Monday, April 22, 2019
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Liberals’ Reaction to Mueller Report Shows They Prioritize Politics Over Truth

Of course, the American people—and, of course, President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. At the age of 79, with 32 years in the House of Representatives, Pelosi has a well-honed nose for sniffing out which political road to take. And he’s just not worth it.” Either the speaker’s time-tested political sniffer is so fine-tuned that she smelled the fake news driving the Russia conspiracy investigation or she knew that driving the whole thing were dirty tricks that originated in her own party and that Mueller would not and could not cover this up. Or maybe, even more troubling, they weren’t deceived, and were party to the scam. So despite the conclusions of the Mueller report, there will be document requests and subpoenas pouring forth from Nadler’s committee under the claim of suspected obstruction of justice from the White House. There are many things Democrats do not do well. Stacey Abrams still refuses to concede that she was defeated in the gubernatorial race in Georgia, persisting that voter suppression engineered by Republicans caused her loss. This was reminiscent of the “hanging chad’ recount in Florida in the 2000 presidential election, when Al Gore refused to concede. The American system works, and we have a president who is fixing this country. These are the truths that Democrats find most difficult to swallow.

Hollow Globalism Drives Ilhan Omar’s Politics of Affectation

In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Ilhan Omar called for the application of “universal values to all nations.” According to Omar, only then, can we truly achieve world peace. Not only is much of what she argues based on a lack of evidence (e.g., climate change) but the other issues she addresses are so skewed in their presentation that they end up reading like a meaningless word salad. Omar survived a war in Somalia and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was just a teenager. It takes a lot of courage to make a decision to come to another country, but this courage and the desire for a better life must drive every immigrant who decides to become a part of America’s fabric. And this helps explain her perceived poor reception. But there is a great difference between acknowledging where America can improve and a denial of America’s greatness. This means that there is an internal obligation to live according to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and not actively work against them. Instead embracing an opportunity for a dialogue, given her unusual position of being both an American and a Muslim, Omar is so wedded to her Muslim identity that she uses Islam as a political football to gain points among the proponents of identity politics. People like Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, or Tlaib do not represent that American ideal. She lives near Buffalo, N.Y.

The Man Behind ‘Lt. Dan’ Is All Patriotism, No Politics

Gary Sinise just published a new memoir called "Grateful American" and it's every bit as modest as anyone who has followed his years of support for the veteran community would expect. Except Gary's greatest talent shines through the humility with which he tells his story. To be sure, he's an extraordinarily gifted actor who has had a storied career both in serious theater and popular movies and television. But his most profound gift is his empathy for men and women who serve their country. Still, there are plenty of performers who don't share that insight and not many Americans share the sense of mission that Gary's has given him. "Grateful American" is co-written with Marcus Brotherton, who also worked with Army veteran Travis Mills on his excellent autobiography "As Tough As They Come." When Sinise tells his life story, he talks about his own family's service in WWI and WWII and how his wife Moira's brothers both served in Vietnam. Sinise later directed and then re-teamed with Malkovich to star in a 1992 movie version of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." Another gift Sinise displays is an ability to write about patriotism minus the politics. Gary Sinise has instead written a book that can appeal to anyone who's interested in his theater and movie careers and -- at the same time -- inspire readers who know him best from his work in support of military members.

Trump signs executive order to promote free speech on college campuses

President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order to promote free speech on college campuses by threatening colleges with the loss of federal research funding if they do not protect those rights. "We’re here to take historic action to defend American students and American values," Trump said, surrounded by conservative student activists at the signing ceremony. A senior administration official said the order directs 12 grant-making agencies to use their authority in coordination with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure institutions that receive federal research or education grants promote free speech and free inquiry. White House officials have said it will apply to more than $35 billion in grants. "Even as universities have received billions and billions of dollars from taxpayers, many have become increasingly hostile to free speech and the First Amendment," Trump said. Trump had announced that such an order was forthcoming at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, where he said the directive would require colleges and universities to support free speech in exchange for federal research dollars. He brought on stage Hayden Williams, a conservative activist who was attacked while working a recruitment table on campus at the University of California-Berkeley. The video quickly went viral, with conservatives citing it as further evidence of the stifling and sometimes-violent atmosphere that conservatives face on campus. He’s going to be a wealthy young man.” “If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they’ve got to allow people like Hayden and many other great young people and old people to speak,” Trump said. “Free speech.

Support for US Cannabis Legalization Reaches New High, Poll Finds

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A growing majority of Americans say marijuana should be legal, underscoring a national shift as more states embrace cannabis for medical or adult use. Support for legal marijuana hit 61 percent in 2018, up from 57 percent two years ago, according to the General Social Survey, a widely respected trend survey that has been measuring support for legal marijuana since the 1970s. Among Democrats, 76 percent now favor legalization. Legalization advocates say the increasing public support should prompt the U.S. government to reverse course. At the federal level, marijuana is categorized as a dangerous illegal drug, similar to LSD or heroin. “Our time has come,” said Justin Strekal, political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. “Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition.” Support for legalization is strongest among 18-to-34-year-olds, with nearly 75 percent favoring it. Views on marijuana legalization have shifted dramatically: In the 1973 GSS, just 19 percent supported legalization. Support for legalization has been gradually growing for years, but it has increased sharply since 2012, when Colorado and Washington state became the first states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Sample sizes for each year’s survey vary from about 1,500 to about 3,000 adults, with margins of error falling between plus or minus 2.2 percentage points and plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

On C-Span’s 40th Anniversary, a Top Executive Reflects on Its Political Impact

“From this day forward,” Mr. Gore said at the time, “every member of this body must ask himself or herself, how many Americans are listening to the debates which are made?” Since that day, when C-Span debuted with four employees, the network has become a mainstay in American politics. We spoke with Susan Swain, one of C-Span’s two chief executives, about the birth of the network, Washington’s initial resistance to being caught on camera and how the network has adapted to the social media age. This meant that any time you were interested, you could watch what your member of Congress had to say. The compromise was that the House of Representatives, the speaker’s office, would control the cameras that were on the floor of the House. The Senate finally acquiesced and it’s a classic story of American politics. Television loves pictures, so they would do more stories about the House. C-Span’s relevance comes in the form of not only all of the events that we cover every day but within minutes after we televise them, they are digitized and stored on our video archives. That means a member of Congress can pull a clip from their hearing and send it out to constituents. What we have documented over the years is that when people are nominated to the Supreme Court they go into their committee hearings expressing their open mind to the concept, and then once they get inside that chamber of nine, they manage to be convinced by the others there that it would be detrimental to the institution. We keep hoping that as the generations change and younger appointees come in who are very familiar with media and even social media, that the attitude will change.

Budowsky: The politics of Trump nightmares

The single most important fact in American political life is the degree that so many Americans believe, with a deep sentiment of dread and foreboding, that the Trump presidency has become a national nightmare that profoundly impacts American civic life in dangerous and disturbing ways. When President Trump recently spent more than two hours giving a bizarre and sometimes incoherent speech that was a rambling litany of angry insults and a tirade describing himself as a horribly aggrieved victim, he appeared to be a man in the middle of a nightmare. Would an innocent man declare total political war against special counsel Robert Mueller, who his former White House counsel Ty Cobb wisely says is a national hero running an honest investigation? The president’s nightmare is spending the next two years trapped in a spider’s web of federal, state and congressional investigations with potentially catastrophic consequences, while he cannot spend a penny of appropriated money or enact a dime of tax cuts without permission from a powerful Democratic Speaker and resurgent Democratic House. Huge masses of Democratic and independent voters are enduring the nightmare — which they will act to end with a spectacular turnout in November 2020 — of a president at war against their hopes and dreams for their lives and our country. Many of America’s finest and most principled conservatives are enduring the nightmare of a conservatism they have long championed with honor being shredded and corrupted by a president who is a conservative in name only, and his allies who demonize national heroes from Mueller to John McCain and attack the FBI for investigating the Russian dictator subverting our democracy and seeking to impose on America the president of his choice. What would Ronald Reagan think of Trump’s extravagant praise of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un? A solid majority of voters fervently want the Trump presidency to end. The answer to the big lie is the big truth. Here is how Democrats frame the election and win big in 2020, most similar to the message from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), whom I will support if he seeks the presidency.

Reconstructing American Politics

Music to my ears. Stephen Skowronek, a political scientist at Yale, has provided some useful insights into the relationship between presidents and political parties over the course of American history. In what he called the "politics of political time," he noted that such surprising pairings as Carter and Reagan could help us see deeper patterns in the development of American politics. Individual presidencies exist within a matrix of ambition, opportunity and strategic constraints. I found it pretty useful for thinking about the relationship between presidents and judges and the contours of American constitutionalism as well. Some presidents, which Skowronek called reconstructive, are able to significantly remake American politics, reorganizing ideological commitments, political interests and public policy in ways that leave a lasting impression on the political landscape. The politics that characterize other presidencies are defined, in part, by their relationship to those reconstructive moments. Corey Robin, Julia Azari, and Jack Balkin have pointed out that the Donald Trump presidency looks much like the politics of disjunction. Trump happily casts aside some of the intellectual, electoral and political constituents of the old Reagan coalition while trying to draw in his own set of Trump Democrats. They may well be right that the Republican Party that emerges from the present moment will bear the mark of Donald Trump rather than that of Ronald Reagan.

The Deepening ‘Racialization’ of American Politics

As whites began to feel the costs of the civil rights revolution — affirmative action, busing, urban violence — Republicans recognized the potential of race to catalytically interact with the broader rights revolution and the anti-tax movement to drive working and middle class voters out of the Democratic Party. Utych found that a core premise of both political operatives and political scientists — that “moderate candidates should be more electable in a general election than ideologically extreme candidates” — is no longer true. In an email, Utych pointed out that racial views are extremely significant in the trends he describes: The importance of racial attitudes, and how intertwined with politics they’ve become, can go a long way to explaining polarization. Tesler calls this phenomenon “two sides of racialization”: Obama performed particularly poorly among racially resentful whites, but garnered more votes from African Americans and white racial liberals than a similarly situated white Democratic candidate. That year, Tesler wrote, the American public saw a much wider gulf between Clinton and Trump’s positions on issues like immigration and federal aid to African Americans than they had perceived between prior Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Across several different racial attitude measures in a number of different surveys, views about race and ethnicity were more strongly related to vote choice in 2016 than they were in Obama’s elections. By contrast, Gallup trends show a nine-point rise in the percent liberal among Hispanic Democrats, from 29 percent to 38 percent, and an eight-point increase among black Democrats, from 25 percent to 33 percent. (Of course, the percentage of white voters who identify as Democrats is much lower than it is for African-America or Hispanic voters.) Despite differing ideologies and opposing views on some issues, on average last year, 82 percent of conservative Democrats, 91 percent of moderate Democrats and 96 percent of liberal Democrats disapproved of the job President Donald Trump was doing as president. In “The Distorting Effects of Racial Animus on Proximity Voting in the 2016 Elections,” Carlos Algara and Isaac Haley, political scientists at the University of California at Davis, show how powerful race has become in mobilizing support for Republicans: “Not only did Trump’s frequent invocations of race in the 2016 campaign prime voters with high levels of racial animus to evaluate the presidential contest in racial terms,” they write, but the increased salience of race in the 2016 campaign “percolated to relatively low-information congressional contests as well.” The result, Algara and Haley show, is that voters liberal on issues other than race defect “to Republican candidates up and down the ticket when they harbor racial animus.” Racial animosity, they write, hurts both black and white Democratic candidates: “Racial animus (at least when salient) harms Democratic candidates across the board.” I began this column with a pair of quotes from my 1992 book, “Chain Reaction.” Here is another pair: As the civil rights movement became national, as it became clearly associated with the Democratic Party, and as it began to impinge on local neighborhoods and schools, it served to crack the Democratic loyalties of key white voters.

Green MEPs held after anti-nuclear protest at Belgian military base

Three Green MEPs – including one from the UK – have been arrested after breaking into a Belgian military airbase to protest against its stockpiling of American B61 nuclear bombs. The MEPs – Molly Scott Cato, Michèle Rivasi and Tilly Metz – unfurled a banner on a runway for F-16 fighter jets at the Kleine Brogel base in the east of the country calling for a nuclear-free Europe, before being taken into custody. Another Green MEP, Thomas Waitz, was arrested in a demonstration outside the base, along with 11 other activists from the Belgian peace group Agir pour la Paix (Act for Peace), three of whom also scaled a 3.5-metre fence to get into the base. The direct action protest follows the US withdrawal from the intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty earlier this month. But campaigners fear this number could rapidly rise in any new arms race, and say each B61 has an explosive yield of up to 340 kilotons, 23 times more powerful than the bomb that devastated Hiroshima. She said: “When you’re talking about the potential end of the world, your own personal safety is put into perspective – and we are talking about weapons that could kill millions of people.” “Nuclear weapons offer no solution in this era and no rationale for defending the people in the south-west who I represent, one of whom died this year because of a Russian secret forces attack. How are nuclear weapons supposed to help Dawn Sturgess?” she said, referring to the woman police believe was killed by novichok in Amesbury, Wiltshire last year. MEPs in Brussels enjoy some immunity from prosecution but it is unclear if this would cover state security laws, which carry potential five-year prison sentences. Michèle Rivasi, the vice-chair of the Green party in the European parliamentsaid on Tuesday that: ““We are demanding the withdrawal of nuclear bombs at Kleine Brogel and also from Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. We urge all EU member states to sign and ratify the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.