Left Justified


Acosta Did Not Accost Her

November 15, 2018 by Gail Nussbaum in Politics

Jim Acosta speaking at a campaign rally for Donald Trump at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.

During President Trump’s 90-minute press conference after the mid-term elections, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta stood up to ask the President a few questions about the immigrant “caravan.” Annoyed with the questions, Trump began to insult Acosta, calling him a “rude, terrible person.”

Acosta ignored the insults and continued questioning the president, even as a White House intern tried to pull the microphone out of the journalist’s hands. Holding tight to his mic, Acosta said, “Pardon me, ma’am,” and continued questioning Trump.

Later Acosta discovered that his press credentials to cover the White House had been revoked. The explanation for the revocation given by the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was revealed in the following statement:

“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question … As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.”

To support the press secretary’s assertion that Acosta had “placed his hands” on the intern, Sanders tweeted out a video supposedly proving the accusation actually took place. Since the press conference was videotaped, and the incident was witnessed by all the people present as well as all the people watching on television, to assert such a falsehood seems the pinnacle of cynicism. Even worse, the White House’s version of the incident includes a ghostly hand which was apparently inserted into the video, supposedly touching the intern.

Independent experts have declared that the video is most certainly doctored.

Several journalist’s organizations such as the White House Correspondents’ Association, have criticized the action. Acosta said the accusation that he put his hands on the intern is “a lie.” CNN stalwartly stands by one of its most successful journalists.

Yet, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, appearing on “Fox News Sunday” told host Chris Wallace that Acosta still owes the White House intern an apology. She also denied the White House altered the video.

“Oh, well, that’s not altered, it’s sped up. They do it all the time in sports to see if there’s actually a first down or touchdown,” Conway told Wallace. “So, I’m going to have to disagree with, I think, the overwrought description of this video being doctored as if we put somebody else’s arm in there.”

Trump 2020 Began When the Midterms Ended

November 8, 2018 by Gail Nussbaum in Politics

With the contentious mid-term elections behind him, Trump is now ready to go all in with his bid for re-election in 2020. On hand as the mixed results of the 2018 streamed into the White House’s “watch party” were his 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and his 2020 manager Brad Parscale.

Hamburgers and hot dogs regaled the guests who consisted of not only his aides but also a sizeable number of his contributors. Watching the election results with the President were Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, and fracking billionaire Harold Hamm.

President of the super PAC America First Action, Brian Walsh, said that Trump’s reelection campaign starts now.

“It’s all in and all on the line.”

Trump supporters believe that the resulting divided government, with the Senate controlled by the Republican Party and the House by the Democrats, will force Trump to fight, and fight hard, for his own political survival. However, pundits point out that historically, poor midterm results are not necessarily a death knell for the incumbent president. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama came back to win re-election after even worse mid-term defeats during their first terms. Both presidents easily won second terms.

Georgia Law Obstructing Voting Rights Says Candidate for Governor

October 19, 2018 by Gail Nussbaum in Politics


Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams (MPAff ’98) Photo courtesy of Barbara Jordan Forum 2012.

Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s Democratic candidate for governor, decried a state law requiring state ID forms and voter registration forms to be exact matches before people will be allowed to vote. A report issued by the Associated Press found that as a result of the law, Georgia’s Secretary of State and Republican candidate for governor Brian Kemp has place on hold 53,000 voter registrants, 70% of which are from African Americans.

Abrams said that the “exact match” voter ID law is part and parcel of a total system that is designed to “scare people out of voting.”

“This is simply a redux of a failed system that is designed to both scare people out of voting and make it harder for those who are willing to push through, make it harder for them to vote,” Abrams said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Georgia branch of the NAACP said it will sue Secretary Kemp if his office does not free up the registrations and permit those citizens to vote. Abrams accused her Republican opponent of purposefully obstructing the votes of the voters who will most likely vote for her.

“Voting should not be a question of trust on the part of voters, whether they can trust the system,” she said. “And, right now, he is eroding the public trust in the system because 53,000 people have been told, you may be able to vote, you may not, it’s up to you to prove it.”

“The miasma of fear that is created through voter suppression is as much about terrifying people about trying to vote as it is about actually blocking their ability to do so,” she added.

Despite the “exact match” law, Abrams still believes the coming November election will be conducted fairly.

“My organization, working with the Democratic Party, we’ve put together the largest voter protection effort in the state’s history,” she said. “And we have national organizations that are also paying attention. And I think we can make this work.”

Kemp’s office responded by noting a statement it made in July denying it is now harder for people to vote.

“Despite any claim to the contrary, it has never been easier to register to vote in Georgia and actively engage in the electoral process,” Kemp said in that July statement. “The numbers do not lie.”