Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Trump Targets Californians For Reprisals– Californians Will Defeat More Republicans In 2020, Including Him

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Going into 2018, there were 14 Republicans in California”s delegation to Congress, including 4 in Orange County alone. When the new Congress was sworn in, there were no longer any Republicans representing Orange County and the Republicans in the statewide delegation had been halved. Gone were Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Steve Knight, Ed Royce, Mimi Walters, Dana Rohrabacher and Darrell Issa, all of whom had been targeted by Ted Lieu, then DCCC vice chair for the West Coast. Worse yet, the small margins by which many of the others had managed to hold on, indicate that California will very likely lose more Republican congressmen next year. Duncan Hunter, Devin Nunes, Tom McClintock and Doug LaMalfa are all dangerously vulnerable.

Is it fair to blame these losses on Trump, which is exactly what most congressional Republicans and their allies do– at least in public? “He”s like an anchor around our necks,” one GOP campaign staffer told me in confidence this morning. “If we stand up to him, we”re in danger of losing the base. If we go along with some of his preposterous bullshit, independent voters associate us with him– and they really hate him… Here in California, there”s a growing perception that he is targeting the state for retribution and that”s going very badly for us.”

On Thursday, Politico published an essay by Michael Grunwald, Trump”s War On California. This is what the state”s shrinking pool of Republican elected officials have to live with– starting with his constant bashing of the state. That he targets Democrats like Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters, the governor etc. with immature nicknames, hurts the party brand among independent voters– and remember, in California, the GOP has fewer registered voters than people who have registered as independents.

Trump and his cronies, points out Grunwald, “have begun framing 2020 as a last stand against the hippie-lefty Californication of America. Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk has warned that “Democrats want California to be the blueprint for America,” while Dan Patrick, the Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, has suggested that Trump’s reelection slogan should be: “I’m not going to let the Democrats turn America into California.””

California has earned its reputation as the politically correct capital of Blue America, a heavily urban majority-minority coastal state where it’s legal to smoke pot but illegal for retailers to provide plastic bags or cops to ask suspects their immigration status. Taxes are high, the first year of community college is free and driver’s licenses have a third option for residents who don’t identify as male or female. But while California has plenty of problems, from worsening wildfires to overpriced housing to that troubled bullet-train project that became the latest target of presidential mockery, there’s one serious hitch in the GOP plan to make California a symbol of Democratic dysfunction and socialistic stagnation: It’s basically thriving.

“California is doing awesome,” says Congressman Ted Lieu, an immigrant from Taiwan who co-chairs the policy and communications committee for the House Democratic Caucus. “It’s a beautiful, welcoming, environmentally friendly place that proves government can work. Who wants to run against that?”

California is now the world’s fifth-largest economy, up from eighth a decade ago. If it’s a socialist hellhole, it’s a socialist hellhole that somehow nurtured Apple, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Uber, Netflix, Oracle and Intel, not to mention old-economy stalwarts like Chevron, Disney, Wells Fargo and the Hollywood film industry. California firms still attract more venture capital than the rest of the country combined, while its farms produce more fruits, nuts and wine than the rest of the country combined. During the Great Recession, when the state was mired in a budget crisis so brutal its bond rating approached junk and it gave IOUs to government workers, mainstream media outlets were proclaiming the death of the California dream. But after a decade of steady growth that has consistently outpaced the nation’s, plus a significant tax hike on the wealthy, California is in much sounder fiscal shape; while federal deficits are soaring again, the state has erased its red ink and even stashed $13 billion in a rainy day fund.

Of course, every state is in better economic shape than it was during the Great Recession, but California has enjoyed its renaissance while pursuing policies Republicans associate with economic ruin. It has an $11-an-hour minimum wage, scheduled to rise to $15 by 2023. Its unusually aggressive implementation of Obamacare since 2013 has reduced its uninsured rate from 17 percent to just 7 percent. Its ambitious clean energy and climate policies in many ways inspired the Green New Deal; the state is committed to generating 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045, and its stringent fuel-efficiency standards help explain why it’s home to half the nation’s electric vehicles.

In general, California is flourishing while pursuing the exact opposite of the policies Trump is pursuing in Washington. And it has sued the Trump administration dozens of times, not only taking the lead on the new 16-state lawsuit against the president’s emergency wall declaration, but fighting for loan forgiveness for students defrauded by for-profit schools, net neutrality and Obamacare’s guarantees of free birth control, while fighting to stop the ban on travel from several Muslim countries, the ban on transgender service members, and a slew of environmental rollbacks. For example, Trump is trying to dismantle California’s strict fuel-efficiency rules, which have become de facto national rules since other blue states have adopted them and every automaker has complied with them, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is now battling the administration in court to protect them.

“If people want to call what California is doing socialism, fine, but it isn’t having a negative impact on the economy,” says political scientist Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Center for Budget and Policy. “By just about every measure of productivity, we’re at the upper end of the spectrum.”

That hasn’t stopped Republicans from making California their go-to nightmare scenario. In 2018, Senator Ted Cruz warned that liberals wanted Texas to be “just like California, right down to the tofu and silicone and dyed hair.” Democratic candidates for governor were accused of trying to turn Nevada and Florida into California, and Colorado into “RadiCalifornia.” In the Georgia governor’s race, Republican Brian Kemp’s stump-speech mantra about Democrat Stacey Abrams was that she was trying to import “radical California values.” The Republican National Committee’s nickname for Harris in its news releases is “California Kamala,” and it rarely mentions her without mentioning her “San Francisco values.”

California is so gigantic that it’s hard to pinpoint what its values really are. There are huge differences between its cities, exurbs, and rural areas, between crunchy Northern California and glam Southern California, between upscale coastal California and downscale inland California. But it’s undeniably a socially and politically progressive state, with laws banning pet stores from selling dogs that weren’t rescued, restaurants from giving their customers plastic straws unless asked, and employers from asking job applicants about their current salaries. Even the traditionally Republican suburbs of Orange County voted Democratic in 2018. And while economic conservatives consider its high-tax, pro-regulation policies “anti-business,” researchers have not found evidence that those policies drive businesses to other states or squelch innovation in California, although they do seem to encourage some retirees to move elsewhere. The president tweets on a platform created in California. It’s somewhat odd to portray the state that created health clubs, blue jeans, Pandora and Hulu as Venezuela in the making.

In fact, the secret sauce of the California dream seems to have something to do with attracting entrepreneurs who want to change the world as well as their bank accounts. Christine Moseley, the CEO of a San Francisco business-to-business startup called Full Harvest, was an executive for a global logistics conglomerate and then an organic juice chain before moving to the Bay Area to start an eco-friendly company of her own. She ended up developing a kind of Airbnb for ugly produce, a platform that connects farmers who have fruits and vegetables they can’t sell to grocery stores with juice companies and other buyers who don’t care what the food looks like as long as it’s fresh. America wastes about 40 percent of its food, contributing to global hunger as well as global warming; in three years, Full Harvest has sold 10 million pounds of produce that would have gone to waste.

“California was the perfect place to do this,” Moseley says. “It’s the tech and innovation capital of the world, but it’s also the place for people who care about food and the environment, and the place for people who want to solve big problems.”

A lot of those dreamers come to California from abroad; more than 10 million of the state’s 40 million residents are immigrants, and a quarter of those immigrants are undocumented. “There is a Revolution going on in California,” Trump tweeted during the legal battle over sanctuary cities last April, and he didn’t mean it as a compliment. In his Oval Office address about his border wall last month, the president pointedly cited two murders committed by undocumented immigrants in California, and earlier this week he complained on Twitter this week that California is leading the fight against his declaration of a national emergency.

But illegal border crossings into California are at their lowest level since 1971, and the state government doesn’t view its undocumented residents as a threat. They’re eligible for driver’s licenses, subsidized health care for their kids, and in-state tuition rates, while police officers are prohibited from working with ICE to try to deport them. University of California Chancellor Janet Napolitano, who ran the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama, created legal services centers throughout the system to help undocumented students.

“California recognizes their basic humanity,” says Kevin Johnson, dean of the University of California-Davis law school. “And if you look at the labor market, immigrants are a big reason why California has such a dynamic economy.”

Traditionally, another reason has been government investment; for example, the strength of its public universities helped attract the aerospace industry, build the technology mecca of Silicon Valley, and turn the San Diego area into the national capital of “precision medicine.” But government also helped finance the ill-fated solar manufacturer Solyndra, as well as the beleaguered San Francisco-to-Los Angeles bullet train that Governor Newsom tapped the brakes on last week. Newsom is also scaling back a similarly massive water project designed to alleviate droughts and protect the Sacramento River delta. Sometimes Republicans cite misleading statistics to make California look bad– yes, it has the “most debt” and the “most families on welfare,” because it has the most people– but sometimes, California’s dreams have exceeded its government’s ability to execute them.

…[T]he idea of California as a leftist hellhole is likely to persist. “California is going to hell in a handbasket,” Fox News personality Tomi Lahren declared during a recent segment on the border. A conservative Town Hall columnist, in a 2018 essay titled “To Hell With California,” urged the state to secede from the U.S., although he said he didn’t want to nuke it. (“Well … OK, I don’t.”) There’s already a Twitter meme proposing a new Harris campaign slogan: “Make America California.”

California does feel like a potential harbinger of a more multicultural, more progressive American future, which may be one reason Trump is so openly hostile to it, even threatening to withhold aid from its wildfire victims. A lot of Newsom’s plans for California are to counter what’s happening in Washington; he wants to reinstate Obamacare’s individual health insurance mandate in California, extend health subsidies to undocumented adults in California, and pursue even more ambitious climate goals. Meanwhile, the Democratic candidates to take on Trump are pushing platforms that would take a lot of California policy to the national stage.

The story of California is the story of America– immigration, innovation, investing in what works,” Lieu said. “Plus we’ve got amazing beaches, and Disneyland! How cool is that?”

This is just the kind of anti-California jidahist sentiment from Trump that drives Californians up the wall. The people who suffered from the catastrophic wild fires in the northeast of the state were Democrats, Republicans and independents. Trump”s lack of empathy for their plight stings– and is unprecedented for an American president. The local congressman, Republican Doug LaMalfa, a Trump enabler,- seems scared to offend Trump to stand up for his own constituents.- When Trump threatened to take away funds from fire victims, LaMalfa refused to take a stand and just told the people who put him in office to trust Trump.-

Goal ThermometerThe progressive Democrat who nearly beat him last time and plans to finish the job this time, Audrey Denney, doesn”t trust Trump– or LaMalfa. About a week ago she reminded us that her home county “was ravaged by the most deadly and destructive wildfire in California’s history. We are still reeling from the effects of the fire.- Around 30,000 people have been displaced.- Many residents have moved away permanently because there is no available housing to accommodate them.- We are mourning the loss of 85 of our community members.- Residents are grappling every day with how to piece their lives back together when everything

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump anxiety” – Google News: US, China extend trade talks into the weekend – Daijiworld.com

US, China extend trade talks into the weekend  Daijiworld.com

Washington, Feb 23 (IANS): Negotiators representing the US and China agreed on Friday to extend trade talks into the weekend, media reported. The extension …

“trump anxiety” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Former US central bank head Janet Yellen cautions Donald Trump’s trade negotiators against demanding a stable yuan to end trade war

Former US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen – refuting the Trump administration’s allegations that China is a currency manipulator – wants American trade negotiators to think twice about asking China to maintain a stable exchange rate between the yuan and the US dollar, as it is “difficult and treacherous” to define when a country is manipulating its currency.Central banks need to be able to use all policy levers, including the exchange rate, to meet domestic economic needs, Yellen told a…

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Trump’s tweet proclaiming wall construction is really months-old footage of fencing replacement

Donald Trump retweeted his own video claiming that “the wall is under construction right now,” but the whole thing is about as ridiculous as the national emergency he declared last week before setting off for a long weekend of golfing. Oh, there was some construction all right, but it certainly wasn’t the big fat concrete wall he promised, but rather fencing replacement, and not from “right now,” but rather from last September. 

“The money for the steel-slatted barrier came from a congressional appropriation in 2017,” the New York Times reported, “not from newly authorized spending in the recent deal that averted a government shutdown, or from money the president is seeking to take from other federal projects under his national emergency declaration from last week.”

Congressional Democrats—and perhaps some Republicans—are set to challenge Trump’s fake emergency next week, in an effort being spearheaded in the House by Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro. “This is a historic power grab,” the Congressional Hispanic Caucus chair said, “and it will require historic unity by members of Congress—Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative—to counteract the president’s parasitic movement.”

Trump will surely moan and complain and demand to know why he can’t treat the U.S. government like his own personal charity, while continuing to ignore actual threats and crises facing our nation, like deadly white supremacists, asylum-seekers dying in U.S. custody, and the fact that his administration kidnapped thousands of children at the southern border and now says it’s just too darn hard to return them to their families. There’s your national emergency, Donald.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump narcissist” – Google News: Yale psych prof: If Trump weren’t president he would be ‘contained and evaluated’ – Raw Story

Yale psych prof: If Trump weren’t president he would be ‘contained and evaluated’  Raw Story

At the center of the chaotic maelstrom that is the Trump presidency is the question of Donald Trump’s mental health. His public behavior (and, by most accounts, …

“trump narcissist” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Pentagon says it will be months before construction on Trump’s border wall starts

(CNN) — Even if everything goes according to plan, it will likely be months before construction on President Donald Trump’s sought-after border wall can even start, according to senior defense officials.

Trump recently declared a national emergency on the southern border, a move that in theory will allow his administration to tap and repurpose more than $3 billion in military construction funds to build sections of the wall.

The declaration has been challenged by several states and some members of Congress.

Trump also said that his administration would use the Pentagon’s counter drug fund to build sections of the wall.

But even if the court and congressional challenges do not slow the process, defense officials say it will still be many months before the funds in question could be used to build a wall.

Senior Defense officials said Friday that the Defense Department is currently awaiting a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide support for border wall construction.

“We’ve asked DHS for input, facts, priorities, we are waiting to receive those, when we do we are going to process that, when I say process that we’ll match that with our mission analysis and begin the process,” Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan said Thursday, adding that the Pentagon would brief Congress on the way forward on Friday.

While the defense secretary is required by law to make a determination that any military construction funds tapped for a border wall are being used to support the armed forces, defense officials say that there is no real criteria on which to make that determination.

“There are not formal criteria for that assessment,” a senior defense official said Friday, adding that Shanahan “will make a very deliberate decision per the law but the law does not proscribe explicit criteria.”

The officials said that that assessment period alone could take weeks.

“We’re talking a matter of weeks for the assessment leading up to the decision by the secretary and then we’re looking at months for the actual implementation to the point of construction, breaking ground, and then we’re talking longer than months for the completion of the construction,” the senior defense official said.

In addition, while the Trump Administration has said that it intends to use some $2.5 billion from the Pentagon’s counter drug fund to help pay for the wall, defense officials said that there is currently less than $80 million available for the wall in that account.

Therefore the Trump administration would have to cut money from other defense accounts and reprogram those funds into the counter drug pot so that the money could be used for border fencing.

While the senior defense official said that that “it has been the practice of the Department of Defense to request approval” from Congress prior to reprogramming funds, he added that “it’s not required by law,” declining to say whether the Pentagon would seek approval to divert money toward the wall.

“DHS indicated to us that they will be providing to us a request for assistance for construction of fences, lighting, roads in support of their drug enforcement mission, all of their high priority designated sections of the border for which they have assessed barriers are most important all of those key areas are also designated or they will designate them as drug smuggling areas, corridors which meets the obligation of the law,” a defense official said.

Once Shanahan makes his determination, the projects are approved and the necessary funds are identified and reprogrammed by the Comptroller, the US Army Corps of Engineers will begin the “expedited contracting and acquisition process,” awarding contracts and obligating initial funds the official said.

“DHS completes the environmental assessment and requests and grants DoD sufficient access rights to permit construction, DoD requires those access rights in order to be able to legally do the construction. Then the Army Corps will mobilize the contracting support, obligate the remaining funds and begin the construction,” the official added.

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: India looking at something ‘very strong’ post Pulwama attack: Trump

US President Donald Trump said India is looking at “something very strong” after last week”s Pulwama terror attack, the responsibility for which was claimed by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).”Right now between Pakistan and India, there is a very, very bad situation and it”s a very dangerous situation. We would like to see it stop. A lot of people were just killed. We want to see it just stop. We are very much involved in that. India is looking at something very strong. India just lost almost 50 people in the attack. I can understand that also,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday.He also outlined that there are currently a “lot of problems between India and Pakistan” due to the terrorist attack, saying, “We”re talking. A lot of people are talking. It”s going to be a very, very delicate balance. Right now there is a lot of problem between India and Pakistan because of what just happened in Kashmir.”The incumbent US President also brought attention to .

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Pentagon says it will be months before construction on Trump’s border wall starts

(CNN) — Even if everything goes according to plan, it will likely be months before construction on President Donald Trump’s sought-after border wall can even start, according to senior defense officials.

Trump recently declared a national emergency on the southern border, a move that in theory will allow his administration to tap and repurpose more than $3 billion in military construction funds to build sections of the wall.

The declaration has been challenged by several states and some members of Congress.

Trump also said that his administration would use the Pentagon’s counter drug fund to build sections of the wall.

But even if the court and congressional challenges do not slow the process, defense officials say it will still be many months before the funds in question could be used to build a wall.

Senior Defense officials said Friday that the Defense Department is currently awaiting a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide support for border wall construction.

“We’ve asked DHS for input, facts, priorities, we are waiting to receive those, when we do we are going to process that, when I say process that we’ll match that with our mission analysis and begin the process,” Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan said Thursday, adding that the Pentagon would brief Congress on the way forward on Friday.

While the defense secretary is required by law to make a determination that any military construction funds tapped for a border wall are being used to support the armed forces, defense officials say that there is no real criteria on which to make that determination.

“There are not formal criteria for that assessment,” a senior defense official said Friday, adding that Shanahan “will make a very deliberate decision per the law but the law does not proscribe explicit criteria.”

The officials said that that assessment period alone could take weeks.

“We’re talking a matter of weeks for the assessment leading up to the decision by the secretary and then we’re looking at months for the actual implementation to the point of construction, breaking ground, and then we’re talking longer than months for the completion of the construction,” the senior defense official said.

In addition, while the Trump Administration has said that it intends to use some $2.5 billion from the Pentagon’s counter drug fund to help pay for the wall, defense officials said that there is currently less than $80 million available for the wall in that account.

Therefore the Trump administration would have to cut money from other defense accounts and reprogram those funds into the counter drug pot so that the money could be used for border fencing.

While the senior defense official said that that “it has been the practice of the Department of Defense to request approval” from Congress prior to reprogramming funds, he added that “it’s not required by law,” declining to say whether the Pentagon would seek approval to divert money toward the wall.

“DHS indicated to us that they will be providing to us a request for assistance for construction of fences, lighting, roads in support of their drug enforcement mission, all of their high priority designated sections of the border for which they have assessed barriers are most important all of those key areas are also designated or they will designate them as drug smuggling areas, corridors which meets the obligation of the law,” a defense official said.

Once Shanahan makes his determination, the projects are approved and the necessary funds are identified and reprogrammed by the Comptroller, the US Army Corps of Engineers will begin the “expedited contracting and acquisition process,” awarding contracts and obligating initial funds the official said.

“DHS completes the environmental assessment and requests and grants DoD sufficient access rights to permit construction, DoD requires those access rights in order to be able to legally do the construction. Then the Army Corps will mobilize the contracting support, obligate the remaining funds and begin the construction,” the official added.

The post Pentagon says it will be months before construction on Trump’s border wall starts appeared first on Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources.

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Alaska senator says she’s likely to back Trump disapproval

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she is likely to support a resolution of disapproval over President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to secure more money for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

In an audio recording provided by an aide late Friday, Murkowski noted concerns she has raised about the precedent that could be set if the declaration stands.

U.S. House Democrats introduced a resolution Friday to block the national emergency declaration. If it passes the House, it would go to the Senate. Trump on Friday promised a veto.

Murkowski says she wants to make sure the resolution is exactly what she thinks it is, because if it is what she understands it to be, she will likely support it.

Source

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mikenov on Twitter: Trump Investigations: 10:00 PM 2/22/2019 – Zelensky takes lead in Ukrain… trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/02/1000-p…

Trump Investigations: 10:00 PM 2/22/2019 – Zelensky takes lead in Ukrain… trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/02/1000-p…


Posted by

mikenov
on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 2:08am

mikenov on Twitter

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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Zelensky takes lead in Ukraine poll ahead of 2019 presidential vote – news politics


Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from News Agency UNIAN.

Poroshenko and Tymoshenko’s chances to make it to the second round are almost equal, experts say.

Collage by UNIAN

Collage by UNIAN

“Zelensky is a leader among presidential candidates with 17.5% of all respondents willing to vote for him (19% among those who intend to go to a polling station),” according to a survey by the Oleksandr Razumkov Ukrainian Centre for Economic and Political Studies.

At the same time, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (13.1% and 16.8% respectively) and leader of the Batkivshchyna Party Yulia Tymoshenko (11.5% and 13.8% respectively) have almost equal chances to make it to the second round of elections.

Read alsoZelensky’s Sluha Narodu Party takes the lead in poll ahead of 2019 parliamentary vote

According to the survey, leader of the Hromadianska Pozytsia (Civic Position) Party Anatoliy Hrytsenko has support of 5.9% of respondents and 7.3% of those who actually plan to cas their ballot; Head of the Opposition Bloc Yuriy Boyko will get 6.3% and 7.1%, respectively, and leader of the Radical Party Oleh Liashko will gain 4.3% and 4.8%, respectively.

“Each of the rest of candidates is gaining less than 3%,” the center said.

In addition, according to the survey, 13% of respondents in the west and up to 22% in the south of the country intend to vote for Zelensky, while the level of support for Tymoshenko varies from 8% in the east to 15% in the center.

Residents of the west (17%) and the center (16%) are more willing to give their votes for Poroshenko compared to the south (6%) and the east (8%), while Boyko, on the contrary, may count on the support of residents of the east (13%) and the south (10%), while in the central and western regions, only 3% and 1% of the respondents are ready to vote for the latter.

Read alsoTop security official in Ukraine warns of “extremely wide” spectrum of Russian meddling in Ukraine’s elections

The poll says “in the second round of elections, Zelensky will outrun both Poroshenko (32.2% to 19.1%) and Tymoshenko (28.7% to 18.6%).”

If Tymoshenko and Poroshenko make up a second-round pair, both have equal chances to win (22.4% and 20.0%, respectively), according to experts.

The poll was conducted on February 7-14 through personal formalized (face-to-face) interviews. The study involved 2,016 respondents aged 18 and older in all regions of Ukraine (except for the temporarily occupied territories in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea). The margin of error does not exceed 2.3%.

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠

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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Volodymyr Zelensky and Germany – Google Search


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from “Volodymyr Zelensky and Germany” – Google News.

Story image for Volodymyr Zelensky and Germany from Deutsche Welle

Yulia Tymoshenko: Ukraine heading for ‘reset’ of government

Deutsche WelleFeb 16, 2019
… of them are currently trailing behind political outsider Volodymyr Zelensky, … Stream 2 project to deliver gas from Russia directly to Germany.

Over 300 international observes registered for Ukrainian election

TASSFeb 19, 2019
… of Germany for the Ukrainian presidential election on March 31, 2019. … whose application was approved are showman Vladimir Zelensky, …
Story image for Volodymyr Zelensky and Germany from Deutsche Welle

Ukraine’s presidential hopefuls: What you need to know

Deutsche WelleFeb 4, 2019
… for an absolute parliamentary democracy based on the German model. … the new and surprising faces of this election is Volodymyr Zelensky, …
Story image for Volodymyr Zelensky and Germany from Interfax-Ukraine

Interfax-Ukraine

NEWSBRIEFS

The Ukrainian Weekly (press release)Feb 15, 2019
… and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky will be Mr. Poroshenko’s closest …. a gas pipeline between Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea.
Story image for Volodymyr Zelensky and Germany from UrduPoint News

Poroshenko’s Claims On ‘Russian Aggression’ Preparation For …

UrduPoint NewsFeb 20, 2019
The Gleiwitz incident as a false flag attack on a German radio … round with 13.1 percent lagging behind entertainer Volodymyr Zelensky, who is …
Story image for Volodymyr Zelensky and Germany from Bloomberg

This Comedy Star Wants to Be Ukraine’s Donald Trump

BloombergJan 10, 2019
That’s why the anti-elite candidate, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, who has launched a populist campaign with Donald Trump-like flair, …

Desperately seeking a post-war president in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Weekly (press release)Feb 1, 2019
… Russia, France and Germany agreed on a way to end a hot phase of the … Another candidate, Volodymyr Zelensky, who plays a fictional …
Story image for Volodymyr Zelensky and Germany from Ukrinform. Ukraine and world news
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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Volodymyr Zelensky Comedy Star and Ukraine’s Donald Trump Wannabe


Michael_Novakhov
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.

If any country has good reason to be disappointed with its elite, it’s Ukraine. That’s why the anti-elite candidate, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, who has launched a populist campaign with Donald Trump-like flair, shouldn’t be written off in March’s presidential election.

Despite President Petro Poroshenko’s formidable effort to secure a second term on a nationalist platform of support for the Ukrainian language, the military, and a church independent from Moscow, the race is wide open.

Polls don’t give any single candidate even as much as 15 percent of the vote. Many people in Ukraine don’t trust these surveys anyway — as Brian Mefford, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, noted recently, it is widely believed the results are often skewed according to who pays. 

This atmosphere of uncertainty and distrust is fertile ground for a populist effort, and Zelensky is nothing if not clever at pandering to his audience. A native of the gritty steel and mining city of Kryvyi Rih, he began his career on KVN, a comedy contest on Russian TV that was massively popular in the former Soviet Union. In the mid-2000s, he and his team, known as Kvartal 95, launched their own comedy show on Ukrainian TV. It blossomed into a production business making millions of dollars a year. Zelensky, however, continued touring with his comedy shows and acting in kitschy but almost always profitable movies. Everything he touched turned into gold. Ukrainian TV channels competed for him and his product, which has often made fun of politicians. 

One of Kvartal’s most successful TV series, “Servant of the People,” cast Zelensky in the role of a schoolteacher who becomes president of Ukraine after his anti-corruption rant goes viral on the internet. So it has long been rumored that he coveted the role in real life, too.

He played coy until New Year’s night. Just before midnight, when all Ukrainian TV channels traditionally air the president’s New Year’s address, Kvartal 95’s home, the 1+1 channel, ran Zelensky’s short speech announcing his candidacy. The bold move set off a wave of condemnation on social media, primarily from Poroshenko’s supporters who argued that the “clown” was devaluing the institution of the presidency.

Zelensky was also accused of being the puppet of oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who owns 1+1 from de facto exile in Israel. There, Kolomoisky is waiting out attempts by the current Ukrainian government to hold him responsible for plundering Privatbank Commercial Bank PJSC — a bank nationalized in 2016 at a cost of more than $5 billion. (Kolomoisky’s lawyers, for their part, have denied the claims, saying they are politically motivated.)

Whether or not Kolomoisky is really behind Zelensky — both have denied it — the comedian knows how to give the people what they want. He has advertised for team members, setting out one condition only: Candidates must have no political experience. He makes a point of never wearing a jacket. On his Facebook page, he has posted endearing videos of himself talking about his campaign and Ukraine’s future; in a calculated show of ineptitude, the videos are filmed with a vertically-oriented smartphone, so Facebook shows them with blurry margins.

In his most recent video, Zelensky explains he won’t write a manifesto like old-time politicians do — because they all sound the same and the promises are never kept. Instead, he has asked Ukrainians to tell him what five problems they believe to be the biggest for the country; then, he proposes to crowdsource the solutions, too.

Direct democracy is a recurring theme with Zelensky. In a December interview, he described his solution to the war in eastern Ukraine: He’d let voters have the final word on a compromise with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Any talk of a compromise with Russia is dangerous for a politician in today’s Ukraine. It’s more acceptable to talk of a military solution, even if the government isn’t really capable of one. Besides, Zelensky’s history with Russia is troubling for nationalists. Though he speaks fluent Ukrainian, he is a native Russian speaker; his movies and TV series did equally well in Ukraine and in Russia, where the company had a busy subsidiary. 

But then Zelensky isn’t a professional politician, and he can hardly be described as pro-Russian or inconsistent: After Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Zelensky harshly condemned the land grab, closed the Moscow subsidiary, and refused to tour in Russia or emcee oligarchs’ parties as he’d done in the past.

Zelensky’s naive contention that he could hold his own in any negotiation, even one with Putin, echoes Trump’s belief that previous presidents just weren’t as skilled at negotiation as he is. Asked in a December interview if he could do well in talks with Trump, too, Zelensky replied with a laugh, “Sure, we’re from the same business!”

When it comes to TV, Zelensky’s credentials beat those of the U.S. president: He isn’t just a celebrity, but a successful professional. But that doesn’t necessarily qualify him to lead a nation at war, in crisis and in the grip of a political elite tightly linked to a business oligarchy. The sources of his campaign funding remain unclear. And Ukrainians have fallen time and again for promises of an easy, crowdsourced solution to problems that are obvious to everyone; Zelensky, like most populists, cannot explain why he can succeed where everybody before him has failed.

But after more than two decades of being ruled by different permutations of the same post-Soviet elite — Poroshenko is part of it, too, despite coming to power after an anti-corruption revolution — voters haven’t warmed to professional governance or technocracy. That’s why the president isn’t doing anything of the kind, opting instead for a nationalist message. 

Given Zelensky’s media savvy and his appeal to a key Ukrainian trait — respect for society’s collective wisdom — he will be a formidable competitor both for the unpopular incumbent and for former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who leads in most polls. The comedian is coming in second place in many surveys. In campaign that promises to be full of surprises, he could have the last laugh. 

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Owners vote to strip Trump name from luxury condo building

NEW YORK (AP) — Big, brassy letters spelling “Trump” will be ripped off another New York City apartment tower, the last of six luxury condominiums that once displayed the president’s name.

Owners got an email Friday from the board of managers of a high-rise on Manhattan’s west side confirming that “Trump Place” will disappear from the facade in coming weeks.

The move comes after the majority of owners at 220 Riverside Blvd. voted to remove the Trump name, though the Trump Organization still manages the condo.

The board at nearby 120 Riverside announced Thursday it would no longer be called Trump Place.

Three adjacent buildings dropped his name before Republican President Donald Trump took office, then another last fall.

The buildings were developed in the 1990s by a group of Chinese billionaires.

Source

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt book excerpt: Trump’s America is headed for democratic breakdown

Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt are experts on authoritarianism in Europe and Latin America. In their new book How Democracies Die, they argue that Donald Trump’s America is also headed towards democratic breakdown — unless both sides of the political divide can come together on common moral ground. This is part of a series of excerpts from books shortlisted for this year’s Lionel Gelber Prize, an award for exceptional writing on foreign affairs. The winner will be announced on Feb. 26.

By Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

When American democracy has worked, it has relied upon two norms that we often take for granted — mutual tolerance and institutional forbearance. Treating rivals as legitimate contenders for power and underutilizing one’s institutional prerogatives in the spirit of fair play are not written into the American Constitution. Yet without them, our constitutional checks and balances will not operate as we expect them to.

This has important implications for how citizens oppose the Trump administration. In the wake of the 2016 election, many progressive opinion makers concluded that Democrats needed to “fight like Republicans.” If Republicans were going to break the rules, the argument went, Democrats had no choice but to respond in kind. The GOP’s refusal to allow President Obama to fill a Supreme Court vacancy left Democrats feeling sucker-punched, particularly after Trump’s victory ensured that they would get away with it. Political scientist and writer David Faris typified the calls to “fight dirty”:

“The Democratic negotiating position on all issues … should be very simple: You will give us Merrick Garland or you may go die in a fire. … Not only that, but they should do what they should have done the day Antonin Scalia died: Make it clear that the next time the Democrats control the Senate while the Republican Party controls the presidency. … there will be an extraordinarily high price to pay for what just transpired. The next Republican president facing divided government will get nothing. … Zero confirmations. No judges, not even to the lowliest district court in the country. No Cabinet heads. No laws.”

Some Democrats even raised the specter of an early impeachment. Less than two weeks after Trump’s inauguration, Representative Maxine Waters tweeted, “my greatest desire [is] to lead @realDonaldTrump right into impeachment.” Impeachment talk picked up after FBI Director James Comey was fired, reinforced by Trump’s sliding popularity, which raised Democrats’ hopes of winning the House majority necessary to lead an impeachment process.

In our view, the idea that Democrats should “fight like Republicans” is misguided. Evidence from other countries suggests that such a strategy often plays directly into the hands of authoritarians. Scorched-earth tactics often erode support for the opposition by scaring off moderates. And they unify progovernment forces, as even dissidents within the incumbent party close ranks in the face of an uncompromising opposition. When the opposition fights dirty, it provides the government with justification for cracking down.

This is what happened in Venezuela under Hugo Chávez. Although the first few years of Chávez’s presidency were democratic, opponents found his populist discourse terrifying. They tried to remove him preemptively — and by any means necessary. In April 2002, opposition leaders backed a military coup, which not only failed but destroyed their image as democrats. Undeterred, the opposition launched an indefinite general strike in December 2002, seeking to shut the country down until Chávez resigned. The strike lasted two months, costing Venezuela an estimated $4.5 billion and ultimately failing. Anti-Chávez forces then boycotted the 2005 legislative elections, but this did little more than allow the chavistas to gain total control over Congress. All three strategies had backfired. Not only did they fail to knock Chávez out, but they eroded the opposition’s public support, allowed Chávez to tag his rivals as antidemocratic, and handed the government an excuse to purge the military, the police, and the courts, arrest or exile dissidents, and close independent media outlets. Weakened and discredited, the opposition could not stop the regime’s subsequent descent into authoritarianism.

Attendees where images of the late Hugo Chavez and President Nicolas Maduro while gathering during the Hands Off Venezuela concert at the Tienditas International Bridge in Tienditas, Tachria state, Venezuela, on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019.

Opposition strategies in Colombia under President Álvaro Uribe were more successful. Uribe, who was elected in 2002, launched a power grab not unlike Chávez’s: His administration attacked critics as subversive and terrorist, spied on opponents and journalists, tried to weaken the courts, and twice sought to modify the constitution to run for another term. In response, the Colombian opposition focused their efforts on the congress and the courts. This made it more difficult for Uribe to question his opponents’ democratic credentials or justify cracking down on them. In February 2010, the Constitutional Court struck down Uribe’s bid for a third term as unconstitutional, forcing him to step down after two terms. The lesson is this: Where institutional channels exist, opposition groups should use them.

Even if Democrats were to succeed in weakening or removing President Trump via hardball tactics, they would inherit a democracy stripped of its remaining protective guardrails. If the Trump administration were brought to its knees by obstructionism, or if President Trump were impeached without a strong bipartisan consensus, the effect would be to reinforce — and perhaps hasten — the dynamics of partisan antipathy and norm erosion that helped bring Trump to power to begin with. As much as a third of the country would likely view Trump’s impeachment as the machinations of a vast left-wing conspiracy. American politics would be left dangerously unmoored.

This sort of escalation rarely ends well. If Democrats do not work to restore norms of mutual toleration and forbearance, their next president will likely confront an opposition willing to use any means necessary to defeat them. And if partisan rifts deepen and our unwritten rules continue to fray, Americans could eventually elect a president who is even more dangerous than Trump.

Opposition to the Trump administration’s authoritarian behavior should be muscular, but it should seek to preserve, rather than violate, democratic rules and norms. If Trump is defeated via democratic institutions, it will strengthen those institutions.

We should learn from our own history. Anti-Trump forces should build a broad prodemocratic coalition. Contemporary coalition building is often a coming-together of like-minded groups. Coalitions of the like-minded are important, but they are not enough to defend democracy. The most effective coalitions are those that bring together groups with dissimilar — even opposing — views on many issues. An effective coalition in defense of American democracy, then, would likely require that progressives forge alliances with business executives, religious (and particularly white evangelical) leaders, and red-state Republicans. Business leaders may not be natural allies of Democratic activists, but they have good reasons to oppose an unstable and rule-breaking administration.

Building coalitions that extend beyond our natural allies is difficult. It requires a willingness to set aside, for the moment, issues we care deeply about. If progressives make positions on issues such as abortion rights a “litmus test” for coalition membership, the chances for building a coalition that includes evangelicals and Republican business executives will be nil. This does not mean abandoning the causes that matter to us. It means temporarily overlooking disagreements in order to find common moral ground.

A broad opposition coalition would have important benefits. For one, it would strengthen the defenders of democracy by appealing to a much wider sector of American society. Rather than confining anti-Trumpism to progressive blue-state circles, it would extend it to a wider range of America. Such broad involvement is critical to isolating and defeating authoritarian governments.

In addition, whereas a narrow (urban, secular, progressive) anti-Trump coalition would reinforce the current axes of partisan division, a broader coalition would crosscut these axes and maybe even help dampen them. A political movement that brings together — even if temporarily — Bernie Sanders supporters and business people, evangelicals and secular feminists, and small-town Republicans and urban Black Lives Matter supporters, will open channels of communication across the vast chasm that has emerged between our country’s two main partisan camps. We may disagree with our neighbors on abortion but agree with them on health care; we may dislike another neighbor’s views on immigration but agree with them on the need to raise the minimum wage. Such alliances help us build and sustain norms of mutual toleration. When we agree with our political rivals at least some of the time, we are less likely to view them as mortal enemies.

Reprinted from How Democracies Die. Copyright © 2018 by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: President Trump Names Kelly Knight Craft As Next UN Ambassador Pick

Robert Wood Johnson IV (L) and Kelly Knight Craft participate in their Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, June 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Johnson was nominated to be ambassador to the United Kingdom and Kraft to ambassador to Canada.

President Trump announced via Twitter that current Canada ambassador Kelly Knight Craft is his nominee to become the United Nations’ next United States ambassador, Fox News reports.

Trump’s announcement comes about a week after Heather Nauert, State Department spokeswoman withdrew her name from consideration for the role. Nauert announced her decision to withdraw from consideration on Saturday and stated that while she was honored to go through the process of being nominated, the two months following her being considered was “grueling” for the Illinois native’s family.

The president explained his decision for the nomination via his Twitter account. During the thread, he said that he felt Canada native would be the top pick for the new leadership position.

“Kelly has done an outstanding job representing our Nation and I have no doubt that, under her leadership, our Country will be represented at the highest level,” Trump tweeted. “Congratulations to Kelly and her entire family!”

Click here to continue and read more…

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Michael Cohen Reportedly Gave Prosecutors New Info About Trump Organization ‘Possible Irregularities’

In a new report published on Friday, the New York Times revealed that President Donald Trump‘s former longtime attorney Michael Cohen provided federal prosecutors in Manhattan information about possible insurance claim “irregularities” in the Trump family business.

Cohen also reportedly provided information about an inaugural committee donor.

The Times reports:

Mr. Cohen, who worked at the Trump Organization for a decade, spoke with the prosecutors about insurance claims the company had filed over the years, said the people, who did not elaborate on the nature of the possible irregularities.

While it was not clear whether the prosecutors found Mr. Cohen’s information credible and whether they intended to pursue it, the meeting suggests that they are interested in broader aspects of the Trump Organization, beyond their investigation into the company’s role in the hush money payments made before the 2016 election to women claiming to have had affairs with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty last summer to arranging those payments.

The Trump fixer also reportedly told prosecutors about mega-inaugural donor Imaad Zuberi and an alleged consulting offer.

Zuberi is a California venture capitalist who had once tried to court Cohen as a consultant and wrote him a $100,000 check.

Zuberi’s team says that the check was never cashed. However, the Times noted that at the time, Cohen was trying to build a consultant business recruiting clients who wished to gain access to Trump.

In an important note, the Times report stresses, “There was no indication that Mr. Cohen, who is scheduled to begin serving a three-year prison sentence in May, implicated Mr. Trump in the possible irregularities discussed during the meeting last month.”

Cohen is currently set to start a 3-year prison stint in May. Providing information to prosecutors — which prove accurate and value — could aid in helping get his sentence reduced.

[image via Getty Images]

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Trump picks Craft as nominee for UN post

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has picked Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, as his nominee to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Trump says in a pair of tweets Friday evening that Craft “has done an outstanding job representing our Nation” and he has “no doubt that, under her leadership, our Country will be represented at the highest level.”

Two people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters had told The Associated Press that Trump had been advised that Craft’s confirmation would be the smoothest of the three candidates he had been considering to fill the job last held by Nikki Haley.

Trump’s first pick to replace Haley, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, withdrew over the past weekend.

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Expect a ‘vicious and dishonest’ Trump campaign in 2020 in desperate attempt hold onto the Oval Office: Columnist

As President Donald Trump gears up for 2020, Washington Post writer Paul Waldman said that he will have little to offer voters this time around. Waldman explained that Trump won’t be able to sell false promises and a future full of hope since the past two years of his term has been filed with …

The post Expect a ‘vicious and dishonest’ Trump campaign in 2020 in desperate attempt hold onto the Oval Office: Columnist appeared first on Raw Story.

The post Expect a ‘vicious and dishonest’ Trump campaign in 2020 in desperate attempt hold onto the Oval Office: Columnist appeared first on Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources.

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: “Advocate” editor: Can we really trust the pro-Trump Chicago PD on Jussie Smollett’s guilt?

Via the Free Beacon. I-rsquo;m not going to blindly vouch for any police force, especially this one, especially when they may have already jumped the gun on one piece of evidence in this case.

But the suggestion at the beginning of this clip that Chicago cops moved quickly to declare the alleged attack on Smollett racist and homophobic because they had ulterior motives beggars belief. Zach Stafford-rsquo;s theory is that police rushed to do that because they suspected a hoax from the beginning and wanted to maximize the sense of betrayal when the truth eventually came out. Normally they-rsquo;re more cautious in hate-crime cases, he claims. Is -hellip; this what he-rsquo;s referring to, though? Because all this does is relay what Smollett told them happened:

That-rsquo;s an accurate reflection of what Smollett says happened. -ldquo;They called me a f-mdash;-, they called me a n-mdash;-,-rdquo; he later told ABC. What were the cops supposed to say?

If Stafford-rsquo;s right that Chicago PD was suspiciously more credulous about this attack early on than they normally are, there-rsquo;s an obvious reason that has nothing to do with wanting to set him up for a big fall later: He-rsquo;s a celebrity. There was a thousand times more public attention to this -ldquo;assault-rdquo; than there-rsquo;d be to a hate crime committed against an average person. Chicago cops probably strained to amplify Smollett-rsquo;s account not because they had some devious plan to maximize the drama before revealing his fraud but because they knew that the media and progressive activists like Stafford were watching them like hawks to make sure they treated the case with the gravity it deserved. If they had betrayed any early skepticism of Smollett-rsquo;s story, however well-founded, they would have been torched. So instead they took it at face value and threw a ton of resources into finding his attackers, and -hellip; they-rsquo;re getting torched here anyway.

Anything-rsquo;s possible in terms of police incompetence. It is within the realm of foreseeable outcomes to this sh*tshow that Chicago police screwed up the whole case and Smollett is in fact the innocent victim he claims to be. But knowing that they-rsquo;re under a woke microscope, with newspapers and Hollywood scrutinizing their every move, I-rsquo;m guessing police were extra careful in making sure their case against Smollett is airtight. The alternative, that they rushed to accuse a real victim of a hoax, would haunt the department for decades. Exit question: It-rsquo;s not like any other celebrity defendant has ever walked free amid a media feeding frenzy despite seeming guilty as sin due to shoddy work by the police and D.A., right?

The post -ldquo;Advocate-rdquo; editor: Can we really trust the pro-Trump Chicago PD on Jussie Smollett-rsquo;s guilt? appeared first on Hot Air.

The post “Advocate” editor: Can we really trust the pro-Trump Chicago PD on Jussie Smollett’s guilt? appeared first on Taking On Issues – Political Issues and Government Policies.

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Michael Cohen Reportedly Gave Prosecutors New Info About Trump Organization ‘Possible Irregularities’

In a new report published on Friday, the New York Times revealed that President Donald Trump‘s former longtime attorney Michael Cohen provided federal prosecutors in Manhattan information about possible insurance claim “irregularities” in the Trump family business.

Cohen also reportedly provided information about an inaugural committee donor.

The Times reports:

Mr. Cohen, who worked at the Trump Organization for a decade, spoke with the prosecutors about insurance claims the company had filed over the years, said the people, who did not elaborate on the nature of the possible irregularities.

While it was not clear whether the prosecutors found Mr. Cohen’s information credible and whether they intended to pursue it, the meeting suggests that they are interested in broader aspects of the Trump Organization, beyond their investigation into the company’s role in the hush money payments made before the 2016 election to women claiming to have had affairs with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty last summer to arranging those payments.

The Trump fixer also reportedly told prosecutors about mega-inaugural donor Imaad Zuberi and an alleged consulting offer.

Zuberi is a California venture capitalist who had once tried to court Cohen as a consultant and wrote him a $100,000 check.

Zuberi’s team says that the check was never cashed. However, the Times noted that at the time, Cohen was trying to build a consultant business recruiting clients who wished to gain access to Trump.

In an important note, the Times report stresses, “There was no indication that Mr. Cohen, who is scheduled to begin serving a three-year prison sentence in May, implicated Mr. Trump in the possible irregularities discussed during the meeting last month.”

Cohen is currently set to start a 3-year prison stint in May. Providing information to prosecutors — which prove accurate and value — could aid in helping get his sentence reduced.

[image via Getty Images]

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Trump Serves Up A Word Salad When Asked About NC’s 9th District

President Trump careened from one election “scandal” to another when asked about the drama unfolding in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, where election officials voted to hold a new election after allegations of absentee ballot fraud.

“I condemn any election fraud,” Trump said before launching into an impossible-to-follow diatribe about some mysterious widespread voting fraud across the U.S., citing an unspecified case when 1 million votes were found.

He groped his way back to the topic at hand eventually, saying that he’d like to see the “final report” on the situation in the 9th District.

Watch here:

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Trump Takes No Responsibility For Rhetoric On Media: ‘My Language Is Very Nice’

President Trump told reporters Friday that he doesn’t think he should tone down his rhetoric about journalists and the media in the wake of the arrest of a Coast Guard lieutenant who planned to attack Democratic lawmakers and journalists.

When asked about the arrest, Trump said it was a “shame” and “very sad when a thing like that happens,” referencing the man’s planned attack.

A reporter then asked if Trump felt the need to monitor his language — like referring to reporters as the “enemy of the people — and he said no.

“I think my language is very nice,” he said.

Trump had not previously commented on arrest of the lieutenant, who is an avowed white nationalist, but told reporters he was getting a full briefing on the case later on Friday.

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“Trump – Russia Investigations” – Google News: Manafort faces New York prosecution that could bypass any Trump pardon – live – The Guardian

Manafort faces New York prosecution that could bypass any Trump pardon – live  The Guardian

Manhattan district attorney preparing charges including tax offences against Trump’s former campaign chair.

“Trump – Russia Investigations” – Google News

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Trump’s Venezuela Moves Follow Long History Of Intervention In Latin America

When President Trump spoke in Florida earlier this week, he issued a stern warning about Venezuela: Members of the armed forces who continue to support President Nicolás Maduro “will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out,” he said . “You will lose everything.” The White House says it wants a peaceful, multilateral approach to removing Maduro, but all options are on the table — suggesting the possibility of military involvement. Tensions between Maduro and the movement to unseat him are expected to come to head this weekend, as members of Venezuela”s U.S.-backed opposition push to carry tons of humanitarian aid and medicine into the country that Maduro”s security forces have blocked. Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino delivers a speech surrounded by military men at the ministry building in Caracas on Tuesday. Padrino reiterated the military”s “unrestricted obedience, subordination and loyalty” to President Nicolás Maduro. Yuri Cortez / AFP/Getty Images U.S.

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Trump administration imposes domestic gag rule that prohibits abortion referral

On Friday, the Trump administration announced that it will impose a domestic gag rule for health care providers that aims to defund Planned Parenthood and restrict people’s access to quality reproductive health care.

This rule would upend Title X, a federal grant program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the country’s only federal family planning program. Planning services funded through Title X support testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, cervical and breast cancer screenings, birth control, and contraception education.

The rule does not allow abortion referral and does not allow agencies that receive Title X funds to provide abortion, even though they are using nonfederal funds to do so. Regardless of what pregnant patients say they want from their reproductive health care, the rule would mandate that physicians refer those patients for social services and prenatal services. The rule also requires the financial and physical separation of Title X projects and facilities “from programs and facilities where abortion is a method of family planning.”

Earlier this month, Emily Stewart, vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America/Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said the rule will harm the 4 million people the program serves, the majority of whom have an income at or below the federal poverty level.

“This is a program that is designed to make sure that people who are struggling to make ends meet are able to get not only birth control but STD screenings and cancer screenings and well woman exams. For a lot of people receiving care under this program, this program is the difference for them in terms of whether they have access to health care or not,” she said.

Stewart added, “The rule itself seeks to dismantle the nation’s birth control program in two ways — No. 1 is to gag health providers, which makes it illegal for people participating in the program to refer patients for abortion. This is completely unethical and that is why it has been opposed by every major medical association including the American Medical Association. Everyone regardless of income deserves access to the best medical care.”

This practice would go against informed consent and shared decision-making in medical ethics as defined by the American Medical Association. The AMA says physicians should tell patients about “the burdens, risks, and expected benefits of all options, including forgoing treatment.”

The American Nurses Association (ANA) released a statement condemning the proposal in May. Their statement read:

As the most “honest and ethical” profession, nurses must guard against any erosive policy that hinders patients from making meaningful, informed decisions about their own health, or that blocks access to care. The Code of Ethics for Nurses outlines that the nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, community, or population. This proposed rule interferes with that relationship and violates basic ethics of the profession.

In a statement to ThinkProgress, Guttmacher Institute Senior Policy Manager Kinsey Hasstedt said about the rule, “Since day one, the Trump administration, along with its anti-abortion and anti-contraception allies, has made it clear that they want to undermine and restrict people’s access to family planning care. The Title X program, which provides confidential, high-quality, medically accurate family planning services to four million people every year, has been one of their main targets.”

HHS has already taken a number of steps to restrict reproductive health services.

Last year, HHS created a new division within the Office for Civil Rights, called the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom. This division is supposed to ensure that health care providers don’t have to provide services, such as abortion, that they object to morally or religiously. The department also released guidelines for Title X grant applications that concerned physicians and reproductive health groups. The document mentioned “natural family planning” such as the rhythm method and other tactics for preventing pregnancy that do not involve contraceptives.

Stewart said that all of the policies that HHS has pursued are part of the same attack.

“The intent here that the administration is pursuing is to completely dismantle the birth control program that has been operating for decades and to replace it with a health care system designed to deny access to full information and care,” Stewart said. “It’s part of a much larger agenda designed to undercut people’s access to health care … They are trying to deny people access to information about their bodies and they are using every single tool in their toolbox to do it.”

“Title X is our nation’s gold-standard family planning program that serves low-income patients for free,” Ruth Harlow, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Senior Staff Attorney, said in a statement to ThinkProgress on Friday. “Now the Trump administration wants to prevent Title X patients from receiving full information about their care options and drive many of the most experienced health care providers from the program. Nobody should be denied access to reproductive health care or receive inadequate care because of their lack of income. We won’t sit back while Trump upends the family planning safety net as part of his anti-woman, anti-poor, and anti-health care agenda.”

The International Women’s Health Coalition released a statement to ThinkProgress explaining that it believes the funding restrictions will lead to increases in unwanted pregnancies and delay diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and reproductive cancers.

Numerous studies have found that other health care providers would be unable to fill the gap left by Planned Parenthood. One study from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that in 105 counties across the country, Planned Parenthood is the only clinic offering comprehensive contraceptive services.

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Puerto Rico Gov: Trump refuses meeting over hurricane relief

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is refusing to meet privately with the governor of Puerto Rico to discuss the pace of disaster relief 17 months after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory.

That’s according to Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello. He said Friday that the White House declined public and private requests to meet ahead of a governors’ conference in Washington this weekend. Rossello said Trump bears responsibility for the slow pace of disaster relief.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While the governor’s team has been in regular contact with federal officials, Rossello said the White House declined his requests to meet with Trump directly without giving a reason. Rossello hopes to speak to Trump when dozens of governors attend a White House meeting on Monday.

Source

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: TRUMP AND BLACKS: Heard it on Rush Just Now

Kamala Harris and Pocahantas are calling for reparations. A caller claims it’s just to keep them in line because they’re worried Trump could be making inroads into the black vote. My solution: One Presidential debate dealing with just the issue of racism. Leave out ‘other’ races. A panel of 4 moderators, all black. Perhaps one ‘hispanic'(Juan Williams). Trump demands it and the public will be with him to the point where the MSM will be unable to define the narrative beforehand or change the format.

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Another New York City Condo Building Votes to Remove the Trump Name

Another Trump building bites the dust.

For the second time in four months, a New York City building will lose its Trump name.

The owners of condominiums at 120 Riverside Blvd. voted to remove the name “Trump Place” from the side of the building, with about 55% in favor of removing the sign, reports The Washington Post.

The board announced the decision on Thursday, noting that “arrangements are being made to have the “Trump Place” signage removed from the building facade.” The announcement did not specify when the sign will be removed.

The president and his company will not be financially impacted by the condo owners” decision. The company does not manage the building and does not receive licensing revenue from its use of the Trump name.

In October, condo owners at 200 Riverside Blvd. similarly voted to take down the Trump name that appeared on the building. Overall, five buildings have removed the Trump name from their buildings since he was elected in 2016. There remain 11 condos in Manhattan with Trump”s name on them.

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: ISIS bride’s dad suing Trump, US to let her back into the country

Attorneys from the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ahmed Ali Muthana arguing his daughter Hoda and her 18-month-old son should be allowed to return to America, and her citizenship – which the U.S. government disputes – should be recognized. The suit also seeks a judgment that Muthana’s father is “entitled to send his daughter money to ensure the survival of his daughter and grandson, and enable them safe passage home, without subjecting himself to criminal liability” under U.S. law.Muthana currently is living at a refugee camp in northeast Syria and she…

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: House Dems To Vote In Tuesday Showdown Over Trump’s National Emergency Declaration

Nancy Pelosi at a press conference.

The Hill is reporting that Democratic Party leadership in House has sprung quickly into action to challenge President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in order to secure funding for his long-sought after wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. By scheduling a Tuesday floor vote on a resolution of disapproval that has been introduced by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), the House hopes to start the process of rejecting Trump’s play.

The move could set up the first-ever use of the presidential veto pen by Trump should it pass the Democrat-controlled House, and providing the Republican-controlled Senate bucks the wishes of the president on his signature campaign promise.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California announced the move in a Friday conference call in which she characterized Trump’s invocation of the National Emergency Act as an affront to the separation of powers, and something that could potentially even precipitate a constitutional crisis.

Click here to continue and read more…

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: Oh SNAP! Watching Brit Hume DRAG Ana Navarro for old, ignorant tweets smearing Trump supporters is a BEAUTIFUL thing

We are now eight weeks into 2019 and the Left has done a bang-up job of making themselves look like overly emotional, thin-skinned, rage harpies willing to believe any and every story as long as it paints Trump supporters in a bad light. From the smear the media pulled on the Covington Catholic High School kids to pushing the Jussie Smollett hate crime, they’ve not done themselves any favors.

One of the worst, of course, has been Ana Navarro who’s only real principle seems to be, ‘Hate Trump.’

Like this tweet from January where she smooched the backside of Nathan Phillips … you know, the guy who lied a lot about his service and about what happened that day in DC.

Brit Hume certainly seems to remember it.

Have we mentioned how much we adore snarky Brit?

That version of Brit works too.

We yawn AND laugh.

It’s CNN, man.

Ouch.

Or that people should keep their big mouths shut until the whole story is out?

Just spitballin’.


Related:

Bless his HEART! Rep. Adam Schiff’s WaPo op-ed sounds like he’s NERVOUS about Mueller’s final report and it’s GLORIOUS

HA! Does this thread from Chuck Schumer whining about Cocaine Mitch and climate change REEK of being TRIGGERED or WHAT

‘YOU’RE the climate deniers.’ Ben Shapiro beats the Left at their own ridiculous climate change game in EPIC thread

The post Oh SNAP! Watching Brit Hume DRAG Ana Navarro for old, ignorant tweets smearing Trump supporters is a BEAUTIFUL thing appeared first on twitchy.com.

The post Oh SNAP! Watching Brit Hume DRAG Ana Navarro for old, ignorant tweets smearing Trump supporters is a BEAUTIFUL thing appeared first on Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources.

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Politics, Economy, World News from 100k+ sources: NJ lawmakers advance bill that would keep Trump off 2020 ballot unless he releases tax returns

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -mdash; President Donald Trump could miss out on being on the 2020 ballot in New Jersey if he doesn-rsquo;t disclose his tax returns under a bill now advancing.

The Democratic-led state Senate passed legislation Thursday inspired by the Republican president-rsquo;s failure to disclose his tax returns.

The measure requires presidential and vice presidential candidates to release five years of federal tax returns to appear on the state-rsquo;s ballot.

Trump broke with decades of tradition by refusing to release his income tax filings during his 2016 campaign. He said it was because he is being audited.

Democrats have used the issue to raise questions about what might be in the documents.

The bill goes to the Democratic-led Assembly. If the measure passes there, it would head to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie previously vetoed the legislation.

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MSNBC Grills Andrew McCabe About 3-Week Delay in Weiner-Clinton Emails – ticklethewire.com

MSNBC Grills Andrew McCabe About 3-Week Delay in Weiner-Clinton Emails  ticklethewire.com

By Allan Lengel ticklethewire.com. MSNBC’s Ari Melber grilled former acting director of the FBI Andrew McCabe over the FBI’s three-week delay between …

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Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Can German Courts Bring Accountability for Torture in Syria?

On Feb. 12, Germany’s investigative police force arrested two former high-ranking members of the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate (GID) allegedly involved in crimes against humanity. The German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) had issued arrest warrants for 56-year-old Anwar R. and 42-year-old Eyad A. on Feb. 7, charging the Syrian citizens with crimes against humanity, torture and murder between 2011 and 2012. Federal police arrested the two men in Berlin and the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. A third man was arrested by French authorities in Paris.

The German police allege that Anwar R., former head of the GID’s investigation department, was involved in the torture and physical abuse of detainees between April 2011 and September 2012 in Damascus. Specifically, Anwar R. headed the investigations section of “Branch 251” and later “Branch 285.” According to the Commission for International Justice and Accountability’s deputy director, Nerma Jelacic:

These two branches are the most notorious ones. One of our witnesses has described Branch 251 as the most effective, dangerous and secretive branch, and responsible for 98 percent of the violence committed. That branch was not only receiving people into detention but also carrying out raids and searches for individuals wanted for organizing the protests [against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s rule].

Meanwhile Eyad A., a member of the Syrian intelligence service, is alleged to have assisted in the killing of two people and the torture and physical abuse of at least 2,000 people between July 2011 and January 2012. Both men left Syria in 2012 and applied for asylum in Germany.

According to the German court, the Paris prosecutor, as part of a joint investigation team, also arrested a former employee of Anwar R.’s intelligence department near Paris. French prosecutors have not yet released any information on that arrest.

As Emma Broches highlighted on Lawfare, this is not the first time European prosecutors have arrested or prosecuted individuals for crimes committed in Syria. In June 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice issued an arrest warrant for Jamil Hassan, head of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Directorate, for his alleged involvement in torture, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Germany recently asked Lebanon for help extraditing Hassan, who reportedly entered Lebanon for medical treatment. Similarly, in November 2018, a French judge issued arrest warrants for Hassan and two other senior Syrian officials, Ali Mamlouk, director of Syria’s National Security Bureau, and Abdel Salam Mahmoud, the official in charge of the Air Force Intelligence Investigative Branch at Mezzeh military airport, for alleged involvement in torture, enforced disappearances, crimes against humanity and war crimes. For a collation of some of the national criminal proceedings stemming from war crimes committed in Syria, see here.

Torture in Syria and the General Intelligence Directorate

According to the U.N.-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, eyewitness accounts and documentary evidence “strongly suggest” that the Syrian government detains tens of thousands of people at any one time, and that thousands more have disappeared “after initial arrest by State forces or while moving through Government-held territory, or have gone missing after abduction by armed groups.” Forms of torture include dulab (placing detainees inside a wheel before beating them), shabeh (hanging detainees from the ceiling by their wrists), beatings with objects and electrocution. The Syrian Network for Human Rights said that it had documented the names of 13,608 people who died between March 2011 and August 2018 from torture inside Syrian regime detention centers.

Most deaths in detention have been documented as occurring in locations that the Syrian intelligence services control. The GID, of which Anwar R. was a high-ranking employee, is one of four intelligence agencies that are part of the Syrian security apparatus. The other agencies are the Military Intelligence Directorate, the Air Force Intelligence Directorate, and the Political Security Directorate. Main detention facilities that the GID controls include Interior Security Branch 251 and Investigations Branch 285, located west of central Damascus.

Based on more than 621 interviews and documentary material, and given the reporting procedures in place at the branches, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry says that those people who exercised effective control over the detention facilities must have known about the high number of deaths from poor prison conditions, torture or medical neglect. Thus, the commission says that there are reasonable grounds to believe that high-ranking officers and their civilian superiors—who knew of the vast number of deaths occurring at detention facilities under their effective control, and who failed to take actions to prevent the abuse, investigate allegations or prosecute those responsible—are individually criminally responsible under international law for the crimes committed in those detention centers.

Extraterritorial Jurisdiction for Germany and France

Germany’s 2002 Code of Crimes Against International Law (CCAIL) (see here for unofficial English translation) incorporates the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court into German domestic law. CCAIL Section 1 provides German courts “pure” universal jurisdiction over the crimes enumerated in the code, which include genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Germany, Sweden and Norway are the only European countries that recognize “pure” universal jurisdiction, meaning universal jurisdiction that requires no specific link to those countries in order for them to prosecute certain crimes, even if the crimes were committed outside those countries’ territories and neither the alleged perpetrator nor the victims are nationals of those countries nor present in those countries’ territories. This allows countries with “pure” universal jurisdiction to exercise jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide even when there is no link between those countries and the crime. Investigations into these cases can even take place when the suspect is neither present in their territory nor a resident. Notably, Belgium and Spain once had statutes recognizing “pure” universal jurisdiction that their governments have since narrowed.

While France does not have the same sort of legislation as Germany, its ability to prosecute is drawn from its own universal jurisdiction law. Article 689 of the French Code of Criminal Procedure incorporates the Rome Statute and extends French court jurisdiction to include genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. For more information on the legal framework for universal jurisdiction in France, see the Human Rights Watch report on the subject, here.

What’s Next?

While it’s likely that trials stemming from these arrests will take place in both France and Germany, it remains to be seen what arguments the defense will raise and how the domestic courts will interpret or shape the international law surrounding foreign official immunity and prosecution for jus cogens crimes. As a matter of customary international law, foreign heads of state and certain other senior officials have traditionally been accorded immunity as a way to preserve interstate comity and the stability of international relations. This immunity, however, has proven controversial where it limits domestic claims concerning egregious violations of international human rights law.

For its part, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) upheld the immunity of certain high-ranking foreign officials as a “firmly established” rule of customary international law in its 2002 judgment in the Arrest Warrant case, though it acknowledged that this immunity did not continue after the official left office or thereafter apply to private acts even while he or she was in office.

Of the three former Syrian officials who have been arrested, Anwar R. is the most senior and thus the most likely to try to claim some form of jurisdictional immunity. Prior national court decisions provide some guidance on how German courts may seek to navigate Arrest Warrant in order to defeat this claim.

In Khurts Bat, the U.K. High Court of Justice distinguished Arrest Warrant by virtue of the seniority of the defendant’s position, noting that “[the defendant’s] status as an administrator is far removed from the narrow circle of those who hold the high-ranking office to be equated with the State they personify and with those identified by the [ICJ in Arrest Warrant].” Alternatively, in A v. Ministère Public, the Swiss Federal Criminal Court cited Arrest Warrant’s acknowledgement that foreign official immunity cannot protect a former official from criminal prosecution for offenses committed while in office that are not connected to the official’s public functions and held that this prevented immunity from extending to jus cogens violations such as torture and unlawful killings, as the international system fundamentally prohibits such actions.

With Syria not a party to the Rome Statute, and with Russia and China having vetoed attempts at referring the situation to the ICC, European courts like those in Germany and France seem to offer the best hope of accountability for torture and other international crimes in Syria. The arrests of Anwar R., Eyad A., and the third unnamed official may be a step in that direction.

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

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