You are browsing the archive for 2018 May 14.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Republican Efforts to Unify the Party After Painful Senate Primaries Are Going Quite Terribly

May 14, 2018 in Blogs

By David Nir, Daily Kos

This party is not getting it together ahead of the midterms.


Sure, if you look at the calendar, Republicans hosted their first set of Senate primaries last week. But that election was just a technicality, because the intra-party warring that dominated all three races has continued to blaze unabated.

The most uncontrolled fire rages in West Virginia. There, ex-con Don Blankenship, who spent millions of his own money to run lunatic racist ads attacking “Cocaine Mitch” McConnell and “China people,” is eager to light the man who beat him in the GOP primary aflame (so sayeth Blankenship’s campaign manager):

“I think the one thing he is going to make sure doesn’t happen is that Patrick Morrisey becomes a U.S. senator.”

Blankenship wasn’t the only loser in the Mountain State last week. As a result of his defeat, Rep. Evan Jenkins saw his congressional career careen to an early end, and he could barely choke out words of encouragement to his own party’s nominee. In a terse statement, Jenkins congratulated the winners of all four federal primaries in his state, making sure to list Morrisey last—after the House victors.

Don’t imagine, though, that Blankenship is alone in his vituperation. Over in Indiana, Rep. Todd Rokita did nothing to soften his well-deserved image as a raving a-hole when he decided to use his concession speech to do the gracious thing and attack primary winner Mike Braun:

“Not every fight is fair. Not every candidate can stroke a personal $6 million check. But that's life. I hope he [Braun] will rise to the occasion and truly fight for this state. I know he has it in him, and not just wage an expensive media campaign to buy a Senate seat, only to keep Washington at the status quo. We can't afford it.”

Rokita may have indulged in public whining, but it was the other loser, Rep. Luke Messer, whose behavior reached true levels of childish petulance. Two days after the primary, none other than Donald Trump flew into town (along with local boy Mike Pence) to headline a rally for Braun. Who, despite having <a target=_blank href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/t/0/0/alternet/~https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/indiana-congressman-17-colleagues-nominate-trump-nobel-peace/story?id=54884867" …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

'All of Those Babies Are Dead': MSNBC Guest Chokes Up Discussing Trump's Disastrous Foreign Policy

May 14, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“There are a lot of folks who are dead today. For what?”


In a rare moment for cable news, MSNBC guest Eddie Claude Jr. became choked up and emotional as he discussed the mass killing in Gaza Monday. Israeli soldiers fired upon Palestinian protesters in the wake of the newly opened U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, killing more than 50 people and wounding thousands of other demonstrators, according to reports. 

As the discussion on “Meet the Press Daily” veered toward the domestic political consequences of President Donald Trump's foreign policy actions, Claude, a professor of religion and African American studies, could barely contain his reaction.

“All that's important, and all of those babies are dead,” Claude said. “All of those people are dead. They're dead. And we're talking about racehorses… I mean, the politics. I mean, there are a lot of folks who are dead today. For what? I'm sorry, this is me being a moralist, I suppose.”

“No, I understand,” host Katy Tur said. “And the White House today, their response to that today was it's Hamas' fault, and they're using them [the Palestinian victims] for propaganda.”

“That's like saying the children in the children's' march on Birmingham, it was their fault that Bull Connor attacked them,” Claude said. 

Watch the clip below:

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Meet the Wildly Bigoted Pastor Trump Sent to Jerusalem to Open the New Embassy

May 14, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

His views are extremely Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT and anti-Mormon.


President Donald Trump selected Southern Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress to speak at the opening of the new U.S. embassy for Israel in Jerusalem, apparently disregarding — or perhaps because of — his intensely bigoted beliefs about Mormons, Jews, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community. 

The opening of the embassy was accompanied by the mass killing of more than 50 Palestinian protesters and the wounding of at least a thousand more, according to reports. The White House's casual disinterest in Israel's responsibility for these deaths is congruous with Jeffress' bigotry toward Muslims and non-Christians.

Leeanne Naramore of Media Matters for America posted a video showing a compilation of some of Jeffress' most degrading comments.

In multiple clips, Jeffress classified the whole of Islam as a “cult” — a label he likewise applies to Hinduism and Buddhism. He also declares, “You can't be saved being a Jew!” and he says Mormons are not Christians.

On the topic of gay people, he says, “Homosexuality is degrading, it's a degenerative practice.”

“Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem,” said Gov. Mitt Romney on Twitter. Romney, a Mormon, is currently running for U.S. Senate in Utah.

Watch the clip of Jeffress below:

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

White House Says There's No 'Readout' of How Anti-Semitic Pastor Got Invited by U.S. to Jerusalem Embassy

May 14, 2018 in Blogs

By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

He'll have to get back to you later on that hate speech stuff.


White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah says he has no idea how two anti-Semitic pastors best-known for their attacks on Jews and Judaism were official participants at Monday's opening celebration ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Those preachers, Robert Jeffress and John Hagee, are well-known as far right wing religious extremists.

NCRM on Saturday was the first to report on Pastor Robert Jeffress being chosen to preach at Monday's event while detailing the Dallas megachurch Baptist and Fox News pundit's previous attacks on literally every major religion, including some Christian religions.

Jeffress, in short, says only those who follow his own brand of religion will see heaven. Others, including Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, and Jews, will go to hell.

Hagee once said that Hitler was fulfilling God's will by slaughtering Jews.

On Monday, the White House was asked to explain the two pastors' presence. Raj Shah, standing in for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, couldn't even bring himself to denounce the detestable statements.

“I don't have any readout on how they became involved with these events,” Raj Shah told reporters. “All I'll says is those specific views that you outlined –if they're accurate reflections of what was said – wouldn't be embraced by this White House.”

“Beyond that I don't have anything else,” Shah concluded.

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Frank Sinatra’s Mob Ties and Other Secrets from His FBI File

May 14, 2018 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Frank Sinatra was many things: A crooner who could make bobby-soxers faint, an Academy Award-winning actor, the elder statesman of the Rat Pack. At the height of his career, it was rumored that “every woman wants to have him; every man wants to be him.” But his fans and detractors weren’t the only people who wanted a piece of Old Blue Eyes: So did the FBI.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation tracked Sinatra for over 40 years, amassing a dossier of thousand of pages about his movements, words, and friendships. The files, which were made public after Sinatra’s death in 1998, cover Sinatra throughout his tempestuous career—and read like a thrilling account of a life he lead “his way.”

Sinatra rose to fame during the 1940s, and soon attracted the attention of the FBI for claims that he’d paid a doctor $40,000 to declare him medically unfit for World War II service. Though the FBI dismissed the allegations, calling his exemption for a punctured eardrum and psychological issues legitimate, rumors that he’d dodged the draft persisted throughout his lifetime and even hurt his career in the late 1940s.

Frank Sinatra signing papers before leaving his draft board in Newark, New Jersey. Speaking of his rejection, the singer said, “I am very unhappy about it. If I had been accepted, I would have preferred the Army or Marines.” (Credit: NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images)

His excuse for not serving may have been watertight, but Sinatra’s ties to known Mafia members and a revolving cast of characters connected to the underworld weren’t as squeaky clean. Sinatra’s FBI file reads like a guide to the era’s organized crime figures. Though Sinatra always denied he was connected to the mob, he did interact with famous Mafia figures like Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana, with whom he was close friends. 

Sinatra supposedly introduced Giancana to John F. Kennedy‘s campaign in 1960 in an attempt to deliver union votes to the future president. According to Sinatra’s daughter, Tina, he played a gig at Giancana’s Chicago club to repay the favor. Sinatra also introduced Kennedy to Judith Campbell Exner, Giancana’s girlfriend. During the years-long affair that followed, Exner allegedly acted as a liaison between Kennedy and Giancana, helping in a plot for the Mob to …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Democrats Have a Plan to Save Net Neutrality That Will Force Republicans' Hand

May 14, 2018 in Blogs

By Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos

Our GOP-controlled Senate is expected to vote in favor of net neutrality, putting the conservative House in the hot seat.


The Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows Congress to reverse any federal regulation within 60 legislative days of enactment. On May 16, the Senate will vote on a Democratic Party initiative to stop Verizon shill and FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s net neutrality rollback. Part of this effort by Democrats is to force the Republican Party to face the world and say, in no uncertain terms, what their positions are on a free and open internet.

“By passing my CRA resolution to put net neutrality back on the books, we can send a clear message to American families that we support them, not the special interest agenda of President Trump and his broadband baron allies,” Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said in an announcement today.

Republicans are pushing for weaker broadband regulations and have tried to discourage Democrats from pursuing the CRA vote. “Rather than voting for 21st Century rules to protect the Internet, we'll be taking a show vote on whether to look backwards and re-apply rules meant for the old Ma' Bell phone system to the modern Internet,” US Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) wrote last week.

The Verge gives an easy-to-understand breakdown of what this move by Democrats means, and how it could make its way through to ultimately protect a free and open internet.

It’s hard to get anything through Congress without the approval of the Republican majority, which controls the committees and the broader schedule. But a CRA motion isn’t technically a bill, so it plays by slightly different rules. Senators can force a vote to be scheduled in their chamber by submitting a petition signed by just 30 members, which is exactly what Sen. Markey (D-MA) did on May 9th.

Crucially, the CRA also lets senators sidestep the traditional filibuster, requiring only a bare majority instead of the 60 votes increasingly needed to pass legislation through the chamber. Advocates say they already have 50 votes confirmed — all 49 Senate Democrats, plus Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) — and eyes are on …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Discovered: Eerie Outline of Horse That Died at Pompeii

May 14, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

(Photo: Parco Archeologico di Pompei)

Archaeologists who discovered the imprint of a horse killed in the Pompeii disaster have now cast a full-size plaster replica of the horse’s body print, the first to be found in the wreckage at Pompeii.

The horse with no name met its fate in 79 A.D., when the Mount Vesuvius volcano erupted, killing around 2,000 people in and around Pompeii. Though it’s far from the deadliest volcanic disaster ever recorded—that’d be Mount Tambora’s 1815 eruption, which killed roughly 100,000 people—archaeological discoveries have made it one of the most famous.

Researchers have already captured the final poses of some of the people who died in the Pompeii disaster by locating cavities where ashes formed around their now-decomposed bodies, and then injecting the cavities with liquid plaster. Now, they’ve used this technique to recreate the final pose of a horse that died in a stable in Civita Giuliana, outside the gates of Pompeii.

(Photo: Parco Archeologico di Pompei)

The horse was just under five feet tall, measured from the ground to its withers, or the base of the neck. That makes it a little smaller than modern horses (the famous racing horse Secretariat stood at five feet, six inches). But this isn’t surprising because the average size of horses increased over time as smaller types—like Dawn horses, which were closer to the size of modern dogs—became extinct. In fact, the Pompeii horse may have been larger for its time.

Researchers are certain this animal was indeed a horse because of the clear imprint that its ear made in the ground. They also think it may have been bred to be a parade horse, based on fragments of an iron and bronze harness found near its head.

Archaeologists have previously unearthed donkey and mule skeletons from the Pompeii disaster, but they’ve only successfully cast a few animals, like a pig and a dog. There are far more casts of humans, a preservation method that the archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli started in 1863.

The human casts are especially affecting because of their detailed facial expressions, preserved for …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Why Does Wall Street Love Trump’s Ineffective Drug-price Plan?

May 14, 2018 in Economics

By Charles Silver, David A. Hyman

Charles Silver and David A. Hyman

After President Trump announced his plan for reining in
prescription drug prices, shares in drug companies and pharmacy
benefit managers
spiked
. Why? Based on Trump’s campaign rhetoric — drug
companies are
“getting away with murder,”
Medicare should bargain down
prices, etc. — Wall Street feared that big changes were
afoot. But Trump’s plan (titled “American Patients First”) doesn’t propose any
big changes, so investors were relieved and stock prices jumped up.
Trump even endorsed two policies that could modestly
increase drug makers’ profits.

Start with the subsidies we give drug makers by paying high
prices for drugs that are much cheaper abroad. Trump derided this
“global freeloading,” saying, “It’s unfair,
it’s ridiculous, and it’s not going to happen any longer.” But his
plan attempts to fix the problem by making foreign prices higher
— not by reducing prices in the U.S.

But even if the president somehow gets other countries to pay
more for prescription drugs, it is Economics 101 that
profit-maximizing pharmaceutical companies won’t respond by selling
their products more cheaply in the U.S. Instead, they’ll keep the
extra money they extract from foreigners and continue gouging
Americans as well.

There are ways to fix this problem. The U.S. could allow drug
wholesalers to import generic drugs that have been approved in
other developed countries when the price of U.S. generics spikes.
It could allow Americans to import prescription drugs from abroad.
It could prohibit drug makers from selling their products at higher
prices in the U.S. than they do elsewhere. Trump’s plan could have
included one or more of these ideas or it could have explained why
they won’t work. It does neither.

What about
pharmacy benefit managers
? Although the president claimed to
hate middlemen and promised that “they won’t be so rich anymore,” here, too,
Trump’s plan offers no significant changes. It proposes to base
copays by Medicare Part D enrollees on the discounted prices that
pharmacy benefit managers pay, instead of the phony list prices the
drug makers put out. It also proposes to cap Medicare
beneficiaries’ total out-of-pocket drug costs. The plan gives no
estimate of the savings the first proposal will generate, and the
second proposal will cost Medicare more. Both ideas appear to be
small potatoes anyway. In 2015, beneficiaries who exceeded the
existing catastrophic threshold spent about $1.2 billion, a small fraction of
the $110 billion that Medicare Part D shelled out in total for
prescription drugs.

Trump’s American Patients
First plan isn’t the worst thing we’ve seen, but it’s not going to
bring drug prices …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Saudi Arabia Will Use Trump to Gain Leverage over the War in Syria

May 14, 2018 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

As President Trump muses periodically about a prompt withdrawal
of U.S. troops from Syria, he confronts warnings, including from his own
foreign-policy advisers, that such a move would risk the onset of
greater chaos in that country. He has responded with suggestions
that an Arab stabilization force supplement and
gradually replace U.S. troops to forestall that danger. However,
the replacement force he has in mind would not be a generic
“Arab” contingent, as he and other proponents describe.
It would consist primarily of personnel from Saudi Arabia and its
Gulf allies.

Such a force would be neither politically neutral nor dedicated
to restoring and preserving peace in Syria. Instead it would be the
instrument of Sunni Arab power dedicated to overthrowing Bashar
al-Assad. Indeed, since the earliest stages of the Syrian civil war
in 2011 and 2012, the Gulf powers (along with Turkey) have been
intent on that objective. The rebellion against Assad is primarily
a Sunni bid for power against Assad’s coalition of religious minorities. As early as
2012, journalists embedded with rebel forces noted that they were
virtually all Sunnis. Arrayed against them were
Assad’s followers, primarily members of his quasi-Shiite
Alawite sect, Christians and Druze. Syrian Kurds were busy pursuing
their own agenda of carving out a de facto independent state in the
north.

Predictably, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other Sunni powers
backed the rebels to the hilt, supplying them with both money and
military hardware. Soon, though, they lost control of some of those
forces—factions that evolved into ISIS. As early as 2012, the
United States cooperated with Riyadh and Ankara, sending
“nonlethal” aid to supposedly moderate insurgents. By
2013, Washington was shipping arms to them, further entangling the
United States in an increasingly murky ethno-religious conflict.
The effort to boost the fortunes of Riyadh’s Syrian clients
failed, though, when Russia intervened in 2015 and backed
government forces with extensive air power.

President Trump needs to
adopt a real America First policy in the Middle East-one that no
longer allows the Saudi tail to wag the American dog.

Introducing a bogus stabilization force at a time when Assad and
his Russian patrons are on the verge of victory over the insurgents
is a last-ditch Sunni ploy to help the rebels avoid defeat. Even
reasonably astute U.S. officials should understand that reality.
They should also comprehend that Riyadh’s goals do not
necessarily benefit America’s interests. Most of the factions
that Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have backed are staunchly
Islamist. One prominent client is the Salafist group Ahrar al-Sham.
And Saudi support also seems …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

What Would a Mother 'Food' Cow Tell Us About Her Children?

May 14, 2018 in Blogs

By Dr. Marc Bekoff, Independent Media Institute

Cows are loving mothers, but they are terrorized and abused by our cruel, inhumane factory farm system.


The science behind bovine sentience

Cows are truly amazing and extremely interesting beings. Also known as steak, burgers, beef, veal and leather—and global producers of all sorts of dairy products—many people see them only as food items, mere products of one sort or another, rather than as highly sentient and intelligent individuals with markedly different personalities. For example, cows display a full range of personalities including boldness, shyness, sociability and gregariousness, and are temperamental. 

Neuroscientist Lori Marino and Florida State University PhD student Kristin Allen address the cow intelligence in a 2017 paper, “The Psychology of Cows,” which was published in the journal Animal Behavior and Cognition (and which I summarized in “Cows: Science Shows They're Bright and Emotional Individuals“).

“[W]hen cow behavior is addressed,” write Marino and Allen, “it is almost entirely done within the framework of and applied to their use as food commodities. Therefore, there is relatively little attention to the study of cow intelligence, personality, and sociality at a basic comparative level.”

Cows are typically recognized for their ubiquity as various sorts of products, whose value is cashed out in terms of their instrumental value; namely, what they can do for us. Their inherent value as living sentient beings with distinct personalities is often glossed over or totally ignored.

However, even people who work in the food-industrial complex or who are responsible for developing humane welfare guidelines (that all too frequently are ignored) know that cows are sentient beings. Moreover, they can suffer and feel pain—why else would we even bother to develop some regulations that supposedly protect these animals? Still, rampant abuse of cows and other food animals is the rule, rather than the exception. 

A call to action by a mother cow about how she and her children are treated on their way to human mouths

I think a lot about cows and other food animals and how they are wantonly and horrifically abused on their way to human mouths. About a week ago—not long after I had talked with someone who wanted to know …read more

Source: ALTERNET