You are browsing the archive for 2018 March 17.

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Mueller Is Already in Possession of McCabe’s Bombshell Private Memos on Trump Meetings: Wall Street Journal

March 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Bob Brigham, Raw Story

McCabe had already turned over the memos to the special counsel.

Special counsel Robert Mueller already has in his possession the contemporaneous memos written by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. 

A “person close to Trump” told the Journal that McCabe has already turned over the memos to the special counsel.

Following earlier reports Saturday on the memos' existence, Trump lashed out at McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey.

Comey replied with a warning for the White House.

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Robert Reich: The Menace of Mad King Donald

March 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Robert Reich,

An unconstrained Trump could order an attack on North Korea, precipitating a nuclear war.

Trump is moving into a new and more dangerous phase.

Before, he was constrained by a few “adults” – Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, and John Kelly – whom he appointed because he thought they had some expertise he lacked.

Now he’s either fired or is in the process of removing the adults. He’s replacing them with a Star Wars cantina of toadies and sycophants who will reflect back at him his own glorious view of himself, and help sell it on TV.

Narcissists are dangerous because they think only about themselves. Megalomaniacs are dangerous because they think only about their power and invincibility. A narcissistic megalomaniac who’s unconstrained – and who’s also president of the United States – is about as dangerous as they come.

The man who once said he could shoot someone dead on Fifth Avenue and still be elected president now openly boasts of lying to the Canadian Prime Minister, deciding on his own to negotiate mano a mano with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, unilaterally slapping tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, and demanding the death penalty for drug dealers.

For weeks, Trump has been pulling big policy pronouncements out of his derriere and then leaving it up to the White House to improvise explanations and implementation plans.

“Trump is increasingly flying solo,” reports the Associated Press’ Catherine Lucey and Jonathan Lemire. “Trump has told confidants recently that he wants to be less reliant on his staff, believing they often give bad advice, and that he plans to follow his own instincts, which he credits with his stunning election.”

Trump has always had faith in his instincts. “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things,” he said on the campaign trail. ”I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right,“ he told Time Magazine last year.

But instincts aren’t facts, logic, or analysis. And it’s one thing for a business tycoon or even a presidential candidate to rely on instincts, quite another for the leader of the free world …read more


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27 Women Who Have Accused Donald Trump of Sexual Misconduct

March 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Liz Posner, AlterNet

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From sexual harassment to rape, the accusations are more numerous than you think.

“Nobody has more respect for women than Donald Trump!” the president claimed on Twitter in early 2016, after several news organizations published accounts that he had harassed and belittled women throughout his career. After hearing him boast in his own words about “grabbing women by the pussy” a few months later, it became easy to see how the scores of women who have come forward with stories of abuse by Trump fit into a sinister pattern. With his online bullying and sexual harassment of prominent women, Trump has made it clear to the general public that his claims of respecting women are counterfeit.

In January, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand renewed the numerous accusations against Trump when she called for a public hearing for all of the women to talk about their experiences. Before the news cycle pushes these stories to the background, it’s worth revisiting the full range of grievances against Trump, which range from sexual harassment—including asking beauty pageant contestants to rate one another's appearances—to full-on rape.

1. Jessica Leeds

Leeds told the New York Times she was traveling for business in the late-'70s when Trump, who was sitting next to her on the flight, reached his hand up her skirt. “He was like an octopus. His hands were everywhere,” Leeds said.

2. Barbara Res

Res worked for Trump as the executive vice president of the Trump Organization throughout the '80s, and recalls regularly hearing him objectify women. The Times writes:

“Ms. Res, his construction executive, remembered a meeting in which she and Mr. Trump interviewed an architect for a project in the Los Angeles area. Out of the blue, she said, Mr. Trump evaluated the fitness of …read more


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New Book Unmasks Hidden History of How U.S. Corporations Gained Legal Personhood and Civil Rights

March 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

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Corporations have fought a long battle to win rights once granted only to individuals.

American corporate power has never been stronger. It’s not just the Trump administration’s crusade to gut government regulation; the federal courts have increasingly been granting corporations liberty rights once held only by individuals. In his new book, We The Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights, UCLA constitutional law professor Adam Winkler traces the history of how corporate America has successfully waged a civil rights movement on its own behalf since the country’s earliest decades. AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld spoke to Winkler. 

Steven Rosenfeld: Tell us why you are so interested in informing people about how corporations got their legal rights.

Adam Winkler: In recent years, the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have freedom of speech, in Citizens United, and religious liberty, in the Hobby Lobby case. I sought to find out: How did corporations win our most fundamental rights? In school, we learn about civil rights, and women’s rights, even state’s rights, but never corporate rights. I was shocked to discover when I looked into it that, like women and minorities, corporations have fought since America’s earliest days to win equal rights under the Constitution. And they use those rights to fight off business regulations designed to protect the public.

SR: Yes, we have certainly seen that today. But did it start that way? Or did it turn into that?

AW: Corporations have always used constitutional rights to strike down regulation. Corporations seek rights to fight back against business regulation. Even when laws are passed to protect consumers and investors and the public at large, rights can be used in court to challenge those laws. It’s not just a new thing. The first Supreme Court case on …read more


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'Like He Didn't Exist': Texas Paper Edits Grieving Gay Son's Husband out of Mom's Obituary

March 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, Raw Story

Newspaper publisher claims he can't publish anything “contrary to God's word.”

A local newspaper in Texas removed references to a gay couple in one of the men's mother’s obituary, citing “religious and ethical reasons,” Fox News 4 reports.

Barry Giles and John Gambill, who have been married for 31 years, say the Olto, Texas, paper scrubbed references to Gambill after Giles’ mom died. The couple had included both their names in the obituary they sent to Giles’ hometown paper, writing “those left to cherish her memory include her son, Barry Giles and his husband, John Gambill of Dallas.”

The decision left the couple distraught.

“It wiped John completely off the picture like he didn’t exist,” Giles said.

“She’s like my second mom, you know,” Gambill told Fox News 4.

“We’re human beings like anyone else,” Giles said. “We have feelings. We have relationships, whether he agrees with them or not.”

Gambill said he confronted Phillip Hamilton, the newspaper publisher, asking why his name was excluded from his mother-in-law's obituary. Hamilton replied, ”Because I wanted to.”

“Of course, I had a few choice words to say to him,” Gambill told Fox News 4.

In a statement, Hamilton defended his decision to leave out Gambill’s name and relationship to Giles.

“It is my religious conviction that a male cannot have a husband,” Hamilton said. “It is also my belief that to publish anything contrary to God’s Word on this issue would be to publish something in the newspaper that is not true.”

“The newspaper respects the First Amendment rights of those who express such opinions,” Hamilton said. “The newspaper’s decision to edit the obituary is both ethical and lawful. It would be unethical to publish a news item that is known by the editor to be false. Based on the truth found in the Word of God, I could not in good conscience identify Mr. Gambill as the husband of Mr. Giles.”

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The VA Is the Closest Thing We Have to Single Payer—Now Trump Wants to Privatize It

March 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Bryce Covert, In These Times

The VA has problems, but more “vouchers to veterans” won't help.

Aaron Hughes, who was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in 2003 and 2004, now has a serious, very rare lung condition. But he told In These Times he gets “really outstanding care” at the nearby Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. “The doctors are at the top of their class,” he said.

Because his condition is so rare, Hughes has been sent to a hospital outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for specific tests. And his taste of the private healthcare system has been sour. “As soon as I went there, all hell broke loose,” he said, explaining there were problems with sharing records between the two institutions. “With the VA system, when you do tests, it’s all integrated.” Every doctor Hughes sees is aware of all the other treatment he gets, from vision to mental health. The private hospitals, on the other hand, often refuse to send the records back to the VA. “The private sector isn’t about sharing your information,” Hughes explained. “It’s not about healthcare, it’s about ownership of care.”

Hughes thinks these problems could get worse if efforts to fully privatize the VA are successful. President Donald Trump has supported privatizing the system, and has called to make permanent the Veterans Choice Program, an experiment Congress launched in 2014 that gives vouchers to veterans to see private doctors, while cutting other parts of the agency. These developments have provoked concerns that Trump will usher in a full private sector takeover. 

“I worry that my care will become a profit motive,” Hughes said. “And that means it’s not about me anymore, it’s about making money.”

Now Hughes’ organization, About Face: Veterans Against the War, has joined other veterans’ groups, unions and healthcare advocates to launch a campaign to stop the privatization of the VA. After several months of building the coalition, the mobilization now includes Veterans for Peace, Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and National Nurses United. Healthcare advocacy groups including the Illinois Single Payer Coalition and the Democratic Socialists of America Healthcare Working Group …read more


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Republicans Prioritize Airline Employees' Poor Judgment With Pets Over Young People Dying From Gun Violence

March 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Gabrielle Gurley, The American Prospect

Animal welfare is important—and so is the safety of school kids.

On a day when American students and their supporters marched to demand stricter gun laws and to memorialize 17 people brutally killed at a Florida high school, the news broke that Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana intended to file an animal protection bill. The move came about 48 hours after the death of 10-month old puppy on a Houston to New York flight after United Airlines employees forced the owners to put the animal in an overhead bin.

His compassion for dogs is commendable. Yet Kennedy proposes to take zero action on the gun violence that kills schoolkids.

Animal welfare is an important issue. Few owners want to consign their pet to an airplane cargo hold if they can avoid it. Passengers take small pets on planes so they can be stowed safely under a seat. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal welfare advocacy group, said a certain measure of responsibility for this sad episode rests with the people transporting the pet. Most others faulted the crew for exercising poor judgment. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office (Houston is the county seat) has opened an investigation into the puppy's death.

Not content to let United, Harris County or the court of public opinion handle the issue, Kennedy stepped in with the Welfare Of Our Furry Friends Act, or WOOFF:

Kennedy’s motivation for swift action on the incident is unclear. (Louisiana Voice blogger Tom Aswell offered this insight about Kennedy in January, “Kennedy, in constant search of a …read more


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Study: Real News Tops Fake News (And Yes, This Is Real News)

March 17, 2018 in Economics

By David Kirby, Thomas Wood

David Kirby and Thomas Wood

If 2016 marked the arrival of “fake
news”—widely disseminated false news
stories—recent events have made clear that the threat is here
to stay. Recent European elections, including last week’s Italian elections, have been
rocked by patently untrue stories. A slew of similarly fabricated
stories is sure to hit U.S. shores ahead of the 2018 elections.
Some will come from malevolent foreign actors with political
motives. Others will come from shadowy companies just trying to
make a buck. Still others will come from trolls who delight in

Whatever their origin, there’s no doubt that fake news is
a serious problem. But all hope is not lost. It turns out that
there’s a simple way to get people to disbelieve the fake
news they encounter: Tell them the truth. Our research, forthcoming at the Journal of Experimental
Political Science
, makes clear that everyday people,
across the ideological spectrum, are willing to reject fake news
and accept a factual correction. When people who see a fake news
story are told that the story they’ve read is plainly wrong,
they reject the fake news story.

Indeed, this is even true when a fake story aligns with one’s
political beliefs. If you’re a conservative and you’re told that a
fake story flattering to conservatives was actually fabricated,
you’ll likely respond by conceding that the story is fake. The same
is true for liberals and independents. However, there’s one thing
that proof of fake news won’t do—get people to change their
political convictions.

mericans care about their
political parties, and they hold tightly to their political
beliefs. But they also like being accurate.

Here’s how our study worked. We recruited people to take a
survey and randomly assigned them to read a fake news story. All
the fake stories were taken from real life, and selected across the
political spectrum. Some were of recent vintage, such as the 2016
“Pizzagate” story, which claimed Democratic operatives
were operating a secret ring of pedophiles in a D.C.-area pizza
parlor. Others were older, such as allegations that President Obama
was not born in the United States.

We even took stories initially reported by mainstream news
outlets that were later revealed to be entirely inaccurate, such as
The Washington Post’s claim that the Russians had
infiltrated Vermont’s power grid. And we looked at fake
stories bubbling among conservative websites that credit President
Trump for false accomplishments, such as a crackdown on sex

After reading their story, some subjects were randomly assigned
to read a correction. This allows us to measure changes in opinion
over and above background knowledge of these …read more

Source: OP-EDS