Jamal Khashoggi: murder in the consulate
If the Democrats would stop being obstructionists and come together, we could write up and agree to new immigration laws in less than one hour. Look at the needless pain and suffering that they are causing. Look at the horrors taking place on the Border. Chuck & Nancy, call me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2018
Trump’s tweet came as the Mexican government halted a Honduran caravan of roughly 3,000 job-seeking migrants at its southern border.
On Friday, the caravan broke through barriers at the Guatemalan side of the border and rushed onto a bridge linking the two countries. Mexican police used tear gas to stop the migrant column, which then stayed on the bridge during the night.
Mexican officials say they will allow 100 migrants through the barrier to seek asylum in Mexico. Once in Mexico, officials expect most of the migrants to travel north to the U.S. border alongside thousands of other migrants who are being covertly trafficked into the U.S. by cartel-connected human smugglers.
— Adolfo Flores (@aflores) October 19, 2018
Firing rounds of tear gas, authorities clashed with several members of the caravan, sending people on the bridge into a panicked retreat. In the mayhem, children were separated from their mothers and many fainted from heat and exhaustion. Some people jumped into the river while women and children — who had been instructed to stand at the front of the line — began trudging back the way they’d came.
At least 20 people were treated for injuries after clashes with authorities, including a Mexican reporter, according to the Guatemalan Red Cross.
But after Mexican authorities pushed them back, clusters of defeated families sat on the bridge, trying to figure out what to do next.
U.S. media coverage of the caravan has dropped abruptly since Trump began spotlighting the group during his 2018 campaign speeches.
Most of the caravan migrants are poor, male job-seekers, but the caravan’s organizers — and media outlets — are showcasing the group’s contingent of women carrying children. Some of the men in the caravan also bring children because the children help trigger catch-and-release loopholes.
The loopholes in U.S. immigration law allow the migrants to live in the United States and to legally get jobs until backlogged U.S. courts reject their asylum applications. The wait for immigration court hearings can take up to two or more years. In 2017, for example, officials were forced to provide work-permit to more than 400,000 migrants, each of whom helps drag down wages for Americans and also to boost routine consumer prices for food and other sales for U.S. retailers.
This migrants’ focus on economic migration — not sanctuary from criminals — is backed up by an Oct. 18 New York Times article which highlighted the migrants’ focus on jobs in the United States:
For or all of them, heading north is a gamble for a better life. Most migrants said they were aware that jobs were plentiful in the United States, and many said they believed that having a child accompany them might help them avoid long-term detention …
Among those arriving at the motel in Tucson, there appeared to be more fathers than mothers traveling with a child. Asked why they had come north, one man after another said “trabajo” — work — in construction, restaurants, landscaping or cleaning.
“I want to work — any job, I’ll do,” said one man, Efrain, as he cradled his sleepy 2-year-old daughter Suleymi and wiped her runny nose. Efrain said he had been a farmer in Guatemala and had sold a small plot of land to pay for the two-week trek to America. He said he and Suleymi were headed for Florida, where his uncle lives
Read more here.
This is beyond odd, but here goes. I rise to defend Hillary Clinton.
She is under attack and this time, the long knives are wielded by members of her own clan. Suddenly, after two years of indulging Clinton’s blame games and pity parties, lefty pundits say she’s talking too much, she’s stuck in the past, she had her chance and she blew it.
Vanity Fair, declaring that she “still hasn’t learned the lessons of #MeToo,” is furious that Clinton said her husband’s Oval Office dalliance with Monica Lewinsky was not an abuse of power because the 22-year-old intern “was an adult.”
Politico flatly declared Clinton a “problem” who won’t go away and fretted that Democrats “don’t know what to do” about her.
A New York Times columnist, noting that Clinton is a font of gaffes and a focus for Republicans, accused her of “moral arrogance” and wrote that “someone needs to perform an intervention.”
The passions are real and the imagery colorful. Imagine an intervention where a pink pussy-hat posse forces Clinton into a van and drives her to a remote cabin in the woods to keep her from talking.
Alas, the motives are suspect. These three writers, all female, are not so much angry at what Clinton is saying as they are over the timing. The gist of their complaint is that she is hogging the spotlight they believe should be trained on Democrats running in the midterms. They’re mad because they fear she’s undercutting the holy war they subscribe to against President Trump.
Intramural feuds are often bloody, but this one is also stupid. Trying to silence Clinton is a lost cause and, even if it succeeded, wouldn’t cure what ails Democrats.
In fact, shutting her up might push the party even deeper into the wilderness.
Implicit in the charge that Clinton is the problem is the assumption that others are the solution. It’s a fair point — until you try to name any Dem who has a better shot at serving as the party’s leader, uniting it around a message and potentially defeating Trump in 2020. After all, that’s the job that is vacant.
So let us run through the parade of likely applicants, starting in the Senate: Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand.
Anybody stand out? While there is political talent, none strikes me as a heavyweight contender who could lead the party and go toe-to-toe with Trump.
Sanders is running on vapors, Booker is a lightweight who embarrassed himself with the Spartacus shtick and Gillibrand is a do-nothing hack.
As for Warren, CNN, showing its usual tin ear, moved her to the top of the Dem field just before she imploded with her disastrous DNA test. Her silly repetition of the now-disproven claim that she has significant Native American ancestry opens her to endless ridicule and further diminishes her already narrow appeal.
Others advertising their availability include Joe Biden, Eric Holder, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Same question: Does anybody in the group look like a champion in waiting? Not to me and, to judge from the lack of great enthusiasm, not to big funders or hot-shot consultants.
Two others in the thinking-and-hoping stage are New York’s feuding Frick and Frack, Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo.
Mayor Putz is term-limited and it looks as if his career has peaked. His image of being lazy, corrupt and incompetent means he’s not an asset to anyone, so he may have to get a real job when he finally leaves City Hall.
As for Cuomo, his mediocre record might get him a third term in deep-blue New York, but it’s not likely to endear him to national Dems. He trusts no one, including himself, which is why he hides from the media, lest he say things like America “was never that great.”
His habit of ducking debates won’t fly in a grueling presidential campaign against numerous competitors, and the rampant corruption on his watch makes him a fat target.
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is also considering a run, and fellow richie Tom Steyer, whose deep pockets are funding the “Need to Impeach” movement, could be a candidate. Oprah flirted with the idea before saying no, but don’t be surprised if she flirts again.
The list, then, is long, varied and growing — but not compelling. Which is why Clinton, despite her enormous flaws and two presidential defeats, can’t be ruled out as the party’s best hope. God knows she wants it more than anybody else.
It’s also why I have been saying for months that she was keeping her options open and might actually seek a rematch with Trump.
And that was before she and Bill Clinton announced their six-month speaking tour. The gambit is designed to keep her name front and center without having to declare herself a candidate. Her recent phone calls to White House reporters also signal her plan.
So I was not surprised when one of her former aides, Philippe Reines, admitted to Politico that Clinton might run. He cited her fan base, said she was tough enough to go against Trump and could raise the money.
There you have it, the official word that attempts to silence her are doomed. Brace yourself — she’s baaaack!
Russia has condemned US plans to withdraw from a key nuclear weapons treaty and threatened to retaliate over the “very dangerous step”.
On Saturday, President Trump said he intended to “terminate” the three-decade-old 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
He said Russia had been “violating it for many years”.
The deal banned ground-launched medium-range missiles, with a range of between 500 and 5,500km (310-3,400 miles).
President Trump said the US would not let Russia “go out and do weapons [while] we’re not allowed to”.
“I don’t know why President [Barack] Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out,” the president said of the INF treaty after a campaign rally in Nevada.
In 2014, President Obama accused Russia of breaching the INF after it allegedly tested a ground-launched cruise missile. He reportedly chose not to withdraw from the treaty under pressure from European leaders, who said such a move could restart an arms race.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton is expected to confirm the withdrawal during talks in Moscow later this week.
“This would be a very dangerous step that, I’m sure, not only will not be comprehended by the international community but will provoke serious condemnation,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.
The treaty is “significant for international security and security in the sphere of nuclear arms, for the maintenance of strategic stability,” he told state news agency Tass.
Mr Ryabkov said Russia condemned US attempts to gain concessions “through a method of blackmail”.
The minister also told the news agency RIA Novosti that if the US continues to behave “clumsily and crudely” and backs out of international agreements, “then we will have no choice but to undertake retaliatory measures, including involving military technology”.
“But we would not want to get to this stage,” he added.
Analysis by BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus
Concern about Russia’s development and deployment of a missile system that breaches the INF treaty predates the Trump administration. But the president’s decision to walk away from the agreement marks a significant setback for arms control.
Many experts believe that negotiations should have continued to try to bring the Russians back into compliance. It is, they fear, part of the wider unravelling of the whole system of arms control treaties that helped to curb strategic competition during the Cold War.
Other factors too may have played into President Trump’s decision. This was a bilateral treaty between Washington and Moscow. China was free to develop and deploy intermediate range nuclear missiles. Some in the Trump administration feel that the INF treaty places them at a growing disadvantage in their developing strategic rivalry with Beijing .
The US insists the Russians have, in breach of the deal, developed a new medium-range missile called the Novator 9M729 – known to Nato as the SSC-8.
It would enable Russia to launch a nuclear strike at Nato countries at very short notice.
Russia has said little about its new missile other than to deny that it is in breach of the agreement.
Analysts say Russia sees such weapons as a cheaper alternative to conventional forces.
The New York Times reported on Friday the US was considering withdrawing from the treaty in a bid to counter China’s expanding military presence in the western Pacific.
The country was not a signatory of the deal, allowing it to develop medium-range missiles without restraint.
The last time the US withdrew from a major arms treaty was in 2002, when President George W Bush pulled the US out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which banned weapons designed to counter ballistic nuclear missiles.
His administration’s move to set up a missile shield in Europe alarmed the Kremlin, and was scrapped by the Obama administration in 2009. It was replaced by a modified defence system in 2016.
A Texas man grew so frustrated over receiving text messages from the U.S. Senate campaign of U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, that he’s taking the organization to court.
A class-action lawsuit filed against the Beto for Texas campaign on behalf of all Texans alleges the group sent text messages to voters without obtaining permission to contact them, therefore violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
The law bans the use of automated telephone equipment to send texts or calls to a person’s cellphone without their permission — except for emergency purposes.
The suit was filed in Northen District of Texas Court and names Collin County resident Sameer Syeed as the plaintiff.
The suit demands the campaign pay at least $500 per text message to Syeed and other members in the suit.
Syeed alleges he received nine texts from the Beto for Texas campaign in 2018. He came across a series of error messages and disconnected dial tones when he tried calling the numbers he was receiving the messages from.
Attempts to stop the messages by texting back didn’t work either.
Chris Evans, communications director for the Beto for Texas campaign, said the program is legal.
“Our grassroots volunteer program with thousands of Texans canvassing, phone banking, texting, and organizing is the largest this state has seen. It is fully compliant with the law,” he said.
O’Rourke is in a tight U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz. In a recent debate between the two, O’Rourke channeled his inner President Trump and referred to Cruz as “Lyin Ted.”
A Seattle judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association and a local gun rights group against a law that will require gun owners to lock up their firearms when not carrying or using them.
King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde tossed the suit after the city argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing because the group could encourage its members to practice safe storage and that the law hadn’t even taken effect yet, the Seattle Times reported.
“It seems the NRA jumped the gun in filing their lawsuit against this eminently reasonable legislation meant to protect children and the vulnerable,” Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said in a statement.
Alan Gottlieb, president of the Bellvue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation, who filed the suit with the NRA, suggested they would appeal the decision.
“It is frustrating when judges refuse to address the merits of a case and duck by saying the law is not yet in effect and plaintiffs have not proven that they will be arrested if they violate the law,” Gottlieb said in an email. “We will continue this litigation and force a judge to rule that the law is illegal.”
“It is frustrating when judges refuse to address the merits of a case … We will continue this litigation and force a judge to rule that the law is illegal.”
The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday morning.
The storage law is set to take effect in February. A gun owner can be fined up to $500 if a firearm is not locked up. The fines jump up to $10,000 if someone uses the firearm to commit a crime.
Two Seattle residents, Omar Abdul Alim and Michael Thyng, filed the suit almost immediately after Mayor Jenny Durkan signed the law.
They claimed the storage requirement violated Washington state law and cited a fear of home invasions for wanting to keep their firearms unlocked.
The dispute comes as voters will decide on a state-wide gun-control measure that includes a more stringent storage provision.
When the door was closed behind him, Khashoggi was ushered to the second floor of the building, to the office of the consul general. Such a gesture would have befitted someone of his status in Saudi society – a man who had advised senior royals, including the former ambassador to London and Washington, and the intelligence chief, Turki al-Faisal.
Khashoggi would have had little reason to fear as he sat down in a guest chair opposite the desk of Mohammed al-Otaibi, the consul general who had personally called him and invited him back to finalise his papers, after the failed attempt the previous Friday.
Khashoggi, however, was not the only stranger in the building. Waiting in nearby rooms were 15 other men, all members of the state’s security apparatus. They had arrived in Istanbul earlier that day on two private jets, both of which were routinely leased by the Saudi government from a jet base at Riyadh airport. The jets’ tail markings were HZ-SK1 and HZ-SK2. Flight tracking software showed one of the planes landing in Istanbul just after 3am on 2 October. The second landed at Ataturk airport just after noon.
Nine men on the first flight checked into the Mövenpick hotel in the city’s Levent district, where they were caught on in-house cameras passing through security and checking in. From the top-floor windows, the men could almost see the nearby consulate.
Among the guests were Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a colonel who is attached to the crown prince’s security detail, and Salah Muhammed al-Tubaigy, the head of forensics in the kingdom’s General Intelligence Directorate. Later that morning, and before Khashoggi’s visit, Mutreb was filmed by the consulate’s security camera walking towards the door. Also believed to be with him are three other members of the crown prince’s personal detail, including Nayif Hassan al-Arifi, Mansour Othman Abahussein and Walid Abdullah al-Shihri.
By the time the arrivals had settled in, Turkish employees of the consulate were taking advantage of a surprise afternoon off. They had been sent home before noon after being told by Saudi bosses that an important diplomatic delegation was arriving for a meeting. The loyalties of those remaining in the building could not be questioned. The assembled hit squad was drawn from the most elite units of the Saudi security forces, whose fidelity had been repeatedly tested.
By the time the second planeload of passengers arrived at the consulate – not long before Khashoggi entered – what was about to take place was never going to be known beyond the building’s walls. Or so the assassins thought.
But in Turkey, and elsewhere, diplomatic missions can have ears.
Not long after Khashoggi entered the consul’s office, two men came into the room and dragged him away. Unbeknown to the Saudis, Turkish intelligence officials from the national spy agency, MIT, were listening in. Just how that happened has been the subject of much intrigue throughout the past fortnight, and has been central to the case against Riyadh.
Scenarios range from a bug placed in the consulate itself to a directional microphone focused on the building from outside – both technically within the realms of Turkey’s capabilities. Another possibility, being discussed in Turkey and elsewhere, is that some members of the hit squad recorded the abduction on their phones for trophy purposes, or to reveal back home. And that those recordings were either intercepted in real time or retrieved from at least one of the killers’ phones.
Whichever the case, Turkish officials soon had an audio soundtrack to a blatant and brutal murder inside the walls of the Saudi consulate, which has since become the bedrock of the case against Saudi Arabia.
Officials say the recording proves that Khashoggi was killed during seven horrific minutes in which he was first tortured, then mutilated, injected with a sedative, and finally dismembered.
According to the audio, a partial transcript of which was leaked last week to Yeni Safak, a pro-government newspaper, one of his killers is heard warning: “Shut up if you want to return to Saudi Arabia”.
As the mutilation starts, Tubaigy – the forensic scientist, who specialises in conducting autopsies – puts on headphones and is heard to say to his colleagues: “When I do this job, I listen to music. You should do that too.”
Khashoggi’s fingers were cut off while he was held down, the recording suggests. He was injected with a substance, which silenced him, then carried into another room – the third to be used in the gruesome killing – where he was lifted on to a meeting table then cut to pieces.
A Turkish official later said the Saudis had brought a bone saw to the consulate. “It is like Pulp Fiction,” the official told the New York Times.
On 5 October, three days after Khashoggi vanished, Turkey’s leadership, including Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, sat down in Ankara for a briefing from MIT’s chief Hakan Fidan and senior officers. Khashoggi had been butchered, they told the Turkish president, and they had incontrovertible proof.
Erdoğan had been friendly with the columnist. They shared a similar worldview, particularly of a role for political Islam in society, and he was aware of Khashoggi’s plans to set up a TV station in Istanbul, where he intended to relocate. After a year spent in Washington, where he had become a pointed critic of some aspects of Prince Mohammed’s reform programmes, Khashoggi wanted to start again, closer to home, his children, and a new wife. He was still planning to write columns for the Washington Post – maintaining the very platform and presence that had irritated the crown prince, but from a more familiar vantage point.
Senior Turkish officials say Erdoğan’s shock soon turned to anger. He told Fidan and others in the meeting to summon the Saudis, and share some of what they knew.
On Saturday 6 October the first meeting between Saudi and Turkish authorities took place. It did not go well. One official familiar with the meeting said the Saudis disavowed any knowledge of what had taken place. “They may have been truthful,” the official said. “This seemed to have been very tightly held and the people we spoke to might not have known.”
At midnight that day, with no response from Riyadh, Turkey played its first card, announcing to the Reuters news agency that it believed Khashoggi had been killed inside the Saudi consulate. Privately, officials began briefing that not only was he dead but his body had been cut up and carried away in bags.
The revelation set in motion a remarkable reaction. Wariness about Turkey’s scarcely believable claims soon gave way to a numbing realisation that Ankara had evidence and was prepared to use it. Names of the 15 Saudis who had travelled on passports using their real names were soon revealed. Selectively leaked images showed a black van parked outside the consulate entrance – of the type that investigators had said was used to carry Khashoggi’s remains to the nearby consul’s residence.
A still-frame of an apparent dummy run showing the van attempting to back into the consul’s underground garage the day before the hit was also made public – as was the fact that the consulate had since been repainted.
Ten days into the furore, Saudi’s monarch, King Salman, who has been largely disengaged since anointing his son as his successor 16 months ago, dispatched one of his most trusted envoys, Khaled bin Faisal, the governor of Mecca, to Ankara to meet with Erdoğan, a move widely viewed as the sidelined old guard being recommissioned to clean up the impetuous crown prince’s mess. “This is the way they used to do business,” a Turkish official said. “Send in a wise hand.”
Riyadh quickly released statements touting brotherly fraternity between two regional allies. But behind the scenes, things were not going well – at least not for the kingdom. “He was literally begging us for help,” the Turkish source said of bin Faisal. “They were really desperate.”
As the Turkish drip-feed continued, an element of revenge appeared to be driving it. This was the House of Saud’s death by a thousand cuts. Beyond a primal response though, has been a strategic objective. Erdoğan was not going to fold easily. Saudi Arabia’s belief that a cash strapped Turkish economy may drive Ankara’s calculations has proven ill-considered. A bounty to make the crisis go away is something that Riyadh could easily deal with, but Erdoğan has sought something far bigger – a chance to diminish a rival with a claim to speak for Sunni Islam and relaunch Turkey as an Islamic power base.
How to handle things has also been preoccupying Washington, increasingly desperate in its efforts to make the crisis disappear. Donald Trump has hitched many of his foreign policy ambitions to Prince Mohammed, whom he sees as a bulwark against Iran, a regional lifeline to Israel and an enthusiastic financier of the US economy.
Much of the US business elite has been enamoured by the crown prince and his social and economic reform programmes – and equally horrified by the revelations of the past week that end directly at his door. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been a regular in Prince Mohammed’s Diwan or court, as has Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, whose two-day trip to Riyadh and Ankara last week heralded the Saudi concession in the early hours of Saturday.
A US official in the region said Pompeo was met with a blanket denial in the Saudi capital and cold realpolitik in Ankara. Both he and the CIA, which he led until recently, have reportedly been played a tape of Khashoggi’s final moments, a recording so visceral and vivid that even Trump could no longer offer the crown prince cover.
The compromise, in which five Saudi officials have been blamed and two sacked – Prince Mohammed’s domestic enforcer, Saud al-Qahtani, and deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri – is being hailed in Washington as credible, but derided elsewhere as a face-saving scam.
“There is simply no way that MBS [Prince Mohammed] was oblivious to this, either before the fact, or after it,” said a former Saudi official now living in exile. “Not even in my day could this happen. To suggest that a control freak and tyrant like this was blindsided by well-meaning aides is beyond laughable.”
The first test of the compromise, which was imposed on a reluctant Riyadh by Washington, is how to account for the fact that not only was Khashoggi killed but his body mutilated and disposed of in pieces somewhere in Istanbul.
Other questions stand out: if the intention was to abduct or interrogate Khashoggi, why was a forensic expert, who specialises in dismembering bodies, sent to do the job? How do Turkish accounts of Khashoggi being overpowered and killed within minutes of entering the consulate square with claims that he died fighting his assailants off?
Perhaps overriding them all though are themes set to haunt the international community’s relationship with Mohammed bin Salman from this point on; does he have the temperament, credibility or awareness to start to recover from such an atrocity? And can he ever be a plausible partner again?
Turkish investigators are now searching forests in Istanbul for what remains of Khashoggi and expect to soon close their case. The country’s leaders, meanwhile, continue to weigh their options. They are yet to release the most incriminating aspects of the case against Saudi Arabia – particularly the recordings.
To do so could have devastating consequences that might affect regional security. In Washington, Trump appears to sense that his interests and those of his patron may yet be safeguarded if events are pullled back from the brink.
“We’ll see about that,” said a senior regional diplomat. “It’s fair to say that the world order died here along with Khashoggi. I’m dreading what comes next.”
Jamal Khashoggi is recorded on CCTV entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul at 1.14pm.
Saudi authorities confirm Khashoggi’s disappearance but insist he had left consulate. Turkish officials say he did not leave.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, reiterates that Khashoggi is not inside the consulate.
Turkish police say Khashoggi was murdered inside consulate.
Senior Turkish officials say that a 15-man Saudi hit squad was “most certainly involved”.
Donald Trump declares that he is concerned about Khashoggi’s disappearance.
US intelligence reported to have intercepted communications by Saudi officials planning to abduct Khashoggi.
Trump reveals he has spoken to the Saudis about what he calls a “bad situation”.
US president says there will be “severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia is found to be involved.
Trump changes view and criticises the widespread outrage directed at Saudi Arabia.
Reports claim that Khashoggi’s killers severed his fingers and later beheaded and dismembered his body.
White House shifts position again. Trump threatens “very severe” consequences if Saudis responsible.
With the November midterms less than three weeks away, a Republican member of Congress is reminding his fellow Americans that they once again have the high privilege of participating in the most important experiment in the history of the world: American democracy.
As usual, the party that can turn out the vote will win the election – and both Republicans and Democrats are fueled by anger as Election Day 2018 draws near. Those on the left have been fuming since the 2016 election and are spoiling for a fight with Donald Trump should they take back one or both chambers of Congress. And conservatives were deeply offended at the mistreatment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his recent confirmation hearings and are anxious to keep the Trump agenda on track.
Indiana Congressman Jim Banks emphasizes that November 6 is an important day. “Either we’ll show up and vote and make our voice heard – or we’ll stay home and allow those who stand for different values than we do to control the future of this country,” he summarizes.
Banks says Republicans have some unfinished business to take care of if they keep the House and Senate: for example, President Trump’s wall and border security and a healthcare solution that works. But he notes that Trump and GOP lawmakers delivered on plenty of promises as well; a booming economy, less regulation, peace where there was strife.
“When we keep our word to the voters and do what we say we’re going to do, then I believe the Republican base will come out and vote with the same intensity that they did last time,” he says.
But ultimately, he adds, the choice is the voters’. “[It’s either the] left-wing values, far-left liberal values of the Democratic Party, or the conservative values of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party,” he describes. “That’s what’s at stake. And I hope every [voter] will be sure to show up and vote on November 6 because [their] vote matters.”
The Senate race in Michigan
The midterm Senate races will determine if Republicans maintain or increase their majority status in that chamber – or if Democrats pick up enough seats to erase the GOP’s slim two-seat lead. Many of those races currently appear to be statistical dead-heats. One of the races of national interest is in Michigan, where Republican challenger John James hopes to unseat three-term Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow, who he says represents the face of the elite. (Both candidates pictured)
James is a West Point graduate and a Ranger-qualified aviation officer who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. After getting out of the Army, he returned to Michigan to run the family business and created 100 additional jobs. He describes himself as a “pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-business conservative” who has demonstrated “energetic leadership, clarity of vision, and a passion for service from the battlefield to the boardroom.”
During a recent appearance on the Fox News Channel, James noted that polls show he is gaining on Stabenow. “In the most recent poll released, we have cut her lead to single digits – and we doubled her in fundraising last quarter, her 1.8 [million] to our 3.6 [million] and our cash on hand is just about even,” he pointed out.
“But the thing is, we have a message that’s resonating,” James continued. “Everybody’s talking about a ‘blue wave,’ but people are discounting the undercurrent of people in the state of Michigan who not only voted for Donald Trump who won Michigan but Bernie Sanders. People who are working hard here every single day increasingly see Washington and Debbie Stabenow as the face of the elite.”
The two squared off Monday night in a final debate before Election Day. Stabenow argued that now isn’t the time to send an inexperienced lawmaker to Capitol Hill, whereas James argued that Michigan needs “balance” in Washington instead of two Democratic senators.
New polling of religious Americans suggests a majority understand basic beliefs but they are otherwise all over the theological map.
At the same time you’re reading that atheism is on the rise and the U.S. is fleeing churches, a survey by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research finds nearly seven in ten Americans still believe God is perfect and two thirds believe the resurrection of Jesus was an actual historical event.
But when it comes to some of the more difficult truths of the gospel, Americans in general and even evangelicals are slipping. Half of evangelicals, for example, believe God accepts the worship of all religions.
The “State of Theology” survey is done every two years, Ligonier explains on its website, to take the “theological temperature” of the U.S.
Scott McConnell of Lifeway tells OneNewsNow the respondents were quick to agree with the “core elements” of biblical Christianity.
“But if there’s any hint that that might involve them,” he adds, “a lot of people back off.”
Fifty-five percent of evangelicals believe that while everyone sins a little, most people are good by nature.
McConnell says that mirrors others in the survey.
“We grow up telling every kid that they’re a good kid,” he observes, “and that carries through all the way to our beliefs about God and theology: two-thirds of Americans agree that everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.”
Steve Lawson of Ligonier Ministries says young people seem to be abandoning some important cultural and theological battles of the day.
“When you look at some of the hot-button social issues — gender identity, same-sex issues — the millennials are out there,” he says, “at one point eight percent ahead of the general population in a wrong answer on the issue of gender identity.”