Trump has already informed at least two GOP lawmakers of his dissatisfaction with their defense of his racist tweets.
'Sen. John Cornyn prides himself on winning a large share of the Latino vote in Texas, campaigning in the Asian American community and running ads in three languages. It’s a crucial strategy for a Republican in a diverse state — and one that is sharply divergent from President Donald Trump’s approach. So as Cornyn seeks reelection next year with Trump on the ballot, he’s making sure that he isn’t dragged down by the president’s more inflammatory politics, exemplified again this week by his racist tweets telling four liberal Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to where they came from. “I don’t have any trouble speaking to any of my constituents. They don’t confuse me with what’s happening up here in D.C.,” said Cornyn, who has gently criticized Trump’s battle as a “mistake” that unified Democrats. “I know we are consumed by this here, but it doesn’t consume my constituents when I go back home.” It’s a common refrain for Republicans trying to deflect a Trump-fueled firestorm and highlights the dilemma that the party will face for months to come. GOP lawmakers, especially those facing potentially tough reelection bids, need to create independent identities to win over Trump skeptics. But if they break too fiercely with the president, he and his grassroots supporters might turn on them, with disastrous political consequences. In fact, Trump has already been angry about what he sees as a weak defense by Republican members of Congress and has informed at least two lawmakers of his dissatisfaction, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the matter. That reaction explains the ginger response to Trump by Republicans up for reelection in difficult races, who are caught between condemning the president’s words and facing his wrath. “I wouldn’t have done it. That’s not what we ought to focus on in this country,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) of Trump’s tweets. Gardner is up for reelection in an increasingly blue state. And while he’s endorsed Trump in 2020, he says he disagrees with Trump’s rhetoric: “We should focus on ways to bring people together.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has not endorsed Trump, has called on the president to withdraw his “way out of bounds and offensive” tweet. But Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), who hails from a diverse state and is also vulnerable in 2020, declined to discuss the matter. Others who did take on Trump’s comments have made clear that their distaste for the president’s style of attack does not affect their support for him. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said Monday that Trump’s tweets are racist because the four congresswomen under attack are “American citizens.” But she made clear that otherwise there is no daylight between her and the president. “I’d love for you to make that clear. While I don’t appreciate the tweets, but I still support the president,” Ernst said on Tuesday. Their political alliance is unharmed “because if you just look at his policies and what he’s been able to do. Our economy is booming, and we’re really doing quite well as Americans.” Four House Republicans voted with Democrats on Tuesday to condemn Trump’s remarks as racist, and there is no appetite in the Senate to take up the issue. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who criticized Trump repeatedly on Monday and Tuesday, said he would likely not join Democrats as a co-sponsor in the Senate. And even though Romney might not support Trump, it’s not because of the president’s incendiary battle with the House Democrats: “I’ve said for several months now that I may not endorse now in the presidential race. And I haven’t considered the tweets in that regard.” Meanwhile, others rallied behind Trump as strongly as possible, sensing an opportunity to stand with a president who loathes criticism from his own party. “These are radical leftists in the House,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who faces reelection next year. “Their silence on issues of domestic terrorism with antifa and so forth has to be confronted.” That Trump faced no congressional GOP defections from his 2020 campaign and scattered criticism this week amid his fight with Democrats who he says “hate our country” is no surprise. There are plenty of political headstones to remind Republicans just how difficult it can be to survive without Trump’s support. Former Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina lost his primary in 2018 after launching much criticism against Trump, and former Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee retired rather than try to juggle their elections with their dislike for the president’s brand of politics. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis began building a brand that was sometimes at odds with Trump, writing an op-ed, slamming the president’s border emergency and working with Democrats on legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller. But after facing the possibility of a primary challenge, Tillis is now one of the president’s toughest defenders, and Trump’s tweets did not rattle him. “No, I don’t think he’s a racist, and no, I don’t think he’s a xenophobe. He’s got a mom and a wife who are immigrants,” Tillis said Tuesday. Trump’s frustration stems from “a lack of attention to some of the most incredible statements coming out of the mouths of some of the folks in the liberal progressive wing of the Democratic Party.” Yet at the same time, those who hug him too closely can lose independent voters: The GOP lost its House majority in the nation’s Trump-skeptical suburbs, and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) was defeated after converting himself from a Trump critic into a cheerleader. That’s why Republicans say they want to talk issues, not personalities, in the run-up to the election. “I really think that if we can just focus less on people, more on policies, Republicans are going to be in a very good position in these Senate races,” said Indiana Sen. Todd Young, who chairs the Senate GOP’s campaign arm. Democrats seem wary of making their 2020 campaigns to take the Senate, hold the House and win the White House all about the president. Their attempts to make 2016 a referendum on Trump failed, and party leaders seem eager to run a replay of their successful 2018 races, with health care as the centerpiece and Trump secondary. “The president has his own agenda, which clearly is chaotic and at the same time is racist and bigoted for his own political gain,” said Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, who chairs the Democrats’ campaign arm. Voters “don’t like it. But they also want somebody who is going to be calling that out and at the same time is fighting for what they care about.” There’s another factor at play: If Trump’s battles with the four women of color in the House came in October 2020, the reaction would be quite different in both parties. That there are 16 more months until the election is a reminder that Trump could still unleash a dozen new controversies before then. “The thing I think we’ve learned from experience with this president and the administration is that the news cycle changes pretty quickly,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the GOP whip. “I don’t expect we’ll be talking about this.” Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine'
Trump has already informed at least two GOP lawmakers of his dissatisfaction with their defense of his racist tweets.
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How a small army of volunteers managed to preserve Argentine Jewish history after a deadly terrorist bombing.
'( JTA ) — Abraham Lichtenbaum was getting ready to leave his house on July 18, 1994 when, at 9:53 a.m., he heard an explosion: The headquarters of Argentina’s 200,000-strong Jewish community, the AMIA, located less than four miles from his home, had been bombed.Eighty-five people died and 300 were injured in what has become Argentina’s biggest terror attack.Lichtenbaum worked in the building and typically arrived there at 9 a.m.But he had been up the night before recording a weekly radio show at Radio Chai and on Monday mornings would usually come in at 10:30.This is what saved his life.That January, after 25 years working at the Sholem Aleichem School, Lichtenbaum had been named director of IWO (Idishe Wiesenshaft Institute), the nation’s largest Jewish archive.Hosted on the third and fourth floor of the AMIA building, IWO — the equivalent of New York’s YIVO — contained thousands of books, paintings, art collections, audio records, letters and Judaica artifacts documenting Jewish life in Argentina and Eastern Europe.No record or artifact is more valuable than any of the lives lost on that day.But thanks to Lichtenbaum and others, the attack by terrorists linked to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah could not snuff out the Jews’ devotion to their history.In the days following the attack, they and a small army of volunteers managed to preserve not only pieces of Argentine Jewish history but memories that survived the century’s greatest Jewish tragedy.Split ‘like an apple’ Ester Szwarc, academic coordinator of IWO, is also alive today because of luck.Work was slow due to winter vacations and Szwarc had plans to go by the office to pick material for some festivals she was organizing.She had no morning shift during that time, so she was running later than usual.She heard news of the tragedy from a student who called to see if she was alive.Upon reaching the site, Szwarc found the building had split in two, “like an apple.” The front part, where IWO’s reception office and part of the archive used to be, was demolished.Those offices also contained archives: encyclopedias and records with Jewish-Argentine music dating back to 1912, as well as documents and archives attesting to 50 years of IWO Buenos Aires’ institutional life — and catalogs of the library and the overall collection.But the back part, which hosted the library and archives, was still standing, the building’s entrails exposed to the rain and wind.IWO was hosted on the third and fourth floor of the AMIA building and contained thousands of books, paintings, art collections, audio records, letters and Judaica artifacts documenting Jewish life in Argentina and Eastern Europe. (Courtesy of IWO) “During the first two days of the attack, the first priority was to find survivors,” Diego Goldman, who spent those days on site, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.Back then, Goldman was an 18-year-old high school student at the Rambam Institute, located a couple of blocks from the AMIA.He was on winter holidays that day, and set off on the one-hour trip from his house to the site after hearing of the attack from his screaming mother.Looking toward the abyss Two days after the attack, a Wednesday, Szwarc carried a brick-sized cellular phone as she walked to the part of building that was still standing to inspect the archive and report on its condition.The report was favorable and Lichtenbaum and other staff members where anxious to get inside and start the rescue operation, but local authorities were still determining if it was structurally sound.At approximately 2 a.m.Friday of the same week, Lichtenbaum received the phone call from the authorities getting the permission he craved.Goldman also got a call from Szwarc, who had been his professor at the Rambam Institute, at around that time, telling him that she needed him on site.They all met before dawn that day, and Goldman was asked to climb from the back of the building and through a window on the third floor to retrieve an important part of the archive.A painting gets lowered out of the AMIA building. (Courtesy of IWO) “I went in with a flashlight and was scared to death at the idea of finding dead people lying around, even though the authorities had already cleared the space” Goldman told me. “It was eerie to be inside this huge library with a whole wall blown out, looking towards the abyss.” According to Szwarc, who also went in, the path to reach the archives was covered in debris.But upon a closer look, the pieces of rubble turned out to be books. “We were shocked.It was unthinkable for us: We needed to step on books to get to the archive.We couldn’t do it,” she told me. “We first had to clear them out.” During those first 20 hours, the focus was solely on saving the archive. “Different editions of our books are found all over the world,” Lichtenbaum told me, “but our archive contains unique documents on Jewish life that would’ve been lost forever, and this was our priority.” A group of 10 to 15 young adults, led by the IWO staff, was in charge of putting these documents into a truck, and then carried them to a warehouse donated by a member of the Jewish community.Then came the massive library.During the weeks that followed, some 800 volunteers, mostly between the ages of 14 and 25, took turns in an elaborate human chain that brought down the books three and four stories.Wearing gloves and helmets, they passed heavy plastic bags containing books, artworks and other rescued objects to four depositories located nearby. “These kids carried the bags in the cold and under the rain for hours a day,” said Goldman, who became one of the coordinators. “Some of them even passed out from the effort.” At the same time, Lichtenbaum documented the whole rescue process — influenced by Simon Dubnow, an Eastern European Jewish historian who allegedly asked people to document the horrors of Nazi terror, even as they were being led to their deaths.The footage was used in a short video documentary called “The Youth that Rescued Memory.” The books were damaged from the rain and wind, and restoration work began almost immediately. “We had no idea how to do it” Lichtenbaum said, “and we received help and courses from experts from Argentina’s National Library and Americans who had helped restore damaged archives in Florence.” In order to get through the whole collection, large tables were set up in an underground space, where dozens of volunteers, wearing masks, used hair dryers and special towels to dry each book, page by page.What shocked volunteers like Goldman was that some of these books had been rescued before.According to IWO’s current librarian, Ezequiel Semo, they had been part of the Allies’ program to repatriate European Jewish books from the ravages of World War II.Ester Szwarc, third from right, with young volunteers in the wake of the AMIA bombing. (Courtesy of IWO) The restoration and re-categorization of the collection took about a year, according to Lichtenbaum, who is still IWO’s director.All in all, 60,000 books, 32,000 newspapers and magazines, 9,000 photographs and documents, 2,100 LPs, 700 movie and film posters, 120 paintings, 38 statues and 17 musical instruments were saved.Preserving memory, battling indifference The AMIA attack altered Jewish life in Argentina irrevocably. “The perception of what it meant to be a Jew changed,” Goldman said. “Ever since the attack, police and bitahon [ security] forces have been mobilized next to Jewish institutions and large walls have been erected in front of Jewish buildings to stop any potential car bombs.” Like the rest of those interviewed, Goldman expressed sadness about what he considered to be the politicization and banalization of the attack.International and local authorities have long been confident that Iran, through its terrorist proxy Hezbollah, masterminded the attack.But over the decades the investigation stalled or was mismanaged by Argentine governments and law enforcement, sometimes to appease Tehran, sometimes out of indifference.Arrest warrants for various Iranian officials have never been carried out. “It’s frustrating to think that, like with many crimes in Argentina, justice in this case will not be carried out,” Goldman said.Lichtenbaum said that with each passing year, the indifference grows. “Those under 25 know practically nothing [about the attack],” he said. “This is why the IWO has a special educational project in which we visit elementary, middle and high schools throughout Argentina to talk about what happened.” Participants in a memorial ceremony on the 22nd anniversary of the AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires hold photos of some of the 85 victims, July 18, 2016. (Leonardo Kremenchuzky courtesy of AMIA) According to Lichtenbaum, all of the Jewish infrastructure has been restored, except for IWO, which is still in a temporary building.Today the collection, which has found a home in the offices where it moved after the attack, is now a little bit bigger.There are boxes with remnants of the AMIA (like a letter “A” picked up from the rubble) and destroyed Yiddish typewriters, which Semo says still have pieces of concrete sand dust stuck to them.As for the books rescued from the Shoah, they are now aptly called by IWO’s staff the “Double Rescued.” Reflecting on the experience, Szwarc says those who put in so much effort on the project didn’t do it all just for themselves. “There’s a Yiddish concept called the ‘Di Goldene Keite,’ which talks about the historical link that ties each generation to the next,” she said. “We are responsible for transmitting and preserving this heritage.We are the people of memory, after all.” . The post Rescued twice: The archive that survived the Holocaust and the AMIA attack appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency .'
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The U.S. Air Force has responded to the 1.3 million people who have signed on to raid Area 51 in search of aliens.
'The U.S. Air Force has responded to the 1.3 million people who have signed on to raid Area 51 in search of aliens as part of an internet joke that has gone viral. The fake plan to raid Area 51 started with a Facebook event and has inspired thousands of alien-related memes . “Any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged,” an Air Force spokesperson told NPR in a Monday statement, along with several other media outlets including USA Today and The New York Times . The Air Force did not respond to a request for comment by TIME at the time of publication. The Facebook event “ Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of Us ,” was started as an internet joke to raid Area 51 on September 20 in search of aliens. “If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens,” the event description reads. 1.3 million people have signed on to attend so far, and the internet memes have taken over social feeds around the world. A pinned post on the event page describes the joke invasion strategy in detail, and adds: “Hello US government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan. I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the internet.” The Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada, just north of Las Vegas, is home to Area 51, a secretive military base that alien conspiracy theorists have claimed hides the secrets of extra terrestrial life in the universe. It has been the subject of science fiction films, TV shows and literature for decades. Anyone interested in actually Naruto -running into Area 51 might be disappointed to know they just missed the Roswell, New Mexico U.F.O. Festival that happens every July and is welcoming of invaders.'