Wednesday, July 17, 2019
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Op-Ed: The dangers of political showmanship

America has been a free speech zone since our founding. Free speech led to The Revolutionary War. It stopped bad wars and ended slavery. America was founded on activism by men of honor whose actions spoke louder than their words. If it wasn’t for Paine’s activism, we’d still be subjects instead of citizens. “A man’s actions say much more than his most noble words.” – Thomas Paine Throughout our modern history, the activism of true leaders has made our nation stronger and far better than it would have been without them. Following the Tea Party Movement, tribal clans of self-anointed activist groups sprang up around America faster than Obama could say “change.” And the America Obama had divided, subdivided into activist bedlam. They were heroes of the day with mock activist groups. But their social media fame faded on Election Day as voters elected people who’d write laws to improve their lives, not to entertain activists. They had no experience, or knowledge of law, and campaigned to cause chaos in Congress.

Americans Beg Trump for Secret to Staying So Young and Vibrant

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Americans across the country wish that Donald Trump would reveal his secret to staying so young and vibrant, the nation’s personal trainers have confirmed. According to Tracy Klugian, a fitness professional in St. Louis, “not a day goes by” without one of his clients requesting a physical regimen that will give him or her the youthful appearance and mental sharpness that have made Trump the envy of millions. “Clients will come in and say, ‘Make me as young and vibrant as Donald Trump,’ ” Klugian said. “I have to warn them that that’s setting the bar very, very high.” Having analyzed Trump’s fitness habits, Klugian has theorized that his startling youthfulness and off-the-charts vibrance might be the result of eight hours that he devotes each day to “Executive Time.” “Lifting the remote, putting it down, lifting it again, and then tweeting is an exercise routine that very few people could keep up for one hour, and Trump does it for eight,” he said. “I tell my clients, if you want to be as young and vibrant as Donald Trump, you’re going to have to put in that kind of time.” Klugian said that he was also putting clients on a “Trump diet,” consisting entirely of hamburgers and Coke, to give their bodies the fuel necessary to complete the gruelling remote-lifting-and-tweeting workout. But the personal trainer said that he urges his clients not to be discouraged if, even after adopting Trump’s rigorous exercise routine and diet, they fail to achieve Trump’s physical perfection. “At the end of the day, Donald Trump has found the Fountain of Youth, and also the Fountain of Vibrance,” he said.

Trump, Media Assaults on Omar a New Low for American Politics

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent, @StacyBrownMedia American politics appears to have hit a new low. According to reports, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has beefed up security following the vicious attacks she’s received and even news reports that paint her as un-American. “It is trafficking in Islamophobia, and should be condemned by everyone,” Booker said. Some media favorable to the president have also attacked Omar and despite death threats made against her, Trump has continued his assault by calling her –without any supporting evidence and against her denials – “anti-Semitic,” and “anti-Israel.” Booker noted that Trump has also attacked other African American women leaders like California Rep. Maxine Waters. That Trump claims he’s not racist isn’t satisfactory, Booker said. “It’s not enough to say, I’m not a racist. Matthew Haviland, 30, of North Kingstown was charged after sending approximately 28 threatening emails on March 10 to a college professor, whose name and affiliation was withheld by federal officials. The professor, who had been friends with Haviland for about 11 years, believed Haviland’s views changed because “of the way the news media portrays” President Donald Trump, Laft wrote. Authorities said Omar was among the Democrats whom Haviland threatened to kill. “We, as a people, cannot allow our Black leaders to be attacked for their advocacy.

Trump Pulls Out of Arms Treaty During Speech at N.R.A. Convention

INDIANAPOLIS — In a speech to National Rifle Association members on Friday that was part political rally and part pep talk, President Trump called himself a champion of gun rights. Still, Mr. Trump said his decision to sign a letter asking the Senate to send the treaty back to the White House “is a big, big factor,” calling the accord a “badly misguided” arrangement. To supporters of the decision, making certain that the United States does not ratify the treaty is one more step toward deregulation that Mr. Trump has championed. Mr. Trump disparaged this and other legislative attempts as a move by Democrats to ensure that “bad guys” keep their guns. called it a “lawsuit based on a frivolous complaint.”) “There’s definitely some bad news and the N.R.A. “The president is the most enthusiastic supporter of the Second Amendment that has occupied the White House in recent history,” Jennifer Baker, an N.R.A. Ms. Baker added that N.R.A. “Our members are pretty politically astute,” Ms. Baker said. — and suggested that the arming of teachers could make schools safer. Gun rights advocates say Mr. Trump has delivered in an area where many of them say it matters most: reordering the judiciary by appointing two Supreme Court justices.

F.B.I. Warns of Russian Interference in 2020 Race and Boosts Counterintelligence Operations

official. The Trump administration has come to see that Russia’s influence operations have morphed into a persistent threat. The F.B.I., the intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security have made permanent the task forces they created to confront 2018 midterm election interference, senior American national security officials said. director, said Friday in a speech in Washington, citing the presence of Russian intelligence officers in the United States and the Kremlin’s record of malign influence operations. Officials including both Mr. Wray and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have said Russia has aimed its influence campaigns at undermining faith in American democracy. It is pretty much a 365-day-a-year threat.” In response to growing threats from Russia and other adversaries, the F.B.I. Many of the agents will work on the Foreign Influence Task Force, a group of cyber, counterintelligence and criminal experts. And the National Security Agency and the United States Cyber Command have also expanded and made permanent their joint task force aimed at identifying, and stopping, Russian malign influence, officials said. Intelligence officials have said Russia has kept up its interference operations since the 2016 election. At the same time, Trump administration officials have dismissed the notion that the government has taken a soft position on Moscow, noting continued support for American troops in Europe, the expulsion of Russian diplomats and continuing sanctions on Moscow.

In Trump’s world, FBI agents are traitors and Robert E. Lee isn’t

(3) To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes; but neither this, nor any other clause contained in the Constitution, shall ever be construed to delegate the power to Congress to appropriate money for any internal improvement intended to facilitate commerce; except for the purpose of furnishing lights, beacons, and buoys, and other aids to navigation upon the coasts, and the improvement of harbors and the removing of obstructions in river navigation; in all which cases such duties shall be laid on the navigation facilitated thereby as may be necessary to pay the costs and expenses thereof. This goes a long way to cutting down the power of the commerce clause, and would likely have resulted in a different SCOTCS ruling on the power of the federal government to fuck with theinner workings of the states. (9) Congress shall appropriate no money from the Treasury except by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses, taken by yeas and nays, unless it be asked and estimated for by some one of the heads of departments and submitted to Congress by the President; or for the purpose of paying its own expenses and contingencies; or for the payment of claims against the Confederate States, the justice of which shall have been judicially declared by a tribunal for the investigation of claims against the Government, which it is hereby made the duty of Congress to establish. (10) All bills appropriating money shall specify in Federal currency the exact amount of each appropriation and the purposes for which it is made; and Congress shall grant no extra compensation to any public contractor, officer, agent, or servant, after such contract shall have been made or such service rendered. So while the Confederate government had a lot of power to tell states what laws they could and could not pass, it lacked a lot of the federal muscle of taxation of the USA.

US to put pressure on UK government after leaked Huawei decision

The US has arranged for a representative from the state department, which has repeatedly warned of the risks of using Huawei, to give a briefing on Monday. The latest US lobbying comes after the leak of a decision by the normally secret UK National Security Council, which agreed to allow Huawei to supply 5G technology after a contested meeting in which five cabinet members raised objections. But while Downing Street may regard the Huawei decision as final there are signs that it could yet be reversed once Theresa May steps aside, with sources close to Boris Johnson indicating the former foreign secretary could be willing to “look again” at the Huawei approval if he were to become prime minister. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, was the first minister to publicly confirm that a leak inquiry had started, when asked about Huawei at an Chinese government investment forum in Beijing – and said it needed to be dealt with. “I think it is very important that we get to the bottom of what happened here.” On Thursday it emerged that the cabinet secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, had written to the senior ministers present at the meeting to demand that they and their aides cooperate with the inquiry and state whether they were aware of the leak. It is understood that Sedwill’s letter did not spell out exactly what would happen next, but the inquiry process could involve phone and email records being examined and politicians and aides interviewed by investigators appointed by Sedwill. Some Conservative backbenchers want the police or MI5 to be called in to help with the investigation, which could become a criminal prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. Allies of Hammond say he also categorically denies being involved in any leaks from the meeting. The others were Theresa May, the prime minister; David Lidington, her effective deputy; Greg Clark, the business secretary; and Jeremy Wright, the culture secretary, who is ultimately responsible for the security of the UK’s telecoms networks. It also emerged on Friday that the Dutch telecoms giant KPN will select a “western company” to work on the core of its 5G rollout across the Netherlands after the US ambassador criticised its apparent plans to give the contract to Huawei.

South Texas Mayor Is Arrested on Election Fraud Charges, Fueling Bitter Political Fight

— The mayor of a South Texas border city was arrested Thursday on charges that he orchestrated an illegal voting scheme in which he asked residents of nearby towns to change their addresses so that they could cast votes for him. The arrests of Richard Molina, the mayor of Edinburg, and his wife, Dalia Molina, came amid a bitter political fight in Texas over election fraud, and were made in a region with a long history of voting improprieties and public corruption scandals. Ken Paxton, the state’s Republican attorney general, whose office oversaw the investigation of Mr. Molina, has aggressively prosecuted voter fraud cases, even as a recent attempt by the state to purge noncitizens from the voter rolls was plagued by problems and inaccuracies. According to court documents, Mr. Molina and his wife were both registered as volunteer voter registrars in the 2017 election and were authorized to help people fill out voter registration applications. “The mayor is innocent of what he’s being accused of,” said Mr. Molina’s lawyer, Carlos A. Garcia. There’s a power struggle in Hidalgo County, specifically in Edinburg.” Cary Zayas, the spokeswoman for the City of Edinburg, said in a statement defending the mayor that the arrests “have no impact on the city’s day to day operations.” Mr. Molina and his wife were arraigned late Thursday morning in Edinburg, a city of 90,000 residents that is next door to McAllen and home to a University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campus. In January, the Texas Secretary of State’s office said it had discovered that about 95,000 people identified as noncitizens had matching voter registration records in the state, and that about 58,000 of them had voted in one or more Texas elections. Mr. Molina was arrested in the Democratic stronghold of the Rio Grande Valley, the result of an investigation led by a Republican attorney general. The Rio Grande Valley, which borders Mexico, has a long history of voter fraud. In January, Mr. Paxton’s Election Fraud Unit arrested a woman in Starr County for using a dead person’s identity to vote illegally in a 2016 Democratic primary.

Americans see politics as biggest economic threat: survey

Unable to play video. According to a recent survey of 1,000 individuals conducted by, 44% of Americans say the political environment in Washington, D.C. is the biggest threat to the economy over the next six months. The next most popular choices were terrorism and political/economic developments — both at just 14%. Other named threats included a decline in the stock market (11%), interest rate decisions (8%), and “something else” (2%). Overall, the partial shutdown cost the U.S. economy at least $11 billion. And, as it stands, the U.S. is currently engaged in trade negotiations with China, after nearly a year of a trade war involving tariffs on major exports. Even those who may be predisposed to supporting the president for seeking to improve the U.S. trade position vis a vis China, in the near-term, there’s some water that’s being taken on and those have real impacts on both people and businesses.” Yahoo Finance previously reported on two studies focused on the cost of the tariffs. One study found that “Trump tariffs cost American consumers and producers $68.8 billion per year in high costs and lost output, with the tariffs paid entirely by Americans.” The second indicated the tariffs have generated nearly $3 billion per month in new taxes. “We don’t have a high degree of confidence that tariffs will go away just because of the prospect of an agreement with China.” ‘Tribal politics’ Then, there is the aforementioned “tribal politics.” “Obviously we’re living in a time of a high degree of political polarization,” Hamrick said. “But, to the degree that we did register” that politics was the top economic concern, that is “obviously something that’s significant.” See Gallery More from Americans see politics as the biggest economic threat: survey There's glaring evidence that the next recession will be entirely different from any in recent history.

Are Local Politics As Polarized As National? Depends on the Issue.

Now, a detailed new study finds clear and convincing evidence that, in sharp contrast to the extreme polarization of national politics and policy, most Democrat and Republican residents see very little difference on local issues. The researchers examined the preferences on six categories of local policies tied to economic development: investment and taxes, workers and entrepreneurs, local services, governance, education, and higher education. But there are good reasons to suspect that local citizens who are polarized on national issues may also be polarized on local issues, especially development issues that involve taxing and spending. While there are huge differences between Democrats and Republicans on a national scale—especially those who identify as “strong Democrats” and “strong Republicans”—the study found very little difference at all between Democrats and Republicans on a whole slew of local development issues. There is a whole cluster of key local development issues on which Democrats and Republicans find near complete agreement: tax incentives, government consolidation, community college funding, and vocational and technical training. In general, the researchers found broad bipartisan support for policies aimed at business investment, especially policies that use taxes and subsidies to incentivize investment. But, the authors suggest, local development issues tend to be ignored by national parties, thus members have fewer and weaker partisan cues handed down from above. The researchers also suggest that since cities compete with one another for talent and investment, members of both parties may come to view policies that attract investment and build local development capacity as necessary. When it comes the places we live and what we do to develop them, we are not nearly divided as over national issues. “The low levels of polarization on these sets of issues run in contrast to the partisan divides seen on national policy issues—even among the same set of respondents,” the authors note.