Monday, October 9, 2023

Last Call For Spoilers Ahead, Con't

As we were warned last week, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is trashing his family's legacy one last time in order to run as a third-party presidential spoiler.

Environmental lawyer and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced on Monday his independent candidacy for president, officially ending his effort to defeat President Joe Biden in the Democratic primary in favor of a long-shot general election bid.

“I’m here to declare myself an independent candidate for president of the United States,” Kennedy said in remarks in Philadelphia.

Kennedy’s announcement comes after several weeks of speculation about his future in the 2024 field. CNN previously reported Kennedy met with the chair of the Libertarian Party earlier this year to discuss their common beliefs. And last week, a super PAC supporting Kennedy’s presidential campaign released the results of a poll they conducted testing Kennedy’s strength in a hypothetical three-way race between Biden and former President Donald Trump.

The campaign will host a series of events in Texas, Florida and Georgia later this month, a campaign official told CNN, pledging to travel “everywhere” in the lead-up to next year’s general election. The official said the campaign is confident they’ll gain ballot access in every state ahead of November 2024.

Independent and third-party candidates have struggled in the past to garner substantial support in presidential elections. In 1992, Texas businessman Ross Perot mounted one of the most successful independent presidential candidacies in recent history, which ended with him receiving 8% of the vote in the general election that was ultimately won by Bill Clinton.

Kennedy’s campaign as an independent could further complicate a general election race that’s already expected to be closely contested. A Reuters/Ipsos poll of a hypothetical three-way race between Biden, Trump and Kennedy conducted last week among likely voters found 14% of voters supported Kennedy, with 40% supporting Trump and 38% supporting Biden. With over a year until the general election, it’s unclear whether the Kennedy campaign can translate that level of support into votes in November 2024.

“Voters should not be deceived by anyone who pretends to have conservative values. The fact is that RFK has a disturbing background steeped in radical, liberal positions,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement that criticized Kennedy over his positions on China, guns, the environment and abortion. “… A RFK candidacy is nothing more than a vanity project for a liberal Kennedy looking to cash in on his family’s name.”
And of course as I've said many times previously, Kennedy is trying to put Trump back in office for his own reasons, and Trump is pretending Kennedy is a threat to him and not Biden, and it's all a very nice little kabuki act all the way around.  

We'll see how much damage he can do to America in the year ahead.

Israeli Getting Serious Out There, Con't

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Biden on Sunday that Israel does not have any choice but to unleash a ground operation in Gaza. "We have to go in," the Israeli leader said, according to three Israeli and U.S. sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Netanyahu's message signals what his country's response to Hamas' attack will look like in the days and weeks ahead in what the Israeli prime minister has said will be a "long and difficult war."

Driving the news: The Israeli military announced on Monday it has mobilized 300,000 reserve soldiers — the largest number of reservists called to duty in decades — as part of preparations for a possible ground offensive in Gaza.

Behind the scenes: During his call with Netanyahu, Biden raised the issue of Israeli hostages in Gaza, according to the three sources."We have to go in. We can't negotiate now," Netanyahu said.
The White House and the Israeli Prime Minister's Office declined to comment.
Netanyahu told Biden that Israel had no other choice but to respond with force because a country can't show weakness in the Middle East. "We need to restore deterrence," Netanyahu told Biden, according to the three sources. Biden did not try to press Netanyahu or convince him not to go through with a ground operation.

Between the lines: According to a U.S. source, Biden is expected to handle the current Gaza war in a similar way to how he handled the 2021 Gaza war. The U.S. gave Israel public backing and held frequent and low-profile diplomatic engagement with Netanyahu and other leaders in the region.
Kevin McCarthy, sensing a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the greatest upward white guy fail since Dubya, is now demanding his own job back because of course we can't have a leadership battle after a terrorist attack on our ally.

McCarthy called it the “wrong” message for the world to not have a speaker amid the crisis: “Is our conference just going to select somebody, only to throw them out in another 81 days?”

Any attempt to reinstall McCarthy would face long odds. Scalise and Jordan have already lined up endorsements for the speakership, and McCarthy’s detractors remain dug in against him.

The former speaker acknowledged being in uncharted territory with the powers of Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to lead the chamber unclear. But McCarthy said the House should act to support Israel.

In a speech evocative of the pomp and circumstance of a speakership, McCarthy outlined five prongs to address the Middle East crisis: Rescuing U.S. hostages currently being held by Hamas, supplying Israel with new weapons, confronting Iran, addressing U.S. domestic national security and confronting anti-Semitism.

McCarthy last week became the first speaker in U.S. history to be ousted. McCarthy noted he lost his post despite overwhelming support from the GOP conference, pointing out that just eight Republicans joined with Democrats to toss him from the speakership.

McCarthy said the U.S. goal should be to “destroy Hamas” and additional assistance should go beyond replenishing the Iron Dome missile defense system.

“This will not be Afghanistan. We will not leave Americans on the ground,” McCarthy said
Now, Hamas butchering hundreds at a Peace for Gaza rally and taking hundreds more hostage is a terrorist act of war, full stop. But it's pretty scuzzy for both Bibi and Kevin as they figure using this attack as impetus to keep them in power for years to come is going to pay off for them in the end.
A lot of other people, places and things in Gaza are going to be destroyed over the next several weeks and months other than Hamas. 

GOP Goes Down Mexico Way

At this point multiple GOP candidates for President are promising to commit acts of outright war in Mexico in order to try to stop the flow of drugs and migrants into the US, and even if somehow Trump isn't the candidate by some miracle, the also-rans are more than willing to run on invading our southern neighbor.

Ron DeSantis wants suspected drug smugglers at the U.S.-Mexico border to be shot dead. Nikki Haley promises to send American special forces into Mexico. Vivek Ramaswamy has accused Mexico's leader of treating drug cartels as his "sugar daddy" and says that if he is elected president, "there will be a new daddy in town."

Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for the 2024 nomination and long the person who has shaped his party's rhetoric on the border, has often blamed Mexico for problems in the United States and promises new uses of military force and covert action if he returns to the White House.

Many of the GOP presidential candidates say they would carry out potential acts of war against Mexico in response to the trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. More than 75,000 people in the U.S. died last year from overdoses of synthetic opioids, an annual figure more than 20 times higher than a decade ago.

The candidates' antagonism toward Mexico is welcomed by some families who have lost loved ones to fentanyl and have argued that Washington has not done enough to address the worst drug crisis in U.S. history. However, analysts and nonpartisan experts warn that military force is not the answer and instead fuels the racism and xenophobia that undermine efforts to stop drug trafficking.

"You've got politicking on this side. And then on the Mexican side of the border, you've got a president who is turning a blind eye to what's going on in Mexico and who has completely gutted bilateral collaboration with the United States," said Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico's ambassador to the U.S. from 2007 to 2013. "That's a very combustible mixture."

Andrea Thomas' daughter died at age 32 after taking half of a counterfeit pill laced with fentanyl that looked like her prescription pills for abdominal pain. Thomas started the foundation Voices for Awareness in Grand Junction, Colorado, to raise the alarm about fentanyl.

Thomas says people she knows are interested in what the candidates are proposing and feel that President Joe Biden's administration has not properly responded to the crisis. In a letter to the presidential candidates, Thomas and an assembly of other groups urge the politicians to do "all that can be done" to stop the manufacturing and smuggling of the drug.

"This drug is like no drug we have ever seen before," she said. "We need some strong measures. We have no more time to waste."

Democrats also face immense political pressure on border issues heading into next year's election. The White House has funded national programs to reduce fentanyl overdoses and sanctioned Chinese companies blamed for importing the chemicals used to make the drug.

Mexico has failed to address its problem with fentanyl production and trafficking. Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador repeatedly denies his country is producing the synthetic opioid despite enormous evidence to the contrary.

Border agents seized nearly 13 tons (12,000 kilograms) of fentanyl at the U.S.-Mexico border between September 2022 and August, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

At the second GOP primary debate late last month, candidates reiterated that they would use military forces to go after drug gangs in Mexico.

"As commander in chief, I'm going to use the U.S. military to go after the Mexican drug cartels," said DeSantis, the Florida governor. He has promised that people suspected of smuggling drugs across the southern border would end up "stone cold dead." That raises the prospect of border agents being authorized to shoot people on sight before any investigation into whether those people were carrying drugs.

Of course if DeSantis, Trump, Haley and the rest really want to stop drugs from Mexico, we need to go after Americans, not Mexicans...

U.S. government data undercuts the claim that people seeking asylum and other border crossers are responsible for drug trafficking. About 90% of fentanyl seizures were made at official land crossings, not between crossings where people entered illegally. At a hearing in July, James Mandryck, a CBP deputy assistant commissioner, said 73% of fentanyl seizures at the border since the previous October were smuggling attempts carried out by U.S. citizens, with the rest being done by Mexican citizens.

Something tells me that the next Republican administration really will shoot first and ignore questions, or at least ignore answers that questions might raise. 
Related Posts with Thumbnails