You are browsing the archive for 2018 May 07.

Avatar of admin

by admin

'Michael Cohen Is Going to Flip': Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Explains Trump and Giuliani's Desperate Legal Strategy

May 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“They know what's coming next,” Michael Avenatti said.


Michael Avenatti said Monday that Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump's most recent legal strategy can only be explained as an attempt to get ahead of damaging information that they know is coming out soon.

“What we've witnessed over the last four to five days has been their effort to get out in front of a story that they lost track of,” he said to Ari Melber on MSNBC's “The Beat.” 

Avenatti, who represents Stephanie Clifford (better known as Stormy Daniels) in her lawsuit against the president over a hush money agreement that was designed to keep her silent about an alleged affair she had with Trump, said, ”They know what's coming next.”

He was referring to the recent media blitz by Giuliani, who recently came on board the president's legal team, in which he undermined Trump's claims not to have known about the hush money payment to Clifford and raised a host of other legal issues for the president. 

“What's coming next is evidence that we have, and evidence that I'm sure is in the hands of law enforcement by way of the FBI raids, and by way of the fact that [Trump's attorney] Michael Cohen is going to flip on the president,” Avenatti said.

If any of this evidence or testimony proves that the president did know about the payment to Daniels, Trump and his lawyer may have figured it was best to come out and make that admission ahead of time. But Giuliani's appearances and statements have been so contradictory and muddled that it's hard to see how they could have done any good for the president's legal standing.

Watch the clip below:

Related Stories

Avatar of admin

by admin

Melania Trump Just Released a Pamphlet to Combat Cyber Bullying—The Content Is Copied Verbatim from Obama's

May 7, 2018 in Blogs

By AlterNet

She released a pamphlet that was mostly a verbatim copy.


First Lady Melania Trump released a booklet of “lessons” for children about online behavior as part of her new “Be Best” campaign.

The campaign is intended to “encourage positive social, emotional, and physical habits,” while the booklet released today offers tips about to “help kids act thoughtfully and kindly.”

While the most helpful way to encourage positive online behavior would be banning her husband from Twitter, the pamphlet is inoffensive.

There's only one problem: the Trump administration didn't make it. President Barack Obama's FTC is responsible for almost all of the content. Even the imagery is copy-pasted.

The only difference between the two pamphlets is reportedly the intro.

See a screenshot below via The Rude Pundit.

 

Trump previously received criticism for copying lines from a speech delivered by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Here's Why Baby Boomers Are Getting Divorced

May 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Jocelyn Crowley, Aeon

The reasons are surprisingly old-fashioned.


At first, Kathy, 53 years old, spoke to me calmly, but as the minutes ticked away, her voice started to crack. Her husband had a long-standing problem with alcohol. The couple, married for more than 25 years, had one son, and tried to keep the marriage together by seeing a therapist. But there came a decisive moment when she could no longer keep the relationship going. She told me: I discovered a hotel receipt and went and counselled with our priest at that point. [The hotel receipt] was for the Oriental Fantasy suite at [this hotel] at 11 o’clock on a Tuesday morning and I’m quite certain I wasn’t there at the time.’ At that point, she knew that her marriage was over.

Kathy experienced a mid-life or what is also known as a ‘grey divorce’. A grey divorce is simply a divorce that occurs at or after the age of 50. Even though the divorce rate across all age groups has stabilised, the number of grey divorces in the United States has recently dramatically increased. Currently, about one out of every four divorces is grey.

What has caused this dramatic surge in grey divorces? First has simply been the ageing of the Baby Boomer generation. In 1990, there were only 63.5 million Americans aged 50 and older, but by 2010, there were 99 million in this same age group. By 2050, the US Census Bureau predicts that there will be 158.5 million individuals aged 50 and over. In addition to the growth in absolute numbers of such individuals, life expectancy has mostly continued to tick upwards. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 1950, men could be expected to live, on average, 65.6 years, while women could be expected to live 71.1 years, on average. By 2016, these ages had increased to 76.1 and 81.1, respectively. Both of these factors have worked to expose ever-greater numbers of couples to the possibility of a grey divorce.

But perhaps the most interesting part …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Historic Presidential Affairs That Never Made it To the Tabloids

May 7, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

Reading about the president’s sex life is still a pretty new phenomenon. Americans first experienced it in the 1990s, when the cover-up of Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky—and Clinton’s subsequent impeachment trial—became a huge news story.

“Until Bill Clinton … there had not been coverage of any infidelity on the part of a sitting president in the mainstream press,” says Alison Dagnes, a political science professor at Shippensburg University and editor of Sex Scandals in American Politics.

Before then, journalists didn’t report on presidential affairs because they didn’t consider them newsworthy. Even if a president’s affairs were well-known to his friends, staffers, and journalists, Dagnes says the public didn’t learn about them until “after the president was out of office, most of the time after the president was long dead.”

Nan Britton, the woman who had an affair with President Warren G. Harding and publisher of the book “The President’s Daughter,” shown with her daughter on the right. (Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

Warren Harding had a secret daughter—and a favorite closet

Following the death of Warren G. Harding, a president who only served two years in office before dying of heart attack in 1923, his mistress Nan Britton released a juicy tell-all book. This is when the public learned of the president’s supposed predilection for having sex in a White House coat closet.

Britton, who was 31 years Harding’s junior, had met him in his home state of Ohio when she was a teenager and he was running U.S. Senate. In her book, The President’s Daughter, Britton revealed that she’d secretly had Harding’s daughter, Elizabeth Ann, and also that they’d probably conceived on Harding’s Senate office couch. Harding’s relatives disputed this all the way up until 2015, when a DNA test showed that Harding’s grandniece and grandnephew were second cousins with Britton’s great-grandson—proving that Elizabeth Ann was indeed his daughter (but still leaving open the question of whether it happened on the couch).

Still, that isn’t even the most surprising detail about Harding’s sex life to surface in the 21st century. In 2014, a series of racy love letters between Harding and another mistress, Carrie Fulton Phillips, were finally unsealed. His family had fought …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Giuliani Apparently Blindsided the State Department and Meddled in North Korean Diplomacy at a Crucial Time

May 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Giuliani said three U.S. captives in North Korea would be released, but it hasn't happened.


In addition to throwing President Donald Trump's legal strategy into chaos last week. former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani also bizarrely dipped his toe into foreign policy by announcing the imminent release of three American prisoners by the Kim regime in North Korea.

Despite Giuliani's announcement, though, no official plans for such a release have yet been announced. On Monday, the State Department distanced itself from Giuliani, NBC News reported. 

Giuliani “speaks for himself and not on behalf of the administration on foreign policy,” department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

Over the weekend, Giuliani also boldly said that Trump is “committed to” regime change in Iran.

As one of the newest members of Trump's personal legal team — meaning he's not a White House or government employee — Giuliani was criticized for trying to speak about diplomatic relations with the Kim regime. His odd choice to try speaking on behalf of the U.S. government comes at a particularly crucial time between the two countries, with negotiations for a forthcoming meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un currently underway. 

With Giuliani going off script on apparently simple matters such as when the president knew about a single hush money payment, it's unclear what advantage there would be to having him speak about diplomatic efforts with nuclear-armed foreign powers. But perhaps Trump, who is known to shoot from the hip rhetorically, appreciates Giuliani's unpredictable nature.

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

American Traitor Oliver North Will Become the New NRA President

May 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Hunter, Daily Kos

Yes, the Iran-Contra scandal one.


Imagine the thought process that went into the decision to elevate one of the most notorious criminal actors in modern Republicanism to a top spot in the National Rifle Association.

Oliver North, for you youthful types, was a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, a Reagan administration scheme to smuggle arms to Iran in violation of American law, funneling the secret proceeds to Nicaraguan rebels—also in violation of American law. He was convicted for destroying evidence and obstructing the resulting congressional inquiry, convictions which were overturned after courts ruled that Congress had given him immunity from those prosecutions. For these acts of treason, he was and is widely feted by conservative Reagan loyalists who believe that presidents and their White House staff members should be able to violate whichever of the nation’s laws they feel inclined to.

So yes, that's precisely the figurehead the National Rifle Association needs: a man who betrayed his country, waving a gun around and demanding everyone else do the same. He’s a man who represents the new conservative celebration of lawlessness in service to Republican political power. What better spokesman for the National Rifle Association, a group devoted to the notion that their members may someday be obliged to not merely disobey the American government, but murder those that represent it?

North will no doubt be soon joined by the pardoned Joe Arpaio, and half the Bundy Ranch gang, and each of the Russian hackers under indictment for 2016 propaganda efforts. It doesn't matter if you break the law, so long as it's in service to the conservative ideas of the moment. Perhaps Rep. Devin Nunes can join them as well, after he has done his level best to leak whatever aspects of the Russia investigation he can pry out of Justice Department leaders. They can have a big ol' gun-waving …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

What This Term's SCOTUS Decisions Reveal About Neil Gorsuch

May 7, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

The Supreme Court is on a record slow pace for deciding cases this term,
leading to speculation that the justices are having a hard time
incorporating their newest colleague, Neil Gorsuch. Of course, the
real issue is more likely to be that, after an eight-justice year
when the court shied away from particularly difficult issues, the
justices have a slew of controversial cases on their hands, ranging
from compelled support of unions to compelled baking of wedding
cakes, to sports gambling to partisan gerrymandering to the travel
ban.

Regardless, we can actually discern quite a bit about the
court’s internal dynamic from the lower-profile opinions that
come down while we await those big cases. Indeed, it’s often
the cases with less political valence where the justices can
“nerd out” on legal theories and reveal their
jurisprudential minds when they know their decisions won’t
make the front pages.

Such was the case where a series of recent decisions teased out
differences between justices Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas. In
Gorsuch’s first (abbreviated) term, these two were together
on all the cases they heard together, leading some observers to
wonder whether the new justice was less like the man he replaced,
Antonin Scalia, and more like the most court’s most
conservative member.

Gorsuch and Thomas actually diverged several times this
term—on the early statistics, Gorsuch is closer to Chief
Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, but the last two
weeks of April really showed the variance in their approaches.
While both are originalists and textualists, with a deep devotion
to constitutional text, structure, and history, they sometimes come
out differently when the law is unclear. That’s not
particularly surprising to anyone who’s been following the
relevant legal debates, but it should give pause to anyone who
thinks that “originalism” is code for conservative
policy results.

Gorsuch thus seems to be
following in Scalia’s footsteps by expressing skepticism of
government power in ways that often redound to the benefit of
criminal defendants.

First, in Sessions v. Dimaya, Gorsuch provided
the deciding vote—joining the liberals, but not their
reasoning—to strike down a part of the immigration law that
establishes deportable offenses. The statute at issue specified
that even a lawful permanent resident must be deported if he
commits certain crimes, some that were specifically listed and the
rest covered by a general “crime of violence,” defined
as “any other offense that is a felony and that, by its
nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the
person or property of another may be used in the course of
committing the offense.”

Gorsuch found that catch-all to be unconstitutionally vague,
because prosecuting someone under …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Scott Pruitt’s Science Legacy

May 7, 2018 in Economics

By Patrick J. Michaels, Terence Kealey

Patrick J. Michaels and Terence Kealey

While Scott Pruitt’s tenure as EPA administrator is
uncertain, no matter what is ultimately resolved, he will leave a
giant legacy with regard to EPA science.

Pruitt has introduced three major new guidelines. The first,
from last October, is to rid the Agency’s Science Advisory
Boards of conflicts of interest. The second, from last month, is
— when basing regulations on science — to use only
science that allows access to its underlying data and methods. The
third, and most recent, is to use only science that can be
replicated and that is based upon realistic model design.

The conflict of interest dictum has provoked a kerfluffle that
is clearly overblown. If a researcher is funded by EPA to study
putatitive harm from, say, airborne fine particulate matter, it
stands to reason that, if asked, such a researcher will say that it
should be a high priority for EPA to fund more research in this
area. Contrary to the assertion, in Sciencemagazine, that this
will “significantly and adversely affect the quality of the
scientific advice” the EPA receives, Pruitt’s guideline
applies only to recipients of EPA funds. A number of federal
agencies, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
or the National Science Foundation, fund research in environmental
science, and EPA will have no problem with such funded individuals
advising it.

Writing in Grist, Eric Holthaus thought Pruitt’s ban on
EPA-funded scientists would result in more representation from
industry-based scientists. If it did, what’s wrong with that?
Industry scientists are often necessary discriminators of
scientific validity, when they develop technologies following on
from scientific discovery. In the words of University of
Arizona’s David Sarewitz, “technology keeps science
honest.” Having industry people with practical expertise
advising the agency seems rather a good idea.

And what is the problem with allowing other researchers access
to data and methods? More and more scientific journals now require
this as a condition of publication, because science that
can’t be checked isn’t science at all.

Then there is the question of replication. Brian Nosek of
University of Virginia found that nearly two-thirds of a sample of
100 papers in experimental psychology could not be replicated.
Without skepticism about reproducibility, it is easy to see how bad
science can become institutionalized. Paul Smaldino and Richard
McElreath demonstrated as much in the journal Royal Society Open
Science in an article titled “The Natural Selection of Bad
Science.” They cite the pressure to publish supercedes
concerns over scientific rigor — specifically, that
researchers increasingly select “methods of analysis … to
further publication rather than discovery.”

If “bad science” is now a product of selective
pressures, then it’s not much of …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Why We Need to Stop Subsidizing Public Transit

May 7, 2018 in Economics

By Randal O’Toole

Randal O’Toole

Public transit cost federal, state and local taxpayers more than
$50 billion in 2016 — nearly $5 in subsidies every time
someone boarded a transit vehicle. Yet transit ridership has been
declining since 2014, and although some might attribute this to
telework or a general decline in the reliability of transit
services, it’s thanks in large part to the success of competitors
such as Uber, Lyft and Chariot.

This has led many to wring their hands over the future of public
transit. In fact, we should be happy to see it go as it is
obsolete, needlessly expensive and provides no significant
environmental or social benefits.

A little over 50 years ago, urban transit was mostly private and
mostly profitable. But in 1964, in the face of declining ridership
and concerns about the industry’s long-term financial viability,
Congress offered federal subsidies to cities and states that took
over private transit companies. Within a decade, all but a handful
of transit companies had been “municipalized.”

It’s obsolete and costs
taxpayers billions, yet its ridership and productivity continue to
decline.

Those subsidies, along with those provided by states and local
governments, failed to boost ridership or stabilize the industry.
What followed instead was a dramatic decline in transit’s
productivity by any measure. The number of annual riders carried
per transit employee has dropped by more than 50 percent, according
to data from the American Public Transit Association. Operating and
capital costs have grown more than twice as fast as fare
revenues.

Adjusted for inflation, the same data show that subsidies to
transit by all levels of government have totaled well over $1.1
trillion since 1964, but these subsidies haven’t benefitted either
cities or transit riders. In 1964, the average urban resident took
more than 60 transit trips a year. Preliminary data for 2017
indicate that this has fallen to 37 trips per year, the lowest
level in recorded history.

Subsidy supporters say transit helps low-income people get to
work, but census data show that only about 4 percent of American
workers live in households that lack cars, and a majority of them
don’t commute by transit. Nor are claims that transit saves energy
and reduces pollution true. In 2016, transit used about 10 percent
more energy per passenger mile than the average car and only
slightly less than the average light truck. Both transit and cars
emit about the same amount of greenhouse gases per passenger mile.
People who care about energy or climate change would do better to
drive a plug-in hybrid than to take transit.

The latest argument for transit is that it promotes economic
development. While some studies …read more

Source: OP-EDS