Hillary Clinton on Friday defended her 2016 campaign strategy after 2020 Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg criticized his party’s previous nominee for being too hopeful and not understanding the struggles of everyday Americans.
“I really do believe that we always have to appeal to our better selves because the wolf is at the door, my friends,” Clinton said during an appearance at the 10th Annual Women in the World New York Summit. “Negativity, despair, anxiety, resentment, anger, prejudice, that’s part of human nature and the job of the leader is to appeal to us to be more than we can be on our own, to join hands in common effort.”
“I was well aware that we had problems that we had to solve, but it’s been my experience that anger, resent, prejudice are not strategies,” the former first lady, secretary of state and senator from New York added. “They stop people from thinking. They don’t enlist people in the common effort to try to find solutions.”
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told the Washington Post in a profile published January that President Trump connected with the concerns of ordinary Americans in a way Clinton did not.
“Donald Trump got elected because, in his twisted way, he pointed out the huge troubles in our economy and our democracy,” he said. “At least he didn’t go around saying that America was already great, like Hillary did.”
A senior Clinton adviser blasted Buttigieg’s comments last month via Twitter as “indefensible.”
“[Hillary Clinton] ran on a belief in this country & the most progressive platform in modern political history. Trump ran on pessimism, racism, false promises, & vitriol. Interpret that how you want, but there are 66,000,000 people who disagree. Good luck,” Nick Merrill tweeted.
“It’s pretty simple. Slam HRC…lose my vote,” and another who chimed in: “It is unfortunate when people as smart as @PeteButtigieg engage in this fantasy fiction about 2016. And as a gay American it is disappointing because @HillaryClinton ran a campaign which amongst its many values championed our community,” Merrill also wrote.
Comedian Ian Cognito died during a stand-up act in which he joked about dying on stage and then fell silent while the audience continued laughing, thinking it was a joke.
“Imagine if I died in front of you lot here,” Cognito, 60, joked on stage during his set Thursday. Andrew Bird, who runs the Lone Wolf Comedy Club in Bicester England, told the BBC: “Everyone in the crowd, me included, thought he was joking. Even when I walked on stage and touched his arm I was expecting him to say ‘boo’.”
Audience members were mortified when they learned that had been chuckling at a man dying. “We came out feeling really sick, we just sat there for five minutes watching him, laughing at him,” said audience member John Ostojak. He added: “Only 10 minutes before he sat down he joked about having a stroke He said, ‘Imagine having a stroke and waking up speaking Welsh?'”
Fellow comedians extended their sympathies on Twitter after hearing the news of Cognito’s death, but commented that his demise was in some ways fitting.
“Died with his boots on. That’s commitment to comedy. I’ll never forget his kindness when I started out & how god damn funny he was,” said comedian Jimmy Carr.
Veteran stand-up comedian Ian Cognito has died on-stage – literally. The audience thought it was part of the act. Died with his boots on. That’s commitment to comedy. I’ll never forget his kindness when I started out & how god damn funny he was.
— Jimmy Carr (@jimmycarr) April 12, 2019
Comedian Mark Steel said Cognito had “expired in his natural home” and was “a difficult awkward hilarious troubled brilliant sort, a proper comic.”
Bird said that dying on stage would have been the way Cognito “would have wanted to go,” adding: “Except he’d want more money and a bigger venue”
There is a comedic tradition of dying on stage. In 1984, comedian Tommy Cooper suffered a heart attack in the middle of his set on live television.His assistants and viewers back home thought he was making a joke as he slumped over and then writhed on the ground.
Cognito, whose real name was Paul Barbieri, had been performing since the mid-1980s. He won the Time Out Award for Stand-up Comedy in 1999 but never really hit the big time.
Americans are in danger of ignoring casual lies by President Trump, making him a bigger threat in a sense than Russian actors trying to interfere in U.S. elections, according to former FBI Director James Comey.
“I’m sure Russia is engaged in efforts to undermine all manner of American institutions, but the president of the United States tweets lies about those institutions nearly every day,” Comey said Thursday at a Hewlett Foundation event near San Francisco. “He does it so often that we’ve become numb to it. And there’s danger in that numbness.”
Trump fired Comey in May 2017 over what he later said was an effort to shut down a probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign. Since then, the president has regularly targeted Comey for criticism over Twitter.
“I wake up some mornings and the president’s tweeted I should be in jail. You know what I do? I laugh and I go, ‘Oh, there he goes again.’ I don’t follow him on Twitter, so I only see it if one of you retweets it. But I laugh. And that laughing is dangerous.”
Comey also disputed Attorney General William Barr’s claim that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election.
“I don’t understand what the heck he’s talking about,” Comey said. “But when I hear that kind of language used, it’s concerning because the FBI and the Department of Justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance. I have never thought of that as ‘spying.’”
Thousands of Twitter accounts known as “bots” targeted Bernie Sanders supporters to rally support for the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election after Sanders’ loss to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic primary.
Researchers at Clemson University collaborated with the Washington Post on a report that found tens of thousands of tweets sent from bot accounts controlled by Russian agents drew parallels between the populist, working-class messages of the Trump campaign and that of Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont.
“#BlackMenForBernie Leader Switches to Trump! I will Never Vote for Hillary, Welcome aboard the Trump Train,” said one tweet sent by a Russian bot. The account described itself as a “Southern., Conservative Pro God, Anti Racism” Twitter user from Texas.
Another Russian bot, called “Red Louisiana News,” tweeted: “Conscious Bernie Sanders supporters already moving towards the best candidate Trump! #Feel the Bern #Vote Trump 2016.”
In an effort to have Sanders’ supporters defect from Clinton’s Democratic Party, the bots also highlighted questionable tactics Sanders’ supporters claimed took place in order to rig the Democratic nomination process for Clinton.
“I think there is no question that Sanders was central to their strategy. He was clearly used as a mechanism to decrease voter turnout for Hillary Clinton,” said Darren Linvill, researcher and Clemson University associate professor of communications.
The analyzed tweets “give us a much clearer understanding of the tactics they were using. It was certainly a higher volume than people thought.”
Nearly 12% of voters who supported Sanders in the Democratic primary crossed party lines and voted for Trump in the general election, according to a post-election survey by NPR. The numbers are particularly stark in light of Trump’s upsets in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, which clinched the election for him.
Last month, Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary committees, briefing them of the “principal conclusions” in Mueller’s Russia investigation. The summary said the special counsel did not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
A regular contributor to the Boston Globe, Luke O’Neil advocated for waiters at restaurants to tamper with the food of Trump administration officials he dislikes.
The Globe quickly took down the column, “Keep Kirstjen Nielsen unemployed and eating Grubhub over her kitchen sink,” referring to the recently ousted Department of Homeland Security secretary.
“As for the waiters out there, I’m not saying you should tamper with anyone’s food, as that could get you into trouble,” O’Neil wrote. “You might lose your serving job. But you’d be serving America. And you won’t have any regrets years later.”
Republicans pounced on the piece with criticism, forcing the Globe to edit it multiple times before finally pulling it.
Herman Cain, one of President Trump’s two picks for the Federal Reserve Board, tweeted, “Who makes the editorial decisions at the Boston Globe?”
O’Neil hit back at the Globe Thursday for taking his piece down.
“Absolute brain genius move by the Globe to edit my story three times then take it down altogether and put up a note saying I’m not on staff instead of perhaps standing by a long time contributor and siding with labor instead of bad faith critics who would hate them no matter what,” O’Neil said on Twitter.
O’Neil added to the Washington Post “I will never write for them again.”
A back-and-forth over Twitter about whether Rep. Ilhan Omar had downplayed the significance and horror of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks sparked debate on Capitol Hill this week.
On Friday, she suggested that President George W. Bush would have faced more scrutiny for his comments in the aftermath of the attacks if he were Muslim.
“Was Bush downplaying the terrorist attack?” Omar asked in a tweet sharing an article to the Washington Post. “What if he was a Muslim?”
The Post story included a fact check on Omar’s remarks and said they were reminiscent of President George W. Bush’s “bullhorn speech.”
“The people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” Omar said, quoting Bush’s speech.
A video surfaced over the weekend showing Omar referring to the 9/11 hijackers as “some people who did something.”
That speech was met with instant criticism from Republicans and conservative media.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, condemned Omar for trivializing the deadliest terror attack in American history.
“You described an act of terrorism on American soil that killed thousands of innocent lives as ‘some people did something,’” Crenshaw said of Omar in a tweet. “It’s still unbelievable, as is your response here.”
1. I never called you un-American.
2. I did not incite any violence against you.
3. You described an act of terrorism on American soil that killed thousands of innocent lives as “some people did something.”
It’s still unbelievable, as is your response here. https://t.co/SsfWYepOS1
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) April 10, 2019
The right-leaning New York Post published a dramatic front page Thursday with the screaming headline “ Here’s your something.”
Former FBI Investigator and now CNN Legal Analyst James Gagliano called Omar’s tweet a “false equivalence”
“President Bush made this statement days after World Trade Center was reduced to rubble, as he stood atop the smoking pile. I was there,” Gagliano said. “We, in FBI, were working to determine involvement in conspiracy, following evidence.”
Omar and other Democratic freshman lawmakers have said that criticizing her for speaking about her experiences as a Muslim American puts her in danger.
Authorities charged a New York man last week with threatening to assassinate Omar.
“I’m not going to quote the NY Post’s horrifying, hateful cover,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. “She‘s done more for 9/11 families than the GOP who won’t even support healthcare for 1st responders- yet are happy to weaponize her faith.”
FILE PHOTO: Amit Shah, president of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) addresses party workers in Ahmedabad, India, February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo
April 12, 2019
By Devjyot Ghoshal
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The head of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party took his invective against illegal Muslim immigrants to a new level this week as the general election kicked off, promising to throw them into the Bay of Bengal.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah referred such illegal immigrants as “termites”, a description he also used last September, when he drew condemnation from rights groups. The U.S. State Department also noted the remark in its annual human rights report.
“Infiltrators are like termites in the soil of Bengal,” Shah said on Thursday at a rally in the eastern state of West Bengal, as voting in India’s 39-day general election started.
“A Bharatiya Janata Party government will pick up infiltrators one by one and throw them into the Bay of Bengal,” he said, referring to illegal immigrants from neighboring Muslim-majority Bangladesh.
Shah nevertheless reiterated the BJP’s stance on giving citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs from Bangladesh and Pakistan.
India is already working on deporting an estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslims living in the country after fleeing Buddhist-majority Myanmar. New Delhi considers them a security threat.
The comments from Shah, the right-hand man of Modi, drew criticism from the main opposition Congress party as well as minority groups. On Twitter, some users likened his speech to a suggestion of ethnic cleansing.
“The statement is a direct attack on the identity and integrity of the nation as a secular state,” the Kerala Christian Forum, a group from the southern state, said in a statement. It demanded an apology from Shah.
A BJP spokesman declined to comment on the speech.
Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha said Shah’s remarks were a deliberate attempt to polarize voters along sectarian lines.
“The political business model of the BJP is to raise the communal temperature, keep it at a boil, and to keep India in a permanent religious divide,” Jha said.
(Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal; Additional reporting by Munsif Vengattil; Editing by Krishna N. Das)
Julian Assange kept a lot of secrets while he was cooped up in a cramped corner room at the Ecuadoran embassy in London. But as his seven-year tenure there ended ignominiously on Thursday, one final mystery captured the attention of the international community.
What will happen to Embassy Cat?
The asylum seeker’s furry friend was Assange’s only consistent companion during some of his lonely years as a self-styled political refugee.
The cat had a significant internet following of its own – though its views hewed suspiciously close to its human’s – and it was apparently a fixture at the embassy, with a penchant for pouncing on Christmas tree ornaments and for defusing tension as the WikiLeaks founder tangled with a bevy of world leaders.
It was named for its famous home, but occasionally went by “James” or “Cat-stro” after the Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s death in 2016.
Embassy Cat’s Twitter and Instagram accounts – with 31,000 and 5,000 followers, respectively – also monopolised the coveted market for cybersecurity-meets-cat puns (the cat was reportedly interested in “counter-purrveillance”).
So when police stormed the Ecuadoran embassy, arrested Mr Assange and took him into custody after a US federal court unsealed an indictment charging him with conspiracy, many worried about the fate of the feline.
Would the cat’s asylum end, too? Or was it just beginning? Would someone adopt it, or would it also face extradition to the United States? Would it fall victim to a vast conspiracy? Did it know too much?
“Is Julian Assange’s cat going to be okay though?” one person asked.
“I do hope that someone looks after his cat, who must be very confused about all this,” another said.
A third simply stated: “Am worried about … his cat.”
While it is unclear exactly what happened to Embassy Cat, multiple sources have indicated that it long ago left its home.
Italy’s la Repubblica newspaper reported in November 2018 that the cat was gone. But, according to the paper, its departure was for its own good, a benevolent gesture by its owner.
The author, who visited Mr Assange for the story, wrote that “Not even the cat is there anymore … Assange has preferred to spare the cat an isolation which has become unbearable and allow it a healthier life.”
Sputnik News, the Russian government-funded Kremlin organisation and diligent reporter of Embassy Cat developments, said it had contacted the Ecuadoran embassy about the cat and a spokesperson confirmed that it has been gone for months.
“It is not here since September, I think,” the official told Sputnik. “It was taken by Mr Assange’s associates a long ago … It is not here. We are not a pet store, so we do not keep pets here.”
James Ball, an early employee of WikiLeaks who defected after three months at the organisation, said on Twitter that the embassy gave the cat to a shelter “ages ago”. He also wrote that he “genuinely offered to adopt it,” though it doesn’t appear that Mr Assange took him up on it.
But the person closest to Mr Assange to comment on Embassy Cat, a member of his legal team, said Mr Assange gave the cat to a family member after the Ecuadoran embassy threatened to take the pet to a shelter.
“Ecuador also threatened to put Assange’s cat in the pound,” said Hanna Jonasson in a tweet. “Incensed at the threat, he asked his lawyers to take his cat to safety. The cat is with Assange’s family. They will be reunited in freedom.”
In 2018, the Ecuadoran embassy gave Mr Assange a set of house rules that instructed him to clean his bathroom and take better care of his cat. The rules warned him that he must look after its “well-being, food and hygiene”, or risk losing it, the BBC reported.
If reports of the cat being mistreated are true, then it’s likely happier in its new home, wherever that is, said John Bradshaw, a scholar and expert on cats, dogs and their relationships with humans.
“It seems quite possible that the cat may not have been particularly attached to Mr Assange anyway,” Mr Bradshaw told The Washington Post. “If it’s already been moved, I would guess that it is missing the Embassy more than it misses him.”
Other media reports have suggested that the cat is less a companion and more of a public relations strategy. Mr Assange has told tabloids that the cat was a gift from his children, but a source who allegedly knows him well told the New Yorker something quite different.
“Julian stared at the cat for about half an hour, trying to figure out how it could be useful, and then came up with this: Yeah, let’s say it’s from my children,” the source said. “Everything is PR – everything.”
As for the new owners, Mr Bradshaw advised them to keep the cat as an indoor-only pet, since it grew up as such in the embassy. If allowed outside after its repatriation, it may try to escape and return to its old home in the London neighbourhood.
“It will probably try to get back to Knightsbridge,” Mr Bradshaw said, “and likely fall foul of the traffic”.
Does Vice President Mike Pence care about your sexuality? And will the Left and the media ever get over it if the answer is no?
During a speech a few days ago to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said “If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Buttigieg was lauded for really taking the argument to Pence.
The comments were made in response to Pence’s recent comments … oh, that’s right, there were no Pence comments. In fact, the two seemed to have a very pleasant relationship while both served the people of Indiana, Buttigieg as mayor of South Bend and Pence as governor.
The Daily Caller points out that “In 2014, for example, Pence called Buttigieg on the day of his deployment to Afghanistan — USA Today described Pence as “noticeably moved” during the call. Pence responded with support in 2015 when he heard Buttigieg had come out as gay, asserting, “I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot.”
Buttigieg’s answer to an argument Mike Pence didn’t make is a good one. But if you have to build up straw-men with which to argue, perhaps it’s because Mike Pence isn’t the guy you think he is.
There so much common wisdom about Mike Pence that has so little basis in reality. At the top of that list is that “Mike Pence believes in gay conversion therapy.” But there is no evidence that Pence supports or has ever supported the odious practice, which purports to “electro-shock” away the gay.
The Snopes website states “Pence never stated that he supported the use of electric shocks or ‘gay conversion therapy.'” The rumor is based on a clause Pence wanted added to a AIDS funding bill which read, “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” That can mean institutions that promote safer sex, that can mean institutions that work against promiscuity. That people took that line and decided it meant “gay conversion therapy” is, frankly, insane. That this idea continues to go unchallenged is a failure of our media.
When Joe Biden got in trouble a few weeks ago for calling Pence “a decent guy,” actress Cynthia Nixon took to Twitter to call Pence “America’s most anti-LGBT elected leader.” She didn’t explain what made him so LGBT and no one called her on it. Instead, Biden apologized for complimenting Pence.
The obsession over gayness isn’t Pence’s, it belongs to his critics.
Last year, “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver put out a book A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, a parody of the children’s book Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, written by Pence’s wife and daughter. In the Oliver book, the bunny is, wait for it, gay. How daring. The book, of course, got fawning write-ups in places like the New York Times.
Last month, the media was obsessed with the Irish prime minister bringing his boyfriend to meet Pence. Article after article chronicled Pence’s reaction, which was to treat the prime minister and his boyfriend exactly as he treats anyone else.
In January, sites got their clicks by urging you to “Watch Mike Pence swear in the first openly bisexual Senator, Kyrsten Sinema.” If you watched you’d find that the vice president swore her in without incident or any marked discomfort.
And in 2018, the media wanted you to know that “Pence swears in Trump’s most prominent openly gay official” at the ceremony for Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany.
Pence either has the world’s best poker face or else he doesn’t actually have an issue with gay people. In fact, one of Pence’s very few tweets mentioning the word “gay” is one where he notes “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore.” He simply doesn’t live up to his caricature.
Pence is a private person. He’s not a tweeting machine like President Trump. This lets people project their intense anti-administration feelings onto him. The problem is that these people never get any pushback from the media, who only claim to care deeply about facts. The facts have shown Mike Pence not to be the homophobe his foes imagine him to be.
Karol Markowicz is a columnist for the New York Post.