Tag Archives: political

Death of Saoirse Kennedy Hill from an apparent overdose the latest tragedy to befall the US political dynasty

Death of Saoirse Kennedy Hill from an apparent overdose the latest tragedy to befall the US political dynastyThe Kennedy family has been hit by yet another tragedy as Saoirse Kennedy Hill, granddaughter of Robert Kennedy, died from an apparent overdose at her family's compound aged 22. It was the latest in a long line of horrific events to befall the American political dynasty in what has become known as the "Kennedy curse." Miss Kennedy Hill, who had suffered from mental illness, was the child of Courtney Kennedy, Robert Kennedy's daughter. Her father Paul Hill is one of the Guildford Four, who were wrongly convicted of the 1974 IRA pub bombings in Guildford. Mr Hill married Courtney Kennedy shortly after his release from prison. They named their daughter Saoirse, meaning "freedom" in Gaelic, and she spent some of her childhood in Ireland. In a statement the Kennedy family said: "Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse. Her life was filled with hope, promise and love. She lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit." Saoirse Kennedy Hill wearing a Bobby Kennedy t-shirt Miss Kennedy Hill died at the sprawling six-acre Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, along Nantucket Sound, which was known as President John F. Kennedy's "summer White House". It is now home to Robert Kennedy's widow Ethel. 91, who owns the house where Miss Kennedy Hill was found. In a statement Ethel Kennedy said: "The world is a little less beautiful today." The litany of tragedies that have hit the Kennedy clan include the assassinations of President Kennedy in Dallas in 1963, and of his brother Robert Kennedy five years later when he was running for the White House.  Joseph Kennedy Jr, their brother, died in the Second World War, and their sister Kathleen Cavendish perished in a plane crash in 1948. The main home in the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port Credit: AP John F. Kennedy Jr, the son of the former president, died with his wife and sister-in-law in a  small plane crash not far from Hyannis Port in 1999.  David Anthony Kennedy, one of Robert Kennedy's sons, died of a drug overdose in Florida, aged 28, in 1984. Another of his sons, Michael Kennedy, died in a skiing accident in Aspen, Colorado, in 1997, aged 39. This year is the 50th anniversary of a a fatal car crash in which Edward Kennedy, then a presidential hopeful, drove off a bridge at Chappaquiddick, not far from Hyannis Port. His passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, died. Miss Kennedy Hill was studying communications at Boston College and was due to graduate net year. She was vice president of the student Democrats, and had marched against gun violence. While at Deerfield Academy, an elite private school in Massachusetts, she had written about her struggles with depression and mental illness. Saoirse Kennedy Hill, as a child, places a white rose at the Eternal Flame, President John F. Kennedy's gravesite Credit: AP In 2016 she wrote: "My depression took root in the beginning of my middle school years and will be with me for the rest of my life.I totally lost it after someone I knew and loved broke serious sexual boundaries with me. "I did the worst thing a victim can do, and I pretended it hadn’t happened. This all became too much, and I attempted to take my own life." Local police said they responded to a "reported unattended death" on Thursday afternoon. Miss Kennedy Hill was taken to Cape Cod Hospital and pronounced dead. The Kennedy family did not confirm the cause of death but audio from a police scanner, which was picked up by US media outlets, indicated officers had been responding to a report of an overdose. A spokeswoman for the local district attorney’s office said: "The matter remains under investigation."



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When Kamala Harris faced political heat, Delaware's Beau Biden had her back

When Kamala Harris faced political heat, Delaware's Beau Biden had her backUp until Beau Biden's death in 2015, Kamala Harris had a friendship with the Delaware politician — and by extension his father Joe Biden.



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Trump’s asylum deal with Guatemala threatens to plunge country into political crisis, analysts warn

Trump’s asylum deal with Guatemala threatens to plunge country into political crisis, analysts warnIn pressuring Guatemala to accept a deal to absorb vast numbers of asylum-seekers, the Trump administration has embarked on a dramatic and risky strategy to slash the number of Central Americans flooding the US-Mexico border.The accord – which was negotiated in secret and signed at the White House on Friday – could plunge Guatemala’s young democracy into a constitutional crisis, analysts warn.It could also saddle one of the hemisphere’s poorest countries with tens of thousands of Salvadoran and Honduran migrants who would be barred from making their claims in the United States.The agreement is one of the boldest steps yet taken by Donald Trump to stanch the flow of migrants to the US border.It aims to close off the US asylum system to the migrants who have crossed through Guatemala en route to the United States. They would instead have to seek protection in Guatemala.But the agreement is built on a fragile political and legal base.Guatemala’s constitutional court ruled earlier this month that President Jimmy Morales needed approval from the Guatemalan Congress to sign the accord – something he has not received.The Guatemalan president has sharply criticised the court decision, saying on Friday that “as far as we understand, this doesn’t have to go before Congress”.Some analysts said Mr Morales could get around the ruling with his argument that the deal is simply a cooperation agreement, not a treaty. But others note Mr Morales has at times simply shrugged off court rulings he dislikes.“This leaves a legacy we won’t be able to recover from, that the country’s constitution can be flagrantly violated without any kind of reaction or penalty,” said Renzo Rosal, an independent political consultant.The agreement is also likely to be challenged in US courts by opponents who say that Guatemala does not qualify as a “safe” country, because of high levels of violence.Whatever happens with the courts, the agreement has little political support in Guatemala.Mr Morales, who finishes his four-year term in January, is highly unpopular.Among the top Twitter hashtags in Guatemala in recent days has been Jimmyvendepatrias – Jimmy the sellout – as a dig at the country’s leader.Guatemalans were startled by a widely published photo showing their government minister, Enrique Degenhart, signing the agreement as Mr Trump loomed over his shoulder, an image suggesting the Central American country’s submission.On Saturday, hundreds of people demonstrated in front of the presidential palace in Guatemala City to protest the agreement, the Associated Press reported. The protesters carried Guatemalan flags and called for Mr Morales’ resignation.Guatemalan analysts have suggested Mr Morales made the deal with Mr Trump in hopes of winning support from the US government.Mr Morales faces allegations of financial crimes related to his 2015 electoral campaign but has been shielded by presidential immunity, which he loses in January. He says he is innocent.Mr Morales said the agreement would help Guatemala by “putting us in a privileged position” with the country’s top trading partner and most important ally.Guatemala holds a run-off presidential election on 11 August, and both candidates have criticised Mr Morales’ negotiation of such a broad agreement in secret.The accord “is unlikely to be sustainable”, Stephen McFarland, a former US ambassador to Guatemala, wrote in a tweet on the eve of the agreement’s unveiling.“A bitter US ‘win’ would put at risk US goals in democracy and law enforcement with the current and next governments.”While the next Guatemalan government could cancel the agreement, it would face intense pressure from the Trump administration to not do so.Mr Morales’ government signed the pact after Mr Trump threatened severe penalties on Guatemala – tariffs, a travel ban or taxes on the billions of dollars in remittances sent home by migrants in the United States.Kevin McAleenan, the acting Homeland Security secretary, said the administration plans to start the “safe third country” programme with Guatemala in August.Human rights groups, Democratic lawmakers and immigration experts have said Guatemala is too poor and underdeveloped to handle a flood of asylum applicants.Last year, Salvadoran and Honduran migrants filed nearly 58,000 applications for asylum in the United States. That same year, Guatemala received just 259 asylum applications overall.Guatemala is the number one source of irregular migration to the United States, with citizens fleeing poverty, violence, low coffee prices and drought.Eric Schwartz, head of Refugees International and a former top refugee official at the US State Department, said in a statement that the agreement “would represent a grotesque violation of both US law and human decency” and “would put at risk the lives of thousands of Central Americans”.Sonia Lucia Valenzuela, a constitutional law expert in Guatemala, said the Constitutional Court ruling was clear in instructing Mr Morales to send the agreement to Congress but that political pressures could determine what happens next.The migration agreement has been strongly supported by Guatemala’s influential business groups, who had feared US tariffs. But many current and former politicians oppose it.“If the opposition to this accord continues, that’s a sign this will escalate,” she said.Washington Post



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How Iowa can teach the nation to cure one form of political cancer: gerrymandering

How Iowa can teach the nation to cure one form of political cancer: gerrymanderingThe Supreme Court may have declined to address an obvious source of dysfunction in our democracy, but Iowa's redistricting process can help.



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Billionaire Tom Steyer's entrance into the 2020 Democratic race is the perfect example of the rot at the core of the US political system

Billionaire Tom Steyer's entrance into the 2020 Democratic race is the perfect example of the rot at the core of the US political systemTom Steyer's entered the 2020 presidential race with a promise to spend $ 100 million on his campaign, but he should use that money elsewhere.



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Love of country? Or a political stunt? Trump holiday speech divides Americans

Love of country? Or a political stunt? Trump holiday speech divides AmericansJan Shairrick and two friends drove more than a thousand miles from southern Arkansas to join President Donald Trump’s “Salute to America” Independence Day celebrations in Washington. Some residents of the capital, however, stayed well away from the nearby festivities for fear of being wrongly identified as Trump supporters. Trump has injected himself into this year’s Fourth of July celebrations by planning a speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial and organizing a show of military power that includes a display of tanks and a flyover of fighter jets.



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AOC on Trump's willingness to accept political 'dirt' on rivals: 'The pressure to impeach grows'

AOC on Trump's willingness to accept political 'dirt' on rivals: 'The pressure to impeach grows'Days after President Trump asserted he would take damaging information on his political rivals from a foreign power, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said "the pressure to impeach grows.”



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Giuliani: ‘Nothing Wrong’ With Getting Political Dirt From Russians

Giuliani: ‘Nothing Wrong’ With Getting Political Dirt From RussiansREUTERS/Ronen ZvulunThe Trump campaign’s attempt to solicit political assistance from agents of the Russian government was perfectly legal, the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani suggested on Sunday, calling it was a completely defensible political move.“There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” Giuliani told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview on Sunday morning, referring to a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting at which Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner solicited dirt on Hillary Clinton from people they believed to be acting at the behest of the Russian government.Pressed by Tapper on whether it’s “okay” to use information stolen by adversarial foreign governments in the service of a presidential candidacy, Giuliani replied, “it depends on the stolen material.”The investigative report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller released this week reviewed evidence that Don Jr. and Kushner may have violated campaign finance laws by enthusiastically taking that Trump Tower meeting in anticipation of receiving opposition research from two Russian attorneys with ties to the country’s government.Mueller concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to charge anyone on the Trump campaign with soliciting an illegal in-kind contribution from a foreign national.In the interview, Giuliani sought to shift the focus from whether the conduct was ethically defensible to whether it violated the letter of the law.“We’re gonna get into morality? That’s not what prosecutors look at, morality,” Giuliani said. “This didn’t become an international scandal because of immorality. It became an international scandal because the president was accused of violating the law, falsely.”The line of questioning was prompted by a statement this week from Mitt Romney, a senator from Utah and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. Romney said he was “appalled” that “fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia.”Pressed on the question of morality, and whether such conduct was defensible even putting aside legal questions, Giuliani compared the acceptance of information stolen by a hostile foreign government to any other “immoral” conduct by a political campaign.“I’d like to take a good look at Romney’s campaign and see if there were any immoral or unethical things done by the people working for him that he didn’t know about,” Giuliani said. “If there weren’t than it was the only campaign in history because he’s maybe holier than the holiest one.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here



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Attorney General William Barr faces a political firestorm after release of the Mueller report

Attorney General William Barr faces a political firestorm after release of the Mueller reportPresident Trump's new attorney general is facing sharp criticism for his handling of the release of the special counsel's final Trump-Russia report.



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Joe Biden Is Facing a Political Crisis — And He's Not Even Running (Yet)

Joe Biden Is Facing a Political Crisis — And He's Not Even Running (Yet)As women claim Joe Biden touched them in inappropriate ways, questions about gender will linger ahead of his potential 2020 race.



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