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The Naked Truth About Nude Art Modeling

June 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Robin Eileen Bernstein, Salon

“Have you ever been intrigued by what it’s like to be a nude art model?” the email from my school asked


Over the years I’ve scrutinized, squinted at and visually dissected every inch of easily more than 100 naked humans. That’s because my passion is figure drawing, so I rack up a lot of hours staring at unclothed adults. Yet these men and women — old and young, all shapes, sizes and ethnicities — whose bodies are exposed from every angle, whose nude images grace my walls, remain unknown to me. I rarely know their names.

Who are these people who bare all to a room full of strangers? How does it feel to pose under unforgiving lights as students mentally measure the distance from your clavicle to pubis? I often wonder what it takes to do a job most know little about yet is essential to rendering the human figure in art.

My first model was not nude and not even human. As a kid I relentlessly drew Astro Boy, my favorite TV cartoon character, which made me an anime fangirl decades before Pokémon. By the time I took my first life drawing class at 17, I was hooked and, in the decades that followed, I took classes at various schools when time allowed. It’s one of the few activities in which I truly feel like I’m “in the zone.”

There’s a routine: A model poses on a platform surrounded by students at easels or in chairs. It usually starts with a series of dynamic gestures, one-minute poses so named because the goal is to capture the movement. There might be several five-, 10- and 20-minutes poses in a typical three-hour session. After every 20 minutes, there’s a break when the model dons a robe. If a pose continues beyond that, it’s marked on the platform with tape so the model can resume the same position.

I’ve asked myself if I’d ever have the guts to pose nude for a class. Twice I’d done it clothed —  once while pregnant — when the model was a no-show and volunteers were needed. And in my early …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Fascism Is at the Door Step': Michael Moore Asks Bill Maher If People Are Ready to Die to Protect Democracy from Trump

June 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Michael Moore, Raw Story

Moore laid out what he sees as the best way to fight Donald Trump—all out war and mass resistance to counter Republicans who will stop at nothing to control the majority of Americans.


Bill Maher has long been warning that Donald Trump is instituting a slow-moving coup to undermine American democracy.

He found a likeminded guest in Michael Moore, who appeared on HBO'sReal Time on Friday night.

Moore laid out what he sees as the best way to fight Donald Trump—all out war and mass resistance to counter Republicans who will stop at nothing to control the majority of Americans.

“They are relentless, they are motherf*ckers to the core,” he said. “This is the beauty and the genius of Trump and why you have to step back for a second and admire him the way Patton admired Rommel. When Trump says he's going to do something he's going to do it. He is relentless… and we never act like that on any of the things we say we believe in.”

Moore said that he thinks Americans can stop Trump, but only if they're all-in.

“Fascism is at the door step,” he said. “People are afraid to use the word, but I think we have got to be very serious about this. FDR and Churchill defeated fascism. And one of those people was in a wheelchair and the other was a drunkard, to be kind… if they defeated fascism, look at what we've got.”

Moore compared the fight to what Martin Luther King faced, and said we have much better odds now. King started getting serious death threats at age 26 and lived with them for the rest of his life while raising four young children. Is the resistance willing to do the same?

“What are people willing to commit to? What would you give your life for?” he asked. “What would you be willing to actually put yourself on the line for? That moment is now. We are going to lose our democracy if we haven't already. We have no choice, my friends. We have to rise up.”

Watch below.

 

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

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump’s Bellicose Trade Rhetoric May Nix the Benefits of His Corporate Tax Cut and End the Second-Longest Expansion

June 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Angelo Young, Salon

That may not be the recession looming out there in November, but we can see it from here.


Janet Yellen, the former head of the Federal Reserve who stepped down earlier this year, once declared that economic expansions don’t die of old age. Her remark has become a popular slogan among economists when they’re asked whether the U.S. is long overdue for a recession.

It’s not an absurd question. Since World War II, the average period of U.S. economic growth between recessions has been about five years, with the average recession lasting about 11 months. Nine years after the worst recession in 85 years ended, many watchers are wondering (some impatiently) how much longer this current long and slow expansionary period can continue.

All the indicators point to continued economic growth, at least for now. There's a significant danger, however, that President Trump's sustained trade bluster will generate headwinds offsetting any benefits realized by his corporate tax cuts.

On Thursday, the Department of Commerce announced the nation’s gross domestic product for the first three months of the year grew by two percent, a downgrade from earlier estimates but still higher than the same period in the previous two years. Wall Street firms are predicting the stimulus of GOP tax cuts that passed in December will boost second quarter GDP by as much as 4.5 percent.

The question is this: How much life is left in the current economic expansion, and will President Donald Trump’s hostile attitude toward trading partners cause the U.S. economy to contract?

Trade Wars Are Bad for Business

The Trump administration has lashed out at Mexico, Canada, China and the European Union by announcing a series of punitive trade measures it says are aimed at punishing countries for exploiting the U.S., but these threats have also rattled U.S. manufacturers and agricultural exporter who either depend on a supply of imported materials or access to foreign markets.

In addition to steel and aluminum tariffs announced by the administration earlier this year, the president has floated a 20 percent import tax on European cars, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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As the Movement to Abolish ICE Gains Mainstream Support, Fox News Goes into Attack Mode

June 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Bobby Lewis, Media Matters

Fox has long led the media charge to defend ICE and its actions, frequently using the violent gang MS-13to demonize all immigrants.


Fox News is scrambling in response to the grass-roots movement to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which has begun seeping into mainstream progressive and Democratic politics. On the evening of June 28, all three of the network’s prime-time shows aired segments attacking the Abolish ICE movement, as did Fox & Friends the next morning.

As the Trump administration is stepping up mass deportations, separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, and interning immigrant children in cages, calls to abolish ICE have spread from a grass-roots Twitter phenomenon to the political mainstream. Multiple candidates for prominent elected positions have endorsed the movement, including New York congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic Socialist who ran on the issue leading up to her upset primary win over Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY). Elected Democrats are also beginning to endorse the movement. In the House, three Democrats support abolishing ICE and a fourth, Rep. Mark Pocan (WI), introduced legislation to abolish ICE and investigate possibilities for “a humane immigration enforcement system.” And in the Senate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) endorsed abolishing ICE, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said, “We need to probably think about starting from scratch.” Even some ICE agents themselves have called for the agency to be dissolved.

Meanwhile, on Fox, the network’s stars were allied in their defense of ICE. After a brief update on the June 28 mass shooting at an Annapolis, MD, newspaper, Tucker Carlson — who uses his platform to promote white nationalism – opened his show by denouncing #AbolishICE as an “ideological revolution on the left” and fearmongering about the criminals and drugs that he claimed would flood the country without ICE. 

Sean Hannity suggested that members of “the left” are attacking ICE because special counsel Robert Mueller has produced “literally zero evidence that the president ever did anything wrong” in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, causing progressives to “unravel.

Laura Ingraham complained that “Occupy ICE protesters want to, again, make it impossible for our immigration investigators to do their jobs.” And she …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump Prankster Claims He Got a Late Night Visit from the Secret Service — and Now He's on the Run

June 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

Howard Stern sidekick, 'Stuttering John,' may have gone too far this time


The comedian who pulled a prank on Donald Trump and duped the president into returning his call, live tweeted on Twitter Friday night that the Secret Service came to his door to talk to him, but that he refused to answer and now he claims he's on 'the lam.”

John Melendez, the former Howard Stern sidekick known as “Stuttering John,” launched a series of tweets making the claim, which given his history as a prankster, could also be an elaborate prank on on his followers or a publicity stunt while he's national news. It also seems curious that the Secret Service would wait so late at night to visit, so his claims should be taken with a grain of salt.

Nonetheless, he started off by tweeting, “Secret Service at my door. I guess my old friend Donald wants to continue this. Stay tuned.”

He then added, “Sectret [sic] service about to arrest me. Unbelievable! They should arrest Jared Kushner for putting the call through, shame on Donald Trump who has been a friend of mine for years.”

Melendez then claimed that he refused to answer his door, but that his neighbors told him his visitors “said they showed their badges.” He also stated that high profile attorney Michael Avenatti — who is representing adult actress Stormy Daniels — ” has agreed to consider repping me,” although the never publicity-shy Avenatti has yet to tweet anything affirming the claim.

Below are Melendez's tweets in chronological order.

 

 

 

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Why so Many Refugees from Central America?

June 30, 2018 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

The initial decision by the United States President Donald Trump
and his administration to separate families involved in alleged
illegal border crossings generated enormous controversy and
backfired spectacularly from a public relations standpoint. Mostly
lost in all the uproar, though, is needed scrutiny about why there
is another spike in the number of refugees from Central America
seeking haven in the United States. As with most mass migrations,
there is no single cause. Like previous generations of immigrants,
some see this country as an ideal land of opportunity and wish to
seize it. Also, others are not merely hoping to find better job
prospects but are trying to avoid outright destitution in their
home countries. Furthermore, other families are fleeing a horrid
level of gang violence that has engulfed some Central American
societies.

Developments are making the last factor increasingly salient.
The level of internal strife in areas of Honduras, Guatemala, and
El Salvador has made those countries some of the most chaotic and
violent outside of full-fledged war zones. President Trump has even
labeled the MS-13 gang, based in El Salvador, a threat to communities throughout the United
States. But MS-13 is only one of many street gangs and drug cartels
plaguing Central America’s so-called northern triangle.

The extent of the carnage is extraordinary. Four of the countries with the highest annual
murder rates in the world are located in Central America. Guatemala
ranks ninth, with 31.25 murders per 100,000 people. Belize ranks
sixth with 34.4, while Honduras comes in second with a rate of
63.75. But those countries seem almost peaceful compared to El
Salvador, which has the highest homicide rate in the world, 108. 64
per 100,000. Moreover, the nation with the fifth highest rate,
Venezuela with 57.15 homicides per 100,000, is adjacent to the
region.

To put such rates into perspective, consider that the
Philippines, afflicted with a simmering local insurgency in the
south, ranks fortieth with a rate of 9.84. Even
Nigeria—despite the threat that the extremist Boko Haram
continues to pose—comes in forty-first, with 9.79. Finally,
Zimbabwe with its economic chaos has 6.74 murders per 100,000 and
comes in sixty-ninth. The United States claims eighty-first place
with 4.88 murders per 100,000 population. The Central American
countries are essentially in a league of their own, except for
places like Syria and Yemen which are experiencing full-blown civil
wars.

America has an emerging
humanitarian and security crisis in its own neighborhood that must
be addressed immediately.

Not surprisingly, sensible people might want to get their families out of such lethal environments.
According to the United …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Mike Flynn's Delayed Sentence Suggests 'He Still Has a Lot More to Give' Robert Mueller: NBC Reporter

June 29, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The president former national security adviser has become a cooperating witness in the Russia investigation.


President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a cooperating witness in the ongoing Russia investigation, appears to have become a valuable source of information in special counsel Robert Mueller's work, and according to a court filing Friday.

We know that because Mueller requested another two-month delay before Flynn's sentencing. NBC reporter Ken Dilianian explained what that means on MSNBC's “Deadline: White House” with Nicolle Wallace.

“We have to be careful about reading too much into this,” he said, “but the fact that they are continuing to delay Mike Flynn's sentence, Mike Flynn's cooperating with Robert Mueller's investigation, suggests that he still has a lot more to give them.”

He continued: “And you can contrast that with George Papadopoulos, another Trump campaign aide, who pleaded guilty and was nominally cooperating, his sentencing has been scheduled for September. So they're sort of done with him, it appears at this point. But Flynn may have a lot more to say.”

Watch the clip below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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'This Is Much Bigger than Harley': General Motors Shows How Trump's Trade War Could Deal a Devastating Blow to His Presidency

June 29, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Obama saved General Motors — how will it look if Trump crushes it?


As President Donald Trump's plans to launch a trade war look increasingly likely to be carried out, American companies are increasingly sounding the alarms — showing signs that his tariffs could pose a real threat to the country and to his presidency.

It started with Harley-Davidson, which said it would be moving some of its manufacturing capacity overseas in response to the tariffs, which are import taxes. Trump lashed out at the company in response, but that does little to change its bottom line. 

But the real blow came on Friday. General Motors, a major employer in the Midwest, including in the critical state of Michigan, announced that Trump's tariffs will cause “less investment, fewer jobs and lower wages” for employees and higher prices for customers. The price of cars from General Motors could see increases of the thousands of dollars because of the tariffs, the company said.

The policy “could lead to a smaller GM,” the company said.

“Big business seems to be waking up to the possibility that Trump really will get us into a nasty trade war,” said economist Paul Krugman. “This is much bigger than Harley.”

It's easy to see why this is such a big deal. In addition to the massive impact it will have on people's lives, a spiraling trade war could have dramatic electoral implications for both 2018 and beyond.

It would be trivially easy for anyone to run against a party that has, without any good reason, driven up prices in the United States and killed jobs. Democrats would love to run against these policies, if Trump is misguided enough to follow through on them.

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Watch Tomi Lahren Gleefully Berate the ‘Tolerant Left’ Then Ask Why We Can’t All Just Get Along

June 29, 2018 in Blogs

By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

She has literally made millions voicing her ill-informed opinions that consistently distort liberal ideology and attack the left.


Lahren is more upset over the press secretary being politely asked to leave and getting her cheese plate comped than she is the thousands of children who very likely will never see their parents again.

Tomi Lahren is back. The conservative Fox News commentator known for her racist remarks last month earned the nickname “Xenophobic Rage Barbie” after defending Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly's anti-immigrant remarks.

Now she is attacking all those on the left, asking why they aren't “loving and tolerant” – something conservatives claim liberals should be forced to be, even in the face of their own intolerance. And after detailing a litany of insults she feels best represent liberals, while wholly ignoring the extraordinary attacks on America from the right, Lahren demands to know why we can't all just get along (video below).

Seriously.

“When did we get to the point where we can’t even stand to be in the presence of someone with opposing political views?” Lahren, 25-year old a multi-millionaire with a lucrative Fox News contract and a home in Los Angeles asks. She has literally made millions voicing her ill-informed opinions that consistently distort liberal ideology and attack the left.

“It’s ugly and it's disheartening to watch,” Lahren says, wholly unaware that her entire manufactured persona exists only because people on the right support her extremist hate-filled views.

“Whether it's Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders getting kicked out of a restaurant, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Cho being shouted down by students, protesters harassing DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Mexican restaurant, or having water thrown at me while I brunched with my parents – one thing is for sure: The so-called 'loving and tolerant left' seems to be anything but,” Lahren charges.

Not once does she bother to tell her viewers that those acts of protest against agents of the U.S government who are supposed to represent the American people (sans Lahren) are all because the Trump administration is separating young children, even babies …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Chief Executive Exit

June 29, 2018 in Economics

By Gene Healy

Gene Healy

In the wake of Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory, one
of America’s leading constitutional scholars exhibited
classic signs of “PTSD”: Post-Trump Stress Disorder.
Impeachment “should begin on Inauguration Day,”
Harvard’s Laurence Tribe howled in December 2016. The next month, Tribe demanded Trump “be impeached for abusing
his power and shredding the Constitution more monstrously than any
other President in American history”—a land-speed
record for somebody entering his second week in office. In the
months that followed, the dean of con-law profs urged Trump’s
defenestration for everything from emoluments clause violations to mean tweets.

Given that backdrop, when I opened Professor Tribe’s new
book, To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment,
coauthored with Joshua Matz, I was braced for an
impeach-at-all-costs jeremiad. The last thing I was expecting was
an earnest plea for “cool and evenhanded reflection, informed
by the Constitution and lessons from history.”

That, however, is exactly what Tribe and Matz have produced.
Their intelligent and informative book insists that impeachment is
an awkward weapon, one that can’t be “readily fired
twice during a single presidency,” and that holds no magic
bullet for the problems of American democracy—useful
reminders for #Resistance enthusiasts and Never Trumpers alike.

Whether they quite
intended to or not, the Framers made it extraordinarily hard to
remove a president. Yet our political culture makes it harder still
by conjuring up specters of wounded democracy and constitutional
collapse.

And yet, they lay it on pretty thick: Impeachment, Tribe and
Matz insist, is “a great power and a terrible one,” its
use fraught with “extraordinary danger.” If, God
forbid, we ever need to deploy it, “we can hope only that the
nation survives with its spirit intact and the strength to rebuild
all that’s broken.” To End a Presidency turns
out to be a sober, conventional case for approaching impeachment
with fear and trembling.

Too sober and conventional, for my money: The case for
impeachment-phobia has by now been adequately made. It permeates
our political culture and dominates respectable opinion, whether
it’s Senator Jeff Flake—who has compared Trump to
Stalin while insisting impeachment is out of
bounds—or Stephen Colbert, who rejects it as an
“extreme” remedy. Exaggerating the dangers of
impeachment, as Tribe and Matz do, has made its use all too rare.
Neither the Constitution nor the lessons of our history justify
their trepidation.

Few if any of the Framers viewed the prospect of presidential
impeachments with the dismay and perturbation Tribe and Matz
demand. “A good magistrate will not fear them,”
Massachusetts’s Elbridge Gerry insisted during the
Constitutional Convention. “A bad one ought to be kept in
fear of …read more

Source: OP-EDS