влада, вибори, народ

Бандурист-«‎терорист». Оприлюднені документи зі справи репресованого митця Гната Хоткевича 

29 вересня 1938 року «особлива трійка» засудила Гната Хоткевича до розстрілу з конфіскацією майна. Його стратили в підвалі Харківської внутрішньої тюрми НКВС

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By Gromada | 15/10/2021 | Повідомлення, Суспільство

Biden Hosts Kenyan President at White House

Kenya is a major African player — as evidenced by U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to meet with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, Biden’s first in-person talks with an African leader since becoming president. 

“The U.S.-Kenya strategic partnership is essential,” Biden said, as the two leaders sat down in the Oval Office. “We both, I think, believe it is essential to addressing key regional and global challenges.”

The focus of their closed-door talks is likely to be Kenya’s next-door neighbor Ethiopia, where war has raged in the northern Tigray region for nearly a year. The conflict has killed untold numbers of people — the death toll itself is a subject of contention. But the United Nations estimates that the war has plunged 5.2 million people into humanitarian crisis and sent more than 63,000 fleeing into neighboring Sudan.

“Today, we’re going to discuss what more Kenya and the United States can do together on the Horn of Africa to advance peace and security,” Biden said. Neither leader mentioned Ethiopia by name. 

But White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the two leaders had discussed the landlocked nation and described the conflict in stark terms.

In September, Biden signed an executive order threatening to impose sanctions on “those responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict in Ethiopia, obstructing humanitarian access, or preventing a ceasefire.” The sanctions, which have not yet been imposed, would affect the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the federal governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Amhara regional government, and other parties in the conflict.

“Obviously, what’s happening in Ethiopia, it’s an atrocity,” Psaki said, responding to a question about when the U.S. would initiate sanctions. “It’s horrific. It’s something that, frankly, I’m happy you’re asking about because there hasn’t been probably enough attention here in the United States to what’s happening.” 

African solutions to African problems?

The lack of international oversight over the conflict, both in Tigray and in Addis Ababa, is a concern. In September, Ethiopia expelled seven senior United Nations officials, indicating that the Horn of Africa power is not easily influenced by outside forces. As Ethiopian leaders and ordinary citizens are inclined to note, Ethiopia is the only African nation that has never been colonized. 

That historic mistrust, says Fergus Kell, makes a fellow African state like Kenya a smart choice to exert influence.

“Regionally, Kenya has been a long-standing partner of the U.S. in terms of counterterrorism, particularly with respect to Somalia,” said Kell, an analyst with British think tank Chatham House, speaking from Kano, Nigeria. “But increasingly, this is also about the situation in Ethiopia. As the Biden administration weighs up stronger punitive measures, Kenya has been one of the most vocal African countries on the crisis.” 

This week, Kenyatta told reporters at the United Nations that the warring sides in Ethiopia need to reach “a political resolution, because we do not believe that there is any military solution.”

‘I want to talk to you about that’ 

The White House also said the leaders discussed democracy and human rights issues as well security, economic growth, climate change and “the need to bring transparency and accountability to domestic and international financial systems.” 

The last subject is likely to touch on revelations about Kenyatta and his family’s offshore holdings. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said in its recent Pandora Papers reports that Kenyatta’s family had stowed away about $30 million in offshore wealth. There is no evidence that the Kenyatta family stole any state assets.

When asked by VOA Wednesday about the push for transparency and the Pandora Papers revelations, press secretary Psaki said Biden “has been quite vocal, as you all know, about the inequalities in the international financial system.”

“That doesn’t mean we don’t meet with people you have disagreements on,” she said. “We have a range of interests in working with Kenya and working with them on issues in Africa, in the region, and that will be the primary focus.”

Biden said Thursday that he planned to discuss the issue with his Kenyan counterpart in private. 

“We’re also going to talk about strengthening the financial transparency and accelerating economic growth,” Biden said, as the two smiled and reclined in armchairs near artwork depicting American civil rights champions Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. “You’ve spoken to that, Mr. President; I want to talk to you about that,” Biden added.

VOA’s Chris Hannas contributed to this report.

 

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By Polityk | 15/10/2021 | Повідомлення, Політика

January 6 Panel Sets Vote on Contempt Charges Against Bannon

A congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has set a vote to recommend criminal contempt charges against former White House aide Steve Bannon after he defied the panel’s subpoena on Thursday.  

The chairman of the panel, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the committee will vote next week to recommend the charges. That would send the recommendation to the full House for a vote.  

If the House votes to recommend the contempt charges against Bannon, the Justice Department will ultimately decide whether to prosecute. The committee had demanded documents and testimony from Bannon, who was in touch with President Donald Trump ahead of the violent attack.  

“The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceedings to refer Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt,” Thompson said in a statement.  

The committee had scheduled a Thursday deposition with Bannon, but his lawyer said that at Trump’s direction he wouldn’t appear. Bannon also failed to provide documents to the panel by a deadline last week.  

A second witness called for a deposition Thursday, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel, also would not appear, according to two people familiar with the confidential negotiations who were granted anonymity to discuss them. But Patel is still engaging with the committee, the people said, and the committee is not pursuing contempt charges against him.  

Two other aides who worked for Trump — former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and longtime Trump social media director Dan Scavino — are scheduled for depositions Friday. It is unclear whether they will appear. Like Patel, Meadows is speaking with the committee.

Bannon’s testimony is just one facet of an escalating congressional inquiry, with 19 subpoenas issued so far and thousands of pages of documents flowing in. But his defiance is a crucial development for the committee, whose members are vowing to restore the binding force of congressional subpoenas after they were routinely flouted during Trump’s time in office.  

“Mr. Bannon has declined to cooperate with the Select Committee and is instead hiding behind the former President’s insufficient, blanket and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke,” Rep. Thompson said in his statement. “We reject his position entirely.”  

Other witnesses are cooperating, including some who organized or staffed the Trump rally on the Ellipse behind the White House that preceded the violent riot. The committee subpoenaed 11 rally organizers and gave them a Wednesday deadline to turn over documents and records. They have also been asked to appear at scheduled depositions.

Among those responding was Lyndon Brentnall, whose firm was hired to provide Ellipse event security that day. “All the documents and communications requested by the subpoena were handed in,” he told The Associated Press.

Brentnall had previously said, “As far as we’re concerned, we ran security at a legally permitted event run in conjunction with the U.S. Secret Service and the Park Police.”

Two longtime Trump campaign and White House staffers, Megan Powers and Hannah Salem, who were listed on the Jan 6. rally permit as “operations manager for scheduling and guidance” and “operations manager for logistics and communications,” have also provided documents or are planning to do so.

It remains unclear whether the others who were subpoenaed intend to cooperate. A committee spokesperson declined to comment Wednesday on the responses it had received and how many of the 11 were complying.  

Two additional rally organizers, Ali Alexander and Nathan Martin, as well as their “Stop the Steal” organization, were also subpoenaed for documents, which are due Oct. 21.

Many of the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 marched up the National Mall after attending at least part of Trump’s rally, where he repeated his meritless claims of election fraud and implored the crowd to “fight like hell.” Dozens of police officers were injured as the Trump supporters then broke through windows and doors and interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.  

The rioters repeated Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud as they marched through the Capitol, even though the results of the election were confirmed by state officials and upheld by the courts. Trump’s own attorney general, William Barr, had said the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have overturned the results.

Also Wednesday, the panel issued a subpoena to a former Justice Department lawyer who positioned himself as Trump’s ally and aided the Republican president’s efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election.

The demands for documents and testimony from Jeffrey Clark reflect the committee’s efforts to probe not only the insurrection but also the tumult that roiled the Justice Department in the weeks leading up to it as Trump and his allies leaned on government lawyers to advance his election claims.  

Clark, an assistant attorney general in the Trump administration, has emerged as a pivotal character. A Senate committee report issued last week showed that he championed Trump’s efforts to undo the election results and clashed as a result with Justice Department superiors who resisted the pressure, culminating in a dramatic White House meeting at which Trump ruminated about elevating Clark to attorney general.

The committee’s demands of Trump aides and associates are potentially complicated by Trump’s vow to fight their cooperation on grounds of executive privilege.  

Biden has formally rejected Trump’s claim of executive privilege surrounding a tranche of documents requested from the former president’s time in the White House, and has set up the documents’ potential release to Congress in mid-November. White House Counsel Dana Remus wrote to the National Archives in a letter released Wednesday that Biden believes that “an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States.”

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By Polityk | 15/10/2021 | Повідомлення, Політика

Lawyer Who Aided Trump Subpoenaed by January 6 Committee

The House committee investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol has issued a subpoena to a former Justice Department lawyer who positioned himself as an ally of Donald Trump and aided the Republican president’s efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election.

The subpoena to Jeffrey Clark, revealed Wednesday, came amid signs of an escalating congressional inquiry. At least three of the officials who were involved in organizing the rally that preceded the riot have handed over documents in response to subpoenas from the committee.  

The demands for documents and testimony from Clark reflect the committee’s efforts to probe not only the deadly insurrection but also events at the Justice Department in the weeks leading up to it as Trump and his allies leaned on government lawyers to advance his baseless claims that the election results were fraudulent. Trump loyalists stormed the Capitol in an effort to disrupt the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory

Clark, an assistant attorney general in the Trump administration, has emerged as a pivotal character. A Senate committee report issued last week shows how he championed Trump’s efforts to undo the election results inside the Justice Department and clashed as a result with superiors who resisted the pressure, culminating in a White House meeting at which Trump floated the idea of elevating Clark to attorney general.

“The Select Committee’s investigation has revealed credible evidence that you attempted to involve the Department of Justice in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” the chairman of the committee, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, wrote in a letter to Clark announcing the subpoena.

While Trump ultimately did not appoint Clark acting attorney general, Clark’s “efforts risked involving the Department of Justice in actions that lacked evidentiary foundation and threatened to subvert the rule of law,” Thompson added.

The committee has scheduled a deposition for October 29 and demanded documents by the same date. A lawyer for Clark declined to comment.

The January 6 panel has sought testimony from a number of witnesses, but its demands of Trump aides and associates are potentially complicated by Trump’s vow to fight their cooperation on grounds of executive privilege.  

One witness, Steve Bannon, has told the committee that he will not cooperate based on Trump’s directive, though the committee has said it was “engaging” with two other Trump officials — former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel. It is unclear whether Dan Scavino, Trump’s longtime social media director and one of his most loyal aides, will cooperate.

Others are cooperating, including some of the 11 who organized or staffed the Trump rally that preceded the riot. They were given a Wednesday deadline to turn over documents and records and have been asked to appear at separate depositions the committee has scheduled beginning this month.

Among those responding to the Wednesday deadline was Lyndon Brentnall, whose firm was hired to provide event security that day.

“All the documents and communications requested by the subpoena were handed in,” he told The Associated Press.

Two longtime Trump campaign and White House staffers, Megan Powers and Hannah Salem, who were listed on the January 6 rally permit as “operations manager for scheduling and guidance” and “operations manager for logistics and communications,” have also provided documents or are planning to do so.

Powers, who served as the Trump reelection campaign’s director of operations, intends to provide the requested documentation and to meet with the committee — though it remains unclear what form such meetings will take, according to a person familiar with her response who spoke on condition of anonymity.  

Members of the committee, including Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the panel’s Republican vice chairwoman, have threatened to pursue criminal contempt charges against subpoenaed witnesses who refuse to comply. A House vote would send those charges to the Department of Justice, which would then decide whether to prosecute.  

The subpoena to Clark follows the release of a Senate Judiciary Committee report that documented extraordinary tensions within the senior ranks of the Justice Department in December and January as Trump and his allies prodded the law enforcement agency to help him in undoing the election.

The report from the committee’s Democratic majority depicts Clark as a relentless advocate for Trump’s efforts, even presenting colleagues with a draft letter pushing Georgia officials to convene a special legislative session on the election results. Clark wanted the letter sent, but superiors at the Justice Department refused.

“We need to understand Mr. Clark’s role in these efforts at the Justice Department and learn who was involved across the administration,” Thompson wrote.

Two additional organizers, Ali Alexander and Nathan Martin, as well as their “Stop the Steal” organization, were also subpoenaed for documents, which are due October 21.

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By Polityk | 14/10/2021 | Повідомлення, Політика

МВС: в Україні починають працювати додаткові камери автофіксації порушень ПДР

У вересні МВС повідомляло, що за рік роботи системи автоматичної фіксації було складено понад 1,7 мільйона постанов, сплачено штрафів на більше ніж 259,5 мільйонів гривень

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By Gromada | 13/10/2021 | Повідомлення, Суспільство

As Biden’s Approval Rating Slumps, Disenchantment Grows

George Barisich isn’t surprised by recent reports that President Joe Biden’s approval rating among Americans has continued to drop. A commercial fisherman outside New Orleans, Barisich has never been a Biden fan. 

“I didn’t like him from the start, and it looks like the rest of the country is figuring out what I knew all along,” he told VOA.

An aggregate of national polling compiled by the website FiveThirtyEight showed the president’s approval rating reached almost 55% in May. Since then, his popularity has dropped significantly. A Quinnipiac University poll from last week showed only 38% of its respondents approved of President Biden’s performance, with 53% disapproving. 

Robert Collins, professor of Urban Studies and Public Policy at Dillard University in New Orleans said a combination of issues is driving those declining numbers, from America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan to his administration’s handling of near-record high migration to the United States.

“Only 23% of respondents approved of his performance regarding the border crisis,” Collins said. “That’s a disaster.”

Barisich said he’s noticed a drop in enthusiasm for Biden even among his backers. 

“I was gifted these ‘President Trump’ socks I like to wear sometimes,” he said, laughing. “Up until recently, the Biden supporters I know would give me crap about them and tell me all the great things they thought the president was doing. Lately, though, they’ve been a lot more quiet.”

 

Policy issues

“The primary drop in Biden’s approval ratings [is] due to the Mexican border crisis, the servicemen lost in Afghanistan and the slow pace of the economic recovery,” Collins explained. “In the past, the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been his ace in the hole, but even his approval rating there has dropped below 50%.” 

Biden’s approval rating regarding his handling of pandemic topped out at 65% earlier this year, according to a May Quinnipiac poll. Their most recent poll has that number at 48%.“

It’s a massive drop,” Collins said.

The numbers get even worse on other topics. An August NBC News poll found 64% of independent voters polled felt Biden had accomplished “only some or very little in office.”

“I think he set unrealistic goals, and he definitely didn’t appreciate how bad things were at the border,” said New Orleanian Mary Chaput. A moderate voter, Chaput said she voted for Biden last year, but doesn’t imagine she’ll vote for him again. 

“In the past, he was someone who seemed to work well with Republicans as well as Democrats. But I think this is a different time, and he didn’t appreciate how difficult it would be to do that now,” she said.

Voters may want to see more from Biden, but his declining popularity has further complicated Democrats’ efforts to enact sweeping legislation, including a $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would massively expand America’s safety net.

 

Sticking with Biden

Disenchantment with Biden is far from universal. College professor Alex Hamman voted for Biden last year and said he’s likely to vote for him again.

“I’ve voted for Republicans in the past, but I just can’t imagine casting a ballot for anyone in today’s Republican Party,” he told VOA.

Hamman believes many of Biden’s struggles are a spillover from the actions and policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump.

“He basically ran against the Trump agenda, which means he has to fix all the past garbage instead of working on his own priorities. We have short memories, though, and we need to see new things accomplished,” he said.

A silver lining for the president is that much of his agenda remains popular, especially among independent voters, who helped him win the presidency last year. Fifty-seven percent of independents favor a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal supported by the president. Meanwhile, 48% of independents support Biden’s $3.5 trillion package for social programs, while 37% oppose it.

Currently neither bill has cleared Congress.

“He needs to cut a deal with the politicians in his own party and get a win,” Collins said. “And these particular wins would be two-fold. They’ll help the president build momentum, but also, they’ll create jobs. During peacetime, nothing is more important for approval ratings than the economy.”

Biden’s economic performance numbers have also sagged to 39% in the recent Quinnipiac poll.

 

A matter of trust

“I voted for Biden because I wanted to get Trump out of the White House,” Hamman said, “but I also voted for Biden because I think he’s a decent guy and about as honest as I expect any politician to be.”

Unfortunately for the president, in addition to matters of policy, the approval of important character traits — once a Biden strength in the eyes of voters — has also declined. A month before the 2020 election, a Gallup poll found that 52% of Americans saw then-candidate Biden as honest and trustworthy, while only 40% found Trump to be. 

By contrast, 44% of respondents in last week’s Quinnipiac poll found Biden to be honest; half of respondents said he was not. 

“Polling numbers on trust are normally a sign of people believing the president is hiding something from them,” Collins said, adding that the falling numbers could stem from Biden’s insistence that no one counseled him to delay the pullout from Afghanistan, an assertion contradicted by top U.S. military commanders. 

“But trust isn’t only a function of honesty. It’s a function of communication and transparency, too. More press conferences and direct communication with the American people so they understand what’s happening on a day-to-day basis could help,” the professor said.

Barisich agreed. “You never see him or hear from him,” he said. “How can you trust a guy that always seems to be in hiding?”

 

Looking to rebound

According to FiveThirtyEight.com, Biden has a lower approval rating at this point in his presidency than all but two presidents since 1945, one of whom was Trump. Collins said it should be a reason for concern for the president but not a cause for panic. 

“Any experienced politician knows that during the term of a president, poll numbers will be all over the place,” he said. “The only poll that really matters is the poll taken on Election Day, and we’re still a long way from that.”

The midterm elections will take place next year, but Collins cautioned that midterm elections tend to favor the political party not in control of the White House, regardless of the popularity of the sitting president. 

Whether Biden will seek reelection in 2024 remains to be seen. Rebounding from his current polling numbers will be vital for a second term in office. He could also get a boost from a familiar rival.

In the 2020 campaign, Trump’s negative ratings foreshadowed large numbers of independents voting for Biden. Even though many Americans are dissatisfied with Biden’s record, the idea of Trump or one of his allies running in 2024 could keep moderate voters open to reelecting Biden.

“If Trump or a ‘Trump person’ ran, I’d have to hold my nose and vote for Biden again,” explained Chaput, “but I really hope the Democrats will nominate someone else instead.”

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By Polityk | 13/10/2021 | Повідомлення, Політика
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