Tag Archives: focus

US Congress returns after a bloody August sharpens focus on guns

US Congress returns after a bloody August sharpens focus on gunsThe US Congress convenes Monday for the first time since recent mass shootings left Americans distraught over surging violence, but the Senate’s Republican leader stressed he would not consider gun legislation without President Donald Trump’s backing. Lawmakers scheduled a forum Tuesday to demand Senate action, and some Democratic presidential candidates have called for a ban on military-style assault weapons like those used in recent massacres.



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Epstein's purported madam now a focus in sex abuse cases

Epstein's purported madam now a focus in sex abuse casesShe's been called Jeffrey Epstein's madam, the woman who recruited girls for his sexual appetites, and at times his social planner and household organizer in places ranging from New York to Palm Beach, Florida. Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of a British publishing magnate who died under mysterious circumstances, is one of the most prominent figures left from the Epstein orbit after his suicide in jail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges . An attorney for Maxwell did not respond Friday to a request for comment.



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The NRA issued a statement supporting Trump's call to focus on mental illness to reduce gun violence after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton

The NRA issued a statement supporting Trump's call to focus on mental illness to reduce gun violence after the shootings in El Paso and DaytonThe NRA backed Trump's call to focus on mental illness after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, despite research showing no link between them.



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Democratic candidates debate 'Medicare for All' when they should focus on saving Obamacare

Democratic candidates debate 'Medicare for All' when they should focus on saving ObamacareDonald Trump came within a hair of repealing the Affordable Care Act in 2017. Republicans in Congress and on the courts aren't giving up: Our view



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Democrats questioning Robert Mueller to focus on obstruction

Democrats questioning Robert Mueller to focus on obstructionDemocrats on the House Judiciary Committee who will question former special counsel Robert Mueller next week plan to focus on a narrow set of episodes laid out in his report, an effort to direct Americans’ attention to what they see as the most egregious examples of President Donald Trump’s conduct. The examples from the Mueller report include Trump’s directions to White House counsel Donald McGahn to have Mueller removed and, later, orders from Trump to McGahn to deny that happened.



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Russia pushes UN to focus on N.Korea sanctions' toll

Russia pushes UN to focus on N.Korea sanctions' tollThe UN Security Council on Wednesday extended the work of a key panel that investigates North Korean sanctions-busting following weeks of negotiations over Russia’s demands for a stronger focus on the humanitarian impact of the tough measures. The council unanimously approved a US-drafted resolution renewing for a year the mandate of the panel of experts which reports to the UN sanctions committee on North Korea. The approval had been held up by Russia which had requested that the panel be tasked with providing reports on the impact of sanctions on North Korea’s humanitarian crisis, according to documents seen by AFP.



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Eric Swalwell Enters Dem Primary With Focus on Gun Control

Eric Swalwell Enters Dem Primary With Focus on Gun ControlRepresentative Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.) announced his entry into the crowded 2020 Democratic primary field Monday night during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.> TONIGHT: California Representative @EricSwalwell announces on @colbertlateshow that he is running for President! LSSC pic.twitter.com/bvzBPIkSnz> > — The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) April 8, 2019“I talked to kids who sit in their classrooms afraid they’ll be the next victims of gun violence. They see Washington [D.C.] do nothing about it after the moments of silence,” Swalwell said. “They see lawmakers who love their guns more than our kids and none of that is going to change until we get a leader who is willing to go big on the issues we take on, be bold on the solutions we offer, and do good in the way that we govern. I’m ready to solve these problems. I’m ready to solve these problems. I’m running for president of the United States.”Swalwell followed the initial announcement by tweeting a video montage of his many appearances on cable news as well as words of encouragement he's received on Twitter.> Are you ready America? Let's go big, be bold, and do good! pic.twitter.com/gk9SPDT4FN> > — Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) April 8, 2019Swalwell plans to provide more specifics on his ideal gun control policy during a Tuesday town hall in Coral Springs, Fla. with Parkland shooting survivor Cameron Casky.The 38-year-old California lawmaker, who has risen to prominence as one of the most vocal purveyors of the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, joins several lesser-known House Democratic in the 2020 race. He's travelled several times to Iowa but is not yet registering on any polls.



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Trump calls for new focus on hiring former prisoners

Trump calls for new focus on hiring former prisonersWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Monday he wants to follow up on criminal justice reform with efforts that help federal inmates find jobs after they leave prison.



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Beto O’Rourke says immigration makes America safer as he kicks of 2020 campaign with liberal focus

Beto O’Rourke says immigration makes America safer as he kicks of 2020 campaign with liberal focusDemocratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke declared that immigrants make the country safer as he staged rallies across Texas on Saturday to formally kick off his 2020 White House bid, looking to shore up his deeply conservative home state and champion the US-Mexico border at a time when President Donald Trump has threatened to shut it.The former congressman, who represented El Paso for three House terms until last year, began the day addressing 1,000-plus supporters in his hometown, across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He later spoke at the historically black Texas Southern University in Houston, before finishing with a late-night Austin event, addressing a large crowd a stone's throw from the pink-granite state Capitol.Bounding onto a makeshift El Paso stage in a blue-button-down shirt to The Clash's "Clampdown," Mr O'Rourke declared: "We are safe, not despite the fact that we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers. We are safe because we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers.""We have learned not to fear our differences, but to respect and embrace them," he told a crowd that waved small American flags and black-and-white signs reading "Viva Beto" while often interrupting their candidate to chant his first name. Mr O'Rourke also spoke at length in his native Spanish, eliciting loud and sustained cheers.In a series of tweets on Friday, Mr Trump warned he could close the US southern border next week "if Mexico doesn't immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States." In later comments to reporters he added: "We'll keep it closed for a long time. I'm not playing games."Mr O'Rourke has made promoting the border as culturally rich and economically powerful the centrepiece of his campaign and spoke on a downtown street corner a few blocks from it. He decried federal officials' recent decisions to hold people who crossed into the US to seek asylum "in cages" under El Paso's international bridge, saying those detainees "are our fellow human beings and deserve to be treated as our fellow human beings." Mr O'Rourke entered the race 14 March and has already visited nine states, but had promised to return to El Paso for an official kick-off. As he has previously, he renewed calls to work with Republicans and Democrats, saying "before anything else, we are Americans first" and prompting chants of "USA! USA!" But he also made bolder predictions than in the past, saying that if his campaign can bring people from across the ideological spectrum together he can top the rest of the crowded Democratic 2020 presidential field and "defeat Donald Trump."A small but vocal group of El Paso Trump supporters had other ideas, gathering a few blocks away from the event to shout anti-O'Rourke sentiments for hours. Mr O'Rourke represented the city in Congress for six years, but gave up his seat while nearly upsetting Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz in November. The Democrat who replaced him in the House, representative Veronica Escobar, welcomed those on hand to the "beautiful, magical, safe and secure US-Mexico border," adding, "When the border sends America her people, we are sending them our best in Beto O'Rourke." Amy O'Rourke, who has largely avoided the spotlight since her husband began running for president, gave a short speech too, telling the crowd, "Listening to people is what gives Beto strength. It fuels him and it gives him context (with) which he can think about policies and the things he wants to do for this great country."Despite such nods to bipartisanism, however, Mr O'Rourke offered many positions on Saturday that were liberal enough to make moderates nervous. He vowed to legalise marijuana nationally, defend abortion rights, sign new sweeping voting rights legislation to end partisan gerrymandering and allow automatic and same-day voter registration, institute federally financed, universal pre-kindergarten programmes, strengthen unions and bring home all troops from the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.He also renewed his support for a House proposal called "Medicare for America," which he says will guarantee universal health care coverage while allowing people who like getting insurance through their employer to continue doing so.Mr O'Rourke hit many of the same points hours later in Houston, but recalled a school shooting near that city last year to advocate for nationwide federal background checks on firearms purchases. He added that assault weapons "sold to the United States military with the sole purpose of killing people as effectively, as efficiently and in as great a number as possible" should be "kept on the battlefield" and not "sold into our communities.”Addressing thousands and wearing a Texas Southern baseball cap, Mr O'Rourke also recalled the devastation in Houston of 2017's Hurricane Harvey, saying the US must do more to combat climate change and that the nation's fourth-largest city understands the phenomenon's dangers "better than just about anyone in this country."Concluding in Austin, he called that city's liberal politics "the centre and the source of so much of what is good for Texas and for the United States of America."Texas has not elected a Democrat to statewide office in 25 years. But Mr O'Rourke came within 3 percentage points of beating Mr Cruz, and his party is hoping that a booming Hispanic population and large numbers of new residents moving in from other states could keep Texas close in 2020 — potentially reshaping the electoral college. California senator Kamala Harris drew a large crowd last weekend when she too visited Texas Southern."This state and its 38 electoral votes count like they've never counted before," Mr O'Rourke said in El Paso. "All of us matter."Associated Press



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Enough Russia: after Mueller, it's time for Democrats to focus on America

Enough Russia: after Mueller, it's time for Democrats to focus on AmericaWith this distraction finally out of the way, it’s time to deal with issues that the majority of the electorate actually cares about Newspaper front pages from around the nation are on display at the Newseum in Washington DC. Photograph: Alex Brandon/APFinally, the moment has arrived. After almost two years of feverish speculation about what it might unearth, Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation has come to a close. Based on what we know so far, the Mueller report is good news for the Republican party in general, and for Donald Trump in particular. But it is also good news for the country. The special counsel found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. While Russian meddling was evident, it was done without high treason.Obviously, in today’s polarized world, the Mueller report is bad news for the Democratic party. But this is mostly a self-inflicted wound. It never should have made the Mueller investigation the core of its political agenda, nor treated it as a spectacle for scoring political points.The broader population was never particularly interested in the Mueller investigation and increasingly considered it further evidence of everything that is allegedly wrong with Washington: that it’s run by navel-gazing and self-obsessed elites who are more concerned with defeating each other than with helping the country.For Democrats, the only good thing about the Mueller report is that it came it now, and not next year, when the election will be around the corner. This gives the Democratic party roughly one and a half years to finally prioritize issues the electorate does care about. And I am not even sure that this will be enough time. Because, as Democrats continue to obsess over and revel in the historically low approval ratings of Trump, and celebrate the “blue wave” of the midterm elections, Trump is still set for re-election.The reason is simple: he has delivered for the groups that matter. The Christian right is delirious over the staunchly anti-choice supreme court judges Trump has appointed, as well as the many lower courts he’s quietly been filling with rightwing judges. And as long as there is a chance that more judicial vacancies open up in the next term, the evangelical right will come out en masse again in 2020. Meanwhile, pocketbook-voting Republicans are delighted by the tax reform and the soaring US economy, however shallow and unsustainable that growth might be. And major donors love Trump’s frontal attack on (the already weak) environmental and financial regulations, the dismantling of the state’s regulatory and supervision agencies and his symbolic moves on Israel.While the wall remains a sore issue for far-right pundits, such as Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson, Trump can easily convince his core base that he is trying hard and just needs a second term to finally break “the deep state”. Moreover, his base has low expectations of politicians in general and is the most polarized part of the electorate, so it has nowhere else to go and will turn out again, whipped into a nativist frenzy by Fox News and conservative talk radio.If Democrats want to win, the party has to return to bread and butter issues, like economic redistribution, social justice and welfare provisions. They should run a positive campaign in which Trump, and the radicalized Republican party, features only as a backdrop. It is encouraging to see that a growing number of prominent Democrats have stressed this already, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pete Buttigieg. And, to his credit, Bernie Sanders has said this all along.Finally, Democrats should stress the importance of all elections (not just the presidential ones) and the urgency of engaged political struggle. It was this sense of urgency that led to the mass mobilization of the Tea Party – still misinterpreted by many liberals as a mere AstroTurf creation – and that consolidated the broad rightwing coalition around the unlikely Republican candidate Donald Trump. The urgency is there for all to see.Climate change and environmental degradation are happening at a dizzying pace that will make many developments irreversible within decades if not years. The sustained attack on legal abortion is entering into its final stage – see, to cite just one of countless examples, the recent heartbeat bill in Georgia – and Roe v Wade could be overturned, or made irrelevant, in the next years.The war on drugs has destroyed generations of African American men, while opioids are still destroying communities of all races across the country. And the extreme level of economic inequality as well as the post-crisis consolidation of financial institutions makes the next economic crisis inevitable if we do not act soon. The surest way for Democrats to defeat Trump is to offer solutions to these problems. The clock is ticking. They have no time to waste. * Cas Mudde is a Guardian US columnist and the Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia



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