The Pronk Pops Show 1275, June 17, 2019, Story 1: Trump Hypothetical vs. Democrat Actual — Digging Up Dirt on Your Political Opponents — Opposition Research, Dirty Tricks, Blow Back — Legal vs Criminal Opposition Research –Criminal Conspiracy Smear Campaigns — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers —  Videos — Story 2: Radical Extremist Democrat Polls — Trump Loses — Reality Deniers — Videos — Story 3: Iran Promises To Break Nuclear Agreement If Sanctions Not Removed — Pathway To Nuclear Bomb and Long Range Missile and War — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1275 June 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1273 June 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1272 June 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1271 June 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1270 June 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1269 June 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1268 June 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1267 May 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1266 May 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1265 May 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1264 May 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1263 May 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1262 May 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1261 May 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1260 May 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1258 May 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1257 May 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1256 May 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1255 May 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1254 May 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1253 May 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1252 May 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1250 May 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1249 May 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1248 May 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1246 April 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1245 April 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1244 April 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1243 April 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1242 April 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1240 April 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1239 April 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1237 April 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

Pronk Pops Show 1232 March 29, 2019 Part 1

Pronk Pops Show 1231 March 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1230 March 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1229 March 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1228 March 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1227 March 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1226 March 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1225 March 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1224 March 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1223 March 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1222 March 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1221 March 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1220 March 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1219 March 4, 2019

See the source image

See the source image

Story 1: Trump Hypothetical vs. Clinton Actual — Digging Up Dirt on Your Political Opponents — Opposition Research, Dirty Tricks, Blow Back — Legal vs Criminal Opposition Research — Criminal Conspiracy Smear Campaigns — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers —  Videos

See the source image

President Trump: 30 Hours l Interview with George Stephanopoulos l Part 1

President Trump: 30 Hours l Interview with George Stephanopoulos l Part 2

President Trump: 30 Hours l Interview with George Stephanopoulos l Part 3

A preview of ABC News’ exclusive one-on-one interview with Trump

Trump says he may not alert FBI if info is offered by foreigners on 2020 candidates

Levin slams Democrats for declaring Trump a criminal

Shields and Brooks on Trump and foreign campaign help, Democratic debates

Partisan sparks fly over Trump’s opposition research remarks

Trump defends saying he’d take foreign intel on rivals

Ingraham: Democrats’ foreign phony outrage

Hannity: The left’s selective outrage on opposition research

Hannity: Steele dossier was full of lies, misinformation, propaganda

The ethical dos and don’ts of opposition research

[youtube-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE9X1hMhvwQ]

Inside the Democrats’ opposition research shop

FBI must identify origin of Trump-Russia collusion idea: Rep. DeSantis

Nunes: Not possible FBI didn’t know who paid for dossier

Strassel: FBI, DOJ obstructing on Trump dossier

Strassel: Fusion GPS dossier a dirty trick for the ages

Podesta, Wasserman Schultz deny knowledge of dossier funding

Did Hillary Clinton know about the Russian dossier?

Did Hillary Clinton Finance The Infamous Dossier?

Fusion GPS victim: They are out to destroy people

Does the dossier bombshell spell trouble for the Democrats?

Potential legal implications from Trump dossier scandal

Trump, Russia and Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm run by ex-journalists

Kurtz: Journalists don’t hire opposition research firms

York: Washington Free Beacon was original Fusion GPS funder

Conservative website funded Fusion GPS opposition research

Where does ‘opposition research’ cross a line?

Why Is The EPA Hiring GOP Oppo Research Firms??

Clinton campaign, DNC helped fund dossier research

The Curious Art and Science of Opposition Research

How Republican Opposition Research Dig Up Dirt on Dems

Political Opposition Research Reveals All – Alan Huffman

2015 Personality Lecture 12: Existentialism: Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard

Jordan Peterson on The Necessity of Virtue

Trump in testy exchange with Stephanopoulos: ‘You’re being a little wise guy’

President Trump pushed back at ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos during a testy interview, calling him “a little wise guy.”

Stephanopoulos was pressing the president on not answering questions in person from special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team.

“Wait a minute. I did answer questions. I answered them in writing,” Trump said

“Not on obstruction,” Stephanopoulos replied.

“George, you’re being a little wise guy, OK, which is, you know, typical for you,” Trump hit back.

“Just so you understand. Very simple. It’s very simple. There was no crime. There was no collusion. The big thing’s collusion. Now, there’s no collusion. That means … it was a setup, in my opinion, and I think it’s going to come out,” he continued.

Stephanopoulos, 58, was a White House communications director and senior advisor for policy and strategy for President Clinton.

He joined ABC News as a political analyst after Clinton’s first term in 1997 and is now ABC News’s chief anchor and host of “Good Morning America” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/448571-trump-in-testy-exchange-with-stephanopoulos-youre-being-a-little-wise-guy

 

Trump successfully baits his foes with comments to Stephanopoulos on foreign information on opponents

In classic Trumpian maneuver, President Trump yesterday chummed the waters of the House Democratic Caucus with raw meat the impeachment-crazed radicals driving Nancy Pelosi — who really doesn’t want to talk about impeachment — to distraction.  He also laid the groundwork for the coming prosecutions on the Russia Hoax.

In a clip that already has been endlessly run on every news channel, he told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that he would not necessarily turn down information on his opponent from a foreign source or call in the FBI.


YouTube screen grab.

Responding to a question from Stephanopoulos about his son Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, the POTUS let fly:

As summarized by Politico:

[T]he president pushed back when asked whether a candidate should report information on an opponent if it came from a foreign agent, and denied that accepting the information counted as election interference.

“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong.”

“It’s called oppo research,” he added.

Stephanopoulos pointed out that FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress that a candidate should offer that kind of information to the agency, but Trump flatly rebuffed the notion: “The FBI director is wrong.”

“Give me a break,” Trump said, scoffing. “Life doesn’t work that way.”

He got exactly what he wanted from the haters:

But the gasps of horror were not limited to haters.  Laura Ingraham and Victor Davis Hanson were aghast:

“Setting aside the question of why you would have George Stephanopoulos standing over the president in the Oval Office — I don’t know who approved that — what about this notion of accepting foreign Intel about an opponent? Is that a risk for President Trump, getting pulled back into Mueller? Again, why he was put in that situation is beyond me.”

Victor Davis Hanson agreed that “you shouldn’t ever talk to George Stephanopoulos,” and said Trump probably “intended to” bring up something like Adam Schiff getting called by Russian pranksters.

He added, “I think the cardinal rule is in Trump’s case you don’t even discuss that. You just say I don’t want to talk about it.”

Ingraham said it seemed like he was “playing with” Stephanopoulos a bit but added, “Putting him in that situation, I don’t get it.”

Here is some help for the perplexed: as the DOJ inspector general’s report looms and U.S. attorney John Durham’s mandate has been described in the broadest terms by A.G. Barr, Trump has the Democrats nattering on about how treasonous it is to accept any information from any foreign country.  How about paying Russian agents with campaign money for fake dirt on an opponent, even if laundered through a law firm and Fusion GPS?

When and if indictments related to Fusion GPS are revealed, the defense lines of the progressives will have some Trump-sized holes in them.

Even NeverTrump Erick Erickson, of the anti-Trump Resurgent, sees the trap:

[W]e should point out that the Steele dossier involved a lot of dirt about Donald Trump from Russia and we now know that a good bit of it was made up. The Mueller report itself notes the supposed ‘pee tape’ the Democrats have been all hot and bothered over was fabricated by the Russians.

Perhaps the President should not have said it, but let’s not pretend the Democrats would actually go racing to the FBI if presented with sensational information about Trump. They’d run to opposition research firms instead.

By the way, before you claim the Democrats handed the Steele dossier over to the FBI, please note that they used it to spread anti-Trump stories in the media for months before doing so not very long before Election Day 2016.

The Steele Dossier was an important foundation of the entire Russia Hoax.  Trump has now got many of his worst enemies on the record about how heinous it was to accept any intelligence from a foreign source.  Trump mentioned Norway.  Hillary and the DNC paid for dirt from Russia.

Trump, it must always be remembered, is the most successful reality TV producer in the history of the medium of television.  He knows how to set up a storyline for a payoff later in the season — in this case, the election season.

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/06/trump_successfully_baits_his_foes_with_comments_to_stephanopoulos_on_foreign_information_on_opponents.html

 

 

Candidate Hillary Clinton endorsed idea of political dirt from overseas

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her phone after attending a U.S.-Russia meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam on July 23, 2010. The revelation that Mrs. Clinton used an off-the-books email account during her time as secretary of state has raised fresh questions about her credibility heading into 2016. (Associated Press)
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her phone after attending a U.S.-Russia meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam on July 23, 2010. The revelation that Mrs. Clinton used an off-the-books email account during her time as secretary of state has raised … more >– The Washington Times – Thursday, June 13, 2019

Hillary Clinton has endorsed the idea of obtaining political dirt from overseas, saying her campaign’s Kremlin-sourced dossier was “part of what happens in a campaign.”

President Trump is taking heat from Democrats for telling ABC News on Wednesday that he would listen to negative information from a foreign country about a political opponent in 2020.

That is basically the same position Mrs. Clinton took when she was interviewed on Nov. 1, 2017, on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

A week earlier, the nation learned that the Christopher Steele dossier, with its dozen conspiracy charges against Trump associates, was financed by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The Robert Mueller report effectively destroyed the dossier. His 22-month investigation failed to establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the election that Mrs. Clinton lost.



Mrs. Clinton was asked on the show about the dossier, whose sources are listed in the document as Kremlin intelligence and government leaders.

“It’s part of what happens in a campaign where you get information that may or may not be useful and you try to make sure anything you put out in the public arena is accurate,” she said. “So this thing didn’t come out until after the election, and it’s still being evaluated.”

She provided this chronology: “When Trump got the nomination of the Republican Party, the people doing it came to my campaign lawyer and said, ‘Would you like us to continue it?’” she said. “He said ‘yes.’ He is an experienced lawyer. He knows what the law is. He knows what opposition research is.”

Work on the dossier didn’t begin until June 2016 when Fusion GPS, Mrs. Clinton’s opposition research firm, sought funds from her campaign, via her law firm, to pay Mr. Steele.

Mr. Steele’s claims about Mr. Trump did surface before Election Day, though the dossier didn’t.

Fusion arranged for Mr. Steele to brief a number of Washington reporters. Yahoo News published a story in September outlining Mr. Steele’s assertions that a Trump volunteer, Carter Page, had discussed bribes with top associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin in exchange for removing U.S. sanctions.

The Clinton campaign quickly cited the story.

Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, said on one broadcast, “Michael Isikoff had a piece yesterday about Carter Page, who is a foreign policy adviser of Trump’s and that he had met with someone from the Kremlin that … according to Michael’s reporting, U.S. intelligence officials believe is behind the hack.”

The Mueller report cleared Mr. Page of collusion with Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.

Also before the election, then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, wrote a letter to the FBI summarizing Mr. Steele’s charges. The letter was leaked to The New York Times, which published a story.

Clinton operatives busily circulated the dossier before and after the election.

A Fusion GPS middleman took the dossier to the FBI on several occasions. Perkins Coie, Mrs. Clinton’s law firm, also tried to present Mr. Steele’s charges to the Justice Department.

The FBI put the dossier to extensive use. It cited Mr. Steele to judges to obtain a wiretap on Mr. Page for a year and briefed President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump.

FBI agents were briefed by Mr. Steele in July 2016 and again in October in Europe.

The FBI offered Mr. Steele $50,000 to continue investigating Mr. Trump, though it never confirmed the former British spy’s allegations.

The Justice Department inspector general is investigating how the FBI used the dossier. In addition, Attorney General William Barr has tapped John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, to investigate how the Obama Justice Department and FBI decided to target the Trump campaign.

Perkins Coie briefed the Clinton campaign on the dossier, according to testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The communications director for Mr. Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign took to Twitter to slam the media’s “selective” memory.

“The selective outrage and short memory of the media are staggering. The DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign actually PAID FOR the discredited, fake Steele Dossier, which was compiled by a foreign national and contained information from alleged Russian sources,” Tim Murtaugh wrote.

• Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jun/13/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-endorsed-idea-politic/

The FBI Tragedy: Elites above the Law

 

The Justice Department’s investigation of the investigators involved in the Trump-Russia probe will look at actions both by the U.S. government and by foreigners.

That’s what the agency said Monday, telling Congress its review is “broad in scope and multifaceted” in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

The DOJ said the wide-ranging inquiry led by Attorney General William Barr, along with his right-hand man U.S. Attorney John Durham, would seek to “illuminate open questions regarding the activities of U.S. and foreign intelligence services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals.”

The letter made it clear that DOJ’s review is not limited just to their specific agency, but would also scrutinize the intelligence community as a whole. The letter stated that the DOJ review team had already asked certain intelligence community agencies to preserve records, make witnesses available, and start putting together documents that the DOJ would need to carry out its inquiry.

And the DOJ made it clear that they weren’t just looking to see if policies were violated — they’ll be looking at whether any laws were broken, too.

In 2016, the DOJ and FBI launched an investigation into any links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller took over the ongoing effort in May 2017 after FBI Director James Comey was fired, and Mueller’s probe culminated in a 448-page report in April 2019. Mueller found that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 election through cyberattacks and social media disinformation campaigns, but did not establish that anyone associated with Trump criminally colluded with Russia. Mueller left the door open on obstruction of justice by Trump, but Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that he had not.

Barr believes “there remain open questions relating to the origins of this counter-intelligence investigation and the U.S. and foreign intelligence activities that took place prior to and during that investigation,” the letter states, and the DOJ review will look at “the efficacy and propriety“ of the steps that the DOJ, the FBI, the broader U.S. intelligence community, and foreign governments and actors took before and during the course of the probe — and to answer those questions “to the satisfaction of the Attorney General.”

The letter said Barr is coordinating with members of the U.S. intelligence community and “certain foreign actors” on the “collaborative” and “ongoing effort.”

Trump recently gave Barr “full and complete authority to declassify information” during his review, a move that has been harshly criticized by many Democrats. Nadler called the move part of a “plot to dirty up the intelligence community, to pretend that there’s something wrong with the beginning of the Mueller investigation and to persecute and bring into line the intelligence agencies.” And former FBI General Counsel Jim Baker called the move a “slap in the face” to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Apparently to push back against such concerns, DOJ said Monday it would work hard to make sure that U.S. intelligence agents as well as foreign partners were protected during the probe, along with sensitive methods, techniques, and materials that could compromise national security.

This broad probe by DOJ is separate from the investigation by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse by the Justice Department and the FBI. That inquiry includes a focus on the FBI’s handling of the unverified dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele and its extensive use in the FBI’s FISA applications and renewals to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Barr has previously said, however, that Horowitz’s “ability to get information from former officials or from other agencies outside the Department [of Justice] is very limited.” Thus, Barr picked Durham to carry out a beefed-up inquiry.

Durham will continue serving as Connecticut’s U.S. attorney, the DOJ said, but his review is already “being conducted primarily in the Washington D.C. area” and his DOJ team will operate out of “existing office space.”

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/doj-outlines-to-congress-its-investigation-of-the-investigators

Opposition research

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In the politics of the United Statesopposition research (also called oppo research) is the practice of collecting information on a political opponent or other adversary that can be used to discredit or otherwise weaken them. The information can include biographical, legal, criminal, medical, educational, or financial history or activities, as well as prior media coverage, or the voting record of a politician. Opposition research can also entail using “trackers” to follow an individual and record their activities or political speeches.[1]

The research is usually conducted in the time period between announcement of intent to run and the actual election; however political parties maintain long-term databases that can cover several decades. The practice is both a tactical maneuver and a cost-saving measure.[2] The term is frequently used to refer not just to the collection of information but also how it is utilized, as a component of negative campaigning.

Contents

Origins and history

In the 1st century BC, Cicero is said to have gathered information that was damaging to opponents and used it in attacks against them. He accused one political opponent, Catiline, of murdering one wife to make room for another. He attacked Mark Antony in speeches known as the Philippicae, eventually prompting Antony to chop off his head and right hand and display them at the Roman Forum.[3]

Opposition research also has its origins in military planning, as evident in such ancient texts as The Art of War, published in the 5th century BC by Sun Tzu. This manual for warriors describes the necessity for understanding an opponent’s weaknesses, for using spies, and for striking in moments of weakness.

In 18th-century England, opposition research took the form of scandal-mongering pamphlet wars between the Whig and Tory parties. Writers such as Daniel DefoeJonathan Swift, and Henry Fielding participated, often writing under assumed names.[4] This tradition of robust attack was replicated later in the American colonies, when writers such as Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin conducted opposition research and published their results.

The first appearance of the phrase “opposition research” in the New York Times occurred on December 17, 1971, in an article that describes the infiltration of the Edmund Muskie presidential campaign by a female Republican volunteer: “…an article appeared in a Washington newspaper describing the ‘opposition research’ program at Republican headquarters…”[5]

Opposition research became systematized in the 1970s when Ken Khachigian, in the Nixon Administration, suggested that the GOP keep files on individuals as insurance against future races, rather than “scramble” in an ad hoc fashion race by race.[2]

Methods

Opposition research differs immensely depending on the size and funding of a campaign, the ethics of the candidate, and the era in which it is conducted. Information gathering can be classified into three main categories: open-source research enabled by the Freedom of Information Actcovert operations or “tradecraft, ” and maintenance of human systems of informants. Increasingly, data-mining of electronic records is used. Information is then stored for future use, and disseminated in a variety of ways.[6] A local election sometimes has a staff member dedicated to reading through all of the opponents’ public statements and their voting records; others initiate whisper campaigns that employ techniques of disinformation or “black ops” to deliberately mislead the public by advancing a pre-determined “narrative” that will present the opponent in a negative light.

Another technique is to infiltrate the opposition’s operations and position a paid informant there. “Gray propaganda” techniques are often used to release damaging information to news media outlets without its source being identified properly, a technique inherited from disinformation tactics employed by intelligence agencies such as the Office of Strategic Services during World War II.[7]

File-sharing between operatives of political parties is quite common. In the 2008 presidential election, a dossier of opposition research against Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin was posted in its entirety on a political blog site, Politico.com. The file was compiled by the staff of her opponent in the 2006 Alaska gubernatorial race, Tony Knowles.[8]

“Oppo dumps” are used by political campaigns to systematically supply files of damaging information to press outlets, including matters of the public record, video footage from party archives and private collections, as well as private intelligence gathered by operatives. Many prime time television and radio news commentaries rely on this supply of party-generated material because it is free, and therefore more cost-effective than paying investigative reporters.[9][10]

Candidates and incumbents who benefit from opposition research often choose to remain uninformed about their campaign’s operations and tactics, to ensure plausible deniability should criminal charges be brought against researchers.

“Trackers” and videography

Yet another technique is to position information or personnel within media outlets. Often the information is video footage gathered in campaign-funded “tracker programs” wherein videographers use candidates’ itineraries to track them and record as many remarks as possible, since anything they say can and will be used against them, as was the case in former Senator George Allen’s “macaca moment.”[2] In the 2006 election cycle, a Virginia senator, George Allen, was unseated because of videotape of the senator calling a videographer/opposition researcher as “macaca” or monkey. The name was considered to be an ethnic slur, and Allen’s campaign could not overcome the damage when the incident was broadcast widely in mainstream media and on the internet.[11]

Digital media and Wikipedia

A 2005 analysis of digital media strategies published by the American Academy of Political Science took the view that new technologies enable “political elites” to use database and Internet technologies to do opposition research more easily, but they use data-mining techniques that outrage privacy advocates and surreptitious technologies that few Internet users understand. Data becomes “richer” about political actors, policy options, and the diversity of actors and opinion in the public sphere, but citizenship is “thinner” by virtue of “the ease in which people can become politically expressive without being substantively engaged.”[12]

Facebook photos became a tool of opposition researchers in California’s 32nd congressional district special election, 2009 to replace Hilda Solis. Front-runner Democrat Gil Cedillo sent out mailers targeting 26-year-old Emanuel Pleitez, grouping Pleitez’s Facebook photos to suggest that he parties to excess with alcohol, and fraternizes with gangs. The text of the mailer suggested Pleitez, posing with a Latino stage actress and using a Latino voter registration drive hand sign, was “flashing gang signs”.[13]

In 2006, the campaign manager of Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cathy Cox, Morton Brilliant, resigned after Cox’s opponent, Lt. Gov, Mark Taylor, revealed Cox’s campaign had added information from an opposition research dossier to a Wikipedia page on Taylor. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales confirmed that the material had come from an IP address affiliated with the Cox campaign. Citing an Associated Press analysis, CNN reported that Wikipedia being used as a “popular tool” for opposition researchers became so widespread a problem that Wikipedia altered its submission guidelines and set up alerts so that its operators know when Capitol Hill staffers alter Wikipedia content.[14] However, anyone who wanted to could simply bypass this by using an IP address not associated with Capitol Hill.

Grassroots oppo-research

Opposition research is a necessary component of “grassroots” activist groups. Research on corporate or political opponents may enable activist groups to target neighborhoods from which to increase their numbers, to refine their focus or “target,” to pinpoint the target’s vulnerabilities, to reveal hidden sources of funding or little-known connections, to investigate scare tactics, and to augment a legislative initiative.[15]

In the presidential election of 2008, the blog Talking Points Memo pioneered “collaborative citizen-reporting projects” based on groups of volunteers examining public documents that shed light on the George W. Bush administration’s U.S. attorneys firings controversy. Other organizations such as the Sunlight Foundation encouraged citizen examination of such public domain records as Mitt Romney’s financial disclosure statements and Bill Clinton’s income statements.[16]

Preventive measures

Political strategies for campaigns often include coaching on preventive measures to avoid providing too much information in public disclosure procedures that can provide ammunition for opponents’ opposition researchers, particularly in itemized expenditure reports. “To eliminate some of these potential issues your campaign should take the time to review the wording of your campaign finance reports”, advises one strategist writing for The Hill:

Instead of reporting that you spent $3,000 on a ‘background check and public records search on Congressman X,’ list the expenditure as ‘issue research’ or simply ‘research’… One bonus financial filing tip: warn your candidate about spending campaign funds on fancy restaurants for ‘strategy meetings.’ Eating at Ruth’s Chris or Morton’s Steak House on your campaign’s dime just looks bad. The press may poke a little fun at your candidate’s expense; your donors may feel their donation in being misspent and may never give again.[17]

Funding and institutions

Congressional and presidential opposition research is often conducted by or funded by a political party, lobbying group, political action committee (PAC), or a 527 group that coalesces around a certain issue. In the U.S., both the Republican and Democratic parties employ full-time “Directors of Research” and maintain databases on opponents. In recent years the task of opposition research has been privatized in many areas. Full-time companies with permanent staff specializing in media productions or “grassroots” operations have replaced volunteers and campaign officials. Political media consultants may also opt for astroturfing techniques, which simulate wide popular appeal for a candidate’s platform.

In presidential elections

Opponents of Andrew Jackson in the 1824 and 1828 presidential elections unearthed his marriage records to imply that he was an adulterer for marrying Rachel Robards before she was legally divorced from her first husband. Jackson had married her in 1791 on the strength of a statement from her husband that he had divorced her; Jackson had two wedding ceremonies, the not-recognizable one of 1791 and the legally corrective one of 1794. His political opponents used this information decades later against him, and he fought many duels over his wife’s honor. Rachel Robards died before Jackson took office in his first term; he maintained that the stress of the opposition had killed her.[18]

In 1858, William Herndon, the law partner of Abraham Lincoln, did research in the Illinois State Library to collect “all the ammunition Mr. Lincoln saw fit to gather” to prepare for the run against Stephen A. Douglas in the 1860 presidential race.[19]

In preparation for Ronald Reagan’s debate with President Jimmy Carter in the presidential race 1980, Reagan’s campaign staff acquired under mysterious circumstances a 200-page briefing book, including information on Carter’s strategy, which staffers David Stockmanand David Gergen had used to prepare Reagan. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department investigated to see how the information had been obtained by the Reagan camp. Two law professors filed suit in federal district court in Washington to request a special investigation, based on the 1978 Ethics in Government Act.[20] Carter’s staff believed the book to have been stolen from the White House, but the inquiry did not uncover any credible evidence that any law had been violated. The House of Representatives conducted its own investigation, and concluded in a 2,314-page report that the Reagan staff had two copies of the book, one from Reagan’s campaign director William J. Casey, future head of the Central Intelligence Agency.[21] James Baker attributed the acquisition of the documents to Casey, who claimed to know nothing about them, and an analysis of Carter campaign documents found in the “Afghanistan” files of Reagan aide David Gergen indicated they came from three White House offices: the National Security Council, Vice President Walter Mondale and Domestic Adviser Stuart Eizenstat.[22] Many years afterward, Carter himself stated in a PBS interview that the book had been taken by columnist George Will, but Will denied it, calling Carter “a recidivist liar.”[23]

Lee Atwater is considered to be the “father” of modern aggressive “oppo” techniques. Atwater honed his style working in his native South Carolina for Senator Strom Thurmond and to elect Congressman (later Governor) Carroll Campbell. From his posts on the 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Atwater encouraged and helped direct what was then the advanced oppo work of the Republican National Committee against Democrats Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis. During the 1988 presidential campaign, dozens of RNC researchers worked three shifts around the clock to feed the then-burgeoning 24-hour news cycle. The now-infamous “Willie Horton” TV ads crafted by Floyd Brown helped turn voters away from Dukakis and towards the Republican, although Atwater and Bush were protected by plausible deniability because Brown’s ads were independently funded and produced. Academic research into the Bush archives decades later revealed that a Bush staffer, Candice Strother, had released a dossier of information on Willie Horton to Elizabeth Fediay, of the non-profit group that contracted for the ad.[24] (The Horton story had been completely public for an entire year, part of news coverage that won a Pulitzer Prize for the Lawrence (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune newspaper.) Willie Horton was an African-American convicted murderer released on a weekend furlough during Governor Dukakis’s tenure, who escaped and committed a brutal rape in Maryland, also stabbing his victim’s husband.[25] Atwater is also credited with originating “push polls” and “whisper campaigns” that use disinformation strategies to alienate voters from opponents. A biography of Atwater, quotes him as saying in an interview toward the end of his life that he regretted some of his less ethical techniques.[26]

In the 1992 presidential campaign, Republicans reported that they spent $6 million on a “state of the art (opposition research) war machine” to investigate Bill Clinton, who was running against George H. W. Bush. In the same election, the Clinton campaign paid more than $100,000 to a private investigator to look into allegations about Clinton’s womanizing, investigating more than two dozen women.[27]

In the 2000 presidential election, longtime opposition researcher and Nixon loyalist Roger Stone was recruited by former Secretary of State James Baker to oversee the recount of the disputed Presidential election in Miami-Dade County in 2000. Stone is credited with organizing the street demonstrations and eventual shut-down of the recount in that pivotal county.[28]

In the 2004 presidential race, Chris Lehane, a Democratic opposition researcher attracted notoriety and built a reputation not for deploying his skills against Republican opponents, but for using them against other Democrats in the primary races. Working for retired Army general Wesley Clark, Lehane sought to establish a media “narrative” that Howard Dean was hypocritical and dishonest, based on surveys of his administrative archive as governor of Vermont.[29]

A protege of Atwater’s, Karl Rove, is considered to be the “architect” of George W. Bush’s election to the governor’s office in Texas, and to the presidency in 2000 and 2004. In the 2000 race, Rove is credited with masterminding the push poll that initiated the “John McCainhas a black love child” whisper campaign in South Carolina.[30] Anonymous telephone pollsters, upon determining that a voter was pro-McCain, asked the question, “Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain if you knew he had fathered a black child out of wedlock?” The question was not overt slander, but it prompted the president of Bob Jones University to launch his own internet campaign against McCain, and succeeded in crippling the trust of voters McCain had attracted. The Bush camp knew, as the general public did not, that in reality, John McCain was the adoptive father of a dark-skinned Bangladeshi refugee who was rescued by his wife Cindi.[31]

In the 2008 presidential election, opposition researchers for Barack Obama unearthed the fact that John Edwards had paid $400 for haircuts at campaign expense, and supplied Politico’s Ben Smith with the tip, according to a memoir later published by campaign manager David Plouffe.[32] Though the Democratic National Committee continues to fund a research department, after the 2008 presidential election, the New York Times reported that “The legacy of the Democratic National Committee itself is hardly clear going forward. Mr. Obama effectively subsumed all the responsibilities in his campaign: fundraising, voter turn-out and opposition research.[33]

Executive branch

  • Franklin Roosevelt Administration: In 1940, the White House accidentally taped a conversation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt instructing a lower level aide to disseminate a rumor about his opponent Wendell Willkie having an extramarital affair: “We can’t have any of our principal speakers refer to it, but the people down the line can get it out.”[34]
  • Johnson Administration: In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent 30 FBI agents to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J., to avert assassination attempts, and to monitor his political rival Robert Kennedy and civil rights activists. Johnson later also placed his Republican challenger, Barry Goldwater, under FBI surveillance, with a federal wiretap.[35]
  • Nixon Administration: During the Richard Nixon administration, White House staffers compiled lists of names of political opponents, journalists who had criticized Nixon, and artists and actors (such as Jane Fonda and Paul Newman) who had dissented with Nixon policy, especially on the subject of Vietnam, with the intent of prompting Internal Revenue Service investigations. The full extent of Nixon’s surveillance of private citizens solely on the basis of their dissent was not known until years after Nixon was forced to resign, as former staff members such as Charles Colson and John Dean began to disclose details.[citation needed] Nixon’s Enemies List is the informal name of what started as a list of President Richard Nixon’s major political opponents compiled by Charles Colson, written by George T. Bell [1] (assistant to Colson, special counsel to the White House) and sent in memorandum form to John Dean on September 9, 1971. The list was part of a campaign officially known as “Opponents List” and “Political Enemies Project.” The official purpose, as described by the White House Counsel’s Office, was to “screw” Nixon’s political enemies, by means of tax audits from the IRS, and by manipulating “grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc.”[36]
  • Ford Administration: During the Gerald Ford presidency, Deputy Assistant Dick Cheney suggested in a now-infamous memo to Donald Rumsfeld that the White House use the United States Justice Department to conduct opposition research and retaliate against political opponents and critical journalists such as Seymour Hersh and the New York Times, arguing that the executive branch had the power to prosecute journalists as they saw fit, under the provisions of the Espionage Act of 1917.[37]
  • Reagan Administration: In 1984, during the Ronald Reagan presidency, the Republican National Committee formed The Opposition Research Group, with its own budget of $1.1 million. These staff amassed information on eight Democratic presidential candidates based on data from voting records, Congressional Record speeches, media clippings and transcripts, campaign materials, all of which was stored on a computer for easy access. In this way the Reagan team was able to track inconsistencies and attack them. This original data base evolved into a network that linked information gleaned by Republicans in all 50 states, creating a master data base accessible to high-ranking Republican staff, even aboard Air Force One.[38] Though this RNC database was accessible to both the Reagan White House and campaign team, no evidence has surfaced that U.S. federal dollars funded The Opposition Research Group or its efforts.
  • Clinton Administration: During the Bill Clinton administration, the “Filegate” scandal erupted when White House staffers said to be acting on the directions of First Lady Hillary Clinton improperly accessed 500 FBI files compiled for security checks of Reagan and Bush staffers in previous administrations. Craig Livingstone, said to be hired by Mrs. Clinton with dubious credentials, resigned amid public outcry. In testimony under oath during the Kenneth Starr special prosecutor’s investigation, Mrs. Clinton stated that she had neither hired Livingstone nor improperly perused the files.[39]
  • George W. Bush Administration: Two former opposition researchers for the RNC appointed to Justice Department posts, Timothy Griffin and Monica Goodling, were implicated in efforts to use data collected on Democratic-appointed federal attorneys as ground for dismissal. See Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy. See also Karl Rove. Also during this administration, Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), an intelligence gathering arm of the Pentagon was disbanded in 2008, after investigations into the bribery activities directed at Duke Cunningham revealed that the U.S. government kept a sizeable database of information about 126 domestic peace activist groups, including Quakers, about 1,500 “suspicious incidents” including peace demonstrations outside armed forces recruiter offices, even though the groups posed no specified threat to national security. The program was known as Talon. About two years elapsed between the program’s disbanding and the Post report. The Washington Post quoted an unnamed “official” as saying,”On the surface, it looks like things in the database that were determined not to be viable threats were never deleted but should have been,” the official said. “You can also make the argument that these things should never have been put in the database in the first place until they were confirmed as threats.”[40]
  • Barack Obama Administration: In February 2009, Shauna Daly, a former opposition researcher for the Democratic National Committee was appointed as a researcher for the White House’s Office of Legal Counsel. Daly was Barack Obama‘s deputy research director during the presidential campaign, spent much of the cycle rebutting viral online attacks on Obama’s character and biography under the rubric of “Stop the Smears.” Shortly thereafter, amid speculations that she would be conducting research against political opponents, she was reassigned as Research Director to the DNC. Politico.com reported on February 27, 2009 that “the counsel’s office – which doesn’t face the sort of rapid-response demands that were common in the late Clinton years – doesn’t plan to fill the research post.”[41]The American Spectator reported on its “Washington Prowler” blog that Daly was posted in the White House Counsel’s Office for “about a month,” and thus had access to “reams of Bush administration documents related to such things as the firings of U.S. Attorney, the use and internal debate over the USA PATRIOT ActFISA and the Scooter Libby and Karl Rove investigations. The “Prowler” quoted “a DNC staffer” as saying, “She realized that she could do more with all the material she saw outside of the building than inside where she’d be bound by the rules and legalities of the White House Counsel’s Office. Now she isn’t. She’s good at what she does; her time at the White House means we’ve got a mother load (sic) of material that will have Republicans scrambling. At least that’s what we hope.”[42]

Supreme Court

In 1916, after President Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis for the Supreme Court, “concerned” citizens seeking to block his confirmation offered information that Brandeis was a “radical Zionist,” even though he was not a practicing Jew. Brandeis aggressively outmaneuvered his detractors by mounting his own opposition research efforts, including a carefully constructed chart that exposed the social and financial connections of the group, mostly from Boston’s Back Bay, and including Harvard president Lawrence Lowell, as well as a group headed by former President William Howard Taft and a host of American Bar Association past presidents. Brandeis sent the chart to Walter Lippman at the New Republic who penned an editorial condemning “the most homogeneous, self-centered, and self-complacent community in the United States.” Brandeis was confirmed after four months of hearings, in a Senate vote of 47–22.[43]

Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, prompting a Senate floor speech from Democratic Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy, which later became known as the “Robert Bork’s America” speech:

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is – and is often the only – protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.

Kennedy’s speech prompted a rapid-response opposition research effort from Democrats, but the White House waited two and a half months to respond. The Senate Judiciary Committee, under the direction of Delaware senator and presidential hopeful Joseph Biden, commissioned a report in response to the materials Reagan’s staff had released in support of Bork’s nomination. Prepared by a panel of lawyers, including two Duke University law professors, the 78-page became known as “The Biden Report.” The report detailed Bork’s record, and analyzed the pattern of his rulings, and deeming him to be a conservative “activist” rather than an impartial jurist Ultimately, Bork’s embattled nomination failed, and Anthony Kennedy (no relation to Ted) was later confirmed to fill the position.[44][45] The fierce research-based opposition to Bork’s nomination attracted significant media attention, even though a Gallup Poll on the eve of the confirmation vote showed that very few Americans could name the nominee in question, much less recall his rulings.[46] A new verb was later coined; “to bork” a candidate or nominee by mounting such voluminous research and vocal opposition that the person in question would be forced to withdraw.[47]

After President George W. Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Boston Globe reported that Republican conservative advocacy groups were conducting opposition research against her: “Groups are circulating lists of questions they want members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask Miers at her confirmation hearings. The activists’ thinly veiled hope is that Miers will reveal ignorance of the law and give senators a reason to oppose her.”[48] Miers later withdrew her name from consideration for the court.

On July 7, 2005, soon after the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the Democratic National Committee gathered and circulated information on the “anti-civil rights” and “anti-immigrant” rulings of Samuel A. Alito, Jr., by then nominated by President George W. Bush to replace her. Upon inspection, the documents were revealed to have been amended by Devorah Adler, research director for the DNC. Alito’s “record” had been pointedly altered to present him in a negative light. While the incident was not unusual, it received publicity in prominent places because it drew attention to the “meta-data” that is often unwittingly stored in documents that are altered and forwarded electronically.[49]

On May 2, 2009, after Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced his intent to retire from the court, the New York Times reported that Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, had noted that conservatives were “focusing opposition research efforts on 17 women, whom they have divided into two tiers based on their perceived chances.”[50]

U.S. states

Seven aides to members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives pleaded guilty on January 7, 2010, to illegal use of state resources for campaign activities, including opposition research against the political opponents of incumbent officeholders during 2007. These seven were Democrats; a total of 25 indictments have been handed down to a mix of Democrats and Republican politicians.[51]

During Lamar Alexander‘s 2002 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Alexander’s campaign staff received an anonymous mailing of a photograph of opponent Bob Clement obviously serving as a board member of a failed bank whose owners had been imprisoned for bank fraud. When the Alexander campaign raised the issue of Clement’s financial ties with the convicted felons, Clement denied any connection. When the Alexander campaign produced the photograph as evidence, Clement claimed his role was only an informal advisory one.[52]

In early July 2009 Alaska governor Sarah Palin announced that she would be resigning as governor, partly due to complications from opposition research and ethics inquiries after her inclusion on the 2008 GOP presidential race ballot as John McCain’s running mate. At a later news conference Palin told reporters, “Obviously conditions had changed so drastically on August 29, the day I was tapped to be VP,” she said. “The opposition research and the games that began there — which I think is the new normal in Alaska politics, until I hand the reins over to Sean Parnell — have been so distracting.”[53]

In the Pennsylvania state legislature in July 2009, former state House Democratic Campaign Committee Chair, Rep. Stephen Stetler found himself amidst an investigation when he rejected a plan that would have shifted the job of opposition research from employees on the state payroll to private firms. Attorney General Tom Corbett alleged that millions in public funds were paid to state employees who did such research on the 2006 and 2004 campaigns of Democrats in the state. Stetler left the House after 2006 to become the state’s revenue secretary. A former aide, Dan Wiedemer testified before grand jurors that the suggestion to remove politically motivated research from the hands of public employees “was more or less shot down.” Though Stetler has not been charged, 12 former House members and members of their staff were charged with diverting public funds for political campaign work.[54] Stetler was among those subpoenaed, said Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell. The hearing will be held before President Judge Richard Lewis in September.[55]

In other countries

Australia

In October 2011, a media storm erupted in Australia over the leaking of ‘dirt files’ compiled by the Liberal National Party and further revelations that a former Australian Labor Party operative had been engaged to help compile the dossiers.[56]

Despite protestations that key party personnel had no knowledge of the dossiers it was later revealed a Liberal National Party opposition research strategist had been compiling the files as part of a SWOT analysis at previous elections which formed the basis of negative attack messaging for a ‘rapid response unit’.[57]

South Africa

In January 2017, the African National Congress (ANC) was exposed when Sihle Bolani filed an affidavit in the Johannesburg High Court, demanding payment for her part in project War Room. The War Room’s mandate was to “disempower DA and EFF campaigns” and set a pro-ANC agenda using a range of media, without revealing the ANC’s hand.[58]

Mass media ethics

The practice of using tips from opposition research sources was examined in 1994 by Howard Kurtz, media analyst for The Washington Post. Kurtz surveyed the major networks, NewsweekThe Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and other influential media outlets, and found varying levels of use of oppo research information on David Hale as a witness in the Whitewater controversy. At this time, Brown confirmed that he had been the source of four mainstream media stories that had received attention from the Columbia Journalism Review because they bore striking resemblance to the opposition research being disseminated by Citizens United.[59]

“Far from being detached observers, reporters constantly call oppo staffs looking for tidbits and sometimes trading information,” wrote three reporters, Matthew CooperGloria Borger, and Michael Barone, for U.S. News & World Report in 1992.[60]

Political infighting

In spring 2007, Roger Stone, a political consultant in the employ of New York state senator Joseph Bruno, resigned after leaving threatening phone messages on the answering machine of the 85-year-old father of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, alleging that Spitzer’s campaign finances were conducted improperly.[61] In November of that same year, Stone sent a letter to the FBI detailing Spitzer’s sexual preferences with prostitutes and sexual props, right down to his black calf-length socks.[62] Stone was considered to be an authoritative source because he frequented the same prostitutes himself as a client. A subsequent Justice Department investigation produced evidence that ultimately led to Spitzer’s resignation as governor. Bruno, Stone’s client, has been a longtime political enemy of Spitzer.

In popular culture

The television show House of Cards depicts many examples of opposition research, particularly the character of Doug Stamper, the loyal adviser to Francis “Frank” Underwood, who regularly engages in the practice with little morality and few ethics.

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_research

 

Christopher Steele

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Christopher Steele
Born 24 June 1964 (age 54)

Education Girton College, Cambridge (BA)
Occupation Secret Intelligence Service(1987–2009)
Private intelligence consultant

Christopher David Steele (born 24 June 1964) is a British former intelligence officer with the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 from 1987 until his retirement in 2009. He ran the Russia desk at MI6 headquarters in London between 2006 and 2009. In 2009 he co-founded Orbis Business Intelligence, a London-based private intelligence firm.

Steele authored a dossier that claims Russia collected a file of compromising information on U.S. President Donald Trump.[1][2]

It has been claimed[3][4] by President Donald Trump and his supporters that U.S. intelligence community probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election were launched due to Steele’s dossier.[5] The House Intelligence Committee, then in Republican control, concluded in an April 2018 report that the probe was triggered based on information on Trump adviser George Papadopoulos; meanwhile the February 2018 Nunes memo written by staff members for that committee also reached the same conclusion.[6][7]

Contents

Early life

Christopher David Steele was born in the Yemeni city of Aden (then part of the Federation of South Arabia), on 24 June 1964.[8][9] His parents, Perris and Janet, had met while working at the Met Office, the United Kingdom’s national weather service. His paternal grandfather was a coal miner from Pontypridd in Wales.[10] Steele spent time growing up in Aden, the Shetland Islands, and Cyprus, as well as at Wellington College, Berkshire.[10]

Steele matriculated at Girton College, Cambridge in 1982. While at the University of Cambridge, he wrote for the student newspaperVarsity.[8][10][11] In the Easter term of 1986, Steele was President of The Cambridge Union debating society.[12][13] He graduated with a degree in Social and Political Sciences in 1986.[14]

Career

Steele was recruited by MI6 directly following his graduation from Cambridge, working in London at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 1987 to 1989.[9] From 1990 to 1993, Steele worked under diplomatic cover as an MI6 agent in Moscow, serving at the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Moscow.[8][13][15] Steele was an “internal traveller”, visiting newly-accessible cities such as Samara and Kazan.[10][16][17]

He returned to London in 1993, working again at the FCO until his posting with the British Embassy in Paris in 1998, where he served under diplomatic cover until 2002. But Steele’s identity as an MI6 officer and a hundred and sixteen other British spies had their cover blown by an anonymously published list that Her Majesty’s Government attempted to suppress through a DSMA-Notice in 1999.[18][8][15][19][20][21]

In 2003, Steele was sent to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan as part of an MI6 team, briefing Special Forces on “kill or capture” missions for Taliban targets, and also spent time teaching new MI6 recruits.[15] Steele returned to London and between 2006 and 2009 he headed the Russia Desk at MI6.[8][10][13][22]

Steele’s expertise on Russia remained valued, and he served as a senior officer under John Scarlett, Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), from 2004 to 2009.[22] Steele was selected as case officer for Alexander Litvinenko and participated in the investigation of the Litvinenko poisoning in 2006.[15] It was Steele who quickly realised that Litvinenko’s death “was a Russian state ‘hit'”.[22] Twelve years later he allegedly was included himself into a hit list of the Russian Federal Security Service, along with Sergei Skripal who was poisoned in 2018 by a binary chemical weapon Novichok in Britain.[23]

Since 2009 Steele has not been to Russia, or visited any former Soviet states and in 2012, an Orbis informant quoted an FSB-agent describing him as an “enemy of Mother Russia”.[8] Steele has refrained from travelling to the United States since his identity became public, citing the political and legal situation.[24]

Steele has worked with Oleg Deripaska.[25]

Private sector

In March 2009, Steele with his fellow MI6-retiree Chris Burrows co-founded the private intelligence agency Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd., based in Grosvenor Square Gardens.[26][13] Between 2014 and 2016, Steele created over 100 reports on Russian and Ukrainian issues, which were read within the United States Department of State, and he was viewed as credible by the United States intelligence community.[10] The business was commercially successful, grossing approximately $20,000,000 in the first nine years of operation.[8]

Steele ran an investigation dubbed “Project Charlemagne”, which noted Russian interference in the domestic politics of FranceItalyGermanyTurkey, and the United Kingdom.[8] Steele concluded in April 2016 that Russia was engaged in an information warfarecampaign with the goal of destroying the European Union.[8]

In 2017, Steele established a new company called Chawton Holdings, again with Christopher Burrows.[27] In November 2018, Steele sued the German industrial group Bilfinger, alleging that the company owed €150,000 for an investigation into Bilfinger’s activities in Nigeria and Sakhalin.[28]

FIFA research

In 2010, The Football Association (FA), England’s domestic football governing body, organized a committee in hopes of hosting the 2018 or 2022 World Cups.[29] The FA hired Steele’s company to investigate FIFA (International Federation of Association Football). In advance of the FBI launching its 2015 FIFA corruption case, members of the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force met with Steele in London to discuss allegations of possible corruption in FIFA.[26][30] Steele’s research indicated that Russian Deputy Prime MinisterIgor Sechin had rigged the bidding of the 2018 World Cups by employing bribery.[8]

Trump dossier

Background and information gathering

In September 2015, the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative publication, retained the services of Fusion GPS, a private Washington D.C. political research firm, to conduct research on several primary Republican Party candidates including candidate Trump. The research was unrelated to Russia and was ended once Trump was determined to be the presidential nominee.

The firm was subsequently hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through their shared attorney at Perkins Coie, Marc Elias. Fusion GPS then hired Steele[31] to investigate Trump’s Russia-related activities.[26] According to CNNHillary Clinton‘s campaign and the Democratic National Committee took over the financing of the inquiry into Donald Trump and produced what became known as the Trump dossier.[32]

In July 2016, Steele supplied a report he had written to an FBI agent in Rome.[33] His contact at the FBI was the same senior agent with whom he had worked when investigating the FIFA scandal.[15][8]

In September 2016, Steele held a series of off the record meetings with journalists from The New York TimesThe Washington PostYahoo! NewsThe New Yorker and CNN.[10] In October 2016, Steele spoke about his discoveries to David Corn of the progressive American political magazine Mother Jones. Steele said he decided to pass his dossier to both British and American intelligence officials after concluding that the material should not just be in the hands of political opponents of Trump, but was a matter of national security for both countries.[34] Corn’s resulting 31 October article in Mother Jones was the first to publicly mention the dossier, although the article did not disclose Steele’s identity.[34] The magazine did not publish the dossier itself, however, or detail its allegations, since they could not be verified.[35]

Post-election work on the dossier

Steele continued to work for Fusion GPS on the dossier without a client to pay him.[36] After the election, Steele’s dossier “became one of Washington’s worst-kept secrets, and journalists worked to verify the allegations.[36] On 18 November 2016, Sir Andrew Wood, British ambassador to Moscow from 1995 to 2000, met with U.S. Senator John McCain at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, and told McCain about the existence of the collected materials about Trump.[37] Wood vouched for Steele’s professionalism and integrity.[38] In early December, McCain obtained a copy of the dossier from David J. Kramer, a former U.S. State Department official working at Arizona State University.[36] On 9 December 2016, McCain met personally with FBI Director James Comey to pass on the information.[37]

In a second memo Steele wrote in November 2016, after the termination of his contract with Fusion, he reported that Russian officials had claimed that Russia had blocked Donald Trump from nominating Mitt Romney to be his Secretary of State, due to Romney’s hawkishness on Russia.[8][39]

Revealed identity

On 11 January 2017, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Steele was the author of the dossier about Trump, citing “people familiar with the matter”.[2] Although the dossier’s existence had been “common knowledge” among journalists for months at that point and had become public knowledge during the previous week, Steele’s name had not been revealed. The Telegraph asserted that Steele’s anonymity had been “fatally compromised” after CNN published his nationality.[31]

The Independent reported that Steele left his home in England several hours before his name was published as the author of the dossier, as he was fearful of retaliation by Russian authorities.[31] In contrast, The Washington Post reported that he left after he had been identified earlier in the day by the initial Wall Street Journal report.[40]

Christopher Burrows, director of Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd., said he would not “confirm or deny” that Orbis had produced the dossier.[41]

Steele’s relationship with the FBI ended, variously associated with either the public revelation of Steele’s identity, or Steele’s release of information to the press, or Steele’s denial to the FBI of having spoken to the press.[42][43] One source dates this event to late October 2016.[44]

On 7 March 2017, as some members of the United States Congress were expressing interest in meeting with or hearing testimony from Steele, he reemerged after weeks in hiding, appearing publicly on camera and stating, “I’m really pleased to be back here working again at the Orbis’s offices in London today”.[45]

Disclosure and reactions

In early January 2017, a two-page summary of the Trump dossier was presented to President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump in meetings with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.[46]

On 10 January 2017, BuzzFeed was the first media outlet to publish the full 35-page dossier. In publishing the Trump dossier, BuzzFeed stated that it had been unable to verify or corroborate the allegations.[47] The UK issued a DSMA notice on 10 January 2017, requesting that the media not release Steele’s identity,[48] although the BBC and other UK news media released the information in news stories the same day.[16] Trump vigorously denied the dossier’s allegations, calling it fake news during a press conference.[49] Vladimir Putin also dismissed the claims.[50]

Ynet, an Israeli online news site, reported that American intelligence advised Israeli intelligence officers to be cautious about sharing information with the incoming Trump administration, until the possibility of Russian influence over Trump, suggested by Steele’s report, has been fully investigated.[51]

Former British ambassador to Russia, Sir Tony Brenton, read Steele’s report. Speaking on Sky News he said, “I’ve seen quite a lot of intelligence on Russia, and there are some things in it which look pretty shaky”. Brenton expressed some doubts due to discrepancies in how the dossier described aspects of the hacking activities, as well as Steele’s ability to penetrate the Kremlin and Russian security agencies, given that he is an outsider.[52]

On 15 March 2017, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell raised questions about the dossier. He was concerned about the accuracy of the information, due to the approach taken by Steele to gather it. Steele gave money to intermediaries and the intermediaries paid the sources. Morell said, “Unless you know the sources, and unless you know how a particular source acquired a particular piece of information, you can’t judge the information – you just can’t”. Morell continues to believe that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[53]

Role in the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation

Although the dossier later became one factor among many in the Russia investigation, it had no role in the start of the investigation. This fact has been the subject of intense discussion and controversy, largely fueled by false claims made by Trump and his supporters.[54][55][56]

In early February 2018, the Nunes memo, written by aides of Republican U.S. Representative Devin Nunes (who was at the time the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee), described that the information on George Papadopoulos “triggered the opening of” the original FBI investigation in late July 2016 into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.[57] In late February 2018, a rebuttal memo by Democrats in the House Intelligence Committee stated that “Christopher Steele’s reporting … played no role in launching the counterintelligence investigation … In fact, Steele’s reporting did not reach the counterintelligence team investigating Russia at FBI headquarters until mid-September 2016, more than seven weeks after the FBI opened its investigation, because the probe’s existence was so closely held within the FBI.”[58][59]

In April 2018, the House Intelligence Committee, then in Republican control, released a final report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential American election, which stated that the House Intelligence Committee found that “in late July 2016, the FBI opened an enterprise CI [counterintelligence] investigation into the Trump campaign following the receipt of derogatory information about foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos”.[6][7][60]

Role in subsequent investigations

In the summer of 2017, two Republican staffers for the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence travelled to London to investigate the dossier, visiting the office of Steele’s lawyer but not meeting with Steele.[61] In August 2018, RepresentativeDevin Nunes, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, travelled to London in an attempt to meet with the heads of MI5MI6, and GCHQ for information about Steele, but was rebuffed by the three agencies.[62][63]

Steele reportedly revealed the identities of the sources used in the dossier to the FBI.[64] Investigators from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation team met with Steele in September 2017 to interview him about the dossier’s claims.[65][66] The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is in continued contact with lawyers representing Steele.[67]

On April 5, 2019 the Senate Intelligence Committee sent a letter to Walter Soriano the owner of USG Security Limited based in Britain and Israel for his communication with Paul ManafortMichael Flynn, Psy-Group,Wikistrat, and Black CubeOrbis Business Intelligence(a firm co-founded by Christopher Steele).[68][69]

Legal action

In February 2017, lawyers for Russian internet entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev filed a libel suit against Steele in London. Gubarev claimed he was defamed by allegations in the dossier.[70]

In August 2017, lawyers for Gubarev demanded Steele give a deposition regarding the dossier, as part of a libel lawsuit against BuzzFeed News[71][72][73] filed in February.[74] Steele objected to testifying but his objections were rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Mancusi Ungaro, who allowed the deposition to proceed.[75][76][74]

In April 2018, Mikhail FridmanPetr Aven, and German Khan – the owners of Alfa Bank – filed a libel suit against Steele, who mentioned the bank in the Trump–Russia dossier. The lawsuit is filed in Washington D.C.[77] The lawsuit was dismissed by Judge Anthony C. Epstein on August 20, 2018.[78][79]

Senate Republicans’ referral for a criminal investigation[edit]

On 5 January 2018, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, joined by senior Republican member Lindsey Graham, issued a criminal referral regarding Steele to the Justice Department for it to investigate whether Steele had lied to the FBI about his interactions with the media.[80][81][82][83] Because the referral is based on classified FBI documents, the context in which the Republican senators allege Steele to have lied is limited to references that he discussed the dossier with media outlets.[83] Both Grassley and Graham declared that they were not alleging that Steele “had committed any crime. Rather, they had passed on the information for ‘further investigation only'”.[84]

The referral was met with skepticism from legal experts, as well as members of both parties on the Judiciary Committee.[82] Fusion GPS lawyer Joshua A. Levy said that the referral was just another effort to discredit the investigation into Russian interference in the election and that: “After a year of investigations into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, the only person Republicans seek to accuse of wrongdoing is one who reported on these matters to law enforcement in the first place”.[82] Veteran prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg called the referral “nonsense” because “the FBI doesn’t need any prompting from politicians to prosecute people who have lied to them.”[82] Another former federal prosecutor, Justin Dillon said that “it was too early to assume the letter was simply a political attack”. The senior Democrat on the Committee, Dianne Feinstein, said that the referral was made without consultation of any Democrats on the committee and released a five-page rebuttal.[85] A Republican aide said that Grassley and Graham were “carrying water for the White House”; that their actions did not reflect the views of the committee as a whole; and that other members were upset with Grassley over the matter.[82]

In an opinion-editorial for Politico, former CIA official John Sipher said that the attacks on Steele, a private citizen who provided information to the FBI that alarmed him, will make future tipsters less likely to approach American law enforcement with information that bears on national security.[86]

Personal life

His first wife, Laura, with whom he had three children, died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2012; he and his second wife Katherine had one child and are raising all four children together.[8] He currently lives in Farnham, Surrey.[8]

References …

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Steele

 

Fusion GPS

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Fusion GPS
Founded 2011
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Key people
Glenn R. Simpson
Website www.fusiongps.com

Fusion GPS is a commercial research and strategic intelligence firm based in Washington, D.C. The company conducts open-source investigations and provides research and strategic advice for businesses, law firms and investors, as well as for political inquiries, such as opposition research.[1] The “GPS” initialism is derived from “Global research, Political analysis, Strategic insight”.[2]

Contents

History

The company was co-founded in 2011 by Glenn R. Simpson, a former investigative reporter and journalist for Roll Call and The Wall Street Journal; Peter Fritsch, former Wall Street Journal senior editor; and former Wall Street Journal journalist Thomas Catan.[3]

Work

Opposition research on Mitt Romney

Fusion GPS was hired in 2012 to do opposition research on U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney.[3] In February 2012, the magazine Mother Jones published an article on Frank VanderSloot and his company Melaleuca, who combined had given $1 million to a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney. After the article was published, an intern at Fusion GPS did a search of Idaho court records on VanderSloot by phone and fax. In January 2013, VanderSloot sued Mother Jones for defamation in the February 2012 article. In the course of the litigation, VanderSloot deposed Fusion GPS founder Simpson on the “theory that Mother Jones conspired with Obama’s team to defame VanderSloot”.[4][5][6] The seventh Judicial District Court of the State of Idaho dismissed the lawsuit in 2015.[7]

Planned Parenthood

In August 2015, Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to defensively investigate the veracity of a series of undercover videos released by anti-abortion activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt from The Center for Medical Progress that they claim showed Planned Parenthood officials agreeing to sell fetal tissues obtained through abortions to medical researchers. Fusion GPS hired video and transcription experts to analyze the videos and summarized the findings in a forensic report.[8] The report claimed that the “unedited” videos posted by activists had been “heavily edited”. The anti-abortion activists attributed the gaps to “bathroom breaks and waiting periods.”[9] The report was provided to U.S. congressional leadership as evidence as they were considering funding and other issues related to Planned Parenthood operations.[10]

After a grand jury declined to indict Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, on March 28, 2017, Daleiden and Merritt were charged with 15 felonies in the State of California – one for each of the people whom they had filmed without consent, and one for criminal conspiracy to invade privacy.[10] On 21 June 2017, fourteen of these charges were dismissed, with leave to amend, on the grounds that they were legally insufficient.[11] On June 30, 2017, state prosecutors refiled the 14 dismissed charges with numerical identifications for each video.[12][13] On August 24, 2017, the San Francisco Superior Court rejected new defense motions to dismiss the charges and allowed the case to proceed. Daleiden then pleaded not guilty, while Merritt did not enter a plea at the time.[13]

Prevezon Holding

In 2013, the US Department of Justice, represented by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, sued Prevezon Holding, a Republic of Cyprus corporation registered in New York State as a foreign business corporation, under the Magnitsky Act for money-laundering part of $230 million stolen. The lawsuit sought forfeiture of various assets and real estate holdings in the US.[14][15] In May 2017, two months after President Trump had dismissed Bharara, the lawsuit was settled for $6 million, less than half what Bhahara sought[16], without Prevezon admitting to any wrongdoing and with both sides claiming victory.[14][17]

The sole shareholder of Prevezon was Russian citizen Denis Katsyv, whose father is Petr Katsyv, vice president of Russia’s state-run rail monopoly and “reportedly a business associate of Vladimir Yakunin, a confidant of Vladimir Putin“.[15][18] Katsyv’s Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was not licensed to practice in the US, and Katsyv hired the law firm of BakerHostetler to represent Prevezon; BakerHostetler hired Fusion GPS in early 2014 to provide research help for the litigation.[19][20][18][21]

On October 18, 2016, the appellate court disqualified BakerHostetler from the case because they had represented Bill Browder’s hedge fund Hermitage Capital Management for nine months in 2008/2009 when the U.S. Justice Department was investigating a tax fraud scheme in Russia involving “co-opted Hermitage portfolio companies”. The U.S. Justice Department had argued that Hermitage Capital was a victim of the tax fraud and that BakerHofstetler’s prior work on behalf of Hermitage Capital created a conflict of interest.[22][19] As part of their litigation support for BakerHostetler and their client Verezon, Fusion GPS investigated Browder, a witness central to the U.S. Justice Department’s case.[23]

On July 27, 2017, Fusion GPS accused the White House of trying to “smear” it for investigating the president’s alleged ties to Russia. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed to Browder’s testimony as vindication of Trump’s claims that ongoing investigations into potential ties between his campaign and Moscow are political ploys to undermine his presidency. Fusion GPS countered that it worked only with a law firm in New York “to provide support for civil litigation” unrelated to Russian efforts to do away with the Magnitsky Act, saying it had no reason to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).[24]

Browder lodged a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department in 2016 that Fusion GPS may have lobbied “for Russian interests in a campaign to oppose the pending Global Magnitsky Act [and] failed to register under [U.S. law]”.[20][25] The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (not to be confused with the Magnitsky Act) is a human rights law passed on December 23, 2016.[26] It is also named after Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer and auditor working for Browder who died in a Russian prison after uncovering a corruption scheme that he was then charged with having helped concoct.[18]

On March 30, 2017, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa called for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into purported connections between Fusion GPS and Russia, and an inquiry as to whether Fusion GPS was acting as an unregistered foreign agent. The company denied the claims that they were engaged in lobbying or had violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.[25][20] According to the Washington Post′s “Fact Checker” column, there is “no evidence that the Russian government paid for Fusion’s work on the Prevezon defense at the same time Fusion investigated Trump’s business dealings in Russia.”[27]

Trump dossier and Christopher Steele

In September 2015, Fusion GPS was hired by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative political website, to do opposition research on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates. In spring 2016 when Trump had emerged as the probable Republican candidate, the Free Beacon stopped funding investigation into Trump.[28] From April 2016 through October 2016, the law firm Perkins Coie, on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, retained Fusion GPS to continue opposition research on Trump.[29][30][31] In June 2016, Fusion GPS retained Christopher Steele, a private British corporate intelligence investigator and former MI-6 agent, to research any Russian connections to Trump. Steele produced a 35-page series of memos from June to December 2016, which became the document known as the Donald Trump–Russia dossier.[29][32] Fusion GPS provided Marc Elias, the lead election lawyer for Perkins Coie, with the resulting dossier and other research documents.[30][31]

The firm is being sued for defamation by three Alfa-Bank owners named in the dossier as connected to Putin. German Khan, one of the litigants and one of Russia’s wealthiest citizens, is the father-in-law of lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, who was charged in the Mueller probe for making false statements to the FBI.[33] He pleaded guilty to one count and in April 2018 was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a fine of $20,000.[34][35]

House Intelligence Committee investigation

On October 4, 2017, Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to the management of the company, demanding documents and testimony in late October and early November 2017. According to a Democratic committee source, the subpoenas were issued unilaterally by the Republican majority of the committee.[36]

On October 18, 2017, the House Intelligence Committee held a private meeting with two executives of Fusion GPS, Peter Fritsch, and Thomas Catan. The purpose was to seek information about their creation of “the opposition-research dossier that makes salacious claims about President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.”[37] The meeting was attended by committee staff and a single committee member, Representative Tom Rooney (R-FL). In response to the questions asked at the meeting, Fritsch and Catan invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Their attorney, Joshua Levy, said that prior to the meeting he had informed the committee in writing that his clients would invoke their rights, but they were compelled to appear nevertheless. He added they would cooperate with “serious” investigations but that a “Trump cabal has carried out a campaign to demonize our client for having been tied to the Trump dossier.”[37][38]

On October 23, 2017, Fusion GPS filed for a court injunction against Nunes’ subpoena seeking the firm’s bank records for a period of more than two years, arguing it would damage and possibly destroy the business as well as violate their First Amendment rights.[39] On January 4, 2018 U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon struck down Fusion’s application, ruling that Fusion’s bank must turn over the financial records subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee; Fusion asked the judge to stay his order because they plan to appeal.[40]

On October 28, 2017, The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative political website, told the House Intelligence Committee that it had retained Fusion GPS’s services from 2015 to May 2016, to research Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates. The objective was the discovery of damaging information. The Free Beacon and its primary source of funding, hedge fund manager Paul Singer, denied any involvement in the creation of the Steele dossier, pointing out that they had stopped funding research on Trump before Steele was engaged.[28]

On January 2, 2018, the founders of Fusion GPS, Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch, authored an op-ed in The New York Times, requesting that Republicans “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony” and further explaining that, “the Steele dossier was not the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.”[41]

The committee interviewed Simpson for seven hours on November 14, 2017. The transcript of the interview was released on January 18, 2018.[42][43]

Senate Judiciary Committee investigations

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein made arrangements in July 2017 for Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson to testify before their committee. It was agreed that Simpson would not testify in public but would be interviewed privately.[44][45] The committee wanted to question Simpson about the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). A previous witness, banker and human rights activist Bill Browder, had accused Simpson and Fusion GPS of evading registration as foreign agents for campaigning to influence and overturn the Magnitsky Act.[24] Fusion GPS said through their attorney that they were not required to register under FARA.[24] Senators were expected to also use the hearing “to press Justice Department officials on what they know about Veselnitskaya, Prevezon, Fusion GPS and their connections to both the Trump campaign or the Russian government.”[46]

On August 22, 2017, Simpson was questioned for 10 hours by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a closed-door meeting. The Committee did not release a transcript of the hearing, but indicated that Fusion GPS had given more than 40,000 documents for the investigation.[47] Simpson kept the identities of the firm’s clients confidential;[48][49] the client names—conservative website The Washington Free Beacon,[28] and a law firm representing the DNC and the Clinton presidential campaign[30]—were revealed in October 2017 as a result of the House Intelligence Committee investigation.

On January 2, 2018, Simpson and Fritsch co-authored an op-ed in The New York Times, requesting the two congressional committees to “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony”.[41] On January 8, 2018, a spokesman for Grassley said he did not plan to release the transcript of Simpson’s August 22, 2017, testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.[50] The next day, January 9, 2018, Feinstein unilaterally released the transcript.[51][52]

See also

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_GPS

 

 

The Washington Free Beacon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Washington Free Beacon
Washington Free Beacon.jpg
Type Online news site
Format Website
Editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti
Managing editors Sonny Bunch, Victorino Matus, Stephanie Wang
Founded 2012
Political alignment conservative
Language English
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Website freebeacon.com

The Washington Free Beacon is an American conservative political journalism website launched in 2012. It states that it is “dedicated to uncovering the stories that the powers that be hope will never see the light of day” and producing “in-depth investigative reporting on a wide range of issues, including public policy, government affairs, international security, and media.”[1]

The website is financially backed by Paul Singer, an American billionaire hedge fund manager and conservative activist.[2]

Contents

History

The Free Beacon was founded by Michael Goldfarb, Aaron Harrison, and Matthew Continetti, who remains its editor-in-chief. It launched on February 7, 2012, as a project of the 501(c)4 organization Center for American Freedom.[3] In August 2014, it announced it was becoming a for-profit news site.[4]

The site is noted for its conservative reporting, modeled after liberal counterparts in the media such as ThinkProgress and Talking Points Memo, intended to publicize stories and influence the coverage of the mainstream media.[3][5][6] Jack Hunter, a staff member of U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s office, resigned in 2013 after a Free Beacon report detailing his past as a radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger” who wore a luchador mask of the Confederate flag.[7] The publication also broke several stories about former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s successful 1975 legal defense of an accused child rapist that attracted national media attention.[5][8] In May 2017, it received an award from The Heritage Foundation for its journalism.[9]

From October 2015 to May 2016, the Washington Free Beacon hired Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on “multiple candidates” during the 2016 presidential election, including Donald Trump. The Free Beaconstopped funding this research when Donald Trump had clinched the Republican nomination.[10] Fusion GPS would later hire former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and produce a dossier alleging links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Paul Singer, a billionaire and hedge fund manager, who is a major donor to the Free Beacon, said he was unaware of this dossier until it was published by BuzzFeed in January 2017.[11]On October 27, 2017, the Free Beacon publicly disclosed that it had hired Fusion GPS, and stated that it “had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele.”[12]

The Free Beacon came under criticism for its reporting on Fusion GPS. Three days before it was revealed that it was the Free Beacon that had funded the work by Fusion GPS, the Free Beacon wrote that the firm’s work “was funded by an unknown GOP client while the primary was still going on.”[13] The Free Beacon has also published pieces that have sought to portray the work by Fusion GPS as unreliable “without noting that it considered Fusion GPS reliable enough to pay for its services.”[13] In an editor’s note, Continetti said “the reason for this omission is that the authors of these articles, and the particular editors who reviewed them, were unaware of this relationship,” and that the outlet was reviewing its editorial process to avoid similar issues in the future.[14]

Reception

Jim Rutenburg of The New York Times described the reporting style of the Free Beacon as “gleeful evisceration.”[15]

Its tactics have also led to attacks from media critics and watchdog groups. The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf called the Free Beacon‘s mission “decadent and unethical”.[16]

Ben Howe wrote in The Daily Beast that the Washington Free Beacon established “itself as a credible source of conservative journalism with deep investigative dives and exposes on money in politics,” but that after Trump’s election “shifted away from the template they were establishing and more towards the path of least resistance: spending their time criticizing the left and the media, along with healthy doses of opinion writing.”[17] McKay Coppins in the Columbia Journalism Review writes of the Free Beacon that while the website contains “a fair amount of trolling… it has also earned a reputation for real-deal journalism…If a partisan press really is the future, we could do worse than the Free Beacon.”[18]

Jeet Heer writes in The New Republic of the Free Beacon, “Unlike other comparable conservative websites, the Free Beacon makes an effort to do original reporting. Its commitment to journalism should be welcomed by liberals.”[19] In 2015, Mother Jones wrote positively of the Free Beacon, noting that it is far better than contemporary conservative outlets such as The Daily Caller.[20] Mother Jones however noted that “the Beacon hasn’t always steered clear of stories that please the base but don’t really stand up,” and that it pieces inflammatory pieces that “push conservatives’ buttons”.[20] That same year, the Washingtonian wrote that “The Beacon’s emphasis on newsgathering sets it apart among right-facing publications”.[21]

See also

References …

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Washington_Free_Beacon

Story 2: Radical Extremist Democrat Polls — Trump Loses — Reality Deniers —  Videos —

New poll shows Trump trailing Biden and four other Democrats

Brian KNOWLTON

AFP

A nationwide Fox News poll released Sunday shows President Donald Trump trailing former vice president Joe Biden and no fewer than four other Democratic contenders as early campaigning for the 2020 election begins to gain steam.

A separate survey of battleground states, by CBS, shows Democrats strongly favor Biden as the candidate most likely to beat Trump in next year’s elections.

The Fox poll showed Biden leading Trump by 49 percent to 39 percent among all registered voters nationwide, while Senator Bernie Sanders held nearly the same advantage over the president, at 49 percent to 40 percent.

Holding edges of 1 or 2 points over Trump — albeit within the poll’s 3-point margin of error — were Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

The polling comes more than 500 days before the November 3, 2020 election, an eternity in the political world. One widely viewed tweet this week shows five presidential candidates in recent decades who trailed at this point in their campaigns — including Trump — but who went on to win.

The president does not officially launch his re-election campaign until Tuesday, at a rally-style event in a huge arena in Orlando, Florida.

– Battleground states –

Still, the Fox poll, conducted June 9 to June 12, is seen as heartening by Democrats eager to chip away at Trump’s popularity, particularly in key battleground states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Trump’s campaign recently dismissed leaked data from its own pollsters showing Biden with double-digit leads in battleground states. The campaign at first denied the data, but then acknowledged it, branding it as “ancient” because it dated from March.

But the new CBS poll confirms a clear Biden lead in battleground states among Democratic voters, as the crowded race for that party’s nomination begins to take shape.

A belief among Democratic voters that Biden is best positioned to defeat Trump in 2020 was cited by three-quarters of Democrats as a decisive factor in their support.

https://news.yahoo.com/poll-shows-trump-trailing-biden-four-other-democrats-164318873.html

Story 3: Iran Promises To Break Nuclear Agreement If Sanctions Not Removed — Pathway To Nuclear Bomb and Long Range Missile and War — Videos

Iran says it will breach nuclear deal ‘in days’ as its uranium stockpile limit nears

Iran threatens to violate nuclear deal

Iran to increase uranium stockpile as US considering ‘all options’

Iran nuclear deal: Tehran to lift cap on uranium enrichment | Al Jazeera English

The Heat: US-Iran sanctions

 

Iran speeds up uranium enrichment as Mideast tensions mount

24 minutes ago

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows the oil tanker Front Altair off the coast of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, Monday, June 17, 2019. New satellite photos released Monday show two oil tankers apparently attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week. The U.S. alleges Iran used limpet mines to strike the two tankers. Iran has denied being involved. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will surpass the uranium-stockpile limit set by its nuclear deal in the next 10 days, an official said Monday, raising pressure on Europeans trying to save the accord a year after the U.S. withdrawal lit the fuse for the heightened tensions now between Tehran and Washington.

The announcement by Iran’s nuclear agency marked yet another deadline set by Tehran. President Hassan Rouhani already has warned Europe that a new deal needs to be in place by July 7 or the Islamic Republic would increase its enrichment of uranium.

Atomic energy spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi suggested that Iran’s enrichment could reach up to 20%, just a step away from weapons-grade levels.

It appears as if Iran has begun its own maximum pressure campaign on the world after facing one from President Donald Trump’s administration that deeply cut into its sale of crude oil abroad and sent its economy into freefall. Europe has so far been unable to offer Iran a way around the U.S. sanctions.

The development follows apparent attacks last week in the Strait of Hormuz on oil tankers, assaults that Washington has blamed on Iran. While Iran has denied being involved, it laid mines in the 1980s targeting oil tankers around the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s crude oil passes.

“If this condition continues, there will be no deal” anymore, Kamalvandi said. He accused the Europeans of “killing time” as the clock runs down.

Rouhani, greeting France’s new ambassador to Tehran on Monday, similarly warned that time was running out on the deal.

“The current situation is very critical and France and the other parties to the (deal) still have a very limited opportunity to play their historic role for saving the deal,” Rouhani said, according to his website.

The announcement appeared timed to strike just as European foreign ministers met in Luxembourg. Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top diplomat, declined to specifically address the Iranian announcement.

“At the moment, as of today, Iran is still technically compliant and we strongly hope, encourage and expect that Iran continues to comply,” Mogherini told journalists. She insisted she would await the next report on the issue from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Under terms of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iran can keep a stockpile of no more than 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of low-enriched uranium. Kamalvandi said that given Iran’s recent decision to quadruple its production of low-enriched uranium, it would pass the 300-kilogram limit on Thursday, June 27.

The Vienna-based IAEA said last month that Iran remained within its stockpile limits and declined to comment on Iran’s announcement. Kamalvandi said Iran would continue to allow the U.N. to inspect its nuclear facilities for the time being.

He also raised the specter of increasing its enrichment levels, saying Iran needs 5% enriched uranium for its nuclear power plant in southern Iranian port of Bushehr and 20% enriched fuel for its Tehran research reactor.

The nuclear deal limits Iran to enriching uranium only to 3.67%, enough for power plants and other peaceful purposes.

But after America pulled out of the nuclear accord and escalated sanctions, Rouhani set a July 7 deadline for Europe to come up with better terms for the deal or Tehran would boost enrichment further. So far, a European mechanism called INSTEX to protect trade with Iran has yet to take off.

The danger, nuclear nonproliferation experts warn, is that at 20% enrichment, only a fraction of atoms need to be removed to enrich up to weapons-grade levels of 90%. Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the 2015 deal grew out of Western concerns about the program.

Under the accord, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Since Trump took office, the U.S. has steadily stripped away at the accord, and he pulled America out of the deal in May 2018.

However, Iran’s announcement that it was on the verge of surpassing the uranium-stockpile limit set by the nuclear agreement put the U.S. is the awkward position of having to push Iran to abide by the deal Trump has disparaged.

“It’s unfortunate that they have made this announcement today,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. “It doesn’t surprise anybody and this is why the president has often said that the JCPOA needs to be replaced with a better deal.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the international community should reinstate sanctions if Iran follows through on its threats, adding: “In any case, Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.”

Tensions have risen in the region since last month. The U.S. rushed an aircraft carrier strike group and other military assets to the Middle East in response to what it said were threats from Iran.

Meanwhile, a series of mysterious attacks have targeted oil tankers, and the U.S. blames Iranian-laid limpet mines. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen also have launched a series of drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon on Monday released new photos intended to bolster its case that Iran was responsible for the attacks.

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which the U.S. suspects in the attacks, answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and operates outside of the traditional military’s control.

Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the chief of the general staff of Iran’s armed forces, denied Tehran was involved in the tanker attacks, saying Monday the country only would respond in “an open, strong and severe way” if needed.

But he also reiterated Iran’s traditional stance on the Strait of Hormuz.

“If we decide to block the Strait of Hormuz, we will to do it in a way that even a drop of oil won’t pass the strait,” Bagheri added.

Kamalvandi spoke to Iranian journalists at the country’s Arak heavy water nuclear reactor. Such reactors produce plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons. Iran, under the nuclear deal, had reconfigured the facility to address Western concerns on that issue.

However, Kamalvandi said the country could rebuild the facility to make it produce plutonium. He made a point to give an interview to Iranian state television, standing next to the open pit where the reactor would be in the facility.

As the camera panned down to what would be the reactor’s core, Kamalvandi stressed that piping could be replaced and the reactor could be built to make plutonium. Hard-liners opposed to the nuclear deal had constantly accused the agency of filling the entire pit with concrete.

“They had previously photoshopped a picture of this place having been filled up with concrete,” Kamalvandi said.

He added: “The message that we tried to get across to Europeans today was that not much time is left for them.”

https://www.apnews.com/30353bd0f0494522b9f5753e23f3f9b9

ATOMIC THREAT 

Iran reveals it will break America’s uranium stockpile limits within 10 DAYS dramatically ramping up tensions with Trump

US releases photos to bolster claim Iran attacked tankers

53 minutes ago

1 of 3
This image released by the U.S. Department of Defense on Monday, June 17, 2019, and taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter, shows what the Navy says are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy removing an unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous. (U.S. Department of Defense via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an effort to bolster its public case against Iran, the Pentagon on Monday released new photos that officials said show that members of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard were responsible for attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.

The images, many taken from a Navy helicopter, show what the Pentagon said were Iranian forces removing an unexploded mine from the side of the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman.

Officials last week said the move appeared to be an attempt to remove forensic evidence from the scene of the attack. But it’s not clear if examination of the mine would have made it definitively clear that the device was planted by the IRGC.

Other photos show a large hole on the side of the Courageous, above the water line, that officials say appears to have been caused by another similar mine.

The release of the photos came as the U.S. works this week to convince members of Congress and allies that the accusations against Tehran are true. Iran has denied involvement in the tanker attacks and has accused America of promoting an “Iranophobic” campaign. Tehran, however, has repeatedly threatened to close the vital Strait of Hormuz, through which 20% of the world’s oil flows.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he made a number of calls Sunday and Monday to international leaders, trying to convince them that keeping the Strait of Hormuz safe and open is a problem they all must deal with.

Relations between the U.S. and Iran have deteriorated in recent months, as the Trump administration restored crippling sanctions and designated the Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organization.

That increased pressure preceded a string of attacks that the U.S. has blamed on Iran. In late May, four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates were attacked with what appeared to be mines, and there was a rocket attack in Baghdad. Last week, similar attacks were launched against the Courageous and the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair in the Gulf of Oman.

The U.S. military has also accused Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops of trying but failing to shoot down a U.S. drone to disrupt surveillance of the tankers during the attacks.

https://apnews.com/e479acedfd38465ab17e15e579f243ad

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The Pronk Pops Show 1244 April 25, 2019, Story 1: Obama Sock Puppet Corrupt Creepy Sleepy Joe Biden Running For President For Fourth Time — World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq War Are All Liberal Progressive Democratic and Republican Wars — Big Government Parties Kill People And Steal Their Wealth — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers — We Gotta Get Out Of This Place — Eve of Destruction — War What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing — Videos — Story 2: Crazy Communist Bernie Sanders Trying To Turn Texas Radical Extremist Democratic Socialists (REDS) — Socialist Justice Junkie — Videos — Story 3: A Very Crowded Democratic Party Candidates for President — Followers Yes — Leaders No — Videos — Story 4: Trump — Capitalist vs. Sanders — Socialist — The Winner Is? — That Guy With The Tinted Hair! — Meant to Be — I’m Gonna Show You Crazy — I’m A Mess — Last Hurrah — Videos — Story 5: Deep Sleep vs. Big Lie Media’s Epic Progressive Propaganda Failure — No Contest — Get A Good Night’s Sleep — Videos

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Story 1: Obama Sock Puppet Corrupt Creepy Sleepy Joe Biden Running For President For Fourth Time — World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq War Are All Liberal Progressive Democratic and Republican Wars — Big Government Parties Kill People And Steal Their Wealth — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers — We Gotta Get Out Of This Place — Eve of Destruction — War What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing — Videos —

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#MAGA2020: Trump Must Push Invading Illegals and #CreepyUncleJoe As Obama Sockpuppet and Proxy

Left or Liberal?

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Pete Seeger: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

I’ll win this on my own! Joe Biden says he asked Obama NOT to endorse him as he finally throws himself into 2020 race by taking fight to Trump for ‘the soul of this nation’ – who hits back by saying: ‘Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe!’

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden formally announced his presidential bid
  • ‘We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,’ he said in his announcement
  • He said he asked former President Obama not to endorse his campaign 
  • ‘Whoever wins the nomination should win it on their own merits,’ he told reporters in the Wilmington, Delaware, Amtrak train station 
  • Obama put out a statement Thursday praising Biden but not endorsing him 
  • Biden struck directly at President Donald Trump in his announcement video 
  • ‘If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation,’ he said 
  • Trump wasted no time hitting back and gave Biden the moniker ‘Sleepy Joe’ 
  • Biden faces a crowded field of 20 contenders for the Democratic nomination 
  • A poll released Wednesday had Biden eight points ahead of President Trump
  • The poll has the 76-year-old leading a crowded field of Democrat candidates 
  • Republicans are already attacking the former vice president hard 

Joe Biden said Thursday he asked former President Barack Obama not to endorse his presidential campaign, saying whoever won the Democratic nomination should do so ‘on their own merits.’

‘I asked President Obama not to endorse. Whoever wins the nomination should win it on their own merits,’ the former vice president told reporters in the Wilmington, Delaware, Amtrak train station.

Obama released a statement Thursday that praised Biden but stopped short of endorsing his presidential bid, raising questions about how much the former president would be willing to do to help his former running mate win the Democratic nomination.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said he asked former President Obama not to endorse his campaign

Former Vice President Joe Biden said he asked former President Obama not to endorse his campaign

Biden was spotted hugging a cop+18

Biden was spotted hugging a cop

Biden stopped at Gianni's pizza in Wilmington

Biden also declined to answer a question on why he’s the best choice for Democrats in 2020, saying: ‘That will be for the Democrats to decide.’

He had a brief exchange with reporters in the Amtrak station in Wilmington, Delaware, that bears his name: The Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station.

He was also spotted hugging a cop in the station and he stopped by his favorite pizza place – Gianni’s pizza – for lunch.

Biden was casually dressed in a blue-button down shirt and made small talk with people in the pizza parlor.

‘America is coming back to like we used to be, ethical, straight, telling the truth, supporting our allies, all those good things,’ he told reporters outside the restaurant.

The first images – in his home town where he’s very popular – show the former vice president glad handling, posing for pictures and being a regular Joe.  He called people by name and asked about their families as he left the pizza place. He got a pizza and soda to go, signature aviator sunglasses on as he departed.

The former vice president ended months of speculation Thursday when he formally entered the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in an announcement that struck directly at President Donald Trump and laid out the former vice president’s vision to led the nation.

‘We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,’ Biden declared in his announcement video. ‘The core values are standing in the world. Everything that has made America America is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.’

Joe Biden greets people during a stop at Gianni's Pizza in Wilmington, Del.

Joe Biden greets people during a stop at Gianni’s Pizza in Wilmington, Del.

Former Vice President Joe Biden formally announced his presidential bid in a video

Former Vice President Joe Biden formally announced his presidential bid in a video

Trump wasted no time hitting back and dubbed Biden with the moniker ‘Sleepy Joe,’ mocking him with a nickname as he has done with other political rivals in the past.

‘Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign. It will be nasty – you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting Gate!,’ Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday morning.

Biden, 76, will share the primary field with at least 20 other candidates, a record for a major U.S. political party.

His entry comes as new poll shows he would defeat President Trump if the general election were held today.

Biden struck hard and direct at Trump in his three-and-a-half minute announcement video.

‘If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation. Who we are. And I cannot stand by and watch that happen,’ he said.

The former vice president cited the white supremacist march through Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, and President Trump’s response to it as the reason behind his decision to make a third bid for the White House.

‘I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had seen in my lifetime,’ he noted.

He particularly pointed to Trump’s line that there are ‘very fine people on both sides.’

‘Some very fine people on both sides, very fine people on both sides? With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalency between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime,’ Biden said.

Biden

Trump

Democrat Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by eight points in a hypothetical 2020 matchup, according to a new poll

The poll of 1,992 registered voters was conducted between April 19 and 21

The poll of 1,992 registered voters was conducted between April 19 and 21

The former vice president has a long, strong legislative record as a moderate but he will face more progressive rivals in the battle for the nomination.

And that is the internecine battle Democrats are facing among themselves: the more moderate, blue-collar voters (who swung to Trump in 2016 and put him in the White House) versus the younger, more progressive and diverse generation.

Biden Campaign Staff

Greg Schultz, Campaign Manager

Kate Bedingfield, Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director

Pete Kavanaugh, Deputy Campaign Manager

Anthony Bernal, Deputy Campaign Manager and Chief of Staff to Dr. Jill Biden

Symone Sanders, Senior Advisor

Cristobal Alex, Senior Advisor

Brandon English, Senior Advisor

Daniel McCarthy, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer

Dana Remus, General Counsel

Erin Wilson, National Political Director

Vanessa Cardenas, National Coalitions Director

Michelle Kwan, Surrogates Director

Kurt Bagley, National Organizing Director

Katie Petrelius, National Finance Director

PJ Alampi, Director of Digital Content

Becca Siegel, Chief Analytics Officer

Ashley Williams, Trip Director

Kate Berner, Deputy Communications Director for Messaging

Meghan Hays, Deputy Communications Director for Strategic Planning

Bill Russo, Deputy Communications Director for Press

Jamal Brown, National Press Secretary

TJ Ducklo, National Press Secretary

Remi Yamamoto, Traveling National Press Secretary

Sherice Perry, Communications Director for Dr. Jill Biden

Andrew Bates, Director of Rapid Response

Kamau Marshall, Director of Strategic Communications

The president labeled those liberal left candidates as people with ‘some very sick & demented ideas,’ in his tweet Thursday.

A prominent liberal group has already disavowed the former vice president.

Justice Democrats, the group that helped progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez take office, slammed Biden in a statement Thursday.

‘The old guard of the Democratic Party failed to stop Trump, and they can’t be counted on to lead the fight against his divide-and-conquer politics today. The party needs new leadership with a bold vision capable of energizing voters in the Democratic base who stayed home in 2016,’ the group said.

Biden’s entry into the race Thursday follows a shock poll released on Wednesday, which put him eight points ahead of Trump and had the 76-year-old leading a packed Democrat primary field.

The Morning Consult/Politico poll shows Biden leading Trump 42 per cent to 34 per cent in a general election matchup.

The poll of 1,992 registered voters was conducted between April 19 and 21.

It showed Biden with a strong lead over Trump among women, whom he led by 17 points, millennials with a 22-point lead and independents, up 10 points.

The former vice president also announced his campaign staff on Thursday including campaign manager Greg Schultz, who ran Biden’s PAC American Possibilities and served as his political director in the White House; Symone Sanders, a prominent African American political strategist who served as Bernie Sanders press secretary for his 2016 campaign, as a senior adviser; and Michelle Kwan, a two-Olympic medal winning figure skater, as his surrogates director.

Biden’s announcement video also touched on issues important to Democrats – striking at the moral character of President Trump while highlighting the racial issues that have caused concern.

‘I don’t see how you could do anything that goes more directly at some of the constituencies of the Democratic Party than putting Charlottesville front and center,’ former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod said on CNN Thursday.

The former vice president enters the race as the pejorative front runner.

Even before he pulled the trigger on his campaign, his strong national name recognition has made him the odds-on favorite to square off against PresidentTrump next year.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the only declared candidate who is older than Biden, is running in second place with 23 per cent average backing. No other potential Democratic nominee is polling in double digits.

Biden’s task will be to grow his natural base faster than his competitors can catch up to him and to dispel the party’s fear that a series of sexual harassment allegations have saddled him with a ceiling that no amount of joshing and grinning can break through.

Biden, seen here with wife Jill at the 2013 inaugural ball, will appear with her on ABC's 'Good Morning America' next week+18

Biden, seen here with wife Jill at the 2013 inaugural ball, will appear with her on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ next week

Former President Barack Obama praised Biden in a statement Thursday but did not formally endorse his presidential bid+18

Former President Barack Obama praised Biden in a statement Thursday but did not formally endorse his presidential bid

Biden waves to the crowd after he stopped for pizza on Thursday+18

Biden waves to the crowd after he stopped for pizza on Thursday

He will position himself as a level headed statesman and highlight his roots as a blue-collar man from Scranton, Pennsylvania, who never lost touch with his hardscrabble beginnings.

It’s those middle class roots and appeal to Midwest voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan that are said to worry Republicans as those are the states that helped put Trump in the White House.

Pennsylvania is getting a heavy focus from Biden from the start. He’ll hold rally with Teamsters in Pittsburgh on Monday and then, on May 18, he’ll hold a rally in Philadelphia.

Trump won the state in 2018, the first time in over 20 years a Republican captured it, helping hand him the Oval Office.

Biden’s first high-profile endorsements on Thursday came from Democratic U.S. senators who hail from his native Pennsylvania and his childhood state of Delaware.

Chris Coons, who holds the Delaware seat Biden once occupied, called the former vice president ‘better prepared than anyone to lead America on the world stage at a time when our commitments to our allies and our values are being questioned like never before.’

‘Joe knows what it means to strengthen our alliances, stare down our adversaries, and represent the best of America abroad,’ Coons said in a statement.

Biden Campaign Schedule

April 26: Appears on ABC’s ‘The View’

April 29: Speech to union members in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

April 30: Biden and Jill Biden appear on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’

May 18: Rally in Philadelphia

Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said America is at a ‘make-or-break moment for the middle class, our children and our workers,’ and that ‘America needs Vice President Joe Biden to be its next President.’

Former President Barack Obama did not leap up to support his two-time running-mate.

A person familiar with Obama’s thinking said Thursday that the 44th president is ‘excited by the extraordinary and diverse talent exhibited in the growing lineup of Democratic primary candidates.’

But ‘it’s unlikely that he will throw his support behind a specific candidate this early in the primary process — preferring instead to let the candidates make their cases directly to the voters,’ the source said.

In public, Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill told reporters: ‘President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made.’

‘He relied on the Vice President’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency,’ said Hill. ‘The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.’

The former Vice President said in the video: 'We are in the battle for the soul of this nation'

The former Vice President said in the video: ‘We are in the battle for the soul of this nation’

Biden talks with officials after speaking at a rally in support of striking Stop & Shop workers in Boston on April 18

Biden talks with officials after speaking at a rally in support of striking Stop & Shop workers in Boston on April 18

The Republican National Committee leaped to mock Biden for failing to lock his former boss into a Day One endorsement.

‘Joe Biden has been running for president and losing since the ‘80s. 2020 won’t be any different. Biden’s fingerprints are all over foreign policy blunders and the weakest economic recovery since World War II,’ said RNC Communications Director Michael Ahrens.

‘We don’t need eight more years of Biden. Just ask President Obama, who isn’t even endorsing his right-hand man.’

And RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted Thursday morning: ‘If Joe Biden wants to keep score: In 8 years, Biden & Obama had a net loss of 193,000 manufacturing jobs. In just over 2 years, @realDonaldTrump has created 453,000 manufacturing jobs. Don’t let Biden take us backwards!’

Meanwhile, Biden’s team worries about his fundraising ability and his tendency to commit gaffes.

Money is said to be one of the campaign’s biggest worries.

Although Biden has long standing ties to the party’s elders and a long list of wealthy supporters he can call at a moment’s notice, he’ll face questions if he can harness the social media and small donor power that Beto O’Rourke and Bernie Sanders have used to fuel their candidacy.

Highlighting his campaign’s concern about cash, his first post-presidential stop will be a fundraiser.

On Thursday, a group of Philadelphia-based Democratic insiders with ties to Obama and Hillary Clinton are planning a fundraiser at the home of David L. Cohen, executive senior vice president of Comcast. The former vice president will attend, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, and is aiming to raise $500,000 at the event.

On Friday, Biden will appear on ABC’s ‘The View,’ followed by a rally in Pittsburgh on Monday. He and wife Jill will sit down with ABC’s Robin Roberts for Tuesday’s ‘Good Morning America.’

Sandwiched in between and throughout the next few weeks will be visits to the early voting states in the Democratic primary process.

Four years Trump’s senior, Biden would be the oldest person ever elected president should he win.

He is expected to campaign as an ‘Obama-Biden Democrat,’ who is as pragmatic as he is progressive, in a move to appeal to those nostalgic for the former president.

He’ll also have to balance the working-class voters who are his strength with the younger, more diverse crowd who came out for Obama in historic numbers but stayed home for Hillary Clinton.

Biden speaks at the IBEW Construction and Maintenance Conference in Washington earlier this month+18

Biden speaks at the IBEW Construction and Maintenance Conference in Washington earlier this month

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards in New York last month

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards in New York last month

With a public record that stretches back a half a century, Biden’s challenges are easy to find.

First and foremost were the recent allegations stemmed from years of Biden’s hugs and kisses to women, some of whom said the touching was inappropriate and unwelcome.

Biden is known for demonstrating affection in public. It was often the subject of jokes while others labeled him ‘Creepy Uncle Joe.’

The recent scandal, however, found the former vice president staring down a wave of allegations from women, whose fury against Trump’s election and leadership in the #MeToo movement have made them a force in the 2020 contest.

It’s also left the Democratic Party in the awkward position of watching one of its favorite sons try to calm a storm that has engulfed other politicians.

Biden, trying to stem the tide ahead of his expected announcement, broke his silence on the scandal in early April, saying he ‘tried to make a human connection’ with his actions but ‘will be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space’ in the future.

‘I always try to be in my career, always tried to make a human connection. That’s my responsibility, I think. I shake hands, I hug people. I grab men and women by the shoulders and say you can do this, whether they’re women, men, young, old. It’s the way I’ve always been and tried to show that I care about them and I’m listening,’ he said in a video posted to his Twitter account.

The scandal began when former Nevada politician Lucy Flores accused him of making her uncomfortable during a 2014 campaign appearance when he kissed the back of her head.

Since she spoke, three additional women have come forward.

But other women defended the former vice president, saying they found comfort in his hugs.

The scandal will likely be one of the first items he’ll have to address in his upcoming set of interviews on ABC.

Biden’s first White House bid in 1988 ended after a plagiarism scandal.

In 2008, he dropped out after less than 1 per cent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses, a fact Trump has mocked him for.

‘He ran two or three times, he never got about one percent. And then [Barack] Obama came along and took him off the trash heap, and he became a vice president, and now he’s leading,’ Trump told Fox News in January.

Later in 2008, Obama named Biden his running mate, in part to use Biden’s elder statesman experience to balance out his lack of time on the national political scene.

Additionally, Biden’s willingness to work with Republicans has caused him political headaches.

He was forced to walk back a comment last month that Vice President Mike Pence is ‘a decent guy’ after intense blowback from liberal activists upset with Pence’s opposition to gay rights.

Biden was also a close friend of the late Sen. John McCain and spoke at one of of his memorial services.

Biden's first accuser, former Nevada politician Lucy Flores, said she was 'mortified' when Biden planted a 'big, slow kiss' on the back of her head as she waited to take the stage at a campaign rally five years ago

Biden’s first accuser, former Nevada politician Lucy Flores, said she was ‘mortified’ when Biden planted a ‘big, slow kiss’ on the back of her head as she waited to take the stage at a campaign rally five years ago

Biden speaks at a rally in support of striking Stop & Shop workers in Boston last week

Biden speaks at a rally in support of striking Stop & Shop workers in Boston last week

First elected to the Senate in 1972, Biden has a long record in Congress that he will have to defend.

The most prominent has been the 1991 confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Clarance Thomas. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden allowed Anita Hill, who had accused Thomas of sexual harassment, to face harsh questions form an all-male panel. Thomas was later confirmed to the court.

Biden has since apologized for his role in the hearing.

His deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said on CNN Thursday that Biden and Hill have spoken but she declined to give any details on the timing or nature of the conversation.

‘I’m not going to get into their private discussions, but they have spoken,’ Bedingfield said.

But in the #MeToo era, particularly after the contentious confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, his apology may not be enough to silence the issue.

The former vice president also has a compelling personal story to back up his professional experience.

A a son of Scranton, Pa., his wife Neilia and daughter Naomi were killed in a car crash in December 1972, shortly after he was first elected to the Senate.

Sons Beau and Hunter survived. Biden went on to marry Jill Jacobs in 1977 and have another daughter.

But Beau died in May 2015 of brain cancer. Biden opted not to run in 2016, in part because of Beau’s death, despite his dying son asking him go for it.

Biden reflected on that in a book he wrote about his conversations with Beau.

‘He was worried that what I’d worked on my whole life, the things that mattered to me the most since I was a kid, that I’d walk away,’ Biden said.

WHO ARE THE 20 DEMOCRATS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020?

JOE BIDEN

Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 78

Entered race: April 25, 2019

Career: No current role. A University of Delaware and Syracuse Law graduate, he was first elected to Newcastle City Council in 1969, then won upset election to Senate in 1972, aged 29. Was talked out of quitting before being sworn in when his wife and daughter died in a car crash and served total of six terms. Chaired Judiciary Committee’s notorious Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. Ran for president in 1988, pulled out after plagiarism scandal, ran again in 2008, withdrew after placing fifth in the Iowa Caucuses. Tapped by Obama as his running mate and served two terms as vice president. Contemplated third run in 2016 but decided against it after his son died of brain cancer.

Family: Eldest of four siblings born to Joe Biden Sr. and Catherine Finnegan. First wife Neilia Hunter and their one-year-old daughter Naomi died in car crash which their two sons, Joseph ‘Beau’ and Robert Hunter survived. Married Jill Jacobs in 1976, with whom he has daughter Ashley. Beau died of brain cancer in 2015. Hunter’s marriage to Kathleen Buhle, with whom he has three children, ended in 2016 when it emerged Hunter was in a relationship with Beau’s widow Hallie, mother of their two children. Hunter admitted cocaine use; his estranged wife accused him of blowing their savings on drugs and prostitutes

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Ultra-moderate who will emphasize bipartisan record. Will come under fire over record, having voted: to stop desegregation bussing in 1975; to overturn Roe v Wade in 1981; for now controversial 1994 Violent Crime Act; for 2003 Iraq War; and for banking deregulation. Says he is ‘most progressive’ Democrat. New positions include free college, tax reform, $15 minimum wage. No public position yet on Green New Deal and healthcare. Pro-gun control. Has already apologized to women who say he touched them inappropriately

Would make history as: Oldest person elected president

Slogan: To be announced

CORY BOOKER

Age on Inauguration Day: 51

Entered race: February 1, 2019

Career: Currently New Jersey senator. High school football star who went to Stanford or undergraduate and masters degrees before studying in Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and Yale Law School. Worked for advocacy and youth projects and successfully ran for Newark, New Jersey, city council in 1998. Narrowly lost mayoral election in 2002 facing claims he was ‘suburban’ and ‘not black enough.’ Ran again in 2006 and won landslide on radical reform platform for troubled city, including being tough on crime, cutting budget deficit, increasing affordable housing and tackling failing schools – controversially taking a huge donation from Mark Zuckerberg for the city. Ran for New Jersey senate seat in 2013 special election and won; won full term in 2014

Family: Unmarried but dating actress Rosario Dawson. Parents Cary and Carolyn were among IBM’s first black executives. Brother Cary Jr. is education adviser to New Jersey’s Democratic governor

Religion: Baptist

Views on key issues: Self-proclaimed liberal. Endorses abortion rights; affirmative action; single-payer health care; criminal justice reform; path to citizenship for ‘dreamers; federal marijuana decriminalization; $15 minimum wage; but has also spoken against tech regulation and for long-term deficit reduction

Would make history as: First unmarried president since Grover Cleveland in 1886

Slogan: Together, America, We Will Rise

PETE BUTTIGIEG

Age on Inauguration Day: 39

Entered race: Announced formation of exploratory committee January 23, 2019. Formally entered race April 14, 2019

Career: Currently mayor of Sound Bend, Indiana. Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar who got a second degree from Oxford before working as a McKinsey management consultant and being commissioned as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer. Elected South Bend mayor in 2011 and served in combat in 2013, won re-election in 2015

Family: Came out as gay during second mayoral run and married husband Chasten Glezman, a middle school teacher in 2018. Parents were University of Notre Dame academics. Surname is pronounced BOOT-edge-edge. Would be first combat veteran since George H.W. Bush

Religion: Raised as a Catholic, now Episcopalian

Views on key issues: Has said Democratic party needs a ‘fresh start’; wrote an essay in praise of Bernie Sanders aged 17; backed paid parental leave for city employees; other policies unknown 

Would make history as: First openly gay and youngest-ever president

Slogan: To be announced

JULIAN CASTRO 

Age on Inauguration Day: 46

Entered race: January 12, 2018, at rally in his native San Antonio, TX. Had formed exploratory committee two months previously

Career: No current job. Stanford and Harvard graduate who was a San Antonio, Texas, councilman at 26 and became mayor of the city in 2009. Was Obama’s Housing and Urban Development secretary from 2014 to 2016

Family: Married with nine-year-old daughter, Carina, and four-year-old son, Cristian. His identical twin Joaquin, who is a minute younger, is Democratic congressman. Mother Maria del Rosario Castro was part of ‘radical’ third party for Mexican-Americans; father left his wife and five children for her but they never married. Would be first Hispanic-American president – announced his run in English and Spanish – and first-ever U.S. president with a twin

Religion:  Catholic

Views on key issues: Wants medicare for all; universal pre-K; action on affordable housing; will not take money from political action committees (PACs) tied to corporations or unions. Other views still to be announced

Would make history as: First Hispanic president, first to be a twin  

Slogan: One Nation, One Destiny

JOHN DELANEY

Age on Inauguration Day: 57

Entered race: Filed papers July 28, 2017

Career: No current job. Three-time Maryland congressman, first winning election in 2012. Previously set up publicly-traded companies lending capital to healthcare and mid-size businesses and was youngest CEO at the time of a New York Stock Exchange-listed firm

Family: Married father of four; wife April works for children’s issues nonprofit 

Religion: Catholic 

Views on key issues: Social liberal in favor of legalized pot and gun control but not single-payer healthcare; fiscally conservative

Would make history as: First president from Marlyand 

Slogan: Focus on the Future

TULSI GABBARD

Age on Inauguration Day: 39

Entered race: Still to formally file any papers but said she would run on January 11 2019

Career: Currently Hawaii congresswoman. Born on American Samoa, a territory, and therefore may be subject to questions over whether she is natural-born. Raised largely in Hawaii, she co-founded an environmental non-profit with her father as a teenager and was elected to the State Legislature aged 21, its youngest member in history. Enlisted in the National Guard and served two tours, one in Iraq 2004-2006, then as an officer in Kuwait in 2009. Ran for Honolulu City Council in 2011, and House of Representatives in 2012

Family: Married to her second husband, Abraham Williams, a cinematographer since 2015. First marriage to childhood sweetheart Eduardo Tamayo in 2002 ended in 2006. Father Mike Gabbard is a Democratic Hawaii state senator, mother Carol Porter runs a non-profit.

Religion: Hindu

Views on key issues: Has apologized for anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage views; wants marijuana federally legalized; opposed to most U.S. foreign interventions; backs $15 minimum wage and universal health care; was the second elected Democrat to meet Trump after his 2016 victory

Would make history as: First female, Hindu and Samoan-American president; youngest president ever

Slogan: Lead with Love

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND

Age on Inauguration Day: 54

Entered race: Announced exploratory committee on Stephen Colbert’s CBS show on January 16, 2019. Formal launch in front of Trump International Hotel and Tower, New York, March 24, 2019

Career: Currently New York senator. Dartmouth and UCLA law grad who was a high-flying Manhattan attorney representing big businesses. Says she was inspired to enter politics by hearing Hillary Clinton speak, although she is also scion of a prominent New York Democratic political family. Won New York’s 20th district, centered on Albany in 2004; appointed to Hillary Clinton’s senate seat in 2008 and won it in 2010 special election 63-35; won first full term 2012 and re-elected 67-33 in 2018

Family: Married to British venture capitalist Jonathan Gillibrand with two sons, Theodore, 15, and Henry, ten. Father Douglas Lutnik was Democratic lobbyist; grandmother Polly Noonan was at center of Albany Democratic politics

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Initially pro-gun as Congresswoman, has since reversed herself to be pro-gun control and also pro-immigration; said Bill Clinton should have resigned over Monica Lewinsky and helped force Al Franken out of Senate over groping allegations; in favor of single-payer healthcare and Medicare for all

Would make history as: First female president 

Slogan: Brave wins

KAMALA HARRIS 

Age on Inauguration Day: 56 

Entered race: Announced she was running January 21, 2018 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – on Good Morning America. Formally entered race January 27

Career: Currently California senator. Howard and U.C. Hunter law school grad who worked as assistant district attorney in Alameda County, CA, then in San Francisco’s DA’s office before being elected San Francisco DA in 2003 and used it as springboard to run successfully for California attorney general in 2010. Won again in 2014 and was at center of U.S. attorney general and Supreme Court speculation but also endured a series of controversies, including over police brutality allegations. Ran for Senate in 2016 and established herself on liberal wing of party

Family: Born in Berkeley, CA, to immigrant Indian Tamil mother and Jamaican father who were both academics and brought up from seven to 18  in Montreal, Canada. Dated married San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, when he was 60 and she was 29. Married attorney Douglas Emhoff in 2014 and has two stepchildren; Cole, an aspiring actor, and Ella, an art and design student. Sister Maya was a Hillary Clinton adviser and brother-in-law Tony West is Uber’s chief legal counsel

Views on key issues: Social ultra-liberal who has rejected criticisms of ‘identity politics’ and is running without a political action committee, which will make her reliant on small donors. Has shifted left on criminal justice reform; supports Medicare for all;  pro-gun control and anti-death penalty; says illegal immigration is a civil not a criminal offense

Religion: Has said she was brought up in both Baptist and Hindu tradition

Would make history as: First female and first Indian-American president

Slogan: For The People 

JOHN HICKENLOOPER

Age on Inauguration Day: 68

Entered race: March 4, 2019 with Good Morning America interview

Career: No current job. Wesleyan University-educated geologist who moved to Colorado to work in petroleum industry but was laid off and started Wynkoop Brewing Company, the first craft brewpub in 1988 in Denver’s LoDo (lower downtown) area. Ran for mayor of Denver as an outsider in 2003 and won, then won a second term in 2007. Ran for Colorado governor in 2010 and won 51 per cent of the vote; his nearest rival took 36.5 per cent. Won re-election 49.3 to 46 in 2014, but was term limited and ended his second term in January 2019

Family: Married to second wife Robin Pringle, 40, a vice president at LibertyMedia Corp., owners of Sirius XM. Divorced first wife Helen Thorpe in 2012 after 10 years of marriage; ex-couple have son Teddy, a high school student. Born and brought up in Narbeth, in the Main Line of Philadelphia, his father’s ancestors include Civil War Union general Andrew Hickenlooper

Religion: Quaker

Views on key issues: Voiced support for Green New Deal but has also been in favor of fracking; has not embraced single-payer healthcare but expanded Medicaid in Colorado; long record of being pro-gun control; pro-choice but has gone out of his way to talk about reducing unplanned teenage pregnancies ; opposed to the death penalty; advocated for gay marriage

Would make history as: First Colorado president

Slogan:  To be announced     

JAY INSLEE

Age on Inauguration Day: 69

Entered race: March 1, 2019

Career: Currently Washington governor. Stanford drop-out who graduated from University of Washington and Williamette University School of Law before working as a city prosecutor in Selah, WA. First elected to Washington House of Representatives in 1989 and again in 1990; won Congressional seat in 1992 elections but lost in 1994 and then had failed 1996 gubernatorial run. Returned to Congress in 1998 elections and stayed until 2012 to run for governor. Won first term 51.5 to 48.5; re-elected in 2016 by 54.4 to 45.6

Family: Born in Seattle to late parents Frank, a Navy veteran and high school teacher and coach, and Adele, a Sears sales clerk. Married high school and college sweetheart Trudi since 1972. Three adult sons Jack, a radio producer in Washington D.C.; Connor, director of a Washington state non-profit for the disabled; and Joe, who works for King County, WA’s department of natural resources and parks. Grandfather of three 

Religion: Non-denominational Protestant 

Views on key issues: Running to combat climate change with praise for  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal – his record in Washington D.C. including aspiring to ‘zero emissions’ buildings and largely eliminate fossil fuel use; vocal gun control advocate; fought Trump’s ban on entry to people from seven Muslim-majority countries; called moratorium on death penalty in Washington; supported marijuana legalization in Washington and expected to do so federally; will not take money from political action committees; healthcare position still unclear

Would make history as: First Washington state president 

Slogan: Our moment 

AMY KLOBUCHAR

Age on Inauguration Day: 60

Entered race: Announced candidacy February 10, 2019 at snow-drenched rally in her native Minneapolis

Career: Currently Minnesota senator. Yale and University of Chicago law graduate who became a corporate lawyer. First ran unsuccessfully for office in 1994 as Hennepin, MI, county attorney, and won same race in 1998, then in 2002, without opposition. Ran for Senate in 2006 and won 58-38; re-elected in 2012 and 2018

Family: Married to John Bessler, law professor at University of Baltimore and expert on capital punishment. Daughter Abigail Bessler, 23, works fora Democratic member of New York City council. Father Jim, 90, was a veteran newspaper columnist who has written a memoir of how his alcoholism hurt his family; mom Rose is a retired grade school teacher

Religion: Congregationalist (United Church of Christ)

Views on key issues: Seen as a mainstream liberal: says she wants ‘universal health care’ but has not spelled out how; pro-gun control; pro-choice; backs $15 minimum wage; no public statements on federal marijuana legalization; has backed pro-Israel law banning the ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ movement; spoke out against abolishing ICE

Would make history as: First female president

Slogan: To be announced

WAYNE MESSAM

Age on Inauguration day: 46

Entered race: Announced March 28, 2019, formal launch March 30, 2019

Career: Currently mayor of Miramar, Florida. Florida State University football star who played starting wide receiver, and graduated in 1997. Worked in construction industry as contractor and started his own company in 2007. Ran for City of Miramar Commission in 2011 and mayor in 2015, defeating 16-year Democratic incumbent and becoming first black mayor of the city. Won second term March 2019, days before announcing presidential bid

Family: Married to college sweetheart Angela Sands, 44, who is also his business partner. Three college-age children: son Wayne Jr. and twin daughters Kayla and Kyla. Fourth child and first American-born child of Jamaican immigrants Hubert , a sugar-cane cutter, and his wife Delsey, who are both deceased. Was president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials in 2018

Religion: Worships at the Fountain of New Life Church in Miami Gardens where he is a deacon

Views on key issues: Says he is staunch advocate of gun control. Wants action on climate change and is opposed to off-shore oil drilling. Opposes Trump immigration policies and proposed forcing immigration officials to get a warrant before entering city property. Yet to state position on health care and foreign policy

Would make history as: First Jamaican-American and first Florida president 

Slogan: Your Champion

SETH MOULTON

Age on Inauguration Day: 42

Entered race: April 22, 2019

Career: Currently Massachusetts Congressman. Educated at elite Phillips Academy Andover – like both Bush presidents – and Harvard, he joined the Marines early in 2001. Was commissioned in 2002, then saw combat in invasion of Iraq and four total tours of duty, rising to captain and winning a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and a Bronze Star. Attended graduate school, worked for a high-speed rail project in Texas and ran against incumbent Democrat and then Republican in 2014 to take his hometown district of Marblehead, which he has held since.  Would be only second sitting congressman elected president – first was James Garfield in 1880

Family: Married wife Liz Moulton, a divorcee, in 2017. Couple had a daughter, Emmy, in October 2018. Parents Tom and Lynn, a real estate attorney and a secretary, campaigned against Vietnam as students

Religion: United Church of Christ

Views on key issues: Democratic moderate who campaigned on opposition to Iraq War which he served in. Wants a Pacific NATO and radical change to military, with concentration on new technology. Pro-gun control. Healthcare views unclear. Announced support for  Green New Deal. Has compared Trump’s rise to Hitler’s 

Would make history as: Youngest ever president, beating Theodore Roosevelt by 234 days 

Slogan:  To be announced

BETO O’ROURKE

Age on Inauguration Day: 47

Entered race: March 14, 2019

Career: No current job. Born Robert Francis O’Rourke. Boarding-school educated Columbia grad who lived in a New York loft, playing in a punk band and doing desultory jobs and setting up an internet firm. Ran for El Paso city council in 2005, winning re-election and serving until 2012. Ran for Congress in 2012, defeating eight-term Democratic incumbent in primary. Gave up seat to run for Senate against Ted Cruz in 2018, losing 51-48

Family: Married to wife Amy Sanders, nine years his junior, with sons Ulysses and Henry, and daughter Molly. Father Pat was long-time El Paso politician who switched from Democrat to Republican; mom Melissa ran family-owned store in city until selling it after IRS probe. Melissa’s stepfather Fred Korth was one of JFK’s secretaries of the Navy. Father-in-law William Saunders is real estate developer estimated to be worth $500 million

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Wants comprehensive immigration reform to give citizenship to ‘dreamers’ and a path to it for their parents, and vehemently opposes Trump’s wall. Supports federal marijuana legalization. Pro-gun control including an assault rifle ban and universal background checks. Supports single-payer health care but with co-pays and has backed Medicaid expansion. Strongly pro-choice. Has hinted at backing breaking up tech giants. Said he would have voted for impeachment in Congress if he had had the chance

Would make history as: No clear claims 

Slogan: To be announced

TIM RYAN

Age on Inauguration Day: 46

Entered race: April 4, 2019

Career: Currently Ohio congressman. High school football star who got a scholarship to Youngstown State, Ohio, but transferred to nearby Bowling Green University when his career ended in injury. Became a congressional aide, picked up a law degree, then served in the Ohio Senate and when his former House boss Jim Traficant went to prison for fraud ran for his seat in 2002 and won. Has held district – first Ohio 13th then the 17th when Youngstown was redistricted – since with little opposition since. Released book on meditation in 2012 and considered running against Nancy Pelosi for minority leader

Family: Married first grade schoolteacher Andrea Zetts in 2013. Couple had a son, Brady, the following year. Zetts has a daughter, Bella, and a son, Mason, from her first marriage who Ryan says he ‘loves like his own.’ Ryan’s first marriage ended in divorce. He was brought up by his mom Rochelle after she and his father Allen divorced when he was seven

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Moderate who backs Medicare for all. Flipped from anti-abortion to pro-choice in dramatic fashion in 2015. Does not appear to back the Green New Deal but suggests a carbon tax. Spoken up for capitalism but is also pro-union. Advocated for mindfulness teaching in classrooms. Also flipped on gun control from A rating by NRA to strong support of anti-gun measures

Would make history as: Only second sitting congressman elected president – first was James Garfield, also from Ohio, in 1880 

Slogan: To be announced

BERNIE SANDERS

Age on Inauguration Day: 79

Entered race: Sources said on January 25, 2019, that he would form exploratory committee. Officially announced February 19

Career: Currently Vermont senator. Student civil rights and anti-Vietnam activist who moved to Vermont and worked as a carpenter and radical film-maker. Serial failed political candidate in the 1970s, he ran as a socialist for mayor of Burlington in 1980 and served two terms ending in 1989, and win a seat in Congress as an independent in 1990. Ran for Senate in 2006 elections as an independent with Democratic endorsement and won third term in 2018. Challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016 but lost. Campaign has since been hit by allegations of sexual harassment  – for which he has apologized – and criticized for its ‘Bernie bro’ culture

Family: Born to a Jewish immigrant father and the daughter of Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York. First marriage to college sweetheart Deboarah Shiling Messing in 1964 ended in divorce in 1966; had son Levi in 1969 with then girlfriend Susan Cambell Mott. Married Jone O’Meara in 1988 and considers her three children, all adults, his own. The couple have seven grandchildren. His older brother Larry is a former Green Party councilor in Oxfordshire, England. Would be first Jewish president

Religion: Secular Jewish 

Views on key issues: Openly socialist and standard bearer for the Democratic party’s left-turn. Wants federal $15 minimum wage; banks broken up; union membership encouraged; free college tuition; universal health care; re-distributive taxation; he opposed Iraq War and also U.S. leading the fight against ISIS and wants troops largely out of Afghanistan and the Middle East

Would make history as: Oldest person elected president

Slogan: Not me. Us.

ERIC SWALWELL

Age on Inauguration Day: 39

Entered race: Announced on the Stephen Colbert Show, April 8, 2019

Career: College soccer scholar whose sporting career was ended by injury who was a Capitol Hill intern in the building on 9/11. University of Maryland law graduate, served as a prosecutor in Alameda County, CA – where Kamala Harris worked in earlier years. He was elected to Dublin City Council, CA, in 2010 and ran for Congress in California’s 15th District the following year, unseating 20-seat Democrat incumbent through California’s ‘top-two’ system. Number 6 on The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful List in 2014. Won fourth term 73-27 in 2018. Would be only second sitting congressman elected president – first was James Garfield in 1880

Family: Married second wife Brittany Ann Watts, a Ritz-Carlton sales director in 2016, and has a son Nelson and daughter Kathryn. First marriage to Melissa Maranda ended in divorce. Born in Iowa where his father was a police chief who was fired for being too hardline, and brought up in California where the family moved in search of work

Religion: Christian

Views on key issues: Socially-ultra liberal. Has called for mandatory buyback of ‘military-style semi-automatic assault weapons’ and other gun control measures. Supportive of the green new deal but with new jobs guarantee for fossil fuel workers. Wants ‘health-care guarantee’ rather than Medicare for all. Aggressive voice for investigation of Trump

Would make history as: Youngest president ever 

Slogan: Go big. Be bold. Do good.

ELIZABETH WARREN

Age on Inauguration Day: 71

Entered race:  Set up exploratory committee December 31, 2018

Career: Currently Massachusetts senator. Law lecturer and academic who became an expert on bankruptcy law and tenured Harvard professor. Ran for Senate and won in 2012, defeating sitting Republican Scott Brown, held it in 2018 60% to 36%. Was short-listed to be Hillary’s running mate and campaigned hard for her in 2016

Family: Twice-married mother of two and grandmother of three. First husband and father of her children was her high-school sweetheart. Second husband Bruce Mann is Harvard law professor. Daughter Amelia Tyagi and son Alex Warren have both been involved in her campaigns. Has controversially claimed Native American roots; DNA test suggested she is as little as 1,064th Native American

Religion: Raised Methodist, now described as Christian with no fixed church

Views on key issues: Was a registered Republican who voted for the party but registered as a Democrat in 1996. Pro: higher taxes on rich; banking regulation; Dream Act path to citizenship for ‘dreamers’; abortion and gay rights; campaign finance restrictions; and expansion of public provision of healthcare – although still to spell out exactly how that would happen. Against: U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Syria; liberalization of gambling

Would make history as: First female president 

Slogan: To be announced 

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

Age on Inauguration Day: 68

Entered race: Announced exploratory committee November 15, 2018. Formally entered January 28, 2019

Career: Currently an author, Dropped out of Pomona College, California, became part of the counter culture and anti-war movement and ran a ‘metaphysical bookstore’ before publishing spiritual guide A Return to Love and being praised by Oprah, sending it to number one. Published series of follow-ups and founded AIDS charity and subsequently more non-profits including a peace movement. Ran for Congress in 2014 and lost

Family: Born to immigration attorney father Sam and housewife mother Sophie in Houston, Texas. Married for ‘a minute and a half’ to unnamed man; daughter India was born in 1990 but Williamson declines to name her father

Religion: Jewish

Views on key issues: Wants vast expansion of physical and mental healthcare; and nutrition and lifestyle reforms including ban on marketing processed and sugary foods to children; universal pre-K; much of the Green New Deal’s proposals including a de-carbonized economy, electric cars and rebuilding mass transit; gun control through licensing; wants more vacation time; pro decriminalizing all drugs

Would make history as: First female president 

Slogan: Join the Evolution

ANDREW YANG

Age on Inauguration Day: 46

Entered race: Filed papers November 6, 2018

Career: No current job. Started a dotcom flop then become healthcare and education tech executive who set up nonprofit Venture for America

Family: Married father of two. His parents were both immigrants from Taiwan who met at the University of California, Berkeley, as grad students

Religion: Reformed Church

Views on key issues: Warns of rise of robots and artificial intelligence, wants $1,000 a month universal basic income and social media regulated. Spoke out against male circumcision. Wants a state monitor to crack down on ‘fake news.’

Would make history as: First Asian-American president 

Slogan: Humanity First

AND THOSE WHO’VE ALREADY WITHDRAWN 

RICHARD OJEDA. West Virginia ex- state senator and paratrooper veteran

Entered race: November 12, 2018. Quit: January 25, 2019

 

Country Joe and the Fish

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Country Joe and the Fish
Country Joe and the Fish.png

Country Joe and the Fish in 1967
Background information
Origin Berkeley, California, United States
Genres
Years active 1965–70, sporadically thereafter
Labels
Website well.com/~cjfish
Past members Country Joe McDonald
Barry “The Fish” Melton
Gary “Chicken” Hirsh
David Bennett Cohen
Bruce Barthol
David Getz
Peter Albin
John Francis Gunning
Paul Armstrong
Mark Ryan
Gregory Leroy Dewey
Mark Kapner
Doug Metzler

Country Joe and the Fish was an American psychedelic rock band formed in Berkeley, California, in 1965. The band was among the influential groups in the San Francisco music scene during the mid- to late 1960s. Much of the band’s music was written by founding members Country Joe McDonald and Barry “The Fish” Melton, with lyrics pointedly addressing issues of importance to the counterculture, such as anti-war protestsfree love, and recreational drug use. Through a combination of psychedelia and electronic music, the band’s sound was marked by innovative guitar melodies and distorted organ-driven instrumentals which were significant to the development of acid rock.

The band self-produced two EPs that drew attention on the underground circuit before signing to Vanguard Records in 1966. Their debut albumElectric Music for the Mind and Body, followed in 1967. It contained their only nationally charting single, “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine”, and their most experimental arrangements. Their second album, I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die, was released in late 1967; its title track, with its dark humor and satire, became their signature tune and is among the era’s most recognizable protest songs. Further success followed, including McDonald’s appearance at Woodstock, but the group’s lineup underwent changes until its disbandment in 1970. Members of the band continue in the music industry as solo recording artists and sporadically reconvene.

 

History

Formation (1965)

The first lineup of Country Joe and the Fish formed in mid-1965, when Country Joe McDonald (vocalsacoustic guitar) and Barry “The Fish” Melton (lead guitar, vocals) came together as a duo.[1] The two musicians had a background rooted in folk music, were enamored with the recordings of Woody Guthrie, and worked on the local acoustic coffeehouse circuit in the early 1960s.[1] Melton honed his political protest prowess as a guitarist in Los Angeles, at venues such as the Ash Grove, before relocating to Berkeley, California, where he was a regular at the Jabberwock cafe.[2] Prior to the group, McDonald set up two folk and jug bands, the Berkeley String Quartet and the Instant Jug Band, both of which served as outlets for his original material, and with the latter group including Melton.[3] In addition, McDonald was a publisher of the left-wing underground magazine Et Tu Brute, which later became Rag Baby, containing poetry, drawings, and political messages.[4] By early 1965, McDonald had become involved in the burgeoning folk scene in Berkeley, and the Free Speech Movement that was organizing demonstrations in University of California, Berkeley, which opposed the war in Vietnam. Not long afterwards, McDonald was inspired to record a “talking issue” of his magazine, and organized Country Joe and the Fish with Melton and fellow musicians Carl Schrager (washboardkazoo), Bill Steele (bass guitar), and Mike Beardslee (vocals), out of both necessity of a recording alias and political device, to self-produce an extended play.[5][6]

ED Denson, the co-publisher of Rag Baby, introduced McDonald to Chris Strachwitz, who owned Arhoolie Recording Studios, to self-produce the EP.[7] Sensing the band’s potential, Denson assumed management control, and was responsible for coining the group’s name—a reference to Josef Stalin and to Mao Zedong‘s description of revolutionaries as “the fish who swim in the sea of the people”.[2] McDonald, who had recording experience, began utilizing Arhoolie Recording Studios to record four songs split equally between the band and a local folk musician, Peter Krug. It was during this time at Arhoolie Records that Country Joe and the Fish’s folk sound and political protest prowess—an amalgam of their own Guthrie-influenced material and their folk music roots—began to emerge. The band’s side of the EP featured two originals by McDonald, an acoustic version of “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag“, and “Superbird”.[5][8] According to McDonald, “The Fish Cheer” was written in 30 minutes, with a purpose of expressing satiric and dark commentary on the US’s involvement in the Vietnam War.[9] In October 1965, 100 copies of the EP, titled Rag Baby Talking Issue No. 1, were distributed on McDonald’s independent label at a Teach-in in UC Berkeley and underground shops selling Rag Baby magazine.[10]

For a brief period, McDonald and Melton performed together as a duo at college campuses in the Northwest on behalf of Students for a Democratic Society before returning as regulars at the Jabberwock cafe.[11] The two were joined by local jug band musicians, including Melton’s roommates, bass player Bruce Barthol and guitarist Paul Armstrong, and bluegrass guitarist David Bennett Cohen, with whom Melton played in another jug band. The addition of drummer John Francis-Gunning rounded out the six-piece ensemble.[12] It was during their residency at the Jabberwock that Country Joe and the Fish learned to play as a group and expand their repertoire. Within months, based on McDonald and Melton’s interest in the live performances of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the recordings on Bob Dylan‘s albumHighway 61 Revisited, and their use of the mind-altering drug LSD, the group began equipping themselves with electric instruments and delving more into psychedelia.[13] As a result, Cohen was moved over to the organ. Cohen’s experience with keyboardswas limited to having played piano at a semiprofessional capacity at the Jabberwock, but, nonetheless, he quickly adapted to the qualities of the instrument.[14] Melton describes the change of the group: “Once we hit into the electric medium and into the rock medium, we were pandering to the public taste. We became extraordinarily popular. The little folk club where we used to play once every two weeks, we played every single night for a month, or something like that, and filled it. And after a while we filled two shows every single night”.[13]

Electric music (1966–68)

As Country Joe and the Fish’s popularity grew, the band relocated to San Francisco in early 1966 and became popular fixtures at the Avalon and the Filmore Auditorium. On June 6, 1966, the band recorded a second self-produced EP, which was packaged separately from the Rag Baby magazine and, upon its release, debuted the new psychedelic rock incarnation of the group.[15] The EP fulfilled the band’s ambitions to incorporate electric instruments into their music, effectively melding the instrumentals and pioneering an early template for the musical subgenre of acid rock. It included McDonald’s compositions “(Thing Called) Love” and “Bass Strings” on the A-side and the six-minute “Section 43” on the B-side.[16] Music historian Richie Unterberger praised “Section 43”, saying its “Asiatic guitar, tribal maracas, devious organ, floating harmonica, and ethereal mid-sections of delicate koto-like guitar picking rivaled the Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s East West as the finest psychedelic instrumental ever”.[13] Within three months, airplay of the EP spread across the new so-called progressive radio stations, reaching as far as New York City, and establishing Country Joe and the Fish as a nationally relevant musical act.[17]

Through connections that Cohen had with record producer Samuel Charters, the group signed a recording contract with Vanguard Records in December 1966, just as the label, which had primarily released folk music, was attempting to branch out into the growing psychedelic rock scene.[14] While the band waited to record their debut album, they were present at the Human Be-In, along with other influential San Francisco musical acts, including Jefferson AirplaneBig Brother and the Holding Company, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. The event was a prelude to the Summer of Love and helped publicize counterculture ideals such as ecologyfree-love and the use of illicit drugs.[18]

In February 1967, Country Joe and the Fish entered Sierra Sound Laboratories to record their debut album, Electric Music for the Mind and Body, with Charters and Denson overseeing the process. Prior to their studio work, Armstrong left the group and began a two-year alternative assignment as a conscientious objector, driving a truck for Goodwill Industries.[12] Francis-Gunning was involved in the beginnings of the album’s development but left when the rest of the band complained about his drumming technique. He was replaced by Gary “Chicken” Hirsh. The next recording session was postponed for three days as the most recognizable lineup of Country Joe and the Fish rehearsed with their new drummer at the Barn, in Santa Cruz.[19] Hirsh’s abilities were immediately distinguishable on the album, as he demonstrated an acute and articulate drum beat that music critic Bruce Eder praised as “some of the best drumming on a psychedelic record this side of the late Spencer Dryden“.[20]

Electric Music for the Mind and Body was released on May 11, 1967. Much of the album’s material continued to expand upon the band’s new psychedelic medium, with it embracing all facets of the members’ influences, which ranged from their folk roots, bluesraga rockand hard rock.[21] The album also saw Cohen coming forward in a larger role with inventive distorted-organ melodies.[22] In addition, McDonald’s lyrical content, which brazenly pronounced topics of political protestrecreational drug use, and love, augmented by satirical humor, clearly introduced the band’s orientation and message. The compositional structures followed discrete movement patterns emulating the style of John Fahey, whom McDonald admired.[21] Though Electric Music for the Mind and Body was among the most complex works to date, it possessed the quality that several other San Francisco acts shared of being recorded mostly live, with only the vocals being overdubbed after the instrumentals were completed.[23]

Electric Music for the Mind and Body was a success upon release, charting at number 39 on the Billboard 200, and remains one of the most enduring psychedelic works of the counterculture era. A single, “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine”, was distributed a month prior to the release of the album and became the only Country Joe and the Fish single to chart, peaking at number 98 on the Billboard Hot 100, in large part a culmination of its airplay on FM broadcasting and college stations.[24] A reworked version of “The Fish Cheer” was intended to be released as a track on the album. However, Charters vetoed the decision to see whether the controversial song “Superbird” would face a radio ban.[25] Nonetheless, the band was considered a forerunner in the emerging music scene in San Francisco, exhibiting one of the more polished debuts, just as its contemporaries were still refining their own sound.[21][26] Melton attributes the album’s success, particularly in San Francisco, to the band’s appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. Subsequently, the group toured the East Coast with an elaborate psychedelic light show.[27]

The band returned to the studio, this time at Vanguard Studios in New York City, between July and September 1967. When “Superbird”, a tune mocking President Lyndon Johnson, was not banned from radio promotion, the band was given the go-ahead to record “The Fish Cheer”, which saw the group moving away from the original folk composition toward electric instrumentals more synthesized toward psychedelia. The song became the title track of the band’s second album, I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die, released in November 1967. The album was not as successful as its predecessor, but still charted at number 67.[28] The composition represented growing anti-war sentiment expressed by those opposing the Vietnam War, and is often considered one of the most recognized and celebrated protest songs of the era.[29][30] “The Fish Cheer” was also pivotal in communicating the attitude against the war, but was set apart from other anti-war songs for its use of sarcastic humor and satire on the controversial conflict.[31] Writer Lee Andresen reflects on the song’s meaning, saying, “the happy beat and insouciance of the vocalist are in odd juxtaposition to the lyrics that reinforce the sad fact that the American public was being forced into realizing that Vietnam was no longer a remote place on the other side of the world, and the damage it was doing to the country could no longer be considered collateral, involving someone else.”[32]

The song met unprecedented exposure among the band’s young audience after a performance at the Schaefer Music Festival in New York City, in the summer of 1968.[20] Hirsh suggested that instead of the opening chorus spelling “fish”, it would spell “fuck“, giving birth to the infamous “Fuck Cheer”.[20] The crowd of young teenagers and college students applauded the act; however executives from The Ed Sullivan Show barred Country Joe and the Fish from their scheduled appearance on the program, and any other possible events.[25]Hirsh has never explained why he recommended the change in lyrics, but the act is seen as a social and political statement advocating free speech.[29] The recorded version of “The Fish Cheer” received airplay, even on mainstream radio stations, which contributed to the success of the band’s third album, Together, its most commercially successful. The album, released in August 1968, featured songwriting by all of the band members and charted at number 23 nationally.[33]

Lineup changes and Woodstock (1969–70)

In September 1968, Barthol left the band, just prior to their fourth album. His departure was due to the rest of the band’s unwillingness to partake in the Festival for Life, an event established by the Youth International Party in Chicago that was intended to have the participation of several well-known musicians attract thousands of spectators for the 1968 Democratic National Convention.[12] However, the city refused to issue any permits, and the band members, by majority vote, decided to withdraw out of fear that their equipment would be damaged.[34] After the festival resulted in riots and violent clashes between demonstrators and the police, Barthol’s conviction that Country Joe and the Fish should have held a larger role precipitated his departure from the group and move to England.[12]

Between January 9 and 11, 1969, the band performed at the Fillmore West as a farewell to the group’s most famous lineup, with Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane standing in as the bass player. The band was joined by Jerry GarciaJorma KaukonenSteve Miller, and Mickey Hart for the 38-minute finale, “Donavan’s Reef Jam”. Recordings from the concerts were later assembled on the live album Live! Fillmore West 1969, released on March 12, 1996.[35] Hirsh and Cohen left soon after recording the group’s next album, Here We Are Again, and a new lineup was configured with Casady and David Getz, who formerly played drums with Big Brother and the Holding Company. The group released Here We Are Again in July 1969. It charted at number 48, and saw Country Joe and the Fish moving to a pop-oriented approach. Country Joe and the Fish’s personnel remained relatively stable for the next six months, though Peter S. Albin, also an alumnus of Big Brother and the Holding Company, replaced Casady at bass.[2]

However, when McDonald reassembled the band for a last-minute scheduling at the Woodstock Festival, another personnel change resulted in the group’s final lineup, which included recruits Mark Kapner on keyboards, Doug Metzner on bass, and Greg Dewey on drums. Among the festival’s most memorable moments was McDonald’s unexpected solo performance on August 16, 1969, which included “The Fuck Cheer” as a finale.[36] The audience receptively responded by chanting along with McDonald. McDonald’s rendition of “The Fuck Cheer” propelled the song into the mainstream culture in the U.S., and was featured on the Woodstock film, which was released on March 26, 1970. Radio stations regularly played both versions of the cheer, though the opposition to “The Fuck Cheer” limited its exposure to underground stations.[37] In December 1969, McDonald began his own career outside the band, releasing cover versions of Guthrie-penned songs on Thinking of Woody Guthrie, and country standards on Tonight I’m Singing Just For You.[38] All the while, the group looked to capitalize on the momentum from Woodstock and their appearance in the film, Zachariah, by releasing their fifth album, CJ Fish, in May 1970. The album was a moderate success, reaching number 111 nationally. However the band members lacked the motivation for touring and recording, which led to their disbandment in mid-1970.[17]

Aftermath and reunions

McDonald pursued his solo recording career, which spans over 30 albums, and remains an active anti-war campaigner. He has also appeared in every Woodstock reunion festival since 1979.[39] Melton performed solo as well, under the moniker “The Fish”, and later became a member of the Bay Area supergroupthe Dinosaurs, in the 1980s. Since 1982, Melton was able to practice law in California and became a Public Defender of Yolo County, California until his retirement in June 2009.[40] Country Joe and the Fish members sporadically reconvene, most notably when the classic 1967 lineup recorded Reunion in 1977.[41] The lineup, except Melton, came together again as the Country Joe Band in 2004. In the same year, the group resumed touring, released the Barthol-penned single, “Cakewalk to Baghdad”, and the live album Live in Berkeley. Though the Country Joe Band disbanded in 2006, some of the members still occasionally tour together.[42]

Discography

Singles

  • “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine” b/w “Masked Marauder” (1967) (#98 Billboard Hot 100)
  • “Janis” b/w “Janis” (instrumental) (1967)
  • “Who Am I?” b/w “Thursday” (1968)
  • “Rock and Soul Music Part 1” b/w “Rock and Soul Music Part 2” (1968)
  • “Here I Go Again” b/w “Baby You’re Driving Me Crazy” (1969)
  • I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” b/w “Janis” (1969)
  • “Hang On” b/w “Hand of Man” (1971)

EPs

  • Talking Issue #1, Rag Baby (1965)
  • Country Joe and the Fish, Rag Baby (1966)

Studio albums

Live album

  • Live! Fillmore West 1969 (1994)

Compilations

References …

External links

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Story 4: The Winner Is? — That Guy With The Tinted Hair! — Meant to Be — I’m Gonna Show You Crazy — I’m A Mess — Last Hurrah — Videos

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Bebe Rexha – Meant to Be (feat. Florida Georgia Line) [Official Music Video]

Bebe Rexha – I’m Gonna Show You Crazy (Official Music Video)

I’m Gonna Show You Crazy – Bebe Rexha (Lyric Video) *Explicit

Bebe Rexha – I’m A Mess

Bebe Rexha – Last Hurrah (Official Music Video)

Bebe Rexha

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Bebe Rexha
Bebe Rexha live at Staples Center, Los Angeles 15 (cropped).jpg

Rexha performing in 2016
Background information
Birth name Bleta Rexha
Born August 30, 1989 (age 29)
New York CityNew York, U.S.
Genres PopR&BEDM
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active 2010–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website beberexha.com

Bleta “Bebe” Rexha (/ˈbbi ˈrɛksə/Albanian pronunciation: [bɛbɛ rɛdʒa]; born August 30, 1989) is an American singer and songwriter.[1] After signing with Warner Bros. Records in 2013, Rexha received songwriting credits on Eminem and Rihanna‘s single “The Monster” (which later received the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Performance) and has also contributed songwriting to songs recorded by Shinee,[2] Selena Gomez and Nick Jonas.[1][3][4][5] Rexha released her debut extended play in 2015, I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, which saw the moderate commercial success of the single “I’m Gonna Show You Crazy“.

Rexha released two additional extended plays in 2017, All Your Fault: Pt. 1 and All Your Fault: Pt. 2, which again saw the moderate success of the singles “I Got You” and “The Way I Are (Dance With Somebody)“. Rexha has also seen success with several collaborations including “Me, Myself & I” with G-Eazy, “In the Name of Love” with Martin Garrix, and “Meant to Be” with Florida Georgia Line, the latter of which seeing large success as a country crossover single, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. Rexha’s debut studio album Expectations (2018) reached number 13 on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States and saw the success of its lead single “I’m a Mess“, and brought Rexha two nominations for Best New Artist and Best Country Duo/Group Performance at the 61st Grammy Awards.[6][7]

Early life[edit]

Rexha was born on August 30, 1989, in BrooklynNew York,[8] to ethnic Albanian parents.[9] Her father, Flamur Rexha, is an Albanian born in Debar when it was part of Yugoslavia. He immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 21, and her mother, Bukurije Rexha, was born in the U.S. to an Albanian family with roots in Gostivar (which, like Debar, is now part of North Macedonia).[10][11] In the Albanian languagebletë means “bee“; and she explained “My parents are Albanian, and people started calling me ‘Bebe’ for short.”[1] Bleta and her family moved to nearby Staten Island when she was six.[9]

Rexha played trumpet and taught herself to play guitar and piano.[12][13] Rexha attended Tottenville High School on Staten Island,[14] where she took part in a variety of musicals.[4][11] She also joined the choir, while still in high school.[13] After joining the choir, she discovered that her voice was a coloratura soprano.[15][16] Rexha lists Coldplaythe CranberriesLauryn HillAlanis Morissette, and Kanye West as musical influences.[17][18]

As a teenager, Rexha submitted a song to be performed at the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences‘ annual “Grammy Day” event. Rexha earned the “Best Teen Songwriter” award, beating around 700 other entrants.[9][19][20] As a result, she signed a contract with talent scout Samantha Cox, who encouraged Rexha to enroll in songwriting classes in Manhattan.[12][21]

Career

2010–2012: Career beginnings with Black Cards

Rexha with Pete Wentz on September 1, 2011, at the Rumsey Playfield

In 2010, Rexha met Fall Out Boy‘s bassist Pete Wentz with whom she began working at a recording studio in New York City.[13][22] She became a member and a lead vocalist of Wentz’s new experimental project of a band, called Black Cards. The band played a variety of live shows and released several singles and remixes. However, in January 2012, Wentz announced that Rexha had left the band to pursue other endeavors.[23] Bebe Rexha was awarded the Able Olman Scholarship for her contributions as a songwriter later that year.[24]

2013–2015: Solo debut and I Don’t Wanna Grow Up

In 2013, Rexha signed with Warner Bros. Records as a solo artist.[25] Rexha had begun writing several songs, including Selena Gomez‘s “Like a Champion” and Nikki Williams‘s “Glowing”.[3] Her most prominent songwriting effort of 2013 was Eminem’s and Rihanna’s “The Monster“, which was released as the fourth single from Eminem’s album The Marshall Mathers LP 2. The song went on to top the charts for the US Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard‘s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and won a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony.[26] That same year, Rexha also wrote and was featured on Cash Cash‘s single “Take Me Home“.[25][17]

On March 21, 2014, Rexha released her debut single, “I Can’t Stop Drinking About You“.[17] The song peaked at number 22 on BillboardTop Heatseekers chart.[27] The music video was released on August 12, 2014. The video was inspired by imagery from films such as Girl, Interrupted and Melancholia.[28] In November 2014, Rexha was featured on rapper Pitbull‘s song “This Is Not a Drill”.[29] and in September 2014, she was picked as Elvis Duran‘s Artist of the Month and was featured on NBC‘s Today show hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, where she performed live her single “I Can’t Stop Drinking About You”.

In December 2014, Rexha released two more singles, “I’m Gonna Show You Crazy” and “Gone“.[30][31] On May 12, 2015, she released her debut EP, I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, through Warner Bros. Records.[32] She also co-wrote and was featured on David Guetta’s single “Hey Mama“, alongside Nicki Minaj and Afrojack.[3] The song peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and received 1.1 million downloads as of June 2015. The song did not originally credit Rexha, despite the fact that she sings the chorus and is featured on background vocals. Eventually, in June 2015, she was given a credit for her work.[32][33]

2015–2017: Collaborations and All Your Fault series

In January 2015, Rexha co-wrote and was featured on G-Eazy’s “Me, Myself & I”. The song peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100[34] and at number one on Billboard Pop Songs.[35] The song was originally titled “I Don’t Need Anything” and was intended as a song for Rexha herself. Instead, she brought the song idea to G-Eazy and was featured during the chorus.[36]

Rexha met Nicki Minaj’s manager, Gee Roberson, and asked if Minaj would contribute to a new song. In March 2016, Rexha released her single, called “No Broken Hearts” featuring Nicki Minaj.[37][21] In April 2016, the music video was released, directed by Dave Meyer.[38] The video accumulated over 240 million views on YouTube.[39]

On July 29, 2016, Rexha and Dutch DJ and record producer Martin Garrix released their single, “In the Name of Love“. It peaked at number 24 on the US Billboard Hot 100, at number four on US Hot Dance/Electronic Songs and entered the top 10 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Italy, and New Zealand. The music video was released on August 23, 2016, on Martin Garrix’s YouTube channel.[40]

On November 6, 2016, Rexha hosted the 2016 MTV Europe Music Awards, at Rotterdam, Netherlands and performed multiple songs throughout the night, such as her single, “I Got You“.[41]

On October 28, 2016, Rexha released “I Got You“. Both “No Broken Hearts” and “I Got You” were originally intended for the All Your Fault album.[42] The latter peaked at number 17 on US Billboard Pop Songs[43] and at number 43 on US Billboard Hot 100.[44] The music video was released on January 6, 2017 and reached over 50 million views in four weeks, and accumulated 250 million views on YouTube. Direction changed from a full studio album to a multi EP project and “No Broken Hearts” was scrapped, making “I Got You” the first and only single from All Your Fault: Pt. 1, released on February 17, 2017. The EP peaked at number 51 on the Billboard 200.[45] In March 2017 in Dallas, Rexha began her first solo headlining tour, promoting the EP across North America and Europe, named the All Your Fault Tour, with a total of 29 dates.[46]

Rexha performing in London, 2017.

In May 2017, Bebe Rexha: The Ride aired on MTV—a documentary which explores the moments which changed Rexha’s life and journey to stardom.[47]

On July 21, 2017, One Direction member Louis Tomlinson released the single “Back to You“, with Rexha and Digital Farm Animals as featured artists. The song peaked at number 40 on Billboard Hot 100.

The Way I Are (Dance with Somebody)” featuring Lil Wayne was released as the first single from All Your Fault: Pt. 2 on May 19, 2017.[48] On June 12, Rexha performed the song at the Ubisoft E3 press conference, before announcing Just Dance 2018, on which the song appears.[49] The second EP as part of the project was released on August 11, 2017. In support of the EP and American singer and songwriter Marc E. Bassy‘s debut album, Rexha planned to go on a co-headlining tour across the United States: the Bebe & Bassy Tour, in October 2017. The tour was short-lived due to an infection putting Rexha on strict vocal rest, with Marc E. Bassy eventually going on a solo US tour in March 2018.[50][51]

On October 24, 2017, “Meant to Be” was released as the second single from Pt. 2, with the music video premiering a day earlier.[52][53] The song peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100[54] and as of November 17, 2018, has spent 50 weeks at number one on the Hot Country Songs chart,[55] breaking the record for most weeks atop the chart previously held by “Body Like a Back Road” by Sam Hunt.

2017–present: Expectations

In September 2017, Rexha began teasing new songs for a third installment in the All Your Fault series, with her manager going on record about its release.[56] However, it appeared plans had changed, as Bebe revealed through a tweet in November 2017 that her next project would be called Expectations.[57] Rexha revealed the cover art for this debut studio album on April 8, 2018, and the album was released on June 22, 2018.[6] Previous singles from All Your Fault, “I Got You” and “Meant to Be” appear on Expectations as well.

On April 13, 2018, “Ferrari” and “2 Souls on Fire”, the latter of which features Quavo of Migos, were released as promotional singles along with the pre-order.[58]

On June 15, 2018, “I’m a Mess” was released as the first single from the album.[59]

On November 20, 2018, “Say My Name” was released which featured David Guetta and J Bavin.[citation needed]

In December 2018, Rexha was nominated for Best New Artist at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.[citation needed]

On February 21, 2019, Bebe Rexha released her new single “Last Hurrah.”[citation needed]

On February 25, 2019, it was announced that Rexha will be the fifth coach for The Voice’s Comeback Stage for season 16.

Artistry

Rexha’s musical style has switched with each album,[60] but she has been labeled as a pop artist.[61][62] Her songs span a wide range of genres, including hip hopalternative rockEDMR&B and country.[61]

She was mainly influenced by Lauryn Hill whom she calls the “Queen of R&B“.[63] She was also influenced by other artists such as Bob MarleyMadonnaBlondieAlanis Morissette and Coldplay.[64]

Personal life

Rexha is a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ+ community,[65] and has described her own sexuality as “fluid”.[66] On April 15, 2019 Rexha revealed she is bipolar on Twitter in a personal note to her fans.[67]

Discography

Studio albums

Extended plays

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2016 MTV Europe Music Awards[68] Host Event presented by MTV Networks Europe which awards prizes to musicians and performers
2017 Bebe Rexha: The Ride[69] Herself Documentary which explores the moments that changed Rexha’s life
2017 Pitch Battle[70] Guest Judge Contest show which sees musical groups facing-off against each other, inspired by Pitch Perfect
2017 A Christmas Story Live![71] Performer A live musical television program inspired by the film of the same name and A Christmas Story: The Musical
2018 American Idol[72][73] Herself Contestant mentor and celebrity duet singer
2019 The Voice Herself/Coach The Comeback Stage
2019 Celebrity Juice Panelist 18th April 2019

Awards and nominations

Tours

Headlining

Co-headlining

Opening act

References …

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The Pronk Pops Show 1227, March 21, 2019 — Story 1:President Trump Said It is Time The United States Recognize the Golan Heights as Part of Israel — America Does Stand With Israel — Videos — Story 2: ISIS Caliphate Final Days Numbered — The End Is Near — Three Cheers — Videos — Story 3: Crazy Communist Cortez aka Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or AOC — Leads Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers aka Radical Extremist Democrat Socialists (REDS) — In Their Guts Voters Know She Is Nuts — Videos — Story 4: Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist (REDS) Want To Replace The Electoral College With Majority Rule Democracy or Tyranny of The Majority — Founding Fathers Were Right and Wise in Establishing The Electoral College — American People Vote By State For President of The United States of America — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Said It is Time The United States Recognize the Golan Heights as Part of Israel — America Does Stand With Israel — Videos

 

See the source image

Word for Word: Prime Minister Netanyahu “deeply grateful” for U.S. support (C-SPAN)

Trump supports Israel’s sovereignty over Golan Heights

With Trump’s Golan Heights move, Netanyahu may be the biggest winner

Trump tweets Israel should have sovereignty over Golan Heights

Trump: Time for US to Recognize Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights

Trump says U.S. should recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel as Netanyahu accuses Iran of trying to set up terror network there — and Trump insists the move has NOTHING to do with saving Bibi’s re-election hopes

  • The Golan Heights are 690 square miles of territory that Israel annexed in 1981 after winning it from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War
  • The United Nations has never recognized Israeli sovereignty there
  • Donald Trump said Thursday on Twitter that it’s time for the U.S. to do so
  • Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Trump on Monday in Washington and to speak at the AIPAC conference
  • The Golan Heights decision will be seen as a seismic move akin to repositioning America’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
  • Trump said in a Fox Business Network interview that he had ‘been thinking about doing it for a long time’
  • Asked whether his announcement was linked to Netanyahu’s political future, Trump said, ‘No. I wouldn’t even know about that’
  • Netanyahu faces near-certain indictment on corruption charges as he prepares to stand for re-election on April 9 

President Donald Trump signaled on Thursday that the U.S. will soon officially recognize the contested Golan Heights region as a part of Israel.

The move comes just four days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit with Trump at the White House.

Israel will see such a development as rivaling the significance of last year’s opening of a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem — a unilateral White House action that now has city authorities planning to name a new subway station after the American president.

Trump said in an interview with the Fox Business Network, slated for broadcast on Friday morning, that he had ‘been thinking about doing it for a long time.’

Host Maria Bartiromo asked the president if the move was about the election – a reference to the April 9 election the embattled Netanyahu faces.

‘No. I wouldn’t even know about that,’ Trump responded. The president’s timing, however, coincides with a political crisis for Netanyhu, who almost certainly will face a corruption indictment following an announcement by his country’s attorney general.

Asked whether his announcement was linked to Netanyahu’s political future, Trump said, ‘No. I wouldn’t even know about that,’ and added: ‘I hear he’s doing okay. But I would imagine the other side, whoever’s against him, is also in favor of what I just did.’

‘Every president has said, “Do that.” I’m the one that gets it done.’

President Donald Trump signaled on Thursday that the U.S. will soon officially recognize the contested Golan Heights region as a part of Israel

 

President Donald Trump signaled on Thursday that the U.S. will soon officially recognize the contested Golan Heights region as a part of Israel

'After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,' the president tweeted

‘After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,’ the president tweeted

The Golan Heights are 690 square miles straddling between Israel and Syria; Israel won the territory and others from Syria in 1967 during the Six-Day War

The Golan Heights are 690 square miles straddling between Israel and Syria; Israel won the territory and others from Syria in 1967 during the Six-Day War

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (center) joined Netanyahu (right) and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (not pictured) in prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted back at Trump, saying Trump's move came 'at a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted back at Trump, saying Trump’s move came ‘at a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel

Netanyahu tweeted his gratitude Thursday afternoon, writing: ‘At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump!’

In a tweet, the president had declared: ‘After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!’

Rumors of the potential move swirled in diplomatic circles this week as Israel-watchers expected a policy announcement timed with an American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting next week, where Netanyahu will speak.

At least four prominent Democratic presidential contenders have said they will skip the annual event as AIPAC has come under fire from their party’s progressive wing.

Fort Wayne, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former HUS Secretary Julian Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are all sidestepping the thorny Israel issue after freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar earned a reputation as an anti-Semite for complaining that moneyed Jews control much of Washington.

The president insisted he knows 'nothing' about how his announcement might help Netanyahu solidify his political position in advance of an April 9 election; Netanyahu faces the possibility of a corruption indictment between now and then

The president insisted he knows ‘nothing’ about how his announcement might help Netanyahu solidify his political position in advance of an April 9 election; Netanyahu faces the possibility of a corruption indictment between now and then

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, Netanyahu and Friedman visited the border between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted back at Trump, saying Trump's move came 'at a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted back at Trump, saying Trump’s move came ‘at a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel

Netanyahu tweeted his gratitude Thursday afternoon, writing: ‘At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump!’

In a tweet, the president had declared: ‘After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!’

Rumors of the potential move swirled in diplomatic circles this week as Israel-watchers expected a policy announcement timed with an American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting next week, where Netanyahu will speak.

At least four prominent Democratic presidential contenders have said they will skip the annual event as AIPAC has come under fire from their party’s progressive wing.

Fort Wayne, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former HUS Secretary Julian Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are all sidestepping the thorny Israel issue after freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar earned a reputation as an anti-Semite for complaining that moneyed Jews control much of Washington.

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, Netanyahu and Friedman visited the border between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights last week

 The Golan Heights’ role as a Middle East political football intensified this week when the State Department stopped referring to it as ‘Israeli-occupied’ territory, a designation favored by Arabs.

In a new report, the area was called the ‘Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.’

A spokesman for Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called that decision ‘a continuation of the hostile approach of the American administration toward our Palestinian people.’

The spokesman said the shift is part of Trump’s plan to ‘liquidate’ the Palestinians’ cause.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 during the Six-Day War. The area’s 690 square miles today are a buffer zone between the two nations.

The United Nations weeks later called on Israel to withdraw from the territory, and from the West Bank and Gaza in a resolution that also declared that Israel had the same right as Arab states ‘to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.’

Pompeo's (center) frequent appearance in Israel is a sign of Trump's closeness with Netanyahu (left) and the value Israelis place on the certainty of their U.S. alliance

Netanyahu, Pompeo and Friedman finished their Old City Jerusalem tour on Thursday with a visit to the Western Wall Tunnels

Netanyahu, Pompeo and Friedman finished their Old City Jerusalem tour on Thursday with a visit to the Western Wall Tunnels

Israel instead enacted a law that effectively annexed the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights in 1981 following years of squabbling over the resolution.

The UN Security Council then passed a resolution declaring ‘that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.’

Netanyahu suggested Thursday in Jerusalem that he’s eager to see Trump make a unilateral move akin to his decision in December 2017 to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, and his later move of America’s embassy there from Tel Aviv.

The presidential order enraged Palestinians, who see the largely Palestinian region of East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian nation whose existence the U.S. hasn’t acknowledged.

Israel’s prime minister also thanked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday for the Trump administration’s strong denunciations of Iran, which Israel regards as an existential threat.

The prime minister accused Tehran on Thursday of attempting to set up a terrorist network to target Israel from the Golan Heights, using Hezbollah militia groups from Lebanon as mercenaries.

Druze women, Arab-speaking Israeli citizens who live in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights but consider themselves Palestinians, watched a protest there last week

Druze women, Arab-speaking Israeli citizens who live in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights but consider themselves Palestinians, watched a protest there last week

‘Just last week we uncovered efforts by Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, to build a military network in Syria, in the Golan Heights,’ Netanyahu said during a press conference. ‘All of you can imagine what would have happened if Israel were not in the Golan: We would have Iran on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.’

‘I think, for this reason, and many more, it is time that the international community recognises Israel’s stay on the Golan, and the fact that the Golan will always remain part of the State of Israel.’

One reason is the steady deterioration of security along a demilitarized border zone between Israel and Syria which lost its historical calm when the Syrian civil war began in 2011.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally, visited the Golan Heights with Netanyahu on Monday and pledged to promote Israel’s sovereignty over the area ‘now and forever.’

Story 2: ISIS Caliphate Final Days Numbered — The End Is Near — Three Cheers — Videos —

Syrian media, Pentagon send conflicting reports on ISIS defeat

Flares illuminate Syrian horizon as WH claims caliphate defeated

militants will still be a threat

Inside ISIS’s Final Fight (HBO)

Fighting in Syria continues as ISIS close to defeat

 

White House declares end to Islamic State, but fighting grinds on

March 22 at 4:59 PM

U.S.-backed forces have pushed the Islamic State out of its final foothold in Syria, the White House said Friday, making a long-awaited victory announcement but defying eyewitness accounts of continued fighting.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the group’s “territorial caliphate has been eliminated in Syria.”

Trump, making brief remarks to reporters after landing in Palm Beach, Fla., showed reporters a map comparing Iraq and Syria at the height of Islamic State power in 2014 with today.

“That’s what we have right now,” he said, indicating areas no longer controlled by the militants.

The announcement, more than four years after the United States launched its first airstrikes against the then-formidable militant group, follows months of speculation about when U.S.-backed Syrian forces would capture the Islamic State’s final foothold in eastern Syria.

Neighboring Iraq declared victory over the group in late 2017.

But the White House statements were immediately contradicted by reports from eyewitnesses and local forces in eastern Syria, where the U.S.-backed ­Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have struggled to root out militant holdouts who are dug in among civilians.

Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the SDF, said the fighting had not eased up around the village of Baghouz, which has been the scene of an intense battle against those holdouts.

“Heavy fighting continues around mount #Baghouz right now to finish off whatever remains of ISIS,” he said in a message on Twitter.

A U.S. military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly, said the SDF was still working “to clear pockets of ISIS from caves under Baghouz.”

The official said there appeared to be a few hundred militants remaining around Baghouz.

Trump claims credit for ISIS’s territorial losses in Syria

President Trump on March 20 showed a map of the Islamic State’s diminished territory in Syria, and said it “will be gone by tonight.” 

Photographs from the area showed the night sky lit up with tracer rounds.

The militants appeared to be pinned down along a cliff near the Euphrates River as they mount a desperate final stand.

More than 50,000 people have left the enclave since January, surprising military planners who have repeatedly believed the area to be almost empty.

On Thursday, the International Rescue Committee said that thousands more civilians could follow in the coming days.

“These women and children are in the worst condition we have seen since the crisis first began,” said Wendy Taeuber, the group’s Iraq and northeast Syria country director.

The Pentagon did not immediately provide an explanation for the apparent disconnect between the White House depiction and reports from eastern Syria.

Trump, who has been eager to end the U.S. military mission in Syria, has repeatedly suggested in recent months that a final victory was imminent, only to have the fighting drag on.

In December, Trump made another victory declaration as he announced, in a surprise move, that he would pull out all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria.

In the following weeks, the president appeared to back away from that victory claim as top advisers warned that an abrupt departure from Syria would alienate allies and jeopardize gains against the militants.

The Pentagon now plans to keep at least 400 troops in Syria to help the SDF and other allies maintain security in former Islamic State strongholds.

While a conclusion to the operation would be a milestone for the Pentagon, officials expect the group will seek to mount continued insurgent attacks in Syria, as it has in Iraq.

Sanders said Trump had been briefed during his flight by acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan.

Shanahan joins Trump at his exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort as the president considers nominating the former Boeing executive to the top Pentagon job.

It was not immediately clear whether Shanahan conveyed to Trump that the Islamic State had been ejected from Baghouz, or whether Trump or Shanahan were aware of the assessment from Syrian and U.S. forces in the region.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/white-house-declares-islamic-state-100-percent-defeated-in-syria/2019/03/22/ce39dd02-4cbd-11e9-9663-00ac73f49662_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c29a4f4aaa92

Story 3: Crazy Communist Cortez aka Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or AOC — Leads Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers aka Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist (REDS) — In Their Guts Voters Know She Is Nuts — Videos —

Hannity: Ocasio-Cortez bashes capitalism

Is Ocasio-Cortez driving a disconnect between the Democratic Party and voters?

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Can Climate Models Predict Climate Change?

Can We Rely on Wind and Solar Energy?

The Paris Climate Agreement Won’t Change the Climate

The Paris Accord: What is it? And What Does it All Mean?

Why I Left Greenpeace

Why I Left the Left

Are Electric Cars Really Green?

Capitalism vs. Socialism

How’s Socialism Doing in Venezuela?

Democratic Socialism is Still Socialism

Is Capitalism Moral?

A Progressive’s Guide to Political Correctness

Why You Can’t Argue with a Leftist

 

The political fraud of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal”

By Will Morrow
23 November 2018

Last week, newly-elected Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a proposal for an addendum to the rules of the US House of Representatives, to create a new congressional committee that would draft legislation for a “Green New Deal.” Nine Democrats have already put their names to the proposal, including Rashida Tlaib, who like Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

The document includes the call for a transition to 100 percent renewable energy within 10 years, and actions to “virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone.” It calls for “a job guarantee program to assure a living wage to every person who wants one”; “massive investment in the drawdown of greenhouse gases,” and “upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety.”

The document, as with Ocasio-Cortez’s politics, is characterized by a massive political fraud. It includes various left-sounding rhetoric, but is entirely directed to and dependent upon the Democratic Party. In particular, the members of the committee would be selected by the Speaker of the House, who is likely to be Nancy Pelosi, the stalwart of the Democratic Party establishment who has received the support of Ocasio-Cortez herself.

Any serious measures to stop global warming, let alone assure a job and livable wage to everyone, would require a massive redistribution of wealth and the reallocation of trillions currently spent on US imperialism’s neo-colonial wars abroad.

Ocasio-Cortez’s document, however, excludes any encroachment on the fortunes of the ruling class. It calls instead for “innovative public and other financing structures,” including a “new public bank,” or system of banks, or “public venture funds,” which in concrete terms means nothing more than new avenues for providing cheap credit to private corporations. Everything is phrased as part of consultation with “business” leaders.

Several of her proposals are explicitly aimed at promoting the interests of different sections of capital, including the call to “promote opportunities” for “entrepreneurship,” and “promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism.”

“Labor market flexibility”—that is, the ability of corporations to fire and hire at will. Such is the character of Ocasio-Cortez’s great left-wing reform!

The original “New Deal,” which included massive public works infrastructure projects, was introduced by Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s amid the Great Depression. Its purpose was to stave off a socialist revolution in America. It was a response to a militant upsurge of strikes and violent class battles, led by socialists who were inspired by the 1917 Russian Revolution that had occurred less than two decades before.

American capitalism could afford to make such concessions because of its economic dominance. The past forty years have been characterized by the continued decline of American capitalism on a world stage relative to its major rivals. The ruling class has responded to this crisis with a social counterrevolution to claw back all gains won by workers. This has been carried out under both Democratic and Republican administrations and with the assistance of the trade unions.

Since the 2008 crash, first under Bush and Obama, and now Trump, the ruling elites have pursued a single-minded policy of enriching the wealthy, through free credit, corporate bailouts and tax cuts, while slashing spending on social services.

To claim as does Ocasio-Cortez that American capitalism can provide a new “New Deal,” of a green or any other variety, is to promote an obvious political fiction.

None of the signatories to the bill believes that any of its proposals—except those directly tailored to corporate interests—will ever be implemented. Its purpose is rather to promote illusions that the Democratic Party, a party of the corporate and financial elite no less than the Republicans, can be transformed into an agency of social progress.

The document states that the newly-formed committee would be required to complete its plan by January 2020 and publish its draft legislation by March 2020, immediately prior to the next presidential elections. Any such documents would be wholly aimed at providing some popular appeal to the Democrats’ election campaign. They would be permanently shelved immediately after the election, regardless of the outcome.

Ocasio-Cortez’s promotion of the “Green New Deal” is also aimed at distracting attention from her own rapid rightward shift after her primary victory.

She has backtracked on her earlier criticisms of Israeli slaughters of Gaza protesters; hailed the late Republican Senator and war criminal John McCain as an “unparalleled example of human decency and American service;” called for securing US borders, dropped her previous calls to “Abolish ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement],” and declared that this slogan “does not mean abolish deportations” of immigrants. Over the weekend, she declared her support for Nancy Pelosi as the speaker of the House.

The “Green New Deal” is another example of the political function of Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA in seeking to provide a “left” political veneer for the capitalist politics of the Democratic Party. The latter is campaigning against the billionaire demagogue Trump on a right-wing basis, attacking him not for his militarist threats, fascistic rants, attacks on immigrants and efforts to build up an extra-parliamentary extreme-right movement, but for being insufficiently deferential toward the American intelligence agencies and aggressive toward Russia.

A socialist response to climate change cannot take place through the Democratic Party or within the framework of capitalism. It requires the organization of production according to a rational, scientific plan on a global scale. This requirement is fundamentally incompatible with both the private ownership of humanity’s productive forces (and the subordination of production according to the profit interests of the capitalist class), and the continued division of the world into rival national states, who compete on behalf of their own capitalist class for markets, profits and geostrategic control.

What is needed is not empty promises of a new “New Deal” bestowed from above by the capitalist class—which in any case is impossible—but socialist revolution by the working class and a fundamental transformation of society.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/11/23/cort-n23.html

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez standing
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York‘s 14th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded by Joe Crowley
Personal details
Born October 13, 1989 (age 29)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Education Boston University (BA)
Website House website

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (/ˌkɑːsi kɔːrˈtɛz/Spanish: [oˈkasjo koɾˈtes];[1] born October 13, 1989), also known by her initials, AOC,[2][3] is an American politician and activist.[4][5] A member of the Democratic Party, she has been the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district since January 3, 2019. The district includes the eastern part of The Bronx and portions of north-central Queens in New York City.

On June 26, 2018, Ocasio-Cortez drew national recognition when she won the Democratic Party’s primary election for New York’s 14th congressional district, defeating the ten-term incumbent Congressman, Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, in what was widely seen as the biggest upset victory in the 2018 midterm election primaries.[11] She beat Republican opponent Anthony Pappas in the November 6, 2018, general election, and at age 29, became the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress.[12] Ocasio-Cortez is noted for her social media presence.[13][14]

Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.[15] Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib are the first two members of the group in Congress. She advocates for a progressive platform that includes Medicare For All, a federal jobs guarantee, a proposed Green New Deal, abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, free public college and trade school, and a 70% marginal tax rate for incomes above $10 million. Before running for Congress, she served as an educational director for the 2017 Northeast Collegiate World Series for the National Hispanic Institute. Ocasio-Cortez majored in international relations and economics at Boston University, graduating cum laude in 2011.

 

Early life

Ocasio-Cortez was born in The BronxNew York City, on October 13, 1989, to Blanca Ocasio-Cortez (née Cortez) and Sergio Ocasio in a Catholic family.[16] She has a younger brother, Gabriel Ocasio-Cortez.[17] Her father was born in the Bronx to a Puerto Rican family and became an architect; her mother was born in Puerto Rico.[18][19] She has described her Puerto Rican community as an amalgamation: “We are black; we are indigenous; we are Spanish; we are European.”[20] Until age five, Ocasio-Cortez lived with her family in an apartment in the neighborhood of Parkchester.[19] The family moved to a house in Yorktown Heights, a suburb in Westchester County.[19]

Ocasio-Cortez attended Yorktown High School, graduating in 2007.[21] She came in second in the Microbiology category of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with a microbiology research project on the effect of antioxidants on the lifespan of the nematode C. elegans.[22] In a show of appreciation for her efforts, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory named a small asteroid after her: 23238 Ocasio-Cortez.[23][24] In high school, she took part in the National Hispanic Institute‘s Lorenzo de Zavala (LDZ) Youth Legislative Session. She later became the LDZ Secretary of State while she attended Boston University. Ocasio-Cortez had a John F. Lopez Fellowship.[25] In 2008, while Ocasio-Cortez was a sophomore at Boston University, her father died of lung cancer.[26][27] During college, she served as an intern in the immigration office during the final year of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy‘s tenure.[28] “I was the only Spanish speaker, and as a result, as basically a kid—a 19-, 20-year-old kid—whenever a frantic call would come into the office because someone is looking for their husband because they have been snatched off the street by ICE, I was the one that had to pick up that phone,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I was the one that had to help that person navigate that system.”[28]

She graduated cum laude from Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, majoring in international relations and economics.[25][29][30]

When her father died intestate in 2008,[31] she became involved in a long probate battle to settle his estate. She has said that the experience helped her learn “firsthand how attorneys appointed by the court to administer an estate can enrich themselves at the expense of the families struggling to make sense of the bureaucracy.”[32]

Early career

After college, Ocasio-Cortez moved back to the Bronx and found work as an educational director. Following the death of her father, she took on an additional job working as a bartender and waitress to help her mother—a house cleaner and school-bus driver—fight foreclosure of their home.[33][34] Ocasio-Cortez later launched Brook Avenue Press, a publishing firm for books that portray the Bronx in a positive light.[35] She worked as lead educational strategist at GAGEis, Inc.[36] Ocasio-Cortez also worked for the nonprofit National Hispanic Institute, serving as the Educational Director of the 2017 Northeast Collegiate World Series, a five-day long program targeted at college-bound high school students from across the United States and other countries, where she also participated in the panel on the future of Latino leadership.[25][37][38]

In the 2016 primary, Ocasio-Cortez worked as an organizer for Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.[39] After the general election, she traveled across America by car, visiting places such as FlintMichigan, and Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, and speaking to people affected by the Flint water crisis and the Dakota Access Pipeline.[40] In an interview, she recalled her visit to Standing Rock as a tipping point, saying that before that, she had believed that the only way to effectively run for office was if you had access to wealth, social influence, and power. But her visit to North Dakota, where she saw others “putting their whole lives and everything that they had on the line for the protection of their community”, inspired her to begin to work for her own community.[41]

2018 campaign

Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional campaign logo was inspired by “revolutionary posters and visuals from the past.”

Ocasio-Cortez began her campaign while waiting tables and tending bar at Flats Fix, a taqueria in New York City’s Union Square.[42] “For 80 percent of this campaign, I operated out of a paper grocery bag hidden behind that bar,” she told Bon Appétit.[43] She was the first person since 2004 to challenge Joe Crowley, the Democratic Caucus Chair, in the primary. She faced a financial disadvantage, saying, “You can’t really beat big money with more money. You have to beat them with a totally different game.” Her campaign posters’ design were said to have taken inspiration from “revolutionary posters and visuals from the past.”[44]

On June 15, the candidates’ only face-to-face encounter during the campaign occurred on a local political talk show, Inside City Hall. The format was a joint interview conducted by Errol Louis, which NY1 characterized as a debate.[45]On June 18, a debate in the Bronx was scheduled, but Crowley did not participate. He sent former New York City Council member Annabel Palma in his place.[46][47][48]

Endorsements

Ocasio-Cortez was endorsed by progressive and civil rights organizations such as MoveOn,[49] Justice Democrats,[50] Brand New Congress,[51] Black Lives Matter,[52] and Democracy for America,[39] and by gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who, like Ocasio-Cortez, also challenged a longtime incumbent. Nixon challenged incumbent Andrew Cuomo in the 2018 New York gubernatorial election[53] but lost.

Governor Cuomo endorsed Crowley, as did both of New York’s U.S. Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, 11 U.S. Representatives, 31 local elected officials, 31 trade unions, and progressive groups such as the Sierra ClubPlanned Parenthood, the Working Families PartyNARAL Pro-Choice America, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, among others.[54] California representative Ro Khanna, a Justice Democrat like Ocasio-Cortez,[55] initially endorsed Crowley but later endorsed Ocasio-Cortez in an unusual dual endorsement.[56]

Primary election

Ocasio-Cortez speaks to a voter during the campaign.

On June 26, 2018, Ocasio-Cortez received 57.13% of the vote (15,897) to Joe Crowley’s 42.5% (11,761), defeating the 10-term incumbent by almost 15 percentage points.[57] Her win, and Crowley’s defeat, came as a shock to many political commentators and analysts and immediately garnered nationwide attention. Time called her victory “the biggest upset of the 2018 elections so far”;[58] CNN made a similar statement.[7] The New York Times described Crowley’s loss as “a shocking primary defeat on Tuesday, the most significant loss for a Democratic incumbent in more than a decade, and one that will reverberate across the party and the country”.[39] The Guardian called it “one of the biggest upsets in recent American political history”.[59] Her victory was especially surprising as she was outspent by a margin of 18 to 1.[60] Merriam-Webster reported that searches for the word “socialism” spiked 1,500% after her victory.[61] Crowley conceded defeat on election night.[62] However, that he did not call primary night to congratulate Ocasio-Cortez was a matter of dispute which was made public on Twitter on July 11, fueling some short-lived speculation that he intended to run against her.[63]

Bernie Sanders and Noam Chomsky congratulated her.[10][64] Several commentators noted the similarities between Ocasio-Cortez’s victory over Crowley and Dave Brat‘s Tea Party movement-supported 2014 victory over Eric Cantor in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th congressional district.[65][66] Like Crowley, Cantor was a high-ranking member in his party’s caucus.[67] After her primary win, Ocasio-Cortez endorsed several progressive primary challengers to Democratic incumbents nationwide,[68] capitalizing on her fame and spending her political capital in a manner unusual even for unexpected primary winners.[69]

Without campaigning for it, Ocasio-Cortez won the Reform Party primary as a write-in candidate in a neighboring congressional district, New York’s 15th, with a total vote count of nine, highest among all 22 write-in candidates. She declined the nomination.[70][71]

General election

Ocasio-Cortez faced Republican nominee Anthony Pappas in the November 6 general election.[72] Pappas, who lives in Astoria, is an economics professor at St. John’s University. According to the New York Post, Pappas did not actively campaign. The Post wrote that “Pappas’ bid was a long shot,” since the 14th has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+29, making it the sixth most Democratic district in New York City. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by almost six to one.[73][74][75] Ocasio-Cortez was endorsed by various politically progressive organizations and figures, including former President Barack Obama and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.[76][77] She spoke at the Netroots Nation conference in August 2018, and was called “the undisputed star of the convention.”[78]

Crowley also remained on the ballot, as the nominee of the Working Families Party (WFP). Neither Crowley nor the party actively campaigned, with both having endorsed Ocasio-Cortez after her Democratic primary victory.[79] Former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, who won reelection in 2006 on a third-party line after losing the Democratic Primary in 2006, penned a July 17 column in the Wall Street Journal expressing his hope that Crowley would actively campaign on the WFP ballot line.[80] Dan Cantor, Executive Director of the WFP, wrote an endorsement of, and apology to, Ocasio-Cortez for the New York Daily News; he asked voters not to vote for Crowley if his name remained on the general election ballot.[81]

Ocasio-Cortez won the election with 78% of the vote (110,318) to Pappas’s 14% (17,762). Her election was part of a broader Democratic victory in the 2018 midterm elections, as the party gained control of the House by picking up at least 40 seats.[82] Saikat Chakrabarti, who had been her campaign co-chair, became chief of staff for her congressional office.[83] Co-creator of two progressive political action committees, he has been called a significant political presence.[84]

Media coverage

Ocasio-Cortez during an interview with Julia Cumming in December 2017

After her primary win, Ocasio-Cortez quickly garnered nationwide media attention, including numerous articles and TV talk-show appearances. She also drew a great deal of media attention when she and Sanders campaigned for James Thompson in Kansas in July 2018. A rally in Wichita had to be moved from a theater with a capacity of 1,500 when far more people said they would attend. The event drew 4,000 people, with some seated on the floor. In The New Yorker Benjamin Wallace-Wells wrote that while Sanders remained “the de-facto leader of an increasingly popular left, [he is unable to] do things that do not come naturally to him, like supply hope.” Wallace-Wells suggested that Ocasio-Cortez had made Sanders’s task easier, as he could point to her success to show that ideas “once considered to be radical are now part of the mainstream”.[85]

Prior to defeating incumbent Joe Crowley in the 2018 Democratic primary, Ocasio-Cortez was given little airtime by most traditional news media outlets.[86][87] Jimmy Dore interviewed her when she first announced her candidacy in June 2017.[88] After her primary win, Brian Stelter wrote that progressive-media outlets, such as The Young Turks and The Intercept, “saw the Ocasio-Cortez upset coming” in advance.[66] Margaret Sullivan said that traditional metrics of measuring a campaign’s viability, like total fundraising, were contributing to a “media failure”.[87] Ocasio-Cortez was barely mentioned in print-media coverage until her primary election win.[89] Ocasio-Cortez was one of the subjects of the 2018 Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 11/9; it chronicled her primary campaign.[90][91]

Just before Ocasio-Cortez took office, Twitter user “AnonymousQ” shared a Boston University student-produced dance video in which she briefly appeared, in an attempt to embarrass her.[92] Many social media users came to her defense, inspiring memes and a Twitter account syncing the footage to songs like “Mambo No. 5” and “Gangnam Style“.[93] Ocasio-Cortez lightheartedly responded by posting a video of herself dancing to Edwin Starr‘s “War“.[92]

116th Congress

File:Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - 2019-01-16 Speech about an immigrant constituent.webm

Ocasio-Cortez’s first speech as a Representative, addressing the 2018–19 United States federal government shutdown

Ocasio-Cortez entered Congress with no seniority but with a large social media presence that could increase her influence in the House. Axios has credited her with “as much social media clout as her fellow freshman Democrats combined.”[13] As of February 2019, she has 3.1 million Twitter followers,[14] up from 1.38 million in November 2018[13] and surpassing Nancy Pelosi.[94] She has 2.2 million Instagram followers[95] and 500,000 followers on Facebook.[96] Her colleagues were so impressed that she was appointed to teach them social media lessons upon her arrival in Congress.[96]

On the first day of congressional orientation, Ocasio-Cortez participated in a climate change protest outside the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.[97] Ocasio-Cortez backed Pelosi’s bid to be Speaker of the House once the Democratic Party reclaimed the majority on the condition that Pelosi “remains the most progressive candidate for speaker.”[98]

During the orientation for new members hosted by the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter about the influence of corporate interests by sponsors such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies: “Lobbyists are here. Goldman Sachs is here. Where’s labor? Activists? Frontline community leaders?”[99][100][101] During her first month in office, admirers of Ocasio-Cortez left dozens of post-it notes with messages of encouragement in orange, pink, yellow. The sticky notes were removed after the Superintendent of House Office Buildings said the notes obscured the braille on her nameplate.”[102]

When Ocasio-Cortez made her first speech on the floor of Congress, C-SPAN tweeted out the video. Within 12 hours, the video of her four-minute speech set the record as C-SPAN’s most-watched Twitter video by a member of the House of Representative.[103]

Speaking at a Congressional hearing with a panel of representatives from campaign finance watchdog groups, Ocasio-Cortez questioned the panel about ethics regulations as they apply to both the president and members of Congress. She asserted that no regulations prevent lawmakers “from being bought off by wealthy corporations.”[104] With more than 37.5 million views, the clip became the most-watched political video ever posted on Twitter.[105]

When President Trump‘s former lawyer Michael Cohen appeared before the Oversight Committee, Ocasio-Cortez asked him whether Trump had ever inflated property values for bank or insurance purposes and inquired where to get more information on the subject. Cohen’s reply implied that Trump may have committed potential tax and bank fraud in his personal and business tax returns, financial statements and real-estate filings.[106][107] David Brooks, a commentator for The New York Times, praised her for “laying down specific questions for specific predicates”.[108]

Committee assignments

Political positions

Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America[15] and embraces the democratic socialist label as part of her political identity. In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, she described democratic socialism as “…part of what I am. It’s not all of what I am. And I think that that’s a very important distinction.”[111] She believes capitalism will gradually be replaced.[citation needed] In response to a question about democratic socialism ultimately calling for an end to capitalism during a Firing Line interview on PBS, she answered: “Ultimately, we are marching towards progress on this issue. I do think that we are going to see an evolution in our economic system of an unprecedented degree, and it’s hard to say what direction that that takes.”[112]

She rejects the policies of Cuba, the USSR and Venezuela, and favors policies that “most closely resemble what we see in the U.K., in Norway, in Finland, in Sweden.”[113][114]

Ocasio-Cortez supports progressive policies such as single-payer Medicare for Alltuition-free public college and trade school,[115] a federal job guarantee,[116] guaranteed family leave,[117] abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,[118] ending the privatization of prisons, enacting gun-control policies,[119] and energy policy relying on 100% renewables.[120] She is open to using Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) as an economic pathway that could provide funding and enable implementation of these goals.[121]

Environment

Ocasio-Cortez speaks on a Green New Deal in front of the Capitol Building in February 2019.

Ocasio-Cortez has called for “more environmental hardliners in Congress”,[122] describing climate change as “the single biggest national security threat for the United States and the single biggest threat to worldwide industrialized civilization” and stating that the world will end in 12 years unless the problem is addressed.[123][124][125] Her comments referred to the recent United Nations report that established that unless carbon emissions are reined in over the next 12 years the effects of climate change will be irreversible.[126] Ocasio-Cortez advocates for the United States to transition to an electrical grid running on 100% renewable energy[127] and to end the use of fossil fuels within 10 years. The changes, estimated to cost roughly $2.5 trillion per year, would be financed in part by higher taxes on the wealthy.[128]

The plan, called the Green New Deal, has gained support from some Democratic senators, including Elizabeth WarrenBernie Sanders and Cory Booker;[127] other Democrats, such as Dianne Feinstein, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Frank Pallone, have expressed opposition. Activist groups such as Greenpeace and the Sunrise Movement have also come out in favor of the Green New Deal. No Republican lawmakers have voiced support.[129][130][131][132]

On February 7, Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey released a joint resolution laying out the main elements of a 10-year “economic mobilization” that would phase out fossil fuel use and overhaul the nation’s infrastructure. Their plan calls for implementing the “social cost of carbon” that was part of the Obama administration’s plans to address climate change and transitioning the United States to 100% renewable, zero-emission energy sources, including electric cars and high-speed rail systems.[133]

Tax policy

Ocasio-Cortez proposed introducing a marginal tax as high as 70% on income above $10 million to pay for the Green New Deal. According to tax experts contacted by The Washington Post, this tax would bring in extra revenue of $720 billion per decade.[134][135] Ocasio-Cortez has opposed and voted against the pay-as-you-go rule supported by Democratic leaders, which requires deficit-neutral fiscal policy, with all new expenditures balanced by tax increases or spending cuts. She joins Ro Khanna in condemning the rule as hamstringing new or expanded progressive policies.[136][137] She cites Modern Monetary Theory, a heterodox macroeconomic theory widely rejected by economists,[138][139] as a justification for higher deficits to finance her agenda.[140][141] Drawing a parallel with the Great Depression, she explains that the Green New Deal needs deficit spending like the original New Deal.[142]

Immigration

Ocasio-Cortez has expressed support for defunding and abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency on multiple occasions. In February 2018, she called it “a product of the Bush-era Patriot Act suite of legislation” and “an enforcement agency that takes on more of a paramilitary tone every single day”.[143][144] That June, she said she would “stop short of fully disbanding the agency”, and would rather “create a pathway to citizenship for more immigrants through decriminalization”.[145] She later clarified that this does not mean ceasing all deportations.[146] She has called the Department of Homeland Security‘s immigration detention centers “black sites“, citing limited public access to them.[147] Two days before the primary election, Ocasio-Cortez attended a protest at an ICE child-detention center in Tornillo, Texas.[148] She was the only Democrat to vote against H.R. 648, a bill to fund and reopen the government, because it funded ICE.[149]

Healthcare

Ocasio-Cortez supports transitioning to a single-payer healthcare system, recognizing medical care as a human right.[150][151] She says that a single government health insurer should cover every American, reducing overall costs.[116] On her campaign website, Ocasio-Cortez says “Almost every other developed nation in the world has universal healthcare. It’s time the United States catch up to the rest of the world in ensuring all people have real healthcare coverage that doesn’t break the bank.”[151] The Medicare-for-all proposal has been adopted by many likely Democratic 2020 presidential contenders.[117]

LGBTQ equality

Ocasio-Cortez is a staunch proponent of LGBTQ rights and LGBTQ equality. She has said she supports the LGBTQ community and thanked its members for its role in her campaign.[152][119] She publicized and later appeared on a video game live stream to help raise money for Mermaids, a charity for trans children.[153] At the January 2019 New York City Women’s March in Manhattan, Ocasio-Cortez gave a detailed speech in support of measures needed to ensure LGBTQ equality in the workplace and elsewhere.[154] She has also made a point of recognizing transgender rights specifically, saying, “It’s a no-brainer … trans rights are civil rights are human rights.”[155]

Israeli–Palestinian conflict

In May 2018, Ocasio-Cortez criticized the Israel Defense Forces‘ use of deadly force against Palestinians participating in the 2018 Gaza border protests, calling it a “massacre” in a tweet.[156] In a July 2018 interview with the PBS series Firing Line, Ocasio-Cortez said that she is “a proponent of a two-state solution[157] and called Israel’s presence in the West Bank an “occupation of Palestine“.[158] Her use of the term “occupation” drew backlash from a number of pro-Israel groups and commentators.[159][160] Others defended her remarks, citing the United Nations’ designation of the territory in the West Bank as occupied.[161][162]

Puerto Rico

Ocasio-Cortez has called for “solidarity with Puerto Rico”. She has advocated for granting Puerto Ricans further civil rights, regardless of Puerto Rico’s legal classification. She advocates for voting rights and disaster relief. Ocasio-Cortez was critical of FEMA‘s response to Hurricane Maria and the federal government’s unwillingness to address Puerto Rico’s political status.[163] She believes the federal government should increase investment in Puerto Rico.[119]

Other issues

  • Education: Ocasio-Cortez campaigned in favor of establishing tuition-free public colleges and trade schools. She has said she is still paying off student loans herself and wants to cancel all student debt.[151]
  • Impeachment of President Trump: On June 28, 2018, Ocasio-Cortez told CNN she would support the impeachment of President Trump, citing Trump’s alleged violations of the Emoluments Clause and stating that “we have to hold everyone accountable and that no person is above that law.”[164][165]
  • Amazon HQ2: Ocasio-Cortez opposed a planned deal by New York City to give Amazon.com $3 billion in state and city subsidies and tax breaks to build secondary headquarters in an area near her congressional district. Ocasio-Cortez said that they should instead invest the $3 billion in their district themselves.[166][167][168][169]

Awards and honors

The MIT Lincoln Laboratory named the asteroid 23238 Ocasio-Cortez after her when she was a senior in high school in recognition of her second-place finish in the 2007 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.[23][24] Ocasio-Cortez was named the 2017 National Hispanic Institute Person of the Year by Ernesto Nieto.[25]

Personal life

Ocasio-Cortez has family in Puerto Rico, where her grandfather lived in a nursing home[163] before dying in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.[170] After Ocasio-Cortez’s father’s death in 2008, her mother and grandmother relocated to Florida due to financial hardship.[18][33]She identifies as Catholic[171] and described her faith and its impact on her life and campaign for criminal justice reform in an article in America, the magazine of the Jesuit order in the United States.[172] Ocasio-Cortez said that she has Sephardic Jewish ancestry, although she does not practice the faith.[171] She has said “to be Puerto Rican is to be the descendant of… African Moors [and] slavesTaino Indians, Spanish colonizers, Jewish refugees, and likely others. We are all of these things and something else all at once—we are Boricua.”[20]

During the 2018 election campaign, Ocasio-Cortez resided in Parkchester, Bronx with her boyfriend, Riley Roberts.[5][173][174][175]

See also

References …