Posted on

Sure, I’d be open to having a Republican VP

I can’t decide if this is innocuous bipartisan pandering which no one takes seriously or if it’s a meaningful mistake because it seems to confirm the left’s worst suspicions about him even though it’s obviously innocuous bipartisan pandering.

Realistically, what’s he supposed to say when asked if he’d consider a fusion ticket? His shtick for the past eight months has been that he’s a Democrat whom Republicans in Congress can and will do business with. He’s not a wild-eyed radical like Bernie Sanders whose programs are DOA so long as the filibuster exists. He’s Grandpa Joe, the gladhanding centrist who spent a thousand years in the Senate building friendships with the otherwise obstructionist GOP. And voters like that about him! In any poll, when asked whether the two parties should cooperate more or dig in and fight for their respective positions, voters on balance will say that they prefer cooperation. That’s what Joe’s offering them.

And he’s not offering much more. Biden’s running on two things, electability and ending America’s long-running political civil war. His overt bipartisan outreach is an answer to the obvious question, “Okay, let’s say he beats Trump. Then what?” Answer: As president, he’ll supposedly achieve what no president since Clinton has achieved in any meaningful way, bipartisan compromise on big-ticket legislation. Flirting with naming a Republican VP makes sense in that context.

Seems harmless enough. But if you were a lefty who already distrusted Biden as a centrist corporate sellout, how would it make you feel to hear him wheezing about putting a Republican on the ticket, even knowing that he’d certainly stick with a Democrat once the time came to actually nominate someone? It’d be a bit like if John Kasich, say, had floated the idea of a Democratic VP in 2016. Of course a RINO would want a lib on the ticket when he could have named any Republican to the seat, we’d sneer. Biden’s case is worse than the Kasich hypothetical, though, since he’s the frontrunner, not a marginal candidate whose squishy tendencies can be safely ignored. And he’s old enough that the prospect of him being succeeded in office by his Republican VP would be realistic. Biden’s pander is a smart one *if* his core problem next fall is winning over centrist swing voters, but I don’t think it is. If he’s the nominee, his core problem will be getting disaffected lefties alienated by Bernie Sanders’s defeat to show up for him instead of concluding that there’s no meaningful difference between four years of Biden and four more years of Trump.

The fact that both Biden and Trump are open to having a Republican as VP seems like not a great way to sharpen the distinction.

Lefty Ed Kilgore makes a fair point too in noting the second part of what Biden says in the clip:

But as the 2020 Democratic front-runner and the candidate whose vision of the future is most dependent on imaginary Republican friends, Biden has a special responsibility to explain how the GOP is going to be transformed and how quickly. It is very much the elephant in the corner in any discussion of a Biden presidency. If he thinks a Republican running mate in 2020 might be a good idea but literally cannot think of anyone who could play that role, it might be a good indication that he needs a Republican-free plan of action as president. Team Biden, moreover, needs to reflect on the possibility that pandering to swing-voter preferences for bipartisanship could have the unfortunate side effect of convincing those same swing voters that there’s no really compelling case for ejecting the GOP from power and substituting Democrats. If it takes two to tango, does it ultimately matter who takes the lead?

Right. Biden’s vision of a quiescent, cooperative GOP is a fantasy, particularly given the likelihood that he’d only serve one term and would enter office effectively a lame duck. He got a taste recently of how little cross-party friendships matter to politics in 2019 when his buddy Lindsey Graham decided to start looking into the Bidens’ business with Burisma after all. The most prominent centrist Republican in America right now is probably Mitt Romney, a guy whom tens of millions of Democrats opposed as too right-wing in 2012 and who’ll probably end up voting against removing Trump in the upcoming impeachment trial. It’s not a coincidence that the most outspoken GOP centrists, the people most likely to please Democrats, are either out of office (Kasich) or occupy state offices that allow them to fly under the radar of grassroots media (Charlie Baker, Larry Hogan). Republicans who hold federal office simply will not work with President Biden even if they want to for fear of being primaried. Which is probably why Joe blanked on whom he might name as VP: It’s Republican members of Congress who would naturally spring to mind in response to a question like that and there are *obviously* none of those who’d make the cut for a Democratic-led fusion ticket.

But let’s face it, Kasich, Baker, and Hogan wouldn’t make the cut either. Why would Biden, the supposedly electable centrist, need to go even further right in his VP pick by naming a Republican when there are perfectly good centrist Dems he could name? If anyone would need a liberal Republican like Hogan to balance the ticket, you would think it’d be Bernie or Elizabeth Warren, to reassure skittish voters that they’re not as radical as they seem.

Except … they are as radical as they seem, so they’d never take the chance of dying in office and bequeathing the fate of the progressive agenda to a GOP squish.

Kilgore makes another good point in Biden’s defense: His idea of a Republican VP is no more delusional than Bernie suggesting that his ascension to the presidency will ignite a political revolution in America that’ll pave the way for full communism or whatever. Democratic candidates are selling a lot of delusions this year, from big-picture structural change like Court-packing to the pricetags for their policy agenda to the extent of job disruption that their programs might potentially cause. Biden was guilty of that yesterday too, in fact, blithely assuring an audience that miners will be fine once he puts the coal industry out of business because they’ll just learn how to code instead, a remark not unlike one of Hillary’s more infamous lines from the 2016 campaign. That’s not the first time he’s said something like that recently either. For an “electable” candidate, he sure is chill about telling some blue-collar workers that they had better prepare to change careers whether they want to or not.

Posted on

Times Square New Years Celebration organizers adopt theme of climate change

With so much uncertainty about whether the climate will be able to sustain itself for the next decade, organizers of the annual Times Square New Years Eve Celebration are using the event this year to highlight the theme of climate change.

In a recently-released video, the group, Times Square NYC, says it’s chosen to highlight the work of climate activists at this year’s event. Notably, they’re inspired by young climate activist Greta Thunberg, who’s inspired young people across the globe to mobilize and skip school for the sake of the climate.

“In 2019, no topic seemed more talked about than climate change. It became clearer than ever that this problem needed to be solved,” said the group in a recently-released video.

“So this year, we are honoring all those who are working locally to solve the global problem, represented by: Two award-winning science teachers from NYC Public Schools and their students.”

The group will honor two New York City teachers, Jared Fox and Aida Rosenbaum, both received the Fund for the City of New York’s 11th annual Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics award earlier this year. They are also honoring students who participated in climate strikes inspired by Thunberg.

In previous years, the group honored United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, #MeToo founder Tarane Burke, and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to name a few.

Posted on

The Decade When Climate Change Became Real

Throughout 2006 and 2007, just after my son was born, I used to walk in the park with a much older communist friend. He would amuse the baby by feeding acorns to the squirrels, and he’d provide me with much-needed grownup conversation. A lifelong radical, active in the National Lawyers’ Guild, and an invaluable font of information on revolution in Nepal, my friend was emphatically unconcerned about at least one issue: climate change. He didn’t have any kids or grandkids, he explained, and by the time problems began to arise, he’d be dead. “I just don’t have any stake in it,” he’d say

Hardly any serious political person thinks this way anymore.

Humans have had access to the science on global warming since the 1980s at the latest. But the 2010s were the decade when climate change lost its abstraction, even to those of us living in rich countries.

Climate change moved from future to present tense. The 2010s were not the first moment in which humans experienced the effects of global warming. Nomadic peoples across the African continent had been losing food and water, others were slaughtered in resource wars, inhabitants of the Arctic Circle had been increasingly deprived of animals and fish they’d depended on for food, and thousands lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina and other not-so-natural disasters.

But this decade was different because millions of people with more social power began experiencing the effects of climate change.

Hurricane Sandy battered New York City in 2012, costing almost $70 billion in damage. Like all climate catastrophes, it hit the poor and working class the hardest: those living in public housing remained without electricity the longest, and some residents of the modest Rockaways are still rebuilding their homes. But it still hit the epicenter of the finance and media world, grabbing the fickle and fleeting attention of the ruling and professional classes. Heat waves across European capitals throughout the decade similarly alarmed the world’s most comfortably situated societies. This past year, wildfires — especially in the Amazon and in California — were even more terrifying.

Scientists gave us a deadline. Amid all this end-times chaos, many began to pay more attention when scientists issued their warnings. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been around since 1988 and has issued many reports in its more than thirty years of existence, but this year’s, which said that we had twelve years left to avoid irreversible damage to the planet, finally penetrated cultural consciousness.

The political became personal. This was the decade when people, especially the young, began to take the issue personally, asking how climate change might affect their own lives. With the looming specter of an intolerably warming planet, many people began to wonder whether there was any point in trying to go to school, struggling to pay off student loans, starting a family, and all the usual milestones of middle-class life that have in any case, in neoliberal America, become far more difficult to achieve than they ought to be.

A youth movement ignited. This was the decade when people — especially the young — began to block pipelines, flood the streets and hold sit-ins in politicians’ offices, demanding solutions to the environmental devastation that the global capitalist classes have wrought upon them. From the indigenous youth at Standing Rock, to Greta Thunberg outside the Swedish Parliament, to Isra Hirsi and the US Youth Climate Strike, to the Sunrise Movement.

Even politicians took notice. This was the decade when even in mainstream American politics, candidates — Democrats, at least — were forced to have a plan to address climate change. A brand-new socialist congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was the first national politician to propose solutions on the scale of the problem, with the Green New Deal. And as Tom Athanasiou observed recently in the Nation, Bernie Sanders was the first to propose a truly workable international approach to the problem, in which rich countries assume responsibility for our fair share of the problem.  But what a difference four years makes: while even Sanders hardly talked about the environment in 2016, in this cycle, even the bland neoliberals have been forced to at least have a plan to address climate change (indeed, for Jay Inslee and Tom Steyer, climate change was the main or only raison d’être for their campaigns).

Everyone began to get a little more radical. This was also the decade in which many began to understand that addressing climate change demands radicalism. The problem can’t be solved simply by changing our individual habits — recycling more, eating less meat — it demands a complete overhaul of our economic system. Carbon-friendly capitalism is not enough, but neither is socialism alone. We need to rethink everything.

Several forces threaten the survival of millions right now. Right-wingers funded by earth-destroying industries — and enjoying popular support from Fox News–watchers who fervently believe climate change is a liberal or foreign hoax — control large national governments like our own. But even in the United States, according to opinion polls, those concerned about climate change greatly outnumber the deniers; the problem is that those who are worried don’t know what to do. They need to be organized.

There is an apocalypticism coloring climate awareness that is not always helpful. Greta Thunberg says she wants us to panic. She is right. But we must panic without jumping off a bridge. Young people these days often say, “The world is ending,” or, “We’re all going to die.” That’s probably not accurate, at least not in our lifetimes. (In the worst case “human extinction” scenarios, millions of people could indeed die, but there is so much uncertainty and still so much we can do to avoid this.) Apocalypse, while it gets our attention, risks fueling comfortable fantasies of impotence. More likely, we will survive, but life will become far more complicated, as it has already for many around the world.

No giant meteor is going to save us from having to figure out how to mitigate climate change — nor from how to win socialism. In fact, the project of creating a more equitable and just society will grow even more urgent. If we are facing massive storms, food shortages and extreme weather, as scientists agree is likely, we certainly can’t tolerate any resource-hoarding elites.

(Of course, even if humanity really is doomed, winding down, beginning an eventual die-off, we will, in our waning years, need socialism more than ever. As the writer and DSA activist Tara Rose said on Twitter recently, if we lose this struggle with the climate, “I choose socialism for our species’ palliative care. We may as well go out looking after each other.”)

Through the din of preaching about all that environmentalists want us to give up — The Right claims AOC wants to take away your hamburgers! Some climate activists say we must all give up airplane travel! Don’t have a baby! Don’t even keep a pet! — the good news for our daily lives can be almost inaudible.

But the reality is that many of the solutions to climate change would make all of our lives better. AOC’s proposed Green New Deal would not only take huge steps toward a decarbonized future, it would move millions of people from dead-end, low-wage jobs into rewarding and socially useful careers.

As well, much of what we need to do to address climate change would lessen air pollution, which affects us profoundly right now. Air pollution not only injures our respiratory system, it causes changes in the human brain that are comparable to Alzheimer’s disease. Worldwide, air pollution killed 7 million people in 2016 alone, and in the United States, following bursts of considerable progress, air quality has worsened since then (we all know what happened in 2016). Children are especially vulnerable, not only because their physiology is still developing, but because they spend more time outside than adults do. Even moderate air pollution can damage our lungs as badly as smoking cigarettes.

Yet clean air is a remarkably achievable policy goal. Air pollution can be — and has often been, in the United States and elsewhere — addressed by regulating industry and urban traffic. Policy encouraging renewable energy can also help. All of this would also cool the climate — and not just for the future, nor for still-unborn or never-to-be-born grandkids.

This is for us. Just imagine being able to step outside in the summer, in a major city, anywhere in the world, and take a deep breath of clean air. I moved out of that neighborhood long ago, but maybe when the haze clears, I’ll call my old communist friend and see if he wants to take a walk.

Posted on

Peter Strzok accuses FBI of firing him as ‘political retribution’

Peter Strzok, the former FBI special agent whose anti-Trump texts were revealed in 2018, accused the FBI of firing him as “political retribution” for the president and of violating his constitutional rights.

Strzok, 49, who helped lead the FBI’s investigations into Hillary Clinton’s illicit private email server and into any connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians, responded Monday to a Justice Department motion to dismiss his wrongful termination lawsuit that alleges the Trump administration ignored his free speech and due process rights when they terminated him and made public thousands of his texts with FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

Strzok’s lawsuit alleged “the concerted public campaign to disparage and, ultimately, fire” him was enabled by a “deliberate and unlawful disclosure to the media” of his texts and by targeting by President Trump, who celebrated Strzok’s firing in a tweet and said in December that “these were evil people, and I hope that someday I’m going to consider it my greatest, or one of my greatest achievements, getting rid of them.”

Calling the DOJ argument “terrifying,” Strzok’s legal team argued Monday that if the court dismissed the case “there is no remedy, and indeed no administrative or judicial review, for a career federal employee who is fired for privately expressing political opinions deemed to be disloyal to the President even after the FBI official responsible for the Bureau’s disciplinary process decided that termination was not the appropriate consequence” then “it would subject thousands of midlevel managers in the federal government to punishment for expressing their opinions about candidates for national office in private water cooler conversations.”

Candice Will, assistant director at the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, recommended Strzok be demoted and suspended for 60 days without pay in 2018, sharply criticizing the dozens of Strzok-Page texts showing pro-Clinton and anti-Trump bias and citing his affair with Page in a letter sent to him. But FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich overruled her, and the FBI fired Strzok the next day. Strzok was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in 2017 because of the texts.

But Strzok’s lawyers claimed “his firing by the Deputy Director of the FBI after Mr. Strzok had already entered into a binding agreement to accept demotion and suspension was indeed a politically-motivated achievement of President Trump and his political allies tied to a politically-motivated effort to use Mr. Strzok’s text messages to discredit investigations of the President and his campaign.”

And Strzok said he’d been largely vindicated by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

“Two lengthy and exhaustive investigations by the DOJ Office of the Inspector General concluded that Strzok’s political opinions had no impact on his work,” Strzok’s legal team said. “Both reports criticized, among other things, politically charged texts exchanged between Strzok and a government attorney, Lisa Page. The reports also concluded that there was no evidence that [Strzok’s] political opinions impacted his work on either the Clinton or Russia investigations.”

But the DOJ watchdog had criticized Strzok in his June 2018 report on the FBI’s inquiry into Clinton in 2016, noting he “did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision” that Strzok’s handling of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails found on disgraced former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop “was free from bias.”

And Horowitz’s December 2019 report on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses ended with the DOJ inspector general unable to determine whether the FBI’s repeated failures were due to “sheer gross incompetence” or “intentional misconduct.”

Strzok’s lawyers claimed he was the victim of “an orchestrated campaign by the President of the United States to pressure the FBI into firing Strzok because of the content of his speech” and said his arguments are “bolstered by a seemingly endless stream of decidedly unpresidential tweets, President Trump’s accusations that Strzok committed treason, and by contemporaneous news accounts of the President personally imploring the Attorney General and the FBI Director to fire Strzok.”

The DOJ said Strzok’s “lapses in judgment embodied in those messages and others like them risked undermining public confidence in two of the Bureau’s highest-profile investigations” and “risked damaging the public trust in the FBI as a nonpartisan, even-handed, and effective law enforcement institution — trust that is essential to the FBI’s ability to vigorously enforce the nation’s laws without fear or favor.”

But Strzok’s lawyers said “it is a bit rich for this administration to be criticizing Mr. Strzok’s decorum when the President has repeatedly used the most inflammatory and vulgar language to attack Mr. Stzrok” and claimed that “this pattern, which is ongoing and has included false charges of treason and restraining orders, reached its ugly (thus far) peak at a rally in Minneapolis in October 2019, at which Mr. Trump mimicked Mr. Strzok having an orgasm before tens of thousands of jeering supporters, thereby completing the President’s debasement of the office once held by Lincoln and Washington.”

Posted on

The Worst People of 2019

If Jacobin had our own Person of the Year, like Time magazine does, we’d probably choose someone like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Sara Nelson, though Time’s recognition of Greta Thunberg was also nice to see. But enough positivity! Let’s talk about 2019’s worst people, those of whom we fervently hope we’ve seen the last, each a cancer on the body politic in their own unique way.

Current heads of state like Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, and Narendra Modi deserve inclusion, as does Boris Johnson, but they are disqualified since there’s no possibility of them exiting our lives quickly, although the Brazilian president was hospitalized after a fall over Christmas, so that’s a start. Cheeringly, we heard precious little this year from some of the people who made 2017 and 2018 so awful, like Nazi Richard Spencer, hipster-fascist Milo Yiannopoulos, and far-right mall predator Roy Moore, so at least we know we can dream.

Here are some people we hope will vanish from the public sphere for good in 2020.

The whole Koch family. The Koch family is an enormous source of funding for the libertarian right, and has, in recent decades, been a significant force fueling both climate change denial and the policy onslaught against what’s left of our fragile social safety net. David Koch died this summer (progress!) but his brother Charles is unfortunately still alive and wreaking destruction.

Bret Stephens. I recently learned there is a German word for “punchable face.” Just take a look at this guy:

Bret Stephens, professional backpfeifengesicht.

The New York Times recently had to append a long editors’ note to a column of his that had cited a study “showing” a genetic basis for the superior intelligence of Ashkenazi Jews that was — oops! — coauthored by a known racist. Amid a wave of violence against Jews throughout the New York City area, last week was a surreal time to elevate Nazi science.

Curtis Sliwa. In the wake of that same profoundly horrifying wave of antisemitic violence, Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, announced that the vigilante group would be patrolling Jewish neighborhoods. The group has also been patrolling Morningside Park since the recent murder of a Barnard student. All this might sound well-intentioned if you didn’t know the history of the Guardian Angels. Now an international organization, the group became prominent during the 1980s crime wave in New York City. Sliwa played a sinister role in fanning the flames of white racism in the ’80s and has even admitted to fabricating accounts of his own kidnapping. He’s now a right-wing radio host and NY1 commentator, in which capacity he distinguishes himself by being spectacularly unfunny as well as racist. The Guardian Angels aren’t a group that should be elevated right now; their visibility risks fanning white paranoia and anti-black racism, which leads easily to an ugly conservative populism. Sliwa especially is not a person from whom either women or Jews should seek solidarity or protection.

Hillary Clinton. When will she stop? Every time she speaks, she drags us back into the mire of 2016. In a recent interview with Howard Stern, she revealed herself to have gone full helicopter beanie, implying that both Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein were Russian assets and claiming that Bernie hurt her campaign by taking too long to endorse her. All of which is as flatly false as Alex Jones’s claim that chemicals in the water turn frogs gay.

Pete Buttigieg. If I’ve already said too much about this corporate tool, it’s his own fault for being so terrible. Groomed by the scariest regime-change advocates of the intelligence establishment — as Sam Finkelstein and Max Blumenthal have been reporting— his endorsements include numerous CIA operatives, including David Cohen, a leading architect of sanctions against North Korea, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela, a policy responsible for tens of thousands of  preventable deaths. Mayor Pete has also been endorsed by several horrifying architects of Trump’s regime change efforts in Venezuela.

Bill Kristol. Actually, all Republican Never-Trump pundits and politicians. We welcome Never-Trump Republican voters — we hope they will vote for Bernie Sanders in the primary, or at least vote for whoever is the Democrat in November — but these pundits are a special kind of cynical. All these years, they espoused and promoted a breathtakingly cruel and vapid politics — in Kristol’s case, encouraging Sarah Palin to run for VP, to take just one example — and suddenly this vulgar reality TV star is just taking things a little too far for them?

Travis Kalanick. The former CEO and founder of Uber, creator of one of the worst business models for workers even in neoliberal America, responsible for numerous taxi driver suicides in New York City as well as rampant sexual harassment at headquarters, resigned his board seat at the company on Christmas Eve, after selling off most of his Uber shares. These developments offer reason for hope that he might be disappearing from public view, although, of course, being a billionaire, he’ll probably crawl back from the wreckage like some particularly gross and resilient cockroach.

Rachel Maddow. She used to be an intelligent, well-informed liberal, a charming policy nerd whose rational, well-researched perspective made cable TV a little less brayingly stupid. No more. She’s turned into a nutty, dishonest Russia-obsessed hack, a sad development noted even by the Washington Post.

Giant sinkholes of the world, do your thing!

Posted on

Elizabeth Warren’s New Year’s Message: ‘We Come Together to Imagine’

BOSTON — Marking a year since she began her campaign for president, and seeking to frame the final five-week sprint to Iowa, where much of her candidacy hinges, Senator Elizabeth Warren urged her supporters to “imagine that something better lies on the other side of the chaos and ugliness of the last three years” in a major speech on Tuesday.

Ms. Warren, who surged to the front of the Democratic field in early fall but has since receded, warned her party against “thinking small” in 2020 as she pitched her sweeping agenda. “Americans do big things,” she said forcefully. “That’s who we are.”

Speaking at the historic Old South Meeting House in Boston, where revolutionaries plotted and organized against the British in the 1770s and planted the seeds of the American Revolution, the senior Massachusetts senator repeatedly asked her supporters — and would-be supporters — to envision a new America under a President Warren.

“Today we come together to imagine,” Ms. Warren said, using variations of “imagine” roughly 50 times as she ticked off plans for providing universal health care, wiping away student loan debt, tackling climate change, addressing gender and racial inequities and curbing the power of money in politics.

She cast 2020 as “our chance to rewrite the rules of power in our country.”

“The billionaires, the corporate executives and their favorite presidential candidates have one clear goal: to convince you that everything you imagine is impossible,” she said, sharpening her contrast with Democratic rivals like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., who have aggressively courted large contributors.

“You better believe the big donors know which candidates for president are on their side,” she added, offering something of a rebuttal to Mr. Buttigieg, who has criticized Ms. Warren for her pursuit of such donors before she began her presidential campaign. Their goal, she said, was “to convince you that reform is hopeless — to convince you that because no one can be pure, it’s pointless to try to make anything better.”

A year ago, Ms. Warren became the first major candidate to enter the 2020 primary, getting a jump on her rivals but stumbling out of the blocks. She struggled early on to raise money and to turn the page on her decision in late 2018 to take a DNA test about her claimed Native American ancestry, for which she later apologized. But by spring and summer, a drumbeat of policy proposals — “I have a plan for that” became her mantra — and her skills as a campaigner helped lift her out of the pack of candidates to emerge as one of the leading challengers to Mr. Biden, who has led in national polls all year.

Now, with voting only weeks away, Ms. Warren faces political challenges in almost every direction.

On the left, she has been unable to consolidate the party’s liberal base, with a loyal and substantial bloc remaining aligned with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. In the middle, Mr. Buttigieg has emerged as a significant threat, wresting away some of the base of more educated, white voters she had built over the summer and early fall. And among black voters — a crucial Democratic constituency — Mr. Biden’s hold has remained as durable as ever.

But Ms. Warren’s potential to win over a significant share of all those groups is why so many of her opponents see her as politically potent as the calendar turns to 2020.

Among the urgent tasks for Ms. Warren is to build support among communities of color, and in particular among black voters, and she used the biography and poetry of Phillis Wheatley, who was enslaved in the 1700s, throughout her speech on Tuesday.

“Black history — American history — has shown us the way to the America of our highest ideals,” she said. “A road map of resistance and endurance in the fight to transform the heart of our nation.”

Ms. Warren, who has vividly diagnosed the woes of America as stemming from corruption, sought an uplifting tone on Tuesday, speaking with what she called “a heart filled with optimism.”

“People tell me what’s broken, but the fear always comes lit by a hope for change,” she said, in an echo of President Barack Obama’s famous slogan. “Hope for change because they believe in America, and in each other. And I believe, too.”

But it was not all positivity before a packed house of nearly 700, including supporters and many staff members from her nearby headquarters.

Ms. Warren delivered a harsh indictment of the Republican Party under President Trump, saying, “Republicans in Congress have turned into fawning, spineless defenders of his crimes.” And she all but predicted that Mr. Trump would be acquitted in an impeachment trial in the Senate, warning that “Donald Trump will be emboldened to try to cheat his way through yet another election.”

As she does at all her rallies and town hall events, she ended by offering to take pictures with everyone in attendance.

Posted on

Impeachment of Trump Is Backfiring Already

Commentary

The House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Dec. 18. As I write this column, it is now Dec. 28.

So, 10 days have passed, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) continues to refuse to send the articles to the Senate, so that a trial may begin.

After more than two months of Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Pelosi stressing how vitally important it was to rush impeachment to a vote in the House—since it was claimed there were very real national security issues at stake—suddenly, the Democratic leadership has slammed on the brakes and it appears they now have all the time in the world.

Anyone who thought this impeachment sham was really all about the election next year is starting to have that view confirmed by this sudden inaction.

The Democratic talking point for the next year is going to be that Trump can’t function as a “real” president, while strongly implying that he’s lost some or even all of his executive powers due to being impeached. This would be incorrect, as a brief glance at the last impeachment of an American president will demonstrate.

When Bill Clinton was impeached in the House in December of 1998 and subsequently acquitted following a Senate trial in January 1999, no one was pretending he was then an illegitimate president who couldn’t function. Literally no one at the time advanced the argument that being impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate somehow clipped Clinton’s presidential wings.

Clinton’s signatures on legislation weren’t refused because he had been impeached for committing the crime of perjury. No court overturned his executive orders issued in 1999 and 2000 because he had been impeached.

Clinton still gave the State of the Union address in both 1999 and 2000. This is why almost immediately after the House impeachment vote, Pelosi sent a letter to the still-President Donald Trump, inviting him to give the annual State of the Union address to the Congress on Feb. 3.

Clinton also kept all of his powers as commander-in-chief of the United States’ military, despite having been impeached. No argument was made by anyone that he could no longer give orders to the Joints Chiefs, as U.S. forces were active in Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Yemen, and elsewhere at the time.

Clinton’s impeachment really wasn’t that long ago, and many of those in the current political and news media establishments were around to cover it at the time.

Fake Crimes for a Fake Impeachment

Trump has been impeached for two invented crimes:

  1. Abuse of Power, which apparently means doing things Democrats don’t like in a manner that Democrats do not approve, and
  2. Obstruction of Congress, which boils down to not giving the Democrats in Congress what they demand when they demand it.

The Clinton impeachment happened midway through his second term, but had it happened in the first term, would anyone have broached the idea that it would be illegal for him to run for reelection as an impeached president? Would the Democrats have assented to this proposition if Republicans had asserted it?

This impeachment sham strategy was created with one single purpose in mind: to try to sabotage Trump’s chances to win his reelection bid next November.

Thus far, this strategy appears to have massively backfired. Public support for Trump’s impeachment didn’t increase during the closed and then open hearings in the House; instead, it decreased, even among Democrats, as the more recent polls demonstrate.

Obstinately pressing forward with impeachment also resulted in another record fundraising month for Trump and the Republican Party, which just recorded its best November ever, at $20.6 million raised from donors, many of them small donors.

That fundraising bonanza stands in stark contrast to that of the Democratic Party, which is currently more than $7 million in debt while having just over $6 million in cash on hand.

If this impeachment strategy was intended to boost the Democratic Party’s fundraising fortunes and energize its base, it appears not only to have failed but to have thrown all the momentum to the other side of the political aisle.

Far from being depressed and disorganized as a response to the impeachment of their president, the GOP base is energized and active.

It’s precisely because the Democrats won the House in the 2018 midterms that they have trapped themselves in this present situation. Had they remained out of power, there would have been no impeachment theater.

The overconfidence engendered by the House victory seems to have convinced the Democratic Party leadership that America was ready to embrace socialist radicalism.

Far from hiding the radical nature of the total transformation they plan for America, Democrats and their presidential candidates have decided to be quite open and proud of it.

And that could very well end up being their ultimate undoing.

Brian Cates is a writer based in South Texas and the author of “Nobody Asked For My Opinion…But Here It Is Anyway!” He can be reached on Twitter @drawandstrike.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Posted on

Joe Biden would nominate Barack Obama to Supreme Court ‘if he’d take it’

During an event in Washington, Iowa, over the weekend, Biden was asked if he would nominate Obama, his former boss, to the Supreme Court.

“If he’d take it, yes,” Biden replied.

He continued to explain that he would appoint to the court the kind of people who see the Constitution as a “living” document, highlighting that “I said years ago, I’ll be satisfied when half the court is women.”

The idea of appointing Obama to the Supreme Court has come up before, with 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton calling it a “great idea” when she was on the campaign trail. He would also not be the first president to switch branches — former President William Howard Taft was the 27th president before serving as the 10th chief justice of the Supreme Court.

But Obama himself has questioned whether he would have the temperament for the monastic life of sitting in chambers writing opinions.

“When I got out of law school, I chose not to clerk,” he told CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin in a 2014 story in The New Yorker. “Partly because I was an older student, but partly because I don’t think I have the temperament to sit in a chamber and write opinions.”

“I love the law, intellectually,” Obama continued. “I love nutting out these problems, wrestling with these arguments. I love teaching. I miss the classroom and engaging with students. But I think being a justice is a little bit too monastic for me. Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more.”

Posted on

Mason-Dixon Poll: Joe Biden Holds Slim Lead Over Donald Trump in Fla.

Forty-seven percent of Florida voters favor former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, compared to 45% who support President Donald Trump, a new Mason-Dixon poll reveals.

The results, detailed in a report from NBC 6 Miami, fall within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Trump polled better against other Democrats vying for the presidential nomination.

The poll results show:

  • 51% back Trump, while 42% favor Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
  • 49% support the president, compared to 44% who back Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
  • 49% favor Trump, while 45% support South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The poll, conducted Dec. 11-16, surveyed 625 registered voters in Florida.


© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.