Monday 25th of May 2020

nothing to fear with racism...


It has been a long and turbulent week in American politics, marked by an array of mutual accusations and controversial calls, with its climax being an apparent hoax claiming that Somali-American Congresswoman Omar had married her sibling.

Trump has preferred to distance himself from the controversial chants that were heard during a rally in support of him on Wednesday. 

Speaking to a crowd of MAGA supporters in North Carolina, the POTUS brought up a rumour suggesting that Rep. Ilhan Omar was at some point married to her brother. 

A crowd of supporters immediately started chanting “send her back”, with Trump referring to the rhetoric disapprovingly the following day.

“I felt a little bit badly about it”, Trump told reporters at the White House when asked about the chants on Thursday, which drew an outpouring of criticism. “I would say that I was not happy with it. I disagreed with it. But again I didn’t say that. They did. And I disagreed with”.

'Omar's Life in Imminent Danger'

Meanwhile, senior Washington Democrats are not only outraged at the “racist” attacks by the president on Somali-born Ilhan Omar, but with the scandal culminating in the “send her back” chants at Wednesday night’s rally, they are also increasingly worried about her safety.

Party biggies are now calling for authorities to evaluate security for Omar.

“It’s crystal clear to me that her life is in imminent danger”, said Bobby Rush, a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “He has threatened the safety of a member of Congress. That takes this to a whole different level”, Politico wrote, citing the politician, on Thursday morning.

The House’s No. 4 Democratic member, Ben Ray Lujan, also weighed in, arguing:

“It’s bad enough that the president didn’t stop the chant last night. But he started it. It’s instilling fear, it’s going to instil violence”, said Ben Ray Lujan.

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has likewise joined a chorus of concerns coming from Democrats over the security of Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar, branding the attacks on her as deeply “racist”.

He tweeted that the attacks are “life-threatening” and run counter to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission workplace regulations, going further to express his concern for “women in the press”.


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send him back...

There have been lots of depressing and troubling images in US politics during the Trump era, but two of the most disturbing came in the last week, not because of what was said but what was conveyed without words.

The first moment came watching the President's adviser Kellyanne Conway set her face before asking a journalist about their ethnicity.

In what passed across Ms Conway's face as she listened to the question was all the calculus that had gone into the Trump campaign's re-engineering of his racist slurs against a number of US Congresswomen.

Captured by the cameras was a calm and calculated preparation to ask an outrageous question of a reporter.

But this was topped later in the week when a mob at one of President Trump's rallies started shouting "send her back" about a Somali-born congresswoman he had been maligning.

Trump said nothing — despite his later protests. He watched, and assessed, for 13 seconds and, once again, the raw calculation of the politics of the moment was written plainly on his face.


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meanwhile the children that are not of israel...

AFTER SIGNING ON to and then backtracking from a bill to bar Israel from using U.S. military aid to detain Palestinian children, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., is claiming that she was inadvertently added to the legislation without her approval. But five weeks before DeLauro co-sponsored the bill, a legislative aide to the Connecticut Democrat explicitly told backers of the bill that DeLauro would be a sponsor — something that doesn’t typically happen without the consent of their boss — according to emails seen by The Intercept.

I was inadvertently added as a cosponsor to this legislation without my approval,” DeLauro said in a statement to The Intercept. “After being made aware of this error, I removed my name as a cosponsor of the legislation.

DeLauro added that she was opposed to the bill because it “seeks to single out Israel for criticism, and seeks to appropriate money to investigate, document, and report only on Israeli abuses.

The emails sent from DeLauro’s office were part of a monthslong exchange between Palestinian rights advocates and DeLauro over her positions on Israel. Her office’s agreement to sign on to the legislation, authored by Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., was a significant victory for the groups, and her quiet withdrawal came as a surprise. 

DeLauro’s reversal is only the latest illustration of how charged the debate over Israel has become in Washington. Progressives are challenging the Democratic establishment’s unwavering pro-Israel stance, which includes a history of voting to give Israel billions in military aid with no strings attached. But they’re finding that imposing conditions on U.S. military aid to Israel remains a bridge too far for many in the caucus. 

DeLauro’s co-sponsorship of McCollum’s bill was a surprise, particularly given her status as a member of Democratic leadership and a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. DeLauro is a quintessential member of the Democratic establishment when it comes to Israel. She has voiced unflinching support for the Jewish state. DeLauro’s husband is Stanley Greenberg, a prominent Democratic pollster who has advised Israel’s Labor Party.

But she appeared to make a significant break from the establishment’s pro-Israel line by signing on to the legislation to prohibit Israel, and any other country in the world that gets U.S. military aid, from using that aid to detain and abuse children. Her co-sponsorship seemed to signal that the bill was inching closer to mainstream acceptance.

One member of Congress, who asked not to be named in order to talk openly about the process, said that it was her understanding that DeLauro’s co-sponsorship of the bill was related to her longtime championing of the rights and welfare of children, for which DeLauro is rightly known. She was not sure, the member said, why DeLauro jumped off the bill.

On June 20, DeLauro quietly withdrew her name from the legislation, which McCollum first introduced in 2017 and reintroduced this year in significantly strengthened form. Instead of directing the secretary of state to certify that U.S. aid is not being used by Israel to detain children, as the 2017 version does, the new bill amends U.S. law to explicitly ban U.S. aid from going toward the abuse of children, a move that takes discretion over such a ban out of the hands of the State Department. 

Palestinian rights advocates, who argued to lawmakers that this was a commonsense bill to prevent a U.S. ally from using taxpayer dollars to abuse Palestinian kids, were disappointed by her reversal. They suspect DeLauro came under pressure to backtrack from pro-Israel groups

It’s shocking,” said Shelly Altman, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace’s Connecticut chapter who pressed DeLauro to support the bill and had conversations with DeLauro’s staff. “She misunderstands the expectations of the progressive voters in her district.” 

Pointing out that DeLauro has spoken up for children detained on the U.S.-Mexico border, Altman added, “She’s betraying her own progressive values.

Support for Israel as its government lurches far to the right — expanding illegal settlements, waging wars on Gaza, and laying the groundwork for annexing the occupied West Bank — is no longer a given for many rank-and-file progressive Democrats, a shift that is worrying the establishment. A March Quinnipiac University poll found that 27 percent of Democrats said they sympathized more with Israelis — a 15-point drop from a January 2017 poll. The Palestinian rights movement has also capitalized on President Donald Trump’s bear-hug embrace of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which has alienated Democratic voters, and in the process put traditional supporters of the U.S.-Israel alliance on the defensive.


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