Headlines: November 11, 2019
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Donald Trump spoke at the New York City Veterans Day Parade on Monday becoming the first sitting president to ever address the event. It was the 100th anniversary of the city’s parade. The New York Times reported that his speech, “was met with some claps and cheers as he thanked veterans for their service. But raucous boos and chants jeering Mr. Trump could also be heard throughout.” The glass windows of a building overlooking the area where he spoke sported the word “impeach” in giant letters.
In news from the impeachment inquiry in Washington DC, public hearings begin this week on Wednesday and Friday. House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff announced in a letter to his Republican colleagues on Saturday that the original whistleblower who filed the complaint over Trump’s Ukraine conduct would not be testifying publicly. He wrote, “The committee … will not facilitate efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm.” The whistleblower was on the list of people that House Republicans submitted to Committee chairs to call in as witnesses. Meanwhile Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who is among those subpoenaed by the House to testify has asked to join a legal case by Charles Kupperman over whether the House has the authority to demand testimony or the White House has the authority to restrict testimony. Kupperman was deputy to former National Security Advisor John Bolton and Bolton himself has been awaiting the outcome of the Kupperman case to decide whether or not to testify. Mulvaney’s move has apparently angered Bolton.
Meanwhile Associated Press has uncovered how outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry obtained a lucrative contract in Ukraine for two of his supporters, using his government position. According to the media outlet, when Perry attended the inauguration event for newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he, “handed the new president a list of people he recommended as energy advisers. One of the four names was his longtime political backer Michael Bleyzer.” Just days later, “Bleyzer and his partner Alex Cranberg submitted a bid to drill for oil and gas at a sprawling government-controlled site.” Although they offered millions of dollars less than the only other competitor, they got the contract. The story exposes how Perry may be guilty of a very similar sort of corrupt dealing that Trump has accused Joe Biden of doing on behalf of his son Hunter.
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley’s new book claims that former White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly, and former State Secretary Rex Tillerson recruited her to try to undermine President Trump during their tenures. Haley wrote, “Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country.” She explained their views saying, “It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interests of America, they said. The president didn’t know what he was doing.”
Another Trump loyalist with a new book out is the President’s own son Donald Trump Jr. who spoke at a book event in Los Angeles over the weekend only to be heckled – not by critics of the President, but by supporters. Trump Jr., whose book is titled “Triggered” as a mocking descriptor of the left, appeared to trigger anger in his own supporters for refusing to take questions.
In other news, yet another Republican member of Congress is retiring – Peter King of New York State, who is the longest serving GOP House member from New York has announced his retirement. He is part of an unprecedented exodus from either of the two major political parties.
Meanwhile, one of newest members of Congress, also from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, spent the weekend at a series of political rallies in the swing state of Iowa with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Thousands showed up to hear the two popular politicians in what was apparently the largest rally in Iowa of any Presidential candidate for 2020. Ocasio-Cortez’s powerful speech drew much applause.
Bloomberg News has conducted an analysis confirming the main message of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez – that the richest 1% of Americans have continued to get richer. According to the media outlet, “The U.S.’s historic economic expansion has so enriched one-percenters they now hold almost as much wealth as the middle- and upper-middle classes combined.”
Progressives are celebrating two late breaking victories over the weekend. In San Francisco, a progressive public defender named Chesa Boudin narrowly won the race for the city’s District Attorney, winning cheers from across the country in the movement to elect forward thinking DAs. And in Seattle, where the online retail giant Amazon had dumped nearly $1.5 million to elect favorable city council members, Socialist Alternative’s Kshama Sawant eked out a victory after mail-in ballots were counted. Sawant surmounted a surprising vote deficit to surge ahead of her rival Egan Orion.
In international news, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has resigned amid mass protests. In what he called “a coup” Morales stepped down after the Organization of American States (OAS) accused him of election fraud. Morales was Bolivia’s first indigenous president in a country that is majority indigenous. He also became Latin America’s longest serving elected leader. Elsewhere in Latin America, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was freed on Friday from prison after Brazil’s Supreme Court ordered his release. Lula gave a defiant speech just a day later, taking aim at the country’s new right wing leader Jair Bolsonaro.
In Hong Kong, protesters launched a “Day of Rage” after police shot live rounds and hit a protester. The Washington Post also reported that, “Later, a man was doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire after he confronted a group of protesters who reportedly had vandalized a rail station.”
India’s Supreme Court has issued a controversial ruling on one of the nation’s most critically important and long-running political battles. In a victory for India’s right wing Hindu fundamentalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the court ruled that Hindus have the right to build a temple on the site of a mosque called the Babri Masjid, that was destroyed by sectarian mobs in 1992.
And finally in Iraq, an aggressive government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters has continued with security forces killing at least half a dozen people and injuring more than 100 in central Baghdad. The uprising in Iraq is considered the largest in the nation’s modern history.