Republicans should be scared by results in Virginia

first_imgBefore this race, Gillespie was as establishment as an establishment Republican could be, aligned closely with George W. Bush, who has made his distaste for Trump’s viciously divisive politics clear.He typified a coolheaded, practical approach to politics. He was more tradesman than ideologue.Until the last few months, when he utterly transformed.The impression he left on voters was an ugly one, and he and the GOP have nothing to show for it.That should scare Republicans most of all.Frank Bruni is a columnist for The New York Times.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Ralph Northam will be the state’s next governor.That’s a gigantic relief, because a Northam defeat would have prompted a Democratic meltdown — and rightly so.In statewide races, Virginia is increasingly blue: Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump there by 5 percentage points a year ago.And Trump’s ceaseless assault on propriety, decency and ethical, responsible government is supposedly firing up liberals as never before. Virginia on Tuesday was the place to demonstrate that. The demonstration was convincing.Not only did Northam beat his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, by about 9 points — a margin of victory larger than either Clinton’s or the 2-point advantage that ushered the state’s current Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, into office four years ago — but Democrats also performed strongly in other Virginia races.So strongly, in fact, that one Democrat, Danica Roem, unseated a longtime Republican incumbent in the House of Delegates and will become the nation’s only openly transgender state representative.The history that she made flies squarely in the face of the bigotry and divisiveness that Trump sows. Politically speaking, there are eons between now and then, and the Virginia governor’s race had facets all its own.But there are reasons for Republicans to be very afraid.One is that Northam outperformed Clinton without being a particularly energetic, forceful candidate.Republicans should also worry that they’ve oversold themselves on the moderate-progressive divide in the Democratic Party and how severely Democrats would be hobbled by it.“If the Virginia results showed anything, it’s that ideological purity isn’t necessary to win in the Age of Trump,” Lis Smith, a Democratic operative who worked for McAuliffe, told me Tuesday night.“Northam came out as a two-time George W. Bush voter, and he failed some key liberal litmus tests. Still he won.”In rooting for a Gillespie victory, the GOP was looking for something larger: an assurance that a Republican in a swing state or swing district could find the right recipe for energizingTrump supporters without alienating Trump skeptics. Categories: Editorial, OpinionAlthough at times over the last week it seemed that Democrats were doing their damnedest to lose the Virginia gubernatorial race, they failed in that endeavor, which is to say that they succeeded at the polls.center_img Gillespie’s answer was to keep Trump at arm’s length physically but not spiritually.So while he never — not once — had Trump stump for him in Virginia, he parroted the president’s tough talk about criminals and immigrants and denounced professional football players who didn’t stand for the national anthem.Trump didn’t cry foul during the campaign, but he did on Twitter on Tuesday night, griping that Gillespie “worked hard but did not embrace me” and showing again that he’s all too content to spar publicly with lawmakers and candidates in his own party.Republicans should be afraid for that reason as well.Beyond the returns, this was a governor’s race that made the skin crawl, which is to say that it was a sufficiently accurate mirror and microcosm of American political culture in the Age of Trump.Partisan groups and panicked candidates trafficked in overblown fears, appealed to the worst in voters and debased themselves in pursuit of their prize — reasoning, I suppose, that dignity could be recovered on the far side of ugly victory. I’m not sure that’s ever wholly true.Gillespie’s campaign “has not been just a dog whistle to the intolerant, racially resentful parts of the Republican base; it’s been a mating call,” wrote The Washington Post in a blistering — and wholly warranted — editorial that noted what many other observers were also fascinated by: how radically Trump’s ascendance and omnipresence changed the way Gillespie comported himself, a transformation with dark implications for the GOP and scary ones for America. Just when we needed a sign that his America is not all of America, Virginia came to the rescue and gave us one.And I guarantee you that the Republicans up for re-election in 2018 saw it, shuddered and will spend the next weeks and months trying to figure out just how much trouble their party is in and precisely how to repair it.Democrats are exceedingly familiar with that feeling.The returns in Virginia suggested that Trump antipathy is indeed real and that it is definitely animating.“Virginia shows that in non-red states, Trump is a heavy load for Republican candidates to carry,” the Democratic strategist Doug Sosnik told me late Tuesday night.Does it mean that Democrats can wrest one chamber of Congress from Republican control in 2018?Impossible to say.last_img read more

Military pay should be made comparable

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion New York state is looking for correction officers and running advertisements in many newspapers. They list the “starting” pay rate as $40,590 — $42,695 after six months and $48,889 after one year.Plus, they can retire and start collecting a pension and benefits after 25 years as a guard at any age. So they could pass a test and become a guard by age 20 and retire at age 45.Now I know that they protect and serve, but what about our military? Starting pay is $19,602. A PFC with one-year service makes $21,972. A sergeant with 10 years of experience makes $39,373. And our military people are serving in areas where they are being shot at every day. They don’t get to come home after an eight-hour shift.Just wondering, that is all.Edward F. WagnerClifton Park More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationGame 7: Shenendehowa grad and Braves rookie Ian Anderson gets start with World Series spot on the li…Controversial solar project goes before Clifton Park Planning BoardHigh-risk COVID exposure reported in Clifton Parklast_img read more

Parks contribute to local quality of life

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion A timely article in the November 2017 magazine of the American Planning Association concludes: “Parks and recreation planning is more than fun and games. Parks contribute significantly to the quality of life for all, deliver a wide range of benefits beyond their borders, and hold immense potential for advancing sustainability in communities.”Parks, urban forests and green community elements help us manage stormwater, clean the air, provide places for relaxation and study and enhance health and wellness. Planners now know that the financial value-added can be measured. Once lost, mature forests can’t be replaced, especially in areas like rapidly developing southern Saratoga County.Communities as diverse as Madison, Wisc.; Vancouver, Canada; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Los Angeles County are all devoting significant resources to the preservation and enhancement of trees and forests within their communities. Clifton Park should follow the forward-looking examples above by preserving the complex of mature forest, wetlands and foot trails nestled between Clifton Park Center and Moe Road.Vote yes on Dec. 5 and urge the school board to sell 34 acres in central Clifton Park for public recreational use. A yes vote is a yes for a healthier, more sustainable and better southern Saratoga County. Keith MartinClifton Park More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationGame 7: Shenendehowa grad and Braves rookie Ian Anderson gets start with World Series spot on the li…EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesHigh-risk COVID exposure reported in Clifton ParkControversial solar project goes before Clifton Park Planning Boardlast_img read more

Sights set on Great Portland

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Band of brothers

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Stealing a march on crime

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Regus and JLL set to launch global alliance

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Bank Indonesia intervenes to steady rupiah as virus fear unnerves markets

first_imgTopics : Hendarsah attributed the rupiah’s fall in early trade to a drop in China’s equities market, which plunged after reopening from a 10-day Lunar New Year holiday amid a rapidly spreading virus epidemic.Read also: Rupiah hits two-year high, but concern grows over impact on exportsThe Chinese yuan and commodities markets in Shanghai slumped on Monday, on fears the coronavirus epidemic will hit demand in the world’s second-largest economy. The death toll in China rose to 361 as of Sunday with the number of confirmed cases rising to more than 17,200.The rupiah fell as much as 0.5 percent to 13,725 per dollar by 0442 GMT. So far this year, it has gained 1.1 percent helped by big inflows. Bank Indonesia intervened in spot foreign currency trading as well as domestic non-deliverable forward and bond markets on Monday to stabilize the rupiah, an official said, as the currency fell 0.5 percent to the weakest since mid-January.“BI is making sure of rupiah’s stability,” Nanang Hendarsah, the central bank’s head of monetary management, told Reuters by text message.“BI is boldly buying bonds in the secondary market and is offering DNDF (domestic non-deliverable forwards) through eight brokers,” he said, adding that intervention was also done in a measured way in the spot foreign exchange (FX) market.center_img Indonesia is one of Asia’s higher-yielding markets and has attracted heavy overseas inflows into its bond markets as investors sought better returns in a world of plunging interest rates.​Indonesia’s benchmark 10-year bond yield jumped to 6.701 percent, from the previous session’s close of 6.645 percent.The stock market fell 0.5 percent on Monday and is down 6.6 percent since mid-January, making it the second-worst performing in Southeast Asia after Manila so far this year.BI intervened in bonds, DNDF and spot markets almost daily last week, according to a trader in Jakarta, but the central bank was seen focusing most of its intervention in the bond and DNDF markets.Indonesia’s one-month DNDF contracts on Monday traded at 13,751 to the dollar, stronger than comparable offshore non-deliverable forwards at 13,840.The interventions have helped keep the rupiah mostly stable in recent weeks, the trader said, but dollar liquidity in the spot market is tight.“BI prefers to do their intervention through DNDF now, but most of the offshore traders are seeking dollar in the spot market, which currently is a bit illiquid,” the trader said.Read also: Wuhan coronavirus to affect local stock market until outbreak containedBI sold DNDF contracts worth more than US$380 million early on Monday, the trader said, adding to around $450 million sold on Friday.Meanwhile, the central bank believes the pressure on the rupiah is temporary.“We believe the rupiah’s weakness is temporary because fundamentally, the rupiah will be supported by a narrowing current account deficit, low and stable inflation and resilient growth,” Hendarsah said.last_img read more

Russia asks citizens to avoid foreign travel over virus fears

first_imgTopics : A senior Russian official on Saturday called on citizens of the country to refrain from non-essential travel abroad over fears about the growing number of coronavirus cases internationally.Anna Popova, the head of Russia’s consumer health watchdog, told local news agencies that Russians should stay put to avoid contracting the virus.”In order to consider yourself protected today, first of all possible future trips outside the native country need to be reduced as much as possible,” Popova said. “Now is a time when it is not worth leaving Russia.”Despite sharing one of the world’s longest borders with China, where the first coronavirus cases were recorded last year, Russia has relatively few confirmed cases of the illness on its territory.Three Russian nationals are receiving treatment in Russia after they contracted the virus on a cruise ship in Japan, the authorities have said. Two Chinese nationals were earlier taken to hospital in Russia with the virus but have since recovered.Russia has quarantined hundreds of people to prevent the spread of the epidemic, and authorities in Moscow are carrying out raids on potential carriers of the virus and using facial recognition technology to enforce quarantine measures.Moscow’s deputy mayor said on Friday that the country will deport 88 foreign nationals for allegedly violating quarantine measures imposed on them as a precaution against the coronavirus. last_img read more

US, UK troops among 3 dead in Iraq rocket attack: US official

first_imgIran retaliated by launching a volley of missiles at an Iraqi base hosting US soldiers days later.The US leads an international coalition — comprised of dozens of countries and thousands of soldiers — formed in Iraq in 2014 to confront the Islamic State, a jihadist group that Baghdad declared defeated in late 2017. While IS has lost its territory, sleeper cells remain capable of carrying out attacks.The Iraqi parliament voted to expel all foreign soldiers from the country in the wake of the killing of Soleimani, a decision that must be executed by the government. The outgoing government, which resigned in December in the face of mass protests, has yet to be replaced due to a lack of agreement in parliament — one of the most divided in Iraq’s recent history. Topics : An American soldier and a British soldier, as well as one US contractor, were killed Wednesday when rockets hit an Iraqi military base north of Baghdad, a US military official said.It was the deadliest attack on an installation hosting foreign troops in several years and comes after a spate of rocket attacks targeting US troops across Iraq as well as the US embassy in Baghdad. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Washington has blamed Iran-backed factions for similar attacks. The Iraqi army had earlier said the attack against the Taji base did not wound anyone or cause any damage, in what was the 22nd attack against American military interests in the country since late October.Previous rocket attacks targeting US soldiers, diplomats and facilities in Iraq in recent months have killed one US contractor and an Iraqi soldier. Two days after the death of an American in rockets fired on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk at the end of last year, the US army hit five bases in Iraq and Syria used by the pro-Iran armed faction Kataeb Hezbollah.Tensions then rose further between arch foes Washington and Tehran, leading to the assassination in Baghdad on January 3 of the powerful Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani and an Iraqi paramilitary commander in a US drone strike. last_img read more