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Dem Leaders Expect a Group of Swing-State Lawmakers to Defect on Impeachment Vote

Dem Leaders Expect a Group of Swing-State Lawmakers to Defect on Impeachment VoteHouse Democrats are worried that the caucus could lose six or more moderate votes on impeachment, according to multiple officials who spoke anonymously to the Washington Post.When the House voted to formalize impeachment on October 31, all but two Democrats — Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin C. Peterson of Michigan — voted with House leadership. Amidst concerns from moderates, who on Monday considered reviving a proposal to censure President Trump rather than impeach him, the fate of the impeachment vote is a bit less certain.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could afford to lose 17 votes and still prevail with the vote, which will likely get the approval of former Republican Justin Amash. But House leadership is not whipping votes to ensure success, despite Pelosi saying in July that “censure is nice, but it is not commensurate with the violations of the Constitution should we decide [impeachment is] the way to go.”“This is one of those issues where members have to come to their own conclusions; it’s just too consequential,” Daniel Kildee (D., Mich.), a deputy whip, said. “I think this is one of those votes where people are going to be remembered for a long time for how they voted on it.”Moderates who initially voiced support for impeachment have been worried over polling which shows that support for impeachment has largely flatlined after the public hearings, the Post reports. Republican efforts to reclaim the House in 2020 have zeroed in on impeachment to target vulnerable districts, with the White House joining in in October.On Tuesday, freshman Representative Elissa Slotkin (D., Mich.) — who represents a district which voted for Trump in 2016 — said she was “undecided” on the vote, despite signing a September op-ed in support of impeachment. Slotkin was heckled by constituents during a town hall in October for her impeachment defense, and said Wednesday that “the phones are ringing off the hook” from people on both sides of the issue.



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The Strange History of the Black Hebrew Israelites, as Group is Tied to Jersey City Murders

The Strange History of the Black Hebrew Israelites, as Group is Tied to Jersey City MurdersYet another apparent anti-Semitic multiple murder has hit the United States with Tuesday’s killing of four people and the subsequent deaths of the two attackers in a Jersey City, N.J. The New York Times, New York Post and other outlets reported Wednesday that the slaughter appears to be linked to a black supremacist doctrine.Mayor Steven Fulop had already said that the kosher grocery store where most of the shooting took place was intentionally singled out by the killers, suggesting a terrorist attack that specifically targeted Jews. Now law enforcement official say at least one of assailants had posted anti-Semitic comments online, and was or had been a Black Hebrew Israelite.Kosher Market Was Jersey City Shooting Suspects’ ‘Target,’ Official SaysIf so, it is the latest, and by far the most violent, incident to bring a little-known doctrine that is an outgrowth of early black nationalist thinking to widespread public attention. While people affiliated with the movement had been in the news recently for triggering the Covington students’ apparent confrontation with a native American drummer in D.C. and for walking into the Bronx Zoo’s lion enclosure, the best-known previous atrocity connected to the bizarre theology was the murder, in the late 1980s, of 14 people by killers linked closely to the South Florida-based Nation of Yahweh. The Nation’s leader, Yahweh ben Yahweh, died in 2007 after serving 11 years of a federal prison sentence for racketeering and conspiracy. The severed ears of several of the white victims were reportedly brought to Yahweh ben Yahweh as trophies.The United States and much of the rest of the world has seen a remarkable uptick in anti-Semitic propaganda and violence, especially since the 2017 march in Charlottesville, Va., where white nationalist chanted “Jews will not replace us.” The Anti-Defamation League recently reported a “historically high” number of anti-Semitic incidents in the last several years, and there have been deadly attacks in that period on synagogues in Poway, Calif., and Pittsburgh, where 11 died. In addition, anti-Semitism is clearly growing in countries like Hungary and Poland, and even the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has been implicated.But political violence from black anti-Semites has been the exception, with the vast majority of such attacks coming from white nationalists. While it is true that surveys have shown higher levels of anti-Semitism among African Americans than white Americans, those attitudes have not generally led to terrorism.Black Hebrew Israelism has roots in Black Judaism, which was a generally non-racist theology that emerged in the late 19th century and was one variant of developing black nationalist ideas. Its basic belief is that American blacks are the real descendants of the Hebrews of the Old Testament, and that those who today call themselves Jews are lying about being the Bible’s chosen people. Many followers believe that whites and Jews will soon be either killed or enslaved as payback from God for their role in enslaving Africans in the Americas.Although there is no central authority of Black Hebrew Israelism, as it is practiced in small disparate groups in many of the nation’s largest cities, most of the so-called Israelites see Jews as biblical imposters and the primary facilitators of so-called cultural “filth,” such as Hollywood movies. They also describe Jews as self-interested moneymakers and particular enemies of black Americans.Perhaps the most bizarre thing about Black Hebrew Israelism is the way it mirrors, with only a change in color, the ideas of Christian Identity. Identity is an important white supremacist theology practiced in many Klan groups, along with other entities like the once-important Aryan Nations. Its hardline version describes Jews as the offspring of a literal sexual union between Eve and the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, always at work on behalf of their progenitor, Satan.Black Hebrew Israelism is not the only strand of organized black anti-Semitism in America. The largest black hate group, the Nation of Islam, does not traffic in bible stories but it is heavily anti-Semitic, with its leaders offering a string of vicious comments about Jews along with falsely accusing them of being the primary purveyors of the transatlantic slave trade.Bizarrely, the Jersey attack came the same day it was reported that President Trump was expected to sign an executive order that effectively treats Jews as a “nationality” rather than a religious group — despite the undisputed fact that Jews are not a single ethnicity. The vast majority of Jews, for instance, accept that Ethiopian Jews, who are black, are in fact Jewish.Many conservative Jews applauded the idea, which would allow the federal government to withhold money from college campuses that fail to adequately combat anti-Semitic discrimination. The move is seen primarily as a way to take on the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which many Israel supporters view as fundamentally anti-Semitic.But many liberal American Jewish groups have responded negatively to the idea, suggesting that it is an attempt to stifle criticism of Israel and support for the Palestinians. The Washington Post quoted Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, saying it was meant to have a “chilling effect on free speech and to crack down on campus critics of Israel.” Another group, IfNotNow, said it was “bigoted” for playing into ancient stereotypes of Jews belonging to a kind of tribal nation, and thus promoting the “dual loyalty” charge.Trump has pushed similar ideas. In August, he accused Jewish Democrats of being “disloyal to the Jewish people… and very disloyal to Israel.” He has echoed common tropes about Jews being primarily concerned with money. In 2016, he Tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton sitting atop a pile of money with a superimposed Star of David.Black Hebrew Israelites, who may number in the thousands but are clearly not a dominant strand of African American thinking, may be the latest entrants into the world of anti-Semites willing to engage in political violence. But they are only the latest, as white nationalists, political leaders here and abroad, and any number of others take up the hatreds once thought to have died in World War II.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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China Was Biggest Jailer of Journalists in 2019, Group Says

China Was Biggest Jailer of Journalists in 2019, Group Says(Bloomberg) — Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.China surpassed Turkey to become the biggest jailer of journalists in the world this year, according to a press watchdog group, as Chinese President Xi Jinping steps up efforts to control the mediaChina was holding at least 48 journalists for reasons related to their work, one more than in 2018, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a report on Wednesday. The group’s database shows seven of those were arrested this year, including Australian writer Yang Hengjun, and that China has “tightened its iron grip on the press.”Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news briefing Wednesday that she couldn’t confirm the number of detained journalists, but said that “no one is above the law,” whether they are reporters or civil servants.Turkey’s jailing of 47 journalists put it second on the group’s list. Protests in the Middle East also led to a rise in the number of journalists being locked up in that region, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The CPJ said that 98% of jailed journalists around the world were “locals covering their own country,” and that politics, human rights and corruption coverage was most likely to get reporters in trouble.At least 250 journalists were incarcerated for their work around the world this year, down slightly from 255 last year, according to the committee’s annual global survey. After China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the biggest jailers are Eritrea, Vietnam and Iran.‘False News’The number of journalists charged with reporting “false news” rose to 30 from 28 last year, with Egypt leading the way under President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. That was compared to one journalist jailed for the charge of fake news in 2012, when press freedom group started tracking the trend. Countries including Russia and Singapore have enacted laws criminalizing the publication of “fake news” in the past year, according to the report.It was the first time in four years that Turkey wasn’t the world’s top journalist-jailer, although the reduction in the number of prisoners under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn’t signal an improved situation for the press, the group said.In China, the world’s most populous country, the report cited the recent case of Sophia Huang Xueqin, a freelancer who had been an investigative journalist for Chinese media. She was detained in October after writing about marching with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong on her blog.The charges against her include “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a common allegation against critics of the ruling Communist Party, the report said.Dozens more have been arrested in relation to a crackdown in China’s western region of Xinjiang, including Ilham Tohti, according to the committee. Tohti is an economist serving a life sentence on separatism charges, and was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament earlier this year.Hua, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, didn’t address the condition of local reporters in her response to questions about the report Wednesday.“You said 48 journalists were detained? I wonder if you were talking about Chinese or foreign journalists?” she said. “Nearly 600 foreign journalists are leading a happy life here in China.”(Updates with Chinese official’s remarks in third paragraph.)\–With assistance from Iain Marlow, Lucille Liu and Matt Turner.To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Schmidt in Hong Kong at bschmidt16@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, James Mayger, Colin KeatingeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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'An outright lie': Ohio lawmaker shown to be linked to group pushing rightwing Christian bills

'An outright lie': Ohio lawmaker shown to be linked to group pushing rightwing Christian billsTimothy Ginter, who said he had ‘no knowledge’ of Project Blitz, was listed as co-chair of state branch of group behind the campaignAn Ohio legislator who said he had “no knowledge” of a rightwing Christian bill mill called Project Blitz is, in fact, the co-chair of the state branch of an organization behind the campaign.The Ohio state representative Timothy Ginter sponsored a bill called the Student Religious Liberties Act. Opponents argued the bill would provide students with a religious exemption to facts, and would frighten teachers and school administrators into including religion in school functions.The Guardian revealed the bill was nearly identical to one promoted by Project Blitz, a state legislative project guided by three Christian right organizations, including the Congressional Prayer Caucus (CPC), WallBuilders and the ProFamily Legislators Conference. Project Blitz aims to promote and help pass conservative legislation across the US to fulfil its rightwing Christian agenda.When initially approached, Ginter told the Guardian in an email from a legislative aide that he had “no knowledge of ‘Project Blitz’ and has not been working with WallBuilders or the Congressional Prayer Caucus”.However, a screenshot shows Ginter was listed as the co-chair of the Ohio Prayer Caucus, the state chapter of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, as recently as January 2019. Ginter’s former chief of staff, Chris Albanese, is currently listed as the state director of the state chapter of CPC, Ohio Prayer Caucus.“I would call it an outright lie,” said Frederick Clarkson, a senior research analyst with Political Research Associates, and an expert on the Christian right. “The Prayer Caucus in the states are the action arm of Project Blitz – it is Project Blitz,” he said. “When he told you, ‘I’ve never heard of Project Blitz,’ that was a lie,” said Clarkson.The Guardian repeatedly called and emailed both Ginter and the the Republican Ohio house speaker, Larry Householder. Neither responded to these phone or email requests.In a statement at the time, Ginter argued the bill was necessary because, “well-funded groups” were intimidating school officials with “the thread of litigation”. His bill, he argued, would clarify their responsibilities.Ginter also argued the Student Religious Liberties Bill was not a Christian bill, because it does not explicitly mention Christianity. However, the Ohio Prayer Caucus he co-chaired explicitly lays out that it support legislators “who are standing for faith, morality and Judeo-Christian principles”.The Congressional Prayer Caucus also circulated an Ohio Prayer Proclamation. Among its signers are Ginter; the former representative Bill Hayes, who originally sponsored the bill; and the former House speaker Cliff Rosenberger. Rosenberger resigned in 2018 after a search warrant and subpoena revealed the FBI was investigating Rosenberger for corruption involving three payday lending representatives, according to the Dayton Daily News.Prominent defenders of religious liberties, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Anti-Defamation League, oppose the legislation. Republicans in the Ohio House passed the legislation with a party-line vote in November. It has not yet been taken up by the Ohio senate.



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The LA Times joined the growing group of major papers calling for Trump's impeachment

The LA Times joined the growing group of major papers calling for Trump's impeachmentSeveral major newspapers have publicly called for Trump's impeachment while criticizing his efforts to stonewall the impeachment inquiry.



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Thailand detains wife, children of Rakhine insurgent group leader

Thailand detains wife, children of Rakhine insurgent group leaderThe Thai authorities have detained the wife and children of a top commander of Arakan Army, an insurgent group who are fighting for greater autonomy in neighboring Myanmar’s Rakhine State, Thai officials told Reuters on Friday. Hnin Zar Phyu, 38, the wife of Major General Tun Myat Naing, 41, and their daughter Saw Pyae Shun, 11, and 11-month-old son, Myat Lin Zan, were arrested on Wednesday in Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand that has long been sanctuary for dissidents from Myanmar, and charged with illegal entry.



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The LA Times joined the growing group of major papers calling for Trump's impeachment

The LA Times joined the growing group of major papers calling for Trump's impeachmentSeveral major newspapers have publicly called for Trump's impeachment while criticizing his efforts to stonewall the impeachment inquiry.



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TIMELINE-Indian court hands disputed site to Hindus; Muslim group unhappy

TIMELINE-Indian court hands disputed site to Hindus; Muslim group unhappyIndia’s Supreme Court on Saturday awarded a Hindu group the ownership of a centuries-old religious site also claimed by Muslims in a case that has caused deep divisions and deadly riots between the two communities. 1528 – The mosque in Ayodhya, in what is now India’s biggest state of Uttar Pradesh, was built by Mughal emperor Babur, according to documents produced by Muslim groups in court. 1949 – Muslim groups accuse government officials of conniving with Hindu monks to place an idol of an infant Lord Ram in the grounds of the mosque.



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Al-Baghdadi's wife revealed ISIS group secrets after capture

Al-Baghdadi's wife revealed ISIS group secrets after captureThe wife of slain Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi revealed "a lot of information" about the jihadist group's "inner workings" after she was captured last year, a Turkish official said.



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Black man who led neo-Nazi group dies amid bid to destroy it

Black man who led neo-Nazi group dies amid bid to destroy itA black activist who took control of one of the nation’s largest neo-Nazi groups — and vowed to dismantle it — has died amid a legal fight over who would lead the group. James Stern died Oct. 11 after getting hospice care for cancer, according to one of his attorneys, Bob Ross, and a friend, Arne Edward List. Stern, 55, died at home in Moreno Valley, California, List said.



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