By Robert A. Vella
Before moving on to today’s news, I want to send an open message to congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY):
Please, don’t be stupid.
The young progressive champion, whom I am ideologically aligned with, has reportedly threatened her centrist Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives with putting their names on a list to get primary challenges from the Left if they vote with Republicans on issues she is opposed to (see: Ocasio-Cortez privately warned centrist Democrats they’ll be ‘on a list’ for 2020 challenges if they vote with Republicans). This kind of threat is exactly what Tea Party members did to moderate Republicans after their landslide midterm victory in 2010 which gutted the GOP, made it extremist and unpopular, and eventually put the megalomaniac Donald Trump in the White House.
Politics is a strategic and tactical battlefield. It must be fought adeptly and wisely as instructed by Sun Tzu. One cannot win by alienating allies in the face of a determined and unified opponent. There are skillful ways to stand on principle without offending friends. AOC’s threat is antithetical to all this.
Progressivism can succeed in America on its own merits. It doesn’t need to resort to hardball politics typical of authoritarians. The best way for it to succeed is to focus on increasing civic participation and voter turnout.
END OF SERMON
Australia’s record heat
Australia has experienced its hottest summer on record, according to the nation’s Bureau of Meteorology.
Hundreds of individual heat records were shattered across the country over the past three months.
The warm weather – 2.14C above the long-term average – caused bushfires, blackouts and a rise in hospital admissions.
Wildlife also suffered, with reports of mass deaths of wild horses, native bats and fish.
The real standout was just how widespread and prolonged each heatwave was – almost everywhere was affected,” climatologist Blair Trewin told the BBC.
Temperatures had exceeded the previous hottest summer in 2012-13 by nearly 1C, he added – “a very large margin for a national record”.
Electoral College is white supremacy
Maine’s former governor — who left office last month — argued the Electoral College is necessary to keep white people in power.
“What would happen if they do what they say they’re gonna do is white people will not have anything to say,” Paul LePage told a WVOM radio show Tuesday when asked about abolishing the system currently used to elect presidents. “It’s only going to be the minorities that would elect.”
LePage, who left office Jan. 2 and now lives in Florida, said making every vote equal would give too much power to states like “California, Texas and Florida,” where larger swathes of people live.
The 70-year-old Republican served two terms as Maine’s governor and had one of the highest disapproval ratings among governor’s nationwide during his last year in office. He’s no stranger to racial controversy, either.
GOP warns Trump
Senate Republicans are offering a choice to President Donald Trump: Withdraw your national emergency declaration at the border or face a potential rebellion from the GOP.
The message was delivered clearly on Thursday by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), part of an effort by senior Republicans to avoid a direct confrontation with Trump on the Senate floor.
In a much-anticipated floor speech, the retiring senator declined to state whether he will become the deciding vote to block the president’s maneuver. But he signaled broad opposition to the emergency declaration and sought to convince Trump that he has other ways to collect $5.7 billion for the border wall — the precise amount of money he demanded during the government shutdown fight.
“He’s got sufficient funding without a national emergency, he can build a wall and avoid a dangerous precedent,” Alexander told reporters afterward, referring to billions from a drug forfeiture fund and anti-drug smuggling money at the Defense Department. “That would change the voting situation if he we were to agree to do that.”
Kushner’s security clearance
WASHINGTON — President Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns flagged by intelligence officials and the White House’s top lawyer, four people briefed on the matter said.
Mr. Trump’s decision in May so troubled senior administration officials that at least one, the White House chief of staff at the time, John F. Kelly, wrote a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” to give Mr. Kushner the top-secret clearance.
The White House counsel at the time, Donald F. McGahn II, also wrote an internal memo outlining the concerns that had been raised about Mr. Kushner — including by the C.I.A. — and how Mr. McGahn had recommended that he not be given a top-secret clearance.
The disclosure of the memos contradicts statements made by the president, who told The New York Times in January in an Oval Office interview that he had no role in his son-in-law receiving his clearance.