This has been one of the strangest and most dramatic weeks in the history of U.S. politics.
We have seen the nomination of a woman for President of the U.S. by a major political party after 240 years of male candidates only.
On the G.O.P. side, we are watching a madman campaign for President while praising the autocratic leader of Russia and inviting Russian intelligence agencies to hack into U.S. government computers and computer systems used by his Democratic opponent. This madman has also suggested that we should let Russia have Crimea and lift the sanctions on Russia that were applied after Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.
What the hell is going on!
A key figure at the Republican national convention where Donald Trump was nominated for president has strong business ties with Ukraine, the Guardian has learned.
The party platform written at the convention in Cleveland last week removed references to arming Ukraine in its fight with Russia, which has supported separatists in eastern Ukraine. Trump’s links to Russia are under scrutiny after a hack of Democratic national committee emails, allegedly by Russian agents.
Frank Mermoud also has longstanding ties to Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who in 2010 helped pro-Russia Viktor Yanukovych refashion his image and win a presidential election in Ukraine. Manafort was brought in earlier this year to oversee the convention operations and its staffing.
Three sources at the convention also told the Guardian that they saw Phil Griffin, a longtime aide to Manafort in Kiev, working with the foreign dignitaries programme. “After years of working in the Ukraine for Paul and others, it was surprising to run into Phil working at the convention,” one said.
The change to the platform on arming Ukraine was condemned even by some Republicans. Senator Rob Portman described it as “deeply troubling”. Veteran party operative and lobbyist Charlie Black said the “new position in the platform doesn’t have much support from Republicans”, adding that the change “was unusual”.
And that’s just the beginning. The article spells out and analyzes Donald Trump’s and his advisers’ extensive past ties to Russia. For decades, the G.O.P. was the party of anti-communism and anti-Russian sentiment. In 2012, Mitt Romney even argued that Russia was the top geopolitical threat to the U.S.; in 2016, Romney’s party is getting very cozy with Russian and its autocratic leader Vladimir Putin.
Now it has become crystal clear that Russia is behind a number of cyberhacks on U.S. and Democratic Party computers.
Thousands of Democratic National Committee emails were hacked and published by WikiLeaks on the eve of the party’s convention in Philadelphia this week. They showed that officials, who are meant to remain impartial, favoured Hillary Clinton and discussed ways to undermine her rival, Bernie Sanders. The leak led to the resignation of chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The FBI is investigating, with all signs pointing to Russian involvement, though Moscow rejects this. Experts note Vladimir Putin’s past attempts to damage western democracy, including cyber-attacks on French, Greek, Italian and Latvian elections. In 2014, malware was discovered in Ukrainian election software that would have robbed it of legitimacy.
Alina Polyakova, deputy director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, said: “We can’t say 100% that Mr Putin had a hand in any of this but this kind of meddling in other countries’ affairs is part of Russia’s toolkit. It’s a kind of asymmetric warfare. To me, this looks like something straight from the Russian secret service playbook, but I’m surprised at how brazen they’ve been.”
Trump and his campaign have denied any connection but on Wednesday he ignited a firestorm by calling on Russia to find 30,000 emails deleted from Clinton’s private server. “I think you will probably be mightily rewarded by our press,” he said. He later claimed that he was being sarcastic.
Please read the entire article to learn about Donald Trump’s extensive ties to Russia and Putin.
Donald Trump’s flurry of offhand remarks and abrupt zingers on Russia — praising Vladimir Putin, dismissing NATO — have jolted the world, not to mention the U.S. presidential campaign.
With Russia’s behavior rattling nerves in the U.S. and elsewhere, Trump is accused of cozying up to a “dictator.” Of threatening the very underpinnings of America’s relationship with Europe. And of naiveté.
Some of the GOP presidential nominee’s goals are consistent with long-held U.S. views, many experts say. The idea of fostering U.S.-Russian cooperation isn’t outlandish. After all, Hillary Clinton tried to “reset” relations with Russia when she was secretary of state. Also, past U.S. administrations of both parties have quietly complained that other NATO members should pay their share to the alliance.
It’s what Trump is willing to do to achieve those goals and the way he expresses his views that have shocked many foreign policy experts.
The notion of refusing to defend NATO allies who don’t pay their bills, for example, or of buddying up to Putin despite his aggressive stances is jarring to Democrats and Republicans alike. And it’s on the minds of foreign leaders.
“We’re going to talk about NATO and Russia,” Secretary of State John Kerry said as he met Saturday with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Paris. Kerry wouldn’t address Trump’s comments specifically, but said he would discuss anything Ayrault wanted to talk about “that has to do with our relationship.”
So Trump’s remarks are already threatening our relationships with our allies.
Reuters claimed last night that the Clinton Campaign itself has been hacked.
A computer network used by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign was hacked as part of a broad cyber attack on Democratic political organizations, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The latest attack, which was disclosed to Reuters on Friday, follows two other hacks on the Democratic National Committee, or DNC, and the party’s fundraising committee for candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.
A Clinton campaign spokesman said in a statement late on Friday that an analytics data program maintained by the DNC and used by the campaign and a number of other entities “was accessed as part of the DNC hack.”
“Our campaign computer system has been under review by outside cyber security experts. To date, they have found no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised,” said Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill.
Later, a campaign official said hackers had access to the analytics program’s server for approximately five days. The analytics data program is one of many systems the campaign accesses to conduct voter analysis, and does not include social security numbers or credit card numbers, the official said.
The U.S. Department of Justice national security division is investigating whether cyber attacks on Democratic political organizations threatened U.S. security, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The involvement of the Justice Department’s national security division is a sign that the Obama administration has concluded that the hacking was sponsored by a state, people with knowledge of the investigation said.
The Clinton Campaign told The Washington Post that their internal computers have not been compromised.
The Clinton presidential campaign said Friday that an “analytics data program” maintained by the Democratic National Committee had been hacked but that its computer system had not been compromised, denying news reports from earlier in the day that the campaign had become the third Democratic Party organization whose systems had been penetrated.
So far, campaign computer experts “have found no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised,” campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement.
Merrill said that “an analytics data program maintained by the DNC and used by our campaign and a number of other entities was accessed as part of the DNC hack.” The campaign did not provide details, but a source familiar with the situation said that the hacked material was generally dull and did not include email communications, memos, research or other potentially inflammatory communications. Mostly, the source said, it included innocuous data such as computer code and lists of email addresses.
Senior figures in the national security community are warning that the Russian hack of the DNC and the subsequent release of committee emails by the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks may be part of a broader attack on the U.S. electoral process….
If the email leak was orchestrated by the Russian government, “this is an attack not on one party but on the integrity of American democracy,” the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group, a group of 32 homeland security and counterterrorism experts, said in a statement.
Besides his obvious reasons to think he could easily manage Donald Trump if he became POTUS, Putin has reasons to dislike and fear Hillary Clinton. From The Washington Post:
Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly accused Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state of interfering in Moscow’s affairs — and if Russian security was behind last week’s release through WikiLeaks of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails, it would look a lot like Kremlin payback.
Even if the breach was carried out by a mid-level intelligence official acting on his own initiative, hoping to please his boss, disclosures that seemingly raise questions about the legitimacy of Clinton’s nomination speak directly to Putin’s complaints about her….
In December 2011, large protests unexpectedly broke out in Moscow following parliamentary elections that featured brazen cheating. Clinton, as secretary of state, called the election “neither free nor fair,” and Putin jumped on that as an attack on Russia and, by extension, him.
“She set the tone for some of our public figures inside the country, sent a signal to them,” Putin said. “They heard this signal and launched active work with the U.S. State Department’s support.”
The rest of that winter saw ever sharpening attacks on the United States as Putin was in the midst of his own presidential election campaign. In the year that followed, some of the strongest anti-American steps that Russia took were only tangentially related to Clinton — expelling the USAID, forcing Radio Liberty off the AM dial, harassing then-U.S. Ambassador Michael A. McFaul….
Clinton had also pushed hard for the Libya intervention in the spring and summer of 2011, which Putin was appalled by, seeing it as unwarranted interference in another nation’s sovereignty. After she stepped down as secretary of state, she made a well-publicized visit to Yalta — in 2013, when it was still part of Ukraine — to support Ukraine’s signing of an agreement with the European Union. Putin hoped to strong-arm Ukraine into joining his Eurasian Economic Union, which Clinton had called an attempt to “re-Sovietize” areas of the former Soviet Union.
That comment and others “were in part seized upon for domestic political reasons,” Samuel Charap, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington, said Wednesday. “She became a convenient scapegoat.”
Read more analysis of the Clinton-Putin relationship at the link.
Joy Reid has been covering this story extensively on her MSNBC show. If you missed it this morning, please check it out on the website. She had some experts on who were quite alarmed by what is happening with Trump and the Russian hacks that seem designed to help him become POTUS.
More important stories to check out:
Washington Post: Appeals court strikes down North Carolina’s voter-ID law.
Mother Jones: Voting Rights Advocates Score a Huge Win in North Carolina.
Kansas City Star: What a great day for protecting voting rights in Kansas and elsewhere
Today is Wednesday, and it is a day of most importance to all “Gawd Furrin'” good xtians in Banjoville….it is a day that you will find most businesses closed. Yup…can’t even get you a new confederate flag or a can of lighter fluid down at the Local Red KKK Convenient Store because Wednesday is a day of rest and reflection and prayer for bigoted racist in this quiet red-neck backwoods mountain town.
I wonder if the talk at church this evening will be about the historic moment from yesterday’s DNC in Philadelphia. Hillary Clinton: The First Lady to Become the Nominee – The Atlantic
In a historic moment, the Democratic Party formally nominated Hillary Clinton for president Tuesday, making her the first female nominee for the nation’s highest office in 240 years.
I am so grateful for Boston Boomer, for putting up a thread this morning…as you all may know, we are in the process of moving to a new house…and today we are moving the big items. So again this is an open thread. Here are a few links to get you started:
Here is the transcript of the speech last night by Bill Clinton. I didn’t even get a chance to see it. We cannot even get satellite service here…the new house is that far into the mountains that the trees block all line of sight to the satellites above! From what I understand, it was a knockout:
And next, a few links on Trump:
In a bit of mixed messaging,Donald Trump promised mighty rewards to Russia in exchange for interfering in the election, while his VP pick promised “serious consequences.”
At a press conference Wednesday morning Trump encouraged Russia to release State Department emails in order to injure Hillary Clinton‘s campaign. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said.
Shortly afterward, his Vice Presidential nominee, Indian Gov. Mike Pence issued a statement saying that, rather than rewards, there would be “serious consequences” to Russia if it was behind the hack of the DNC emails released to the public last Friday. (Expertsbelieve that Russia is responsible.)
Pence’s statement reads in full:
The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking. If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences. That said, the Democrats singularly focusing on who might be behind it and not addressing the basic fact that they’ve been exposed as a party who not only rigs the government, but rigs elections while literally accepting cash for federal appointments is outrageous. The American people now have absolute and further proof of the corruption that exists around Hillary Clinton. It should disqualify her from office, if the media did their job. [emphasis added]
Not backing down, Trump tweeted, “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!”
At a press conference earlier today, Donald Trump said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens.”
To put that in perspective…take a look at this headline:
Now, let all that sink in a bit, and tell me if you don’t feel ill right about now.
More links to ponder:
I hope everyone has a smashing afternoon!
How many of you are feeling like this poor women in this old 1940’s mug shot…who’s only crime is simply described as:
She looks so tired. Those bags under her eyes…with permanent wrinkles on her forehead. Her hair is surely neat and well-kept for someone who has been arrested for being a mental case, don’t you think? She is dressed up, I mean…she isn’t disheveled at all.
I wished I had the wherewithal to at least put myself together as well as she has when I head out to the local Walmart or Food Shitty. (Pardon, Food City.)
I’m actually going into this post blind because of internet issues that have made it difficult for me to read any news accounts online. Lack of cell service is also a problem, so I cannot even go on my phone to check up on the world outside Banjoville.
I guess the big news today is the election of a new Prime Minister of Great Britain.
For a woman on the verge of running the country, Theresa May has seemed almost preternaturally calm over the past few days.
“She’s basically the same as ever; quite relaxed and cheerful. There’s no sense of the prison shades falling,” says a longstanding friend who has observed her closely during the campaign. But then, unlike Andrea Leadsom, seemingly badly shaken by a single weekend of hostile media coverage, May knew better than anyone what to expect.
Over the past six years, May has weathered riots, sat in on a decision to go to war, and chaired an emergency Cobra meeting in the prime minister’s absence following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.
She has been diligently doing her homework for years and, while even she did not foresee David Cameron resigning in these circumstances (let alone the collapse of all other contenders), she is as ready as she will ever be. The question is whether that is anywhere near ready enough for the turbulent times ahead.
Tory grandee Ken Clarke’s unguarded remarks about her being a “bloody difficult woman”probably did May nothing but good with female voters – and she turned them to her own advantage at the last parliamentary hustings, promising that European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker would soon find out how “bloody difficult” she could be.
But even her friends concede Clarke has a point. “She can be a bugger,” says one otherwise admiring colleague succinctly. “Not easy to work with.” May fights her corner tigerishly and, unusually for a politician, she does not seem bothered about being liked.
It is typical of her take-me-or-leave-me approach that she managed to win the support of almost two-thirds of her parliamentary colleagues despite refusing to bribe waverers with job offers. “You can’t go in and say, ‘Make me under-secretary of state for sproggets and badges and you’ve got my support’,” says Eric Pickles, the ex-cabinet minister and longstanding ally. “That’s not how she operates. You’ve got to take her unconditionally.”
Theresa May’s position as Home Secretary often put her at odds with campaigners over human rights GETTY
Theresa May must improve her and Britain’s record on human rights now that she is becoming Prime Minister, campaigners have warned.
Amnesty UK and Reprieve are amongst charities calling for the former Home Secretary to commit to a fresh start on issues like UK complicity in torture, and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Ms May has previously said she would consider pulling out of said Convention, but made clear during her leadership campaign that that policy was now off the table.
She has also been criticised for masterminding a policy of sending vans around Britain telling undocumented migrants to “go home or face arrest”. Heavily anti-immigration themes in her speech at Conservative party conference 2015 were also rubbished by campaigners.
Donald Campbell, head of communications at, Reprieve told the Independent that as Home Secretary Ms May had presided over “worrying” secrecy but expressed hope that things might change.
“At times, Theresa May’s Home Office has been worryingly secretive on human rights issues,” he said.
“For example, they have frequently refused to disclose information on funding and training for overseas police forces which could lead to people being tortured and executed.
“We hope that the new prime minister will place greater emphasis on transparency and accountability, and ensure Britain no longer provides assistance which could end up supporting torture and the death penalty around the world.
“At home, she must deliver an independent, judge led inquiry into uk involvement in the CIA torture programme- a promise made, but then abandoned, by her predecessor.”
The Leavers have had a tough two weeks. First Johnson, then Gove, and finally Leadsom, all vanquished – no wonder David Cameron was whistling. The next occupant of Number 10 will be from the same side of the Conservative Party as him. George Osborne will either stay as Chancellor or be replaced by another advocate of Remain. The grim faces of Leadsom’s supporters on Monday morning told the story: they were outdone.
But there is more to come from Leave. The facts of political life under Brexit still favour them. For a start, Prime Minister Theresa May will rely on Leavers for a parliamentary majority. Then, as Government business resumes under a new ministerial team inevitably featuring many Leavers, the day-to-day reality of still being bound by EU law will create controversy.
It might be the proposal for state aid to stop a factory from closing, a new judgement from a European Court, the burdens on business of a new directive, or something entirely bananas – all the ways in which Leavers have styled outrage in the past over Europe are still available to them now.
The new PM will say, of course, that it’s only a matter of time until we’re on our way out. Yet if she wants to keep open the option of joining the European Economic Area then European laws will not be shed so easily. We won’t be free with one bound, the Leavers will discover, and then the question is whether they will stay quiet out of loyalty or speak to voters about this perceived treachery.
Let me repeat that:
Boris Johnson foreign secretary
Oh wow, that is a shame.
From the Guardian’s live feed:
- 7m agoNew cabinet – Appointments so far
- 9m agoMichael Fallon remains as defence secretary
- 14m agoAmber Rudd becomes home secretary
- 19m agoBoris Johnson confirmed as new foreign secretary
- 22m agoBoris Johnson ‘to be made foreign secretary’
- 50m agoHammond becomes chancellor as Osborne leaves the government
- 1h agoWatson says May’s record does not match her ‘warm words’
Be sure to click here to see the latest updates.
Queen Elizabeth II has seen it all before — 12 times before, to be precise.
On Wednesday, she said goodbye to David Cameron, her 12th prime minister, and hello to Theresa May, her 13th.
While a political earthquake has shook Westminster to its core and triggered the resignations of a number of politicians, the queen has managed to do what she always does: reign above the fray.
One thing I find interesting, from a personal perspective:
Today Theresa May becomes the second woman to serve as prime minister of the United Kingdom, but she’ll be the first major world leader living with type 1 diabetes.
Mrs May, 59, replaces David Cameron and will face what is likely to be an intense, drawn-out process negotiating the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (aka “Brexit”) as the country voted to do on June 23 (or work out some alternative, although she has vowed to proceed, stressing that “Brexit means Brexit”). And all the while she’ll also have to manage her type 1 diabetes, which she was diagnosed with just 4 years ago while she was the United Kingdom’s home secretary.
In July 2013, a few months after her diagnosis, she spoke publicly about the challenge and how she was meeting it. She told the UK Daily Mail : “It was a real shock and, yes, it took me a while to come to terms with it,” but “the diabetes doesn’t affect how I do the job or what I do. It’s just part of life…so it’s a case of head down and getting on with it.”
She was 56 years old at the time and had been losing weight, feeling tired, and drinking a lot of fluids but attributed those to job stress and a fitness program she had recently begun. She was initially misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes — a common occurrence in those who develop autoimmune diabetes in adulthood — and finally diagnosed with type 1 in November 2012.
Following her diagnosis, Mrs May attended several events sponsored by the JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) in the United Kingdom, including a ball in 2015 that raised £620,000 to support the organization, according to the group’s website.
Theresa May [Source: Matt Dunham/AP]
Whether she’ll continue that advocacy as prime minister and how she’ll manage her own condition going forward remain to be seen.
Obviously the main point now is how she will handle the mess she is inheriting from Cameron…but I do think it is important for those people with the T1D (Type 1 Diabetes) to have a fellow sufferer of this disease… someone with her position and standing in the world, to look to as an example that T1D is not life debilitating. As long as you take care of yourself.
There are plenty of other links regarding Ms May at the Guardian and Independent sites above.
One more link before I go…my internet is giving me problems.
Maybe this dinosaur really, really didn’t want to be found.
Scientists digging for fossils in rural Argentina found themselves beset by misfortune, ranging from bureaucratic interference to a serious truck accident. Now the researchers have given an appropriate name to the strange new species they finally discovered: Gaulicho, the local word for a curse.
If bad luck befalls anyone in the region where the fossil was uncovered, “people say that somebody made a gualicho on you,” says paleontologist Sebastián Apesteguía of the Azara Foundation in Buenos Aires, co-author of a study in this week’s PLOS ONE about the new animal. Of all the dinosaurs he’s worked on recently, “this was the most difficult by far.”
Gualicho was found on the second-to-last day of the scientists’ research at the site. Study co-author Peter Makovicky recalls he jokingly ordered one of his workers “to go find something.” Minutes later, “she did.”
What she found was a meat-eating dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous that stood upright on two slender legs, making it “reasonably speedy,” says Makovicky of TheField Museum in Chicago. It weighed as much as a big Clydesdale and would’ve towered over a six-foot-tall human.
But Gualicho could’ve used a little upper-body work. Its short arms — roughly as long as a child’s — were shriveled and apparently not very useful. Instead, the animal probably relied on powerful jaws to grab and grip its quarry, scientists say.
Gualicho is in good company. Both T. rex and its fellow tyrannosaurs had stumpy arms, as did a separate clan of upright carnivorous dinosaurs. But Gualicho is on a different branch on the dinosaur family tree from the others, meaning it must have evolved puny arms independently.
If you want a look at what this dinosaur look like, go to the link…
Gualicho is not only a separate example but also a weird one. Some of its body parts, such as its hind limbs, look like they belong to more primitive animals, while its two-fingered “hands” look like those of the formidable T. rex. Gualicho is a pastiche of a dinosaur, making it difficult for researchers to understand exactly how it relates to others.
Have a good afternoon and evening…
This is an open thread.
Happy Independence Day Team USA!
Here’s how the Kennedy family is spending their 4th of July! “Kennedy family BASHES Trump over Fourth of July weekend with a pinata of The Donald at their Cape Cod compound.” That sounds like some nice harmless fun and very politically incorrect. The Trumpster should approve but I doubt his thick skull or thin skin will be able to take it in that spirit.
The Kennedy clan gathered at their Hyannis Port compound on Cape Cod over the weekend for their annual Fourth of July festivities, and took some time to attack Donald Trump.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s daughter Kathleen, between known as Kick, posted a photos of a pinata of The Donald from a family party over the weekend.
‘It’s yuge party!,’ wrote Kick in the caption of the Instagram post, which also showed some of her family members milling about in the background.
She later deleted the Instagram post just before 11am on Monday.
Yes, some of us are still rocking in the free world while we can!
There’s a lot of sadness today as we stop to think about Baghdad, Istanbul, and Dhaka where ISIS attacks have killed hundreds of innocent people who were simply going about their day. Our hearts go out to the places that have suffered these massive tragedies. I’m also reminded today of Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn Rule.
Powell: What I was saying is, if you get yourself involved—if you break a government, if you cause it to come down, by invading or other means, remember that you are now the government. You have a responsibility to take care of the people of that country.
Isaacson: And it got labeled the Pottery Barn rule.
I, for one, care about these attacks. I’ve not seen the graphics, the heartfelt “I’m with …” sloganeering, and the banal, jingoistic calls exclaiming that “it’s a war on the Western World.” That’s because it isn’t a war on the Western World. It’s a war on modernity.
This is a fight we brought to the front door step of many countries–including Iraq–that were not to blame for anything when we invaded Iraq.
Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and the bungled occupation that followed, Baghdad has been the site of numerous rounds of sectarian bloodletting, al-Qaeda attacks and now the ravages of the Islamic State. Despite suffering significant defeats at the hands of the Iraqi army, including the loss of the city of Fallujah, the militant group has shown its willingness and capacity to brutalize the country’s population.
Public anger in the Iraqi capital, as my colleague Loveday Morris reports, is not being directed at foreign conspirators or even — first and foremost — at the militants, but at a much-maligned government that is failing to keep the country safe.
“The street was full of life last night,” one Karrada resident told The Washington Post, “and now the smell of death is all over the place.”
Iraq is being invaded once more and Baghdad is still a shadow of itself in a country with little ability to truly defend its borders and people.
By Monday afternoon the toll in Karrada stood at 151 killed and 200 wounded, according to police and medical sources. Rescuers and families were still looking for 35 missing people.
Islamic State claimed the bombing, its deadliest in Iraq, saying it was a suicide attack. Another explosion struck in the same night, when a roadside bomb blew up in popular market of al-Shaab, a Shi’ite district in north Baghdad, killing two people.
The attacks showed Islamic State can still strike in the heart of the Iraqi capital despite recent military losses, undermining Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s declaration of victory last month when Iraqi forces dislodged the hardline Sunni insurgents from the nearby city of Falluja.
Abadi’s Shi’ite-led government ordered the offensive on Falluja in May after a series of deadly bombings in Shi’ite areas of Baghdad that it said originated from the Sunni Muslim city, about 50 km (30 miles) west of the capital.
Falluja was the first Iraqi city captured by Islamic State in 2014, six months before it declared a caliphate over parts of Iraq and Syria. Since last year the insurgents have been losing ground to U.S.-backed Iraqi government forces and Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias.
“Abadi has to have a meeting with the heads of national security, intelligence, the interior ministry and all sides responsible for security and ask them just one question: How can we infiltrate these groups?” said Abdul Kareem Khalaf, a former police Major General who advises the Netherlands-based European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies think tank.
He said Islamic State, or Daesh, “has supporters or members everywhere – in Baghdad, Basra and Kurdistan. All it takes is for one house to have at least one man and you have a planning base and launch site for attacks of this type.”
In a sign of public outrage at the failure of the security services, Abadi was given an angry reception on Sunday when he toured Karrada, the district where he grew up, with residents throwing stones, empty buckets and even slippers at his convoy in gestures of contempt.
He ordered new measures to protect Baghdad, starting with the withdrawal of fake bomb detectors that police have continued to use despite a scandal that broke out in 2011 about their sale to Iraq under his predecessor, Nuri al-Maliki.
So, today our skies will light up with fireworks that we will purposefully set off to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and moving forward with liberating our nation from British rule. It’s odd to think that the fall out from colonialism is still going on today and that the fireworks that light up many other places do not represent the symbolic act of a war of Independence but one of oppression and terror.
I’m not sure how many of you will stop by on this holiday to say hi so I’m going to just make this a brief greeting with the one bit of news. However this is, as always, an open thread and there are other things going on including the election of the next President of the US.
This is another thing that should give us pause as we continue to clean up the mess of the Bush Administration, and actually the mess left behind by others of his predecessors like Ronald Reagan whose adventures in South and Central American made every one in those countries a lot less safe.
If we’re unable to purse our own liberty and happiness then we can change that under our system of government. But then, think again what it means when our actions prevent that dream for others. My heart weeps for all of those who live in countries that we helped break. We own it. I think Hillary Clinton understands this. I think Donald Trump would rather we walk away from our mess. We broke it. We own it. Let’s just hope the rest of the coalition of the willing hangs in there with us as we try to stop the carnage.
Have a great 4th!!! May the fireworks near you be only the celebratory type and not the bullets from another crazed shooter or the ignition of a suicide vest! May all beings be free from harm!!!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
What a beautiful image….
On Friday, Dak gave you lovely works from artist known for their use of color. Particularly Georgia O’Keefe… she also wrote about women bloggers….don’t you love when a post focuses on women doing extraordinary things. (As compared to what the misogynist male establishment would rather see us do.)
Yesterday, Boston Boomer treated us all with images of beautiful people. (Paul Newman and Steve McQueen…who doesn’t want to look at those gorgeous faces and bodies?)
Today I bring you pictures of books. Rainbow colored books. Although, I am not sure if anyone of us has enough books with colorful covers to do anything like this….but it sure is pretty to look at.
Slow Show – Chris Cobb
Chris Cobb, an artist based in San Francisco, has created an amazing installation in bookshop called Adobe Books- he catalogued every single one of the 20,000 books by color. The project is titled There is Nothing Wrong in This Whole Wide World. They were arranged by hand over a 10 hour period, and he enlisted the help of 16 volunteers. Such beautiful results, they transformed the bookshop overnight.
So enjoy the lovely books.
Here are you links for today.
I am going to post this horrible news first…Nearly 120 killed in overnight Baghdad bombings claimed by Islamic State | Reuters
Nearly 120 people were killed and 200 wounded in two bombings overnight in Baghdad, most of them in a busy shopping area as residents celebrated Ramadan, police and medical sources said on Sunday.
The attack on the shopping area of Karrada is the deadliest since U.S.-backed Iraqi forces last month scored a major victory when it dislodged Islamic State from their stronghold of Falluja, an hour’s drive west of the capital. It is also the deadliest so far this year.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had ordered the offensive after a series of deadly bombings in Baghdad, saying Falluja served as a launchpad for such attacks on the capital. However, bombings have continued.
A convoy carrying Abadi who had come to tour the site of the bombings was pelted with stones and bottles by residents, angry at what they felt were false promises of better security.
A refrigerator truck packed with explosives blew up in the central district of Karrada, killing 115 people and injuring at least 200. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement circulated online by supporters of the ultra-hard line Sunni group. It said the blast was a suicide bombing.
Along with this attack on Friday: Bangladesh Attack Marks Tactical Shift by Islamic State Militants – WSJ
When assailants armed with guns and explosives stormed an upscale cafe in the Bangladeshi capital Friday, shouting “Allahu akbar,” it represented a sharp escalation by extremist followers of Islamic State in South Asia, a region where the terror group had previously gained little traction.
By the time security forces retook the restaurant after an assault backed by armored vehicles early Saturday, 20 civilians, two police officers and six militants had been killed. Brig. Gen. Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury, the army’s director of military operations, said 13 people held hostage were freed.
Among the dead were two students from Emory University, which is based in Atlanta. Abinta Kabir, a U.S. citizen who was an undergraduate student at the school’s Oxford College campus in Georgia, was killed, along with another student, Faraaz Hossain, spokesmen for their families said Saturday. Mr. Hossain’s nationality hasn’t been confirmed.
Tarushi Jain, an 18-year-old Indian national who attended the University of California-Berkeley, also perished in the attack, the Associated Press reported.
When Raquel Jeanette Solla learned two of her Emory University friends were being held hostage in a café in Bangladesh, she clung to the hope they would survive.
“I really believed they’d be okay because they’re such good people, and seemed too sweet to have something so horrible happen to them,” said Solla, a student at the Oxford campus, in an e-mail to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
She found out about the terror attack, about her friends, Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hossain, being trapped inside a popular cafe in Dhaka, through a Facebook group message. When the stream of updates stopped, she feared the worst early Saturday morning. A Facebook post soon confirmed it.
Abinta and Faraaz were well-known in the tight-knit group of students at Emory University’s Oxford University campus, both sharing a reputation of being bright, enthusiastic, and really, really nice. Bengali students at Emory often get together for pickup soccer games, to talk about some cricket match or share news of home, a place they say rarely makes it into international headlines.
Till now, when Bangladesh was added to the the rapidly escalating list of places devastated by Islamic terrorism. Only days after the attack in Istanbul, and weeks away from the Orlando tragedy, this latest blood bath delivered an extra blow to the Atlanta region. It took the lives of two of our own.
And while you ponder on that, remember….52 still hospitalized after deadly Istanbul airport attack – World – CBC News
Fifty-two people are still in the hospital four days after suicide bombers attacked Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, killing at least 44 others, the city’s governor said Saturday.
The governorate said 184 airport victims have been discharged from hospitals so far, including 13 people released Saturday. It said 20 people were still in intensive care.
Three militants armed with assault rifles and suicide bombs attacked one of the world’s busiest airports on Tuesday night. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Turkish officials say they believe it was the work of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.
However according to Reuters: Around 20 Islamic State members in custody over Istanbul airport attack: Erdogan | Reuters
Around 20 Islamic State militants, mainly foreigners, are in custody in connection with an attack last week on Istanbul airport that killed 45 people, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
Two Russian nationals have been identified as suspected Islamic State suicide bombers in the attack that is thought to have been masterminded by a Chechen, Turkish media said on Friday.
“The latest findings point to the Daesh (Islamic State) terrorist organisation,” Erdogan told Reuters at the Istanbul Ataturk airport, where he visited the attack site.
Video at the link.
There was a warning from the UAE recently, which urged its citizens to avoid dressing in their customary outfits while traveling in the US: UAE tells citizens to avoid national dress while abroad after man held in U.S. | Reuters
The United Arab Emirates has urged men to avoid wearing the white robes, headscarf and headband of the national dress when traveling abroad, after a businessman visiting the United States was wrestled to the ground and held as an Islamic State suspect.
UAE media reported that the Emirati man was detained in Avon, Ohio, last week after a female clerk at a local hotel called 911 to report what she had described as a man affiliated to Islamic State, according to the Arabic-language al-Bayan newspaper. It only identified him by his initials.
The English language The National said the receptionist at the Fairfield Inn hotel called the police after she heard the man talking on his phone in the hotel lobby.
Gulf News, another UAE newspaper, published photos of the Emirati man in white robes being wrestled to the ground and handcuffed before being led away by police.
In a message on a Foreign Ministry Twitter account focusing on citizens traveling abroad, the ministry said on Saturday:
“For citizens traveling outside the country, and in order to ensure their safety, we point out not to wear formal dress while traveling, especially in public places,” the message dated July 2 stated, without referring to the Avon incident.
It is frightening stuff…when you think about it. Isn’t it enough that so many US citizens already are worried for their lives because they look a certain way? The hateful rhetoric is only getting worse…at what point does the US become a High Risk Travel Warning to other nations abroad? When a racist misogynistic fascist asshole is elected president?
Physicist Stephen Hawking says pollution coupled with human greed and stupidity are still the biggest threats to humankind.
During an interview on Larry King Now, the science superstar told King that in the six years since he’s spoken with the talk show host people haven’t cleaned up their act.
“We certainly have not become less greedy or less stupid,” Hawking said. “The population has grown by half a billion since our last meeting, with no end in sight. At this rate, it will be eleven billion by 2100.”
You can read the rest of the USA Today article here, including some video: Stephen Hawking: Humankind is still greedy, stupid and greatest threat to Earth
In connection with Hawking’s climate prediction: ‘Unprecedented’: Scientists declare ‘global climate emergency’ after jet stream crosses equator
And meanwhile in Florida: Toxic algae bloom crisis hits Florida, drives away tourists (w/video) | Tampa Bay Times
It’s going to be a long, stinky Fourth of July weekend on Jensen Beach.
Instead of red, white and blue, the color of the day is green. Thick, putrid layers of toxic blue-green algae are lapping at the sand, forcing Martin County officials to close the beach as a health hazard.
“I’ve seen Jensen Beach closed for sharks,” said Irene Gomes, whose family has run the Driftwood Motel since 1958. “I’ve never seen it closed for an algae bloom before.”
As bad as it looks, the stench is far worse, driving away Gomes’ motel customers, chasing off paddleboard and kayak renters and forcing residents to stay indoors.
“It smells like death on a cracker,” said Gomes’ friend Cyndi Lenz, a nurse. Morgues don’t smell as bad, she added.
The toxic algae bloom afflicting Jensen stretches for miles along the Martin County shoreline on the state’s Atlantic coast near Palm Beach. It’s also coating the water in the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie River. It’s thick in Lake Okeechobee, where the toxicity is 200 times what the World Health Organization says constitutes a human health hazard.
And now it’s apparently showing up over on the state’s west coast, too, forcing the closure of a popular park on the Caloosahatchee River and flopping onto Fort Myers Beach.
That is a long article, so give it a look.
But with all this bad news on the environmental front…how about something positive?
For the first time in 30 years, the gaping hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica is showing signs of healing.
Every year since it was discovered in 1985, scientists have watched the hole grow bigger from one Antarctic spring to the next, eventually covering 10.9 million square miles in 2015.
Now researchers are noting an encouraging trend. Though the hole still exists and reached a record size last year, it is forming at a slower rate, according to a reportpublished Thursday in the journal Science.
Thanks to human actions to curb the use of ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, the hole has started growing later in the spring, the study’s authors said, and they can foresee a time, around the middle of the century, when it’s gone.
“We are starting to see signs of improvement over Antarctica,” said Paul Newman, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who monitors the hole but was not involved in the study.
Whatever you do, be sure to click on that link and go see the images on the LA Times site. It is very interesting…especially with all those little earths spinning next to each other.
Now for some political news links:
One more link for you, this one…from my area of the backwoods of Georgia…in the county next door to Banjoville. Fannin County to be exact, where the phrase…
“We have deep mountains.”
Means exactly what you would think it means if it was uttered by some mafia dude to another mafia dude talking about what to do with a body after icing someone in the local fried chicken joint.
‘Retaliation for use of the Open Records Act will inhibit every citizen from using it.’
A North Georgia newspaper publisher was indicted on a felony charge and jailed overnight last week – for filing an open-records request.
Fannin Focus publisher Mark Thomason, along with his attorney Russell Stookey, were arrested on Friday and charged with attempted identity fraud and identity fraud. Thomason was also accused of making a false statement in his records request.
» READ THE INDICTMENT
Thomason’s relentless pursuit of public records relating to the local Superior Court has incensed the court’s chief judge, Brenda Weaver, who also chairs the state Judicial Qualifications Commission. Weaver took the matter to the district attorney, who obtained the indictments.
Thomason was charged June 24 with making a false statement in an open-records request in which he asked for copies of checks “cashed illegally.” Thomason and Stookey were also charged with identity fraud and attempted identity fraud because they did not get Weaver’s approval before sending subpoenas to banks where Weaver and another judge maintained accounts for office expenses. Weaver suggested that Thomason may have been trying to steal banking information on the checks.
But Thomason said he was “doing his job” when he asked for records.
“I was astounded, in disbelief that there were even any charges to be had,” said Thomason, 37, who grew up in Fannin County. “I take this as a punch at journalists across the nation that if we continue to do our jobs correctly, then we have to live in fear of being imprisoned.”
Thomason and Stookey are out on $10,000 bond and have a long list of things they cannot do or things they must do to avoid going to jail until their trials. On Thursday, for example, Thomason reported to a pretrial center and was told that he may have to submit to a random drug test – a condition of the bond on which he was released from jail last Saturday.
Alison Sosebee, district attorney in the three counties in the Appalachian Judicial Circuit, and Judge Weaver say the charges are justified. Weaver said she resented Thomason’s attacks on her character in his weekly newspaper and in conversations with her constituents.
“I don’t react well when my honesty is questioned,” Weaver said.
Colorful books, how about a colorful nation. Babies Of Color Are Now The Majority, Census Says : NPR Ed : NPR
Today’s generation of schoolchildren looks much different than one just a few decades ago. Nonwhites are expected to become the majority of the nation’s children by 2020, as our colleague Bill Chappell reported last year. This is now the reality among the very youngest Americans: babies.
Babies of color now outnumber non-Hispanic white babies (1 year or younger), according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The newest estimate shows that on July 1, 2015, the population of racial or ethnic minority babies was 50.2 percent.
Which of course, makes me think of that song Cartman sings from South Park…about the Minorities are the Majorities….at his waterpark.
Cartman sings a heartfelt ode about how his water park isn’t the way he remembered it.
But you know, some things never change: The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still the richest families in Florence — Quartz
Compare it to this:
Looking back to find a cure and looking forward to find a solution?
Since we have books on display, we need to have a couple of book list to go with them:
And finally, a tribute to a lady who is 100 this weekend!
Actress Olivia de Havilland, the last surviving star of the most popular film of all time, retired from showbiz decades ago, apparently feeling that 49 films, two best actress Oscars, and a best-selling memoir were accomplishment enough for one career.
Friday in Paris, she celebrates her 100th birthday, which seems a good moment to reflect on the mix of sparkle and resilience that marked her public life.
Here is the video that Robert Osborne has done for Olivia de Havilland over at TCM:
If you cannot see the embedded video click here: “I’m certainly relishing the idea of living a… – Turner Classic Movies: TCM
I confess it: as a Brit would say, I have been one very lucky bloke. It has never ceased to amaze me that a fellow with no connections whatsoever to show business and who grew up in a small farm community in the Northwest (population: 2500), could end up on a national television network with the dream job of talking about classic movies as I get to do on TCM. Something else which constantly reminds me of how lucky I am is the 40-year friendship I’ve had with TCM’s Star of the month for this July, Olivia de Havilland.
We’ll be sharing many of Olivia’s stories with you on Friday nights this month as we also celebrate a great landmark birthday for her–her 100th. It is her birthday but we’re the ones who get the presents. Every Friday we’ll be toasting Olivia, showing 39 de Havilland films in all, including all the biggies such as To Each His Own(1946, Oscar® #1), The Snake Pit, (1948, Oscar® nomination #3), The Heiress (Oscar® #2) and several which are lesser known, such as when she played France’s Queen Mother in the era of the Three Musketeers in the rarely shown The 5th Musketeer (1979) with Rex Harrison, Jose Ferrer and Cornel Wilde. And just for the fun of it, you can see 1939’s Wings of the Navy and decide if you agree with Olivia’s assessment of it.
Through the years, in addition to all the many assets that are such an integral part of her, she’s also proven to be someone who always makes good on promises. The night she celebrated her 80th birthday in Paris in 1996, Olivia told me she’d just made a vow to live to be 100. And she’s done it. During a more recent phone chat, she said, “I’ve changed my goal. I’ve decided I want to live to be at least 110.” That’s the best birthday present this amazing woman from Hollywood’s golden era could give us. I have no doubt she’ll make it. Bravo, Olivia!
by Robert Osborne
This month on TCM they are celebrating Olivia’s birthday by featuring her as the star of the month with her films: Olivia de Havilland – Fridays in July
You know I will be taping many of these…especially The Heiress and Hold Back the Dawn!
Anyway, that is my post for the day, have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!
Ah, good afternoon!
It has been a while since we took a look at the offerings of political cartoonist, so I thought today would be a good day for that…and in all honesty, there is another reason, things have been moving quickly with my parent’s closing (it is now pushed to the 6th) so there is plenty to do. (But it is a good plenty…)
First I will start with this video from UNICEF, posted on Huffington Post Facebook page,
Some of you may have seen this…if you haven’t please take the few minutes to watch it in full.
If you cannot see the embedded video, here is a link to the page: The Huffington Post
Those fuckers made that little girl cry.
Many of the cartoons today mention the ruling regarding SCOTUS smackdown of Texas Anti-abortion law HB-2. In relation to this, Vox has an article: It could take years for Texas abortion clinics to reopen, even after a Supreme Court victory – Vox
Pro-choice advocates won a huge victory on Monday when the Supreme Court struck down two major anti-abortion laws in Texas inWhole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Those laws, part of an omnibus anti-abortion bill called HB 2, were responsible for closing about half of all abortion clinics in Texas.
Before HB 2 passed in 2013, Texas had 41 open clinics. Today there are 19. If the Court had ruled to uphold the restrictions, that number would have shrunk to nine. So it’s no surprise that lead plaintiff Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO and founder of Whole Woman’s Health, said she was “beyond elated” by the ruling.
But, Hagstrom Miller said in a recent interview with Vox, a victory at the Supreme Court is really just the beginning for abortion providers in Texas. Not only are other restrictions, like a 20-week abortion ban and limits on medication abortion, still in place in Texas but HB 2 has also done lasting damage to abortion access that could take years to repair, if it can be repaired at all.
It turns out, according to the Vox report…
The closed clinics can’t just reopen overnight, and some might never reopen
Well, I realized that they would not reopen with a snap of the fingers, but that some may never reopen, that just is salt in wounds.
Then there was this, from the NY Times: Abortion Ruling Could Create Waves of Legal Challenges – The New York Times
From Texas to Alabama to Wisconsin, more than a dozen Republican-run states in recent years have passed laws requiring that abortion clinics have hospital-grade facilities or use doctors with admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
Now, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling — that those provisions in a Texas law do not protect women’s health and place an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion — will quickly reverberate across the country.
It will prevent the threatened shutdown of clinics in some states, especially in the Deep South, that have been operating in a legal limbo, with Texas-style laws on temporary hold. But legal experts said the effect over time was likely to be wider, potentially giving momentum to dozens of legal challenges, including to laws that restrict abortions with medication or ban certain surgical methods.
“The ruling deals a crushing blow to this most recent wave of state efforts to shut off access to abortion through hyper-regulation,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, the director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School.
Adopting stringent regulations on abortion clinics and doctors that are said to be about protecting women’s health has been one of the anti-abortion movement’s most successful efforts, imposing large expenses on some clinics, forcing others to close and making it harder for women in some regions to obtain abortions. Republicans like Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who deplored Monday’s ruling, argued that they were requiring clinics to “be held to the same standards as other medical facilities.”
Now, the court has ruled that any such requirements must be based on convincing medical evidence that the rules are solving a real health issue to be weighed by a court, not by ideologically driven legislators — and that the benefits must outweigh the burdens imposed on women’s constitutional right to an abortion.
Take a look at that article, because it highlights a few states that currently have abortion laws going into effect on July 1st…which could now be seen in a different light since the Monday ruling.
One more link before the cartoons…I just think this is funny: Why Do Monkeys Become More Selective With Friends As They Age, Just Like Humans? : SCIENCE : Tech Times
Scientists from the German Primate Center wanted to know how age affected the behavior of more than 100 Barbary macaques kept in an enclosure in a park in France.
They investigated how the monkeys – whose ages ranged from 4 to 29 years (equivalent to 105 human years) – reacted to physical objects such as novel toys and tubes with food, social interactions such as fighting and grooming “friends” and new social information, such as calls and photos of “friends” and “strangers.”
Researchers discovered that the interest of Barbary macaques in toys wane when they become adults. At around 20 or the retirement age of monkeys, these animals approached fewer monkeys and had less social contact.
What surprised scientists is that this obvious withdrawal was not prompted by a social affinity to avoid old monkeys. Younger ones still groomed and approached their elders.
It also wasn’t because older monkeys were not interested in anything at all. Scientists found that older monkeys still hissed to others during fights and still responded to photos of others.
These older monkeys are still attuned to what is going on around them, but they do not want to participate, says Julia Fischer, one of the researchers of the study.
They hissed? Could this be a monkey’s way of saying, get off my lawn?
The dominant psychological theory that could explain why this behavior happens in humans is that they want to maximize the time they have left with death on the horizon.
Fischer says although monkeys have excellent memories, there is no evidence that they are self-aware about their impending deaths. So if both monkeys and humans act this way as they age, the theory may be rationalizing a natural behavior with biological roots, she says.
Alexandra Freund, Fischer’s co-researcher, says the findings of the study clearly tell us that we are not distinctive in how we grow into old age.
“There might be an evolutionary ‘deep’ root in this pattern,” says Freund.
There is a bit more at the link, along with some other sources and connections to the published study.
And now the funnies…
Starting with Luckovich…06/17 Mike Luckovich: Losing letters. | Mike Luckovich
From Cagle Cartoons, click to see the toon:
This is a good one: Brexit
Brexit ….a different one, but the same name.
Brexit …another one with the same name, but different, and damn good.
And the rest from the AAEC:
The above cartoon is from a right wing cartoonist btw….so that is not a sarcastic cartoon. It is in fact a glorification. To see more from this cartoonist…cough, cough: AAEC — Political Cartoons by A.F.Branco Because I will not put up a sample of his other shit. (Now, I bet that gives ya the creeps. As it gave me…at least check this one out: Eye To Eye: 06/26/2016 Cartoon by A.F.Branco)
That is an older cartoon, but I thought it was a good one and should be included.
This is an open thread…
I’m having a little difficulty focusing on serious stuff like “the news” today. I’d love to just keep escaping into mystery/crime novels. So if this post is disjointed and basically a link dum, that’s the reason. Here are some of the stories that have caught my eye so far.
Ed Kilgore at New York Magazine: Tim Kaine and the Evolution of Pro-Choice Politics.
The Great Mentioner of the collective news media is beginning to dwell on Hillary Clinton’s options for a running mate. And a name we are all hearing more and more is that of Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. Indeed,Politico is now placing him at the top of Clinton’s list, even suggesting he “towers” above all others. So of course he’s going to get extra public scrutiny.
When that happens, people are going to realize there’s more to Kaine than his Beltway persona of a “safe” centrist Democrat who was vetted by Obama eight years ago and is from a key swing state. He’s fluent in Spanish, having spent a year as a Jesuit missionary in Honduras before he decamped to Harvard Law School. He was a career civil-rights lawyer specializing in housing discrimination before entering politics. He’s been mayor of a reasonably large city, Richmond, in addition to being lieutenant governor under Mark Warner and then Warner’s successor as governor. And as a former DNC chair, he knows all about the party’s factions and allies and how to deal with them.
All well and good, but . . .
An article this week in The Hill calls abortion policy Kaine’s one big “weakness.” Like many observant Catholic Democrats over the years, Kaine’s mantra on reproductive rights is that while he’s “personally opposed” to abortion, he’s largely inclined to keep the law out of women’s reproductive decisions. Yes, he’s favored parental-notification laws, but has carefully insisted on ensuring young women in danger of parental pressure to carry a pregnancy to term will have a judicial workaround. Yes, he’s favored bans on so-called “partial-birth abortions,” but only with exceptions where the health of the mother is at risk, which separates him from the entire anti-abortion movement, which uniformly hates health exceptions. He has a 100 percent rating of his votes in the Senate from Planned Parenthood. His policy positions on abortion may not be ideal to reproductive-rights advocates, but they are acceptable, particularly if the top spot on the ticket is occupied by an old friend like Hillary Clinton….
Does his personal moral assessment of abortion matter so long as he’s sound on abortion policy? And even if reproductive-rights advocates don’t approve of Kaine’s formulation, is he a representative of a whole lot of otherwise pro-choice voters who don’t or won’t approve of abortion “personally” no matter how logical that might be? Could Kaine’s stance actually become a strength if the ticket spans those adopting the traditional formula along with those embracing the rapidly emerging positive attitude toward abortion itself?
Read more at the link.
The Economist on Brexit: A tragic split: How to minimise the damage of Britain’s senseless, self-inflicted blow.
HOW quickly the unthinkable became the irreversible. A year ago few people imagined that the legions of Britons who love to whinge about the European Union—silly regulations, bloated budgets and pompous bureaucrats—would actually vote to leave the club of countries that buy nearly half of Britain’s exports. Yet, by the early hours of June 24th, it was clear that voters had ignored the warnings of economists, allies and their own government and, after more than four decades in the EU, were about to step boldly into the unknown.
The tumbling of the pound to 30-year lows offered a taste of what is to come. As confidence plunges, Britain may well dip into recession. A permanently less vibrant economy means fewer jobs, lower tax receipts and, eventually, extra austerity. The result will also shake a fragile world economy. Scots, most of whom voted to Remain, may now be keener to break free of the United Kingdom, as they nearly did in 2014. Across the Channel, Eurosceptics such as the French National Front will see Britain’s flounce-out as encouragement. The EU, an institution that has helped keep the peace in Europe for half a century, has suffered a grievous blow.
Managing the aftermath, which saw the country split by age, class and geography, will need political dexterity in the short run; in the long run it may require a redrawing of traditional political battle-lines and even subnational boundaries. There will be a long period of harmful uncertainty. Nobody knows when Britain will leave the EU or on what terms. But amid Brexiteers’ jubilation and Remain’s recriminations, two questions stand out: what does the vote mean for Britain and Europe? And what comes next?
Read about The Economist’s editorial viewpoint in detail at the link.
The Washington Post: Top E.U. diplomats hold crisis talks on British exit.
Meeting in Berlin, the top diplomats of Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg collectively called for fast follow-through on the stunning British decision, putting pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron, who has sought a slower pace of extraction.
On Friday, Cameron said he would step down after several months but has not immediately sought to trigger the European Union’s Article 50, which would set up a two-year negotiating period ending with withdrawal. Cameron indicated that he would leave the exit decisions to his successor.
But the top diplomats meeting Saturday suggested the European Union was not prepared to wait for domestic politics to play out in Britain, suggesting that Cameron would face intense pressure on Tuesday during a summit in Brussels of 28 national leaders and European officials.
“We start now,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters. “We must be clear. The British people have decided after an initiative that was taken by Mr. Cameron. That was, is his responsibly.”
That makes sense. If the Brits want to take their ball and go home, why should they wait around to watch the game instead?
Apparently the referendum isn’t binding and could be reversed by Parliament. At least, I saw this on Twitter this morning:
The Democratic National Committee has already awarded contracts for merchandising, construction, transportation and event production for the four-day event on July 25-28.
Of the $150 million already spent by the committee, most of the money has gone to local businesses owned by women and minorities.
For example, an African-American-owned transportation company will provide buses and shuttles during the convention, according to The Atlantic.
Another African-American-owned business was hired to print business cards for the event, the magazine reported.
Leap Starr, owned by Liz Jenkins Santana, won the contract to plan PoliticalFest.
Jenkins Santana, who identifies as Native-American, African-American and Caucasian, said the contract is a big win for a small business and the largest Leap Starr has received for a one-time event, The Atlantic reported….
Census data shows nearly half – 47 percent – of Philadelphia businesses are owned by ethnic minorities, and it’s important the 50,000 DNC visitors see that reflected at the convention, according to Tiffany Newmuis, director of diversity and community engagement for the Philadelphia DNC 2016 Host Committee.
“We want people to leave here having seen what Philadelphia is really like,” she told The Atlantic.
She was hired specifically for diversity outreach and to make sure local businesses knew how to cash in on the convention…
I don’t suppose that will impress Bernie and the bros since it doesn’t involve helping white middle-class young people. Bernie is still complaining about the platform even though his ideas have mostly been included.
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Democrats approved a draft of the party platform early Saturday that includes steps to break up large Wall Street banks, advocates for a $15 an hour wage and urges the abolition of the death penalty, reflecting the influence of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
Supporters of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton defeated measures pushed by Sanders’ allies that would have promoted a Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system, a carbon tax to address climate change and impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracking.
Deliberating late into the evening, the group considered the document’s language on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, an issue that has divided Democrats. The committee defeated an amendment led by Zogby that would have called for providing Palestinians with “an end to occupation and illegal settlements” and urged an international effort to rebuild Gaza.
Zogby said Sanders had helped craft the language. The draft reflects Clinton’s views and advocates working toward a “two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict” that guarantees Israel’s security with recognized borders “and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity.”
The committee also adopted language that said it supports a variety of ways to prevent banks from gambling with taxpayers’ bank deposits, “including an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall.” ….
And it approved language calling for the abolition of the death penalty. Clinton said during a debate earlier this year that it should only be used in limited cases involving “heinous crimes,” while Sanders said the government should not use capital punishment.
Here’s Bernie’s reaction:
Nothing is ever good enough for this man. He simply doesn’t believe in compromise, and I’m convinced that he thinks a woman can never be his equal.
Page Six on CNN’s shocking decision to pay Donald Trump’s “former” campaign manager $500,000 to appear on air as a political commentator: CNN Staff revolts over Corey Lewandowski hire.
Sources told Page Six on Friday that CNN’s “facing a near internal revolt” over Jeff Zucker’s hiring of Lewandowski as an exclusive commentator for the news network days after he was fired as Donald Trump’s campaign manager.
“CNN is facing a near internal revolt over the Corey hiring,” said a TV insider, who described many in the newsroom as “livid.” “Female reporters and producers especially . . . They are organizing and considering publicly demanding” that Lewandowski be let go.
The Post reported on Monday that the Donald’s daughter Ivanka gave her dad an ultimatum to cut Corey loose after she was distressed by news he’d grabbed reporter Michelle Fields by the arm at a Florida event, and by a Page Six report that he recently got into a shouting match on a Midtown street with campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks.
A different source said, “Everyone at CNN — and even people who used to work there — are pissed about Trump’s former campaign manager being hired on salary.”At CNN, the hiring of the former Trump campaign manager on Thursday didn’t only alienate women on staff. A source further said that “Latinos and others in the newsroom feel betrayed by an homage to Trump,” so “they may do a public letter” objecting to the move.
I hope there’s enough interesting stuff here to get you going. Have a terrific weekend!