Six In The Morning Sunday 21 July 2019

 

 

A whole nation just got hacked

Updated 0417 GMT (1217 HKT) July 21, 2019

Asen Genov is pretty furious. His personal data was made public this week after records of more than 5 million Bulgarians got stolen by hackers from the country’s tax revenue office.

In a country of just 7 million people, the scale of the hack means that just about every working adult has been affected.
“We should all be angry. … The information is now freely available to anyone. Many, many people in Bulgaria already have this file, and I believe that it’s not only in Bulgaria,” said Genov, a blogger and political analyst. He knows his data was compromised because, though he’s not an IT expert, he managed to find the stolen files online.

Hong Kong braces for another round of mass demonstrations

Police cordon off government complex ahead of Sunday’s pro-democracy march

Police and demonstrators braced for more mass protests in Hong Kong on Sunday, the latest in weeks of unrest in a political movement that shows few signs of slowing.

A planned march on Sunday marks the seventh consecutive weekend when residents have come out en masse against the government. The protests, which began over a now suspended extradition bill, have turned into a wider democracy movement in the Chinese territory.

Ahead of Sunday’s march through the city centre, police built water barriers around their headquarters and set a security cordon around the government complex. Metal fences, garbage bins and other street materials, which demonstrators have dismantled and made into makeshift barricades in past protests, have been removed. Workers have also glued bricks onto the ground to ensure they are not used as weapons.

Living SustainablyCan We Save the Planet Without Having to Do Without?

Many in Germany are trying to do their part to slow climate change. They are conscientious about the purchases they make, they ride bikes and they try to reduce their trash and carbon footprint. They can’t solve the problem on their own, but they could force politicians and businesses to act.

By , Anton Rainer,  and 

Saving the planet isn’t going to be easy. It’ll take effort. Like packing children’s lunches into recycled glass jars and wrapping them in wool socks to prevent them from shattering in kids’ backpacks. Or making homemade detergent out of curd soap, soda and water. Whatever it takes to avoid plastic packaging. The Meuser family has been living this way for half a year.

“We’re only taking small steps, but that alone feels so liberating,” says Maik Meuser, 42. “But we also have to invest time and energy,” says Nicole Kallwies-Meuser, 41.

Thousands rally in Moscow for free and fair local elections

More than 20,000 people packed a Moscow square Saturday to protest the authorities’ refusal to allow opposition candidates to register for local polls.

Joined by opposition leaders such as Alexei Navalny, protesters gathered in the capital after authorities refused to register independent politicians seeking to contest the September vote for the capital’s parliament.

The crowd chanted: “This is my city!”

White Counter, an NGO that tracks participation in protest rallies, said about 21,500 people took part in Saturday’s rally.

“We will show them this is a dangerous game,” Navalny bellowed from a stage set up on the protest square.

Profile: Farouk El-Baz, the Egyptian behind the Moon landings

Egyptian-born Farouk El-Baz was part of NASA’s Apollo 11 ground crew at just 31 years old.

by

Half a century ago, as Apollo 11’s lunar module, known as the Eagle, made its way to the surface of the Moon, rows of scientists and space experts back in the United States state of Texas joined the rest of the world in holding their breath.

Onboard the spaceflight were commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot, Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. Michael Collins, whose role was to ferry the two men from Earth and back again, manned the command module, Columbia, in orbit.

Among those at Mission Control in Houston was Gene Kranz, one of Apollo 11’s flight directors. But joining the rest of the ground crew was a brilliant 31-year-old Egyptian scientist. His name was Farouk El-Baz – and his participation with Apollo 11 would launch his scientific career to dizzying heights.

Bianca Devins: The teenager whose murder was exploited for clicks

Like many other teenagers her age, Bianca Devins lived her life online.

The 17-year-old had recently graduated from high school and was looking forward to starting a psychology course at a community college later this year.

As last Saturday approached, she wrote on a gaming platform about how excited she was to be travelling the 250 miles from upstate New York to a concert in Queens. But before she could return home on Sunday morning, Bianca was dead.

The exact relationship she’d had with the man accused of killing her remains unclear. But in the hours after his arrest, it emerged he had shared graphic photographs of the murder online.

 

 

We Came In Peace

One of the interesting things about Star Trek is that it’s not an economy based on scarcity. Within the limitations of energy (and there is a whole lot of it even if you don’t think it’s quite enough to stop Implosion to a New Singularity) and ingenuity one may just say to the Computer, “Make it so,” and so it is. 3-D Printing on a molecular scale.

People pretty much get to do what they want and for every Reginald Endicott Barclay III who has a burning desire to be a Starfleet Officer despite appallingly little aptitude for it, and who is jollied along because one of the “leadership challenges” one must face to be good is to give even your most useless team members a task that will contribute to your over all goal and give them a sense of accomplishment without being too patronizing; you’ll find a dozen Roberts (pronounced the same as Colbert) who don’t like Computers or Replicators or Space and think it’s a perfectly fine and worth application of talent to grow Grapes in the same soil using the same methods as your family has for thousands of years.

Once we were a people who could aspire to goals like that.

11

Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969, A.D. WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND.

House

Batuka – Madonna

Spirit & Bigger – Beyoncé

How Do You Sleep? – Sam Smith

The Breakfast Club (Light Burden)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

The first men to walk on the Moon; Viking One lands on Mars; Nazi Germany’s dictator Adolf Hitler wounded in an assassination attempt; Mountaineer Edmund Hillary and musician Carlos Santana born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

There is no lighter burden, nor more agreeable, than a pen.

Petrarch

Continue reading

Six In The Morning Saturday 20 July 2019

Iran tanker seizure: UK ‘deeply concerned’

The UK government has said it is “deeply concerned” about Iran’s “unacceptable” seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Gulf.

The Stena Impero’s owners say they have been unable to contact the ship, which was seized in the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway in the region.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned of “serious consequences” if the situation is not resolved quickly.

Iran said the ship was “violating international maritime rules”.

A second British-owned Liberian-flagged tanker, the MV Mesdar, was also boarded by armed guards but was released.

Yang Hengjun: China tells Australia to stop interfering in writer’s detention

Beijing attacks ‘irresponsible remarks’ of Marise Payne and says it is conducting a lawful inquiry into case of Australian academic

China has told Australia to stop interfering in the investigation of Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun and to stop issuing “irresponsible remarks”.

The Australian foreign minister, Marise Payne, said on Friday the federal government was “deeply disappointed” that Yang had been transferred to criminal detention in China, saying he should be released if he was being held “for his political views”. Payne was seeking clarification over the reasons for his detention.

A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said Beijing was carrying out a lawful investigation.

US: New York man charged with training ‘Islamic State’ members

A 42-year-old former New York resident who was a sniper for the “Islamic State” has been detained without bail. He faces terrorism charges for attempting to recruit and train members for the militant group.

A New York man has been detained without bail and faces terrorism charges after he became a sniper and weapons trainer for the “Islamic State” (IS) group, according to court documents unsealed on Friday.

Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, a 42-year-old naturalized US citizen from Kazakhstan, was detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces and transferred to FBI custody earlier this week, prosecutors said. He was charged with providing material support to IS, including providing training to terrorist soldiers and attempting to recruit members.

Extrajudicial killings by police in Nairobi’s slums drop after activists call for change

In Nairobi, families whose relatives were gunned down by police are demanding that authorities hold perpetrators accountable.

At least 21 men and boys have been killed extrajudicially in slums in eastern Nairobi since last August, according to a recent report from Human Rights Watch, though local groups say the real number is much higher. In many cases, police officers identified their future targets on community Facebook groups, alleging that they were criminals, and later shared grisly photos of the victims after they were killed.

Some police officers allegedly used Facebook aliases, such as Hessy wa Dandora (Hessy from Dandora) to warn their targets that they would be next. On another local page called Nairobi Crime Free, which has since been shut down, some shared side-by-side photos of their victims alive and dead.

Anime studio boss at loss for words as he mourns bright, young staff

By Tim Kelly and Sam Nussey

Many victims of an arson attack on an animation studio in Kyoto were young with bright futures, some joining only in April, the company president said on Saturday, as the death told climbed to 34.

Thursday’s attack on Kyoto Animation, famous in Japan and overseas for its series and movies, was the worst mass killing in two decades in a country with some of the world’s lowest crime rates.

Company president Hideaki Hatta said many of the victims were young women.

A PRO-ISRAEL DEMOCRAT WITHDREW HER SUPPORT FOR A BILL SUPPORTING PALESTINIAN RIGHTS. SHE NOW CLAIMS HER NAME WAS ADDED BY ACCIDENT.

AFTER SIGNING ON to and then backtracking from a bill to bar Israel from using U.S. military aid to detain Palestinian children, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., is claiming that she was inadvertently added to the legislation without her approval. But five weeks before DeLauro co-sponsored the bill, a legislative aide to the Connecticut Democrat explicitly told backers of the bill that DeLauro would be a sponsor — something that doesn’t typically happen without the consent of their boss — according to emails seen by The Intercept.

“I was inadvertently added as a cosponsor to this legislation without my approval,” DeLauro said in a statement to The Intercept. “After being made aware of this error, I removed my name as a cosponsor of the legislation.”

 

 

Other Middle Eastern Wars We Shouldn’t Be Involved In

Not the least of which is that Mohammed bin Salman is a brutal dictator who vivisects U.S. Journalists for his sadistic pleasure.

Yemen Has Been a Saudi Prince’s War. Now It’s His Quagmire.
By David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times
July 18, 2019

From the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen, it was Prince Mohammed’s war.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, then 29 and in his third month as defense minister, was shown in official photographs surrounded by generals, poring over maps, inspecting a helicopter and even wearing a pilot’s headset while riding in the back of a military transport plane.

Four years later, the war is lodged in a stalemate and Prince Mohammed’s signature fight has become a quagmire, diplomats and analysts say. A steep pullout by his key ally, the United Arab Emirates, they say, raises questions about Saudi Arabia’s ability to lead the war on its own.

Emboldened by the hawkish comments of Trump administration officials, Prince Mohammed is now hoping Washington will help make up the difference with new American military support, according to diplomats with knowledge of the conversations.

But congressional opposition to the war makes that highly unlikely, leaving the prince with some potentially humbling choices.

“It hurts him because it injures his credibility as a successful leader,” said Kristin Smith Diwan, an analyst at the Arab Gulf States Institute. His personal investment, she said, could motivate him to search for some partial accommodation he could label a victory.

“Not many people in Saudi Arabia feel this is a wise investment for the future,” she added.

The Saudis launched the campaign in 2015 to try to roll back a takeover by the Houthis, a Yemeni faction backed by Iran. The war has killed thousands of civilians and put more than 12 million people at risk of starvation but has failed to dislodge the Houthis from control of the capital and much of the country.

While the Saudis have fought almost entirely from the air, the Emiratis, seasoned by years of combat alongside the American military in Afghanistan and elsewhere, led virtually every successful ground advance. Behind the scenes, Emirati officers, weapons and money played an equally critical role in holding together a fractious alliance of mutually hostile Yemeni militias, which have already begun jostling to fill the power vacuum left by the Emiratis.

As a result, analysts said, the Emirati exit makes the prospect of a Saudi military victory even more remote.

“Saudi Arabia can prevent peace from breaking out and can bleed the Houthis on a never-ending northern front,” Michael Knights, a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argued in a report this week. “But only the U.A.E. had the military potency and local allied forces to credibly threaten defeat for the Houthis.”

But the Saudis cannot easily withdraw either, partly because of the kingdom’s 1,100-mile border with Yemen.

“The Saudis don’t have the luxury of walking out of Yemen,” said Farea al-Muslimi, chairman of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, a research institute in the Yemeni capital. “There is no way to flee.”

But Prince Mohammed has now consolidated power as the crown prince and de facto ruler under his aging father, King Salman, and faces little domestic pressure to end the war, diplomats and analysts say.

The crown prince appears to have suppressed any opposition from within the royal family. The royal court controls the news media, and with Saudi forces largely in the air there have been few reports of Saudi casualties.

One reason the war has not generated more domestic opposition, he said, is that the fear of Iranian influence that motivated the intervention “is not just limited to the royal family — the Saudis just have an intense, passionate feeling that they are under threat.”

Yet the Emirati drawdown has also severely weakened the Saudis’ bargaining power, raising the potential cost to Prince Mohammed of any negotiations to end the Houthi attacks.

Boxed in, he has asked for more aid from the United States. The Americans already provide logistical support and sell weapons to the Saudis. The Saudis are hoping for at least greater sharing of American intelligence and possibly the deployment of special forces teams or military advisers, diplomats said.

But Washington, the Saudis complain, has sent mixed messages about its support for the war. To the surprise of the Saudi leaders, outrage over the Saudi killing and dismemberment last fall of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who lived in Virginia and wrote for The Washington Post, prompted American lawmakers to look more skeptically at the war in Yemen.

What?! You’re not just allowed to kill Journalists? They’re the scum of the earth (Happy Belated Stockton).

Congress passed legislation this year demanding an end to United States military support for the war, including arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Pentagon officials, meanwhile, have concluded on their own that the war has degenerated into an unwinnable quagmire and have urged the Saudis for months to try to negotiate an end to the fighting.

But President Trump has repeatedly vetoed legislation cutting off American support for the war. As tensions with Iran have heated up, other administration officials — like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser — have sounded almost as hawkish as the Saudis about the danger posed by the Iranian alliance with the Houthis.

The Saudis say statements like Mr. Pompeo’s remind them that Washington shares an interest in containing Iranian influence by rolling back the Houthis.

“Why haven’t the Americans carried out a single operation to help?” asked Mustafa Alani, a scholar at the Saudi-backed Gulf Research Center who is close to the royal court.

He recommended that the Saudis take a blunter approach to convincing Washington that the Houthis were an American problem: withdraw completely and let the United States deal with the anti-Western militants and Iranian surrogates he says would overrun Yemen.

“I would do what the Americans did in Somalia,” Mr. Alani said. “Turn off the light, shut the door, and say, ‘to hell with it.’”

Asked about Saudi plans to fill the void left by the Emirati drawdown, an official of the Saudi Embassy in Washington said last week that the kingdom would rely more on Yemeni allies.

“The coalition has implemented training programs that have enabled local partners to develop the capability to defend their country,” the official said in a written statement, issued on condition of anonymity under standard Saudi practices.

But the Yemeni militias have already started disagreeing about who will take charge in the Emiratis’ absence, underscoring the fragility of the alliance.

Last week, allies of Tareq Saleh, a maverick nephew of the former Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, floated the idea that the Saudi-led coalition had tapped him to be the new leader of the Yemeni forces previously under the Emiratis.

That did not last long. A powerful ultraconservative Islamist militia known as the Giants Brigade, also backed by the Emiratis, quickly issued a statement saying that it would never accept Mr. Saleh because he was from northern Yemen, not the south.

Then another powerful militia, composed of southern Yemeni separatists paid and armed by the Emiratis, began promoting itself as the favorite successor to Emirati leadership. A separatist television network broadcast video of a top Emirati general touring its bases.

The separatists are the sworn enemies of the Yemeni president sponsored by the Saudis, Abdu Rabbu Monsur Hadi.

“The problem for the Saudis today is that in contrast to the Emiratis, their main client is quite weak and ineffective,” said Emile Hokayem, a scholar at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, referring to Mr. Hadi.

Whatever happens now, Mr. Hokayem added, “whether they like it or not, the Saudis own that.”

Fun little War you’re having there, bombing Hospitals and civilians. Best of all you’re losing so the payouts to the Military Industrial Complex never stop.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Eugene Robinson: Trump has become the voice of insecure white Americans

When the racist chant began Wednesday night — “Send her back! Send her back!” — President Trump paused to let the white-supremacist anger he had stoked wash over him. George Wallace would have been so proud.

That moment at a Trump campaign rally in North Carolina was the most chilling I’ve seen in American politics since the days of Wallace and the other die-hard segregationists. Egged on by the president of the United States, the crowd was calling for a duly elected member of Congress — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a black woman born in Somalia — to be banished from the country because Trump disapproves of her views.

This hideous display followed Trump’s weekend call for Omar and three other House Democrats, all of them women of color, to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” All of this is an unmistakable echo of the racist taunts that used to be leveled at minority groups that had the temerity to demand civil rights and the gall to achieve political and economic success — go back to Africa, go back to Mexico, go back to China.

After the election and reelection of the first African American president, one might have thought we were beyond such ugly, desperate racism. To the contrary, perhaps Barack Obama’s tenure surfaced long-buried fear and loathing that made Trump’s ascension possible.

Jamelle Bouie: Trump Voters Are Not the Only Voters

They are, in fact, in the minority — so why do the media and Democratic leaders seem so obsessed with them?

The anti-Trump vote is the single largest coalition in American politics. That was true in 2016, despite Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the Electoral College. It was true in 2017, after Democrats won major victories in Virginia and Alabama. And it was true in 2018, when the anti-Trump coalition gave Democrats a majority in the House of Representatives.

Despite their influence, however, anti-Trump voters are practically invisible in recent mainstream political coverage. Instead, the focus is the president’s most fervent supporters, as it has been since 2015, when Trump came down his escalator and announced his campaign for the White House. This past week is a prime example.

On Sunday, as nearly everyone knows by now, Trump launched a racist attack on four progressive congresswomen — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — telling them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” and casting them as un-American on the basis of their racial backgrounds.

Most Americans rejected the president’s outburst. Fifty-nine percent, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, said it was “un-American,” and 65 percent said it was “racist.” A total of 68 percent said it was “offensive.”

We’ve seen this dynamic before. When the president plays with bigotry — when he defends racist protesters or disparages immigrants from predominantly nonwhite countries or casts migrants as dangerous criminals — he suffers in the polls. But the story in the press wasn’t about Trump’s decision to alienate a broad majority of voters with explicit racism. It was about the devotion of his voters and his strategy for the 2020 election.

Continue reading

See No Evil, Hear No Evil

You know, like a monkey.

Cartnoon

Canada Sesquicentennial (2017)

If you have trouble playing any of it try changing your VPN location to Canada.

Part 7 of 10

Part 8 of 10

Part 9 of 10

Part 10 of 10

The Breakfast Club (Higher Plains)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Women’s rights activists meet at Seneca Falls; The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on gays in the U.S. military; Apollo 11 enters lunar orbit; Baseball’s Pete Rose gets jail time; Moscow Olympics begins.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.

George McGovern

Continue reading

Six In The Morning Friday 19 July 2019

 

Bodies found piled on staircase as Japan’s worst mass killing in decades claims 33 lives

Updated 0811 GMT (1611 HKT) July 19, 2019

Grim details are starting to emerge from Japan’s worst mass killing in almost 20 years, as police investigate why a man torched a renowned animation studio in the city of Kyoto, killing 33 people.

The suspected arson attack on Kyoto Animation on Thursday has left anime fans world-over grieving the loss of life and a studio, which claimed to put its employees first and was a major force in the industry.
Twelve men, 20 women and another individual whose gender was unknown died in the blaze and 35 were injured.

Bangladesh prepares to move Rohingya to island at risk of floods and cyclones

Foreign minister defends controversial proposal as ‘only solution’ despite misgivings of human rights campaigners

The first Rohingya refugees could be relocated to an island in the next few months under controversial plans drawn up by the Bangladesh government, the country’s foreign minister has said.

Some of the nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar and are now living in camps in Cox’s Bazar will be relocated to the silt island of Bhasan Char in the estuary of Bangladesh’s Meghna river, accessible only by boat.

The proposal has concerned human rights groups and NGOs who are particularly worried about Bhasan Char’s isolation – the island is prone to severe flooding and cyclones and is more than a three hour boat ride from the mainland. Rohingya people living in the camps have repeatedly said they will not go out of fears for their safety.

Living SustainablyCan We Save the Planet Without Having to Do Without?

Many in Germany are trying to do their part to slow climate change. They are conscientious about the purchases they make, they ride bikes and they try to reduce their trash and carbon footprint. They can’t solve the problem on their own, but they could force politicians and businesses to act.

By , Anton Rainer,  and 

Saving the planet isn’t going to be easy. It’ll take effort. Like packing children’s lunches into recycled glass jars and wrapping them in wool socks to prevent them from shattering in kids’ backpacks. Or making homemade detergent out of curd soap, soda and water. Whatever it takes to avoid plastic packaging. The Meuser family has been living this way for half a year.

“We’re only taking small steps, but that alone feels so liberating,” says Maik Meuser, 42. “But we also have to invest time and energy,” says Nicole Kallwies-Meuser, 41.

Trump says US warship ‘destroyed’ Iranian drone in Gulf

Iranian officials deny losing any drone after Donald Trump says US naval vessel downed an unmanned Iranian aircraft.

The United States says a US Navy ship has “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened the vessel, but Iran said it had no information about losing a drone.

In remarks at the White House, US President Donald Trump on Thursday said the drone had flown to within 1,000 metres of the USS Boxer and had ignored “multiple calls to stand down”.

“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The US reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests,” Trump said.

Suspected arsonist in deadly Kyoto anime studio fire says firm stole his novel

The man suspected of carrying out an arson attack on a prominent animation studio in Kyoto, killing 33 people, has told police that he started the fire because the company stole his novel, investigative sources have told the Mainichi Shimbun.

Investigators, however, have been unable to confirm the alleged theft, and Kyoto Prefectural Police suspect that the man held a grudge against the company as a result of his one-sided view.

Apart from the 33 people who died, the fire left 35 injured besides the suspected arsonist himself. Police are waiting for him to recover in hospital and plan to question him to pinpoint the motives behind the attack.

Rep. Ilhan Omar Gets Hero’s Welcome As Supporters Greet Her After Trump Attacks

“We have your back,” some of her supporters shouted in Minnesota as others chanted, “Welcome home!”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), flying home after a whirlwind week dueling with the president over a series of racist attacks, was met by a coalition of cheering supporters in Minnesota on Thursday evening.

The crowd of about 150 people gathered at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to welcome the congresswoman before she held a town hall event later that evening.

“Welcome home, Ilhan!” the group, some bearing signs and moving to shake her hand, chanted. “We have your back,” another supporter shouted.

 

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Racism Comes Out of the Closet

The dog whistle days are apparently over.

In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political operative, explained to an interviewer how his party had learned to exploit racial antagonism using dog whistles. “You start out in 1954 by saying ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’” But by the late 1960s, “that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, ‘forced busing,’ ‘states’ rights,’ and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.”

Well, the dog whistle days are over. Republicans are pretty much back to saying “Nigger, nigger, nigger.

As everyone knows, on Sunday Donald Trump attacked four progressive members of Congress, saying that they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” As it happens, three of the four were born in the U.S., and the fourth is a duly naturalized citizen. All are, however, women of color.

Sorry, there’s no way to both sides this, or claim that Trump didn’t say what he said. This is racism, plain and simple — nothing abstract about it. And Trump obviously isn’t worried that it will backfire.

This should be a moment of truth for anyone who describes Trump as a “populist” or asserts that his support is based on “economic anxiety.” He’s not a populist, he’s a white supremacist. His support rests not on economic anxiety, but on racism.

Michelle Goldberg: Please, Pelosi, Fight Trump, Not the Squad

The House speaker is demoralizing people the Democratic Party needs.

For the last couple of weeks, the House Democratic leadership has been locked in an escalating battle with four left-wing freshmen congresswomen known as “the squad”: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

It started with a dispute over funding for detention facilities at the border, with the squad voting against any new allocations for locking up migrants. There were ugly fights on Twitter, with Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff comparing Democrats who voted for one funding bill to segregationist Dixiecrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi belittled the squad to my colleague Maureen Dowd, saying that despite “their public whatever and their Twitter world,” they’re only four people without a following in Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez accused Pelosi of bullying women of color. A senior House Democratic aide gave an anonymous quote to The Hill ripping Ocasio-Cortez as a “puppet” of “elitist white liberals” who is “only a woman of color when it’s convenient.” It’s been a mess.

Donald Trump may have momentarily smoothed over these divisions this weekend, uniting Democrats in condemnation of his racist Twitter rant against the squad. But the fissures remain, and Pelosi needs to heal them, because this fight is alienating and demoralizing people whom the Democratic Party needs.

Continue reading

Load more