United Nations Declaration (Articles 1 - 30):

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts
Nigerian Minister of the Environment Amina Mohammed, seen in 2015, will be the UN's number two official (AFP Photo/Mireya ACIERTO)
Sustainable Development
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Timing of the Great Shift" – Mar 21, 2009 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Text version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013. They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


The Declaration of Human Freedom

Archangel Michael (Via Steve Beckow), Feb. 19, 2011

Every being is a divine and eternal soul living in a temporal body. Every being was alive before birth and will live after death.

Every soul enters into physical life for the purpose of experience and education, that it may, in the course of many lifetimes, learn its true identity as a fragment of the Divine.

Life itself is a constant process of spiritual evolution and unfoldment, based on free choice, that continues until such time as we realize our true nature and return to the Divine from which we came.

No soul enters life to serve another, except by choice, but to serve its own purpose and that of the Divine from which it came.

All life is governed by natural and universal laws which precede and outweigh the laws of humanity. These laws, such as the law of karma, the law of attraction, and the law of free will, are decreed by God to order existence and assist each person to achieve life’s purpose.

No government can or should survive that derives its existence from the enforced submission of its people or that denies its people their basic rights and freedoms.

Life is a movement from one existence to another, in varied venues throughout the universe and in other universes and dimensions of existence. We are not alone in the universe but share it with other civilizations, most of them peace-loving, many of whom are more advanced than we are, some of whom can be seen with our eyes and some of whom cannot.

The evidence of our five senses is not the final arbiter of existence. Humans are spiritual as well as physical entities and the spiritual side of life transcends the physical. God is a Spirit and the final touchstone of God’s Truth is not physical but spiritual. The Truth is to be found within.

God is one and, because of this, souls are one. They form a unity. They are meant to live in peace and harmony together in a “common unity” or community. The use of force to settle affairs runs contrary to natural law. Every person should have the right to conduct his or her own affairs without force, as long as his or her choices do not harm another.

No person shall be forced into marriage against his or her will. No woman shall be forced to bear or not bear children, against her will. No person shall be forced to hold or not hold views or worship in a manner contrary to his or her choice. Nothing vital to existence shall be withheld from another if it is within the community’s power to give.

Every person shall retain the ability to think, speak, and act as they choose, as long as they not harm another. Every person has the right to choose, study and practice the education and career of their choice without interference, provided they not harm another.

No one has the right to kill another. No one has the right to steal from another. No one has the right to force himself or herself upon another in any way.

Any government that harms its citizens, deprives them of their property or rights without their consent, or makes offensive war upon its neighbors, no matter how it misrepresents the situation, has lost its legitimacy. No government may govern without the consent of its people. All governments are tasked with seeing to the wellbeing of their citizens. Any government which forces its citizens to see to its own wellbeing without attending to theirs has lost its legitimacy.

Men and women are meant to live fulfilling lives, free of want, wherever they wish and under the conditions they desire, providing their choices do not harm another and are humanly attainable.

Children are meant to live lives under the beneficent protection of all, free of exploitation, with unhindered access to the necessities of life, education, and health care.

All forms of exploitation, oppression, and persecution run counter to universal and natural law. All disagreements are meant to be resolved amicably.

Any human law that runs counter to natural and universal law is invalid and should not survive. The enactment or enforcement of human law that runs counter to natural and universal law brings consequences that cannot be escaped, in this life or another. While one may escape temporal justice, one does not escape divine justice.

All outcomes are to the greater glory of God and to God do we look for the fulfillment of our needs and for love, peace, and wisdom. So let it be. Aum/Amen.

Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit

Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit
Pope Francis laughs alongside US President Barack Obama upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, on September 22, 2015, on the start of a 3-day trip to Washington (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)


Today's doodle in the U.S. celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech on its 50th anniversary (28 Aug 2013)

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'
The White House released this image, of the building colored like the rainbow flag, on Facebook following the supreme court’s ruling. Photograph: Facebook

Same-sex marriage around the world

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'
Reporters Without Borders labels Erdogan as 'enemy of press freedom'

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

After homophobic jibes, Buttigieg says US has 'moved on'

Yahoo – AFP, February 16, 2020

US presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (R) and his husband Chasten Buttigieg
(AFP Photo/Joseph Prezioso)

Washington (AFP) - The gay presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg insisted his sexuality would not damage his electoral prospects Sunday, saying the United States had "moved on" as a country, after homophobic jibes by allies of Donald Trump.

The 38-year-old Democrat, who married his partner Chasten Glezman two years ago, said he would not take lectures from supporters of a man who has faced accusations ranging from rape to sleeping with a porn star.

"I am in a faithful, loving, committed marriage. I'm proud of my marriage and I'm proud of my husband and I'm not going to be lectured on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh or anybody who supports Donald J. Trump as the moral as well as political leader of the United States," Buttigieg told Fox News.

His comments come after veteran radio host Limbaugh told listeners last week that Trump would relish going head-to-head with a candidate who kissed his husband on stage.

"Boy can you see Trump have fun with that?" said Limbaugh, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the highest civilian honor in the country -- during Trump's State of the Union speech earlier this month.

Sebastian Gorka, another ultra-conservative pundit who used to work in the Trump White House, also weighed in by asking his listeners why was "a homosexual guy lecturing us" about abortion rights.

Fellow Democrats and some prominent Republicans have criticized the comments, while Trump himself has said he thinks there is no reason why America would not elect a gay president.

Although some voters have balked at Buttigieg's candidacy when they realized he is gay, his sexuality has so far not been a major issue on the campaign trail.

"America has moved on and we should have politics of belonging that welcomes everybody -- that's what the American people are for -- and I'm saddened for what the Republican party has become if they embrace that kind of homophobic rhetoric," Buttigieg said.

"This election is not about any of us candidates, it's about voters' lives," added Buttigieg as he recalled how he was re-elected to his former job as a mayor in conservative Indiana with an increased majority after he came out as gay.

Buttigieg has so far racked up the most delegates in the contest to become the Democratic Party's candidate to take on Trump in November, although none of the major states have yet to hold their presidential primaries.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Pope urges Amazon 'outrage' but stays silent on married priests

Yahoo – AFP, Catherine MARCIANO, Alexandria SAGE,  February 12, 2020

Pope Francis failed to recommend the controversial idea of married priests
(AFP Photo/Filippo MONTEFORTE)

Rome (AFP) - Pope Francis on Wednesday pleaded for social justice and environmental respect for the Amazon basin, but did not recommend the controversial idea of married priests.

In a highly anticipated text, Francis urged Catholics to "feel outrage" over the exploitation of indigenous people and destruction of land devastated by illegal mining and deforestation.

But there was no mention of priestly marriage, a controversial suggestion made by Amazon bishops last October as a way to increase the number of priests who could perform Mass in remote areas.

Instead, the pope argued for more missionaries and for women and lay people to take larger roles in the region. He also urged more training for priests to better interact with Amazonian cultures.

Francis has weighed in before on the hotly debated question of whether to allow "viri probati" -- married "men of proven virtue" -- to join the priesthood in remote locations.

In January last year, he said he did not believe that optional celibacy should be allowed but conceded "some possibilities for far-flung places", a statement that opened the door to speculation that he might make an exception for the Amazon.

In 2017, Francis convened 184 bishops -- over 60 percent of whom hailed from the Amazon region -- to reflect on the Amazon.

Among other proposals in a final document, the bishops suggested ordaining "suitable and esteemed men of the community" who had "a legitimately constituted and stable family".

But the suggestion aroused fierce opposition from traditionalists within the Church, concerned that exceptions could pave the way to the abolition of priest celibacy globally.

Francis' text released on Wednesday was a so-called apostolic exhortation in response to the bishops' document.

'Injustice and crime'

Francis has made his name as a defender of the marginalised -- whether the poor, migrants or prisoners -- and his Amazon text focused on the local people's "history of suffering".

Saying the Amazon's ecological problems should not be separated from social ones, he highlighted how marginalised indigenous people were forced out of their homes by illegal deforestation and mining.

Those people were now living on the outskirts of cities marked by "an increase of xenophobia, sexual exploitation and human trafficking," he wrote.

"We need to feel outrage, as Moses did, as Jesus did, as God does in the face of injustice. It is not good for us to become inured to evil," wrote the pope.

"The businesses, national or international, which harm the Amazon and fail to respect the right of the original peoples to the land and its boundaries, and to self-determination and prior consent, should be called for what they are: injustice and crime."

However, Francis acknowledged the challenges faced by the Church in remote areas of the Amazon, urging bishops to send out more young missionaries, in keeping with his status as the first pope from the Jesuit order -- famous for its missionary work.

The pope stressed the need for ministers who could "understand Amazonian sensibilities and cultures from within" and highlighted the potential role for nuns as well as lay women and men.

"It is not simply a question of facilitating a greater presence of ordained ministers who can celebrate the Eucharist," he wrote.

Among those he hinted could take a bigger role in the Amazon were "permanent deacons" -- men who serve as ministers in the Church but are not priests and so can be married.

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Representatives of the Amazon rainforest's ethnic groups attended the 
synod with Pope Francis (AFP Photo/Tiziana FABI)



Clerics at the Church of England synod in York take a 'selfie' as they celebrate
after the vote to allow female bishops. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod/CreatorReligions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“… I gave you a channelling years ago when Pope John Paul was alive. John Paul loved Mary, the mother. Had John Paul survived another 10 years, he would have done what the next Pope [The one after the current one, Benedict XVI] will do, and that is to bring women into the Church. This Pope you have now [Benedict XVI] won't be here long.* The next Pope will be the one who has to change the rules, should he survive. If he doesn't, it will be the one after that.

There is a large struggle within the Church, even right now, and great dissention, for it knows that it is not giving what humanity wants. The doctrine is not current to the puzzles of life. The answer will be to create a better balance between the feminine and masculine, and the new Pope, or the one after that, will try to allow women to be in the higher echelon of the Church structure to assist the priests.

It will be suggested to let women participate in services, doing things women did not do before. This graduates them within church law to an equality with priests, but doesn't actually let them become priests just yet. However, don't be surprised if this begins in another way, and instead gives priests the ability to marry. This will bring the feminine into the church in other ways. It will eventually happen and has to happen. If it does not, it will be the end of the Catholic Church, for humanity will not sustain a spiritual belief system that is out of balance with the love of God and also out of balance with intuitive Human awareness.  …”


"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“ … Spirituality (Religions)

Number one: Spirituality. The systems of spiritual design on your planet are starting to change. This is not telling you that certain ones are going to go away. They're simply going to change. Some of the largest spiritual systems, which you would call organized religion on the planet, are shifting. They're going to shift away from that which is authority on the outside to authority on the inside. It will eventually be a different way of worship, slowly changing the rules while keeping the basic doctrine the same.

The doctrine of the Christ has always been to find the God inside. The teachings were clear. The examples of the miracles were given as an example of what humans could do, not to set a man up for worship as a God. So when that has been absorbed, the teaching of the Christ can remain the teaching of the Christ. It simply changes the interpretation. 

The teachings of the great prophets of the Middle East (all related to each other) are about unity and love. So once the holy words are redefined with new wisdom, the Human changes, not the words of the prophets. In fact, the prophets become even more divinely inspired and their wisdom becomes even more profound.

You're going to lose a pope soon. I have no clock. Soon to us can mean anything to you. The one who replaces him may surprise you, for his particular organization will be in survival mode at that point in time. That is to say that fewer and fewer are interested in starting the priesthood. Fewer and fewer young people are interested in the organization, and the new pope must make changes to keep his church alive. That means that his organization will remain, but with a more modern look at what truly is before all of you in a new energy. It is not the fall of the church. It is instead the recalibration of the divinity inside that would match the worship that goes on. It's a win-win situationThe new pope will have a difficult time, since the old guard will still be there. There could even be an assassination attempt, such is the way the old energy dies hard. That is number one. Watch for it. It's a change in the way spiritual systems work. It's a realignment of spiritual systems that resound to a stronger truth that is Human driven, rather than prophet driven.…”



“… With free choice, the percentage of DNA efficiently started to go down as humanity grew. As soon as the DNA started to lose percentage, the gender balance was dysfunctional. If you want to have a test of any society, anywhere on the planet, and you want to know the DNA percentage number [consciousness quota] as a society, there's an easy test: How do they perceive and treat their women? The higher the DNA functionality, the more the feminine divine is honored. This is the test! Different cultures create different DNA consciousness, even at the same time on the planet. So you can have a culture on Earth at 25 percent and one at 37 - and if you did, they would indeed clash. …”

“… You're at 35. There's an equality here, you're starting to see the dark and light, and it's changing everything. You take a look at history and you've come a long way, but it took a long time to get here. Dear ones, we've seen this process before and the snowball is rolling. There isn't anything in the way that's going to stop it. In the path of this snowball of higher consciousness are all kinds of things that will be run over and perish. Part of this is what you call "the establishment". Watch for some very big established things to fall over! The snowball will simply knock them down. …”

Israel blasts UN list of settlement-linked firms

Yahoo – AFP, February 12, 2020

Israeli settlements such as Modiin Illit violate international law and the international
community has long seen them as an obstacle to peace (AFP Photo/ABBAS MOMANI)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israel on Wednesday rejected as "shameful" the UN's publication of a list of 112 companies that do business in its settlements, while the Palestinians cheered its long-delayed release as a "victory for international law".

The list published by the United Nations' human rights office includes a range of large international firms including Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Booking.com and Motorola Solutions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at retaliation.

"Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted," a statement from his office quoted him as saying.

"We strongly reject this contemptible effort."

Foreign Minister Israel Katz labelled the move "a shameful surrender to pressure from countries and organisations who want to harm Israel."

He noted that multiple countries had expressed concern about the list, produced by the office of UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet on a mandate from a 2016 Human Rights Council resolution.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which advocates a wide-ranging embargo of Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, welcomed the list.

"The publication of this database is a very significant first concrete step by any UN entity towards holding to account Israeli and international corporations that enable and profit from Israel's illegal settlements, which constitute a war crime," it said in a statement.

But it said the database was incomplete and called for all companies with a role in Israel's "apartheid regime" and "grave violations of Palestinian rights under international law" to be included.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki applauded the publication as a "victory for international law and diplomatic efforts."

Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat called the long-delayed report a "crucial first step to restore hope in multilateralism and international law."

"This announcement enhances and consolidates the credibility of the Human Rights Council and international organisations in the face of the fierce attack and the intense pressure that the Trump administration places on these institutions," Erekat added.

US President Donald Trump, a close ally of Israel's rightwing government, reportedly pressed the UN to shelve the report.

About 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, which are considered illegal under international law.

The Yesha Council which represents settlers said the list showed the UN had "once again proven to be a biased, non-neutral body that acts against the State of Israel".

Israeli officials have voiced concern that the UN list would be used to justify a large-scale boycott of the country's private sector.

They have also more broadly questioned the legitimacy of the Human Rights Council.

Israel is the only country subject to a dedicated agenda item at the Council, meaning the Jewish state's conduct is automatically discussed at each session.

The United States, which no longer considers settlements illegal, has withdrawn from the council, in part over its treatment of Israel.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Trump takes impeachment victory lap over 'vicious' Democrats

Yahoo – AFP, Sebastian Smith, February 6, 2020

US President Donald Trump is declaring victory (AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm)

Washington (AFP) - President Donald Trump celebrated his impeachment acquittal Thursday in a rambling, emotional speech raging against the investigations that have overshadowed his entire administration.

Trump gathered scores of loyal Republican legislators, his legal team, his wife Melania and White House aides in the ceremonial East Room and brandished the front page of The Washington Post reading: "Trump acquitted."

"This is what the end result is," he said to a standing ovation.

Trump is on a victory lap after Wednesday's Senate vote clearing him of abusing his office and obstructing Congress.

But the event in the White House was an unusual mixture of Trump bitterly recounting Democratic-led investigations of his alleged corruption, joking and praise for those who stood by him.

It was "not a news conference, not a speech, it's not anything," Trump said. "It's a celebration."

Trump said he'd been "through hell" but we ended up "winning" against "vicious" Democrats.

Trump now hopes to seize the momentum to push his reelection campaign against a divided Democratic party.

He began earlier Thursday with an appearance at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, a multi-faith gathering for Washington power brokers, business leaders and conservative evangelicals.

US President Donald Trump was not in forgiving mood at the annual National 
Prayer Breakfast (AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm)

The theme of the breakfast was "love your enemy."

But from the moment he entered to the strains of "Hail to the Chief," Trump made his feelings clear by holding up a copy of USA Today with another banner headline proclaiming his acquittal.

In a tired, raspy voice, Trump indicated he was in no mood for forgiveness, saying he'd been "put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people."

He also ripped into Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who as speaker of the House led his impeachment, and Mitt Romney, the lone Republican senator to support the charges.

"I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong," he said in a clear reference to Romney, a devout Mormon who cited his faith as a reason for breaking ranks with Trump.

"Nor do I like people who say 'I pray for you' when they know that's not so," he added in a jab at Pelosi, who has often spoken of praying for Trump, and who was seated an arm's length away.

Right before Trump spoke, Harvard professor Arthur Patterson called on the audience to address the "contempt and polarization that is tearing our societies apart."

Verdict reveals divisions

Trump was impeached in the Democratic-led House last December over his attempts to push Ukraine into opening what would have been a politically damaging corruption probe into election rival Joe Biden.

President Donald Trump immediately claimed "victory" after his acquittal in a historic
 impeachment, but Democrats said the outcome resulted from an unfair trial 
(AFP Photo/Olivier DOULIERY)

But the Senate, where Trump's Republicans hold a majority, cleared him Wednesday in a party line vote illustrating the divisions running through the country ahead of the November polls.

Even though several conceded Trump's behavior was wrong, Republicans ultimately stayed loyal, voting to clear the president of charges of abuse of power, by 52 to 48, and of obstruction of Congress, by 53 to 47 -- far from the two-thirds supermajority required for conviction.

Romney, a longtime Trump foe, risked White House wrath to vote alongside Democrats on the first count, saying Trump was "guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust." He voted not guilty on the second charge.

Trump's impeachment and trial will leave a permanent stain on his record, as it did for the only two presidents to have encountered the same fate, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

While the White House immediately declared that Trump had obtained "full vindication and exoneration," Pelosi warned that by clearing Trump Republicans had "normalized lawlessness."

"There can be no acquittal without a trial, and there is no trial without witnesses, documents and evidence," said the top Democrat in Congress -- who a day earlier ripped up her copy of Trump's State of the Union address on live television.

"Sadly, because of the Republican Senate's betrayal of the Constitution, the president remains an ongoing threat."

But as he wound down the Senate proceedings, Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell said he was confident impeachment would ultimately damage the Democrats.

"They thought this was a great idea. At least for the short term, it has been a colossal political mistake."

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Buttigieg takes lead in chaotic Iowa vote, Sanders second

Yahoo – AFP, Agnes Bun with Chris Lefkow in Washington, February 5, 2020

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg claimed victory in Iowa although
full results have not yet been released (AFP Photo/WIN MCNAMEE)

Manchester (United States) (AFP) - Democratic White House candidate Pete Buttigieg seized a shock lead in the chaotic Iowa caucuses, closely trailed by leftist senator Bernie Sanders, according to partial returns released on Tuesday after an embarrassing delay in reporting the results.

Progressive standard-bearer Elizabeth Warren was in third place followed by Joe Biden, a disappointing showing for the former vice president who has claimed he is best positioned to defeat Donald Trump in November.

Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has been battling Biden for the moderate wing of the party, hailed what he called an "astonishing victory" in the midwestern farm state which kicks off the presidential nominating process.

"I have never been more confident in our campaign, in our team, and in the vision that brought to us this point," Buttigieg told ecstatic supporters in New Hampshire, which holds the next nominating contest on February 11.

With polls still mixed on whether Americans would be comfortable with an openly gay president, Buttigieg also made a rare, though implicit, reference to his sexuality -- and the added significance it gave the Iowa outcome.

Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wait for results 
at his caucus night watch party in Des Moines, Iowa (AFP Photo/kerem yucel)

"It validates for a kid, somewhere in a community, wondering if he belongs, or she belongs, or they belong in their own family, that if you believe in yourself and your country there's a lot backing up that belief," he said with a catch in his voice.

According to the partial results, Buttigieg, unknown nationally a year ago, leads with 26.8 percent followed by Sanders, the 78-year-old self-described democratic socialist, with 25.2 percent, followed by Senator Warren with 18.4 percent, and Biden with 15.4 percent.

The centrist senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar was in fifth place on 12.6 percent, with 71 percent of the precincts reporting.

The results were posted some 21 hours after Iowans gathered across the state to hold the first vote of the presidential nominating season.

Troy Price, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, apologized profusely for the delay and blamed it on a "coding error" with an app being used for the first time to report the returns from precincts across the farm state.

Price pledged to provide the full results as soon as possible.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was trailing three challengers 
in the Iowa caucuses, according to partial results (AFP Photo/Scott Eisen)

"We have been working day and night to make sure that the results are accurate," he said. "And we also have a paper trail and documentation that we have been able to use to provide information to help verify the results."

As Iowa struggled to publish the results and frustrated Democratic candidates fumed, Trump gleefully pounced on the hold-up, describing the Democrats' failure to deliver timely results as an "unmitigated disaster."

"Nothing works, just like they ran the country," tweeted Trump -- hours before delivering his annual State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress under the cloud of impeachment.

'Shocking incompetence'

The results are usually known within hours of the conclusion of the caucuses, which do not involve a traditional ballot but see voters attending public gatherings and voicing support for the candidate of their choice.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren addresses her supporters 
during a caucus night rally in Des Moines, Iowa (AFP Photo/CHIP SOMODEVILLA)

Iowa kicks off the process of selecting presidential nominees every four years, but the fiasco surrounding the results is likely to increase calls for the state to lose the honor.

"The top finishers, probably Sanders and Buttigieg, could have used their showings to launch into New Hampshire," the next contest, said Larry Sabato, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia.

"Instead, the story is the shocking incompetence of the Iowa Democratic Party."

He called for an end to the "strange system in a 91 percent white state" in favor of giving other states a chance to kick off the process.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner expressed alarm over the Iowa debacle.

"This chaos has created an environment where misinformation is now running rampant online, further undermining confidence in the democratic process," he said.

How the Democratic and Republican party primaries and caucuses choose 
presidential candidates for the 2020 election (AFP Photo/Jonathan WALTER)

With Iowa still mired in confusion, the Democratic candidates turned their sights on New Hampshire.

According to a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV/Suffolk University poll released Monday, Sanders is leading in the Granite State with 24 percent, followed by Biden on 18 percent, Warren with 13 percent and Buttigieg with 11 percent.

Alluding to his own victory in Republican caucuses in Iowa, Trump said that "the only person that can claim a very big victory in Iowa last night is 'Trump.'"

"When will the Democrats start blaming RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA, instead of their own incompetence for the voting disaster that just happened in the Great State of Iowa?" Trump tweeted.