Trump lectures media for trying ‘to score political points’
By JILL COLVIN
Saturday, October 27
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump lectured the media at length on Friday evening, accusing reporters of trying “to use the sinister actions of one individual to score political points” against him hours after police apprehended a staunch supporter of his in connection with the mail-bomb scare targeting Democrats and CNN.
Trump was campaigning in Charlotte, North Carolina, to support two GOP candidates facing close races in the state.
Trump has been on a rally blitz, hoping to help vulnerable Republicans ahead of the Nov. 6 elections that will determine which party controls Congress. He’s planning at least 10 rallies over the five-day stretch before Election Day.
Trump, who held back some of his usual name-calling at a rally in Wisconsin earlier this week, was back to his usual attack lines Friday evening even as he called for an end to the “politics of personal destruction.”
Not long after, he referred to his 2016 opponent as “Crooked Hillary Clinton,” prompting a round of “Lock her up!” chants.
Clinton was among the frequent Trump targets sent pipe bombs this week.
“Oh boy, they’re going to be reporting about you tonight,” Trump joked in response. The crowd also broke into frequent chants of “CNN sucks!”
Also earning a mention: California Rep. Maxine Waters, another frequent Trump target who was sent a package.
Trump had told reporters as he left Washington that he had no plans to tone down his rhetoric, adding: “I could really tone it up. Because, as you know, the media has been extremely unfair to me and to the Republican Party.”
Terror isn’t always a weapon of the weak – it can also support the powerful
October 28, 2018
Director of Security Studies and Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Arie Perliger 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.
University of Massachusetts provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
People often believe that terrorism is the weapon of the weak.
In other words, terrorism is practiced by marginalized groups that cannot influence government’s policies through legitimate means. However, developments on the violent far right since the victory of Donald Trump, I’d argue, present a different reality.
The attack at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, as well as the sending of pipe bombs to critics of the current administration are just the latest examples of the consistent increase in the violence on the margins of the political camp currently controlling all branches of government. Because these acts were perpetrated by individuals with clear political agendas, I’d call them terrorism. While neither of these men were part of a named terrorist organization, and the synogogue shooting is being investigated as a hate crime, I’d argue that they are part of a virtual community that supported their political worldview.
The nonprofit Anti-Defamation League found that anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. rose by 57 percent in 2017, the largest single year increase since it started recording such statistics. My own data set documents all far-right violent incidents since 1970 – not just anti-Semitic ones – and was first published in 2012. It reveals that in 2017 the United States experienced a 70 percent increase in violent attacks perpetrated in the name of far-right ideology.
Could a victory at the ballot box actually facilitate violence? Examples from other countries indicate that this may not be such a rare phenomenon. The two most brutal terrorist groups which emerged from the settlers’ movement in Israel – the Jewish Underground in the early 1980s and the Bat-Ayin Group in the early 2000s, operated in times when right-wing governing coalitions dominated the Israeli political system. Both groups were engaged in a campaign of violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank in order to undermine any policies designed to promote conciliation between the two sides.
Similarly, the electoral successes of European far-right parties in recent years, especially in local elections, were followed by increasing activity of related violent far-right groups and movements. The success of the AfD in Germany since 2016 was followed by acts of violence which were not seen in Germany since the times of the Nazi Party, such as the two days of violence against Jews and immigrants at the town of Chemnitz.
How can these trends can be explained? A research project which I’m currently conducting with two of my Ph.D. students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell tests three possible explanations.
Potential perpetrators of violence may assume that the new political regime that they perceive to be supportive of their views will be more tolerant of politically motivated violence or illegal acts. These expectations are not without some basis.
Research I published in 2012 in the journal Security Studies showed that Israeli governments tended to use milder counterterrorism measures when they responded to the violence from groups that were ideologically close to them.
Similarly, studies focusing on the rise of left- and right-wing terrorism in Italy, and white supremacy groups in the American South, further confirmed that political officials are more reluctant to operate against groups which are located on their side of the political spectrum.
In the context of the U.S., individuals and groups that adhere to far-right ideology may interpret signals from government official as acceptance of their actions – or, at least, a sign that they can expect more lenient treatment from law enforcement. The Trump adminstration’s decision to focus its counterterrorism efforts on Islamic terrorism, and defund programs focusing on domestic radicalization may be one such signal. Another example is Trump’s reluctance to single out and criticize far-right groups and activities. His attitude was manifested after white supremacists marched in Charlottesville with Confederate battle flags, anti-Semitic placards and torches – activities Trump seemed loath to condemn. Lastly, conspiracy theories presented by some far-right pundits about the left’s involvement in the recent sending of pipe bombs, and the president’s decision to put the word “bomb” in quotation marks when addressing such incidents in his Twitter account may be read as tacit defense of such acts.
Another possibility we are testing is that perpetrators of violence feel empowered by Trump’s electoral victory in 2016. They feel his winning the election means their actions and ideology are gaining growing public legitimacy. In other words, they feel a sense of duty to continue to be engaged in political participation to ensure the implementation of their political ideology, as well as to attain a more visible position within the political arena.
A third explanation is based on political scientist Ted Gurr’s classical theory of relative deprivation. Gurr’s theory is that political violence often results from a gap between constituencies’ expectations and the actual goods provided by the government.
The reasoning here would go that the election of Trump led to high expectations in the American far right that the federal government would adopt at least some of their militant views and policy ideas. If, in the eyes of far-right activists, these expectations were not met, some of them may express their frustration via violent activities.
The difficulties of the current administration in implementing some of its immigration policies, as well as some willingness to compromise on the issue of gun legislation, may have frustrated activists who may feel the need to express their concerns via violent or illegal acts. For example, the Pittsburgh shooter felt Trump was a globalist not a nationalist, and influenced by his Jewish family and close associates.
Countering the violence
While our study is still ongoing, some initial findings can provide insights about the applicability of the above mentioned explanations.
The fact that the rise in the level of violence occurred immediately after the 2016 elections, and the relative success of the administration in delivering on many of its election promises – the travel ban, electing two justices to the Supreme Court – indicate that empowerment rather than a sense of deprivation may be responsible for the rise in the level of violence. The fact that the violence hasn’t increased since its peak in 2017 also suggests that the root causes of the violence are related more to the election results than subsequent policy developments. Moreover, the administration’s reluctance to delegitimize violent manifestations further enhance this sense of empowerment.
It is important to note that historical dynamics also support these insights. A study I published in 2012 shows that anti-abortion violence actually tends to increase following pro-life decisions of the Supreme Court. For example, between 1989 and 1992, a series of pro-life Supreme Court decisions upholding increased state supervision of abortion procedures empowered pro-life activists. Anti-abortion violence increased.
Coming back to today, the growing polarization of the American political system and the tendency to see elections as a zero sum game encourages each of the political parties to maximize the benefits of electoral victory. That, in turn, involves disregarding norms of cooperation and consensus building. What I would argue is that this need to exploit the fruits of victory may also encourage a few supporters of the winning political camp to use violence.
AEP Names Sundararajan President and COO of AEP Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 29, 2018 – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) today named Raja Sundararajan president and chief operating officer of AEP Ohio, effective Jan. 1, 2019. He is currently AEP’s vice president – Regulatory Services.
Sundararajan will lead all aspects of AEP Ohio’s electric service responsibilities. He will report to Paul Chodak, executive vice president – AEP Utilities. Sundararajan replaces Julie Sloat, who has been named AEP’s senior vice president – Treasury and Risk.
“Raja has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and creative approaches to problem-solving throughout his AEP career,” Chodak said. “His experience in regulatory, transmission and business strategy will be an asset as we continue our work to offer new energy services and solutions that provide value to our customers in Ohio.
“Under Julie’s leadership, AEP Ohio has advanced smart technologies and established a framework to provide new clean energy to benefit all Ohio customers. I’m confident that Raja will build on this strong foundation and help Ohio lead the Midwest in the transition to a new energy economy,” Chodak said.
Sundararajan, 43, has held several leadership positions since joining AEP in 2002. He has served as vice president – Regulatory Services since 2016, leading AEP’s regulatory activities before 11 state regulatory commissions and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Previously, he was vice president – Transmission Asset Strategy and Policy; managing director – Transmission Business Strategy; managing director of Market Risk; and has held management positions in Treasury and Corporate Finance at AEP.
Sundararajan has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India. He also has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan and he completed the Executive MBA program at the University of Virginia. He is a member of the Columbus Zoo Board of Directors.
About AEP Ohio
AEP Ohio is based in Gahanna, Ohio, and is a unit of American Electric Power. AEP Ohio provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers. News and information about AEP Ohio can be found at AEPOhio.com.
American Electric Power based in Columbus, Ohio, is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to our customers. AEP’s more than 17,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 219,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 32,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 4,300 megawatts of renewable energy. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP also owns AEP Energy, AEP Energy Partners, AEP OnSite Partners and AEP Renewables, which provide innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide.
Walking Toward Hope on the Southern Border
By Llewellyn King
If you want to come to the United States illegally, the worst point of entry is along the southern border. If the U.S. Border Patrol doesn’t get you, the gangs that prey on the hapless might; if not, you have a good chance of dying of heat prostration and lack of food and water in the desert.
The smart ones, the conniving illegals, aren’t the destitute walking in blazing heat for a rendezvous with Border Patrol agents and then lord knows what, but those who fly in with student visas, tourist visas and other travel documents and disappear into the shadows.
The people in what is loosely called a “caravan” now walking toward the border have been failed by the societies that bore them. They live in fear of murder, fear of repeated rape and other violence, and fear of starvation. They live in their own circle of hell.
But they aren’t alone. There are many millions more in the failed and failing states, war-ravaged and drought-plagued, in Africa and the Middle East, trying to find a new home. Their exodus is a trickle today but will be a torrent tomorrow and a flood later.
The hopeless are on the march and they threaten to engulf some nations, like tiny Malta, an island in the Mediterranean and a European Union member state.
Europe is struggling with a flood of desperate people who cross the Mediterranean from North Africa in overloaded rafts and boats, risking drowning to reach Malta, Greece or Italy: places where they hope for food, shelter and safety.
Illegal immigration is a global problem. No country has a solution and no country deals well with it.
There are wars and insurgencies in Africa and the Middle East: Consider just the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
Of Africa’s 54 countries, none has anything like enough jobs for its population — its growing population. Even rich South Africa has a growing population and shrinking economic activity. Add to the failed or under-performing economies drought and climate change and you can imagine new surges in migration — surges so large they could overwhelm the target countries.
In the Middle East, new refugees are created daily. Eleven million are on the brink of famine in war-engulfed Yemen, and Syria continues to generate refugees at a stupendous rate.
Thirty-five years ago, I was at France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, known colloquially as the Quai d’Orsay. My briefer said, “If we don’t solve the problem of poverty, we’ll get three imports we don’t want: drugs, terrorism and people.”
The world hasn’t solved the poverty problem and it’s gotten the three things it doesn’t want.
There is no grand solution at hand, but there are small things that can be done. For us, the first might be to stop worsening conditions in the countries that are generating the flows of people toward the border. Two things would help: Don’t cut off foreign aid, exacerbating economic conditions, and don’t cut off the flow of expatriate earnings, which is so important in those countries. In other words, stop the deportations.
People who are here illegally and hold jobs would hold better jobs if their status was legalized. One solution would be time-limited work permits: not citizenship, work permits.
This is advocated by the Immigrant Tax Inquiry Group, which adds an appealing twist. The Malibu, Calif.-based group recommends that illegals should pay a special tax on their wages with an equivalent tax paid by the employer. The purpose of the tax is to alleviate the local effect of immigrants on schools, policing, courts and health care.
Considering the global problem, we have a small, manageable one. The caravan of people walking through Mexico have a bigger problem: They’re inflaming Americans and endangering their own lives — some deaths have been reported.
But if I were destitute and feared for my life in Central America, I’d likely be headed for the border, feeling I was doing something, even something hopeless.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Llewellyn King is executive producer and host of “White House Chronicle” on PBS. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.
One Law to Rule Them All: Thou Shall Not Kill
By Kary Love
Routine mayhem in America is the “new normal?” Not only is it not “normal” it is not “new.” The soul searching and despairing cries of “Why?” echo again across the nation. The blood of one group of victims is not even dry before the next massacre occurs. How to account for it?
The calls go out for new laws, new law enforcers, new punishments, increasing use of the “death penalty.” None has worked in the past, but no matter, the devolution into insanity proceeds apace on all sides of the debate, at least as defined by Albert Einstein, if apocryphally: “doing the same things over again and expecting a different result.”
I have a radical suggestion: try something different. Once, long ago, the evolution of humanity threw up a supreme law, one that ought to rule all laws, if the heaving mass of animalistic proto-humans were to rise to human being. Thou shall not kill.
That is and must be the first law. It must rule all other law. All other law must be subordinate to it, and must be interpreted and applied consistent with it, or all law fails its task of approaching justice. Why?
If killing is not repudiated, it invites more killing. Revenge cycles abound. Killing, ironically, is pregnant, not with life, but with more killing. Pregnant with death. Once killing is embraced as justice, there is no end to killing but in the silence of the universal graveyard. This was the ancient wisdom revealed in this one law to rule them all: start with no killing and the rest of justice may follow.
America’s cries of confusion amid the bloodletting, the desperate chest pounding, hair tearing grief and accusations arising on all sides, pointing one at another, resound yet again. But the answer is clear, it stares us in the face, as a nation, as a people, we have abandoned the one law to rule them all.
Americans embrace killing both at home and abroad. It is our law that authorizes it. It is our armed forces that stand athwart the world daily killing. It is our allies we empower and enable to commit genocide. It is Americans who espouse mercenary armies to make killing our nation’s business. It is our arsenals of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons armed and triggered in constant readiness that threaten the death daily of all humanity. Our laws drip with blood, death penalties, police shootings without accountability, and mass incarceration of our fellow citizens to spirit killing prisons, destroying lives, families and communities, a living death.
Has god turned his face from America? Or has America turned its face from god? It matters little which, or, if both, are true. The only thing that matters is that America awakens to the ancient truth for every person everywhere: one law must rule them all—thou shall not kill.
Kary Love is a Michigan attorney who has defended nuclear resisters, including some desperado nuns, in court for decades and will on occasion use blunt force satire or actual legal arguments to make a point.