Daily Archives: July 7, 2017

Sean Hannity Is No William F. Buckley – New York Times

Posted: July 7, 2017 at 2:41 am

Or, in Hannitys case, the crawl space beneath it.

In 1950, Lionel Trilling wrote that there were no conservative ideas in general circulation, only irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas. By the time Trilling died 25 years later the opposite was true: The only consequential ideas at the time were conservative, while it was liberalism that had been reduced to an irritable mental gesture.

This was largely Buckleys doing. Through National Review, his magazine, he gave a hidden American intelligentsia a platform to develop conservative ideas. Through Firing Line, his TV show, he gave an unsuspecting American public a chance to sample conservative wit. Not all of the ideas were right, but they were usually smart. And as they evolved, they went in the right direction.

Buckley learned to free himself of views that had come to him by the circumstances of his background that he concluded ran counter to values he cherished, notes Alvin Felzenberg in his superb new biography, A Man and His Presidents. Buckley shed isolationism, segregationism and anti-Semitism, and insisted the conservative movement do likewise. Over 50 years as the gatekeeper of conservative ideas, he denounced the inverted Marxism of Ayn Rand, the conspiracy theories of Robert Welch (founder of the John Birch Society) and the white populism of George Wallace and Pat Buchanan.

In March 2000, he trained his sights on the narcissist and demagogue Donald Trump. When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection, he wrote in a prophetic short essay in Cigar Aficionado. The resistance to a corrupting demagogy, he warned, should take first priority for Americans.

Buckley died in 2008. The conservatism he nourished was fundamentally literary: To play a significant part in it you had to know how to write, and in order to write well you had to read widely, and in order to do that you had to, well, enjoy reading. In hindsight, 2008, the year of Sarah Palin, was also the year when literary conservatism went into eclipse.

Suddenly, you didnt need to devote a month to researching and writing a 7,000-word critique of Obama administrations policy on, say, Syria to be taken seriously as a conservative foreign-policy expert. You just needed to mouth off about it for five minutes on The OReilly Factor. For books there were always ghostwriters; publicity on Fox ensured they would always top The Timess best-seller lists.

Influence ceased to be measured by respectability op-eds published in The Wall Street Journal; keynotes delivered to the American Enterprise Institute and came to be measured by ratings. The quality of an idea could be tested not by its ability to withstand scrutiny from experts, but by the willingness of people to swallow it.

It shouldnt be a surprise that a post-literate conservative world should have been so quick to embrace a semi-literate presidential candidate. Nor, in hindsight, is it strange that, with the role Buckley once played in maintaining conservative ideological hygiene retired, the ideas he expunged should have made such a quick and pestilential comeback.

Thus, when Hannity peddles conspiracy theories about Seth Rich, the young Democratic National Committee staffer murdered in Washington last year, thats an echo of John Birch. When fellow Fox host Tucker Carlson who once aspired to be the next Buckley and now aims to be the next Ann Coulter tries to reinvent himself as the tribune of the working class, hes speaking for the modern-day George Wallace voter. Isolationism is already back, thanks to Trump. Anti-Semitism cant be far behind, either, and not just on the alt-right.

And so we reach the Idiot stage of the conservative cycle, in which a Buckley Award for Sean Hannity suggests nothing ironic, much less Orwellian, to those bestowing it, applauding it, or even shrugging it off. The award itself is trivial, but its a fresh reminder of who now holds the commanding heights of conservative life, and what it is that they think.

In the financial world, we know how this stage ended for investors, not to mention the rest of the country. The political right might consider that a similar destiny awaits.

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Sean Hannity Is No William F. Buckley – New York Times

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Libertarian candidate for governor of Virginia calls for tax cut … – Richmond.com

Posted: at 2:40 am

Libertarian Cliff Hyra formally kicked off his campaign for governor Thursday, saying he would work to exempt the first $60,000 of household income from state income taxes, legalize marijuana and pardon people imprisoned solely for using drugs.

Hyra, 34, a lawyer who was raised in Northern Virginia and lives in Mechanicsville, called for an inclusive and innovative Virginia and for a state government that has respect for all Virginians, no matter their beliefs or their backgrounds.

Hyra, who is making his first bid for elective office, says his mother is a Democrat and his father is a Republican. He says he considered himself a Democrat until he went to college and that he has been a Libertarian for most of his adult life.

I feel strongly about empowering people to make their own choices, he said, because I care about other people and about our community and I fear the corrosive effects of a government that thinks that it knows whats best for everybody and is prepared to force everyone to act accordingly.

He made his announcement in bustling downtown Richmond at the corner of West Broad and North Jefferson streets. Hyra sometimes had to raise his voice to be heard above the din of passing buses and construction equipment working on the bus rapid transit project.

On taxes, Hyra would exempt the first $60,000 of household income. On his campaign website, he says he would avoid the massive marriage penalty by allowing individuals to exempt $30,000. Taxable income above that would be taxed at a flat 5.75 percent.

He says the average household would pay no state income tax and would have a savings of $3,000 per year.

During an interview Wednesday at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Hyra said preliminary calculations indicate his plan would cost somewhere between $3 billion and $4 billion.

We have some work to square that, with the states finances, he said.

He said state revenues are projected to rise and that freezing growth of government will take us part of the way there.

He said he also is looking at recommendations by a panel headed by former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder which in 2002 made a series of suggestions about slimming state government.

He also wants to look at state-owned real estate that is sitting vacant or is underutilized and could be made more efficient. In addition, he said he wants to accrue savings through reforms in the criminal justice system.

Ed Gillespie, the Republican nominee for governor, is emphasizing an across-the-board tax cut as the centerpiece of his agenda.

Gillespies proposal centers on a 10 percent cut to the individual income tax rate, phased in over three years. For the states highest income bracket which covers income above $17,000 the rate would drop from 5.75 percent to 5.15 percent.

Gillespies campaign says his plan, once fully implemented, would save a typical Virginia family nearly $1,300 a year, a figure based on average household income of $135,000.

Using the median household income of $69,945, the savings would be $674, according to the Gillespie campaign.

As for the drug issue, Hyra said Thursday that Were spending too much money enforcing the counterproductive prohibition on marijuana use.

He said that as governor he would push to legalize marijuana and until legalization becomes possible I would order that enforcement of the marijuana prohibition is given the lowest possible priority.

He said he would pardon those in prison solely for their use of drugs.

In 2016, according to the Virginia State Police, contributing law enforcement agencies reported 39,666 drug-related arrests in Virginia and marijuana accounted for 58.7 percent of the arrests.

Those figures do not distinguish between simple possession and distribution or manufacturing.

Hyra said he favors putting marijuana on the same level as tobacco and alcohol, which he said would let the business grow and generate tax revenue and improve lives of Virginians.

Hyra also called for the establishment of more charter schools, saying: I want to put choice and competition into the education system here in Virginia.

Nine public charter schools are operating in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Education. Three are in Richmond the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, the Richmond Career Education and Employment Academy and the Metropolitan Preparatory Academy.

On health care, Hyra wants to leverage the power of choice and competition to improve access and decrease costs.

He said he wants to eliminate Virginias Certificate of Public Need program, which requires anyone who wishes to build a new hospital or imaging facility go through an application process with the state.

He is against two proposed natural gas pipelines, seeing them as the federal government taking private property to benefit private companies.

Hyra grew up in Falls Church and in the Springfield section of Fairfax County. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in aerospace engineering and from George Mason Universitys law school.

Hyra started an intellectual property law practice in 2008. He joined Symbus Law Group as a partner in 2012 and specializes in patent and trademark law.

He and his wife, Stephanie, have three young children and are expecting a fourth in August. In 2015, they moved to Mechanicsville, Hyras wifes hometown.

In the 2013 race for governor in which Democrat Terry McAuliffe edged Republican Ken Cuccinelli Libertarian Robert Sarvis received 6.5 percent of the tally, garnering more than 146,000 votes.

Hyra asserted that hes proposing more substance than Gillespie or Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic nominee.

I want to push actual ideas, he said, adding: I think if you want actual change, you should support me.

Hyra stressed that he wants to run a civil campaign.

In the interview Wednesday at The Times-Dispatch, he said with a laugh: If I didnt respect people who disagree with me, I would not respect hardly anyone.

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Shelton to keynote Libertarian event on coast – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Posted: at 2:40 am

TUPELO Mayor Jason Shelton will provide a keynote address this Saturday at a political event in Biloxi hosted by the state Libertarian Party.

Shelton is a Democrat and will join a roster of speakers that otherwise tilts Republican and Libertarian.

At least some deological diversity is precisely the point of the gathering, which is dubbed Loungin with Libertarians.

Promotional material for the event describes it as a venue for Libertarians and adherents of other political viewpoints to interact and network.

This is the fifth such Loungin event. It will be held at the White House Hotel in Biloxi.

Shelton himself is an advocate of a more collaborative and less ideologically blinkered political discourse. He has criticized the major U.S. political parties as a preoccupation with partisan advantage to the neglect of a functioning government.

With that in view, Shelton is happy to consider his appearance at a Libertarian event as en effort to help leverage his elected officer to broker a different kind of political environment.

I do feel a personal responsibility to do what I can to make it better, Shelton said in a recent interview with the Daily Journal. As mayor of Tupelo, you have a pretty high profile job.

Shelton himself is comfortable in a bi-partisan environment. He has twice now been comfortably elected as a Democrat in a traditionally Republican city and maintains a strong working relationship with a City Council under the control of a Republican supermajority.

Though he hasnt ruled out a run for higher office, Shelton has avoided strongly ideological fights during his tenure in office and has focused instead on what he calls good government.

Other speakers at the Saturday Libertarian event include a Republican member of the Biloxi City Council and the independent mayor of McLain. A member of the state Libertarian Partys executive committee will also deliver remarks. Other guests expected to attend include the newly-elected Republican mayor of Ocean Springs who identifies as largely Libertarian in outlook.

Libertarians generally align themselves with the Republican Party because of their strong support of a minimal federal government, low regulation and light taxation.

The party typically differs from traditional Republican stances, however, on foreign policy and national security issues as well as civil liberties and drug policy.

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Shelton to keynote Libertarian event on coast – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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Libertarian Party of Cuba Experiences Further Tyranny – Being Libertarian

Posted: at 2:40 am


Being Libertarian
Libertarian Party of Cuba Experiences Further Tyranny
Being Libertarian
The Libertarian Party of Cuba has continued to experience state tyranny from the Castro regime simply for having formed a party of liberty-minded dissidents. Less than a month after their initial detainment, members of the Libertarian Party of Cuba

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Fitzgerald: Old sister ships meet again – Stockton Record

Posted: at 2:39 am

Michael Fitzgerald Record columnist @Stocktonopolis

Two sunken ships one raised and restored, another still on the bottom rendezvoused in the Delta on Thursday as the historic peace ship Golden Rule visited the spot off Tyler Island where The Phoenix of Hiroshima lies.

It was a reunion 59 years in the making. Crews from the two sailboats met in 1958. Both made international headlines by boldly protesting nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Its the symbolic reunion, said Helen Jaccard, manager of the Veterans for Peace Golden Rule Project.

Sacramento was on the itinerary of The Golden Rule, a 34-foot wooden ketch touring to support a United Nations nuclear weapons ban. A side trip to visit the Phoenix was a natural.

We might as well sail over her, just a symbolic good luck, and help her being raised, said Jaccard.

A Quaker crew sailed The Golden Rule into a military off-limits zone around the Marshall Islands in 58. Their goal was to interfere in the Cold War-era nuclear testing.

The boat was interdicted, the crew jailed in Honolulu. The Quakers became a cause clbre.

In Honolulu the Quakers met the Reynolds family, who were circling the globe for pleasure on their 50-foot wooden ketch, Phoenix of Hiroshima.

Phoenix Capt. Earle L. Reynolds had spent three years in Hiroshima at the behest of the U.S. government studying the poorly understood effects of radiation on Japanese children.

Appalled by what he saw, Reynolds and family became opponents of nuclear testing, which spreads radiation through winds and ocean currents. Reynolds also commissioned construction of the Phoenix.

Reynolds daughter/crewmate Jessica was a young teen then. Seventy-three now, a resident of Long Beach. Her married name is Renshaw.

Renshaw said meeting the courageous Quakers was life-changing.

They inspired us, she said. When they couldnt go, we went. We picked up the baton and went into the zone.

The Reynolds, too, were arrested, garnering international attention. Two years and much press later, they beat the charges. They went on to make other peace voyages.

By some accounts, the protests built support for the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963. The treaty banned nuclear testing in air, water or space but allowed it underground.

The Golden Rules exploit also reportedly inspired Greenpeace to acquire its first boat, Rainbow Warrior.

Both The Golden Rule and The Phoenixeventually were sold. Both passed through a chain of owners. Both fell into disrepair. Both, by coincidence, sank in Northern California in 2010.

The Golden Rule sank in Humboldt Bay. It was promptly raised and restored by Veterans For Peace.

The Phoenix and its owner vanished. Only later did it emerge the owner damaged the boat, which sprang a leak and sank where it was tied up. The historic boat rests in mud in 25 feet of water in the North Fork Mokelumne River off Tyler Island.

The hapless owner signed the boat back to the Reynolds clan.

At about 2 p.m. Thursday on a baking, 100-degree afternoon, The Golden Rule came around a quiet bend in the Mokelumne. On the banks Jessica Renshaw, her husband, a videographer and a spectator or two waited near the spot where years earlier searchers located the submerged Phoenix.

So these boats have not been together for 59 years, Renshaw said wistfully.

Renshaw seeks donations to raise and restore The Phoenix in time to sail it, alongside the Golden Rule, to Hiroshima in 2020 for the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

The pacifists say opposition to nuclear weapons is more timely than ever, what with tensions escalating between the United States and North Korea.

To me, it just touches a really deep chord from way back, Renshaw said as the Golden Rule dropped anchor. When we first met The Golden Rule I was 14.

Donate at phoenixofhiroshima.org.

Free tours of Golden Rule will be given today at Tower Park Resort & Marina, 14900 Highway 12, Lodi, at slips 37 and 38. Information at (206) 992-6364.

Contact columnist Michael Fitzgerald at (209) 546-8270 or michaelf@recordnet.com. Follow him at recordnet.com/fitzgeraldblog and on Twitter @Stocktonopolis.

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Liberal, conservative experts question if Supreme Court will hear Trump travel ban case – Washington Examiner

Posted: at 2:39 am

Liberal and conservative legal experts looking ahead to the next Supreme Court term are preoccupied with much different priorities, but both question whether the high court will decide the fight over President Trump’s travel ban.

The issue of whether the travel ban litigation could become moot before the high court hears oral arguments is unresolved, but liberals also appear to be wondering who will be sitting on the high court next term. For liberals, rumors of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s potential retirement and role on the high court still dominate their thinking about the future of the Supreme Court.

Erwin Chemerinsky, new dean of Berkeley Law at the University of California, said Thursday that the Supreme Court “is still the Anthony Kennedy court.” Speaking at the National Constitution Center’s review of the high court’s most recent term, Chemerinsky noted that Kennedy “voted in the majority on 97 percent of all of the decisions,” more often than any other justice.

“So for the lawyers who’re here and watching, if you have a case before the Supreme Court, my advice to you is make your briefs a shameless attempt to pander to Justice Kennedy,” Chemerinsky said. “If the clerk of the court will allow it, put Anthony Kennedy’s picture on the front of your brief.”

While Chemerinsky said he thinks Gorsuch may prove to be more conservative than the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whose seat Gorsuch filled in April, “if Justice Kennedy leaves the court, then we will have the most conservative court there’s been since the mid-1930s.”

Frederick Lawrence, Yale Law School professor who sat alongside Chemerinsky at the event, said the year has been characterized by “constitutional anxiety” for “constitutional lawyers, constitutional scholars and for citizens who care about the Constitution.”

“I certainly will watch with my constitutional anxiety this October in the [travel ban] argument because I think … there is so much vagueness in play in the joints here that when one finds oneself sort of hoping for mootness as the way out, it tells you the corners we’re getting ourselves into,” Lawrence said.

At the Heritage Foundation’s review of the last term on Thursday, legal experts were similarly questioning whether the high court would resolve the travel ban dispute.

Will Consovoy, a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and a lawyer who argues before the Supreme Court, said “mootness is a real concern” in the travel ban case. He added that he thought the high court, more so than the lower courts that have reviewed the case, would look to say “can we create a durable rule here that’s not going to devour the law, so to speak.”

Trump’s travel ban blocks nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days and refugees from all countries for 120 days.

Joseph Palmore, a former law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and co-chairman of the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice Group at Morrison Foerster, told the Heritage Foundation audience that the issue of mootness is clearly a top issue for the high court.

Asked whether the Supreme Court could hear the case even if it appears to be moot from the vantage point of those outside the justices’ chambers, Palmore said that’s a question that likely would lurk.

“The court might view it though as what’s before us is this actual executive order and if it’s moot then those issues could be fought another day, but I think … there might be a competing urge to the extent that some justices are concerned with what they might see as the overbreadth of some of the court of appeals decisions,” Palmore said. “Do they leave those in place because the Supreme Court case becomes moot or do those get vacated? There’s a lot of complicated rules, what happens when a case becomes moot.”

Palmore said he also is closely watching to see how Trump’s campaign statements can be attributed as motivation to enact the travel ban if at all and whether the lower courts appropriately applied nationwide injunctions.

Palmore said the last pressing question is whether the dispute could return to the Supreme Court in the “next few weeks or even days” because of the disagreement over the scope of the injunction. The Supreme Court, in deciding to take the case, said that nationals from the six countries could visit the U.S. if they have “bona fide” relationships in the country.

The fight in the federal courts over the extent of the travel ban permitted by the Supreme Court began earlier this week.

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America is starting to realize that "liberal/conservative" labels exclude the left – Boing Boing

Posted: at 2:39 am

On my first day at Michigan State University in 1992, a fellow student called me a “liberal” and I was shocked: as a Canadian who was often to the left of the social-democratic New Democratic Party, I identified “liberal” with the Liberal Party, a centre-right political party that had once imposed martial law in Canada.

As I lived in the USA off and on in the ensuing decades, I grew increasingly frustrated with the truncated US political spectrum, whose mainstream ran from far-right to center-right, with “liberal” being as far left as anyone dared to go. It’s this bizarre situation that created an equivalence between Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, though Corbyn is far, far to the left of Sanders.

Writing in the New York Times Magazine, Nikil Saval describes a gradual shift in American politics, driven by a resurgent, insurgent, anti-establishment Democratic base who are demanding party leaders who stop kowtowing to big pharma, the finance industry, racist “war on poverty” types, surveillance agencies, and prison labor.

These left-wing activists reject and deplore the term “liberal,” seeing it as “weak-minded, market-friendly centrist, wonky and technocratic and condescending to the working class.”

Over the last few years, though and especially 2016 there has been a surge of the opposite phenomenon: Now the political left is expressing its hatred of liberals, too. For the committed leftist, the liberal is a weak-minded, market-friendly centrist, wonky and technocratic and condescending to the working class. The liberal is pious about diversity but ready to abandon any belief at the slightest drop in poll numbers a person who is, as the folk singer Phil Ochs once said, 10 degrees to the left of center in good times, 10 degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally. The anonymous Twitter account liberalism.txt is a relentless stream of images and retweets that supposedly illustrate this liberal vacuousness: say, the chief executive of Patagonias being hailed as a leader of corporate resistance to Trump, or Chelsea Clintons accusing Steve Bannon of fat shaming Sean Spicer.

This shift in terminology can be confusing, both politically and generationally as when baby boomers describe fervent supporters of Bernie Sanders as very liberal, unaware that young Sandersistas might find this vomit-inducing. It can also create common ground. Last year, the young (and left-leaning) writer Emmett Rensin published a widely read piece on Vox deriding liberals for their smug style; soon enough, one longtime adept of the right, National Reviews Ramesh Ponnuru, was expressing his partial approval, writing in Bloomberg View that what contemporary liberalism lacked most was humility. Here was a perspective common to both sides of the old spectrum: that liberals suffered from a serene, self-ratifying belief in their own reasonableness, and that it would spell their inevitable defeat.

Hated by the Right. Mocked by the Left. Who Wants to Be Liberal Anymore? [Nikil Saval/New York Times]

(Image: Photo illustration by Derek Brahney)

(via Naked Capitalism)

(Image: Big Wow Badges)

Trump is an infamously domineering handshaker, who uses the gesture to impose and humiliate. Sometimes, a wily Trudeau or muscular Macron will get the better of him, but theyre still playing his game. Agata Kornhauser-Duda isnt, drifting right past his outstretched lil smokies to greet Melania Trump instead, only turning to the orange morgellons monster []

In the wake of CNN threatening to out a critic if he does not limit his speech in the future, former federal prosecutor and First Amendment champion Ken White has published an eminently sensible post about the incoherence of the present moments views on free speech, and on the way that partisanship causes us to []

Louisiana Republican congressman Clay Higgins shot video of himself talking about the need for invincible U.S. powerwhile wandering the gas chamber at Auschwitz. In his five-minute ramble, Higgins explains the horrors that took place at the camp, where some 1.1m people, mostly Jews, where murdered by the Nazis during World War II. And that this []

Excel, Microsofts venerable spreadsheet program has some seriously powerful capabilities. But unless you know where to look in the maze of menus and toolbars, you probably leave the pivot tables and conditional formatting to your offices Excel guru. If you want to level up your skills and steal the title from the resident guru, take []

Entertaining bold changes in your career can feel like an abandonment of what youve worked for thus far, but this fallacious mindset can cost you a lot more in the long run than the time spent at your current gig. Change is constant, and building new skills outside of your typical wheelhouse will do much []

Immersive 3D sound is usually only possible with an array of surround-sound speakers, or by using headphones with Binaural audio content. And since most readily-available media is mastered for generic stereo, your Dolby 5.1 setup wont automagically add an extra dimension to your listening experience. But you can still simulate a rich audio environment with []

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America is starting to realize that "liberal/conservative" labels exclude the left – Boing Boing

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Liberal firebrands may not be best hope for Democrats in Trump era – CNBC

Posted: at 2:39 am

All year long, struggles within Congress and the White House on health care, taxes, trade and infrastructure have highlighted deep fissures in the Trump-era GOP.

For the moment, they’ve obscured divisions within a Democratic opposition savoring the luxury of just attacking.

But those divisions will surface soon enough, as the 2018 mid-term election campaign accelerates and the 2020 presidential contest gets underway. And when they do, a recent examination of both parties suggests, they will produce some surprising Democratic beneficiaries.

The examination, by a team of analysts across the political spectrum for the Voter Study Group, shows how the surge of President Donald Trump’s blue-collar backers has buffeted the GOP. They diverge from the party’s traditional conservatism on taxes, spending and trade.

Democrats have their own fault lines, as the party’s protracted 2016 primary battle made clear.

But the report concluded that the party’s rank-and-file chose between establishment figure Hillary Clinton and self-styled revolutionary Bernie Sanders on the basis of style more than substance.

Though Sanders’ supporters were more hostile to international trade agreements, they held similar views to Clinton’s allies on core economic concerns such as income inequality and the importance of an activist government.

“Their voters were not all that different on most issues,” wrote Lee Drutman, a fellow at the New America think tank who was part of the Voter Study Group team. “To the extent that the Democratic Party is divided, these divisions are more about faith in the political system and general disaffection than they are about issue positions.”

Thus attitude may represent the key variable within Democratic politics over the next three years. Already, some Democrats have staked out divergent positions on how vehemently to resist the agenda of Trump and the GOP Congress.

After Democrat Jon Ossoff struck a temperate tone in his losing race for a Georgia House seat, some intraparty critics complained that he should have excoriated the president more. The recent fight for Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination in which Sanders-backed former House Democrat Tom Perriello lost to Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam revolved around who had greater ability to produce change.

The Virginia outcome suggests that firebrands in the mold of Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren may have less momentum within the party than they assumed in the wake of Trump’s triumph. Like the Republican president, each has drawn energy with angry complaints that the political system is rigged to the detriment of average Americans.

However hostile the party’s feelings about Trump, their challenge may get even steeper the closer the nation draws to the 2020 presidential contest. David Axelrod, the chief strategist in Barack Obama’s breakthrough 2008 victory, notes a recurrent pattern: Voters seek qualities in their next president that compensate for what they consider defects in the last one.

Thus in 2000, they embraced George W. Bush’s vow to restore “honor and dignity” to a White House tarnished by Bill Clinton’s scandal. In 2008, they turned to Obama’s deliberation over Bush’s “gut-player” style. In 2016, an electoral majority opted for the bombast of a wealthy outsider vowing to “make America great again.”

“In 2020, there will be a market for an antidote to him,” Axelrod said. That points toward a quieter, more thoughtful approach that places a higher premium on governing experience.

“There will be a receptivity to someone who offers big ideas about how to insure a fair shot and economic security for the broadest number of Americans in a rapidly changing economy, rather than promising a return to an irretrievable past,” Axelrod said. “There will be a market for a more healing and unifying figure who can speak to our common values and concerns as Americans rather than mining resentment and sowing antagonism.”

If he’s right, harsh denunciations of the wealthiest 1 percent won’t prove the most effective Democratic answer to Trump’s denunciations of illegal immigrants. That dynamic would give an advantage to potential White House candidates with a more consensus-oriented message, such as Joe Biden or Cory Booker, rather than Sanders or Warren.

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Liberal firebrands may not be best hope for Democrats in Trump era – CNBC

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John R. Quinn, Archbishop and Liberal Voice in Church, Dies at 88 … – New York Times

Posted: at 2:39 am

Archbishop Quinn used his platform to criticize American military intervention in Central America and to condemn nuclear war as inherently immoral; at one point, he called on Roman Catholics serving in the armed forces to defy any order to detonate a nuclear weapon.

He argued for greater openness in debating such doctrinal questions as contraception, the ordination of women and whether to allow divorced Catholics to receive the sacraments. In 1985, he appointed Sister Mary Bridget Flaherty as his chancellor, or manager of day-to-day operations. It was the highest position ever attained by a woman in a major diocese.

In moving to address the AIDS crisis, Archbishop Quinn donated a former convent to be used as a hospice and, through the social-services organization Catholic Charities, created a housing program to help AIDS patients remain in their apartments.

Archbishop Quinn held firm to church doctrine on abortion, opposing Roe v. Wade and campaigning for a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Our witness to the sanctity of human life cannot diminish and our effort cannot cease, he wrote in the Jesuit magazine America in 2009, referring to the grave moral evil inherent in abortion.

John Raphael Quinn was born on March 28, 1929, in Riverside, Calif., to Ralph Quinn and the former Elizabeth Carroll. He set his sights on the priesthood while serving as an altar boy there in St. Francis de Sales parish.

He enrolled in the Immaculate Heart Seminary in El Cajon, Calif., and completed his training at the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained as a priest for the diocese of San Diego in 1953, his third year of study, and received his licentiate in sacred theology the following year before taking up duties as an associate pastor in St. Georges Parish in Ontario, Calif.

After serving as vice rector and rector of the Immaculate Heart Seminary in San Diego, with two years as president of St. Francis College Seminary in El Cajon in between, he became auxiliary bishop of San Diego.

While attending a synod in Rome in 1980, Archbishop Quinn ruffled feathers by informing the assembled bishops that the church would have to address resistance to its doctrines forbidding contraception. He cited studies showing that 76 percent of Catholic women in the United States used contraceptive devices and that 71 percent of American priests did not regard the practice as a serious sin.

To quell the ensuing furor, he issued a statement explaining that he supported church doctrine. The intent of my speech was to suggest possible ways of making the churchs teaching on contraception better understood and more widely accepted, he said.

Some Vatican watchers, reading between the lines, saw his remarks as a move to push the church in a more liberal direction. That did not happen, and his outspokenness on the subject, and on the church hierarchy later on, might explain his failure to be named a cardinal.

All he did was ask that the church acknowledge the views of the laity on birth control, but that was the turning point, Richard McBrien, a professor of theology at Notre Dame, told The San Francisco Chronicle in 1995. He wasnt challenging church teachings. He was just acknowledging reality.

His last two years as archbishop were clouded by financial problems and allegations of sexual abuse and embezzlement leveled against two priests in the archdiocese. In response to damage wrought by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and expensive new building requirements, Archbishop Quinn closed more than a dozen churches, cut the staff of the archdiocese by 20 percent and sold the old archbishops residence.

After retiring at the end of 1995, he delivered a widely publicized address at Campion Hall, Oxford, in response to Pope John Paul IIs 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint (That they may be one), which invited suggestions on papal overhaul and ways to promote dialogue with other Christian denominations.

In his address, the archbishop argued for a spirit of criticism and open discussion. He targeted the papal curia, or governing body, which he described as a politburo that stifled free discussion and imposed its will, making bishops managers who only work under instructions rather than true witnesses of faith who teach in communion with the pope in the name of Christ.

He elaborated on his ideas in a book, The Reform of the Papacy: The Costly Call to Christian Unity, published in 1999. He was also the author of Ever Ancient, Ever New: Structures of Communion in the Church (2013).

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John R. Quinn, Archbishop and Liberal Voice in Church, Dies at 88 … – New York Times

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Schiff: Putin Aims to Take Down Liberal Democracy. To Put America First, Trump Must Stand Up to Him – Daily Beast

Posted: at 2:39 am

Despite his campaign comments to the contrary, President Donald Trump will apparently meet Friday for the first time with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Germany.

If Trump fails to stand up to Putin and forcefully raise the issue of Russian interference in our elections, the Kremlin will conclude that he is too weak to stand up to them at all. That makes his statement todaythat no one really knows who was behind the hacking and dumping of Hillary Clinton’s emailsmore than discouraging. Far from putting America first, if he continues to cling to this personal fiction, he will be elevating Russian interests above all others.

On the agenda should also be Russia’s continued destabilization of Ukraine, Russia’s propping up of Bashar al-Assad, and a clear declaration that the U.S. will not turn a blind eye to any potential Russian support of the Taliban or increased trade with North Korea.

There is little evidence, though that Trump plans to confront Putin on any of these serious matters. Instead, he may seek little more than the exchange of pleasantries and the usual claims of a fabulous meeting.

This would be a historic mistake, with damaging implications for our foreign policy for years to come. Because what the Russians have in mind goes well beyond interference in one election, or the restoration of Russian dominance in what it considers to be its sphere of influence into a profound challenge to a rules-based international order that has been of incalculable benefit to freedom-loving people around the world.

Last summer, what began as a Russian effort to gather foreign intelligence on candidates for the presidency of the United States became a very different kind of enterprise when Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to weaponize the data stolen by his intelligence services. Putins dumping of private stolen emails in an effort to influence the U.S. election was a breathtaking escalation of Russian interference in our internal affairs. It is vital that we understand both why he chose such a provocative course, and the new threat that the Russian government poses to the very idea of liberal democracy.

There is no question that Putin despised former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her support of pro-democracy protesters who gathered by the tens of thousands in Moscow streets years earlier to protest his governments fraud and corruption. Putin was terrified by these mass protests and believed he saw the hidden hand of the Central Intelligence Agency behind them.

Putin understands innately that the only real threat to his regime will come from the streets, not from an election process where opposition leaders are continually jailed or killed, and where the state controls all the major media. Putin was more than aware Clinton would continue her strong support of sanctions over Russias invasion of Ukraine, and those sanctions are a keen threat to the regime specifically because they have slowed the Russian economy and made the prospect of popular opposition to Putin even greater.

Apart from opposing Clinton, there was every reason for the Russian government to prefer Donald Trump, who over the course of the campaign belittled NATO, celebrated Brexit and a further weakening of Europe, expressed a common purpose with Russia in Syria notwithstanding our very different interests on the survival of the Assad regime, and most significantly, made clear his willingness to revisit our economic sanctions on Russia.

But we would make a grave mistake to assume the Russian intervention was solely about hurting Clinton or helping Trump, or even its main object. Above all, Putin wanted to tear down American democracy just as he is assaulting other liberal democracies around the world. We are in a new battle of ideas, pitting not communism against capitalism, but authoritarianism against democracy and representative government. America must not shrink from its essential role as democracys champion.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, we lived in a world in which the number of people living in free societies was ever increasing. The triumph of liberal democracy in Europe seemed certain, and around the world, democratic change was often plodding but seemed inexorable.

Today, even with welcome victories for candidates like Emmanuel Macron, we may be at an inflection point in which we can no longer be assured that the number of people around the world who will enjoy the freedoms of speech, assembly and religion will increase. It may, in fact, contract. Putins autocratic model is on the rise in places like Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, the Philippines and elsewhere.

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The narrative Putin wishes to tell is that there is no such thing as democracy, not in Russia nor in the United States, and our commitment to human rights is mere hypocrisy. Putins aims are served when Trump baselessly accuses President Obama of illegally wiretapping him or when the President lashes out at a secretive deep state allegedly working against him.

Of all the praise heaped undeservedly on Putins leadership, none would have pleased him more than when Trump was asked during the campaign why he could not criticize Putin’s assassinations of reformers and journalists, at home and abroad. Trump responded, Well, you think our country is so innocent?

The Trump Administration has decided that democracy and the promotion of human rights will no longer be a top priority and instead we will put America first. This fundamentally misapprehends the degree to which the success of democracy around the world is a core American interest.

When the President complements Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on a massive campaign of extrajudicial killing, he is not advancing American values or interests only causing the rest of the world to turn away. We fought two world wars to make the world safe for democracy, because we recognized, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., that a threat to democracy anywhere was a threat to democracy everywhere.

America is not a victim, as the President so often paints her, but the most powerful nation on earth and the greatest beneficiary of a liberal world order established at tremendous cost in American blood and treasure. That is a legacy to cherish and to defend.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

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Schiff: Putin Aims to Take Down Liberal Democracy. To Put America First, Trump Must Stand Up to Him – Daily Beast

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