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Member since: Wed Oct 7, 2015, 08:51 AM
Number of posts: 2,208

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Pramila Jayapal Just Scored One of the Biggest Progressive Victories of 2016

Source: The Nation

She was one of the first congressional candidates this year to earn an endorsement from Bernie Sanders.
If there is to be a political revolution sufficient to begin to usher in a new era of meaningful reform and people-powered democracy, Congress must change. A lot. Reactionary Republicans must be removed and cautious Democrats must be replaced with outside-inside activists who understand how to make the connection between movements and policies.

In this volatile election year, there are no guarantees with regard to presidential or congressional politics. But there are encouraging signs from across the country. Donald Trump’s Republican presidential run seems to be imploding and congressional Republicans who have aided and abetted his candidacy are beginning to abandon the sinking ship – opening up the possibility that Democrats could make real gains not just in the fight for control of the Senate but into the struggle to retake the House.

And a number of the Democrats who are being nominated for the House are progressives who really could change the chamber and the country. Civil rights and voting rights champion Jamie Raskin – a brilliant constitutional scholar and state legislator – is a clear frontrunner to win an open seat in Maryland. Anti-corruption and anti-monopoly campaigner Zephyr Teachout has a real chance to take a Republican-held seat representing New York. And Pramila Jayapal is finishing well ahead in a primary to fill an open seat representing Washington state.

Pramila Jayapal is an immigrant rights advocate who blends movement ideals with legislative skills.
An immigrant rights advocate who merges movement idealism with a deep commitment on policy making, Jayapal jumped into a big lead as results were tabulated in the Seattle-area district where progressive Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott is retiring. Jayapal still faces a November race with one of two fellow Democrats who finished behind her in the initial returns. Jayapal was winning 38 percent Tuesday night, while King County Council member Joe McDermott and State Representative Brady Walkinshaw were battling for second place with 21.5 percent and 20.9 percent respectively.)

Read more: https://www.thenation.com/article/pramila-jayapal-just-scored-one-of-the-biggest-progressive-victories-of-2016/

A good start!

Muslim women ask Trump #Canyouhearusnow?

Source: USA Today

When Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump disparaged the parents of fallen soldier Army Capt. Humayun Khan, he didn’t just pick a fight with the Khans. He now faces the ire of hundreds of Muslim American women.

It started when Trump responded to the Khans’ appearance at the Democratic National Convention Thursday.

During that appearance, Humayun Khan’s mother, Ghazala Khan, stood beside her husband silently as he criticized Trump. In an interview with ABC News, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested Ghazala Khan was not permitted to speak because of her religion.

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” said Trump. “She had nothing to say…maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

Khan said she declined to speak because she was emotional over the loss of her son, who died in 2004 in Iraq.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/08/02/muslim-women-donald-trump-canyouhearusnow-ghazala-khan/87951458/

Ignoring Advice, Donald Trump Presses Attack on Khan Family and G.O.P. Leaders

Source: NY Times

Donald J. Trump’s unabashed and continuing hostility toward the parents of a slain Muslim American soldier, and his attacks on Republican leaders who have rebuked him for it, threaten to shatter his uneasy alliance with the Republican Party at the outset of the general election campaign.

Ignoring the pleas of his advisers and entreaties from party leaders in Washington, Mr. Trump only dug in further on Tuesday. He told a Virginia television station that he had no regrets about his clash with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq. And in an extraordinarily provocative interview with The Washington Post, Mr. Trump declined to endorse for re-election several Republicans who had criticized him, including the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, and Senator John McCain of Arizona, who both face primaries this month.

He also belittled Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who had criticized his treatment of the Khans, for not being supportive of his campaign.

For days, Mr. Trump’s top advisers and allies have urged him to move on from the feud, which erupted when Mr. Khan criticized him at the Democratic convention, and focus instead on the economy and the national security record of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Yet, facing outcry on the left and right, Mr. Trump has insisted to associates that he has been treated unfairly by Mr. Khan, the news media and some Republicans, said people familiar with the campaign’s deliberations who insisted on anonymity to discuss them.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/03/us/politics/donald-trump-gop.html?_r=0

Donald Trump makes me sick says Francois Hollande

Source: The Telegraph - UK

Francois Hollande has said he finds Donald Trump's "excesses" sickening, claimed that democracy is at stake in the 2016 US election and stated a victory for the Republican could make politics more conservative around the world.

The French president is the latest high profile politician to condemn Mr Trump after the billionaire businessman attacked the parents of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq.

"His excesses make you want to retch, even in the United States, especially when - as was Donald Trump's case - he speaks ill of a soldier, of the memory of a soldier," Mr Hollande said.

Mr Trump's attacks on the parents of the decorated soldier have been widely criticised by both Republicans and Democrats in the US - and have provoked disbelief around the world

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/02/donald-trump-makes-me-sick-says-francois-hollande/

"Mr Hollande criticised Mr Trump's "hurtful and humiliating comments".

"Democracy is also at stake, as we see more and more people tempted by authoritarianism," he said, "especially" in the United States.

"Should the American people choose Trump, there will be consequences, because a US election is a global election," he added."

There would be consequences, indeed!

Libyan forces wary of Islamic State redoubt despite U.S. support

Source: Reuters

A day after the United States began a formal campaign of air strikes against Islamic State's stronghold in Libya, anti-IS fighters welcomed Washington's involvement but remained wary of advancing for fear of mines and snipers.

The initial U.S. strikes on Monday targeted a tank and two vehicles in Sirte, where the ultra-hardline militants are encircled in the heart of what has become an important base for the group beyond its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Fighters from a range of anti-IS brigades are dug in behind sand banks and concrete walls in the coastal city after suffering high casualties in months of street-by-street fighting.

"If the United States is serious about these air strikes we are very pleased, and it will help us on the ground," said Husam Bakoush, a fighter with the Marsa brigade.

The battle highlights the challenges of driving the Islamic State from Libya, where it has struggled to win local support but exploited the chaos that followed the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-idUSKCN10D1CS

"The country is still deeply divided and a U.N. backed government had hesitated to call for U.S. support until now for fear of a backlash."

Fear of a backlash from whom? ISIS? Libyans in general?

Eric Trump says father apologized to Khans (but he hasn't)

Source: CNN

Eric Trump defended his father Tuesday from criticism for his treatment of the family of a slain Muslim US soldier and said that he had already apologized to the Khans and Gold Star families -- despite the fact that the senior Trump has pointedly declined to apologize.

Appearing on "CBS This Morning," Trump was pressed about his father's lack of apology for his criticism of the Khan family, even amid stinging bipartisan condemnation for his remarks.

The senior Trump has so far not apologized for his remarks toward the Khans, despite Eric Trump's claim.
"Would your father be willing to apologize and move on?" co-host Norah O'Donnell asked.

"I think that's a great question for him, and he has by calling them a hero," Trump responded. "In terms of the one question -- whether you've made a sacrifice -- I think my father has. Now, that's certainly not the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice is a soldier dying for this nation, dying to protect the three of us, no doubt about it --"

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/02/politics/eric-trump-khan-dispute-apology/index.html

Rescuers say toxic gas dropped on Syrian town where Russian helicopter shot down

Source: Reuters

A Syrian rescue service operating in rebel-held territory said on Tuesday a helicopter dropped containers of toxic gas overnight on a town close to where a Russian military helicopter was shot down hours earlier.

The opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) accused President Bashar al Assad of being behind the attack. Assad has denied previous accusations of using chemical weapons.

A spokesman for the Syria Civil Defence said 33 people, mostly women and children, were affected by the gas, which they suspect was chlorine, in Saraqeb, in rebel-held Idlib province.

The group, which describes itself as a neutral band of search and rescue volunteers, posted a video on YouTube apparently showing a number of men struggling to breathe and being given oxygen masks by people in civil defense uniforms.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idlib-idUSKCN10D0OZ

"The group, which describes itself as a neutral band of search and rescue volunteers, posted a video on YouTube apparently showing a number of men struggling to breathe and being given oxygen masks by people in civil defense uniforms."

Ok. Any verification by any disinterested third parties?

"The group, which describes itself as a neutral band of search and rescue volunteers" -- so no official status?

"posted a video on YouTube apparently showing a number of men struggling to breathe" -- apparently? OK.

We have been down this road before.

Chlorine and mustard gas are in the hands of rebel groups and ISIS. On a small scale use, they are relatively ineffective compared to normal explosive munitions. Accusations have been made repeatedly that gas attacks have been staged to implicate the Syrian government.

New Report of ISIS Using Poison Gas in Syria

"While the OPCW's mandate is not to apportion blame, activists on Friday accused militants from the Islamic State group of using the gas as part of its sustained campaign to capture Marea."

Syrian rebels used Sarin nerve gas, not Assad’s regime: U.N. official

The ONLY way the deaths of innocent civilians will end is thru a negotiated peace to end the Syrian civil war. There is no military solution to this.

PM May resurrects industrial policy as Britain prepares for Brexit

Source: Reuters

Prime Minister Theresa May will on Tuesday outline her bid to reshape the British economy for a post-Brexit world, reviving the once unfashionable concept of industrial policy 30 years after Margaret Thatcher killed it off.

May will chair the first meeting of the "Cabinet Committee on Economy and Industrial Strategy" in her Downing Street Offices, bringing together the heads of 11 other ministries to set out her vision for a state-boosted industrial renaissance.

"If we are to take advantages of the opportunities presented by Brexit, we need to have our whole economy firing," May said ahead of the meeting in a statement released by her office.

"We also need a plan to drive growth up and down the country – from rural areas to our great cities."

After a referendum campaign that revealed dissatisfaction in many of Britain's struggling post-industrial regions, May is pitching a plan to reunite the country by raising the prospects of those who she casts as "hard-working people".

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-industry-idUSKCN10C3CR

Ukraine's Savchenko launches hunger strike over political inaction

Source: Reuters

Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian servicewoman-turned-lawmaker who spent two years in a Russian jail, announced a new hunger strike on Tuesday to speed up the release of other Ukrainian prisoners-of-war, accusing Ukraine's president of ignoring their plight.

Savchenko's return from Russia in May via a prisoner swap was a PR coup for President Petro Poroshenko. But her membership of a main opposition party and vocal criticism of key policies threaten to make her a thorn in his side.

She has been campaigning for the release via prisoner swap of the around 25 Ukrainians still held by Russia or pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, but said the Ukrainian authorities were not committed to securing their freedom.

"I suggested concrete actions to the president of Ukraine - we need to start initiating the handover of people," she said in a news briefing.
"But the children of Petro Oleksiyovych (Poroshenko) aren't in captivity, while he spits on your children," she said, addressing the parents of Ukrainian prisoners.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-savchenko-hungerstrike-idUSKCN10D167

"Savchenko, who spent much of her time in Russian jail on hunger strike, said she would hold a new strike until progress is made on the prisoner exchange.

Releasing prisoners-of-war is one of the terms of the 12-point Minsk peace deal, which was brokered between Ukraine and Russia-backed separatists in February 2015 with the aim of ending a conflict which has killed over 9,400 since April 2014."

This woman is a Ukrainian nationalist firebrand and SHE is calling for the Ukraine government to stop dragging it's feet and proceeded with prisoner exchanges as per the Minsk II peace plan.

Unfortunately, the Ukrainian government has a huge incentive not to see the Minsk II peace accord implemented -- namely as long as it is not completed, economic sanctions remain in effect on Russia. It is simply in Ukraine's real-politic interest to NOT abide by Minsk II, they face no penalties for any obstructionism.

U.N. deputy Syria envoy in Damascus for talks on proposed new peace round

Source: Reuters

The U.N. Deputy Special Envoy for Syria on Sunday held talks with Syrian officials in Damascus to sound out their position on how to break an impasse hindering the proposed resumption of peace talks around the end of August.

Ramzy E. Ramzy said he and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moulem discussed the subject of political transition -- a major sticking point in negotiations between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups.

"We discussed how to render this process of political transition which has already been endorsed by the Security Council to be a credible one," Ramzy told reporters.

He did not give details.

U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said last week he aimed to convene a new round of Syria peace talks toward the end of August, and called for a U.S.-Russia deal to support the talks.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-un-idUSKCN10B0OP

There simply is no military solution to the Syrian civil war. A negotiated peace settlement that respects the civil rights of women and religious minorities is desperately needed.
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