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|Sanders campaign boss concedes he may not win New Hampshire
The campaign manager for Bernie Sanders emphasized Thursday that New Hampshire is a critical presidential primary state he expects Sanders to win, but he's leaving room for a scenario in which Sanders falls short. Faiz Shakir said he doesn't "like the language of must-win," though he does believe it is an important early voting state.
POSTED AUGUST 22, 2019 8:44 PM
|Trump Invited Himself to Denmark Before Canceling Trip, Danes Say
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos GettySpeaking to reporters on the White House’s South Lawn in late July, President Donald Trump revealed that he was “looking at” a stop in Denmark after an upcoming trip to Poland to attend a World War II commemorative ceremony.For officials in Copenhagen, the comment came as a surprise. Although it is customary in Denmark for there to be a standing invitation for the U.S. president—and though officials in both countries had been discussing the possibility of an American delegation visiting—no formal invitation had actually been extended to Trump, according to two senior Danish officials and an individual who works closely with the Trump administration in Copenhagen.By the next day, Queen Margrethe II had issued the invite, and the White House had officially announced the president’s plans to visit the country. Over the subsequent days, much planning went into preparing for the president’s visit, which was supposed to include meetings with high-level officials from Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands. It was designed to be a decadent affair: the Queen’s staff was in the midst of ordering the crystal for the tables and flowers for the palace for the big state dinner with Trump. Danish business leaders had finalized plans for roundtable discussions with White House officials about increasing investments in the U.S. Officials in the country’s ministry of foreign affairs were preparing talking points to promote increased cooperation between the U.S. and Denmark in the Arctic. But the frenetic planning came to a stop this past week, when Trump abruptly cancelled the trip after being publicly rebuffed for his proposal that the United States buy Greenland from Denmark. The cancellation set off a round of largely critical commentary within the Danish press and among Danish officials, angry that the president canceled a trip he proposed. Some took to social media, saying the president had “invited himself” to the country. Even the former U.S. ambassador to Denmark posted about the invite situation.The White House did not return a request for comment about how the Denmark trip came to be. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to a request for comment.The fallout from this most bizarre of geopolitical affairs has raised the possibility of tangible diplomatic riffs between two countries that have historically had strong working relations. Before Trump cancelled the trip, there was a growing likelihood that his arrival in Denmark would have been met with protests over his administration’s climate policies. But while those hotspots were anticipated, officials in Copenhagen were caught off guard by Trump’s suggestion the U.S. buy Greenland, following a report last week by the Wall Street Journal that revealed the idea. Greenland was never supposed to be a part of the talks during the president’s visit, Danish officials say, and they weren’t sure how to respond to questions from the country’s press about it, two senior officials told The Daily Beast. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told one reporter, in Danish, that Trump’s proposal “Det er en absurd diskussion,” or, in English, “It is an absurd discussion.”The word “absurd” set off a fire inside the White House, the president getting so frustrated that he took to the South Lawn, telling the press pool that Frederiksen’s words were “nasty.”“All she had to do was say no," Trump said Wednesday, explaining why he was scuttling the trip. Officials in Copenhagen were sent scrambling. As of Thursday afternoon U.S. diplomats said they were fielding calls from Danish officials who—in an attempt to smooth things over—offered up the explanation that “absurd” in Danish doesn’t mean the same thing as it does in English. Individuals who work regularly with the U.S. State Department in Copenhagen said the line from officials in Denmark is that the word “absurd” can have a less severe meaning in Danish, including “it makes no sense” or “it is out of place in the context.” “It looks like we have a lost-in-translation situation on our hands,” one Danish diplomat told The Daily Beast.Back home, Trump’s decision to scrap the visit was met with a mix of confusion, derision, and post-hoc rationalizations. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) told a local television station that he had been the one who had originated the idea of purchasing Greenland in conversations with Trump months back. Cotton called it patently obvious that the administration would seek to purchase the country from Denmark’s stewardship. Other lawmakers were less convinced. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), a member of both the House Ways and Means Committee and Budget Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday requesting an accounting of the funds spent by the State Department in preparation of Trump’s trip. “Knowing the extensive background work that goes into planning any presidential travel, especially overseas, this action by the President raises important fiscal questions for Congress,” the letter reads. “Our country is already suffering a nearly $1 trillion budget deficit as a result of the tax cuts pushed through by Republicans in the last Congress, while many Americans cannot afford their medicine or have access to safe drinking water. The President’s reaction underscores his weakening of American credibility around the world as well as his carelessness with taxpayer dollars and resources.”Though Trump has cancelled his trip to Denmark, there have been no changes to his plan to head to Poland, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham told The Daily Beast. Meanwhile, officials and business leaders in Denmark said they were briefing their staff about how to talk about Trump and his Greenland proposal and have asked them to use softer language. “We just need to be extra careful how we frame this story and this issue because we are in such a delicate time period now,” one official said. Two Danish officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said their administration was walking a fine line between apologizing to the U.S.—which would anger some constituents who oppose Trump—and maintaining strong diplomatic ties. The U.S. is Denmark’s largest trade partner outside of Europe and Danish companies have increased their investment in the American technology and health sectors. According to State Department data, Danish investment supports about 75,000 jobs in the U.S. “At the end of the day the U.S. being an ally of Denmark is a big deal. We need to maintain the relationship,” one official said. “We can have a discussion about the Arctic. We were planning on doing that.”Despite the warnings, Danish officials have continued to use “absurd” in press interviews. Denmark’s minister of foreign affairs, who held a call with Pompeo Wednesday, said on Danish television the same day that it was “absurd to discuss something that is not a reality.” The press in Denmark has questioned Danish officials, including Frederiksen, about their use of the word “absurd” and if they would continue to use it in the face of diplomatic tensions between Copenhagen and Washington. “I’m not going to get into a war of words with anyone, including the American president,” Frederiksen said. “Kim Kielsen has made it clear Greenland is not for sale and I support that.” This Isn’t the Madman Theory. This Is a Madman President.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
POSTED AUGUST 22, 2019 4:18 PM
|Russia launches floating nuclear reactor in Arctic despite warnings
Russia will launch the world's first floating nuclear reactor and send it on an epic journey across the Arctic on Friday, despite environmentalists warning of serious risks to the region. Loaded with nuclear fuel, the Akademik Lomonosov will leave the Arctic port of Murmansk to begin its 5,000 kilometre (3,000-mile) voyage to northeastern Siberia. Nuclear agency Rosatom says the reactor is a simpler alternative to building a conventional plant on ground that is frozen all year round, and it intends to sell such reactors abroad.
POSTED AUGUST 23, 2019 3:01 AM
|Newt Gingrich says slavery needs to be put 'in context,' calls 1619 project a 'lie'
"There were several hundred thousand white Americans who died in the Civil War in order to free the slaves," Gingrich argued.
POSTED AUGUST 22, 2019 11:53 AM
|Florida set to execute serial killer who preyed on gay men
A serial killer who preyed on older gay men during an eight-month spree that left six dead on or near the East Coast is scheduled to be executed Thursday evening.
POSTED AUGUST 22, 2019 10:52 AM
|Radical gun reform may finally have a voice in Washington
An ambitious agenda by the March for Our Lives activists may be the first time the majority of Americans get real representationA young girl looks on as she attends a vigil for the victims of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesMarch for Our Lives, the national youth gun violence prevention movement founded by survivors of last year’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, released a sweeping gun reform agenda this week.The agenda calls for significantly raising the standards for gun ownership in America, and reducing by about 100m the total number of guns in circulation.It’s a dramatic, ambitious plan. And it may represent the first time in decades that the majority of Americans will get any real representation in the gun control debate in Washington.March for Our Lives’ young activists endorsed an Australia-style mandatory government buyback and destruction of “assault weapons”. They want to decrease the number of guns in circulation by 30% – which would mean roughly 100m fewer firearms in American hands. They proposed regulations that would dramatically raise the bar for who is allowed to purchase a gun, putting US law much more in line with European countries. And they want to revisit the 2009 supreme court decision, District of Columbia v Heller, which enshrined a pro-gun interpretation of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms.These proposals are substantially more aggressive, and more ambitious, than anything the Democrats in Washington have fought for in years. In fact, for decades, gun control groups and progressive politicians have done a poor job at representing the majority of Americans in Congress when it comes to gun control. A surprising voidDemocrats have fought for minor new restrictions on gun buying – and been defeated by the Republican party’s gun absolutists – but, fundamentally, the Democratic party has remained supportive of gun ownership.Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to “ban assault weapons”, for example, have not meant an actual ban on these guns, but only a ban on future sales, meaning that Americans could keep the millions of military-style rifles they already own. President Obama’s signature gun control legislation after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a compromise bill that would have closed just a few of the gaping loopholes in the nation’s background check system – a measure so weak it’s doubtful whether it would have had any effect on gun violence at all.The country’s largest gun control groups, too, have made great efforts to portray themselves as pro-“gun safety”, not anti-gun. They routinely advertise themselves as supporters of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms. And they have focused on “commonsense reforms”, such as getting what activists see as particularly extreme weapons off the streets, or requiring a criminal background check before every gun sale.This lack of any explicit anti-gun side in the American gun debate is strange.Although many Americans may not realize it, gun owners are a minority in the United States. American civilians overall own an estimated 300m to 400m firearms, more than one gun per person. But this frequently cited statistic obscures how concentrated American gun ownership is.In recent surveys, roughly 70% to 80% of Americans said they do not personally own a gun, and a majority said that nobody in their household owns a gun. Just 3% of American adults own half the country’s guns, according to a definitive 2015 survey. This small group of gun super-owners have an average of 17 guns each.Gun absolutists – the activists who oppose any gun control measures, who want Americans to be able to own any kind of gun, and carry them everywhere – are a minority within that minority. According to the best available estimates, fewer than 10% of American gun owners overall are members of the National Rifle Association.There appear to be at least as many Americans who are vehemently anti-gun as there are NRA members.Recent Gallup polls have found that 28% of American adults say they would support a law banning handgun ownership, except by the police and other “authorized persons”. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that 9% of American adults believed that “almost no one” should be legally allowed to own guns – about the same proportion as the number of adults who believed that “almost everyone” should be able to own them.A coalition of 9% of American adults would translate into more than 20 million people. That’s a group four times larger than the NRA, which claims between 5 million and 6 million members.Only a minority of Americans oppose most private gun ownership. But there’s strong majority support for much tougher gun control laws than the ones currently on the books.A 2017 Pew survey found 68% supported banning assault-style weapons. Seventy-one percent supported having a federal database to track all gun sales. A 2018 Gallup survey found 68% of respondents supported raising the legal age to buy certain guns. A Quinnipiac poll in May found 77% of respondents were in favor of requiring people to obtain a license before being able to purchase a gun.It’s not hard to find Americans who oppose the country’s current gun culture. They show up at gun control rallies, holding signs that say things like “Repeal the Second Amendment”. They live in neighborhoods burdened by decades of daily gun violence. They’ve lost family members or friends to shootings. They keep asking: why can’t we just get rid of the guns?But for years, these Americans’ views have not been well represented by America’s “gun safety” groups, and they have had virtually no representation in Congress.This may finally be starting to change. Moving the gun debateIn 2016, a progressive activist launched Guns Down America, a small organization that advocates not simply for “gun sense laws”, but for “a future with fewer guns”. Following the Parkland shooting, the young March for Our Lives activists have advocated unapologetically for bold reform, though they, like other American gun control activists, say they’re not anti-gun and their proposals for stricter regulation represent the interests of “responsible gun owners”.It’s not yet clear how much the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will move towards embracing these majority opinions on gun control policy. But there’s already been movement towards the actual middle of the debate.In 2016, Obama argued in a CNN Town Hall that “issues like licensing, registration, that’s an area where there’s just not enough national consensus at this stage to even consider it”. This year, the New Jersey senator Cory Booker made gun licensing the center of his 2020 gun control platform.After the mass shooting targeting Latino families in El Paso, the former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke said he endorsed not just an assault weapon ban, but a mandatory federal buyback of assault weapons. On Wednesday, he became the first Democratic 2020 candidate to tweet that he supported March for Our Lives’ new policy agenda.O’Rourke’s campaign did not back away from the most controversial elements of the youth activists’ plan, including their desire to revisit the supreme court’s current interpretation of the second amendment, enshrined in the Heller decision.“While Beto agrees with the court’s holding that the second amendment allows for regulation, he does not agree with the entirety of the Heller decision,” said Aleigha Cavalier, O’Rourke’s national press secretary. “One piece of the Heller case Beto believes should be revisited is the court’s decision to strike down DC’s safe storage requirements.”America’s gun debate may soon actually have two sides.
POSTED AUGUST 23, 2019 1:00 AM
|An innocent man spent months in jail after customs officials thought honey he brought back from Jamaica was liquid meth
Leon Haughton told The Washington Post he was jailed for 82 days after customs officials in Baltimore alleged that the three jars of honey were meth.
POSTED AUGUST 23, 2019 4:42 PM
|Amazon fires: Bolsonaro actively trying to devastate rainforest, leaked documents show
Jair Bolsonaro hopes to sabotage conservation efforts in the Amazon, leaked documents show.A series of powerpoint slides reveal that Brazilian government officials intend to build a bridge, motorway and hydroelectric plant through the rainforest.
POSTED AUGUST 22, 2019 11:26 AM
|Psychologist approved Jeffrey's Epstein's removal from suicide watch
A psychologist at the federal detention center in New York City where financier Jeffrey Epstein was jailed on sex-trafficking charges had approved his removal from suicide watch before he killed himself, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday. The disclosure came in a letter dated on Thursday from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd and addressed to the leaders of the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, seeking details about the circumstances surrounding Epstein's death earlier this month. Epstein, who was 66, was found dead Aug. 10 in his cell inside a segregated housing unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Lower Manhattan.
POSTED AUGUST 23, 2019 8:19 PM
|Texas governor expresses concern about private gun sales
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday raised concern about private firearm sales but didn't commit to crack down on them or act on gun control issues following a meeting on ways to prevent mass shootings such as the El Paso attack that killed 22 people. While lawmakers are feeling pressure to respond quickly to the Aug. 3 shooting at a Walmart, Abbott signaled that Texas would take a long and careful look at gun laws and other safety measures before its Legislature next meets in 2021. Scrutinizing private guns sales was among a list of ideas Abbott rattled off after emerging from a four-hour, closed-door meeting about the El Paso shooting with lawmakers, police and representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter.
POSTED AUGUST 22, 2019 7:32 PM