Posted on September 13, 2019 in Countdown

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Big Debate

Did you watch last night’s debate? Finally, the field of debate-qualified candidates was small enough for all the front runners to appear on stage together, but big enough to ensure there was chaos on stage and no time to tackle half the critical policy issues we need to discuss. The debate started with another round of the “moderates vs. progressives” health care argument (who saw this coming? Put your hand down, we all did), followed by a debate on gun violence. Beto didn’t shy away from saying he wants to take your guns away (not all of them, just the big ones that are made to kill a lot of people). Julian Castro took a jab at Biden’s brain (ignore the boxing imagery, it was strictly verbal), accusing him of forgetting what he said 2-minutes ago. The jab played extremely well with the crowd, but for those paying close attention, the charge doesn’t actually check out. Buttigieg attempted to score a point against his debate opponents by accusing them of making the debates “unwatchable” with (ironically?) all their point-scoring efforts. Elizabeth Warren took on endless war, saying we should stop trying to find military solutions to problems that can’t be solved militarily, and Bernie Sanders hammered wealth inequality while deeming Trump the most dangerous president in history. What wasn’t mentioned in the debate? Anything about surveillance. Or Yemen. Or Russia. Even crazier, nothing on the recent HUGE announcement that Israel intends to annex huge parts of the West Bank with the support of the Trump administration. Neither the candidates nor the moderators saw fit to mention this, but Countdown has you covered.

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Apartheid Gets More Official By the Day

The state of Israeli politics is so distasteful that candidates often compete over who would be more atrocious towards the Palestinians. The winner of this competition so far is Bibi Netanyahu, whose Facebook page was suspended over anti-Arab hate speech. Hate speech aside (we’re sadly used to that by now), the real blockbuster was Bibi’s announced intent to annex the Jordan valley, which makes up roughly 30% of the West Bank. Which part of the West Bank, you ask? Well, it’s the one FARTHEST from Israel, all the way to the East. So what does this mean? This means that Netanyahu has officially declared what all informed observers have known for many years now: Israel’s intent is to completely surround Palestinian population centers, and permanently deny them control of their own borders or any political rights. There’s a world for that. It’s called apartheid. It’s time to say it loud and clear. And it’s time to push the candidates to stop ignoring it, and start telling us what they plan to do about it. This is why you should join the Palestine Is campaign & follow/like it on Twitter and Facebook.

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Desecrating the Memory of 9/11

On Wednesday morning, the North Carolina House of Representatives voted to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget. Well, it wasn’t really the entire House, since only 64 of the 120 members were present for the vote. While almost all of the Democratic members were at 9/11 memorial ceremonies, Republican leadership made a motion to reconsider the state budget. The members present, predominantly Republican, voted 55-9 to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of the state budget. Telling Dem reps there won’t be a vote on the morning of 9/11 and then holding a stealth vote while those members are out honoring the victims and first responders of 9/11? Sigh! Needless to say, the Democratic reps are not happy: Gov. Cooper called this an “assault on our democracy” and Representative Deb Butler continues to declare Democrats “will not yield.” We don’t know about y’all, but this seems seriously low to us.

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Out with the War Mongers, In with the Hate Mongers

Only this president could turn people like Jeff Sessions and John Bolton into sympathetic characters. Like the former attorney general, Bolton had a rather undignified exit from this administration after serving as national security advisor for 17 months, which in Trump world might as well be an eternity. The alleged dispute was over Iran (which Bolton has been dying to bomb), but how that dispute went down exactly remains a topic of… well, dispute. Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning that he fired Bolton the night before. Bolton fired back at the president, claiming instead that he had offered to resign that night but in response Trump said “let’s talk about it tomorrow.” Whatever the actual sequence of events, the result is that Bolton is out, and to that let us say “good riddance!” But the man who hired him in the first place is not out, and therefore we should expect Bolton’s replacement to be just as or even more unfavorable. For now we have Charles Kupperman as the acting head of the national security council. Turns out he has ties to Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, which is pretty much a national security think tank operating as a front for an industrial scale anti-Muslim hate factory.

 

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Counting all Arab Americans

...for the 2020 Census that is! The #YallaCountMeIn campaign is an Arab American organization-based coalition effort to ensure we are all fairly and accurately counted in 2020. The campaign has launched a set of Arabic and English resources about the importance of the Census for our community, what the form will and won't ask and more! What's even more exciting is you can also pledge to fill out your Census form online and we will remind you to fill out the Census once it goes live! In the coming weeks we will have more exciting materials for your use and to get everyone saying "Yalla, Count Me In!"