Lexington – Adam Kinzinger is making a lone stand against Donald Trump | United States


“PROFILES IN COURAGE”, John F. Kennedy’s ghostwritten homage to politicians who stood on principle against their own parties, is a revealingly slim tome. Even in the 19th century, from which most of Kennedy’s eight examples were drawn, the social and electoral disincentives to crossing a party line were formidable. With the introduction of the primary system in the 1970s, which made candidates accountable to their parties’ most raving loyalists, they have increased. And politicians, who mostly want to be liked even more than the rest of us, are especially averse to such pressures. Depressing as the Republicans’ capitulation to Donald Trump has been, history suggests it was on the cards.

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This makes the one-man resistance to Mr Trump and all his works latterly launched by Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois all the more remarkable. Mr Trump’s few Republican critics have mostly been on the way out, as Bob Corker and Jeff Flake were, or, like the Never Trumpers, already in the wilderness. A couple of others, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney, have strong enough home-state brands to get away with criticising the former president selectively. By contrast, Mr Kinzinger, a 42-year-old House member whose good looks and television manner are said to have impressed Mr Trump, is in his political prime, vulnerable to the ruling Trumpists, but now all in against them.

The air-force veteran was one of the first Republicans to congratulate Mr Biden on his win and almost the only House Republican to dismiss Mr Trump’s election-fraud conspiracy as dangerous nonsense. After the insurrection it sparked (which Mr Kinzinger claims to have been forewarned of by the threats he received on social media) he was the only Republican to vote for Mr Trump to be removed under the 25th amendment. He was one of the ten who voted for his impeachment. And where the other nine, including Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, are now mostly lying low, Mr Kinzinger has expanded his critique.

In an interview this week he described Mr Trump as symptomatic of a deeper rot on the right, the politics of nihilism and grievance he encountered on entering Congress in 2011. Though nominally a Tea Partier, he unveiled McCainite views and an interest in governing. His fellow insurgents meanwhile pursued the brainless extremism (“legislative terrorism,” he calls it) of the Freedom Caucus, a precursor to Trumpism. Caucus members such as Mick Mulvaney became zealous Trump enablers. Mr Kinzinger considers their belligerent colleague Jim Jordan the de facto House Republican leader. And he has had it with the lot of them.

He says he regrets voting for Mr Trump, is glad Mr Biden won and advocates sweeping Republican reform. The angry pushback he is getting is only making him more critical. After a relation and fellow evangelical Christian accused him of being possessed by the devil, he slammed the slavishness of Mr Trump’s Christian fan base: “The devil’s ultimate trick for Christianity…is embarrassing the church”. This week he announced his intention to lead a “country first” campaign against Trumpism. “It’s time to unplug the outrage machine, reject the politics of personality, and cast aside the conspiracy theories and the rage,” he said in a promotional video.

He knows he is up against it. The Trumpists are in charge because that is what Republican voters seem to want. Yet he makes a reasonable political and stronger personal case for sticking it to them anyhow. He suggests many Republicans are backing Mr Trump for want of alternative leaders. “People need to be reminded that the Republican Party has this rich history. We used to be optimistic,” he says. He then compares the current state of Abraham Lincoln’s party to a drunk awaking after a “massive bender”. “You’re like, what the hell did I do last night? And you have a choice. You can take a delicious Bloody Mary, or actually confront your choices and become a better person.” Mr Kinzinger, a former college dropout, speaks with the authority of one who knows what it is to err. He also has logic on his side. Republicans need to expand their support, which post-insurrection Trumpism cannot do. “There’s just not enough Proud Boys or far-right fringe groups to compensate for the people we’ve alienated,” he says.

He has probably already guaranteed himself a primary challenge. But so what? he says, before pausing, gunslinger-style, to spit a glob of tobacco into an empty cola bottle. There are worse things than political failure—a truth he says he learned fighting in Iraq. “And it’s not like all I ever wanted to be was a congressman.”

However Mr Kinzinger gets on, his brave stand is already significant. It shows how beleaguered the Republican mainstream is. He is hardly a front-rank leader and pretty much out on his own. And yet his argument that the moment for a reckoning is now, when Mr Trump’s defeat and insurrection are fresh in the mind, is persuasive. The former president’s continued grip on the party is strengthening its worst elements, such as the hate-filled Marjorie Taylor Greene. It is also eroding the scope of his likeliest successors, such as Nikki Haley or Marco Rubio, to repudiate them. If they will not turn on Trumpism now, they will struggle to do so credibly later. Mr Kinzinger might even turn out to have been his party’s last best hope of a return to sanity.

A zinger from Kinzinger

He will have been a good advertisement for heroic failure if so. Unlike his Trump-beaten colleagues, with their telltale aggressive defensiveness, he exudes contentment. Embracing the possibility of failure is liberating, he says: “If you say, career-wise, I’m already dead and I’m just going to speak the truth, you may end up not getting re-elected, but you can feel pretty good about it.”

Kennedy’s exemplars must have felt a similar satisfaction in their noble, mostly failed, undertakings to limit the spread of slavery, prevent the civil war and so forth. They were also immortalised for them. That is another consolation Mr Kinzinger might hope for, as he takes his slingshot to the Goliath of Mar-a-Lago.

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “The courage of Adam Kinzinger”

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Lone BJP MLA in Kerala supports Assembly resolution against farm laws


The MLA clarified that he had actually opposed the resolution and said the laws were aimed at protecting the farmers.

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Assembly on Thursday demanded the immediate repeal of three farm laws.

The demand was raised through a resolution passed unanimously in the state Assembly. The legislators belonging to the ruling CPM led LDF and opposition Congress led UDF vehemently opposed the farm laws during the special session of Assembly.

 

Even the lone BJP member O Rajagopal said that he agreed with the sentiments conveyed in the resolution. “We supported the spirit of the resolution despite having differences on certain issues pointed out in it,” he said at a press conference.

With his statement causing confusion in the BJP circles, the MLA clarified that he had actually opposed the resolution and said the laws were aimed at protecting the farmers.

Embarrassed by the Rajagopal’s statements, BJP state president K Surendran said he would look into the matter.

Earlier the resolution said that The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services ACt 2020, Framers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation ) Act 2020, Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 were not only against the farmers but also infringed into the state’s powers.

 

The resolution called for immediate solution to the farmers’ agitation. “If the agitation continues it will adversely affect a consumer state like Kerala. If food grains stop coming to Kerala, the state would plunge into starvation and it will not be able to face such a grave situation especially with no let up in Covid – 19 situation.”

The resolution pointed out that agriculture, market and fares came under state subject as per the Constitution.  The government should have convened the interstate council and discussed these issues with the states at length. Such serious matters involving agriculture were not even subjected to discussion in the Parliamentary standing committee.

 

The resolution said considering the concerns mentioned above, the Centre should accept the genuine demands of the farmers who are the backbone of the nation.

Even while supporting the resolution, the Congress led UDF hit out at the LDF Government for failing to criticize the Prime Minister’s indifferent attitude and his failure to hold with farmers in the resolution.

The opposition also took the government to task for not criticizing the Governor who had initially shot down the proposal to hold a special session of Assembly.

Congress MLA K C Joseph took a dig at the chief minister saying that he should not be afraid of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 

Responding to the opposition criticism, the chief minister said there was no need to mention the prime minister by name as the resolution was against the central government. He rejected the opposition charge that the government was soft on Governor Arif Mohammad Khan.

“We made the Governor see constitutional sense when two of our ministers called on him at the Raj Bhavan. We clarified our position by quoting various Supreme Court verdicts on governor-state government relations,” Mr Pinarayi Vijayan said.

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US federal judge again delays execution of lone woman on death row


A US federal judge has said the Justice Department broke the law when it rescheduled the execution of the only woman on federal death row last month, potentially pushing her execution into Democratic president-elect Joe Biden’s new administration.

US District Judge Randolph Moss on Thursday, local time, vacated an order from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which is part of the Justice Department, that had rescheduled convicted murderer Lisa Montgomery’s execution to January 12.

President Donald Trump’s administration has rescheduled 13 executions since July, when Republicans resumed federal executions after a 17-year hiatus.

Ten of those have been put to death already with two more scheduled before he leaves office. It could mean Mr Trump would be the most prolific execution president in more than 130 years.

The Justice Department resumed the use of the federal death penalty earlier this year following a 17-year hiatus.(AP/The Tribune Star: Austen Leake)

The last time executions occurred in a lame-duck period was during the presidency of Grover Cleveland in the 1890s; his administration put 14 people to death that year.

If her execution is carried out, Montgomery would be the first woman to be federally executed since 1953.

Delays could push execution date beyond Trump’s presidency

Montgomery’s execution had originally been scheduled for December 8, but Judge Moss agreed last month to delay after her attorneys fell ill with COVID-19 and were unable to file a timely clemency petition on her behalf.

Judge Moss on November 19 gave Montgomery’s lawyers until December 24 to file the clemency request and granted her a stay of execution until December 31.

On November 23, the Bureau of Prisons announced it was rescheduling her execution to January 12, 2021.

Judge Moss on Thursday sided with Montgomery’s lawyers, who argued that federal regulations bar the Bureau of Prisons from rescheduling an execution during a stay period.

A close up of Joe Biden paired with an image of Donald Trump.
Montgomery’s execution could be pushed back until after Mr Biden, who opposes the death penalty, takes office on January 20.(AP: Andrew Harnik/ Alex Brandon)

Under Judge Moss’s Thursday order, the Bureau of Prisons cannot set a new date for Montgomery’s execution until January 1.

Justice Department rules require inmates be notified of their execution date at least 20 days’ beforehand, except when the date follows a postponement of fewer than 20 days.

That means Montgomery’s execution could be pushed to after Mr Biden, who opposes the death penalty, takes office on January 20.

The Justice Department, under Attorney General William Barr, who stepped down earlier this week, resumed the use of the federal death penalty earlier this year following a 17-year hiatus.

Montgomery, now 52, was convicted in 2007 of kidnapping and strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant.

Montgomery then cut the baby, who survived the attack, out of the womb.

Her lawyers had said that Montgomery has long suffered from severe mental illness and was the victim of sexual assault.

Neither Sandra Babcock, an attorney for Montgomery, nor the Justice Department, immediately responded to a request for comment on the Christmas holiday.

ABC/wires



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A Lone Star Speech Victory


The University of Texas campus in Austin.



Photo:

Ralph Barrera/Zuma Press

Political speech is under attack these days from Beijing to Berkeley, so we’ll take victories where we can get them. One arrived Tuesday when the University of Texas at Austin agreed to disband its PC police and end policies that suppress speech on campus.

Credit the nonprofit Speech First, which sued on behalf of student members in 2018. The group claimed UT and its officials had “created an elaborate investigatory and disciplinary apparatus to suppress, punish, and deter speech that other students deem ‘offensive,’ ‘biased,’ ‘uncivil,’ or ‘rude.’”

Students could anonymously report their professors and peers for “bias incidents” to the Campus Climate Response Team, which would investigate and threaten disciplinary referrals and “restorative justice” meetings with administrators. The university gave several examples of what constitutes an act of bias, including “faculty commentary in the classroom perceived as derogatory and insensitive,” and other behavior open to highly subjective judgments about what is offensive.

A federal judge dismissed the case in 2019. Citing that decision, university spokesman

J.B. Bird

said Wednesday that there was “no evidence students were disciplined, sanctioned or investigated for their speech” and that, “to the contrary,” there was “strong evidence of the university protecting the speech rights of conservative students and guests on campus.”

But Speech First appealed, and in October the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the ruling and remanded the case back to the district court. Circuit Court Judge

Edith Jones

blasted the bias-response team as “the clenched fist in the velvet glove of student speech regulation.”

Now comes the settlement, in which administrators agree to dismantle the bias-response team and amend policies that chill speech. Gone is a ban on “uncivil behaviors and language that interfere” with the “welfare, individuality or safety of other persons.” Also stricken is a definition of “verbal harassment” that prohibited “ridicule” or “personal attacks.”

Under the settlement, UT reserves the right “to devise an alternative” to its bias-response team, but “Speech First is free to challenge that alternative.” Speech First has also succeeded in changing policies at Iowa State and the University of Michigan. Keeping track of campus censors these days is a full-time job, alas.

Journal Editorial Report: Kim Strassel, Kyle Peterson and Dan Henninger on the week’s best and worst. Image: Erin Scott/Reuters

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Lone English Channel swimmer found after eight-hour search



A major search for someone trying to swim from Dover to Calais unaccompanied has ended after he was spotted by a passing vessel.

Emergency services spent nearly eight hours searching for the male swimmer, who was eventually found just 500 metres off Dover.

A helicopter and rescue teams were dispatched to the sea off Kent after the coastguard received a call from a member of the public saying a friend was trying to cross to France.

The 27-mile stretch between Dover and Calais can be dangerous and is home to the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

The rescue operation started just after midday and continued until nearly 8pm on Sunday, when the swimmer was spotted by a passing vessel.

When found, he was cold and tired but otherwise well, the coastguard confirmed.

He has been brought to shore and will be checked over by ambulance staff.

The incident was not related to migrant crossings, the PA news agency understands.

A coastguard spokesperson said: “At around 12.10pm today HM Coastguard received a call from a member of the public with information that their friend was swimming unaccompanied to Calais from Dover.

“Coastguard rescue teams from Deal and Langdon, RNLI lifeboats from Dover and Dungness and coastguard search and rescue helicopters from Lydd and Lee-on-Solent were sent.

“Vessels in the area were asked to keep a sharp lookout and Kent Police, Dover Port Police and Dover Port were informed.

“The swimmer was spotted shortly before 8pm by a passing vessel only 500 metres off Dover and was taken onboard the RNLI Dungeness lifeboat, cold and tired but otherwise well.

“He has been brought to shore and will be checked over by South East Ambulance Service.”



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Gretchen Whitmer the Lone Governor Holding Up Big 10 Football



Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is reportedly the lone Midwestern governor holding up the start of the Big 10 football season.

The Spun cited Ohio State insider as saying Democrat Whitmer is a “major roadblock” to it all coming together, which would essentially amount to the teams playing each other outside of the traditional league.

“I was also told that one roadblock to the new plan is the fact that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been vehemently opposed to football being played – at the high school and college level – in the state this fall,” Snook said.

“Ohio Governor Mike DeWine gave his blessing to all sports being played this fall on Tuesday.”

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has canceled high school football for the fall and has tentatively moved the season to spring.

The Spun reported Whitmer is “standing in the way of all the others” and is blocking Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Penn State.

If Whitmer continues to object, both Michigan and Michigan State would be out of the mix.

Last week, Robert Cahaly of the Trafalgar Group argued the lack of a Big 10 football season — and the appearance of supporting such a cancellation — could have an impact on the presidential election.

“Midwest battleground state swing voters who see SEC and/or ACC play football this fall, will punish candidates who don’t constantly and loudly oppose the Big 10’s decision,” Cahaly wrote on Twitter.

Cahaly said on CNN that he believed no season could cost Joe Biden Michigan and Wisconsin, virtually must-win states for his campaign.

“Absolutely – I believe it is a significant factor,” Cahaly told CNN’s Michael Smerconish, FITSNews reported.

“How people perceive the coronavirus is defining their politics. If you believe it’s a hoax or you think it’s overblown you’re in the Trump corner. If you believe everything needs to be shutdown and you won’t leave your home until there’s a vaccine you’re in the Biden corner,” he said.

“But if you’re in the middle – and there’s a growing group that says ‘hey, we’re going to do what we can to be safe and protect our families but we’re gonna live our life’ – well, that group is growing, and how that group moves and how they perceive the candidates absolutely is going to determine how they vote,” he added.

“And college football is on the front line of that,” Cahaly said.

Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. He is also host of “The Kyle Olson Show,” syndicated on Michigan radio stations on weekends. Listen to segments on YouTube or download full podcast episodes. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Parler.





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Lone Star Legs: Instant Motivation From 3 IFBB Pros


Grimy floors, rusted barbells, and aggressive words scrawled on the walls in a gym might scare someone more accustomed to Planet Fitness. But we’re taking you to the original Metroflex Gym in Arlington, Texas, the pro bodybuilder’s playground, where no self-respecting brother in iron would dare skip leg day.

IFBB pro bodybuilders Guy Cisternino, Branch Warren, and Johnnie O. Jackson met up at Metroflex to clang and bang, knowing full well that gym’s interior was exactly what they needed to feed their intensity. See, these guys take training 10 times more seriously than the most bro guy you know takes his arm day.

Two-time Arnold Classic winner Branch Warren trains at Metroflex. So does eight-time Mr. Olympia winner Ronnie Coleman. You won’t find the typical health club amenities, spotless equipment, and a smoothie bar blending up the newest quirky superfoods. It’s THE place to go if you need help with bodybuilding contest prep, but you’d better be prepared for the style of training that Metroflex inspires.

“They crank up some hardcore music in there, man,” says Cisternino, a two-time New York Pro 212 winner. “And, you know, it looks dirty, but they’ve got some pretty badass pieces of equipment and it’s definitely a place to visit if you’re a bodybuilder. This’ll definitely put a spark in your ass.”

After Cisternino took a month off from lifting while recovering from stem cell injections, Metroflex Gym was the perfect spot to crush a lower-body session and launch himself into prep mode for the remainder of the 2018 bodybuilding season.

The fellas warmed up with leg extensions before moving on to heavy squats, resting only long enough to load more plates on the bar and let each other finish their sets. Don’t assume the worst is over, as they follow up with gruesome sets of 8-10-plate hack squats. Apply Warren’s quad-training wonders and you’ll fear leg day more than ever.

Take it from these guys—chalkless gym floors, air conditioning, and swanky machines do nothing for your physique. It’s about how you train and who you train with.



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