Stories We’re Watching
A Glimmer of Hope in Poland’s Local Elections: Centrists Gain Edge, Voters Reject Right-Wing Ruling Party
Poland held mayoral runoff elections in 649 cities yesterday. Like the first round of mayoral elections held on October 21st, yesterday’s elections saw a continued decline in support for Poland’s right-wing, ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), which has governed since 2015. The PiS platform emphasized anti-immigration policies, populist economics, and judicial independence from the European Union. PiS lost mayoral seats to a centrist pro-European Union coalition, led by the country’s Civic Platform party. These two mayoral elections (Oct 21 and Nov 5) kick off a series of high stakes elections over the next two years: the European Parliament elections in May 2019, Poland’s parliamentary elections in autumn 2019, and the presidential poll in 2020. The results of yesterday’s elections stand in sharp contrast to recent elections in Europe and Latin America.
- Deutsche Welle: Poland: Urban voters reject ruling party in local elections
- Washington Post: Poland: Exit poll gives centrists edge in key mayoral races
- LSE’s European Politics & Policy: Who really won Poland’s local elections?
US Iran Sanctions Take Effect, 8 Countries Get Temporary Waivers
The US Iran sanctions went back into effect earlier today after having been relaxed when the US and Iran were party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In a press statement released today, the US Department of the Treasury hailed the reinstatement of sanctions as the “largest ever single-day action targeting the Iranian regime”. In all, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions will affect more than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels. The US has issued 6-month waivers to 8 countries (China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Japan, and Taiwan), some of which are among Iran’s biggest trade partners in oil. According to the US Dept. of Treasury, the US action is designed to “disrupt the Iranian regime’s ability to fund its broad range of malign activities.” Iran has vowed to skirt US sanctions and keep exporting oil.
- Brookings: “Sanctions are coming”— but Trump has no achievable end game for Iran
- BBC: Iran sanctions: Rouhani defiant as US re-imposes measures
- US Dept of Treasury: U.S. Government Fully Re-Imposes Sanctions on the Iranian Regime As Part of Unprecedented U.S. Economic Pressure Campaign Official Press Release
- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: U.S. Iran Sanctions Take Effect, Eight Countries Get Temporary Oil Waivers
- Deutsche Welle: US sanctions: Iran vows to sell oil, resist US ‘economic war’
Cameroon school kidnapping: Armed men abduct 78 students in NW Cameroon
At least 78 students and a school principal from Bamenda’s Presbyterian Secondary School were abducted earlier today in Bamenda, the capital of Cameroon’s northwest region. Early reports indicate that the abductors were separatist militias. In recent years, warring militias from Cameroon’s English-speaking northwest and southwest regions have called for independence. Cameroon has been beset with violent clashes as English-speaking separatists clash with the French-speaking government forces headed by President Paul Biya. Regional experts point to the increased role of Facebook in spreading misinformation and stoking violent clashes.
- Reuters: Facebook’s Cameroon problem: stop online hate stoking conflict
- The Independent: Cameroon school kidnap: Armed men abduct 78 students in Bamenda, local officials say
- BBC: Cameroon school kidnap: More than 70 pupils seized in Bamenda
US Midterm Elections: Twitter deletes 10K accounts, Election Machines Vulnerable to Hacking, Late Polling Data
The US will hold midterm elections tomorrow amid widespread misinformation, voting machine malfunctions, violent rhetoric from the president, disparities in media coverage of a Honduran Caravan, election fraud probes, and violence. Over the weekend, a man with hard-right, misogynistic views entered a Florida yoga studio and opened fire, killing two before turning the weapon on himself. ABC news has found 17 cases of persons invoking ‘Trump’ in connection with violence, threats or alleged assaults. Twitter has deleted more than 10,000 accounts posting messages that appeared to discourage people from voting. The Democrat party flagged the misleading tweets. Election computer servers in Wisconsin and Kentucky ran software that exposes voter information to hackers. Wisconsin’s election results reporting service could be reached from internet addresses based in Russia. Kentucky’s online voter registration service was accessible from Eastern European countries. In Texas, election officials are investigating Hart eSlate voting machines that changed early voters’ straight tickets. Late polling data indicate a slight Democrat lead in Florida.
- Politico: ‘Trump has hijacked the election’: House Republicans in panic mode
- ProPublica: File-Sharing Software on State Election Servers Could Expose Them to Intruders
- Boston Globe: Hackers targeting election networks across country prior to midterms
- Star Telegram: Texas election officials report complaints from voters who say machines flipped votes
- Reuters: Exclusive: Twitter deletes over 10,000 accounts that sought to discourage U.S. voting
- ABC: ‘No Blame’? ABC News finds 17 cases invoking ‘Trump’ in connection with violence, threats or alleged assaults
Xi Jinping’s Address at Shanghai Trade Fair: China Is Open for Business
Yesterday China’s President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote address at the first annual China International Import Expo in Shanghai. Representatives from nearly 3,000 companies from around the world will display their goods at this weeklong trade fair. President Xi’s speech focused on the importance of free trade, announced China’s status as an importer, and vowed to walk back burdensome trade practices. China is known for restrictive, protectionist policies which make importing difficult and costly. Analysts see the expo as China’s way of shifting its image as tough on trade, but caution that China will have to revise or rethink a significant portion of their non-tariff trade barriers such as costly product registrations and anti-dumping duties.
- Bloomberg: Key Takeaways From Xi Jinping’s Speech in Shanghai
- South China Morning Post: Xi Jinping set to sell International Import Expo as symbol of China’s openness and globalisation
- Australian Financial Review: Xi Jinping’s Shanghai expo shows the difficulty of selling China on Australia
- The Diplomat: China Opens First Import Expo With Veiled Warning to Trump
From Deep State Radio
BLOG: TUESDAY IS JUDGEMENT DAY IN AMERICA
Tuesday is Judgment Day for America. We will stand before history and declare who we are. We will not be able to lie or dress up the truth about our flaws. The light being shined on us will be so bright that only our true character as a nation will show.
If the GOP maintains its majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives our testimony will be crystal clear. Incumbents tend to be battered in mid-term elections. Especially unpopular ones. And this president has been historically unpopular. Continue
PODCAST: FINALLY, THE BIG DAY IS UPON US…THE OFFICIAL BEGINNING OF THE 2020 CAMPAIGN IS JUST HOURS AWAY!
Americans will finally get to express themselves at the ballot box after two years of division, turmoil, lies and lurid headlines. Election Day is here. Our Rosa Brooks, Kori Schake and Ed Luce get together to help you all prepare for the election. Do you drink before you vote or vote before you drink? How much of each is appropriate? Legal? And what have we learned from the campaign about America and Americans? Tune in for the last 2018 election discussion you’ll ever need to hear!