberal Jewish philanthropist George Soros and the "globalist" or "cosmopolitan" elite as hidden masterminds of non-white immigration and various "liberal" causes, from present-day impeachment proceedings against Trump to the "migrant caravan" during the 2018 midterms, Black Lives Matter protests, and more. When right-wing leaders voice this rhetoric, it legitimizes anti-Semitic conspiracies while granting it a massive public forum, contributing to a climate that encourages white nationalist attacks on Jews and other minorities.

None of these tactics are new. From early 20th-century Tsarist Russia to Nazi Germany, conservative and ultra-nationalist leaders and social movements have long propagated the fantasy of a scheming, immensely-powerful Jewish cabal that covertly manipulates world affairs. While many forms of oppression "punch down" by declaring groups of people inferior based on race, class and gender, modern European-derived anti-Semitism claims to "punch up" at an imagined secretive, elite class of Jews. In so doing, right-wing leaders and social movements use anti-Semitic scapegoating during times of intense inequality and instability in order to deflect popular discontent and discourage it from challenging the inequitable policies they uphold and benefit from.

As we explain in "Taking Aim at Multiracial Democracy," this anti-Semitism doesn't only threaten the safety and vibrancy of Jewish communities. It also bolsters and amplifies racist rhetoric and exclusionary policy against immigrants, communities of color and other marginalized groups. It serves as an effective scaffolding for full-frontal attacks against progressive movements, and multiracial democracy as a whole.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Fox News departure: Catherine Herridge joins CBS News, saying 'facts matter' (Brian Stelter, 11/01/19, CNN Business)

In another major defection from the newsroom of Fox News, Catherine Herridge is joining CBS News as a senior investigative correspondent.

Herridge, Fox's chief intelligence correspondent, was a founding employee of Fox News in 1996 and a leader in the network's Washington bureau.

She was in talks to join CBS before Shep Smith, also a founding Fox employee, resigned on October 11 in the middle of a multi-year contract, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. [...]

In a statement released through CBS, Herridge also invoked the importance of facts, but in a way that could be interpreted as a criticism of Fox: "CBS News has always placed a premium on enterprise journalism and powerful investigations," she said. "I feel privileged to join a team where facts and storytelling will always matter."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


40 years on, embassy hostage crisis still haunts US-Iran ties (AFP, 11/01/19) 

Gary Sick, an American official who dealt with the hostage crisis at the time, said the incident was "probably the single best explanation for why we're in the sort of impasse we are right now."

"If you look at everything Iran has done or we have done in the meantime, the kind of punishment that is being meted out to Iran is totally disproportionate," he told AFP in Washington. [...]

The 2015 accord had promised to open up Iran's economy to the world after years of isolation, in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme.

Its unravelling made some in Tehran see Washington as untrustworthy in negotiations -- but many young Iranians still see talks as the only way forward.

"I, like the rest of my generation, believe we have never had a problem with the American people," said Khadijeh, a 19-year-old student in Tehran.

The issue is with the US administration's consistently negative policies against Iran, she said, dressed in the long chador gown worn by conservative Iranian women.

"We have tried everything, whether it was fighting or peace... but (America) does not accept anything," she said.

Students who took part in the embassy takeover have voiced similar sentiments.

Masoumeh Ebtekar, Iran's vice president for women and family affairs, was a 20-year-old medical student at the time of the hostage crisis.

She became a key spokesperson for the students, thanks to her fluent English.

Despite her past, Ebtekar was a firm supporter of her government's efforts to rebuild ties with the West through the 2015 nuclear deal, she told AFP in a 2016 interview.

She said she regretted the isolation that followed, but remained unrepentant -- the students had been convinced the US was preparing a coup to reverse the revolution.

"The incident certainly had a cost, but the cost was less than its benefit," Ebtekar told KhabarOnline news agency last year.

Another then-student, Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, who later became a reformist politician, in 2014 apologized for the hostage-taking.

"We just wanted to occupy the embassy for 48 hours, and I don't agree with sanctifying the move and thinking we should chant 'Death to America' forever," he said.

Over the decades, some politicians on both sides have wanted to move on, most notably Iran's former reformist president Mohammad Khatami and Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.

But the crisis scarred the US psyche. According to Sick, now a professor at Columbia University, that helps explain Washington's persistent hard line.

You'd think our helping Saddam slaughter them and shooting down a passenger jet would have balanced the books, nevermind 40 years of sanctions.  We're long past the point where we're just being petulant.