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Sanders blasts Russia for reportedly trying to boost his presidential campaign


Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Friday warned Russia to stay out of U.S. elections after American officials had told him Moscow was trying to aid his campaign, Trend reports citing Reuters.

“The intelligence community is telling us they are interfering in this campaign, right now, in 2020. And what I say to Mr. Putin, if elected president, trust me you are not going to be interfering in American elections,” Sanders told reporters in Bakersfield, California.

Sanders, 78, a democratic socialist from Vermont, is considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and is favored to win the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.

The Washington Post on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter, said U.S. officials had told Sanders about the Russian effort and had also informed Republican President Donald Trump and U.S. lawmakers.

It was not clear what form the Russian assistance took, the paper said.

A congressional source confirmed intelligence officials have told lawmakers Russia appears to be engaging in disinformation and propaganda campaigns to boost the 2020 campaigns of both Sanders and Trump.

The source, however, cautioned that the findings are very tentative.

Sanders, a U.S. senator, said he was briefed about a month ago.

“We were told that Russia, maybe other countries, are going to get involved in this campaign,” he told reporters. “Look, here is the message: To Russia, stay out of American elections.”

“What they are doing, by the way, the ugly thing that they are doing – and I’ve seen some of their tweets and stuff – is they try to divide us up,” he said. “They are trying to cause chaos. They’re trying to cause hatred in America.”

MOSCOW DENIES

The Kremlin on Friday denied Russia was interfering in the U.S. presidential campaign to boost Trump’s re-election chances, following reports that American intelligence officials warned Congress about the election threat last week.

U.S. intelligence officials told members of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in a classified briefing that Russia was again interfering in American politics ahead of November’s election, as it did in 2016, a person familiar with the discussion told Reuters on Thursday.

Since that briefing, Trump has ousted the acting intelligence chief, replacing him with a political loyalist in an abrupt move as Democrats and former U.S. officials raised the alarm over national security concerns.

A senior administration official, however, said the nation was better positioned than in 2016 to defend against foreign attempts to influence elections.

“President Trump has made clear that any efforts or attempts by Russia, or any other nation, to influence or interfere with our elections, or undermine U.S. democracy will not be tolerated,” the official said.

On Twitter, the president accused Democrats in Congress of launching a misinformation campaign that says Russia prefers him to any of what he called the “Do Nothing Democrat candidates.” Trump called it a “hoax.”



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Ben Shapiro: Sanders wants us to believe in alternate realities, while Bloomberg wrongly accused of racism


In 1966, there were 654 murders in New York City. The next year, that number increased by about 100. Then 200. By the mid-1970s, nearly 1,700 people were being murdered every year in New York City. That insane level of violence maintained until the early 1990s.

Then, in 1994, the level of murders in New York City began to decline. It declined from approximately 2,000 people killed in 1993 to 289 in 2018 – a level not seen since the end of World War II. Needless to say, on a per capita basis the murder rate had never been that low. 

What, exactly, happened in the early 1990s? New York City residents were simply tired of living in a crime haven. They elected Rudy Giuliani mayor, and Giuliani pledged to enforce the so-called broken windows theory to clean up so-called quality-of-life crimes.

BLOOMBERG TOUTS CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS ENDORSEMENTS AMID STOP-AND-FRISK CONTROVERSY

Giuliani stated: “It’s the street tax paid to drunks and panhandlers. It’s the squeegee men shaking down the motorist waiting at a light. It’s the trash storms, the swirling mass of garbage left by peddlers and panhandlers, and open-air drug bazaars on unclean streets.”

In April 1994, Giuliani’s New York Police Department implemented Compstat, a data-driven program designed to deploy police to the highest-crime areas, preemptively targeting criminality, rather than reacting to it.

Chris Smith of New York Magazine gushed, “No New York invention, arguably, has saved more lives in the past 24 years.”

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The NYPD also began to employ the “stop, question and frisk” policy, designed to allow police officers to spot people suspected of criminally carrying weapons and frisk them for those weapons after questioning.

New York turned from a mess into a haven. But now Michael Bloomberg – Giuliani’s mayoral successor beginning in 2002 – is paying the price for a successful anti-crime record that followed in Giuliani’s footsteps.

Bloomberg has defended NYPD policies as non-racially biased. In 2015 he told The Aspen Institute that supposedly disproportionate “targeting” of minorities was not disproportionate but based on criminal conduct and description thereof.

In crude and insensitive but statistically accurate terminology, Bloomberg pointed out that “Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. … They are male minorities 15 to 25.”

This may have been a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one. In 2008, for example, 88.6 percent of murder and non-negligent manslaughter victims in New York were black or Hispanic, and 92.8 percent of murder and non-negligent manslaughter suspects were black or Hispanic, according to New York government statistics.

And black and Hispanic suspects were actually under-arrested: By these same statistics, just 83.9 percent of arrestees for murder and non-negligent manslaughter were black or Hispanic.

Nonetheless, Bloomberg was widely blasted as a racist for his comments. That criticism came from both left and right. Bloomberg quickly apologized for his five-year-old comments, saying: “By the time I left office, I cut it back 95 percent, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized.”

But Bloomberg should have stood up on his hind legs and defended one of his only successful policies.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where the counterfactual can be entertained without reference to reality. Thus, we are informed that broken-windows policing, Compstat, and stop and frisk should never have been employed – and we are blithely told that even without those policies, crime would have precipitously dropped over the course of two decades.

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There is precisely zero evidence to support this supposition, but that’s the beauty of writing alternative histories: No evidence is necessary.
The same is true in the world of economics, where Bernie Sanders can spend his days living off the largesse of capitalism – the man has a lake house – while decrying the evils of capitalism.

It’s easy to proclaim adherence to socialistic redistribution while living high on the hog of the free market. It’s shockingly easy to get away with maintaining that American prosperity would not have been undercut by policies precisely the opposite of the policies that have driven American prosperity for centuries.

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The joy of alternative realities is that they can’t be disproved. We can never disprove the supposition that without anti-crime measures, crime would have dropped anyway; we can never disprove the supposition that without the free market, America would have prospered even more greatly than it has.

The acid test of reality never applies to a world in which bad ideas were rejected for more effective ones. Which is why Bernie Sanders, who has produced zero things of consequence for decades but has successfully mooched off the public dime for nearly that entire period, may become president, while Michael Bloomberg, who has produced thousands of jobs and presided over a massive decline in crime in New York City, is in the hot seat.

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Iowa Democrats: Buttigieg edges Sanders for delegates


Price made a similar argument in a press conference on Friday, as did party officials in a background call with reporters on Sunday.

Several of the precincts flagged by campaigns were not updated, despite concerns, because the “math worksheet matches what was reported.”

Separately, The New York Times and other reporters and caucus watchers have flagged problems in the numbers reported on some precinct math worksheets.

Precinct chairs in Iowa are volunteers; they are not paid by the state party or affiliated with any campaigns.

Each math worksheet is signed by the precinct caucus chair, secretary of the caucus and a local representative for each campaign, according to worksheets that have been posted online. At the bottom of each worksheet is a warning that says “any misrepresentation of the caucus information will result in charges of criminal misconduct,” but volunteers can, and have, made mistakes.

The apparent mistakes in precinct-level reporting is just the latest black eye for this year’s Iowa Democratic caucuses.

The release of results was initially delayed for about a day, after an app that was supposed to be used to transmit results from the precinct to the state party failed.

“Look, all I can say about Iowa is, it was an embarrassment,” Sanders said on CNN earlier on Sunday. “They screwed it up badly, is what the Iowa Democratic Party did.”

The debacle has also called into question Iowa’s position at the front of the nominating calendar. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, who himself has drawn fire for Iowa’s failures, also said on CNN on Sunday that Iowa’s spot is not secure. When asked if Iowa should lose its first in the nation status, he responded: “Well, that’s the conversation that will absolutely happen after this election cycle.”

It also increases scrutiny for the next contests on the calendar: New Hampshire and Nevada. New Hampshire, which has a state-run primary, has been in a cold war with Iowa as pressure increases to not have two majority-white states at the front of the primary calendar.

“Bill Gardner is the happiest person alive,” said Irene Lin, a Democratic strategist in New Hampshire, referring to New Hampshire’s longtime secretary of state, told POLITICO. “It just strengthens [New Hampshire’s] case for being first-in-the nation versus Iowa.”

It also threw off the plans of Nevada, the next caucus on the calendar. The party said it was scrapping plans to use an app to report results in light of the Iowa caucuses. (However, The Nevada Independent reported that party officials would distribute iPads preloaded with a “tool” to help organizers calculate the results.)

“The Nevada caucus will be nothing like the Iowa caucus — and in more ways than one,” former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement on Friday. “Unlike Iowa, we expect Nevada’s reporting process and results will be free from the distrust and uncertainty experienced in the Hawkeye State. I am confident that what happened in Iowa will not happen in Nevada.”

Holly Otterbein reported from Durham, N.H.





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Trump turns focus to Sanders as senator holds steady near top of the Democratic pack


WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has been ramping up his attacks on Bernie Sanders as the Vermont senator has consistently stayed near the top of the Democratic pack.

Trump lobbed a fresh jab at Sanders on Sunday on Twitter, noting his rise in the polls, and brought him up throughout his rally on Thursday in Toledo. Trump’s campaign sent out back-to-back emails blasting Sanders last week.

The moves are part of a deliberate shift in focus towards Sanders, a campaign official said. As Trump’s attacks are likely to do more to help Sanders than hurt him with Democratic voters, it’s an indication the campaign is trying to put its finger on the scale in the weeks before voters begin weighing in.

“Wow! Crazy Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls, looking very good against his opponents in the Do Nothing Party,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “So what does this all mean? Stay tuned!”

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Sanders shot back moments later, replying on Twitter, “It means you’re going to lose.”

Sanders took a narrow lead in the most recent poll of Iowa voters, but the race there remains essentially a four-way dead heat less than a month before the critical first-in-the-nation caucuses. The Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa poll, released Friday, shows Sanders with 20 percent support among likely Democratic caucus-goers.

While Trump’s campaign advisers believe the president has a good shot at defeating any of the Democratic contenders, they have said Sanders would be an easy mark because they believe his progressive policies would alienate moderate and independent voters.

But the campaign has also sought recently to go after Sanders’ character, not just his policies. In a campaign email sent Thursday, Sanders was described as a “wealthy, fossil-fuel guzzling millionaire” — a somewhat paradoxical attack from a billionaire who used to fly around in a private jet. In another on Wednesday, the campaign said Sanders “can’t be trusted to defend American lives.”

“He’s just another Hollywood-style hypocrite who demands working class Americans make sacrifices while he plays by his own rules and enjoys a lavish lifestyle,” the campaign email on Thursday said.

Although Trump often refers to Sanders as “crazy Bernie,” he has previously reserved his most stinging attacks for Democrats like Biden and Warren.

But at a campaign rally in Toledo Thursday, Trump went after Sanders several times, attacking the senator’s health care plan and his criticism of the administration’s decision to kill top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, while seeking to paint Sanders as a leader of the Democratic Party.

“Democrats are taking their cues from socialist Bernie Sanders,” along with the group of freshman women in the House known as “The Squad,” Trump said. “They’re the leaders of the party.”

Trump’s attacks haven’t gone unnoticed by Sanders.

“Some of you may have noticed that recently our campaign and me personally have been the target of attacks from Trump and the Republican party because they are catching on that our campaign is the campaign that can and win defeat them,” Sanders said at a town hall event in Newton, Iowa, on Saturday. “We are going to expose the fact that when Trump talks about being a friend of working people, he is a liar and a fraud.”

Gary Grumbach contributed.





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