You are browsing the archive for 2018 June 26.

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Trump Campaign Uses Claims of Democratic 'Harassment' to Drum Up Money in Fundraising Email

June 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Conservatives are very upset that Sarah Sanders wasn't welcome at a restaurant.


President Donald Trump's campaign is trying to use the recent controversy around “civility” and protests of his staffers to squeeze donations out of his supporters.

In a fundraising email sent Tuesday evening with the subject line “Harassment,” the campaign portrayed the Trump administration as victims — even as it is essentially holding immigrant children hostage to push its legislative agenda.

The email read as follows:

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant.

Kirstjen Neilsen was harassed in her own home.

Homeland Security Staffers have been warned of “increased threats” from the open borders mob.

…And now Democrat Maxine Waters is calling for MORE HARASSMENT of the Silent Majority. The Left is trying to bully and buy their way back into power. Not on my watch. I will always stand up for you.

The email is ridiculous for any number of reasons, but the attack on Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) is the most absurd. She called for protests of people who work for Trump — not the “Silent Majority.”

It's not even clear who the “Silent Majority” is supposed to be — a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump, and millions more people voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 than for her opponent. And even if Trump supporters were in the majority, they're anything but “silent.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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Judge Praised by Trump Rules in Favor of Robert Mueller's Investigation

June 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

This is not good news for Paul Manafort.


A second judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of special counsel Robert Mueller's authority to bring charges against President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort as a part of the Russia investigation.

The move likely came as a shock to some, including, perhaps, the president himself. Judge T.S. Ellis II had appeared critical of the Mueller team when he heard arguments against the special counsel's authority back in May, so much so that he drew praise from Trump. 

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud,” said Ellis told the prosecutors in May. “You really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”

Trump cheered the rebuke that day, saying, “I’ve been saying that for a long time — it’s a witch hunt.”

But many observers pointed out at the time that many judges, and Ellis in particular, like to make a show of being hard on prosecutors even when they eventually rule in their favor. And Mueller, it seemed, had the stronger legal arguments.

“The Special Counsel’s appointment was consistent with both constitutional requirements regarding appointment of officers and statutory requirements governing the authority to conduct criminal litigation on behalf of the United States, the Special Counsel had legal authority to investigate and to prosecute this matter and dismissal of the Superseding Indictment is not warranted,” Ellis wrote.

However, Ellis did issue a warning about the potential abuse of special counsels: “The appointment of special prosecutors has the potential to disrupt these checks and balances, and to inject a level of toxic partisanship into investigation of matters of public importance.”

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who presides over the Washington, D.C. charges against Manafort, had previously also ruled in favor of Mueller's authority.

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Sean Spicer Is Seriously Being Pitched to Host a ‘Respectful' and 'Informative’ Talk Show

June 26, 2018 in Blogs

By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

Few if any remember Spicer as civil, respectful or informative.


After a disastrous stint as White House press secretary Sean Spicer laid low, hoping the entire nation would forget his lies and immoral defense at all costs of President Donald Trump.

He made a very unfortunate cameo appearance at the Emmy Awards last September, which ignited tremendous anger on social media.

Spicer now is hoping his “time off” has been long enough.

Heavy hitters in TV distribution are trying to package a talk show featuring Spicer as host. As he told the New York Times, “I think it’s important to have a platform where we can have civil, respectful, and informative discussions on the issues of the day.”

Few if any remember Spicer as civil, respectful, or informative. And even fewer remember him as funny.

“Sean Spicer’s Common Ground” would feature one guest per episode — think “Washington Week” meets Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

That's how the Times describes Spicer's theoretical show.

Spicer's first press conference right after Trump was inaugurated featured this now iconic lie: ”This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period.”

Almost nothing Spicer said in his first remarks as press secretary was true.

Spicer nuked his credibility on January 21, 2017. It is not repairable.

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Source: ALTERNET

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'It's Legal to Seek Asylum!': CNN Guests Tear into Trump Supporter for Defending Attacks on Immigration

June 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The panel discussed Michael Grimm's recent comments lavishing praise on the immigration detention centers.


CNN contributor David Urban got an earful Tuesday as he tried to defend conservative congressional candidate from New York Michael Grimm's recent comments about immigrants detained by the Trump administration.

In an interview with CNN, Grimm lavished praise on the detention centers that immigrants are held in and said that we should be more critical of the parents who make the journey to seek asylum in the United States than we are of American immigration policy.

Urban, a defender of President Donald Trump, backed up Grimm's attacks on the asylum seekers: “They're safe when they cross into Mexico. Why are they coming to the United States?”

As guest Kirsten Powers explained, they have every right to come to the United States under by national and international law that protects asylum seekers.

“It's legal to seek asylum!” she said.

Urban argued that many of them still cross the border at unauthorized points of entry, but this claim leaves out the well-documented fact that border guards have been turning immigrants away from ports of entry — effectively forcing asylum seekers to take other steps to enter the country.

Watch the clip below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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HHS Secretary Makes It Clear That Children Are Still Being Held Hostage for Trump's Wall

June 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Mark Sumner, Daily Kos

The president is not surrendering.


Despite the pretense of signing an executive order that had little or no effect on how families are treated at the border, and despite making various claims about efforts to reunite families already separated by Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has made it clear: Trump is not surrendering his hostages.

Azar testified before Congress on Tuesday where, according to the Washington Post, he told the lawmakers that if they wanted kids returned to their families, it would have to come as part of legislation. Otherwise, Trump will continue to have families held, children will continue to be separated, and no one is getting a kid back unless they’re on the way out of the country.

“I cannot reunite them, though, while the parents are in custody because of the court order that doesn’t allow the kids to be with their parents for more than 20 days,” he said. “We need Congress to fix that.”

So … no. Trump’s executive order didn’t end, or even seriously effect family separations. Though it did do an excellent job of collecting headlines informing the nation that Trump had “solved” this problem.

Asked about reuniting families Azar instead talked about 250 children who had been placed elsewhere—including some who had been sent back to remaining family in the countries their captive parents had been fleeing. If Azar is correct, then some children have actually been deported, even as one or both of their parents remains in US custody.

But while Azar did not have any suggestion on how parents could locate their children, or when families might be reunited, he did have one clear statement. If lawmakers want to see an end to family separation, they had better “find a legislative fix.” And since Trump has already demonstrated that he won’t sign a bill without everything he wants, including billions for “the wall,” the country and the crisis are right back where we were—with an increasing number of children being held hostage to the demands of Donald Trump.


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Source: ALTERNET

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Does China Win or Lose from the U.S.-North Korea Thaw?

June 26, 2018 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

The Singapore summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un has
generated a considerable amount of controversy. Most analysts in
the United States and East Asia seem relieved that the meeting
continued the recent reduction in bilateral tensions and offers at
least some hope that the nuclear crisis can be brought to a
peaceful conclusion. However, a vocal minority, especially in the
United States and Japan, takes a different view, insisting that the
wily North Korean leader outwitted and out-bargained the U.S.
president. The debate in the United States largely breaks along
partisan lines, with most Republicans praising Trump’s performance and most
Democrats sharply criticizing it.

Another issue that has sparked controversy (although far less
attention) in both the United States and East Asia is whether the
People’s Republic of China (PRC) is pleased or displeased
about the results of the summit and the overall U.S.-North Korean
rapprochement. One faction argues that the outcome gratified
Beijing and that China was indeed a key architect of the meeting.
According to that thesis, the PRC is a significant winner in the
new, less confrontational environment between Washington and
Pyongyang. Writing in Bloomberg News, veteran foreign affairs
correspondent Nick Wadhams even insists that China “got everything it wanted” from the
Singapore summit. “Other than Kim Jong-un,” he states,
the biggest winner is “unquestionably the government of
President Xi Jinping, which had been advocating the very process
that Trump has now embarked upon.”

The post-summit
relationship now resembles a triangular one, with Beijing and
Washington vying for ways to influence Pyongyang, and the DPRK
seeking to use that competition to protect its own interests and
strengthen its position.

Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin likewise asserts that China “is the biggest
winner” from the Trump-Kim summit. According to Rogin:
“In Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wildest dreams, he
could not have envisioned a better outcome-at least as it concerns
Beijing’s interests. After one day of meetings, Trump agreed
to halt U.S.-South Korea military exercises, doing exactly what the
Chinese government proposedahead of the summit.
Trump publicly stated he wants to remove all U.S. troops from South
Korea
, which would be a huge strategic windfall for
China.” Atlantic Council scholar Daniel Fried agrees that Kim and China were the principal
winners emerging from the summit, while the United States and its
allies achieved little of substance.

The opposing faction contends that China actually wanted to see
tensions on the Peninsula continue, since that situation tied down
U.S. military forces and prevented U.S. leaders from giving issues
such as the South China Sea and …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Broken Childcare Market Is a Classic Government Failure

June 26, 2018 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

Last week came further warning signs about the strains and
challenges in the broken childcare sector.

A survey for the Professional Association for Childcare and
Early years (PACEY) warned that nursery closures were up almost 50
per cent last year, and that providers were struggling to retain
good staff because of funding pressures.

In the not-too-distant future, childcare policy will be taught
as a case study in government failure. Well-intentioned
interventions are having perverse consequences and rapidly leading
to more and more state control.

Let’s start with the government’s expansion of
“free” childcare to 30 hours for three and four year
olds. This has made nurseries increasingly dependent on government
funding. But the state generally provides lower fees per hour than
private consumers.

Well-intentioned
interventions are having perverse consequences and rapidly leading
to more and more state control.

When the state only offered 15 hours of free care, nurseries
cross-subsidised these low fees by charging more to non-subsidised
customers. With the doubling of free care, their scope for doing
this has been much diminished. Some businesses are becoming
unviable as a result, and others restrict places, cut costs, or
charge parents for extras.

This was all predictable and predicted. But it is only a
microcosm of the mess of contradictions that UK governments have
tangled this sector in.

At one time or another, Conservative and Labour administrations
have justified extensive regulation and state subsidies with the
aims of: supporting mothers into work, improving care quality,
making childcare more affordable, and ensuring that it is
accessible.

Some of these aims are directly contradictory, while the
policies result in huge trade-offs.

The “free” care, for example, improves affordability
for recipient groups and might allow more mothers to go back to
work.

But if PACEY is right that it leads to nursery closures and
constrained staff pay, that could reduce accessibility to care
settings. Lower wages are likewise likely to attract lower quality
staff into the sector.

Similar unintended consequences occur elsewhere.

It is hoped that staff-child regulations will deliver quality
care by ensuring that children are not neglected. Yet they either
reduce the revenue-earning potential of each carer (since they can
be responsible for fewer children at once) or increase the costs of
provision for a given number of children.

If this results in lower staff wages, again it will result in
lower-quality workers being attracted to the sector, making the
overall effect on quality ambiguous.

Increased business costs also reduce supply, as more nurseries
struggle and fail. This leads to higher prices for consumers, not
only reducing affordability but also encouraging parents to use the
informal sector, which may be lower quality.

Indeed, studies of childcare regulation in the US …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Donald Trump's 'Travel Ban' Is Still a 'Muslim Ban' No Matter What the Supreme Court Ruled

June 26, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Somin

Ilya Somin

There are none so blind as they who choose not to see. That
saying captures the grave error the Supreme Court made in
Tuesday’s travel ban decision. In a 5-4 ruling written by
Chief Justice John Roberts, the justices largely upheld President
Donald Trump’s “proclamation” banning nearly all
entry into the United States by citizens of five Muslim-majority
nations.

They did so even though, during the 2016 campaign, Trump
repeatedly called for a “Muslim ban” forbidding Muslims from
entering the United States. When he later switched to a“territorial” ban focusing on
Muslim-majority nations, he repeatedly equated this new approach
with his original policy, and even called it an “expansion” of the
earlier Muslim ban.

The overwhelming majority of the people barred by the
“proclamation” are Muslim, and there is little if any evidence indicating that their
exclusion protects national security. Over the past 40 years, the
number of people killed in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil by
entrants from any of the five nations is zero. On average, they probably pose less risk
than even native-born Americans.

Donald Trump’s statements
against Muslims during the election clearly shows his motive in the
travel ban. The Supreme Court eviscerated the First Amendment by
ruling in Trump’s favor.

In any other circumstance, such clear and overwhelming evidence
of discriminatory motive, combined with the absence of legitimate
justifications, would be a violation of the First Amendment, which
bans government policies that discriminate on the basis of
religion. The court has repeatedly ruled that evidence of
discriminatory motive targeting people on the basis of race,
ethnicity or religion can invalidate even a seemingly
“neutral” policy that does not explicitly mention the
forbidden classification, unless the government can prove it would
have adopted the same policy for legitimate reasons.

Just three weeks ago, in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, the
court invalidated a judgment against a baker who had violated state
anti-discrimination laws by refusing to provide a cake for a
same-sex wedding, on the grounds that two of seven members of a state agency that
reviewed his case expressed hostility to his religious beliefs.

The evidence of bigoted motivation in the travel ban case is
far stronger.

Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion cites Trump’s
statements, and assumes that they are relevant evidence.
Nonetheless, he essentially ignores their impact by ruling that
legal challenges to presidential decisions on immigration policy
are subject only to minimal “rational basis” review that can be
satisfied so long as there is a plausible basis for the policy.

This approach comes close to gutting the Bill of Rights …read more

Source: OP-EDS