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Sunday, June 30, 2019
A combative Democratic debate saw clashes on race and healthcare policy – and many more attacks on Trump. Our experts weigh in Kate Aronoff: Democrats – and America – need better than BidenJoe Biden has been running for president on the idea that he’s the best equipped to beat Donald Trump. Tonight’s debate shed considerable doubt on that premise. If this is how he performs against his opponents on the same side of the aisle – clinging desperately to the legacy of an administration he didn’t lead – then how do we think he’ll fare against the most talented bully in American politics?Other candidates performed impressively. Bernie Sanders had the clearest ideas on how to improve the lives of people in this country and take on vested interests hoarding wealth and power. But Kamala Harris delivered the night’s and possibly the cycle’s most powerful moment when she challenged Biden on his history of supporting racist policies and politicians. In response, he got as defensive as a grandfather going up against his kids at a Thanksgiving table, taking pains to clarify precisely which type of desegregation he opposed in the 1970s. America deserves better. * Kate Aronoff is a writing fellow at In These Times. She covers elections and the politics of climate change Art Cullen: One of the real winners was actually Elizabeth WarrenKamala Harris wowed early when, during shouting chaos among the 10 candidates, she reminded the other candidates that Americans “don’t want a food fight; they want to know how to put food on the table”. She was powerful, precise and put her formidable legal skills to work on camera attacking Joe Biden’s record on race and bussing.Biden worked hard to tie himself to President Obama and aggressively defend his civil rights record, but he struggled under Harris’s withering prosecutor-style cross-examination.One of the debate’s other winners wasn’t even present: Elizabeth Warren – who, along with Harris, has clearly taken Bernie Sanders’ mantle as flag-bearer for the progressive base. Sanders started the revolution, but Warren and Harris seem poised to execute it. * Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in Iowa and won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. He is the author of Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope Moira Donegan: Harris was the only real standoutAt once more scripted, less policy-oriented, and more emptily contentious than Wednesday’s debate, the second Democratic presidential debate was mostly a competition to outshine the current frontrunner, Joe Biden.Kamala Harris succeeded; few of the other candidates managed to convey their message as effectively. Harris emphasized economic justice and conveyed her policy agenda through a series of morally charged anecdotes about struggling families, including her own: she adeptly attacked Biden’s record on race by invoking her own childhood as a beneficiary of school bussing. She also had one of the best sound bites of the night, when the debate devolved into one of several shouting matches: “America does not want to witness a food fight; they want to know how we’re going to put food on the table.”Biden tried to continue coasting on leftover goodwill from his time in the Obama administration, delivering answers thin on details and thick with platitudes. His vague and non-committal description of the country he would build as president seemed to accomplish little aside from reifying the message he gave rich donors at a recent fundraiser: “Nothing would fundamentally change.” * Moira Donegan is a Guardian US columnist Malaika Jabali: No one really wonIn a Democratic debate that was obnoxious, contentious, and spent the first 30 minutes largely setting up socialism and progressive policies – like free healthcare, free education, and taxing the wealthy – as impracticable and not the popular positions that they are, no one really won.Nevertheless, within these confines Kamala Harris succeeded. She was assertive but composed, she forcefully addressed racism, and she pushed Biden on his anti-bussing record. Her prosecutorial record will be scrutinized as the race draws on, but tonight she has much to celebrate. * Malaika Jabali is a public policy attorney, writer, and activist whose writing has appeared in Essence, Jacobin, the Intercept, Glamour and elsewhere Geoffrey Kabaservice: Biden was out of step with his own partyKamala Harris was the standout in tonight’s debate, bringing a force, focus, and fire that had been missing since her campaign rollout.Her gains came directly at Joe Biden’s expense and punctured the image he’d cultivated of an above-the-fray front runner. Their viral clash on bussing as a means of achieving racial balance in schools hammered home not only how out of step Biden is with the Democratic left’s evolving stance on identity issues but also his age – since Harris was a schoolchild when Biden was cutting deals with former segregationists.Harris’s victory may be pyrrhic, however, since bussing is an unpopular subject with a long history of widening divisions between Democrats. * Geoffrey Kabaservice is the director of political studies at the Niskanen Center in Washington DC as well as the author of Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party Doug Pagitt: Harris won the roomThree candidates clearly had the energy in the room tonight: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris. While the other candidates had their moments, there was no doubt that the applause and focused interest in the room was behind those three.As someone who organizes religious people to vote for Democratic candidates, I found it interesting to hear the enthusiastic and prolonged applause for Pete Buttigieg when he said that the Christian faith calls us to care for kids and not put them in cages and he called out the hypocrisy of the Trump administration. It seemed like an indicator that there is interest and enthusiasm for Democratic candidates who talk about faith.Of all the candidates, Biden issued the most forceful denunciations of Trump, and the crowd ate it up. But by the end of the debate it became clear how much passion there is for Harris. I’m not sure how it came across on television, but to those of us inside the room she projected powerful charisma and confidence. * Doug Pagitt is the founding pastor of Solomon’s Porch, a holistic missional Christian community in Minneapolis, Minnesota
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MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski says “Morning Joe” was her husband’s idea, but she’s “the reason it’s still going.” Brzezinski explains that when the show first started, she was booking the guests and managing the show. “I did everything from the get-go, tried to make a space for [Joe Scarborough]’s incredible voice.”
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Prime Minister Theresa May told President Vladimir Putin on Friday that their countries can only have a different relationship if Russia stops the behavior that threatens to undermine international security, her spokeswoman said. May also Putin to hand over the Russia suspects Britain blames for poisoning a former double agent and his daughter with a nerve agent in Salisbury, southern England last year. "She told the president that there cannot be a normalization of our bilateral relationship until Russia stops the irresponsible and destabilizing activity that threatens the UK and its allies," the spokeswoman said.
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Shares of Boeing tumbled Thursday, a day after US regulators identified a new issue in the Boeing 737 MAX that will likely slow the plane's return to service following two deadly crashes. The issue -- described by one aviation expert as "another black eye" for the 737 MAX -- came as a major US airline again pushed back the timeframe for returning the planes to service and as Boeing faced fresh questions over its compliance with a 2015 US regulatory settlement intended to improve plane airworthiness. Boeing dropped 2.9 percent to $364.02, pushing the Dow into negative territory.
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(Bloomberg) -- Israel and Hamas reached a truce on Friday that would halt attacks against Israeli farmland in return for measures to ease the economic blockade on Gaza, according to a report by Israeli Army Radio.Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, would stop launching incendiary balloons that for the past year have torched thousands of acres of forest and agricultural land, and in exchange Israel would expand the enclave’s fishing zone, and return 60 confiscated boats and diesel supplies for the area’s main power plant, according to the radio station.Though the concessions made by Israel are small, they would provide some relief for Gaza and its roughly 2 million residents, who are cut off from other economies by their immediate neighbors, Israel and Egypt.To contact the reporter on this story: Yaacov Benmeleh in Tel Aviv at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at email@example.com, Constantine Courcoulas, Taylan BilgicFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Trump reveals US companies will be allowed to sell to Huawei as China trade talks get ‘back on track’
Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have agreed to a new ceasefire in a yearlong trade war between the US and China during their meeting on Saturday at the G20 conference in Japan.Mr Trump said he had agreed with the Chinese president the US would refrain from raising tariffs on China’s imports for now while Beijing would buy more US agricultural products.“We’re holding back on tariffs and they’re going to buy farm products,” Mr Trump told a news conference at the end of a two-day summit in Osaka, claiming relations were “right back on track”.Mr Trump also said US companies can again sell products to the Chinese technology giant Huawei after an effective ban introduced in May. “We send and we sell to Huawei a tremendous amount of product that goes into the various things they make,” he said.“I said, ‘That’s OK that we will keep selling that product.’ I’ve agreed to allow them to continue to sell that product so American companies will continue.”When asked whether Huawei would be formally removed from a US Commerce Department list of companies considered to undermines US national security, Mr Trump said that it would be discussed at “the very end” of trade talks. “We’re not discussing that with President Xi yet,” he said.Xinhua, the Chinese state-run news agency, confirmed the leaders had agreed that stalled trade talks would resume and that the US would hold off on threatened additional tariffs on Chinese goods.After posing for photographs with his counterpart at the sidelines of the G20, Mr Xi recounted the era of “ping-pong diplomacy” that helped jump-start US-China relations two generations ago.Since then, he said, “one basic fact remains unchanged: China and the United States both benefit from cooperation and lose in confrontation ... Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation.”The US president had recently threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $300bn (£236bn) in Chinese imports – on top of the $250bn in goods he has already taxed – extending his import taxes to virtually everything China ships to the US.He has said the new tariffs, which are paid by US importers and usually passed onto consumers, might start at 10 per cent. Earlier, the administration had said additional tariffs might reach 25 per cent.The two countries have been sparring over the Trump administration’s allegations that Beijing steals technology and coerces foreign companies into handing over trade secrets. China denies it engages in such practices.The US has also tried to rally other nations to block Huawei from their upcoming 5G systems, branding the company a national security threat and barring it from buying US technology until Mr Trump’s announcement on Saturday.Under the newly agreed ceasefire scenario, existing tariffs and counter-tariffs on many of each other’s goods would remain in place. But no additional import taxes would take effect. This would buy time for US and Chinese officials to restart talks that stalled last month.Mr Trump said talks with Mr Xi went “probably even better than expected” and claimed the leaders enjoyed “an excellent relationship”.Additional reporting by agencies
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While the tactical result of the battle was stunning – the U.S. sunk four Japanese fleet carriers Hiryu, Soryu, Kaga and Akagi, a heavy cruiser and destroyed 248 enemy aircraft – it is the perilous backdrop of America’s war fortunes in 1942 that make Midway’s tide-turning outcomes all the more significant. Thursday, June 6th saw the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion at Normandy, the amphibious assault phase of Operation Neptune, or what we commonly remember as D-Day. U.S. troops who landed at Normandy – particularly at Omaha Beach – waded ashore amidst a storm of chaos, a blizzard of machine gun fire, and a hail of plunging mortars. Despite great confusion and casualties, at the squad level and below, the men at Omaha rallied and pressed forth with tenacity and nerve to breach sand-berms and barricades, neutralize enemy positions, and salvage their sectors. Losses at Omaha were immense – but American resolve helped establish a foothold on the coast of France – and “the rest,” they say, “is history.”(This appeared earlier in June 2019.)Without doubt, the enormous importance of D-Day as a logistical and operational undertaking – and the gallantry of Allied forces that June morning is unquestioned. It rightfully exemplifies American character, courage, and commitment. However, it is important to note that as far as the battle’s strategic significance is concerned, a strong case can be made that other battles of World War II are more critical than D-Day.The Battle of Midway in 1942 is one.
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Russian president says the Salisbury poisonings are not worth ‘all this fuss’ and that liberals can no longer ‘dictate’ to anyone‘The average person listens and says “who are these Skripals?”’ Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the Financial Times. Photograph: SPUTNIK/ReutersVladimir Putin has said ahead of his meeting with Theresa May at the G20 summit in Japan that relations between Britain and Russia should not suffer because of last year’s nerve agent attack on the former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.The Russian president also used the interview with the Financial Times to claim that the election of Donald Trump as US president and the rise of nationalist-populist movements in Europe signaled the death of liberal policies in the west.“[Liberals] cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades,” he said. “The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.”The claims brought a short response from European council president Donald Tusk at the G20 summit in Osaka on Friday.“I strongly disagree with the main argument that liberalism is obsolete. Whoever claims that liberal democracy is obsolete, also claims that freedoms are obsolete, that the rule of law is obsolete and that human rights are obsolete,” he said. “For us in Europe, these are and will remain essential and vibrant values. What I find really obsolete are: authoritarianism, personality cults, the rule of oligarchs. Even if sometimes they may seem effective.”On the Skripals, Putin told the FT in an interview at the Kremlin that: “All this fuss about spies and counterspies is not worth interstate relations. This spy story, as we say here, is not worth 5 kopecks.“I think Russia and UK are both interested in fully restoring our relations – at least I hope a few preliminary steps will be taken.”Bilateral ties between Britain and Russia plummeted to a post-Cold War low last year when London accused Moscow of the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury.The Kremlin denies sending GRU military intelligence agents to Britain to carry out the attack, which triggered scores of diplomatic expulsions between Moscow and western countries.“The average person listens and says ‘who are these Skripals?’” Putin said. “Treason is the gravest crime possible and traitors must be punished. I am not saying that the Salisbury incident is the way to do it … but traitors must be punished.” Putin has previously called Skripal a “scumbag.”The G20 summit takes place in Osaka on Friday and Saturday. May’s spokesman has said she will use the meeting with Putin to ensure that Britain’s stance on “Russia’s wider pattern of malign behaviour” has been fully grasped by the Kremlin.Putin described German chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow more than a million refugees – most of whom were fleeing the war in Syria – into Germany as a “cardinal mistake”.In contrast, he was full of praise for Trump’s attempts to prevent migrants from entering the US from Mexico. “This liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. That migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected.”Putin also tried to defend Russia’s record on LGBT+ rights. “I am not trying to insult anyone because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia. But we have no problem with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish,” Putin said. “But some things do appear excessive to us. They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles.”Moscow has been criticised internationally for its so-called anti-gay propaganda law, which bars the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” to children. Human rights groups say the law, which Putin approved in 2013, has sparked a spike in homophobic violence. A UN panel ruled last year that the law was in violation of a legally binding international treaty on human rights.
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Rep. Eric Swalwell went after former Vice President Joe Biden in the second Democratic presidential primary debate. Swalwell said Biden, who is 76 years old, should “pass the torch.” Biden rejected the California lawmaker’s critique.
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An Iraqi general and a U.S. Marine testifying in the murder trial of a U.S. Navy SEAL said on Thursday they never saw the platoon leader stab a wounded detainee in the neck, disputing the central allegation in the prosecution's war crimes case. A sworn deposition of Major General Abbas al-Jubouri, videotaped in San Diego earlier this month, was played for the seven-member jury on the second day of defense testimony in the court-martial of Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher. Contrary to prior testimony that Gallagher, or a medic on his team, had acted deliberately to cause the death of a helpless Islamic State fighter in their custody, Jubouri said the Navy SEALs did all they could to save the teenager's life.
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Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyKamala Harris broke out from the other nine Democrats onstage during the second Democratic presidential primary debate on Thursday, calling on her personal experiences of racial injustice as a black woman.“As the only black person on this stage, I would like to speak on the issue of race,” Harris said.That’s when she was attacked on Twitter by a conservative provocateur for not being an “American black.” It’s a play straight out of the racist birther playbook used against Barack Obama when he ran for president a decade earlier. This time, though, those kinds of allegations don’t have to circulate for years on obscure right-wing forums before they reach a mainstream audience. On Thursday night, spammers and even one of President Trump’s sons spread the attack to millions of people within hours. Kamala Harris Shows She’s Here to Capture the CrownHarris, 54, was born in Oakland, California to a father from Jamaica and a mother from India. She spoke of her experience growing up black in the debate, recalling a story about neighbors who wouldn’t let their children play with Harris and her sister because of the color of their skin.The attacks on Harris’s background started Thursday when Ali Alexander tweeted she is not an “American black.” “She is half Indian and half Jamaican,” Alexander wrote. “I'm so sick of people robbing American Blacks (like myself) of our history. It's disgusting. Now using it for debate time at DemDebate2? These are my people not her people. Freaking disgusting.”Alexander’s claim was picked up by Donald Trump Jr., who tweeted it to his nearly 3.6 million followers. “Is this true?” Trump Jr. wrote. “Wow.”Trump Jr., who later deleted his tweet, wasn’t the only one using Alexander’s tweet to question Harris’s ethnicity. Harris’s team denounced the comment as racist. “This is the same type of racist attacks his father used to attack Barack Obama. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now,” a Harris spokesperson told The Daily Beast.More Twitter users copied and pasted Alexander’s message verbatim and tweeted it as their own, according to screenshots posted by writer Caroline Orr. Some of those accounts, like “@prebs_73,” have copy-pasted other popular right-wing tweets verbatim. Other accounts with right-wing references in their usernames and biographies piled on, accusing Harris of not being black.“Ummmmm @KamalaHarris you are NOT BLACK. you are Indian and Jamaican,” wrote a Twitter user with a cross emoji, the word “CONSERVATIVE,” a red “X” emoji (a right-wing Twitter trope), and three stars (a QAnon symbol) in their username.At least one known network of bot accounts was found spreading Alexander’s original tweet, BuzzFeed reported.Shireen Mitchell, a technologist and founder of the group Stop Online Violence Against Women, said the accusation against Harris plays into a long-running debate that has been used to drive a white nationalist wedge through black communities.“We are and have always been, for centuries in this country, having this little fight about who gets opportunities as black people and who doesn’t,” Mitchell said. “That includes colorism; that includes distinctions of where the ship actually landed; it includes if you are (and I am) a descendant of a slave who was born here versus a descendant of slavery from another country. Those distinctions, from my perspective, make no sense ever. But what it does is allow for white nationalist and nativist conversations to be planted in my community.”A spokesman for Trump Jr. said Trump sent the tweet originally because he had not known that Harris’s mother was Indian. “Don’s tweet was simply him asking if it’s true that Kamala Harris was half-Indian because it’s not something he had ever heard before and once he saw that folks were misconstruing the intent of his tweet he quickly deleted it,” the spokesman said. Alexander, who describes himself as black and Arab, said that Harris has a “nasty, lying history with Black people.” “Me pointing out that Kamala Harris has a mother from India and a father from Jamaica went viral last night because many people assume she descends from Black American Slaves,” he said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “She does not. I corrected Kamala Harris last night because she stole debate time under the premise that she is an African-American when she is in fact a biracial Indian-Jamaican who is a first generation American.”This isn’t the first time pro-Trump activists have tried to undermine Harris and her authority to speak on issues of race based on her parents. In January, right-wing operative Jacob Wohl, an associate of Alexander, argued on Twitter that Harris was ineligible to be president because her parents weren’t from the United States, even though she was born in California. Wohl’s claims were circulated by other right-wing figures online, in an attempt to create a birther-style question about whether Harris could legally run for president.Mitchell, who has monitored harassment campaigns against black women since 2013, said Harris is facing a new, digital permutation of the birther conspiracy theory attacks President Trump levied against Obama.“It’s a different iteration of birtherism: ‘where were you born?’ She was born in Oakland!” Mitchell said, referring to the conspiracy theory that falsely accused Obama of being born outside the U.S. “The conversation is, no matter who we are, our blackness should be challenged because what we look like is not ‘American enough.’”Mitchell draws a distinction between two kinds of fraudulent accounts that try to discredit black people online. Botnets, an automated network of fake accounts, often tweet the same message. The technique allows a message to spread far and fast, with little effort. Some of the copy-paste accounts sharing Alexander’s message appear to be operated by real people. Mitchell also monitors a trend called “marionetting,” in which someone will falsely pose as a black person online to push ideas that many black people might otherwise find objectionable. Recent examples of marionetting include a troll who stole a black transgender activist’s picture to pose as a Trump supporter, and Russian-run accounts like “Blacktivist” that impersonated black Americans to sway black voters away from Hillary Clinton in 2016.“I actually thought the botnet was going to die, because I felt like more marionetting was happening ... After this debate, I saw more botnets responding again, versus just marionetting.”Fraudulent accounts often rely on stereotypes that trolls hope to apply to a collection of fake accounts, Mitchell said.“The ‘black enough’ line has been a stereotypical frame,” she said. “It has always been a systemic narrative. It’s just being expanded in this national debate”‘Digital Blackface’: Pro-Trump Trolls Are Impersonating Black People on TwitterRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
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For months, the 2020 Democratic campaign seemed mostly placid, even cordial. At Thursday’s presidential debate, those frictions came to the fore – and Joe Biden bore the brunt. The former vice president, 76, entered the debate as the front-runner, having led the pack of more than 20 Democratic candidates since he joined the race in April.
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Political unease over the White House's tough talk against Iran is reviving questions about President Donald Trump's ability to order military strikes without approval from Congress. The Senate fell short Friday, in a 50-40 vote, on an amendment to a sweeping Defense bill that would require congressional support before Trump acts.
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An Indian mother and her daughter were beaten and had their heads shaved by a group of men after they resisted a gang rape attempt, police said on Friday, in the latest attack to highlight the dangers facing women in the country. Seven men, including a local government official, barged into the women's home late on Wednesday in northeastern Bihar with the intent of raping the teenage daughter, senior police officer Sanjay Kumar said. "When the mother and daughter protested, the men got angry and called a local barber, who shaved their heads," Kumar told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone.
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MacKenzie Lueck case: Utah police arrest man on suspicion of kidnapping, murder of SoCal college student
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Democrats’ fragmentation, support for undocumented immigrants, and silence on issues affecting the heartland leaves a big opening for Trump‘Except for healthcare, the debates missed areas to challenge Republicans in the heartland or mobilize Democratic voters outside of the traditional progressive base.’ Photograph: Byrnn Anderson/APAfter two nights, and four hours, of Democratic debates, it is now up to the pundits and spin doctors to convince Americans – the majority of whom did not watch the debates – which candidates won or lost.Clearly, this was not your parents’ Democratic party. The stars of both debates were largely “non-traditional” candidates – women and ethnic and sexual minorities. The first debate was won by Elizabeth Warren, who combined facts with passion. There were also breakout performances by Julián Castro and Cory Booker. The second debate was won, hands down, by Kamala Harris, with strong performances by Pete Buttigieg and Kirsten Gillibrand. We also saw (older) white men boast about their parenting, and a non-white woman and a gay man leverage their military experience.Still, there was some traditional gendered behavior too. There was a lot of interrupting and shouting over each other – predominantly, but not exclusively, by older white men. More than half an hour of the combined four hours of debate was wasted on mediocre white guys who poll less than one percent, and I’m not even counting the time wasted by moderator Chuck Todd pontificating rather than asking questions.The clear losers on stage were “traditional” candidates – white men again – most notably Beto O’Rourke and Joe Biden. The main loser off stage was NBC News – not just for an embarrassing technical glitch with the microphones in the first debate, but also for the format of the debates. Together with the Democratic National Committee, NBC decided to invite far too many candidates and divide them by lot rather than support in the polls.This mainly hurt Warren, who ended up in Wednesday’s second-tier debate, in which the candidates represented less than 25% of the Democratic vote in current polls (most of that support is for Warren). This denied her the opportunity to face her key opponents, Biden and Sanders, head-on.That said, the large field also had some positive side-effects. It provided comic relief (Marianne Williamson), put climate change front and center in the first debate (Jay Inslee), and, thanks to Eric Swalwell, introduced the slogan – “pass the torch” - that will haunt Biden throughout the campaign.Moreover, somewhat paradoxically, having 20 candidates made the Democratic party look less divided than the three (really two) candidates in 2016. Rather than being ideologically divided, let alone polarized, the Democratic party today is fragmented – devoid of a clear leader.Partly for that reason, there was another unofficial, offstage winner: the Republican party, and Trump in particular. The debates saw Trump’s main challengers falter (Biden) or fade (Sanders), the second-tier perform strongly (Warren, Harris, Buttigieg), and some new challengers emerge (notably Castro and Booker). This increases the chances for a long, internally divisive, Democratic primary – allowing the Republican party to look stable and united in contrast as well as benefit from free opposition research as the Democratic candidates try to tear each other down.The debates also gave disproportionate attention to the plight of non-Americans, notably asylum seekers at the southern border and undocumented immigrants throughout the country. While this is understandable and even morally admirable, given the Trump administration’s inhumane immigration policies and the salience of the issue at this moment, it provides an easy opening for Republicans.> Rather than being ideologically divided, let alone polarized, the Democratic party today is fragmentedThis was only made worse by the moderators’ fondness for stupid “raise your hand” polls, like the one which asked candidates to raise their hands if their preferred healthcare system would cover undocumented immigrants. All did, and within seconds the internet exploded with rightwing pundits claiming that this proved Democrats care more about “aliens” than Americans. One of the people to weigh in, of course, was President Trump, who breezily tweeted: “All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!? That’s the end of that race!”The other reason Republicans are probably pleased with the Democratic debates is that, except for healthcare, very few topics were seriously discussed that could challenge Republicans in the heartland or mobilize Democratic voters outside of the traditional progressive base. The debate barely touched on the opioid crisis, for example, and the issue was largely reduced to punishment of big pharma rather than discussion of how to help addicts and their families. It is depressing to see the Democratic party once again ignoring this clearly progressive issue, which affects almost half of all Americans in a personal way.There was also no serious discussion of America’s crumbling infrastructure - a particularly ripe issue for big-government Democrats like Sanders and a huge missed opportunity, given that it is an election promise on which Trump has clearly failed to deliver. More generally, neither moderators nor candidates really addressed the broader issue of work, from the threat of automation (only Andrew Yang) through the highly salient issue of minimum wage to the explosion of the precariat in the wake of the Great Recession.Finally, with the exception of Ohio congressman Tim Ryan’s pseudo-populist appeal to Trump voters in the rust belt, there was no discussion of the ever-growing urban-rural divide and the plight of rural America. Republicans will undoubtedly exploit this by continuing to accuse the Democrats of being the party of coastal elites and minorities, while presenting themselves as the voice of the implicitly white “real America”.If the Democrats want to defeat Trump in 2020, they need to expand beyond relatively narrow progressive causes and start planning their messaging for the general election. Nothing less than the White House is at stake. * Cas Mudde is a Guardian US columnist and the Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia
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The US has deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar for the first time, its military said Friday, adding to a buildup of US forces in the Gulf amid tensions with Iran. The Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters have been deployed "to defend American forces and interests," the US Air Forces Central Military Command said in a statement that did not specify how many of the hi-tech planes had been sent. A photo handout showed five of the jets flying above the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
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Saturday, June 29, 2019
The Supreme Court declined Friday to revive an Alabama law that would ban dismemberment abortions.The state was forced to appeal to the High Court after a lower court ruled that its 2016 Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which bans so-called “dilation and evacuation” abortions, violated the precedent established by Planned Parenthood v. Casey in placing an "undue burden" on abortion access.Justice Clarence Thomas was the only justice to comment on the Friday decision. In his concurring opinion, Thomas agreed that the law should not be revived on procedural grounds, but lambasted the legal "aberration" that constrained the court.“The more developed the child, the more likely an abortion will involve dismembering it,” Thomas said. “The notion that anything in the Constitution prevents States from passing laws prohibiting the dismembering of a living child is implausible. But under the ‘undue burden’ standard adopted by this court, a restriction on abortion — even one limited to prohibiting gruesome methods — is unconstitutional if ‘the purpose or effect of the provision is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.’”“This case serves as a stark reminder that our abortion jurisprudence has spiraled out of control,” he added.The declination comes after a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled in August that dismemberment abortions, which are the most popular form of second-trimester abortion, cannot be prohibited because there are no alternatives that would not present an “unsurmountable obstacle” to women.Writing for the panel, Chief Judge Ed Carnes, like Thomas, held that he and his colleagues were bound by what amounts to an “aberration” in constitutional law.“Some Supreme Court Justices have been of the view that there is constitutional law and then there is the aberration of constitutional law relating to abortion,” Carnes wrote, referring to previous dissents from Thomas and the late Justice Antonin Scalia. “If so, what we must apply here is the aberration.”
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A witness who dropped stunning testimony at the war crimes trial of a decorated Navy SEAL by telling the court he had killed an Islamic State captive in Iraq in 2017 — not his accused platoon chief — could now face charges of perjury, according to the Navy. The Navy's legal adviser to the commander overseeing the court-martial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher notified the witness's lawyer, Brian Ferguson, in an email late Tuesday that the testimony Corey Scott gave last week could be used against him if he lied on the stand or gave a false statement. Cmdr. Tam Lawrence, Naval Special Warfare spokesperson, said Scott was granted immunity in exchange for the promise of truthful testimony.
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For months, the 2020 Democratic campaign seemed mostly placid, even cordial. At Thursday’s presidential debate, those frictions came to the fore – and Joe Biden bore the brunt. The former vice president, 76, entered the debate as the front-runner, having led the pack of more than 20 Democratic candidates since he joined the race in April.
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(Bloomberg) -- There’s no change to China’s conditions for making a trade deal with the U.S. as the two nations’ leaders prepare to meet this weekend, a government spokesman said.“China’s core concerns must be addressed properly,” Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular briefing in Beijing Thursday, when asked about the three demands laid out by Vice Premier Liu He in May.In order to reach an agreement the U.S. must remove all extra tariffs, set targets for Chinese purchases of goods in line with real demand and ensure that the text of the deal is “balanced” to ensure the “dignity” of both nations, according to Liu.“We hope the U.S. side could drop its wrong practices, and we can solve the problems through equal dialogue and cooperation,” Gao said.The trade teams are in contact to prepare for the meeting, and the respective negotiators had a good phone call earlier in the week, Gao said, without clarifying whether the trade teams will meet in Osaka before the leaders’ encounter.Separately, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang also briefed reporters in Beijing on Thursday.“The U.S.’s threat to add tariffs cannot scare us,” Geng said. “The Chinese people refuse to be misled and will not be intimidated. So I would like to offer a piece of advice to the U.S. -- starting a trade war and adding tariffs harms itself and others.”To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Miao Han in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.org;April Ma in Beijing at email@example.com;James Mayger in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeffrey Black at email@example.com, Sharon ChenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said there were three presidential candidates who stood out during the first Democratic debate \- but that she isn't ready to endorse one just yet. Appearing on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, the youngest-ever congresswoman said: “I really do think this was a breakaway night. “I think Elizabeth Warren really distinguished herself. I think Julian Castro really distinguished himself. I think Cory Booker did a great job in talking about criminal justice.” Ms Ocasio-Cortez also expressed her approval of the spotlight candidates put on the transgender community and the immigrant community, calling it an “extraordinary moment”. The congresswoman was also impressed and slightly amused by the decision of some of the candidates to respond to questions in Spanish, telling Colbert she “loved” that there was a lot of Spanglish in the building, but thought it was “humorous at times” as she felt the candidates used the language as a diversion tactic to avoid answering questions. “But it was good. I thought it was a good gesture to the fact that we are a diverse country,” she added. However, the New York congresswoman was less impressed with some of the lesser-known candidates, such as Tim Ryan and John Delaney. When asked about the underdogs of the debate, and whether she could “pick them out in a line up if you had to,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez paused before responding: “You know, sometimes you’re an underdog until you’re not. So, you know, there’s always a chance.”But despite praising three of the candidates, the 29-year-old said she has not endorsed anyone yet. In response to Colbert’s question of whether she was prepared to do so following the first debate, the congresswoman laughed while saying: “No, absolutely not.”
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Julia Pérez makes a living selling pupusas, traditional Salvadoran stuffed pastries, to residents of the Altavista neighborhood who rise before dawn and rush to buses bound for their jobs in the capital about 12 miles (20 kilometers) away. One of her regulars was Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, who would arrive on his motorcycle with his toddler daughter, Valeria, to grab a quick bite or pick up the savory treats to go. The neighborhood left behind by Martínez and his family is a humble bedroom community where many people commute to nearby San Salvador, leaving behind only the elderly and the very young during the day.
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday sidestepped a major new challenge to abortion rights by declining to hear Alabama's bid to revive a Republican-backed state law that would have effectively banned the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The justices left in place a lower court ruling that struck down the 2016 law, which would have criminalized a method called dilation and evacuation that is the most common type of abortion performed during the second trimester of a pregnancy. The law in question is different than an even more strict Alabama measure signed by Republican Governor Kay Ivey in May. The new law, also facing a legal challenge, would ban nearly all abortions in the state, even in cases of rape and incest.
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Kamala Harris Hit Joe Biden on His Civil Rights Record. Here's What to Know About Biden's History With Busing
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Boeing says it expects to finish work on updated flight-control software for the 737 Max in September, a sign that the troubled jet likely won't be flying until late this year. A Boeing official said Thursday that the company expects to submit the software update to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval "in the September timeframe." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Boeing has not publicly discussed timing of the update. Once Boeing submits its changes, the FAA is expected to take several weeks to analyze them, and airlines would need additional time to take their grounded Max jets out of storage and prepare them to fly again.
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The U.S. Senate on Friday defeated legislation that would have barred President Donald Trump from launching an attack on Iran without first obtaining the approval of Congress, except in self-defense. The measure was defeated 50 to 40, ensuring that the measure would not get the 60 needed to pass the Republican-majority Senate as an amendment to an annual defense policy bill. Ten senators did not vote.
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All 10 candidates on Thursday night’s Democratic debate stage said their health care plans would provide coverage for people in the country illegally, a show of unity on what had been a contentious night between the candidates.
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Apple Inc is shifting manufacturing of its new Mac Pro desktop computer to China from the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. The move comes at a time when the Trump administration has threatened to impose new levies to cover nearly all imports from China and pressured Apple and other manufacturers to make their products in the United States if they want to avoid tariffs. Last week, Apple asked its major suppliers to assess the cost implications of moving 15% to 30% of their production capacity from China to Southeast Asia, according to a Nikkei report.
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The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 along partisan lines that the federal courts cannot overrule state legislatures in drawing district lines, ending challenges to gerrymandered maps meant to help one party or the other.
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What are the basic rules that determine how immigrant children are treated in U.S. immigration detention?The Trump administration’s detention of migrant children in poor conditions along the U.S./Mexico border has repeatedly raised this question. The answer is a decades-old court case known as the Flores settlement. The settlement establishes the rules that the U.S. government must follow when it detains migrant children in enforcing immigration laws.Litigation over enforcement of the Flores settlement has exploded in recent weeks. That includes a court case brought by immigrants’ rights and civil liberties groups in response to what they called the “imminent threat to the health and welfare” of migrant children in detention. U.S. border officials should have “promptly released children to their relatives and provided safe and sanitary detention conditions for all children in its custody,” said an attorney representing the groups that brought the action.
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China warned on Friday that protectionism and "bullying" were threatening the world order as President Xi Jinping met other leaders at the G20 summit ahead of high-stakes talks with Donald Trump. Xi met three of his African counterparts Friday morning on the sidelines of the G20 summit of major world economies, which opened in Osaka amid the US-China trade war, geopolitical tensions, and divisions over climate change. "All leaders in the meeting stressed that unilateralism, protectionism, and bullying practices are on the rise, posing severe threats to economic globalisation and international order, and severe challenges to the external environment of developing countries," Chinese foreign ministry official Dai Bing told reporters.
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The Supreme Court on Thursday temporarily blocked the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the decennial national census on the grounds that it failed to provide an adequate justification for doing so.In a split decision, the Court sent the matter back to a lower court for review, setting up a protracted and high-stakes legal battle that will likely last throughout much of the summer, surpassing the July deadline that administration attorneys have said they would need to meet to include the question on the upcoming census.In his decision, Chief Justice John Roberts explicitly criticized Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for failing to adequately justify his decision to add the citizenship question to the census for the first time since 1950.“The evidence tells a story that does not match the explanation [Ross] gave for his decision,” Roberts wrote. “The sole stated reason seems to have been contrived.”Ross claimed last year that he added the citizenship question at the behest of the Department of Justice in order to facilitate the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which, in certain circumstances, requires that government lawyers know how many minorities live in a certain area for the purpose of drawing election districts.Critics of the administration have suggested the rationale was a disingenuous ploy intended to conceal a true desire to weaken Democratic congressional representation by eliminating illegal immigrants from the census rolls.Writing in dissent, three of the Court's four conservative justices said they would have approved the administrations's request to add the citizenship question because they accepted the justification Ross provided.“For the first time ever, the court invalidates an agency action solely because it questions the sincerity of the agency's otherwise adequate rationale,” said Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Justice Samuel Alito Jr. wrote a separate dissent.The liberal justices concurred with Roberts's decision to send the matter back to a lower court.The ruling comes after U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of New York blocked the citizenship question, arguing that the question would discourage participation in the census and lead to significant undercounting.
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President Trump, who earlier Wednesday said he wouldn’t watch the first round of the first Democratic presidential debate, because he was “off to save the free world,” tweeted initially just one word on the event in Miami: “BORING!”
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Friday, June 28, 2019
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The city of Matamoros sits tantalisingly close to the US border, with Brownville, Texas in clear view over the Gateway International Bridge. It was here that the Salvadoran refugee Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, 25, and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, arrived to claim asylum in the United States two months ago. But on Monday, their drowned bodies were found locked in a final embrace, Valeria tangled up in her father’s black t-shirt, on the banks of the Rio Grande river, which runs under the bridge. The shocking photograph of their corpses, now broadcast around the world, illustrates the plight of migrants and refugees who are making increasingly perilous attempts to reach the United States. But the story of what drove them to attempt the fatal river crossing also raises questions about the Trump administration’s border regime, which is turning refugees away from the border or cramming them into purgatorial reception centres. From the scorching Sonoran Desert to the fast-moving Rio Grande, the 2,000-mile border has long been a deadly crossing between ports of entry. A total of 283 migrant deaths were recorded last year; the toll so far this year has already reached 170. Mexican Migrants Journey According to local media reports, Mr Ramirez had grown frustrated with the processing system at the Puerta México migrant camp, and felt there was little hope of his request for asylum ever being processed. The US government claims the applications are delayed as it does not have the capacity to process them, with families of asylum seekers sleeping in makeshift camps where they risk being split up by border guards. Tania Vanessa Avalos, Mr Ramirez’s wife, says the family had been kept for two months in the Puerta México camp, waiting for an appointment to discuss their asylum claim. They came from El Salvador, where decades of civil war and gang violence has transformed the Central American country into one of the most dangerous in the world. Thousands of Salvadorans have joined migrant caravans headed towards the US border in search of refuge, but the images of them walking en masse towards America have been portrayed by President Donald Trump as an “invasion.” Mr Martinez reportedly worked at Papa Johns in El Salvador, according to relatives, where he earned $350 (£275) per month, while his wife had given up her job at a Chinese restaurant to look after their daughter. “They went for the American dream,” Mr Ramierz's sister, Wendy Joanna Martínez de Romero, told the New York Times. Mexican authorities walk along the Rio Grande bank where the bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria Credit: Julie Le Duc Other Mexican media reports say she begged the family not to leave, but they had been completely seduced by the hope of a prosperous life in America. The family lived with Mr Ramirez’s mother, Rosa, in Altavista, sprawling complex of small, concrete houses east of San Salvador. The area is under the control of gangs, but in an interview with the New York Times, Ms Ramirez said it was economic hardship of living on just $10 (£7) per day, rather than violence, which pushed her son and his family to flee El Salvador. Nevertheless, Mr Ramirez managed to obtain a political asylum visa from the Mexican government during the long journey to the Mexican border, which would have strengthened his family’s case when they presented themselves to the US authorities. Instead, the family was left in limbo for weeks, sweltering in temperatures of up to 45 degrees with little food, which according to local newspaper La Jornada left them in a state of “despair.” On Sunday, Mr Ramirez and his wife decided they had had enough; they would abandon the asylum process and attempt an illegal crossing into the United States by swimming the Rio Grande river. At 1.38pm, Mr Ramirez logged into Facebook and informed his sister of the plan. Oscar Martinez Ramirez and his daughter reportedly left their home in El Salvador for economic reasons but then received a political asylum visa from the Mexican government Credit: AFP Three hours later, his mother would receive a phone call from his wife, Tania, screaming incoherently and saying “Oscar died, Oscar and the girl drowned.” Mr Ramirez took Valeria in his arms and swam across the river, setting her safely on the other side before returning to his wife. But as he started swimming back, his daughter fell into the water. He turned back and grabbed his daughter, but the pair was then swallowed by a strong current as Valeria’s mother looked on in horror. She called the authorities, who launched a twelve hour search to retrieve Mr Ramirez and his daughter. As darkness fell they suspended the search due to poor visibility. Then, the following morning, the search ended in the discovery of the bodies, 500 metres from the spot where the current took hold. Later, Ms Avalos gave a full account of the ordeal to police punctuated with “tears and screams.” “When the girl jumped in is when he tried to reach her, but when he tried to grab the girl, he went in further ... and he couldn’t get out,” Ms Avalos told the Associated Press. Handout photograph of the Ramirez family “He put her in his shirt, and I imagine he told himself, ‘I’ve come this far’ and decided to go with her.” Valeria’s right arm was still curled around her father’s neck, as if she had clung to him for safety in her last moments. Mr Ramirez’s family initially faced immense financial costs of up to $7,500 to repatriate their relatives’ bodies, but the Mexican government has said it will pay for the funeral arrangements. The case has already drawn comparisons with that of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee whose body was photographed off the coast of the Greek island of Kos. Even so, it remains unclear whether the photograph of Mr Ramirez and his daughter will spur the Trump administration to address criticism of its border policies.
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In two politically charged rulings, the Supreme Court dealt a huge blow Thursday to efforts to combat the drawing of electoral districts for partisan gain and put a hold on the Trump administration's effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. On the court's final day of decisions before a summer break, the conservative justices ruled that federal courts have no role to play in the dispute over the practice known as partisan gerrymandering. The decision could embolden political line-drawing for partisan gain when state lawmakers undertake the next round of redistricting following the 2020 census.
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Dozens of cars got stuck in mud after being rerouted by Google Maps to an obscure road near Denver International Airport. After a car crash caused long traffic wait, Google's GPS app rerouted some drivers to East 64th Avenue in Aurora. This new route was supposed to take half the time. The first few minutes on the road were fine, but then, 64th Avenue turned into a dirt road. After a few days of rain, the road had become mud. When Connie Monsees, who was going to pick up her husband at the airport, saw dozens of cars stuck one after the other, not able to move, it was already too late. the road is narrow, so there was no turning back. "That's when I thought, this was a bad idea," Monsees told ABC7NY. She has all-wheel drive, so she was one of the lucky ones able to make it out the mud. She took with her two people who asked for a ride.“I tore up the inside passenger wheel well for my tire, but it’s not that big of a deal compared to some other people who really tore their cars up and got themselves stuck out there,” she said.According to ABC7NY, the road is privately-owned and maintained. Following the incident, the road was closed to the public.It's unclear why the GPS redirected the cars on that road.
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