• At campaign rally, Biden decries Democratic 'anger' and pledges unity
    Politics
    Reuters

    At campaign rally, Biden decries Democratic 'anger' and pledges unity

    At a rally in downtown Philadelphia, Biden, as he has done throughout the beginning stages of his campaign, made Trump his central target, blasting him as "the divider-in-chief." But he also chided other Democratic presidential candidates in the field, suggesting that anger toward Trump within his party was not enough to win next year's presidential election. "Some of the really smart folks say Democrats don't want to hear about unity," he said. With his poll numbers currently swamping the rest of the Democratic field, Biden has often acted as if his current opponent is Trump and not the other 23 Democrats vying for the party's nomination.

  • Women shouldn't have to tell abortion stories to remind lawmakers they're human
    Politics
    The Guardian

    Women shouldn't have to tell abortion stories to remind lawmakers they're human

    YouKnowMe is both powerful and profoundly depressing – women shouldn’t have to justify wanting bodily autonomyBusy Philipps started the YouKnowMe campaign. Photograph: WWD/Rex/ShutterstockSign up for the Week in Patriarchy, a newsletter​ on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday. YouKnowMe: powerful but also profoundly depressingIt has been another terrible week for reproductive rights in America: Alabama outlawed abortion, and Missouri has passed a bill banning abortion after eight weeks. Emboldened by Trump, the right has ramped up its war on abortion, and there is a very real chance Roe v Wade will eventually be overturned.It’s not just anti-abortion activists who are organizing, however. Women’s rights groups are seeing record donations and unprecedented levels of energy, as activists fight to protect a woman’s right to control her own body. The regressive new laws have also sparked a viral social media campaign, with thousands of women sharing their abortion experiences with the hashtag YouKnowMe.The YouKnowMe campaign was started by the actor and talkshow host Busy Philipps, with the intent of getting rid of the shame that still surrounds abortion. “1 in 4 women have had an abortion,” Philipps tweeted on Wednesday. “Many people think they don’t know someone who has, but youknowme. So let’s do this: if you are also the 1 in 4, let’s share it and start to end the shame. Use youknowme and share your truth.”Huge numbers of women (and trans-men) have joined in, including a number of celebrities. Cynthia Nixon, for example, tweeted: “Almost 60 years ago, my mother had an illegal abortion. It was too harrowing for her to discuss, but she made sure I knew it had happened. In 2010, my wife had a legal abortion after we found out her pregnancy was not viable. We cannot and will not go back.”Hashtag activism has traditionally prompted a lot of sneering, but as MeToo has demonstrated, online discussion can catalyze real world change. The YouKnowMe stories people are sharing make the political deeply personal. They paint a powerful picture of the different reasons people get abortions – some are traumatic, some are mundane, but none is more valid than another.YouKnowMe also seizes control of the narrative around abortion. Anti-abortion activists have embedded shame and blame into the language we use to talk about the issue, describing themselves as “pro-life”. The real-life stories women are sharing with YouKnowMe are a reminder that there is nothing pro-life about the people who would restrict a woman’s right to choose; they are simply pro-control.While YouKnowMe is powerful, it’s also profoundly depressing. Women shouldn’t have to publicly defend their humanity. They shouldn’t have to justify wanting bodily autonomy.They shouldn’t have to broadcast their personal stories in order to remind legislators that they’re not just baby-carrying vessels; they are human beings. ‘Break the girls’Women were at the forefront of the mass protests that recently ended Omar al-Bashir’s decades-long rule over Sudan, accounting for 70% of demonstrators according to some estimates. CNN has a chilling piece on how the Bashir regime tried to use rape to silence these women. “Break the girls, because if you break the girls, you break the men,” soldiers were told. The women did not break. More male managers afraid of interacting with womenMeToo has made men afraid of interacting with women at work, according to new research by LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey. Sixty percent of male managers said they were uncomfortable mentoring, socializing, and having one-on-one meetings with women, up 14% from last year. Almost half of male managers said they were uncomfortable socializing with female colleagues outside the office, and more than a third actively took steps to avoid such interactions. 33 women now lead Fortune 500 companiesThat’s up from 32 in 2017 and 24 in 2018. While the figure is a record high, it’s pretty dismal that only 6.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.There is a double standard around drinking and women. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images Drinking and dehumanizationNew research published in the journal Sex Roles has found that women drinking alcohol are viewed as “less human” and more sexually available. It’s a troubling reminder of the double standards around drinking, and the way in which alcohol is used to blame women for sexual assault, and exonerate men. Lesbian Batwoman to the rescueIt’s been a pretty depressing week, so I think we could all do with some Sapphic superhero news. CW has unveiled the first trailer for its new Batwoman series, starring Ruby Rose. An openly LGBT actor playing an openly gay superhero is a TV first, and a small sign of progress. Dogs are a woman’s best friendAccording to a new study, dogs are more likely to obey women than men. This is apparently because women are more empathetic. I have no idea how scientifically sound this research is, but I think we can all agree that dogs are very good boys.

  • 'Ibiza affair' topples Austrian government, snap election announced
    World
    AFP

    'Ibiza affair' topples Austrian government, snap election announced

    Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz dramatically pulled the plug on his coalition government and announced fresh elections Saturday after an explosive camera sting claimed the scalp of his far-right deputy. Media reports on Friday alleged Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache promised public contracts in return for campaign help from a fake Russian backer he met on the island of Ibiza a few months before 2017's parliamentary elections in Austria. "I have suggested to the president of the republic that new elections be carried out, at the earliest possible date," Kurz said in a televised statement.

  • Cafeteria worker fired for giving student lunch won't return
    News
    Associated Press

    Cafeteria worker fired for giving student lunch won't return

    CANAAN, N.H. (AP) — A company has offered to rehire a New Hampshire school cafeteria worker whom it fired for giving a student lunch for free , but she isn't interested.

  • Swiss Set to Back Tax Reform, Gun Control in Sunday Referendums
    World
    Bloomberg

    Swiss Set to Back Tax Reform, Gun Control in Sunday Referendums

    The new tax regime would replace special tax breaks that multinational companies now enjoy but which Switzerland is forced to do away with to comply with international rules. While Switzerland isn’t a member of the EU, it is in the open-border Schengen area and therefore the law needs to be changed in accordance with stricter rules in the bloc. Both measures are up for a vote because of Switzerland’s system of direct democracy which calls for mandatory referendums if 50,000 votes are collected within 100 days of a law passing.

  • View Photos of the First Hot Wheels Toy Based on a Fan's Custom Car
    Lifestyle
    Car and Driver

    View Photos of the First Hot Wheels Toy Based on a Fan's Custom Car

    A flame-throwing, 600-hp ground-bound jet from Jersey is cool enough-then they up and made a toy version.From Car and Driver

  • Business
    Reuters

    Exclusive - U.S. may scale back Huawei trade restrictions to help existing customers

    The Commerce Department, which had effectively halted Huawei's ability to buy American-made parts and components, is considering issuing a temporary general license to "prevent the interruption of existing network operations and equipment," a spokeswoman said. Potential beneficiaries of the license could, for example, include internet access and mobile phone service providers in thinly populated places such as Wyoming and eastern Oregon that purchased network equipment from Huawei in recent years. In effect, the Commerce Department would allow Huawei to purchase U.S. goods so it can help existing customers maintain the reliability of networks and equipment, but the Chinese firm still would not be allowed to buy American parts and components to manufacture new products.

  • This Missile Might be the U.S. Navy's Important Weapon in Decades
    World
    The National Interest

    This Missile Might be the U.S. Navy's Important Weapon in Decades

    The Tomahawk and its controversies might make headlines, but as the U.S. Navy re-arms for high-tech warfare, the SM-6 is the missile to watch.The U.S. Navy in late January 2019 confirmed the designation of its newest cruise missile, in the process clarifying its long-term plan for arming its growing fleet of warships.The plan heavily leans on one missile, in particular. It's the SM-6, an anti-aircraft weapon that quickly is evolving to perform almost every role the Navy assigns to a missile.(This first appeared earlier in the year.)The Navy dubbed the newest version of the venerable Tomahawk cruise missile the "Block V" model, Jane's reported. There are two separate variants of the Block V missile, one with an anti-ship warhead and another with a warhead the Navy optimized for striking targets on land.Raytheon's Tomahawk has been the subject of controversy in Washington, D.C. In order to save money the Obama administration wanted to pause production of the long-range missile, which since the 1980s has been the Navy's main weapon for striking land targets from the sea.Congress overruled the Obama administration and continued buying Tomahawks for roughly $1 million apiece, adding potentially hundreds of the missiles to the thousands the fleet already possesses.

  • SAT to give students 'adversity score'
    U.S.
    FOX News Videos

    SAT to give students 'adversity score'

    Students will now be given an 'adversity score' to show challenges they have overcome based on their environment.

  • GOP Congressman Justin Amash’s Impeachment Call Boosts Pressure on Pelosi
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    GOP Congressman Justin Amash’s Impeachment Call Boosts Pressure on Pelosi

    Kevin Lamarque/ReutersRepublican congressman Justin Amash’s support for impeachment proceedings against President Trump ratchets up the pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call for the same. Citing “multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice” uncovered in the Mueller report, the iconoclastic Michigan lawmaker spared no one in a lengthy Twitter thread on Saturday—calling out Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and other lawmakers he says put partisanship above their own allegiance to the Constitution. Many were quick to wonder aloud why it was a Republican lawmaker making the case for impeachment rather than top Democrat Pelosi, who has called Trump “unfit” for the presidency but come out against impeachment, saying it’d be too “divisive” for the country. “Conservative Republican Justin Amash is more principled and forward-leaning on impeachment than Pelosi, Nadler, Neal, and any of the other House Dem leaders right now. Will they wake up?” tweeted Ezra Levin, a former Capitol Hill staffer and co-founder of Indivisible, a movement fighting to “resist the Trump agenda.” Neither Pelosi nor Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer immediately responded to Amash’s argument for impeachment. But at least one Democratic lawmaker appeared to heed his call.“Come find me in 1628 Longworth. I’ve got an impeachment investigation resolution you’re going to want to cosponsor,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) tweeted at Amash late Saturday. Reactions from within his own party weren’t quite as encouraging. “It’s sad to see Congressman Amash parroting the Democrats’ talking points on Russia,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “The only people still fixated on the Russia collusion hoax are political foes of President Trump hoping to defeat him in 2020 by any desperate means possible.”Pelosi has repeatedly suggested impeachment proceedings would be likely to backfire, suggesting in early March that Trump actually wants to face impeachment to rile up his base. Earlier this week at an event hosted by the Georgetown University Law Center, she said she doesn’t “want to impeach” even though in her opinion, Trump is giving more “grounds for impeachment” with every passing day by ignoring subpoenas issued by House Democrats. “I believe that we are headed toward an impeachment inquiry,” Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told MSNBC earlier Saturday, saying “the anger and frustration is growing.” In making his case for impeachment, Amash argued that “extreme partisanship” had blinded Congress to the true purpose of impeachment: to “deter misconduct” and get rid of any official who “has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct.”Trump did not necessarily have to be found guilty of a crime in order to face impeachment, he said. “Under our Constitution, the president ‘shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While 'high Crimes and Misdemeanors' is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.” “Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report,” Amash said, adding that Barr’s testimony on the report—in which he repeatedly defended Trump’s conduct—made it clear he “intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings.” Those findings, he argued, did not clear Trump of wrongdoing as Barr has claimed but revealed “that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.”While Mueller did not establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, he did not make any determinations on obstruction of justice, choosing instead to leave that matter up to Congress. But Amash argues that many members of Congress didn't even bother to read Mueller's report. “Their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation—and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report’s conclusions within just hours of its release,” he wrote. “America’s institutions depend on officials to uphold both the rules and spirit of our constitutional system even when to do so is personally inconvenient or yields a politically unfavorable outcome. Our Constitution is brilliant and awesome; it deserves a government to match it,” he said. Amash, who identifies as a libertarian, has previously voiced a desire to see a third party challenge Democrats and Republicans in politics and in March said he wouldn’t “rule out” a 2020 run himself. Meanwhile, his break with the GOP over impeachment could put a big target on his back. A Michigan state lawmaker hinted on Saturday that he might challenge Amash in a primary.Amash has raised the prospect of Trump facing impeachment before. In early 2017, when former FBI director James Comey first accused Trump of asking him to stop an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Amash said such a move would be grounds for impeachment. “But everybody gets a fair trial in this country,” he said at the time. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

  • Austrian president calls for September poll in wake of scandal
    World
    AFP

    Austrian president calls for September poll in wake of scandal

    Austria's president on Sunday called for fresh elections in September after a corruption scandal embroiling the far-right brought down the coalition government in spectacular fashion. Just days before key EU elections, Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache was forced to resign in disgrace Saturday following explosive revelations from a hidden camera sting. Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz -- whose 18-month coalition with Strache's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) had been held up as a model by many on the European right -- reacted by pulling the plug on their union.

  • Texas passing laws, but not leading abortion fight this time
    Politics
    Associated Press

    Texas passing laws, but not leading abortion fight this time

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sidestepping bigger abortion battles playing out elsewhere in the U.S., Texas Republicans on Friday pushed a bill toward Gov. Greg Abbott's desk that would ban the state's liberal capital city from leasing a downtown building to Planned Parenthood for just $1.

  • Blast injures South African tourists near Egypt's Giza pyramids
    World
    Reuters

    Blast injures South African tourists near Egypt's Giza pyramids

    An explosion targeting a tourist bus injured at least 12 people on Sunday, mostly South African tourists, near a new museum being built close to the Giza pyramids in Egypt, two security sources said. A third security source said the bus was carrying 25 South African tourists from the airport to the pyramids area, and that four Egyptians in a nearby car were also injured by broken glass. Security and judicial sources said a rudimentary device containing nails and pieces of metal had been detonated remotely on the perimeter of the Grand Egyptian Museum, not far from the site of a roadside blast that hit another tourist bus in December.

  • Here Is Russia's Plan to Build a Fleet of Su-57 Stealth Fighters
    World
    The National Interest

    Here Is Russia's Plan to Build a Fleet of Su-57 Stealth Fighters

    The Su-57 is coming—76 of them over the next decade, to be exact.Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at a Kremlin meeting that the Russian Defense Ministry plans to procure 76 Su-57 fifth-generation fighters by 2028, himself acknowledging that these new quantities dwarf previous Russian defense ministry estimates: "The 2028 arms program stipulated the purchase of 16 such jets… In the nearest future we will sign a package contract to supply 76 such jets equipped with modern weapons of destruction and provided with the necessary land infrastructure."The announcement defies the western defense analysis consensus, which concluded that the Su-57 will not enter production until the late 2020’s. Even then, it was alleged that Russia lacks the industrial output to churn out Su-57 fighters in militarily meaningful numbers.If the Kremlin’s new forecast proves to be accurate, what accounts for this drastic output increase?

  • Modi’s jobs deficit: J&J’s largest India plant idle three years after completion
    Business
    Reuters

    Modi’s jobs deficit: J&J’s largest India plant idle three years after completion

    It was to eventually employ at least 1,500 people and help bring development to a rural area near Hyderabad in southern India. Two sources familiar with J&J's operations in India and one state government official told Reuters production at the plant, at Penjerla in Telangana state, never began because of a slowing in the growth in demand for the products. One of them said that demand didn’t rise as expected because of two shock policy moves by Prime Minister Narendra Modi: a late 2016 ban on then circulating high-value currency notes, and the nationwide introduction of a goods and services tax (GST) in 2017.

  • Democrat 2020 hopefuls eye coveted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsement
    Politics
    The Telegraph

    Democrat 2020 hopefuls eye coveted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsement

    She is the great young hope of America’s Left-wing, an articulate and impassioned progressive whose policies have gained traction and Twitter feed is followed by four million.  Now Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old first-time congressman from New York, is seeing her newfound political clout manifest in a new way – a race for her endorsement.  With two dozen Democrats seeking their party’s presidential nomination, the support of Ms Ocasio-Cortez is being seen as a way to win over the young, energised voters who will help shape the race.  Chief among the contenders are Bernie Sanders, the independent 77-year-old senator from Vermont, and Elizabeth Warren, the former academic now representing Massachusetts in the Senate.  Both have made tacit acknowledgement of Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s influence in public in recent weeks – whether for policy reasons, or for political gain, or both.  Earlier this month, Mr Sanders appeared alongside Ms Ocasio-Cortez at an office table where they discussed the importance of reducing credit card interest rates.  At the end of the 25-minute video, shared on social media and viewed by more than half a million people, the pair patted each other on the back warmly and smiled.  Last month, Mr Warren wrote a 180-word ode to Ms Ocasio-Cortez for Time Magazine when the latter was named in its top 100 most influential people.  “A year ago, she was taking orders across a bar. Today, millions are taking cues from her,” Ms Warren wrote of the congresswoman’s remarkable political rise. “And she’s just getting started.” Those two are not the only Democratic hopefuls vying for an endorsement, it appears. Politico reported that both senator Kirsten Gillibrand and former housing and urban development secretary Julian Castro have made “overtures”.  There is no reason a person should pay more than 15% interest in the United States. It’s common sense - in fact, we had these Usury laws until the 70s. It’s a debt trap for working people + it has to end.https://t.co/sO0p5NF7WR— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) May 9, 2019 The enthusiasm is understandable. The Democratic Party’s progressive base appears fired up for change and many candidates hoping to win the right to take on Donald Trump are leaning its way.  Government-funded health care for all, a $15 minimum wage and bold action on climate change have been widely adopted by the field ahead of the first debate in June and the first primary vote next February.  Ms Ocasio-Cortez, who last year shocked the political establishment by ousting a 10-term Democrat in her own party to take his seat, has become the progressive movement’s most recognisable star.  That was underscored this week as Joe Biden, the former US vice president who is polling top and running on a centrist ticket, was forced to defend his climate change stance after Ms Ocasio-Cortez dismissed it as “middle of the road".  Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator for Massachusetts, has developed a reputation for standing up to Wall Street Credit: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall Mr Sanders is best placed to win the endorsement race. Ms Ocasio-Cortez worked on his 2016 presidential campaign, identifies like him as a democratic socialist and shares many of the same policy beliefs.  Ms Warren has also laid out a left-wing platform taking on Wall Street and redistributing wealth but makes clear she remains a believer in capitalism.  Asked recently about an endorsement by a CNN reporter, Ms Ocasio-Cortez said: “What I would like to see in a presidential candidate is one that has a coherent worldview and logic from which all these policy proposals are coming forward. "I think senator Sanders has that. I also think senator Warren has that.” And, the questioner followed up, would she consider endorsing Mr Biden? Ms Ocasio-Cortez turned and walked away without a definitive answer.

  • World
    Bloomberg

    Duterte Signing Papers, Not Confined in Hospital, Spokesman Says

    “I just talked to him,” spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement Sunday. ABS-CBN News said in a report citing social media posts that Duterte was in a hospital in Metro Manila since Friday and that the medical center was under tight security. Sara Duterte, mayor of Davao City, said she hadn’t received any report that her father was ill, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

  • Lifestyle
    BGR News

    10 deals you don’t want to miss on Saturday: AirPods 2, $35 Fire TV Stick 4K, $10 Philips Hue bulbs, more

    We've got another great weekend edition of our daily deals roundups for you, because great deals never take a day off! Highlights include a rare opportunity to save $20 on Apple AirPods 2 (order now to lock in the discount and they'll ship soon, likely within a few weeks), the Fire TV Stick 4K for $35 instead of $50 and the Fire TV Stick for $25 instead of $40 (Prime members only), all-time low prices for the Apple Watch Series 3 starting at $199, all-time low prices on iPads starting at $249, just $11.50 for a SanDisk 64GB microSD card (other sizes on sale too!), Philips Hue white LED bulbs for $10 a piece when you buy a 4-pack, Alexa and Google enabled WiFi smart plugs for $7.25 each when you buy a 4-pack, and more. See all of today's top deals below.

  • Attorney general Barr is 'sliming his own department,' says former FBI director Comey
    Politics
    The Independent

    Attorney general Barr is 'sliming his own department,' says former FBI director Comey

    Former FBI director James Comey has accused Attorney General William Barr of “sliming his own department” by questioning the creation of the Trump-Russia investigation.Mr Comey also suggested the head of the US justice department – who has launched a review into the origins of the 2016 election meddling probe – had been acting as a “spokesperson” for Donald Trump.“The AG should stop sliming his own Department,” the former FBI chief tweeted. “If there are bad facts, show us, or search for them professionally and then tell us what you found. An AG must act like the leader of the Department of Justice, an organization based on truth. Donald Trump has enough spokespeople.”The attorney general has asked John Durham, the US attorney in Connecticut, to examine how the probe into Russian election interference began and whether laws were broken while intelligence was collected on the Trump campaign, it was revealed earlier this week.On Friday Mr Barr said the review would focus on the actions of the US intelligence community before the FBI opened a formal inquiry in July 2016.“Government power was used to spy on American citizens,” the attorney general told The Wall Street Journal. “I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly.”Mr Barr told a Senate subcommittee last month that he believed “spying did occur”. He said: “The question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”The attorney general has provided no details about what “spying” may have taken place but he could be alluding to a surveillance warrant the FBI obtained on former Trump associate Carter Page and the FBI’s use of an informant while investigating ex-Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. The AG should stop sliming his own Department. If there are bad facts, show us, or search for them professionally and then tell us what you found. An AG must act like the leader of the Department of Justice, an organization based on truth. Donald Trump has enough spokespeople. — James Comey (@Comey) May 18, 2019His suggestions that members of the Trump campaign were unfairly targeted have been welcomed by the president and his associates, who have repeatedly claimed investigations into the campaign were motivated by political bias.The president said that he did not request Mr Barr launch the review, but that he thinks “it’s a great thing that he did it.”FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress earlier in May that he has no evidence the FBI illegally monitored the Trump campaign and doesn’t consider court-approved FBI surveillance to be “spying”. Mr Comey has said “the FBI doesn’t spy, the FBI investigates”. He has been a consistent critic of Mr Trump since he was fired as FBI director by the president in May 2017, calling him “morally unfit to be president”.

  • Turkey says to produce S-500s with Russia after S-400 missile deal
    World
    AFP

    Turkey says to produce S-500s with Russia after S-400 missile deal

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said Turkey and Russia would jointly produce S-500 defence systems after Ankara's controversial purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Moscow. Turkey's push to buy the S-400s has further strained already tense relations with the United States which has repeatedly warned Ankara of the risks including sanctions as a result of the purchase. "There is absolutely no question of (Turkey) taking a step back from the S-400s purchase.

  • DCCC Wants to Save a Pro-Life Dem. Dems Ask: at What Cost?
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    DCCC Wants to Save a Pro-Life Dem. Dems Ask: at What Cost?

    Tom WilliamsThe day after Alabama lawmakers passed a law to ban nearly all abortions in the state, House Democrats confronted some tricky optics: a Chicago Business report revealed that the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was scheduled to headline a June fundraiser for the most staunchly pro-life Democrat left in Congress.The move raised howls of protest from progressives, who have sought to make that Democrat, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), the next moderate to be unseated by a challenger to their left. The passage of the Alabama law and restrictive abortion laws in other states has only intensified that push."It's hypocritical for the Democratic Party leadership to continue to protect Lipinski while claiming to fight against the attacks on reproductive rights in states like Georgia and Alabama." said Waleed Shahid, communications director for Justice Democrats. In the 2018 primary, Lipinski was nearly defeated by Marie Newman, who is competing against him again in 2020 in this safely blue Chicago-area district. Unlike last time, however, Lipinski has the DCCC chair on his side: Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) has made a promise to back all incumbents, and has donated to Lipinski from her personal committee in addition to appearing at a fundraiser to benefit him. Progressive ire directed at the DCCC is hardly new. Only months into the 2020 cycle, the party’s official House campaign arm had already incensed progressives for codifying a policy to not do business with vendors who support primary challengers to incumbents—slammed as a “blacklist” by some on the left.But the Lipinski episode transcends the typical left vs. establishment drama that has permeated the DCCC in recent years. It raises a difficult question for Democrats: At a moment when abortion rights are more vulnerable than they have been in decades, does their “big tent” have room for members who do not support those rights?Lipinski thinks so, at least. “This is exactly the wrong time to be forming a circular firing squad when we need to be together, work together, to beat President Trump in 2020, as well as keeping the House and winning the Senate,” he told The Daily Beast on Thursday.“Certainly, Cheri Bustos is making it very clear as chair of the DCCC her support for me, and I think the party leadership understands the need for not pushing people out right when we’re trying to work together,” he added. But for a diverse set of Democrats, having an opponent of abortion in their ranks is increasingly untenable–especially one like Lipinski. Though there are several other House Democrats with anti-abortion views, Lipinski is the only House Democrat to have received a zero percent score from NARAL Pro-Choice America, a leading advocacy group. He is one of two House Democrats to have a 75 percent score from the National Right to Life Committee. Lipinski, who has said he believes life begins at conception, has resisted leaving the party over his views on abortion. According to a 2018 report from the pro-choice outlet Rewire News, Lipinski told a pro-life gathering “I’ve always believed, and I always say, the Democratic Party says it stands up for the little guy, and there’s no one who is more vulnerable than the unborn, who need the protection. And so I’m hanging in there.”Since arriving in Congress in 2005, Lipinski has been a reliable vote for anti-abortion legislation.In particular, he has voted for bills to grant legal personhood rights to fetuses, and he voted against the Affordable Care Act, arguing that it would help fund access to abortion. At press time, Lipinski’s office had not responded for request for comment on his views on Alabama’s abortion bill.Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who successfully primaried an incumbent himself, was the first to publicly hit Bustos for fundraising on behalf of Lipinski on Wednesday night.“It’s tone deaf for the DCCC to be supporting Lipinski when Roe vs. Wade is under threat in a way it hasn’t been in my whole lifetime,” Khanna told The Daily Beast on Thursday. “This is a moment where the Democratic Party needs to be doing everything possible to affirm the constitutional right of a woman to choose. It makes no sense to be supporting someone who doesn’t recognize that right.”A DCCC spokesperson said that Bustos does not agree with Lipinski on abortion, but “she made a promise to stand behind all of our incumbents in their campaigns—from the Blue Dogs to the progressives. She keeps her word, and she is focused on defeating Republicans so we can continue growing the most diverse Majority in our nation’s history.”But Bustos’ fundraiser has only emboldened those on the left who had been preparing for primary battles in safe blue districts already. And even more institutional Democratic-aligned groups like Planned Parenthood Action Fund, EMILY’s List and NARAL Pro-Choice America backed Newman earlier this month. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) did as well, as she had done last cycle. “She’s in a position of defending a man who is in the House because of a reactionary, right-wing group,” Sean McElwee, co-founder of the progressive think tank Data for Progress said, referring to canvassing efforts on Lipinksi’s behalf from the pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List in 2018. “I think there’s a very real chance he loses. And I think there’s a very real chance that a number of incumbents lose and I think this is in a lot of ways her Waterloo,” McElwee added. “This is the proof positive that the method of going to war with progressives is not actually the best path forward for the party.” In 2018, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi ultimately backed Lipinski in the primary. But she faces pressure to remain neutral heading into 2020. “I hope she and others will stay out of it, given how choice is now under threat and how vulnerable it is,” said Khanna. Pelosi’s office did not respond to request for comment. On Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told The Daily Beast that discussions were happening among progressives concerning the DCCC’s support for Lipinski. “If we don’t really approach this and make the hard decisions we need to make as a party about who we are and what we stand for, we cannot say that we’re fighting for women’s rights if we’re fundraising for people and if we’re, as an apparatus, actively supporting candidates who want to take our rights away,” she said.“I just don’t understand how this is even a thing.” Two former DCCC staffers, both of whom identified with the establishment wing of the party, echoed Ocasio-Cortez’s frustrations. “This is not activists vs. the DCCC on this issue,” one said. “This is 2019, we’re talking about Chicago, Illinois—the guy is not pro-choice.”“There’s no room for him anymore,” the other former DCCC staffer said. “There’s no room for this anymore. Maybe they could 10 years ago, but I just don’t see now how they can compromise on this.”“I try to defend the DCCC at any cost, and this is just nuts to me.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

  • World
    Reuters

    UPDATE 1-Argentina grants offshore oil, gas exploration permits in Malvinas West basin

    Argentina awarded permits for hydrocarbon exploration in 18 areas off its southern coast to companies including Exxon Mobil Corp, Total SA , YPF SA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the government said on Friday. The winning companies offered bids totaling $724 million, the government said in official statements, and won the rights to explore for up to 13 years in areas of the South Atlantic, some near the Malvinas Islands under the control of the British government but whose sovereignty is claimed by Argentina. The other companies that will make up exploration consortia in Argentina's Malvinas West basin include BP, Qatar Petroleum, Tullow Oil, Pluspetrol , Wintershall, Equinor, Eni , Mitsui &Co Ltd and Tecpetrol SA.

  • Let Me Tell You About the Worst Submarine of All Time
    World
    The National Interest

    Let Me Tell You About the Worst Submarine of All Time

    For the Worst Submarine of All Time, I go further and nominate an entire silent service: the undersea arm of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).There are many candidates for this dubious honor. After all, submarining has been around for well over a century now. Many ships render honorable but unexceptional service. Standouts emerge, generally in times of strife, as do “floating coffins” and plain old hard-luck ships.And there are some that subtract value from the nation’s effort to reach its strategic and political aims. This is the unpardonable sin.The idea of ships that could submerge has been around since antiquity. Combat submersibles date to the Turtle, a hand-propelled contraption built to smite Royal Navy ships from beneath during the War of American Independence. But subs really became a going concern during the fin de siècle age, when propulsion technologies such as batteries, electric motors, and internal-combustion engines came to maturity around the same time.Combining these technologies yielded the diesel-electric propulsion plant, a hybrid affair that enabled subs to run silent, run deep on quiet electric motors when submerged and run on diesels and recharge batteries while cruising the surface. At the direction of First Sea Lord Jacky Fisher, the Royal Navy ordered five rudimentary boats designed by John Phillip Holland in 1900, and the age of modern undersea warfare was on.