"Putin Tried To Muck Around Our Elections Again": US Defence Secretary

Washington: US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday that Russia tried to meddle in the US midterm elections last month -- just as it did in the 2016 vote that brought President Donald Trump to power.

The already strained ties between Washington and Moscow have "no doubt" worsened over Russian's continued attempts to interfere in the US voting process, Mattis said at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California.

Russian President Vladimir Putin "tried again to muck around in our elections this last month, and we are seeing a continued effort along those lines," the Pentagon chief said.

Putin has "continued efforts to try to subvert democratic processes that must be defended," Mattis said, stressing he was unsure whether there were growing threats from Russia.

"We'll do whatever is necessary to defend them."

Mattis spoke as President Donald Trump suddenly scrapped a planned meeting with Putin at the G20 summit of world leaders in Buenos Aires, Argentina, citing a Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

Ahead of last month's vote, Twitter and Facebook shut down thousands of Russian-controlled accounts, while 14 people from Russia's notorious troll farm, the Internet Research Agency, were indicted.

And US law enforcement agencies warned that "Americans should be aware that foreign actors -- and Russia in particular -- continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord."

The troll farm's finance chief, named as Yelena Khusyainova, was indicted by the US Justice Department days before the November 6 midterms, becoming the first person to face charges of interfering in the US vote.

Russia in turn condemned the US for indicting her, saying the accusations were fabricated in order to impose further sanctions on Moscow.

Trump himself is at the center of a probe into whether his 2016 presidential campaign conspired with Russian operatives to tilt the election in his favor.

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Trump, after the elections

As we all know, the so-called midterm elections were held in the United States on Tuesday.

They took place in a normal labor day, because US authorities do not give them great importance.

When they closed, Donald Trump branded them “a tremendous success” for his candidates.

In this kind of elections, characterized by the indifference of a large number of voters, the average turnout has been about 40 percent.

Although a clear victory of Democrats was foreseen, the high turnout did not prevent the polls to reflect again the existing deep polarization in the country.

Washington Post columnist Dan Balz said on Wednesday that “the general rules of the voting in the House and the Senate, as well as the polls, reflected that the differences, which have defined United States during the presidency of Trump, remain and seem to strengthen”.

He added “That lays the foundations for very competitive presidential elections within two years”.

According to the analyst, Trump will seek his reelection in 2020.

New Yorker columnist Susan Glasser wrote “Democrats yet haven’t left Trump’s 2016 victory behind” and added that many believed the current polls would dilute the image that follows them since that year”.

But a few hours ago, Trump’s opponents won control of the House, in addition to picking two governor seats in such states as Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Both were key for his election in 2016.

For their part, Republicans along with Trump, spread out an alarmist discourse on immigration, its caravans and Democratic plans.

Glasser thought that both parties should do a soul searching before the new Congress takes over in January.

Bruce Miroff, American Presidency expert at the University of Albany, told EFE last week: “Trump would take no responsibility if his party loses the majority in the House of Representatives. For him, winning is always his business, losing is never his fault”.

Everything takes place amidst the widespread crisis that hits U.S. and that they will fail to solve not even with the mountain of dollars allocated for their military spendings in the current budget.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

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Kyrsten Sinema Wins Arizona Senate Seat

Depending on the still to be determined Senate races in Mississippi and Florida, the Republicans now hold a 51-47 lead in the Senate. 

Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema defeated Republican airforce pilot Martha McSally, marking the first triumph for the Democrat party in the traditionally red state since 1976, in an electoral battle that has been too close to call for over a week since the closing of the polls for the U.S. midterms election.

RELATED: US: Arizona Federal Court Blocks Anti-BDS Law

Some of the issues that may have helped the Democratic candidate win her seat - in what has been a long-held Republica bastion, are popular discontent with budget cuts, and rejection to Trump’s immigration policy amongst an electorate characterized for their more moderate views, according to the New York Times.

Sinema was also very active in recruiting Latinos  — who account for nearly one-third of Arizona’s population — to vote for her, another aspect which may have propelled her victory, according to the same source.

The results sets the overall Senate numbers to 47 for the Reps and 51 for the Dems. Two seats remain undecided in Florida and Mississippi.

Additionally, Sinema’s triumph also means that Democrats will now hold six seats in Arizona’s Congressional delegation, to the Republican’s five, thus reverting a tendency in place since the 1960s.

The elected senator has gradually become more centrist, having used to being aligned with the Green Party. This changed in 2012 after she won a seat in the House of Representatives.

Not only are Sinema’s views and positions in policy very unique in Congress, but her personal background is as well. She is a lawyer that comes from a working-class family, is openly bisexual, and is outspoken about having being bullied as a child.

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Dead US Republican Brothel Owner Wins Election in Nevada

The candidate for Nevada’s state legislature died last month but his name remained on the ballot.

A Republican brothel owner won the United States’ midterm election race for the Nevada state legislature Tuesday. However, the man will not be serving as he died last month.

RELATED: 7 Progressive Takeaways From the US Midterm Elections

Dennis Hof, who had just turned 72, post-humorously defeated Democratic candidate Lesia Romanov with 68 percent of the vote in the race for the 36th Assembly District of Nevada.

He died on Oct. 16, two days after his birthday. However, his death came too late for electoral officials to take his name off the ballot.

Per state law, county officials will appoint a replacement candidate from the same party to fill his seat. 

Hof, a reality-TV star who proclaimed himself to be an "American pimp," owned a strip club and five legal brothels in Nevada. Nevada is the only state in the U.S. where prostitution is legalized.

Inspired to get into politics by U.S. President Donald Trump, Hof described himself as the "Trump of Pahrump", after his town in Nevada.

In a June interview, Hof said his political fortunes had parallels with those of U.S. President Donald Trump, Reuters reports.

"This really is the Trump movement," Hof said from his brothel Moonlite BunnyRanch. "People will set aside for a moment their moral beliefs, their religious beliefs, to get somebody that is honest in office."

Chuck Muth, Hof's campaign manager, was one of many who predicted last month that the candidate would win.

"There are a lot of Republicans who were uncomfortable voting for Dennis because of the nature of his business and they now know that he is not the one who will be serving," Muth said.

“They will feel much more comfortable casting the ballot for him knowing there will be another Republican to replace him," he added.

Hof was found dead by his friends when they went to wake him up for a meeting. It was hours after his 72nd birthday party, Muth said on Twitter. He said Hof appeared to have died in his sleep.

The Republican candidate was three times divorced and the author of the book "The Art of the Pimp."

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Georgia Dem Wants Full Count Against 'Architect of Suppression'

The state’s election system has been at the center of heated debates involving people often requesting Kemp’s resignation.

Georgia Democratic governor candidate Stacey Abrams was adamant that some votes remain uncounted, after the result of a closely contested race resulted in her finishing behind Republican Brian Kemp.

RELATED: Oprah Jumps into Midterm Georgia Race, Endorses Democrat Abrams

“Friends, we are still on the verge of history,” Abrams told supporters late Wednesday. “We believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is just within reach, but we cannot seize it until all voices are heard, and I promise you tonight we’re going to make sure that every vote is counted.”

Abrams is attempting to become the first black woman elected governor in the United States. The campaign team of the candidate, who described Kemp as “an architect of suppression,” explained that there were outstanding absentee ballots that have yet to be tallied.

Kemp pushed back, declaring that an investigation will be launched into Georgia Democrats for “possible cybercrimes.”

“Votes remain to be counted. There are voices that are waiting to be heard,” Abrams said. “In a civilized country, the machinery of democracy should work for everyone, everywhere. Not just for certain places and not just on a certain day. You’re going to have a chance to have a do-over.”

A win in the state race would make the democratic candidate the first woman or nonwhite governor in Georgia’s history, on the heels of her making history as the first black woman to be a major-party gubernatorial nominee.

Republicans have won every Georgia governor’s race since 2002.

“I’ve never seen a time where the state of Georgia had more at stake than we do in this contest,” Kemp told supporters at one of his final campaign stops.

The state’s election system has been at the center of heated debates involving people often requesting Kemp’s resignation. The system has also been heavily scrutinized about the compromise of the ethics of the process since the Republican candidate double’s as the secretary of state.

The election chief has also been accused of creating obstacles to frustrate minorities who are tracking to cast their ballot for Abrams who is an African American. Ironically, Kemp has met with went a voter card issue when he tried to cast his ballot.

Kemp currently leads by a slim margin, 50.5 percent to Abrams’ 48.5 percent.

Late Tuesday, a nonprofit organization, Protect Democracy, file a last-minute lawsuit which noted that Kemp presiding over an election in which he is a candidate “violates a basic notion of fairness.”

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Taylor Swift breaks political silence in favour of Democrats

Taylor Swift has spoken out politically for the first time, publicly endorsing two Democrats for the upcoming US mid-term elections.

The 28-year-old says events in "the past two years" have meant she's no longer reluctant to share her views.

The singer wrote on Instagram: "I always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve."

The elections are on 6 November.

1.495.027 Me gusta
  • taylorswiftI’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.
    I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway.
    So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! ???

Taylor, who in June gave a speech in Chicago offering "love and respect" to LGBT people who haven't yet come out, will be voting in historically Republican state Tennessee.

"I believe in the fight for LGBT rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is wrong," she published to her 112m followers.

"I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of colour is terrifying, sickening and prevalent."

Taylor SwiftImage copyright Getty Images

Taylor spoke out against the Republican candidate who is currently elected in her home state.

"As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me," she wrote.

"She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape."

One of the candidates endorsed by Taylor, former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, backed Brett Kavanaugh's controversial successful Supreme Court nomination.

Tennessee usually sides with President Donald Trump's Republican party, but recent polls suggest the result there could be close.

The reaction

The Instagram post has had more than a million likes, while users on Twitter used Taylor's letter as an opportunity to speak on one of her historical foes - Ye (formerly known as Kanye) West.

They remembered Ye's pledge to run for president.

Some expressed confusion at the way the two artists' political opinions have developed.

KB @KaraRBrown If you had told me two years ago Kanye would be running around in a MAGA hat while Taylor Swift was endorsing democratic candidates, I would have smacked you to the ground and stolen your wallet for wasting my time.
And others threw back to that infamous moment at the 2009 MTV VMAs.
Scott Dworkin @funder Taylor Swift just took the mic from Kanye.
Taylor's comments came the day after Kanye once again deleted his social media profiles.
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