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Leaked Emails Show White House Rejected Ariana Grande After #DonutGate

Huffingon Post Politics - Sat, 2016-07-23 13:15

How many licks does it take to get the White House to reject you? 

According to an email Wikileaks published in a massive hack of the Democratic National Committee database on Friday, just one. After pop star Ariana Grande was captured on video in 2015 licking donuts she had no intention of buying, the singer seemingly tried to recover from the ensuing scandal with a performance at a White House gala. 

In a correspondence between DNC Finance Chair Zachary Allen and White House employees, he asks for officials to vet Grande.

Even though the 23-year-old’s criminal and financial record seems to be problem-free, the fallout from #DonutGate proved to be too controversial for Washington, according to Gawker. 

What follows is highly detailed analysis of the controversy with particular attention paid to Grande’s “I hate America” comment in the video, which she later profusely apologized for in two lengthy YouTube posts. The reaction of Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) to the scandal is also flagged as a potential issue. Duncan called out America’s “double standard” for protecting Grande, while lambasting presidential hopeful Donald Trump for his anti-Mexican rhetoric

The singer’s defense of her brother Frankie Grande is included in the report as well, after the singer shut down homophobic commenters on Twitter. 

“He is incredible and i am SO proud!!!!,” she wrote at the time. “Oh and also ‘that homo’ gets more a** than you’ll ever get in your life. k miss thing?”

Summarizing the charges brought against Grande, staffer Kevin Snowden wrote, “Ariana Butera-video caught her licking other peoples’ donuts while saying she hates America; Republican Congressman used this video and said it was a double standard that liberals were not upset with her like they are with Trump who criticized Mexicans; cursed out a person on Twitter after that person used an offensive word towards her brother.”

To which White House employee Bobby Schmuck replied, “Nope, sorry.”

Read the full email correspondence here

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Elizabeth Warren Teams Up With Barack Obama To Tout Wall Street Reform

Huffingon Post Politics - Sat, 2016-07-23 12:41

WASHINGTON ― Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined President Barack Obama for the White House’s weekly address to tout actions the administration has taken to reform Wall Street and reduce the risk of another financial crisis.

“President Obama delivered. He signed into law the toughest Wall Street reforms and strongest consumer protections in generations. Trust me ― I’m a pretty tough grader,” said Warren, a former professor at Harvard Law School. “These new rules are making our financial system more transparent, getting rid of a lot of fine print, and making sure that if a bank screws up, you have someone to call so you don’t get stuck with the bill.”

Before Warren was elected to the Senate in 2012, she played an essential role in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a government consumer advocate. Senate Republicans blocked Warren from heading up the agency.

“Before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you didn’t have a strong ally to turn to if your bank took advantage of you, or you were being harassed or charged inappropriate fees,” Obama said. “Now you do.”

Republicans have repeatedly attacked the agency, trying to limit its budget and create more bureaucracy that would make it more difficult for the agency to act.

Warren appeared with Obama a day after Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton announced that she would choose Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) as her running mate. Warren was also a contender for the ticket.

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Bill Maher Reveals '25 More Things You Don't Know' About Hillary Clinton

Huffingon Post Politics - Sat, 2016-07-23 04:04

Bill Maher has been imagining what Hillary Clinton’s rivals would say in Us Weekly’s “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me,” ever since the Democratic nominee answered the magazine’s questions herself in April.

In recent weeks, the “Real Time with Bill Maher” host has poked fun at Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. And this week, with the Democratic National Convention just days away, it was Clinton’s turn to be spoofed.

"It takes me 72 hours to be spontaneous" & more from Hillary Clinton's upcoming feature in @USWeekly.https://t.co/5BmlnkUjSy

— Real Time (@RealTimers) July 23, 2016

“We’ve done a bunch of the other candidates and we thought we’d circle back because this is her big week coming up,” Maher said Friday, before letting loose with such wisecracks as her “secret service codename is ‘Nutcracker” and she is surprised nobody’s noticed “that I’ve switched from pantsuits to space suits.”

Check out the clip above to see what else was included in the list.

Here’s how Maher previously spoofed Sanders:

This is how Maher imagined Ted Cruz would reply:

And here are Donald Trump’s fictional responses:

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Bill Maher: Donald Trump Stole His RNC Speech From A 'Saw' Movie

Huffingon Post Politics - Sat, 2016-07-23 03:15

Bill Maher says Melania wasn’t the only Trump plagiarizing on the stump at the Republican National Convention.

The “Real Time” host joked that her reality TV star turned GOP presidential candidate husband also stole lines for his own address — but from the “Saw” horror movie franchise.

Did you see Donald Trump’s speech?” Maher asked his audience Friday night. “If that speech was any darker it would have been shot by the police.”

"Move over Jesus, there's a new savior in town!" - @billmaher on Donald Trump's messiah complex.

— Real Time (@RealTimers) July 23, 2016

The comedian said the speech’s content ― which saw Trump stoking fear over, among others, undocumented immigrants and terrorists ― actually made him “nostalgic for the light-hearted remarks of Rudy Giuliani.”

“He (Trump) used the word ‘violence’ a dozen times, the word ‘murder’ a half-dozen times — and that was just the part about Ted Cruz,” Maher added, before mocking Trump’s messiah complex.

Check it out in the clip above.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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A Sorrowful Farewell To Baton Rouge Officer Matthew Gerald

Huffingon Post Politics - Sat, 2016-07-23 01:12

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BATON ROUGE, La. ― Matthew Gerald, a 41-year-old rookie police officer who was one of three lawmen shot to death last week by a gunman who targeted police, was remembered Friday at an emotional service attended by thousands of mourners and police officers from around the nation.

“For Matthew Gerald, being a cop wasn’t just what he did, it was who he was,” said Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr., whose voice broke several times as he eulogized the slain officer. “He served with honor [and] our hearts are broken.”

Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Ken Spivey spoke about Gerald’s commitment to the military, the police department and his family.

“Following his graduation from Central High School, Matt initially pursued a career in the military,” Spivey said. “He achieved the rank of U.S. Army specialist, earning four air medals. In addition, he was a Black Hawk crew chief, a corporal in the United States Marines and also completed three tours of duties in Iraq. Matt relentlessly showed others good through his own actions ... The love of his life, however, was his family. Matt was an amazing husband, son, father and a friend.”

Gerard’s funeral was held five days after a gunman opened fire in Baton Rouge, killing Gerard, Baton Rouge Officer Montrell Jackson, 32, and Brad Garafola, 45, of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. Three other officers were wounded.

The gunman, identified by police as Gavin Long, a former Marine from Missouri who authorities say targeted the officers, was fatally shot by a SWAT team.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that these officers were intentionally targeted and assassinated,” Col. Michael Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, said Monday. “It was a calculated act.”

Garafola will be buried on Saturday. Jackson’s funeral is set for Monday.

In the days before the Louisiana shootings, demonstrators had been demanding justice for victims of police brutality, particularly Alton Sterling, who was killed here on July 5.

Two days later, a sniper killed five law enforcement officers at a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, citing revenge for recent police shootings as a motive.

The day after police killed Sterling, a 37-year-old father of five, an officer shot and killed Philando Castile, 32, during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. The shootings of both black men were caught on videos that were widely shared, and sparked renewed calls for reforming police use of force and the criminal justice system.

During Gerard’s funeral, Chief Dabadie expressed frustration at media reports critical of his agency’s handling of protestors.

“The media has blasted us for what we do and how we do it,” Dabadie said. “Basically, portraying law enforcement as these bunch of bullies who go around and beat people up … We’re not bullies. We’re protecting our communities and they’re throwing us under the bus for it and that’s wrong.”

Also speaking at Friday’s service was Kip Holden, mayor-president of East Baton Rouge Parish, who asked everyone to set aside their differences and join together.

“A community in mourning should evaluate itself and say, ‘What else can I do to make my community better,’” Holden said. “The men and women who dawn that uniform are here for all of us.”

Gerald’s wife, Dechia, who attended the funeral with daughters Dawclyn and Fynleigh, did not speak at the funeral. However, she did write a letter, which was distributed to mourners. In it, she said her husband was driven to become a police officer, something she supported and felt made their marriage stronger.

“Ultimately, the only thing stronger than his love for the red, white and blue was his love for us,” she wrote.

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Stephen Colbert's Winning Week

Huffingon Post Politics - Sat, 2016-07-23 01:03

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The Reality Show That Never Ends

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 22:49
The law and order guy was on the other night. He talked about how violence was up, killings were high and that there was a need to restore "law and order." The whole tone of the presentation was almost apocalyptic, "watch out or the world as we know it will be over in five minutes." The guy then added, "Oh, by the way, I understand all of this and I'm the only one who can fix it."

Really? Whatever happened to the admonition of being wary of messiahs? This messiah to be is not in the form of an itinerant preacher, rather one who wears expensive suits and strikes a silhouette pose a la Alfred Hitchcock.

The movie "The Truman Show" cleverly chronicled the life of Truman Burbank, a character portrayed by Jim Carrey , who believed that his entire thirty-year life was being broadcast on television.

Somehow, watching the events of this campaign season reminds me of "The Truman Show". A candidate spins a narrative and promotes a campaign where countless things are said, constant disparaging remarks about individuals and whole classes of people are made and yet incredulously there is little or no substance behind any of the rhetoric.

In the movie "Schindler's List", the protagonist character Oscar Schindler is heard to say: "I don't do the work. I do the presentation."

But unlike Oscar Schindler who really saved the lives of hundreds of Jewish people who would have met their death in concentration camps without his intervention, the law and order guy doesn't appear to be doing much work at all. He is, however, very big on the presentation.

Reality television works because it sells a fantasy. Viewers watch these shows in order to get a voyeuristic bird's eye view of the trials and travails = and vicissitudes of people's lives, especially the lives of celebrities.

What is unique about this current political season is that it resembles a reality show that never ends. The carnival barker is here displaying his promotional wares and programs for sale. There is a lot of bravado, but there isn't much of anything else. When the carnival barker gets mad, he then threatens.

Whenever times of economic and political uncertainty emerge, there is usually the accompaniment of anxiety and fear. Needless to say, fear and anxiety have been capitalized greatly by the law and order guy this election season.

Can we proceed as a country that is motivated by continuing hope and promise, certainty and optimism in terms of who we are as a people and nation? I hope we can. The tumult of the carnival midway and the endless reality show we have witnessed should give pause for concern by all.

We need to ask anyone who would be a potential leader for all of us to give us much more than an empty bombastic reality show. Our country and our world need much more concentrated collaborative thought, policy enactment, governance and above all leadership.

May it be so.

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Trump's Acceptance Speech As Seen By The Algorithms

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 22:25
The tech-savvy (except Peter Theil) have shown no love for the newly announced Republican candidate throughout the nominating process. I figured it was time to look at Trump's speech in the tech world's own lingo -- algorithms. So, I called Fergal McGovern who runs a company called VisibleThread. The company analyzes documents much like tools that analyze data. The company's software is used to test and audit written content for risk and content quality, with customers including Boeing, Intel, Accenture and Fannie Mae. We asked VisibleThread to look at the usage of certain terms (say Hillary or Make America) and to look at overall readability.

Trump scores a speech that is ranked at the 8th-grade reading level overall. Trump's speech used lots of passive voice, which, according to McGovern is often used by politicians to avoid attribution. "Mistakes were made" is a good example of this. Long sentences with passive voice like the ones below were frequent:

At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community because I'll tell you what, the support they have given me, and I'm not sure I totally deserve it has been so amazing and has had such a big reason for me being here tonight. So true. They have so much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits. An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. Their voice has been taken away.

As for content, we flagged certain words in the transcript. Not counting the shouts of the audience, Hillary was mentioned 11 times in the speech, followed by terrorism with 9 mentions.

The word America ruled the evening being used 24 times with descriptors including:

America First
America first!
America fist
America Great
America Proud
America Safe
America Strong

Following the use of America, "our country" and "people" were the second most used terms with a variety of qualifiers -- rich people, working people, young people, innocent people. Trade -- bad trade agreements, disastrous trade deals, our horrible and unfair trade deals, trade violations -- was never talked about in a positive light. The contextual words surrounding immigrants included illegal, recent, security, unlawful migration, radical, dangerous and uncontrolled.

Other concepts discussed included Islamic in the context of "radicals" and "terrorists." Work, another frequent theme, was modified by terms like laid off, factory and steel.

There'll be lots of analysis of this speech, and from the looks of it, humans still add an insight that word analytics programs can't. Based on the most frequently words used, you'd be hard pressed to call this speech uplifting, but in terms of data analysis it's pretty pro forma long sentence, passive voice politics.

Other points of interest? Giuliani spoke at a Grade 5 reading level while Melania upped that to 7th grade. She used longer sentences and less passive voice.

Stay tuned for Hillary Clinton's analysis next week.

Robin Raskin is founder of Living in Digital Times (LIDT), a team of technophiles who bring together top experts and the latest innovations that intersect lifestyle and technology. LIDT produces conferences and expos at CES and throughout the year focusing on how technology enhances every aspect of our lives through the eyes of today's digital consumer.

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Some Republicans Think, Fingers Crossed, That Trump Could Make The GOP More Inclusive

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 21:52

CLEVELAND ― To his biggest critics, Donald Trump is a fearmongering, misogynistic, racist xenophobe. But many GOP voters at the Republican National Convention this week saw the real estate mogul quite differently: as the man who could save the Republican Party by making it more socially liberal and inclusive.

“It’s a great thing,” said Kris Beach, 63, of Port Charlotte, Florida, referring to Trump moving the party in a more socially liberal direction. “Don’t forget the Republicans are the ones that voted for the Civil Rights Act of ‘64,” Beach told The Huffington Post.

Jim Wood, a lifelong Republican, noted that Trump is less focused on social issues than past GOP candidates, but he said, “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

His wife Cindy wants to see the party welcome more minorities and thinks Trump will make progress in the coming months. “I saw Omarosa yesterday. She’s hopeful. I’m hopeful,” Cindy Wood said, referring to the former “Apprentice” contestant who is now director of African-American outreach for the Trump campaign.

“I mean there’s a lot that still needs to change,” Wood said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

That these hopes don’t seem to match with their presidential nominee’s much more negative image is something Trump supporters blame on the media.

“They’re painting him as the king of all racists,” said James Davis, a 46-year-old African-American pastor from Cleveland. But Davis said he knows Trump personally and has never “heard him say one thing that is remotely directly racist.” 

Davis and another Cleveland area pastor, Darrell Scott, helped organize the meeting between Trump and 100 or so black religious leaders back in November, and Davis at least came away favorably impressed by Trump’s talk of rebuilding inner cities.

Scott, who also spoke at the convention, told HuffPost, “We know he’s not a racist, we know he’s not a xenophobe.”

Jim Wood doesn’t give much weight to some of the extreme things that Trump has said, like his proposal to deport 11 million undocumented people. “It’s like how every other politician says things that aren’t going to happen,” Wood said.

We no longer live in Reagan’s America where pot is still bad, gays are still evil and the whole world just goes round and round by Jesus.
Louis Rockefeller, a young Arkansas Republican

Others view Trump’s inflammatory remarks as evidence that he’s a straight-talker who speaks his mind bluntly ― and then gets misinterpreted.

“This political correctness has got us so messed up,” said one supporter.

“Every time a politician [says] something that is interpreted as being wrong, the second they find out, they have to come out and make an apology,” said 20-year-old Louis Rockefeller, a scion of the politically active Arkansas branch of the Rockefeller family. “With Trump, he just doubles down. ... He just doesn’t give a damn.” 

After having lunch and speaking with Trump at an event his family hosted recently, Rockefeller said he now thinks that Trump could steer the party in a positive direction ― pushed along by the younger generation, perhaps.

“We no longer live in Reagan’s America where pot is still bad, gays are still evil and the whole world just goes round and round by Jesus,” he said.

But not everyone is buying that view. 

Julie Williams, a flutist who performed with the Cleveland Orchestra at a convention event on Monday, doesn’t consider Trump to be a positive figure within the GOP and doesn’t believe he’s moving the party to the left on social issues.

“He’s trying to exclude a lot of people. I don’t think that’s liberal at all,” the 42-year-old said.

Though a registered Republican, Williams will not be voting for Trump.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.

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Hillary Clinton Does Not Understand Her Own Supporters

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 21:38

WASHINGTON ― Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential choice was her first true opportunity to alert the various constituencies that make up the Democratic Party of her governing agenda.

By choosing Tim Kaine, a senator from Virginia with an “Ah guys let’s be careful I don’t know” Democratic record, she appears to be betting that voters will cast their ballots in November in fear of a Donald Trump presidency rather than in favor of … whatever it is Clinton stands for at this point in her political career.

Progressives inside the Beltway got the message.

“This sends a signal to liberals that they don’t matter,” said one progressive Senate Democratic aide.

The Kaine pick dashed hopes in the party’s base that the new Clinton might more fully reflect a Democratic coalition that has become more populist and progressive since her husband occupied the White House in the 1990s. The move will have lasting consequences, according to House and Senate insiders. Clinton has undermined her own potential governing coalition, should she win the White House in November. 

“This decision definitely impacts the relationship that progressives are going to have with a potential Clinton administration going forward,” said Neil Sroka, a spokesperson for Democracy for America, a progressive organization that rallied against a Kaine nomination.

The problem is not with Clinton’s electoral judgment. Over the past year, Donald Trump has gone from a birther who thinks vaccines cause autism to a Republican presidential candidate who spreads neo-Nazi propaganda on Twitter. By any reasonable standard of American politics, Clinton could be forgiven for believing that such maneuvers rendered the man unelectable.

But her Kaine selection has significant implications for what Clinton might actually accomplish during her presidency. Beltway progressives have already interpreted her veepstakes decision as a sign they should abandon all hope of furthering their policy preferences through an inside game of playing nice and negotiating with a future Clinton administration. They should, many key operatives believe, factionalize the party and confront Clinton when they find fault with her agenda. 

Both DFA and the Progressive Campaign Change Committee issued statements disapproving of the Kaine selection, explicitly citing his support for TPP.

“She already starts with a trust deficit on these issues and she has just set herself back before she even takes office,” another Democratic Senate staffer told HuffPost.

The liberal reaction to her choice on Twitter was less than enthusiastic.

3/ The Kaine pick definitely tells me they don't think the growth opportunity is on the left. @petraubetcha @jeneps

— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) July 23, 2016

Boring old white guy, for the win: https://t.co/KQwY9yAovy

— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) July 23, 2016

I would like to die. https://t.co/XoQv6x7B5W

— Roqayah Chamseddine (@roqchams) July 23, 2016

Clinton’s treatment of Elizabeth Warren illustrates just how poorly the presumptive Democratic nominee has analyzed her progressive supporters. Warren has a confrontational streak and a knack for building coalitions. When she cried foul over a Wall Street subsidy embedded in a last-minute funding bill, the government almost shut down. She went hard at President Barack Obama over corporate favors included in his Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill. Notably, TPP still hasn’t passed Congress, and Hillary Clinton herself now opposes it.

Warren didn’t do any of that in the 2016 process. She didn’t challenge Clinton for the nomination and she didn’t endorse Bernie Sanders. She operated as Clinton’s Twitter bulldog against Donald Trump, getting under his skin in a way that Clinton never managed to do. Warren sent every signal she could that she wanted to be part of the team.  

Clinton didn’t have to pick Warren as her vice president to signal progressives would be taken seriously during her presidency. Warren has a big following, and plenty of presidents have been wary of being overshadowed by their subordinates. But if Clinton had picked Labor Secretary Tom Perez or Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) or Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), it would have been a public nod to the progressive wing of the party: I get it, I’m listening. She didn’t do that.

“Kaine is Clinton’s first major hiring decision, and it shows she’s not looking to shake things up and seems to think Washington is working just fine,” said another Democratic staffer. 

When he ran for governor of Virginia in 2005, Kaine couldn’t win the endorsement of the abortion-rights group NARAL, even though he was running against a southern anti-abortion Republican. NARAL explained its decision by noting that Kaine “embraces many of the restrictions on a woman’s right to choose” that his GOP opponent did.

Since being elected to the Senate, however, Kaine has voted with abortion rights groups, insisting that his opposition to abortion is merely “personal.” And Kaine was largely a humdrum, go-with-the-flow Democrat until the 2014 elections. In that cycle, fellow Virginia Democrat Mark Warner narrowly avoided an upset in a race Beltway prognosticators believed he would carry in a cakewalk.

Kaine’s office did not respond to requests for comment for this article. But Democratic Senate staffers say Kaine took a pronounced turn after Warner’s near-defeat, interpreting his colleague’s distress as a sign that Virginia voters wanted to see candidates more closely aligned with Republicans. In doing so, Kaine did not revert to his anti-abortion roots. He went pro-corporate. He expressed this newfound centrism by serving as one of the top Senate supporters of TPP, and by backing a series of measures designed to deregulate banking and environmental standards.

Financial reform advocates were particularly incensed by Kaine’s move in January 2015 to sign off on a bill that would have effectively made new banking and environmental laws impossible to implement. In the name of “cost-benefit analysis,” the bill would have tied up regulators with endless red tape, hamstringing the 2010 Dodd-Frank bank reform law, and just about anything else that regulators wanted to try in the future.

“This would create dozens of new requirements that are nearly impossible to carry out,” Marcus Stanley, policy director at Americans for Financial Reform, told HuffPost in January 2015.

In the week before Clinton named her official VP pick, Kaine was still poking his progressive Senate colleagues in the eye. He refused to sign off on a letter organized by Merkley and Brown calling for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to toughen up on payday lenders. He signed a letter calling for big regional banks ― including firms with hundreds of billions of dollars in assets ― to get lighter treatment on calculating their liquidity, also known as the risk that a bank might run out of money. The same week, he also called for “community banks” and credit unions to be exempted from consumer protection rules. Because households are totally fine with getting ripped off so long as their money goes to a firm with $10 billion or less in assets.

Plenty of Democrats do this sort of thing. But Kaine isn’t even on the Senate Banking Committee. There was no pressing policy reason for him to do anything on finance this week. His deregulatory work in the middle of the veepstakes was widely interpreted inside the Beltway as a signal to Clinton ― “Pick me! I’m not like all of those silly Elizabeth Warren people!”

She and Kaine can probably win. Trump is deeply unpopular. But they’ll have to do something come January. In October, Clinton told a debate audience that she was a progressive, but “a progressive who likes to get things done.” The Kaine pick presents reasons to doubt both of those claims. 

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Trump University Lawsuit Survives Dismissal Attempt

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 21:02

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday tentatively rejected Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit by Trump University students who said they were defrauded through its real-estate seminars.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego told a hearing he would take under consideration arguments on both sides in the case and issue a written ruling in the coming weeks.

The 2013 lawsuit, one of three over the defunct Trump University venture, was filed on behalf of students who paid up to $35,000 to learn Trump’s real estate investing “secrets” from his “hand-picked” instructors. The plaintiffs have sought class-action status.

The cases against Trump University have regularly cropped up during the presidential campaign. Trump was roundly criticized in May when he accused Curiel, who is of Mexican descent, of being biased against him because of the candidate’s pledge to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Curiel, who was born in Indiana, is presiding over two of the cases, with one set for trial in late November. A separate lawsuit by New York’s attorney general is pending in that state.

Trump’s lawyers say Curiel should toss the 2013 California lawsuit on the grounds that the New York real estate mogul, though personally involved in developing the concept and curriculum, relied on other executives to manage Trump University by the time the plaintiffs purchased their seminars.

“By 2007, his involvement was fairly minimal. He was not the person running this company. He founded it, he established it and he went off and let other people run it. It’s like any other celebrity endorsement,” Trump attorney Daniel Petrocelli said during the hearing.

Trump’s lawyers claim references in marketing materials to “secrets,” “hand-picked” instructors or “university” were mere sales “puffery.” According to the defense, there is no evidence Trump intended to defraud students.

Lawyers for the students say the wealthy developer conducted the marketing for Trump University more than anyone else, starring in and approving promotional materials.

They claim Trump University instructors were high-pressure sales people, not “professors and adjunct professors” as Trump touted, and that New York authorities told Trump back in 2005 to stop calling his unaccredited venture a university.

“Somehow, belligerence trumps substance,” plaintiff’s attorney Jason Forge said. “If we say it loud enough, forcefully enough, it becomes true. Well, it doesn’t.”

Trump owned 92 percent of Trump University and had control over all major decisions, plaintiffs’ court papers say.

(Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Tom Brown and Jonathan Oatis)

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Weekend Roundup: The Last Gasp of Atatürk

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 20:59
If the aim of the coup plotters was to derail Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's march toward autocratic rule and restore the country firmly on the secular path envisioned by its modern founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, their failure achieved the opposite result. The last gasp of Atatürk has breathed new life into Erdoğan's troubled and troubling tenure.

Oxford scholar Azeem Ibrahim credits the development of Turkey's vibrant civil society and economy to the secular Kemalist vision and the stability secured over the years by the military and judiciary. "But the failed coup ... marks an end to all that," he writes. "And this may very well be the end of the Kemalist Turkish Republic."

In an interview, Yusuf Muftuoglu, a top advisor to former Turkish President Abdullah Gül, explains the forces behind the coup and the resistance to it. He notes the critical importance of social media, of Istanbul as a new power center for Islamists and the key role of the police in fighting the armed forces. "Erdoğan is the biggest victor" of the coup "and quite deservedly," he concludes. "Honestly, had there been another person at the same post, the coup might have succeeded. Erdoğan not only has shown the strong leadership to mobilize the masses against the coup plotters, which is unprecedented in Turkish history, but also, and more importantly, did so while he himself was physically targeted. ... This whole process also confirmed once again Erdoğan's seamless contact with his constituency and beyond."

In another interview, one of Turkey's leading novelists, Elif Shafak, sees her country "heading into a Kafkaesque world" in the wake of the coup, where everyone is suspect. "The question hovering in the air," she writes, is, "Are you one of us or are you one of them?" She also worries that her country is now on the path to becoming an "illiberal democracy." "A true democracy," she argues, "needs separation of powers, rule of law, freedom of speech, women's rights, LGBT rights, free and diverse media and independent academia. Without all these institutions and values you can only have 'majoritarianism.' And majoritarianism is not the same thing as democracy." Another Turkish novelist, Kaya Genc, describes a night of both high anxiety and relief as he roamed the streets of Istanbul with anti-coup protesters. Writing from the Menemen District far from Istanbul, Ilgin Yorulmaz talks to people about the failed coup and says her, "pro-democracy friends support neither the coup nor autocracy."

Reporting from Istanbul, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones takes the pulse of everyday life on the streets among the city's unsettled residents. Some are angry at the military, some at Erdoğan, she writes. "Anything can happen at any time," one resident tells her. She also reports on the choice Greece faces over whether to extradite eight alleged Turkish coup plotters seeking exile in that neighboring country. Also writing from Istanbul, Behlül Özkan slams the "kamikaze coup attempt" that he thinks was bound to fail, but says, "Turkey is now in the midst of a national security crisis" and that Erdogan's tactics for holding on to power by, "forming temporary, strategic alliances cannot solve" it.

In an interview, Can Dündar, the persecuted editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, fears the post-coup backlash. Speaking of Erdoğan's comment that the coup was "a gift from God," Dündar says, "He will make good use of this 'gift' and start a witch hunt against all opposition by accusing them of being coup perpetrators and thereby increasing his oppression."

Turkish authorities have blamed the cleric Fethullah Gülen and his followers for fomenting the coup and demanded his extradition from exile in the U.S. James Dorsey tries to answer the question of whether Gülen is an Islamist modernizer or "a wolf in sheep's clothing." Graham Fuller, a former vice chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council once stationed in Istanbul, and whose security assessment (written in a personal capacity) helped Gülen to obtain status as a permanent resident in the U.S., offers his take on the Gulenist movement. He sees the political battle in Turkey between the AKP ruling party and Gulenists as a power struggle among two of the Muslim world's more moderate movements. And he seriously doubts Gülen had anything to do with the coup attempt. Fuller concludes that, "Erdogan is planting the seeds of his own destruction" through the ongoing purges aimed at the Gulenist and liberal forces. "The country itself," he writes, "is now his primary victim."

Writing from Germany, Christoph Asche says that the restoration of the death penalty in Turkey "could kill relations" between the two countries since European Union nations reject executions on a human rights basis. Foreign Affairs Reporter Akbar Shahid Ahmed and others explore the complex history of relations between NATO and the various democratic and military governments in Turkey over recent decades. Ahmed also writes on Donald Trump's recent NATO controversy. Referring to the backlash against Trump's remarks that Europe should share more of NATO's burden, he says, "key anti-Trump forces are offering evidence for the Republican standard-bearer's argument ― that U.S. elites are so hung up on past commitments that they can't embrace fresh thinking." Tunisian blogger Ramzi Houidi compares the failed coup in Turkey to the successful military coup in Egypt in 2013. The difference, he says, is that "in Turkey, the opposition chose to democratically stand against the coup, putting the interests of the country before the party's."

France is once again reeling, this time after the Nice attack by a Tunisian immigrant that killed scores of people on Bastille Day. Former Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey argues that many "losers" in society, like the Tunisian attacker, turn to terrorism so they can become "heroes." Islamic scholar Akbar Ahmed argues that more attacks on the self-proclaimed Islamic State won't end terrorism in France or Europe as a whole. Only an affirmative policy of integration of Muslims will make a difference, he says. Writing from Stuttgart, Germany, Daniel Koehler brings common sense to the fight against terrorism. "Mothers may be the first, last and best approach to stopping militant recruiters," he writes.

Turning to the political drama in the U.S., the Republican Party convened in Cleveland this week to nominate Donald Trump as its presidential candidate. Dean Obeidallah writes that a recent proposal by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a key speaker at the convention, to vet American Muslims over whether they believe in Sharia is a glimpse into the "inquisition" to come if Trump wins the presidency. Reflecting on the theme of Trump's acceptance speech Thursday that "we should be afraid, very afraid," Obeidallah also lends skepticism to the nominee's credentials on security issues. "For Trump to justify scaring us, he needs to be able to deliver on his promise to keep us safe," he writes.

In his own assessment of Trump's speech from Cleveland, Howard Fineman thinks the American Founding Fathers would be turning in their grave. He writes that, "they knew the history of Rome, where tribunes ― in the name of the people but often for their own purposes ― wielded vast power. They didn't think anyone had a direct pipeline to the voice of the people except the people themselves. The founders feared both the mob and the monarchy, but most of all feared an alliance of the two."

Turning to Asia, Helen Clark looks at what the recent ruling by a U.N. tribunal against China and for the Philippines means for Vietnam, which has similar territorial claims against China. Vietnam is being cautious and not celebratory, she writes, because, "what happens next in the South China Sea won't change: it is still up to China." Looking into the not-too-distant future when robots will be creating new wealth, but displacing jobs, Moises Naim argues we should be open to the idea of a guaranteed minimum income for all.

Some things in the world are working. Google is using its DeepMind computing capacity to more efficiently regulate the flow of energy to its servers, which constitute 5 percent of the cloud.

As Saudi Arabia's top clerical body renewed its fatwa against Pokemon, our Singularity series this week reports that the "Pokemon Go" craze is only a foretaste of our augmented reality future.

But not everyone loves "Pokemon Go." Cavan Sieczkowski reports on what director Oliver Stone said about the game at Comic-Con this week. "It's everywhere," she quotes Stone as saying. "It's what some people call surveillance capitalism ... You'll see a new form of, frankly, a robot society where they will know how you want to behave, and they will make the mock-up that matches how you behave. It's what they call totalitarianism." Nathalia Ramos disagrees, arguing that "Pokemon Go" nostalgically takes millennials back to an "innocent" era before 9/11 when they played a similar game as children. In yet another twist, some Syrian children are tapping in to the "Pokemon Go" craze to ask the world to help rescue them.


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Co-Founder and Executive Advisor to the Berggruen Institute, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Executive Editor of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Suzanne Gaber is the Editorial Assistant of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is News Director at The Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost's news coverage. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are World Reporters. Rowaida Abdelaziz is World Social Media Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul.

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From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


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World Leaders And Mourners Stand With Munich After Deadly Shooting

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 20:14

National leaders and mourners around the globe are extending their support to people in Munich, Germany, after a deadly shooting rampage there left at least 10 people dead, including the gunman, and several more wounded. 

The community was in lockdown during the massive manhunt for the suspect and has entered a state of emergency, joining a growing list of many states around the world in recent months. 

While local police have said they suspect the shooting is a “terror attack,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, said authorities could not yet confirm nor rule out a link to terrorist groups.

U.S. President Barack Obama vowed his country would offer Germany “all the support that they may need,” and praised the work of law enforcement officials.

The White House also issued a statement: “The resolve of Germany, the United States, and the broader international community will remain unshaken in the face of acts of despicable violence such as this.”

The government of Canada is closely monitoring the situation in Munich. We stand with Germany & offer our sympathies to victims & families.

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 22, 2016

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences on social media Friday afternoon, pledging solidarity with Germany.

French President Francois Hollande extended his sympathy and support to Merkel in a personal message just over a week after a horrific terror attack gripped his nation.

Monitoring the horrific situation in Munich. We stand with our friends in Germany as they work to bring those responsible to justice. -H

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 22, 2016

U.S. presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton also vowed to “stand with” those affected in Germany. Her Republican counterpart Donald Trump offered his prayers, and emphasized the threat of terrorism.

Mourners on social media also shared their condolences, using the hashtag #PrayForMunich to remind the community that it is not alone.

so sad. #PrayForMunich #germany pic.twitter.com/RJ52LDg9SE

— Leo (@StrenghtRisesUp) July 22, 2016

#prayforgermany #prayformunich #deutschland #münchen

A photo posted by Iara Guidi (@iaraguidi) on Jul 22, 2016 at 4:14pm PDT

We've had #prayforsyria #PrayForNice now #PrayForMunich I think we need to #PrayForTheWorld we are clearly broken pic.twitter.com/loiKYgquc1

— Ciamhie Mc Digital (@CiamhieMc) July 22, 2016

Ein trauriger Tag für München...Hoffentlich findet dieser Hass und Wut auf der Welt ein baldiges Ende. Sowas noch im 21. Jh. miterleben zu müssen ist einfach nur ein Rückschritt für die Menschheit.. #prayformunich #miasanminga #münchen #sickofthisshit

A photo posted by nhi (@nhisen) on Jul 22, 2016 at 4:14pm PDT

Nowhere is safe #PrayForGermany #PrayForMunich #PrayForTheWorld pic.twitter.com/ipXli97b2j

— Aimee Kitching (@AimeeKitching_) July 22, 2016

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Hillary Clinton Names Tim Kaine As Her Running Mate

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 20:12

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WASHINGTON ― Hillary Clinton has picked Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) to be her vice presidential running mate, tapping the popular former governor of a swing state over several more liberal picks on her short list.

I'm thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who's devoted his life to fighting for others. -H pic.twitter.com/lTVyfztE5Z

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 23, 2016

Clinton and Kaine are set to appear together at a rally in Florida on Saturday.

The selection of Kaine, a well-liked moderate in the Senate, is likely to be seen as a sign by many on the left that Clinton is less concerned about maintaining intensity among the army of liberals who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and more concerned about the electoral map when her opponent is Donald Trump.

President Barack Obama carried Virginia in both his elections after Democrats failed to win the state since 1964, making it a key part of his national victory strategy. Kaine, who was Obama’s first chairman of the Democratic National Committee, could help Clinton do the same.

Donald Trump’s bellicose, fear-mongering nomination convention this week likely added impetus to pick Kaine, who would add another layer of executive experience and heft to the ticket.

A campaign source said Clinton and Kaine met at her home in Washington, D.C., on Thursday after doing a campaign stop in Virginia that had been scheduled as a tryout. Clinton had been impressed with Kaine’s style on the trail, which looked very much like an event with a pair of running mates. She invited him for the meeting a day ahead of sit-downs with other potential VP nominees. Those meetings leaked to the press. Kaine’s did not.

Clinton quickly determined to meet Kaine again on Saturday for lunch with their families, including Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and her husband Marc Mezvinzky, and Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton.

According to the source, Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, had started the VP search back in April, bringing binders of potential running mates to her Chappaqua, New York, home in a Duane-Reade bag.

His prime advice to her was: “It needs to be someone who, whenever they walk into a room, you are glad to see them and want to have them as part of any conversation.” She felt she had that with Kaine, and kept telling aides she also had complete confidence Kaine was ready for the job.

Kaine was bound to be treated skeptically by some liberals because of his position on abortion rights ― which he personally opposes but politically supports ― and trade. However, in the immediate aftermath of his pick being announced, the abortion rights group NARAL came out with a supportive statement.

In addition, a Clinton aide told The Huffington Post that Kaine had told the former secretary of state that he would oppose President Barack Obama’s signature trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, in its current form. The aide said that at some point in Kaine and Clinton’s two conversations prior to the selection ― which she made Friday night, eight days after the first meeting ― he agreed with her that a trade deal had to meet certain criteria on protecting wages and national security, and that the TPP did not.

Kaine has supported legislation known as Trade Promotion Authority, for fast-track authority, which expedites trade deals like the TPP, but in relaying his opposition to it to Clinton, he formally came out against the TPP on substantive grounds.

Kaine may help Clinton carry Virginia, but her choice could also aggravate the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party, which sees the Virginian as a business-friendly centrist unlikely to champion their top financial reform goals. They had been pulling for Warren, Sanders or Labor Secretary Tom Perez to get the nod.

Indeed, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee zeroed in immediately on Kaine’s support for fast track, which allows a president to pass trade deals through Congress with simple majorities and no amendments.

“As we saw in Donald Trump’s speech last night, Republicans will run hard against Democrats on trade this year,” said PCCC co-founder Stephanie Taylor. “Unfortunately, since Tim Kaine voted to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Republicans now have a new opening to attack Democrats on this economic populist issue.”

Liberals also complained about Kaine in 2013 when they were trying to end the Bush tax cuts, and Kaine helped broker the eventual compromise that kept the lower rates for people with incomes up to $400,000.

Still, Kaine’s nomination could hearten civil libertarians, war opponents, people concerned about gun violence, and immigration reform advocates. He has complained often about the White House’s unilateral use of war powers, and was the first Virginia governor to oppose the death penalty. He has feuded endlessly with the National Rifle Association, which is headquartered in his state, and recently called the group a “paper tiger,” since its opposition has never been enough to defeat him. He also gave the first Senate floor speech in history to be delivered in Spanish, calling for passage of an immigration reform bill.

People who know both Kaine and Clinton saw him as a choice that would help Clinton across the board.

“He’s a tremendous asset on the ticket,” said Mo Elleithee, who runs the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, and who previously advised Kaine’s Senate campaign and Clinton’s 2008 White House run.

“If first and foremost, the vice president’s role is to be able to step in, you’re not going to find anyone better,” Elleithee said.

While some in the progressive wing look askance at a former Southern governor, suspecting a Democrat in name only, some hail Kaine as progressive in his bones.

“I can assure you as a native Virginian, this caricature doesn’t at all fit the man I’ve watched over nearly 20 years,” former MSNBC commentator Krystal Ball wrote in early July.

He’s also recently been more vocal on certain issues important for the Democratic base, including reproductive rights.

Elleithee noted that Kaine used to be called the most liberal governor in Virginia history, after doing mission work in Honduras and putting his Harvard law degree to work as a civil rights attorney.

“He’s a true progressive,” said Elleithee, who could see why Clinton was comfortable with Kaine’s campaign style.

Kaine not only knows how to connect with voters, but is able to attack an opponent without turning those voters off, winning over diverse groups in cities, suburbs and the countryside.

Elleithee recalls watching Kaine when he was running for Virginia’s lieutenant governor job in 2001, after the 9/11 attacks, and being astounded at how Kaine could launch a blistering attack on an opponent and still be liked by the audience.

“I remember one speech where he had the people eating out of his hands,” Elleithee said. “It wasn’t until later that I realized, oh, my God, he just ripped his opponent’s face off, but it didn’t feel like it.”

“He can be tough, but he does it in a way that actually draws people in,” Elleithee added.

Ultimately, Clinton seems to have made the assessment that such skills are exactly what she needs for a contest against someone like Trump. 

Sam Stein contributed reporting.

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Police Commander Suspended For Alleged Fabrications About Charles Kinsey Shooting

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 19:20

A North Miami, Florida, police officer who shot an unarmed black mental health therapist was identified Friday as a SWAT team member, and a police commander accused of fabricating information about the shooting was suspended. 

A lawyer for the wounded therapist, Charles Kinsey, meanwhile, told the Miami Herald he does not believe a police union official who claimed the shooting was an accident. 

SWAT team member Jonathan Aledda was identified Friday as the cop who fired three shots during the confrontation Monday in which Kinsey was wounded in the leg.

Bystander video shows Kinsey lying in the street with his hands up shortly before the shooting. Kinsey said he had been trying to calm a patient with autism who had run from a nearby group home. The patient’s toy truck apparently was mistaken for a gun by a 911 caller. 

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The cellphone footage adds another vivid flashpoint to recent controversial police shootings of black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Police officers, meanwhile, have been gunned down by ambushers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Aledda thought Kinsey was at risk from the other man in the street, according to John Rivera, head of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association. The officer tried to shoot the man he thought was attacking Kinsey, but mistakenly shot Kinsey instead, Rivera said. 

Kinsey’s lawyer, Hilton Napoleon, on Friday cast doubt on the union leader’s explanation. He said he didn’t believe that a SWAT team member with four years’ experience would be a poor shooter. Napoleon also said the officer should have warned Kinsey to move away if the intended target was the other man.

Kinsey, in an interview from his hospital bed, said he asked Aledda why he shot him after he was hit. He said the officer answered, “I don’t know.”  

Aledda is on administrative leave while the authorities review what happened. 

Police officials also suspended Commander Emile Hollant without pay for what North Miami City Manager Larry Spring Jr. said were inconsistencies in his statements about the shooting. Officials wouldn’t elaborate.   


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This Great America

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 19:15
"Make America Great Again" is popular rhetoric in modern American politics. This phrase begs the question, "When was America ever great?"

"In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue." This is my earliest memory of history taught in school--this and what was to follow--the slaughter of men, women and children who had occupied this land from birth.

I have never understood the European sense of entitlement to everything that could be conquered. I have never understood why I was supposed to be proud to be an American. This land was acquired through the terroristic tactics of lies, deceit, betrayal, murder and forced assimilation. Young men and women are sent into foreign lands to ensure "American Values", enforced by the continued white male power, while America leaves its veterans suffering and impoverished at home.

Slavery is incomprehensible to me. After slavery, lynching, and local and national Jim Crow Laws, as well as the absence of said laws, gave renewed life and power to the terror of white male dominance in America.

Every atrocity in this country has been caused by the system of white supremacy which include, but aren't restricted to genocide, slavery, illiteracy, poverty, decimation of the family, introduction of addictive drugs into communities, mass incarceration, international imperialism, consumerism, and the list goes on and on.

It seems as if the majority calling for America to be great again are white men and women. White women who agree that we should "make America great again" ought to recall the time when terror and subjugation were commonplace for them too. Voting, owning property or being professionals of any sort was denied by white men in power. Laws empowered terrorism in the home, against families, property, in politics and religion. In America's not so distant past of the 20th Century, white men could legally beat, rape and sell their wives and children. Women were denied divorce and when they were granted a divorce they were denied any property, including the children they themselves bore.

Theological ideas shaped by the perspectives of white men of European descent, for the benefit of white men have been presented as spiritual truths. Many of the atrocities suffered--from colonialism to Native genocide to slavery to apartheid have been in the name of the imagined white-male god.

While a war on poverty is needed, a war on impoverished people has been declared. To be poor and black or brown in this country is a double burden. The personal sentiment of Talented Tenth member W.E.B. DuBois, was that to be a poor man is hard but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships. A majority of impoverished whites are so enamored with the hope of the salvation of white supremacy that they do not even recognize how American political and social systems contributes to their demise.

So, when has America ever been great?

To be great is to be exceptional, above ordinary, superior in quality or character.

By definition, America has never been great. In many ways, America is better than most. However, better than the worst does not make a country great. Although some would have us believe that we have come a long way, we must be woke to the fact that it is still legal to terrorize black, brown and impoverished people as well as white women today.

From "broken windows policing" to the modern lynching of black men and women at the hands of police, terror in America reigns. From impoverished Native reservations, many without running water or access to quality health care, education or viable career opportunities, to the assault against the brown immigrants and their legalized families, American terror reigns.

From inadequate and inaccessible health care to contaminated drinking water, American terror reigns. From illiteracy to the mass incarceration of its minority populous, American terror reigns. From no convictions for the state-sanctioned murder of black and brown women and men to the six-month sentence of an affluent white-male rapist, American terror reigns.

As black and brown people are more vocally and forcefully rising up to oppose systemic white supremacy, as even white folks are tiring of white folk's bullsh*t, the rhetoric against the value of black and brown lives grows stronger.

"Make America Great Again" is a call of action to return to white-male dominated rule, to normalize the terror which already stretches as far as the system will allow, and to empower women through misogynistic falsehoods. "Make America Great Again" is an appeal to the nostalgic feel of superiority that was secured by conquering everyone and everything in their path in order to legitimize and secure white male terror-dominance.

America has never been a great country. We are living on land stolen from the Natives, built on the backs of black and brown people who were stolen from other lands--whose blood yet calls from the soil.

America has never been a great country--it has always exploited the poor and weak for profit. America has never been a great country--it has always started and contributed to wars in order to reinforce and spread the tyranny of white male supremacy.

America has never been a great country--it has always done injustice, hated mercy and walked arrogantly without our God.

America is filled with great people who desire to do great things. America is not a great country, though, I believe that it can be.

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Beating Trump In November Is Not Enough

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 19:11
I was scared watching Trump's speech last night. Not by his words, but by the reaction of the crowd of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The energy in the room was terrifying. The floor burst in cheers and applause after every euphemism to the actual Trump campaign slogan, "Make America Pure Again." We heard the most authoritarian and racist speech by a nominee to the presidency of the United States last night. But we also heard Republican party elites, one-by-one, endorsing these ideas. Beating Trump in November won't save America from this new fascist type of racist candidate. We need to find a way to beat the ideas.

The most surprising moment for me in yesterday's speech was when Trump implicitly reintroduced the immigration ban on Muslims. After mentioning Syrian refugees, Trump said, "Anyone who endorses violence, hatred or oppression is not welcome in our country and never will be." A policy that will lead to the deportation of Trump who is consistently endorsing violence, hatred, and oppression. But how would the crowd of the RNC react to this policy? A year ago when Trump originally suggested the ban on Muslims, Chris Christie responded, "This is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don't know what they are talking about. We do not need to resort to that type of activity nor should we." The chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus, said in December when asked about Trump's suggestion to ban Muslims, "We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values." But neither Christie nor Priebus stood in protest during Trump's speech (like brave Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK did). They were both on the floor, after praising Trump in their speeches, after applauding as the crowd chanted "send them home."

On Twitter last night, a lot of people mentioned that Trump's speech echoed Adolf Hitler. I was one of them. With chants of "send them home" and signs reading America First (the name of the anti-war and anti-semitic committee during WWII) all the was missing was "Sieg Heil." But we also didn't see a young Hitler, speaking at a Munich beer basement. We saw an adult Hitler with a following that is electrified by his every word. A following that includes former governors, representatives, senators, and the chair of the RNC. The hypothetical question "what would I have done if I was German in 1933?" came to life for me last night.

Beating Trump in November is not enough. Just like beating Hitler's National Socialist party in elections wouldn't have been enough. The seed of fascism (that might have been planted a long time ago) in the GOP has showed his first branches last night. A Hillary victory in November does not solve the problem, but only gives a four-year delay to the next time that America plays Russian Roulette while pointing the gun on its immigrants, Muslim citizens, and non-white communities. Talking about wining an election is business as usual. These times call for shaking everything up and genuinely pondering on the ability of the American experiment to sustain itself under these type of conditions.

Now comes the anti-climactic part: I don't have a plan. I do have an idea. It's small but maybe change can begin. I believe it is time to be divisive. As divisive as possible. I believe that one of the conditions that allowed extremism to grow in the American right was an attempt to avoid confrontations in our day-to-day lives. We don't want to ruin Thanksgiving dinner by mentioning Trump to our conservative family members that we see only once a year. When we meet coworkers, we don't want to be "that person" who ruins a nice outing by mentioning politics. We want to keep our Facebook clean and balanced, and we are afraid of what a future employer might see that we tweeted. But if you genuinely believe that you are seeing the rise of the American Hitler, none of these excuses are valid. In the hypothetical game, "what would you do to stop Hitler?" many times people hope they would have done extreme acts of bravery. Now it's the time for each and every one of us to be brave. Socially brave. To do everything we can to shut down the ideas, the support, the trend, and also the presidential campaign.

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'Daily Show' And Rosie O'Donnell Reveal Donald Trump's 'Very Very Incredible Deal'

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 05:07

Donald Trump likes everything bigger, so on Thursday night, as he accepted the Republican nomination for president, he didn’t have to settle for just one biography film. He got two... and that’s YUGE.

Actor Jon Voight narrated the official film shown at the Republican National Convention. Hours later, “The Daily Show” aired a much less official film, narrated by comedian and Trump opponent Rosie O’Donnell

“The Very Very Incredible Deal” is an overview of Trump’s life, including a possible explanation for his allegedly tiny hands

Check out the full film in the clip above.  

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The Fashion At The RNC Was Almost As Over The Top As The Speeches

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 04:46

It’s wasn’t all about the politics. Amid the whirlwind that was the 2016 Republican National Convention, some delegates showed their true passion for fashion.

Donning outrageously over-the-top costumes and GOP-themed paraphernalia, the delegates’ quirky attire provided a much-needed distraction from the often fear-mongering, and sometimes plagiarized, rhetoric being spouted from the stage.

Check out some of their most weird and wonderful styles below:

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Listen To Bill Maher Spend 30 Glorious Minutes Railing Against Donald Trump

Huffingon Post Politics - Fri, 2016-07-22 04:33

Bill Maher spent the entire stretch of a special Republican National Convention-themed episode of his eponymous HBO show on Thursday thrashing the now-official Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Maher ― alongside California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), author Robert Reich, and Heather McGhee, head of the think tank Demos ― was quick to point out the “fact-free” nature of the speech, noting the Republican party has taken its conservative platform “to a whole new level” this election season.

Trump’s exhaustive, hour and 16 minute-long acceptance speech focused heavily on fear and hate while, once again, straying away from any concrete policy plans that don’t involve building walls and banning the world’s Muslims.

“He’s got this idea that everyone in this country is terrified of one another, is terrified of the world and he’s the only answer,” McGhee said. “It’s terrifying.”

“I honestly have never heard a speech that was as longwinded ... as full of fear,” Reich continued. “This was the most negative acceptance speech I have ever heard. I do think that it’s scary because in many ways it was effective. He is a marketer, he knows how to tap into what people want to hear.”

Maher went on to comment on Trump’s dextrous ability to fiddle with reality, especially when it comes to his promise to keep a balanced budget while providing tax breaks to the richest Americans and simultaneously funding massive upticks in infrastructure and military spending.

“For a guy who is thought by so many people to be a genius because he’s rich, he seems to know nothing about money,” Maher said.

The panelists went on to note how the entire election had become “a referendum on decency,” while McGhee said Trump was trying to up “the idea of racial resentment.”

Take a look at the full episode above.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar,rampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.

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