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Plan C: Third-Party Run A Daunting Task For GOP Establishment

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:38pm


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WASHINGTON -- Hopes of stopping Donald Trump short of the Republican nomination ahead of this summer's convention came to a crashing end Tuesday night after Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas dropped out of the race following his loss in Indiana.  


What hope remains is being channeled into a Plan C: Have another Republican run for office in addition to Trump.


Around Washington, chatter about the possibility of an independent run by a traditional conservative is becoming louder. It is fueled in part by the business end of the political cycle: Campaign consultants eagerly await -- and financially plan for -- the quadrennial, billion-dollar payday that is a presidential election.


Rest assured, the Donald Trump campaign will offer no shortage of opportunities for grifters. But if you've been a charter member of the Washington establishment, your calls probably aren't getting returned as quickly as you might like, especially if you've spent the past half-year typing the #NeverTrump hashtag into your Twitter feed.


But there are also political reasons to run an independent candidate. A traditional conservative on the ballot who could peel a few points away from Trump would virtually assure Hillary Clinton of victory -- giving business-minded conservatives who prefer Clinton a way to support her without having to support her directly. As importantly, a third-party conservative candidate could potentially draw in Republican voters disaffected by having Trump on top of the ticket, thereby giving a much-needed boost to down-ballot candidates.


"That would be good," Tim Miller, Jeb Bush's former communications director and a leading operative in the Never Trump movement, said of guaranteeing Trump's loss by running someone else. "To the extent that there is a conservative third-party candidate that would give Republicans who can't stomach voting for Donald Trump a person to vote for, and conceivably solve the depressed turnout problem, I think there is something to be said to that."


Sam Geduldig, a former senior aide to John Boehner, is now a lobbyist, and argues that a Clinton victory is not necessarily a worst-case scenario for Republicans. "An independent conservative running could actually help the House and Senate," he said in an email. "It means Clinton definitely wins, so it could depress Democratic turnout in places like Illinois. So the Trump people help Mark Kirk, the [placeholder] people help Kirk, Democrats might not turn out because Clinton wins (Illinois) easily and we hold the Senate. Then in 2018 there'll likely be a wave of anti-Hillary energy and we'll run up huge majorities in her first midterm. Leading to a favorable redistricting process in 2020."


But the real problem with launching a third-party candidate against Trump is not the uncertainty of the results, it's making it actually happen.


"There will certainly be some talk about it, especially for those who want a serious constitutional conservative to vote for," said Doug Heye, a former top aide to Eric Cantor. "The challenge is that there is a high barrier to entry to making that a reality."


Among the most obvious hurdles is finding a willing individual. That's because such a bid would be a kamikaze mission for the candidate's reputation. A large chunk of the Republican Party would instantaneously blame the candidate for costing it a chance of winning the White House (presuming they sincerely believe Trump has a shot). And the official party apparatuses would formally oppose what the candidate is doing. Only a candidate with no plans to ever win the White House in the future would make the bid.


"Anything less than a unified Republican is ultimately helping Hillary Clinton become president," said Sean Spicer, a top aide at the Republican National Committee, when asked about the third-party bid chatter.


Beyond that, a third-party candidate would be subjecting himself or herself to months of incoming fire from Trump, who isn't exactly known for treating his political opponents tenderly.  


"Who is going to run? Who are they going to put up there?" asked John Feehery, a longtime Republican operative who recently encouraged the party to rally behind Trump despite his own reservations. "I think this is all inside the beltway bullshit chatter from a bunch of campaign consultants who are frustrated their guy didn't win. And I think it's all nonsense."


Even if the insurgents were able to recruit someone to run against Trump, that candidate would have to actually get on a ballot. For the purposes of helping House and Senate candidates and denying Trump the presidency, qualifying in certain swing states would do (though appearing on all 50 would make the bid look much more credible). But even then, signatures have to be gathered and deadlines met. A group of conservative donors was reportedly looking into ballot access for just such a purpose back in February. Republican sources in the know say the effort has tapered off in recent months.


Still, a sense of panic over the impact that Trump may have on the party, and the alarm over how he would act as a president, has kept the talk of running someone else firmly alive. A top fundraiser for the party pointed to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) as a candidate who would uniquely benefit from seeing another presidential candidate in the race: giving moderate conservatives in the suburbs a reason to go to the polls while not overly offending the Trump die-hards in the middle of the state.


"I think in Pat's case, he is very concerned," the fundraiser said. "And I think he is concerned because he has to run across the state, including in so many areas where Trump won't run as well."


But the question inevitably turns to who would actually be willing to help out the Toomeys of the world and, as importantly, do it effectively. To date, several top Republican donors tell The Huffington Post that they've been privy to talks to try to recruit a candidate, only to be begged off.


"There is [currently] some chatter around General [James] Mattis," emailed one donor who has raised tens of millions of dollars for the party. "But I don't believe it comes together." (Mattis has said he's not interested.)


Other names floated have included Govs. Susana Martinez (Mexico), Brian Sandoval (Nev.) and Nikki Haley (S.C.) -- popular Republicans of color who might help the party with the very voters Trump has driven away. But none have shown any willingness to enter the presidential fray, and they lack both the national name ID and personal wealth to make a run work.


Why do it? For a candidate with no future political ambitions, a sacrificial run would ingratiate them with an extremely high-net-worth set of Republicans, and could serve as a golden parachute from public life. Beyond that, there's little incentive. Unless you feel the higher calling, which some hope could draw Mitt Romney or former Sen. Tom Coburn back into the fray.



#draftCoburn

— Pat Shortridge (@PatShortridge) May 3, 2016


Other prospective third-party candidates are likely to support Clinton (former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg) and some long-shot Republicans will end up supporting Trump (think former House Speaker John Boehner).


“The only model for a third party bid would be Trump himself. That’s the joke of it. You need a megalomaniacal rich guy with existing fame," said John Podhoretz, the conservative columnist who has been vocally anti-Trump. "He is the classic third party candidate."


Michael Steele, the former RNC chairman, thinks Republicans can forget about it. "In the end I don’t believe it will happen,"he said in an email. "No one would get behind that person. Want proof? The Stop Trump 'Movement.'"


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.


 

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Political News and Opinion

From Southfield to Ibiza, Mike Posner gets another shot - The Detroit News

Berkley Information from Google News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:26pm


The Detroit News

From Southfield to Ibiza, Mike Posner gets another shot
The Detroit News
Mike Posner “blew his shot,” wrote a song about it, and as a result is getting a second shot. Things work out that way sometimes. But Posner's second act comes as the result of some twists and turns no one could see coming. A year ago, the Southfield ...

Categories: Berkley Area News

Here's What We Know About A Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton General Election

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:13pm


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Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee with Tuesday's win in Indiana and the departure of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Assuming Hillary Clinton sews up the Democratic nomination, we can turn to the general election. So what would a Trump vs. Clinton race look like?


If the general election was tomorrow, Trump would get trumped. HuffPost Pollster’s polling average shows him losing to Clinton, 47 percent to 40 percent, with 9 percent undecided.





Trump would lose to either Clinton or to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to the general election polls so far. But Sanders has no clear path to the Democratic nomination. Yes, he won Indiana, but not by anywhere near the margin he needed to stay competitive. Clinton is 10 percent ahead of Sanders in the delegate race -- that's more than Barack Obama had over Clinton at this point in 2008. Even Sanders’ most fanatical supporters seem to acknowledge he doesn’t have a path to getting a pledged delegate majority.


So we’re looking at Trump vs. Clinton. HuffPost Pollster has been tracking the matchup since the first poll testing these two candidates against each other in May 2015. The early polls meant nothing -- Trump hadn’t even announced his candidacy yet -- but it’s there on our chart, with Clinton leading 50-32.


Astonishingly, there have been 139 more polls pitting Trump against Clinton since then. Most of those didn’t mean anything when they came out. Polls on the general election are widely regarded as unreliable until about April or May of the election year -- at which point they become about halfway reliable. And this year, with more candidates and longer primary contests than usual, the early polls could be even more unreliable than in the past.


Fortunately, there have been 26 Clinton vs. Trump polls since April 1. So, even assuming that polls before then were meaningless, we have a lot of data.



Trump hasn’t come close to Clinton in those polls. The shaded bands around the trend lines mean that 95 percent of the time, that candidate’s share would be within the shaded range. Those bands don’t overlap, so we can be pretty certain that Clinton leads in the polling average.


Only one poll shows Trump ahead of Clinton, and one other shows them tied. Both were conducted by the same pollster -- Rasmussen -- so hardly evidence of a changing trend, despite Trump’s claims on Tuesday night. In the other 24 polls, Clinton leads by as little as 3 points and as much as 12 points. As it stands now, in early May, Clinton looks strong. But the election isn’t in early May.


The landscape has shifted. Now we have a presumptive nominee and an assumed nominee. That will change how people answer these polls -- the matchup isn’t hypothetical anymore. It’s real. And both candidates are extremely unpopular among Americans. How will voters react?


We’ll know when the next batch of polls start rolling in. Don’t worry -- it won’t be long.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Political News and Opinion

Thanks, Governor Deal. My Colleague Won't Have to Buy That Bulletproof Vest Now.

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 10:39pm

"Still grading?" I asked my colleague, a professor at a Georgia college, as she carefully viewed her laptop a few weeks ago.

"I'm finished with that," she told me. "Now I'm pricing bulletproof vests."

She had good reason to do so. Earlier that week, the Georgia legislature, through HB 859, tried to make my state the tenth to allow guns in public colleges. Before that, the Peach State was one of nearly 20 that ban guns at public colleges. The others leave it up to colleges to decide for themselves what to do.

She wasn't too optimistic. She's heard all of the rhetoric from state legislators in this typically Southern state. Not long ago, Peach State politicians came within a single vote of making guns legal on college campuses, and the Republican who blocked the bill is no longer in office, having retired.

But I've tried to tell her that while politicians like Governor Nathan Deal are fairly conservative, they think through the bills, often providing a moderate contrast to extremists who seek headlines more than smart policy. I don't always agree with our local representatives, but we can have a professional dialogue and see each others' viewpoint.



Governor Deal did try to express his reservations about the bill. He let the General Assembly and Senate know his concerns, and gave them quite a bit of time to fix the bill. According to Ryan Phillips of the Associated Press:

Deal's decision to kill the bill isn't a complete surprise. After it passed the legislature, he asked members to pass follow-up bills addressing concerns about access to on-campus daycare centers, spaces where high schools students can take college-level courses and where disciplinary hearings are held. They declined, saying the original bill was carefully considered. Deal, who is in his second and final term, said last week that he would "do what's in the best interests of as many Georgians as possible.

But the bill supporters just figured that Deal was a Republican and he would just go along with their "carefully considered" bill. They played "chicken" with Georgia's governor, and lost. He had worked with them on expanding guns in other places, so he's hardly some anti-gun politician.

According to legend, George Washington described the U.S. Senate as the "saucer that cools the hot tea" of the House of Representatives. In Georgia, that's what the governor is doing, cooling down the fiery rhetoric and searing bills on guns, religion, and other issues.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at jtures@lagrange.edu.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Political News and Opinion

Troy Hotels Help Police Curtail Underage Prom Drinking - Patch.com

Berkley Information from Google News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 10:36pm


Patch.com

Troy Hotels Help Police Curtail Underage Prom Drinking
Patch.com
Troy police remind parents, adults and hotel staff they could be criminally charged if they provide a place for underage drinking parties. Troy, MI. By Beth Dalbey (Patch Staff) - May 3, 2016 10:31 pm ET. ShareTweetGoogle PlusRedditEmailComments0.

Categories: Berkley Area News

Lake Shore, Warren Consolidated, Crestwood school proposals approved - Detroit Free Press

Berkley Information from Google News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 10:24pm


Detroit Free Press

Lake Shore, Warren Consolidated, Crestwood school proposals approved
Detroit Free Press
Voters in Lake Shore Public Schools gave their approval for a $34.5 million bond proposal that will allow the district to make upgrades to safety, security, technology, as well and many other improvements to schools. The bond proposal passed with a ...
Bond proposal for Romeo Community Schools passesShelby Township Source Newspapers

all 6 news articles »

Categories: Berkley Area News

Turns Out Some Republicans Would Rather Disown Their Party Than Vote For Donald Trump

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 9:56pm


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Shortly after Donald Trump triumphantly won the Indiana Republican primary on Tuesday night, after it became clear that he would be the party's presidential nominee, and after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) announced that he would suspend his campaign, Reince Preibus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent a tweet. 



.@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton

— Reince Priebus (@Reince) May 4, 2016


Preibus' job is to unify the party. And in urging fellow Republicans to unite behind Trump, he was essentially declaring an end to a bitter, odd, often comically acidic primary fight.


But he's gonna need more than a tweet. 


Before Trump took to the mics, many of the top conservative voices in the press, some of the party's top operatives, and even elected officials were reaffirming that they simply won't support the real estate tycoon. One even burned his Republican registration card.



Much to my deep chagrin (& astonishment ~8 months ago), for the 1st time in my life, I will not support the GOP nominee for president.

— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) May 3, 2016



#NeverTrump means...never. The mission of distinguishing him from Republican positions and conservative values remains critical.

— Rory Cooper (@rorycooper) May 3, 2016



It's even more important now https://t.co/Ku48QuQpn3

— Tucker Martin (@jtuckermartin) May 3, 2016



Reporters writing about the "Stop Trump" effort get it wrong. It's "Never Trump" as in come hell or high water we will never vote for Trump

— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) May 3, 2016



#ImWithHer

— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) May 3, 2016



Under no circumstances.https://t.co/6yS3fxGsMT

— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) May 3, 2016



For the thick-headed: #NeverTrump means never ever ever ever ever under any circumstances as long as I have breath never Trump. Get it?

— Tony Fratto (@TonyFratto) May 3, 2016



Reporters keep asking if Indiana changes anything for me.
The answer is simple: No.

This from Febr. still holds:https://t.co/yUNSZTHW7E

— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) May 4, 2016



Donald Trump is not equipped to be president, period. That doesn't change just because Hillary Clinton also isn't equipped.

— Ian Tuttle (@iptuttle) May 4, 2016



not voting for trump will be the easiest non-vote of my life.

— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) May 3, 2016



Really? #NeverTrump. Pretty easy. https://t.co/zjvtWb0jUB

— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 3, 2016



Apparently @secupp has a #NeverTrump list to see who keeps their word to the end. You can sign my name in blood.

— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) May 3, 2016



Trump not nominee until he hits 1237. Time for plan C for #NeverTrump: Offer to make Trump an actual billionaire if he drops out.Might work!

— Jamie Weinstein (@Jamie_Weinstein) May 4, 2016



For the first time since turning 18, I will not vote for the Republican candidate for President.

— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) May 4, 2016



I have officially de-registered as a Republican. pic.twitter.com/DjRI21Oyvx

— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) May 4, 2016



Right behind you https://t.co/K4UAHl6IMK

— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) May 4, 2016



pic.twitter.com/L0hQvfBSvS

— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) May 4, 2016


Certainly, there is plenty of time between now and November for feelings to change, for bruised egos to heal, for Republicans to talk themselves into supporting Trump. But step back and take stock of what took place on Tuesday. A party finally determined who its presumptive nominee would be -- and a good chunk of its commentariat, many of its operatives and even some of its lawmakers collectively hurled. 


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.


 

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Political News and Opinion

Ted Cruz Accidentally Punches And Elbows His Wife In The Face After Dropping Out

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 9:49pm


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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday. Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee.


But Cruz added injury to insult after his concession speech: He accidentally punched and elbowed his wife, Heidi Cruz, in the face after he finished speaking.


Watch:



Ted Cruz ends campaign by accidentally hitting, elbowing his wife in the face pic.twitter.com/epO1tzKgTT

— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) May 4, 2016


-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Political News and Opinion

5 Reasons Bernie Sanders Wins Big With Cruz Dropout

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 9:46pm

Here are five immediate repercussions to Ted Cruz dropping out of the Republican primary:

1. News coverage for the Democratic primary, and thus Bernie Sanders, will increase exponentially -- immediately.

Without Trump in the field, all of the focus on future election nights -- nine states and several territories over the next 45 days -- will be on Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

2. Sanders will pick up a huge number of what would otherwise be Trump votes in states where voters are still able to register for upcoming Democratic primaries, or are able to cross over and vote in the Democratic primary due to being a registered independent.

Sanders' vote share in nearly every upcoming primary and caucus just increased, though we don't know by how much. In some instances, it could be a substantial bump, given that there's no strategic reason to cast a vote for Donald Trump anymore -- now that the Republican National Committee has officially declared him the presumptive nominee and a John Kasich dropout is likely imminent.

3. Clinton will have to start spending a great deal of money to fight a two-front war against Donald Trump, who'll begin his ultra-negative primary campaign against Clinton immediately, and Bernie Sanders, who will avoid attacking Clinton directly but has nevertheless vowed to take the Democratic primary to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

This is the worst imaginable scenario for Clinton, as her negatives have always gone up when she's in the midst of a campaign -- and now she's in the middle of two at once. With Clinton's attention divided, her ability to respond to any Bernie Sanders surge in upcoming states will be limited.

4. Sanders now has a greatly increased chance of winning all of the remaining Democratic primaries and caucuses.

Sanders was already looking strong in Oregon, West Virginia, Montana, South Dakota, Kentucky, North Dakota, and California, but given that he's within single digits in New Jersey (where Trump is very popular) and performed incredibly well with nonwhite voters in Indiana (meaning New Mexico could be in play), it's not unthinkable that Hillary Clinton could lose all of the remaining primaries and caucuses and therefore as many as thirteen or fourteen contests in a row to finish the Democratic primary season.

This would send Clinton to Philly a deeply wounded front-runner, even if she maintains a strong (but much diminished) delegate lead over Sanders. So there's a chance that Clinton will go to Philly with a delegate lead but also having lost 22 or 23 of the final 30 contests in the Democratic primary.

If that happens, it's tough to say how super-delegates will view a Clinton candidacy, especially now that the latest national polling (Rasmussen) already has her down by two points to Trump.

5. The Democrats will have a contested convention, and the Republicans won't.


Few saw this coming, but assuming Bernie Sanders maintains his pledge to contest the Democratic convention unless Clinton can get 2,383 pledged delegates by June 14th -- which she can't, barring a miracle -- only one of the two major parties will go to their convention divided, and with (not for nothing) the sort of logistical hurdles that come with that. For instance, when does Clinton roll out a Vice Presidential candidate? Before a convention she knows will be contested? At a time when a few super-delegates might abandon her?

The larger question: do some quantity of super-delegates switch to Sanders if the possibilities explored in items #1 through #4 above -- particularly with respect to the upcoming primaries and caucuses -- come to pass?

All we know for sure is that Ted Cruz dropping out of the Republican race has changed the Democratic race almost as profoundly as the Republican one.

Seth Abramson is the Series Editor for Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University) and the author, most recently, of DATA (BlazeVOX, 2016).

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Political News and Opinion

Father Dan and Obama: A Tale of Contrasts

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 9:27pm

On Monday, Democracy Now presented a wonderful tribute to Father Dan Berrigan, a Jesuit priest who passed away over the weekend at the age of 94.

Berrigan was a longtime peace and social justice activist who inspired the growth of the global Plowshares movement calling for the abolishing of nuclear weapons in the early 1980s after breaking into the General Electric factory in Prussia King Pennsylvania with a group and sabotaging the warheads.

In 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War, Father Dan and his brother Philip and other antiwar activists including liberation theologians Thomas and Marjorie Melville were indicted after breaking into a draft board office in Baltimore. In a symbolic act, the Catonsville nine poured blood over and napalmed the files, stating:

We shed our blood willingly in what we hope is a sacrificial and constructive act. We pour it on these files to illustrate with them and with these files begins the pitiful waste of American and Vietnamese blood 10,000 miles away....We charge that America would rather protect its empire of overseas profits then welcome its black people, rebuild its slums and cleanse its air and water.

Georgetown University theology professor Chester Gillis said of Father Berrigan that "if you were to identify Catholic prophets in the 20th century, he'd be right there with Dorothy Day or Thomas Merton."

Berrigan's career presents a stark contrast to America's 44th president, Barack Obama Jr., a Nobel Prize winner who was also in the news this week for his comments at the White House correspondents' dinner about drones.

Comedy Central's Larry Wilmore told Obama he heard he had been hanging out with NBA players like Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, which he said, makes sense, because "both of you like raining down bombs on people from long distances, right."

Obama replied that no doubt some innocents had been killed but that the rate of civilian casualties was lower than in conventional war.

Obama's blasé defense is contradicted by a new book just published by Jeremy Scahill and Glen Greenwald, The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government's Secret Drone Warfare Program, which documents that over a fifteen month period, nearly 90 percent of people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.

Previous studies such as Living Under the Drones by a team of Stanford and NYU researchers, and Andrew Cockburn's book Kill Chain: The Rise of the High Tech Assassins present similar conclusions, pointing to faulty intelligence and a video game mentality among some drone operators, which is contributing to the heavy "collateral damage."

According to a rare outside observer, the New York Times journalist David Rhode, held hostage in Northern Waziristan between November 2008 and June 2009, life for the local population under the threat of drones was "hell on earth." From the ground, he said,

It is impossible to determine who or what they are tracking as they circle overhead. The buzz of a distant propeller is a constant reminder of imminent death. Drones fire missiles that travel faster than the speed of sound. A drone's victim never hears the missile that kills him.

As much as George W. Bush, Obama has been the anti-Berrigan in many other aspects of his presidency. He has bombed Iraq and waged war in Libya without congressional authorization as part of a NATO mission that killed hundreds of civilians and destabilized the country.

Obama also chose war over peace in Afghanistan where his troop surge bred further violence and actually empowered the Taliban.

His administration has backed a right wing coup in Honduras, paramilitary violence in Colombia, provided record billion dollar arms sales to Saudi Arabia including cluster bombs used to kill innocents in Yemen and poured over $2 billion in military aid into Mexico under the ill-conceived Plan Mèrida.

Despite eloquent campaign pledges to cut down on nuclear weapons earning him the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama caved in to right wing pressure and lobbying by Bechtel Co. which gained control over privatized nuclear weapons labs, and initiated a trillion dollar nuclear modernization program.

This at a time, when the U.S. has been pushing NATO expansion towards the edge of Russia and encircled China military as part of the pivot to Asia strategy portending the growth of a new arms race.

Defenders of America's 44th president would say that while Berrigan is a prophet like Martin Luther King Jr., Obama is a politician beholden to interest groups and playing the political game.

However Obama had considerable popular support following his 2008 election for implementing a more progressive foreign policy, but demobilized his political base and governed from the top down.

His campaign was sponsored by Lester Crown and his son Henry, the CEO of General Dynamics (GD), the largest weapons manufacturer in the world which had developed cruise missiles, Abrams tanks, combat vehicles and the F-16 along with target identification equipment capable of intercepting communications on an insurgent's cell phone, and Obama once worked for the CIA.

Father Dan and King Drone represent a tale of two contrasts, one of whom sold their soul for the highest power in the land, the other who fought against injustices his entire life.

It is Father Dan who should be remembered by future generations as a great man who strove for a more peaceful world, even if he did not win any Nobel Peace Prizes.

Jeremy Kuzmarov teaches at the University of Tulsa and is author of Modernizing Repression: Police Training and Nation Building in the American Century (Massachusetts, 2012).

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Political News and Opinion

When Independents Can Vote, Bernie Sanders Wins

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 9:08pm



Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in Indiana on Tuesday. The Senator from Vermont cashed in on his overwhelming support from independent voters, who are allowed to participate in Indiana's open primary. Sanders has repeatedly proven that he outperforms Hillary Clinton among independent voters. Indiana was just the latest example of Sanders' crossover appeal. He also won big in New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Michigan, where independents are free to participate.

By contrast, when delegate-rich New York and Pennsylvania voted last week, independents were excluded. Not surprisingly, Clinton won and extended her delegate lead. In response, Sanders criticized the closed primary system, which denies independents from having a say in which candidates the two major parties nominate. He argued: "Three million people in the state of New York who are independents have lost their right to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary... That's wrong."

Sanders' path to the nomination, though narrow, is predicated on the hope that superdelegates will acknowledge his dominance among independents and switch their allegiance over to him. After all, independents can and will vote by the millions in a general election. The general election is not closed like New York's primary. Bernie Sanders is far better positioned for a general election than he was for the Democratic primary. In fact, he's far better positioned than Hillary Clinton.

Follow me on Instagram as I cover the Sanders campaign.

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Ted Cruz Drops Out Of The 2016 Presidential Race

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 8:30pm


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WASHINGTON -- Facing an increasingly narrow path to the nomination and failing to thwart Donald Trump's dominance, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) withdrew from the 2016 presidential race on Tuesday.


"Tonight, I'm sorry to say that path has been foreclosed," Cruz said in a speech Tuesday night in Indianapolis, "but the voters chose another path."


"We are suspending our campaign," he added.


As Trump barreled toward the 1,237 delegates required to win, Cruz's campaign in recent weeks resorted to increasingly desperate measures, mounting a last-ditch effort to win the Indiana primary, one of the only remaining primary states that gave Cruz a chance of winning. But Indiana turned out to be the final nail in the coffin -- Trump won handily in the Hoosier State, including among social conservatives, a demographic that in theory favored Cruz.


To reinvigorate his campaign, Cruz last week named former presidential candidate and Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate, even though candidates typically do not name their running mate until they have amassed enough delegates for the nomination.



His campaign also announced a plan to coordinate with the campaign of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the other remaining candidate. Kasich's team agreed to pull resources out of Indiana and cede the race there to Cruz. However, this effort quickly backfired, when each candidate caused confusion by diminishing its importance. Kasich said voters in Indiana should still vote for him.


Like many of the GOP candidates and party leaders, Cruz underestimated the strength of Trump's appeal. Initially, he often defended Trump instead of attacking him, strategizing that he could pick up Trump’s supporters if the businessman exited the race.


But when it became apparent that Trump's populist and nationalist rhetoric was resonating with Republican voters, with the reality television star dominating the majority of the primaries, Cruz began to target Trump on the debate stage and on the campaign trail -- to little avail.


Once positioned as a strong threat to become the Republican presidential nominee, the Texas senator was the first candidate in either party to officially declare his intent to run for the presidency in 2016. Bypassing the typical first step in a presidential campaign -- the exploratory committee -- he kicked off his campaign in March of 2015 with a rousing speech at Liberty University, the Christian university founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.


"What is the promise of America? The idea that -- the revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty,” he said in his announcement speech.



A star of the tea party movement, Cruz made social conservatism and religious liberty a fundamental part of his pitch to voters. He highlighted his staunch opposition to gay marriage on the basis of religious freedom, particularly after the Supreme Court decision in June 2015 that legalized gay marriage nationwide. In response, Cruz said he would introduce a constitutional amendment to hold elections for Supreme Court justices.


Over the summer, he held a religious freedom rally in the key state of Iowa, during which he proclaimed that “there is a war on faith in America today, in our lifetime” and bemoaned the “persecution” of Christians.


But despite touting his conservative credentials and fashioning himself as an anti-establishment candidate, Cruz never quite managed to rally conservatives around him.


The Texas senator was hugely unpopular among his colleagues, with most GOP lawmakers reluctant to endorse him until it became clear he was the only viable option to potentially halt Trump's momentum. Only then did Republicans begin backing him, though many gave tepid reasons for doing so and perceived him merely as the lesser of two evils when compared to Trump.


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced his support of Cruz just weeks after joking that he wanted to murder him.


Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told students at Stanford University that Cruz was "Lucifer in the flesh" and "a miserable son of a bitch."


Cruz's campaign never had the enthusiasm and fervor of Trump's insurgency. For example, when Cruz introduced himself at the second GOP debate in September, the audience responded with silence.



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And while Cruz portrayed himself as an outsider, most voters viewed him as an establishment candidate, compared to the brash, take-no-prisoners Trump. 


As the reality of Cruz's downfall and Trump's presumptive nomination begins to sink in, the Republican party faces a serious dilemma: whether to support Trump as the party's nominee and potentially hand Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton the presidency, or risk further damage to the party with Trump at the helm.


Soon after Cruz's announcement Tuesday, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus urged his party to unite around Trump.



.@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton

— Reince Priebus (@Reince) May 4, 2016


But it's unclear if Cruz will now back him. He didn't mention Trump in his speech Tuesday night, and when pressed by NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday, he repeatedly dodged the question.


“Why can’t you answer the question of whether you can support Donald Trump or not?” Todd asked Cruz.


“But Chuck, Chuck, Chuck,” Cruz interrupted. “Let me finish this point I’m making.”


Ahead of the Indiana primary, Cruz continued to place his bets on a contested convention and tried to make the case that he was the best alternative to stop Trump. But in the end, no one could stop him.


Also on HuffPost:


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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Here Are 7 Reasons Why Donald Trump Could Really Win In November

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 8:09pm


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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, lives along so many fault lines of American politics that he is especially sensitive to Trump tremors, which he fears could become an earthquake by November.


“I’m concerned,” he said. “Beating Donald Trump won’t be as easy as it might look.”


Casey is a pro-life Roman Catholic with a pro-gun history until recently, in a state that Democratic consultant James Carville once described as “Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in between.” He is also an old-school Democrat and a new-school one: He's pro-union and wary of global trade; he defends Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare and same-sex marriage.


The mix works: Casey won re-election in 2012 -- the first Democratic senator in Pennsylvania to do so in half a century -- and ran well ahead of President Barack Obama that year. So he knows his people.


In Casey’s view, presumptive (if weakened) Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will do well in Philadelphia and some of its suburban counties, and probably on his own home turf of Scranton in the state's hardscrabble northeast.


“The problem will be out west,” he said, where what used to be called Reagan Democrats live in large numbers in cities and towns that have never recovered from economic recession and off-shored industrial jobs – and where resentment of Washington and the coastal establishment is as much a part of the terrain as coal seams and forests.


“We’ve got to take Trump seriously,” said Casey.


Indeed you do, senator.


Here are seven reasons why Donald Trump could actually become president:


"It's the Economy, Stupid." That's another famous Carville dictum (from Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign).


It could sum up Trump's chances, too. Start with Casey’s concern about those towns out “west,” and add not only the well-documented stagnation of America's middle class but the possibility of another economic slowdown.


The rise of Trump could itself cause market tremors – it may already be doing so – but that won’t make it any less difficult (if not impossible) for Hillary Clinton to avoid being cast as the “incumbent” defender of the Obama economy.



Divided Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders is determined to carry his crusade through to July's Democratic convention in Philadelphia and to play the role that another failed candidate, the late Ted Kennedy, played in 1980 in New York: the star of someone else’s show. Kennedy’s dramatic farewell stole the moment from a sitting president, Jimmy Carter, and presaged Carter's loss to Ronald Reagan.


The dispirited Kennedy clan rallied, reluctantly, to Carter in the end because they still had a residual sense of loyalty to the party they had long dominated. But the Sanders crowd has no such loyalty, and their leader is not even a member in good standing of the Democratic Party. What’s more, the power of social media means that his troops can do what they wish by caucusing among themselves, no matter what Bernie says.


Republican Weakness. Some Republicans and conservative commentators, such as The New York Times' David Brooks, are warning Republicans that they face a “Joe McCarthy Moment,” in which they must repudiate Trump or risk the wrath of history’s judgment. And some Republicans are still vowing never to back Trump.


But GOP leaders such as Chairman Reince Priebus are more interested in immediate peace than their place in history, and amenable characters such as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman have said that nominating Trump is no big deal.


The GOP failed its last “Joe McCarthy moment.” It was Sen. McCarthy’s own persona, as displayed on a newfangled thing called broadcast television, that brought him down -- not his fellow Republicans.


Will Sen. Ted Cruz, who suspended his campaign Tuesday night, urge his evangelical minions to abandon the GOP this November? Nah. He will pipe down and hope to pick up the pieces in 2020.


Journalistic Weakness. It comes in two flavors. One is false equivalence. Reporters have yet to fully examine Trump’s record, especially the details of his business dealings and personal life, but soon enough his story will be yoked with and compared to Clinton’s, which will make it easier for Trump to slide by in the resulting din.


The second flavor is the media's hunger for an audience. The closer Trump gets to the White House, the more frightening he becomes, the more desperate his enemies become – the more eyeballs are focused on smartphones and TV sets.


That means more billions in “free” media for Trump.



Hillary the “Incumbent.” As much as Clinton talks about new ideas and a fresh start, she will be attempting the difficult task of holding the White House for the same party for a third-straight term. That last happened in 1988.


More important, Clinton and her husband represent a force in the Democratic Party that is a kind of incumbency within an incumbency, and that is a perilous place to be at a time when voters so despise Washington.


“There are reasons why a 74-year-old socialist from Brooklyn is doing so well,” said Tad Devine, Sanders’ media adviser and friend for decades. “The level of dissatisfaction with the establishment is sky high, and she is a symbol of it.”


Not surprisingly, Trump is now claiming Sanders as a sort of ally. Will the senator cry foul and unleash his fury on Trump? Even if he does, will his supporters agree?


Trump Turns. The flip side of having no voting record and no consistent views is that you can reshape your positions at will to suit the moment. Watch Trump, the master huckster, play more to the social middle from here on. 


It’s cynical but cunning, and it could work. The bar for him is so low, the expectations are so low, that Trump has a lot of freedom to move.


The Numbers. Shockingly – given his outrageous, race-baiting and even violence-tinged rhetoric – Trump is not that far behind in the horse race as the “fall” campaign informally begins.


Nor does the Electoral College map look that impossible for him. With the possible exception of Arizona, there are few, if any, red states from 2012 that he would likely lose.


There are also at least five large blue states in which he could compete, especially for the votes of those former Reagan Democrats. Those states are Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and, yes, Pennsylvania. 


Together, they represent more than enough electoral votes to send Trump to the White House.


Bob Casey will be working hard to keep his state out of Trump's column, but there are no guarantees.


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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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Why Primaries Are Not the Best Way to Choose a Candidate

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 7:48pm

MELBOURNE, Australia -- With the U.S. Republican and Democratic National Conventions a little under three months away, the spectacle of the presidential primaries gathers steam with each passing day. But while commentators are busy asking the big questions -- like whether Bernie Sanders has changed American politics forever or how Donald Trump's run has destroyed the Republican Party -- American voters have expressed doubts in a recent poll about whether the primaries are the right way to establish the quality of party nominees.

Revealed in a March Pew Research Center survey was the stark finding that only 35 percent of voters felt the primaries were a good method for determining the best qualified nominee. While this figure is up five points from the 2012 survey, the Pew data shows that not since 1988 have more than 50 percent of voters felt the primaries were a good way of deciding the most qualified nominee. But the real sting in the survey's tail was the related finding that almost two-thirds, 65 percent, of surveyed voters said they have little or no confidence in the political wisdom of the American public to make the right decisions and choose the person best suited to lead their country.

So central are primaries and public opinion to presidential elections that these sentiments will likely continue to fly under the radar as the July conventions approach. That's a shame. In these numbers, voters are saying something important: the aptitude of their would-be leaders worries them, as do the electoral mechanisms currently used to decide their country's leadership.

Of course, it's possible that these sentiments may be due to what's known as "voter fatigue" syndrome. Maybe because of what we've already seen this election, voters could be voicing their annoyance at yet another drawn-out primary campaign that's likely to cost billions of dollars and leave nothing but significant political rifts in both the Democratic and Republican parties, not to mention a cast of candidates many think would make for "terrible" presidents.



The best political leaders and the most stable political systems aren't necessarily produced through 'one person, one vote.'



But could American voters also be expressing deeper concerns over something that leaders in Singapore and China of all places have long known: the best political leaders and the most stable political systems aren't necessarily produced through "one person, one vote."

This might sound alarmingly anti-democratic. It's not. As Daniel Bell, the Beijing-based Canadian scholar, recently argued, really it's just a different way of thinking about how a political system can ensure its leaders are politically and morally deserving of the power they hold.

You might call this autocracy. For Bell, the better label is meritocracy.

However, if taking pointers from China sounds rather unappealing to the average American, perhaps dipping one's toe into Singapore can provide an understanding of meritocracy without having to deal with the excess baggage that comes with Communism.

The Case of Singapore



Singapore's former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew speaks during an interview in 2009. (REUTERS/Vivek Prakash)

In Singapore, it has been common practice for some time to select top political leaders based on merit, not popularity. As the country's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, once put it: "Singapore is a society based on effort and merit, not wealth or privilege depending on birth."

Those who lead -- men and women who have "risen through their own merit, hard work and high performance" -- are those whom, in Lee's words, "we must expend our limited and slender resources in order that they will provide the yeast, that ferment, that catalyst in our society which alone will ensure that Singapore shall maintain ... the social organization which enables us, with almost no natural resources, to provide the second highest standard of living in Asia."

Singapore is far from perfect of course. Elections are held, but they are rarely "free." Its media is heavily censored and opposition candidates find themselves targeted by the government and police.


In Singapore, it has been common practice for some time to select top political leaders based on merit, not popularity.


Luckily, the country is improving its record on these fronts. But even as it does so, Singapore remains steadfast to the idea that leaders who are selected and promoted on the basis of their intellectual and emotional intelligence are better equipped to deal with the country's long-term challenges than those selected on the basis of popularity. Drawing on Confucian ideals, this model of government doesn't sacralize popular elections or public opinion over proven political leaders who stake their honor on their track record to do what's right for the people -- now and into the future.

America is clearly not a political meritocracy in the way that Singapore is. It's an electoral democracy grounded in the principles of free, fair, regular, multi-party elections. A popularly elected president who's constantly accountable to the popular will is the best safeguard against political folly and instability. This is the cornerstone of American politics.

Even so, America's current system of electoral democracy isn't beyond reproach. And if voters' sentiments are correct, then a dash more meritocracy may be the way to go.

The good news is that America doesn't need to become anything like a Singapore, or China for that matter, to realize what many voters imply they want -- reforms to the current process of selecting political leaders to ensure political decisions are made only by suitably qualified citizens and political office held only by meritorious candidates.



U.S. Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz during a debate. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

In the first instance, this could re-open the door to debates about whether restricting presidents to only one, albeit longer, term in office might lead to better government.

It's often noted that presidents who don't have to contend with re-election are typically less corrupted by playing politics and thus more willing to make the tough decisions -- even when those decisions are unpopular. Giving presidents one, longer term in office won't magically guarantee better leaders or governments. But it might diminish some of the political distractions which currently limit what first-term presidents, many of whom desire a second term in office, can achieve. A one-term six-year presidency may provide two years less in office but offer no less time for presidents to actually govern. It'd also mean holding two, not three, presidential elections every 12 years.

Of course, presidents who perceive that they have nothing left to win can sometimes become unaccountable to the people. They can ignore popular sentiment and go their own way. This is one possible scenario. The other equally likely scenario is that presidents not yoked to the dictates of daily opinion polls will have greater leeway to govern and to hopefully deliver what they promised during election time.

While far from perfect, Bell argues that the China model of political meritocracy has shown us over the past several decades that leaders who don't need to constantly remain popular with voters or beholden to special interests -- particularly when doing so undermines the greater good -- may actually be better placed to make the right decisions. Remaining in touch with citizens is one thing; making decisions based on short-term, populist demands simply to remain popular is another. But even in China, citizens continue to judge their politicians based not on what they say, but by what they actually achieve.


Even in China, citizens continue to judge their politicians based not on what they say, but by what they actually achieve.


Another more encompassing proposal for reform not limited to presidential terms would be for America to consider adopting a modified version of what's known as the "horizontal model." Here, both democratic and meritocratic institutions coexist to keep each other in check.

Sun Yat-sen, widely considered the founding father of both modern China and Taiwan, famously made the case for such a model based on a five-power constitution: legislature, executive, judiciary, control yuan and examination. No American would likely find the first three of his branches of government controversial. But what about the latter two?

Sun envisioned the control yuan, or supervisory branch, as an independent government ombudsman empowered to monitor the other branches of government. According to Sun, having such an institution would improve the U.S. constitutional system where "the supervisory power rests with Congress, which has frequently made arbitrary use of it to coerce the executive branch into doing its bidding." It's been noted that something akin to the control yuan already exists in America. The Government Accountability Office operates precisely to audit and investigate the actions of Congress.

Added to this is a fifth branch known as the examination branch. To educate the at times inexperienced and underqualified political leaders that Americans like to elect into top office, Sun recommended an examination system inspired from imperial China where all officials would undergo rigorous training and testing before reaching positions of power. Sun was adamant on this point: "Whether elected or not, officials must pass those examinations before assuming office."



A Chinese woman holds up a Chinese flag near a giant portrait of Sun Yat-Sen at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The question is: can America implement such a branch of government? The short answer is no. It's not realistic to hope for reforms that would make politicians undergo training in government and pass an examination before they assume office.

However, just because a formal examination branch is constitutionally unlikely does not mean that the state cannot train its citizens -- some of whom will inevitably become the future leaders of the country -- through better civic education and voter testing to ensure that when they do vote they will have the political knowledge, if not always political wisdom, to choose what's right for the country.

All of a sudden Sun's radical proposal may, with a bit of tinkering, provide the tonic needed to ensure America's political system remains robust enough to handle all that the 21st century will throw its way.

Earlier on WorldPost:

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Ted Cruz's Transphobic Campaign Failed Miserably In Indiana

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 7:39pm


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Megan Robertson was the type of voter Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was trying to win over in Indiana. Robertson supports Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) for president, but she also desperately wants to stop Donald Trump from winning the nomination. 


In a last-ditch effort to stop Trump, Cruz formed a non-aggression pact with Kasich designed to let the senator win Indiana so that Kasich could focus his resources on defeating the real estate mogul in New Mexico and Oregon. And in order to win Indiana, Cruz needed voters like Robertson to back him.


And Robertson considered doing so -- until he launched a campaign going after lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights that immediately alienated her.


"I knew what he believed, but doing that ad took it to the next level," Robertson, an Indiana GOP political consultant, said. "I think that's probably how a lot of Kasich supporters felt. I think it hurt him."


"I decided that just because they made a bad deal, didn't mean I had to be part of it and play along. It's more of a protest vote," she said of her vote for Kasich, "but sometimes the protest vote is important."


Trump soundly defeated Cruz and Kasich in Indiana Tuesday night, and Cruz then announced he was suspending his campaign.


Cruz, who has a long anti-LGBT record, came out in favor of the so-called bathroom bills popping up in various states and made them a major part of his push in Indiana


These measures target the transgender community and bar individuals from using the bathroom based on their gender identity rather than the gender they were assigned at birth. 


On April 21, Trump said people should "use the bathroom they feel is appropriate." The senator from Texas seized on those remarks and released transphobic ads in response. 



Donald Trump won't take on the PC police...https://t.co/IZ1Xo3gxOg

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 22, 2016





"He made a mistake in going after the transgender issue," said Chris Paulsen, campaign manager for the pro-LGBT rights group Freedom Indiana. "I have quite a few Republican friends who were going to vote for him and specifically went away from him because of that. I think he did not understand that Hoosiers are actually a little more socially moderate and fair-minded than he thought they were."


In other words, Cruz likely didn't pick up any new votes with his ad -- since those socially conservative voters were probably backing him anyway -- and alienated potential new voters. 


"Anytime anyone brings up the bathroom, they're already losing. If that's your talking point why we should not have equal rights, I think you're already coming from a losing position," Paulsen added. 


Despite the fear-mongering by Cruz and other social conservatives, there has been no increase in sexual assaults in states that have transgender protections in restrooms. Such sexual assaults remain illegal anyway. 


Indiana was at the center of a national debate over equality when Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a religious freedom law last year that could have allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT people. After intense outcry from activists, business leaders and members of his own party, he signed a revised measure. Pence endorsed Cruz in the primary. 


“Cruz will be remembered for spending the last days of his presidential campaign shamefully trying to stoke a dangerous brand of hate against transgender people like me to score political points," Jay Brown, communications director of the Human Rights Campaign, said. "Ted Cruz’s false attack ads and repeated smears against us in the closing days of his campaign were clearly rejected by voters."


This piece was updated with comment from Brown.




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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Yes, John Kasich Is Still Running For President

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 7:38pm


After business mogul Donald Trump was declared the winner of the Indiana Republican presidential primary, Ohio Gov. John Kasich reminded supporters that, yes, despite only winning one state so far, he is still in this thing.


Kasich's campaign posted a note to his Facebook page outlining what's next, saying the loss in Indiana "would not alter" the GOP presidential hopeful's plans.


"Gov. Kasich will remain in the race unless a candidate reaches 1,237 bound delegates before the Convention," the note said.


With Tuesday's win, Trump is closing in on the GOP nomination, securing his already large lead in the delegate race.


Read Kasich's note below:




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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Supreme Court Rules Against Corrupt Baltimore Cop Snagged In Major Kickback Scheme

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 7:07pm


The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Baltimore police officer's plea to overturn his federal conspiracy conviction -- the latest development in one of the worst cases of corruption in the history of the city's police department.


The Majestic Auto Repair Shop saga, as the case is known, revealed problems within the force so widespread that the police chief himself led the dramatic initial round of arrests.


The scheme seemed lifted straight from "The Wire": Majestic's owners conspired with several members of the police department to funnel more customers to the struggling business. Every time the shop got a vehicle referral from the police, the cops would get a cut of the profits.


Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the lead opinion in the case, broke down this arrangement in no uncertain terms.


"Because police are often among the first to arrive at the scene of an accident, the Baltimore officers were well positioned to route damaged vehicles to Majestic," he wrote. "As a result, the kickback scheme was highly successful: It substantially increased Majestic’s volume of business and profits, and by early 2011 it provided Majestic with at least 90% of its customers."


Nearly everyone ensnared in the ring pleaded guilty to multiple federal extortion charges, except Samuel Ocasio, the lonely holdout. The officer insisted on a trial. A jury convicted him anyway -- of three bribery charges and an extra count of federal conspiracy.


Curiously, Ocasio didn't contest his bribery convictions, only the conspiracy one. His argument, in essence, was that he never conspired with anyone, because conspiring to extort money from someone necessarily requires an innocent victim to extort from.


Since Ocasio's buddies at Majestic were just as guilty as he was in the whole scheme, he urged the Supreme Court to toss the conspiracy conviction. On a 5-to-3 vote, the Supreme Court said no.


"Under longstanding principles of conspiracy law, a defendant may be convicted of conspiring to violate [federal anti-extortion law] based on proof that he entered into a conspiracy that had as its objective the obtaining of property from another conspirator with his consent and under color of official right," Alito wrote for the court, premised on "basic principles of conspiracy law." 


Notably, the justices were far from united. Alito led a mostly liberal majority, while Justice Stephen Breyer joined that group but wrote separately to question whether "extortion" and "bribery" should even be considered equal under the law. Justice Clarence Thomas, for his part, dissented alone, as he tends to do.


The big surprise was the rare alliance between Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Chief Justice John Roberts, who rallied against the larger policy issues with federal conspiracy law -- often decried for sweeping too broadly.


"Conspiracy has long been criticized as vague and elastic, fitting whatever a prosecutor needs in a given case," Sotomayor wrote, as she pointed to the problem of extending "the already pervasive and wide-sweeping nets of conspiracy prosecutions."


Maybe the discord among the justices is a harbinger of what's to come in another high-profile corruption case: that of convicted Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, which the court heard last week. Time will tell.

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Donald Trump Just Won Indiana -- And The Republican Nomination

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 7:07pm


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Donald Trump, the real estate magnate and reality television star who has said Mexican immigrants are rapists and has called for banning all Muslims from the U.S., won the Republican primary in the pivotal state of Indiana on Tuesday night. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), his most serious remaining challenger, dropped out. Trump is now the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.


The Republican presidential primary is a race for delegates, not votes, and for months, Trump's opponents had held out hope that they would win enough delegates to deny him a majority on the first ballot at the July convention. Now, after last week's stronger-than-expected showing in Pennsylvania, Trump looked likely to wrap up the nomination earlier than his foes had feared. His Indiana win comes on a day dominated by Trump's charge that his GOP rival's father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Seriously. That happened.


Trump didn't need Indiana to keep him on track for an outright victory, but his win on Tuesday made the ultimate outcome all but certain. Trump had nearly 1,000 delegates going into Tuesday. With his strong showing in Indiana, he should win the vast majority of that state's 57 delegates and draw within 200 delegates of the 1,237 he needs to secure the nomination.


In California and New Jersey, the largest remaining states, polling shows Trump ahead by more than 20 points. If those numbers hold -- which they almost certainly will, given that Cruz has dropped out -- he'll win all of New Jersey's 51 delegates and the vast majority of California's 172. 


The delegate math and Cruz's decision confirmed what most Republican voters have already accepted. Trump now has the support of more than half of Republicans nationwide, according to HuffPost Pollster's average, with twice the backing of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). And even before Indiana voted, 91 percent believed Trump would win the nomination, according to a CNN/ORC survey. PredictWise, which forecasts political events based on political betting markets, gave Trump an 88 percent chance of winning a majority of delegates as of Tuesday morning, up 28 points since this time last month.


[Read More: Ted Cruz Threw Everything But The Kitchen Sink At Donald Trump. It Still Didn't Work.]


As Trump moved closer to the nomination, Republicans have warmed to the idea of having him as their standard-bearer. Republicans' opinions of Trump, while still notably mixed, have ticked upward in the past month, according to polling from Gallup. Views of Cruz, meanwhile, have plummeted for the first time into negative territory.



Just a few months ago, Trump's nomination seemed impossible to just about everyone. (There were a few exceptions.) Surely, many pundits -- and some GOP candidates -- argued, there was a ceiling to his support. The Republican establishment would coalesce around a single anti-Trump candidate instead.


But no such alternative emerged. The orange-haired demagogue has held an uninterrupted and increasing lead in HuffPollster's national polling average since he passed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in July 2015. Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee in the last presidential election, lost the lead in national polls four times over a similar period in 2011 and 2012.  



Trump had long been interested in the top job. According to biographer Wayne Barrett, he told a New York Republican Party official in 1985 that he'd like to be president one day. He made a trip to New Hampshire in 1987, fueling speculation that he might run.


Trump began laying the groundwork for his 2016 campaign more than a half-decade ago. In 2010, when his family charity, the Donald J. Trump foundation, began redirecting money from traditional nonprofits, such as the Salvation Army and the United Way, to conservative political organizations. That year, as HuffPost's Christina Wilkie reported in January, Trump's foundation gave $5,000 to Liberty Central, the advocacy group founded by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife.


Trump ramped up his efforts in 2011, when his foundation gave $10,000 to the Palmetto Family Council, a group that opposes divorce, same-sex marriage and abortion in the early primary state of South Carolina. That same year, he grabbed a prime speaking spot at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the premier annual gathering of right-wing activists.


The 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner may have fueled Trump's lust for the highest office in the land, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns reported in March. For years, Trump had furiously promoted the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama had not been born in the United States. (He was.) When Trump -- who has also suggested that vaccines cause autism -- arrived at the White House Correspondents Dinner that July, Obama mocked him mercilessly.


"That evening of public abasement, rather than sending Mr. Trump away, accelerated his ferocious efforts to gain stature within the political world," Haberman and Burns wrote. The Republican Party, they argued, "placated and indulged" Trump, "and accepted his money and support, seemingly not grasping how fervently determined he was to become a major force in American politics. In the process, the party bestowed upon Mr. Trump the kind of legitimacy that he craved, which has helped him pursue a credible bid for the presidency."


Trump met with pollsters in 2011, but ultimately decided not to run in 2012. But his interest in the White House -- and his work to win it -- continued unabated. Wilkie noticed:



Starting in 2012 [Trump] began in earnest to use his foundation to grease the wheels of the conservative political machine. One of his first big gifts was $100,000 to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a grass-roots Christian advocacy group run by Franklin Graham. He also donated $35,000 to Samaritan’s Purse, another of Graham’s evangelical nonprofits.


When Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States late last year, most evangelical leaders denounced him. But Franklin Graham took to Facebook to defend the billionaire.



In 2013, the Trump Foundation gave grants to even more conservative and religious groups, including the American Conservative Union, the anti-abortion group Justice for All, the Family Leader Foundation and a Texas-based evangelical ministry. The next year, Trump donated $250,000 to the Republican Governors' Association, then run by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.


In June 2015, Trump announced he would run for president against a field that would include heavyweights like Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Cruz, and Christie, who has since endorsed Trump. But Trump began the race with near-universal name recognition -- none of the other candidates were even close. He was leading the polls within weeks.


Pundits laughed. Trump made outrageous comments. Pundits gasped -- but they covered him. The media gave Trump some $2 billion worth of free media coverage. Trump rose in the polls. He hired staff in Iowa and New Hampshire. He finished second in Iowa, then won New Hampshire and South Carolina. His rivals massively outspent him, to little effect. In New Hampshire, Bush paid $1,150 per vote, compared with Trump's $40. Trump won 22 of the next 34 states, millions of votes, and hundreds of delegates. Barring a miracle, he'll be the GOP nominee.


Then Trump's real work will begin. Barely over one-third of Americans view him positively, putting him on track to become the most-hated major party nominee in modern history.


In the primary, he ran against a scattered field of candidates with little institutional support. In the general election, Trump will face Hillary Clinton, who is almost certain to have a unified Democratic Party behind her. And factions of the Republican establishment are still considering running a third-party challenger against him.


There's no reason to believe he should win. But he just did.


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.


This article has been updated to note Cruz is ending his campaign. 

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Artist Who Drew Donald Trump With Small Penis Claims She Was Assaulted By Trump Fan

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 7:04pm

A Los Angeles-based artist claims she was punched in the face over the weekend because her drawing of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump shows him with a small penis.


Illma Gore, whose pastel "Make American Great Again" has been widely shared on social media, said a man attacked her Saturday near her LA home. The man drove up, got out of his black Honda Civic, hit her and yelled, "Trump 2016!" she wrote in an Instagram post with a photo showing her with a black eye. She said she wasn't seriously hurt.


Gore reported the assault to police, and shared the police report with the New York Daily News. LA police couldn't immediately comment on the investigation. Gore asked anyone with information about the attack to contact authorities.



Today I was punched in the face by a man who got out of his car and yelled, "Trump 2016!" in Los Angeles, just days after I returned home from London just down the road from my house. Though I encourage passion, opinion and emotion, especially though art, I think violence is disgusting. To live in a place where Facebook has given my address to an anonymous third party makes me feel like I am homeless again. This type of violence makes creatives feel like we live in a world where our individual creative input isn't safe. I am sad that this is the state of our America right now. I am sad that Trump, and many of his supporters, don't find words enough to express their opinions - they need walls, waterboarding and punches. @realdonaldtrump Please stop glamorizing and perpetuating violence. Make America Decent Again! #makeamericadecentagain No, they have not been caught, and the men drove off laughing. A detailed police report has been filed.

A photo posted by Illma Gore (@illmagore) on Apr 29, 2016 at 4:10pm PDT




Gore's nude portrait of Trump shows him with the wrinkles and folds befitting a 69-year-old man -- and a very small male sex organ. She said she debuted the drawing in February, before Trump defended his penis size at the March 3 Republican debate. 


Gore, 24, insists the portrait wasn't necessarily calling out Trump on the size of his genitalia.


The work "was created to evoke a reaction from its audience, good or bad, about the significance we place on our physical selves," Gore wrote on her website. "One should not feel emasculated by their penis size or vagina, as it does not define who you are. Your genitals do not define your gender, your power, or your status.


"Simply put, you can be a massive prick, despite what is in your pants."


HuffPost's efforts to reach Gore have been unsuccessful.


WARNING: The painting can be seen below, but it leaves little to the imagination.



The print has been a popular attraction at London's Maddox Gallery since it went on display April 8.


The work has also aroused Trump supporters, who Gore claims have sent her death threats, according to he Independent. She also said someone claiming to be from Trump's team threatened her with a lawsuit if she sold it.


Gore said proceeds from the eventual sale of "Make America Great Again" will benefit Safe Place for Youth, a homeless shelter in Los Angeles, according to the Daily Dot.


Editor’s note: Donald Trump is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist, birther and bully 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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Ted Cruz Threw Everything But The Kitchen Sink At Donald Trump. It Still Didn't Work.

Huffington Post News - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 7:01pm


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WASHINGTON -- Ted Cruz stepped up to the microphones at a press conference on Tuesday, hours before the polls closed in Indiana, and absolutely unloaded on Donald Trump.


Cruz called the celebrity real estate mogul, who appears to have a solid lock on the Republican presidential nomination following his large victory in the Hoosier state primary, the "biggest narcissist," a "serial philanderer, and a "pathological liar." Citing Trump's attacks against his wife and his father, Cruz fumed, "Morality doesn't exist for him."


The verbal assault at a campaign stop in Indiana was Cruz's sharpest against Trump in nearly a year of campaigning. But as residents of the Hoosier state went to the polls to decide a contest that is seen as the last hope of stopping Trump, many wondered what took Cruz so long to stand up to the man who so savagely dispensed with nearly every candidate in the race.


Steve Deace, a popular conservative radio host in Iowa who had endorsed Cruz, admitted as much. "Should've been said weeks if not months ago," he wrote on Twitter.


Trump hit back in a campaign statement, saying Cruz was "unhinged" and calling him "a desperate candidate trying to save his failing campaign."


Indeed, many of Cruz's tactics ahead of the Indiana primary smacked of desperation -- and foreshadowed his withdrawal from the nomination race Tuesday night after Trump won the state.


Trump's dominating performance in the New York GOP primary prompted the Cruz campaign to take drastic measures in hopes of shaking up the race and wresting the media narrative away from their main rival.


The master plan? A quixotic and badly executed alliance with Ohio Gov. John Kasich to divide time and resources in upcoming primaries between their respective campaigns. Cruz would focus on winning in Indiana, while Kasich would focus on winning in New Mexico and Oregon. The plan fell apart less than 24 hours after it was announced, however, after Kasich told reporters that Indiana voters should still vote for him — even if his campaign had planned on focusing on other primaries. The scheme fell right into the lap of Trump, who for weeks has been accusing the GOP of "rigging" the delegate process in order to deny him the nomination despite his many victories.


The voters, of course, saw through the cynical ploy. Per the latest NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll, 70 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners were either uncomfortable or angry with the deal. Some Kasich supporters, in particular, were not happy with their candidate.


“I felt pretty insulted as a previous Kasich supporter,” said one Indiana resident. “It was a little bit of a scam, not an honorable thing to do.”


A sweep of five more primary contests across the Northeast the following week -- including a better than expected performance claiming unbound delegates in Pennsylvania -- threw the Cruz campaign into further disarray.


In yet another bid to wrest the news cycle from Trump, Cruz decided to play the ace up his sleeve and announce his vice presidential nominee (despite the fact that he was nowhere near to winning the nomination on the first ballot). His choice? Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a failed Senate candidate and failed Republican presidential candidate who is nearly as disliked as her running mate among the GOP base.


Fiorina, an able debater, was supposed to be Trump's Kryptonite. She could, the thinking went, goad the brash mogul into saying something negative about women. But in the end, Trump shrugged her off. So, too, did Republican voters. A Morning Consult poll, conducted in the days following Cruz's announcement, found that Fiorina's addition to the ticket caused 25 percent of Republican voters to say they are more likely to vote for him, while 24 percent said they are less likely to vote for him. 


Cruz's only remaining hand to play was that of the culture warrior. The Texas conservative attacked Trump relentlessly over his stance on the brewing transgender fight, after states like North Carolina and Mississippi passed laws allowing people to discriminate against LGBT persons. Trump said lawmakers ought to leave the issue alone, and that people ought to be able to use whatever bathroom they like. Cruz, however, cast the issue in an entirely different light. He accused Trump repeatedly of saying that "grown men should be allowed to use the little girls’ restroom.”


Indiana is no Iowa, however. The pitch fell flat in the Hoosier state, which does not boast as many socially conservative evangelical voters that initially propelled Cruz to victory in January. In the end, Trump's populist message resonated better with the state's blue collar voters.


Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant 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.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Political News and Opinion