22 Apr

The Class War Inside the Republic Party

© ALEX ROARTY (Reuters)

Even as its candidates remain dependent on wealthy donors, the GOP’s base is built on blue-collar votes and sentiments.

It took David Perdue about 20 seconds of speechifying to expose a tension roiling the Republican Party. Speaking in January, the former business executive turned Georgia candidate for U.S. Senate asked a group of local Republicans to parse the resumes of his primary foes.
“There’s a high-school graduate in this race, okay?” said Perdue, referring to his opponent, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. “I’m sorry, these issues are so much broader, so complex. There’s only one candidate in this race who’s ever lived outside the United States. How can you bring value to a debate about the economy unless you have any understanding about the free-enterprise system and what it takes to compete in the global economy?”

The two-pronged swipe elicited cries of condescension and elitism that eventually forced Perdue to apologize. And it revealed a vital reality about the state of the Republican Party as its members prepare to select a standard-bearer for the 2016 presidential primary: The GOP has long ago shed its stereotype of being the party catering to the wealthy.

These days, the GOP tone and agenda are set by a voting bloc of mostly white, blue-collar workers whose sensibilities skew more toward NASCAR than golf. In a general election, the party’s most reliable supporters are white voters without college degrees. And they increasingly control the contest for the White House nod: In 2008, according to a tabulation of exit-poll data acquired by the National Journal, blue-collar workers made up 51 percent of all GOP primary voters.

It’s why Perdue’s remark was so costly. He wasn’t just mocking Handel; he was mocking many of the very voters whose support he wants during the May primary. Sarah Palin, whose anti-elitist message best personifies the party’s working-class turn, summed up the feelings of many Republican voters when she campaigned for Handel last month: “There are a lot of good, hard-working Americans who have more common sense in their pinky finger than a lot of those Ivy League pieces of paper up on a wall.”

The problem for some Republican candidates like Perdue, the former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General, is that many of them still hail from the party’s managerial ranks. And that leaves them on unsure footing as they try to communicate with a base whose experiences and outlook are fundamentally different than their own.

That tension is one its White House hopefuls will have to navigate carefully ahead of the 2016 primary.

“Ten years ago a Republican primary was decided by who has the best resume,” said Joel McElhannon, an Atlanta-based GOP strategist. “Having broader experience was considered a big plus, but we’ve seen this shift over the last several years. There is this populist strain going through the Republican primary electorate, and now it’s less about experience and it’s more about being an outsider. It’s less about being qualified than who is more angry and more likely to ruffle feathers.”

The two political parties have essentially traded places over the last few decades. Democrats, who once depended heavily on blue-collar workers, have become increasingly the party of white-collar workers, at least among whites. And as downscale whites leave the Democratic Party, they’ve joined the GOP, whose cultural values often align with their own.

“Blue-collar whites have been migrating to the Republican Party ever since Ronald Reagan called them Reagan Democrats,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. “It’s a culture that is heavily family based, more small-town and rural. It’s very pro-gun, and very patriotic. We’re talking about a group of folks who see Democratic efforts at gun control as a cultural assault, an attack on their values.”

They played a pivotal role in the 2012 Republican primary, prolonging Mitt Romney’s ascendancy to the nomination long after most of his backers would have liked. In the critical early state of South Carolina (where Newt Gingrich won), voters without a college degree made up 53 percent of the electorate, according to exit polls. In Ohio (where Romney barely held off Rick Santorum), they constituted 55 percent of the electorate. Iowa’s caucus was 48 percent blue-collar.

“It’s less about being qualified than who is more angry and more likely to ruffle feathers.”

Romney won the nomination despite his private-equity background and numerous cringe-inducing gaffes—like saying his friends were NASCAR team owners or challenging Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet. But in 2016, the competition among potential candidates like Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and Marco Rubio will be stiffer for every vote.

And they’re not just competing for base voters, either. They’re also trying to win over well-heeled donors to fund their campaigns. And that’s where the tension between the two sides of the Republican Party settles in.

“There’s a complete lack of understanding of what primary voters are all about,” said one GOP strategist involved in a potential presidential candidate’s campaign, who requested anonymity to speak candidly. “You go around and hang out with big Republican donors, and if you were to take all their advice on how to win, you’d be screwed beyond belief, particularly in a primary.


19 Apr

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Kiev pledges not to attack separatists over Easter

 Ukraine promises to suspend ‘active phase of anti-terrorist operation’ as Kremlin defends buildup of troops at border

·         Most recent

Donetsk priest blesses occupiers

·         Kiev pledges not to attack separatists as Russia defends troop deployments

19 Apr 2014: Ukraine promises to suspend ‘active phase of anti-terrorist operation’ as Kremlin defends buildup of troops at border

·         Eyewitness: Donetsk, Ukraine


Masked pro-Russia protesters in a queue for food inside a regional government building in Donetsk

Photographs from the Guardian Eyewitness series

·         The 20 photographs of the week

20 Photos: South Korean relatives wait for missing people at a harbour in Jindo

 19 Apr 2014:The best photography in news, culture and sport from around the world this week

·         Kidnapped French journalists released 10 months after abduction in Syria


Edouard Elias

19 Apr 2014: Nicolas Hénin, Pierre Torres, Edouard Elias and Didier François are found safe and well on Turkish border


·  Cliven Bundy

A rancher’s armed battle against the government is just libertarian fare

Kieran Suckling: Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the BLM is over a paltry monthly grazing fee. But it’s also over more – the idea of the public interest


fbi director james comey FBI director nominee James Comey oversees a growing part of the US surveillance state. Photograph: Gary Cameron/Reuter

The mentality of J Edgar Hoover’s FBI undergirds today’s surveillance state

Trevor Timm: People forget that the FBI is the NSA’s primary partner in domestic spying, which allows them to work in secret

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19 Apr

Afghanistan & Iraq Occupation Casualties & News


Other Occupation News:

04/19/14 Guard: Thirteen al-Qaida suspects killed in US drone strike – Yemen sources

Sources differ on how many suspects and civilians killed in province where deputy governor was assassinated this week

04/19/14 Guard: Guantánamo Bay detainees’ release upon end of Afghanistan war ‘unlikely’

04/19/14 KP: 7 militants arrested along with a suicide bombing vest in Jawzjan

04/19/14 KP: 7 militants arrested along with a suicide bombing vest in Jawzjan


U. S. Casualties Total To Date:Killed: 2317

Recently IdentifiedColor denotes today’s confirmation:

Spc. Kerry M. G. Danyluk, 27, of Cuero, Texas, died April 15 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, of injuries sustained April 12 when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province, Afghanistan

.Capt. James E. Chaffin III, 27, of West Columbia, S.C., died April 1, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C

.Master Sgt. David L. Poirier, 52, of North Smithfield, R.I., died Feb. 28, from a non-combat related incident currently under investigation. He was assigned to the 157th Operations Support Squadron, Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H

.Lance Cpl. Caleb L. Erickson, 20, of Waseca, Minn., died Feb. 28, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Master Sgt. Aaron C. Torian, 36, of Paducah, Ky., died Feb. 15, while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune,N.C.

Sgt. First Class Roberto C. Skelt, 41, of York, Fla…assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C….died Feb. 12, in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when they were struck by enemy small arms fire.

Spc. John A. Pelham, 22, of Portland, Ore…assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C….died Feb. 12, in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when they were struck by enemy small arms fire.

Spc. Christopher A. Landis, 27, of Independence, Ky., died Feb. 10, on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from wounds received when the enemy attacked his dismounted patrol with a rocket propelled grenade in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C

Pfc. Joshua A. Gray, 21, of Van Lear, Ky.,died Feb. 10, in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident currently under investigation.

.Deaths in Afghanistan: A look at the faces of American lives lost 


 Afghanistan Occupation Confirmed U.S Casualties – Since June 1, 2009

Iraq Occupation Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians

U. S. Casualties Total To Date:Killed: 4486

Recently IdentifiedColor denotes today’s confirmation


Deaths in Iraq: A look at the faces of American lives lost 

IIraq Occupation Confirmed U.S Casualties – Since June 1, 2009  

Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-TALK1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by visiting their website at .The Military Crisis Line offers free and confidential support to service members in crisis or anyone who knows a service member who is. The service is staffed by caring, qualified responders from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), many who have served in the military themselves. Support is offered through the crisis line, online chat, and text-messaging services for all service members (active, National Guard and reserve) and veterans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by visiting the Military Crisis Line website at ; Online Chat at: ; sending a text to: 838255 or calling toll free at: 1-800-273-82551-800-273-8255, Press 1; in Europe Dial: 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118. Services are available even if members are not registered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or enrolled in VA health care.The Army’s comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at . Information about the Army’s Ready and Resilient campaign is located at . Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in the revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: and in Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at .Suicide prevention training resources for soldiers, leaders, Department of the Army civilians and family members can be accessed at (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials). Information about Military OneSource is located at or by dialing the toll-free number 1-800-342-96471-800-342-9647 for those residing in the continental U.S. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource web site for dialing instructions for their specific location. Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Program (CSF2) is located at .The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-10201-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at and at . The website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is , and the Suicide Prevention Resource Council site is found at

18 Apr

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

The Guardian

CIA torture architect breaks silence to defend ‘enhanced interrogation’



• James Mitchell ‘highly skeptical’ of Senate report on CIA torture
• ‘It was not illegal based on the law at the time’
• Mitchell said to have waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Jason Leopold

Mitchell insists the torture techniques he developed had produced results, and is dismissive of critics of the CIA program. Photograph: US Department of Defense/AP

The psychologist regarded as the architect of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program has broken a seven-year silence to defend the use of torture techniques against al-Qaida terror suspects in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

In an uncompromising and wide-ranging interview with the Guardian, his first public remarks since he was linked to the program in 2007, James Mitchell was dismissive of a Senate intelligence committee report on CIA torture in which he features, and which is currently at the heart of an intense row between legislators and the agency…………………..

Antisemitic flier ‘by Donetsk People’s Republic’ in Ukraine a hoax

Pro-Russian activists outside Donetsk regional administration building

City’s chief rabbi states pamphlet is fake, claiming it’s meant to discredit pro-Russian protesters or Jewish community

The barricades outside the Donetsk regional administration building are plastered with anti-fascist posters. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The barricades that mark the entrance to the “Donetsk People’s Republic” are plastered with anti-fascist posters, including an American flag with a swastika in place of the stars. The pro-Russian protesters who have set up their own government in the occupied administration building see the new Kiev regime as dominated by intolerant Ukrainian nationalists, which is why it was ironic when an antisemitic flier appeared on Wednesday ordering Jews to register with these new authorities.

More than 100 hate-crime murders linked to single website, report finds


• Southern Poverty Law Center singles out
• Report says users disproportionately linked to major killings

Frazier Glenn Cross appears at his arraignment murder charges in Kansas after three people were killed at a Jewish centre. Photograph: Reuters

People charged with the murders of almost 100 people can be linked to a single far-right website, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

The White Nationalist web forum says it promotes values of “the embattled white minority,” and its users include Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in a 2011 massacre in Norway, and Wade Michael Page, who shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in

Pro-Russian groups to stay put in east Ukraine until referendum takes place

Pro-Russian groups to stay put in east Ukraine until referendum takes place

Occupations of public buildings across eastern Ukraine continue as pro-Russian separatists accuse Kiev of violating Geneva deal

A masked pro-Russian activist inside a building seized in Donetsk, Ukraine. Photograph: Sergei Grits/AP

Pro-Russian groups in eastern Ukraine have accused the authorities in Kiev of violating an agreement to defuse tensions across the country, adding that they have no intention of leaving buildings they have occupied.

On Thursday Russia, Ukraine, the EU and the United States signed an agreement in Geneva that was supposed to see illegal groups withdraw from municipal buildings and give up their weapons.



Vladimir Putin must be called to account on surveillance, like Obama

Edward Snowden: I questioned the Russian president live on TV to get his answer on the record, not to whitewash him

On Thursday, I questioned Russia’s involvement in mass surveillance on live television. I asked Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, a question that cannot credibly be answered in the negative by any leader who runs a modern, intrusive surveillance program: “Does [your country] intercept, analyse or store millions of individuals’ communications?”

I went on to challenge whether, even if such a mass surveillance program were effective and technically legal, it could ever be morally justified.

The question was intended to mirror the now infamous exchange in US Senate intelligence committee hearings between senator Ron Wyden and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, about whether the NSA collected records on millions of Americans, and to invite either an important concession or a clear evasion. (See a side-by-side comparison of Wyden’s question and mine here.)

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