Bus to tell Brexiteers that we’ve now left the EU, nation hopes they fall for it again

A message on the side of a bus will inform Brexiteers that Britain has now left the EU while the rest of the country hopes they fall for it again.

The original Brexit bus claimed that Britain sent £350 million a week to the EU, money we would be able to spend on the NHS instead. While that message was a load of old…

Trump addresses the nation, Democrats respond

Top White House officials claim Democrats won’t come around to border security

Senior White House aides, not surprisingly, are doing some messaging after President Trump’s address, by going after Democrats.

Top White House officials are claiming that Democrats aren’t willing to come around on the issue of border security. Democrats, of course, have voted for border security funds just not for the wall the President wants.

White House officials are also saying Democrats made a mistake tonight describing the situation at the border as a “manufactured crisis” — a sign that’s how the White House plans to frame the debate after tonight’s address, as they fan out to do TV appearances in the coming days.

Here’s how one official described it: “The President wants common sense solutions.” Trump said his proposals are “common sense” in his address.

Trump wrongly claims Democrats won’t fund border security

President Trump claimed that “the federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.”

It’s not true that Democrats oppose funding for border security, they just aren’t willing to meet Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion in wall funding. Congressional Democratic leaders have offered funding for roughly $1.3 billion for border security in the current shutdown fight.

That offer remains on the table.

Border security has been a cornerstone of Democratic immigration proposals for years. The Obama-backed comprehensive immigration bill in 2013, which passed with unanimous Democratic support, would have added up to 40,000 Border Patrol agents and deploy more than $3 billion for technology upgrades at the border. House Republicans refused to vote on the proposal and it never reached Obama’s desk.

House Democrats voted last week to approve a stop-gap funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that would not allocate new wall funding, but would maintain the current $1.3 billion in border security money. Last year, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced a DHS funding bill for fiscal year 2019 on a bipartisan basis that would allocate $1.6 billion for roughly 65 miles of fencing in the Rio Grande Valley, but the full Senate has not yet approved that measure.

Democrats: Trump is choosing fear over facts

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in her response to President Trump’s speech, said the President has chosen to use misinformation and “even malice” to get his message across during the shutdown.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer echoed that sentiment.

“Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This President just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his Administration,” he said.

“Throughout this debate and his presidency — President Trump has appealed to fear, not facts. Division, not unity.”

President Trump claimed…

The nationalist undertow in India’s politics

Author: Editorial Board, ANU

As the celebrations subsided on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election in 2014, many Indians might have been wondering, we then wrote, what they had done. Above all they voted decisively for change from the elitist Indian National Congress-dominated politics of the past and for a new openness in the hope that Modi would lift the country out of low-level growth and political scandal and corruption. Indian voters demanded a move away from a government by the few for the few. They voted for can-do decisiveness rather than policy timidity.

Volunteers of the Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) take part in the ‘Path-Sanchalan’, or Route March during celebrations to mark the Vijaya Dashmi in Ajmer, India, 30 September 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Himanshu Sharma).
Volunteers of the Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) take part in the ‘Path-Sanchalan’, or Route March during celebrations to mark the Vijaya Dashmi in Ajmer, India, 30 September 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Himanshu Sharma).

There were lingering worries, nonetheless, about Modi’s Hindu-nationalist origins. Modi was a product of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a militant Hindu organisation whose original inspiration owed much to the fascist mobilisations in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. The RSS has thousands of disciplined, ideologically inspired members and many of them have powered the BJP’s election successes. Modi’s controversial handling of ethnic violence as chief minister of Gujarat in 2002 — when 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus died, 2500 people were injured, and 223 more were reported missing — still hung in the air. Though a subsequent Indian Supreme Court investigation in 2012 cleared him of complicity in the violence, he continues to be associated with a Hindu-nationalist agenda that remains divisive.

Modi’s huge mandate and the BJP’s absolute majority were thus both a blessing and a burden. The fear was that he would inevitably come under pressure from hardliners to implement the RSS manifesto, which calls for the establishment of a Hindu rashtra (a Hindu polity) with uniform treatment of religious groups in its civil code, the construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya, and abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Hardliners, such as M G Vaidya, a top RSS leader and ideologue, were already rallying for these objectives.

The abiding hope was that the end of the coalitional era in Indian politics would not overturn the notion of India as a tolerant society. Modi’s challenge was to demonstrate unequivocally that he was leading for all of India not just the nationalist forces that supported him.

Around the world India is celebrated as the world’s…

Protests set to sweep the nation, plus a week that shocked the Democrats

Events have been organized across all 50 states.

The Resistance Now is a weekly update on the people, action and ideas driving the protest movement in the US. If you’re not already receiving it by email, subscribe.

End family separation

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather in Washington DC today, in what could be one of the biggest protests since the Women’s March in 2017.

The ACLU said more than 300,000 people will march from Lafayette Square, near the White House, towards the Capitol building, while events are planned in Foley Square in New York City and Daley Plaza in Chicago.

But it’s not just in the big, traditionally liberal, cities where protests are happening – people have also organized scores of demonstrations in red border states at the heart of immigration battles. There are more than 30 rallies in Texas and 11 in Arizona. Elsewhere, people will gather outside Fargo library, in North Dakota, to protest against Trump, while the Alaskan island of Kodiak – population 6,130 – is holding a rally at the Y intersection downtown.

The Families Belong Together Coalition, which includes National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Leadership Conference, MoveOn and the ACLU, has helped to organize hundreds of other events, across all 50 states.

Women demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office building.
Women demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Building. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

It’s part of a wave of protests against Trump. On Thursday almost 600 women were arrested at the Hart Senate building in Washington DC following a protest against Trump’s policies. Representative Pramila Jayapal, from Washington, was among those detained.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal)

I was just arrested with 500+ women and @WomensMarch to say @RealDonaldTrump’s cruel zero-tolerance policy will not continue. Not in our country. Not in our name.June 30 we’re putting ourselves in the street again.Join us….

The beautiful game is back: Nations reclaim their names

 Supporters of Iran celebrate while watching the match between Iran and Morocco in a fan zone in Moscow, Russia on June 15, 2018 [Gleb Garanich/Reuters]
Supporters of Iran celebrate while watching the match between Iran and Morocco in a fan zone in Moscow, Russia on June 15, 2018 [Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

When you hear the words “Saudi Arabia” do you think of its ruling family, its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, its bombing Yemen into epidemic cholera – or do you think of 32 million human beings as full of fears and aspirations as any other nation, wishing they could drive, men and women, out of any claim the ruling clan has over them?

What about Iran? When you hear the word “Iran” do you think of a recalcitrant Shia theocracy spreading itself too thin in the world around it or do you think of almost 80 million human beings who call themselves “Iranians” and trace their culture and civilisation to prehistory and wish to lend that history to a peaceful coexistence with their neighbours?

Every four years, when the World Cup kicks off, we have a chance to think of nations, their ideals, their aspirations, their peoplehood rather than the criminal atrocities that their ruling states commit in their names.

And this year is no different. As the World Cup started in Russia earlier this month, nations reclaimed the names of their homeland, wresting them from the organised violence of the states that rule over them.

The nuisance of the ruling regimes

What’s the use of such speculative observations, you may object, and who has the heart or the presence of the mind when the unsurpassed savagery of Trump administration is kidnapping children from their parents at US borders to watch or care how poor Moroccan Aziz Bouhaddouz’s dramatic own goal in added time secured a second ever Iranian World Cup win?

But, as you well know, if you have been following this column, there is more to football than meets the eye.

In the World Cup, our entire humanity gathers for a reassessment of who and what we are. Every time two national teams meet, we don’t think what we have become, but what could have been. That nations have a priority of claim on their names over their states becomes particularly pronounced at that moment.

This, of course, does not mean that the states do not rush to embrace and own the global spectacle. Russian President Vladimir Putin sat there right next to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the opening game of Russia vs Saudi Arabia. The Saudis lost 5-0. But that score was not a credit to Putin or a loss to bin Salman.

Yet, in both countries, there have been efforts to appropriate football as a state affair. In Russia, just before the opening match, parliamentarians proposed a fine for anyone who dared “insult” the Russian national team. In Saudi Arabia, right after the match, Turki al-Sheikh, the head of Saudi Arabia’s sports authority, rushed to personally apologise to the crown prince for the loss.

Even worse and more vulgar was the Islamic Republic insistence on an “IR” to be placed right in front of “Iran” in all official FIFA timetables and announcements.

Blame for the ‘migrant crisis’ lies with national politicians, not the EU

Migrants wait to disembark from the Aquarius on 18 December

“The EU money should be for employment, not for cows.” Even back in 2005 Tony Blair was asking for a new European Union: more investment, research, innovation, and training, rather than 40% of the budget being spent (as is still more or less the case today) on an agricultural sector that employs just 5% of its workforce. And it’s hard to argue with that; the EU seems increasingly remote from the problems its citizens face. But is it the EU itself that’s the problem, or the way national politicians and governments put policies into action?

Take the European council meeting on Thursday and Friday this week. We’re set for a clash on migration policy. Something big is at stake: the EU’s principles of solidarity and respect for human rights.

Putting up walls to keep out migrants is not only immoral, it threatens the bloc’s internal free movement of goods and people. It risks blowing up the passport-free Schengen agreement, one of the EU’s signature achievements. With populist forces gaining strength, the battle will be hard-fought. The very foundations of the EU are now in doubt. Is this what EU citizens really want?

To be sure, the EU failed to anticipate the scope of the 2015 migration crisis. But today’s dismal turn of events has more to do with how national politicians have behaved than with the European project itself. Politicians should explain the complexities of migration rather than pander to anxieties and alarm citizens. Throughout history, Europe’s very fabric was born of age-old movements of entire populations. With so many desperate people on the move today, seeking safety or simply a better life for themselves, migration cannot simply be stopped. Instead it must be managed.

But there’s an obvious discrepancy between what the EU commission is proposing and what national governments are ready to do. For instance, Brussels institutions have published a plan for Africa, calling for spending of €32bn (£28bn) over six years and focusing particularly on infrastructure. Will the leaders of EU states accept it, even though it’s a bare minimum? Or will they try to take the easier route of building walls and barriers in order to allay the very fears some of them have fanned?

Look at the facts: the number of migrants arriving in Europe by sea has dropped spectacularly – in Italy, by

Even in Maine, all politics is national

Portland Press Herald

Remember when they used to say “All politics is local”?

That might have been partly true when members of Congress were known only for how much money they could siphon home from Washington, but it’s hardly true at all today in the era of 24- hour cable news and social media. No issue is too remote to matter in a local race these days, and no local issue is big enough to completely obscure a national trend.

We like to think we’re special, but we’re not.

Look at Waterville: The city just had a recall election for Mayor Nick Isgro that had nothing to do with municipal issues like potholes or tax rates and everything to do with a mean tweet he sent about Florida school shooting survivor David Hogg. Isgro barely kept his job, but he did not see his 91-vote victory as an opportunity to make peace, choosing instead to lash out at his opponents and the news media. Sound familiar?

Forget about all politics being local — local politics isn’t even local anymore. And that’s what we saw in this year’s primaries in Maine.

On the Republican side, we witnessed Donald Trump’s complete takeover of the party with a blend of nativism, nationalism and nostalgia that has more to do with Fox News than Dover-Foxcroft.

Unlike the 2010 primary, when Republicans ran an ideologically diverse group of seven candidates that included four moderates, there were only four candidates this year, all competing to be the next Paul LePage, who was Trump in Maine before Trumpism became a thing.

The hands-down winner was Shawn Moody, who began his campaign with an interview in which he suggested sending the Maine National Guard to our southwestern border to keep out “illegals” and drugs. In case you’re wondering, he was talking about Texas, not Parsonsfield.

In his Election Night victory speech…

Nation Shocked to Learn of Possible Bias at Fox News

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—Millions of Americans were stunned and incredulous on Monday after learning of a possible incident of bias at Fox News Channel.

At a time when so many American institutions have been under attack, the possibility that Fox, one of the nation’s most respected news organizations, might be susceptible to hidden agendas was too much for many to take.

In interviews across the country, Fox viewers expressed disappointment, confusion, and shock that a news network known…

Nation Marvels at Trump’s Ability to Turn ExxonMobil Multimillionaire Into Sympathetic Figure

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Millions of Americans on Tuesday marvelled at Donald J. Trump’s ability to transform the former C.E.O. of ExxonMobil into a figure deserving of their sympathy.

Across the country, Americans expressed amazement that Rex Tillerson, who presided over the nation’s largest oil company and has an estimated net worth of three hundred million dollars, is now someone they find themselves pulling for.

“Rex Tillerson made tens of millions of dollars…

Nation Cruelly Reminded That It Once Had a President

Photograph by Mark Wilson / Getty

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a televised event that many deemed unnecessarily cruel, millions of Americans were briefly reminded on Monday that they once had a President.

Unsuspecting Americans who turned on cable news Monday morning were suddenly assaulted with the memory of a time when the country’s domestic affairs, international diplomacy, and nuclear codes were entrusted to an adult.