You are browsing the archive for 2018 May 16.

Avatar of admin

by admin

The U.S. Senate Just Voted to Save Net Neutrality—Mainstream Media Was Too Trump-Obsessed to Care

May 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Dina Radke, Media Matters

This is a really big deal, but you wouldn't know it from the reporting.


Today, senators voted on a resolution to undo a 2017 move by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to end net neutrality regulations, but major television and print media outlets have devoted little more than a few mentions to the issue.

This dearth of coverage may stem in part from the distraction of President Donald Trump, as since his election, media outlets have been laser-focused on his statements and actions. Several significant Trump-related stories did break today, but it’s nonetheless obvious that media outlets have done little to address their Trump obsession and prioritize the many other issues that matter to Americans.

Net neutrality requires internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon to give their users equal access to all internet content. Upending these rules means that, for a fee, ISPs can prioritize certain websites, allowing them to load more quickly on their users’ devices, and slow down or even block other sites. As Wired’s Klint Finley explained, “Well-established services from deep-pocketed companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft will likely remain widely available. But net-neutrality advocates argue that smaller companies that don’t have the money to pay for fast lanes could suffer. In other words, protecting net neutrality isn't about saving Netflix but about saving the next Netflix.”

The FCC, led by Trump-nominated Ajit Pai, decided last year to end net neutrality rules in a move that voters across the political spectrum largely opposed. Leading up to the FCC’s vote, though, many media outlets were shockingly silent on the repercussions of upending consumer protections on internet access.

As Democratic senators made a last-ditch effort to salvage net neutrality rules — which passed in the Senate – coverage by many media outlets is still nowhere to be found.

Today on national cable news, MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle and Fox Business’ FBN AM mentioned the net neutrality vote in brief headline segments. Fox News aired two segments on The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino and Shepard Smith Reporting, and CNN has not mentioned the vote at all.

Fox Business and One American News Network, a decidedly pro-Trump outlet known for pushing conspiracy theories, aired full reports of …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Giuliani Announces to News Networks That Mueller Told Him a Sitting President Can't Be Indicted

May 16, 2018 in Blogs

By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

The claim by the president's lawyer doesn't appear to have been corroborated by the special council's office.


President Donald Trump's top attorney defending him in the Russia probe has just told news networks that Robert Mueller says a sitting president cannot be indicted. Rudy Giuliani told CNN and NBC News, among others, late Wednesday afternoon.

Justice Dept. policy, based on both Nixon and Clinton era memorandums, is that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Robert Mueller, who works for the DOJ, was likely expected to honor that convention.

But that does not mean he cannot issue a report recommending indictment, or that an Attorney General could not make the decision to try.

And that does not mean that an indictment after Trump were to leave office couldn't happen either.

Also, Giuliani has in recent times had trouble discerning fact from fiction, so his claims could be made-up or mistaken.

 

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

'Tantamount to a Criminal Referral': Ex-OGE Head Explains Why Trump's Financial Disclosure Lie Was a Big Mistake

May 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

Walter Shaub also recalled when Trump's lawyers asked for a special favor while filing his financial disclosure forms.


Former director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Walter Shaub on Wednesday explained the significance of a letter that accompanied President Donald Trump’s 2017 financial disclosure report sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

OGE Acting Director David Apol sent the letter to Rosenstein after Trump acknowledged a payment to his lawyer Michael Cohen. The president had previously failed to report that on his financial disclosure form.

“… You may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry you may be pursuing regarding the President’s prior report that was signed on June 14, 2017,” Apol wrote.

Shaub, who resigned from the OGE last year, detailed why Apol’s letter is a very big deal for Trump.

“This is a very big development and apparently the Office of Government Ethics' current acting director believes so, too,” Shaub said. “His letter to Rod Rosenstein is tantamount to a criminal referral, and that's because it would be a crime to knowingly and willfully omit any required information from a report.”

Shaub noted that despite claims from Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani that the president did not know about the debt, “on the form itself President Trump acknowledged that Cohen had been asking him for reimbursement and he did make the reimbursement.”

CNN correspondent Brianna Keilar then asked Shaub about a “bizarre encounter” he had with Trump’s financial disclosure form during his time at the OGE.

“Let me note the only reason I can talk about this is because we wound up having to release a letter subject to a Freedom of Information Act request,” Shaub said.

Shaub explained that an attorney for Trump visited OGE last year “and sat across the table from me and asked that President Trump not have to certify that his financial disclosure report was true.”

“Now, there have been millions, literally millions of financial disclosure reports filed and they're as individual as snowflakes,” Shaub continued. “They only have one thing in common and that is that every one of them, the filer certified that the contents are …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Trump Doesn't Want to Prep for the North Korea Summit: Senior Administration Official

May 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“He doesn’t think he needs to” prepare, a senior administration official told Time in a new report.


President Donald Trump doesn't think he needs to do much prep work for his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to a new report from Time magazine citing an anonymous senior official. 

The official reportedly told the magazine that Trump doesn't think he needs to prepare, despite the immense complexity such negotiations will inevitably entail and the vast stakes in play. Some aides are reportedly working to plan time in the president's schedule for dealing with Kim, but there's been no coherent strategy for getting Trump ready to face the challenge.

Though the report only relies on one source, another unnamed official provided a comment that is almost as damning. This person said “there is a robust, whole-of-government effort underway to prepare for President Trump’s upcoming meeting” and declined to go into any further detail. Such a statement, while somewhat encouraging, doesn't challenge the most worrying piece of the article: Trump himself is apparently unwilling to do the necessary work ahead of the summit.

But even during the campaign, Trump portrayed himself as uniquely able to handle to country's problems despite having no experience in government. His overconfidence then is reflected in the new Time report. Other reports have found that Trump is unable or uninterested in looking at detailed policy briefs or memos, forcing staffers to come up with tricks and tactics to draw his attention to important details. Before becoming president, he said he had no time to read.

This week, multiple developments have indicated that the upcoming summit may be a bigger challenge that the White House has been preparing for. The North Koreans abruptly pulled out of meetings with South Korea, threatened to do the same with the U.S. summit in Singapore and rejected the possibility of unilateral denuclearization. CNN reported that the developments caught the White House by surprise.

All of which really should make the president think these negotiations aren't really the kind of thing he can cram for last minute.

<Img align="left" border="0" height="1" width="1" alt="" …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

'Michael Cohen Will Lead to the Downfall of this President': Michael Avenatti Explains Why a New Report Is So Bad For Trump

May 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

In a financial disclosure form, Trump seemed to confirm that he reimbursed his lawyer for the Stormy Daniels hush money.


Michael Avenatti said that the newest financial disclosure report from President Donald Trump reveals that his team realizes he's been backed into a corner in the Stormy Daniels case, making it more likely that he will not be able to complete his first term. And the key to Trump's legal exposure, Avenatti said, is Trump's lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.

“Michael Cohen will lead to the downfall of this president,” Avenatti said to MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace on “Deadline: White House.” “He will not serve out his full term.”

Avenatti represents Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, in her lawsuit against the president and his attorney Michael Cohen to break a non-disclosure agreement she signed in October 2016 in exchange for $130,000. Trump and Cohen initially denied that the president had any involvement in or knowledge of the payment, but it has since been revealed that Trump did reimburse Cohen for the payment.

On Tuesday, Trump filed a financial disclosure form that admitted to such a payment to Cohen in 2017. The fact that Trump previously did not disclose the payments, as the Office of Government Ethics says he was required to, raises serious legal questions for the president.

Asked by Wallace why Trump admitted to the payment this week, Avenatti said, “I think the president disclosed this on the form because he realized at this juncture, based on advice from the people around him that he was left with no other choice but to disclose it on the form today.”

Watch the clip below: 

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Did Nixon’s ‘Laugh-In’ Cameo Help Him Win the 1968 Election?

May 16, 2018 in History

By Greg Daugherty

Comedians Dan Rowan, left, and Dick Martin, hosts of 'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In' with then-Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon during a rally in Burbank, California, October 1968. (Credit: AP Photo)

Whatever else he may have been, Richard M. Nixon wasn’t generally known as a comedian. So many American TV viewers were surprised 50 years ago to see the Republican presidential nominee pop up on the hit comedy show “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.”

The date was September 16, 1968, less than a month after the turbulent riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and two months before the November elections. Nixon’s appearance was brief, about five seconds in all, but memorable. Like a long list of Laugh-In guests, he looked straight into the camera and delivered one of the show’s trademark phrases, “Sock it to me!” Even after a reported six takes, it sounded more like “Sock it to me?”—as if Nixon himself couldn’t believe he was saying it.

Nixon, who famously distrusted the media, chose his TV appearances carefully. According to the Associated Press, he hadn’t been on either “Face the Nation” or “Meet the Press” in two years. His aides reportedly advised against appearing on “Laugh-In,” too, given its liberal attitudes toward subjects like sex, recreational drug use and the war in Vietnam.

But Nixon went on anyway, talked into it by Paul Keyes, a “Laugh-In” writer who happened to be a close friend. Keyes thought the cameo would soften Nixon’s humorless image and win him votes in what was promising to be a close election. Keyes might also have mentioned that “Laugh-In” was the most-watched show on TV, reaching close to a third of U.S. households.

Even then, Nixon didn’t drop his guard. Offered a different “Laugh-In” line, “You bet your sweet bippy,” he rejected it, concerned that “bippy” might mean something naughty. His retinue of handlers also made sure that he didn’t appear as pale and sweaty as he had in his disastrous 1960 TV debate with John F. Kennedy. They posed him in a dignified gray-blue suit against a plain brown backdrop—not one of the colorful mod set designs the show was known for. Unlike “Laugh-In” cast members and other guest stars who delivered the line, Nixon wasn’t doused by water, dropped through a trap door, bombarded with marshmallows or subjected to any additional indignities—much as some in the audience might have enjoyed it.

“Laugh-In” producers offered Nixon’s Democratic opponent, Hubert H. Humphrey, equal time on their show, but Humphrey declined, supposedly considering it undignified. He did, however, appear on the Dick Clark music …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

150 Years Ago, a President Could Be Impeached for Firing a Cabinet Member

May 16, 2018 in History

By Erin Blakemore

A political cartoon showing Vice President Andrew Johnson sitting atop a globe, attempting to stitch together the map of the United States with needle and thread. (Credit: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)

Today, President Trump’s cabinet looks more like a revolving door. Since taking office, he has fired an unprecedented number of cabinet members, including his Secretary of State and other key advisors. But if it were the 1860s, the president’s unilateral firings would have been an automatically impeachable offense, thanks to a law intended to restrict presidential powers—a law that almost got a sitting president booted out of office.

The Tenure of Office Act seemed simple—it prevented the president from firing cabinet appointments that Congress had previously approved. But when President Andrew Johnson defied it, a ludicrous standoff resulted. As a result of his combative attempt to skirt the law, Johnson was nearly impeached and has gone down in history as one of America’s worst presidents for his defiance.

Before the law was passed, presidents could fire cabinet members at will. But the law—created to stop Johnson’s attempts to soften Reconstruction for Southern states after the Civil War—wasn’t just any Congressional act. It resulted in an increasingly absurd spiral of one upmanship that culminated in a rare presidential veto, an even rarer congressional override, a sensational impeachment trial that was so well-attended that Congress had to raffle off tickets, and an ongoing conflict over executive power.

It all started when Johnson, a Southerner who stubbornly decided to support the North during the Civil War, was picked to run alongside Abraham Lincoln in 1864. The nation was in the midst of a roiling war, and Lincoln’s presidency was shaky as casualties racked up and opposition to his policies mounted. Lincoln needed to reach across the aisle, so he chose Johnson, a populist from Tennessee.

A political cartoon showing Vice President Andrew Johnson sitting atop a globe, attempting to stitch together the map of the United States with needle and thread. (Credit: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)

The strange vice-presidential pick worked, and Johnson got down to work as the Vice-President in 1865. But then disaster struck when Lincoln was assassinated. Johnson assumed the presidency, but it turned out his ideas about how to deal with the former Confederacy were quite different from his majority-Republican Congress.

Johnson didn’t want to …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

How Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking Helped Cause World War I

May 16, 2018 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Queen Victoria with the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George and Queen Mary) while on their honeymoon at Osborne House in the Isle of Wight, 1893. (Credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

If you were a royal in the late part of the 19th century, there’s a good chance you were related to Queen Victoria—and if Victoria was your grandmother, you were pretty much guaranteed a glamorous royal wedding to a prince or princess of her choosing.

“Victoria’s descendants effectively gained automatic entry into what amounted to the world’s most exclusive dating agency,” says Deborah Cadbury, author of Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe. The outcomes of her grandchildren’s love lives were orchestrated by the queen herself, Cadbury says.

But those outcomes weren’t always happy—and by marrying off her grandchildren, Victoria inadvertently helped stoke a world war. Here’s how the queen’s matchmaking helped create—and destroy—modern Europe.

It wasn’t unusual for a monarch to be involved in her family’s marriages. The Royal Marriage Act of 1772 gave Britain’s monarch the chance to veto any match. But Victoria didn’t stop at just saying no. She thought that she could influence Europe by controlling who her family members married. “Each marriage was a form of soft power,” says Cadbury. Victoria wanted to spread stable constitutional monarchies like Britain’s throughout Europe.

Luckily, she had plenty of family members with which to do it. Victoria had nine children and 42 grandchildren. Eventually, seven of them sat on European thrones in Russia, Greece, Romania, Britain, Germany, Spain and Norway—and all would take sides during World War I with disastrous consequences.

Some of Victoria’s grandchildren followed their grandma’s orders without complaint. Her grandson Albert Victor was second in line for the throne and, at Victoria’s behest, asked Princess Mary of Teck to marry him. Victoria liked the German princess, who was also a cousin, because of her level headedness, and pressured Albert to marry her even though he was rumored to be gay. He dutifully proposed. Then, tragedy struck and he died suddenly of influenza in 1892.

Queen Victoria with the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George and Queen Mary) while on their honeymoon at Osborne House in the Isle of Wight, 1893. (Credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Victoria then pressured Albert’s brother, George, who was now second in line to the throne, to propose to Princess Mary. …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Brown v. Board of Education: The First Step in the Desegregation of America’s Schools

May 16, 2018 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Linda Brown (L), with sister Terry Lynn, sitting on a fence outside of their school, the racially segregated Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas, 1953. (Credit: Carl Iwasaki/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

On May 17, 1954, Chief Justice Earl Warren issued the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education, ruling that racial segregation in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The upshot: Students of color in America would no longer be forced by law to attend traditionally under-resourced black-only schools.

The decision marked a legal turning point for the American civil-rights movement. But it would take much more than a decree from the nation’s highest court to change hearts, minds and two centuries of entrenched racism. Brown was initially met with inertia and, in most southern states, active resistance. More than half a century later, progress has been made, but the vision of Warren’s court has not been fully realized.

The Supreme Court ruled “separate” meant unequal.
The landmark case began as five separate class-action lawsuits brought by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on behalf of black schoolchildren and their families in Kansas, South Carolina, Delaware, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The lead plaintiff, Oliver Brown, had filed suit against the Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas in 1951, after his daughter Linda was denied admission to a white elementary school.

Her all-black school, Monroe Elementary, was fortunate—and unique—to be endowed with well-kept facilities, well-trained teachers and adequate materials. But the other four lawsuits embedded in the Brown case pointed to more common fundamental challenges. The case in Clarendon, South Carolina described school buildings as no more than dilapidated wooden shacks. In Prince Edward County, Virginia, the high school had no cafeteria, gym, nurse’s office or teachers’ restrooms, and overcrowding led to students being housed in an old school bus and tar-paper shacks.

Linda Brown (L), with sister Terry Lynn, sitting on a fence outside of their school, the racially segregated Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas, 1953. (Credit: Carl Iwasaki/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

With Brown v. Board the Supreme Court ruled against segregation for the first time since reconstruction.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board marked a shining moment in the NAACP’s decades-long campaign to combat school segregation. In declaring school segregation as unconstitutional, the Court overturned the longstanding “separate but equal” doctrine established nearly 60 years earlier in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). In …read more

Source: HISTORY