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Trump Unleashed a 'Profanity-Laced Tirade Against' John Kelly as Rumors Swirl that His White House Days Are Numbered: Report

June 28, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Trump has reportedly been speaking to his allies about Kelly's potential replacements.


White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is once again reported to be on the outs with President Donald Trump.

The pair has feuded frequently in their year together, according to multiple reports, but previous predictions that Kelly was about to be fired have failed to come true. The infamously mercurial president is once against reportedly going back and forth on whether to keep his chief of staff around, and his communications staff's denials of any tension between the two lack credibility. 

Trump recently delivered a “profanity-laced tirade against his chief of staff” while talking with an ally, according to a new report from CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

But, true to his nature, Collins says he was praising Kelly to staff members the very next day.

Collins, confirming other reports, says that Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Vice President Mike Pence staffer Nick Ayers are under consideration as Kelly's replacement, should he be fired.

When White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters was asked about the rumors of Kelly's imminent termination, she said: “I spoke to the president who refuted this article. He said it is absolutely not true and that it is fake news.”

However, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman pointed out that Trump has a habit of lying about coming terminations.

“Trump did same when Kelly wanted to fire [former national security adviser H.R.] McMaster,” she tweeted. “McMaster was gone only a few days later.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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Milo Yiannopoulos Offers Pathetic Excuse After Newsroom Shooting for His Wish that 'Vigilante Death Squads' Would Kill Journalists

June 28, 2018 in Blogs

By AlterNet

A local paper in Maryland was attacked by a mass shooter.


Milo Yiannopoulos, a far-right supporter of President Donald Trump and white supremacist, tried to back away Thursday from violent comments he gave to a newspaper threatening journalists after a mass shooter attacked a local newsroom in Maryland.

“I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” Yiannopoulos told the Observer in a text message earlier in the week.

Many noted that repugnant as such comments were in the first place, they looked even more vile and dangerous in the aftermath of the shooting.

But Yiannopoulos tried to pass it off as a joke.

“I sent a troll about 'vigilante death squads' as a *private* response to a few hostile journalists who were asking me for comment, basically as a way of saying, 'F—k off.' They then published it,” he said in a Facebook post.

“Amazed they were pretending to take my joke as a 'threat,' I reposted these stories on Instagram to mock them – and to make it clear that I wasn’t being serious,” he added.

Of course, many in the so-called “alt-right” have long used the guise of “humor” to defend their indefensible views. The problem is there are just some things decent people don't find funny — like political ideologues calling for violence on the free press. The ambiguity between genuine threat and joke also serves a nefarious purpose: to intimidate critics while maintaining a sheen of deniability.

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Source: ALTERNET

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How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Beat a Democratic Incumbent Who Ran a Campaign from the Previous Century

June 28, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, Independent Media Institute

From issues to campaign techniques, Joseph Crowley was left in the dust.


There are many reasons why working-class champion Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the biggest political upset of 2018 so far—a first-time candidate badly beating Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-NY, who was one of the Democratic Party’s top leaders in Washington, a prodigious fundraiser and boss of the Queens County Democratic Party.

But beyond her deeply resonant pledges to work on behalf of her district’s overlooked working-class voters, Ocasio-Cortez’s victory in this week’s New York congressional primaries would not have been possible without her sophisticated use of online tools to organize, communicate, motivate and turn out voters.

Crowley’s campaign, as one insider told the New York Times, was from an earlier pre-internet era, one dominated by big dollar fundraising, and mass marketing via mailings of campaign flyers, and TV and radio ads. “We had people running this like a 1998 City Council race and not a 2018 congressional primary,” the staffer said.

While Ocasio-Cortez also used Crowley’s ties to corporate money, institutional power and residence in Virginia against him, there may be no better current example of how cyberspace has remade political campaigning: changing the tone, tactics and mechanics of participation. While Ocasio-Cortez spent the first part of the campaign speaking to people in their homes and holding coffee parties, she and her staff used tools like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to send out messages seen by much larger audiences than comparable efforts by Crowley.

“The scope of the digital effort for a campaign like this was massive,” said Jake DeGroot, who helped manage her digital campaign. That effort included: using volunteers creating private online groups to coordinate social media posts; testing and refining messages in multilingual formats; purchasing nearly twice as many Facebook and Instagram ads as Crowley’s campaign; and creating a video that went viral—with help from progressive filmmakers. In short, her insurgency used technology to bypass the historic benefits of incumbency by building her own small donor base and independent media operation.

Ocasio-Cortez is expected to easily win the November general election, making her, at age 28, the youngest …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Fox News' Sean Hannity Is Already Blaming Democrats for the Shooting at a Local Maryland Paper

June 28, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Conservative commentators were aghast at a California Democrat's call to protest Trump administration members.


Fox News' Sean Hannity wasted no time trying to blame Democrats Thursday for a mass shooting at the Capital Gazette, a local Maryland newspaper, even as there was limited information about the crime, its victims, and its perpetrator. 

Hannity began by saying on his radio show, “It's so sad that there are so many sick, demented, and evil people in this world.” He immediately said that a mass shooting carried out with a firearm has nothing to do with guns.

But then his comments became really absurd.

“You know, as I've always said, I mean honestly – I've been saying now for days that something horrible was going to happen because of the rhetoric,” he said. “Really [Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)]? You want people to create — 'call your friends, get in their faces,' and [President Barack Obama] said that too. 'Get in their faces, call them out, call your friends, get protesters, follow them into restaurants and shopping malls,' and wherever else she said.”

Despite multiple sources misrepresenting Waters' recent remarks, the Democratic lawmaker only called for direct protests of Trump administration officials in a recent statement. Even in his comments on Thursday, though, Hannity didn't imply that she promoted any form of violence — just protest, which is protected by the First Amendment.

It's not at all clear what calling for protests has to do with a violent attack on a newspaper, but Hannity drew the connection anyway.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has, in fact, used wildly inflammatory statements about American journalists, recently declaring them the “enemy of the people.” Even still, it's far too early to draw a causal connection between that rhetoric and Thursday's shooting. But Hannity didn't even mention these incendiary remarks or any other potential role the president has played in stoking tensions in the United States.

Listen to Hannity's remarks below:

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'A Patriot': GOP Strategist Slams 'Menace and Arrogance' of FBI Agents Targeting ICE Spokesman Turned 'Whistleblower'

June 28, 2018 in Blogs

By Chris Sosa, AlterNet

The agent began banging on the former ICE spokesperson's door and behaved aggressively when he answered.


A CBS interview with former Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson James Schwab was interrupted by men who showed up at his home and identified themselves as agents from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office.

Schwab resigned from ICE after reportedly being told by the administration to lie about an incident involving the mayor of Oakland. California.

The agents who surprised Schwab at the door behaved aggressively toward CBS News' Jamie Yuccas when she asked about why they were on the private premises and took Schwab outside to talk.

Former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, a key figure in the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), responded to a tweet from Philip Rucker at the Washington Postby defending Schwab and blasting the government response.

“Watch the menace and the arrogance of the agent knocking on the door. It is as amazing as it is frightening and ominous,” Schmidt wrote on Twitter. “This Ice whistleblower is a patriot and his courage is worthy of respect. He will need legal help. Decent people should chip in and help fund it.”

 

Schwab said the agents wanted to speak with him about a leak involving the mayor of Oakland, California.

He said the agents were engaging in a blatant act of “intimidation” and that he's never even met the mayor.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Turkey’s Revolution Continues

June 28, 2018 in Economics

By Mustafa Akyol

Mustafa Akyol

More than 55 million Turks went to the polls on Sunday to elect
the country’s new president and to form its new parliament. As has
happened repeatedly since 2002, the winner was President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan
. With more than 52 percent of the vote, Mr. Erdogan
secured a mandate to rule Turkey until 2023 — the centennial
of the founding of the Turkish Republic after the fall of the
Ottoman Empire in World War I.

To many, especially in the West, yet another victory for Mr.
Erdogan seems hard to understand. The economy has been gloomy. The
Turkish lira is in free fall against other currencies. Democracy is
in precipitous decline, too. Moreover, the usually fractured
opposition seemed to get its act together this time, forming a
coalition and putting forth Muharrem Ince, a charismatic
candidate. All this led to a widespread expectation that Mr.
Erdogan could lose this time, or at least would face a major
setback.

But Turkey’s strongman proved as strong as ever. The reason for
this is not ballot rigging. It is not even just the way that Mr.
Erdogan holds a grip on power with his command of the news media.
The truth is, most people who voted for Mr. Erdogan will vote for
him no matter what. They didn’t see this election as a competition
between politicians promising better governance. They viewed it as
an act of defiance against a century-old existential enemy.

The story goes back to modern Turkey’s 1923 founding by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, whose top-down
secularist reforms created a Westernized urban population that
viewed him as a savior. But the same “Kemalist Revolution” left
behind a traumatized conservative class, which felt itself as “a
stranger in your own home, a pariah in your own land,” as the
Islamist poet Necip Fazil put it in 1949.

When multiparty elections were introduced in 1950, the
conservatives began to enter the system. But they were repeatedly
punished by “the regime’s guardians,” as the secular elite proudly
called itself. Only with Mr. Erdogan’s election and solidification
of power in the early 2000s was this secular hegemony fully
broken.

This is what Turkey’s religious conservatives are thinking about
when they vote for Mr. Erdogan and his Justice and Development
Party, not his flaws, which they may silently admit he has. They
aren’t thinking about newspapers that have been taken over or
professors who have been put in jail, but about how the Arabic call
to prayer was outlawed in the 1930s and the head scarf was banned
in the 1990s. Against …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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A Supreme Court Term for the Ages Signals the Start of a New Era

June 28, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

It was a Supreme Court term for the ages. I don’t know if
I would necessarily count any of the rulings as ones we’ll
look back on as setting huge precedents — unlike, say,
Heller (Second Amendment), Citizens United
(campaign finance), Shelby County (voting rights), and
Obergefell(same-sex marriage) — but as a whole it
was a year where a new court came together. To be sure, there were
several “big” cases, like Murphy v. NCAA
(sports gambling/federalism), South Dakota v. Wayfair
(state sales tax on e-commerce), and NIFLA v. Becerra
(compelled speech in crisis pregnancy centers).

But those won’t be rolling off layman tongues. Even
Trump v. Hawaii (travel ban 3.0), while launching millions
of flame wars on Twitter, doesn’t break new ground given the
broad discretion that Congress gives the president on immigration
law and the deference courts (rightly) give the executive on
matters of national security. Recall that most experts were
predicting this wouldn’t even be a 5-4 split — and it
really wasn’t, because Justices Stephen Breyer, joined by
Elena Kagan, merely filed a technocratic opinion about needing more
evidence before really being able to decide, declining to enlist in
the judicial #Resistance that only garnered two votes (Justices
Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg).

October term 2017, while
it rolled out in fits and starts, ended up giving a lot to
conservatives and libertarians. But we’re just getting
started.

The cases with arguably the greatest potential for changing the
legal landscape, Masterpiece Cakeshop and partisan
gerrymandering, fizzled. Heck, probably the most long-lasting
rulings from a practical purpose were Carpenter v. United
States
(police need a warrant to collect cellphone location
data) and Janus v. American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees
(public-sector unions can’t charge
fees to nonmembers).

So there was a lot going on, in many fields of law, but it
seemed that the Supreme Court was really playing second-fiddle to
whatever was happening in President Trump’s Twitter feed and
the political world.

Until Wednesday, the last day of the term (and also my
birthday). Not only did the Supreme Court hand down
Janus— provoking paroxysmal fits among the woke
anti-authoritarians who can’t get enough of forcing people to
financially support things they don’t agree with — but,
three hours later, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his
retirement.

Kennedy has long been the Supreme Court’s
“swing” vote (though he hates that term) and thus is
most often in the majority in those 5-4 cases that split along
conventional ideological lines. Well, this term there were 19 such
hotly split decisions, just under 30 percent of the total (a bit
high but within modern norms). Of those 19 decisions, 15 featured
Kennedy joining …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Supreme Court’s Indefensible Double Standard in the Travel-Ban Case and Masterpiece Cakeshop

June 28, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Somin

Ilya Somin

Many legal experts have spotted a clear tension between this
week’s close 5-4 Supreme Court decision upholding President
Trump’s travel ban, and the court’s very recent 7-2
ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights
Commission
.

The cases raised similar issues, yet the justices went in
opposite directions. Both decisions involved seemingly neutral
government policies that were challenged in part because of
evidence showing the true purpose behind them was discrimination on
the basis of religion.

In Masterpiece Cakeshop, the court ruled in favor of
Jack Phillips, a baker who refused to prepare a cake for a same-sex
wedding, because he opposes such marriages on religious grounds. He
prevailed because the justices found that some members of the
Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which had adjudicated his claim,
expressed bias against Phillips’ religious beliefs.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, famously called for a “Muslim
ban” on the campaign trail — then instituted a travel
ban that targeted Muslim-majority nations. Yet the court upheld the
travel ban, and the majority concluded that Trump’s
statements should not determine the outcome of the case. All five
justices who voted to uphold the travel ban were also in the
majority in Masterpiece Cakeshop.

Biased comments by
officials shaped the outcome of one key court decision, but were
ruled of little importance in another.

This contradiction can’t be justified. The main
rationalization for it — that immigration policy is largely
exempt from normal judicial scrutiny — is badly flawed.
Immigration and national security policy should not be exempt from
the usual constraints of the Bill of Rights. Other possible
justifications for the discrepancy also fall flat.

There was much stronger evidence of bias in the travel
ban case than in Masterpiece

Jack Phillips prevailed, according to the majority in
Masterpiece Cakeshop, because the Colorado Civil Rights Commission
showed “elements of a clear and impermissible hostility
toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his
objection.” It was the words of the commission members that
did them in. One member said it was “despicable” for
the baker to use “freedom of religion … to justify
discrimination.” Another compared the baker’s views to
the use of religion to justify slavery and the Holocaust.

The comparison between refusal to bake a cake and the Holocaust
was indeed absurd, and it is reasonable to see that statement as
evidence of not just foolishness but bias.

But as Justice Sonia Sotomayor points out in her dissent in the
travel ban case, the evidence of discriminatory motivation on
Trump’s part is far stronger. The travel ban proclamation
followed numerous statements by President Trump explicitly
advocating a “Muslim ban” (dating back to a December
2015 policy proposal calling for a …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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I Agree with a Lot of Justice Kennedy's Decisions. But He Has Harmed the Rule of Law.

June 28, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

Even if you generally liked how Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
voted, you had to scratch your head at how he got there. I should
know; during his time on the bench, he agreed with the Cato
Institute more than any other justice did. Cato was the only
organization in the country, for example, to file briefs supporting
the side that got Kennedy’s vote in virtually all the big cases:
District of Columbia v. Heller ( Second Amendment), Citizens United vs. Federal
Election Commission
( campaign
finance
), Shelby County v. Holder ( voting
rights
), United States v. Windsor (Defense of
Marriage Act
), National Federation of Independent Business
v. Sebelius
( Obamacare), Obergefell v. Hodges
(same-sex marriage) and this term’s Masterpiece
Cakeshop
v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (
free exercise clause
).

But that didn’t make him any less frustrating to libertarians
— at least those of us who care about the rule of law rather
than simply achieving what we consider to be good policy
results.

Take his celebrated opinion in Obergefell in 2015. What
should have been an easy case about the propriety of certain
marriage-licensing schemes under an equal protection clause that
says the government can’t treat people differently for no good
reason, instead became yet another opportunity to wax poetic about
the meaning of life. The rule of Obergefell seems to be
that you take a scoop of due process and a cup of equal protection,
wrap them in some dignity, and then enjoy the waves of
adulation.

Even if you generally
liked how Justice Anthony M. Kennedy voted, you had to scratch your
head at how he got there.

That’s not law. For one thing, there’s no
fundamental right to the state recognition of marriage, which is a
kind of government benefit. To put it in the context of injustices
perpetrated against gay people, marriage isn’t like the right
to have sex with a consenting partner (which Kennedy upheld
in 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas ). After all, a logical
extension of Kennedy’s understanding of the fundamental right
to marriage is that states are prohibited from getting out of the
marriage business altogether. That can’t be right.

Moreover, a constant theme in Kennedy’s gay rights
jurisprudence – he’ll be known as the “gay justice” until
someone who is openly gay is seated on the court — is the
ignoble motivation behind the laws at issue. According to Kennedy,
such laws are illegitimate because they represent character flaws
in those who support them. Contrast them with his silent <a target=_blank href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/2004/03-1454" …read more

Source: OP-EDS