Andrew Yang to Split the Dem Party?, Update your iPhone NOW (right. now.), California Governor's Wife Attempte to Bribe #MeToo Victims into Silence?, Al Qaeda is 100% Back (The Five for 09/14/21)

Hey, welcome to The Five.

Before we begin…this publication isn’t set up to regularly include reader feedback, but Matthew sent in such an incredible response to Friday’s issue that it had to be shared.

In response to the question of whether or not to take down the status of Robert E. Lee, Matthew sent me this clip from the classic TV show The Twilight Zone, which dealt with why Concentration Camps still stand in Europe.

There is an answer to the doctor's question. All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes – all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all, their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance, then we become the gravediggers. Something to dwell on and to remember, not only in the Twilight Zone but wherever men walk God's Earth.

Let’s get into the news.

[one]

Two seemingly unconnected events, I believe, pointed to a larger story just on the horizon.

Up first: according to a leak, former Democratic Presidential (and NYC Mayoral) candidate Andrew Yang is launching a new political party before the end of the year.

Politico reports:

Yang is expected to start the party in conjunction with the Oct. 5 release of his new book, "Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy."

It’s not clear what the name of Yang’s third party will be or how he plans to deploy it in 2022 or 2024. Yang and his team did not respond to requests for comment.

But the book’s publisher, Crown, did give some clues about the type of platform Yang may pursue. It writes that the book is an indictment of America’s “era of institutional failure” and will introduce “us to the various ‘priests of the decline’ of America, including politicians whose incentives have become divorced from the people they supposedly serve.”

The book is blurbed by businessperson Mark Cuban (“a vitally important book”) and The New York Times’ Kara Swisher (“Can there be another political party in the U.S.?...In Forward, Yang does not just give us a laundry list of intractable problems, but shows how we can find solutions if we think in new ways and summon the courage to do so.”)

At the same time, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is in a war of words with NYC rep AOC, who has repeatedly tried to primary more politically centric members of her own party, which kicked off when the freshman Congresswoman accused Machin of being at least partially responsible for “killing 12 people” in the Louisiana flooding.

(Note: the death toll didn’t rise to 12 until two days after this tweet, but AOC playing fast and loose with the facts is nothing new).

Manchin responded on CNN’s State of the Nation:

BASH: She’s not the only one. I’m sure you have heard. There are a number of your fellow Democrats who say that you’re opposed to this because you’re bought and paid for by corporate donors.

MANCHIN: I’m opposed to it — I’m opposed to it because it makes no sense at all. I just gave you the facts. I have said this. You’re entitled to your own facts — I mean, your own opinions. You’re just not entitled to create your own facts to support it. And that’s exactly what they’re doing. The facts that I have given you, the transition is happening, reliability. Look what happened in Texas. It was natural gas that basically shut down in Texas that caused all that horrible carnage of people. It was awful.

Manchin was referring to the fact that AOC is pushing for 100% renewable energy, which in it’s current stage of development, would lead to more deadly extended power outages. (More than 200 died in last winter’s Texas freeze, which Manchin could have blamed on windmills and AOC, but didn’t).

AOC, who’s quite crafty, avoided talk of debt or deaths in Texas, and instead “clapped back” at Manchin for calling her “young lady.” As much as I dislike AOC, I 100% support her on that one. An elected official deserves to be addressed properly, regardless of gender or age.

However, AOC was repeating her consistent pattern of behavior--if reality doesn’t align with her agenda, she ignores reality.

As “The Squad” continues to pull the Democratic party further towards socialism and radical policies, there’s a pretty clear path for a party civil war to break out. This would position Yang to lock arms with moderate players like Manchin, Arizona’s Krysten Sinema, former Democratic POTUS candidate Tulsi Gabbard and others who are on the left side of the aisle who seem to be dissatisfied with authoritarian tendencies of Dem leaders in the last few years.

If you’re wondering where the Republicans are in this story…they’re positioned squarely on the sidelines. The Democrats control the Presidency, House and Senate. Rather than running through a series of legislative goals, the Dems seem to be cracking at the seams, giving Yang’s longshot idea a fighting chance.

[two]

As a continuation to the first story of a Democratic Civil War (and split?) bubbling to the surface…A former advisor to President Obama (who also worked with VP Biden) ripped into President Biden this week in the pages of USA Today:

The past eight months have seen far too little attention paid to growing global threats. The White House has overemphasized the superficial and failed to make the necessary systematic changes after four destructive years of President Donald Trump.

Part of the problem has to do with personnel decisions. The White House has opted to pack political types into the most influential positions.

Indeed, there is only one career diplomat in a senior position on the National Security Council, the senior director for Africa. This is far fewer than under President Barack Obama. It means Sullivan and Biden are not getting advice from those with the most recent and relevant experience.

Things do not get much better at the State Department, where for the first time in a quarter century, a current career diplomat is not in one of the top three jobs. 

We can see the administration’s predilection for putting political appointees in national security positions in their choice of ambassadors. Biden has too often treated too many posts as political party favors, naming the well-to-do or the well-connected to places like Turkey, where diplomatic experience is normally a prerequisite.

Those appointments across the national security structure are a reflection of the arrogance that has accompanied the arrival of this team. They came in largely ignoring the worries and warnings of institutional experts on several major international issues.

I suspect Brett Bruen is correct, that we are setting ourselves up for major vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks as The Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS all re-emerge…but that’s something that can, grimly, only be proven after a terrorist attack has occurred.

What we can be sure of today is that a split between Biden and former Obama staffers is a strong sign the Democratic party is becoming sharply divided from top to bottom.

[three]

These stories are really flowing into each other today.

A major Al Qaeda leader, previously believed to be dead, has re-emerged, in an anti-Semitic, anti-American video on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

USA Today reports:

Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri appeared in a video marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, months after rumors spread that he was dead.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist websites, said the video was released Saturday. In it, al-Zawahri said that "Jerusalem Will Never be Judaized" and praised al-Qaida attacks, including one that targeted Russian troops in Syria in January.

SITE said al-Zawahri also noted the U.S. military's withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. It added that his comments do not necessarily indicate a recent recording, because the withdrawal agreement with the Taliban was signed in February 2020.

As the article states, it’s possible the video is old and al-Zawahri is dead…but regardless, Al Qaeda is coming back fast and furious to the global stage.

[four]

This week, Apple experienced one of the biggest breaches in the tech giant’s history, just hours from it’s biggest annual keynote.

The Street reports:

Apple suffered a significant security embarrassment late Monday, just hours ahead of its flagship product launch event in Cupertino, California, after an Israeli cyber surveillance company was linked to a method to hack into iPhones without any user interaction.

Apple, which confirmed the vulnerability late Monday, updated its iOS 14 operating system to close the hack loophole, which was first noted by the internet watchdog Citizen Lab and traced to Israel-based NSO Group. 

"After identifying the vulnerability used by this exploit for iMessage, Apple rapidly developed and deployed a fix in iOS 14.8 to protect our users," said Apple's head of security and engineering architecture Ivan Krstić. "Attacks like the ones described are highly sophisticated, cost millions of dollars to develop, often have a short shelf life, and are used to target specific individuals."

"While that means they are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users, we continue to work tirelessly to defend all our customers, and we are constantly adding new protections for their devices and data," Krstić added.

If you haven’t updated your iPhone yet, finish this newsletter and then update immediately.

[five]

Actress Rose McGowan, an early whistleblower and key player in the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the rise of the #MeToo movement, has accused California Governor Gavin Newsom’s wife of trying to buy her silence and drop the accusations against Weisnstein.

Business Insider reports:

McGowan said Jennifer Siebel Newsom contacted her in 2017, about six months before The New York Times published their bombshell report detailing decades of sexual harassment accusations against Weinstein.

McGowan said Jennifer Siebel Newsom called her on behalf of Weinstein's lawyer to ask what they could do "to make her happy," which she understood to be a bribe offer.

McGowan also shared a Twitter thread on Sunday detailing how she says her interactions with Jennifer Siebel Newsom unfolded.

At the press conference with Elder, McGowan also said she is no longer a Democrat, "because everyone who has harassed, stalked, and stolen from me in my time in Hollywood has been a Democrat," Weigel reported.

She said she does not agree with Elder, who is a Republican, on every issue, but that he is a "better candidate" and "better man" than Gavin Newsom.

She did not make any allegations about Gavin Newsom, who has a comfortable lead in the polls, during the press conference, according to Weigel.

It’s unclear as to what effect McGowan’s accusations will have on today’s California recall election, as the actress has not accused the Governor of any wrongdoing, only his wife.

Still, if even a small part of McGowan’s story can be verified, it’s proof of just how wide Weinstein’s web of powerful influencers who aided and abetted decades of sexual harassment and rape the Producer engaged in, with no legal consequences until 2018.

Until the next one,

-sth