Democrats dominate House GOP in money race ahead of midterms

Democrats dominated Republicans in money races across the House map and in key Senate contests with three weeks left before midterm elections.

Money is no guarantee of electoral outcomes, but the numbers suggest that Democratic voters’ enthusiasm continues unabated in 2018, with small-dollar donors in particular fueling the party’s hopes of reshaping Republican-run Washington for the final two years of President Donald Trump’s first term.

The Democrats’ campaign arm says 110 House Democratic candidates outraised Republican incumbents or the GOP nominees in open seats. At least 60 Democrats topped $1 million in fundraising during the quarter, according to a party analysis, with several posting eye-popping hauls in excess of $2 million and even $3 million.

Democrats need to pick up at least 23 more seats to become the majority in January.

Senate Democratic incumbents posted strong quarters, as well, even as the slate of elections in states Trump won leaves Republicans well-positioned to hold their narrow Senate majority.

Candidates, party committees and some political action committees had to submit their latest reports to the Federal Election Commission before midnight Monday. The FEC is still processing much of the data that covers activity through Sept. 30.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights:

UNDERDOG HOUSE CANDIDATES RAKE IN CASH

Some of Democrats’ top hopes for flipping GOP seats — candidates running in House districts where President Donald Trump lost in 2016 — have outraised their opponents for much of the cycle.

But with 110 Democratic hopefuls outraising the GOP incumbent or nominee in contested seats, the third quarter stands out as a sign of enthusiasm that extends deep into the House map to include districts where Trump prevailed relatively comfortably.

Democrat Amy McGrath pulled in $3.25 million in a central Kentucky district where Rep. Andy Barr was not initially considered among the most vulnerable GOP incumbents. For the cycle, McGrath …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

New campaign seeks support for expanded Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — A couple of liberal Harvard law professors are lending their name to a new campaign to build support for expanding the Supreme Court by four justices in 2021.

The campaign, calling itself the 1.20.21 Project and being launched Wednesday, also wants to increase the size of the lower federal courts to counteract what it terms “Republican obstruction, theft and procedural abuse” of the federal judiciary. This includes the recent near party-line confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh that cemented a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

It is premised on Democratic victories in next month’s elections and the 2020 presidential contest that could leave Democrats in charge of Congress and the White House in 2021, a possibility but by no means a sure thing. Additional justices nominated by a Democrat could change the court’s ideological direction.

Harvard professors Mark Tushnet and Laurence Tribe are joining an effort being led by political scientist Aaron Belkin. He was a prominent advocate for repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibited LGBT people from serving openly in the military.

The Kavanaugh confirmation was the culmination of a process that started with Republicans blocking many of President Barack Obama’s nominees to lower courts and then refusing to consider his Supreme Court nomination of Judge Merrick Garland in 2016, Belkin said. President Donald Trump’s victory in November 2016 allowed him to fill the high court vacancy with Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Tribe sought to distinguish the new campaign from President Franklin Roosevelt’s failed plan to expand the Supreme Court to 15 justices and pack it with his nominees in 1937.

Roosevelt was unhappy with high court decisions that were blocking New Deal legislation, but the new push for a larger court stems from Republican actions, not the court’s decisions, Tribe said.

“The time is overdue for a seriously considered plan of …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

Housing advocates and homeless residents occupy 58 West Hastings

An empty lot on Hastings Street in the Downtown Eastside was occupied Tuesday by same housing protesters and homeless residents who shut down Vancouver City Hall on May 1.

According to a statement, the group called Our Homes Can’t Wait Coalition is demanding 100 per cent welfare and pension rate housing at 58 West Hastings, the former site of a tent city homeless camp.

The site is one of four construction projects in the DTES receiving $83 million in provincial funding to build 450 new units of affordable housing. The four buildings will include 300 units that will be rented at the welfare rate of $375 a month. The others will be rented for up to $1,272 monthly.

“Two years ago, Mayor Gregor Robertson promised the people of the Downtown Eastside that the city would build 100 per cent welfare and pension rate housing at 58 West Hastings. This was a victory for the poor, the homeless, and the working people of the city,hard won after years of tireless organizing. In five days, Mayor Robertson and half of city council will leave their seats without fulfilling this promise, abandoning Vancouver’s most vulnerable residents to die in the streets,” the coalition said in a release.

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Earlier this year, in response to the protesters’ concerns, Robertson said the total number of social-housing units promised across the four buildings (300) is higher than if all 230 units at 58 West Hastings were offered for $375.

The coalition shut down city hall operations back in May, with protesters assembled around city hall, barring anyone from entering.

“While the coalition savours Gregor’s resignation and the humiliating end of Vision Vancouver, we know better than to blindly trust their replacements. This occupation is …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Daphne Bramham: Canada steps off the precipice and into legalization

It was supposed to kill the black market and keep pot out of kids’ hands. But so far, Canada’s bold and unprecedented legalization of cannabis is a mess.

Nowhere is it more obvious than the city known as Van-sterdam in the province whose name is part of a sought-after brand of bud.

Here, there is no place to buy cannabis legally and the city-licensed, but illegal cannabis stores are still open. In anticipation of being legalized as recreational pot shops by the province, some have removed dispensary or anything medical-sounding in their names.

Some had fire sales, clearing the shelves for products that they hope to buy from the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch. Meantime, legal suppliers are concerned that they don’t have enough to meet demand.

On Tuesday morning, WorkSafeBC sent out a news release reminding employers that they must not allow anyone who is impaired to do work that could endanger a co-worker or anyone else.

Great advice. But how does an employer do that when there is no good test for impairment?

Earlier, Transport Canada warned that cannabis is “a potential threat” to aviation. With no good impairment tests available, Air Canada and Westjet have banned cannabis use for all “safety-secure” employees. That means no cannabis either at work or any other time for anyone directly involved in flight operations including maintenance workers, dispatchers, flight attendants and pilots.

While flying has always been safer than driving, Transport Canada sent out no similar warning about the threat on the ground.

This year, TransLink will have more than 400 million passengers. In September, it said that it would be drafting a cannabis-related policy for the people who drive and maintain Metro Vancouver’s buses, trains and ships.

But on the eve of legalization, spokesperson Lida Paslar said its policy that employees are not permitted to show up to work impaired …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun