Hecklers curse and call Pelosi a ‘communist’ as far right disrupts a political event

A group of hecklers angrily confronted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi during a campaign stop for a congressional hopeful in South Florida, cursing at her and calling her a communist in a moment that was captured on video.

It was yet another incident which stoked fears that the country’s bitter and emotional political environment is at risk of leading to violence.

The video shows a small group of protesters cursing at Pelosi, D-Calif., and calling her a communist in English and Spanish, as she enters an event on Wednesday in Coral Gables, Florida, to campaign for Democrat Donna Shalala, who is running to fill the seat vacated by the retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R, in Miami.

“You don’t belong here,” one says. “Afuera!”

After Pelosi calmly walks by them and enters the building, people bang on the door.

“Open up! It’s the Proud Boys in here,” one says, referencing the far-right group that was implicated in a street brawl in New York last weekend.

“Socialism sucks,” others chant.

Photographs taken of the protest around the event, which appears to have been organized by Nelson Diaz, the chairman of the Republican Party in Miami-Dade County, according to emails posted online by radio host Grant Stern, show some protesters with Proud Boys gear.

“I don’t agree with Nancy Pelosi’s agenda, but this is absolutely the wrong way to express those disagreements,” Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, who was wounded in a shooting at a congressional baseball team practice in 2017, wrote on Twitter. “If you want to stop her policies, don’t threaten her, VOTE! That’s how we settle our differences.”

In a statement sent by spokesman Drew Hammill, Pelosi said that President Donald Trump and Republicans were to blame for stoking the flames of “incivility, intolerance and aggression.”

“It is deeply sad but unsurprising that we now see that ugliness rearing its head,” …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

Trump says US will pull out of intermediate range nuke pact

By ZEKE MILLER and MICHAEL BALSAMO, Associated Press

ELKO, Nevada — President Donald Trump said Saturday he will pull the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty because Russia has violated the agreement, but he provided no details on the violations.

The 1987 pact, which helps protect the security of the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Far East, prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.

“Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years,” Trump said after a rally in Elko, Nevada. “And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.”

The agreement has constrained the U.S. from developing new weapons, but America will begin developing them unless Russia and China agree not to possess or develop the weapons, Trump said. China is not currently party to the pact.

“We’ll have to develop those weapons, unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and say let’s really get smart and let’s none of us develop those weapons, but if Russia’s doing it and if China’s doing it, and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable,” he said.

National Security Adviser John Bolton was headed Saturday to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. His first stop is Moscow to meet with senior Russian officials at a time when Moscow-Washington relations remain frosty over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race and upcoming U.S. midterm elections.

There was no immediate comment from the Kremlin or the Russian Foreign Ministry on Trump’s announcement.

“We are slowly slipping back to the situation of cold war as it was …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

Editorial: Don’t regress in West Contra Costa school voting

Click here for a complete list of our election recommendations.

It’s been six years since we last endorsed a trustee seeking re-election to the West Contra Costa school board.

Excessive spending in the district’s massive $1.6 billion school construction program, the lack of cost controls and the associated pay-to-play concerns made it impossible to back the incumbents.

Valerie Cuevas

Voters needed new representation, which started in 2014 with the election of Trustees Valerie Cuevas and Elizabeth Block. The 2016 election of Tom Panas finally gave the board a majority of members who cared first and foremost about educating kids rather than their special-interest political agendas.

This year, Cuevas and Block are up for re-election. Finally, two incumbents who deserve new terms. Voters who care about the future of their kids’ education and the stability of the district should re-elect them, and back district teacher Stephanie Hernandez-Jarvis.

Like four years ago, Cuevas and Block are standouts in a large field of candidates. There were 10 candidates in 2014; this year there are 11.

Unfortunately, just like four years ago, Madeline Kronenberg is seeking re-election. A trustee whose pet cause received about half of $2.1 million in contributions from vendors and subcontractors doing business with the district, and who supported the excessive school bond program, Kronenberg should have retired after her last term.

Elizabeth Block

Voters should oust her and replace her with Hernandez-Jarvis, a kindergarten teacher and young parent who plans to quit her job if elected.

Hernandez-Jarvis brings five years of experience in the classroom and a master’s degree in urban education that would serve her well as a trustee. And most importantly she brings a fresh, young perspective that’s badly needed.

She would be a welcome addition, joining with Cuevas, an …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

Walters: Pay-to-play alive and well in Sacramento

Let’s imagine that a business owner wrote a hefty campaign check to a state legislator who agreed, in return, to carry a bill that would directly benefit the contributor.

Such a quid pro quo deal would, of course, be illegal bribery that could land both parties in jail.

In fact, many Capitol political figures went to prison in the early 1990s after a multi-year undercover sting investigation into such scenarios, dubbed “Shrimpgate” because FBI agents posed as owners of a shrimp company seeking political favors.

As that investigation was unfolding, another form of political pay-to-play surfaced – ballot measures that would funnel bond or tax money directly to private interests that had contributed heavily to the measures’ sponsoring organizations.

Gerald Meral, one-time head of the Planning and Conservation League, is widely credited with inventing this bootstrap practice of drafting bond or tax measures.

In 1990, for instance, Meral told potential sponsors of an $800 million per year boost in liquor taxes that the ballot measure would need $3 million to qualify and for a campaign and that those seeking shares of the booty would be expected to contribute either money or signatures, valued at 50 cents each.

“Those wishing to include specific program allocations will be expected to make appropriate contributions to the campaign effort,” Meral told the potential beneficiaries.

Quentin Kopp, then a state senator, carried a bill in the early 1990s to prohibit pay-to-play ballot measures. Citing the Kopp law, Attorney General Dan Lungren refused to certify a Meral-sponsored measure for the 1994 ballot. But Meral’s organization challenged the law and won a ruling that it unconstitutionally throttled the initiative process.

The practice of financing initiatives with contributions from their beneficiaries has flourished ever since, even though it would be illegal bribery if it occurred in the Legislature.

Examples include measures to raise income taxes to underwrite …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

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