You are browsing the archive for 2018 June 04.

Avatar of admin

by admin

ICE Acting Director Scheduled to Speak at Anti-Immigrant Hate Group Gathering

June 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Gabe Ortiz, Daily Kos

Trump has been steadily appointing hate group leaders and activists to top administration posts.


Just in case there was any remaining doubt that this administration is on an ethnic cleansing campaign, let Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director Thomas Homan—set to retire this summer from his job of tearing families apart to spend more time with his family—settle any remaining doubts you may have:

Homan will be at the National Press Club on Tuesday morning to participate in an event hosted by the anti-immigrant hate group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

Trump has been steadily appointing hate group leaders and activists to top administration posts, and CIS has been among the worst and most visible. Founded by white nationalist and eugenicist John Tanton, the group has been notorious for circulating swill from anti-Semites and Holocaust-deniers, one of whom called Jewish people “truly subversive,” “manipulative,” and “evil.” Homan is sitting with that same racist group this week:

The conversation, covering such topics as deportations, worksite enforcement, and sanctuary jurisdictions, will be moderated by Jessica Vaughan, the Center's director of policy studies.

Vaughan is another gem. She’s been a favorite go-to for anti-immigrant legislators, testifying in front of Congress to fear monger about immigrants when she’s not busy being “a featured speaker at multiple extremist events including white nationalist publisher the Social Contract Press’ annual Writer’s Workshop.” CIS may claim ICE is all about “national security and public safety,” but it’s really about making America white—and with the assistance of CIS and other hate group leaders stacked throughout the administration.

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Ted Cruz Pauses for 18 Seconds When Asked if Trump Can Pardon Himself

June 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Cruz used to be a harsh critic of the Donald Trump — not anymore.


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is a typically sharp-tongued and spirited debater and political agitator — but on Monday, one issue had him at a loss for words.

Haley Byrd, a reporter for the Weekly Standard, asked the senator on Capitol Hill, “The president says he can pardon himself — would you agree with that?”

And then about 18 seconds passed before he gave an answer. And what an answer it was.

“That is not a constitutional issue that I've studied, so I will withhold judgment at this point,” he told Byrd.

This weasely response is a stunning dodge from Cruz — who often expounds on subjects on which he is uninformed or flatly lying — especially given his history of criticizing the president. He has called Trump a sniveling coward, a loud New York bully, a pathological liar and utterly amoral.

Had President Barack Obama claimed he could pardon himself, is there any doubt Cruz would have been the first to repudiate the claim?

Listen to the clip from Byrd below:

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Melania Trump Schedules First Appearance in Weeks—But the Press Won't Attend

June 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The first lady has been elusive ever since she reportedly underwent kidney surgery weeks ago.


First Lady Melania Trump was scheduled for her first appearance at an event honoring Gold Star families on Monday night, CNN reporter Kate Bennett said on “The Situation Room.” Though it's her first appearance in weeks, the press was not asked to attend out of respect for the families' privacy.

A spokeswoman for the first lady said, “Mrs. Trump has always been a strong and independent woman who puts her family, and certainly her health above all else, and that won't change over a rabid press corps.”

“I don't think it's just the press who are rabid, to be fair. I think there are Democrats, Republicans, fans — there are lots of people just wondering where is the first lady of the United States,” Bennett said. 

Since the first lady has not been seen in public for 25 days, rumors and speculation began to swirl about her whereabouts and her condition, despite any significant evidence to support various claims. There were no official or reliable leaked reports about her status following her surgery for what was described as a benign kidney condition.

The White House announced she would undergo the procedure on May 14, the day the surgery was scheduled. Bennett noted that the first lady stayed at the hospital for five days and that the condition may have been more serious than the White House initially let on.

Watch the clip below:

Related Stories

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Air Force Has a Disturbing Obsession with the New B-21 Bomber

June 4, 2018 in Blogs

By William Astore, TomDispatch

American taxpayers are just along for the ride.


Did you know the U.S. Air Force is working on a new stealth bomber? Don’t blame yourself if you didn’t, since the project is so secret that most members of Congress aren’t privy to the details. (Talk about stealthy!) Known as the B-21 Raider, after General Doolittle’s Raiders of World War II fame, it’s designed to carry thermonuclear weapons as well as conventional missiles and bombs. In conceptual drawings, it looks much like its predecessor, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, all wing and no fuselage, a shape that should help it to penetrate and survive the most hostile air defense systems on Earth for the purposes of a “global strike.” (Think: nuclear Armageddon.)

As the Air Force acquires those future B-21s, the B-2s will be retired along with the older B-1B bomber, although the venerable B-52 (of the Cold War era), much modified, will remain in service for the foreseeable future. At $550 million per plane (before the inevitable cost overruns even kick in), the Air Force plans to buy as many as 200 B-21s. That’s more than $100 billion in procurement costs alone, a boon for Northrop Grumman, the plane’s primary contractor.

If history is any judge, however, a boon for Northrop Grumman is likely to prove a bust for the American taxpayer. As a start, the United States has no real need for a new, stealthy, super-expensive, nuclear-capable, deep-penetrating strategic bomber for use against “peer” rivals China and Russia. But before tackling that issue, a little history is in order.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

A long time ago (1977, to be exact), in a country far, far away, President Jimmy Carter did a brave thing: he cancelled a major Pentagon weapons system just before it was due to start production. That was the B-1 bomber, a plane with sophisticated — that is, expensive — avionics designed to allow it to penetrate Soviet airspace in the event of a nuclear war and survive. Carter cancelled it for the most sensible of reasons: it wasn’t needed.

The Air Force had …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

'We Are in a Constitutional Crisis': MSNBC Guest Explains How Trump and GOP Have Brought the Country to the Brink

June 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“We literally have no textbooks for this.”


Politics Editor Jason Johnson of the Root argued Monday that President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress have brought the country to a constitutional crisis as the president floats the idea of pardoning himself and attacks against special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I've said this about this president all along: The Constitution wasn't written for a president like this. It was written for a moral man or woman. It was written for someone who had a sense of shame. It was written for parties, and organizations, and branches that didn't want to see their power usurped,” Johnson said on MSNBC's “Deadline: White House” with host Nicolle Wallace.

“Everything in political science and history tells us Congress is battling with the president to make sure he doesn' usurp their power,” he continued. “And yet we have this Congress that is perfectly happy to lay down and whatever it is he wants.”

While some Republicans have warned that going after Mueller or crossing certain other red lines could lead to Trump's impeachment, they have been wary about taking almost any practical steps to reign in his power or investigate his apparent wrongdoing. This inaction has seemed to allow Trump to continue to push the boundaries of acceptable presidential behavior.

Johnson added: “We are in a constitutional crisis because no one’s doing their one job! And we don't know what the answer will be if the president finally pulls the trigger, gets rid of Mueller, says he's going to pardon himself. “

“We literally have no textbooks for this,” he said. “That's why we're in crisis.”

Watch the clip below.

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Masterpiece Cakeshop Ruling Dodges the Big Question

June 4, 2018 in Economics

By Walter Olson

Walter Olson

In the end, the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling was narrow
without being close. Justice Kennedy won over liberals Elena Kagan
and Stephen Breyer into a 7-2 majority to rule that Colorado had
improperly shown contempt for Jack Phillips’s religious views while
considering the case against him brought by wedding-cake hopefuls
Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins. By deciding the case on those
grounds, Kennedy sidestepped the broader question that has
dominated public discussion of the case all year: When does it
violate the First Amendment to require business people to accept
work they believe implicates them in expression contrary to their
beliefs? Dodged today, that question will assuredly be back in
future.

Despite early melt-the-screen reactions from some on the left
(bake a take as fast as you can!) Kennedy specifically did not
carve out any new exceptions from state LGBT anti-bias measures; he
even took pains to praise that body of law. Instead, his message to
Colorado was: Go back and run the process again without showing
animus toward people’s religious beliefs.

SCOTUS hones in on
Colorado’s contempt for Jack Phillips, not the First Amendment and
free expression.

As he documents in his majority opinion, at least two members of
the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had used official proceedings
to make clear their disdain for the baker’s convictions. One had
dismissed an argument as “one of the most despicable pieces of
rhetoric that people can use to—to use their religion to hurt
others.” Overall, Kennedy wrote, Phillips was not given “the
neutral and respectful consideration of his claims” to which he was
entitled. Or as Justice Gorsuch put it in a pithier concurrence,
“no bureaucratic judgment condemning a sincerely held religious
belief as “irrational” or “offensive” will
ever survive strict scrutiny under the First Amendment.”

Justices Kagan and Breyer agreed that the proceedings were
tainted by anti-religious animus—a relatively easy concession
compared with the other ways Phillips might have won—but the
liberals did nothing to hide their view that the state would win a
future case on these facts if it went back and did things in proper
form. Their concurrence even provides a little road map for the
state to get there by tinkering with its legal theory. It’s true
that in separate concurrences, Justices Gorsuch, Alito, and Thomas
express more eagerness to get to Phillips’s substantive claims. But
that adds up to three: there is no sign at present that the court
is one vote away from declaring a sweeping or even narrow win for
the next baker in a similar situation.

The Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissent deserves special notice. They
argue that for the proceedings of a state …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Euro Isn't Dead (Yet)

June 4, 2018 in Economics

By Diego Zuluaga

Diego Zuluaga

People have been forecasting the end of the euro since the
currency came into being in the late 1990s. Yet the euro has
survived five sovereign bailouts—including three successive
ones of Greece (the continent’s most troubled
economy)—and two bank rescues aimed at Spanish and Cypriot
banks. The Eurozone debt crisis reached a climax in the summer of
2012, when European Central Bank Chairman Mario Draghi defused it
with his vow to do “whatever it takes” to preserve the
single currency.

Regardless of one’s views on the prudence of the
ECB’s subsequent monetary easing, Draghi’s promise
succeeded in calming financial markets.

Yet six years on, political uncertainty in Italy and Spain has
people pondering the imminent demise of the euro again:

To many southern
Europeans, euro membership is the lesser of two evils when greater
monetary control by their national governments is the
alternative.

Earlier this week, the Italian president’s refusal to appoint a finance minister who had
previously advocated contingency planning for a
potential Italian exit from the euro unsettled bond markets,
causing interest rates on the country’s debt to skyrocket. While
subsequent negotiations have ended the stalemate and delivered a coalition
government, their members’ strong anti-EU disposition will prolong
policy uncertainty.

In Spain, a vote of no confidence in the centre-right
government has led to its replacement by a left-wing administration
propped up by communists and separatists, igniting fears that the
market reforms undertaken since 2012 may be unraveled.

And raising taxes, increasing regulation and centralizing power
would indeed spell doom for the Spanish economy, whose GDP has been
growing at annual rates in excess of 3 percent for three years.
Unemployment, which topped 26 percent at the height of the crisis,
has since fallen rapidly thanks to a much-needed loosening of
hiring and firing rules.

Italy’s recovery has been less resplendent, with tepid growth,
stagnant labor productivity and wages, and a national debt of
around 130 percent of GDP. Nevertheless, its fiscal position had
stabilized in recent quarters and business investment had picked up
after a number of modest regulatory reforms.

* * *

Skeptics of the euro blame the single currency for the poor
economic outcomes of southern European countries (the uncharitably
nicknamed “PIGS”).

However, if you look closely at the data, it’s clear that
bad performance long precedes the advent of the euro: Unemployment
rates of 25 percent have characterized every major Spanish
recession since the 1970s. Greece has defaulted on its external
debt on half a dozen occasions since it became an
independent country. Italian productivity growth began to falter in
the early 1990s, hampered by onerous …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Different Responses in Parkland and Santa Fe Show We Need School Choice

June 4, 2018 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

Intellectually, I have many objections to gun control —
but even my instinctive reaction whenever there is a school
shooting, or any mass shooting, is that the big problem is the
guns, and something needs to be done about them. And if I, a
libertarian strongly predisposed against gun control, have that as
my first reaction, surely all people must feel the same way.
Right?

Apparently not. And that illustrates something important about
how we organize education, and a whole lot else.

I have been surprised by how different the reactions to the
horrific school shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Texas, have been. The response from
the Parkland community was one powerfully focused on gun control.
The response from Santa Fe, where gun rights appear to be much more
cherished, has been very different.

The Associated Press recently ran an article about the near silence on gun control in Santa Fe, in
stark contrast to Parkland. The Texas Tribune covered a roundtable discussion in the Texas Capitol
attended by people from Santa Fe and other Lone Star communities
affected by mass shootings. Reported the Tribune:

“This is not a gun thing,” said Jay Horn, the parent of a
student who is in the hospital after injuries from the shooting.
“Evil’s going to happen with anything.” He got a loud
round of applause.

The contrast in the responses is striking because I assume if my
gut reaction is for gun control, then surely almost everyone,
especially shooting survivors, would want it.

I suspect I’m not that different from most people in
feeling—though on a rational level I know it not to
be the case—that everyone must pretty much thinks the way I
do. But it turns out there really is great diversity in the values
and beliefs of communities and people. Of course, this is not just
evident by comparing Santa Fe and Parkland.

We can all agree that the
school shootings in Parkland, Santa Fe, and many other places were
evil, atrocious acts. But that does not mean that even communities
affected by the shootings share the same beliefs about what can and
should be done.

The Cato Institute’s Public
Schooling Battle Map
, which I run, demonstrates this far more
comprehensively. It includes nearly 2,000 conflicts in public
schools, many over what values schools will teach or reinforce,
such as comprehensive sex education or abstinence-only; modest dress or student freedom; bathroom choice or bodily privacy. These
conflicts attest to the diversity of values strongly held by
Americans, though of …read more

Source: OP-EDS