Saturday, April 30, 2016

Run on a Ticket With Donald Trump? No, Thanks, Many Republicans Say

It’s a time-honored tradition for politicians to deny any interest in the vice presidency. But this year, with the possibility of Donald J. Trump as the Republican nominee, they really mean it.
“Never,” said Chris Schrimpf, a spokesman for Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who is still running against Mr. Trump. “No chance.”
“Hahahahahahahahaha,” wrote Sally Bradshaw, a senior adviser to Jeb Bush, when asked if he would consider it.
“Scott Walker has a visceral negative reaction to Trump’s character,” said Ed Goeas, a longtime adviser to the Wisconsin governor.
Or, as Senator Lindsey Graham put it, “That’s like buying a ticket on the Titanic.”
A remarkable range of leading Republicans, including Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, have been emphatic publicly or with their advisers and allies that they do not want to be considered as Mr. Trump’s running mate. The recoiling amounts to a rare rebuke for a front-runner: Politicians usually signal that they are not interested politely through back channels, or submit to the selection process, if only to burnish their national profiles.
But Mr. Trump has a singular track record of picking fights with obvious potential running mates like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who has indicated a lack of interest in the vice presidency generally and has yet to reconcile with Mr. Trump publicly. Ms. Haley and another potential pick, Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, have sharply criticized Mr. Trump at recent party gatherings and do not want to be associated with his sometimes-angry tone, according to advisers and close associates who have spoken with these Republicans.
Several Republican consultants said their clients were concerned that Mr. Trump’s unusually high unfavorable ratings with all voters and his unpopularity among women and Hispanics could doom him as a general election candidate and damage their own future political prospects if they were on his ticket.
Still, elected officials do have a way of coming around to the vice presidency, and Mr. Trump said in an interview on Saturday that he was in the early stages of mending fences and building deeper relationships with leading Republicans. And in a sign of growing acceptance that Mr. Trump is their likely nominee, several Republicans made it clear that they would join him on the ticket because they think he can win, or because they regard the call to serve as their duty.
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, as well as Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, said in interviews that they would consider joining the ticket if Mr. Trump offered. Two governors, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, have also told allies that they were open to being Mr. Trump’s running mate.
“If a potential president says I need you, it would be very hard for a patriotic citizen to say no,” Mr. Gingrich said. “People can criticize a nominee, but ultimately there are very few examples of people turning down the vice presidency.”
Mr. Trump, who could well become the presumptive Republican nominee on Tuesday by winning the Indiana primary, is just starting to mull vice-presidential prospects and has no favorite in mind, he said in the interview. Mr. Trump said he wanted someone with “a strong political background, who was well respected on the Hill, who can help me with legislation, and who could be a great president.”
He declined to discuss potential picks in any detail, but he briefly praised three governors as possible contenders — Mr. Kasich, Mr. Christie and Rick Scott of Florida — and said he would also consider candidates who were women, black or Hispanic. (A spokeswoman for Mr. Scott said he was focused on being governor.)
Asked if he was surprised about the array of Republicans who are uncomfortable being his running mate, Mr. Trump said: “I don’t care. Whether people support or endorse me or not, it makes zero influence on the voters. Historically, people don’t vote based on who is vice president. I want someone who can help me govern.”
A cross section of leading Republicans agree that his most sensible choice would be an experienced female governor or senator, given that he would most likely face Hillary Clinton in November and need support from a majority of white women to offset her strong support among blacks and Hispanics. Yet Mrs. Clinton is currently ahead of Mr. Trump with white women by double-digit percentages, according to a recent CBS poll.
The pool of Republican women in major offices is relatively small, and Mr. Trump has already alienated some of them. Governor Haley denounced him for not quickly disavowing support from the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and Governor Martinez has criticized his remarks about Hispanics.
Both governors endorsed Senator Rubio for president; a Martinez spokesman said she “isn’t interested in serving as vice president,” while a Haley spokesman declined to comment.
“There are some Republicans who would’ve said yes to running with Romney or McCain or Bush but would say no to Trump,” said Curt Anderson, a Republican strategist, referring to the party’s last three presidential nominees. “The issue is, no one knows what we’re dealing with here. Is it possible that Trump faces a historic landslide loss? Sure. Is it possible he beats the hell out of Clinton? Sure. No one knows — no one has predicted Trump right for a long time.”
Even Governor Fallin of Oklahoma, who has not ruled out running with Mr. Trump, has expressed uncertainty about what he would be like as a leader, according to close associates who have spoken to her. Ms. Fallin, in a brief statement, would not discuss Mr. Trump, but said the nation’s challenges were too great for “business as usual” political solutions. “Any discussion of other service I might be asked to offer to my country is flattering but premature,” she said.
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David Winston, a veteran Republican pollster, said Mr. Trump’s first challenge in finding a running mate was lowering his unfavorability ratings of 60 percent or more, because prominent politicians would not want to join his ticket if he cannot turn those figures around. Mr. Winston dismissed the notion — put forward by some Trump advisers — that the candidate could improve his ratings by picking a woman, a Hispanic, or other figure with demographic appeal.
“He simply won’t be able to convince any top-tier candidate to run with him if he can’t get those unfavorable numbers down,” Mr. Winston said.
Mr. Trump’s best hope may be Republican enmity for Mrs. Clinton, some Republicans strategists said. They predicted that Mr. Trump would ultimately have more options than his skeptics might assume because Republicans will ultimately unify in June and July with a deep and shared determination to beat her, and the traditional thrill of being considered for vice president could then kick in.
“I think he may have more choices than many people would suspect, because a lot of people will be flattered to be asked,” said Russ Schriefer, a Republican adviser to the Romney campaign in 2012 and to Mr. Christie during his 2016 presidential bid.
Mr. Schriefer emphasized that he had not talked to Mr. Christie about the vice presidency, but other Christie confidants said that he supported Mr. Trump strongly and would be willing to consider the No. 2 spot. A Christie spokesman, asked about the governor’s willingness, pointed to Mr. Christie’s response about the vice presidency at a recent news conference, where he said he would evaluate the offer “for any position in government.”
As a political novice, Mr. Trump will be widely judged on whom he chooses — and how and why he chooses the person — because voters and other Republican leaders will look to his pick to evaluate his priorities for the kind of advisers he would want as president.
“This is a big deal because it’s the first major decision he’ll be making as the nominee, and it’s important that the American public see his decision-making process and how he goes through making such a big decision,” said Scott W. Reed, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s senior strategist.
Other than elected officials, Mr. Trump also said he was open to people with deep national security experience — which some Republicans think should be his top criterion.
“What Donald Trump needs is the most experienced, most qualified foreign policy mind in Washington, and somebody that would immediately bring calm to the choppy political waters that always seem to be around him,” said Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida who now hosts “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. He suggested Robert M. Gates, the former defense secretary, but was more circumspect when asked if he was willing to be Mr. Trump’s running mate himself.
“I definitely have a lot of strong opinions about who it should be. (Not me!!),” wrote Mr. Scarborough, who served on the House Armed Services Committee and who has a good relationship with Mr. Trump.
Other Republicans were more open about joining Mr. Trump on the ticket. Senator Sessions, who is advising Mr. Trump on foreign policy, said he would send his personal tax information to the Trump campaign if it wanted to vet him. Mr. Carson, who was a Republican presidential candidate and battled with Mr. Trump before dropping out and endorsing him, said he would prefer to remain an outside adviser to Mr. Trump, but added that he was willing to join the ticket if he would “bring something that other people wouldn’t bring
For others, the singular experience of being vice president in a Trump administration is still hard to imagine. Buttonholed on Capitol Hill last week, two prominent Republican senators, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine, almost giggled when asked if they would be Mr. Trump’s running mate.
“I’m not waiting by my phone,” Ms. Collins said.
Mr. Scott, whose appeal as a black Republican could be an advantage for Mr. Trump, repeatedly sidestepped whether he would be willing to run with Mr. Trump. Finally, asked if he would not rule himself out, he replied, “I’m not ruling myself in.”

Christians Called to Resist Trump’s Bigotry

The media is focused on the state of the political race; but many of us in the faith community are focused on the state of race in America.
The press is concerned with polls and primaries, numbers of delegates, and the reporter’s hopes for exciting contested conventions. But many faith leaders are concerned with the moral quality of our national discourse — how much fear, division, and even hate are dominating over trust, compassion, and even love. Who is going to win is the ultimate and sometimes only media question. Our moral questions are about the health of the country. What about social justice, what about racial healing, what about reconciliation, what about unity — on anything?
This has become a ‘race election’ because of the use of bigotry for political gain. The concerns of faith leaders that I am hearing are not limited to one candidate, but one voice - Donald Trump’s voice — has been most hateful and divisive. Therefore, some of us came together to speak out.
The writings of 20th century German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer are experiencing a renewal among many Christians, especially younger ones. This German pastor once said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
More than 50 faith leaders from across the political spectrum have joined to issue a powerful new statement on the current state and alarming rhetoric of the 2016 election cycle, which, we argue, “threaten[s] the fundamental integrity of Christian faith and the well-being of society itself.”
Our statement, “Called to Resist Bigotry — A Statement of Faithful Obedience,” expresses our deep concerns about the use of racial and religious bigotry by Donald Trump, and his statements of disrespect for women—as gospel issues, and not merely political matters. 
The statement says:
“This is no longer politics as usual, but rather a moral and theological crisis, and thus we are compelled to speak out as faith leaders. This statement is absolutely no tacit endorsement of other candidates, many of whom use the same racial politics often in more subtle ways. But while Donald Trump certainly did not start these long-standing American racial sins, he is bringing our nation’s worst instincts to the political surface, making overt what is often covert, explicit what is often implicit. Trump’s highly visible and vulgar racial and religious demagoguery presents a danger but also an opportunity—to publically expose the worst of American values. By confronting a message so contrary to our Christian values, our religious voices can help provide a powerful way to put our true faith and our better American values forward in the midst of national moral confusion and crisis.” (Emphasis added)
Racial tensions have indeed undergirded this campaign season, with Trump and other candidates launching attacks on Mexicans and other immigrants, calling to refuse admittance to all Muslims entering the country, and other instances of intolerance. The faith leaders, speaking on behalf of ourselves and not our organizations, call for “confessional resistance” to alarming disrespect for racial minorities and women. Many local faith leaders have expressed a pastoral concern for the fear in the country and even within their own congregations that has been caused by such racial rhetoric.
Trump’s ugly attacks, including his questioning whether the first black president of the United States is really an American or one of “us,” have poisoned the political atmosphere. There are far too many examples of Trump statements that single out people based on race, religion, or gender. The statement says, “Inflammatory messages of racial, religious, and nationalist bigotry compel confessional resistance from faithful Christians who believe that the image of God is equally within every human being ... Donald Trump is exploiting the legitimate economic grievances of marginalized white Americans with false and ugly racial blame.”
Those who signed this statement and all those now sharing it on social media come from across the theological and political spectrum. For us, this is not a political or partisan statement. “This is not merely an electoral debate in which Christians hold legitimately differing policy views from one another. Rather, it is a public test of Christian truth and discipleship,” the statement reads. It ends by pledging “refusal to cooperate, in word and deed, against actions of intolerance and hate, not as a political group or partisan voice but as disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Trump hired me as a powerful woman. I saw how sexism became his trademark

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In a victory speech on Tuesday, Donald Trump told a crowd of adoring supporters that Hillary Clinton was playing “the woman card”. He alleged that Clinton wouldn’t get many votes if she were a man: “I don’t think she’d get 5% of the vote,” he said. Trump, of course, claims to be “great for women”. He has said this many times – and he mentions me as direct proof. 
In the 1980s, Donald Trump hired me to be vice-president of his company, in charge of the Trump Tower construction. I certainly benefited from being given the position, which was a daring move back then. There were no women in construction in those days. At the time, I applauded him for being forward-thinking.
But his rationale in hiring me was colored by his general opinion of the sexes. He said that men, in general, are better than women, but “a good woman is better than 10 good men”. He based this on the fact that women had to be smarter, try harder and work harder just to compete in a man’s world. I had proven to him that I had the markings of “a killer”, just the type to represent him on the construction site. I wonder if Trump still requires his female executives to be killers.
Trump has said some very sexist things in print and on camera about women. Does this reflect the real Donald Trump or, as he puts it, just entertainment? He chose to appear on the cover of Playboy magazine with a naked woman. He chose to be interviewed by Howard Stern where he discussed and rated women’s physical attributes. Trump used the print media to describe how he thought women wanted and expected to be treated poorly. How can he distance himself from his own words and acts?
The Trump I started working with in 1978 was very different from who he is today. He used to be deferential to women. He had tremendous respect for his mother and I think this influenced his treatment of women. He did not talk about them disparagingly. He did not discriminate against women in hiring. 
When I worked there, Trump had several extremely strong, outspoken women whom he listened to. Even his wife, Ivana, was put in a position of great power and trust. But over the years, I saw him change. As Trump became more famous, his behavior towards women worsened. He started talking about movie stars who wanted to date him, even while he was still married. 
When he put Ivana in charge of the Plaza Hotel, he said he would pay her in dresses, a remark that devalued her contribution and hurt her badly. When his breakup happened, he bragged about being with so many women, it distracted him from his work. He boasted about newspaper headlines detailing his sex life. I heard him talk, for the first time, about women’s bodies. Those sexist comments attributed to him recently come as no surprise. Neither do his remarks about Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s positions on the issues are anti-women on their face. He is opposed to reproductive freedom. This is a fundamental right and important to most women in the electorate. He is opposed to the Affordable Care Act, which has empowered women. He is opposed to raising the minimum wage, which affects women more than men. He is in favor of deporting undocumented migrants who have raised families in the United States. A cabinet full of women would not mitigate the impact of his stance on these matters.
Trump would be well served to listen to his advisers with regard to his treatment of Clinton and women’s issues. But he continues to show that he is not being “handled”, and it’s likely he will go on with this bluster and braggadocio. Trump has threatened to go after Clinton and no doubt, he will do it in a way that reeks of sexism. Trump probably thinks his comments about women and treatment of Hillary will win him more of the men’s vote. He will need as many as he can get if that’s true, because he won’t be getting many from women.
by Barbara Res

Beyoncé's Lemonade is about much more than infidelity and Jay Z


beyonce
While I have always been a fan of Beyoncé, I’m not someone you’d consider one of the beyhive. So I am rarely the first to hear about Beyoncé’s latest projects. Most of my weekend was dedicated to thinking about Prince, crying about Prince and making my son watch videos of Prince. But when I dried my tears Sunday morning, I saw that Lemonade had dropped the evening before. And according to press, this was an album about Jay Z.
To read early headlines, Lemonade is about Beyoncé and Jay Z, or it’s about what a dog Jay Z is, it’s about that infamous elevator fight, it’s about Beyoncé being mad at Jay Z, it’s about Beyoncé’s heartbreak over Jay Z.
I’m never very personally invested in celebrity relationships, but I’d watch Beyoncé sing my old chemistry textbook, so I sat down to watch Lemonade expecting to at the very least be entertained. 
I was not expecting to be cracked wide open by this project. I was not expecting to shed a lifetime of tears. But I did. Lemonade is about so much more than one relationship and its infidelity. Lemonade is about the love that black women have – the love that threatens to kill us, makes us crazy and makes us stronger than we should ever have to be. 
We are the women left behind. We are the women who have cared for other women’s children while ours were taken away. We are the women who work two jobs when companies won’t hire our men. We are the women caring for grandchildren as our sons are taken by the prison industrial complex. We are the women who march in the streets and are never marched for. We are the women expected to never air our grievances in public. We are the women expected to stay loyal to our men by staying silent through abuse and infidelity. We are the women who clean the blood of our men and boys from the streets. We are the women who gather their belongings from the police station.
When our love and commitment and struggle is met with disregard and disloyalty, we are not expected to be angry. A black woman who shows her anger is quickly scorned. “Black men have so much to deal with already,” people say, “it is your job to support him and help him become a better man.” The meekness expected of us stands in ironic contrast with the strength required to navigate this world as a black woman. “Who the fuck do you think I am?” Beyoncé angrily asks a world that could so foolishly underestimate a black woman.
When our hearts are broken and we are crying in pain, we are told that it’s our fault. We were too needy, too jealous, too critical. To be told that it is our duty to love with all we have and that if that love isn’t returned it is because we loved both too much and not enough, it can make you crazy. In Hold Up, Beyoncé asks: “What’s worse, looking jealous and crazy? Or being walked all over lately? I’d rather be crazy.”
This expectation of black women to suffer in silence is passed from generation to generation. Beyoncé explores this inheritance unflinchingly: “You remind me of my father - a magician, able to exist in two places at once / In the tradition of men in my blood you come home at 3am and lie to me.”
And from this deep, heartbreaking love is born a strength that we shouldn’t have to have. Generations of work, love and neglect have made quiet warriors of us. Our very existence is a protest. Beyoncé celebrates the beauty and strength of black womanhood by featuring black women who have stood tall despite constant persecution for their blackness. Quvenzhané Wallis, a brilliant young actor often mocked for her kinky hair, unique name and dark skin, stands proudly next to the queen Bey knowing that she belongs there. Serena Williams, the most gifted athlete alive today who is still mocked for her large, strong body and distinctly black beauty, twerks defiantly at the viewer.
But Beyoncé sees us because she’s one of us, and will not allow us to drown in despair. In Freedom, Beyoncé gathers us all together for a southern revival that glories in our strength. “I need freedom too. I break these chains all by myself.”
What an amazing love-filled gift Beyoncé has given us all. This album will help me, and many other black women I know, get through some of the dark days to come.

Carly Fiorina's singing scored on late-night. But at a rally, it was just creepy


My favorite part of American Idol was always the initial audition period, because that was when the least talented, most delusional people were on TV unintentionally creating comedy gold. This eternal presidential primary season has been a lot like that – and Ted Cruz’s announcement Wednesday of Carly Fiorina as his running mate was no exception.Picking a running mate when he has almost no chance of becoming the Republican party nominee is just the sort of desperate move I’ve come to expect from Cruz, but that’s another column. Today I want to focus on Fiorina and that creepy song she sang to Cruz’s daughters on live television..Which issue do you want US election candidates to discuss   You want to talk about playing the woman card? If Fiorina were a man, we’d all be calling for To Catch a Predator’s Chris Hansen just about now, because that song was the stuff of little girls’ nightmares.Just like those ill-advised American Idol contestants, Fiorina probably thought it was a great idea to sing to Cruz’s kids on live TV. After all, everybody told her how great it was when she sang about her dog on Jimmy Fallon. But that shows a remarkable inability to distinguish the appropriateness of a given venue.In case you’re reading, Carly, let me break it down for you: singing a dopey song about your pet on a late-night comedy talk show is charming. Singing a dopey song about someone else’s kids in the middle of a live press conference announcing your intention to become the person a heartbeat away from the presidency is just creepy. 
I’m ready for this political circus to stop. Even American Idol’s reign of terror has finally come to an end – and the company that owns it just filed for bankruptcy. Because watching delusional egomaniacs strut their stuff is funny at first, but after a while, you begin to crave something more substantial than this.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Trump assails Republican rivals' alliance as 'pathetic'


Facing a potential wipeout in U.S. presidential nominating contests on Tuesday, Republicans Ted Cruz and John Kasich teamed up against Donald Trump, setting off a barrage of new attacks from the front-runner who denounced them as desperate, weak and pathetic.
Trump told a cheering crowd in Warwick, Rhode Island, on Monday that he was happy about the partnership. "It shows how weak they are. It shows how pathetic they are."
Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas and Trump's closest challenger, said the move was aimed at preventing a Trump nomination that would assure victory for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
The Cruz-Kasich deal was announced on Sunday before a handful of primary elections in several mid-Atlantic states. It is the latest unusual move in what has been a topsy-turvy Republican presidential race in which early favorites fell to political outsider Trump, whose unexpected rise has left establishment Republicans grappling with a new order.
"It's another exciting day in Republican politics," said Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer on MSNBC.
To derail Trump, the Cruz and Kasich campaigns agreed to concentrate their efforts and resources in state contests where each has a better shot. Cruz will focus on Indiana's May 3 primary without competition from Kasich, while Cruz will stand aside in favor of Kasich in Oregon's May 17 primary and New Mexico's June 7 vote.
Trump, who New York billionaire who often talks about being the consummate dealmaker, said his rivals had committed "a horrible act of desperation" by colluding in those states.
"You know, if you collude in business or if you collude in the stock market, they put you in jail,” Trump said in Warwick. "But in politics - because it’s a rigged system, because it’s a corrupt enterprise - in politics, you’re allowed to collude."
"SHAKE THINGS UP"
The move is unique in modern presidential politics and signaled panic after Trump's sweeping victory in the New York primary last week, said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.
"They know he's going to have a great night tomorrow," Sabato said. "If things are not shaken up, Trump's going to be the nominee. They have to do something big to shake things up. They're hoping that this is it. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't."
Cruz said it was Trump who was desperate because he knows he has a difficult path to the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the party's nomination at the Republican National Convention in July.
"I don't doubt that Donald Trump is going to scream and yell and curse and insult and probably cry and whine some as well," Cruz said in Indiana. "That has been Donald's pattern."
Cruz and Kasich, who is Ohio's governor, hope their efforts will weaken Trump in Oregon, Indiana and New Mexico and keep him from securing the delegates he needs to claim the nomination before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.
Kasich, campaigning in Philadelphia, tried to play down the strategy on Monday as simply a way for him to save money by not campaigning in certain areas. He said he was not asking supporters in those places not to vote for him.
"So what? What's the big deal?" Kasich said. "I'm not over there campaigning and spending resources. We have limited resources."
Trump has dominated the nominating contests so far but still faces a tough path to earn the delegates needed to lock up the nomination before the convention. A candidate who wins a state contest sometimes still must win over delegates who often are allocated at separate events. Republicans will pick their delegates in at least four states this weekend, including Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona and Virginia.
Trump said the Cruz-Kasich deal bolstered his contention that the Republican system for choosing delegates is rigged. Party officials have said the rules have long been known.
Spicer said that every campaign has to run its own strategy.
"That's up to them to decide what alliances are good or what kind of strategies they want to employ heading up to Cleveland," he said in an interview with MSNBC.
If no candidate has enough support on the first vote at the national convention, many delegates can switch to another candidate on subsequent ballots.

Obama ramps up Special Forces mission in Syria against IS

President Barack Obama announced on Monday the biggest expansion of U.S. ground troops in Syria since its civil war began, but the move was unlikely to mollify Arab allies angry over Washington's cautious approach to the conflict.
The deployment of 250 Special Forces soldiers increases U.S. forces in Syria roughly six-fold and is aimed at helping local militia fighters build on victories in which territory has been clawed back from Islamic State.
Defense experts said giving more fighters on the ground access to U.S. close air support could shift momentum in the war. But a senior member of the Saudi royal family who asked not to be identified dismissed the decision as "window dressing."
In announcing the deployment, Obama trumpeted the gains made on the ground against Islamic State.
"Given the success, I've approved the deployment of up to 250 additional U.S. personnel in Syria, including Special Forces, to keep up this momentum," Obama said in a speech in the German city of Hanover on the last stop of a foreign tour that has taken him to Saudi Arabia and Britain.
"They're not going to be leading the fight on the ground, but they will be essential in providing the training and assisting local forces as they continue to drive ISIL back," he added, using an acronym for Islamic State, also known as ISIS or Daesh.

Globo’s duty to report on the Brazilian crisis

David Miranda’s article (The real reason Rousseff’s enemies want to oust her, 22 April) paints a false picture of what is happening in Brazil. It fails to mention that everything began with investigation Operation Carwash, which revealed the largest corruption scandal in the country’s history, involving members of the ruling Workers’ party, as well as leaders of other parties in the government coalition, public servants and business moguls. The entire investigation process has been conducted under the strict supervision of the supreme court.
Globo Group fulfilled their duty to inform and will continue to do so, no matter who may be affected by the investigation.
As a reaction to the revelations of Operation Carwash, millions of Brazilians took to the streets in protest, against and for Ms Rousseff. Precisely to avoid accusations of inciting mass rallies – as Mr Miranda now accuses us – Globo covered the protests without mentioning them prior to them actually taking place, granting both sides the same airtime. When the impeachment proceedings began, we again allocated equal time and space for defence and prosecution.
Globo did not support the impeachment in editorials. It declared that, whatever the outcome, everything had to be conducted according to the constitution, which has been the case thus far. The supreme court – where eight of 11 justices were appointed by the Workers’ party administrations – has approved the entire process. To blame the press for the current Brazilian crisis is to repeat the ancient mistake of blaming the messenger for the message.
Lastly, the assertion that Globo leads the national media can only be made in bad faith. The Brazilian press is a vast and plural landscape of several independent organisations. Everyone competes with great zeal for the audience, which in turn is free to make its choices. Among strong competitors, what one finds is independence, without any tolerance for being led.
Mr Miranda is entitled to say what he wants. With the Globo Group rests the responsibility to report the facts.

Does ‘Black Lives Matter’ Really Matter?

 There are no helicopters in the sky, no plumes of dark smoke billowing in the distance, and no phalanx of riot gear-clad police officers lining the streets. This city remains what it has been—battered, broken, and paralyzed in too many places.
I was here just over a year ago, among the masses of mostly young black faces as the city boiled over after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, watching as a liquor store was repeatedly looted and a local pharmacy burned. I was in St. Louis, my hometown, and in North Charleston, South Carolina and other places where the righteously indignant shut down shopping malls, major thoroughfares, bridges, and transit stations.
As people marched, prayed, and pumped their fists in the wake of high-profile killings of black people, I imagined that change was coming, that pushing those stories into the national discourse would somehow result in tangible policy solutions, a wave of reforms.
But here in Baltimore, as the city heads into a primary election to select a new mayor, as murders shot up 59 percent in 2015, from 217 the previous year to 344 as cops all but walked off the job in response to protests demanding that they do it better, one has to wonder: Does Black Lives Matter matter?
Unlike in the second wave of the civil rights movement, which began in the 1950s, there is no significant body of legislation so far, no systematic criminal justice system reforms worthy of the name at the state or local level. And there have been no federal prosecutions of police officers who were either not charged or who were given light sentences at the local level in incidences involving an unarmed black victim.
What there has been is media coverage. There have been meetings at the Justice Department and the White House. Local Black Lives Matter chapters have sprung up around the country. Hollywood royalty and celebrity athletes have added their names to the role of supporters.  The Democratic National Committee passed a resolution supporting the movement and “affirming” that “black lives matter.”
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders awkwardly navigated the issues in their efforts to court black voters, with both at times appearing resentful when asked by young activists to explain their public records.
While both have since sharpened their messaging, Sanders once said he didn’t need to be lectured about black and Latino issues and Clinton urged activists to come up with a more positive vision.
In this third wave of the civil rights movement, there are those who—like Dr. King did—believe that public activism should run in tandem with engaging policymakers like Clinton and Sanders. And still others who think the two should be divorced and cannot live with integrity under the same roof. Both are invested in the hope that a substantial shift can be made in how non-white communities are policed. The demand for meaningful economic policies that drive income equality and access to wealth is universal among social justice allies—even if they differ on the path to get there.
But, if you are looking for hope, you won’t find it in the hard-faced, hollowed out buildings, situated along North Avenue, where the ghosts of yesteryear freely roam. You won’t find it in the faces of the dispossessed gathered on the corners, stoops, and storefronts to sing desperate songs of poverty and lack. There are no children here—not along Division Street, Pennsylvania or North Freemont Avenues—in a place where being “grown” isn’t always counted in years, but in the thickness of the trauma you have endured.
The Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, where Gray was killed by Baltimore city police officers, is a place defoliated of its wealth and any ability to produce it by segregation, housing discrimination, and mass incarceration—by immoral federal and state policies designed to press down, trap in, and lock out. Its proverbial bootstraps were stolen and twisted around its neck until an entire community nearly lost consciousness and died.
Reno has lived off North Fulton, near Pressman Street, for as far back as he can remember. “It always been like this,” he shrugs. “Always going to be.”
He is 23 now, a high school drop out with a baby on the way and little faith that public demonstrations have or will make any real difference.
“Every day is every day,” he says, swigging a fruit punch. “It’s a whole lot of young Freddies out here.”
That six Baltimore police officers involved in Gray’s death have been indicted and face criminal trial does not change things for Reno. “They gave that man’s family six million dollars,” he says, referring to the $6.4 million the city paid out before the family even sued them. “They know what they did to him. They killed him just like they can kill me and get away with it.”
Asked about the protests and if he thought the uprisings would result in any meaningful change over time, Reno rolled his chocolate brown eyes.
“We got a new CVS and the family got a lot of money, but niggas still dying.”
The numbers bear that out. To be black and poor means, all too often, that your death will go unprosecuted and unpunished. Justice, if the available data means something, is often tied to the race and economic status of the victim—especially if the shooter is a police officer. And, if that victim has a criminal record of any kind, the chances of a successful prosecution fall exponentially.
“More than half of all African-American millennials indicate they, or someone they knew, had been victimized by violence or harassment from law enforcement,” according to a study conducted by the University of Chicago. “Researchers, who have surveyed millennials several times during the past decade, point out that the disparities existed well before the Black Lives Matter movement began.”
“They got these cameras now, though,” Reno tells me. “But that don’t mean nothing.”
A coalition that includes several of the movement’s most recognizable faces wants it to mean something. Co-led by Deray Mckesson, who is now running for Baltimore mayor, Campaign Zero announced a national platform in August 2015. The group was specific in outlining the dilemmas and in detailing comprehensive solutions “informed by data, research and human rights principles.”
Its adoption, however, in whole or part, appears unlikely at both the federal and the local level. There is a difference between demonstrating and lawmaking, as the group well knows. The difficulty is converting street action into legislative action. Then too, the anticipated explosion in 2016 primary election turnout never happened.
It means focusing not just on a presidential race, but also on congressional districts, state legislatures, and city councils, governors and county executives and, yes, mayors. Dismantling a racist system will take all of that and more.
Has Black Lives Matter moved the needle? Absolutely. That we are having this conversation at all is a testament to their fearless devotion, as well as the ability to organize and move. And, for the record, the movement is a direct challenge to those who protest that “all lives matter” and who don’t think there are special issues to be addressed.
Dr. King answered that 52 years ago, saying, “our society has been doing something special against the Negro for hundreds of years.”
Some 48 years after his assassination, we still live in an age when young men like Reno are feared on sight. Institutionalized biases will sooner land him in a jail cell rather than a classroom. For him, Black Lives Matter embodies the hope that he cannot embrace for himself.

Aumento de impostos? Reforma da Previdência? O que esperar de um eventual governo Temer na economia

Há certo consenso de que a recessão econômica ajudou a derrubar a popularidade da presidente Dilma Rousseff (PT), criando condições para o processo de impeachment que deve ser levado para apreciação do Senado em algumas semanas.
Mas o que esperar, então, de um eventual governo do vice Michel Temer na área econômica, caso o afastamento de Dilma seja aprovado? Como ele pretende lidar com a recessão que ceifa empregos e comprime a renda dos brasileiros?
Ao menos no curto prazo, a avaliação de analistas consultados pela BBC Brasil é a de que o vice deve apostar em medidas que deem um "aceno" aos mercados financeiros, mostrando que ele está comprometido com o ajuste fiscal – embora haja divergências entre economistas de diferentes correntes teóricas sobre se essa seria uma boa estratégia.
Isso significa, inclusive, a adoção de medidas impopulares como um eventual aumento de impostos, além de outras menos polêmicas como o corte de ministérios.
No médio prazo, a avaliação de analistas é que a grande aposta do vice seria uma reforma da Previdência, com inclusão da idade mínima de aposentadoria – apesar de isso também poder gerar uma resposta das ruas e de seu eventual apoio no Congresso para o projeto ser incerto.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

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Second Week of Congressional Hearings Increases Pressure on Trump US President Donald Trump faces the threat of further testimony that ...