Come January 20th, the White House will have a new occupant.As Senator and then as Vice President during the Obama years, President-elect Joe Biden championed closer ties with India.He was one of the early proponents of the 2008 nuclear deal, which fundamentally altered relations between the two democracies.In 2006, he said, “My dream is that in 2020, the two closest nations in the world will be India and the United States.”As the world’s largest democracy, the third-largest Asian economy, and a potential bulwark against China, India is widely seen as enjoying bipartisan consensus in Washington.But that’s not to say that the dynamic between the two countries will remain entirely unchanged under the incoming Biden administration.There are places where Biden’s approach is expected to differ from Trump’s - and not all the changes might work in India’s interests.Head to this link for a deep-dive into what lies ahead for India-US ties: https://transfin.in/how-will-the-joe-biden-presidency-impact-india-us-relations
Sincere, honest, dedicated, and ethical journalists are torchbearers of any functional democracy speaking for and on behalf of the public on political, cultural, religious, and social matters among other things.Studying journalism from the best journalism colleges in mumbai or for that matter anywhere else in India can open doors to a range of exciting careers for you.Quality institutes do an excellent job of honing your creativity, communication, writing, and research skills among others to ensure that you rise to the task of being a premium quality journalist in an immensely competitive marketplace.QualificationJournalism courses are offered both at graduation and post-graduation levels.You can enroll yourself in a Bachelor of Mass Communication/journalism course in any reputable institute after +2 to be journalism.A graduate from any discipline who has a flair for writing can also opt for a postgraduate course in journalism.Jobs related directly to your degree include:Newspaper journalistMagazine journalistCopy-editorProof-readerBroadcast journalistEditorial assistant, etc.Jobs where your degree may not be directly related but could prove helpful include:Market researcherWriterPRO (public relations officer)Information officerAdvertising and digital copywriters among othersWork experienceWork experience in the field of journalism, as in any other field is highly valued.You can do your career aspirations a great service by building up a portfolio of work or projects and gaining as much relevant experience as possible in the meantime.
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Posted by MiriamEllis Image credit: Elvert Barnes “Conscious spending with the community can contribute to neighborhood sustainability.” — Christine Araquel, The Park’s Finest I encountered this quote from a restauranteur on the American Express Small Business Saturday website, and just these few words called a vivid image to my mind: local business owners and customers gazing together toward the horizon, hoping to pierce the clouds of COVID-19 and see them clearing away, revealing communities that are still standing, and still capable of sustaining our hometowns, our cities, and our dreams. 72% of consumers believe they will frequent neighboring businesses more after the crisis is over, but that will take all of us doing our part now to ensure as many SMBs are still there to greet us when better days return. In Q4 of 2019, I used my column to encourage local business owners to start having meaningful conversations with customers about how “conscious spending” at independently-owned enterprises impacts local quality of life. Buying local affects everything from mental and physical health, to emergency services access, diversity, democracy, and climate change. In 2020, it’s time to turn up the local SEO industry’s dial on conscious spending. Today, I’m urging every business owner and marketer to consider dedicating space to a concerted educational campaign on the topic on their websites, social profiles, local business listings, reviews, and real-world interfaces. Your work, and mine, depends on sustaining independently-owned local businesses through and far beyond Small Business Saturday. With the right strategy, we can make an impactful effort together. What is Small Business Saturday? American Express created Small Business Saturday in 2010 in response to the Great Recession. This annual event invites communities to shop at small, local businesses on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday’s date this year is November 28th. Americans spent $19.6 billion at independent businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2019. In 2020, AmEx is placing special emphasis on shopping locally to help SMBs remain viable amid the challenges of the public health emergency. AmEx is also strongly encouraging shoppers to support Black-owned independent businesses this year. Practical tactics for Small Business Saturday preparation To ensure your local business is ready to welcome the maximum number of shoppers on the big day, check these off your list: Do a quick audit of your website to be sure all contact information and hours of operation are current and accurate for each location of your business.Do the same for your local business listings on the major location data platforms.Write at least one Small Business Saturday Google Post to explain your special offers for the day.Post a Google Q&A about your participation in Small Business Saturday.Publicize your Small Business Saturday offers on your social channels.Respond to any recent reviews that mention Small Business Saturday.Make use of any appealing partnership deals you qualify for by participating in AmEx’s official Small Business Saturday program.Make use of AmEx’s tutorials on topics like contactless payments, answering COVID FAQs, and implementing digital shopping. These are all standard good practices to ready your company for this major shopping day, but amid the severe challenges of 2020, it’s time to go beyond common techniques. Share-worthy Buy Local statistics If conscious local shopping is the goal, education is the key to helping customers make informed choices. There’s never been a better year for local vendors to re-envision themselves as heroic community educators. Beyond the typical preparations you make to get ready for Small Business Saturday, now is the time to start sharing with customers why conscious shopping with you matters. Consider: In 2012, small businesses made up 99.7% of US employer firms. SMBs with 500 or fewer employees are the backbone of the US economy. As of August 2020, 163,735 total U.S. businesses on Yelp were reported as closed, with 97,966 reported as permanently closed due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, the last Civic Economics Prime Numbers report found that Amazon had displaced 62,000 shops and 900,000 retail jobs in just one year. Small businesses are struggling to survive the tandem challenges of COVID and monopoly. As much as $7 billion in uncollected state and local taxes were lost in one year by local communities due to Amazon, depleting resources needed to cope with emergency and ongoing needs. Meanwhile, if every US family spent just $10 extra locally each month instead of at a big box or national chain, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to local economies. Our hospitals, fire departments, schools, and other essentials of community life depend on having a strong tax base. Small businesses not only create the local and state tax base essential to civic life, they also contribute 250% more than big brands to community causes. Shopping locally directly impacts services and programs you care about like first responders, food and housing security, children’s resources, and animal welfare. Make a copy of Moz’s free Why Buy Local stats sheet to help you tell a compelling small business story to the communities in which you serve and market. For local business owners: Where to educate in the run-up to Small Business Saturday 2020 Share the stories (with supporting statistics) of your choice to boost awareness of the benefits of shopping at independently-owned, local businesses in the following places: Websites Determine which resources matter most to the communities you serve, and explain how shopping local funds those essentials. Create a section on the homepage of your website summarizing these benefits, and link it to a landing page that expands on how conscious local shopping is sustaining the community. For example, in my community, taxes are absolutely critical to keeping official fire departments operational, and volunteer fire departments depend on local giving. In the American West, where we’ve been in a constant state of disaster due to fire for months, SMBs can use their websites to draw the throughline between shopping local and funding essential emergency services. In other parts of the country, it could be flood relief, or food banks, or the survival of local newspapers. Build a strong internal link structure pointing to your shop local landing page, and sprinkle your product and service pages with stats proving the point that choosing your business instead of a big box or online monopoly makes life better where shoppers live. Social profiles Bring creativity to bear in publicizing your most compelling reasons to shop local on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms. You don’t have to guilt-trip customers into spending at independents, but you can engage them with statistics that show how shopping with you benefits the community, as well as inviting customers to tell their own stories. Use social media to ask which services, resources, places, and causes matter most to your customers, and help locals connect the dots between where they spend and how their purchases fund whatever is valued most at a local level. Local business listings Concise statistics can be incorporated into the description fields of your local business listings, Google Posts, videos, photos, GMB messaging, and Google Q&A. Use these spaces to give local shoppers extra reasons to do business with you. And, of course, be sure the basic contact information and hours of operation on your major local business listings are up-to-date before Small Business Saturday, so that first-time shoppers who like your messaging can find you without any misdirection or disappointment. Reviews Incorporate brief statistics into review request campaigns, encouraging respondents to voice their educated opinions on why they choose to shop locally with you. For example, a review request might state that sales at your business contribute X amount of funding to first responders, and that you’d appreciate the reviewer writing about how supporting these services matters to them and to the community. A review corpus spangled with persuasive statements from fully-aware customers can help other shoppers choose you over corporate competitors. Additionally, local business owners are sometimes at a loss for how to vary their “thank you” owner responses to positive reviews. Diminish repetition by including data in your replies. For example, a hypothetical owner response could read: “So glad you enjoyed your soft tacos, Mary! Your great review is extra appreciated right now, as dining with us is also ensuring a 3% donation to our local food bank from every order. You’re making a difference by helping us make sure everyone in the community has food on the table this winter. Thank you so much for caring about our town. We hope to see you again soon!” The new Moz Local plans will alert you to every new review that comes in on our partner networks. Use these alerts to craft timely, informative thank-you notes in your owner responses. Real-world interfaces Storefronts, window displays, in-store signage, menus, brochures, mailers, packaging, receipts, business cards, and many other real-world assets can convey educational statistics that will help locals choose you to support the local economy. Google has interesting theories about the messy middle of the customer’s journey during COVID-19. Your online assets may be of most influence during the evaluation and exploration phases of the buyer’s path, but don’t overlook the messages you’re sending to customers whose attention you’ve already captured. Using tangible assets — like window displays seen by passersby — to showcase how local patronage directly sustains the community could bring you repeat business from convinced customers. For agencies: Be more than a local SEO — be a local business advocate Image credit Indie Bound/Raven Bookstore Local SEO agencies know, first-hand, the difficulties they and their clients have been through in 2020. Consider Danny Caine: teacher, poet, author, and owner of The Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas. Like so many independent business owners, he gives back to his community. Whether he’s serving locally-famous pie to visiting authors, or donating to restore the neighborhood church where Langston Hughes worshipped, Mr. Caine walks the hometown walk with a good heart. He’s like so many of our SMB clients. But Danny Caine has taken community advocacy one step further than most local business owners. His letter to Jeff Bezos on the distinction between healthy competition and harmful disruption made some news. His self-published zine, How to Resist Amazon and Why, sold 10,000 copies and is now headed for formal publication as a full-length book. While so many local search marketing agencies have been offering discounts to clients to keep them going during the pandemic, or simply seeing their SMB contracts disappear, Mr. Caine is proactively offering education to inspire conscious local shopping. If a busy independent bookseller like Danny Caine can make the time to utilize local, social, and print media as advocacy channels, how much could skilled marketers at good agencies do to boost messaging in support of their SMB clients? Is there anything standing in our way? Just do it Multiple inspiring speakers at MozCon 2020 advised brands to have strong opinions and take public stands on important issues, building affinity with customers based on shared values. Mention was made of the famous Nike ad featuring abolitionist, Colin Kaepernick. In dollars and cents, the year following Nike’s commercial brought them $163 million in earned media, a $6 billion brand value increase, a 31% increase in sales, and all-time-high stock values. But it brought the country so much more than this — it role-modeled courageously doing the right thing in the face of adversity. The local SEO industry doesn’t have the same visibility as a footwear giant or a beloved superbowl quarterback. Collectively, ten of my favorite local SEOs have about 130,000 Twitter followers. What can we do, with only this much reach, to support local business owners like Danny Caine in what has become a critical, nationwide struggle of independents vs. monopoly? Marketers: you’ve spent your careers developing incredible publicity skills! I want to know what your best ideas are, and I have three suggestions of my own to share to get the conversation started: Idea 1: Take a stand on education Because local SEOs work in tech, we find ourselves in a work environment that sometimes reveres market disruption just for the sake of the “wow” factor. We look at our social media feeds and see our peers cheering for Amazon Prime Day because it’s cool, for every Google AI development because it’s cool, for big box brands because they’re cool. But for our own client base and our own communities, we know in our bones that it’s the opposite of cool to see local businesses closing down and workers displaced, or to see independent business owners struggling to scrape together the budget for a competitive local search marketing campaign. There are hundreds of good reasons not to cheerlead for the biggest competitors of independent businesses, but for local SEOs, we don’t have to look further than our client rosters to choose which side to champion. Unless you’re holding out in the hopes of a Fortune 500 company becoming your star client, you’re already working with one or two feet in the SMB camp. So why not speak up about it? That audience of 130,000 Twitter followers would quickly get used to seeing local SEO agencies taking bold, principled stands on the basis of ethics, civics, and local economics. What you say could begin influencing the larger worlds of SEO and digital marketing, so that the norm becomes covering market disruption with greater thoughtfulness about its impacts on local community life. In the run-up to Small Business Saturday, why not start by sharing some Buy Local stats on your social feeds? Then, looking ahead to 2021, see how far you can take your agency in the direction of client support. I’ll follow any marketer who takes the leap from local SEO to local business advocate. Idea 2: Make your agency website a source of educational citations Most digital marketing agencies already have some sort of portfolio, and they’re often one of the most underutilized areas of the company website. Reimagined, portfolios are only a couple of steps away from becoming useful directories of structured citations for clients that could help boost their organic visibility and associated local pack rankings. Putting the power of your agency’s own PA/DA behind the local brands you want to see beating out spam and corporate competitors is a great act of SMB allyship. Your agency could: Create an in-depth page for each client containing structured NAP, a link, and the best data you can amass about how choosing this SMB benefits its city of location vs. shopping with big boxes of online giants.Build good internal links to these pages.Seek out a few good inbound links to these pagesPromote these pages on your social feedsUse these pages as your examples at conferences, on webinars, and podcasts in 2021 Try to build at least one of these citation pages for a favorite SMB client before Small Business Saturday so that you’re templating the process. Create more in the new year and track how they’re ranking in the overall scheme of your clients’ unstructured citation/reputation assets. Idea 3: Educate pro bono and educate for a fee “I felt like I had to do more,” says Local SEO Search founder, John Vuong, and I hope you will take two minutes to watch his highly motivational video: Many local SEOs are giving knowledge and help away right now out of an honorable desire to help SMBs get through tough times. Mike Blumenthal and Mary Bowling recently discussed this on a LocalU Last Week in Local podcast: Mary: One of the tactics that’s been used here in our little valley is having free “get your business online” things where an agency will go in and help small businesses in their area actually get online and get verified and start harvesting some of the rewards of having Google My Business set up properly. It’s a really worthwhile thing to do. Mike: I think with just an hour a month, an agency can then both build out the listing and provide additional services including metrics that demonstrate significant key performance indicators as they build this business toward a full digital relationship. I recommend listening to the full conversation starting at about 10:10 in the video, and to the interview by Garrett Sussman that sparked it. In completely practical terms, our industry knows that a thriving local business scene means more clients with better funding for really good marketing. I’d suggest adding one extra ingredient into any pro bono or discounted work you’re doing for local businesses: freely share my stats sheet with independent business owners to help them better tell their own story of how shopping with them sustains community life. Meanwhile, if you’re a local SEO who has earned enough of a reputation to be a guest on podcasts, a speaker at webinars, or a paid presenter at conferences, build education about the vital role of independent businesses into your pitches. The more the digital marketing industry hears from us, and the more awareness we raise about the importance of conscious shopping, the better position we are putting our clients in to win. Simmering success this year for a better Small Business Saturday in 2021 Image credit: Mark If 2020 got in the way of you doing everything you wanted to do leading up to Small Business Saturday, consider that we’ve all got 12 months ahead of us before next year’s event. That’s 12 months to double down on educational messaging to support year-round, conscious, local shopping. I don’t want to say it will be easy — there will definitely be hurdles. In particular, marketing on the promise of dubious convenience is as old as commerce. I’ve laughed at canned soup ad copy telling consumers to buy their product to avoid standing over a hot stove for hours. Education is what makes us able to spot the fiction here: when you make soup from scratch, you turn on the burner and then go about the rest of your day until it’s ready to eat. Nobody, not even Jacques Pépin, actually stands glued to the stove while homemade soup simmers. The Amazons, the big boxes, the monopolies and near-monopolies, are counting on the public going along with the fiction of convenience indefinitely and never stopping to count the cost to our communities. Actively point out to your customer base that it’s not actually more convenient to shop giant “everything stores” anymore (if it ever was?), because with the curbside pickup and home delivery revolution 2020 brought small businesses, “near me” shopping has never been easier. Highlight that we can all take a 10-minute drive to pick up an item and get ourselves out of the house, or place a quick order via the web from a local purveyor and go about the rest of our day. At least, we can do this so long as we still have local independents to buy from, to support with our dollars, and with our serious marketing skills. The choice is ours, and the real convenience will be on the side of the people if we choose to build thriving tax bases, community health and safety, human well-being, and local character via locally-supported commerce. With 12 months between Small Business Saturday 2020 and 2021, you have the time and talents to contribute to positive social change. What are your best ideas? Please share in the comments! Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. 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(University of Rochester) In response to low turnout at the polls, several countries have made the voting process more convenient--such as postal voting, on-demand absentee balloting, early voting in person, and internet voting. But "there is little evidence that such initiatives expand participation in inclusive ways," say University of Rochester political science professor James Johnson and Susan Orr, an associate professor of political science at the SUNY Brockport. And the security of the ballot is not guaranteed if voting takes place at home.
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With few exceptions, the questioning was a national embarrassment Comment  This morning the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing with the CEOs of Google, Facebook and Twitter to discuss making changes to a critical piece of US legislation that provides online platforms, used by billions of people, legal protections from the content those people post.…
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For five years, anti-Semitism has become ever more interwoven with Labour’s factional struggles. In the Labour Party, attitudes to anti-Semitism are now almost a symbol of political allegiance, a stand-in for someone’s views on economic policy or foreign affairs. I’ve seen this first-hand. When I interviewed for a job with Labour in 2016, I assumed, perhaps naively, that while I did not agree with Jeremy Corbyn on things like foreign policy, and was uncomfortable with some of his past associations, different views would be welcomed because the point of political parties is work together to win power.It quickly became apparent that judgement was wrong. As I worked with Corbyn and his team, I became acutely aware that some saw me not just in terms of my political or policy beliefs, but in terms of my Jewishness. This was clear in both what they did and did not do. It was clear when, after discovering I was Jewish, an aide spent a two-hour train-ride quizzing me about my views on Israel, not as an equal participant in a conversation about foreign policy, but as an employee being tested to see if my views on Israel were the predicable views of a Jew. It was clear when despite repeatedly pushing for swift, clear and heartfelt condemnations of anti-Semitism, I found the few condemnations that were issued were never swift, clear, or it seemed to me, heartfelt.Like many forms of prejudice, anti-Semitism does not always involve discernible and conscious hatred. Nobody except Jeremy Corbyn will ever know what was in his mind while he led the Labour Party. But that was never the point. The point was that time and again, he failed to grasp attempts to build bridges with the Jewish community, and stood by as his supporters dismissed and derided Jewish people who were clearly under attack, hurting ... heck, even afraid. Under his leadership, Labour failed to apply the basic principle that those who experience prejudice are generally best placed to identify and describe it.The upshot was this. I came to realise that Jeremy Corbyn and some of his aides felt their identities as anti-racist campaigners made them immune to Europe’s most enduring and persistent form of hatred, and viewed those who raised concerns about anti-Semitism as insulting, dishonest, even pathetic. I felt something all too familiar to those who are used to being stereotyped – self-conscious and defensive about who I am, as if I had to work doubly hard to defend what I believe because I am Jewish.Even though being Jewish was not my primary identity, I had to listen to Corbyn and his team as a Jew, to read his words and watch his inaction through this new lens of anti-Semitism. It was strange, disorienting, and sometimes painful, but it was also instructive, and perhaps strangely, made me more proud than ever to live in a democracy that protects basic rights and freedoms, and more determined than ever to change the Labour Party.Progressive parties should be a place where complex questions of identity and experience can be discussed, openly, with a sense of common purpose. We should be able to talk about the similarities and differences between anti-Black and anti-Jewish racism, and explore what it means to be white, Black, South Asian, or Jewish, in modern Britain.Our country’s diversity is among its greatest strengths. Whether Labour members who prefer Keir Starmer or Jeremy Corbyn, or voters who chose Labour or Conservative, Remain or Leave, as citizens of a diverse and plural democracy, we all have a vested interest in working out how to live as free citizens who forge our common future together. Labour’s failure to address anti-Semitism didn’t just put off Jewish voters, it made citizens across the UK doubt Labour’s moral compass.Labour now has an opportunity to make anti-Semitism a cross-factional issue. The release of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report is a moment not just for Keir Starmer to continue to demonstrate he is serious about anti-Semitism, it is a chance for all of us to explore together what anti-Semitism means, and how it does and does not relate to other forms of racism. These issues matter not just for the Labour Party, but for the country.In Labour, we have to start by listening to each other, making space not only for what others believe but for how they feel. When there has been so much hurt and distrust, we must all find the courage and respect to ensure we don’t slide into tired factional debates, and the energy and patience to share experiences and develop a common language. Those who refuse to talk and listen and engage should have no place in the Labour Party. Making Labour a home for Jewish people again will be a long and often uncomfortable road, but I believe it can and must be done. It will require Jews and non-Jews who have left Labour to engage with energy and determination, to do the hard civic work of repairing the damage that has been done – to attend meetings, to vote, and to run. Achieving that goal is not just a political imperative, but a moral one. Josh Simons is a former Labour Party staffer who worked in Jeremy Corbyn’s leader’s office, and quit over anti-Semitism. He then worked in Labour HQ.Welcome to HuffPost Opinion, a new dedicated space for reliable, expert commentary and analysis on the day’s biggest talking points. Got a unique angle or viewpoint on a news story that will help cut through the noise? We want to hear from you. Read more here Related... The Key Reactions To The Labour Anti-Semitism Report Jeremy Corbyn Suspended From Labour Party Over Anti-Semitism Comments Jeremy Corbyn Says Labour Anti-Semitism Allegations Were Overstated
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As the US presidential election polling day draws close, it’s worth recapping what we know about how Facebook has been used to influence election results. The platform is optimized for boosting politically conservative voices calling for fascism, separatism, and xenophobia. It’s also these voices that tend to generate the most clicks. In recent years, Facebook has on several occasions been made to choose between keeping to its community standards or taking a path that avoids the ire of conservatives. Too many times, it has chosen the latter. The result has been an onslaught of divisive rhetoric that continues to flood… This story continues at The Next WebOr just read more coverage about: Facebook
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Confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before the election could free Catholic voters to not vote single-issue.
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CEOs should voluntarily shut down their platforms to help stanch the spread of misinformation—and protect democracy.
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"A vote for Trump is to endorse voter suppression," CEO David Barrett wrote to customers in an email that two-thirds of employees voted to send.
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Legal experts point to the fact that it may be difficult to show Google's conduct was illegal under the longstanding "consumer welfare" standard.
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Tech policy experts call for a new “moonshot” and systemic change to prevent innovations from breaking democracy
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In the upper left corner of the United States resides an inconvenient truth for President Donald Trump and his followers: A highly successful mail-in voting system.Amid a pandemic that has made in-person interactions dangerous, Trump and his allies have attempted to sow fear and uncertainty around mail-in voting even as he attends in-person rallies and events that we now know may have exposed hundreds to Covid-19. But his dangerous tall tales of fraud and tossed ballots are readily dispelled against the backdrop of Washington state’s entirely by-mail voting system. Voting by mail is the safest, most secure way to get this election done and to restore trust in a bedrock of our democracy.I know this because I chair the council for King County, Washington, which has run vote-by-mail elections for over a decade. We are the largest jurisdiction in the United States to conduct all elections by mail. Our nonpartisan regional government represents 2.2million people who live in Seattle, Bellevue and dozens of other cities and surrounding communities. And we have been voting exclusively by mail here since 2009, and statewide in Washington since 2011.This means that our elections — for president, Congress, governor, county and city councils, school boards, special districts — are all conducted fully by mail. And I can tell you without any doubt whatsoever that Trump, and those repeating his propaganda, are wrong about voting by mail. Voting by mail is simple. It works. It’s convenient and secure. It has bipartisan support. In fact, Washington state Republicans overwhelmingly support the system, including our Republican Secretary of State, who herself was elected by mail-in ballots, in our increasingly blue-trending state. Even after being inundated with months of the president’s outright lies, a new poll released last week by the respected western states research, public affairs and communications firm Strategies 360 found that a majority of conservatives in our state still support it. Our system has been reviewed and found to be very accurate. In the 2018 election, Washington state found just 142 cases of improper voting out of 3.1 million ballots cast, an error rate of 0.00004581.A well-designed vote-by-mail system is at least as secure ― and far more inclusive ― than voting in person. In Washington, we take a multitude of steps to ensure that neither ballots, nor ballot drop boxes, are tampered with. Ballots are tracked and verified. Votes are not dumped or double-counted. Only ballots from confirmed registered voters are counted. Our system has been reviewed and found to be very accurate. In the 2018 election, Washington state found just 142 cases of improper voting out of 3.1million ballots cast, an error rate of 0.00004581.In King County, the effect of our robust vote-by-mail system means voter turnout in record numbers. We saw 82% voter turnout in the 2016 general election, and 76% in 2018. Compare that with the national turnout of 61.4% in 2016 and 53.4% in 2018, according to U.S. Census Bureau records. Indeed, an August study published in Science Advances found that mail-in voting increases voter participation, often significantly. We are so confident that our system is accessible to everyone that our county’s nonpartisan elections director has credibly set an audacious voter turnout goal of 90% in this year’s general election.Voting by mail also reduces the opportunity for voter suppression through intimidation or other factors and it offers a physically distant way to vote as the Covid-19 pandemic wears on. Voters cast their ballot from the privacy of their home and then mail their ballots (no postage necessary in Washington state) or drop them in a ballot box without interacting with anyone. President Trump seems to fear this ease of voting. During the first presidential debate last week, he told his followers to go out to the polls and “watch very carefully,” a suggestion that could amount to illegal voter intimidation. Earlier this month, Trump supporters blocked voters from entering a polling place in Virginia. But with mail-in ballots, neither he nor his henchmen can stand in the way.So, what can we do? First, make a plan for how and when you’ll vote. Check your registration, be sure your ballot will be mailed to your current address or update it if you need to. If you are traveling away from home, request a ballot be sent to you if your state or county allows it. Talk to your friends and family about voting and how you can be sure your voice is heard. Vote early if you can. Once you cast your vote, track your ballot. You can track your ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.This pandemic-year election will chart the course for the future of our country. Voters must be given every opportunity to take part in it. Vote-by-mail is the best way to give all voters every opportunity to take part in it. We must ignore the fear-mongering and attempts to suppress our vote and instead embrace this safe and easy method that allows everyone to have a say in our selecting our government leaders.Claudia Balducci serves as Chair of the Metropolitan King County Council, the governing body for King County. This article first appeared on HuffPost Personal.Have a compelling personal story you want to tell? Find out what we’re looking for here, and pitch us on [email protected] from HuffPost UK Personal I'm More Afraid Of A Second Trump Term Than My Cancer Coming Back. Here's Why I Run A Muslim Mental Health Helpline. Covid Has Put My Community In Crisis I Found Out I Was Losing My Cineworld Job On Social Media
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The election will determine America's ability to contain the pandemic, heal the economy, retake our place in the world, and advocate for truth.
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James Murdoch now plans to set up a foundation to support democracy, voter participation, and climate change projects.
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Borat Sagdiyev ― the comic alter ego of British actor Sacha Baron Cohen ― joined Twitter on Friday and wasted no time in taunting President Donald Trump.The fake Kazakh reporter went on a Trump-worthy tweetstorm offering sarcastic praise of the president and his devastating mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.“Premiere Trump true leader - he have prove himself stronger than more than 200,000 of his American subjects!” read one post referencing Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis, which came after he ignored safety guidelines and downplayed the virus for months.Another said, “Trump so strong he did not even need to drink bleach to stay alive!” ― a reminder of the president’s bonkers suggestion that consuming disinfectant could be a treatment for the disease.Premiere Trump true leader - he have prove himself stronger than more than 200,000 of his American subjects!— Borat (@BoratSagdiyev) October 10, 2020Trump so strong he did not even need to drink bleach to stay alive!— Borat (@BoratSagdiyev) October 10, 2020Trump would have leave hospital sooner, but he nice and did not want to hurt covid’s feelings— Borat (@BoratSagdiyev) October 10, 2020Trump very kind man! When he go on car ride outside hospital, he give driver many thanks and also some of his covids medicine— Borat (@BoratSagdiyev) October 10, 2020It’s unclear if Cohen himself is tweeting from the verified account, and representatives for the actor did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for more information.However, the feed is most likely a publicity stunt ahead of the upcoming release of the sequel to Cohen’s 2006 mockumentary Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.The plot of the upcoming movie, reportedly titled Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, remains unclear, but the trailer ends with Borat dressed as Trump appearing to heckle Vice President Mike Pence on stage.READ MORE: Sacha Baron Cohen: Trump's 'Conspiratorial Madness' Threatens U.S. Democracy Sacha Baron Cohen Has Trump And Coronavirus In His Sights In First Look At Borat Sequel Sacha Baron Cohen Filmed Borat 2 When No One Was Paying Attention
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Donald Trump’s continued disregard for safety measures designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus – even after contracting Covid-19 himself – is the subject of two damning news ads from groups on both sides of the aisle.A video released by Republican Voters Against Trump on Friday pours scorn on Trump’s claim that he’s “better” and perhaps now immune, following his release from the hospital on Monday, after just three days of treatment.The clip features footage of some of the events that Trump has hosted amid the pandemic – many of which have been attended by maskless supporters – and ends with a stark reminder of the more than 210,000 Americans who have died after contracting the virus.Check out the video here:The progressive political action committee (PAC) MeidasTouch, meanwhile, urged voters to “get rid of the Trump virus” with its ad that contrasts the prominent Republicans who have tested positive for Covid-19 after ignoring safety measures with the American workers who have contracted the virus and don’t have top-level medical care.Check out that video here:Combined, the two videos have more than 1m views on social media, but it’s unclear if these kind of viral clips (that seldom appear on television) have any effect on swing voters.In his first on-screen interview since falling ill last week, Trump on Friday night claimed on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show that he felt “really good, really strong” and had been “medication-free” for the eight previous hours.Trump avoided answering a question about whether he’d been tested earlier in the day by saying, “I have been retested and I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet. I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free.”Amid fears that he may still be contagious, the president plans to hold an in-person event for hundreds of guests at the White House on Saturday.Related... 5 Fibs You Were Told This Week Trump Takes Sham 'Health Assessment' In Bizarre Fox News Appearance Sacha Baron Cohen: Trump's 'Conspiratorial Madness' Threatens U.S. Democracy
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The "Borat" actor wrote that President Donald Trump has an ally in Facebook, calling the company "the greatest propaganda machine in history."
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Theresa May has savaged Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings’ housebuilding reforms, warning they make a mockery of their claim to be “levelling up” the north and south of England.In a Commons debate, the former prime minister ridiculed her successor’s proposals to replace local planning controls with an algorithm that will “distribute” an annual 337,000 homes across the country.The scheme, reportedly the brainchild of the PM’s chief advisor Cummings, could deliver an additional five million homes across England in the next 15 years, with nearly a third in rural counties.May was joined by 31 Tory MPs, including six of her former cabinet ministers such as Jeremy Hunt and Damian Green, as they unanimously passed a motion demanding that the project be paused until after parliament has voted on it.The PM has been bullish in recent days as the Tory rebellion has grown, but backbencher Bob Seely warned him that the government reforms represented “not levelling up but concreting out” many areas.The Sunday Times reported this summer that Cummings had been working with communities secretary Robert Jenrick devise the radical planning changes, which are based on US-style zonal developments.A petition opposing the move has already attracted nearly 150,000 signatures.One Tory MP told HuffPost UK: “This is government by spad [special advisor] and proves that people like Dominic Cummings have no idea how to implement policy.“This could have a longer impact on the government than Covid. If they go ahead, it won’t be us they have to deal with, it will be the electorate in the local elections next year and the year after that and after that.”The criticism came as Cummings. who has set up a new Nasa-style ‘command centre’ to better coordinate No.10′s oversight of Whitehall, is facing fresh scrutiny from parliament over his role.The Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee on Thursday launched a new inquiry into “the role and status of the prime minister’s office”.May, who has already criticised Johnson over his plan to break international law on Brexit, was withering in her criticism of the “ill-conceived” reforms.She said: “The problem with these proposals, the problem with this algorithm on housing numbers, is that it doesn’t guarantee a single extra home being built and, far from levelling up, it forces more investment into London and the south.”In a pointed reference to this year’s A-level fiasco, the former premier said: “I would have thought that the Government might have abandoned algorithms by now.”“What this new algorithm does, as regards to levelling up, is flies in the face of the government’s flagship policy. The government needs to think again and come back with a comprehensive proposal to this House for a proper debate and, dare I say it, a meaningful vote,” she said.Seely earlier warned the reforms could “hollow out our cities” and “urbanise our suburbs”.“I support levelling up 100% but, broadly speaking, the danger in these new targets in the way they’ve been shaped is that the biggest housing increases will be to rural shires and suburbs, and the biggest falls are in the urban north and Midlands.“The worst of all worlds would be to hollow out our cities, to urbanise our suburbs and suburbanise the countryside and yet I fear that is what we may accidentally be achieving. That is not levelling up but is concreting out.”Hunt said: “The argument for building new houses has been won but what is on the table risks eroding local democracy, reducing affordable housing and encroaching on our beautiful countryside.”May’s former deputy Damian Green added: “We are in danger of turning the Garden of England into a patio.”Conservative former cabinet minister Chris Grayling told the government he could not support the housing algorithm, claiming the approach is “wrong”.“The reality is if we go ahead with a housing approach of the kind the government is setting out in this algorithm, what it will do is it will continue to suck economic growth, the brightest and best people in our society and opportunity into the south-east of England – exactly the opposite to what this country actually needs to achieve,” he said.Consultation on the government’s White Paper on the reforms is due to end this month and MPs think legislation is likely in the new year.Housing minister Chris Pincher assured MPs that their concerns would be reflected on “very carefully”.“I am especially mindful that honourable members are concerned about geographic imbalance – concerns about too many homes in the south and not enough in the Midlands and the north,” he said.“Equally, I recognise anxieties about what these changes might mean for our countryside in contrast to our urban areas.”“I want to reassure the House that through this consultation process we are committed to addressing any supposed imbalances.”The prime minister’s official spokesperson said he had not heard May’s remarks but said: “Unnecessary delays to the planning system are stopping us from building a better Britain.“We must reform the planning system to cut red tape and make the system faster while ensuring councils and local people can decide where developments should and shouldn’t go.”Related... 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No one should be latching on to a 15-year-old's speculations about the White House Covid-19 outbreak.
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