Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren launches 2020 presidential bid

The 69-year-old from the US state of Massachusetts has already become a main target of President Donald Trump.

Senator Warren waves at the crowd at the campaign rally in Lawrence, Massachusetts [Brian Snyder/Reuters]
Senator Warren waves at the crowd at the campaign rally in Lawrence, Massachusetts [Brian Snyder/Reuters]

Senator Elizabeth Warren has said she will run for president, adding a fierce advocate of economic populism to an already crowded field of Democrats in the United States vying for the presidency in 2020.

The Massachusetts Democrat, a leader of the party’s progressive wing, made her announcement on Saturday from an historic site in Lawrence, northwest of Boston, that launched the US organised labour movement.

Warren, a Harvard Law School professor-turned-senator, may be the most well-known figure to enter the presidential race. Since being elected to the Senate in 2012, Warren has stood on the most progressive end of the Democratic Party, advocating higher taxes on the wealthy and consumer protections.

Elizabeth Warren makes big move towards 2020 presidential run

Her platform includes a tax on the richest 75,000 Americans.

“Hardworking people are up against a small group of people that holds far too much power, not just in our economy but also in our democracy,” Warren said at the rally in Lawrence. “We are here to say enough is enough.”

She called President Donald Trump a “product of a rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else”.

Native American ancestry dispute

The 69-year-old from the US state of Massachusetts has already become a main target of Trump, who has dubbed Warren “Pocahontas” for previously identifying herself as a Native American, a controversy that has plagued the run-up to her candidacy.

The storm over Warren’s ancestry claim deepened when she sought to neutralise the attacks by releasing a DNA analysis in October, which said that she had a Native American ancestor “six – 10 generations ago”.

The Cherokee Nation blasted Warren for the test, which they said was a false claim to tribal membership, leading the senator to apologise.

Speaking from Washington, Al Jazeera’s correspondent Heidi Zhou-Castro said that as popular as Warren’s wealth reform proposals may be with the liberal base, “she does have quite a liability with her claims of Native American ancestry.”

“She seems to not be able to escape the controversy surrounding these claims,” Zhou-Castro said.

“Democratic voters have said in polls that their primary concern leading up to 2020 is selecting a candidate who can defeat Trump, and they’re worried that just as Trump was able to use Hilary Clinton’s emails scandals and blow that into a big thing that was very damaging to her campaign, that he may use this claim of Elizabeth Warren’s Native American ancestry as her Achilles’ heel.”

Zhou-Castro went on to say that Warren’s major opponent at this point is former Vice President Joe Biden, who despite not yet declaring his candidacy, is leading the field in polling among would-be primary Democratic voters.

Pope Francis confirms priests’ abuse of nuns included “sexual slavery”

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Nuns have suffered and are still suffering sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests and bishops, and have even been held as sexual slaves, Pope Francis confirmed on Tuesday. The abuse was so severe in one case that an entire congregation of nuns was dissolved by former Pope Benedict.

The scope of the abuse of nuns by clergy members first came to light with the publication at the beginning of February of the monthly Vatican magazine “Women Church World.” The edition included Francis’ own take on the scandal — long known about by the Vatican but virtually never discussed — in which he blamed the unchecked power wielded by priests and higher clergy across the Catholic Church for such crimes.

An Associated Press journalist who first reported on the scandal last year asked Pope Francis on his flight home from the Arabian Peninsula on Tuesday whether enough was being done by the Church hierarchy to address the problem.

The pontiff conceded that it was a problem and said more action was needed. He insisted the will to confront the abuse is there, and stressed that the problem is not new, and that the Church has been working to address it for some time.

“It’s a path that we’ve been on. Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a female congregation which was at a certain level, because this slavery of women had entered it — slavery, even to the point of sexual slavery — on the part of clerics or the founder,” the pope conceded.

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Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press center, later confirmed to CBS News that the order of nuns dissolved under Benedict was the Community of St. Jean in France. The reason the order was dissolved had not previously been made public.

The Saint Jean order was dissolved in 2005, the first year Pope Benedict served as the head of the Church. He stepped down and Pope Francis took over as pontiff in 2013.

“I would like to underscore that he was a man who had the courage to do many things on this topic,” Pope Francis said of his predecessor on Tuesday.

The pope confirmed that the abuse of nuns was an ongoing problem, but said it was only in “certain congregations, predominantly new ones and in certain regions more than others.”

While the pontiff did not provide further detail on Tuesday, nuns in India and Chile, at least, have previously reported abuse at the hands of priests.

Francis told reporters on his flight that the Catholic Church,” shouldn’t be scandalized by this,” adding that “there are steps in a process,” and “we are working on it.”

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The Vatican’s new openness in discussing the abuse of nuns comes after years of revelations about clergy abusing children, mostly boys, in their congregations across the globe, and senior clergy members covering up those crimes.

On his last flight home from an international trip, just last week, Pope Francis warned that expectations for an upcoming landmark Vatican summit on clergy sexual abuse should be “deflated,” as the problem was unlikely to be resolved through it.

The pontiff’s move to lower expectations was likely a disappointment to many Catholics, particularly in the U.S. where the last year has seen a string of revelations about senior church leaders covering up abuse.

Collins on shutdown: Trump’s plan “is by no means ideal but it would result in the reopening of government, my priority.”

Collins cited a litany of problems caused by the shutdown in a Senate floor speech Wednesday. She said Trump’s plan “is by no means ideal but it would result in the reopening of government, my priority.”

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WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is coming out in support of President Donald Trump’s proposal for ending the government shutdown. Her spokeswoman says she also intends to vote for a Democratic alternative to reopen the government.

Collins cited a litany of problems caused by the shutdown in a Senate floor speech Wednesday. She said Trump’s plan “is by no means ideal but it would result in the reopening of government, my priority.”

The Senate will vote Thursday on the proposals, both of which face likely defeat. But Collins said, “the outlines of a compromise are before us.”

One bill reflects Trump’s demand for border wall funding in exchange for temporary protections for some immigrants. The Democratic proposal calls for short-term funding while a compromise is hashed out.

 

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Protestors call on Sen. Collins to end the shutdown. Furloughed workers, others rallied and marched to Sen. Susan Collins’ Portland, Maine office to deliver letter

PORTLAND, Maine — Protestors in Maine are calling on Sen. Susan Collins to end the partial federal government shutdown. Organizers rallied and then marched to her office in Portland to deliver a large letter with demands that she publicly call for a vote and stand with Maine workers who are currently furloughed.

Some in attendance are working without a paycheck, including TSA employees in Maine. Bill Reiley is a TSA worker from Alfred, Maine and the vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees. Reiley said his co-workers couldn’t join him at the rally because they were on the clock.

“They are at the Jetport,” said Reiley. “They’re protecting the flights and protecting our national security. They are doing it as an indentured servant because they are not being paid.”

The rally was held prior to Sen. Collins speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. Collins spoke in favor of President Trump’s proposed plan to end the government shutdown. The president’s plan includes three years of temporary protective status for dreamers and funding for the border wall.

Senator Collins also talked about the Dreamers part of the plan saying she would rather their protective status to be permanent, rather than for just three years.

The Senate will vote on President Trump’s plan to end the government shut down tomorrow.

Another protest rally is planned Thursday in Portland and Bangor at 1:00 p.m.

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Opinion: On the Electoral Collage / retro-report: National Woman’s Day in Portland Maine, 2012

Jacqui Voltaire and Peggy Hill hand out flowers on National Woman’s Day, 2012

On the Electoral College and being a Green

It is all part of a corrupt electoral system. That is why I am a Green. After Jill Stein ran she on her own went to 3 states to put law suits against the corrupt system and has just won 2 of them changing how elections will happen in those states. So we are working on it! Power to the People!

Love, jacqui

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by Jacqui Voltaire, the Maine Resistance

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Women’s March 2019: Thousands across the US march for third year!

Women and supporters across the US march against Trump amid government shutdown and controversy within the movement.

Washington, DC – Sherry Cain, a 78-year-old Kentucky native, said she’s lived a long time and has seen a lot of change in the world, “but never anything like this in our country”.

That’s why she brought her family to Washington, DC on Saturday for the third annual Women’s March.

“I am just so fearful for their future if continue on this road,” she told Al Jazeera, pointing to the government shutdown, US President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and what she called the “abdication of Congress of their duties”.

“We have to do something,” she said.

Four generations of the Cain family – Sherry, her daughter, granddaughter and great grandson – joined thousands of women and their supporters who marched nationwide.

This year’s march came against the backdrop of a partial government shutdown, now in its 29th day, that started after Trump refused to back down on his demand for more than $5bn in funding for a wall on the US southern border.

The forecast of rain and snow in Washington, DC, on Saturday, combined with the National Park Service limited snow removal services due to the shutdown prompted DC organisers to change the route of the march, according to local media. Participants started at Freedom Plaza, a few blocks from the White House, instead of the National Mall, as initially planned.

Sherry Cain brought her daughters, granddaughter and great-grandson to the march [Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath/Al Jazeera]

Protesters marched past the Trump International Hotel chanting, “All for one and one for all, stop the shutdown, stop the wall.”

At one point, a woman released a Trump baby balloon into the air and the crowd started waving, cheering and yelling, “good-bye!”

New US Congress makes history with record number of women

Some held signs that called for Trump to be impeached, others emphasised the need to believe survivors of sexual assault and rape, and many demanded an end to the shutdown.

Raquel Chee held a sign that read, “See me. I am still here.”

“We are here to tell everybody …that we’re not going anywhere,” said Chee, a member of the Window Rock Navajo Nation in Arizona.

She told Al Jazeera she brought her four children with her to the march to give a voice to her brother, uncles and and murdered or missing indigenous people across North America.

“We are here to speak out for them, remember them and bring light on the issue that our relatives go missing and murdered all the time,” she said.

Raquel Chee said she’s march for all the indigenous people who have been murdered or gone missing [Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath/Al Jazeera]

Historic gains

The Women’s March movement began after the 2016 election of Trump. The day after his inauguration in January 2017, millions worldwide marched for women’s rights.

According to organisers, this year’s march focused on the success of the 2018 midterm elections, which saw a record number of women run and get elected to office. The first Muslim women, Native American women, and youngest woman were recently sworn into Congress.

The movement also hopes to turn its attention to the presidential race in 2020.

Thousands marched past the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, chanting ‘stop the shutdown, stop the wall’ [Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath/Al Jazeera]

In major cities, however, participants held separate marches due to controversy within the Women’s March movement.

In November, Teresa Shook, one of the Women’s March co-founders, accused other organisers of steering “the Movement away from its true course”, referring to allegations of anti-Semitic ties directed at Linda Sarsour, who criticises the US’s policy towards Israel, and Tamika Mallory, who maintains an association with Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam.

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US Women’s March: Controversy around co-president

In a Facebook post, Shook called on Sarsour, Mallory, Bob Bland and Carmen Perez to step down and “to let others lead who can restore the faith in the Movement and its original intent”.

The four organisers denied the allegations, but Sarsour said in a statement that the movement “should have been faster and clearer in helping people understand our values and our commitment to fighting anti-Semitism”.

Since then several local marches and activists have sought to distance themselves from the national movement.

Despite the controversy, thousands of women showed up to marches on Saturday.

This year’s march came after a year of historic gains for women in politics in the US [Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath/Al Jazeera]

Although the number is far less than the first march in 2017, 19-year-old Howard University student Ciana Moore said it’s still important to continue standing up for everyone has been affected by Trump’s presidency.

“It’s amazing to see all different types of women, all ages, people from all over coming together,” she told Al Jazeera as the Washington, DC march was just getting under way.

“It’s really empowering to be here for each other.”

SOURCE: by / AL JAZEERA NEWS

Maine: Woman’s March 2019

Marchers in Maine marched in Portland, Bethel, Eastport, Machias, and Brunswick.

PORTLAND, Maine — The 2019 Women’s March Maine brought thousands of people together in solidarity to advocate for women all over the state.

Marchers in Maine marched in Portland, Bethel, Eastport, Machias, and Brunswick.

In Portland there were hundreds lining Congress, High, and Pearl streets.

Women's March Maine 2019

Spokesperson for the Women’s March Maine Sarah Gaba says, “We’ve been organizing locally to advocate for the policies that matter to us, and impact women’s lives, and we’re flooding the streets in solidarity with our sisters in DC to remind the country that Maine resists”.

Author: Lydia Libby, Newscenter Maine

Sexual Predator/Comic Louis CK makes fun of the Parkland School Shooting survivors.

Louis CKLouis CK wrote, directed and acted in I Love You Daddy

Survivors of the Parkland school shooting in Florida have hit out at comedian Louis CK after he was heard poking fun at them in a stand-up set.

The leaked audio apparently came from one of his comeback routines a year after he admitted sexual misconduct.

In it, he ridiculed the Parkland pupils who have become anti-gun activists.

Survivor Ryan Deitsch tweeted: “It’s a shame when you sink so low that your comeback plan is to make fun of school shooting survivors for speaking out.”

Another survivor, Sofie Whitney, said he “must be really intimidated by us kids”.

Alex Wind said the audience members who could be heard laughing and clapping at Louis CK’s jokes were “just as much at fault”. And Delaney Tarr, who had to hide in a cupboard from the gunman, added her voice.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in February’s shooting, suggested the comic “come to our house and try out your new pathetic jokes”.

Jaime was one of 17 people who were killed when a 19-year-old expelled former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on 14 February.

A group of students went on to set up the campaign group March For Our Lives to lobby for tighter gun control measures.

In his routine, Louis CK could be heard making fun of the survivors, saying: “Why does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way, and now I’ve got to listen to you talking?”

A version of the comic’s expletive-laden set was posted on YouTube on 30 December.

Louis CK’s career took a downturn after he admitted several instances of sexual misconduct in November 2017. He said he had “wielded power irresponsibly” and could hardly wrap his head around the “scope of hurt” he had caused.

His statement also said: “I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”

That time seems to be up, however, and he returned to performing low-key shows in comedy clubs in August.

Part of the leaked routine also included criticism of young people identifying as gender neutral and people with learning difficulties.

The BBC has contacted Louis CK’s lawyer for a response.

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Meet the Texas Speech Pathologist Who Lost School Job for Refusing to Sign Pro-Israel, Anti-BDS Oath

DECEMBER 18, 2018

A Palestinian-American speech pathologist in Austin, Texas, has filed a federal lawsuit for losing her job after refusing to sign a pro-Israel oath. Bahia Amawi is an Arabic-speaking child language specialist who had worked for nine years in the Pflugerville Independent School District. But she lost her job last year after she declined to sign a pledge that she would “not boycott Israel during the term of the contract” and that she would not take any action that is “intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel.” We speak with Bahia Amawi and Gadeir Abbas, senior litigation attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He is representing Amawi in her lawsuit against the Pflugerville Independent School District and the state of Texas.