Trump: ‘I don’t have a racist bone in my body’.
Joe Biden, asked about it by a reporter: ‘That means he has no bones’.
It’s Wednesday, and the furor over Trump’s tweets from the weekend, urging four female members of color of the House of Representatives to ‘go back to their countries’ (all four are American citizens, of course) has not died down.
Below are the other 10 Democratic candidates that debated tonight. I missed some of the debate, but Senator Kamala Harris (from California) did very well. Joe Biden (76) and Bernie Sanders (77) – struggled a bit. Joe Biden was confronted by Harris, and Eric Swalwell (a mere 38) chided him for not ‘passing the torch’.
If I may say so, 76 or 77 seems a little old to make a bid for President of the United States (and 37 or 38 a little young) .. but if Biden or Sanders became the Democratic Party nominee, they will nonetheless have my unqualified support.
We watched the first of the two groups of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates debate tonight.
Nobody made a fool of himself or herself. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar both did very well. (Can they stand up to Donald Trump, though?).
Of the men? Texan Beto O’Rourke disappointed some commentators, and lost a mini-debate about the humanitarian crisis at the Mexican border, against fellow Texan Joaquin Castro. (They both spoke a little bit in Spanish as well. Impressive, but a risky strategy). Our own Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee, pushed for addressing climate change.
I finally cancelled my TIME magazine subscription, and got the last issue in the mail today.
Just as well, I thought: I do not need to see Trump on any magazine cover even one more time. Besides, I go to the library to read all kinds of newspapers and magazines.
It was South Carolina’s turn on Saturday to host the 2020 Democratic hopefuls in the state’s annual ‘World Famous Fish Fry’, originally started by SC House Rep. Jim Clyburn in 1992.
South Carolina hosts one of the early primary elections in Feb. 2020 (to determine who the 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate is). It’s considered a key state in the primaries. Black voters make up 61% of the electorate.
An incredible two million people flooded the streets in Hong Kong this weekend, to continue to protest their government’s proposed extradition law (that will allow extradition of Hong Kongers to mainland China and other countries).
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam was essentially selected by Beijing, and Hong Kong residents do not trust her. She has ‘postponed’ the legislation, but it has not been cancelled.
There was a carnival of politics in the state of Iowa today, with 19 of the Democratic 2020 presidential candidates taking the stage at the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2019 Hall of Fame event in Cedar Rapids.
Each candidate had only 5 minutes to speak, though. Sigh. I just hope that the Democrats will pull out all the stops, hit up all their rich donors, and deploy social media campaigns and whatever else they can, to get Trump out of the White House.
If we are to believe Trump (I am not), his threat to slap a 5% tariff on all goods from Mexico, unless they do better at stopping migrants trying to reach the US border, had the desired effect. (Trump tweeted Friday night that tariffs are now off the table, and that a last minute agreement with Mexico was reached).
Well, it turns out that much, or all of the terms of the ‘agreement’, were actually reached months ago between Mexican officials and the White House, says the New York Times (see below).
Are we seeing the disintegration of the Trump Presidency in slow motion?
Is this Trump’s ‘I am not a crook‘ moment à la Nixon? Time will tell.
From the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — President Trump abruptly blew up a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday, declaring that he could not work with them until they stopped investigating him and lashing out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of a cover-up.
He then marched out into the Rose Garden, where reporters had been gathered, and delivered a statement bristling with anger as he demanded that Democrats “get these phony investigations over with.” He said they could not legislate and investigate simultaneously. “We’re going to go down one track at a time,” he said.
Well, here is the first Republican congressman calling out Attorney General Barr’s foul play in misrepresenting the Mueller report, and calling for Trump’s impeachment. (See Justin Amash’s tweets below).
What Trump has done – documented in the Mueller report, with hard evidence – cannot stand in the United States of America’s democracy, without consequences to him.
In addition, Trump and the White House staff is technically committing obstruction of justice every day now. They refuse to comply to subpoenas from Congress for Trump’s tax returns, and other records. They refuse to let former White House lawyer Don McGahn testify in Congress (Don McGahn’s testimony about Trump’s obstruction is written up in the Mueller report). Trump has even sued his own tax preparer and Deutsche Bank, to prevent them from supplying any financial records to Congress.
Time to start the impeachment proceedings. It’s overdue.
Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. Thousands of gay rights supporters had gathered in the rain outside the parliament building in the capital, Taipei, to await the landmark ruling.
The Pew Research Center wrote up a report of gay marriage around the world, that has this nice map to show what progress has been made so far.
Germany and Australia were some high-profile additions to the roster of countries that have joined the list, both in 2017.
The map shows that there is clearly a lot of work still to be done in Asia and in Africa, though.
I had a picture from twenty years ago, of a New York City street corner somewhere in Times Square, and I stubbornly used Google Street View until I finally found the place that I had taken the 1999 picture from. It looks very different today!
P.S. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he is running for President in 2020 today. The count of Democratic candidates is now at 23.
I’m watching the vote count in South Africa, here.
With some 95% of the votes counted, the African National Congress (ANC) of the incumbent President of South Africa, has 57.7% (so towards the high end of expectations, but the worst result for them since 1994), and the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, has 20.7%. Hopefully this is good enough for President Cyril Ramaphosa to clean house in the ANC (corruption), and to get the economy going.
The DA has carried its stronghold, the Western Cape Province, with 55.5% of the vote (down 4% from 2014), but elsewhere in other provinces, the strident and far-left Economic Freedom Front (EFF) party has made substantial gains.
South Africa has a parliamentary system of government.
On Wednesday May 8, South Africans will elect a new National Assembly, and representatives for each of the 9 provincial legislatures.
The National Assembly consists of 400 members, elected by closed-list proportional representation.
Of these members, 200 are elected from national party lists.
The other 200 are elected from provincial party lists in each of the nine provinces.
The President of South Africa is elected by the National Assembly after the general election (held every 5 years).
What to watch for after Wednesday:
There is little doubt that the African National Congress will remain in power.
They got 62% of the vote in 2014, with their main opposition, the Democratic Alliance, a distant 22%.
For President Cyril Ramaphosa to continue his efforts to root out corruption in his own party, and get the South African economy going again, pundits say the ANC needs to get at least 55% of the vote, though (49% to 60% is projected).
The Democratic Alliance is hoping to hold on to its share of representatives (15% to 23% is projected), but that may be a challenge. They have the populist Freedom Front Plus party on their right that will draw away votes, and in the Western Cape province an ugly spat with the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, had her break away from the DA in 2018 to form her own party, the Good Party.
The redacted Mueller report is out, and .. it confirms what we already know, with more details. Trump stonewalled and ultimately refused to be interviewed by Mueller. Trump lied to the public. His campaign staff lied to Mueller. Mueller could not get to all the key evidence to prove obstruction of justice, and a conspiracy with the Russians. It was unavailable, encrypted or probably deleted or shredded (so much for the Presidential Records Act).
It’s now clear that Attorney-General Barr from the Dept of Justice is acting as Trump’s personal lawyer (he is not, and he should not).
It also looks as if the calculus of the Democrats to not call for impeachment until they know they will succeed in the Senate, is unchanged. Trump should be impeached, let’s just be clear about that – but maybe the Trumpkins (that used to be Republicans) deserve him as an albatross around their neck, all the way to the 2020 elections.
Well, it’s official: Pete Buttigieg (say ‘Boot-Edge-Edge’) kicked off his 2020 Presidential campaign today, in his hometown of South Bend, Indiana.
As the New York Times notes: ‘If elected, Mr. Buttigieg, a 37-year-old Rhodes scholar and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, would represent a series of historic firsts: the youngest president ever and the first who is openly gay’.
Not to mention that there will be a First Husband in the White House for the first time. (Of course: that will also be the case if one of the women candidates is elected as President).
So Brexit is now delayed until Oct 31 this year (yes, Halloween).
Will it be a trick or a treat?
The UK must participate in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament (if it fails to do that, the UK will leave the EU on June 1). The European Council also reiterated that there can be no reopening of the withdrawal agreement negotiations.
Wow, the Democratic candidates for President of the United States for the 2020 campaign have been jumping into the fray by the dozen and more. Tonight there was another, on Stephen Colbert’s Late Night Show. His name is Eric Swalwell and he is represents California’s 15th congressional district. He is only 38 yrs old (got to be 35 to run for President), but he’s been a Congressman for 6 yrs, so that will help. I like him a lot. He’s been a regular guest on the cable news programs that I watch.
P.S. Psst! And for the first time ever, there will be a gay candidate running for President of the United States as well. I will write about him later. He is expected to announce his candidacy on Sunday April 14.