Study Guide: TSA, Trumka, and Muslim Brotherhood

BRITISH MISSILE STORY BACKGROUND

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8304654/WikiLeaks-cables-US-agrees-to-tell-Russia-Britains-nuclear-secrets.html# <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8304654/WikiLeaks-cables-US-agrees-to-tell-Russia-Britains-nuclear-secrets.html>

§  Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week.

§  Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.

§  The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called “special relationship”, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website.

§  Details of the behind-the-scenes talks are contained in more than 1,400 US embassy cables published to date by the Telegraph, including almost 800 sent from the London Embassy, which are published online today. The documents also show that:

§  America spied on Foreign Office ministers by gathering gossip on their private lives and professional relationships.

§   Intelligence-sharing arrangements with the US became strained after the controversy over Binyam Mohamed, the former Guantánamo Bay detainee who sued the Government over his alleged torture.

§  David Miliband disowned the Duchess of York by saying she could not “be controlled” after she made an undercover TV documentary.

§  Tens of millions of pounds of overseas aid was stolen and spent on plasma televisions and luxury goods by corrupt regimes.

§  A series of classified messages sent to Washington by US negotiators show how information on Britain’s nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia’s support for the “New START” deal.

§  Although the treaty was not supposed to have any impact on Britain, the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the US.

§  Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of UK missiles. The UK refused, but the US agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.

§  Professor Malcolm Chalmers said: “This appears to be significant because while the UK has announced how many missiles it possesses, there has been no way for the Russians to verify this. Over time, the unique identifiers will provide them with another data point to gauge the size of the British arsenal.”

§  Duncan Lennox, editor of Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems, said: “They want to find out whether Britain has more missiles than we say we have, and having the unique identifiers might help them.”

§  While the US and Russia have long permitted inspections of each other’s nuclear weapons, Britain has sought to maintain some secrecy to compensate for the relatively small size of its arsenal.

§  William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, last year disclosed that “up to 160” warheads are operational at any one time, but did not confirm the number of missiles.

STATE DEPARTMENT DENIES STORY

http://thehill.com/blogs/twitter-room/other-news/142321-state-dept-spokesman-calls-report-on-sharing-uk-nuke-secrets-bunk

§  A State Department spokesman called a British newspaper's report that the U.S. offered to disclose British nuclear secrets in order to secure support for the New START treaty "bunk."

§  The Telegraph reported Saturday that WikiLeaks cables showed the administration agreed to give Russia information about every Trident missile the U.S. supplies to the United Kingdom.

§  The story claims that Russia used the talks over the treaty, which faced opposition from suspicious Republicans in the Senate before its 11th-hour lame-duck approval, to win agreement for more information about the missile supplies.

§  "Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of UK missiles," the Telegraph reports. "The UK refused, but the US agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain."

§  State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley issued a "one word response" to the report on Twitter Saturday:

§  @TelegraphNews claims the U.S. betrayed #UK nuclear secrets as part of the negotiation of the #NewSTART treaty. One word response: Bunk!

§  Crowley then tweeted: Contrary to @TelegraphNews claim, we carried forward requirement to notify #Russia about U.S.-UK nuclear cooperation from the 1991 treaty.

§  The New START treaty went into effect Saturday, with U.S. and Russian officials hailing the pact and impending inspections of each other's nuclear arsenals at the Munich Security Conference.

UK ALSO DENIES STORY

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/02/us-uk-governments-dispute-report-that-us-sold-uk-out-during-start-negotiations.html

§  Both the U.S. and British governments disputed on Saturday a London Telegraph report asserting that the "U.S. secretly agreed to give the Russians sensitive information on Britain’s nuclear deterrent to persuade them to sign a key treaty."

§  State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called the report "nonsense," saying the information sharing about U.S. transfers of nuclear weapons to the U.K. dates back to the original START treaty, an assertion backed up by the White House and British government officials.

§  The report, based on a Wikileaked cable from February 2010 during negotiations over the U.S.-Russian New START nuclear disarmament treaty, discussed an agreed statement on the transfer of Tridents II SLBMs to the United Kingdom.

§  The parties agreed that "in order to increase transparency in relation to the use of "Trident-II" SLBMs, transferred by the United States of America to equip the Navy of Great Britain, the United States of America shall provide notification to the Russian Federation about the time of such transfer, as well as the unique identifier and the location of each of the transferred missiles.

§  The Parties agree that, upon conclusion of the life cycle of 'Trident-II' SLBMs transferred by the United States of America to equip the Navy of Great Britain, the United States of America will send notification to the Russian Federation about the time and method of elimination, as well as the unique identifier for each of the transferred missiles."

§  Crowley emailed ABC News that "Under the 1991 START Treaty, the U.S. agreed to notify Russia of specific nuclear cooperation with the United Kingdom, such as the transfer of SLBM's to the U.K., or their maintenance or modernization. This is under an existing pattern of cooperation throughout that treaty and is expected to continue under New START. We simply carried forward and updated this notification procedure to the new treaty. There was no secret agreement and no compromise of the U.K.'s independent nuclear deterrent."

§  A knowledgeable source with the British government, speaking anonymously because his government has a policy of not commenting on Wikileaks, says his understanding of the policy conforms with that asserted by the State Department.

ACCORDING TO HOT AIR, THE UNIQUE IDENTIFIERS WERE NOT GIVEN TO RUSSIA BEFORE APPARENTLY:

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/02/05/did-obama-agree-to-expose-british-nuke-secrets-in-start-pact/

§  How desperate was Barack Obama to sign a new START agreement with Russia?  Until now, we just thought his desperation went far enough to hamper our missile-defense system in eastern Europe.  According to Wikileaks, the Poles and the Czechs aren’t the only allies to feel the sting of an American betrayal:

§  Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week.  Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.  The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called “special relationship”, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website.

§  The rest of the revelations from this round of published diplomatic cables are nowhere near as explosive. The worst among them was a revelation that the US spied on the British Foreign Office by “gathering gossip,” apparently for later use in pressuring diplomats to cooperate with our efforts. The Duchess of York, Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, embarrasses the British government, and millions of pounds in foreign aid got spent on personal amenities by despots and dictators.  And in other news, water is wet.

§  The revelation about the deal with the Russians is huge, however.  According to the Telegraph’s report on the cables, the Obama administration asked permission of the British government to share the details of their nuclear program, and were refused.  The Obama administration agreed to do it anyway without letting the UK know.  We apparently will hand over all of the serial numbers of the Trident nuclear missiles we sell to the Brits so that Russia can keep track of them.  This means that the UK’s relatively small but ambiguous nuclear deterrent can be more easily calculated, and perhaps neutralized if the necessity arises.

§  This is a disgrace, of course.  Remember when Obama the candidate insisted that he would restore our standing with friends and allies after the supposedly inept diplomacy of the Bush administration? We do not increase our standing among friends or foes when we stab the former in the back for the sake of the latter.  Instead, we look craven, disloyal, and inept.

§  Regardless of what Obama thinks of American nuclear deterrents and policy, he has no right to undermine the policies of our closest ally and stalwart friend, especially as they fight with us in Afghanistan.  Congress should immediately investigate this, and if possible the Senate should revoke its ratification of START.

§  Update: Via Teresa Kopec on Twitter, State Dept spokesman P. J. Crowley tweets, “Contrary to @TelegraphNews claim, we carried forward requirement to notify#Russia about U.S.-UK nuclear cooperation from the 1991 treaty.”

§  But if that were true, why did the UK refuse permission to do it again?

§  Update II: Doug Mataconis updates OTB with this slightly more extensive pushback from Crowley at Time:

§  This is bunk. Under the 1991 START Treaty, the U.S. agreed to notify Russia of specific nuclear cooperation with the United Kingdom, such as the transfer of SLBM’s [submarine launch ballistic missiles] to the UK, or their maintenance or modernization. This is under an existing pattern of cooperation throughout that treaty and is expected to continue under New START. We simply carried forward and updated this notification procedure to the new treaty. There was no secret agreement and no compromise of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent.

§  If that’s all this is, then Doug says it’s really no big deal.  But did the previous agreement include the serial numbers of Trident MIRVs, indicating the specific number of such missiles in the British inventory?  And again, if this is just a continuation of the 1991 START process, then why did the UK object to it?

§  Update III: The UK is quietly backing the Obama administration, Jake Tapper reports:

§  A knowledgeable source with the British government, speaking anonymously because his government has a policy of not commenting on Wikileaks, says his understanding of the policy conforms with that asserted by the State Department.

§  Update IV: Just FYI, here’s the part of the memo leaked by Wikileaks, emphasis mine:

§  10. (S) Orlov asked about the U.S. practice of transferring Trident II missiles to the United Kingdom (UK) in reference to the Russian-proposed agreed statement on the subject. Trout pointed out that most of the provisions contained in the proposed agreed statement were already covered by other sections of the treaty. He noted that notifications existed for the transfer and return of missiles to and from a third party. Additionally, he pointed out, the Russian Federation will receive unique identifiers for each of the missiles transferred to the UK, which was more information than was disclosed under START.

§  Trout acknowledged that the proposal to send a notification of a UK flight test was not covered under START nor had it been included as part of this treaty but argued that this was the flight test of a missile owned by a third country. He said the United States had no legal responsibility for such a notification. Trout said he assumed the UK would send a notice to mariners and airmen prior to any flight test.

§  So yes, they got notified under the earlier START protocols of transfers of nuclear weapons — but they didn’t get the unique identifiers, which would quantify and specify the number of weapons transferred.  That’s what the British refused to accept, and apparently what we agreed to do anyway.

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TRUMKA BACKGROUND

http://newzeal.blogspot.com/2011/02/afl-cios-trumka-backs-new-anti-mubarak.html

§  AFL-CIO's Trumka Backs New Anti Mubarak Egyptian Labor Federation

§  AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka is backing the Egyptian revolution.

§  From the Communist Party USA's Peoples World:

§  Egyptian workers...have broken away to form their own independent unions and federation and join the popular protests against President Hosni Mubarak's dictatorial rule.

§  In a Jan. 30 declaration the new Egyptian Federation of Independent Unions said its demands include the right to organize and the right to work at a decent minimum wage, rather than be unemployed.  Like the other protesters, the new federation also demands Mubarak quit. The federation then called a general strike to back its demands.

§  The new federation, unveiled at a press conference in the jammed central Tahrir Square in Cairo, includes the Real Estate Tax Authority (RETA) workers, the Retired Workers Union, the Health Professionals Union, the Teachers Independent Union and several other independent unions.

§  The workers' movement drew support from both AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and the International Trades Union Congress. Trumka said the new confederation's role in the protests "inspires us and will not be forgotten..."

§  Trumka wrote to RETA President Kamal Abu Eita and to Kamal Abbas, director of the Independent Egyptian labor group, the Center for Trade Union Worker Services, that their "organizations symbolize the strength and courage of Egyptian workers and their families who have been standing up to repression for many years."

§  "We salute you in this brave endeavor" of forming the new labor federation "and join the international labor movement in standing with you," Trumka added. "The peoples' movement for democracy in Egypt and the role unions are playing for freedom and worker rights inspires us and will not be forgotten," he concluded.

§  Who will Trumka blame when American workers pay double to fill their gas tanks?

FROM AFL-CIO BLOG

http://blog.aflcio.org/2011/01/31/afl-cio-global-unions-applaud-new-egyptian-labor-movement/

§  Representatives of the Egyptian union movement announced they are forming a new labor federation, the Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions, which will represent workers in more than a dozen industries and  enterprises. The federation also plans to set a date for a nationwide general strike for democracy and fundamental rights. Many people believe the labor demonstrations in the past two years played a significant role in giving Egyptian citizens  courage to stand up to the government.

§  In a letter today to Egyptian union leaders Kamal Abbas and Kamal Abu Eita, recipients of  last year’s George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka praised the workers’ “extraordinary courage and defiance of a ban on free and independent unions.”

§  Yesterday we learned that your organizations joined with retirees, the technical health professionals and representatives of workers in the important industrial areas to announce the organization of a new labor federation to represent workers in a new era of democracy in Egypt. We salute you in this brave endeavor and join the international labor movement in standing with you.  The people’s movement for democracy in Egypt and the role unions are playing for freedom and worker rights inspires us and will not be forgotten.

TSA TIP SHEET – BACKGROUNDER

http://www.tsa.gov/press/happenings/2011/11_0204_fact_sheet_on_collective_bargaining.shtm

§  This framework is unique to TSA in that it allows for bargaining at the national-level only – while prohibiting local-level bargaining at individual airports – only on the non-security employment issues identified in the Determination, such as shift bids, transfers and awards. Administrator Pistole’s Determination prohibits bargaining on any topics that might affect security, such as:

§  Security policies, procedures or the deployment of security personnel or equipment

§  Pay, pensions and any form of compensation

§  Proficiency testing

§  Job qualifications

§  Discipline standards

§  If a union is chosen, each security officer will retain the right to choose whether or not to join the union. The Determination strictly prohibits officers from striking or engaging in work slowdowns of any kind

WHAT IS THE TIMEFRAME

§  The FLRA-run election – which will be held electronically and by secret ballot – will likely take place in Spring 2011.

HOW MUCH WILL UNIONIZING COST THE TSA?

§  There will be no cost to TSA unless and until a union is certified by the FLRA as the winner of the election. If exclusive union representation is voted for by a majority of TSOs, our preliminary estimates are that implementation would cost between $5-8 million annually, which amounts to approximately one-quarter of one percent of TSA’s budget for security officer salaries.

§  Because bargaining would occur at the national level only, the need for local labor relations infrastructure – a significant driver of cost – is eliminated.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE PUBLIC

§  TSA’s priority is the safety of the traveling public and we will not negotiate on security or risk adversely impacting the resources and agility necessary to protect national security.

§  TSOs will not have the right to strike or engage in work slowdowns of any kind and bargaining would be strictly limited to clearly-defined employment issues. This will not impact the traveling public.

======================================

ARTICLE ON TSA

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2011/02/04/133503115/tsa-airport-screeners-get-collective-bargaining-rights

§  Since the creation of the Transportation Security Administration shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, its airport screeners have sought to be part of a collective bargaining unit.

§  The Bush Administration and congressional Republicans opposed that, however. Thus, 40,000 TSA workers continued to work without the kind of union representation some wanted.  On Friday, all that changed.

§  Following an TSA review of the issue, John Pistole, the agency's administrator, said screeners will now be allowed to vote on whether they want a union to collectively bargain with the agency on their behalf.

§  In November, the Federal Labor Relations Authority ruled that TSA screeners should be allowed to vote on whether they wanted to be represented by a single union. That decision didn't give them collective bargaining rights, however. Pistole's decision changes that.

§  The ostensible reason the previous administration and congressional critics gave for opposing collective bargaining rights for TSA workers was a concern that could impair TSA management's flexibility to deploy workers as needed, especially during periods of heightened terrorism threats.

§  Organized labor suspected its ties to the Democratic Party didn't exactly help Republicans warm to the idea of thousands of TSA workers being represented by a union in negotiations either.

§  During the 2008 campaign, then candidate Barack Obama promised to give TSA workers bargaining rights.

§  The Obama Administration won't allow any union agreements to reduce air traveler security, Pistole said. From a TSA statement:

§  "The safety of the traveling public is our top priority and we will not negotiate on security," said TSA Administrator Pistole. "But morale and employee engagement cannot be separated from achieving superior security. If security officers vote to move forward with collective bargaining, this framework will ensure that TSA retains the capability and flexibility necessary to respond to evolving threats, and continue improving employee engagement, performance and professional development."

§  John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, one of two unions vying to represent workers in an election scheduled to start in March, said in a statement:

§  Today marks the recognition of a fundamental human right for 40,000 patriotic federal employees who have been disenfranchised since the inception of the agency.  We have come a long way since AFGE first began representing TSOs in 2001 when the union took up the fight for a federalized security officer workforce. The granting of these rights is a step in the right direction and gets us in the door. After AFGE wins the election to be the sole union at TSA, we will move immediately to the table and be ready to negotiate.

§  The National Treasury Employees Union which also hopes to represent TSA workers also issued a statement:

§  "This decision and the upcoming representation election at TSA will give these officers a voice in their workplace and a chance at a better future," said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. "The sooner NTEU is certified as the exclusive representative of the TSA workforce, the sooner we can begin improving the lives of employees at this key agency."

§  Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced an amendment earlier this week to the Federal Aviation Administration bill to bar TSA screeners from gaining collective bargaining rights.

§  An excerpt from his statement: "The Obama Administration's actions today to move forward on unionizing our TSA workforce with collective bargaining rights could hamper our national security," said Wicker. "Earlier this week, I offered an amendment, which is currently being debated in the Senate, that would prohibit collective bargaining for TSA security screeners. Despite the fact that the Senate is considering this very issue, the Administration decided to move forward with this ill-advised policy."

http://socialistworker.org/2011/02/07/call-from-egyptian-socialists <http://socialistworker.org/2011/02/07/call-from-egyptian-socialists>

THE REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALISTS OF EGYPT- -

Statement of the Revolutionary Socialists Egypt:

Glory to the martyrs! Victory to the revolution!.

Mubarak's departure is the first step, not the last step of the revolution

The country's wealth belongs to the people and must return to it

Factories wrecked and sold dirt cheap must go back to the people

We will not accept to be guard dogs of America and Israel

The revolution is a popular revolution

A people's army is the army that protects the revolution

Form revolutionary councils urgently

Call to Egyptian workers to join the ranks of the revolution

Glory to the martyrs!

Down with the system!

All power to the people!

Victory to the revolution!

TURKEY’S PRIME MINISTER Mr. Erdogan's party has already established ties to the Muslim Brotherhood — a result of Mr. Erdogan's long and successful campaign to present himself as a dominant and increasingly anti-Israeli voice in the Middle East.According to research by Dore Gold at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, three members of the Muslim Brotherhood — two of whom serve in the Egyptian Parliament — were on the Turkish-sponsored ship that was attacked by Israeli forces on its way to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip in May.

The Hizb ut-Tahrir Movement

  • Hizb ut-Tahrir (or “Party of Liberation”) is frequently equated with jihadism despite being different from the violent radical groups in terms of its organizational structure, methods and public profile. Founded in the Middle East in the early 1950s as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group seeks to re-establish the caliphate, or “golden age” of Islamic rule, through political means.
  • One reason Hizb ut-Tahrir has been successful in Europe is because it has made an effort to tap into the mixed or “hybrid” sense of identity found among second- and third-generation European Muslims, some of whom feel a sense of alienation from both the Western societies in which they were raised and the Muslim-majority countries from which their parents or grandparents emigrated. Hizb ut-Tahrir’s rhetoric attempts to tap into this sense of alienation by encouraging its followers to view their political identity in global terms, as Muslims struggling on behalf of co-religionists worldwide rather than as citizens of particular nation-states.

**GREAT POINT HIGHLIGHTED ON WHY THIS GROUPS IS “GLOBAL COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS”

For this reason, its activities have often been regarded as an obstacle to the assimilation of European Muslims.

  • Unlike many jihadi groups, Hizb ut-Tahrir officially eschews violence, saying it prefers to achieve its goal of a new caliphate through persuasion, protests and political organizing, including recruiting senior political and military officials to its cause. The group frequently organizes rallies and protests, particularly in the U.K., which are usually accompanied by ambitious public statements, such as “Britain will be an Islamic state by the year 2020!”

.

http://pewforum.org/Muslim/Muslim-Networks-and-Movements-in-Western-Europe-Radical-Islamist-Movements-Jihadi-Networks-and-Hizb-ut-Tahrir.aspx <http://pewforum.org/Muslim/Muslim-Networks-and-Movements-in-Western-Europe-Radical-Islamist-Movements-Jihadi-Networks-and-Hizb-ut-Tahrir.aspx>

Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), an international organization that seeks to establish a worldwide Islamic theocracy, is increasing its efforts to spread its message and recruit members in the U.S.

  • HT held its first major event in the U.S., a conference entitled "Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam," at the Hilton in Oak Lawn, Illinois on July 19, 2009.  AlthoughHT America's Web site states that the group "does not work in the West to change the system of government," speakers at the conference focused on HT's larger agenda of establishing a global Islamic caliphate, or Islamic rule worldwide, which entails ousting existing governments.

  • A closer look at the group's ideology and international activity reveals that HT not only promotes Islam as a way of life, but is also fundamentally opposed to capitalism and democracy and is explicitly hostile toward Israel and Jews. These basic tenets, along with its record of advocating violence, contradict the group's attempt to portray itself as a political party seeking change through nonviolent means.

SOUNDBITE FROM 2009 CONFERENCE IN ILLINOIS- BLAMING CAPITALISM FOR THE WORLD’S PROBLEMS

Abu Atallah

Session 1:  Capitalism is doomed to fail (part 2)

<>

“Secular Capitalism:  the evil sick twisted ideology that is the root cause of today’s problems.

1.  the poverty that we see in Allah’s abundant Earth

2.  Colonial Wars Iraq and Afghanistan

3.  the slaughter of Innocent Muslims and non-Muslims

4.  The Drug, Alcohol, other social problems.

5. The world’s debt to the banks

6.  Wealth inequality

7.  the struggle for most of us to make it day to day is doomed to fail

This system is doomed to fail.

Muslim Brotherhood QUOTES

MB document

source: An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America 5/22/91

·         “The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/3/muslim-brotherhood-seeks-end-to-israel-treaty/

·         After President Mubarak steps down and a provisional government is formed, there is a need to dissolve the peace treaty with Israel,” Rashad al-Bayoumi, a deputy leader of the outlawed movement, said on Japan’s NHTV.

http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=206130

·         A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt told the Arabic-language Iranian news network Al-Alam on Monday that he would like to see the Egyptian people prepare for war against Israel, according to the Hebrew-language business newspaper Calcalist.

·         Muhammad Ghannem reportedly told Al- Alam that the Suez Canal should be closed immediately, and that the flow of gas from Egypt to Israel should cease “in order to bring about the downfall of the Mubarak regime.” He added that “the people should be prepared for war against Israel,” saying the world should understand that “the Egyptian people are prepared for anything to get rid of this regime.”

·         Ghannem praised Egyptian soldiers deployed by President Hosni Mubarak to Egyptian cities, saying they “would not kill their brothers.” He added that Washington was forced to abandon plans to help Mubarak stay in power after “seeing millions head for the streets.”

http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE71604J20110207?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true

·         Egypt's courts have repeatedly rebuffed the Brotherhood's requests for recognition as a party on the grounds that the constitution bans parties based on religion.

·         Mubarak's Vice President Omar Suleiman met opposition groups on Sunday in talks joined for the first time by the Brotherhood. The once outlawed group is finally well-placed to play a prominent role as Mubarak's government struggles to survive after 30 years in power.

·         I've been in and out since 1981," said Erian, a leading figure in the Brotherhood. "I have seen all forms of torture. I have been suspended by ropes, beaten, electrocuted and left outside in the cold for hours. I must say the treatment improved along the years and because of my age." "All this only increased my resolve,"said Erian. "The Mubarak regime exists to monopolise not only power but wealth."

·         Erian was among 34 Brotherhood members who walked out of Wadi Natroun prison last Sunday after relatives stormed the jail, overcame the guards and freed the prisoners during protests which spilled out of control across the country.

·         "We're not seeking power but our participation is a duty under a democratic and independent process. Our goal is to make sure the identity of society is Islamic," Erian said. "It is the right of everybody to compete and if people like us then where is the problem? We have sacrificed a lot...It is our right to win a majority as in any country, like Turkey."

Obama & Muslim Brotherhood (June 2009 speech at Cairo University)

(source: AP, Bin Laden's Obama criticism a sign he is worried, June 4, 2009)

·         Also attending are 11 lawmakers from the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most powerful opposition movement, said one of the 11, Mohammed Saad el-Katatni.

(source: State News Service, Islamic World Reacts to Obama’s Cairo Speech, June 4, 2009)

·         Muhammad Habib, deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, described Obama's speech as "a public-relations address more than anything else." Habib also said Obama displayed an "unjust perspective" toward the Palestinian issue, "one that does not differ from former President [George W.] Bush and the neoconservatives' perspective."

Muslim Brotherhood: in their own words

Source: Memritv.org

#2459 - New Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Muhammad Badi': We Will Continue to Raise the Banner of Jihad and the Koran

Dream 2 TV (Egypt) - April 14, 2010 - 02:00

New Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Muhammad Badi': We Will Continue to Raise the Banner of Jihad and the Koran
Muhammad Badi': We will continue to raise the banner of Jihad and the Koran in our confrontation with the enemy of Islam. The Zionists still put two blue stripes on their flag. Even the Zionists...

Interviewer: What does this represent? You are Egyptian, just like me and the viewers. Is the sword still...

Muhammad Badi': The Muslim Brotherhood still considers the Zionists to be its main and only enemy. The Jews who occupy Palestine have their eyes set on Egypt.

Interviewer: Is this symbol directed against the Zionists?

Muhammad Badi': It is directed against whoever fights Islam, the Muslims, and our homeland. Do you really think that we have completed liberating the land of the Arabs and Islam?

Interviewer: Let us dream – or if you prefer, hallucinate – that the Muslim Brotherhood becomes a political party. Will this symbol remain? I am talking about an Egyptian political party. Since we are talking about dreams – perhaps this party will even come into power. Is it conceivable that Egypt would be ruled by a party whose symbol is directed against the Zionists, as you've said? I want a symbol that relates to me as an Egyptian.

Muhammad Badi': When we become a political party, we will make other symbols for you.

Interviewer: The sword and the verse "Prepare for them..." will continue to make people feel that anyone who does not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood is an enemy.

Muhammad Badi': No, I think this is an unfair interpretation of both the verse and the symbol. This will continue to be the symbol of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is a force without violence, that is flexible without being weak. We will continue to be like this forever, Allah willing

#1627 - Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Sheik Mahdi Akef: We Are Ready to Send 10,000 Men to Palestine, But It Is the Egyptian Government that Should Arm Them

Hiwar TV (U.K.) - November 30, 2007 - 03:02

Interviewer: During the Israeli aggression against Lebanon, you said that the Muslim Brotherhood was prepared to arm ten thousand young men, and to send them to Lebanon in order to support the resistance. Does this apply to Palestine too?

'Akef: This applies to any country under occupation. One of the principles of the Muslim Brotherhood is to rid the Arab and Islamic nation of any foreign rule. The Muslim Brotherhood must support all the forces of resistance in the Arab and Islamic world.

Interviewer: From where will they get the weapons?

'Akef: I don't know. I was talking about men, not weapons. I said we would recruit ten thousand men...

Interviewer: Armed men...

'Akef: No, you added the word "armed." The government must arm these people. When I fought in Palestine, the government knew about it. The government trained and armed us. As you know well, the military commanders worked with the Muslim Brotherhood. When we fought the English in 1951 in the [Suez] Canal, the government knew about it. We would undergo weapons training within [Al-Azhar] University.

[...]

'Akef: In no country and under no circumstances is it possible to launch resistance unless the government approves of this. Otherwise, we would be fighting the government, which is not our policy.

[...]

Interviewer: There are Sunnis, members of Al-Qaeda, who kill civilians in the name of Islam. There are Shiites who kill Sunnis in the name of Islam...

'Akef: All these things are American Zionist tricks. The Shiites attack one another, the Sunnis attack one another, and the Shiites attack the Sunnis. But the Muslim Brotherhood has a principle, which I declared from day one: The Shiites and Sunnis are brothers.

[...]

'Akef: I'd like to go back to the issue of Al-Qaeda. There is no such thing as Al-Qaeda. This is an American invention, so that they would have something to fight for...

Interviewer: What about Osama Bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri, and the Islamic state of Iraq?

'Akef: When one man, or two or three, fight this tyrannical global superpower – is it worth anything?

Interviewer: Thousands have carried out attacks in the Iraq in the name of Al-Qaeda...

'Akef: This is a lie. Who says so?

Interviewer: They do.

'Akef: No, the Americans and their collaborators say this.

Interviewer: But they claim responsibility for these attacks...

'Akef: Al-Qaeda has an ideology, which makes them...

Interviewer: You described it once as a perverted ideology.

'Akef: Of course it is. This is a perverted ideology, which employs methods that do not please Allah. How can I kill a Muslim when this is forbidden?

#30 - Deputy Leader of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt: 'A Nation That Does Not Excel At The Industry Of Death Does Not Deserve Life.'

Al-Manar TV (Lebanon) - April 8, 2004 - 01:11

Mahmoud Al-Sayyid Ahmad Al-Habib: The truth is that the resistance, whether in Iraq or in Palestine, defends not only the holy places, the land, and the honor but also defends the nation's honor. They represent the first line of defense for the entire Arab and Islamic society and world.

Therefore, the issue of martyrdom and of the martyrdom (i.e. suicide) operations carried out by boys and girls, and also the operations carried out by the Iraqi resistance ? these redeem self-confidence and hope, because a nation that does not excel at the industry of death does not deserve life.

#1140 - Leader of Muslim Brotherhood Mahdi 'Akef: Arab and Islamic Countries Should Obtain Nuclear Technology "For Military Purposes"

Al-Alam TV (Iran) - May 14, 2006 - 01:18

Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef: The Western world - American and Europe - is not fighting Egypt but Islam. They do not want Islam to survive. Therefore, whoever protects Islam is fought against.

The Arab and Islamic countries suffer from severe backwardness, and the Western world wants to make them even more backward. It does not want these countries to progress at all.

The Muslims are required to remain backward in all fields, not only the nuclear field. All fields of advanced modern technology are closed to the Arabs and Muslims - let alone the nuclear field.

Is it not the duty of all countries to have nuclear technology for peaceful purposes? Even if it is for military purposes... Doesn't America have this? Doesn't Israel have this? Doesn't Europe have this? Are all the countries entitled to this, except for the Arabs and Muslims? Brother, this is illogical, inconceivable, and unjustified.

Dr. Abd Al-Munim Abu Al-Futuh, an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Leader, Volunteersto Carry Out Attacks Against American Forces in Iraq

Dr. Abd Al-Muni'm Abu Al-Futuh, from the General Guidance Council of the Muslim Brotherhoodappeared on Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) on April 25, 2004, in which he spoke in favor of armed attacks against the American soldiers in Iraq. Following is a translation of his comments:

Dr. Abd Al-Muni?m Abu Al-Futuh: Regarding the resistance, I say clearly and without evasion that we support armed resistance. We, as Muslim Brotherhood and as the world leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, support the armed resistance in Iraq against the American occupier, one hundred percent.

I personally, as all members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and around the world, wish to carry weapons against the American occupation in Iraq, just as we wish to carry weapons against the Zionist enemy in Palestine. This is a matter of religion, not politics. When a Muslim land is occupied, Jihad becomes an individual duty for every man and woman, boy and girl. A woman goes out to Jihad without her husband's permission and a child without his father's permission. In this matter there is no place for discussion or games.

Mahdi 'Akef, Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Warns Egyptian Regime: The People Will Trample You Underfoot

Following are excerpts from an interview with Mahdi 'Akef, Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on July 30, 2006.

Phone call from Mustafa Othman, Egypt: The people needs someone to lead it, and there is no one better than you to lead the people. You know what Husni Mubarak did to the people. Husni Mubarak brought cancer from Israel. Husni Mubarak is an American agent, as you know. We ask you and Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi to issue a fatwa now, calling upon the Egyptian people to revolt against its ruler.

[...]

Interviewer: Could you respond to this phone call, asking you to declare a revolt against the ruler?

Mahdi 'Akef: Yes, I will begin with this. I am the first one who wants to bear arms against these Zionist gangs, wherever they may be. But in my capacity as Supreme Guide, I have other considerations, and I bear great responsibilities. How can I take this people out to the streets, exposing them to the ignorance of the regime? When 50 people come to a demonstration, they are faced by 1,000 soldiers. A demonstration of 5,000 people will be faced by 25,000 soldiers. I fear that blood be shed for no price. I want blood that is shed for a price. These ignorants who rule Egypt with force and with security agencies - I call upon them to fear Allah, to return to Allah, and to reach out to this people, which attributes power and honor to you. Otherwise, the people will soon trample you underfoot, Allah willing.

[...]

This American Satan claims to be a messenger of divine guidance. Divine guidance never commands anything but truth, justice, and freedom, things that have nothing to do with him. I salute all the honorable Americans who stand up to this Satan, who wants to set the entire world on fire, not just the Arab and Islamic nation.

I go back to the issue of Jihad. Jihad is an individual duty incumbent upon every Muslim, male and female, if any inch of the land of Islam and the Muslims is occupied.

http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/2731.htm

Leading Sunni Scholar Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi Supports Suicide Bombings in Palestine and Declares: "I Am Against the Peace Process"

·         All the people should set out on jihad. There is no obedience to a creature in disobedience to the Creator. The right of the collective supercedes the right of the individual

·         (The Jews] are the most miserly of all people and the most protective of their lives, yet they devote their lives and their money [to their cause]. The Muslims worldwide must contribute to the regaining of Palestine. Palestine is not merely Islamic land. It is the land of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and of the holy places.

·         I am against the hudna, as I have written. I have debated this with the leading Islamic scholars like Sheik Abd Al-Aziz Ibn Baz and the Sheik of Al-Azhar. They sanctioned peace with Israel. I am against the peace process. I consider this to be a false peace, because this is an Israeli peace, in keeping with the Israeli will, not in keeping with what we want. What kind of peace is this? From the days of Madrid and Oslo to this day, have we achieved anything? We have achieved nothing but illusions.

http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/2482.htm

Top Sunni Scholar Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: What Was Taken By the Sword Will Not Be Restored by the Pen, May 14, 2010

·        We used to say that we would struggle, fight, and wage Jihad, until we regain our rights, because what was taken by force will only be restored by force, and what was taken by the sword will not be restored by the pen or the word. Unfortunately, however, we have abandoned this, and we have taken the path of the so-called “peaceful solution.” We have made one concession after another.

#2005 - Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Allah Imposed Hitler upon the Jews to Punish Them - "Allah Willing, the Next Time Will Be at the Hand of the Believers"

Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) - January 28-30 - 01:29

#1864 - Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Muslim Nation Plagued by Tragedies, Like the Rule of the Cowardly Jews

Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) - September 05, 2008 - 01:00

1979 - Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi Incites against Jews, Arab Regimes, and the U.S., and Calls on Muslims to Boycott Starbucks, Marks and Spencer

Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) - January 9, 2009 - 10:44

Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) - January 28-30 2009

·        

·         Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews, people who would punish them for their corruption

·         To conclude my speech, I’d like to say the only thing I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of the Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I  will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews

·         Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews, people who would punish them for their corruption

·         To conclude my speech, I’d like to say the only thing I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of the Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I  will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews

·         Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews, people who would punish them for their corruption

·         To conclude my speech, I’d like to say the only thing I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of the Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I  will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews

All the people should set out on jihad. There is no obedience to a creature in disobedience to the Creator. The right of the collective supercedes the right of the individual

Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi: Theologian of Terror

http://www.adl.org/main_Arab_World/al_Qaradawi_report_20041110.htm

Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a radical Muslim Brotherhood ideologue based in Qatar, has garnered worldwide appeal through a wide network of associations and by making use of various media outlets. Through his speeches and writings, Qaradawi has demonstrated consistent support of terrorist groups that seek to undermine both a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and, more broadly, reform and democracy in the Middle East.

Qaradawi has a long record of inciting violence against Jews and Israel. For example, during a sermon that aired on the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera TV on January 28, 2009, Qaradawi told his audience, "I will shoot Allah's enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus I will seal my life with martyrdom."

In another sermon on January 9, 2009, Qaradawi lashed out at Jews, including calling on God to "kill them, down to the very last one."

Al-Jazeera & Positive commentary-opinion

========================

Sam Donaldson SOT

ABC News

May I say just a word - talks about propaganda for Al Jazeera - thank you for what you're doing. People say Al Jazeera fanned the flames here by bringing the fact that democracy is in existence and that people are being suppressed. That's what we need. We need more communication in the world. It's not Al Jazeera's fault...

(Source: THE ROUNDTABLE CRISIS IN EGYPT, 30 January 2011, ABC News: This Week)

……………..

Alex Pareene

Salon

Fox, CNN and MSNBC are all acquitting themselves better than they did the day Tunisia's government collapsed. All of them have reporters in Cairo, and are airing footage of the demonstrations on the streets. But none of them are reporting on the situation as compellingly as Al Jazeera English, which has reporters across the country. And if you're in the United States, you can probably only see Al Jazeera English online. If you're watching Al Jazeera, you're seeing uninterrupted live video of the demonstrations, along with reporting from people actually on the scene, and not "analysis" from people in a studio. The cops were threatening to knock down the door of one of its reporters minutes ago. Fox has moved on to anchor babies. CNN reports that the ruling party building is on fire, but Al Jazeera is showing the fire live.

(Source: Al Jazeera's Egypt coverage embarrasses U.S. cable news channels, Salon, January 28, 2011, http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/01/28/cable_news_egypt)

…………………..

David Folkenflik

NPR media correspondent

David, why are people now saying Al-Jazeera's coverage is so important in this conflict?

DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Well, this is Al-Jazeera's sweet spot. It's where they live. They've been doing it for, one way or another, 15 years. Last week, they were there with live pictures and coverage at a time when Western outlets were caught a bit short. They were caught a bit short in terms of being there and also in understanding events as they were unfolding.

For example, President Mubarak has been a stalwart American ally. And so, in terms of positioning this, there's a little uncertainty to see it play out in the airwaves. An American journalist who was on CNN at one point, even rebuked an anchor, saying, look, change your caption. It says chaos in Egypt. You should change it to something like, uprising or revolution, saying that the idea of chaos was playing into the hands of the regime.

As well, in talking to analysts, they say that Al-Jazeera has been much more sophisticated than its American and Western counterparts. For example, when President Mubarak named his intelligence chief as the new vice president, the channel's pundits instantly knew that protesters would probably recoil, as that intelligence chief has been linked to various episodes of torture there.

I spoke earlier today to former State Department official named Katie Stanton. She's now vice president at Twitter. She says everyone, including government officials here in the States, are turning to Al- Jazeera as a trusted source of news, and that Al-Jazeera has used Twitter aggressively to get out its reports.

It helps to remember - I mean, you're talking about Jazeera's incredibly dramatic footage while a crackdown was in place. Think back last Friday, the authorities shut down the Internet, shut down cell phone traffic, and yet Al-Jazeera was still broadcasting to the outside world. It was perhaps most tangible and vivid in moments where you could hear reporters telling the anchors on Al-Jazeera English's feed that there were policemen at the door, trying to knock down the doors to shut down the coverage.

(Source: Al-Jazeera's Profile Continues To Rise In U.S., 31 January 2011, NPR: All Things Considered)

……………………….

Frank Rich

The New York Times

That we often don't know as much about the people in these countries as we do about their Tweets is a testament to the cutbacks in foreign coverage at many news organizations - and perhaps also to our own desire to escape a war zone that has for so long sapped American energy, resources and patience. We see the Middle East on television only when it flares up and then generally in medium or long shot. But there actually is an English-language cable channel - Al Jazeera English - that blankets the region with bureaus and that could have been illuminating Arab life and politics for American audiences since 2006, when it was established as an editorially separate sister channel to its Qatar-based namesake.

Al Jazeera English, run by a 35-year veteran of the Canadian Broadcasting Company, is routinely available in Israel and Canada. It provided coverage of the 2009 Gaza war and this year's Tunisian revolt when no other television networks would or could. Yet in America, it can be found only in Washington, D.C., and on small cable systems in Ohio and Vermont. None of the biggest American cable and satellite companies - Comcast, DirecTV and Time Warner - offer it.

The noxious domestic political atmosphere fostering this near-blackout is obvious to all. It was made vivid last week when Bill O'Reilly of Fox News went on a tear about how Al Jazeera English is "anti-American." This is the same "We report, you decide" Fox News that last week broke away from Cairo just as the confrontations turned violent so that viewers could watch Rupert Murdoch promote his new tablet news product at a publicity event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Unable to watch Al Jazeera English, and ravenous for comprehensive and sophisticated 24/7 television coverage of the Middle East otherwise unavailable on television, millions of Americans last week tracked down the network's Internet stream on their computers. Such was the work-around required by the censorship practiced by America's corporate gatekeepers. You'd almost think these news-starved Americans were Iron Curtain citizens clandestinely trying to pull in the jammed Voice of America signal in the 1950s - or Egyptians desperately seeking Al Jazeera after Mubarak disrupted its signal last week.

(Source: Wallflowers at the Revolution, The New York Times, By FRANK RICH, February 5, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/opinion/06rich.html)

…………………..

Jeff Jarvis

City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism

"Vital, world-changing news is occurring in the Middle East and no one -- not the xenophobic or celebrity-obsessed or cut-to-the-bone American media -- can bring the perspective, insight and on-the-scene reporting Al Jazeera English can," wrote new-media expert Jeff Jarvis, a professor at City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism, on his blog Sunday. Jarvis has started a Twitter campaign urging cable firms to carry the channel ("#WeWantOurAJE").

....................

Ruth Robbins

Artist - New Orleans

"I can't stop looking at it," said Ruth Robbins, 36, an artist in New Orleans, who heard about Al Jazeera English from an Egyptian friend and has been checking the live stream online every few hours since the uprising began. "The thing that was really amazing was in the first couple days, when there was censorship of cellphones and the Internet, they were still able to get a story out."

(Source: UNREST IN EGYPT; Al Jazeera has an American moment; Its English-language channel, not on the air in most of the U.S., gains online following, 1 February 2011, Los Angeles Times)

Stand for Freedom

William Kristol

February 14, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 21

Our friend Charles Krauthammer began his column last week by asking, “Who doesn’t love a democratic revolution? Who is not moved by the renunciation of fear and the reclamation of dignity in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria?”

Some on the right, that’s who.

It’s understandable that conservatives should be wary of people taking to the streets—even when they are entitled to do so. It’s also reasonable for conservatives to warn of the unanticipated consequences of ostensibly hopeful developments.

As Krauthammer puts it, “All revolutions are blissful in the first days. The romance could be forgiven if this were Paris 1789. But it is not. In the intervening 222 years, we have learned how these things can end.”

True enough. And Krauthammer goes on to make an argument for an American policy more focused on the Egyptian Army, less supportive of the Egyptian people, more fearful of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over this broad-based uprising, more cautious and muted in terms of the pressure that the American government can put on the regime, than we at The Weekly Standard have been recommending.

Reasonable people will differ in their analyses of rapidly changing circumstances half a world away—a fact that should make us somewhat tolerant of the Obama administration’s own stumbles. But Krauthammer does hasten to add, “The Egyptian awakening carries promise and hope and of course merits our support.” And, he writes later on, “our paramount moral and strategic interest in Egypt is real democracy in which power does not devolve to those who believe in one man, one vote, one time.”

So, whatever our differences in historical interpretation or foreign policy tactics, we agree with our skeptical comrade that the United States must support the Egyptian awakening, and has a paramount moral and strategic interest in real democracy in Egypt and freedom for the Egyptian people. The question is how the U.S. government can do its best to help the awakening turn out well.

In his column, Krauthammer refers to the French, Russian, and Iranian revolutions. They all turned out badly. But before 1789 was 1776. After 1917, there was 1989. And after 1979, there was also 2009, when the Obama administration shamefully and foolishly did nothing to help topple the most dangerous regime in the Middle East.

Furthermore, in the last quarter century, there have been transitions from allied dictatorships to allied democracies in Chile, South Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia, to name only a few. The United States has played a role in helping those transitions turn out (reasonably) well. America needn’t be passive or fretful or defensive. We can help foster one outcome over another. As Krauthammer puts it, “Elections will be held. The primary U.S. objective is to guide a transition period that gives secular democrats a chance.”

Now, people are more than entitled to their own opinions of how best to accomplish that democratic end. And it’s a sign of health that a political and intellectual movement does not respond to a complicated set of developments with one voice.

But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.

Nor is it a sign of health when other American conservatives are so fearful of a popular awakening that they side with the dictator against the democrats. Rather, it’s a sign of fearfulness unworthy of Americans, of short-sightedness uncharacteristic of conservatives, of excuse-making for thuggery unworthy of the American conservative tradition.

It was not so long ago, after all, when conservatives understood that Middle Eastern dictatorships such as Mubarak’s help spawn global terrorism. We needn’t remind our readers that the most famous of the 9/11 hijackers, Mohammed Atta, was an Egyptian, as is al Qaeda’s number two, Ayman al Zawahiri. The idea that democracy produces radical Islam is false: Whether in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories, or Egypt, it is the dictatorships that have promoted and abetted Islamic radicalism. (Hamas, lest we forget, established its tyranny in Gaza through nondemocratic means.) Nor is it in any way “realist” to suggest that backing Mubarak during this crisis would promote “stability.” To the contrary: The situation is growing more unstable because of Mubarak’s unwillingness to abdicate. Helping him cling to power now would only pour fuel on the revolutionary fire, and push the Egyptian people in a more anti-American direction.

Let’s hope that as talk radio hosts find time for reflection, and commentators step back to take a deep breath, they will recall that one of the most hopeful aspects of the current conservative revival is its reclamation of the American constitutionalist tradition. That tradition is anchored even beyond the Constitution, of course, in the Declaration of Independence. And that document, let’s not forget, proclaims that, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”

An American conservatism that looks back to 1776 cannot turn its back on the Egyptian people. We should wish them well—and we should work to help them achieve as good an outcome as possible.

Conservatives are used to focusing on the downsides of situations. And there are potential downsides ahead, to be sure. But there is also a huge upside to a sound and admirable outcome in Egypt. American conservatives should remember our commitment, in the words of Federalist 39, to “that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.”

Egypt turns out to have its votaries of freedom. The Egyptian people want to exercise their capacity for self-government. American conservatives, heirs to our own bold and far-sighted revolutionaries, should help them.

As we move along this endless primary season, we implement our first major adjustments to our power rankings model. Because of all the changes on the model itself, we'll keep the write ups short this week so that we can get an update posted before we hit the second round of debates.

There are now 40 separate measures of candidate performance which are summarized by the 0-100 score that helps us makes sense out of this chaos.We also have a new style of graphs, where the section highlighted in blue will show the progress (or lack thereof) made by each candidate over the life of their campaign.

In this update, we have our first campaign obituary, a couple of brand new candidates (when will it ever stop) and plenty of movement up top.

Let's get to it.

In case you're new here, read our explainer about how all of this works:

The 2020 Democratic primary power rankings are an attempt to make sense out of the chaos of the largest field of candidates in global history. Each candidate gets a unique score in at least thirty categories, measuring data like polling, prediction markets, fundraising, fundamentals, media coverage, and more. The result is a candidate score between 0-100. These numbers will change from week to week as the race changes. The power rankings are less a prediction on who will win the nomination, and more a snapshot of the state of the race at any given time. However, early on, the model gives more weight to fundamentals and potentials, and later will begin to prioritize polling and realities on the ground. If you're like me, when you read power rankings about sports, you've already skipped ahead to the list. So, here we go.

See previous editions here.

Campaign Obituary #1

The Eric Swalwell Campaign

California State Congressman

April 8, 2019 - July 8, 2019

Lifetime high: 20.2

Lifetime low: 19.5

I ended my initial profile on Eric Swalwell with this:

"There's a certain brand of presidential candidate that isn't really running for president. That's Eric Swalwell."

amp only placement

It's now more true than ever that Swalwell isn't running for president, because he has officially dropped out of the race.

To any sane observer, Swalwell never had a chance to win the nomination. This was always about raising his profile with little downside to deter him from taking money and building a list of future donors.

In one of many depressing moments in his FiveThirtyEight exit interview, he noted that one of his supporters told him he definitely thought he'd eventually be president, but it wasn't going to happen this time. (This supporter was not identified, but we can logically assume they also have the last name Swalwell.)

Swalwell did outline a series of reasons he thought his ridiculous campaign might have a chance.

  1. He was born in Iowa. After all, people from Iowa will surely vote for someone born in Iowa, even if they escaped as soon as possible.
  2. He had what he believed was a signature issue: pretending there was no such amendment as the second amendment.)
  3. He's not old.

It was on point number three where Swalwell made his last stand. In an uncomfortably obvious attempt to capture a viral moment that would launch his fundraising and polling status, Swalwell went after Joe Biden directly.

"I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said it's time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans. That candidate was then-Senator Joe Biden." This pre-meditated and under-medicated attack, along with Swalwell's entire campaign future, was disassembled by a facial gesture.

Biden's response wasn't an intimidation, anger, or a laugh. It was a giant smile that somehow successfully communicated a grandfathery dismissal of "isn't that just adorable."

Of course, headlines like this didn't help either:

Eric Swalwell is going to keep comparing the Democratic field to 'The Avengers' until someone claps

The campaign of Eric Swalwell was pronounced dead at the age of 91 days.

Other headlines:

Eric Swalwell ends White House bid, citing low polling, fundraising

Republicans troll Swalwell for ending presidential campaign

Eric Swalwell Latest 'Cringe' Video Brags About Omar Holding his 'White' Baby

Eric Swalwell's message to actor Danny Glover is 'the cringiest thing I've ever seen in a hearing'

Eric Swalwell's 'I Will Be Bold Without The Bull' Bombs

25. Joe Sestak 11.0 (Debut) Former Pennsylvania State Congressman

Joe Sestak is a former three-star admiral who served in Congress for a couple of years in the late 2000s. Besides his military service, his most notable achievement is figuring out a way to get Pat Toomey elected in a purple state.

With Arlen Specter finally formalizing his flip from Republican to Democrat in 2009, he was expected to cruise to reelection. However, Sestak went after him in the primary, and was able to knock him off in the by eight points. Sestak then advanced to face Republican Pat Toomey in the general election. He lost by two points during the Tea Party wave election of 2010.

Needless to say, losing to the former president of the fiscally conservative Club For Growth isn't exactly an accomplishment that is going to help Sestak in the Democratic presidential primary.

Unfortunately, with the current state of the party— his distinguished service in the Navy probably isn't helpful either.

Other headlines:

Joe Sestak on the issues, in under 500 words

Joe Sestak, latest 2020 candidate, says it's not too late for him to gain traction

Sestak aims to 'heal the soul of America' with presidential bid

Joe Sestak Would Move the US Embassy 'Back Out of Jerusalem'

24. Mike Gravel: 12.5 (Previous: 24th / 15.3) Former US Senator from Alaska

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Gravel was able to get celebrities and other candidates to send out pleas to raise funds in effort to get above 65,000 donations and qualify for the second debate.

We may never know if it was grift or incompetence, but Gravel probably should have known that crossing this line made no difference. He'll still be yelling at the TV when the debate starts.

Other headlines:

Gravel meets donor threshold to qualify for Democratic primary debate

Gravel spends a bit of cash to run an ad against Joe Biden in Iowa

Mike Gravel: Why the American People Need Their Own Legislature

Mike Gravel Is the Anti–Joe Biden

23. Wayne Messam: 12.7 (Previous: 23rd / 15.8) Mayor of Miramar, FL

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Messam has made no impact in this race so far, and has fundraising numbers that don't even get into the six digits, let alone seven. He's not really running a campaign at this point, so there's no real downside in staying in for now.

Other headlines:

Wayne Messam: Money Kept Me Out of the First Democratic Debate. Will It Keep Me Out of the Second?

22. Seth Moulton 17.2 (Previous 20th / 21.5) US Rep. from Massachusetts 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Seth Moulton is the invisible man on the campaign trail. Most people don't even know who he is when they're talking to him. His appeal to the Democratic party is heavily flavored with his military service and appeal to patriotism.

Good luck with that Seth.

Other headlines:

Moulton: Buttigieg Was a Nerd at Harvard

Moulton: Democrats shouldn't go on 'moral crusade' against Trump

Moulton talks reclaiming patriotism from Trump, Republicans

Moulton: 'Trump is going to be harder to beat than many Democrats like to believe'

Presidential candidates hear challengers' footsteps at home

21. Tim Ryan 18.4 (Previous: 18th / 24.3) US Rep. from Ohio

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Tim Ryan's first debate performance was so bad he lost about a quarter of his score with this update. He's not without a plan to get that support back though. He wants to bring hot yoga to the people.

Other headlines:

Tim Ryan on CNN: Trump 'clearly has it out for immigrants'

Ryan Falls Way Behind in Q2 Fundraising Race, New Poll

20. Marianne Williamson 20.7 (Previous: 21st / 20.6) Author, Lecturer, Activist

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Williamson is not going to be the nominee for the Democrats, but if you throw a debate watch party, she might supply the most entertainment. So much so, Republicans have started to donate to her campaign to keep her in future debates.

Other headlines:

"I call her a modern-day prophet": Marianne Williamson's followers want you to give her a chance

Williamson Uses Anime to Explain 2020 Candidate's Holistic Politics

What Marianne Williamson and Donald Trump have in common

Marianne Williamson's Iowa director joins John Delaney's 2020 campaign

19. John Hickenlooper 22.5  (Previous: 11th / 32.0) Former Gov. of Colorado 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Hickenlooper has been shedding campaign advisors at a relatively furious pace as he admits "there's just a bunch of skills that don't come naturally to me" when it comes to campaigning.

Probably best to pick another line of work.

Other headlines:

Hickenlooper defends campaign fundraising to The Onion: 'The race is wide open'

WP: 'You are who?' The lonely presidential campaign of John Hickenlooper

Gary Hart Warns John Hickenlooper Against Campaigning On Bipartisanship Message

Hickenlooper refuses to condemn protesters who hoisted Mexican flag at ICE facility


18. Michael Bennet 27.4 (Previous: 14th / 28.8) US Senator from Colorado

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Michael Bennet is a bit of a boring no name, but give him credit for actually trying to differentiate himself from the field. He's one of the only candidates willing to criticize his socialist opponents from the center, calling out the open borders crowd and student debt. Obviously this has no chance of success in the democratic party, but at least he's trying.

Other headlines:

George Will touts Bennet to beat Trump in 2020

Bennet: America doesn't know what the Democratic Party stands for

17. Steve Bullock 28.3 (Previous: 16th / 27.7) Gov. of  Montana 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Bullock's biggest moment of his campaign, and quite possibly his only important moment , will come in this round of debates. He missed the first round, but squeaks in for round two after Eric Swalwell decided to take his zero percent and go home.

Bullock has a theoretical argument that doesn't look half bad on paper, but it seems impossible for another "moderate*" to make noise with Biden still hanging around.

(*-None of these moderates are actually moderate.)

Other headlines:

For Democratic presidential hopeful Steve Bullock, it's all about the 'dark money'

Steve Bullock hates 'dark money.' But a lobbyist for 'dark money' donors is helping his campaign.

Steve Bullock looking to introduce himself as someone who won in Trump country

Bullock said he's not one to eliminate all student-loan debt

Steve Bullock raises $2 million for 2020 bid in second quarter, campaign says

Lowering of state flag at capitol draws criticism

15. John Delaney 29.5 (Previous 19th / 20.3) Former US Rep. from Maryland 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The power ranking model likes Delaney more than voters seem to like him. He continues to pour his own money into the race and at some point you have to believe someone in his life stops him from setting his cash on fire.

He did steal a key advisor from Marianne Williamson's campaign, which doesn't seem like a path to success.

Other headlines:

Delaney: "Non-Citizens Are Not Covered By My 'Better Care' Plan, But…"

Delaney says he opposes decriminalizing border crossings

Undaunted by low polling, John Delaney keeps his show on the road

Delaney presidential campaign theme: fix what's broken, keep what works

14. Andrew Yang 30.0 (Previous: 15th / 28.3) Attorney and Entrepreneur 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Before the campaign started, if you would have said Yang would be in the middle of the pack at this point, he probably would be happy with that result. His embrace of quirky issues like banning robocalls, giving everyone free cash, and spending $6 billion to fix the nations malls is enough to keep him in the news.

His fundraising was decent, and he remains an interesting and thoughtful candidate. But, Yang has a better chance of dropping out and running on a third party ticket than winning in this Democratic Party.

You do have to wonder how long it will be before the word "Math" moves from his campaign slogan to the reason he needs to drop out.

Other headlines:

Andrew Yang Is Targeting The 'Politically Disengaged' To 'Win The Whole Election'

You can't turn truck drivers into coders, Andrew Yang says of job retraining

Yang's plan to give $1000 a month to everyone is popular with young, poor Democrats

13. Jay Inslee 31.4 (Previous: 12th / 30.4) Gov. of Washington state

CANDIDATE PROFILEf

Expect Inslee to capture the king-czar-chancellor role of the new climate police or whatever draconian nightmare the actual Democratic nominee creates if they win.

In the meantime, he should try to avoid cringe inducing nonsense like this.

Other headlines:

Presidential hopeful Jay Inslee says Trump's immigration policies will 'end his presidency'

Crowd roars for Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee follows to tepid applause

Inslee on listening to Carole King, wanting an anchor tattoo

Inslee Says He Tried to Arrest Fleeing Republicans


12. Tulsi Gabbard 33.4 (Previous: 13th / 28.8) US Rep. for Hawaii 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Tulsi Gabbard really wants to be Joe Biden's vice president. Or, at least, she wants to hold an important role in his cabinet, like Secretary of Defense.

Gabbard has been running interference for Biden, aggressively going after Kamala Harris for her very successful but substance free bussing attack, while hammering Harris as not qualified to be President. These have been among the harshest criticisms levied by any candidate in the race so far, and there is definitely a purpose to all of it. Her presence in the same debate as Biden and Harris should be something Harris prepares herself for. Expect incoming fire.

Along with Yang, Gabbard remains among the most interesting Democratic candidates to Republicans and Libertarians, which is not helpful to her chances of actually winning the Democratic party nod.

Other headlines:

Gabbard says Harris used "political ploy" to "smear" Biden on raced

Which U.S. Wars Were Justifiable? Tulsi Gabbard Names Only World War II

Tulsi Gabbard Says It's A 'Good Thing' Trump Met With Kim Jong Un

Gabbard Sympathizes With Amash, Says the Two-Party System Sucks

Tulsi Gabbard Files Bill To Study Hemp's Uses For Just About Everything

Gabbard: '14-year-old girl hacked into a replica of Florida's election system'

11. Tom Steyer 33.5 (Debut) Billionaire hedge fund manager

Tom Steyer is a Democratic billionaire that has spent millions plastering his face all over MSNBC for the past two years begging people to consider impeaching Donald Trump.

The campaign power ranking model loves Steyer's potential because of his unlimited money and theoretical ability to put together a serious campaign team.

All of this is theory at this point though, as the millions spent so far has lead to a giant pile of zilch. If he's serious enough, he should be able to buy his way into the low single digits, and squeak his way into a debate or two.

Steyer's billionaire status isn't an obvious fit as the party of inequality attempts to take down Donald Trump. But, he does have legitimate movement credibility, tons of cash to buy support, and a long developed immunity to embarrassment—so the sky is the limit.

Other headlines:

Tom Steyer on the issues, in under 500 words

Tom Steyer announces 2020 bid, reversing course

Why We're Not Treating Tom Steyer As A 'Major' Candidate (Yet)

Steyer banks on South Carolina in 1st presidential bid stop

10. Kirsten Gillibrand 37.1 (Previous: 9th / 36.7) US Senator from New York

CANDIDATE PROFILE

There is probably no candidate that enters the second round of debates more clearly in do-or-die mode than Gillibrand. With headlines like "The Ignoring of Kirsten Gillibrand" lighting up her feed, she needs something big to happen, and fast. Her performance in the first debate wasn't actually horrible, but still went unnoticed.

She has zero percent in lots of polls, and that includes all of the benefits she says she's received from white privilege. Imagine if she didn't have that going for her.

Other headlines:

Gillibrand: I'd Tell Concerned Coal Miner the Green New Deal Is 'Just Some Bipartisan Ideas'

Struggling in White House bid, Democrat Gillibrand seeks bump in Trump country

Gillibrand Annoyed by Question About Immigration 'Reversal'

9. Robert Francis O’Rourke 40.7 (Previous: 6th / 52.8) Former state Rep. from Texas

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The free fall continues for Betomania.

When campaigns show signs of death, reporters start to write long profiles that aim to tell the story of the demise, or launch the amazing comeback.

Politico's headline (What Beto O'Rourke's Dad Taught Him About Losing) probably wasn't all that helpful.

Beto did secure Willie Nelson's vote though, meaning he can now count on 2 votes, assuming his "Republican" mother votes for him.

Other headlines:

Welcome to America—It's a Hell Hole!

A desperate Beto O'Rourke goes for broke, claims America was founded on white supremacy

Beto O'Rourke finds 'personal connection' to slavery, argues for reparations to unite 'two Americas'

Beto boldly vows not to prosecute people for 'being a human being'Rebooto O'Rourke

Fact Checker: Has Beto O'Rourke visited the most Iowa counties? No.


Beto O'Rourke: Let's Forgive All Student Loan Debt For Teachers

8. Amy Klobuchar 42.9 (Previous: 8th / 41.9) US Senator from Minnesota 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Klobuchar has been a massive underachiever so far, but is still sticking around in that third tier of candidates. Along with Beto, Booker, and maybe Castro— they aren't exactly eliminated, but can't seem to catch fire. Or even get warm.

Klobuchar would serve herself well to focus on the fundamentals and avoiding desperate pleas for attention if she wants to remain in the Biden VP sweepstakes. Or she could totally shake things up by throwing binders at her opponents in the debate.

Other headlines:

Klobuchar: I Don't Support Open Borders Like Warren, Castro

Deportation raids are about distracting from issues: Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar hoping 'nice' finishes first

Sports bookmakers put Klobuchar as "heavy underdog" in presidential race

7. Julian Castro 43.2 (Previous: 10th / 34.5) Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Castro is a good example of how overblown debates can be. His first debate performance was quite solid, but did more to sink Robert Francis O'Rourke than actually help his own candidacy.

One more good debate performance should be enough to get him into the next round of debates, as he has already passed the donor threshold. Polling, however, has been elusive. Perhaps there is a swath of America that is uncomfortable voting for a Castro for president, like say, all of south Florida?

Still, in a field of a zillion candidates that have shown no potential, he stands out as a long shot with a punchers chance to make some noise. This is reflected with a nice bump in his score for this update.

Other headlines:

Julián Castro Doubles Down On Decriminalizing Migration: Repeal Felony For Reentry, Too

Julian Castro: 'Instead of breaking up families, we should break up ICE'

Bill Maher rips Julián Castro for remark about abortion for trans women

Julián Castro declines to hold baby

Julián Castro can't speak Spanish

Julian Castro wants to solve homelessness by 2028

A consulting firm made specifically to prevent sexual harassment is providing Castro and other 2020 campaigns advice and training

5. Pete Buttigieg 65.8 (Previous: 2nd / 68.8) Mayor of South Bend, IN

CANDIDATE PROFILE

There probably isn't a campaign that has been more bizarre than Mayor Pete. He was a complete nobody to the public, though as we initially noted, he had support from a bunch of Obama era celebrinerds.

This helped him rise to a top tier candidate with all the money and momentum to make a run at the nomination. Since then we've seen a complete fizzle. He is using the cash to build the infrastructure to make himself a serious candidate, and he should last a while, but he probably must win Iowa to have a chance at the nomination.

Also, finding one African American who will vote for him would be nice.

Other headlines:

Pete Buttigieg goes on hiring spree after top fundraising quarter.

Buttigieg, Struggling With Black Voters, Releases Plan to Address Racial Inequities

South Bend police call out Buttigieg for sending pizza rather than apology after race comments

CNN's Axelrod Rips Buttigieg: Blacks Doing Worse Under His Leadership

Only Pete Buttigieg gets standing ovation from Corn Feed audience

New Republic Drops Out Of Climate Forum Over Backlash To Pete Buttigieg Op-Ed

Pete Buttigieg says it's "almost certain" we've had gay presidents

Pete Buttigieg Sets Hollywood Fundraisers With Ellen DeGeneres, Chelsea Handler and More

4. Elizabeth Warren 70.4 (Previous: 5th / 53.4) US Senator from Massachusetts 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Looking back at my initial analysis of this field, I'd say it's played out pretty closely to what I expected. Warren has surprised me though.

In an election where beating Trump is the most important characteristic for democratic voters, she seems to be grown in a lab to lose to him. She comes across as a stern elementary school principal who would make kids terrified to be called into her office, because she'd bore them to death by reading them the handbook.

Her DNA kit roll out was so catastrophic, I assumed democrats would see that her political instincts are awful. When put under the intense pressure Trump is sure to bring, she's going to collapse, and I figured democrats would recognize that.

Instead, she's in the top tier. This rise has been legitimately impressive for Warren.

It's also a dream come true for Donald Trump.

Other headlines:

The Activist Left Already Knows Who It Wants for President

Netroots Nation was the day Elizabeth Warren became president of the American left

Elizabeth Warren pledges to decriminalize border crossings

Warren plans to increase annual refugee admissions nearly 800 percent from FY2018

Warren, Biden Campaigns Appear to Find Loophole Around Paid Internships

Warren says she'll push to end Israel's 'occupation'

Warren staffer: 'I would totally be friends with Hamas'

Elizabeth Warren reintroduces legislation requiring corporations to disclose climate risk exposure

Elizabeth Warren Wants Reparations For Same-Sex Couples

Elizabeth Warren proposes executive orders to address race and gender pay gap

This is how Elizabeth Warren plans to close the pay gap for women of color

How much would a wealth tax really raise? Dueling economists reflect new split in Democratic Party

Elizabeth Warren Brings Ad Buying In-House

Elizabeth Warren says she raised $19 million in the second quarter of the year

3. Bernie Sanders 71.1 (Previous: 3rd / 67.2) US Senator from Vermont

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Sanders has fallen slowly but steadily in the polls the past couple of months, and while not every metric yet reflects it, the socialist wing seems more likely represented by Warren.

That being said, Bernie holds her off for third place. Warren and Bernie have reportedly struck a truce to not attack each other, an arrangement which benefits Warren far more than Sanders.

Bernie's machine and name recognition continues to keep him near the top of the heap, but one wonders how long that lasts as name recognition for other candidates get higher, and Iowa gets closer.

No matter if he wins or loses, he's moved the Overton window of the party in a dramatic way. And don't underestimate the appeal of his Medicare-for-all-humankind dream. Bernie may be too old and cranky to see socialized health care into the end zone, but he has advanced that ball much further than he had any right to.

Other headlines:

Bernie Sanders has 'deep sense of satisfaction' his positions are now 'centrist' among Dems

Bernie Sanders: I Will Cancel All $1.6 Trillion Of Your Student Loan Debt

Sanders hits back at Biden over criticism of 'Medicare for All'

Bernie Sanders: Nancy Pelosi shouldn't 'alienate' freshmen House Democrats

Why Sanders Wanted His Meeting With a Rabbi Kept Secret

Bernie Sanders Says Being the First Jewish President Would Be 'Another Barrier Broken Down'

Liberal billionaire calls Bernie Sanders a 'Communist' and 'a disaster zone'

Blackstone's Byron Wien: Markets are terrified of far-left Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Antiwar candidate Bernie Sanders faces backlash over the $1.2 trillion war machine he brought to Vermont

The time Bernie Sanders ranted about baseball in a low-budget film

Bernie Sanders shows off sword Ross Perot gave him

Bernie Sanders Raises $18 Million in 3 Months, Trailing Buttigieg

2. Kamala Harris 79.2 (Previous: 4th / 65.9) US Senator from California 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Harris has given back a good chunk of her post debate bounce, which is to be expected. While she rockets to number two in the power rankings, there are a few things to worry about.

The difference between Warren and Harris is notable. The candidates are nearly tied in most polls, but much of the strength of Harris is based on one spectacular moment. Warren alternatively seems to have a lower ceiling, but a stronger foundation.

The good news for Harris is she does incredibly well among voters that are actually paying attention, while her weakness lies with those who haven't really tuned in yet.

At some point, Harris has to clean up her mess of a policy package, which includes supporting a Bernie style Medicare for All without the Bernie style middle class tax hikes-- a combination that even the left admits makes no sense.

Quotes like this still feel way too accurate, "She's the easy-to-listen-to, poorly defined identity candidate." This needs to be sorted out eventually if she's actually going to win.

Other headlines:

It's Hard To Have A Conversation With Kamala Harris When She Doesn't Even Know What She's Talking About

Kamala Harris: Immigration Raids Are 'A Crime Against Humanity', there are 'babies in cages'

Harris doubles down on criticism of Biden's busing comments on The View

Mother Jones: Kamala Harris Wants to Bring Back Busing? Really?

Kamala Harris's Call for a Return to Busing Is Bold and Politically Risky

Race is 'America's Achilles' heel,' Harris tells African-American group

Kamala Harris claims her campaign is being targeted by Russian bots, also says she's not a plan factory

Harris proposes $100 billion plan to increase minority homeownership

What's Kamala Harris's record on Israel?

Kamala Harris Called Young People "Stupid" in 2015

Kamala Harris lags behind top-tier candidates in Q2 fundraising

Utah man arrested after alleged scheme to plan fake Kamala Harris fundraiser

1. Joe Biden 80.8 (Previous: 1st / 82.3) Former US Senator from Delaware and Former Vice President

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Biden's polling has mostly rebounded to his pre-debate status and he remains the favorite to be the nominee.

He can't survive too many more performances like his first debate however, and he needs to show voters that he can stand up to the heat President Trump is going to bring. In other words, don't get smoked again, fall over on your walker, or look like your dentures are going to fall out in the middle of a debate.

This is a real test for Biden's candidacy. He's had time to prepare, and he's had time to stretch the old muscles. No more excuses.

If Joe can get spry, he probably wins the nomination. But, that is far from a sure thing.

Other headlines:

NBC/WSJ poll: Biden tops 2020 Democratic field...

Joe Biden Decides He Doesn't Need to Stay Above the Fray After All

Biden campaigns as Obamacare's top defender

Biden says Democrats haven't been straightforward about 'Medicare for All'

Biden under fire for mass deportations under Obama

Biden refuses to apologize for high deportation numbers during Obama years

Joe Biden's campaign office opens in Philly with a protest, not a party

AOC: Segregationist controversy and debate performance raised question Biden could be too old for office

Are Biden's Apologies Killing His Electability Argument?

Liberal activists at Netroots Nation bet Joe Biden drops out of race

Joe and Jill Biden have made $15M since leaving White House

How Joe Biden, who called himself 'the poorest man in Congress,' became a multimillionaire

Penn Paid Joe Biden $775,000 to Expand Its "Global Outreach" … and Give Some Speeches

Biden: 'Occupation is a real problem'Joe Biden raised $21.5 million in second quarter, campaign announces

Joe Biden: I Promise To 'End The Forever Wars In Afghanistan And Middle East'

Joe Biden promises to 'cure cancer' if elected president

No, stealth Obamacare won’t fix the failed status-quo

Online Marketing/Unsplash

Another day, another proposed fix to a pressing national problem by a Democratic presidential hopeful. Former Vice President Joe Biden has positioned himself as the "moderate" leader of the Democratic Party, putting pressure on him to come up with a "sensible" alternative to Sen. Sanders' (I-Vt.) Medicare for All plan. But Biden's healthcare proposal, released July 15, doubles down on flawed, top-down solutions without offering any new ideas. Presidential hopefuls should instead pledge to unleash market innovation and lower healthcare prices for all.

Of course, a former vice president will inevitably find it difficult to make a clean policy break from the administration he has repeatedly hailed and defended. Biden's tenure as vice president made him into a second-tier political rockstar, and it makes sense that he's reluctant to separate himself from former President Obama's Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"). It's also no surprise that "Bidencare" preserves Obamacare's disastrous expansion of Medicaid, the federal government's insurance program for low-income Americans. His plan even provides a public option for residents of states that have not expanded Medicaid. Perhaps more surprising, or just disappointing, is how thoroughly the Democratic orthodoxy has embraced government medical insurance even at gargantuan cost, despite little evidence that it'll work.

RELATED: Medicare for all: Obamacare was only the first step

Back when he was a heartbeat away from the presidency, Biden vigorously defended Obamacare, criticizing Republican governors for failing to expand Medicaid and predicting that all states would eventually see the light. That never quite happened (as of now, 17 states wisely refuse to expand health insurance targeted at low-income Americans). But the Obama administration tried to cajole red and purple states into expanding the Medicaid eligibility threshold "up to 138 percent of the poverty level." Nevertheless, states such as Texas, Florida, and North Carolina wisely considered the evidence that Medicaid was breaking the bank — without helping the poor get access to the care they needed.

This evidence isn't just based on one or two stray studies produced by the "right" think-tank. In June 2018, Health Affairs published a blockbuster analysis of 77 studies on Medicaid's effectiveness, and the results may be disappointing for fans of government-provided insurance. Around 60 percent of the studies included in the meta-analysis found that health status and quality of care failed to improve for low-income patients after Medicaid expansion. The analysis also finds that a majority (56 percent of studies) found no improvement in the financial performance of hospitals post-Medicaid expansion. This finding contradicts claims by Obama, Biden and co. that Medicaid expansion would shift patients from the emergency room to doctor's offices, lowering system-wide costs.

These findings are scandalous for an expansion program that costs federal taxpayers at least $70 billion per year. How could all of this money be failing to improve outcomes? Plausibly, the types of institutions that accept Medicaid are larger facilities that aren't as great at delivering quality health-care as smaller offices? The copious paperwork and documentation required by the program don't really allow smaller facilities the bandwidth to deal with Medicaid in an efficient manner. Yet this documentation is necessary to curb rampant fraud in the program that costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year.

Greater Medicaid funding and corresponding anti-waste measures fail to address the cancer undermining the healthcare system: sky-high drug prices and expensive medical equipment.

Greater Medicaid funding and corresponding anti-waste measures fail to address the cancer undermining the healthcare system: sky-high drug prices and expensive medical equipment. Instead of pushing for ever-higher government spending, a President Biden could push for a streamlined Food and Drug Administration approval process for drugs and medical devices, which would keep medical costs down and give a green light to innovators everywhere. The cost to develop a single medication is now more than $2 billion, and an onerous FDA approval process costs lives by being too risk-averse.

Presidential hopefuls such as Biden should also pledge to work with states to roll-back "certificate of need" laws, which force medical institutions to jump through countless barriers to expand their facilities and invest in new services. It's not just hospitals and their patients that suffer from these needless laws; Harvard medical scholar David Grabowski sums up the evidence that these laws make nursing homes far worse and costlier than they need to be. Getting rid of these laws nationwide would give patients and consumers far more options when shopping around for the care and facilities they need.

The price problem gripping the American healthcare system simply won't go away while regulatory barriers and onerous approval processes continue to stifle the sector. Presidential hopefuls such as Biden can make a dent in this problem by supporting market reforms, instead of doubling-down on failed government healthcare.

Ross Marchand is a Young Voices contributor and the director of policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both fulfilled their goal of living to see the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Then, both died later that day — July 4, 1826. Adams was 90. Jefferson was 83.

Because of their failing health, Jefferson and Adams each declined many invitations to attend July 4th celebrations. Adams sent a letter to be read aloud at the 50th Independence Day celebration in his local town of Quincy, Massachusetts. He wrote that the Declaration is:

... a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.

It's remarkable how well the Founders understood human nature and what could happen to the United States. It's the postmodern mindset that increasingly rules the U.S. now. It has infected our institutions and untethered us from the bedrock principles of the Declaration. In its place? Hypocritical and vitriolic partisan righteous indignation.

Less than a century after Adams' and Jefferson's deaths, the most serious attempt to undermine the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution came from America's 28th president — Woodrow Wilson. He wrote:

Some citizens of this country have never got beyond the Declaration of Independence.

As if that's a bad thing.

During Wilson's career as a college professor, he thought deeply and wrote extensively of his contempt for our founding documents. His issue with them formed the core beliefs of Progressivism that are still alive today.

In 1911, before he was elected President, Wilson said in a speech:

I do not find the problems of 1911 solved in the Declaration of Independence ... It is the object of Government to make those adjustments of life which will put every man in a position to claim his normal rights as a living human being.

See what he does there? He completely inverts the Declaration — he's saying, you don't have inherent rights until government puts you in a position to claim them. That's the heart of Progressivism.

In a later speech, Wilson said:

If you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence, do not repeat the preface.

Wilson did not think the equality, natural rights, and consent-of-the-governed parts of the Declaration defined the proper role of government. He preferred the Declaration's list of grievances because they addressed specific problems. That's what he thought government existed to do — solve problems for people. And since people's problems change over time, so should the Constitution and government to keep up with the times.

Wilson said:

No doubt we are meant to have liberty; but each generation must form its own conception of what liberty is.

We hear this sentiment echoed all the time today: follow your heart, find your truth, etc.

Another key to Wilson's Progressive theory of government was human evolution. He thought that because humans were now more enlightened, they could be trusted not to abuse government power. The Declaration's committee of five (Adams, Sherman, Franklin, Livingston and Jefferson) would've laughed Wilson out of the room.

It's hard to believe that less than 150 years after the signing of the Declaration, the U.S. president — Wilson — was saying this:

We are not bound to adhere to the doctrines held by the signers of the Declaration of Independence: we are as free as they were to make and unmake governments. We are not here to worship men or a document. Every Fourth of July should be a time for examining our standards, our purposes, for determining afresh what principles, what forms of power we think most likely to effect our safety and happiness. That and that alone is the obligation the Declaration lays upon us.

Wilson was so effective at imposing his philosophy on government that he forever diverted the U.S. presidency away from the Constitution. Progressives have kept Wilson's torch alive ever since.

Progressives are still hostile to the Declaration of Independence because of this idea of “historical contingency" which holds that truths change over time. Progressives think the “self-evident" truths of the Declaration are outdated and may no longer apply. And that means the Constitution based on those truths may no longer apply either. Wilson and Progressives especially don't like the whole separation of powers thing, because it hinders the fast action they want out of government. They want a justice warrior president who will bring swift change by fiat.

The current trend in attacking the Declaration and Constitution is to tear down the men who wrote them. In late 2015, students at the University of Missouri and the College of William & Mary, placed notes all over the statues of Thomas Jefferson on their respective campuses. The handwritten notes labeled Jefferson things like, “racist," “rapist," “pedophile" (not sure what that one's supposed to mean), “How dare you glorify him," “I wouldn't be here if it was up to him," and “Black Lives Matter."

That is the handiwork of students who are blinded by self-righteous victimhood and can't see the value and merit that the Declaration still holds for us today. After these incidents, Annette Gordon-Reed offered a reasoned defense of Jefferson. Reed is a respected history professor at Harvard Law School, who also happens to be a black woman. She wrote:

I understand why some people think his statues should be removed, but not all controversial figures of the past are created equal. I think Jefferson's contributions to the history of the United States outweigh the problems people have with aspects of his life. He is just too much a part of the American story to pretend that he was not there ... The best of his ideals continue to influence and move people. The statues should be a stimulus for considering all these matters at William & Mary and the University of Missouri.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Woodrow Wilson's disdain for the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln loved it. If there is one overarching theme in Lincoln's speeches, it is the Declaration. Lincoln pointed the nation back to the Declaration as a mission statement, which ended slavery and preserved the Union.

Unlike Wilson, who recommended leaving out the Preamble, Lincoln considered it the most vital part. To Lincoln, the self-evident truths were universal, timeless, and more important than the list of grievances. Lincoln wrote that these truths were:

... applicable to all men and all times ... that today, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression.

In a speech Lincoln gave in 1861, shortly after he was first elected president, he said:

I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence… I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the mother-land, but that sentiment in the Declaration which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time.

Lincoln went on to say that he would rather be assassinated than see the nation forfeit the principles of the Declaration. His Gettysburg Address is a brilliant, concise renewal of the Declaration:

... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

We cannot assume that this radical idea of freedom will always be embraced by Americans. It has found hostility on our shores every step of the way. The Declaration's principles must be continually defended. Because while humans do have certain unalienable rights that are endowed by our Creator, there is darkness in the world, and for some strange reason humans, while valuing freedom, also seem to have a natural bent toward tyranny. That's why we must understand and discuss the Declaration. It's not alarmist. It's not a quaint history lesson. It's a reality, right now, that the fundamental principles of the Declaration are under attack. The Founders would have undoubtedly shuddered at most of the rhetoric from last week's Democratic presidential debates. Left to its own mob devices, even America would turn its back on freedom.

Shortly before his death in 1826, 90-year-old John Adams was asked to recommend a toast that could be given in his honor on July 4th. Adams didn't hesitate. He suggested, “Independence Forever." The small group of visitors silently glanced at each other for a moment, before someone asked Adams if he'd like to add anything else. Adams shifted forward in his chair, leaned on his cane, stared intently at the men, and replied, “Not a word."

China is having its Boston Tea Party moment

Unknown Wong / Unsplash

Freedom. It usually begins as a whisper. A secret passed on between patrons at a secluded bar or private meeting. And no matter how hard the tyrants may try and stop it, no matter how many dams they throw up to try and contain it, the whispers eventually become a flood. Sometimes it takes longer to break through, but it's the same EVERY TIME. Liberty and freedom always wins. It's an unstoppable force that knows no immovable object.

For us it was exactly 243 years ago to this month that those whispers became a flood. A group of ragtag colonists took on the world's only superpower —and won. Our forefathers proved it — freedom refuses to recognize tyranny as an immovable object. The world was forever changed.

And I can't help but see the poetic justice as more whispers became a flood, defying their own immovable object, just three days before all of us were buying fireworks to celebrate our Independence Day. But this time it was just off the coast of mainland China.

Last week over a MILLION protesters filled the streets in Hong Kong. Literally a FLOOD of humans looking for one thing — freedom. They stormed the government building that is the equivalent of their Congress. They smashed windows, broke down doors, and a photo was taken that I think just might be the picture of the year.

A British colonial flag, a symbol thrown out when Hong Kong was given back to China, was draped — BY THE PROTESTORS — over the chair of their head of government. I can't restate how historic this actually is. The people of Hong Kong, with a population that is over 90 percent ethnic Han Chinese, are saying to the mainland that they prefer colonial rule over the tyranny of the Chinese government. Leftists would tell you that communism is the remedy for colonialism, but for those living in the dark shadow of communism, they actually prefer colonial rule over what they now face.

The local Hong Kong government is caught between the immovable object of the Chinese communist government, and the unstoppable force of liberty.

When Hong Kong was given back to the mainland, China agreed to allow them a few freedoms that the rest of the Chinese don't enjoy. They're free to engage in protest against the government and they maintain a legislative body — both of which are outlawed on the mainland. But, as every tyrannical oppressor always does, China has been looking to reel that in. Most recently, China attempted to make it possible to extradite dissenters back to Beijing. The result? The quiet whispers of freedom, the secrets told in private at clandestine meetings, became a flood of millions in the streets.

On July 3rd, police began a crackdown. More than 13 people have been arrested so far. If China eventually gets their way, those 13 people will no doubt be the first of many to be extradited over to the mainland. Their crime? The dream of freedom. As of right now, the extradition law has been temporarily delayed. The local Hong Kong government is caught between the immovable object of the Chinese communist government, and the unstoppable force of liberty.

History has shown who will win in the end. Yesterday, over 200,000 protestors gathered at the high speed train station that links mainland China to Hong Kong. The message was just as clear as the British colonial flag hung inside their legislative building. For our forefathers it was symbolized with the Gadsden Flag and the phrase “Death To Tyranny." The message is simple: “we will not be ruled. Freedom knows no immovable object."

News of the protest movement has been censored in mainland China, but how long will they be able to contain THEIR OWN whispers with over two hundred thousand freedom lovers camped out at the bridge between Hong Kong and mainland China? How long before those whispers spread to secret meeting locations in Beijing or Shanghai? How long before that cascades to the Christian and Muslim minorities that are tired of being rounded up and thrown into camps?

We might have just witnessed the Chinese version of the Boston Tea Party. July 4th is still a long way away for them, but — as it does time and time again — freedom and liberty always win in the end.