Thursday, November 21, 2019
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Robert De Niro v Trump: a complete history of a (mainly one-sided) beef
The actor has predicted the president might start a war to get a third term. It’s far from the first time De Niro has made his views clear
‘He’s totally nuts’
‘Enemy of the arts’
‘Tragic, dumbass comedy’
Trump interlude: DeNiro is ‘brain-damaged’
‘A real racist’
‘He should not be president’
‘President for life’
Robert De Niro v Trump: a complete history of a (mainly one-sided) beef | Film | The Guardian
"In advance of Trump’s factory tour today, I took a look at the strange relationship that’s developed between Tim Cook and Donald Trump over the past three years. One of the things that popped up was one specific story that Trump would tell about Apple, in rally after rally and meeting after meeting. The idea was that Trump had somehow induced the company to build a new factory in the US, through some combination of tax cuts and trade policy, which was both very politically useful and also very much not true.
Today, perhaps not surprisingly, he told the lie again.
“We’re seeing the beginning of a very powerful and important plant,” Trump said at the factory. “Anybody that followed my campaign, I would always talk about Apple, that I want to see Apple building plants in the United States. And that’s what’s happening.”
This is not true for a couple reasons — one of them nitpicky and one of them a lot more serious. The nitpicky problem is that Apple isn’t actually building a manufacturing plant. The company is building a new campus in Austin, but it’s miles away from the factory and the jobs are going to be very similar to the kind of white-collar design and engineering work that Apple does in Cupertino. Apple doesn’t do its own manufacturing, and the plant Trump is standing in belongs to a contractor called Flex Ltd (formerly Flextronics)."
Trump is lying about the ‘new’ ‘Apple’ factory - The Verge
"The Democrats Are in Georgia. The Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher.
By Joseph CrespinoNov. 20, 2019, 6:00 a.m. ET
With tonight’s presidential primary debate, Georgia Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief. Finally, they are saying, the national party is recognizing that demographics really are destiny, that Georgia can and should be a central part of any plan to win back the White House and the Senate.
For nearly two decades now, the demographic trendline in Georgia has been favorable to Democrats. Particularly compared with aging, white, Midwestern states like Michigan and Ohio, Georgia is younger, more diverse and more economically dynamic, with educated, progressive voters moving to the state each year.
The 2016 election was a great indicator. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by eight points in Ohio but only five in Georgia. Imagine what the results would have been, Georgia Democrats say, if the national party had committed more resources to the state. The 2018 election cycle only heightened expectations. Stacey Abrams, who waged a historic campaign as the first African-American woman to win a major party’s nomination for governor, came within about 55,000 votes of defeating her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, whose campaign was historic in its own way. Not since the days of Eugene Talmadge or Lester Maddox had a candidate for governor conducted such a polarizing, divisive campaign.
Even more exciting was the fact that in 2018 Democrats moved beyond close calls to actual victory. Lucy McBath defeated an experienced Republican candidate in the Sixth Congressional District, which included areas that have traditionally been among Atlanta’s wealthiest, most reliably Republican suburbs. Ms. McBath’s tragic personal history as the mother of a young man killed by gun violence dramatized the problem of gun control, the issue that, perhaps more than any other, puts the Republican Party outside the mainstream of American voters.
In Georgia, the stakes of the 2020 election could not be higher. Because of the announced resignation of Senator Johnny Isakson for health reasons, both United States Senate seats will be contested.
Yet turning Georgia blue in 2020 remains an uphill battle. That’s because, outside of metro Atlanta and other urban areas like Savannah, Georgia remains a deeply conservative state. The defenders of the demographics-are-destiny thesis should remember that destiny is shaped by history, too.
In many ways, American politics today resemble an earlier era in Southern history, when candidates who only a few years before their election had been dismissed as jokes or nobodies stoked reactionary impulses to win the highest office in the state. That’s what happened in Georgia in 1966 when Lester Maddox, a folksy restaurateur and longtime failed candidate, was elected governor. After Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, forcing the desegregation of public accommodations in the South, Maddox leapt to public prominence by wielding an ax handle to chase away African-Americans who attempted to eat at his restaurant. He attracted the same voters that George Wallace won in neighboring Alabama — white Southerners embittered by social and political changes that they felt were being forced upon them by sanctimonious, out-of-touch elites."
For several years now, journalists and historians have compared Mr. Trump to George Wallace, but Wallace is just the tip of an iceberg. There is a much deeper tradition of demagogy in American politics — it runs like a bright line through the history of the South — to which Mr. Trump is heir. In Georgia, before Lester Maddox, there was Herman Talmadge, who led the forces of racist reaction following the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Talmadge supporters in the Georgia legislature altered the state flag to include the old Confederate battle flag as a symbol of Georgia’s defiance of the federal government. Before Herman there was his father, Eugene, a man who stoked some of the pride and a lot of the prejudices of white Georgians to advance his own political interests. In the midst of the Great Depression, when Georgia was among the poorest states in the nation, Eugene tried to build a national campaign by vilifying Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, which was the best and only hope that poor Georgians had to pull themselves out of an entrenched poverty that had bedeviled the state and region since the end of the Civil War.
History reminds us that, as repugnant as they are to their political opponents, demagogues like Mr. Trump are not easily defeated. In Georgia, the more that Atlanta’s newspaper editors and influential citizens castigated Eugene Talmadge as corrupt, uncouth and dangerous, the deeper his rural supporters dug in their heels. Ultimately, it wasn’t any moral reckoning that ended political machines like the Talmadges’; it was structural change, when the Supreme Court overturned Georgia’s county unit system, which had given disproportionate power to rural interests.
Even history has its limits. That’s because, as any historian will tell you, there’s no such thing as destiny. The future is merely what all of us make of it. That is why Wednesday night’s debate, and all of the Democratic primary and general elections to follow, is so important. In the Massive Resistance era, Georgia and the rest of the South eventually turned to honest, competent, responsible leaders. Lester Maddox was followed in office by Jimmy Carter, who, despite being the son of a loyal Gene Talmadge man, took office with an Inaugural Address declaring that “the time for racial discrimination is over.” He brought Georgians together across racial lines, and the state survived its brush with political demagogy. Whether or not Americans today will survive theirs remains unclear.
Joseph Crespino (@CrespinoJoe) is a history professor at Emory University and the author of, most recently, “Atticus Finch: The Biography — Harper Lee, Her Father, and the Making of an American Icon.”
Opinion | The Democrats Are in Georgia. The Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher. - The New York Times:
"I have spent my entire career at the messy and vital intersection of movement-building, electoral politics, and governance. And for the past three years, I’ve done that work under the debilitating weight of ALS, a deadly neurological illness that’s robbed me of my ability to do almost all the things that most people take for granted: hug my son, go for a walk with my newborn daughter, or speak to my wife. I was diagnosed three weeks before the 2016 presidential election, and I vividly remember wondering, on that tragic November night, whether I was going to die under President Donald Trump.
Why I’m Endorsing Elizabeth Warren | The Nation
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
"His family fled Ukraine when he was three and found refuge in the United States. He enlisted in army alongside his brothers, was wounded by a roadside bomb during a 2003 combat deployment in Iraq, and was later awarded a Purple Heart. He went on to earn a master’s degree from Harvard in Russian, eastern Europe and Central Asian studies and served at US embassies in Kyiv and Moscow.
'Here, right matters': Vindman stands ground amid Republican onslaught | US news | The Guardian
“On July 25, along with several of my colleagues, I listened to a call between President Trump and President Zelensky, the content of which has since been publicly reported. I found the July 25 phone call unusual because in contrast to other presidential calls I had observed, It involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter. “Dad, I’m sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol talking to our elected professionals — talking to our elected professionals, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth. It was improper for the president to request an — to demand an investigation into a political opponent, especially a foreign power where there is at best dubious belief that this would be a completely impartial investigation. What is it about the relationship between the president of the United States and the president of Ukraine that leads you to conclude that when the president of the United States asks a favor like this, it’s really a demand?” “Chairman, the culture I come from, the military culture, when a senior asks you to do something, even if it’s polite and pleasant, it’s not — it’s not to be taken as a request. It’s to be taken as an order. In this case, the power disparity between the two leaders — my impression is that in order to get the White House meeting, President Zelensky would have to deliver these investigations.” “In no way shape, or form in either readouts from the United States or Ukraine did you receive any indication whatsoever or anything that resembled a quid pro quo — is that correct?” “That’s correct.” “And the same would go for this new allegation of bribery?” “I’ve only seen an allegation of bribery in the last week.” “It’s the same common set of facts — it’s just instead of quid pro quo, now it’s bribery.” “I was never involved in anything that I considered to be bribery at all.” “O.K. Or extortion?” “Or extortion.” “O.K.” “Ambassador Volcker thinks it’s inappropriate to ask a foreign head of state to investigate a U.S. person, let alone a political rival. But you’ve said you had no concern with that. Do you think that’s appropriate?” “As a hypothetical matter, I do not.” “Well I’m not talking about a hypothetical matter. Read the transcript — in that transcript, does the president not ask Zelensky to look into the Bidens?” “Mr. Chairman, I can only tell you what I was thinking at the time. That is not what I understood the president to be doing.” “But nonetheless, this was the first and only time where you went from listening to a presidential call directly to the national security lawyer, is it not?” “Yes, that’s correct.” “Ms. Williams, on Sunday the president personally targeted you in a tweet. This is after he targeted Ambassador Yovanovitch during her hearing testimony. I’d like to show and read you the tweet. It reads: ‘Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read both transcripts of the presidential calls and see the just-released statement from Ukraine. Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know and mostly never even heard of, and work out a better presidential attack.’ Did that tweet make an impression on you when you read it?” “It certainly surprised me. I was not expecting to be called out by name.” “Lt. Col Vindman, did you discuss the July 25 phone call with anyone outside the White House on July 25 or the 26th? And if so, with whom?” “Yes, I did. I spoke to two individuals.” “And what agencies were these officials with?” “Department of State. And an individual in the intelligence community.” “What agency was this individual from?” “If I could interject here. We don’t want to use these proceedings —” “It’s our time, Mr. Chairman —” “I know, but we need to protect the whistle-blower.” “Lt. Col. Vindman, you testified in the deposition that you did not know who the whistle-blower was or is.” “I do not know who the whistle-blower is. That is correct.” “So how is it possible for you to name these people and then out the whistle-blower?” “Per the advice of my counsel, I’ve been advised not to answer specific questions about members of the intelligence community.” “You’re here to answer questions and you’re here under subpoena. So you can either answer the question or you can plead the Fifth.” “Excuse me. On behalf of my client, we are following the rule of the committee, the rule of the chair with regard to this issue. And this does not call for an answer that is invoking the Fifth or any theoretical issue like that. We’re following the ruling of the chair.” “What — counselor, what ruling is that?” “If I could interject: Counsel is correct. The whistle-blower has the right, statutory right to anonymity. These proceedings will not be used to out the whistle-blower.”
Officials Testify That Trump Requests on Ukraine Call Were Inappropriate - The New York Times
New York man pleads guilty to threatening to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar
Patrick W. Carlineo, Jr., 55, faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced. He allegedly called in threats to Omar's office.
A New York man pleaded guilty on Monday to threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar in March, prosecutors said.
Patrick W. Carlineo, Jr., 55, of Addison, a village southwest of Ithaca, pleaded guilty to threatening to assault and murder a United States official, and being a felon in possession of firearms, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York said in a statement.
Carlineo faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14.
Carlineo was arrested in April for the March 21 call to the offices of Omar, a Democrat who represents Minnesota.
During the call, he asked about the Muslim Brotherhood, called Omar a “terrorist” and said, “somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull," the prosecutor’s office said. Omar is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.
The staff member who reported the call recalled that he said, "I'll put a bullet in her (expletive) skull," the U.S. attorney's office said.
Carlineo's attorney, Sonya Zoghlin, said in an email to The Associated Press that Carlineo never intended to harm Omar.
"He has taken responsibility for using threatening and inappropriate language to express those beliefs in this instance," Zoghlin said.
Carlineo is a convicted felon and possessed a loaded .45-caliber handgun, three rifles, two shotguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at his home, prosecutors said. He was convicted of criminal mischief in 1998 and was legally barred from possessing a firearm.
James P. Kennedy, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, said the case highlights that rights of free speech carry responsibilities.
"The First Amendment right to freedom of speech carries with it the responsibility that individuals not make threats to harm lawmakers simply because they may disagree with them," Kennedy said in a statement. "The Second Amendment right to bear arms carries with it the responsibility that individuals who desire to possess firearms not commit felony crimes."
Opinion THE PRIVACY PROJECT ‘1984’ in China Communist leaders engage in modern-day totalitarian brainwashing, bizarre lies and industrial-level indoctrination to suppress Muslims.
‘1984’ in China
“Ying shou jin shou” — “Round up everyone who should be rounded up.”
The echo of “1984,” “Brave New World” or “Fahrenheit 451” is unmistakable. But this is not dystopian fiction. It’s a real bureaucratic directive prepared by the Chinese leadership, drawing on a series of secret speeches by Xi Jinping, China’s authoritarian leader, on dealing ruthlessly with Muslims who show “symptoms” of religious radicalism.
There’s nothing theoretical about it: Based on these diktats, hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims in the western Xinjiang region have been rounded up in internment camps to undergo months or years of indoctrination intended to mold them into secular and loyal followers of the Communist Party.
This modern-day totalitarian brainwashing is revealed in a remarkable trove of documents leaked to The New York Times by an anonymous Chinese official. The existence of these re-education camps has been known for some time, but nothing before had offered so lucid a glimpse into the thinking of China’s bosses under the fist of Mr. Xi, from the obsessive determination to stamp out the “virus” of unauthorized thought to cynical preparations for the pushback to come, including how to deal with questions from students returning to empty homes and untended farms.
The latter script is eerily Orwellian: Should students ask whether their missing parents had committed a crime, they are to be told no, “it is just that their thinking has been infected by unhealthy thoughts. Freedom is only possible when this ‘virus’ in their thinking is eradicated and they are in good health.”
That someone from within the unforgiving, secretive Chinese leadership would take the enormous risk of leaking 403 pages of internal documents to a Western newspaper is in itself amazing, especially since the documents include an 11-page report summarizing the party’s investigation into the activities of Wang Yongzhi, an official who was supposed to manage a district where Uighur militants had staged a violent attack but who eventually developed misgivings about the mass detention facilities he had built. “He refused,” said the report, “to round up everyone who should be rounded up.” After September 2017, Mr. Wang disappeared from public view.
It becomes clear from the documents that Mr. Xi is far more concerned by any challenge to the Communist Party’s image of strength than foreign reaction. Already in May 2014 he told a leadership conference, “Don’t be afraid if hostile forces whine, or if hostile forces malign the image of Xinjiang.” Accordingly, the Chinese government made no effort to deny the leaked documents, but rather portrayed the crackdown in Xinjiang as a major success against terrorism and accused The Times of smearing China’s “antiterrorism and de-extremism capabilities.”
What the documents really reveal is not an effective antiterrorism campaign, but rather the paranoia of totalitarian leaders who demand total fealty in thought and deed and recognize no method of control other than coercion and fear. Mr. Xi and other top government officials reveal in these papers a conviction that the Soviet Union collapsed because of ideological laxity and spineless leadership, and a top security official attributed terrorist attacks in Britain to the British government’s “excessive emphasis on ‘human rights above security.’” And Mr. Xi argued that new technology must be part of the broad campaign of surveillance and intelligence-gathering to root out dissidence in Uighur society, anticipating Beijing’s deployment of facial recognition, genetic testing and big data in Xinjiang.
Whoever leaked these revealing documents obviously disagreed and had the courage to do something about it. His or her brave action is a cry to the world.
International outrage could turn that into a wake-up call for China’s leaders, despite their totalitarian swagger, if the world begins to see them as pariahs, not just trading partners. The whistle-blower, and the untold thousands of Chinese Muslims suffering under the yoke of Mr. Xi, deserve that