In the 2020 US Election, Russia Will Interfere Again. America Isn’t Ready


This is in spite of a joint statement issued last November by the heads of numerous federal agencies—including the Justice Department, Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security and FBI—warning that “Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign malicious actors all will seek to interfere in the voting process or influence voter perceptions.” Congress’ willful failure to pass laws to address this challenge makes it practically inevitable that foreign actors will continue to take advantage of America’s vulnerabilities.

Foreign interference threats can be grouped into three main categories: cyberattacks, disinformation and dark money.

Source: In the 2020 US Election, Russia Will Interfere Again. America Isn’t Ready

Mitch McConnell’s Impeachment Priority Is the 2020 Senate | Time


Understanding Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s handling of the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is easy. For some people, impeachment is about high Constitutional questions. For others, it’s about the balance of power between Congress and the White House. But for the wily Republican from Kentucky, it’s about something much more parochial: control of the United States Senate.

For McConnell, that means ensuring each Republican Senator facing an electoral challenge this year uses his or her moment as a Trump juror to maximum political advantage. In some cases, that means protecting centrists by letting them push to mirror the structure of Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial.

In others, it means giving those facing primaries or short of campaign cash an opportunity to take a star turn in Trump’s defense, raising their profile and boosting fundraising.

Source: Mitch McConnell’s Impeachment Priority Is the 2020 Senate | Time

Is Mike Bloomberg Silicon Valley’s New Manchurian Candidate? | Vanity Fair


On Thursday, according to Recode, the former New York City mayor will host a “private gathering” of Silicon Valley’s biggest names in San Francisco “to hear directly from Mike on his path to victory.”

Among the reported invitees: LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, longtime political fundraiser Susie Tompkins Bell, and venture capitalist Ron Conway, who confirmed to Recode that he is planning to attend the SoMa soiree. “These are people who want to support the Democratic Party and we’re bringing them together to help candidates up and down the ballot,” a Bloomberg spokesperson told the outlet.

“As everyone knows, Mike has never taken a penny from special interests and as a tech entrepreneur himself, he appreciates the creativity, job creation, and ecosystem of innovation in this community.”

Source: Is Mike Bloomberg Silicon Valley’s New Manchurian Candidate? | Vanity Fair

The Brief – Once in power, always in power | EURACTIV.com


Deng Xiaoping created a post-Mao model of governance in China: president and prime minister for five years, with a possible second consecutive mandate. But he retained control of the powerful Central Military Commission, thus supervising all the crucial processes in the country.

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev tweaked that model last year: he nominated his successor (in the Chinese model it was the Communist party’s job until Xi Jinping declared him lifelong leader), called fresh elections (which his favorite won), and stayed on as Chairman of the Security Council of Kazakhstan for life.

This way, he does not need to take care of trivia or take blame for anything, but is still the one who makes crucial political decisions.

The rationale is clear. A smart leader must understand when he has to step aside, rather than down, but at the same time make sure that transition – because biology is implacable – will be smooth.

We can see that kind of thinking in the moves Russian President Vladimir Putin made on Wednesday.

Source: The Brief, powered by Orgalim – Once in power, always in power – EURACTIV.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin Makes Power Play Through Constitutional Changes | US News


Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has resigned his position following a widespread constitutional shakeup proposed by Vladimir Putin that many believe sets a path for the Russian president to remain in control of his country’s government after existing term limits force him from office in 2024.

The looming date for Putin’s departure has long prompted speculation about his intentions: whether he would begin grooming a successor with an eye toward stepping down after what would be nearly a quarter century in power, whether he would attempt to abolish term limits that would prevent him from maintaining his position or whether he would seek some other constitutional change that would allow him to continue to exercise authority from a different position.

Source: Russian President Vladimir Putin Makes Power Play Through Constitutional Changes | World Report | US News

Mike Bloomberg Could Be the Democrats’ Secret Weapon | US News


The swanky hotel ballroom was packed with an estimated 1,000 women, carrying glasses of wine and waving campaign signs as they greeted the slight, nerdy-looking 77-year-old as if he were a music legend – or maybe even a headline speaker at the Women’s March. “We Like Mike! We Like Mike!” they shouted, drowning out the pop music blaring from a sophisticated sound system.

The man of honor, Mike Bloomberg, smiled appreciatively before launching into a campaign pitch made for the audience. He gave the obligatory credit to the “strong women” in his life who have made the multibillionaire who he is. He ridiculed President Donald Trump as a man he knew during his 12 years as New York City mayor – and still regards – as “just a failed businessman who desperately wanted to be on TV.”

Source: Mike Bloomberg Could Be the Democrats’ Secret Weapon | America 2020 | US News

Sanders climbs, now tied with Biden among registered voters | Reuters


U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has been steadily climbing in popularity this year and is now tied with former Vice President Joe Biden for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination among registered voters, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national poll.

The online poll, released Thursday, shows that 20% of registered Democrats and independents said they would back Sanders over 11 other candidates to run in the general election against President Donald Trump, an increase of 2 percentage points from a similar poll that ran last week.

Source: Sanders climbs, now tied with Biden among registered voters: Reuters poll – Reuters

What to Make of Putin’s Shake-Up in Russia


If one nice thing can be said about Vladimir Putin, it is that he is a master of political jujitsu.

Putin is technically barred by constitutional term limits that prohibit more than two consecutive presidential terms. The dramatic reshuffling of Russia’s power structure—which if carried out could weaken the presidency while empowering the Duma, the Russian parliament, as well as an advisory body called the State Council—may pave the way for Putin to retain outsized political influence in Moscow even after his term ends in 2024.

It is too early for any declarations about what the proposed shake-up will ultimately mean for the Kremlin. But it may signal two things. It could be a subtle acknowledgment that Putin understands that his ability to maneuver is somewhat constrained by growing public discontent with corruption and his government’s hard-line tactics at home and abroad.

And it could reflect how the political and economic fallout from Western sanctions, imposed over Russia’s ongoing war in eastern Ukraine, is beginning to weigh more heavily on Putin’s calculations.

Source: What to Make of Putin’s Shake-Up in Russia

Building a progressive alliance in Britain | Guy Standing

Labour must abandon faith in one more heave for Westminster victory and embrace a progressive alliance, including for electoral reform.

There are two ways of looking at the recent British general election—as an unmitigated disaster for progressives or as the endgame of ‘laborism’ founded on appeal to the industrial proletariat. It was both. It does however offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity to break out of the old mould of progressive thinking and create a new mold more suited to the context of contemporary capitalism.

Source: Building a progressive alliance in Britain – Guy Standing

As Putin Schemes to Extend His Reign, Expect New Forms of Internet Repression | Defense One


Russian President Vladimir Putin wouldn’t seem to be a man with any real check on his authority, but there is still the Russian constitution, which says that a president can’t serve more than two consecutive terms. Russia watchers believe he has found a way to stay in power after his second term expires in 2024 — one that will have disastrous effects on freedom and particularly Internet freedom in Russia.

On Tuesday, in a televised address, Putin announced reforms to shift authority to the State Council, a part of the Russian parliament. That would seem to have the opposite effect of consolidating power within the presidency. But then Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev resigned, along with his cabinet.

That clears the way for Putin to stack government bodies with loyalists whom he has empowered to amend the constitution and give him the permanent control he’s seeking, either by allowing him to remain president or elevating whatever new role he takes to de facto leader.

Source: As Putin Schemes to Extend His Reign, Expect New Forms of Internet Repression – Defense One