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Donald Trump Appears To Shift On Muslim Ban

Huffington Post News - 27 min 9 sec ago

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Donald Trump appeared to shift his position on a blanket ban on all Muslims entering the United States, saying on Saturday he wouldn't be bothered if a Muslim from Scotland or Great Britain entered, according to reporters from CBS and CNN.

Trump first called for a "total and complete shutdown" on Muslim immigration in December. After a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Trump called for a complete immigration ban from countries with a history of terrorism against the United States. But on Saturday, Trump shifted, telling CNN's Jeremy Diamond he only wanted to focus on "people coming from the terror states." Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, also told Diamond that Trump no longer supports a blanket ban and only wants to ban Muslims from terror states.

It's unclear which countries, exactly, this applies to. The three countries on the State Department's official list of state sponsors of terrorism are Syria, Iran and Sudan, but terrorist groups are complex organizations that can have members in several countries, including U.S. allies. Several of the suspected terrorists involved in the Paris attacks, for example, were French nationals. Two of the brothers involved in the March Brussels attack were Belgian-born.

Hicks did not respond to an additional request for comment from The Huffington Post.

The Muslim ban has been a central pillar of Trump's campaign for president. Given his penchant for saying virtually anything with little regard for the facts or previous statements, it's unclear whether he will stick by what he said on Saturday.

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

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Is CNN In Trump"s Pocket Now?

Huffington Post News - 34 min 3 sec ago

The June 23 Erin Burnett show on CNN (6pm, CDT) welcomed Corey Lewandowski as a new CNN "political analyst", the same Corey Lewandowski that was fired a couple of days earlier as Donald J. Trump's campaign manager.

Erin questioned Lewandowski about the day's events surrounding Trump (recall his leaving for Scotland to open a new golf course and then yesterday spoke only of his golf properties (and the suites in the tower in Lansbury) despite what happened with BREXIT the evening before). Her questions included whether Lewandowski had signed a non-disparagement agreement with his former employer, meaning he is legally bound not to in any way be critical or to offer criticism of his former boss. Lewandowski hemmed and hawed in an attempt to deflect any answer the average viewer would consider to be less than honest. During that interview in answering questions about Trump, however, he kept using the pronoun "we" more than once and which was quite noticeable, as if he was still part of the Trump campaign as the campaign manager. Mind you, CNN has now hired him as a political analyst, not having invited him to become a panel member to support Trump on one or more of its news shows (Jake Tapper, Wolf Blitzer, etc.) like a Jeffrey Lord or Katrina Pierson.

This Jeff Zucker hire is already making waves in the media (e.g., David Bauder/AP, "CNN hires Trump campaign manager Lewandowski" (Washington Post, 6-23-16)) and the outrage internally at CNN is now all over the Internet.

Problems on a daily basis with Trump have become legendary in the pages of this (HuffPost) online news outlet, and everywhere else. With certainty, Trump's outlandish offerings will continue and require analysis that must be objective to be creditworthy. But now, a cable media outlet that is looked upon as more centrist (besides being news worthy)---CNN--- than let's say an MSNBC or Fox News---seems to have morphed into an extension of the Trump campaign with Lewandowski on board.

How can CNN hire Lewandowski as a political analyst expected to be objective and report the pros and cons of any situation or person but that, when assigned to comment on Trump, there exists for him a legally binding and iron-clad contract in which he has agreed not to be critical or negative about him? CNN has just placed him (Lewandowski) and itself in a conflict of interest since he, and therefore CNN, cannot report to its viewers with anything negative about Trump---even if Trump deserves every word of criticism or skepticism? As well, how is that fair and impartial journalism and reporting to the CNN viewers [that includes women, Muslims, those who are disabled, military war heroes, and Hispanics, all whom Trump has insulted or whose remarks have shown to be bigoted and racist.] All these areas can never be considered by a viewer of Lewandowski analysis as anything but being biased, slanted, and prejudicial. What next, Lord or Pierson offered to become political analysts on CNN for its coverage of the presidential campaigns?

We know where and how Fox news reports when it comes to Hillary and the Donald. We know where MSNBC pretty much stands. But CNN should have known better in its hiring of Lewandowski. So, before Lewandowski does any more analyses covering Trump, it's time for CNN to say to Lewandowski---using Trump's own words from his reality TV show---"YOU'RE FIRED".

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

It's Time To Put These Myths About The Civil War To Rest

Huffington Post News - 49 min 5 sec ago

A new movie is busting the many myths and misconceptions about the root causes of the American Civil War.

Writer-director Gary Ross, who directed "The Hunger Games," conducted heavy research to set the record straight in "Free State of Jones," released in theaters Friday. The film chronicles one white Confederate man's fight against slavery during the Civil War, as he finds refuge and forms a rebellion to help bring slaves to freedom. Ross breaks down four harmful myths about the Civil War era, some of which the film highlights, in the above video interview with HuffPost Rise. And he expertly slams down any arguments from those who claim that slavery played no role in the rise of the Civil War. 

"Yes, this is a myth," Ross told Rise as he talked about Abraham Lincoln's fight to preserve the union. "The Civil War was absolutely about slavery."

Ross goes on to mention three other damaging misconceptions of the era in the Rise interview. He addresses the birth of The Black Codes laws and how they severely restricted the freedom of African-American families. He also highlighted the rise of white supremacists and the role their terrorism played in the dissolution of the Reconstruction era. 

"Reconstruction didn't fail, it was killed," Ross said. "It ended for many reasons, but probably the most prominent one was a counter revolution of the part of white supremacists that struck back at the freedman."

"That reign of terror eventually led to the advent of the Jim Crow era," he added. "To say that Reconstruction perished somehow under it's own weight is a myth, it's a part of history that's sadly ignored." 

Watch the video above that addresses misconceptions of the Civil War and learn the true events of the era.

"Free State of Jones" is screening in theaters everywhere now. 

The Huffington Post is launching a podcast, hosted by Killer Mike, on Reconstruction later this month. You may have been told that Reconstruction was a brief moment of ill-advised revenge that the North took on the South just after the Civil War. But the real history of Reconstruction is one of great hope and promise amid the violence. Sign up here to know when the podcast goes live and listen along as we explore it all. 

-- 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

Watch Rory (Christiane) Aman-Pour It Up With Michelle Obama In 'Gilmore Girls' Teaser

Huffington Post News - 53 min 36 sec ago

Where the Obamas lead, Rory Gilmore will follow.

When "Gilmore Girls" aired what was originally intended to be its series finale in 2007, Rory bid Stars Hollow adieu to follow Barack Obama on the campaign trail as a political reporter. 

Nine years later, Obama is seated comfortably in the Oval Office, "Gilmore Girls" has been resurrected by Netflix for a four-part revival series and Rory is getting some face time with none other than First Lady Michelle Obama. 

Ahead of the fall premiere date for "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life," Alexis Bledel in character as Rory paid a visit to the White House to counsel the first lady on some light *cough* reading. Lending a hand to Obama's Let Girls Learn initiative, which aims to ensure the educational success of girls around the world, Rory goes full-tilt Chilton-style overachiever. 

“I wasn’t sure about what mood you’d be in, so I brought all of Shakespeare ‘cause you can’t go wrong with the Bard,” she tells FLOTUS on the eve of a Let Girls Learn trip to Liberia, Morocco and Spain.

Obama previewed their fateful meeting during her first day on Snapchat, which, if you hadn't heard, was too lit to handle. 

All the way from Stars Hollow to the @WhiteHouse. See more on the First Lady's @Snapchat: 'MichelleObama'

— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) June 22, 2016

But Rory wouldn't be her mother's daughter without letting her other half, Lorelai, in on the fun. After overwhelming Obama with a bevy of "classic beach reads," including Moby Dick, "a little Proust" and Anna Karenina, Rory proudly presents a box of blueberry Pop-Tarts as a gift from Lorelai. 

(Sidenote: could you imagine if this happened under a Trump presidency? Melania would never.) 

Watch their meeting in full below: 

Just a couple of girls talking about books... ( : michelleobama)

— Gilmore Girls (@GilmoreGirls) June 25, 2016

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Brexit in Plain English

Huffington Post News - 1 hour 10 min ago

After 43 years of membership, the UK electorate has voted to leave the European Union.

What is the European Union?

In order to truly understand the implications that this will have on the economy of the UK, Europe, and the rest of the world, it is important to first understand what the European Union is and why it is exists. The purpose of the European Union is to allow free trade between 28 member countries in Europe. It operates like the economy of one large country. If it's economy is calculated as a single economy, it is considered to be the largest economy in the world.

The Eurozone is comprised of nineteen of the 28 member states of the European Union, which are bound by their official currency, the Euro. The UK is not part of the Eurozone, and has its own currency, the Pound.

Twenty-two of the member states belong to the Schengen Area, which abolished passport border control between these countries. Of these member states, the United Kingdom has never been a part of the Schengen Area.

In conclusion, the United Kingdom departing from the European Union will not change their currency, or their border patrols; it will only change their trade agreements.

What Does This Mean For The Economy?

Nothing has changed in the UK yet, and will take a minimum of two years to be put into effect. This historic decision opens up the prospect of multi-year negotiations with the European Union on how the separation will occur. Furthermore, the UK will then need to negotiate new terms for a trading relationship with the European Union in a post-Brexit world.

The biggest problem with the UK exit is uncertainty in world markets. The UK is the first member to leave the European Union, so there is no model to rely on. Markets react negatively to uncertainty. It is entirely possible that the UK will negotiate new and strong trading agreements with the European Union, and the rest of the world, but until those 52 new trade agreements are put into place, there will be great fear in the UK economy.

Other implications include a reduction in immigration. For voters, this may have been the reasoning for voting for a Brexit, but less immigration will lead to a shortage of service workers and higher UK labor costs, all leading to reduced foreign investment. Furthermore, Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, said it was "democratically unacceptable" that Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against its will, giving more momentum to a Scottish referendum.

What Is An Investor To Do?

Chill out and stay the course. We have been through worse, and investors that stayed always recovered. One month after the 39% drop in the stock market due to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the markets recovered by 18%. The September 11th terror attacks caused an 11.6% drop, and had come back by 11.3% one month later.
What matters most is how you react to a crisis, and in the game of long term investing. Historically, market rebounds outlast declines.

Since 1949, there have been 13 down markets, lasting an average of 14 months each, and declining a total of 24.6% before recovering. In this same time period, there have been 14 up markets, lasting an average of 44 months, and growing an average of 117.3%.

A UK exit from the EU is scary and leads us to unchartered territory. The implications are massive. The UK and world markets are likely headed for a rough, volatile market ahead. Accept this reality and sit tight. If you are invested in great companies, you will come out on top. Stop looking at your account and trust that markets are efficient. Even in the worst of times, we have found our way back.

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

The Terrible Damage That Immigrants Do

Huffington Post News - 1 hour 16 min ago


I am reading Age of Discovery by Ian Goldin and Chris Kutaarna.

Highly recommended.

It's a comparison between the impact of the invention of the printing press in 1452 and the invention of the Internet and how disruptive they both were and how the responses were quite similar.

Both, in a way, precipitated a massive increase in immigration, for a variety of reasons, mostly owing to economic dislocations caused by new industries that suddenly arose, and a massive increase of wealth that they brought about. That spike in immigration also brought about a predictable reaction from those 'left behind' in the creation of new economies -- The Renaissance then, the Digital Age and Globalism now.

The recent Brexit vote and the support for Donald Trump largely stem from a similar kind of Immigrant Anxiety -- close the borders, control your borders, build that wall, leave the EU and so on.

As such, I thought it might be instructive to take a look at the actual impact of immigrants on both the U.S. and UK economies in the past decade:

1. In the first decade of the 21st century, immigrants paid in, via taxes some $150 billion into the UK than they took out. By contrast, natives took out a net of $1 trillion more than they paid in.

2. In the US, 2/3rds of the country's scientific workforce are immigrants, and 10% of IT jobs go unfilled because no one has the right qualifications to fill them.

3. In the UK 12% of the whole workforce are immigrants, but they fill 50% of new jobs because they are doing work no one else wants to do or no one else is qualified to do.

4. The founders of PayPal, Intel, Google, and Tesla, among others, were immigrants.

5. Immigrants head up 52% of all Silicon Valley companies founded in the past 10 years and 25% of all US technology and engineering firms founded in the past 10 years.

6. Immigrant Nobel laureates, National Academy of Science Members and Oscar winning directors outnumber their native-born peers by a ratio of 3:1.

Yes, so by all means. Shut down those borders. Build that wall. Leave the EU. Wreck your economies out of fear of the unknown. But at least now you can't say it was unknown.

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

George H.W. Bush Is Unpersuaded By 5-Year-Old's Case For Broccoli

Huffington Post News - 1 hour 39 min ago

Former President George H.W. Bush, perhaps the most powerful person to ever publicly declare how much he hated broccoli, got a letter from a 5-year-old extolling the virtues of the vegetable.

The 41st president tweeted a picture he had received from a youngster named Cooper, who had eaten broccoli the previous evening and wanted Bush to know how much he liked it.

"My grama [sic] told me that you do not like broccoli and never want it served. I just want you to know that I love broccoli," Cooper wrote. "Mr. President, broccoli is really good for you. I wished you liked broccoli like I do."

The 92-year old Bush didn't seem like he was changing his stance on the vegetable, tweeting that Cooper's love for broccoli was "genuine, if also unpersuasive. 

Proud of young Cooper's interest in healthy eating. His declared love of broccoli is genuine, if also unpersuasive.

— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) June 25, 2016

As president, Bush reportedly did not want broccoli served on Air Force One.

"I do not like broccoli," he said in 1990. "And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!''

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Brexit Crisis Tops Off Rough Stretch In Obama's Push For Legacy

Huffington Post News - 1 hour 53 min ago

SEATTLE, June 25 (Reuters) - The financial and political fallout from Britain's vote to leave the European Union has added to a string of setbacks for President Barack Obama as he works to burnish his legacy before his presidency ends in January 2017.

The Brexit decision came after a deadlock in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday effectively ended Obama's push to overhaul immigration rules, and the week after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

For Obama, the reversals heighten pressure on him and fellow Democrats to work harder for the Nov. 8 elections - particularly for the party's presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, who represents his best shot at making sure more of his policies are not rolled back.

Speaking at two fundraising events in Seattle on Friday night, at the end of an arduous day that saw global markets plunge after the Brexit vote, Obama acknowledged the shifting political winds four months from the vote.

"If you didn't think the stakes were high before, you should think the stakes are pretty high right now," Obama said at an intimate fundraising dinner at the home of tech executive Steve Singh. Guests, arranged in two long tables, paid $10,000 to $66,800 per couple.

Obama has argued technology and globalization can increase opportunities for all, but conceded that recent events show many people are frightened by global competition and feel left behind.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and political novice, has tapped into those concerns about the economy, trade and immigration - fears that also figured into the UK campaign to leave the EU.

"Unfortunately, when people are anxious and scared, there are going to be politicians out there who try to prey on that frustration to get themselves headlines and to get themselves votes," Obama told about 3,000 people who paid $250 and up to attend a campaign-style event on Friday for Washington State's Democratic Governor Jay Inslee.

Clinton regained a double-digit lead over Trump this week, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday that showed 46.6 percent of likely American voters supported Clinton while 33.3 percent backed Trump.


In April, Obama had taken the unusual step of traveling to London to help the "Remain" camp of the referendum for his friend and ally, Prime Minister David Cameron, who will now leave office before Obama does.

The financial uncertainty from Brexit threatens to weigh on the strong U.S. economy and undo some of the recovery seen since Obama took office in early 2009 at the height of the financial crisis.

Earlier this week, Obama's plan to remove the specter of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants was quashed when the Supreme Court deadlocked over lifting a hold on the action.

And two weeks ago, the nation's worst mass shooting in modern history, at a gay nightclub in Orlando, raised questions about how Obama is dealing with home-grown extremism - and served as a reminder of his failure to convince the U.S. Congress to tighten gun laws.

The setbacks show the limits of action that any president can take unilaterally, said Justin Vaughn, a political scientist at Boise State University.

"I don't think Obama's legacy has taken a hit so much as it came back to earth," Vaughn said.

Still, the impression that his administration is unable to control its own political destiny could weigh on how history views Obama's time at the White House, said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at University of Houston.

"Presidents are often judged by what happens in the ninth inning, so President Obama's last few months in office are important to cementing and enhancing his legacy," Rottinghaus said.

(Additional reporting by Ayesha Rascoe in Washington; Editing by Mary Milliken)

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

New polar bear expected to arrive at Detroit Zoo this weekend -

Berkley Information from Google News - 1 hour 59 min ago

New polar bear expected to arrive at Detroit Zoo this weekend
Tundra, a 29-year-old female polar bear, will be relocated from the Indianapolis Zoo to the Detroit Zoo's Arctic Ring of Life, the Detroit Zoo announced on June 13, 2016. (Courtesy photo). Khalil AlHajal | Print Email · Khalil ...
Indianapolis Zoo polar bear is moving to Detroit ZooThe Detroit News
Polar bear from Indianapolis Zoo arriving at Detroit

all 3 news articles »

Categories: Berkley Area News

Britons Express Serious #Regrexit As Reality Of Brexit Becomes Clear

Huffington Post News - 2 hours 5 min ago

As global stock markets tumbled and the value of the pound plummeted to a 30-year low following the United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union, it appears that some people are now having serious regrets.

The #REGREXIT hashtag began trending on Twitter on Saturday morning, just as a petition calling for the country to hold a second referendum on its membership in the European Union passed 1.5 million signatures.

As Brexiters realise full implications of voting out commences, I hereby declare today the 25th June as Regrexit Day...#REGREXIT

— Pauline Mayers (@emergentp) June 25, 2016

You stupid, stupid people! #regrexit

— Andy MacInally (@bluekraut) June 25, 2016

It's weird walking around your local tesco wondering who voted to ruin our future... #EURef #Brexit #BrexitVote #EURefResults #eu #REGREXIT

— Laura Pellegrino (@xolp) June 25, 2016

Tweeters vented their anger on a variety of themes. Some of those who voted "leave" said they now felt betrayed and wish they could turn back time and opt to remain. Others called out those same "leave" voters for choosing to exit the EU without having done the proper research:

Brexit's tagline: Vote first, regret later.

— Nazrin Zain (@Yuecchi86) June 24, 2016

People who voted to leave, and now "regret it" because they "didn't think it would happen", should have their rights to ever vote revoked...

— Owen Davies (@ODPixel) June 24, 2016

To the man on @BBCNews in Manchester who voted leave but is now "shocked" that his vote mattered and is now "worried", well done sir. Moron.

— Suzie Wright (@suziewright94) June 24, 2016

Multiple people have reportedly admitted they didn't actually understand what they'd been voting for, either believing they were registering a protest vote against the government or just presuming that the "leave" campaign would never win.

Are you actually joking, man on @BBCNews?! 'I voted to Leave, didn't think my vote would matter'. LITERALLY UNBELIEVABLE

— Louisa Yates (@louisayates) June 24, 2016

How can you possibly treat such an important vote so flippantly as to regret it just hours later?

— Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) June 24, 2016

Don't come to me with 'I regret my vote'. You're a grown human being that treated democracy like a game - live with your consequences.

— Jamal (@4MATlON) June 24, 2016

I personally voted leave believing these lies and I regret it more than anything, I feel genuinely robbed of my vote

— gibbo (@rambogiblet) June 24, 2016

I'm now hearing non-voters say they wanted to Remain but didnt bother voting as they were so sure we'd vote that way #regrexit

— Laura Topham (@LauraTopham) June 24, 2016

A whole host of other people who voted to leave the EU have also come forward to express their regret with the result. (Watch their stories by clicking here.)

The campaign to leave won 51.9 percent of the vote in Thursday's referendum, compared to 48.1 percent on the "remain" side. It's prompted the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and sparked fears that other European nations could follow suit in leaving the union. 

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Looking At Hillary's Nomination Through A Nordic Lens

Huffington Post News - 2 hours 12 min ago

This post was first published at

Today, Iceland's voters go to the polls to elect their first new president in 20 years. Nearly half of the candidates are women. It's worth noting, however, that while 2016 saw a US milestone with the presumptive nomination of Hillary Clinton, in Iceland having a woman on the ballot is not such a big deal.

To be exact, four out of Iceland's nine candidates this year are women. This near-gender parity on the Icelandic ballot isn't all that surprising -- according to the World Economic Forum, for several years running, the country has ranked No. 1 for gender equality in the world. Although the country's presidency is largely a ceremonial role, Iceland also recently elected its first female prime minister, Johanna Sigurðardóttir (2009-13), a social democrat and a 66-year-old lesbian - the world's first openly gay premier. Moreover, Iceland has institutionalized gender parity through its Ministry of Gender Equality, a government agency that works to "establish and maintain equal status and equal opportunities for women and men, and thus promote gender equality in all spheres of the society."

But it wasn't always that way. This change in Icelandic national perceptions required a real fight.

Way back in 1980, Iceland was the first country in the world to democratically elect a woman president. And she was popular, too: Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, a divorced single mother, served 16 years until she decided to step down, making her the longest-serving elected female head in any country, ever. Today, women make up about 40 percent of Iceland's parliament and ministerial positions.

Women gained the right to vote in Iceland in 1915. It was only the third country to allow it, behind New Zealand and Finland. Despite this progressivism, few women held positions in Iceland's government. By the mid-1970s, there were just three women members of Parliament, constituting only five percent of the body. Other Nordic countries averaged 16 to 23 percent, and it was a cause of frustration for many in Iceland.

Five years before Finnbogadóttir ran for president, the United Nations proclaimed 1975 International Women's Year. As in many countries, a number of Icelandic women's organizations formed a committee to plan commemorative events. At their very first meeting, one woman asked, "Why don't we just all go on strike?" She and others argued that a "day off" for women could be a "powerful way of reminding society of the role women play in its running, their low pay, and the low value placed on their work inside and outside the home."

On October 24, 1975, 90 percent of Icelandic women participated in work stoppages. School was cancelled. Fathers brought their kids to work. Some 25,000 women marched on Reykjavik, listened to speeches and rallied in the streets.

"The rally lasted for two hours and was a tremendous success. There were various speakers, including two women members of Parliament who urged women to take a more active part in politics." (Scandinavian Review, nr. 3, 1977, pp. 60-64.)

Finnbogadóttir credits her election victory five years later to the activism of that day. "After October 24, women thought it was time a woman became president," she says. "The finger was pointed at me and I accepted the challenge."

The legacy of the 1975 walkout still resonates in this year's Icelandic election. Candidate Halla Tómasdóttir -- the highest-polling woman in this year's race -- remembered the day clearly in a TEDWomen Talk she delivered in 2010. "I was seven -- it happened to be my mother's birthday," she recalled. "From work or from home, [women] took the day off, and nothing worked in Iceland. They marched into the center of Reykjavik, and they put women's issues onto the agenda. And some say this was the start of a global movement. For me it was the start of a long journey -- but I decided, that day, to matter."

Tómasdóttir wasn't alone. Many women, and particularly many young girls, were inspired by their mothers' "day off." They went into their careers with the idea that they had equal opportunities and could achieve the same goals as men.

Although Iceland boasts some great perks for women and men workers, such as paid sick days, universal healthcare and nine months' parental leave (split equally among parents), the country still has a ways to go -- particularly in its financial sector. As Tómasdóttir noted in her 2010 TEDWomen Talk -- delivered just two years after the global financial crisis -- when she started working in finance, she found herself "drowning in testosterone."

Tómasdóttir argued that a lack of gender balance in corporate boardrooms negatively affects risk aversion and reinforces herd mentality. "I can surely tell you that in my country, much like on Wall Street and the city of London and elsewhere, men were at the helm of the game of the financial sector," she said. "And that kind of lack of diversity and sameness leads to disastrous problems."

In 2007, Tómasdóttir quit her job and, along with another woman, founded Audur (Sister) Capital. Their goal: to incorporate feminine values into their business model. The very fact women are different from men is vital in and of itself, Tómasdóttir argues. The more perspectives and life experiences there are at the table, the more substantive discussions an enterprise will have about actions' potential upsides and downsides. Tómasdóttir's company focused on some key values she found missing earlier in her career: risk awareness, straight-talking, a focus on sustainability, "emotional due diligence" (thinking of investors as people, not numbers on a spreadsheet) and profit with principles. Her company adheres to a double-bottom-line philosophy, investing in companies working towards positive social and environmental outcomes as well as monetary success.

The model has been working. Tómasdóttir says her company weathered the Icelandic financial crisis "without taking any direct losses to our equity or to the funds of our clients." She now hopes to bring those values to Bessastaðir, Iceland's White House.

Unfortunately, 2016 is not likely to see another woman take the helm at Bessastaðir. Going into today, Tómasdóttir is polling fourth, behind three male candidates. And again, the presidency in Iceland, unlike our own, is largely ceremonial. Still symbols matter and Tómasdóttir's rise, both in politics and in business, reflects not only the legacy of the 1975 women's strike and the historic presidency of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, but an even more important evolution in national attitudes. That includes the Icelandic business sector: The country is one of a half-dozen major world economies since the late 2000s to institute boards of director gender quotas.

In major political years like 2016 -- both in America and in Iceland -- we tend to focus on women's chances of winning top leadership roles in government. But change in gender perceptions must be effected everywhere, from schools to workplaces to boardrooms to the White House, and that change is more pervasive and meaningful when it happens at all levels of society.

-- 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

Trump Should Not Bet On Any Boost From The Brexit Vote

Huffington Post News - 2 hours 28 min ago

It has been widely reported that Donald Trump will be the beneficiary of a Brexit vote boost here in America.

As The Hill reported:

"It's been a good week that I think will allow him to move past some of these issues that have hampered him," said veteran GOP operative Ed Rollins, who is running a Trump super-PAC.

As the product of an exceptional staffing tree of the Democratic Party, the one thing that I have heard over and over about our Republican friends is that one man stands above them all:

Ed Rollins.

Ed Rollins resides among the very best that the GOP has ever produced. And the master of campaigns and media is reduced to a budget of short television commercials that feature -- him.

And his statement is pure and utter lunacy.

Moreover, he knows it.


Because he is the most prominent Republican staffer that would support a Donald Trump candidacy.

And his most prominent surrogate for Mr. Trump is former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

How is that going to go over on the campaign trail?

What exactly will a policy roll entail with his candidate?

Rallies across America?

Trump, Rumsfeld, Sheriff Joe, Mike Tyson and Tommy Brady on a group stage?

Is this not straight out of central casting?

Did far too many not just learn the lessons of what transpired in the United Kingdom?

Moreover, the Republican establishment has made a conscious decision that they will not work to get Donald Trump elected and focus on down ticket races.

And Ed Rollins knows more delegate math and electoral strategy then most everyone alive in Washington has forgotten.

He can read the map as well as anyone in politics -- period.

And his candidate had a terrible week as he continues to make gaffes that are inexcusable in his desire to preside over the White House for four years.

In the meantime, I think it is fair to say that you'll see former Secretary of State Clinton do what she has been doing since the day I started staffing her 20 years ago:

She will stay focused on the issues and make progress daily for the American people.

This is a woman I spent a lot of time of with in-person.

And here's the truth of the matter for me.

I have never heard Hillary Clinton yell or berate anyone -- yet alone staff or the United States Secret Service. I do recall briefing her numerous times that an agent on her detail had an ailing family member or had been in an accident.

And her response was always the same -- without fail and every single time, she would seek that person out as soon as the media lights turned out. To be candid, too often I found myself waiting to brief her at the end of the day on the road because the regard she showed for every member of her team was that important to her.

Here is the bottom line:

Hillary Clinton cares and does so without prompting.

That humanity is lacking in Donald Trump and all should be able to reasonably agree with that statement.

So the forthcoming attempts to demonize the presumptive Democratic nominee over the next four months are well expected.


Our friend Ed Rollins knows the clock is ticking, the map is shrinking and he is far too behind in that many areas to rescue this candidacy.

In political campaigns, when you are behind, you take risks as election day nears.

Senator John McCain, a truly great man, can tell you in detail about this.

In 2016, I guess the new standard is making overtly false statements.

Or has it always been?

I look forward to asking Ed about his on November 9th, 2016.

Michael Duga has served in political and strategic roles beginning in the Clinton Administration. This includes serving as Chief of Staff to Former Senator Max Cleland and as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Department of Defense. Mr. Duga is currently the Chairman of the Say No To Trump political action committee,

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Trump Gifts For Your Friends Struggling To Cope With His Campaign

Huffington Post News - 2 hours 44 min ago

Make no mistake: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther. 

But give the man credit: He is (unintentionally) making American political memorabilia great again.

There are Trump wigs, Trump masks, and, appropriately, Trump dog poop bags. You can get Trump socks that, unlike the candidate, have realistic hair. There are even Trump bobblehead dolls that express his racism in two different ways.

Regardless of your personal preferences, this stuff is all classier than a "Make America Great Again" baseball cap.

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

Also on HuffPost:

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Somalia's Al Shabab Launch Suicide Bomb Attack On Hotel

Huffington Post News - 3 hours 9 min ago

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group launched a suicide bomb attack on a hotel in the center of Mogadishu on Saturday before fighters stormed inside, police and the militant group said.

Police said at least seven people had died and 10 others were wounded. Gunfire echoed round the seaside city after the blast and ambulances raced to the scene.

"We attacked the hotel which was frequented by the apostate government members," al Shabaab military operations spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters, adding that the group's fighters were inside the building.

Al Shabaab frequently carries out attacks in the capital in its bid to topple the Western-backed government.

"Those who died included civilians and hotel guards," police major Ali Hassan told Reuters.

"We have rescued many people from the back door. No one can enter the building from the front or near the front. There are snipers there," he said as fighting continued.

Earlier, another police officer said the initial blast was caused by a suicide bomber before fighters stormed into the Nasahablood hotel. There was a heavy exchange of gunfire.

Muslims in Somalia and around the world are observing Ramadan. In previous years, al Shabaab has often intensified attacks during the fasting month, often picking targets where people gather just before or after breaking the fast.

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

The First Openly Gay Charlotte City Councilwoman Opens Up About HB2

Huffington Post News - 3 hours 30 min ago

It’s a watershed year fraught with turmoil for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Across the American South, queer, trans and gender-nonconforming people are facing wave after wave of legislation that threatens our safety, well-being and very existence.

From “bathroom bills“ to ordinances that permit discrimination, this battle is in many ways a backlash to all of the victories our community has seen recently —including last year’s nation-wide legalization of same-sex marriage — and it serves a multitude of political and social purposes for the religious and political right.

In this new series, HuffPost Queer Voices Deputy Editor JamesMichael Nichols, who hails from North Carolina himself, talks to some of the leaders, movers and shakers of the fight for queer and trans liberation in the South about their own personal experiences as activists, the current political and social climate for the LGBT community in these states and the action that we, as a community, can take to help. Check out the previous interview with Pamela Raintree.

When North Carolina legislators passed anti-queer House Bill 2 earlier this year and Governor Pat McCrory signed it less than 24 hours later, the state invalidated the rights of nearly every minority group in North Carolina. While the conversation has largely been reduced to transgender bathroom rights in the mainstream political arena, everyone from seniors to the disabled to gay people lost the power of anti-discrimination ordinances at the state level.

Charlotte Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield has been at the forefront of the battle against House Bill 2, alongside many other queer and trans-identifying activists. As the first openly gay council person to serve in Charlotte, and only the second African American woman, Mayfield has a unique intersection of identities that make this particular battle in the South highly personal for her.

In wake of the Orlando massacre, fighting for the rights of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers, sisters and siblings in the American South at a legislative level is more important than ever. In this interview with The Huffington Post, Mayfield reflects on the current social and political climate for queer people in the South, what she thinks is the most effective way to fight back against HB2 and the unique way that institutionalized homophobia and and racism affect queer people of color in the South.

The Huffington Post: I would love if you could tell me a bit about your story – when is the first moment that you felt like you became an activist and were compelled to be involved in this line of work?

LaWana Mayfield: I think it really started when I was about 19-years-old when I saw an article in the paper where they needed third shift volunteers to work the suicide hotline in Charlotte. I wasn’t even out then – I’m a late bloomer. 25 was when I started thinking, “Hey I’ve had some great relationships but they haven’t really worked out, what’s the disconnect here?” So when I was 19 I was volunteering and I’ve done a lot of community work on issues of equity and equality across the board – immigration reform, alternatives to incarceration, reducing recidivism and volunteering and working on a number of LBGT-related boards and commissions. I became an activist by accident – I’m an accidental activist.

And you’re in your third term now, correct?

Correct, I was first elected in 2011 and became Charlotte’s first open LGBT elected official.

That’s amazing. What does it mean for you? Does that make what is happening across the South more personal for you?

Definitely, because when I was elected in 2011 at that time I was also only the second African American female to ever be elected to City Council and wearing both hats comes with great responsibility.

To be at the forefront of that conversation and to have the opportunity, I definitely recognize the importance of the community -- the young people and those of us that are not so young -- to know that there are no barriers except the barriers that you create for yourself.

As someone who is at ground zero with everything that is going on with House Bill 2, what do you think is something people might be missing about what is going on in North Carolina? Do you think that people might have the wrong impression about what is happening? Could the media be doing a better or different job about the ongoing story?

I honestly think that the media can do a better job because the conversation was reduced to bathrooms -- not looking at how what Charlotte passed as an fully-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance that wasn’t groundbreaking or earth-shattering. We followed the policies that our friends at other cities had already passed, including one of our biggest competitors, Columbia, South Carolina, of all places. So when you look at the impact of what HB2 did, it took away the rights of everyone if you’re a minority, whether that’s African American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Latino, female, a senior, if you have a disability – everybody’s rights were taken away when it comes to filing a discrimination case to at least be heard on a state level. Also they took away the ability for us to have a substantial conversation regarding pay equity for municipalities. So it’s interesting that under the guise of protecting women and children -- of which there was no language of enforcement included -- they took away the rights of more than 90 percent of the population.

Under the guise of protecting women and children -- of which there was no language of enforcement included -- they took away the rights of more than 90% of the population.

It’s scary. How do you feel about the controversy over whether musical acts or sports tournaments or businesses should boycott North Carolina or continue to visit? What do you think is the appropriate course of action?

I really don’t agree with the idea of boycotting [these events]. For me, the greater impact is for you to come and support local organizations. I know there’s a lot of great work that happens with national organizations, but what I’m seeing more so is a fundraising opportunity for all the groups like Equality NC and HRC International. We really need to think about the impact on the people’s lives that we’re talking about. So, to me, you come. You create jobs. You create protections for your employees and you get involved and donate to global organizations that are doing the good work. Boycotting is not the answer because you’re basically letting the other side win by giving them the opportunity to say, well, we don’t want those progressive companies here anyways! No – we do want your progressive companies to come, along with your protections of your employees.

So, obviously queer people have experienced prejudice in the South for many, many years. Why do you think legislators have chosen this particular moment and these particular issues in order to spring such a robust and relentless attack against LGBT people in the South?

I think [it’s largely] because of what we’re hearing on the national stage from a presidential candidate/nominee [Trump] who goes to the heart of people’s fear and goes to the core of racism and bigotry. It’s always been there but there’s never been more of a climate for people to share their feelings and say whatever loud thing that they want to say then what we’ve seen in the last year and a half. I mean, let’s have a real conversation -- the moment President Obama was elected into office in 2008 you saw a turn across our nation with how people interacted. You saw it on social media where people you work with, neighbors, people you thought were friends will make comments that they would never have made any other time for the months or years that you’ve known them. And you now see a completely different level of hatred that you just never saw before because it’s as if it’s hunting season and people can do or say whatever they want.

In North Carolina I think the bigger conversation is rural vs. urban. You look at who are the state representatives that wrote and pushed this legislation forward -- they were mostly from rural towns. The City of Charlotte is not competing with the rural towns -- we’re competing with other countries, we’re competing internationally, We’re competing with Texas, Seattle and other places like that.

What challenges for LGBT people in the South do you think are unique or different than the rest of the country?

Well, it’s the Bible belt. But the reality is that you should not be creating legislation based on your religious beliefs because this country was made of immigrants and it was made up of people escaping religious persecution. We seem to have forgotten that because it keeps being spoken and said through sound bites and clips that we’re this Christian nation -- no we’re not! We’re a nation, when you really think about it, of Protestants! But in the Bible Belt of the South, the hypocrisy is definitely there as far as let’s not talk about sex, let’s control women’s ability to control their own bodies. Let’s reduce their options of birth control – we want to protect you women, but let’s make sure men have Viagra on insurance. There’s that mentality of men know what’s best for all people – especially what’s best for women.

Yes, that seems to be the overarching mentality and horrible. How does this fight for equality differ in communities of color, if you think it does, and how does the larger queer community ensure that it’s taking specific issues and needs within those communities to heart.

That’s a very good question that people aren’t having real dialogue about. When you look at last year, there was an article about how the HRC Corporate Equality Index. When you don’t see leadership that is not white male in a lot of these LGBT corporate leadership roles -- even when you talk about this whole debate that’s happening across North Carolina with HB2, who are the faces that you see at the forefront of this conversation? At the same time, you go back a few years when Tavis Smiley did his State of Black America, African American LGBT people were not included in that conversation -- as if we don’t exist! So, we don’t exist in heterosexual black world, but we also don’t exist in the LGBT community until there is a need for a photo op to show the picture of how diverse the group is. Who are the African Americans, who are the Latinos, who are the Asian Pacific Islanders we can find to be in this photo op. And yet when it is time to have a voice in the conversation, you don’t see us! We have to change that dialogue. It’s very difficult as an African American female to see groups talk about “this is a civil rights discussion” when you have nobody that looks like the diversity of the nation or what civil rights look like at the table in a decision-making position. This is an ongoing conversation in communities of color.

So how do we combat that? How do we ensure that these voices are being included in the conversation and elevated?

The first thing is to open the door. Everything is relational. If you think about the job opportunities, the experience you’ve had, more often than not it’s been based on the relationship you had with someone and they gave you the inside information to say hey, this opportunity is coming up, I think you should go for it. Well, if our personal relationships aren't diverse, who do you think is going to be in that room with those conversations? If you don’t make a conscious effort to identify people who are not like you to be a part of the conversation, it doesn’t change. Everybody loves to throw around the word diversity and inclusion – and those are buzz words. But let’s look at equity and equality – that’s a completely different definition. When you look at the impact of equity and see who is at the table, what resources are they being provided in order to be successful?

We don’t exist in heterosexual black world, but we also don’t exist in the LGBT community until there is a need for a photo op to show the picture of how diverse the group is.

Thank you for saying that. What do you think the new generation of LGBT activists can learn from the generations before?

One, I think they need to be cognizant of the fact that there is a past. And this starts just because young people have decided to get involved. So you first need to pay respect to all of those that came before us -- I’m not doing anything new and I’m already old [laughs]. The next generation needs to come on and get started, but you need to pay respect because the only way you can identify what your future is going to look like is to truly know your past and honor that past. So they need to know who Harvey Milk is and what is it that he actually did -- what was that work about? They need to know who we are, especially people of color. We love to do quotes about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but there never would have been any Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. if Bayard Rustin wasn’t at the table! And Dr. King’s leadership threw him under the bus! He would have never had an in with the workers union if it were not for Bayard Rustin. And a lot of people don’t even know who he is! So you need to know your history, and that means we in the LGBT community need to do a better job of questioning, what’s the timeline? Do we know our own history? Who is the one that’s taking these notes and compiling this information to make it easy to find and say, this is the history of the LGBT movement?

Looking towards the future, what does an American South where LGBT people are liberated and free look like to you?

It looks like us showing up 100 percent in our authenticity. That means the LGBT community being on local boards and commissions, having a voice in the room, those business owners being comfortable enough to identify themselves as openly LGBT and it not affect their financial bottom line. It looks like never see a mass shooting of people living their lives as we saw in Orlando at Pulse nightclub, a place of safety where all people come together regardless of how they identify. Teachers are able to be out and be better teachers because they are not having to hide a part of themselves, to be able to openly go shopping for housing opportunities whether it’s to rent or to purchase without the fear of them identifying you as being in a same-sex relationship and denying you access. 

It looks to me like people being protected in their jobs and in their communities.

Stay tuned to HuffPost Queer Voices for more in this series talking to some of the leaders, movers and shakers of the fight for queer and trans liberation in the South. Missed the last feature with Pamela Raintree? Head here.

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Only One Thing Stopped Donald Trump's Week From Being A Complete Disaster

Huffington Post News - 4 hours 46 min ago

WASHINGTON -- Following a disastrous month and a half, Donald Trump finally gave Republicans a respite, delivering a scripted speech attacking Hillary Clinton without veering off on dangerous tangents.

That was the good news for his party.

Now the bad news: It was pretty much the sole high point in a week that saw the presumptive nominee fire his campaign manager, file an alarmingly weak campaign finance report and then spend precious days flying across the Atlantic to promote his Scottish golf resorts -- a move that mystified party leaders and donors alike.

Even worse, seven weeks after watching his remaining GOP rivals drop out of the race, Trump is still fighting a rearguard action against Republican delegates working to deny him the nomination at next month’s convention in Cleveland. 

“He’s spending campaign money that should be used against Hillary Clinton to smack down dissent,” said Colorado delegate Kendal Unruh, leader of the “Free the Delegates” movement. “That doesn’t bode well.”

Unruh said her group is working with a super PAC that is airing radio ads in Iowa and a secret-money political group running cable TV ads nationally to publicize its cause. She has already circulated a letter to her 111 fellow members of the Convention Rules Committee urging them to support her proposed “conscience clause” to let delegates out of their obligation to vote for Trump.

Unruh told participants on a conference call Sunday that she believes that if they can persuade a majority of the rules committee to approve her proposal, a majority of the full convention would likely follow suit -- and Trump would lose the nomination.

“Our strength comes from the delegates themselves,” Unruh said. “We know we’re saving the party.”

Trump, though, still has the support of Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and his staff, who downplay the delegate revolt. They highlight Trump’s Wednesday speech, which was cheered by many Republicans because Trump largely stuck to his prepared remarks by reading off a Teleprompter. He accused Clinton of a variety of misdeeds but did not, for example, ad lib attacks on the federal judge handling a class action fraud lawsuit against Trump University, his series of real estate seminars.

One source close to the Trump campaign said the departure of volatile campaign manager Corey Lewandowski would prove to be a turning point. Lewandowski had jealously guarded his access to Trump and had worked to undermine top strategist Paul Manafort, who has been trying to fashion Trump into a more conventional candidate since he joined the campaign in March.

“The consistently erratic nature of this campaign is over,” the source said.

Republicans not in the Trump orbit, though, remained skeptical. “He had one good day because he didn’t vomit all over himself and gave a decent speech,” said GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak, but allowed that it was at least a start. “Is he in a better place than he was last weekend? Yes.”

Mackowiak and other Republicans said a major problem continues to be Trump’s unwillingness or inability to raise the amount of money needed to compete with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton -- notwithstanding Trump’s claims that his fundraising has increased dramatically in recent weeks.

“The July report, I think, will show you some pretty massive numbers,” Trump said Friday at a news conference from Scotland.

Those bullish claims, though, follow similar claims that a May 25 Los Angeles fundraiser had brought in $6 million. But when the May report was released early this week, it showed Trump’s “Victory” fund had only transferred $3.1 million to the Republican National Committee -- the entity that receives the vast majority of the fund’s money.

“It's part of his fabulous mentality. If his car is 20 feet long, he's going to say it's 22. He can't help it. He thinks 22 is a better number,” said one RNC member and donor.

He said the lack of money is already having consequences. A delay in hiring field staff in key states that was announced at the April RNC meeting in Florida has largely continued, he said, costing both Trump and other Republicans on the ballot valuable time. Staff members who were recruited and ready to go on the payroll remain in limbo, he said. “Because many of them are smart, many of them are getting real jobs, and they’re not even available now,” he added. “The money’s just not there.”

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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

Brexit Impact Begins: EU Presses UK To Leave Quickly

Huffington Post News - 5 hours 9 min ago

LONDON (Reuters) -- Britain was under pressure on Saturday to set out a quick timetable for a divorce from the European Union after the country's historic vote to leave the bloc sent shockwaves around the world.

Global stock markets plunged on Friday, and sterling saw its biggest one day drop in history after Britons voted by 52-48 percent to exit the EU, which it joined more than 40 years ago.

Ratings agency Moody's downgraded its outlook for Britain, saying its creditworthiness was now at greater risk as the country would face substantial challenges to successfully negotiating its exit from the bloc.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he wanted to begin negotiating Britain's departure immediately.

"Britons decided yesterday that they want to leave the European Union, so it doesn't make any sense to wait until October to try to negotiate the terms of their departure," Juncker told Germany's ARD television station.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Friday he would resign after leading the failed campaign to stay in the bloc, and said someone else should take the lead in negotiating the unprecedented and complicated extrication.

He suggested his replacement would be in place by October. That person could be his Conservative Party rival Boris Johnson, the former London mayor who became the most recognizable face of the Leave camp and who is now favorite to succeed him.

Britain's decision to leave the EU is the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity.

The United Kingdom itself could also now break apart, with the nationalist leader of Scotland, where nearly two-thirds of voters wanted to stay in the EU, saying a new referendum on independence from the rest of Britain was "highly likely".

Scottish government ministers were meeting on Saturday to decide their next move.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet French, German and Italian leaders in Berlin on Monday to discuss future steps, and the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, will meet on Saturday morning.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday tried to limit the fallout from Britain's vote to leave the European Union which threatens to harm the U.S. economic recovery and distract U.S. allies from global security issues.

Obama vowed that Washington would still maintain both its "special relationship" with London and close ties to Brussels, but stood by his warning that Britain would move to the back of the queue when it came to trade deals.

U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose own rise has been fueled by similar anger at the political establishment, called the vote a "great thing".

Supporters of Islamic State and al Qaeda said Britain had divided and weakened itself, according to the SITE monitoring service. Militant Islamists took to the internet to applaud the British vote, with one saying it marked the "beginning of the disintegration of the Crusaders".

The British pound fell as much as 10 percent against the U.S. dollar on Friday to levels last seen in 1985 on fears the decision could hit investment in the world's fifth-largest economy, threaten London's role as a global financial capital, and usher in months of political uncertainty. The euro slid 2.0 percent against the U.S. dollar.

World stocks saw more than $2 trillion wiped off their value. European stocks ended down 7.0 percent, the biggest one day fall since 2008. U.S. stocks fell suffered the largest selloff in ten months sharply, with the Dow Jones industrial average losing 3.4 percent. [.N]

Investors put their cash in the safety of gold, which clocked up its biggest daily gain since the global financial crisis of 2008, ending Friday up 5.0 percent at $1,315 an ounce.

Ratings agency Moody's said Britain was at risk of a credit downgrade, assigning a negative outlook to its 'Aa1' rating for British government debt.

"During the several years in which the UK will have to renegotiate its trade relations with the EU, Moody's expects heightened uncertainty, diminished confidence and lower spending and investment to result in weaker growth," the agency said. 


Quitting the world's biggest trading bloc could cost Britain access to the trade barrier-free single market and means it must seek new trade accords with countries around the world. A poll of economists by Reuters predicted Britain was likelier than not to fall into recession within a year.

The EU arose out of the ashes of two world wars to unite a continent and now faces the challenge of maintaining economic and political unity without Britain, which has the EU's biggest financial center, a U.N. Security Council veto, a powerful army and nuclear weapons.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the "Brexit" vote a watershed for European unification.

The result emboldened eurosceptics in other EU member states, with French National Front leader Marine Le Pen and Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders demanding their countries also hold referendums. Le Pen changed her Twitter profile picture to a Union Jack and declared "Victory for freedom!"

The British vote will trigger at least two years of divorce proceedings with the EU, the first exit by any member state.


There was euphoria among Britain's eurosceptic newspapers.

"Birth of a new Britain," the Daily Telegraph said, while the Daily Star tabloid borrowed from Donald Trump's campaigning message with its headline "Now Let's Make Britain Great Again".

The Daily Mail hailed it as a victory by "the quiet people of Britain" over an arrogant, out-of-touch political establishment and a contemptuous Brussels. Those which backed staying the bloc were more circumspect. "Brexit earthquake," the Times said.

Britain has always been ambivalent about its relations with the rest of post-war Europe. A firm supporter of free trade, tearing down internal economic barriers and expanding theEU to take in ex-communist eastern states, the UK opted out of joining the euro single currency and the Schengen border-free zone.

Cameron's ruling Conservatives in particular have harbored a vocal anti-EU wing for many years, and it was partly to silence such figures that he promised the referendum in 2013.

His party is now left with deep divisions after an often bitter and personal campaign with rows over immigration which critics said at times unleashed overt racism, while there are angry recriminations among lawmakers in the opposition Labour Party about the role of its leftist leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn, accused by party critics of campaigning tepidly for its Remain stance, makes a speech on Saturday which will be closely watched by critical colleagues, two of whom issued a no-confidence motion to topple him on Friday.

The campaign revealed deep splits in British society, with the pro-Brexit side drawing support from voters who felt left behind by globalization and blamed EU immigration for low wages.

Older voters backed Brexit but the young and well educated mainly wanted to stay in theEU. London and Scotland supported the EU, but swathes of England that have not shared in the capital's prosperity voted to leave.

Left unclear is the relationship Britain can negotiate with the EU with officials warning UK-based banks and financial firms could lose automatic access to sell services in Europe.

Huge questions also face the large numbers of British expatriates who live and work freely elsewhere in the EU as well the fate of EU citizens who live and work in Britain.

(Additional reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Kate Holton, Kylie MacLellan, Sarah Young, Alistair Smout, Costas Pitas, Andy Bruce and David Milliken in London, and Steve Holland in Turnberry, Scotland; Writing by Mark John and Pravin Char; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Does Religion Matter In Politics?

Huffington Post News - 5 hours 34 min ago

Shortly after Tim Kaine had been elected Governor of Virginia in 2006, a discussion ensued among Democratic party leaders about the lessons that could learned from Kaine's victory. Some observations were interesting, others were not. One was particularly off the mark.

Because Kaine had often spoken about his Catholic faith, and because Democrats ordinarily do not, some concluded that the lesson to learn from Kaine's win was that Democrats needed to make a point of speaking more about religion. The observation was correct -- Kaine did speak about his faith; but the conclusion was wrong.

Kaine is not your ordinary politician. He is soft-spoken and thoughtful. Never one for bluster or stilted speechifying, his style is easy going and conversational. He is also a Catholic who speaks comfortably about how his sense of morality and his commitment to serving those in need comes from the social gospel message of the bible and his experience as a volunteer worker in Latin America sponsored by the Jesuits.

Over the next several months, I noted that one of the Democrats who had been influenced by this discussion began to speak, rather awkwardly, about his religious beliefs. At one point, having winced one too many times at his clumsy efforts to talk about his faith, I approached him and said "You have it all wrong. Tim Kaine didn't win because he spoke about religion. He won because he is authentic. And because he really is influenced by his faith. When he speaks about it, it's real and people can feel that. When you speak about religion, it's not real and it just doesn't work. Be authentic, don't fake it."

This same dynamic was at work during this year's Democratic primary. To his credit, Bernie Sanders never faked it. He was compelling when he spoke about his immigrant father and the values he learned growing up in a working class immigrant home. When he was asked during a televised debate about his religious beliefs, he didn't attempt to fake it. Instead he spoke about his "spirituality" -- his belief that we are all connected to one another and, therefore, responsible to care for each other. It was moving and authentic. And because it was real, it registered well with the audience.

I thought about this matter of religion in politics this past week, when I read news accounts of Donald Trump's meeting with a group of leading Christian Conservatives. Originally planned as a small "get acquainted" session, the event grew to over one thousand people. Since the Christian right represents almost 40 percent of the Republican electorate, the meeting was important. Trump needed their support.

Trump apparently knew his limitations. He didn't even try to convince the assembled religious leaders about his faith. At one point he spoke clumsily about the importance of sending children to Sunday school and at another he mentioned "when I used to go to church" implying that he no longer does.

But none of this mattered to the assembled leaders. They are a self-righteous group who believe that they alone are in possession of God's truth. Instead of their political beliefs flowing from their faith, they attempt to give their conservative politics a religious coloration. They weren't interested in Trump's religion, what they wanted to know was that would endorse their political agenda. And he did, promising to appoint anti-abortion judges and to change the law that currently limits the ability of tax-exempt religious institutions from becoming directly involved in politics (which Trump endorsed saying "I think maybe that will be my greatest contribution to Christianity").

Though awkwardly phrased, Trump was direct in his appeal "You can pray for your leaders, and I agree with that -- pray for everyone -- but you really have to do is you have to pray to get everyone out to vote for one specific person" -- obviously meaning himself, Donald Trump.

Not satisfied with this crass appeal for votes, Trump went further questioning Hillary Clinton's faith. "We don't know anything about Hillary Clinton in terms of religion... she's been in the public eye for years and years and yet there's nothing out there."

That, of course, is sheer nonsense since it is well known that Clinton is deeply committed to her Christian faith. She often quotes scripture and her most genuine moments have been when she speaks about it. Coincidentally, I had just received a letter from a friend, an evangelical Christian leader, who told me that he had gone to high school with Clinton and how she had been a youth leader in the Methodist Church. He recalled her decades-long relationship with her pastor on whom she had relied for spiritual guidance.

In the end, it wasn't faith or the lack of it that mattered for the assembled Christian Conservatives. In reality, they were not embracing Trump for his religion or his authenticity. More likely, they suspended their disbelief, simply because they had come to accept that he would advance their earthly goals.

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

Scotland Presses Ahead With Plans For New Independence Vote

Huffington Post News - 6 hours 23 min ago

EDINBURGH, June 25 (Reuters) - Scotland's devolved government will start a drive to protect its European Union membership and will prepare for a possible fresh independence vote after Britain voted to exit the bloc, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Saturday.

"We are determined to act decisively in a way that builds unity across Scotland," Sturgeon told reporters, adding that might include a vote on Scottish secession from the United Kingdom.

Scots rejected independence in a 2014 referendum by 55-45 percent and at the time the vote was considered a decisive verdict for a generation. Since then support for independence has not shifted significantly, according to polls.

On Thursday Britain as a whole voted to leave the EU, but Scotland voted by 62 to 38 percent to remain. The SNP argues that many Scots opted to remain part of the United Kingdom in 2014 because they believed that was the only way to guarantee EU membership.

The SNP argues Thursday's outcome changes the case for independence, and many Scots may reassess their 2014 vote. Sturgeon on Friday said a new referendum was "highly likely."

After meeting ministers in her devolved government on Saturday, Sturgeon said Scotland would not allow its EU membership to be taken away without exploring all the possibilities and would seek to build broad-based support at home and abroad to maintain it.

"We will seek to enter into immediate discussions with the EU institutions and with other EU member states to explore all possible options to protect Scotland's place in the EU," said Sturgeon, speaking outside her official residence.

She reiterated that an independence vote could be offered.

"A second (Scottish) independence referendum is clearly an option that requires to be on the table, and it is very much on the table," she said.

She would also establish a panel of experts to advise the Scottish government on legal, financial and diplomatic matters concerning EU membership.

Any new vote should be decided by "clear public appetite," but the independence option should be there, said a spokesman for the Scottish Greens, the kingmaker for Sturgeon's SNP. Her party is two seats shy of a majority in the devolved parliament.

"It is too soon to say whether and when a further referendum on Scottish independence will take place, but in the wake of the EU referendum result few people will doubt that it must be on the table," a spokesman for the party told Reuters.

Wille Rennie, leader of Scotland's pro-EU Liberal Democrats said in a statement he had committed his party to backing Sturgeon's EU negotiation process, but had received a guarantee this was not a ruse for a new independence drive.

Splitting Scotland from the UK would end three centuries of shared history, upending another successful economic relationship shortly after the now-impending divorce between Britain and the EU.

(Reporting By Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Michael Holden)

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Categories: Political News and Opinion

More Than 1.5 Million Britons Are Demanding A Second EU Referendum

Huffington Post News - 6 hours 40 min ago

Calls for the United Kingdom to hold a second referendum on its membership of the European Union are growing.

A petition demanding a rerun of Thursday's vote which resulted in the British exit, dubbed a "Brexit," after the "leave" campaign won 51.9 percent to Remain's 48.1 percent, had garnered nearly 1.5 million signatures by Saturday morning.

"We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60 [percent] based on a turnout less than 75[percent] there should be a referendum," it states.

The website crashed multiple times on Friday after being inundated with thousands of visitors trying to access the petition, The Independent newspaper reports.

The British government is duty-bound to respond to any petition reaching more than 100,000 signatories, as they did in January after one was launched to ban Donald Trump from setting foot on U.K. soil.

Conservative lawmaker Ben Howlett said the House of Commons Petitions Select Committee will consider this one on Tuesday:

Further to 100s of emails as a member of @HoCpetitions Select Committee, we will be considering 2nd #EUref on Tues

— Ben Howlett MP (@ben4bath) June 25, 2016

James Corden, "The Late Late Show" host, is among numerous celebrities urging fellow Britons to sign the petition:

Sign, if you'd like to. I have.

— James Corden (@JKCorden) June 25, 2016

But not everyone is happy with the call for a second referendum. Some people, say the result must be accepted and dealt with accordingly, including politicians such as the Labour Party member of parliament Mike Gapes.

I don't favour second referendum. We must accept the result and find best way to mitigate the damaging consequences

— Mike Gapes (@MikeGapes) June 25, 2016

The petition will also come as unwelcome news for Nigel Farage, the anti-EU leader of the UK Independence Party. But he doesn't have much cause to complain, given he said in May that a 52-48 win for the Remain side would be such a narrow margin that he’d fight for a second referendum to be held.

The surprise outcome of the EU vote result has sent global stock markets tumbling and the pound sterling plummeting to a 30-year low.

It's also prompted the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, and fears that other European nations could follow suit in leaving the union.

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Categories: Political News and Opinion