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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 334)

House Intelligence Committee Chair Says Whistleblower’s Safety Is Of ‘Primary Interest’

Westlake Legal Group 5da40c802100002a0dacd7f4 House Intelligence Committee Chair Says Whistleblower’s Safety Is Of ‘Primary Interest’

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday it may not be necessary to have the whistleblower who first filed a complaint about President Donald Trump’s call with Ukraine testify before Congress, saying there were still major concerns about the person’s safety.

Schiff, speaking to CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” told host Margaret Brennan that while his committee was initially interested in speaking with the whistleblower, who is still anonymous, he felt like lawmakers had now confirmed many of the details in from the call between Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky that set off the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry.

“Given that we already have the call record, we don’t need the whistleblower who wasn’t on the call to tell us what took place during the call,” Schiff said during the interview Sunday. “We have the best evidence of that.” 

“I think initially, before the president started threatening the whistleblower, threatening others calling them traitors and spies and suggestion that you know, we used to give them the death penalty to traitors and spies, maybe we should think about that again… Yes we were interested in having the whistleblower come forward,” Schiff said Sunday. “Our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected.”

In the complaint, which was filed after Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky, the whistleblower said they became concerned after hearing from multiple White House aides that Trump repeatedly pressured his counterpart to investigate a main political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden. The call took place shortly after the president ordered nearly $400 million in military aid that had been appropriated for Ukraine be put on hold.

The White House released a reconstruction of the call last month which showed clear instance of Trump asking for the investigation, and critics have said the demand reflected a clear quid pro quo in exchange for a political favor.

Trump has rejected those calls, however, and labeled the impeachment effort a “coup” and another “witch hunt” to overturn the 2016 election. He has demanded to know the identity of his accuser, fueling worries that the person’s identity could be leaked and their safety put in danger. 

Trump, in a Monday morning tweet blasting Schiff, said he wanted the whistleblower to testify. “We must determine the Whistleblower’s identity to determine WHY this was done to the USA,” the president wrote.

Trump appears to be referring to Schiff’s analysis of the phone call with Zelensky, which Schiff gave at a House hearing. “It reads like a classic organized crime shakedown,” Schiff said.

The chairman leads one of three House panels spearheading the impeachment inquiry, and Democrats have already sent out a flurry of subpoenas and requests for documents related to the Ukraine call. While the White House has been stonewalling many of those efforts, some former officials have already spoken to lawmakers, including the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

“We want to make sure that we uncover the full details about the conditionality of either the military aid of that meeting with Ukraine’s president,” Schiff said Sunday. “It may not be necessary to take steps that might reveal the whistleblower’s identity to do that.”

He continued: “And we’re going to make sure we protect that whistleblower.”

This article has been updated to include Trump’s tweets.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Billionaires could face up to 97.5 percent tax rates under Sanders’ plan: economists

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091908623001_6091914091001-vs Billionaires could face up to 97.5 percent tax rates under Sanders’ plan: economists fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc d93f0dc5-85ec-527c-b425-e8a57af8c347 article

Two economists at the University of California, Berkeley claim that billionaires could face a 97.5 percent average effective tax rate under Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan, which would easily thump other Democrats running for president in 2020.

Emmanuel Saez, one of the professors, told Bloomberg that “with the wealth tax, you get directly at the stock instead of hitting the flow of income, making it a  much more powerful de-concentration tool than income taxes.” The report pointed out that Sanders has said that the number of billionaires in the U.S. would be cut in half within 15 years under the plan.

The plan unveiled by Sanders seeks a 1 percent levy on households worth more than $32 million and proposes tax rates that would increase for wealthier people, up to 8 percent for fortunes in excess of $10 billion.

Sanders vowed to go further than Sen. Elizabeth Warren and generate more than $4 trillion over the next decade, substantially reducing billionaires’ fortunes. Billionaires would face a 62 percent average effective tax rate under Warren.

Sanders’ plan goes further because it starts on fortunes worth less, kicking in at $32 million. Warren also proposes increasing the wealth tax up to 3 percent on any net worth of more than $1 billion, while Sanders’ tax rates don’t top out until 8 percent for the richest households.

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The Massachusetts senator has topped Sanders in recent polls of Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire that show her running about even with the longtime front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, in those states.

Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and the Associated Press contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091908623001_6091914091001-vs Billionaires could face up to 97.5 percent tax rates under Sanders’ plan: economists fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc d93f0dc5-85ec-527c-b425-e8a57af8c347 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091908623001_6091914091001-vs Billionaires could face up to 97.5 percent tax rates under Sanders’ plan: economists fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc d93f0dc5-85ec-527c-b425-e8a57af8c347 article

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Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Westlake Legal Group ap_162847727820941-f86b69770efba5c1c684905efe98a131aa1764dd-s1100-c15 Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

People look on at a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2016 at Seattle’s City Hall. Seattle began observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day two years earlier to promote the well-being and growth of Seattle’s Indigenous community. Elaine Thompson/AP hide caption

toggle caption

Elaine Thompson/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

People look on at a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2016 at Seattle’s City Hall. Seattle began observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day two years earlier to promote the well-being and growth of Seattle’s Indigenous community.

Elaine Thompson/AP

On Monday in the nation’s capital, there is no Columbus Day. The D.C. Council voted to replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in a temporary move that it hopes to make permanent. Several other places across the United States have also made the switch in a growing movement to end the celebration of the Italian explorer in favor of honoring Indigenous communities and their resiliency in the face of violence by European explorers like Christopher Columbus.

Baley Champagne is responsible for that change in her home state of Louisiana. The tribal citizen of the United Houma Nation petitioned the governor, John Bel Edwards, to change the day. He did, along with several other states this year.

“It’s become a trend,” Champagne said. “It’s about celebrating people instead of thinking about somebody who actually caused genocide on a population or tried to cause the genocide of an entire population. By bringing Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we’re bringing awareness that we’re not going to allow someone like that to be glorified into a hero, because of the hurt that he caused to Indigenous people of America.”

And so in Houma, La., people from across the state will gather to honor and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the first time.

She wants it to be “a celebration and to bring acknowledgment to the Native population,” Champagne said. “You know, because we have many friends of all different races in this area and Houma is named after the Houma people, the Houma Choctaw. So to bring this, I think it’s long overdue. It’s a big celebration. And we’re just so excited to have this finally.”

There’s no comprehensive list of places that have switched, but at least 10 states now celebrate some version of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October, like Hawaii’s Discoverers’ Day or South Dakota’s Native Americans’ Day. Many college campuses have dumped Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples’ Day as have more than 100 cities, towns and counties across the country.

For Native Americans, Columbus Day has long been hurtful. It conjures the violent history of 500 years of colonial oppression at the hands of European explorers and those who settled here — a history whose ramifications and wounds still run deep today.

“Today we understand that while [Columbus] was an explorer and is credited with being one of the first Europeans to arrive in the Americas, we now know a great deal about the history and the way that he and his people behaved when they came to this continent,” said Shannon Speed, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and director of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center. “Which included pillaging, raping and generally setting in motion a genocide of the people who were already here. That’s not something we want to celebrate. That’s not something anyone wants to celebrate.”

The shift isn’t happening without some pushback. For many Italian Americans, Columbus Day is their day to celebrate Italian heritage and the contributions of Italian Americans to the United States. It was adopted at a time when Italians were vilified and faced religious and ethnic discrimination. The first commemoration came in 1892, a year after a mass lynching of 11 Italian Americans by a mob in New Orleans. Italian Americans latched onto the day as a way to mainstream and humanize themselves in the face of rampant discrimination. It became a national holiday in 1934 to honor a man who, ironically, never set foot in the United States. Columbus anchored in the Bahamas.

For many Italian Americans, Columbus Day isn’t just about the man but about what the day represents: a people searching for safety and acceptance in their new home.

Westlake Legal Group ap_19116550679343-5ddee6727229dd3613bbe7b1f9255573c9201c46-s1100-c15 Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

For many Italian Americans, Columbus Day is about celebrating Italian heritage and the contributions of Italian Americans to the United States. Above, the Christopher Columbus statue at Manhattan’s Columbus Circle in New York. Bebeto Matthews/AP hide caption

toggle caption

Bebeto Matthews/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

For many Italian Americans, Columbus Day is about celebrating Italian heritage and the contributions of Italian Americans to the United States. Above, the Christopher Columbus statue at Manhattan’s Columbus Circle in New York.

Bebeto Matthews/AP

In 2017, after someone vandalized the Christopher Columbus statue in New York City’s Central Park, the then-president and chief operating officer of the National Italian American Foundation, John M. Viola, wrote in a New York Times editorial, “The ‘tearing down of history’ does not change that history. In the wake of the cultural conflict that has ripped us apart over these months, I wonder if we as a country can’t find better ways to utilize our history to eradicate racism instead of inciting it. Can’t the monuments and holidays born of our past be reimagined to represent new values for our future?”

He went on to write, “We believe Christopher Columbus represents the values of discovery and risk that are at the heart of the American dream, and that it is our job as the community most closely associated with his legacy to be at the forefront of a sensitive and engaging path forward, toward a solution that considers all sides.”

Speed says she recognizes the importance of celebrating the history and contributions of Italian Americans, but there has to be another way to honor them.

“There are a lot of Italian Americans who very much support the shift to Indigenous Peoples’ Day because they don’t want to feel themselves associated with a man who is known to have committed terrible crimes against humanity,” she said. “Italian Americans were greatly discriminated against in this country, and it’s incredibly important to have a day to celebrate that heritage. It just shouldn’t be around the figure of Columbus.”

Celebrating Columbus, she said, not only whitewashes a violent history but also discounts the further trauma that honoring him inflicts on Indigenous people.

Westlake Legal Group ap_16285049452613-f5d362e52d4044f03dc16cb837d6c3c8b76cbb54-s1100-c15 Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

Rally participants listen to an address by Frank Bear Killer of the Oglala Lakota tribe outside the state Capitol in Lincoln, Neb., in 2016 to mark Lincoln’s first Indigenous Peoples’ Day. At least 10 states now celebrate some version of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Nati Harnik/AP hide caption

toggle caption

Nati Harnik/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

Rally participants listen to an address by Frank Bear Killer of the Oglala Lakota tribe outside the state Capitol in Lincoln, Neb., in 2016 to mark Lincoln’s first Indigenous Peoples’ Day. At least 10 states now celebrate some version of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Nati Harnik/AP

“Indigenous children are going to school and being forced to hear about and celebrate the person who set in motion the genocide of their people,” Speed said. “That’s incredibly painful. It creates an ongoing harm. And so we can’t have a national holiday that creates an ongoing harm for a significant portion of our citizens.”

For Native Americans, that pain is the first thing they feel when they hear “Columbus Day,” Speed said. But when a group of Berkeley, Calif., residents asked the city to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1992, then-Mayor Loni Hancock said it was the first time she’d really understood the negative impact of this holiday on Indigenous people.

“We had to think about what is this holiday about and who discovered America and how really profoundly disrespectful it was to say that a European explorer who never actually set foot on the continent did that,” Hancock said. “Discounting the Indigenous people who had lived here for centuries with very sophisticated cultures and pretty much in harmony with the earth.”

Indigenous peoples first proposed the day during a 1977 United Nations conference on discrimination against them. But it wasn’t until 1989 that South Dakota became the first state to switch Columbus Day to Native Americans’ Day, celebrating it for the first time in 1990. And then Berkeley became the first U.S. city to switch to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The Pew Research Center says Columbus Day is the most inconsistently observed national holiday in the United States.

“Certainly the hundreds and thousands of Italian immigrants who came over in steerage class on the boats at the turn of the 19th century endured a lot of hardships to get here,” Hancock said. “But the discovery of America is something where you want to get your history right. And I think that to fully understand and take responsibility for who we are as a people in this land made it very important to be clear about who was here first and reflect on what happened in our history after that, in terms of the displacement and oftentimes genocide of those people. How that might have reflected a general discounting of the history and the humanity of nonwhite people of many kinds in this country and to take responsibility for our history.”

National Desk intern Megan Manata contributed to this report.

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Missing From Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 Surge: Democratic Endorsements

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162565353_6e8d439e-7b57-4b89-9ce4-ae7ba3196a22-facebookJumbo Missing From Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 Surge: Democratic Endorsements Warren, Elizabeth Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government Massachusetts Haaland, Deb Endorsements Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren has built her following in part by taking pictures with thousands of voters deep into evening after campaign events, but her dinner audience here one night last month was far smaller. And Ms. Warren’s guests were more interested in hearing, and politely challenging, her campaign pitch than eagerly capturing the moment for posterity on their iPhones.

Addressing a few dozen members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus at a Chinese restaurant a few blocks from the Capitol, she laid out her case for why she could unify Democrats, emphasized that she was not hostile to properly run businesses and made a soft sell to the lawmakers to support her presidential bid.

“She said, ‘Nobody could do this alone, I will need your help,’” recalled Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine, who attended the gathering and said Ms. Warren “was great.”

But just under a month since the family-style meal, the Massachusetts senator has the same small number of endorsements from congressional colleagues beyond her home state as she did beforehand: three.

Ms. Warren is expected to reveal additional support from Democratic officials this week in conjunction with Tuesday’s CNN/New York Times debate and the release of her smashing third-quarter financial disclosure. Yet her growing crowd sizes, soaring fund-raising and surge to the top of a number of national and early-state polls only shine a brighter light on one of the most revealing elements of this primary: the widening gap between the preferences of many Democratic voters and the lawmakers who represent them.

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Ms. Warren is now a clear front-runner in the race for her party’s nomination, yet just under four months before the leadoff Iowa caucuses she lacks the support of a single governor, big-city mayor or fellow senator outside Massachusetts.

She does have the backing of the Working Families Party, an influential liberal group, and yet she also has fewer total endorsements from state legislators in Iowa and New Hampshire than Senator Cory Booker, who registers in the lower single-digits of surveys and last month had to beseech donors to give him enough money to sustain his stagnant campaign.

The apparent lag between Democratic activists and Democratic elected officials, which comes nearly four years after President Trump’s stunning outsider’s capture of the Republican nomination and Senator Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly potent candidacy in the Democratic primaries, has done little to slow Ms. Warren’s momentum.

Yet the reluctance of Democratic lawmakers to embrace Ms. Warren’s campaign this deep into the year, after she has plainly emerged as a leading candidate, illustrates both the lingering reservations party elites have about her general election prospects and her unique positioning in this race.

“Racing to the left is not really speaking to the needs of people in the heartland,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who expressed alarm about scrapping private health insurance, urged the candidates to focus on “pocketbook issues” and, when asked if Ms. Warren could reclaim the Midwestern states Mr. Trump captured in 2016, paused before saying: “I’m not sure.”

Ms. Warren is politically neither fish nor fowl.

She is not an anti-establishment insurgent in the style of Mr. Sanders, who were he in the position Ms. Warren is now would almost certainly have inspired a Stop Bernie campaign funded by a petrified donor class. But with her refusal to raise money among rich contributors, her unabashed populism and her pre-Senate roots in academia, she is hardly a Clinton-style creature of the Democratic political class.

As a result, many party officials are neither rushing to oppose her nor racing to her side, instead staying on the sidelines and doing what politicians often do when they are uncertain of what choice to make: buying time.

“It’s easier to wait, you keep your relationships good,” said Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico, one of the few lawmakers who is supporting Ms. Warren, noting that some of her colleagues are loath to offend their friends in the race by choosing a candidate.

Reinforcing this instinct toward caution is the fluid nature of a primary still large enough to feature 12 candidates on the debate stage this week as well as the high stakes of next year’s general election.

“You had two candidates last time,” said longtime Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, referring to the Sanders-versus-Hillary Clinton race. “People want to see this unfold.”

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Thanks to his decades-long relationships and the perception in some quarters that he would be a strong candidate against Mr. Trump, Joseph R. Biden Jr. has picked up the most support from Democratic lawmakers of any of the presidential hopefuls. But his uneven performance as a candidate this year and Mr. Trump’s daily barrage of attacks on him, have left some party officials wondering just how safe a pick he is in 2020.

“People are concerned about Joe, but they ask: Is Elizabeth electable?” said former Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, explaining the dilemma. “So a lot of people are just keeping their powder dry because they have not decided who can best run against Trump.”

Defeating a president who may be the first incumbent to seek re-election after being impeached should be the party’s overriding focus, said Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois.

“I genuinely feel our republic is in danger,” Mr. Pritzker said.

A longtime donor who often immersed himself in primaries before he entered politics, Mr. Pritzker said he was staying out of this race for the time being in part because he was still stung by 2016, when some of Mr. Sanders supporters protested what they saw as his mistreatment by Mrs. Clinton and her establishment-aligned supporters.

“When he didn’t win people folded their arms and stayed home or they voted for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson,” said Mr. Pritzker, alluding to two of the third-party candidates whose votes helped cost Mrs. Clinton the election.

He’s not the only Democrat who has the echo of the Sanders-Clinton race still throbbing in their ears nor the only one determined to avoid alienating any of the supporters of this cycle’s candidates.

“Many believed the primary was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton,” Representative Darren Soto of Florida said. “There is a feeling among many of us that we need to have a broad and diverse field, plenty of debates and let the primary voters decide on their own.”

What few lawmakers will say, at least publicly, is that wading into the race can also come with a cost: they run the risk of angering the eventual nominee if they support a losing candidate and they also invite complaints from their own constituents or donors, who may have a different preference.

What’s more, they also have to be mindful of their own political branding and how they align themselves.

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“Politicians are different from voters,” said Donna Brazile, the longtime Democratic strategist and former party chair. “They have to say, ‘How does this fit with my agenda, my district?’” In Ms. Warren’s case, even one of her biggest boosters, Ms. Haaland, conceded it was easier for her to step out early because of the progressive nature of her district.

“Some folks they’re just like, ‘I better stay out of it for a while because of my district,’” she said of her House colleagues.

And it’s not just lawmakers who are taking a wait-and-see approach. Powerful liberal interest groups, including much of organized labor, are also hanging back, which only prompts the politicians to believe it’s safer to remain mum.

“That would make a difference if they came out,” Representative Dina Titus of Nevada said of unions. “They’re all being coy, too.”

Ms. Titus said she planned to get behind a candidate later this year, but her state, the third to vote in next year’s primary, illustrates just how many party elites were remaining neutral: Nevada’s governor, two senators, three Democratic House members and longtime boss, former Senator Harry Reid, have all refrained from endorsing a candidate.

Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland said that he had also been “drawn in different directions in this race,” noting that he wanted to make a decision that’s both “passionate and strategic.”

But after having lunch in Washington last month with Ms. Warren and her husband, Bruce Mann, Mr. Raskin said he planned on endorsing the senator.

“If all she had to her name was senator from Massachusetts she would not be an ideal candidate,” he said, before citing Ms. Warren’s record as a consumer advocate and critic of Washington self-dealing. “As a candidate of public integrity and honesty in government, she has a very powerful story to tell at a time of boundless Republican corruption and lawlessness.” What’s more, Mr. Raskin said, “She made a very eloquent and personal pitch to me.”

As for Ms. Pingree, she said she was “watching the wisdom, the perspective of the public” and was eager “to see who people get excited about.”

She will also have a chance to gauge the views of her colleagues. When Congress comes back from its recess this week, Ms. Pingree said she and the other House Democrats who live in her Washington high rise planned on having a debate watch party in the building’s common room.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Westlake Legal Group ap_162847727820941-f86b69770efba5c1c684905efe98a131aa1764dd-s1100-c15 Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

People look on at a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2016 at Seattle’s City Hall. Seattle began observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day two years earlier to promote the well-being and growth of Seattle’s Indigenous community. Elaine Thompson/AP hide caption

toggle caption

Elaine Thompson/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

People look on at a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2016 at Seattle’s City Hall. Seattle began observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day two years earlier to promote the well-being and growth of Seattle’s Indigenous community.

Elaine Thompson/AP

On Monday in the nation’s capital, there is no Columbus Day. The D.C. Council voted to replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in a temporary move that it hopes to make permanent. Several other places across the United States have also made the switch in a growing movement to end the celebration of the Italian explorer in favor of honoring Indigenous communities and their resiliency in the face of violence by European explorers like Christopher Columbus.

Baley Champagne is responsible for that change in her home state of Louisiana. The tribal citizen of the United Houma Nation petitioned the governor, John Bel Edwards, to change the day. He did, along with several other states this year.

“It’s become a trend,” Champagne said. “It’s about celebrating people instead of thinking about somebody who actually caused genocide on a population or tried to cause the genocide of an entire population. By bringing Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we’re bringing awareness that we’re not going to allow someone like that to be glorified into a hero, because of the hurt that he caused to Indigenous people of America.”

And so in Houma, La., people from across the state will gather to honor and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the first time.

She wants it to be “a celebration and to bring acknowledgment to the Native population,” Champagne said. “You know, because we have many friends of all different races in this area and Houma is named after the Houma people, the Houma Choctaw. So to bring this, I think it’s long overdue. It’s a big celebration. And we’re just so excited to have this finally.”

There’s no comprehensive list of places that have switched, but at least 10 states now celebrate some version of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October, like Hawaii’s Discoverers’ Day or South Dakota’s Native Americans’ Day. Many college campuses have dumped Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples’ Day as have more than 100 cities, towns and counties across the country.

For Native Americans, Columbus Day has long been hurtful. It conjures the violent history of 500 years of colonial oppression at the hands of European explorers and those who settled here — a history whose ramifications and wounds still run deep today.

“Today we understand that while [Columbus] was an explorer and is credited with being one of the first Europeans to arrive in the Americas, we now know a great deal about the history and the way that he and his people behaved when they came to this continent,” said Shannon Speed, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and director of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center. “Which included pillaging, raping and generally setting in motion a genocide of the people who were already here. That’s not something we want to celebrate. That’s not something anyone wants to celebrate.”

The shift isn’t happening without some pushback. For many Italian Americans, Columbus Day is their day to celebrate Italian heritage and the contributions of Italian Americans to the United States. It was adopted at a time when Italians were vilified and faced religious and ethnic discrimination. The first commemoration came in 1892, a year after a mass lynching of 11 Italian Americans by a mob in New Orleans. Italian Americans latched onto the day as a way to mainstream and humanize themselves in the face of rampant discrimination. It became a national holiday in 1934 to honor a man who, ironically, never set foot in the United States. Columbus anchored in the Bahamas.

For many Italian Americans, Columbus Day isn’t just about the man but about what the day represents: a people searching for safety and acceptance in their new home.

Westlake Legal Group ap_19116550679343-5ddee6727229dd3613bbe7b1f9255573c9201c46-s1100-c15 Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

For many Italian Americans, Columbus Day is about celebrating Italian heritage and the contributions of Italian Americans to the United States. Above, the Christopher Columbus statue at Manhattan’s Columbus Circle in New York. Bebeto Matthews/AP hide caption

toggle caption

Bebeto Matthews/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

For many Italian Americans, Columbus Day is about celebrating Italian heritage and the contributions of Italian Americans to the United States. Above, the Christopher Columbus statue at Manhattan’s Columbus Circle in New York.

Bebeto Matthews/AP

In 2017, after someone vandalized the Christopher Columbus statue in New York City’s Central Park, the then-president and chief operating officer of the National Italian American Foundation, John M. Viola, wrote in a New York Times editorial, “The ‘tearing down of history’ does not change that history. In the wake of the cultural conflict that has ripped us apart over these months, I wonder if we as a country can’t find better ways to utilize our history to eradicate racism instead of inciting it. Can’t the monuments and holidays born of our past be reimagined to represent new values for our future?”

He went on to write, “We believe Christopher Columbus represents the values of discovery and risk that are at the heart of the American dream, and that it is our job as the community most closely associated with his legacy to be at the forefront of a sensitive and engaging path forward, toward a solution that considers all sides.”

Speed says she recognizes the importance of celebrating the history and contributions of Italian Americans, but there has to be another way to honor them.

“There are a lot of Italian Americans who very much support the shift to Indigenous Peoples’ Day because they don’t want to feel themselves associated with a man who is known to have committed terrible crimes against humanity,” she said. “Italian Americans were greatly discriminated against in this country, and it’s incredibly important to have a day to celebrate that heritage. It just shouldn’t be around the figure of Columbus.”

Celebrating Columbus, she said, not only whitewashes a violent history but also discounts the further trauma that honoring him inflicts on Indigenous people.

Westlake Legal Group ap_16285049452613-f5d362e52d4044f03dc16cb837d6c3c8b76cbb54-s1100-c15 Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

Rally participants listen to an address by Frank Bear Killer of the Oglala Lakota tribe outside the state Capitol in Lincoln, Neb., in 2016 to mark Lincoln’s first Indigenous Peoples’ Day. At least 10 states now celebrate some version of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Nati Harnik/AP hide caption

toggle caption

Nati Harnik/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day?

Rally participants listen to an address by Frank Bear Killer of the Oglala Lakota tribe outside the state Capitol in Lincoln, Neb., in 2016 to mark Lincoln’s first Indigenous Peoples’ Day. At least 10 states now celebrate some version of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Nati Harnik/AP

“Indigenous children are going to school and being forced to hear about and celebrate the person who set in motion the genocide of their people,” Speed said. “That’s incredibly painful. It creates an ongoing harm. And so we can’t have a national holiday that creates an ongoing harm for a significant portion of our citizens.”

For Native Americans, that pain is the first thing they feel when they hear “Columbus Day,” Speed said. But when a group of Berkeley, Calif., residents asked the city to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1992, then-Mayor Loni Hancock said it was the first time she’d really understood the negative impact of this holiday on Indigenous people.

“We had to think about what is this holiday about and who discovered America and how really profoundly disrespectful it was to say that a European explorer who never actually set foot on the continent did that,” Hancock said. “Discounting the Indigenous people who had lived here for centuries with very sophisticated cultures and pretty much in harmony with the earth.”

Indigenous peoples first proposed the day during a 1977 United Nations conference on discrimination against them. But it wasn’t until 1989 that South Dakota became the first state to switch Columbus Day to Native Americans’ Day, celebrating it for the first time in 1990. And then Berkeley became the first U.S. city to switch to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The Pew Research Center says Columbus Day is the most inconsistently observed national holiday in the United States.

“Certainly the hundreds and thousands of Italian immigrants who came over in steerage class on the boats at the turn of the 19th century endured a lot of hardships to get here,” Hancock said. “But the discovery of America is something where you want to get your history right. And I think that to fully understand and take responsibility for who we are as a people in this land made it very important to be clear about who was here first and reflect on what happened in our history after that, in terms of the displacement and oftentimes genocide of those people. How that might have reflected a general discounting of the history and the humanity of nonwhite people of many kinds in this country and to take responsibility for our history.”

National Desk intern Megan Manata contributed to this report.

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Virginia voter registration deadline quickly approaching

Westlake Legal Group 18021767_G Virginia voter registration deadline quickly approaching

Tuesday is the last day Virginians can register to vote or update an existing registration. Eligible citizens can register online . Applications are also available at public facilities, including public libraries and Department of Motor Vehicle offices, in addition to local registration offices.

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How do Democrats win in 2020? These battleground state leaders have some advice.

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close How do Democrats win in 2020? These battleground state leaders have some advice.

Democratic activists in swing districts knock on doors in attempts to turn the elusive Obama-to-Trump voter back to the Dems. USA TODAY

STEVENS POINT, Wis.— Two Democratic activists in this swing district knocked on the door to the home of one of the big white whales of the 2020 election cycle: The elusive Obama-to-Trump voter.

Hayley Bird, a canvasser from the local College Democrats club, introduced herself and asked the voter a neutrally-worded question: “What’s the most important issue we’re facing as a state or country?”

“He’s psychotic,” responded 68-year-old Alvin White, referring to President Donald Trump. He then told Bird he voted for Trump in 2016 after twice casting ballots for Obama.

White grumbled that he was embarrassed by the president’s attempt to buy Greenland, insistence on building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and frequent provocative rhetoric to the news media and on Twitter.

But when Bird’s fellow canvasser Joan Garski asked White to rate Trump on a scale of 1 (awful) to 10 (awesome), the retiree was more charitable.

“I would give him a 5,” said White, who added he was leaning toward voting for former Vice President Joe Biden in 2020 if he wins the Democratic nomination but was less enthusiastic about the rest of the field. “I got to give Trump credit — the job market is doing pretty good.”

The Iowa caucuses that will kick off the Democratic nomination fight are still more than three months away.

But already top Democratic Party officials are looking down the road and shaping their strategy to win back voters like White in the general election. In the process, they’re posing a bigger question that’s pivotal no matter who they nominate: What will it take to beat Trump in November 2020?

Four states in particular — Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — are seen as among the most pivotal for Democrats to move back into their column. Trump carried all four in 2016 by a combined margin of less than 200,000 votes after Barack Obama won all of them in both 2008 and 2012. 

And Democrats also are dealing with a new dynamic in the race after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched an impeachment inquiry of Trump over allegations that he abused his power by pressing Ukraine to investigate Biden, one of his top political rivals, and the former vice president’s son, Hunter Biden. Trump has insisted he did nothing improper.

USA TODAY interviewed more than two dozen Democratic National Committee officials, county Democratic chairpersons, elected officials and rank-and-file activists in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin about the path to victory. They highlighted an increased effort on the ground in early states, a desire to make the message to voters more issue-driven, and warned against ignoring voters who may have been overlooked in 2016.

Here is how they think the Democrats can win. 

Developing a robust ground game

The old adage “it comes down to turnout” is cliché — but true. And to drive turnout, you have to have people on the ground, making contact with voters.

DNC officials say they have identified seven battleground states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — that Trump won in 2016 for special focus. The party is in the midst of hiring 1,000 organizers across those states to try to turn the tide. 

The DNC has also purchased nearly 7 million voter cell phone numbers in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as they attempt to bolster data bases and reach more voters in those key states, officials said.

And after a falloff in black voter participation in 2016, the DNC has put an early emphasis on voter outreach in communities of color. That includes a multi-million dollar investment by the DNC and progressive partners to recruit, pay and train young voter outreach workers in black and Latino communities in places like Milwaukee and Philadelphia, where minority turnout is key to Democrats’ hopes of winning Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

In Michigan, Trump won by nearly 11,000 votes in 2016, marking the first time a Republican presidential nominee took the state since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

“I will own the party’s part in falling short in 2016,” said Lavora Barnes, the Michigan Democratic Party chairwoman. “What we did not do is prepare ourselves to run a ground game. We sat back and waited for the national campaign — waited for the nominee to be chosen and then tried to stand up a campaign right around the time of the convention. It was too late. We have vowed as a party that that will never let this happen to us again.”

When talking to voters, Brian Kerrigan, chairman of the Marquette County Democratic Committee, said activists and candidates need to stay focused on bread-and-butter issues where Trump has fallen short — including failure to get an infrastructure deal, slow wage growth and trade wars that have complicated business for farmers and manufacturers in the Rust Belt.

He and elected Democrats throughout the sprawling 100-square mile county in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan have begun to hold listening tours to ask voters what issues are most important to them, with the intent of filtering up that information to state Democrats and eventually the national party.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took Marquette County by four points in 2016 but won about 2,000 fewer votes than Obama did in 2012. If activists can help the 2020 Democratic nominee pick up even a few hundred votes more than Clinton did, it could prove to be significant in changing the fate of Michigan in 2020, Kerrigan said.

Ronald Reagan posed to voters in his successful 1980 run against Jimmy Carter: Are you better off than four years ago? How the electorate has answered that question has largely determined whether incumbent presidents since the 40th president have been ultimately successful in winning reelection.

Kerrigan countered that Trump’s booming economy has not helped many working-class Americans. “The better question is, ‘Where do we want to go in our communities, in our state and in the country,’” he said.

More: Who is running for president in 2020? An interactive guide

Trump, for his part, has attempted to keep the spotlight on a strong economy. Unemployment is hovering near 50 year low and the economy grew by a solid 2.5% last year, but still short of the 3% growth Trump promised with his push for tax cuts and deregulation.

Trump has lashed out at Pelosi over the impeachment inquiry and slammed the opposing party as “do nothing Democrats” pursuing impeachment because they fear running against him on the issue of the economy.

He’ll have a huge war chest to make his pitch to voters.

The Republican National Committee announced it jointly raised $125 million with the Trump reelection campaign in the third quarter of this year alone. Trump broke precedent by starting to fundraise for his reelection immediately after his 2017 inauguration.  

“When you have the president announce his reelect early and when you have the RNC chairwoman (Ronna McDaniel) raising record amounts of money every single month,” said Rick Gorka, the RNC’s communication director for battleground states, it allows you to reinvest more into the data and the ground game.”

Opinion: Trump raids military families, national security to pay for border wall: Vets in Congress

It can’t be just about Trump

While pointing out where Democrats believe Trump has failed may resonate with some voters, voters and activists also said candidates need to talk about more than just the president.

To varying degrees, top-tier Democratic candidates have sought to flip the script and define Trump as a candidate who may have been good for the rich but bad for workers, the environment, women and minorities.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has repeatedly warned on the campaign trail that every time Democrats are talking about Trump, they’re missing an opportunity to talk about the lives of voters.

Biden — who in recent days has found himself spending a fair amount of energy pushing back against Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of misdeeds in Ukraine by him and his son — has centered his campaign as an attempt restore “the soul of this country,” to bolster the middle class and to unify the nation. 

Elizabeth Warren, the first major Democratic candidate to call for Trump’s impeachment, has told voters they need to demand their elected officials are doing more than talking about their differences with Trump. The election of the president in 2016 was a symptom of a greater illness, she’s argued.

“This dark moment requires more than being ‘not Trump’, because a country that elects someone like Donald Trump is a country that’s already in serious trouble,” Warren said in a speech at last month’s Massachusetts Democratic Convention.

As Bird and Garski canvassed in Stevens Point on the recent afternoon, they heard less outrage from voters about the president and more anxiety about whether Trump — and politicians in Washington writ large — are in tune with what’s keeping average Americans up at night.

One voter, John Strassburg, told the canvassers he was concerned about states tightening voter identification rules — creating roadblocks for many Americans, particularly minorities and low-income people, who want to cast their ballots. “Before anything else we have to improve voter registration laws,” he said.

Kody Lutz told Garski and Bird he was concerned about the trickle-down effect of Trump’s trade war with China on Wisconsin businesses and his livelihood.

He works at one of 11 railroad companies that operate in the state and he’s anxious as railway traffic has slowed down. Total U.S. carload traffic for the first nine months of 2019 was down 3.8% from the same period last year, according to the American Association Railroads. The railroad group says the slowdown is due in part to trade uncertainty.

“People at work have been talking about layoffs,” Lutz told Garski and Bird.

Gary Stark, chairman of the Kent County Democratic Party in western Michigan, said the eventual nominee needs to remind voters about the failures of the Trump administration and spend less energy on outrage over the president’s bluster, misstatements and lies.

“In his victory he speech, he said he was going to be president of all the country, we know where that’s gone,” Stark said. “Things like reminding voters that he said Mexico is going to pay for the wall, I think, might have more traction. We should remind voters of the trade war and the impact it’s having on things, the impact of the trade war on farmers, the impact of his failure of action on health care. I think if we stay focused on what his failed promises are doing to average people it will have more impact voters.”

Come to voters where they are

Bert Sise, Democratic County chairwoman in Monroe County, Fla., recently had an older acquaintance and once-staunch Trump backer approach her to tell her he’s finally had it with Trump.

The last straw was the administration’s decision to postpone more than 100 Pentagon projects — including nine schools for troops’ children and repairs to military facilities damaged by hurricanes in Puerto Rico — so the president could divert about $3.6 billion to his long sought after border wall.

“I’ve made some conversions, as I like to call them,” Sise said. “For some of them, the scales are dropping from their eyes, but not enough in my estimation. There are still those who think he can do no wrong, and they say if he does wrong, they say, ‘Who cares?’”

But at the same time, Sise said that Trump has been a “great recruiter for the Democratic party.”

In her county that includes the Florida Keys — an area Obama took by about five percentage points in 2008 but Trump won by 7 points in 2016 — Sise said there are signs that Democrats can turn things around.

Her committee’s meetings — Democrats hold three meetings a month in the different parts of the sprawling county — used to attract only about 10 people but now regularly attract dozens.

Sise, 71, who spent more than 30 years managing a truck terminal, said she feels some optimism for Democrats, because Trump “steps on his (penis) every day” and demonstrates a penchant for offending huge parts of the electorate. 

“Democrats and the nominee need to remember: Don’t talk down to people,” she said. “I think Hillary had a problem with that. The nominee needs to be genuine, and find a way to show them how our policies relate to them. And on the ground game, we need to make sure we train our people to make the argument without getting into a pissing contest.”

Vaughn Derderian, the Oakland County, Michigan, Democratic Party chairman, said Democrats too often suffer from a measure of arrogance that “because our ideas are better, we will win.”

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The 2018 midterms offer Democrats a measure of confidence about their chances of turning the state blue in again 2020.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, cruised to victory, winning by more than 400,000 votes. The party also flipped two Republican-held U.S. House seats. And incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s margin of victory was more than 4 points higher in Michigan counties that Clinton won in 2016 than the presidential nominee. Meanwhile, her Republican opponent’s margin of victory in Trump counties was nearly 9 percentage less.

But Derderian thinks about his own overconfidence in a state House race he worked on in 2018. The day before the 2018 midterms, Derderian sat in the living room of his candidate reviewing early her voting metrics that suggested his candidate should take the race. The next day, his candidate lost.

“I think we have to always be looking in the rearview mirror,” Derderian said. “No matter how comfortably we think we should be able to win, we should spend everyday thinking that we’re on the edge of losing.”

Badger State Poll: Fox News poll shows Trump nine points behind Biden in Wisconsin, a key swing state

Monster GOP haul: Trump campaign, RNC to report record $125 million third quarter fundraising haul

Be careful who you ignore

In places like Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, and Seminole County, Fla., Democratic officials say the electorate offers a near perfect mirror of the United State population as a whole, but place like these get short shrift from Democratic candidates.

Dauphin, which includes the state capital of Harrisburg, is by many measures the statistically closest to resembling American as a whole, according a study the Washington-based political research firm Echelon Insight.

The county went for Clinton by 2.9 percentage points, while the popular vote margin in the country as a whole was 2.1 points. The median household income is $54,968, just off the national average of $57,805. Just more than 29% of adults over 25 graduated from college, compared to the national average of 30.3%. At 47.8%, the percentage of the population that belonged to a religious congregation in 2010 is very close to the national average of 48.8%, the Echelon study notes.

“My advice to candidates is take notice of all of Pennsylvania and just don’t spend all your time in Philadelphia,” said Rogette Harris, the Dauphin County Democratic Committee chairwoman.

Brittany Nethers, the Democratic committee chairwoman in central Florida’s Seminole County, said that whoever is the party’s presidential nomination would do well by following the lead of 2018 gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and his approach in her neck of the woods.

The county, which includes the growing suburbs north of Orlando, was once solidly Republican but Democrats have made headway as the area has become more diverse. The county ranked as the seventh most representative of the U.S. as a whole in the Echelon study.

Trump took Seminole County by 1.5 percentage points in 2016, while the GOP nominee in 2012, Mitt Romney, took the county by more than six percentage points.

Gillum, the former Tallahassee, Fla., mayor, managed to win the county by two percentage points in the 2018 gubernatorial race in which he narrowly lost the state to Rep. Ron DeSantis. In 2014, then-Republican Gov. Rick Scott won the county by more than seven percentage points.

“Having the candidates come to these areas — not just the main cities — would be vital to help drum up support for whoever is the nominee,” Nethers said. “We saw it with Andrew Gillum, who made three or four stops here, and it ultimately helped him.”

Daniel Henry, Democratic committee chairman for Duval County in Northern Florida, said that in the early going, both state and national Democratic officials are taking a different tact and recognizing that there are votes to be won in areas like his — one that has historically favored Republicans but has become a voter-rich battleground for Democrats in recent cycles.

For example, state Democrats during the 2014 election only assigned two or three field organizers at a time to the county, which includes the city of Jacksonville and for decades had long trended Republican, Henry said.

In 2016, Clinton’s campaign had only a small presence in the county before her campaign and Democrats built up presence months before Election Day. She ended up losing the county by about 1.4 percentage points.

But by the 2018 election cycle, the state party had assigned 15-to-18 field organizers at time assigned to the Jacksonville area. (Republicans won the gubernatorial race in the county by more than 12 percentage points in 2014, but Gillum took the county by more than four percentage points in 2018 race.)

“The difference I see is there is a recognition (by state and national Democratic party leaders) that in order for them to get the vote margin they need, they must increase output in all urban areas,” Henry said. “Jacksonville has a unique history of being a location in Florida that has a large African American voters. If you’re going to win statewide in Florida, you have to get a large number of African American voters to actually show.”

Whoever wins the nomination will certainly need to make a marked improvement from Clinton’s showing with black voters in 2016. At 59.6%, the 2016 black turnout was the lowest rate since 2000 and about six points behind that of the white turnout rate.

Harris, the Dauphin County Democratic chairwoman, recalled raising concerns to a Pennsylvania state party leader about Democrats needing to do better job at embracing diversity — including candidates making certain that their campaign teams look like America. The leader, she recalled, responded, “Well, you don’t have anywhere to go.”

“You can’t have that attitude,” Harris said. “You can’t take any vote for granted. People might not vote for Trump, but they can stay home.”

Don’t repeat Clinton’s mistakes 

In central Wisconsin, Garski, a longtime Democratic activist, made her first 2020 canvass more than nine months earlier than the last election cycle.

Clinton in her post-campaign memoir, “What Happened,” acknowledged that “if there’s one place where we were caught by surprise, it was Wisconsin,” saying that polls showed her ahead until the end. She skipped campaigning in Wisconsin and instead relied on surrogates to blanket the state.

As Garski knocked on doors in Stevens Point, she recalled the disappointment of 2016 and says the loss still gnaws at her. Portage County had been a reliably Democratic stronghold — Obama won it by about 28 points in 2008 and nearly 14 points in 2012. Clinton took the area by less than 4 points in 2016.

From conversations she’s had with friends and neighbors following the 2016 election, Garski says it is clear to her that Democrats’ failure to reunite after a hard-fought primary battle between Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders played a big part in Trump’s victory.

Too many Sanders voters, who thought the nomination process unfairly favored establishment candidates like Clinton, sat out the general election or even voted instead for Trump or Green Party candidate Jill Stein, she said. Sanders won the 2016 Democratic primary in Wisconsin.

The DNC has taken steps to underscore the importance of Wisconsin — which awards 10 delegates — by selecting Milwaukee to host the party’s nominating convention.

The DNC also dialed back the importance of superdelegates, unpledged Democratic officials and party activist who choose for themselves whom they vote for at the convention. In 2020, superdelegates will be excluded unless no candidate wins a majority of the delegates on the first ballot at the national convention.

Garski said she’s trying to remain optimistic that Democrats will close ranks behind whoever the nominee is and won’t see a repeat of 2016 in key states like hers.

“I am hopeful, but you just never know,” Garski said.

After several hours of canvassing on the recent afternoon in Stevens Point, Garski raced to catch the tail-end of the “Fighting” Bob Fest, a gathering of progressive Democrats to honor the rabble-rousing grandfather of the state’s progressive politics, Robert La Follette.

She arrived to catch the festival’s closing session in which two of the state’s more liberal lawmakers, state Sen. Jeff Smith and state Rep. Katrina Shankland, argued that Democratic candidates can win up and down the ballot by focusing on health care, education, wage growth and repairing the state and nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

“All paths lead to Wisconsin and through Wisconsin, and Wisconsin, we have the opportunity to send our electoral votes to a strong progressive,” Shankland told the gathering. “The path to a better White House, the path to a better Congress, to a better assembly runs across districts like this.”

But as the festival wound down, one attendee told Shankland and Smith that she couldn’t stomach casting a vote for the bulk of the Democratic field — most notably Biden — who she said haven’t demonstrated that they “are good for my people.”

“A $15 minimum wage is good for my people, getting Medicare for All is good for my people,” said Lenore Hitchler, 71, a retired nanny and Sanders supporter who said she would support Sanders or Warren in 2020 but would not commit to the rest of the field. “I want the Democratic party to know that even though I’m a member of the party, they don’t have my vote locked up.”

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Typhoon Hagibis Leaves Thousands Of Homes Flooded, Damaged Or Without Power

TOKYO (AP) — Rescue crews in Japan dug through mudslides and searched near swollen rivers Monday as they looked for those missing from a typhoon that left as many as 36 dead and caused serious damage in central and northern Japan.

Typhoon Hagibis unleashed torrents of rain and strong winds Saturday that left thousands of homes on Japan’s main island flooded, damaged or without power.

Authorities warned more mudslides were possible with rain forecast for the affected area during the day Monday.

Westlake Legal Group 5da42bdf20000069055007af Typhoon Hagibis Leaves Thousands Of Homes Flooded, Damaged Or Without Power

KYODO Kyodo / Reuters A residential area was flooded in Ise, Mie Prefecture, central Japan.

Kyodo News service, assembling information from a wide network, counted 36 deaths caused by the typhoon with 16 people missing. The official count from the Fire and Disaster Management Agency was 19 dead and 13 missing.

Hagibis dropped record amounts of rain for a period in some spots, according to meteorological officials, causing more than 20 rivers to overflow. In Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, 100 centimeters (39 inches) of rainfall was recorded over the last 48 hours.

Some of the muddy waters in streets, fields and residential areas have subsided. But many places remained flooded, with homes and surrounding roads covered in mud and littered with broken wooden pieces and debris. Some places normally dry still looked like giant rivers.

Some who lined up for morning soup at evacuation shelters, which are housing 30,000 people, expressed concern about the homes they had left behind. Survivors and rescuers will also face colder weather with northern Japan turning chilly this week.

Rescue efforts were in full force with soldiers and firefighters from throughout Japan deployed. Helicopters could be seen plucking some of the stranded from higher floors and rooftops of submerged homes.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government will set up a special disaster team, including officials from various ministries, to deal with the fallout from the typhoon, including helping those in evacuation centers and boosting efforts to restore water and electricity to homes.

“Our response must be rapid and appropriate,” Abe said, stressing that many people remained missing and damage was extensive.

Westlake Legal Group 5da42c1d2100002b0b344b7a Typhoon Hagibis Leaves Thousands Of Homes Flooded, Damaged Or Without Power

ASSOCIATED PRESS Typhoon Hagibis dropped record amounts of rain for a period in some spots, according to meteorological officials, causing more than 20 rivers to overflow. 

Damage was serious in Nagano prefecture, where an embankment of the Chikuma River broke. Areas in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in northern Japan were also badly flooded.

In such areas, rescue crew paddled in boats to each half-submerged home, calling out to anyone left stranded.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said 56,800 homes were still without electricity Monday in Tokyo and nearby prefectures that the utility serves. Tohoku Electric Power Co. said 5,600 homes were without power in Miyagi, Iwate, Fukushima and Niigata.

East Japan Railway Co. said Hokuriku bullet trains were running Monday but reduced in frequency and limited to the Nagano city and Tokyo route.

An image of the aerodynamically curved bullet trains sitting in water, was seen by many as a sad but iconic symbol of the typhoon’s devastation.

Mimori Domoto, who works at Nagano craft beer-maker Yoho Brewing Co., said all 40 employees at her company had been confirmed safe. But deliveries had temporarily halted, and an event to promote the beer in Tokyo over the weekend was canceled for safety concerns.

“My heart aches when I think of the damage that happened in Nagano. Who would have thought it would get this bad?” she said.

Tama River in Tokyo also overflowed, but damage was not as great as other areas. Areas surrounding Tokyo, such as Tochigi, also suffered damage.

Much of life in Tokyo returned to normal. People were out and about in the city, trains were running, and store shelves left bare when people were stockpiling were replenished.

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Paul Batura: Leftist bullies wrong about ‘prayer lockers’ in schools. Here’s why

Westlake Legal Group prayer-hands Paul Batura: Leftist bullies wrong about 'prayer lockers' in schools. Here's why Paul Batura fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc ffbd3fbe-dcaf-5252-b7dc-1d9b6c3559ce article

Imagine you’re a struggling high school student. Maybe your parents have recently divorced or a love interest has just broken your heart. Worse yet, someone you care about has been given a terminal diagnosis.

You’re flailing in the classroom, desperate to find your place on campus.

There are hundreds of kids around you, but somehow you feel all alone.

KENTUCKY SCHOOL REMOVES ‘PRAYER LOCKER’ AFTER ANTI-RELIGION GROUP COMPLAINS

It’s between classes and you’re walking past a row of metal lockers, each one just the same as the next. Your head is down and so are your spirits.

But then you suddenly see a sign – literally and figuratively – on one of the locker doors.

The white paper says “prayer locker” and invites you to anonymously and confidentially submit prayer requests on slips of paper. No questions will be asked and every petition is promised to be prayed for.

This exact scenario has been playing out in Pike County Schools in eastern Kentucky. Nobody seems to know how it began, though some suspect it was first organized by a teacher. What started in one school spread to others in the district.

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“It’s really helped a lot of people throughout the year get through stuff, get their thoughts out,” said East Ridge High School sophomore Joseph Slone. “A lot of people that I know, they have troubles. They have family troubles; struggles that they need to get through.”

Those troubles were being praying for until the Americans United for Separation of Church and State stepped in, claiming the “prayer locker” somehow violated the First Amendment.

In response, Pike County School Board Superintendent Reed Adkins stood down, ordering the prayer lockers removed.

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Radical groups including Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom from Religion Foundation have perfected the art of bullying by trading in specious arguments revolving around the legality of faith expression in public places like schools and other government institutions.

They use the threat of a lawsuit and court like a club. Rather than fight it, many groups buckle to the leftist bullies.

Lost in the debate is good old common sense, something that seems to be in increasingly short supply these days.

Suggesting that the procurement of an unused locker for the collection of prayer requests somehow constitutes the endorsement of a state-sponsored religion is absurdity to the extreme.

We’re not talking about mandatory, formal, school-led prayer over a loudspeaker. We’re talking about taking anonymous prayer requests on small slips of paper. Participate or not. It’s the student’s choice.

At a time when violence in schools is growing and children find themselves navigating a myriad of complex personal problems, prayer is a powerful mechanism that not only brings comfort and help to those who request it – prayer also profoundly changes those who pray.

“God shapes the world by prayer,” wrote the late Mother Teresa. “The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.”

A friend of mine recently observed, “As the mother of a teen, I know that kids in school could use a prayer – or two.”

I’ve always been perplexed by the energy behind the agitators who want to curtail a person’s freedom of private religious expression, especially their right to pray silently. In many ways, I feel sorry for them because it’s obvious they’ve never been warmed or overwhelmed by the power of answered prayer.

In my own life, I have seen miracles follow prayer – some instantly. I’ve seen prayer radically change hearts, deliver people from addictions, heal hurts and illnesses – and help lifelong hopes and dreams come true.

Why would any reasonable person want to withhold that blessing from someone else, especially vulnerable young people?

If you’re struggling today, and you’re a person of faith, I would encourage you to bring your concerns directly to God. Don’t worry about your choice of words. Talk to Him like a child talks to a parent.

But petitionary prayer, which is at the center of the locker controversy, is a wonderful magnifier and a multiplier. So go ahead and don’t be shy about asking others to pray for you. Many would consider it a privilege, including me.

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Prayer gives perspective. Prayer provides hope. Prayer is the comforting balm that the burns of the world desperately need right now.

Pray to be blessed. Pray to be a blessing. If you ask me, that’s a winning combination.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM PAUL BATURA

Westlake Legal Group prayer-hands Paul Batura: Leftist bullies wrong about 'prayer lockers' in schools. Here's why Paul Batura fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc ffbd3fbe-dcaf-5252-b7dc-1d9b6c3559ce article   Westlake Legal Group prayer-hands Paul Batura: Leftist bullies wrong about 'prayer lockers' in schools. Here's why Paul Batura fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc ffbd3fbe-dcaf-5252-b7dc-1d9b6c3559ce article

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Typhoon Hagibis Leaves Thousands Of Homes Flooded, Damaged Or Without Power In Japan

TOKYO (AP) — Rescue crews in Japan dug through mudslides and searched near swollen rivers Monday as they looked for those missing from a typhoon that left as many as 36 dead and caused serious damage in central and northern Japan.

Typhoon Hagibis unleashed torrents of rain and strong winds Saturday that left thousands of homes on Japan’s main island flooded, damaged or without power.

Authorities warned more mudslides were possible with rain forecast for the affected area during the day Monday.

Westlake Legal Group 5da42bdf20000069055007af Typhoon Hagibis Leaves Thousands Of Homes Flooded, Damaged Or Without Power In Japan

KYODO Kyodo / Reuters A residential area was flooded in Ise, Mie Prefecture, central Japan.

Kyodo News service, assembling information from a wide network, counted 36 deaths caused by the typhoon with 16 people missing. The official count from the Fire and Disaster Management Agency was 19 dead and 13 missing.

Hagibis dropped record amounts of rain for a period in some spots, according to meteorological officials, causing more than 20 rivers to overflow. In Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, 100 centimeters (39 inches) of rainfall was recorded over the last 48 hours.

Some of the muddy waters in streets, fields and residential areas have subsided. But many places remained flooded, with homes and surrounding roads covered in mud and littered with broken wooden pieces and debris. Some places normally dry still looked like giant rivers.

Some who lined up for morning soup at evacuation shelters, which are housing 30,000 people, expressed concern about the homes they had left behind. Survivors and rescuers will also face colder weather with northern Japan turning chilly this week.

Rescue efforts were in full force with soldiers and firefighters from throughout Japan deployed. Helicopters could be seen plucking some of the stranded from higher floors and rooftops of submerged homes.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government will set up a special disaster team, including officials from various ministries, to deal with the fallout from the typhoon, including helping those in evacuation centers and boosting efforts to restore water and electricity to homes.

“Our response must be rapid and appropriate,” Abe said, stressing that many people remained missing and damage was extensive.

Westlake Legal Group 5da42c1d2100002b0b344b7a Typhoon Hagibis Leaves Thousands Of Homes Flooded, Damaged Or Without Power In Japan

ASSOCIATED PRESS Typhoon Hagibis dropped record amounts of rain for a period in some spots, according to meteorological officials, causing more than 20 rivers to overflow. 

Damage was serious in Nagano prefecture, where an embankment of the Chikuma River broke. Areas in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in northern Japan were also badly flooded.

In such areas, rescue crew paddled in boats to each half-submerged home, calling out to anyone left stranded.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said 56,800 homes were still without electricity Monday in Tokyo and nearby prefectures that the utility serves. Tohoku Electric Power Co. said 5,600 homes were without power in Miyagi, Iwate, Fukushima and Niigata.

East Japan Railway Co. said Hokuriku bullet trains were running Monday but reduced in frequency and limited to the Nagano city and Tokyo route.

An image of the aerodynamically curved bullet trains sitting in water, was seen by many as a sad but iconic symbol of the typhoon’s devastation.

Mimori Domoto, who works at Nagano craft beer-maker Yoho Brewing Co., said all 40 employees at her company had been confirmed safe. But deliveries had temporarily halted, and an event to promote the beer in Tokyo over the weekend was canceled for safety concerns.

“My heart aches when I think of the damage that happened in Nagano. Who would have thought it would get this bad?” she said.

Tama River in Tokyo also overflowed, but damage was not as great as other areas. Areas surrounding Tokyo, such as Tochigi, also suffered damage.

Much of life in Tokyo returned to normal. People were out and about in the city, trains were running, and store shelves left bare when people were stockpiling were replenished.

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