Indigenous peoples (IPs) from Mindanao asked President Duterte to assist them taking to court the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and CPP chairman Jose Maria Sison for what they claimed were violations of their ancestral rights and safety and the murder of IP leaders.
In one of the four resolutions formally received by Duterte by the IPs early this week, the IPs requested the President to provide legal assistance to the Mindanao IP Council of Elders for the filing of appropriate cases against the Reds, or referred to as CNN in the resolution.
In their resolution, the IPs cited 17 reasons for their ardent push to press charges against the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Among the reasons are their safety at risk by getting them caught in a crossfire when the CPP-NPA-NDF made their ancestral domain as their guerrilla base for the last 40 years, and the murder of at least a thousand IP leaders since the 1980s.
“The most glaring was the Rano massacre in Davao del Sur and the murder of mayor Jose Libayao in the presence of his family, community and foreign donors in the tribal municipality of Talaingod, Davao del Norte,” the resolution read.
The IPs also cited the CPP-NPA-NDF supplanting their traditional leaders and replacing them with revolutionary ones, and the collection of revolutionary taxes. They also cited the destruction by burning, of property, particularly of construction equipment.
The lumad groups also said that the CPP-NPA-NDF are setting up informal primary and secondary schools in their ancestral homes where they radicalize their children by teaching them communism and sending them to NPA units for exposure. They also said that the Reds are bringing their young leaders in tertiary school managed by communists as scholars. They added that some students are also being molested and sexually exploited.
The CPP-NPA-NDF also supposedly agitated and deceived several IP leaders and members with false promises to go on “bakwit” from the ancestral domain to the town centers or cities and preventing them from going out.
The IPs also said the CPP-NPA-NDF are making some of their IP leaders as heads of a revolutionary justice system. They also said that some of their IP communities as prison or confinement areas for other IPs.
The lumad groups are also protesting the CPP-NPA-NDF’s use of the name “Bagani” as a name of its units to “kill our own” and attacking government security forces, thus putting all IPs in a bad light. They also said that the Reds occupied their ancestral domain, private communal properties without permission.
“You have no right to bring in and introduce a foreign ideology into the very heart of our ancestral domain to become our way of life which is the exact opposite of our culture as peace-loving people,” the resolution read.
The CPP-NPA-NDF was also said to have removed their right to vote for allowing candidates to enter their ancestral domain “if they pay the permit to campaign and permit to win to the CPP-NPA-NDF.”
They also said that CPP-NPA-NDF are organizing the IPs at the regional level “through deceit and lies” to support several parties in Mindanao. They said that IPs have been used to ruin the image of the Philippine government in the world.
Aside from the resolution against the CPP-NPA-NDF, the IPs also presented Duterte a resolution requesting the President to grant a special quota in the Philippine Army for IPs in Mindanao.
The IPs also created a resolution expressing their conformity to Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the island.
They also presented a resolution expressing their appreciation to Duterte for his consistent support to IP welfare and development.
According to Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, it is still up to Duterte on what to do with the resolutions submitted to him.
The 2018 midterms will probably be the most expensive in US history. More than $5.2bn is predicted to be funneled into closely watched races – and an extraordinary amount is coming from just a few individuals.
Political spending has leapt by 35% since the 2014 midterms, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). The center has found that individual political donations account for the majority of campaign cash across the board: they comprise about 71% of donations to Senate races for both Republicans and Democrats and about 61% of donations to House candidates.
While political donations can come in all shapes and sizes – from large to small – it’s the big-ticket players who have an outsized influence in shaping elections and, in turn, public policy.
“Donors get their phone calls answered, is one way of thinking about it,” says Ian Vandewalker, a senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice. “We like to think of our democracy as being one person, one vote – the majority rules. But just being rich and being able to write million-dollar checks gets you influence over elected officials that’s far greater than the average person.”
So who are the biggest givers?
“Overwhelmingly, the cast of characters is a familiar one going back years and in some cases, decades,” says Sheila Krumholz, the executive director of the CRP, of the 2018 midterms. This includes figures such as the Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and the progressive mega-donor George Soros – but many names may be unfamiliar to the average voter.
The following individuals have given millions on the record, but many of them have also probably given an unknown amount of “dark money” to organizations that can avoid disclosure due to a complex regulatory situation and murky definitions of “political” activity. As of 1 November, five days before the election, here are the top 20 spenders, and what we know about where their money went:
1. Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, $113m
Net worth: $31bn Politics: Conservative Bio in brief: Sheldon Adelson is the head of an international casino empire, the Las Vegas Sands, and owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper. He was the largest individual donor to the 2016 Trump campaign and to Trump’s inauguration fund. Midterms behavior: The largest recipients of Adelson’s donations are the Congressional Leadership Fund and the Senate Leadership Fund, both Super Pacs dedicated to electing Republicans. He gave $25m to each.
2. Thomas Steyer and Kathryn Taylor, $50.7m
Net worth: 1.6bn Politics: Liberal Bio in brief: Steyer, a former hedge fund manager, has focused on political and environmental activism since he retired in 2012. Heavily involved in Democratic activism and fundraising for decades, he’s been called the progressive’s answer to the Koch brothers. Midterms behavior: The largest single recipient of Steyer’s donations is his own Pac, NextGen Climate Action, which supports candidates and causes that work to combat climate change. He has given it about $41m so far.
3. Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, $39m
Net worth: Unknown
Politics: Conservative Bio in brief: Founders of a successful shipping supply company, Uline, the Uihleins are “the most powerful conservative couple you’ve never heard of”, according to the New York Times. The Uihleins have been supporting conservative causes for years but have only recently received national attention. Midterms behavior: They’ve given at least $6.7m to the Club for Growth Action, a Super Pac dedicated to supporting anti-big government and “pro-growth” candidates, and at least $8m to Restoration Pac, a Super Pac with a wide range of politically conservative stances. They also give heavily to candidates and causes in their home state of Wisconsin.
4. Michael Bloomberg, $38m
Net worth: $46.1bn Politics: Liberal Bio in brief: Michael Bloomberg is a billionaire businessman and the former mayor of New York City. Despite being a lifelong Democrat, Bloomberg ran for mayor as a Republican in 2001 and then left the Republican party in 2007. He is often seen as a fiscally conservative, socially liberal centrist. Midterms behavior: He has given at least $20m this cycle to Senate Majority Pac, which supports putting Democrats in the Senate, and more than $7m to his own Super Pac, Independence USA Pac, which focuses on gun laws, the environment and education policy.
5. Donald Sussman, $22.8m
Net worth: Unknown Politics: Liberal Bio in brief: Sussman’s hedge fund, Paloma Partners, was the top contributor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign with $21.6m, and he has given millions more to Democratic candidates and causes over the last few decades. Midterms behavior: Sussman has made major donations to Senate Majority Pac, House Majority Pac and Priorities USA Action – all Super Pacs supporting Democratic candidates and causes.
6. James Simons, $18.9m
Net worth: $20bn Politics: Liberal Bio in brief: “Jim” Simons is yet another hedge fund billionaire, and a former mathematician. He founded Renaissance Technologies, from which he retired in 2010. He has been a major Democratic donor for about the last two decades. Midterms behavior: This cycle, some of Simons’ biggest donations have gone to the Senate Majority Pac and the House Majority Pac.
7. George Soros, $17m
Net worth: $8.3bn Politics: Liberal Bio in brief: George Soros, one of the most well-known names in the world of Democratic political funders, is an investor and hedge fund manager originally from Hungary. He donates to various causes through his foundation, the Open Society Foundation. He has been demonized by Donald Trump and his supporters. Midterms behavior: Soros has given millions this cycle to Win Justice Pac, a Super Pac started by a coalition of progressive groups: Planned Parenthood Votes, Center for Community Change Action, Color of Chance PAC and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). He has given large amounts to Priorities USA Action and Senate Majority PAC.
8. Stephen and Christine Schwarzman, $12.8m
Net worth: $13bn Politics: Conservative Bio in brief: Stephen Schwarzman is the founder and CEO of Blackstone Group, an investment company. He is closely connected to the Trump administration, and has been a supporter of conservative causes for about the last decade. Midterms behavior: Schwarzman has given $8m to the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican Super Pac aimed at maintaining the Republican majority in the Senate.
9. Fred Eychaner, $12m
Net worth: Unknown, but estimated to be at least $500m. Politics: Liberal Bio in brief: Fred Eychaner is a Chicago media entrepreneur and chairman of Newsweb, a company that owns several newspapers and radio stations. He avoids the spotlight more than many big donors, but has been a prominent Democratic funder for about the past decade. Midterms behavior: This cycle, he has given millions to the Senate Majority Pac and House Majority Pac.
10. Kenneth and Anne Griffin, $11m
Net worth: About $9.9bn Politics: Conservative Bio in brief: Kenneth Griffin is the founder and CEO of Citadel, a hedge fund in Chicago. He is active in art philanthropy and is an avid collector, and has been supporting Republican candidates and causes for about the last decade. Midterm behavior: This cycle, he has given at least $2.5m to the Congressional Leadership Fund.
11. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, $10.1m
Net worth: $134bn Politics: Non-partisan Bio in brief: The Amazon CEO has been designated the “richest person in modern history” by Forbes. Despite his high profile and his enormous wealth, Bezos had not participated heavily in politics before the 2018 midterms. Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post has made him a frequent target of Trump. Midterms behavior: Almost all of Bezos’s contributions this cycle went to a non-partisan Pac called the With Honor Fund, which is dedicated to getting veterans elected and working towards a “less polarized government”. He also gave $5,400 to his senator, Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state. His wife, MacKenzie Bezos, has a longer history of small donations to candidates and Pacs.
12. Timothy Mellon, $10m
Net worth: About $1bn Politics: Conservative Bio in brief: Timothy Mellon is the grandson of Andrew Mellon, an entrepreneur at the turn of the 20th century and member of the renowned Mellon family, associated with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Timothy avoids the public eye and runs a transportation company based in New Hampshire. Midterms behavior: Almost all of his contributions in the midterms – $10m – are to the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund Pac, but he has also given several small donations to Republican candidates, and one puzzling donation of $2,700 to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the surprise 29-year-old Democratic congressional candidate from the Bronx.
13. Deborah Simon, $8.9m
Net worth: Exact net worth is unknown, but Forbes estimated the entire Simon family’s wealth at $7.7bn in 2015
Politics: Liberal Bio in brief: Deborah Simon is an heir to a shopping mall fortune made by her father, Melvin Simon, who is deceased. She lives in Indiana and has spent most of her career working at the family company, Simon Property Group. She is known locally for her involvement in progressive politics. Midterms behavior: Some of her largest donations this cycle have gone to the liberal Senate Majority Pac and House Majority Pac funds, and Planned Parenthood Votes.
14. Reid Hoffman, $8.1m
Net worth: About $1.8bn Politics: Liberal Bio in brief: Reid Hoffman is best known as the co-founder of LinkedIn, which he helped start after being an executive at PayPal in its early days. He has been one of the more politically active and outspoken members of Silicon Valley’s tech community. Midterms behavior: His largest donations this cycle have gone to the Senate Majority Pac and House Majority Pac, about $5m combined. He has also given $1m to Forward Majority Action Pac, a fund dedicated to helping Democrats gain majorities in state legislatures. He also gave $10,000 to the Republican party of Massachusetts, and several donations to candidates.
15. George and Judith Marcus, $8.1m
Net worth: $1.4bn Politics: Liberal Bio in brief: George Marcus co-founded a San Francisco-based real estate firm. Despite having been a significant Democratic donor for decades, he has kept a relatively low profile. Midterms behavior: For the midterms cycle, the bulk of his giving – at least $6.5m – has gone to the Senate Majority Pac and House Majority Pac, along with several small donations to candidates from him and his wife.
16. Bernard and Billi Wilma Marcus, $7.9m
Net worth: $5.1bn Politics: Conservative Bio in brief: Bernard Marcus is the co-founder and former CEO of Home Depot. Retired since 2002, he has been an active philanthropist, donating millions to scientific and medical research. He and his wife were major donors to Trump’s election efforts with $7m. Midterms behavior: The couple has given $4m to the conservative Senate Leadership Fund Pac this cycle, along with several other significant donations to Republican Pacs, candidate and party committees.
17. Charles and Helen Schwab, $7.2m
Net worth: $8.8bn Politics: Conservative Bio in brief: Charles Schwab is a financier and highly recognized figure, due to the investment brokerage he founded with his name. He retired as CEO of the company in 2008. Midterms behavior: Schwab’s giving this cycle is made up of several (relatively) small periodic contributions to Republican party committees and Pacs, and donations to Republican candidates.
18. Karla Jurvetson, $7m
Net worth: $8.8bn Politics: Liberal Bio in brief: Karla Jurvetson is a psychiatrist in Silicon Valley, and the wife of Steve Jurvetson, a well-known venture capitalist. Midterms behavior: Karla’s largest donation, of $5.4m, went to Women Vote!, a Super Pac run by the organization Emily’s List, dedicated to electing pro-choice female candidates.
19. Paul Skjodt and Cynthia Simon Skjodt, $6.6m
Net worth: Exact net worth is unknown, but Forbes estimated the entire Simon family’s wealth at $7.7bn in 2015 Politics: Liberal Bio in brief: Cynthia Simon Skjodt is the sister of Deborah Simon, and also an heir to the family’s shopping mall fortune, created by their father, Melvin. She has been an active philanthropist in Indiana, and serves on several boards. Midterms behavior: Her and her husband’s largest donations this cycle are to the House Majority Pac and Senate Majority Pac, with several smaller donations to Democratic party committees and candidates.
20. Ronald and Nina Cameron, $6.5m
Net worth: Unknown Politics: Conservative Bio in brief: Ronald Cameron lives in Arkansas and owns and runs the seventh-largest poultry company in the country, Mountaire Farms, which was founded by his grandfather. Midterms behavior: In the 2014 midterm cycle, Mountaire was the largest corporate donor to the Koch brothers’ Super Pac, Freedom Partners Action Fund, and he was a big supporter of Mike Huckabee in the 2016 primaries. This cycle, he and his wife have given heavily – at least $3m – to another Koch brothers Pac, Americans for Prosperity Action. They also gave $1m to the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund.
WASHINGTON/BEIJING – US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke by telephone on Thursday, expressed optimism about resolving their trade dispute ahead of a high-stakes meeting at the end of November in Argentina.
But within hours of upbeat assessment, the US Justice Department took aim at another Chinese firm it accused of unfair practices, part of an across-the-board pressure campaign by the Trump administration targeting China.
Still, investors cheered the resumption of dialogue and a report that Trump was taking steps to resolve the tariff war, with shares in Asia hitting three-week highs on Friday and the dollar softening.
Trump said on Twitter that trade discussions with China were “moving along nicely,” and that he planned to meet Xi on the sidelines of a G20 summit, in Argentina, after the two had a “very good” phone discussion.
Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, later reported that Trump wants to reach a trade agreement with China at the G20 meeting and that after the call with Xi, he had asked officials to begin drafting possible terms.
The news agency said it was not clear if Trump was easing up on demands that China has resisted, and it cited one person as saying intellectual property theft was a sticking point on a possible deal.
In comments in state media, Xi said he hoped China and the United States would be able to promote a steady and healthy relationship, and that he was willing to meet Trump in Argentina.
“The two countries’ trade teams should strengthen contact and conduct consultations on issues of concern to both sides, and promote a plan that both can accept to reach a consensus on the China-US trade issue,” Xi said on CCTV state television.
Xi was quoted as saying after the call with Trump that they had hoped to expand trade cooperation.
Neither leader specified any details of possible progress in their first known direct discussion in several months.
Trump administration officials have said that trade talks with China cannot resume until it comes up with specific actions it is willing take to meet US demands for sweeping changes to policies on technology transfers, industrial subsidies and market access.
The two countries have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods and Trump has threatened to put tariffs on the remainder of China’s $500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the disputes cannot be resolved.
Jacob Parker, vice president of China operations at the US-China Business Council in Beijing, said there were plenty of challenges that would require significant negotiations in advance of a meeting between Trump and Xi to ensure success.
“What negotiations have lacked to date has been that (presidential) level of engagement. If President Trump makes an agreement with President Xi, there is nobody above them to overturn it,” he said.
“We’re optimistic this is a potential off-ramp of increasingly antagonistic trade tensions and hope it leads to a pause and new negotiations,” he said.
Tu Xinquan, a trade expert at Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics, said he was skeptical that the Trump administration was truly ready to deal, and that other factors, such as the mid-term congressional elections, could be driving statements from the administration.
“The best situation (from a Trump-Xi meeting) would be no further actions, temporarily. But the tariffs already imposed will not go away,” Tu said.
Intellectual property theft
Just after the upbeat readouts of the Trump-Xi call, the Justice Department announced the latest in a list of actions against what the Trump administration calls China’s cheating through intellectual property theft, unfair corporate subsidies and rules hampering US corporations in China.
A Justice Department indictment targeted two companies based in China and Taiwan and three individuals, saying they conspired to steal trade secrets from US semiconductor company Micron Technology Inc.
This week, prosecutors announced an indictment against 10 defendants, including two Chinese intelligence officers and other computer hackers and co-conspirators, who are all accused of breaking into American company computers to steal data on a turbo fan engine used in commercial jetliners.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China was probably Washington’s biggest long-term security challenge and the United States was engaged in a “multi-pronged effort … to convince China to behave like a normal nation on commerce” and respect international law.
But Trump struck a more affable tone on Twitter after the phone call with Xi.
“Just had a long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping of China. We talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on Trade,” Trump tweeted. “Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G-20 in Argentina. Also had good discussion on North Korea!”
Earlier this week, Trump said he thought there would be “a great deal” with China on trade, but warned that he had billions of dollars worth of new tariffs ready to go if a deal did not materialize.
The United States has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, with duties on $200 billion of the total set to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent on Jan. 1, 2019.
China has responded with retaliatory duties on $110 billion worth of US goods.
Controversial admirer of dictators says in video broadcast: ‘We are going to change the destiny of Brazil’.
A far-right, pro-gun, pro-torture populist has been elected as Brazil’s next president after a drama-filled and deeply divisive election that looks set to radically reforge the future of the world’s fourth biggest democracy.
Jair Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former paratrooper who built his campaign around pledges to crush corruption, crime and a supposed communist threat, secured 55.1% of the votes after 99.9% were counted and was therefore elected Brazil’s next president, electoral authorities said on Sunday.
Bolsonaro’s leftist rival, Fernando Haddad, secured 44.8% of votes.
In a video broadcast from his home in Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro thanked God and vowed to stamp out corruption in the country.
“We cannot continue flirting with communism … We are going to change the destiny of Brazil,” he said.
Haddad, the defeated Workers’ party (PT) candidate, urged the 45 million voters who had backed him not to lose hope. “We will continue with our heads held high, with determination and with courage,” he said. “We have a lifelong commitment to this country and we will not allow this country to go backwards.”
Donald Trump called Bolsonaro to congratulate him and both men expressed a strong commitment to work together, the White House said.
Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, offered his congratulations to Bolsonaro, tweeting: “Even in #Brazil the citizens have sent the left packing!” The French far-right leader Marine Le Pen also sent a message of encouragement.
News of the results sent Bolsonaro devotees outside his beachfront home in western Rio de Janeiro into ecstasy.
“This is phenomenal. It’s a unique feeling,” said Rafael Gomes, a 34-year-old salesman who was among the crowds. “I can see a better future for my son, better health, education and security, something we haven’t had for years.”
In the midst of an increasingly raucous atmosphere one group of young men jumped up and down chanting: “Go fuck yourselves, PT!”
Hordes of jubilant Bolsonaro supporters flocked on to Avenida Paulista, one of São Paulo’s most important boulevards, where they sang Brazil’s national anthem and set off fireworks.
Many fans wore the green and yellow colours of Brazil’s national flag, which has become the trademark of Bolsonaro’s push for power.
“I feel so happy. Brazil is waking up. We are coming out of a trance,” said Jordan Requena, a 20-year-old student who was among the crowds.
Pietro Sambugaro, a 28-year-old Bolsonaro activist, broke down in tears as he described his joy. “I feel so proud to have been part of this change. He is our hope!”
“For the first time we are going to have a God-fearing and genuinely right-wing president,” said Fernando Pereira, a 40-year-old physiotherapy student celebrating as fireworks exploded around him. “He is the president we have been waiting for for so long.”
But Bolsonaro’s triumph will leave many millions of progressive Brazilians profoundly disturbed and fearful of the intolerant, rightwing tack their country is now likely to take.
Over nearly three decades in politics, he has become notorious for his hostility to black, gay and indigenous Brazilians and to women, as well as for his admiration of dictatorial regimes, including the one that ruled Brazil from 1964 until 1985.
“The extreme right has conquered Brazil,” Celso Rocha de Barros, a Brazilian political columnist, told the election night webcast of Piauí magazine. “Brazil now has a more extremist president than any democratic country in the world … we don’t know what is going to happen.”
Clóvis Saint-Clair, a Rio-based journalist who has written an unauthorised Bolsonaro biography, said he feared Brazil’s young democracy was at risk. “This is a moment of great doubt and apprehension.”
Saint-Clair said a cocktail of voter frustration at political sleaze and the successful demonization of the PT explained how a once widely ridiculed and peripheral firebrand had been catapulted from the political wilderness to the presidency.
Bolsonaro voters had voted on “feelings not facts” and were obsessively focused on the PT’s not inconsiderable sins while refusing to recognise the advances of its 13 years in power, which ended with Dilma Rousseff’s highly controversial impeachment in 2016.
“The PT got many things right,” he said, pointing to the war on extreme poverty launched by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s now jailed former president.
Saint-Clair said he expected Bolsonaro to intensify police repression and pay scant attention to Brazil’s neediest citizens. “If he follows through on all the promises he has made, the next four years will be very difficult for the majority of the population.”
Chico Paiva Avelino, whose politician grandfather, Rubens Paiva, was tortured and disappeared under Brazil’s military regime in 1971, said he was disgusted that a man who had praised that dictatorship was on his way to the presidency.
“It is unacceptable that in 2018 someone can be elected off the back of this discourse,” the 31-year-old said.
However, for the tens of millions of voters who backed Bolsonaro, he represents change after years of economic recession and eye-watering corruption scandals that they blame on the Workers’ party, which ruled Brazil from 2003 until the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in 2016.
“We are happy. We want change,” declared Maicon Mesquita, a 23-year-old businessman who had brought his family to Avenida Paulista to celebrate. “He will be a president who has no involvement at all in corruption.”
The previous night, a group of young activists had set up camp just a few metres from where he stood in an ultimately futile last-minute bid to convince undecided voters to oppose Bolsonaro with offers of conversations and free cake.
“This is already a resistance movement to say that we don’t want war … we want a government that preaches peace,” said Luciano Andrey, a 39-year-old actor.
Andrey carried a handwritten placard that asked passersby: “Let’s talk about the future?”
On Sunday, as it entered a new, potentially illiberal political era, Brazil’s looked deeply uncertain.