‘I am greatly embarrassed’ – Trending Stuff

“CBS This Morning” co-host and longtime PBS star Charlie Rose has been accused by eight women of making unwanted sexual advances toward them and admitted to some of the misconduct in a statement, according to the Washington Post. Both PBS and CBS suspended him.

Rose’s alleged misconduct includes making lewd phone calls, walking around naked and groping the womens breasts, buttocks or genital areas, according to the Post. Rose’s accusers were employees or “aspired to work for Rose at The Charlie Rose show’ on PBS from the late 1990s to as recently as 2011.”

“CBS This Morning” has been growing rapidly since it launched in 2012, but still struggles to match the viewership of rivals “Today” and “Good Morning America,” while Rose’s show on PBS has aired regularly since 1991. Rose’s PBS show is filmed at the Bloomberg LP headquarters, making three major media organizations tied up in the latest harassment scandal.

“PBS was shocked to learn today of these deeply disturbing allegations. We are immediately suspending distribution of ‘Charlie Rose,’” PBS said in a statement.

CBS also suspended Rose but did not respond to request for additional comment. 

“We are deeply disturbed to learn of these allegations and are immediately suspending the show from airing on Bloomberg TV,” the network said in a statement. 

Rose’s accusers were between 21 and 37 years old at the time of the alleged encounters and the Post noted that there are “striking commonalities” in the accounts of the women. His alleged behavior typically included offering jobs to females and then using his power to put them in uncomfortable positions of a sexual nature. He allegedly would offer women a six-figure position that disappeared once they rejected his advances. 

“For all of the women, reporters interviewed friends, colleagues or family members who said the women had confided in them about aspects of the incidents. Three of the eight spoke on the record. Five of the women spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of Rose’s stature in the industry, his power over their careers or what they described as his volatile temper,” the Post said in a statement about the bombshell.

“I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate.”

– Charlie Rose

None of the women who made accusations against Rose to The Post worked for PBS or CBS.

He has expressed remorse for some of the allegations.

“In my 45 years in journalism, I have prided myself on being an advocate for the careers of the women with whom I have worked,” Rose said in a statement provided to The Post. “Nevertheless, in the past few days, claims have been made about my behavior toward some former female colleagues… It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I am greatly embarrassed.”

Rose continued: “I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.”

Powerful and influential men have been facing allegations of sexual misconduct on a regular basis since disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was outed as a sexual predator with a pair of bombshell reports in The New York Times and New Yorker earlier this year. High-profile media members such as Glenn Thrush and Mark Halperin have joined celebrities such as Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and a handful of politicians accused of sexual misconduct in recent weeks.

Ironically, Rose once appeared as himself on an episode of the Netflix series “House of Cards,” which has been rocked by the accusations against Spacey.

According to the report by Post contributor Irin Carmon and investigative reporter Amy Brittain, one accuser, Reah Bravo, was an intern and then associate producer for Rose’s PBS show beginning in 2007. In various interviews, she detailed unwanted sexual advances from Rose.

“It has taken 10 years and a fierce moment of cultural reckoning for me to understand these moments for what they were,” she told The Post. “He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim.”

Another accuser, Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, was Rose’s former assistant and detailed “at least a dozen instances where Rose walked nude in front of her while she worked in one of his New York City homes.” She claims the CBS and PBS star also “repeatedly called” her “at night or early in the morning to describe his fantasies of her swimming naked.”

Megan Creydt worked as a coordinator on the show from 2005 to 2006 and was a colleague of Godfrey-Ryan. She told the Post that Rose “put his hand on my mid-thigh” and understands that other claims are more serious but she was willing to speak to the paper to “support other women who were coming forward.”

The 75-year-old is considered a broadcasting legend and has interviewed everyone from Steve Jobs to Barack Obama. Time magazine named Rose one of its 100 most influential people in 2014 and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg once described him as “one of the most important and influential people in journalism.”

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.

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Trump tweets that ‘cold’ East Coast ‘could use a little bit of’ global warming – Trending Stuff

West Palm Beach (CNN)President Donald Trump, on vacation in balmy Florida, suggested that climate change could be a good thing on Thursday, tweeting that cities gripped by freezing temperatures on the East Coast could use some warming.

“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Bundle up!”

Despite Trump’s assertion, 2016 was the hottest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization, and some studies show 2017 is on pace to overtake it. If it does, it will be the fourth consecutive year to rank hotter than all previous.

A White House official did not respond when asked what Trump’s tweet means for administration policy. Journalists have previously been told that Trump’s tweets should be considered official statements from the White House.

The tweet is the latest in a series of Trump tweets that links the temperature in any one place to the existence of global warming, something climate scientists have long said is an entirely inaccurate way to view global warming.

“It’s freezing and snowing in New York — we need global warming,” Trump tweeted in 2012.

A year later, he added, “Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee – I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!”

As a candidate for president, Trump put his views on climate change at the forefront.

“Well, I think the climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax,” he said in 2016. “A lot of people are making a lot of money. I know much about climate change. I’d be — received environmental awards. And I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China. Obviously, I joke. But this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change.”
As President, Trump has made those views administration policy by pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, and his Environmental Protection Agency has made a series of moves that curbed the agency’s focus on climate science.
“I was elected by the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said during a White House event where he announced his decision to withdraw from the global climate accord signed by former President Barack Obama. Arguing that the deal hurts American businesses, Trump said foreign countries were using the deal to hamper American enterprise.

Even amid these comments, Trump administration agencies have continued sounding alarm bells on global warming.

The Government Accountability Office released a report in October that said the US government has spent more than $350 billion over the past decade in response to extreme weather and fire events and estimated that the US would incur far higher costs as the years progress if global emission rates don’t go down.

The report called on Trump to use the information GAO compiled to help identify risks posed by climate change and “craft appropriate federal responses.”

Additionally, the Climate Science Special Report released in November by the federal government found “no convincing alternative explanation” for the changing climate other than “human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases.”

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Obama tells Alabama voters to reject Roy Moore – Trending Stuff

(CNN)Former President Barack Obama is adding his voice to the Alabama Senate race, imploring voters to go to the polls Tuesday to reject the candidacy of Roy Moore as part of an aggressive effort by Democrats to try and counter President Donald Trump’s full-throated endorsement of the controversial Republican candidate.

“This one’s serious,” Obama says in the call. “You can’t sit it out.”

Two Democratic officials familiar with the Alabama race tell CNN that Obama recorded the phone message in recent days, at the very time Trump stepped up his own involvement in the campaign with a recorded message. Obama does not mention Moore by name.

“Doug Jones is a fighter for equality, for progress,” Obama says. “Doug will be our champion for justice. So get out and vote, Alabama.”

Obama’s message to voters — intended to specifically reach black voters whose turnout is critical for Democratic candidate Jones — comes on the eve of a special election that has drawn extraordinary national attention and divided the Republican Party over whether sexual allegations against Moore make him unfit for office.

Multiple women have accused Moore of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, and one woman has accused him of sexual assault.

The pre-recorded calls from Obama mark his latest return to the political stage less than a year after leaving the White House. He campaigned for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey, both of whom won their races last month.

It’s an open question whether Obama or Trump can wield any influence on the race, but the dueling presidential messages underscore the fiercely competitive nature of the Senate contest that has taken on outsized proportions.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

Doug Jones scores stunning win, but Moore won’t concede – Trending Stuff

Montgomery, Alabama (CNN)Doug Jones on Tuesday became the first Democrat in a generation to win a Senate seat in Alabama, beating Republican Roy Moore amid a firestorm of allegations that the GOP candidate had sexually abused teens.

Moore, however, refused to concede Tuesday night.

“When the vote is this close … it’s not over,” Moore told supporters after Jones declared victory.

The results are nothing short of an embarrassment for President Donald Trump and a disaster for Republicans in Washington as the reliably red state of Alabama elected its first Democratic senator since the early 1990s.

“I think I have been waiting all my life and now I don’t know what the hell to say,” Jones said Tuesday night.

“I am truly overwhelmed,” he added. “We have shown, not just around the state of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way that we can be unified.”

“This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign — this campaign has been about the rule of law,” he said. “This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of which ZIP code you live in, is going to get a fair shake in life.”

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN that while results are not yet certified, it is “highly unlikely” Jones will not be the winner of the Senate race.

“I would find that highly unlikely to occur … there’s not a whole of mistakes that are made,” Merrill said.

Should the results hold, the Republican Party’s narrow Senate majority will be trimmed to 51-49. And two wings — the establishment led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and an insurgency led by former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon — are now in open civil war headed into an already fraught midterm election year.

It’s an especially awkward outcome for Trump, who endorsed Moore on Twitter and rallied for him at a campaign event just across Alabama’s state line.

“This is an earthquake… it’s devastating for the President,” a source close to the White House said.

Moore’s defeat amid allegations of child molestation and sexual assault could fuel growing calls from Democrats for Trump to resign from office over the accusations of sexual assault against him.

Shortly after the race was called, Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!”

Large African-American turnout carries Jones

Jones’ victory was fueled by huge turnout — and near-unanimous support — from black voters.

Turnout was much stronger in heavily African-American counties, relative to recent presidential elections, than in rural, white counties.

CNN’s exit poll found that 30% of the electorate was black — a higher share than in the 2008 and 2012 elections, when Barack Obama was on the ballot. The exit poll showed that 96% of black voters backed Jones.

Jones cast the election as an opportunity for Alabama voters to reject the embarrassment he said Moore was sure to bring the state. His campaign focused heavily on turning out African-American voters in the run-up to election day, with civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and other black leaders hitting the trail alongside Jones.

“I love Alabama, but at some point we’ve got to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘We’re not a bunch of damn idiots,’” retired basketball star Charles Barkley, who played at Auburn University, said at Jones’ election eve rally in Birmingham.

Moore’s denials fall short

The Moore campaign’s strategy for confronting the allegations was simple: Deflect and deny — rolling out allies to praise Moore’s character without ever directly answering questions about the specifics of the accusations.

His campaign seized on minor openings — the location of the phone in one accuser’s house; the date and location details another accuser had added to what she said was Moore’s signature in her yearbook — to attempt to broadly discredit the allegations.

Moore himself, meanwhile, all but disappeared from the campaign trail — even taking a weekend trip to West Point with his wife on the weekend before the election.

How badly did the sexual allegations damage Moore? Exit polls were virtually split as to whether voters believed the allegations: 51% said they were probably or definitely true while 44% said they were probably or definitely false. A majority of the electorate, 57%, decided who to support before news of Moore’s alleged child molestation and sexual assault broke in November.

Moore’s campaign similarly deflected questions about his long history of controversial remarks — including saying that homosexuality should be a crime and that Muslims should not be allowed in Congress.

It all culminated in a bizarre election eve rally in Midland City, in which an Army friend described Moore deciding to leave a brothel in Vietnam and his wife Kayla Moore responding to Moore being portrayed as anti-Semitic over his attacks on Jewish progressive mega-donor George Soros by declaring, “One of our attorneys is a Jew.”

Moore had hung the election’s results on his own character Monday night.

“I’m going to tell you,” he said then, “if you don’t believe in my character, don’t vote for me.”

McConnell, establishment GOP abandoned Moore

McConnell decided Moore wasn’t worth the headache and withdrew support for him — which means the Senate Republican campaign arm and a super PAC that usually backs its candidates were nowhere to be found in the closing weeks in Alabama.

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Categories CNN

Trump’s approval rating just entered a league of its own – Trending Stuff

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump’s approval rating sank to a new low in CNN polling on Tuesday, earning the approval of just 35% of Americans less than a year into his first term.

That’s a significant drop from the 45% approval rating that Trump had in March, shortly after taking office.

It marks the worst approval rating in a December of any elected president’s first year in the White House by a wide margin — and only the second time since the dawn of modern polling that a president’s approval rating sank under 50% at this point. A broad 59% of Americans said they disapprove of how Trump is handling his job as president.

George W. Bush ended his first calendar year at 86% approval, John F. Kennedy hit 77%, George H.W. Bush reached 71% and Dwight Eisenhower hit 69%.

Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all finished their first calendar year with approval ratings in the mid-to-high 50s.

Ronald Reagan, previously holder of the worst approval rating in December of a first year in the White House, finished his first calendar year at 49%. (Note: There’s time to recover; Reagan cruised to a landslide reelection despite this distinction.)

This is according to a half century of available polling data from CNN, CNN/ORC, CNN/USA Today/Gallup and Gallup.

Trump maintains strong approval numbers among those in his own party — 85% — but struggles with independents at 33% and Democrats at just 4%.

The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS December 14-17 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.

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Getting rid of amendments after 10th would ‘eliminate many problems’ – Trending Stuff

(CNN)Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore appeared on a conspiracy-driven radio show twice in 2011, where he told the hosts in an interview that getting rid of constitutional amendments after the Tenth Amendment would ‘eliminate many problems’ in the way the US government is structured.

Alabama’s special election for Senate, in which Moore is facing Democrat Doug Jones, will be held Tuesday. Moore’s controversial views on a variety of subjects — including homosexuality, Islam, and evolution — have come into sharper focus in the final days of the campaign, even as Moore has had to deal with multiple accusations from women who say that he sexually assaulted or pursued relationships with them as teenagers when he was in his 30s. Moore has denied all allegations.
Moore also faced criticism for comments he made in September at a campaign rally. According to the Los Angeles Times,  when asked by a black member of the audience when he thought the last time America was great, Moore answered, “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”
Moore made his comments about constitutional amendments in a June 2011 appearance on the “Aroostook Watchmen” show, which is hosted by Maine residents Jack McCarthy and Steve Martin. The hosts have argued that the US government is illegitimate and who have said that the September 11, 2001, attacks, the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, the Boston bombing, and other mass shootings and terrorist attacks are false flag attacks committed by the government. (False flag attacks refer to acts that are designed by perpetrators to be made to look like they were carried out by other individuals or groups.)

The hosts have also spread conspiracy theories about the raid that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden and have pushed the false claim that former President Barack Obama was not born in the US.

CNN’s KFile obtained audio from Moore’s two appearances on the show. In the same June episode, Moore invoked Adolf Hitler in a discussion about Obama’s birth certificate. In a May 2011 episode, Moore told the two radio hosts, who have repeatedly rejected the official explanation for the 9/11 attacks, that he would be open to hearings looking into “what really happened” on that day.   

In Moore’s June appearance, one of the hosts says he would like to see an amendment that would void all the amendments after the Tenth.

“That would eliminate many problems,” Moore replied. “You know people don’t understand how some of these amendments have completely tried to wreck the form of government that our forefathers intended.”

Moore cited the 17th Amendment, which calls for the direct election of senators by voters rather than state legislatures, as one he particularly found troublesome.

The host agreed with Moore, before turning his attention to the 14th Amendment, which was passed during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War and guaranteed citizenship and equal rights and protection to former slaves and has been used in landmark Supreme Court cases such as Brown v. Board of Education and Obergefell v. Hodges.

“People also don’t understand, and being from the South I bet you get it, the 14th Amendment was only approved at the point of the gun,” the host said.

“Yeah, it had very serious problems with its approval by the states,” Moore replied. “The danger in the 14th Amendment, which was to restrict, it has been a restriction on the states using the first Ten Amendments by and through the 14th Amendment. To restrict the states from doing something that the federal government was restricted from doing and allowing the federal government to do something which the first Ten Amendments prevented them from doing. If you understand the incorporation doctrine used by the courts and what it meant. You’d understand what I’m talking about.”

Moore explained further that the first ten amendments restricted the federal government in certain areas.

“For example, the right to keep and bear arms, the First Amendment, freedom of press liberty. Those various freedoms and restrictions have been imposed on the states through the 14th Amendment. And yet the federal government is violating just about every one of them saying that — they don’t they don’t — are not restrained by them.”

Besides the 14th and 17th Amendments, amendments adopted after the Bill of Rights include the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, the 15th Amendment which prohibited the federal and state governments from denying citizens the right to vote based on that person’s “race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” and the 19th Amendment, which extended the right to vote to women.

Moore’s campaign spokesman told CNN’s KFile that Moore does not believe all amendments after the Tenth should be eliminated.

“Once again, the media is taking a discussion about the overall framework for the separation of powers as laid out in the constitution to twist Roy Moore’s position on specific issues,” Doster said in an emailed statement. “Roy Moore does not now nor has he ever favored limiting an individual’s right to vote, and as a judge, he was noted for his fairness and for being a champion of civil rights.

“Judge Moore has expressed concern, as many other conservatives have, that the historical trend since the ratification of the Bill of Rights has been for federal empowerment over state empowerment.”

In the same June episode, Moore invoked Adolf Hitler in a discussion about Obama’s birth certificate. Moore has in the past repeatedly questioned Obama’s citizenship.

“Now let me ask you a question. You think that Barry Soetoro — oh I’m sorry, Barack Obama — you think you could get the security clearance that you got,” a host asked.

“Well, I don’t know about that. I don’t know. I haven’t, I haven’t explored that. But my personal opinion. My personal opinion –,” Moore responded.

“I think his dog could get a security clearance easier, the dog’s got papers,” the host interjected.

“I know what you mean Jack,” Moore said.

The host then said that when he was in the military, Obama’s documentation would not suffice to get him on a submarine.

Moore responded, “Well that’s, that’s a problem. You know Hitler once said, ‘you tell a big enough lie long enough, people to believe it.’ And that’s that’s the problem. We’ve got to look at simple facts of the case, and we need to recognize we need a new administration in Washington. And it just doesn’t, based upon party, we need like people that uphold the Constitution not undermine it.”

In the May 2011 episode of Aroostook Watchmen, after one of the hosts asks Moore if he would be “interested in new hearings into what really happened on 9/11,” Moore replies, “Well, I think they need to explore that, yes, but it’s something that’s already done and now we have to live with the consequences. But I know what you’re talking about. If there’s any new evidence, we always go back to the truth. If there’s anything that’s not been revealed, we need to know about it,” he said.

“Excellent,” the host responded.

Moore campaign spokesman Brett Doster told CNN that Moore “believes that Islamic terrorists were responsible for the 9/11 attacks, has made rebuilding the military one of his key campaign purposes, and is the only Senate candidate with experience serving in a combat zone.”

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Moores Defeat in Alabama Deals Trump a Rebuke Ahead of 2018 Races – Trending Stuff

The defeat of Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race by Democrat Doug Jones was a stunning rebuke to the GOP’s anti-establishment wing led by Steve Bannon and a major political embarrassment for President Donald Trump.

Moore’s candidacy was the opening gambit in Bannon’s war to oust Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP’s congressional leadership. While Trump backed Moore’s primary challenger at McConnell’s behest, he jumped in with a full-throated endorsement of Moore a week before the election in an attempt to put him over the top.

All that unraveled on Tuesday night. While Jones is unlikely to be seated before the Senate votes on a massive tax-cut plan, the finger-pointing that began among Republicans regarding his election points to an underlying chasm in the party that may impair its ability going forward to fulfill the president’s agenda.

Trump, who once said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still win votes, found his limit with Moore — even in a state he won by 28 percentage points just one year ago. Combined with recent Republican losses in statewide elections in Virginia and New Jersey, Moore’s defeat blows a hole in Trump’s aura of political invincibility that will embolden Democrats as they prepare for the 2018 congressional elections.

The result was also a loss for McConnell and congressional Republicans because it trims their Senate advantage to 51-49 as they enter some tough negotiations on spending with Democrats next year. But it also may bring some measure of relief to GOP lawmakers running for re-election who feared the sexual misconduct claims against Moore would taint the party for years to come.

The outcome isn’t likely to quell the fight with Bannon’s insurgency.

Minutes after the race was called, Andy Surabian, a Bannon ally who is senior adviser to the pro-Trump Great American Alliance, laid the blame at the feet of the Senate’s top leader.

“Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment got their wish: they successfully delivered Alabama to a liberal Democrat,” Surabian said.

On Wednesday, Representative Pete King, a Republican from New York, said the election result underscores the failure of Bannon’s strategy. “After Alabama disaster GOP must do right thing and DUMP Steve Bannon,” he tweeted. “His act is tired, inane and morally vacuous. If we are to Make America Great Again for all Americans, Bannon must go! And go NOW!!”

Republican Carlos Curbelo of Florida taunted Bannon for backing “disgusting Roy Moore.”

Doug Jones celebrate at an election night party in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S., on Dec. 12.

Photographer: Nicole Craine/Bloomberg

“Congratulations to the Bannon wing of the @GOP for gifting a seat to @SenateDems in one of the reddest states,” Curbelo wrote on Twitter. “You have no future in our country’s politics.”

It was Trump who sounded a gracious note at the end of the night, congratulating Jones on Twitter “on a hard fought victory” and saying Republicans will have another shot at the seat in a short time — Jones will face re-election in 2020.

On Wednesday morning, Trump changed his tune and said he knew all along that Moore couldn’t win because “the deck was stacked.” “The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election,” Trump said on Twitter Wednesday morning. “I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!”

Jones, a former federal prosecutor, prevailed in a solidly Republican state by running a low-key local campaign while Moore was consumed by a national furor following allegations he had molested teenage girls while in his thirties.

With Moore out of the picture, Republicans may have dodged a bullet. They now won’t have to answer uncomfortable questions about why they tolerate a colleague accused of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl and assaulting a 16-year-old. McConnell had promised an ethics investigation of Moore if he won. That might have led to a contentious vote on expulsion, which in turn would have kept alive uncomfortable questions about Trump’s own conduct. More than a dozen women have accused the president of sexual harassment or other misconduct over the years.

McConnell’s allies were so worried about Moore that they spent millions trying to defeat him in the primary. Now the majority leader can point to Moore’s defeat as another in a string of disastrous candidates pushed by the party’s right wing that have cost the GOP Senate seats in Delaware, Indiana and Missouri.

“Any illusion that Steve Bannon’s brand of politics could be successful vanished when a state like Alabama became competitive,” said Josh Holmes, former campaign manager and chief of staff for McConnell. “You’d have to be absolutely blind and willfully ignorant to not realize this has been a national embarrassment.”

Even without the sexual misconduct claims, Moore was a polarizing figure. He was twice ousted from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to follow federal court orders, argued in 2006 against allowing Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota to serve because he is Muslim, and backed impeaching Supreme Court justices who voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

Bannon has pledged to run insurgents against every GOP incumbent except Ted Cruz of Texas. Now he’ll have a much harder time carrying that strategy into November’s congressional elections.

Dealing with Moore would have been a daily challenge for a Republican Party already struggling to unite behind its agenda. Moore said he was running so God could save the country, and he vilified McConnell and other leaders as establishment sellouts.

He favored bans on homosexual conduct and gays serving in the military. He had said he believed former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S., and recently was quoted as saying at a rally that the U.S. was great before the Civil War “even though we had slavery” because, he said, families stuck together and the country had a direction.

$100 Check

Some Republican senators engaged in public debates over just how much to oppose Moore. Senator Jeff Flake tweeted a photo of a $100 check he sent to Jones, while Nebraska’s Ben Sasse tweeted that both Flake, in backing Jones, and the Republican National Committee, which renewed its financial support for Moore, had gotten it wrong. Strikingly, Republican Richard Shelby, Alabama’s senior senator, said he didn’t vote for Moore and instead wrote in the name of a “distinguished Republican.”

The outcome adds urgency to Republican efforts to send a massive tax-cut bill to Trump’s desk before Jones can be seated — by Jan. 3 at the latest — and it greatly complicates Trump’s plan to attempt a broader repeal of the Affordable Care Act next year.

The one-seat gain gives Democrats a slightly better shot in 2018 at winning the Senate majority, which they could use to control the agenda, investigate the president and block nominees, from the Supreme Court on down.

On Wednesday, Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland, told MSNBC that McConnell should hold the tax bill until Jones is sworn in so that Alabamans can have their voices heard. Van Hollen said that, while that was unlikely, he sees a national trend in which voters are signaling that “they don’t like Trumpism and they want to go in a different direction.”

A Democratic majority is still a long shot. The election map strongly favors the GOP, with 10 Democrats up for re-election in states won by Trump and just one Republican incumbent — Dean Heller of Nevada — running in a state won by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

To take the majority, Democrats would likely need to re-elect their incumbents, defeat Heller and pick up an open seat in Arizona or Tennessee — or, in perhaps the dream Democratic scenario, topple Cruz in Texas.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

Trump too tough on Iran, North Korea, Clinton says – Trending Stuff

With his tough talk and hardline stances on Iran and North Korea, President Donald Trump is damaging America’s credibility abroad – and could provoke a nuclear-arms race in East Asia, Hillary Clinton says.

Trump’s recent threat to decertify the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, “makes us look foolish and small and plays right into Iranian hands,” Clinton said last week.

“That is bad not just on the merits for this particular situation, but it sends a message across the globe that America’s word is not good,” said Clinton, who spoke in advance of Trump’s announcement Friday that he wants Congress and the other nations that negotiated the deal to toughen the requirements for Iran.

“This particular president is, I think, upending the kind of trust and credibility of the United States’ position and negotiation that is imperative to maintain.”

“This particular president is, I think, upending the kind of trust and credibility of the United States’ position and negotiation that is imperative to maintain.”

– Hillary Clinton

For his part, Trump says that Clinton, as secretary of state under former President Barack Obama, helped negotiate a “terrible” deal with Iran.

Getting tough on Iran is the right approach, the president said.

“We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” Trump said Friday, according to the Washington Times. “Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal.”

Clinton also denounced Trump’s bellicose language toward North Korea, saying his verbal aggression has rattled U.S. allies.

“We will now have an arms race — a nuclear arms race in East Asia,” Clinton predicted. “We will have the Japanese, who understandably are worried with missiles flying over them as the North Koreans have done, that they can’t count on America.”

Clinton stressed that a diplomatic solution was preferred, and suggested the inflammatory rhetoric played into Kim Jung Un’s hands. She bemoaned Trump’s public undercutting of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he tweeted “Save your energy, Rex” after the nation’s top diplomat had suggested negotiations.

“Diplomacy, preventing war, creating some deterrents is slow, hard-going, difficult work,” said Clinton, who declined to answer when asked whether Tillerson should resign. “And you can’t have impulsive people or ideological people who basically say, ‘Well, we’re done with you.’”

Trump on Sept. 21 signed an executive order calling for a new round of economic sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The president said the actions were aimed at “a complete denuclearization of North Korea,” the Washington Times reported.

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world,” Trump said. “It is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal rogue regime.”

Clinton, who recently released a book that recounts her election defeat to Trump, has been an aggressive critic of the president.

In an interview with Britain’s BBC on Friday, Clinton called Trump a “sexual assaulter.”

Clinton made the comments when asked about the allegations of sexual assault made against Democratic mega-donor and Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. 

“This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated anywhere, whether it’s in entertainment, politics,” Clinton said. “After all, we have someone admitting to being a sexual assaulter in the Oval Office.”

In the same interview, Clinton referred to the sexual transgressions of her husband – former President Bill Clinton – as being “clearly in the past,” Fox News reported.

Clinton’s comments on Iran and North Korea were scheduled to air Sunday on CNN. The White House did not immediately return a request to respond to her remarks.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

Donald Trump just suggested the FBI, Democrats and Russia might all be co-conspirators – Trending Stuff

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump sent this tweet on Thursday morning: “Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?”

This is, of course, somewhat common fare by this point in the arc of Trump’s presidency. Faced this week with storylines he doesn’t like — questions about the Niger attack, controversy over a phone call he placed to the widow of one of the soldiers lost in that attack, Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Capitol Hill facing questions about Russian meddling in the election — he aims to change the subject via his Twitter feed. And he often does so by lobbing out a conspiracy theory with only the loosest ties to the factual world.

But even by Trump standards, this morning’s tweet is somewhat remarkable. He is suggesting that a dossier prepared by a former member of British intelligence has not only been totally discredited (it hasn’t — more on that in a minute) but that it might have been funded by some combination of Russia, the Democratic Party and, wait for it, the FBI!

Let’s start with the facts.

At issue is a dossier prepared by Christopher Steele, a former British spy, which details explosive allegations about potential ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. The dossier’s more salacious elements regarding Trump have drawn most of the attention — and remain totally unproven. But it appears as though US intelligence officials do take some chunk of what Steele found quite seriously.

“Its broad assertion that Russia waged a campaign to interfere in the election is now accepted as fact by the US intelligence community. CNN also reported earlier this year that US investigators have corroborated some aspects of the dossier, specifically that some of the communications among foreign nationals mentioned in the memos did actually take place.”

Investigators tied to special counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election have also sat down with Steele to discuss the dossier and his findings, according to CNN reporting. The firm hired to produce the dossier — Fusion GPS — is refusing to testify before Congress about its involvement. (Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson spent 10 hours meeting with Senate Judiciary Committee staff back in August.)

Trump has the fact of that refusal basically right. But his assertions that the dossier is fake news, “totally made-up stuff” or, as was the case in Thursday’s tweet, “discredited” are not born out by the facts as we know them. “Not corroborated” is not the same thing as “not true.” Some (many?) of the allegations in the Steele dossier may be untrue. But we simply don’t have enough information to conclude that they are at the moment.

So Trump is wrong about the dossier being “discredited and Fake.” (He is also wrong about capitalizing “fake” in that sentence. But, I digress.)

The bigger issue — at least to me — is that Trump is suggesting that the dossier itself was funded by some combination of a foreign power, the opposition political party and a federal law enforcement agency.

It’s easy to roll your eyes at the very suggestion and dismiss that idea as just Trump being Trump. “You guys always take him literally,” Trump’s supporters will say. “You shouldn’t!”

OK. But here’s the thing: President Trump is, um, the President. Which means he is held to the same standard every past president is held to. And by that standard, this tweet is crazy.

Port yourself six years back in time. It’s 2011. President Barack Obama takes to Twitter to say that the stories over his place of birth are the result of a joint China-Republicans-CIA operation designed to discredit him.

How do you think that one would sit with the average American?

The point here is that it is deeply irresponsible for a president of the United States to even flirt with this sort of conspiracy talk. You can love Donald Trump and still believe that the idea that the Russians, the Democrats and the FBI co-funded a dossier designed to discredit Trump’s 2016 campaign is totally bonkers.

Unfortunately, lots and lots of Trump backers will believe this stuff solely by dint of the fact that Trump tweeted it. And that, of course, is Trump’s goal. Muddy the waters and discredit the ongoing investigations into what Russia did in the 2016 election. Make the whole thing into a partisan witch hunt.

But, there is no plausible scenario by which what Trump suggested this morning — a wide-scale conspiracy involving three separate actors across federal agencies and continents — actually happened. That we can’t (won’t?) agree on that seemingly obvious fact is troubling.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

Why the UN is investigating extreme poverty in America, the world’s richest nation

At the heart of Philip Alstons special mission will be one question: can Americans enjoy fundamental human rights if theyre unable to meet basic living standards?

The United Nations monitor on extreme poverty and human rights has embarked on a coast-to-coast tour of the US to hold the worlds richest nation and its president to account for the hardships endured by Americas most vulnerable citizens.

The tour, which kicked off on Friday morning, will make stops in four states as well as Washington DC and the US territory of Puerto Rico. It will focus on several of the social and economic barriers that render the American dream merely a pipe dream to millions from homelessness in California to racial discrimination in the Deep South, cumulative neglect in Puerto Rico and the decline of industrial jobs in West Virginia.

With 41 million Americans officially in poverty according to the US Census Bureau (other estimates put that figure much higher), one aim of the UN mission will be to demonstrate that no country, however wealthy, is immune from human suffering induced by growing inequality. Nor is any nation, however powerful, beyond the reach of human rights law a message that the US government and Donald Trump might find hard to stomach given their tendency to regard internal affairs as sacrosanct.

The UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, is a feisty Australian and New York University law professor who has a fearsome track record of holding power to account. He tore a strip off the Saudi Arabian regime for its treatment of women months before the kingdom legalized their right to drive, denounced the Brazilian government for attacking the poor through austerity, and even excoriated the UN itself for importing cholera to Haiti.

The US is no stranger to Alstons withering tongue, having come under heavy criticism from him for its program of drone strikes on terrorist targets abroad. In his previous role as UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Alston blamed the Obama administration and the CIA for killing many innocent civilians in attacks he said were of dubious international legality.

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United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston. Photograph: Ng Han Guan/AP

Now Alston has set off on his sixth, and arguably most sensitive, visit as UN monitor on extreme poverty since he took up the position in June 2014. At the heart of his fact-finding tour will be a question that is causing increasing anxiety at a troubled time: is it possible, in one of the worlds leading democracies, to enjoy fundamental human rights such as political participation or voting rights if you are unable to meet basic living standards, let alone engage, as Thomas Jefferson put it, in the pursuit of happiness?

Despite great wealth in the US, there also exists great poverty and inequality, Alston said in remarks released before the start of the visit. The rapporteur said he intended to focus on the detrimental effects of poverty on the civil and political rights of Americans, given the United States consistent emphasis on the importance it attaches to these rights in its foreign policy, and given that it has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Poverty experts are watching the UN tour closely in the hope that it might draw public attention to a largely neglected but critical aspect of US society.

David Grusky, director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Stanford, said the visit had the potential to hold a mirror up to the country at a moment when globalization combined with a host of domestic policies have generated a vast gulf between rich and poor.

The US has an extraordinary ability to naturalize and accept the extreme poverty that exists even in the context of such extreme wealth, he said.

Grusky added that the US reaction to Alstons visit could go either way. It has the potential to open our eyes to what an outlier the US has become compared with the rest of the world, or it could precipitate an adverse reaction towards an outsider who has no legitimacy telling us what to do about internal US affairs.

Alstons findings will be announced in preliminary form in Washington on 15 December, and then presented as a full report to the UN human rights council in Geneva next June. An especially unpredictable element of the fallout will be how Trump himself receives the final report, given the presidents habit of lashing out at anyone perceived to criticize him or his administration.

Trump has also shown open disdain towards the world body. In the course of the 2016 presidential campaign he griped that we get nothing out of the United Nations other than good real-estate prices.

On the other hand, observers have been surprised that the White House has honored the invitation to host Alston after the initial offer was extended by Barack Obama. US diplomats on more than one occasion since Trumps inauguration have said they welcomed the UN party.

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Ruby Dee Rudolph in her home in Lowndes County. A recent study suggests that nearly one one in three people in Lowndes County have hookworm, a parasite normally found in poor, developing countries. Photograph: Bob Miller for The Guardian

Alston himself is reserving his comments until the end of the tour. But his published work suggests that he is likely to be a formidable critic of the new president. In a lecture he gave last year on the challenges posed by Trump and other modern populist leaders, he warned that their agenda was avowedly nationalistic, xenophobic, misogynistic, and explicitly antagonistic to all or much of the human rights agenda.

Alston concluded the speech by saying: These are extraordinarily dangerous times, unprecedentedly so in my lifetime. The response is really up to us.

The UN poverty tour falls at a singularly tense moment for the US. In its 2016 state of the nation review, the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality placed the US rank at the bottom of the league table of 10 well-off countries, in terms of the extent of its income and wealth inequality.

It also found that the US hit rock bottom in terms of the safety net it offers struggling families, and is one of the worst offenders in terms of the ability of low-income families to lift themselves out of poverty a stark contrast to the much-vaunted myth of the American dream.

To some extent, Trumps focus on making America great again a political jingo that in itself contains an element of criticism of the state of the nation chimes with the UNs concern about extreme poverty. His call for greater prosperity for white working Americans in declining manufacturing areas that proved so vital to his election victory will be echoed in Alstons visit to the depressed coal-producing state of West Virginia, which backed Trump in 2016 by a resounding 69%.

In many other ways, though, the Trump administration in its first year has taken a radically hostile approach towards communities in need. He has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to abolish Obamacare in a move that would deprive millions of low-income families of healthcare insurance, was widely criticized for his lackluster response to the hurricane disaster in Puerto Rico that has left thousands homeless and without power, and is currently pushing a tax reform that would benefit one group above all others: the super rich.

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A man who lost his home during Hurricane Maria in September sits on a cot at a school turned shelter in Canovanas. Photograph: Alvin Baez/Reuters

The US poses an especially challenging subject for the UN special rapporteur because unlike all other industrialized nations, it fails to recognize fundamental social and economic rights such as the right to healthcare, a roof over your head or food to keep hunger at bay. The federal government has consistently refused to sign up to the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights arguing that these matters are best left to individual states.

Such an emphasis on states rights has spawned a patchwork of provision for low-income families across the country. Republican-controlled states in the Deep South provide relatively little help to those struggling from unemployment and lack of ready cash, while more assistance is likely to be forthcoming in bigger coastal cities.

By contrast, raging house prices and gentrification is fueling a homelessness crisis in liberal cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco the first stop next week of the UN tour.

Martha Davis, a law professor specializing in US human rights at Northeastern University, said that such vast regional variations present the UN monitor with a huge opportunity. Unlike other international officials, he has the ability to move freely at both federal and state levels and be equally critical of both.

Theres a lot that Philip Alston can say about basic inequality that goes to the heart of the rights that he is reviewing, Davis said.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us