Trump scolded for praising Republican who slammed reporter
Monday, October 22
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican senator says the U.S. needs a president who “celebrates the First Amendment,” not one who “pretends that beating up a reporter is OK.”
Nebraska’s Ben Sasse (sas) has frequently criticized President Donald Trump for what he considers Trump’s uncivil rhetoric. Sasse has said he “regularly” considers leaving his party and becoming an independent.
Last week in Montana, Trump praised a congressman who, as a candidate last year, body-slammed a reporter. Trump called Greg Gianforte (jee-an-FOR’-tay) a “tough cookie” and “my kind of guy.” Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.
Sasse says many consider Trump’s raw rhetoric “playful” and “tune most of it out.”
But Sasse tells CNN’s “State of the Union” any president should be a steward of a free press and not joke about an assault.
Deal me out: Trump’s ego vs Earth
By Tom H. Hastings
We used to disparage someone by noting that their “ego is the size of Texas.” Does anyone say that about Trump? Yeah, no, Texas is tiny by comparison.
I can think of no one with a more vast lacuna between his abilities and accomplishments on the one side and his ego on the other.
A worldwide herculean effort finally produced the Paris Agreement as a moderate but highly necessary response to our fossil fuel profligacy and the climate chaos that has begun. Trump idiotically pulled out and the world is far worse off as an unhappy result. His deal? Pollute more, a lot more. We see more forest fires, more floods, more hurricanes and more intense hurricanes, rising seas, and more health issues from bad air. Thanks, Artful Dealer.
More seriously tough negotiations produced the Iran deal, which has stopped Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. So what does DT do? Pulls out of that deal. The rest of the world is trying, as with the Paris Agreement, to salvage what is left after the Trump exit.
Now comes a murderous Saudi hit on a journalist that the world can clearly see originated from the very top, from bin Salman, but Trump publicly exculpates him even as he claims that, essentially, whatever these thugs do is irrelevant, since Saudi Arabia buys war stuff from US corporations. Seriously? That thinking never stopped Trump from yanking us out of the Iran deal, a side benefit of which, for Trump’s buddy Putin, is that Russia is now moving into Iran to sell them the lethal tools that Boeing used to. Which logic is it, Donald? None? Yeah, we’re getting that.
Trump undoes everyone else’s great work and then takes credit for the no-deal with North Korea. Huh? Every president before him got the same empty promises from three generations of North Korean leaders, but no other US president has vaulted any of the Dear Leaders to a position of global prominence and legitimacy. These terrorists could only find a friend in Trump, who, so far, has totally failed to ink an actual deal with the current N. Korea dictator.
Again, after years and years of global struggle to begin nuclear disarmament with only poor agreements to show for it, at long last Gorbachev convinced Ronald Reagan to sensibly sign the very first actual nuclear disarmament treaty in December 1987, easily the most important achievement of the otherwise mediocre-to-poor Reagan terms. So what does Trump do? Naturally. He announces he’s going to vacate the best nuclear deal any US president has ever made, the start to what others then worked on since and have actually reduced the global total of nuclear warheads from more than 30,000 in the mid-1980s to approximately 7,000 today. Slow but necessary progress if humans have brains. At all.
The Art of the Deal? Feh. The US, the people of planet Earth, and future generations have never had such a poor negotiator who puts his ego ahead of everything. Our grandchildren have never been so threatened as the Trump-Putin-corporado coalition we see in play right now.
If we show some sense on November 6 we can slowly begin to reverse the damage. If not, he’s left to wreck more and more, everything he touches. He’s like King Midas in reverse, more like the Ebola of the Deal. He thinks his touch is gold when it’s toxic, fatal. The American voter is the only possible antidote.
Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court.
Opinion: The Time Is Now for Congress to Protect Our Democracy and Online Privacy
By Melanie L. Campbell and Joycelyn Tate
The internet is one of the most profound advancements in history. The technology revolution has created new opportunities for economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, education, health care, civic and social engagement. Internet technology has also made it possible for previously marginalized groups to participate as entrepreneurs and creators of innovative products and services in the tech industry in larger numbers than any other industry in history.
The lighter touch regulation of the tech industry has spurred innovation that makes the internet a fertile ground of unlimited potential. Less regulation of the tech industry has lowered some of the traditional barriers for women and minorities to become entrepreneurs, who are now creating relevant and meaningful products and services in the tech industry.
However, the acts and omissions of big tech companies make it necessary to create legislation to close the gaps in consumer protection, effectively protect our personal data and defend our democracy.
Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and Facebook’s dealings with Cambridge Analytica, the political firm hired by the 2016 Trump campaign that harvested the personal data of more than 87 million Facebook users for political targeting, have awakened American consumers to the threat that the lack of internet legislation poses to the safeguard of our democracy and personal data.
As the nation prepares to vote in the 2018 midterm elections, the congressional leadership has done little to nothing to protect our democracy, most especially to address the continued cyberattacks by Russia and other countries on our nation’s democracy through Facebook and other online mechanisms.
Further, online advertising platforms, search engines like Google, and social media platforms such as Facebook have been reported to practice algorithmic bias by tracking consumers’ profiles based on their ZIP codes, online preferences for goods and services, and public opinions. The results of this tracking have led to predictive algorithms that deliberately exclude or target advertising and online search results to certain groups, particularly for housing, suitability for employment and credit, insurance, educational opportunities, and public accommodations.
As consumers, we understand the threat posed by unaccountable tech companies that have shown little, if any, regard for our privacy or civil rights. We realize that tech companies’ routine practices of data-mining our personal information contained in emails, online search selections, and online connections with family, friends and associates, has breached our privacy and left us vulnerable to predictive algorithms that deliver information and targeted marketing to us based on inferences about our lifestyles, voting behavior, friends and acquaintances.
We also know that the algorithms used by big tech companies contribute to racial profiling and the systemic and institutional racism and discrimination that makes minorities and other marginalized groups the most vulnerable victims to these algorithms’ ability to decrease opportunities for employment, housing, credit, education and health care — which harms the economic wealth and well-being of our communities.
Historically, when consumers have been subject to exploitative practices of large-scale industries, Congress stepped in to protect us from these abuses. When corporations harmed the environment with pollutants to our air, land and waterways, Congress passed legislation to constrain environmental degradation for commercial gain. When banking and financial institutions abused and discriminated against consumers in the housing and lending markets, Congress passed laws to stop such abuses. When manufacturers produced consumer products and foods that contained dangerous substances and ingredients that are harmful to our health, Congress forced them into transparency by revealing the full list of ingredients and components or eliminating the injurious substances.
As America becomes increasingly more reliant on a digital economy, Congress must overcome its gridlock and move forward with an equally aggressive effort to come to radical consensus on internet openness and grapple with negotiating bipartisan legislation that will protect our civil rights and consumers’ privacy and data online.
Congress must also ensure that our democracy is not destroyed by its lack of action. One of the most vital responsibilities of each member of Congress is embodied in their oath to defend our nation against all enemies. As recent revelations of imminent threats to our democracy at the hands of foreign interference have become apparent, Congress must put aside obstructionism and partisan politics and step up as a unified body to create internet legislation that protects our civil rights, safeguards our online privacy and defends American democracy.
ABOUT THE WRITERS
Melanie L. Campbell is president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Joycelyn Tate is the senior technology policy adviser for the Black Women’s Roundtable. They wrote this for InsideSources.com.
The Violence Against Women Act is unlikely to reduce intimate partner violence – here’s why
October 17, 2018
Author: Leigh Goodmark, Professor of Law, University of Maryland, Baltimore
Disclosure statement: Leigh Goodmark does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
The Violence Against Women Act, the federal government’s signature legislation aimed at responding to domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and stalking, expired at the end of September.
Legislative wrangling over the act’s provisions led to the expiration. This was not the first time controversy has gotten in the way of extending the legislation. Originally passed with strong bipartisan support in 1994, a previous reauthorization ran into problems as a result of disputes involving protection for Native Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims of violence, and undocumented women.
Although Congress has temporarily reauthorized the act, its future is again uncertain, and advocates warn of the dire consequences of failing to pass the law.
But the fact is that the criminal system supported by the act isn’t stopping intimate partner violence.
Criminal system focus
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 19 percent of women in America will be raped, 15 percent will be stalked, and 22 percent will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.
The Violence Against Women Act was the first law dedicated to ending that brutality. With a total authorization of US $3.1 billion in 2013, the act supports rape crisis centers, pays for lawyers for victims of violence and provides money for transitional housing. But the single greatest beneficiary of the act is the criminal legal system.
The act’s two largest grant programs sent approximately $250 million to the courts, police and prosecutors last year. The money was used to train law enforcement and judges, develop policies for improved handling of domestic violence cases, encourage collaboration between community service providers and law enforcement, and staff law enforcement agencies with victim liaisons.
Without such incentives, supporters of the act say, the criminal legal system’s response to domestic violence will falter and violence will increase.
Although rates of domestic violence have fallen steadily since the legislation was enacted in 1994, the decrease in rates may not be a result of the act. Initially, those declines mirrored decreases in the overall crime rate.
And between 2000 and 2010, rates of domestic violence actually fell less than the drop in the overall crime rate – at a time when VAWA was pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the criminal system.
Failing to stop
The criminal system isn’t deterring domestic violence for a number of reasons. Criminologists question whether the criminal law serves as a general deterrent for any kind of crime.
I am a lawyer who has represented victims of domestic violence for almost 25 years and studied the legal system’s response to intimate partner violence for the last 15 years. As I argue in my new book, “Decriminalizing Domestic Violence: A Balanced Policy Approach to Intimate Partner Violence,” the increased involvement of the criminal system over the last 40 years has done little to solve the problem. Criminalizing domestic violence exacerbates some of the factors that cause it in the first place.
Here’s how that happens:
Having a criminal record is a surefire way to decrease one’s chances of finding a job, particularly for men of color. Research shows that under- and unemployed men are more likely to commit domestic violence.
Incarceration is traumatic; inmates are regularly victims of, or witnesses to, violence. Upon release, men who have been incarcerated for domestic violence bring that trauma back into their communities and their intimate relationships. Trauma is closely linked to committing domestic violence.
Domestic violence is more common in low-income, unstable communities. These are the kinds of communities created when significant proportions of their residents have been incarcerated.
Harsh response favored
VAWA’s reliance on the criminal system comes from a time when Democrats and Republicans alike believed that being tough on crime was the answer to violence against women. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the act’s primary sponsor and most vocal advocate in the Senate in 1994, has consistently called domestic violence a criminal issue.
At its passage in 1994, 62 percent of VAWA money was dedicated to the criminal system; 38 percent funded social services. By 2013, 85 percent of VAWA monies were being funneled into the criminal system.
But I argue that the act could do more good if it focused on some of the underlying causes of intimate partner violence. VAWA could fund job creation and training efforts for men who need work. It could invest in community-based programs that would challenge community norms around violence, teach community members to intervene productively, and shore up community infrastructure, addressing the instability that causes domestic violence. It could shift money into programs like Fathers for Change that target the intersection of domestic violence and substance abuse.
The version of the act currently being debated in Congress continues to fund law enforcement disproportionately. But it also has some promising new provisions that deal with domestic violence outside of the criminal system.
Shift away from punishment
For the first time, the act would pay for alternative justice measures designed to help victims of violence find justice without requiring them to turn to the legal system.
Restorative justice, for example, enables victims of violence to enlist community support in holding their partners accountable. Lisalyn Jacobs, who worked on the act’s reauthorizations in 2005 and 2013, notes that these grants recognize that VAWA has been too focused on the criminal system. They are, she says, “an acknowledgment that there’s a significant population of people who need services and who are not engaging with law enforcement.”
The act also provides new ways to remove guns from those who abuse, a measure that could decrease domestic violence homicides. And it increases protections for those in federal public housing. Housing is the single greatest need identified by victims of intimate partner violence. Indeed, domestic violence is one of the primary causes of homelessness for women, and losing public housing can be disastrous for victims of violence. The new version of the act would prevent victims of domestic violence from being evicted as a result of their partners’ crimes and allow for early lease termination and emergency transfers without penalties.
Improvement, not perfection
The new provisions don’t make the 2018 version of the Violence Against Women Act perfect.
I believe that it still relies too heavily on the criminal system. It doesn’t do enough to address the causes of intimate partner violence: economic distress, adverse childhood experiences and trauma, unstable communities. VAWA monies that currently go to the criminal system could instead be used for job training and economic empowerment programs, home visitation programs, anti-violence education for young adults and community-based justice.
Legislation could encourage law enforcement to target serious, habitual offenders and create incentives for developing innovative programs that can change abusive behavior.
The 2018 act is a start. But I believe the United States is still far from developing a balanced policy approach to intimate partner violence.
Senate slipping away as Dems fight to preserve blue wave
By STEVE PEOPLES, THOMAS BEAUMONT and LISA MASCARO
Wednesday, October 24
NEW YORK (AP) — In the closing stretch of the 2018 campaign, the question is no longer the size of the Democratic wave. It’s whether there will be a wave at all.
Top operatives in both political parties concede that Democrats’ narrow path to the Senate majority has essentially disappeared, a casualty of surging Republican enthusiasm across GOP strongholds. At the same time, leading Democrats now fear the battle for the House majority will be decided by just a handful of seats.
“It’s always been an inside straight, and it still is,” Democratic pollster Paul Maslin said of Democrats’ outlook in the Senate, where they need to pick up two seats while holding on to several others in Republican-leaning states to seize the majority. “If it had been a different year, with a different map, we might have had a terrific sweep. That would be a long shot.”
While the trend may be troubling for Democrats, the evolving political landscape remains unsettled two weeks before Election Day, even with millions of votes already cast across 20 states.
There are signs that the Democrats’ position in the expanding House battlefield may actually be improving. Yet Republican candidates locked in tight races from New York to Nevada find themselves in stronger-than-expected positions because of a bump in President Donald Trump’s popularity, the aftermath of a divisive Supreme Court fight and the sudden focus on a caravan of Latin American immigrants seeking asylum at the U.S. border.
Democrats say they never assumed it would be easy.
“It’s still much closer than people think, with a surprise or two in the wings,” New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, told The Associated Press.
The midterm elections will decide whether Republicans maintain control of Congress for the final two years of Trump’s first term. Even if Democrats lose the Senate and win the House, they could block much of Trump’s agenda and use subpoena power to investigate his many scandals. Some in the party’s far-left wing have also vowed to impeach the president, while others promise to roll back the Republican tax overhaul and expand health care coverage for all Americans.
Democrats have enjoyed an overwhelming enthusiasm advantage for much of the Trump era. They hope an explosion of early voting across states like Florida, Texas and Nevada is further proof of their enthusiasm gap.
It took voters in the Houston area less than six hours Monday to set a new opening day record for early voting during a midterm election. And in some Florida counties, two and three times as many voters cast ballots on the first day of early voting Monday compared to four years ago.
Public and private polling, however, suggests the GOP is getting more excited as Nov. 6 approaches.
“Republican enthusiasm doesn’t quite equal the white-hot enthusiasm of Democratic voters, but the Kavanaugh hearings got it pretty close,” said GOP consultant Whit Ayres.
He also attributes the party’s strong position on an unusual Senate map. Democrats are defending 26 seats of the 35 seats in play, including 10 in states that Trump carried in 2016. Ayres calls it “maybe the most Republican-leaning map of our lifetimes.”
He expects the GOP to maintain the Senate majority, perhaps adding a seat or two to its current 51-49 edge. Others have begun to envision the GOP picking up as many as four or five new seats.
Democrats, meanwhile, have effectively protected their Senate candidates in states across the Midwest — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — that helped give Trump the presidency in 2016. They are increasingly pessimistic about picking up any seats, however.
The Tennessee Senate contest, in particular, has shifted sharply in Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s direction in recent weeks, while Democratic pickup opportunities in Arizona and Nevada are now considered toss-ups. In a measure of the deep uncertainty that has defined the Trump era, only one Democratic incumbent — North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp — is seen as most in danger of losing.
After Heitkamp, Democrats facing the greatest risk of defeat are Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and perhaps Bill Nelson of Florida. Texas Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke has shattered fundraising records and developed a national following, but polls have consistently given Republican Sen. Ted Cruz a significant lead against him.
In the race for the House, both sides acknowledge the prospect of a wipeout-style wave is shrinking.
It’s not that Democrats won’t be able to wrestle the House majority. But Republican lawmakers are increasingly optimistic, in part because of Trump’s recent performance as the GOP’s campaigner in chief.
Republicans say the often-volatile president has been surprisingly on-message during his campaign events, touting the strong economy and doubling down on the Kavanaugh fight to promote his efforts to fill courts with conservative jurists. And while Trump has been criticized by members of his own party for his handling of the case of the death of a Saudi journalist working for The Washington Post, operatives say the matter appears to be having little impact on voters.
On a conference call last week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., urged rank-and-file lawmakers to pony up extra cash and help for tough races. They see hopeful signs in Iowa, Florida and Kansas.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., emerged from the call saying it’s going to be a “dogfight” to the finish.
There are signs, however, that Democrats are expanding the House battlefield as Election Day approaches.
Republicans in recent days have pumped new money into House districts held by Republicans in Florida, Georgia, Virginia and New York, suggesting they’re on the defensive. Already, Democrats invested in nearly 80 races, including more than a dozen legitimate pickup opportunities in districts Trump carried by at least 9 points.
Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to claim the House majority.
The massive battlefield remains a problem for Republicans, who have struggled to match Democratic fundraising and face several first-time candidates not yet tainted by Washington.
Still, Dan Sena, the executive director of the House Democrats campaign arm, recently predicted Democrats would win the majority by only two seats.
The Republican shift is not playing out as planned.
The GOP hoped its tax cuts would fuel their midterm message. After they proved unpopular, Republicans largely abandoned their most significant policy achievement in the Trump era in favor of a more familiar message of anger and fear.
The super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, which is expected to spend $100 million before Election Day — most of it on attack ads — highlighted the shifting landscape in a memo to donors.
“The polling momentum that began with the Supreme Court confirmation hearings has continued, and the environment has continued to improve,” wrote Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund. Still, he wrote, “20 races that will decide the majority remain a coin-flip.”
Beaumont reported from Des Moines, Iowa. Mascaro reported from Washington. AP writers Alan Fram and Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.
4 reasons why anti-Trump Latino voters won’t swing the midterms
August 20, 2018
Author: Steffen W. Schmidt, Lucken Endowed Professor of Political Science, Iowa State University
Disclosure statement: Steffen W. Schmidt is affiliated with the League of United Latin American Citizens. He was born and raised in Cali, Colombia.
The Democratic Party shouldn’t count on Latinos swinging many midterm races their way this year.
Approximately 27.3 million U.S. Latinos are eligible to vote in November’s midterm elections – 12 percent of all eligible voters, according to the Pew Research Center.
Democrats hope that this big bloc of voters will punish Republicans for President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies. They are courting Latinos in red states like Arizona and Florida.
But the so-called “Latino vote” has always been more promise than reality for Democrats. My political science research indicates that a Latino blue wave is not likely to tip the upcoming election in Democrats’ favor.
1. Eligibility and turnout
To start with, immigration status limits the political impact of this group.
According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, only 44 percent of U.S. Latinos are eligible to vote, a lower proportion than Asian, African-American and white voters.
Latino voter turnout has also been historically low. In the 2016 U.S. election, Pew finds, only 48 percent of eligible Latino voters cast a ballot, compared to 65.3 perent of whites and 59.6 percent of blacks.
Gerrymandering of congressional districts and onerous voter registration barriers also significantly diminish Latinos’ voting power.
Some U.S. Latinos are highly likely to vote, including older voters with a college degree and Cuban-Americans.
But just one in three voting-aged Latinos under 29 voted in the last presidential election. Turnout was even lower among Latinos with less than a high school diploma.
Fully 20 percent of U.S. Latino voters fall into this low-turnout category.
2. The location of swing districts
The impact of the Latino vote on Senate and House races in 2018 is likewise limited by geographic factors.
More than half – 52 percent – of all Latinos eligible to vote live in California, Texas and New York. Congressional candidates in these states already understand the power of Latino voters, who have been decisive players in at least two dozen districts since the 1980s. Candidates successfully target Latino constituents in their media campaigns and outreach work.
In four big swing states, on the other hand – Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio – Latinos make up 5 percent or less of eligible voters.
As a result, Latino voters may be decisive for Democrats in just a handful of races: those occurring in states with competitive districts and significant Latino populations, including Virginia, Florida, Texas, Arizona and California.
In my view, the Latino vote could help push Democrats to victory in just seven races in five states. These include Virginia’s 10th district, in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.; Texas’s southwestern 23rd and suburban seventh districts; Florida’s 26th district, which includes Miami; and Arizona’s Tucson-based 2nd district.
3. Latinos aren’t single-issue voters
The assumption that Latinos outraged by Trump’s immigration policies will come out en masse to vote against his party reveals another errant assumption about this voter segment – namely, that all Latinos care about the same things.
The Latino demographic is as diverse as any other population in America. It is a mistake to think that any 27.3 million eligible voters would rally around the same issues – even Trump’s immigration policies. The facts show that Latinos vote based on the same array of factors – gender identity, profession, religious affiliation, economic class, education – as other groups.
According to Gallup, Latino voters are concerned about health care, jobs, the economy and inequality. Just 12 percent cite immigration as their primary concern.
Some Latinos, like other Americans Trump targeted during his campaign, are themselves weary of undocumented immigration. Gallup polls over the past six years find that an average of 67 percent of Hispanics have said they worry “a great deal or fair amount” about illegal immigration. That is 10 points higher than non-Hispanic white respondents and 12 points higher than black respondents.
4. Inaccurate polling
The truth is, we just don’t know enough about the preferences of Latino voters. No more than half a dozen polls out of hundreds target the Latino voter segment exclusively. What polling is done on Latinos is often not well-designed.
Many Latino political leaders I’ve interviewed say that exit polls cannot accurately define who is a Latino and that surveys do not draw from representative samples of Latino districts.
As a result, their projections about Latino voter behavior are often inaccurate.
Here’s an example: Nearly all the analysts and anchors I interviewed from Telemundo, Univision and CNN en Español before the 2016 election agreed that Trump would win very few Latino voters.
In fact, it appears that 28 percent of Latinos voted for Trump. That’s just shy of the average 30 percent of U.S. Latinos who usually vote for GOP candidates and a reflection of the conservative social values many Latinos hold about abortion, LGBTQ issues and big government bureaucracies.
Republicans could lose Latino support
All that said, I do believe 2018 will be a sharp and significant test of Latino voter behavior in the United States – more so than the 2016 presidential election.
Back then, Trump was just a candidate and his anti-immigrant tirades could be passed off as campaign rhetoric.
Now, many U.S. Latinos and their families are feeling the direct impact of the president’s policies, including a crackdown on undocumented immigrants, the inhumane treatment of Central American asylum-seekers and the legal limbo inflicted on the young immigrants known as Dreamers.
If Latinos do abandon Republicans in significant numbers this November, Trump will have endangered his own party’s political future by finally alienating the largest and fastest-growing community in the United States.