Month: September 2016

Jewish Population Increases from Before to After WWII: 15,748,091 – 15,753,638 ∼ Jewish World Almanac

Historical Tribune

Jewish Population Records Before and After WWII

From the Jewish World Almanac’

Jewish world population 1933:    15,315,859
Jewish world population 1938:    15,748,091
Jewish world population 1948:    15,753,638

Jewish population in Germany 1938:   210,000

According to various Jewish sources, the Jewish world population of 2015, was still just under 16,000,000 – due to ethnic fertility and reluctance to assimilate.

Jewish Population RecordsJewish Population Records 2Jewish Population Records 3


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Theresa May’s (Zionist, White Freemason, White Feminist) Real Opposition Lies in Tory Ranks as Brexit Splits Emerge

Theresa May is discovering the true opposition to her premiership lies within her own Conservative Party.

Less than three months since the vote for Brexit catapulted her into 10 Downing Street, the U.K. prime minister is preparing to helm her first Tory conference as leader. As she heads to Birmingham for Sunday’s start, what should have been a celebration and push to consolidate power risks revealing fresh fault lines over the European Union within her own ranks.

While May refuses to give much insight into what she wants from the divorce, colleagues such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis are already signalling they want a hard break. By contrast, other Conservative lawmakers including former finance ministers George Osborne and Ken Clarke are counseling caution.

“The principle source of opposition at the moment for Theresa May is not the mainstream opposition parties, but the challenge of establishing basic unity within her own government,” said Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics at the University of Kent. “There are rumblings with the Brexit strategy and the lack of clarity over what that agreement is going to look like.”

That leaves May, who has a parliamentary majority of just 12, under pressure to assert her leadership. While known to consume reams of information on Brexit, she has so far largely limited her comments to refusing to start formal talks this year and indicating a crackdown on immigration is a bigger priority than maintaining trade links. Brexit will be discussed on Sunday, leaving the following three days of conference for her domestic goals.

Hard or Soft

“There needs to be a steer on whether this is going to be a hard or a soft Brexit and some of the red lines,” said Victoria Honeyman, who teaches politics at Leeds University. “If she doesn’t provide those and talks in generalities there are going to be a lot of disappointed people on both sides.”

For more on the other 27 EU governments’ red lines, click here

Investors, foreign governments and corporate executives would also welcome clarity.The pound is headed for its fifth quarterly decline versus the dollar, the longest run since 1984, and is being undermined by speculation of a hard Brexit in which Britain surrenders access to the single market in return for securing control over labor flows.

“Silence is not a strategy,” said Hannah White of the Institute for Government. “The current situation — where we are left to interpret personal musings of individual ministers — is frustrating those looking for an early exit, perplexing those with whom we have to negotiate and unsettling those looking to do business in the U.K.”

Lukewarm Support

Failure to placate her colleagues means May could end up joining the club of Tory leaders who since the 1970s have found their political ambitions derailed by Europe. Her predecessor, David Cameron, is already a member after gambling that the June referendum would finally silence euroskeptics in his party.

Instead it emboldened them and pro-Brexit lawmakers now sit at the heart of May’s Cabinet. While she campaigned to remain in the EU her support for Cameron’s case was lukewarm, as revealed by books now being published. She has since committed to delivering the referendum result, repeatedly declaring “Brexit means Brexit.”

Tensions are already surfacing 99 days since the referendum. May has had to rebuke Johnson for publicity predicting she will engage with the EU in early 2017 and Davis for openly questioning whether the U.K. can enjoy tougher borders and easy commerce. Trade chief Liam Fox was slapped down for calling business leaders “lazy.”

Although May has stayed quiet on what she wants and when, the pro-Brexit camp hasn’t. Johnson even endorsed “Change Britain,” a campaign of lawmakers designed to keep the pressure on May. Another group, “Leave Means Leave,” features Tories outside of the government and so even more willing to criticize her. Lawmaker John Redwood says May shouldn’t even negotiate and just cut ties with the EU.

Osborne’s Case

Rank-and-file Tory parliamentarians are also aware that they will cede ground to the U.K. Independence Party if May takes too long to adopt a stance. UKIP leader Diane James this month demanded May should “stop the faff” and deliver a “hard Brexit.”

At the same time, May has another wing of her party to keep onside. Osborne, who was ousted as chancellor of the exchequer in July, argues the British public voted to leave the EU but not to stampede out the door. He used an interview with Bloomberg Television this week to call for a “softer Brexit” and “the closest possible economic and financial relationship” with the bloc. He also suggested May wait until after next year’s elections in France and Germany before invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which starts the clock on two years of talks.

Clarke, another onetime chancellor, went further in telling the New Statesman that May is running a “government with no policies” and that “nobody in the government has the first idea of what they’re going to do next on the Brexit front.”

In her favor is that May faces little opposition from other parties. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is in disarray over his leadership, the Liberal Democrats were ousted from sharing power and UKIP still has just one lawmaker. That leaves the pro-independence Scottish National Party as her chief tormentor in Parliament.

“While other parties are too divided, incompetent or self-obsessed to deliver the leadership the U.K. needs, the Conservative Party is knuckling down and getting on with the job,” May wrote in the introduction to the conference program. “We are going to make the most of the opportunities that leaving the EU presents.”

Trump fundraising record not all it appears

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Donald Trump’s campaign was desperate to change the subject after his shaky debate performance on Monday, and it found just the story to do it — a record fundraising surge that Trump says was powered by small donors, proving he actually got a boost from the debate.

But a closer examination of the claims around Trump’s fundraising surge — which the campaign says yielded $18 million in the 24 hours after the debate through online donations and a big-donor phone bank — suggests the haul might not be quite as significant to Trump as he and his campaign have made it out to be.

Based on the information voluntarily released by the campaign, it’s unclear how much of the windfall will go to campaign versus the Republican National Committee, or how much of the total came in pledges as opposed to actual cash. Nor is it clear how much came from the small donors about whom Trump boasts.

Some of those answers won’t be revealed until the middle of October, when the campaign and its joint fundraising committees with the RNC will be required to file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission. But other details — including the amount raised from small donors in the 24 hours after the debate — may never be independently verifiable, thanks to the nuances of campaign finance reporting requirements.

Those nuances were lost in Trump’s boasts about the fundraising haul during a Tuesday evening speech in Melbourne, Florida, nearly 24 hours after the debate.

“Today, we had something where I understand through largely small donors and some others, we had the biggest day we’ve ever had,” Trump told the crowd in a humid airplane hangar. “Because of the success last night of the debate, they raised almost $18 million today. Can you believe it? $18 million. That’s a lot. $18 million in one day, think of that. And that was largely because of last night.”

Trump carried the theme through Wednesday night, boasting to a raucous crowd at the Waukesha County Expo Center about the $54 million he’d put into his campaign, and adding “but we’re being helped by the small donors. And yesterday, because of the tremendous success of the debate, we raised almost $18 million in one day.”

If Trump’s post-debate fundraising haul is anywhere near $18 million, it would be a major boost for a campaign that has lagged behind that of Hillary Clinton in fundraising and advertising. (In fact, Trump’s campaign has said it plans to spend the cash infusion on a planned $140 million ad buy.) And it would stand as the biggest single-day fundraising haul, by far, of Trump’s campaign, though it’s not possible to track such tallies precisely.

But it’s become an increasing political tactic to embellish selective details about fundraising — especially small-donor fundraising — to enhance the appearance of grass-roots momentum at critical moments of a campaign. Clinton used the tacticduring her unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign and again after her party’s nominating convention in July. Her campaign boasted that in the 24 hours after she accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, it raised $8.7 million — which at the time stood among the biggest single-day fundraising tallies.

A Trump campaign source said that only $5 million of the $18 million haul came in online donations made directly to the campaign, which tend to be the types of donations most driven by organic grass-roots energy. Online donations also usually are smaller and can be more useful in the long term since the donors who give them can continue to contribute without hitting the cap on donations of $2,700 for the primary election and $2,700 for the general election.

The remaining $13 million came through phone call solicitations made as part of a campaign “call day” in which about 100 major donors and campaign insiders — including Trump’s children and his vice presidential running mate Mike Pence — made telephone solicitations from the campaign’s headquarters in Manhattan’s Trump Tower.

Those donations would most likely be larger, since they would come from donors who either had a track record of writing big checks or who knew the person making the call.

The campaign source said that the call day donations were about equally split between the campaign and a joint fundraising committee called Trump Victory that includes the Trump campaign, the RNC, and about a dozen state party committees.

Trump Victory can accept checks as large as $449,500, making it easier to bring in huge sums of cash quickly. But, no matter how large the check to Trump Victory, only $2,700 can go to the Trump campaign, with the rest going to the RNC and the state parties.

Steve Mnuchin, the Trump campaign’s finance chairman, would not say how much of Tuesday’s haul would end up in the campaign’s coffers, but he pointed out that having a well-funded RNC also helps the campaign.

“From our standpoint, we were raising money for the joint fundraising committee and the campaign, it’s all very important because it’s all going to support either the ground campaign or more media,” said Mnuchin.

He participated in the call day and issued a statement afterward declaring that “with this kind of energy and generous support behind us, we are going to have President Donald J. Trump in the White House.”

Mnuchin would not comment, however, on how much of the money raised during the call day was in the form of pledges versus actual cash donations.

“We have a very high collectability rate on any pledges we get,” he said. “We are at close to 100 percent.”

But a leading Republican fundraiser said that, with call days, there’s often a “difference between pledged and collected” contributions, so finance professionals are “always skeptical when a call day is included in any explanation.”

Additionally, GOP finance professionals have raised concerns about the return on investment from Trump’s small-dollar fundraising operation, which is run largely through a San Antonio-based Web design firm with no previous political experience that has been paid $12.5 million by the Trump campaign.

The online fundraising effort has relied on heavy spending to rent email lists and place digital ads soliciting small donations, sometimes producing duplicative or poorly targeted results.

And on Wednesday, Trump’s campaign sent three very similar emails from his son Eric Trump boasting that the campaign was “on path now to shatter a 48-hour fundraising record, and you could help us do it, Friend.”

Zika Might Spread in Sweat and Tears, Doctors Warn

The Zika virus may spread in sweat and tears in some cases, doctors cautioned Thursday.

The case of a Utah man who infected his adult son before he died leaves no other alternatives, the team at the University of Utah School of Medicine said.

And — more bad news — the 73-year-old patient who died really was not very sick before he caught Zika, which suggests that the virus can occasionally kill people who are not frail and ill.

This is what a Zika rash looks like. Amit Garg, MD / Department of Dermatology, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine

Dr. Sankar Swaminathan and colleagues describe the case in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The patient, who died in July, was thefirst in the 50 U.S. states to be killed by Zika. He’d been treated for prostate cancer but wasn’t especially ill from that, the team wrote in their report.

Related: Congress Finally Passes a Zika Spending Bill

“Eight days before admission, he had returned from a 3-week trip to the southwest coast of Mexico, where Zika virus transmission had been reported. He was well during his trip but reported being bitten by mosquitoes,” the team wrote.

He developed muscle aches, diarrhea and other symptoms. The team thought he had dengue, a virus very closely related to Zika that’s spread by the same mosquitoes.

He died from respiratory and kidney failure four days after being infected, they said. Later tests showed the older man in fact had Zika, and had an extraordinary amount of the virus in his blood — thousands of times more than usual. He’d had dengue in the past, but not recently.

Then his 38-year-old son got sick, and developed the rash that’s characteristic of Zika infection.

“Patient 2 reported having assisted a nurse in repositioning Patient 1 in bed without using gloves. Patient 2 also reported having wiped Patient 1’s eyes during the hospitalization but reported having had no other overt contact with blood or other body fluids, including splashes or mucous membrane exposure,” the team wrote.

Related: Zika Virus Mystery — How Did Man Infect His Son?

The younger man had not traveled, and the mosquitoes that spread Zika are not found in Utah. Investigators spent weeks trying to figure out how he got infected.

“Given the very high level of viremia in Patient 1, infectious levels of virus may have been present in sweat or tears, both of which Patient 2 contacted without gloves,” Swaminathan’s team concluded.

That’s known to happen with Ebola, a different type of virus. When patients got extremely high levels of the virus in their blood, even their sweat became infectious to others.

Also like Ebola, Zika virus has been found in the eyes of patients.

“These two cases illustrate several important points. The spectrum of those at risk for fulminant (sudden and severe) Zika infection may be broader than previously recognized, and those who are not severely immunocompromised or chronically ill may nevertheless be at risk for fatal infection,” they said.

Related: How Can Zika Kill You?

“Whether contact with highly infectious body fluids from patients with severe Zika virus infection poses an increased risk of transmission is an important question that requires further research.”

Zika is mostly spread by mosquitoes, but the ongoing epidemic has shown it can also be spread through all forms of sex. The biggest danger is when a pregnant woman becomes infected, because the virus can get to the developing fetus and cause severe birth defects.

The virus can also cause a range of complications in some patients, including the paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome, as well as inflammation of the brain and spinal cord

‘Denial’ is a Holocaust drama that’s accidentally about Donald Trump


“In Denial,” Rachel Weisz plays noted historian Deborah Lipstadt, who went up against Holocaust denier David Irving (played by Timothy Spall) in the 1990s.

Laurie Sparham, Bleecker Street


Xbox One S launch sales beat PS4 Slim by 361%

Xbox One S launch sales beat PS4 Slim by 361%


Xbox One S launch sales beat PS4 Slim by 361%
Xbox One S – a bigger success than the PS4 Slim

The Xbox One S console seems to have been a rousing success for Microsoft, with sales of the PS4 Slim described as ‘slow’.

The Xbox One family of consoles accounted for 71% of all hardware sales last week, up 76% on the same time last year. By comparison the PlayStation 4 took just 19% of the market, down 66% on last year.

That’s particularly impressive given that the PS4 Slim launched on September 15, and yet apparently made little inroad on the Xbox One S – which first launched in August.

Launch week sales of Xbox One S were better by 361%, compared to the launch week of the PS4 Slim. Xbox One sales are also revealed to have increased by 989% from the week before the Xbox One S’s release.


Video game sales figures are never usually released to the public, but the GfK Chart-Track data was passed on to trade paper MCV. They described sales of the PS4 Slim as ‘slow’.

Although the PlayStation 4 has always been the best-selling console of this generation in the UK, its lead has always been understood to be relatively small. So if Microsoft continue with sales like this it’s perfectly possible the Xbox One could overtake it.

The gap is understood to be even closer in the US, but largely unassailable in Europe, and especially in Japan.


The two most obvious reasons for the success of the Xbox One S were a FIFA 17 bundle, which allowed you to play the game a week early, and the fact that it presented a new incentive for those who had never owned an Xbox One, to give Microsoft’s console a try.

By comparison, many core gamers will have already bought a PlayStation 4, and the PS4 Slim is neither cheaper nor significantly different to the original.

‘It’s great to see how popular both the Xbox One S and the FIFA 17 Xbox One S consoles are with fans, not just over the last week but since the Xbox One S was released in August. 4K video streaming and 4K UHD Blu-ray have been extremely well received by gamers and critics and we believe there is no better value right now for those looking to upgrade their console’, said a no doubt jubilant Harvey Eagle, marketing director of Xbox UK.

‘It’s a fantastic time for gamers with the range of upcoming titles appealing to all audiences, from Gears of War 4 to Skyrim Special Edition and the release this week of the acclaimed Forza Horizon 3. There’s never been a better time to own an Xbox One.’



Microsoft combines Cortana and Bing with Microsoft Research to accelerate new features

Both products could benefit from closer proximity to the company’s most advanced technologies.

windows phone cortana
On Thursday, Microsoft took the unusual step of combining its Bing and Cortana product teams with Microsoft Research, in a bid to accelerate innovation for both the search engine and the digital assistant.

The move was part of a broader reorganization that saw Microsoft split its Applications and Services Group, which also included Microsoft’s Office applications, into two separate organizations. Office applications will form their own group.

Though Microsoft has asked researchers to work on projects that could eventually be commercialized, combining teams that work on active products, such as Cortana and Bing, with the future-facing teams that comprise Microsoft Research, is in fact unique within Microsoft. Together, Bing and Cortana, plus Microsoft’s Information Platform and Ambient Computing and Robotics teams, will form the Microsoft AI and Research Group. All told, the group will include more than 5,000 computer scientists and engineers, Microsoft said.

The newly-formed AI and Research Group will be led by Harry Shum, who’s previously led Microsoft Research and Bing’s engineering team.

Why this matters: For over a year, Microsoft has been injecting intelligence into as many products as possible. Cortana can remind you when to leave for an upcoming appointment, based on your calendar and the current traffic conditions. Business intelligence products like PowerBI now take center stage among Microsoft’s enterprise products. Skype Translate, which Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has described as “magic,” uses speech recognition and machine learning to translate spoken conversations in real time. Placing the Bing and Cortana teams within Microsoft’s research group probably means that Microsoft hopes to push out feature improvements to both products at a faster rate.

Democratizing AI

At the company’s Ignite conference this week, Nadella talked about Microsoft’s goals to bring intelligence to the masses, in much the same way that it has done for data.

“At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering both people and organizations, by democratizing access to intelligence to help solve our most pressing challenges,” Nadella said in a statement. “To do this, we are infusing AI into everything we deliver across our computing platforms and experiences.”

Microsoft’s reorganization was spurred in part by the decision by Qi Lu, who led the former Applications and Services Group, to leave the company following a bicycle accident, according to Geekwire. What remains of the Applications and Services Group will be renamed the Office Product Group, led by Microsoft executive Rajesh Jha, the site reported.

Placing Cortana and Bing within a research organization means that both of those groups will directly benefit from the proximity to researchers. Cortana is in a tight race with Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant—and the latter has moved ahead, in my estimation. However, Microsoft does not intend to slow the addition of intelligent features to other products like Office or Azure, according to a company representative.

Shum said as much in a blog post announcing the change. “I’ve worked on both research and product teams, and I see incredible potential for this new group,” Shum wrote. “Today, AI is shifting the computer science research supply chain and blurring lines between research and product. End-to-end innovation in AI will not come from isolated research labs alone, but from the combination of at-scale production workloads together with deep technology advancements in algorithms, systems and experiences.”

Fines, Withdrawals, Job Cuts. It Was an Ugly Day for Global Banks (GOOD!!!)

Even before the opening bell in New York, Thursday looked like a grim day for some of the giants of global banking.

But few expected the barrage of bad news that soon hit on both sides of the Atlantic — a rat-a-tat-tat of job cuts, scandal and financial worry that sent bank shares tumbling and left many investors wondering just where or when the pain would end.

It began in Germany, where long-struggling Commerzbank AG unveiled yet another plan to regain its footing, this time by cutting one in five of its employees. In Washington, came still more blistering attacks on John Stumpf, whose grip atop embattled Wells Fargo & Co., the largest U.S. mortgage lender, remains tenuous amid the uproar over a scandal involving unauthorized accounts.

And then, back in Germany, came the bombshell: revelations that some hedge funds were moving to reduce their financial exposure to Deutsche Bank, now the biggest worry in global finance. Before Stumpf left the U.S. House chambers after more than four hours of grilling, news broke his bank would be hit with more penalties after improperly repossessing cars owned by U.S. soldiers.

As Deutsche Bank Anxiety Grows, Some Clients Cut Their Exposure

“While each has unique challenges, the overwhelming thing that has happened to the banks is they’re forgetting their purpose, while complexity is increasing opportunity for errors,” said Jon Lukomnik, executive director of the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute in New York.

Eight years after the financial crisis, the global banking industry is groping for a way forward. Global regulators have sought to make banks look more like boring utilities, but that road has proven steep. Emboldened by an international populist groundswell, they continue to dole out fines and penalties, and firms are scrambling for ways to make money as trading volumes decline and capital requirements become more stringent.

The 38-company Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index has tumbled 24 percent this year, while the KBW Bank Index of 24 U.S. lenders has slid 4.6 percent, led by Wells Fargo’s 18 percent decline.

Stumpf Berated Again as Lawmakers Renew Calls That He Quit

Commerzbank Chief Executive Officer Martin Zielke announced plans Thursday toeliminate 9,600 jobs, leaving it no bigger than it was before its 2008 acquisition of Dresdner Bank. The Frankfurt-based bank has lost about 39 percent of its market value this year.

“Germany is still overbanked, and it’s tough to have Germany as your home base when you want to compete with French, Spanish or American peers that operate in less fragmented home markets,” said Klaus Fleischer, a professor of finance at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich.

Wells Fargo Troubles Mount With Penalty for Soldiers’ Loans

Wells Fargo agreed to pay more than $24 million to the Justice Department and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to settle allegations that it improperly repossessed cars owned by members of the military.

“I don’t personally see how you survive,” Representative Denny Heck, a Washington Democrat, told Stumpf Thursday as the 63-year-old CEO testified before the House Financial Services Committee.

Lawmakers called for Stumpf to be fired, for Wells Fargo’s board to be replaced and for the bank to be broken up.

Commerzbank Plans to Cut Jobs, Suspend Dividend in CEO Overhaul

“Your problem is coming,” Representative Mike Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat, told Stumpf at the hearings. “You think today is tough? It’s coming. When the prosecutors get ahold of you, you’re going to have a lot of fun.”

As the hearing was under way, news broke that some of Deutsche Bank’s clients were said to be reducing their collateral on trades, sending its New York-listed shares down as much as 9.1 percent. Earlier this week, CEO John Cryan was forced to shoot down speculation the bank needs more capital and may require a bailout, as its shares touch record lows and a U.S. litigation settlement looms.

“Our trading clients are amongst the world’s most sophisticated investors,” Michael Golden, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank, said in an e-mailed statement. “We are confident that the vast majority of them have a full understanding of our stable financial position, the current macroeconomic environment, the litigation process in the U.S. and the progress we are making with our strategy.”

Why is Gary Johnson (White Libertarian Moron) still in the race?

Washington (CNN)Gary Johnson is the new punching bag of the 2016 campaign.

The Libertarian presidential candidate is the subject of intensifying ridicule following his latest televised flub when he couldn’t name a world leader he admiredduring a Wednesday interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. That follows another embarrassing on-air moment last month when, in response to a question about how he would alleviate the plight of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, he responded: “What is Aleppo?”
The gaffes, combined with his failure to make the debate stage and his infinitesimal chance of winning the White House, raise a pressing question: Why is Johnson still in the race?
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton ribbed Johnson Thursday by pretending to struggle when she was asked to name a world leader she admired. But she made clear her view that she and her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump, are the only viable candidates.
“Either Donald Trump or I will be the President of the United States,” she told reporters on her campaign plane, sending a clear warning to disaffected Democrats flirting with Johnson. “People have to look carefully in making their decision. It will be either him or me.”
Gary Johnson vows to fight on

Gary Johnson vows to fight on 07:32
But Johnson isn’t going anywhere.
William Weld, Johnson’s running mate, said the latest stumble doesn’t leave him with any doubts.
“He’s a deep person in terms of his thinking and he thinks through things in a way that many other people don’t,” Weld told CNN’s Randi Kaye Thursday on Anderson Cooper 360. “Pop quizzes on television are obviously not his forte but depth of analysis and surprising lines of analysis are his forte. I think he just needs time to expound what he’s thinking.”
Johnson’s decision to stay in the race isn’t just an academic question. He and Weld are doing well enough in swing states to pull votes from both Trump and Clinton. In the latest CNN/ORC poll of Colorado — a state Clinton must win and which her campaign thought was already safe — Johnson is polling at 13% among likely voters while Clinton trails Trump 42% to 41%.

Market for Johnson

Third party candidates have traditionally had a rough ride in the two-party US election system — none have made a significant national impact since billionaire Ross Perot grabbed 19% of the vote in 1992.
But amid the most polarizing election in years featuring two major party nominees with historic unfavorability ratings, there may be a market for Johnson’s character and ideas.
What Libertarian Gary Johnson believes in 2 minutes

What Libertarian Gary Johnson believes in 2 minutes 01:59
“Something is obviously different this time,” said Kyle Saunders, a political analyst at Colorado State University. “Part of it is the unpopularity of the two major party candidates. The strongest of partisans are behaving the way they always behave.”
He added: “Those other people who are not the strongest partisans are looking for some other places to cast their ballot.”
And the more that the chattering classes disdain Johnson, the more stubborn he seems to get.
“It’s been almost 24 hours … and I still can’t come up with a foreign leader I look up to,” Johnson tweeted defiantly Thursday.

‘Gotcha-ism at its worst’

Johnson’s campaign manager, Ron Nielson, blasted Johnson’s critics as being guilty of “gotcha-ism at its worst” in a Facebook post and said that the oversight just proved that his candidate was just like other Americans.
“Gary Johnson is a real person. A pragmatist and the kind of leader that people can respect and trust,” Nielson wrote. “Unfortunately, as most Americans have come to realize, this is not the case with Clinton and Trump.”
It was not the first time that a presidential candidate has stumbled in a world leader pop quiz that raised doubts about their credentials to be President. In 1999, then-GOP frontrunner George W. Bush was stumped when asked by a Boston reporter to name the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan.
Gary Johnson responds to Aleppo gaffe

Gary Johnson responds to Aleppo gaffe 01:56
And gaffes don’t seem to derail a candidate in 2016 the way they once did.
After all, Trump has made statements that are far more outrageous than Johnson’s comments — on an almost daily basis — and he is locked in a tight race with Clinton.
It’s debatable whether true Libertarian voters — those who support the party because it favors a disentangling from foreign quagmires and a less robust US global role — are that bothered that their candidate is not deeply acquainted with the details of the Syrian civil war.

Pressure on Johnson

But it’s not just verbal stumbles that are beginning to build pressure on Johnson.
His political position is also eroding because of his failure to hit the 15% polling threshold needed to muscle his way into the debates between Clinton and Trump.
Back in June, Johnson told The New Yorker that if he missed what he called the political “Super Bowl” — “There’s no way to win.”
There are reasons — beyond the disdain that a large proportion of the electorate appears to hold for Clinton and Trump — for Johnson to stay in the race.
First, he appears to have the chance to make tangible progress for the Libertarian Party across the nation. In 2012, Johnson ran for President and won just under 1% of the electoral vote. Even if he only cracks 5% this time, that would represent an undeniable step forward for the party.
But there’s a more fundamental reason why Johnson may resist calls to quit.
He explained in an op-ed piece in the New York Times on Wednesday that the American political system, by producing such alienating rivals as Clinton and Trump, has failed. That, he argued, means reformers have no choice but to fight.
“Hyper-partisanship may be entertaining, but it’s a terrible way to try to run a country. We’re the alternative — and we’re the only ticket that offers Americans a chance to find common ground,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson also appears to be building a significant base of support among millennial voters — a demographic that Clinton needs to dominate to make it to the White House — but which could fuel Libertarian Party growth in future.
A Bloomberg News/Selzer & Co. poll released Monday found Clinton’s 10-point advantage among younger voters cut to a statistically insignificant four points when Johnson and Stein are included in the race.
While some Democrats who abhor Clinton might be tempted by a fling with Johnson, he is also providing a refuge with Republicans who cannot stomach Trump. Antipathy for the billionaire prompted the Detroit News Thursday to do something it has never done in its 143 year history — endorse someone other than the Republican presidential candidate.

Concern for Democrats

Still, Johnson’s resilience is causing genuine concern for top Democrats.
“There’s one message I want to deliver to everybody: If you don’t vote, that’s a vote for Trump. If you vote for a third-party candidate who’s got no chance to win, that’s a vote for Trump,” President Barack Obama said on the Steve Harvey radio show this week.
Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is warning wavering Democrats attracted to Johnson that they risk bringing about an electoral catastrophe similar to the one in Florida in 2000 when Ralph Nader siphoned votes away from Vice President Al Gore. That allowed Bush to claim Florida after the vote count showdown in the US Supreme Court.
“If Gore had been president, we probably wouldn’t had a war in Iraq,” Kaine told Yahoo News’ Katie Couric last week. “Casting a vote, a protest vote, for a third-party candidate that’s going to lose may well affect the outcome. It may well lead to a consequence that is deeply, deeply troubling. That’s not a speculation, we’ve seen it in our country’s history.”

Obama Cabinet Official Says It’s A Good Thing Justice Scalia (White Freemason) Died


It’s a good thing for labor unions that Antonin Scalia died earlier this year, Tom Perez, President Obama’s Labor Secretary, said on Thursday.

Perez, a progressive whom Hillary Clinton considered choosing as her running mate, was answering questions during a session at the Washington Ideas Forum when he was asked about strategies to increase labor union membership.

“Well, I think you have all these — there’s an unmitigated assault on labor unions across a number of states and there was a case that went before the Supreme Court recently, and frankly if Justice Scalia had not passed away it would have really made it very difficult for public sector labor unions to organize and that would have been one step in a very transparent and well-choreographed set of objectives from folks on the far right to eviscerate the labor movement,” Perez told the audience.

Scalia, a conservative, died on Feb. 13, 2016 at the age of 79. His seat has not been filled, though President Obama has nominated appeals court justice Merrick Garland.

Perez was likely referring to a Supreme Court case that deadlocked 4-4 in March.

The justices in that case weighed whether the California Teachers Association, a public employee union, was allowed to deduct union dues from nonmember teachers to help cover the expenses of collective bargaining. The tie meant that an appeals court’s decision in the case was upheld. That decision favored the union. Scalia likely would have voted against the union, most court watchers believe.

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