Can The New Left Have Its Own Political Party?

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Public defender Tiffany Cabán, a candidate for Queens district attorney, walks with supporters hours before polls closed last June.

They moved the victory party for Tiffany Cabán to a big nightclub — La Boom — to accommodate the growing crowd on primary night last summer, and the place was packed for the queer, progressive thirtysomething public defender who suddenly had a real shot at being the Queens district attorney.

A lineup of local officials spoke onstage, then an organizer from the Democratic Socialists of America, which had provided hundreds of devoted volunteers. The organizer led the crowd in a booming chant of “DSA, DSA.”

Finally, in the place of honor, introducing Cabán herself, was Bill Lipton, the lean, impatient state director of the Working Families Party, which had professionalized and managed the campaign, bringing it to the brink of victory.

He tried starting a chant too: “I say ‘Working,’ you say ‘Families.’ Working…Families.”

It went a couple of rounds, and then the crowd returned to “DSA, DSA.”

Cabán declared victory on primary night, and then lost when absentee ballots were counted. And WFP — a complicated, powerful force in New York for two decades — now also finds itself at what could be a moment of real triumph, or total irrelevance.

People outside the insular power politics of New York, Philadelphia, and Hartford may not have heard of WFP. But the party has achieved a remarkable amount in America’s biggest city and a key state, where the tax-the-rich economic left is tightening its grip on power. Through the long neoliberal winter of the 1990s and 2000s, WFP played a central role in a series of early progressive victories, bringing paid leave, a millionaire’s tax, softer drug laws, and a higher minimum wage to New York. It was central to flipping the New York State Senate, bringing — among other things — an ambitious Green New Deal to the state.

Now, at what feels like a new national era of progressivism, the party faces deep questions about its future, challenged from both ends by angry Democratic insiders and the new world of movement politics. Among its vulnerabilities is that, as the biggest progressive party in New York, it failed to endorse Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she challenged a machine politician. The party is scrambling to remake itself to the intersectional standards of contemporary progressive politics. And it’s barely survived an assault by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the master of the state’s machine.

“It’s both satisfying and ironic — at this moment of great triumph in New York, we are facing our own death,” the party’s national chair and former longtime executive director, Dan Cantor, told me outside a grim hearing room in lower Manhattan while his project of 20 years hung in the hands of Cuomo’s allies on an obscure commission. The body had been established to push through progressive campaign finance reforms — but planned, in passing, to put in place new rules making it harder for minor parties to operate. Cantor, like many of the two dozen key figures in the party’s 20 years whom I talked to for this story, was in a nostalgic mood.

“We changed the weather and we got some shit done,” he said.


New York Daily News / Getty Images

Bertha Lewis (left) and Dan Cantor of the Working Families Party (right) discuss a minimum wage campaign in Brooklyn, Jan. 22, 2004.

Most states don’t have third parties that drive their politics. New York is different. Under an obscure bit of state law that permits “fusion voting” third parties have long been able to offer their endorsements to major-party candidates. So the Liberal Party would back Democrats who aligned with what was initially a reformist, progressive, anti-communist strain, the Conservative Party would coendorse anti-abortion Republicans, and so on. Today, WFP is the most powerful of them, alternating between an ally to Democrats and a left-wing irritant that is occasionally strong enough to run its own candidates against Democratic moderates.

But those old insider maneuverings have become unfashionable in this moment of progressive movement politics. And WFP’s response to the moment casts a light on the underreported history of the left in the US — one that points not to Bill Clinton or even Barack Obama, but to AOC, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. In that history, the pressing question is whether the new left can lock in its gains as policy — the way, say, Black Lives Matter helped produce substantive changes to the criminal justice system — or let them mostly slip away, as Occupy Wall Street seemed to.

WFP is the rare, robust leftist institution to survive the ’90s and aughts. Its ascendancy has unlikely roots in a series of mostly doomed and quixotic projects of which the most ambitious — and most doomed — was WFP’s precursor, the New Party.

In the early 1990s, the New Party attempted to provide a new home for the Democratic left — the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the Naderite consumer movement — who had been shoved to the side in Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party. Now they were seeking, if not a true alternative, at least a counterweight to pull the party back their way:

The party was the dream of a brilliant and cantankerous political scientist in Wisconsin named Joel Rogers. As he told me over a morning cigarette in a recent Skype conversation, his idea was that if “you want to fix the society, fix the democracy first.”

He had met Cantor, a “wonderfully honest, decent, tortured, funny guy” from Long Island in the anti-Reagan politics of the 1980s, through an obscure book project of the intellectual left — a tome on “labor, the world economy, and Central America” that Rogers had retained Cantor to write. After Cantor left Jesse Jackson’s campaign for president, the two got to work on a 24,674-word memo called “Party Time.”

The memo made the case for a new political party organized around the “empowerment of working people.” Its backbone would of necessity be the strongest element of the Democratic coalition: organized labor. Its base would be New York, thanks to fusion.

The party would position itself as “progressive” against both Democrats and liberals as follows:

​By “progressive” we also mean something other than “liberal,” though we recognize overlapping commitments and shared values. Both liberals and progressives, for example, agree that affirmative government action (e.g., regulation, redistribution, education) is required to meet even minimal conditions of democracy. Both (sometimes joined by “honest conservatives”) also favor “good government” and “honest government.” They hold government to high standards of effective performance, and don’t like public fraud and lies. Where progressives and liberals disagree is in their view of working people. In a nutshell, liberals don’t believe working people have much capacity to govern their own affairs.

Progressives have much more confidence, and that confidence fuels their democratic conviction. They believe in empowering working people, not just administering them in “kinder, gentler” ways. They believe that a society that encourages and harnesses the capacities of all people, including those of ordinary means, will be both morally superior to and better functioning than one that does not. This strengthens their commitment to democracy.

Cantor mailed hundreds of copies — a radical Unitarian Universalist church on Long Island, gave him access to a Xerox machine — to everyone he could think of. He sent “Party Time” to labor leaders, Democratic politicians, civil rights leaders, and the broad left coalition that had given Jesse Jackson far more juice than the Democratic Party’s establishment had suggested.

The idea was compelling, but the New Party quickly hit an obvious institutional barrier: pulling the Democratic Party to the left threatened Democrats. Rogers and Cantor had hoped to launch the New Party into David Dinkins’ historic run for mayor of New York, itself an echo of the Jackson campaign. But Dinkins’ guru, the late Bill Lynch, killed the idea of him running on the New Party line as well as the Democratic Party’s — according to various recollections, either to avoid seeming too far left or out of fear of getting crosswise with the tight relationship between organized labor and the Democratic Party machine.

“Labor is innately a very conservative set of institutions because they [have] real responsibility to their members,” said Rogers of that disappointment. “They don’t ever want to overthrow the established powers that enable them to do that.”

So the New Party started small, allying itself with the well-organized, resolutely outsider community group ACORN in places like Chicago, New Orleans, and Little Rock and with unions in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states. And then, as Rogers had always planned, the party sued, arguing that the Constitution requires states to allow fusion — that is, having two parties run the same candidate. On April 28, 1997, the US Supreme Court ruled 6–3 that the state interest in “reduc[ing] election- and campaign-related disorder” allowed it to ban the practice. It was a crushing defeat and effectively ended the party. Rogers, still angry 20 years later, waved his cigarette and declined to discuss his profane opinions on the decision and the justices on the record.


Courtesy of Working Families Party

Dan Cantor, Bob Master, and Jon Kest, circa 2000.

As the New Party was collapsing, a handful of men had begun having breakfast at a diner on John Street in lower Manhattan. The group members, which included wiry white guys and burly white guys, were the leaders of New York’s radical, old labor left, the dying strand of American politics that came out of Irish, Italian, Jewish immigrant struggles, including the leader of the bus drivers union, Larry Hanley, and the head of ACORN, Jon Kest. They’d coalesced around Sal Albanese, a doomed nominee in the city’s 1997 mayoral race — the candidate of the left-wing white working class, who came in third in the Democratic primary to a white liberal and a black civil rights leader.

His supporters concluded, recalled Bob Master, a longtime political leader with the Communications Workers of America, that Democrats were going to lose the 1998 governor’s race. But there was a little technicality about the statewide contest that interested the group: Just 50,000 votes could provide a new party with a ballot line.

“If we’re going to lose the election in 1998, why don’t we try to take advantage of it and take the ballot line?” Master recalled of his breakfasts with the Albanese crew. Meanwhile, Cantor and Lipton, who were both then trying to figure out what to do with the rubble of the New Party where they’d both worked, were thinking along the same lines, and the two groups began building WFP.

It was the height of Clinton’s Third Way governance and of Rudy Giuliani’s popularity in New York. All they needed was a candidate. In an early mark of the kind of compromise that both made and threatened the party, they settled on an uninspiring city council leader, Peter Vallone — a hero to New York’s aging Greek community but an unlikely champion for the multiracial working people’s party of their dreams.

“For the most part, Vallone’s politics represented the antithesis of what we hoped to build — and we took an enormous amount of shit from a lot of activists about that contradiction in ’98,” Master recalled. “But the tactic worked.”

They rallied the support of private-sector unions — CWA and the autoworkers, who didn’t fear the reprisals of elected officials — and of progressive groups who had been boxed in by the pro-business consensus of Democrats like Clinton and moderate Republicans like then-governor George Pataki.

“It did feel like we couldn’t win unless something fundamentally changed,” recalled Karen Scharff, the executive director of Citizen Action, a key early element of WFP.


And then…things actually worked the way the memo from Rogers and Cantor predicted, though for a different party.

WFP raised money from labor unions that were restless with the Democrats’ rightward shift. WFP hired political operatives and got to work in the local races where the Democratic machine had rusted away. The party was central to electing a new left-wing cadre to the city council in 2001 with candidates that included current mayor Bill de Blasio. WFP elected its first candidate on its own line in 2003 — Letitia James, the current New York state attorney general.

And it moved the needle on policy, pushing minimum wage and “living wage” laws. It did in 2004 what became a central progressive cause only 15 years later: It unseated the Democratic district attorney in Albany in a display of muscle that promptly led to the repeal of the state’s punitive Rockefeller Drug Laws.

WFP also made enemies. “I have been turned off by how transactional they have been — not just in my case but in many other instances as well,” one politician told reporter Ross Barkan for his excellent recent history of the party.

In 2009, the party briefly achieved its real goal: a takeover of the New York State Senate, a body long run by moderate Republicans, and pushed through $5 billion in new taxes on the rich. WFP ran the table in New York City, where local legislators pushed through paid sick days over Michael Bloomberg’s opposition, and began the campaign against stop-and-frisk.

The pendulum swung back fast and hard after Barack Obama’s election. Eliot Spitzer, the combative, progressive governor, lost his job in a prostitution scandal. Republicans steamrolled his ineffectual replacement as governor, retook the Senate with the help of Democratic turncoats, and rolled back the left-wing turn.

The party’s style — idealistic policy and very practical politics — became the subject of a federal investigation. It had been operating a kind of internal political consulting firm for candidates it favored; prosecutors accused it of evading campaign finance limits by giving the candidates it supported deep discounts — effectively, a way of laundering labor union money into local campaigns. The party avoided charges, but it was a near-death experience, since it paid its adversaries’ legal fees and shut down the for-profit workaround.

To WFP leaders, the assault was also a sign that they had challenged the system and made powerful enemies. To their critics in Democratic politics, it was something else: evidence that they were running their own cynical machine, doing more or less the same thing that Democrats had done forever while seizing the moral high ground.

“The WFP has engaged in real power politics for a really long time,” said Mike Boland, the party’s field director who left in disgust over its 2014 endorsement of Andrew Cuomo and then returned. “It’s this progressive powerhouse that’s supposed to do amazing progressive things — and because it embraces real power, we’ve had to do some things that make people question the organization.”


Courtesy of Working Families Party

Nelini Stamp (center) with Jumaane Williams at an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York, 2011.

But the beginning of the party’s current moment — and ours — began Sept. 17, 2011, when a loose group of protesters settled in a grim little park in the shadows of Wall Street’s towers. They had no real connections to the existing political establishment, and a philosophical stance that excluded making those connections. The official rule was that any politician wishing to deal with protesters would have to appear on site and speak through the cumbersome “human microphone,” characterized by endless choruses of “mic check.” It was a powerful demonstration of organizational principle, and it puzzled and repelled many of Occupy’s allies.

Behind the scenes, WFP helped keep the square occupied. The protesters happened to include one of the party’s rising stars, Nelini Stamp, then 24. A New York kid who couldn’t afford college and was helping her mother with health care, Stamp was working retail and raging against the system that had kicked her aside. The Obama campaign, and then WFP’s successful minimum wage campaign, had awakened her to the power of politics.

She called in sick from her job running the party’s Westchester operation. The party kept paying her, and she persuaded her Occupy brethren that she and two other WFP staffers weren’t there in an official capacity.

“Just because you were in the park didn’t mean you could negotiate on behalf of the park,” she recalled. She emerged as a key force in the leaderless movement, organizing rallies and setting tactics in the park.

But when they needed political support, she’d called New York Communities for Change’s Kest, a key WFP figure, and Lipton, the state director.

“I’d tell Bill or Jon what we needed, and they would call an elected [official],” she recalled — rallying food and political support. The party negotiated with Mike Bloomberg’s city hall, brought labor unions around to seeing the scruffy protesters as their allies, and at one point called elected officials to the park to stave off attempts to clear it out. It was a little-known bit of practical politics in a movement now famous both for its symbolic success and organizational failures.

“People really overlook the importance of the party in the movement,” she said.

Occupy was, in retrospect, the birthplace of our current moment. It energized the American left, but the lack of a sustainable movement — or established interests that incorporated that energy and outlook — created a void that has now been filled by true outsiders like Bernie Sanders.

And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

By 2018, WFP and its labor union allies had long had a warm relationship with the boss of the Queens Democratic machine, a genial Irish American political operator named Joe Crowley. Crowley had been a powerful, useful ally in Washington. The party was at war with incumbents across the state, doing their best to defend an embattled and controversial socialist in Brooklyn, and focused on seizing control of the levers of power in Albany. Nobody had much time for the young bartender running against Crowley.

“Nobody knows who the fuck this person is, and we’re about to go against Andrew Cuomo,” recalled a labor union official involved in the choice of Crowley over Ocasio-Cortez. “Anyway, how many enemies can you survive?”

It was a signal mistake. And it embodied the party’s two key weaknesses in this era of clear talk, a new kind of communications, and a deep distrust for that inside game.

One is WFP’s pragmatism, its willingness to dirty its hands with compromise and power politics — something that its leaders see as a key feature, not a bug.

But, secondly, the failure to endorse the breakout millennial political star also embodied the party’s long-standing blind spot. From those early days in the diner on John Street and in Rogers’ Madison office, the party was built by an older and whiter generation of progressive leaders who have begun to fade into the background as the American left became intensely focused on questions of representation. There had been black and Latino labor figures close to the party from the start, many hailing from the powerful SEIU local 1199 and ACORN. The organization’s constituents and its intended beneficiaries were mostly black and Latino, and figures like Dinkins, Patrick Gaspard, and Harry Belafonte had been around at its birth.

But its founders and early leaders, like ACORN’s, were white leftists, and that contrast was always obvious on the inside.

When Bertha Lewis, a black woman who got her start as a housing organizer in the Bronx, had first walked into the party’s office in Brooklyn, she said, the collection of white people “would burn your retinas out.”

Lewis, who would play a central role in the politics of the Bloomberg years before leading ACORN in its final days, always dreamed that WFP would ultimately follow what she saw as its central logic and become a “black people’s party.”

And perhaps it will. Cantor, who stepped down in 2018, told me he hopes the party’s founders will be remembered as having “had the skill to build something real, and the grace to hand it over to an of-color leader who has similar politics but a very different background, and will take the org[anization] places that the founders never could.”


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Maurice Mitchell (third from left) with Tiffany Cabán on election night in Queens, New York, June 25, 2019.

When I ran into Maurice Mitchell on the floor of the ill-fated Cabán victory party, I didn’t realize that he was in charge of WFP. A 40-year-old black guy from Long Island with a fedora and an easy smile, he’d be easy to mistake for, say, the frontman for an Afropunk band…which he also is.

But when the party went looking for a new generation of leaders after the 2018 midterms, Dan Cantor, Bill Lipton, and their allies realized they needed to transform themselves for the moment: to hand the reins to people who better represented the politics they were fighting for. And, perhaps more important, it was time to try to turn a party that had mostly been a political organization into something more like a movement.

Mitchell was the answer. A product of a corner of multiracial working-class life in central Long Island, he grew up steeped in the radical traditions of Caribbean politics. He was, for a time, the lead singer of a mostly white punk band, though the band’s composition has grown more diverse with time. And he was a political activist since his school days, working in a series of unglamorous local organizing jobs on Long Island before a black man’s shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, triggered the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mitchell moved to Ferguson and lived in the attic of an older white anti–death penalty activist. He wound up living there for five months and cofounding a collective called Blackbird, a communications and strategy arm of the movement. He was, he thinks, the “riskiest” candidate to take over WFP, and he warned the men hiring him that he wasn’t joking about transformation. From an idea that “really lived in a small core of people” to “a multiracial movement that spans the country.”

The world has changed, but the goal isn’t that different from what Rogers and Cantor envisioned two decades earlier. The objective, Mitchell said, is to “build a multiracial left movement that would be a united front that would unite the black radicals and the white liberals against the forces of evil.”

Mitchell, who is now the national director of WFP (it is, at this point, an overlapping web of more than a dozen national and state committees), has been greeted with an enthusiasm blended with skepticism about whether WFP can transform itself from a local political operation into a national movement. (One veteran called the very notion of turning WFP into a real party “bullshit.”)

He has already shown one key quality: the willingness to play power politics. The party infuriated some of its members, and inspired others, by endorsing Elizabeth Warren in September 2019 and then refusing to release the details of an internal endorsement process. It’s the sort of move that makes the party a sought-after endorsement, and it looked for a time like a bold path to power in a Warren administration. Less than a few months later, the risk of crossing Sanders and supporters who include, again, Ocasio-Cortez seems starker.

The party’s friends and enemies alike aren’t sure if it’ll be able to make the transition. And this is part of the wide-open question of what comes out of this new era of energy on the left: Will there be strong new institutions, or revived old ones, with new progressive political bosses? Will the tide recede to leave figures like Cuomo, the New York governor who has done just enough to keep progressive voters on his side without ever letting the left wing of his party build lasting power?

Now, Mitchell is trying to blend the movement strategies of the new world with the imperatives of practical politics, and even the cantankerous Rogers said he was impressed.

“Maurice is much more a type than [Cantor is], but Maurice certainly knows that elections matter and takes very seriously the organization and organizing discipline needed to make a difference in them, and after,” he said.

Mitchell’s view of his mission: “I’m trying to corner the market on nondelusional third-party politics.” ●

Democrats Have To Pick Their Line Of Attack — The Evidence Or The Cover-Up?

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WASHINGTON — Whenever the impeachment trial pauses for a break, Democrat and Republican senators flood out towards cameras and microphones to push their competing messages. Democratic Sen. Tom Carper summed up his strategy with the words of an old Methodist minister from his home state of Delaware — “He used to say to me ‘the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.’”

It sounds simple but Democrats are grappling with a question: What is their main thing?

They’re torn between two options. One is the evidence that President Donald Trump abused his powers of office to extort a foreign country, Ukraine, into launching an investigation into his political rival, former vice president Joe Biden.

The other is that Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are committing a cover-up by blocking any new information that could further expose Trump’s guilt. Republicans spent Tuesday voting down 10 amendments to subpoena key witnesses and documents. The Trump administration has refused to provide documents or allow staff to testify, though former national security adviser John Bolton said he would appear before the Senate if subpoenaed.

During the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry, House Republicans relentlessly hammered the proceedings as a sham, a show trial, and a political hit job. They overwhelmingly attacked the process and largely avoided getting into the contents of witness testimony. Now some Democrats are working to turn that back on them.

“It’s a cover-up,” Sen. Michael Bennett said early and often during one media scrum in a break from the trial. “Mitch McConnell is trying to cover up what Donald Trump did.”

The hope is that by applying maximum pressure, Democrats may convince some Republicans to break ranks and vote to call witnesses. There will be one more vote on witnesses next week and it will take four Republicans to succeed. If it fails, the Senate will almost certainly vote to acquit Trump quickly, likely before the end of the week.

Politicians are used to honing their top sound bites, knowing only one or two of their lines are likely to make it into print or onto TV. But the risk of attacking the process is taking attention away from the substance, which Democrats think overwhelmingly harms the president.

Rep. Adam Schiff and other impeachment managers finally have the floor to themselves as they spend three days laying out the evidence that Trump abused the powers of his office and obstructed Congress.

Melding the two can get rocky. After Rep. Jerry Nadler accused Republicans of a cover-up while speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Susan Collins sent a note to Chief Justice John Roberts. Shortly afterward, Roberts admonished both legal teams and directed them to use more respectful language. That gave Republicans an opening to stress their indignation.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons said the solution is to taper your approach to your audience. In the chamber, it’s about the case against Trump. But in the media, Democrats need to loudly object to the process.

“If your jury is the senators in the room, go through the facts, go through the evidence, go through the argument. Because I think when laid bare it’s pretty hard not to conclude that there’s a very troubling set of facts here,” said Coons.

“But for the general public who is kind of watching at a distance, it is far more compelling to say this is not on the level, this is not a fair trial, we are working without all the facts and the facts are easy to get.”

But most Democrats say they are trying to follow Schiff’s lead and do both at once. Schiff is not yet publicly declaring a cover-up, but he is taking every chance he gets to poke Republicans on the subpoena issue. Over two days of testimony he’s outlined documents and evidence the Trump administration has refused to turn over, such as the contemporaneous notes of then-acting Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor, who told Trump administration officials at the time that he thought it was “crazy” to withhold aid for the country to benefit Trump politically.

“Maybe those notes say ‘no quid pro quo.’ Maybe those notes say it’s a perfect call,” said Schiff. “I’d like to see them. I’d like to show them to you. They’re yours for the asking.”

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Soleimani Couldn’t Have Been Trump’s Benghazi

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The targeted strike that killed Iran’s supreme military commander, Qassem Soleimani, elicited criticism of President Donald Trump from liberal media outlets and political adversaries. Many likened Trump’s actions to Obama’s Benghazi debacle. It’s worth revisiting events leading up to and surrounding the September 2012 tragedy to put the Benghazi episode into context.

The given reason for Operation Iraqi Freedom was Saddam Hussein was believed to have a secret nuclear weapons program in violation of United Nations resolutions. There was also an unintended, yet positive consequence of the war. In December 2003, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi surprised the world and announced he would discontinue his country’s weapons of mass destruction program. Clearly, the Iraq War had hastened his decision to abandon rogue nation status.

Libya had been a pariah nation in the eyes of the United States since Gaddafi’s coup d’état in 1969. By the late 1990s, Gaddafi was slowly moving his nation in the right direction. In 1999, he agreed to meet U.S. and British demands to assume responsibility and pay restitution to the families of victims killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Dismantling his nation’s weapons of mass destruction program and inviting international inspectors into the country was a major step toward normalizing relations with the West and, most importantly, the United States.

Libyan authorities turned over weapons components and thousands of pages of documentation, which included correspondence with other nations. These papers revealed the name of A. Q. Khan, the Pakistani scientist who had been secretly transferring nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea, as well as Libya.

Relations between Libya and the United States were on the mend — until 2011.

By all accounts, President Barack Obama was reluctant to launch military action against Libya. Obama was a harsh critic of the Iraq War, and launching an unprovoked war against Libya would show him to be hypocritical. The Arab Spring, an uprising by groups of citizens against their governments, had spread to several Arab nations. A rebellion was brewing in Libya, and a protest broke out on February 17, but it was one Gaddafi’s security forces could probably manage.

It was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was the most forceful proponent of the United States initiating a war with Libya. Most of Obama’s senior advisers urged the United States to sit this one out. Clinton, however, “doubled down and pushed for military action” against Libya. Clinton won over Obama. Ironically, the nation’s top diplomat was the biggest advocate for war. The United States began attacks on March 19, 2011.

The decision by Obama to topple Gaddafi no doubt sent the wrong message to other rogue nations. Gaddafi gave up his nukes as the United States had demanded, only to be attacked by the United States. This turn of events may have convinced other rogue nation leaders to hold onto their nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs as an insurance policy.

It is widely believed that the driving motivation for Clinton’s push to attack Libya was to beef up her résumé in preparation for a 2016 run for the White House. It was Clinton’s insistence that the Libya campaign was a resounding success that set in motion events leading to the biggest and most deadly debacle for U.S. personnel in Libya.

Gaddafi was toppled from power by a U.S.-led bombing campaign, joined by Britain and France. An Obama adviser insisted the U.S. was “leading from behind.” Gaddafi was captured and gruesomely killed by rebel fighters on October 20, 2011. Cellphone video footage showed a long rod, or possibly a sword, was shoved up his rectum. The Libyan leadership vacuum created by Gaddafi’s death was filled throughout much of Libya by Ansar al-Sharia and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. These were two powerful, radical Islamic terror groups.

J. Christopher Stevens was the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Stevens’ primary diplomatic post was in the Libyan capital city of Tripoli. But he was frequently at the lightly defended facility in Benghazi, which was a hotbed of violence. Stevens was directed to spend more time in Benghazi because “Secretary Clinton wanted the post made permanent,” according to Gregory Hicks. Hicks was the U.S. deputy chief of mission, the de facto No. 2 diplomatic position in Libya. Hicks later testified before Congress that Clinton had intended to make a December 2012 announcement about the diplomatic upgrade in Benghazi.

The reality was far different from the picture being painted by Clinton. The security situation in Benghazi was extremely dangerous and getting worse by the day. In April 2012, an improvised explosive device was thrown over the wall into the U.S. consulate compound. Other attacks were made against the British ambassador, the Tunisian consulate, and against United Nations and International Red Cross officials. In June, a bomb blew a gaping hole in the security wall of the American Benghazi compound. The deteriorating security situation caused the British government to withdraw its diplomatic personnel and close its Benghazi offices in June.

The dramatic escalation in violence led State Department Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, who was in Libya, to plead with State Department officials to increase security for U.S. diplomats in Libya, especially in Benghazi. According to Nordstrom, State Department officials wanted to keep U.S. security presence “artificially low.” In her 2013 testimony before Congress, Clinton assumed responsibility for the failed security of Benghazi.

Late in the evening of September 11, 2012, 11 years to the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Benghazi compound came under attack from a large group yelling, “Allahu Akbar!” The compound wall was quickly breached, and scores of attackers entered, firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. Ambassador Stevens and consular officer Sean Smith were quickly killed.

Hours later, the annex housing CIA officials and CIA-contracted security personnel came under a mortar attack. Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed. Frantic calls were made to Washington, D.C., during the attack requesting reinforcements. No reinforcements were sent.

Back in Washington, D.C., emails were flying back and forth discussing the attack. Officials at the White House, State Department, and CIA knew it was full-out assault by Islamic terrorists. In fact, Clinton emailed her daughter the evening of the attack, telling Chelsea that the perpetrators were Islamic terrorists. But another narrative was crafted to tell the public a completely different story.

The day after the attack, the Obama administration falsely claimed that the attack had been spontaneous. The administration claimed the attack grew from the peaceful protest to a crudely made YouTube video named “Innocence of Muslims” that was considered demeaning to Muslims. That video was posted to YouTube months earlier and, at the time of the attack, had been viewed only a few dozen times. As a flurry of White House emails, memos, and messages confirmed, the Obama administration knew from the very beginning that the video was not the cause of the attacks. That public claim was quickly debunked.

The White House dispatched Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to make the rounds of Sunday news talk shows promoting the falsehood that the attack was a spontaneous event. Libyan officials and the suspected organizer of the attack, Ahmed Abu Khattala, said the video played no role in the attack. The attack, they said, was premeditated. Obama administration officials did not offer an explanation as to why peaceful protestors would be carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers and automatic weapons.

At about 6 a.m. on September 12, an armed, 50-vehicle Libyan convoy rescued the Americans from the annex and safely transported them to the Benghazi airport for evacuation. These Libyan rescuers were not from the transitional government aligned with the United States. In a bit of sad irony, these Libyans were former military officers loyal to Gaddafi. The individuals that the United States had ousted from power about a year earlier were the very ones that came to U.S. assistance.

It wasn’t until September 20, nine days after the attack, that the Obama administration finally acknowledged the YouTube video explanation was untrue. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney grudgingly admitted the facility came under a premeditated attack from Islamic terrorists.

Six years after the YouTube video explanation was thoroughly discredited and Carney’s admission that the video claim was untrue, White House staffer Ben Rhodes, in his 2018 memoir, returned to falsely claiming the video was the cause of the attack.

Retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering and retired Admiral Mike Mullen chaired the Accountability Review Board (ARB) that investigated the attack. The board found plenty of blame to go around, including U.S. personnel in Libya who “did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy with Washington for increased security,” and the “relatively inexperienced, American personnel” on that overseas assignment.

The board further found “certain senior State Department officials within two bureaus demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns … [but] did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty.” Interestingly, the board’s claim that U.S. personnel in Libya didn’t push hard enough for increased security is contradicted by its subsequent claim that State Department officials didn’t respond adequately to such requests.

The ARB report was dismissed as sloppy and incomplete. The board didn’t interview many key witnesses with deep knowledge of the attack. Some who were questioned by the panel said the probe was inadequate. The board demonstrated its lack of independence by consulting with Clinton’s chief of staff on which witnesses should and should not testify. Shockingly, the board never even questioned Clinton. Perhaps this was because four of the five board members were appointed by her.

Mark Hyman is an Emmy award-winning national investigative journalist.  This essay was adapted from his just-released book Washington Babylon: From George Washington to Donald Trump, Scandals that Rocked the Nation.

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Virginians Awaken In Horror Over Socialist Democrat Plot To Throw Millions Of Them In Prison — Virginia Begins Massive Gun Grab Of Its Citizens—As Gunless People In New York Are Now Allowed To Rob Banks

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by Sorcha Faal 

A worrisome new Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) report circulating in the Kremlin today discussing an astonishing communiqué received this morning from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the United States, states that there has been a 36,640% increase of American citizens seeking refugee status information over the past 48-hours, as opposed to the numbers of these requests seen during this same time period in 2018—whose numbers then were 5, but today stands at 1,837—all of whom are specifically seeking information about the free land programme in Russia opened to foreigners in 2016—whose previous greatest number of information requesters for were the over 15,000 white South African farmers seeking refuge in Russia last year as “a matter of life or death”—and among these current American information requesters, sees them all having two commonalities—the first being all of them citing as a basis for their information request a recent 24 October 2019 article published in The Wall Street Journal titled “On Russia’s Vast Frontier, Lots Of Free Land And Few Takers”—and the second being that all of them are citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia—one of the 50 States that comprises the United States having a population of over 8.5 million peoples—all of whom awakened in horror this past week upon their discovering that their socialist Democrat Party overlords have prepared a new law to strip them all of their guns and rights to protect themselves, while preparing at the same time to imprison anyone who opposes them—and in response to, sees other millions of these Virginia citizens openly preparing to defy these Democrat monsters.  [Note: Some words and/or phrases appearing in quotes in this report are English language approximations of Russian words/phrases having no exact counterpart.]

Millions of citizens in the State of Virginia begin open rebellion against their socialist Democrat Party overlords

According to this report, earlier this month the Foreign Ministry extensively documented how a leftist run US Federal Court redrew all of the voting districts in Virginia to favor the Democrats—and because of, left the Republican Party unable to put up candidates in 25% of Virginia’s State Senate races—thus enabling these socialist Democrats to take full control over Virginia—in spite of the fact that 860,993 Republican voters outnumbered 823,694 Democratic voters.

Masterminding this socialist takeover of Virginia, this report details, was former New York City mayor Michael Bloombergthe richest media baron in the world worth over $54 billion who founded the leftist American mainstream media giant Bloomberg News—and after his announcing this past week that he was running to be the socialist Democrat Party nominee to be president, ordered Bloomberg News and all of its journalists to stop investigating him and all other Democrats, but continue their investigations into President Trump—an order one would expect to be issued by the crazed socialist Bloomberg who has previously vowed to “take money from the poor because it will make them live longer”—with the exact socialist plot to control by government force the behavior of the American people contained in his own words declaring: “Some people say, well, taxes are regressive…but in this case, yes they are…that’s the good thing about them because the problem is in people that don’t have a lot of money…and so…higher taxes should have a bigger impact on their behavior and how they deal with themselves”.

Having a socialist mindset of beliefs worthy enough to have made him a leader of the former communist Soviet Union, this report continues, Michael Bloomberg actually used his vast wealth to buy the Virginia legislature and its socialist Democrat Party lawmakers earlier this month—and as a reward for his doing so, saw his bought and paid for socialist lawmakers in Virginia putting forth a new law named SB-16 a fortnight ago that will strip this State’s law abiding citizens of their rights by confiscating their legally owned firearms, and imprisoning for 5-years anyone of them refusing to hand their guns over to the government.

Going from merely tyrannical to outright despotic, this report notes, these socialist Virginia lawmakers bought by Michael Bloomberg followed SB-16 with another law named SB-64—the chilling outlines of which would turn millions of Virginian citizens into felons if they dare try to even learn how to defend themselves—and as it’s been explained by American experts who say about this new law:

The State of Virginia, now entirely run by truly insane Democrats who support infanticide and child murder, is proposing a new 2020 law known as SB64 which will be taken up by the Democrat-run Senate beginning January 8, 2020.

The law would instantly transform all martial arts instructors into criminal felons. This includes instructors who teach kickboxing, BJJ, Krav Maga, boxing and even Capoeira.

It would also criminalize all firearms training classes, including concealed carry classes.

It would even criminalize a father teaching his own son how to use a hunting rifle.

As millions of Virginian citizens awaken to the new socialist hell created for them by Michael Bloomberg and his lapdog paid for Democrat Party lawmakers, this report concludes, American patriot freedom fighters belonging to the Virginia Citizens Defense League have spread themselves throughout this once great State to begin preparing for war—preparations begun by their rushing to aid Virginia counties in rebellion against their socialist overlords by enacting new gun sanctuary laws—a vital protection needed for these now under socialist-siege peoples whose fears were best expressed by Madison Heights-Virginia Eternal Baptist Church leader Pastor Jeff Wade, who has just fearfully warned: “The time is coming…I’m mighty afraid that we’re going to have to defend ourselves because of what we believe in…Not only on the Second Amendment..but on any other issue that the government declares to be right, but God declares to be wrong”—and whose looming “time coming” will be when these patriot freedom fighters have to confront the armed socialist forces their own Virginian government and Michael Bloomberg will soon send against them—at which point President Trump will then have to decide if he’ll send in US military forces to protect these Virginian citizens under threat of death—or side with their socialist oppressors—but whose answer to that question is already well known to everyone in the world—most particularly the already heavily armed patriots and freedom fighters in Virginia.

Virginia Begins Massive Gun Grab Of Its Citizens—As Gunless People In New York Are Now Allowed To Rob Banks

A stunning “You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up” new Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) report circulating in the Kremlin today discussing the just completed historic meeting between President Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, states these leaders expressed perplexity as to why American socialist forces led by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi destroyed its own case for the Trump impeachment—a nonsensical impeachment process neither Putin nor Merkel can understand anything about as it doesn’t make any sense because President Donald Trump didn’t break any laws—and now sees Pelosi turning this impeachment into a “woke event” to be prosecuted by women and those of colour—that joins these demented socialists with their deranged comrade counterparts in the Commonwealth of Virginia who this past week took over this State’s legislature—and upon taking power, then saw them immediately ordering that all journalists covering the Virginia Statehouse reveal what race they are—that these socialists then quickly followed by banning legally authorized concealed carry guns from the Virginia Statehouse building—a move made because of the fears these socialists have of the over 100,000 citizens of Virginia bombarding them with phone calls and emails to protect their Second Amendment rights—which these socialists then responded to by proposing a law to ban all of the shooting ranges their citizens have used for countless decades and another one making the owning of gun suppressers a felony crime—a noise suppression device for firearms near exclusively used by those having hearing impairments, has never been used in a crime in all of modern American history, and is due to the fact the US government regulates suppressers to the point that each owner of one goes through the strictest background check imaginable—facts and realities being ignored by these socialists whose total disarmament of the citizens in Virginia is what the Democratic Party envisions for all of America—now sees these socialist Virginia lawmakers further stating that any of their citizens supporting the Second Amendment have “mental issues—thus leaving it no wonder that the Second Amendment supporting citizens in Virginia are now talking about civil warbut before they do so—they might want to examine the benefit of living in a gun-free socialist America—being best exampled in the socialist Democrat Party stronghold of New York that just enacted a law making it a minor misdemeanor to rob a bank if one uses a note instead of a gun—and after robbing a bank with just a note, sees those committing this misdemeanor crime being released as fast as police arrest them—a joyful socialist law being celebrated by New York State criminal Gerod Woodberry—who after being arrested and immediately released five times this past fortnight for robbing banks, gleefully proclaimed “I can’t believe they let me out”.  [Note: Some words and/or phrases appearing in quotes in this report are English language approximations of Russian words/phrases having no exact counterpart.]

Millions of Virginian citizens create Second Amendment sanctuaries for protection against socialist Democrat Party gun grab…

…but if disarmed, may see them wanting to join with New York State criminal Gerod Woodberry (above) to rob banks with written notes.

According to this report, as socialist Democrat Party lunacy edges Virginia closer to civil war, what this failed and cancerous political ideology is doing to California has now broken the bounds of sanity itself—best exampled this past week by the socialist stronghold of California declaring that Ham Radio is no longer a benefit and demanding that Ham radio repeater infrastructure be immediately removed from the StateHam Radio infrastructure and operators that don’t cost anything for California as it’s all volunteer citizen organized and run—whose vital function provides emergency communications when all electrical power is down—and are critical communications needed in a State that keeps cutting power to its citizens because of massive wildfires—massive wildfires President Trump warned California are being caused because these socialists won’t take care of their woodlands—a warning these socialist lunatics in California slammed Trump for even giving—that is until the world’s top fire experts at the University of California-Berkeley astonishingly sided with Trump this past week and declared: “Approximately 75% of damage from California’s wildfires are due to the way we manage lands and develop our landscape”.

Equally as bad for this socialist Democrat Party stronghold State of California, this report notes, are that the lunatic asylum patients running it have become so corrupt and inept, they’ve turned their once beautiful city of San Francisco into an actual fecal bacteria wasteland so unlivable, even the robots working there are losing their jobs—and whose real people living in this socialist wasteland have joined what is being called the Blue-State Exodus gathering momentum all across America—a mass exodus caused by the Blue State Tax Shock Syndrome only seen in socialist Democrat Party controlled regions whose peoples not only suffer from high taxes, but lousy services, too—thus making them what are being called “Leftugees” whom the sane Red States must now defend themselves against before this insidious Blue State socialist disease spreads even further.

Not being understood by the masses of the American people watching as this Democrat Party socialist disease spreads across their nation, this report details, is that its main causation has been the works of the little known Yale and Oxford university educated Professor Shawn Rosenberg from the University of California-Irvine—one of the most important strategists for the Democrat Party who, at last years summit of the International Society of Political Psychologists in Lisbon-Portugal, shocked everyone in attendance with his research paper declaring that “human brains aren’t built for self-rule”—with his further declaring that only “society’s elites” were worthy to rule—and if these “elites” are not allowed to rule, saw him predicting that “In well-established democracies like the United States, democratic governance will continue its inexorable decline and will eventually fail”—a prediction deemed so repugnant by this international summits experts, they gave their main award to Professor George Marcus—one of the founders of the discipline, who has dedicated his career to the optimistic theory that human beings by nature readjust their ideas to match the world as it is and not as they’d like it to bejust as democracy requires.

One of the best current examples of how this ideological war is playing out in America between the socialist Democrat Party backers of Professor Shawn Rosenberg’s vile theory that “elites need to rule because human brains are proving fatal to modern democracy because they just aren’t built for it”, versus Professor George Marcus’s theory that “human beings by nature readjust their ideas to match the world as it is and not as they’d like it to be”, this report concludes, is the recently released US Department of Justice Inspector General’s report which stunningly revealed that the Steele Dossier used to damage President Trump was always a joke—as well as its being shockingly headlined about with the words “The Inspector General’s Report on 2016 FBI Spying Reveals a Scandal of Historic Magnitude: Not Only for the FBI but Also the U.S. Media”—an historic scandal, though, being kept hidden from the masses of the American people by their leftist mainstream propaganda media as Professor Rosenberg’s “elites” manage its cover-up—best exampled by an Obama Regime official being placed in charge to reform the FBI after their crimes against Trump were revealed—one of which was committed by FBI Attorney Dana Boente when he illegally signed a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, but is so “elite” the FBI used to him to respond to the FISA court about their crimes—all to which President Trump responded to his over 70-million followers on Twitter with the words “Are These Dirty Cops Going to Pay the Price?”—a response based on Professor Marcus’s firm belief that people not only have brains, they really know how to use them when elite socialist hypocrisy rears its ugly head.

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California Water Infected With Increasing Fecal Bacteria As Democrats Allow Homeless Crisis to Worsen

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California Health Line reports:

“We should all work together to clean up these hazardous waste and homeless sites before the whole city rots away,” Trump tweeted about San Francisco on Oct. 26. “Very bad and dangerous conditions, also severely impacting the Pacific Ocean and water supply.”

San Francisco officials were quick to dispute Trump’s claims. But some of California’s most prized rivers, beaches and streams are indeed contaminated with levels of fecal bacteria that exceed state limits, threatening kayakers, swimmers — and the state’s reputation as a bastion of environmental protection.

The presence of fecal bacteria in water is usually the result of problems with sewer systems and septic tanks. But water quality officials agree that the source of at least some of the fecal bacteria is California’s growing homeless population, most of whom don’t have reliable access to toilets.

“I’ve carried 5-gallon buckets that were unambiguously being used as toilets,” said David Gibson, executive officer of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, describing his experience cleaning up homeless encampments. “They were taking it to the San Diego River, dumping it there, and rinsing it out there.”

Fecal contamination of waterways is a widespread problem and becoming more urgent in states with large homeless populations. In Seattle, homeless people living in RVs are accused of dumping raw sewage straight into storm drains, which flows directly to local waterways. In Oregon, workers cleaning up homeless camps along the Willamette River in Eugene routinely find feces and needles.

The Trump administration has fixated on California’s homeless population in particular as a potent source of pollution.

In addition to Trump’s tweets, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 26 alleging that the state’s lack of urgency on homelessness threatens public health by polluting nearby water with untreated human waste. It then issued a notice to San Francisco accusing it of violating the federal Clean Water Act.

Jared Blumenfeld, secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, responded by accusingthe federal EPA of retreating on clean water protection, and called the administration’s focus on the environmental impact of homelessness “sensationalized” and “misguided.”

When it comes to water, scientists look for E. coli and other bacteria to determine levels of fecal contamination. While E. coli is present in both human and animal feces, human fecal contamination is particularly dangerous because it can transmit diseases that affect people, including hepatitis A and cholera.

Most people are not at risk of getting sick unless they drink the water, or if pathogens enter open cuts or sores, said Richard Ambrose, a professor in the department of environmental health sciences at UCLA. Homeless people face the highest risk because they are more likely to wash or wade in the water and have less access to toilets and showers, he said.

in Sacramento, regulators have been measuring elevated fecal bacteria levels in the lower American River for more than three years. Located near downtown Sacramento, it is a popular destination for water sports, even as hundreds of homeless people camp nearby.

Some recreational areas, including Tiscornia Beach, where families picnic, BBQ and wade in the river, had E. coli levels so high in the past year that they hit the upper limits of what the water board’s laboratories could measure — more than seven times higher than the state standard, said Adam Laputz, assistant executive officer of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Contamination from homeless camps is so easy to observe — and smell — that there is no “need to monitor to know there’s a problem,” said Thomas Mumley, executive officer of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, which stretches from Napa County to Santa Clara County.

If there are no bathrooms in or near a homeless encampment, “we can assume there’s a discharge of waste” where there shouldn’t be, he said.

www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/01/california-water-infected-with-increasing-fecal-bacteria-as-homeless-crisis-worsens/

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Chelsea Clinton rakes in $9 million for serving on the board of investment firm that is controlled by Hillary’s billionaire friend Barry Diller

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by DCG

This womyn is lucky her last name is Clinton. In the real world, she’d never be worth this much for such little work.

From Daily MailChelsea Clinton has raked in $9 million in the past decade for serving on the board of a media and internet investment company controlled by her mother’s friend.

The former first daughter’s shares in IAC/InterActive Corp were valued last week at a whopping $8.95 million, according to financial publication Barron’s.

The 39-year-old, who has been on the IAC board as a director since 2011, receives an annual $50,000 retainer. She also receives $250,000 in restricted IAC stock units.

The company, which has an ownership stake in 150 brands like Vimeo and Tinder, is run by billionaire businessman Barry Diller. The billionaire, who is the longtime partner of designer Diane von Furstenberg, is a good friend of Chelsea’s mother Hillary Clinton.

Shares in IAC have surged in recent years. It has also seen Clinton’s stake sky-rocket. She reported owning the equivalent of 35,242 IAC shares at the end of December.

Her $8.95 million in shares increased from the $7.2 million she had in June last year and the $6.6 million from October 2018.

Chelsea’s biography on the IAC website largely touts her work with The Clinton Foundation. She also had a brief stint as a special correspondent on NBC from November 2011 through August 2014 during which she had an annual salary of $600,000.

Records obtained last year showed the Clinton took home just over $600,000 last year for her work as director on the boards of IAC and Expedia. Expedia is also owned by Diller.

The IAC board met just six times in 2018, while some members of the Expedia board were only obligated to attend two meetings last year.

DCG

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Trump Wins His First Sanctuary City Fight

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Imagine, for a moment, that you or someone you know has become a crime victim. The perpetrator, you learn, had been incarcerated before this offense, and federal immigration officials, discovering that he was in the country illegally, wanted to pick him up for deportation. The jail, however, sits in a “sanctuary city,” so it refused to hold the suspect for immigration officials or even notify them before releasing him back into the community — thus allowing him to harm you or your loved one.

This scenario, which has played out numerous times, illustrates why many Americas are angry about sanctuary cities.

Donald Trump, of course, promised to end them. Beginning in 2017, however, his administration lost a series of legal battles with sanctuary cities. In each case, courts prevented the administration from using its grant-making authority to disincentivize sanctuary policies.

Sanctuary cities were having their cake and eating it too — thumbing their noses at the federal government’s request for basic law enforcement cooperation yet taking in federal law enforcement grant funds.

So last July’s ruling in City of Los Angeles v. Barr must have felt like a gut punch. Reversing a lower-court judgment for Los Angeles, a three-judge panel of the famously liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld scoring factors used by the administration in awarding Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants — scoring factors that handicapped sanctuary cities.

Perhaps owing to the Ninth Circuit’s reputation, Los Angeles, along with other sanctuary jurisdictions appearing as amici curiae, petitioned the court to rehear the case before a larger number of judges, a situation known as rehearing en banc. Petitioners, it seemed, were also buoyed by the split panel. Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, a Clinton appointee, had dissented — a fact the petitions repeatedly mentioned.

But this isn’t your father’s Ninth Circuit. Alongside tax and regulatory reform, President Trump’s biggest domestic accomplishment has been stocking the federal courts with constitutionalists who believe in applying the law as written instead of legislating from the bench. Nine of the Court’s 29 active judges are Trump appointees. That’s more appointees than any other president.

Thanks to them, on December 17, the rehearing petitions were denied, freeing the administration to run COPS in the manner deemed objectionable by plaintiffs.

Let’s look more closely at the case. Los Angeles and its legal pals were upset that the COPS office, which is housed in the Department of Justice, included illegal immigration as one of eight focus areas an applicant could choose when applying for COPS grants.

Worse yet (from their perspective) was COPS’ decision to award bonus points to applicants who certify that federal immigration officials can access local jails to interview non-citizens and that notice will be provided before releasing such individuals. Sanctuary cities broadly restrict such access and notice.

Their main argument was that Congress didn’t empower the Department of Justice to take such actions. But as Judge Sandra S. Ikuta and Judge Jay S. Bybee explain in their majority opinion, Congress, in fact, authorized DOJ to “promulgate regulations and guidelines to carry out” the COPS program — distinguishing it from the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program at issue in previous sanctuary city cases. (JAG grants, unlike COPS grants, are doled out according to a formula set by Congress).

Moreover, as the majority opinion notes, Congress didn’t define “community-oriented policing” in the enabling statute. They left it to the executive branch to “fill in the gaps.”

This gets us to the nub of the issue: Sanctuary cities insist that even the most basic cooperation between federal and local authorities relative to immigration enforcement is, to quote from amici’s petition for en banc review, “anathema” to community-oriented policing — or, as Judge Wardlaw wrote, “antithetical” to it.

In her hyperbolic dissent, Wardlaw called the administration’s view that COPS can encompass federal and local partnerships on immigration enforcement “Orwellian.”

If anything is “Orwellian,” it’s the claim, made constantly by sanctuary cities and their defenders, that sanctuary policies enhance public safety by building trust. They argue that otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants know they can report crime or act as a witness without fear of deportation.

It’s the big sanctuary city lie. A jurisdiction need not be a “sanctuary city” to refrain from asking crime victims and witnesses about immigration status. Indeed, even before liberals began their sanctuary city crusade during the Obama years, the default rule in most places was to not ask victims and witnesses about their status.

For the record, none of the challenged COPS rules suggest, much less require, that local authorities ask crime victims or witnesses whether they are here legally.

Sanctuary policies don’t instill trust. They make it difficult, and in some cases impossible, for immigration officials to put deportable aliens who are in local jails for criminal acts into deportation proceedings before being released back into the community.

It’s beyond debate that many individuals shielded by sanctuary policies have committed new crimes — in some cases, heinous ones.

Such policies, while politically correct, have damaged communities, harmed innocents, and contributed to the country’s growing political divide.

In 2020, the administration, thanks to the Ninth Circuit’s refusal to reconsider its decision in City of Los Angeles v. Barr, will be free to encourage cities, counties, and towns not to adopt them.

Ken Sondik is an attorney in Zionsville, Indiana, who writes about sanctuary cities nationally.

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Australian bushfire crisis: 183 people arrested, 24 charged with starting fires

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https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2020/01/07/13/23102870-0-image-a-10_1578403912589.jpg

More than 180 Australians have been arrested accused of DELIBERATELY lighting bushfires since the start of the horror season that’s left 25 dead

  • 24 people have been charged with bushfire-related offences this fire season
  • A further 53 people arrested for failing to comply with state-imposed fire bans  
  • In Queensland, officers have investigated 69 juveniles in relation to fire offences
  • At least 25 people have died, and 1,500 homes have been destroyed so far 

More than 180 people have been arrested accused of deliberately lighting bushfires since the start of the horror season which has left 25 dead and destroyed more than 2,000 homes.  

On the New South Wales south coast, where at least nine people have died since the fire season picked up in October, 29 blazes have been deliberately lit.

So far 24 people across the state have been charged with starting blazes in the bush, while a further 159 have been charged or cautioned over less serious fire offences. 

The fast moving Myall Creek bushfire spread rapidly throughout northern New South Wales

The fast moving Myall Creek bushfire spread rapidly throughout northern New South Wales

The fast moving Myall Creek bushfire spread rapidly throughout northern New South Wales

This map shows the statistics across each state of Australia where people have been charged for lighting fires

This map shows the statistics across each state of Australia where people have been charged for lighting fires

This map shows the statistics across each state of Australia where people have been charged for lighting fires

As the fire front approached, the sky was filled with orange flames and thick, grey plumes of smoke

As the fire front approached, the sky was filled with orange flames and thick, grey plumes of smoke

As the fire front approached, the sky was filled with orange flames and thick, grey plumes of smoke 

In Queensland, police have arrested 101 people accused of starting bushfires, 69 juveniles and 32 adults.   

Five people were arrested for allegedly setting bushland alight in Tasmania – and a further 10 in South Australia. 

Meanwhile in Victoria, where locals have experienced some of the most catastrophic conditions the nation has ever seen, 43 people were charged with firebug offences. 

There have been 183 people arrested or charged with lighting bushfires nationally – and police fear that figure will climb. 

‘Police are well aware that we need to take action against people, whatever that might be, in this time it is particularly a heightened risk of fire activity and we’ve seen the devastation it causes,’ NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said on Tuesday.

‘We make no apologies for being so vigilant about that.’  

A kookaburra perches on a burnt tree in the aftermath of a bushfire in Wallabi Point, in northern NSW

A kookaburra perches on a burnt tree in the aftermath of a bushfire in Wallabi Point, in northern NSW

A kookaburra perches on a burnt tree in the aftermath of a bushfire in Wallabi Point, in northern NSW

Allison Marion's photo of her son Finn fleeing the advancing bushfires in the seaside town of Mallacoota in Victoria's far east has become an symbol of this year's bushfire crisis

Allison Marion's photo of her son Finn fleeing the advancing bushfires in the seaside town of Mallacoota in Victoria's far east has become an symbol of this year's bushfire crisis

Allison Marion’s photo of her son Finn fleeing the advancing bushfires in the seaside town of Mallacoota in Victoria’s far east has become an symbol of this year’s bushfire crisis

Mitch Parish, a former arson squad detective, said the international frenzy surrounding the bushfire crisis would only increase a ‘vanity arsonists’ desire to light an inferno. 

‘It’s got to the stage where they’re seeing all the publicity on the fires … and they get bit of a buzz because of all the attention,’ Mr Parish said.

‘People get very emotional and passionate (about fires) and feel a lot of power because it’s a very ­destructive force.’ 

NSW Rural Fire Service volunteer Blake Banner was charged with lighting seven fires in the south coast region.

The 19-year-old was allegedly spotted leaving a location as a fire spread rapidly and arrived at a fire ground to help put out a blaze before any of his fellow volunteers on another occasion, police say.

He was granted bail and intends to fight the accusations.

Residents defend a property from a bushfire at Hillsville near Taree, 350km north of Sydney

Residents defend a property from a bushfire at Hillsville near Taree, 350km north of Sydney

Residents defend a property from a bushfire at Hillsville near Taree, 350km north of Sydney

2019/2020 FIRE SEASON DEATH TOLL

By Brittany Chain for Daily Mail Australia

A total of 10 people have been killed in the New South Wales bushfires since last Monday, taking the total death toll across the nation to 25. 

A 71-year-old man became the latest casualty of the bushfire crisis after he was found on a burnt-out property in Nerrigundah on the south coast of NSW.

David Harrison, a 47-year-old man from Canberra, suffered a heart attack defending his friend’s home on Saturday, January 4.

The recent deaths also include dairy farmer Patrick Salway, 29, and his father Robert, 63, who died trying to save their property in Cobargo, near Bega. 

An off-duty RFS firefighter, believed to be 72-year-old Colin Burns, was found near a car in Belowra after the NYE fires swept through. 

Another person died on December 29 from serious burns sustained in a fire in November. 

Well-known outback pilot Dick Lang and his son, Adelaide surgeon Clayton Lang, died in the Kangaroo Island bushfire after their car was trapped by flames. 

A 70-year-old man was found dead outside a home at Yatte Yattah, west of Lake Conjola, on Tuesday night, while another man’s body was found in a burnt vehicle on a road off the Princes Highway at Yatte Yattah Wednesday morning. 

The body of a man was found in a vehicle on Wandra Road at Sussex Inlet about 11.30am Wednesday but is yet to be formally identified.

A seventh body was found outside a home Coolagolite, about 10km east of Cobargo, on Wednesday. 

Beloved great-grandfather Mick Roberts, 67, from Buchan, in East Gippsland, was found dead at his home on Wednesday morning. 

On Sunday, young father and volunteer firefighter Samuel McPaul, 28, was fighting a blaze in Jingellic, in Green Valley, about 70km east of Albury on the border of NSW and Victoria, when the truck he was in rolled, killing him instantly. 

Two other firefighters died on December 19 after a tree fell on their truck while they were travelling through Buxton, south of Sydney.  

Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, and Geoffrey Keaton, 32, were later named as the volunteers involved in the tragic accident the following day.

Both men were young fathers and had volunteered with the Horsley Park Rural Fire Service brigade for more than a decade. 

Two people also died in South Australian fires before Christmas, including 69-year-old engineer Ron Selth.

His body was found in his Charleston home, which was destroyed by the Cudlee Creek blaze on December 21.

Another person died in a fiery car crash on the same day. 

In early November, just weeks into the horror fire season which has been baring down on the nation for months, three people perished in northern NSW.

George Nole’s body was found in a burnt out car near his home in Glen Innes while 63-year-old Julie Fletcher’s body was pulled from a scorched building in Johns River, north of Taree.

Vivian Chaplain, a 69-year-old woman from Wytaliba, succumbed to her injuries in hospital after attempting in vain to save her home and animals from the blaze.  

The fourth victim was named just days later as 58-year-old Barry Parsons.

His body was discovered in bushland on the southern end of the Kyuna Track at Willawarrin, near Kempsey, on November 13. 

77-year-old Bob Lindsey and 68-year-old Gwen Hyde were found in their burned out property on October 9th.

Pictured: Volunteer firefigthter watching on as the Gospers Mountain fire in NSW rapidly approached

Pictured: Volunteer firefigthter watching on as the Gospers Mountain fire in NSW rapidly approached

Pictured: Volunteer firefigthter watching on as the Gospers Mountain fire in NSW rapidly approached

NSW Fire and Rescue officer protects the Colo Heights Public School from being impacted by the Gospers Mountain fire near Colo Heights south west of Sydney

NSW Fire and Rescue officer protects the Colo Heights Public School from being impacted by the Gospers Mountain fire near Colo Heights south west of Sydney

NSW Fire and Rescue officer protects the Colo Heights Public School from being impacted by the Gospers Mountain fire near Colo Heights south west of Sydney

Banner was stood down from his duties with the force in the interim and Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said members will be devastated if the allegations are proven true.

‘Our members will be rightly angry that the alleged actions of one individual can tarnish the reputation and hard work of so many,’ he said. 

A 79-year-old South Australian man was also charged with starting multiple grass and shrub fires as the nation welcomed in the new year.

Police will allege the man lit fires on December 30 and January 2, and then two on Saturday, all in the Kingston area, on the state’s south-east coastline.

The devastating bushfires have cost 25 people their lives so far this season, destroyed more than 2,000 homes and thousands more outbuildings and dwellings.

The blazes, which have now been burning along much of the east coast of Australia for three months, have scorched more than six million hectares of land.

AUSTRALIA’S BUSHFIRE CRISIS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Evacuations are underway and emergency alerts are in place in NSW, Victoria and South Australia as authorities predict the devastating bushfires will continue burning until at least March. 

At least 25 people have been killed in blazes across the country since the bushfire season began in October

NEW SOUTH WALES/ACT

  • At least 130 bushfires were burning in NSW on Tuesday
  • 20 people dead 
  • 3.6 million hectares burned, greater than the size of Belgium 
  • At least 1,588 homes confirmed destroyed 

VICTORIA  

  • Two people dead
  • About 31 active bushfires burning
  • More than 784,000 hectares burned
  • 330 structures confirmed destroyed but significantly more expected 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

  • Three people, including two from Kangaroo Island, are dead
  • 17 bushfires burning, four of significance
  • More than 100,000 hectares burned
  • 88 homes confirmed destroyed  
  • About 600 properties on Kangaroo Island remain without power with SA Power Networks warning it may be some time before crews can access the fire ground to assess damage 

QUEENSLAND

  • 33 bushfires burning
  • 250,000 hectares burned
  • 45 homes confirmed destroyed

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

  • More than 35 bushfires burning, two of significance
  • 1.5 million hectares burned
  • One home confirmed destroyed

TASMANIA

  • 23 bushfires burning, two of significance
  • 30,000 hectares burned
  • Two homes confirmed destroyed

NORTHERN TERRITORY

  • Five bushfires burning
  • Five homes confirmed destroyed

 

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