Day: February 15, 2020

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Juror 1261 in Roger Stone's case: Was justice undone?


She was Juror No. 1261, and her examination by the federal court and counsel before the trial was anything but notable. And that is precisely the problem.

Juror 1261, we now know, was Tomeka Hart. Her identity would have remained publicly unknown except for a public statement she made after the Department of Justice (DOJ) rescinded its initial sentencing recommendation for Trump confidant Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneBarr has tapped outside prosecutor to review case against Flynn: NYT Senate Dems blast Barr for ‘clear violation’ of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump insists he can tweet about cases in rare break with Barr MORE. In the midst of the firestorm of allegations of political interference, Hart disclosed that she was the foreperson on the Stone jury and gave a full-throated defense of the trial prosecutors: “It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors.” 

That statement led many people to Google her name, and what they found was a litany of postings not only hostile to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request Avenatti found guilty in Nike extortion trial First, we’ll neuter all the judges MORE and his administration but also specifically commenting on Stone and his arrest — before she ever appeared for jury duty.

I have previously written about how I believe that the DOJ was correct in its rejection of the absurdly high recommendation of seven to nine years in prison for Stone. However, there are legitimate questions that must still be addressed on how the Justice Department came to that decision. Yet while cable shows exhaustively cover that story, there is an equally serious question as to whether the conviction itself, rather than the sentencing recommendation, should be reevaluated.

Hart is a Democratic activist and critic of the Trump administration. She was the Memphis City Schools board president. Not surprisingly, given her political background (including a run for Congress), Hart has been vocal in public on her views of Trump and his associates.

She referred to the President with a hashtag of “klanpresident” and spoke out against “Trump and the white supremacist racists.” She posted about how she and others protested outside a Trump hotel and shouted, “Shame, shame, shame!” When profanities were projected on the Trump hotel, she exclaimed on Jan. 13, 2018, “Gotta love it.” On March 24, 2019, she shared a Facebook post — no longer public — while calling attention to “the numerous indictments, guilty pleas, and convictions of people in 45’s inner-circle.”

More worrisome are her direct references to Stone, including a retweeted post, in January 2019, from Bakari Sellers, again raising racist associations and stating that “Roger Stone has y’all talking about reviewing use of force guidelines.” She also described Trump supporters such as Stone as racists and Putin cronies.

In addition to her prior statements about Trump, his associates and this case, Hart is a lawyer. That only magnifies concerns that any bias on her part may have had a more pronounced influence on her fellow jurors.

In fact, except for a jury pool composed entirely of House impeachment managers, Hart would appear to be a standout for a peremptory challenge by the defense team over bias. That is why the most surprising aspect of this story is not the review of her public statements but the review of her examination before trial. The brief examination in the voir dire hearing shows that Hart did disclose her ties to the Democratic Party. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson asked if Hart’s political history would prevent her from being fair, and Hart assured her it would not. 

While Hart’s answers on the jury questionnaire remain sealed, Judge Jackson noted, “You’ve also indicated a fair amount of paying attention to news and social media, including about political things?” Hart does not volunteer that she did far more than “pay attention to news and social media” and was, in fact, an anti-Trump protester and social media critic.

Jackson seemed unaware of anything more than Hart’s following the news and asked if anything that Hart saw would affect her views. Hart again did not mention her protesting or public commentary and said she could not think of anything that would cause bias — “nothing that I can recall specifically. I do watch, sometimes paying attention but sometimes in the background, CNN. So, I recall just hearing about him being part of the campaign and some belief or reporting around interaction with the Russian probe and interaction with him and people in the country, but I don’t have a whole lot of details. I don’t pay that close attention or watch C-SPAN.”

She never mentioned that she specifically discussed Stone’s arrest and the objections to his treatment during that arrest as well as denouncing all of the associates of Trump as a virtual criminal enterprise.

Stone’s counsel, Robert Buschel, also asked a few questions but was either entirely uninformed or utterly incompetent. Buschel only asked about Hart being a Democrat who ran for Congress. The examination by the defense amounted to less than two pages and roughly 250 words of exchange with Hart. It seems most likely that Buschel did not have a clue about Hart’s actual political activism and commentary.

That lack of knowledge is not surprising since multiple questions on the jury questionnaire allowed her to reveal her past protests and postings. For example, Question 30 asked whether she had any opinion about figures such Donald Trump. There also was Question 23 that asked whether she had “written or posted anything for public consumption about the defendant, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, or the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN’s Toobin warns McCabe is in ‘perilous condition’ with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill’s 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE?” Questions 34 and 35 specifically ask about her prior knowledge or opinions of the Stone case, which she referenced on social media. It is hard to believe that she disclosed these public statements in her answer and was not questioned about them.

If this information was withheld by Hart, it raises a question about the veracity of her testimony and, more importantly, the fairness of the trial.

It certainly seems Hart had no place on the Stone jury. The Supreme Court has repeatedly declared that the “minimal standards of due process” demand “a panel of impartial, indifferent jurors.” Hart’s record suggests little that is impartial or indifferent. She was perfectly within her right to engage in such commentary and protests — but she had no right to sit in judgment of an associate of the president after her public declarations. Her participation raises serious arguments for setting aside the verdict, from the possibility of ineffective counsel to the denial of due process.

The burden now is on Judge Jackson to hold a hearing on this matter and address the possible need for a mistrial. And one thing will be clear: Judge Jackson, in the words of Juror No. 1261, does not “gotta love” any of this.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law for George Washington University and served as the last lead counsel during a Senate impeachment trial. He testified as a witness expert in the House Judiciary Committee hearing during the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.



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'Like Something Out Of Book Of Exodus': Locust Armies Devouring Farms In 30 Seconds…


Locust armies numbering in the billions are absolutely ravaging large portions of eastern Africa and vast stretches of the Middle East.  We are being told that these locust armies “are unprecedented in size and scope”, which means that we have never seen anything like this before.  And as you will see below, the UN continues to warn that the number of locusts could get “500 times bigger” by June.  But even if this plague ended right now, millions of people would still be facing a devastating famine in the months ahead.  These locusts travel in swarms up to 40 miles wide, each one can eat the equivalent of its own body weight every day, and the swarms can travel close to 100 miles in a 24 hour period.   This is a nightmare of epic proportions, and it is just getting started.




 

National Geographic has never been known to sensationalize news stories, but even they are saying that this plague is “like something out of the Book of Exodus”…

East Africa is in the midst of a crisis that sounds like something out of the Book of Exodus: A plague of locusts is spreading across the region, threatening the food supply of tens of millions. City-sized swarms of the dreaded pests are wreaking havoc as they descend on crops and pasturelands, devouring everything in a matter of hours. The scale of the locust outbreak, which now affects seven East African countries, is like nothing in recent memory.

Some of the largest swarms are actually bigger than any city on the entire planet, and when they arrive in an area they start going to work immediately.

In fact, it is being reported that some farms in Kenya “are being devoured in as little as 30 seconds”…

The locusts are so bad in some parts of Kenya that entire fields of crops are being devoured in as little as 30 seconds.

Moses Omondi, a program officer at Farm Radio, a charity that works with to bring information and news to farmers, says that in Kitui County, in eastern Kenya, there were no locusts this time last week. Now, entire farms have been destroyed.

Could you imagine working extremely hard on a farm all year long and then seeing it completely consumed by locusts in less than a minute?

One Kenyan farmer that had his farm destroyed by the locusts openly admitted that he is considering committing suicide…

He is affected psychologically to the extent of telling me that, ‘If worst comes to worst, I can even commit suicide.’ The reason being, this is the source of his income. He’s been taking his kid to school using farm produce. He’s been paying bills using farm produce. So according to him, he [says], ‘Moses, if this continues — if the government is not coming to act — then I’m thinking of committing suicide.’

Of course suicide is never the solution to anything.  But it is easy to understand the utter despair that these farmers are feeling now that everything that they have worked for has been completely wiped out.

If you held a single desert locust in your hand you might think that it is cute.  But the truth is that these are extremely voracious little creatures, and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s Keith Cressman says that even a “medium-size swarm” can eat an astounding amount of food…

A medium-size swarm of locusts can eat the same amount of food as the entire population of Kenya, Cressman said, and “that swarm in one day can eat the same amount of food as everybody here in the tri-state area, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. So not taking action in time – you can see the consequences.”

Ultimately what all of this means is that we are going to see famine.

And I am not just talking about the sort of famine where a few thousand people starve.  Right now, these locusts are affecting countries “with a combined population of nearly 2 billion”…

The numbers involved, the UN has warned, are “unprecedented”. If they are not contained, their appetites will trigger famine, destroy livelihoods for local farmers and undermine the food security of a group of countries with a combined population of nearly 2 billion.

I keep writing about “the perfect storm” that humanity is facing, but because most people in the western world are still living very cushy lifestyles I think that a lot of them don’t really grasp when I am trying to tell them.  Sadly, the truth is that we have entered a time when one major crisis after another is erupting, and things are only going to get worse as time rolls along.

Due to unusually wet weather and a couple of giant cyclones, conditions have been perfect for desert locusts to breed.  According to National Geographic, this is what has caused these colossal swarms of locusts…

Desert locusts live for about three months. After a generation matures, the adults lay their eggs which, under the right conditions, can hatch to form a new generation up to 20 times larger than the previous one. In this way, desert locusts can increase their population size exponentially over successive generations, Cressman says. Ultimately, these two 2018 cyclones enabled three generations of wildly successful locust breeding in just nine months, increasing the number of insects buzzing over the Arabian desert roughly 8,000-fold.

Unfortunately, officials are telling us that what we have seen so far is just the beginning.

If you can believe it, the UN continues to warn that the number of locusts “could grow 500 times bigger by June”…

Dozens of countries are on alert following a biblical-scale invasion of locusts the UN has described as “unprecedented” and “devastating”.

The swarms of the food-devouring insects could grow 500 times bigger by June according to the astonishing UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) report.

I know that I have been writing about the coronavirus outbreak a lot lately.  And that story is definitely very important, but this locust plague could easily end up killing far more people.

Global events are really starting to accelerate, and things are only going to get crazier in the months ahead.

So buckle up and hold on tight, because the ride ahead is going to be extremely wild.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.



 



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Dem rivals sharpen attacks as Bloomberg rises…


White House hopefuls are unloading on Mike Bloomberg in an effort to draw him into the fray amid uncertainty over whether the former New York City mayor will be on the Democratic debate stage next week in Nevada.

At town hall events, on social media and at meetings with donors, Bloomberg’s 2020 rivals are sharpening their attacks against him, underscoring his growing strength in the fluid primary race.

Bloomberg has assembled a fearsome campaign apparatus that includes hundreds of the Democratic Party’s top operatives and strategists. He’s plowed more than $350 million into a months-long national advertising campaign that has lifted him in the polls.

He has also been on an apology tour to address several racially charged controversies from his time as mayor of New York City. But he’s received cover from black leaders on Capitol Hill and new polls show him cutting into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenProgressive journalist: Unions don’t want to ‘ruffle any feathers’ by endorsing in primary Behar, McCain get into fiery exchange over 2016 election in debate about Bloomberg Sanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll MORE’s support among black voters. 

Bloomberg’s rivals are eager to get their first crack at him the national stage on Wednesday in Nevada — one of the final four debates of the primary season. 

But there’s no guarantee that Bloomberg will qualify and there are growing fears among his rivals that he’ll continue running a parallel general election campaign, gliding above it all, while the rest of the Democratic hopefuls fight among themselves.

“They have to now start to actually get on the debate stage and start to defend their records,” Biden said of Bloomberg at a Thursday night at a fundraiser in New York City.

So far five candidates have made the debate in Las Vegas on Feb. 19: Biden, Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersProgressive journalist: Unions don’t want to ‘ruffle any feathers’ by endorsing in primary Behar, McCain get into fiery exchange over 2016 election in debate about Bloomberg Sanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBehar, McCain get into fiery exchange over 2016 election in debate about Bloomberg Sanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll Senate Dems blast Barr for ‘clear violation’ of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign MORE (D-Mass.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump insists he can tweet about cases in rare break with Barr Poll: Bloomberg overtakes Biden in Florida MORE (D-Minn.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegBehar, McCain get into fiery exchange over 2016 election in debate about Bloomberg Sanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump insists he can tweet about cases in rare break with Barr MORE.  

If Bloomberg hits 10 percent support in one more sanctioned national poll released by Feb. 18, he’ll qualify for Wednesday’s debate.

Bloomberg has said he wants to debate but the campaign did not respond to a question about whether he’d accept an invitation to the Las Vegas forum if he qualifies.

There is some frustration on the left that the Democratic National Committee dropped the fundraising criteria for the debates, paving the way for Bloomberg, a self-funder, to qualify.

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker, Cornyn introduce bill to fund school nutrition programs Hillicon Valley: Facebook suspends misinformation networks targeting US | Lawmakers grill census officials on cybersecurity | Trump signs order to protect GPS | Dem senators propose federal facial recognition moratorium Booker, Merkley propose federal facial recognition moratorium MORE (D-N.J.) and former San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Julián Castro were casualties of the stringent early debate requirements before ending their presidential campaigns.

Sanders on Friday said it was unacceptable that a billionaire should be able to buy his way on stage when the candidates of color were excluded. 

“That is what being a multi-billionaire is about,” Sanders said on CBS This Morning. “Some very good friends of mine who are competing in the Democratic nomination, people like Cory Booker of New Jersey … Julián Castro, work really, really hard. Nobody changed the rules to get them into the debate. But I guess if you’re worth $60 billion, you can change the rules. I think that is very, very unfortunate.”

But for the most part, the Democratic field is champing at the bit to get a shot at Bloomberg.

Sanders’s campaign has led the way in demanding that Bloomberg be held to account for how his stop-and-frisk policy resulted in the harassment and detainment of large numbers of racial minorities in New York City when he was mayor.

That policy received new scrutiny this week after audio resurfaced of Bloomberg advocating for racial profiling in 2016, saying that violent criminals were usually made up of “male, minorities, 16 to 25.”

“He should not be running now that that has come up,” said Nina Turner, national co-chairwoman for the Sanders campaign. “I think he should drop out of the race.”

Bloomberg apologized for the policy in front of a predominantly black audience in Houston on Thursday night, saying the policy stemmed from a desire to curb violent crime and that he didn’t understand at the time the “unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids.”

“I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with black leaders and community members and listening to their stories,” Bloomberg said. “I heard their pain, their confusion, and their anger, and I’ve learned from them, and I’ve grown from them.”

There is no evidence that the racial controversies have damaged Bloomberg.

New polls show Bloomberg’s national rise has been in part due to support from black voters, who are giving him a look in the aftermath of Biden’s distant showings in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The Bloomberg campaign this week rolled out new endorsements from a trio of Congressional Black Caucus members — Reps. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Rising Klobuchar, Buttigieg face test in diverse states Bloomberg builds momentum on Capitol Hill with new endorsements Senior black Democrats urge party chairman to take responsibility for Iowa MORE (D-N.Y.), Lucy McBathLucia (Lucy) Kay McBathThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Rising Klobuchar, Buttigieg face test in diverse states Conservative women’s group rolls out new GOP endorsements for 2020 Bloomberg builds momentum on Capitol Hill with new endorsements MORE (D-Ga.), and Del. Stacey PlaskettStacey PlaskettThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Rising Klobuchar, Buttigieg face test in diverse states Bloomberg builds momentum on Capitol Hill with new endorsements The Hill’s Morning Report – Sanders surge triggers Dem angst MORE of the Virgin Islands.

House Majority Whip Rep. Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnRep. Cunningham blasts Sanders: ‘South Carolinians don’t want socialism’ House Majority Whip: DNC shouldn’t change rules for Bloomberg Top Democrat: ‘Obstruction of justice’ is ‘too clear not to include’ in impeachment probe MORE (D-S.C.), who has not endorsed yet, said he thinks Bloomberg will “have one heck of a challenge trying to overcome” stop and frisk.

But he said that former Columbia, S.C., Mayor Steve Benjamin, a prominent African American national co-chairman of Bloomberg’s campaign, has set him at ease about Bloomberg’s intentions and how he’d govern going forward.

“I know, love and respect Steve Benjamin, and he’s told me that he’s had conversations with Bloomberg that satisfies him. That he’s regretful of the policy. That he was a bit flippant in describing it at times and he’s apologized for it,” Clyburn said Friday on MSNBC. “And Steve Benjamin says he’s comfortable with that apology and I’ve always been very comfortable with Steve Benjamin.”

But Bloomberg is facing a second racial controversy over his past remarks that the 2008 financial crisis was due in part to banks loosening their credit standards because they were under pressure from Congress to give loans to poor people.

He also implied that “red lining,” a banned practice wherein banks would refuse to lend to neighborhoods with high numbers of racial minorities, was effective in ensuring banks did not take on bad loans.

Warren, who rose to power as a fierce consumer financial advocate, hammered Bloomberg at a campaign event in Virginia on Thursday night, saying those remarks should be disqualifying.

Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergBehar, McCain get into fiery exchange over 2016 election in debate about Bloomberg Sanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll Facebook to allow influencers to produce sponsored content for political campaigns MORE is saying in effect that the 2008 financial crash was caused because the banks weren’t permitted to discriminate against black and brown people,” Warren said. “I want to be clear about this — that crisis would not have been averted if the banks had been able to be bigger racists and anyone who thinks that should not be the leader of our party.”

But no one has been able to confront Bloomberg on the debate stage yet.

Instead, Bloomberg has been content to go one on one with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request Avenatti found guilty in Nike extortion trial First, we’ll neuter all the judges MORE, who has attacked the former New York City mayor’s height and said he’ll need to stand on a box if he gets on the debate stage.

“I’m not afraid of Donald Trump and that’s why he keeps tweeting about me,” Bloomberg said over Twitter. “The ways you can tell he’s worried is if he mentions you. He’s a narcissist and he understands name is everything and if you really want to annoy him say ‘that person,’ don’t say Donald Trump.”



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Nimitz Navy crew 'ordered to stay quiet'…


A third US Navy craft witnessed the infamous tic-tac UFO in 2004 “form” in front of them, but the crew on board were ordered to “never talk” about what they saw.

It is widely believed two F/8-18E Super Hornets from the USS Nimitz were the first to witness the infamous UFO off the coast of San Diego on November 14, 2004, before a second team were sent out later and caught the object on camera.

Commander David Fravor, piloting one of the Super Hornets, has gained worldwide fame after his testimony was included in a bombshell New York Times article exposing the encounter in 2017.

The Nimitz UFO supposedly moved at speeds never seen before
The Nimitz UFO supposedly moved at speeds never seen before

But there are now claims a third aircraft was in the area at the time of the original sighting, with those onboard supposedly witnessing the craft “form in front of them”.

Dave Beaty – who has interviewed several pilots and witnesses of the UFO as part of his Nimitz Encounters documentary – told Jim Breslo on The Hidden Truth Show that the crew were on the surveillance plane E-2 Hawkeye.

“The gentlemen I spoke to, I checked his background and he did fly in the Hawkeye,” he explained.

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Nimitz UFO stories

“The reason he didn’t want to come forward was because he had to sign a document right after the incident saying to not talk about.

“Even going out on a limb and speaking to me was sketchy for him.”

Dave explained that the Hawkeye crew heard the radio calls from Princeton … Kevin Day instructing Fravor to intercept the tic-tac.

“At that time, the entire air crew noticed one of these objects form up on their plane before taking off,” he continued.

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“All five aircrew would have seen that object.”

But when the crew landed, things took a weird turn. The director says they were led to a secure briefing room different to the normal one after training exercises.

They were then told to sign non-disclosure agreements.

“It wasn’t really a volunteer process, it was more a ‘sign this and don’t ever talk about what you saw’,” he explained.

It comes after Daily Star Online revealed how a US Navy submarine also spotted the same UFO some four years later underwater.



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A Trump supporter's defense of Mike…


Former New York City mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergBehar, McCain get into fiery exchange over 2016 election in debate about Bloomberg Sanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll Facebook to allow influencers to produce sponsored content for political campaigns MORE is not a racist. President Donald Trump is not a racist.

If it is the good-willed intention of the president and others on both sides of the partisan divide to “drain the swamp,” then using back-channel conduits to covertly sneak in more toxic sludge with the hope of poisoning those with whom you disagree ensures failure … for us all.

This nonsense has to stop.

The latest flow of festering goo to slime its way down the conduit came about after someone leaked remarks Bloomberg made in the past defending the “stop and frisk” policy in New York City that many considered to be racial profiling — a policy that many others, including then-private citizen Donald Trump, felt was effective in lowering crime and confiscating illegal weapons.

After the audio was leaked, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request Avenatti found guilty in Nike extortion trial First, we’ll neuter all the judges MORE tweeted that Bloomberg is a “racist,” before deleting the tweet. His campaign manager and senior adviser then piled on with the “racist” implications. The co-chair of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersProgressive journalist: Unions don’t want to ‘ruffle any feathers’ by endorsing in primary Behar, McCain get into fiery exchange over 2016 election in debate about Bloomberg Sanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll MORE’s (I-Vt.) campaign suggested Bloomberg should drop out of the presidential race.

Not to be outdone, another billionaire, fading Democratic presidential candidate Tom SteyerTom Fahr SteyerSanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll Poll: Bloomberg overtakes Biden in Florida Beleaguered Biden turns to must-win South Carolina MORE,  wasted no time in taking his own cheap shot at Bloomberg. Said Steyer, in part: “Mike Bloomberg’s remarks in the video are extremely disturbing. The racist stereotypes he uses have no place today, and anyone running for the presidential nomination should disavow them. We have a racist president in Donald Trump, and we must rise above that to unite our country.”     

Give me a break. Steyer must have been clutching his “pander bear” to his chest when he put out that statement. Neither Trump nor Bloomberg is racist, as Steyer very well knows — and as do the president and former New York mayor regarding one another.

For the sake of the nation, the adults in the room need to stop throwing toys at each other, crawl out of the sandbox, stand up and act responsibly. 

The actual truth in all of this is that Trump and Bloomberg both have done great good through their careers and with their wealth over the years. Collectively, they’ve likely created tens of thousands of jobs and given tens of millions of dollars to charity.

That said, as billionaires and as the president and a former big city mayor, both also have understandably existed in a bubble of privilege far removed from those in the minority communities of our nation, as well as the tens of millions of non-minorities who exist at or below the poverty line.

It’s a world I happen to know quite well. As a white child, I grew up in abject poverty, was homeless often, and sometimes lived in poor minority neighborhoods or public housing projects. 

I often have been asked if there were any advantages to growing up that way. The most powerful and lasting advantage was that at an early age I was blessed to learn that black and minority America is a great America. My very first heroes in life were the African American single moms I met who worked two and three jobs to provide for their families. These incredibly courageous women became my role models.

The second advantage was learning that we are all in this mess together.

Today, as Trump and Bloomberg — and their respective allies — rip each other for campaign advantage, tens of millions of desperately poor Americans still exist. They are out there, often foolishly believing that Washington will actually notice their spirit-destroying plight and help them.

As an American and one who comes from such a life, I do believe that Donald Trump is an exceptional president in a number of ways and is creating a rising tide that is lifting a number of boats. For that reason, I strongly support his reelection and am happy to debate anyone on the actual issues confronting our nation.

That said, I also believe Michael Bloomberg to be a good person.

For years, Republicans and conservatives rightfully have condemned those who label others as “racist” with no credible evidence. It’s a charge that can end careers or hurt much worse.

My advice to both Trump and Bloomberg is this: If you truly want to move away from this nonsense and help those in poor and minority communities, then invite them to the White House or your campaign stop and let them educate you about real life that is riddled with tragic consequences.

No academics. No politicians. No advisers. No frauds. Simply invite “real” people to talk about their lives. That’s how you can begin to unite America.

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.



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Ivanka in Abu Dhabi ahead of women's conference…


ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Ivanka Trump, daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, where she met with women entrepreneurs and was to meet Abu Dhabi’s crown prince.

She was in Abu Dhabi ahead of the two-day Global Women’s Forum in Dubai, where she was to give the keynote address Sunday.

In Abu Dhabi, Trump met with women business leaders at the Louvre Abu Dhabi before touring the museum. She later visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in the country.

The adviser to President Trump was scheduled to meet with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who is believed to be the Emirates’ day-to-day ruler.

At the Louvre, Trump discussed women’s economic empowerment in the UAE with businesswomen and government officials. Officials included Reem al-Hashemi, minister of state for international cooperation; Noura al-Kaabi, minister of culture and knowledge development, and Minister of State for Advanced Sciences Sarah al-Amiri.

In the U.S. this week, Ivanka Trump announced that Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jeanne Shaheen are behind an effort to have her Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative written into U.S. law.

The proposed legislation would make the economic empowerment of women a priority of U.S. foreign policy and ensure the initiative continues beyond the Trump administration.

Ivanka Trump said the legislation is a “long overdue goal.”

The Graham-Shaheen bill must pass both the Republican-led Senate and the Democratic-controlled House before the president can sign it into law.



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Astronomers to sweep entire sky for signs of extraterrestrial life…


Astronomers will sweep the entire sky for signs of extraterrestrial life for the first time, using 28 giant radio telescopes in an unprecedented hunt for alien civilisations.

The project is a collaboration between the privately-funded Seti Institute and the Very Large Array observatory in New Mexico, one of the world’s most powerful radio observatories. Gaining real-time access to all the data gathered by VLA is considered a major coup for scientists hunting extraterrestrial lifeforms and an indication that the field has “gone mainstream”.

Normal astronomy operations will continue at the VLA, which was featured in the 1997 film Contact, but under the new arrangement all data will be duplicated and fed through a dedicated supercomputer that will search for beeps, squawks or other signatures of distant technology.

“The VLA is being used for an all-sky survey and we kind of go along for the ride,” said Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley Seti centre. “It allows us to in parallel conduct a Seti survey.

“Determining whether we are alone in the universe as technologically capable life is among the most compelling questions in science, and [our] telescopes can play a major role in answering it,” said Tony Beasley, director of The National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which runs the VLA.

The first phase of the project, installing new cables, has been funded by John Giannandrea, a senior Apple executive and trustee of the Seti Institute, and Carol Giannandrea.

The VLA project is one of a wave of upcoming Seti initiatives sketched out at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Seattle on Friday.

Jill Tarter, an emeritus researcher at the Seti Institute, gave updates on Panoseti, a proposed observatory in the prototype stage of development designed to continuously watch a large portion of the sky. If funding is secured, Panoseti will comprise two geodesic domes covered in half-metre lenses, giving it the appearance of a giant pair of insect eyes. The ability to simultaneously watch a vast expanse of sky would make it uniquely suited to spotting transient signals, such as the flash of a distant powerful laser. “To catch that kind of thing you really do want to be looking when the signal comes your way,” said Tarter ahead of her talk.

The veteran Seti scientist said the field had been boosted in the past decade by the discovery that about a fifth of stars host planets in the “habitable zone”.

“Now that there might be more habitable real estate out there than we ever imagined early on … it seems to make this next question about intelligent life more realistic,” she said. “It’s not as far on the fringes as it once was – it’s almost mainstream.”

Others are hunting for less intelligent varieties of alien life. Speaking at the same session at AAAS, Victoria Meadows, who leads Nasa’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory at the University of Washington, described observations planned with the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch next year.

Three Earth-sized planets orbiting a cool, dim star called Trappist-1 in the constellation of Aquarius will be high up on the hit list. Computer models suggest the Trappist-1 system is among the most promising for finding planets with atmospheres and temperatures that would enable liquid water to exist on the surface.

“The James Webb Telescope will be able to tell us whether they have atmospheres like the Earth or Venus,” said Meadows. “It gives us our first real chance to search for gases given off by life on another planet. We’re basically going to get to study Earth’s cousins.”

Siemion also announced the second tranche of results from the $100m (£76m) Breakthrough Listen Initiative: no alien transmissions have been detected so far.

The latest survey, the most comprehensive to date of radio emissions, included the first search of the “Earth transit zone”. The transit zone search targeted 20 stars in positions where the hypothetical inhabitants of these solar systems would be able to observe the Earth’s shadow flickering across the sun. This method of detection has allowed astronomers to identify thousands of exoplanets and determine whether their conditions are potentially habitable.

“This turns that around and says, ‘What if some other civilisation were watching our sun?’” said Siemion.

If there is, it is either watching quietly or watching from some of the other 200bn stars in the Milky Way.

As the latest technology advances bring scientists a step closer to answering the question of whether anyone or anything is out there, there are still issues to be ironed out over best practice in the event that an alien civilisation is detected.

Stephen Hawking warned against attempting any form of contact, suggesting the outcome for humans would not necessarily be good. Siemion disagrees. “Personally I think we absolutely should and I think without a doubt, we would,” he said. “Part of being human is wanting to reach out into the unknown and wanting to reach out and make connections.”

He is less decisive about what Earth’s message should be, however. “I don’t know … I spend absolutely zero time thinking about that,” he said. “I guess I would just say, ‘Hello’.”



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change his official residence from New York to homes he owns in Colorado or Florida


Michael Bloomberg is considering Hillary Clinton as a running mate, according to the Drudge Report.

The top right-leaning news aggregator, citing sources close to the Bloomberg team, reported on Saturday that the former New York mayor is contemplating Clinton as a vice presidential running mate after his campaign’s polling found the combination would go over well with voters.

Drudge Report founder Matt Drudge said in a rare tweet, which he will likely delete, that the former mayor would go as far as moving his official residence from New York to Colorado or Florida, where he owns homes, so that he and Clinton are not from the same state during the race.

Clinton, a former first lady, senator from New York, and secretary of state in the Obama administration, revealed in November that she was receiving a number of calls urging her to rethink her decision to sit out of the 2020 race. Earlier this month, Clinton said she isn’t running for president, but reluctantly conceded an openness to being on someone else’s ticket. “I never say never because I do believe in serving my country, but it’s not going to happen,” the 72-year-old told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Clinton was the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and lost the election to President Trump, although she did win the popular vote.

Bloomberg, a late entry to the Democratic race, has seen surging poll numbers despite not being on the ballot for the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary, the nation’s first litmus tests for those vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.

A RealClearPolitics national average of polls has Bloomberg in third place at 14.2% behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

A spokeswoman for Bloomberg declined to comment on the report when the Washington Examiner reached out.



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Sources close to Bloomberg campaign tell DRUDGE REPORT that candidate is considering Hillary Clinton as running mate


BREAKING: Mike Bloomberg ‘wants Hillary Clinton as his running mate’, sources close to his campaign tell Drudge

  • Mike Bloomberg is considering Hillary Clinton as his running mate, source says 
  • Polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force to take on Trump in the race for the White House
  • Bloomberg is said to be considering changing his official residence because the electoral college makes it tough for president and VP to reside in the same state 

Mike Bloomberg is considering making Hillary Clinton his running mate, a source close to his campaign has told Drudge Report.

Polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force to take on Trump in the race for the White House, the source said. 

Former New York City Mayor and Democratic candidate Bloomberg is said to be considering even changing his official residence from New York to Colorado or Florida – where he also has homes – because the electoral college makes it difficult for US president and vice-president to reside in the same state.

Under the Twelfth Amendment to the US Constitution, which provides the procedure for electing the president and vice-president, it states that the two people could not both inhabit the same state as the elector. 

Mike Bloomberg (above)

Hillary Clinton (above)

Mike Bloomberg (left) is considering making Hillary Clinton (right) his running mate, a source close to his campaign has told Drudge Report

Hilary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg are pictured taking part in a New York City pride parade

Hilary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg are pictured taking part in a New York City pride parade

This comes as two new Democratic primary polls show Bloomberg in the lead in Florida, while Sen. Bernie Sanders tops the field in Texas. 

Both Bloomberg and Sanders have teeny tiny leads over former Vice President Joe Biden, who took a beating in both Iowa and New Hampshire. 

The Florida poll shows Bloomberg with just a one-point lead over Biden, with the ex-mayor receiving 27 per cent support from Florida Democrats compared to Biden’s 26 per cent support. 

Bloomberg’s edge comes from having about a 10-point lead over Biden among white survey respondents. The former mayor gets the support of 28 per cent of white Floridians,  versus the 18.5 per cent who selected Biden as their first choice for Democratic nominee. 

Former first lady Clinton previously said she faced calls to run for president in 2020 after she lost out to Trump in the 2016 election, but she has repeatedly said she won’t join the race.

However, she stopped short of denying she was considering running for vice-president alongside one of the Democratic candidates earlier this month.

‘I never say never because I do believe in serving my country, but it’s not going to happen,’ she told Ellen DeGeneres.

In January, Donald Trump made the strange claim that Clinton had promised Bloomberg the job of secretary of state should she be elected president in 2016, to keep him from running four years ago.

Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg pictured together in New York in 2017

Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg pictured together in New York in 2017

‘He had a deal with Hillary Clinton that he was going to become secretary of State. It was very simple. People knew that,’ Trump said during an interview on CNBC filmed on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The president then suggested Bloomberg would have been double-crossed.

‘Wasn’t going to happen. It was giong to go to Terry McAuliffe,’ Trump said, name-dropping the former governor of Virginia who’s been a close Clinton friend.

‘I mean, so they were playing with Michael,’ Trump alleged. ‘And – it’s too bad, but he’s spending a fortune.’

 

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Showdowns at political conventions are rare. Dems may get one…


Speculation about a brokered, deadlocked or contested political conventionsurfaceseveryfouryears with the regularity of Brigadoon rising from the mist. Back in 1980, self-styled Democratic brokers called themselves the “wait in the weeds gang,” ready to identify a compromise candidate between President Jimmy Carter and Sen. Ted Kennedy. Such predictions show up in virtually every cycle when there’s even a hint of the possibility – usually early on, when a platoon of still-viable candidates suggests that a divided primary contest will fail to produce a winner. Just as frequent are the skeptical dismissals (I wrote one myself a dozen years ago) that note, with metronomic regularity, that there aren’t any more brokers: no more Jake Arveys, Ed Flynns, Mark Hannas or Harry Daughertys to trade delegates like so many poker chips.


But this could be the year it really does happen. The Democrats may arrive in Milwaukee in July with no candidate having locked down enough delegates to win the nomination on the first vote. Three factors are present, even dominant, in the Democratic fight that are often absent: a genuine ideological split; four candidates (and possibly more) with enough money to wage long campaigns; and the long-standing Democratic method of allocating delegates proportionally, which can drag out primaries even if the outcome is clear months before the convention – which it certainly isn’t today.

Conventions were not always the slick infomercials they’ve become in recent years, and the shift to primaries instead of smoke-filled rooms after the chaotic 1968 Democratic convention didn’t immediately end the prospect of floor fights. In 1972, George McGovern beat back an attempt to deny him a first-ballot victory by contesting his right to all the delegates from California’s winner-take-all primary. (He’d won 43.5 percent of the vote there, compared with Hubert Humphrey’s 38.5 percent.) In 1976, President Gerald Ford barely survived a primary challenge from Ronald Reagan; the key fight was over a Reagan-proposed rule that would have required candidates to name their running mates before the delegates voted on the nominee for the top of the ticket. In 1980, Carter’s forces at the convention stifled Kennedy’s surge by adopting a rule permitting state delegation chairmen to replace any defecting delegates.


In more recent years, though, even the hint of disorder has been effectively banished. Political parties concluded that, however entertaining contentious conventions might be, they tend to lead to electoral defeat; the last genuinely disputatious convention that preceded a victory in November was the GOP’s Robert Taft-Dwight Eisenhower battle in 1952.

Yet this year, a legitimate ideological split could overwhelm the desire for TV-friendly consensus. In 2008, Hillary Clinton ran a very close race with Barack Obama – close enough that, in theory, she might have been able to stage a fight over delegate allocations. But as Elaine Kamarck, a longtime member of the Democratic Party’s rules committee and author of the definitive “Primary Politics,” notes, “There really wasn’t an ideological basis for a fight with Obama.” Other than details of their health-care plans, the two candidates were pretty much in sync, so it was relatively easy to unite Democrats behind Obama, who had more delegates.

The split between Bernie Sanders and the more centrist wing of the party is far deeper, as are the strategic implications. Sanders says he will trigger a “political revolution” that will transform the terrain and force Congress to pass his programs. His rivals say that nominating a declared socialist would ruin any chance of capturing the battleground states and that cultivating the middle is the way to win. These differences are a lot less reconcilable than health-care details.

Next, there’s money. In the past several election cycles, the mob of candidates has been reduced very quickly after the early contests. Also-rans have found that contributors’ phones no longer work; even enthusiastic backers become uninterested in throwing good money after bad. This year, as many as four candidates have the resources to stay in the fight. Sanders has built an astonishing machine with more than 1 million contributors. Pete Buttigieg raised almost $25 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, and his showings in Iowa and New Hampshire all but ensure that his fundraising will remain robust. Amy Klobuchar raised $2.5 million in four hours after her strong finish in New Hampshire. And then there’s Mike Bloomberg, who doesn’t need to raise money and is spending his own fortune so prolifically that he’s starting to run out of advertising platforms. That suggests a multicandidate field where money troubles won’t force anyone out anytime soon.

And that’s where the Democrats’ delegate-allocation rules come into play. If there is one aspect of presidential campaigns that the media consistently misleads voters about, it is what “winning” a primary means in the Democratic Party. Ever since the battle over McGovern’s California delegates in 1972, Democrats have banned “winner take all” primaries. Candidates win delegates roughly proportionately to how they did statewide and in individual congressional districts. So, for instance, when Clinton “won” the 2008 Ohio primary, beating Obama by nine points, she earned 74 delegates to his 67 – netting only seven delegates. She beat Obama by eight points in California, where there were 441 delegates at stake, but her net gain was just 38. If Democrats had had winner-take-all rules in key states in 2008, Clinton, not Obama, would have been the nominee. This year, if four decently financed contenders (or indecently financed, in Bloomberg’s case) are competing, there is simply no way to know if any of them will emerge with a delegate lead big enough to make the convention a ratifying, rather than a nominating, event.

“The ingredients are all there,” says Joe Trippi, who has worked on the campaigns of Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Howard Dean, John Edwards and a regiment of other Democrats. “If the discarded fantasy [of a contested convention] doesn’t play out in that cauldron of a party divided along ideological and generational lines, then when, if ever, will it happen?”

If it comes down to a contested convention, it will be hard for an insurgent to beat the establishment. It’s true that there are no longer powerful figures who can deliver a state’s worth of delegates with the flick of a cigar’s ash (nor, for that matter, will smoking be allowed at the Milwaukee convention hall). But, as Kamarck notes, “state delegations, even at the floor of a convention, are consumed by local politics; Tip O’Neill was right about all politics being local. So, for instance, [New York Gov.] Andrew Cuomo won’t pick the delegates, but a lot of delegates will still care what he says.”

All this raises a mare’s nest of issues. What’s a big enough plurality to make a nomination inevitable? Forty-eight percent? Thirty percent? It’s not hard to speculate about what Sanders supporters would think if he came to the convention with a lead in delegates, but far short of a majority, and the convention chose someone else. And what about those 765 “superdelegates” – the members of the House and Senate, governors, and other Democratic National Committee members – who are barred from voting on the first ballot but free to vote thereafter? A rules challenge to their power would be just about a certainty. Sanders has already said that whoever has a plurality should be the nominee. When you remember that a significant number of Sanders backers argued that he was robbed last time (even though Clinton outpolled him by some 3.7 million votes), the idea of post-convention unity after such a result seems a fantasy.

So yes, the possibility of a contested, disputatious convention in 2020 is something more than a fantasy of those who watch C-SPAN 3 for kicks. Set against that possibility, though, is the primal belief that such a convention all but guarantees defeat in the fall. However this campaign develops, there will come a point sometime in late spring or early summer when Democrats will be faced with this question: Do they really want to hold a convention whose very likely result will be a second term for President Donald Trump?

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Greenfield is a five-time Emmy award-winning network TV analyst and author.



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