Daily Archives: November 20, 2018

Trump lets the Saudis get away with the murder of a U.S. resident and one of the Arab world’s most prominent journalists

After weeks of charges and denials between autocratic regimes Turkey and Saudi Arabia over the assassination of permanent U.S. resident and Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, last week the CIA concluded Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination:

The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month, contradicting the Saudi government’s claims that he was not involved in the killing, according to people familiar with the matter.

The CIA’s assessment, in which officials have said they have high confidence, is the most definitive to date linking Mohammed to the operation[.]

In reaching its conclusions, the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence.

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Legal challenges to Matthew Whitaker appointment now before the Supreme Court

The state of Maryland took the lead in filing a lawsuit to challenge Matthew Whitaker’s unconstitutional and illegal appointment as acting Attorney General. Whitaker’s Appointment as Acting Attorney General Faces Court Challenge:

Now, Mr. Whitaker’s appointment is facing a court challenge. The State of Maryland asked a federal judge on Tuesday for an injunction declaring that Mr. Whitaker is not the legitimate acting attorney general as a matter of law, and that the position — and all its powers — instead rightfully belongs to the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein.

Mr. Trump may not “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office,” the state said in a court filing.

[Read Maryland’s court filings.]

Maryland is asking a judge — Ellen L. Hollander of the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland, a 2010 Obama appointee — to rule on who is the real acting attorney general as part of a lawsuit in which it sued Mr. Sessions in his official capacity. Because Mr. Sessions is no longer the attorney general, the judge must substitute his successor as a defendant in the litigation, so she has to decide who that successor legally is.

It is not entirely clear to me how the state of Maryland establishes standing to bring this lawsuit. Standing is not a problem, however, for three Democratic Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee who filed a separate lawsuit on Monday. Democratic Senators Challenge Whitaker Appointment in Court:

Three Democratic senators asked a Federal District Court judge on Monday to issue an injunction barring Matthew G. Whitaker from exercising the powers of head of the Justice Department, arguing that President Trump’s installation of Mr. Whitaker as acting attorney general violated the Constitution.

The senators — Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island — sit on the Judiciary Committee, which conducts confirmation hearings for attorney general nominees. They argued that an official who had not been Senate-confirmed could not run the Justice Department, even temporarily.

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If you want to put a citizens initiative on the 2020 ballot, you had better file it by early 2019

Voting rights and electoral issues were on the ballot in 13 states, and voters overwhelmingly supported expanding access to the ballot box. Voting Rights Were The Biggest Winner In The Elections:

One clear winner emerged from last week’s elections: voting.

Voting rights and electoral issues were on the ballot in 13 states, and in almost all of them, voters overwhelmingly supported initiatives that expand access to the ballot box and make the right to vote easier to exercise.

In Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri, ballot initiatives aimed at replacing gerrymandering — the redrawing of legislative districts by political incumbents to strengthen their party’s electoral representation — with nonpartisan methods of redistricting all received more than 60% of the vote. Colorado’s proposal to allow independent commissions to handle redistricting garnered over 70%.

Marylanders turned out in favor of same-day voter registration. Nevadans ushered in “motor voter” automatic registration for those who visit the Department of Motor Vehicles. Floridians, meanwhile, restored the right to vote for 1.4 million released felons(excluding those convicted of murder or sex crimes).

Perhaps the most significant victory for voting rights came in Michigan, where two-thirds of voters adopted Proposal 3. Among other provisions, the new law guarantees same-day voter registration, automatic registration at the DMV, and no-excuse absentee voting. Voting has never been easier in one America’s most important swing states.

This bodes well for the millions of Americans who have expressed a newfound interest in democratic participation in recent years.

In Arizona, the “dark money” forces of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the “Kochtopus” network blocked voters from even considering the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative. Anti-‘dirty money’ initiative knocked off ballot in Arizona, Supreme Court rules.

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Made in Tucson Market on November 25

Hosted by Made in Tucson Market and Historic Fourth Avenue

“Meet Tucson artists, take a peek into their processes, and buy locally-made goods! The Made in Tucson Market will be happening November 25, 2018 on Historic Fourth Avenue. This is going to be an impressive marketplace that reflects the authenticity of Tucson and its makers! Represented, will not only be established designers, but some new emerging artists as well!”

https://www.facebook.com/events/274941269896012/

Carolyn’s note:  I like to promote local artisans and vendors, so drop by this market, just in time for holiday shopping. And weather forecast is sunny with high at 68 degrees F.




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Republican economic policies cause their constituents to fall farther behind the rest of the country economically

John Harwood at CNBC has an important report on a new Brookings Institution study documenting that “economic divergence is as central to 21st century polarization as race, gender and religion.” These charts show how Democrats represent the growing modern economy – and how Republicans are left behind:

[T]his year’s midterm elections affirmed this much: in Washington, the two parties now speak for dramatically different segments of the American economy.

Republicans represent the smaller, fading segment, with less-educated, more-homogenous work forces reliant on traditional manufacturing, agriculture and resource extraction. Democrats represent the larger, growing one, fueled by finance, professional services and digital innovation in diverse urban areas.

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 5.48.21 AMh/t 270towin.com – 2018 House Election Interactive Map. Note: A geographic map is deceptive, because there is a lot of “big empty” space in the middle of the country and in the west. A cartogram map weighted for population is more accurate, but one is not yet available for the 2018 congressional election.

Donald Trump carried 2,584 counties across the country, but calculations by scholars at the Brookings Institution showed that the 472 counties Hillary Clinton carried accounted for nearly two-thirds of U.S. economic output.

Now, new Brookings calculations show the same from 2018 House elections. With a few races still undecided, districts won by Democrats account for 61 percent of America’s gross domestic product, districts won by Republicans 38 percent.

BROOKINGS_DIST_BARS_0

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