You are browsing the archive for 2018 March 10.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Trump May Be Rude, but That Doesn't Make Him a Tyrant

March 10, 2018 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Donald Trump’s critics, both here and abroad, increasingly
compare his treatment of journalistic critics with that of
Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or even
Joseph Stalin. Writing in the Financial Times, Gideon
Rachman contends that “it is the similarities in
the Trump and Erdogan approaches to the media and the courts that
should be most chilling for Americans.” A Der Spiegel
editorial likewise asserts that “Donald Trump and Recep
Tayyip Erdogan demand reverence rather than truthfulness, and both
are mounting dangerous attacks on the free press.”

Those inflammatory takes are mild, though, compared to the
allegations that Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake made during
a January 17, 2018, floor speech. Flake accused the Trump White
House of conducting “an unrelenting daily assault on the
constitutionally protected free press.” He added:
“‘The enemy of the people’ was what the president
of the United States called the free press in 2017. [I]t is a
testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president
uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his
enemies.” An October 2017 editorial by CNN’s editor-at-large Chris
Cillizza also embraced the rationale that by labeling his
journalistic opponents the enemy of the people, Trump had
“issued a direct threat to the free and independent

Such over-the-top rhetoric borders on hysteria. Trump certainly
has a thin skin when it comes to criticism and has made ugly,
sometimes personally insulting, comments toward his critics in the
press. But there is a vast difference between denigrating the media
and displaying abrasive, even boorish, behavior and trampling a
free press. Comparing Trump’s actions to those of a genocidal
psychopath like Stalin is especially preposterous and disgusting.
Even equating the president’s behavior toward the media with
Erdogan’s mounting repression is inappropriate.

Even before the abortive July 2016 coup attempt (which may well
have been a false-flag operation to justify already planned
additional repressive measures), Erdogan’s actions posed a
clear and present danger to freedom of the press in Turkey. His
government routinely harassed and imprisoned journalists and other
critics. In the week leading up to the country’s crucial
national elections in November 2015, authorities seized television stations operated by
opponents of the regime. The government then transferred ownership
to Erdogan allies, who spent the final days before the election
inundating the airwaves with “news”
stories and editorials praising the president and his political

Erdogan’s treatment of the press has become even worse
since the July 2016 incident. In October of that year, he closed
fifteen opposition media outlets. Human Rights
Watch issued a December 2016 …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Trump’s Freaky Week: Tough-Guy Tariffs, a Porn Star and a Strange Bromance with North Korea

March 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

Trickster demon Donald Trump had one hell of a week.

If Donald Trump had been sent to Earth by a malicious deity to expose human hypocrisy in its many forms, like a trickster demon out of the mythological past, I’m not sure he could be doing a better job. Indeed, that might be a more convincing explanation than any others we have available, and it conforms neatly with Neil deGrasse Tyson’s 50/50 proposition that our universe is actually a computer simulationdesigned by a superior civilization.

This week alone we have seen Trump reintroduce tariffs — a seemingly antique mechanism viewed with dread by both economists and history students — halfway admit to having cheated on his current wife with a porn star, and agree in principle to a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. None of those things would have seemed conceivable under any other president, let alone all of them happening at the same time. But the weirdness actually goes deeper than that: Those actions taken individually are puzzling and difficult to evaluate, except insofar as they defy conventional wisdom, which seems to be Trump’s guiding principle. Taken together, they do not remotely add up to a coherent picture of this person or his presidency.

Over the past year or so I’ve frequently used this space to grasp for larger strands of meaning in the Trump presidency, which can often feel like a doomed or quixotic task. Trump is waging a war against reality or a war against meaning; or he is a leading figure in the Western world's war against itself. Whatevs! None of us will live long enough to fully understand this historical moment in America, and even to frame the question that way assumes a rational and orderly universe that can be understood, something that can no longer be taken for granted. Do events have consequences? Does history proceed from causes to effects? Trump himself might pronounce such airy-fairy notions to be “FAKE NEWS!”

One of my operating assumptions all along has been that none of the most obvious explanations for the Trump …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Putin Claims ‘Jews’ Could be Behind U.S. Election Meddling

March 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Agence France-Presse

U.S. intelligence chiefs says Russia still seeks to meddle in American elections.


President Vladimir Putin suggested in a US television interview that Ukrainians, Tatars or “Jews,” could have meddled in the 2016 US presidential election — but not the Kremlin. “Why have you decided the Russian authorities, myself included, gave anybody permission to do this?” Putin asked in the often-combative interview with NBC television. The leading US intelligence… Read the rest of this entry →

Avatar of admin

by admin

WATCH: Mississippi Police Chief Gets Caught Smoking Weed

March 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Phillip Smith, AlterNet

And now he's the ex-chief.

The man who described himself on video as “the only chief of police in Lumberton that likes to smoke weed” is now out of a job after that video, which indeed shows him admittedly smoking marijuana, was shown on a local television station.

Lumberton, Mississippi, Police Chief Shane Flynt had been suspended after the video emerged, and on Tuesday, the Lumberton Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to accept his resignation.

Mayor Quincy Rogers wanted Flynt fired, but the board instead accepted his resignation, with Alderwoman Audrey Davis saying the board wanted to give Flynt a chance at another opportunity.

It's unclear when the video was recorded, although Christmas music can at times be heard in the background, and the red-eyed police chief makes a reference to a red-nosed reindeer.

In a statement on Facebook, Flynt said that his wife had filmed him inside his home and that he had made “a huge mistake.”

Under Mississippi law, if Flynt had been caught with the weed he was smoking, he would not have been charged with a criminal offense, but would have faced a civil violation and a $250 ticket. Mississippi has decriminalized the possession of up to 30 grams. Possession of any amount greater than 30 grams (a little more than an ounce), is a felony.

Here's the video from WDAM-TV:

Related Stories

…read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Meet the Democratic 'Dirty Dozen' Working to Gut Financial Reforms

March 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Marshall Auerback, AlterNet

Click here for reuse options!

This act of regulatory vandalism highlights everything that is corrupt about our political system.

As if to maximize the possibility of another major financial crisis, the Trump administration and the GOP have recently been busy undercutting the limited safeguards established a decade ago via Dodd-Frank. The latest example of this stealth attack on Wall Street reform is the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, appropriately sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Appropriate, because this is literally a “crapo” bill. It provides a few “technical tweaks” to Dodd-Frank in the same way in which protection payouts to organized crime provide businesses with “insurance” against property damage. In reality, it is an act of regulatory vandalism, which highlights everything that is corrupt about our political system.

We have grown to expect no less from the GOP, whose sole raison d’etre these days seems to be filling the trough from which America’s fat cats can perpetually gorge themselves. What is truly disturbing, however, is that the Republican effort is being given bipartisan cover by more than a dozen Democratic senators: Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both from Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Chris Coons (Del.), and Tom Carper of Delaware. To this esteemed group, we should also add Senator Angus King (ME), an Independent who regularly caucuses with the Democrats. So, in reality, it’s a filibuster-proof “Baker’s Dirty Dozen.” Digging into the details, perhaps this is what Senator Mitch McConnell had in mind when he predicted more bipartisanship in Congress this year. In co-sponsoring this bill, the 13 senators are providing cover for the GOP when …read more