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 21 
 on: October 22, 2017, 05:52:40 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

Trump plans to release JFK assassination documents
despite concerns from federal agencies


One final batch of papers related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy
remains unseen by the public.


By IAN SHAPIRA | 2:00PM EDT - Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Kennedy motorcade drives through Dallas moments before the president was fatally shot on Friday, November 22nd, 1963. — Photograph: Jim Altgens/Associated Press.
The Kennedy motorcade drives through Dallas moments before the president was fatally shot on Friday, November 22nd, 1963.
 — Photograph: Jim Altgens/Associated Press.


PRESIDENT TRUMP announced on Saturday morning that he planned to release the tens of thousands of never-before-seen documents left in the files related to President John F. Kennedy's assassination held by the National Archives and Records Administration.

“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted early on Saturday.

Experts have been speculating for weeks about whether Trump would disclose the documents. The 1992 Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act required that the millions of pages, many of them contained in CIA and FBI documents, be published in 25 years — by Thursday. Over the years, the National Archives has released most of the documents, either in full or partially redacted.

But one final batch remains, and only the president has the authority to extend the papers' secrecy past the deadline.

In his tweet, Trump seemed to strongly imply he was going to release all the remaining documents, but the White House later said that if other government agencies made a strong case not to release the documents, he wouldn't.

“The president believes that these documents should be made available in the interests of full transparency unless agencies provide a compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification otherwise,” the White House said in a statement on Saturday.

In the days leading up to Trump's announcement, a National Security Council official told The Washington Post that government agencies were urging the president not to release some of the documents. But Trump's longtime confidant Roger Stone told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars this week that he personally lobbied Trump to release all of the documents.

Stone also told Jones that CIA Director Mike Pompeo “has been lobbying the president furiously not to release these documents.”

Some Republican lawmakers have also been urging Trump for a full release. Earlier this month, Representative Walter B. Jones (Republican-North Carolina) and Senator Charles E. Grassley (Republican-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, brought forward resolutions calling on Trump to “reject any claims for the continued postponement” of the documents.

“No reason 2 keep hidden anymore,” Grassley tweeted earlier this month. “Time 2 let American ppl + historians draw own conclusions.”

Though Kennedy assassination experts say that they do not think the last batch of papers contains any major bombshells, the president's decision to release the documents could heighten the clarity around the assassination, which has fueled so many conspiracy theorists, including Trump.

In May 2016, while on the presidential campaign trail, Trump gave an interview to Fox News strongly accusing the father of GOP primary opponent Senator Ted Cruz (Republican-Texas) of consorting with Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald right before the shooting.

Some Kennedy assassination researchers think that the trove could shed light on a key question that President Lyndon B. Johnson tried to unsuccessfully put to rest in 1963: Did Oswald act alone, or was he aided or propelled by a foreign government?

The records are also said to include details on Oswald's activities while he was traveling in Mexico City in late September 1963 and courting Cuban and Soviet spies, as well as the CIA's personality profiles written of Oswald after the assassination.

But some experts fear the history that may be lost forever in unreadable documents in the trove. One listed as “unintelligible” is a secret communication from the CIA to the Office of Naval Intelligence about Oswald in October 1963 — weeks before the assassination. Oswald had been honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1959, but it was later changed to a dishonorable discharge. He was outraged and made threats late in 1963 when he learned the military had rejected his appeal of its decision.

Phil Shenon, who wrote a book about the Warren Commission, the congressional body that investigated Kennedy's killing, said he was pleased with Trump's decision to release the documents. But he wonders to what degree the papers will ultimately be released.

“It's great news that the president is focused on this and that he's trying to demonstrate transparency. But the question remains whether he will open the library in full — every word in every document, as the law requires,” Shenon said. “And my understanding is that he won't without infuriating people at the CIA and elsewhere who are determined to keep at least some of the information secret, especially in documents created in the 1990s.”

There are about 3,100 previously unreleased files that hold tens of thousands of pages of new material. The National Archives also has another 30,000 pages with information that has been disclosed before, but only partially and with redactions.

Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post reporter who has studied the Kennedy assassination records for years, said that the last tranche of material is also intriguing because it contains files on senior CIA officials from the 1960s — officers well aware of Oswald's activities in the days before the assassination.

He specifically pointed to the files of former CIA officers William K. Harvey and David Phillips. Morley said Harvey led the agency's assassinations operations and feuded constantly with Kennedy's brother, Robert F. Kennedy, over the administration's crisis with Cuba. Phillips, Morley said, oversaw the agency’s operations against Cuban President Fidel Castro and was deeply familiar with the CIA's surveillance of Oswald in Mexico City.

“What's in those files could tell us how those men did their jobs,” said Morley, who wrote a 2008 book on the agency's Mexico City station chief. “There might be stuff on why we were interested in the Cuban consulate, how we surveilled the consulate, how we did our audio work, and how did we recruit spies there? We might understand much better why they were watching Oswald.”


John Wagner and Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.

• Ian Shapira is a features writer on the local enterprise team at The Washington Post and enjoys writing about people who have served in the military and intelligence communities. He joined The Post in 2000 and has covered education, criminal justice, technology, and art crime.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: What you may not have known about JFK's last days

 • Pressure grows on Trump to release the JFK files

 • JFK's last birthday: Gifts, champagne and wandering hands on the presidential yacht

 • Roger Stone is the man the media can't ignore


https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trump-plans-to-release-of-jfk-assassination-documents-despite-concerns-from-federal-agencies/2017/10/21/d036cf36-b65d-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html

 22 
 on: October 22, 2017, 11:50:27 am 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

Wildfires scorched marijuana crops, possibly complicating
California's rollout of legal sales


At least 34 marijuana farms suffered extensive damage in Northern California's wildfires,
ahead of fully legal sales that are set to begin on January 1st.


By KATIE SEZIMA | 6:30PM EDT - Friday, October 20, 2017

Amy Goodwin removes the yellow leaves and checks for damage on the marijuana plants for SPARC on Wednesday in Glen Ellen, California. The plants require a high level of maintenance, and the fire stopped employees from working. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Amy Goodwin removes the yellow leaves and checks for damage on the marijuana plants for SPARC on Wednesday in Glen Ellen, California.
The plants require a high level of maintenance, and the fire stopped employees from working.
 — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.


THE DEADLY WILDFIRES that ravaged communities and wineries in Northern California also severely damaged numerous marijuana farms, just before the state is expected to fully legalize the drug, in a disaster that could have far-reaching implications for a nascent industry.

At least 34 marijuana farms suffered extensive damage as the wildfires tore across wine country and some of California's prime marijuana-growing areas. The fires could present challenges to the scheduled January 1st rollout of legal marijuana sales at the start of an industry that is expected to generate billions of dollars in revenue.

In many cases, owners have spent tens of thousands of dollars to become compliant with state law to sell the product. But because the federal government considers marijuana cultivation and sales a criminal enterprise, it remains extremely difficult, if not impossible, for most of the marijuana businesses affected by the fire to access insurance, mortgages and loans to rebuild. Even a charitable fund set up to help marijuana farmers was frozen because a payment processor will not handle cannabis transactions.

Cannabis businesses also are not eligible for any type of federal disaster relief, according to a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“It's the darkness right before the dawn of legal, regulated cannabis in California,” said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, who cautioned that the full extent of the damage remains unknown. “These businesses are in a really vulnerable position, and this really came at about the worst time it could have. It means we're on our own.”

The fires burned swaths of Mendocino County, which is part of what is known as California's “Emerald Triangle”, the nation's epicenter of marijuana growing. It also devastated Sonoma County, which is best known for wine but has seen an increase in cannabis farming. The fires killed at least 42 people and damaged thousands of buildings, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Some marijuana farms were completely destroyed, and many others are believed to have been heavily damaged by fire, smoke and ash. Structures used to store dried marijuana burned, as did greenhouses and irrigation lines. Many marijuana cultivators live on their farms, and some homes burned to the ground.


Thousands of glass dispensary containers are scattered where SPARC's processing barn once stood in Glen Ellen, California. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Thousands of glass dispensary containers are scattered where SPARC's processing barn once stood in Glen Ellen, California.
 — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.


Inside a damaged SPARC barn, bunches of drying marijuana still hang from the rafters. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Inside a damaged SPARC barn, bunches of drying marijuana still hang from the rafters. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.

Erich Pearson, co-owner of SPARC, a large medical cannabis dispensary with two locations in San Francisco and others north of the city, saw his crops in Glen Ellen, California, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, engulfed by flames after awakening to the smell of smoke. The first thing he saw after getting close to the farm was a metal-roofed barn on fire. It was filled with marijuana harvested to sell on the legal market.

“We lost everything we harvested to date, and had significant damage to what's left,” he said.

There is concern that what has been destroyed, as well as the damage from smoke, ash and lack of water for crops that did survive, could seriously impact the supply for customers when marijuana is legal for sale. The fire has compounded existing problems with the initial start of sales because of a regulatory mess: Many municipalities and the state have not released draft regulations for how businesses must comply with the new law. Businesses in some places, including San Francisco, are not likely to be able to open on January 1st.

“Now, we might be facing a much smaller harvest than we were anticipating, which could potentially drive the price up,” said Josh Drayton, deputy director of the California Cannabis Industry Association. “It's going to touch every different piece of the industry, and we can't get ahead of this yet. We still don't know how much has survived, how much has been lost.”

Chiah Rodriques, chief executive of Mendocino Generations, a marijuana collective in Mendocino County, said that most of the 40 farms she works with were only about 25-to-50-percent harvested when the fires broke out earlier this month. About a quarter of the farms were affected by either fire or smoke, she said, and just 10 of the 40 have the local permit necessary to become compliant with the state, though all are working toward them. None of them have crop insurance, she said.

Rodriques said that the fires could lead to less usable marijuana on the market come January. The one saving grace might be to repurpose affected plants and use them for oil and other tinctures that can be sold at dispensaries. The oils are far less lucrative than the flowers, the part of the plant that is consumed — and this year was expected to be a bumper crop.

“You're looking at the difference between $800 to $1,500 a pound to now getting $100; it's a huge blow,” she said, “especially when farmers have spent so much money trying to become compliant with laws.”

“These people put everything they had into paying for this fee and this tax and this permit and this lawyer, one thing after the next, and to have this happen right when it's finally harvest is huge,” she said.


Joey Ereneta, director of cultivation at SPARC, stands near the rubble where the dispensary's processing barn once stood. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Joey Ereneta, director of cultivation at SPARC, stands near the rubble where the dispensary's processing barn once stood.
 — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.


Some of the marijuana plants that were destroyed in the Northern California wildfires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Some of the marijuana plants that were destroyed in the Northern California wildfires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.

Pearson carefully selected the seeds and genetic strains for the cannabis he planted in February on part of 400 acres he shares with 11 other farmers. He is now starting from scratch: finding new seeds and securing greenhouse space to grow the new plants. He had submitted all of his permits to become legal under the county and state's new regulations.

“The hopes of what we could do are still the hopes of what we're going to do,” Pearson said. “It's just going to be a little harder to get there.”

Ashley Oldham, owner of Frost Flower Farms in Redwood Valley, California, did something very out of character: She left her cellphone at a friend's house the day the fire reached her. A neighbor pounded on her door in the middle of the night as flames surrounded her home, saving the lives of Oldham and her 4-year-old daughter.

Oldham's house was destroyed, but her greenhouse stayed intact, in part because she hiked through what looked like a “post-apocalyptic disaster zone” to check on her property after the fire passed. She said that emergency officials initially did not allow marijuana farmers to check on their crops, as is allowed for farmers of other agricultural products.

When she arrived at the farm, she used a neighbor's hose to wet down a large oak tree that was ablaze, saving her greenhouse. Oldham has been okayed for a legal permit in Mendocino County, spending “a lot of money” to come fully into compliance. She estimates that she lost about 25 percent of her crop to wind damage, and much of it looks burned.

She and other cannabis farmers must have their crops extensively tested under California's new regulations, and most people don't know what impact smoke or burn damage will have.

“We've never experienced this and I don't know what to expect,” she said. She said that she will not be able to recoup the full value of her house through insurance because she grows marijuana.

“We're totally legal,” she said of her farm. “But we're still being treated unfairly.”


Peter Brown, from left, Patrick Liese and Dan Hertz trim marijuana buds, which SPARC's Ereneta says will be tested for contaminants from the fires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Peter Brown, from left, Patrick Liese and Dan Hertz trim marijuana buds, which SPARC's Ereneta says will be tested for contaminants
from the fires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.


Marcos Morales holds up a marijuana bud affected by the wildfires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Marcos Morales holds up a marijuana bud affected by the wildfires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.

Susan Schindler, a grower in Potter Valley, California, said she has spent at least $20,000 on consultants, attorneys and fees trying to come into compliance for legal sales in January. She evacuated her home and has been at a San Francisco hotel since the fires. Her master grower told her the plants are “very crisp”.

Half of the crop was destroyed earlier this year due to russet mites, and now she thinks much of the other half will be lost to fire. Some was harvested, and she's hoping that it will allow her to break even.

Schindler calls marijuana a “holy plant” that she's farmed for years, selling to medical dispensaries.

“I'm not going to give up,” she said, “but it's going to take a lot of money out of my bank account this year.”


• Katie Zezima is a national correspondent at The Washington Post covering drugs, guns, gambling and vice in America. She also covered the 2016 election and the Obama White House for The Post.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Ten miles of California's loveliest countryside, transformed by fire

 • ‘We are going to stay’: Northern California residents vow to stay put even as wildfires worsen housing crunch


https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/wildfires-scorched-marijuana-crops-possibly-complicating-californias-rollout-of-legal-sales/2017/10/20/037d36a4-b41b-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html

 23 
 on: October 21, 2017, 07:57:40 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

‘Kill them’: Three men charged in shooting
after Richard Spencer speech


Police said the men argued with a group of people who had been protesting the event,
shouted Nazi chants and fired into a crowd near a bus stop.


By SUSAN SVRIUGA and LORI ROZSA | 8:40PM EDT - Friday, October 20, 2017

Protesters surrounded and shouted at Tyler Eugene Tenbrink, who attended Richard Spencer's speech, as he tried to leave the University of Florida on Thursday. — Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post.
Protesters surrounded and shouted at Tyler Eugene Tenbrink, who attended Richard Spencer's speech, as he tried to leave
the University of Florida on Thursday. — Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post.


GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA — Three men were charged with attempted homicide after they argued with a group of people protesting a white nationalist's speech and fired a shot at them, police said Friday.

About 90 minutes after Richard Spencer's speech on Thursday at the University of Florida — which generated so much controversy that the governor declared a state of emergency days before the event — a silver Jeep pulled up to six to eight protesters near a bus stop and confronted them, according to Gainesville Police Department spokesman Sergeant Ben Tobias.

The men, whom police identified as white nationalists, threatened the group, making Nazi salutes and shouting chants about Hitler, police said.

One of the people in the group, who were in their 20s and heading home after protesting, hit the Jeep with a baton. It pulled over.

Tyler Tenbrink, 28, of Richmond, Texas, jumped out with a gun, authorities said. According to the Alachua County Sheriff's arrest report, Colton Fears, 28, and William Fears, 30, of Pasadena, Tex., encouraged Tenbrink to shoot, yelling, “I'm going to f—— kill you”, “Kill them” and “Shoot them”.

Tenbrink fired a single shot that missed the people, police said, and hit a nearby building.

“Once the altercation began, it started ramping up very quickly until the gunshot,” Tobias said.

Wesley Durrance, a 2016 graduate of UF, had just said goodbye to his friends — who were sitting at the bus stop with their signs from the protest — when he heard a loud pop. “Clearly a gunshot,” he said.

He turned around and saw chaos. “Some people were running, one of my friends was still sitting there, my friend who was shot at was standing there,” Durrance said. “Everybody was freaking out, but he was pretty calm, considering. I mean, they had just tried to kill him.”

The men then fled in the Jeep, but one of the people who had been targeted got the license plate number and reported it to police. An off-duty sheriff's deputy who had worked at the Spencer event searched for and found the Jeep.

Gainesville police confirmed on Friday that the arrests were related to the event.


Protesters walked alongside Tyler Eugene Tenbrink, who attended Richard Spencer's speech, as he left the University of Florida on Thursday. — Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post.
Protesters walked alongside Tyler Eugene Tenbrink, who attended Richard Spencer's speech, as he left the University of Florida
on Thursday. — Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post.


Tobias said all three admitted to having been involved in the shooting when they were stopped by police on Interstate 75 about 15 miles north of Gainesville. Tenbrink admitted he was the shooter, according to the Alachua County Sheriff's arrest report.

Spencer's speech was repeatedly disrupted by people shouting at him, but the protests outside remained largely peaceful, despite tensions between his supporters and more than 2,500 counter-protesters.

“I hesitate to make a comment on an incident that just happened,” Spencer said on Friday evening. “If it actually happened as it is described in the news, then it is an absolutely terrible incident and it can't be defended. But I think we should all remember that it is a developing story.”

He urged supporters to avoid violence.

“There are time when one can rightfully defend oneself, but these kinds of confrontations should be avoided. The eyes of the world are upon us, and we need to behave in the way that is of the highest standards,” Spencer said.

Tenbrink told The Washington Post on Thursday that he came from Houston to hear the speech. “I came here to support Spencer because after Charlottesville, the radical left threatened my family and children because I was seen and photographed in Charlottesville,” Tenbrink said, referring to the “Unite the Right” rally in August that ended in violence.

“The man's got the brass to say what nobody else will.”

Tenbrink said from inside the event venue that all he cares about are the 14 words, a reference to a white-supremacist slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

“That doesn't mean I hate all black people I see,” Tenbrink said.

“And homosexuals, if they want to be homosexual, keep it to yourself. Nobody wants to see that s—,” he said.

The Gainesville Sun reported that William Fears had told the paper on Thursday that he believed James Fields, the man accused of driving his car into a crowd of people protesting the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, killing one woman and injuring others, wasn't unjustified.


Richard Spencer spoke on Thursday at the University of Florida. — Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post.
Richard Spencer spoke on Thursday at the University of Florida. — Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post.

William Fears told The Washington Post in August that he came to Charlottesville equipped for violence — and found it. He threw and took punches.

“It was like a war … it was an eerie feeling,” Fears said after he had gone home to Texas and his job as a construction worker. “Things are life and death now, and if you're involved in this movement, you have to be willing to die for it now …”

“If I'm killed, that's fine,” he said. “Maybe I'll be a martyr or something, or remembered.”

At least two of the three who were arrested in Gainesville have demonstrated connections to extremist groups, police said.

All three men have attended white supremacist events, according to the Anti-Defamation League, and all three were at the torchlight march and the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

Spencer's speech was his first on a university campus since he led a torchlight march through the University of Virginia in August, with followers chanting, “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us”. That was the beginning of a weekend of clashes between white nationalists and white supremacists on one side and counter-protesters on the other that turned fatal in Charlottesville the next day.

After that violence, University of Florida officials denied Spencer's request to speak on campus — as did several other public universities — “amid serious concerns for safety”.

Spencer, who leads the National Policy Institute, was not invited by the university or a student group. UF leaders have repeatedly rejected his message as hateful. But under threat of a lawsuit, university officials acknowledged Spencer's First Amendment right to speak at a campus venue they rent out, and began planning extensive security.

Governor Rick Scott (Republican) declared a state of emergency in the days before the speech. More than 1,000 law-enforcement officers converged on campus, and the public university expects its total costs for security measures to exceed $600,000.

Tyler Tenbrink, Colton Fears and William Fears were charged with attempted homicide and were in the Alachua County Jail on Friday. Tenbrink faces additional charges for possession of a firearm by a felon.


Tyler Tenbrink. — Photograph: Alachua County Jail. Colton Fears. — Photograph: Alachua County Jail. . — Photograph: Alachua County Jail.
Tyler Tenbrink, left; Colton Fears, center; and William Fears, right. — Photographs: Alachua County Jail.

Joe Heim, Jennifer Jenkins, and Terrence McCoy contributed to this report.

• Susan Svrluga is a reporter for The Washington Post, covering higher education for the Grade Point blog.

• Lori Rozsa is a freelance reporter and frequent contributor to The Washington Post.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: 'Not in our town!' Protesters march against Richard Spencer at University of Florida.

 • ‘Go home, Spencer!’ White nationalist's speech disrupted by protesters.

 • ‘We will keep coming back’: Richard Spencer leads another torchlight march in Charlottesville

 • The road to hate: For six young men of the alt-right, Charlottesville is just the beginning

 • PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY: Photos from the scene as protesters counter Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/10/20/kill-them-three-men-charged-in-shooting-after-richard-spencer-speech

 24 
 on: October 21, 2017, 07:55:37 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

The party is over…

Technology's direct access has kneecapped the GOP and Democrats.
We may miss them.


By DAVID VON DREHLE | 7:31PM EDT - Friday, October 20, 2017

Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont). — Photograph: Andrew Harnik/Associated Press.
Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont). — Photograph: Andrew Harnik/Associated Press.

WITH control of Congress, the White House and a majority of state governments, the Republican Party can claim to be stronger than at any time since 1928. On the other hand, many Democrats believe that their party's edge among younger voters and growing non-white demographic groups has them on the brink of a new reign of power.

The truth is, both parties are in crisis — and may be headed for worse.

The Republican ascendancy is riddled with asterisks. The party's control of Congress has only exposed deep and bitter divisions, as the pirates of Breitbart and talk radio turn their guns on House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wisconsin) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky). Too riven to redeem its oft-sworn pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare, the fractured majority is now struggling to unite around tax cuts, the golden calf of the GOP. As the saying goes, power is what power does — in this case, not much.

At the White House, Republicans rule in name only. The man in the Oval Office owes zilch to the party, having mowed down more than a dozen GOP leaders representing every band of the party's ideological spectrum in his 2016 coup. In office, he continues to train his Twitter flamethrower on Republicans much of the time. Meanwhile, the state-level GOP is waging civil war from Alabama to Arizona.

The internal bloodletting is at least as fierce, though perhaps less public, among Democrats. They, too, nearly lost control of their presidential nomination last year. Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont) showed scant desire to be a Democrat through his long political career in Vermont, but he has decided late in life to pursue an ideological takeover. The septuagenarian revolutionary continues to galvanize the left wing against leading Democrats, and neither he nor his people are interested in making nice.

In California, for example, veteran Senator Dianne Feinstein's announcement that she would seek a fifth full term provoked howls from the Sanders set. The former mayor of San Francisco is too centrist for them. Emboldened, the top-ranking Democrat in the state Senate, Kevin de León, has jumped into the primary. Although he may not be as progressive as the left would prefer, the mere fact of his challenge in the heart of Democratic America will cast a klieg light on party disunity.

What makes today's conflicts inside the major parties different from intramural elbow-throwing in the past? The rapid rise of unmediated democracy, enabled by the digital revolution.

For generations, the major parties have served as rival department stores anchoring opposite ends of America's political shopping mall. They chose which products to offer and favored certain ones with their most prominent displays. They marshaled big budgets for advertising and thus loomed over the boutiques and specialty stores — the greens, the libertarians and so on — serving smaller clienteles.

Smartphones and the Internet are killing big retail by connecting buyers directly to products. The same is in store for the major parties. Donald Trump went directly to the voters through Facebook and Twitter; they, in turn, swept him past Republican gatekeepers to commandeer the mannequins and display cases of the GOP. Likewise, Sanders has found plenty of volunteers and cash to support his attempted hostile takeover of the Democratic Party.

Voters no longer need — nor, in many cases, want — a political party to screen their candidates and vet their ideas. They prefer to build their own movements, often with stunning speed. The change is not limited to the United States. Britain's major parties didn't want Brexit, but it's happening. Major parties in France didn't want Emmanuel Macron; now he's president.

America's winner-take-all elections strongly favor the two-party system. (Parliamentary systems, with their proportional representation, encourage smaller, more numerous, parties.) But unless the Republicans and Democrats find ways — pronto — to adapt to the rise of unmediated democracy, their systemic advantage could become an Alamo where defenders of party discipline and coalition-building make their doomed last stand.

Already we've seen a party lose possession of its most precious commodity: its presidential nomination. We've seen a rump minority in the House bounce former speaker John A. Boehner from his post and cast a hungry eye on his successor. In Kansas in 2014, an independent businessman, Greg Orman, cowed the Democratic Party into sitting on the sidelines of a U.S. Senate race. He's thinking about trying it again in next year's gubernatorial election.

Whether the future belongs to independent candidates connecting with voters outside the parties or to Trump-inspired hostile takeovers of nominations (probably it will be a combination), the future is dim for the major parties as we've known them. They were too often arrogant, unresponsive and borderline corrupt, but they vetted candidates, gave them training and fostered the compromises that hold teams together. We may miss them when they are gone.


• David Von Drehle writes a twice-weekly column for The Washington Post. He was previously an editor-at-large for TIME magazine, and is the author of four books, including Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's Most Perilous Year and Triangle: The Fire That Changed America.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Fred Hiatt: France's president blew up his country’s two-party system and is pushing serious reform. Could it happen here?

 • Gary Johnson: Our two-party system has failed, just like our founders said it would

 • Charles Lane: Are we headed for a four-party moment?

 • Joe Scarborough: Trump is killing the Republican Party

 • Fareed Zakaria: The Democrats' problem is not the economy, stupid


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/both-political-parties-may-be-doomed/2017/10/20/4c6cf8b2-b5ca-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html

 25 
 on: October 21, 2017, 05:24:48 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by aDjUsToR
Would govt funded scientists get much funding if they said "actually this may not be a problem"?


 26 
 on: October 21, 2017, 04:05:02 pm 
Started by reality - Last post by aDjUsToR
No sexism here clown. Favouring one gender over another is textbook sexism. You and your mate Jacinda are soaking in it.

 I realise the union movement long ago sold their souls to the green loony left. Hence your inability to think beyond dumb loony left slogans.

 27 
 on: October 21, 2017, 03:25:05 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

Move over, America.
China now presents itself as the model ‘blazing a new trail’ for the world.


In keynote speech, China's president takes pains to present his nation as a model, but not as a threat.

By SIMON DENYER | 7:25PM EDT - Thursday, October 19, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping, bottom center, is applauded by senior members of the government after his speech at the opening session of the 19th Communist Party Congress on October 18th in Beijing. — Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, bottom center, is applauded by senior members of the government after his speech at the opening session of the 19th Communist Party
Congress on October 18th in Beijing. — Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images.


BEIJING — American presidents are fond of describing their nation as a “city on a hill” — a shining example for other nations to follow. But China is now officially in the business of styling itself as another polestar for the world, with a very different political, economic and cultural model.

“The banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics is now flying high and proud for all to see,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a mammoth speech to the Communist Party elite on Wednesday.

“It means the path, the theory, the system, and the culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics have kept developing, blazing a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization,” he said in the Great Auditorium of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

“It offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence, and it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind.”

The extent to which the Chinese model is successful or even applicable to other countries is, of course, very questionable. (Although it is also true that many people outside the United States do not see Washington's foreign policy as an unquestioned global good, or its social system as a model.)

China's economic growth has been stunning since the country's move from communism to state-directed capitalism, but per capita income is still a fraction of places such as Taiwan, Singapore or Chinese-controlled Hong Kong. China may have the world's second-largest economy in aggregate, but it ranks between 70 and 80 on a ranking of nations on a per capita basis.

Rising wealth has been accompanied by rising inequality, massive environmental pollution, rampant corruption and one of the most repressive regimes on the planet.

The country has generated cheap capital for industry by keeping real interest rates negative and preventing money from leaving the country, creating an effective tax on its citizens that would not be possible in many other nations. Yet it also has benefited from the incredible industriousness of its own people together with the huge size of its own internal market.

Chinese President Xi Jinping. — Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images.
Chinese President Xi Jinping. — Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images.

Still, China's Communist Party has seen events in the West — from the 2008 financial crisis to the election of Donald Trump, and even Brexit — as a vindication of its own political and economic system. On Tuesday, state news agency Xinhua spelled it out: Western democracy was divisive and confrontational, and beset with crises and chaos.

It is a message that resounds in other authoritarian states with big development ambitions, such as Ethiopia. There is no doubt that China's economic record does attract the envy of the people in many poorer nations, especially perhaps in Africa, where the track record of Western influence — and the brand of neoliberal economics often preached by the IMF and World Bank — has not always been rosy.

A poll by Pew Research Center spanning 37 countries showed a sharp drop in U.S. favorability ratings this year, with more people trusting Xi Jinping to do the right thing regarding world affairs than President Trump — by 28 percent to 22 percent — although a majority expressed no confidence in either man.

At the same time as it scorns the Western system, a confident China has also used its growing financial clout to extend its influence across Asia and the world — through projects such as the global development plan known as Belt and Road, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank — and demand a greater say in global governance.

“It will be a new era,” Xi confidently declared on Wednesday, “that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”

In his 3½-hour speech, Xi took an uncompromising line on what the Communist Party sees as its core interests — on the question of independence for Taiwan, for example — but he took pains to stress that China was not a threat to the rest of the world, and pursues what he called a foreign policy of peace.

“No one should expect China to swallow anything that undermines its interests,” he said. But he added: “China's development does not pose a threat to any other country. No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion.”

Many Tibetans, who contest Beijing's right to rule the vast Himalayan plateau, might sharply contest that assertion. Several neighboring states would also have noted the way Xi listed “construction on islands and reefs in the South China Sea” as an achievement of his administration — in defiance of their claims and an international arbitration ruling that undermined China's own claims.

Democrats in Hong Kong, some of whom have recently been jailed for their role in the 2014 Umbrella Movement, will have noted Xi's assertion that the people of that territory should rule themselves — but with “patriots playing the leading role”.

The government of Taiwan also objected on Wednesday, saying it was the right of their own people to determine their own future — after Xi explicitly warned that Beijing would never allow any attempt by Taipei to declare independence.


Chinese President Xi speaks at the Communist Party Congress in Beijing. — Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images.
Chinese President Xi speaks at the Communist Party Congress in Beijing. — Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images.

Xi also said he wanted the country's military to be more modern and more powerful, and ready for conflict if needed. But the main message of the foreign policy section of his speech was one of partnership, peace and cooperation, and of greater assistance to developing countries.

China, he said, will continue to play its part in international affairs “as a major and responsible country, take an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system, and keep contributing Chinese wisdom and strength to global governance.”

But Western-style democracy? No thanks. There's no room for “erroneous” ideologies, said Xi.

“China's socialist democracy is the broadest, most genuine, and most effective democracy, to safeguard the fundamental interests of the people,” he said.

“The very purpose of developing socialist democracy is to give full expression to the will of the people, protect their rights and interests, spark their creativity, and provide systemic and institutional guarantees to ensure the people run the country,” he continued.

Yet China's apparent confidence cannot mask a deep paranoia at the root of its political system, and deep fear of ordinary Chinese people actually being allowed to express an opinion.

Dissidents were jailed or railroaded out of town ahead of the Party Congress, censorship of the Internet dramatically intensified and ordinary public gatherings canceled or postponed.


• Simon Denyer is The Washington Post's bureau chief in China. He served previously as bureau chief in India and as a Reuters bureau chief in Washington, India and Pakistan.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: A ‘new era’ of power: Xi Jinping kicks off China's 19th Communist Party Congress

 • VIDEO: Amid key party talks, China's economic growth rate slows

 • Washington Post Editorial: China's president just laid out a worrying vision for the world

 • Xi Jinping at China congress calls on party to tighten its grip on the country

 • Why the world is watching Xi Jinping and China's party congress

 • Xi Jinping's quest to revive Stalin's communist ideology

 • PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY: A look inside the Great Hall of the People during China's Communist Party Congress


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/10/19/move-over-america-china-now-presents-itself-as-the-model-blazing-a-new-trail-for-the-world

 28 
 on: October 21, 2017, 03:00:26 pm 
Started by reality - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

Hey....you're the person displaying sexist traits, then complaining when you get called out about it.

 29 
 on: October 21, 2017, 02:12:07 pm 
Started by reality - Last post by aDjUsToR
Your MO KTJ is becoming apparent;

You fail to reason, so replace reasoning with making shit up about people you disagree with. Sad and pathetic, but not unexpected.

 30 
 on: October 21, 2017, 01:38:37 pm 
Started by reality - Last post by aDjUsToR
Another major logic fail there KTJ. Please get back to me when you've worked out how to think for yourself.

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