Miami (AFP) - Hundreds of attorneys and volunteers from the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Joe Biden have deployed to Florida polling stations to make sure votes for their candidates are respected, as record numbers of people cast ballots early.Tensions are especially high as fear about the coronavirus and violence at polling stations is compounded by Florida's history of contested elections that have ended in recounts or even court battles.Florida, where Republican Trump and Democrat Biden are practically tied, accounts for 29 crucial electoral votes, with 270 needed to win the US...
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U.S. Senator-elect John Fetterman on Friday announced two key staff hires for his office on Friday, including tapping the author of a book calling for the abolishment of the arcane Senate filibuster to be his next chief of staff.
The Pennsylvania Democrat said in a statement that he has hired Adam Jentleson to oversee his D.C. office as chief of staff and that longtime party operative and labor organizer Joseph Pierce will be his state director.
A veteran of the Senate who served under former Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Jentleson also wrote the 2021 book, Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern State and the Crippling of American Democracy, which examines Senate rules that powerful interests have exploited to obstruct progressive legislation with overwhelming majority support among the American public.
Throughout the first two years of the Biden administration, Jentleson was a key voice calling for Senate reforms to enact pressing priorities.
When Republicans blocked an effort in the Senate in May of 2021 to establish an official inquiry into the January 6 insurrection, Jentleson, then serving as executive director of the advocacy group Battle Born Collective, said it would be a "dereliction of duty" for Democrats not to reform the chamber's rules to push the measure through.
"There is no longer any question about whether Republicans will put country over party—it is clear to anyone with eyes to see that they will not," Jentleson said at the time. "The only question that remains is whether Democrats will take the steps necessary to protect our democracy, and end the filibuster."
On the campaign trail ahead of the midterm elections, Fetterman repeatedly vowed to support the end of the filibuster in the Senate if it would allow for key legislation to pass on gun control, labor protections, abortion rights, or voting access.
At a September rally with voters, Fetterman denounced the U.S. Supreme Court ruling destroying the abortion rights and said, "Send me to D.C. and you will know I will be there to be that vote to scrap the filibuster and codify Roe v. Wade."
While Jentleson has been spearheading Fetterman's transition team since winning in Pennsylvania against Republican Mehmet Oz, Pierce served as statewide political director on the winning campaign.
"Joe and Adam are the best in their fields and I am honored that they have both accepted key staff positions for my office," Fetterman said in a statement on Friday.
"It will be invaluable to have a veteran of the Senate and a veteran of state politics in these key positions as we serve the people of Pennsylvania," he added. "Between Adam's deep understanding of the Senate and Joe's wealth of knowledge and experience serving the people of our commonwealth, I am confident that my office will be ready to fight and deliver for the people of Pennsylvania on day one."
Failed California gubernatorial candidate and current Fox News contributor Caitlyn Jenner said on Friday that she didn't blame anyone for being offended by Kanye West's overt praise of Adolf Hitler, but she nonetheless wished him well.
During an appearance on Fox News, Jenner, who is an adoptive parent of West's ex-wife Kim Kardashian, emphasized that she believed West was going through a rough period, which has contributed to his outbursts in which he attacked "the Jewish media" for supposedly trying to make Nazis look bad.
"I've known, obviously, Kanye for a very long time, he's always been very, very good to me," she began. "And I just wish him well."
Jenner was then asked if she'd been in contact with West recently, and she replied that she hadn't spoken with him in the last few months.
"He's got challenges and I just hope him the best," she said. "He's always been very good, he's been a nice guy when I've been around him!"
Jenner acknowledged that something appears amiss with West, but she quickly added that she had to be "very careful" when discussing "family stuff."
Watch the video below or at this link.
\u201cCaitlyn Jenner offers Kanye West well wishes after he praised Hitler and Nazis on Thursday and posted a series of offensive antisemitic tweets:\n\n\u201cHe\u2019s a really nice guy \u2026 Kanye is Kanye.\u201d\u201d— The Recount (@The Recount) 1669996688
France marks next week the 80th anniversary of a daring World War II raid by British Royal Marines, who slipped past German patrols up the Gironde estuary to mine crucial supply ships.
Dubbed "The Cockleshell Heroes" in a 1950s book and film after their tiny canvas-and-plywood boats, the 10-man infiltration team set off on "Operation Frankton" on December 7, 1942.
Faces blackened against detection, they slipped from a submarine near the entrance to the estuary for a 100-kilometre (60-mile) moonlight paddle trek that would take several nights to complete, resting on the banks by day.
Their mission was to sink ships moored in the port of Bordeaux that had been running arms and raw materials between German and its ally Japan.
That objective complete, the commandos would then have to make their own way another 160 kilometers overland to a meeting with resistance fighters, who would smuggle them into Vichy France.
Historian Robert Lyman dubbed the attack "Operation Suicide" in a 2012 book.
Although young -- the men under the command of Major Herbert Hasler were mostly in their early 20s -- the unit scored a resounding success, blasting five ships in the early hours of December 12.
But only Hasler himself and his boat mate William Sparks made it home alive four months later, after fleeing on foot, by bicycle and on trains to Gibraltar.
'The Germans were everywhere'
Six members of the team died before even they even reached the target.
Two men, George Sheard and David Moffat, drowned off the French coast, with Sheard's body never found.
Swells capsized the boat of Samuel Wallace and Robert Ewart, who were captured and shot by the Germans -- as were John MacKinnon and James Conway, taken after their boat was holed near Bordeaux.
After the attack, French informants gave up Alfred Laver and William Mills to the occupiers as they were trying to make their way home. Their names are on a war memorial in the village of Montlieu-La-Garde.
Around 20 plaques around the region recall the commando raid, says Erik Poisneau, president of the Frankton Souvenir (Frankton Memory) association.
The attack was "a physical and nautical feat" pitting the marines against the natural forces of Europe's largest estuary, Poisneau says.
Although "the Germans were everywhere", it had been "unthinkable" for them that the Allies would even attempt such a raid, he adds.
For historian Sebastien Albertelli, the mission had a "psychological, propaganda dimension" for the British. It showed that London could "strike at the heart of the enemy forces" at a time when the tide of the war had yet to clearly turn.
'The chicken is tasty'
After placing their mines and scuttling their kayaks downstream, the exfiltration became "just as extraordinary as the mission itself," says Christophe Soulard, author of "Frankton: the Unbelievable Odyssey".
Navigating with map and compass with a few francs in their pockets, Hasler and Sparks crossed the river Charente. But while some locals welcomed them, others were hostile.
One farmer who put them up, Clodomir Pasqueraud, asked them to have the words "the chicken is tasty" broadcast on the BBC when they return -- code to let those who had helped them know they had made it back safely.
In one village, three people including a 16-year-old boy were sent to the concentration camps for helping the British commandos.
"They never came back," says Monique Babin, an expert on the operation who has become an associate member of Britain's Special Boat Service Association.
A restaurateur who put them up asked for another poultry-based BBC message -- "the two chickens have arrived" -- and both were transmitted in April 1943 after Hasler and Sparks were helped to Gibraltar by the "Marie-Claire" resistance network.
Neither man had fired a shot during the whole operation.
Known as "Blondie" for the color of his bushy mustache, Hasler became a well-known sport sailor, launching and competing in the first solo transatlantic race.
Having joined up to avenge his brother's death in combat, Sparks became a trolleybus driver after the war, but fell on hard times and had to sell his medals at auction.
© 2022 AFP