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MSNBC Analyst Says Michael Cohen's New Lawyer Is Seeking to 'Avenge Hillary Clinton'

July 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

This should make the president very nervous.


When President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen went public this week with his claim that he's seeking to protect his family and his country in his dealings with the federal investigations into him and his former boss, many believed it was a sure sign that he had decided to flip on president and cooperate with prosecutors.

Others, however, were skeptical, noting that Cohen could be angling for a pardon from the president.

But when it was announced Thursday that Cohen hired Lanny Davis, a former ally of Hillary Clinton, to be his new lawyer, it became clear that Cohen no longer sees himself on Team Trump.

“If you care about Donald Trump, you ought to be worried,” said MSNBC analyst David Corn about the move. “Lanny Davis is a political player, a spinmeister who's written books on how to spin, who has an agenda here which is to avenge Hillary Clinton. So if it ever comes to his advice to Cohen on what to do, you can't separate his loyalty, his fierce loyalty to the Clintons and wanting to set things straight after the 2016 election with what he's going to be doing with Michael Cohen.”

Cohen almost certainly knew this when he hire Davis — making it all that much more likely that he plans to turn against the president.

Watch the MSNBC clip below: 

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Source: ALTERNET

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Scott Pruitt's Really Creepy Resignation Letter Praises Trump — And Has Bizarre Religious Overtones

July 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Mark Sumner, Daily Kos

There is a whole lot of blessing going on in Pruitt’s final homework assignment.


Fox News has been gifted with a copy of Scott Pruitt’s resignation letter. Or is that blessed? Because there is a whole lot of blessing going on in Pruitt’s final homework assignment.

Please find appropriate sad violin music before beginning to read this note.

It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role, first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also because of the transformative work that is occurring.

That transformative work includes allowing coal mines to dump waste into streams and rivers, relieving oil and gas companies of the pesky business of letting anyone know when they leak huge plumes of methane into the air, allowing factory farms to flood streams with animal waste without even having to report on water or air quality. All of which is truly transformative for people who live downwind or downstream. And there are the pesticides that Pruitt saved from cruel regulation, the power plants now free to produce both more acid rain and bring the blessing of holy mercury to the nation’s diet. Yea, verily, these are blessings which are expected to leave 88,000 Americans transformed to the state of holy deadness over the next decade and leave millions more with the gift of asthma or nerve damage.

My desire in service to you has always been to bless you as you make important decisions for the American people. I belive you are serving as president today because of God’s providence. I believe the same providence brought me into your service.

Scott Pruitt didn’t just spend millions on first-class travel to spread the gospel of how to turn the planet into a soot-stained outhouse, it was a holy calling. That wasn’t a private army he built, it was soldiers of the lord-what-a-load.

If you were wondering why Pruitt lasted so long in a White House where the average tsetse fly exceeds the lifespan of a cabinet officer, take a look at that note again. That’s some serious shiny-knees knob polishing. It’s that level of …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here's the Ridiculous Spin Conservatives Want You to Believe About Scott Pruitt's Scandalous Resignation

July 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The scandalous EPA administrator is the subject of more than a dozen investigations.


As conservative darling and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt collapsed under the weight of his own mountain of corruption and scandals Thursday, conservative media figures were already working to spin the Cabinet member's long-overdue resignation as some kind of nefarious liberal plot.

“Well funded and media coordinated #bootpruitt movement finally gets its scalp,” tweeted Mollie Hemmingway, an editor at The Federalist. “Would have taken hours, not months, in a typical GOP admin but now that it has had its success, expect it to be repeated with other Trump cabinet officials.”

Kimberley Strassel, the relentless defender of President Donald Trump at the Wall Street Journal, wrote: “Lesson to other Trump officials from Pruitt resignation: Give the left/media/organized greens any molehill and they will turn it into K2. Most of the accusations were overwrought, but the barrage was overwhelming. Let's hope an equally reformist successor denies them a repeat.”

Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt agreed with Strassel.

“Scott Pruitt is a good friend and a very good man, caricatured by left and MSM. I hope he sets to work on a memoir ASAP and deals out a tenth of what he took. He’s a man of great faith and perseverance so he probably won’t, but the attacks on his family were unconscionable,” he wrote.

The spin was preposterous. News agencies did what they're supposed to do: uncover wrongdoing by people in power. When they investigated Pruitt, they found a lot — so much that he's the subject of at least 12 different investigations.

Trump and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who are typically vociferous critics of the media, never actually called the reports of his abuses and corruption “fake news.” Sanders repeatedly said that the White House was looking into the charges against Pruitt.

When even Trump and Sanders think the accusations against a Cabinet member are credible, we know it's bad.

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5 Horrifying Things About Scott Pruitt's EPA Replacement

July 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Chris Sosa, AlterNet

He's even scarier than the corrupt administrator he's replacing.


Scott Pruitt resigned as the head of the EPA after months of mounting scandals that served as an increasing distraction for the administration of President Donald Trump.

His successor will be the EPA’s current deputy administrator Andrew Wheeler, a less controversial but arguably more dangerous figure.

The American people should be deeply concerned about the new EPA chief. Here are some of the biggest red flags in his background.

Wheeler Will Be Better at Destroying the Environment

Wheeler is described by the New York Times as a “consummate Washington insider who avoids the limelight and has spent years effectively navigating the rules.”

The acting chief is known for being highly effective in his work and avoiding the sorts of personal scandals that consumed Pruitt.

Analysts believe Wheeler could be more effective than Pruitt at implementing Trump’s deregulatory agenda at the EPA.

Wheeler Was an Energy Industry Lobbyist

Following his tenure at the EPA in the administration of George W. Bush, he became a lobbyist for Murray Energy. The head of the company is a supporter of Trump’s.

“Like Pruitt, this veteran coal lobby lobbyist has shown only disdain for the E.P.A.’s vital mission to protect Americans’ health and our environment,” Ana Unruh Cohen, managing director for government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Times.

Wheeler Worked for a Climate Change Denier

The acting EPA administrator previously worked for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), a climate change denier who called the science “the greatest hoax” ever perpetrated on Americans.

Many remember Inhofe for his attempt to debunk global warming “hysteria” by bringing a snowball into the Senate.

Wheeler Really Loves Coal

He served as the vice president of the Washington Coal Club.

This organization is a quiet federation of more than 300 coal producers, corporate leaders, policy professionals and lawmakers.

Founded in 1981, the WCC is a powerful force for the coal industry today.

Wheeler Lobbied to Open Public Land to Uranium Mining

“[We] respectfully request that DOI reduce the size of the BENM to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Thin-Skinned and Vain': MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace Explains Why Trump Finally Ousted Scott Pruitt

July 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The EPA administrator finally resigned after months of scandal.


EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt finally resigned Thursday after months of mounting scandals engulfed him. The most shocking part of the announcement was not the resignation itself, but that it took so long for President Donald Trump to finally decide that Pruitt needed to go.

MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace argued Thursday that the accumulation of negative stories finally convinced the president that he needed to drop the hammer.

“It was a crush of negative press,” she said. “We put up a wall last week or earlier this week of all the bad headlines. And no doubt, it was the president feeling — the president at his core is thin-skinned and vain. This was somebody making him look bad, making him look foolish. This guy was a dope. He wanted a phone booth, wore tactical pants. I had to google what that was. This guy was freaky.”

Karine Jean-Pierre of MoveOn.org agreed.

“I think one of the things that turned the tide, as well, was Fox News,” she said. Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Jean-Pierre Pointed out, had recently called for Pruitt to be fired.

“That's the crack in the base. We know Donald Trump watches Fox News. It's an addiction for him. Once you have that, the constant: 'Well, Pruitt needs to resign. He's the swamp. he's the swamp.' And he saw that and he internalized that and took it in,” Jean-Pierre added said.

Watch the clip below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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Here's How the Road to Iraq Is Repeating Itself with Iran

July 5, 2018 in Economics

By Christopher A. Preble

Christopher A. Preble

Rob Reiner’s movie “Shock and Awe,” due to hit theaters on
July 13, reminds us of the role that provocateurs and conspiracy
theorists played in building the case for war with Iraq. (Spoiler
alert: this article reveals key movie plot lines, including that
the United States did, in fact, invade Iraq in 2003, and that most
of the people who led us into that war have evaded accountability
for having done so.)

Some of the Iraq war boosters appear in actual clips from the
era. We see, for example, Laurie Mylroie on C-Span, peddling her
tale of Saddam Hussein’s supposed involvement in the 1993
World Trade Center Attack. We are also treated again to Dick
Cheney’s claims of Iraq-Al Qaeda linkages and Saddam’s
aluminum tubes on “Meet the Press.” There’s
Donald Rumsfeld’s “known unknowns” press
conference, and, of course, George W. Bush’s “axis of
evil” speech. At other times, names are dropped into
dialogue. For example, Reiner, in the role as Knight Ridder DC
Bureau Chief John Walcott, mentions Bill Kristol and others at the
Project for a New American Century (PNAC) as key figures behind the
case for war.

But one character gets special treatment: Ahmed Chalabi. He
isn’t merely referenced in passing but is also portrayed as the
double-dealing charlatan that he was. In one scene, Knight Ridder
reporters Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel (played by Woody
Harrelson and James Marsden, respectively), visit Chalabi in his
opulent offices in Washington, DC. Actor Jack Topalian plays a
suitably smug Chalabi who is utterly disinterested in the truth,
and dismissive of those trying to uncover it.

In reflecting on the film, one of the truly shocking things
about “Shock and Awe” is the extent to which it mirrors
a similar effort underway today.

In late 2001, it was PNAC feeding bogus information from the
self-interested Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress (INC).
Today, it’s the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD)
calling for regime change in Tehran, and the Mujahedin-e
Khalq (MEK) feeding them the information to build the
case—and dropping large sums of money on DC insiders.

Meanwhile, the Washington Free Beacon —in
the guise of an actual news organization—touts Saudi claims that Iran harbored al Qaeda
members prior to 9/11, ignoring that the same could be said about
Germany—and, indeed, the U.S. government, which
“allowed” the hijackers to live, work and study in
Florida and Southern California before anyone knew what they were
up to. Furthermore, the Saudi news company al Arabiya cut and
spliced the Ali Larijani’s interview in a way that is
doubly misleading because it omits his
statement …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Trump Should Take a Serious Look at Amul Thapar for the Supreme Court

July 5, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement has given President Trump
the chance to fill a second Supreme Court vacancy in less than two
years. The president hit a home run with Justice Neil Gorsuch, who
helped deliver conservatives and libertarians their best Supreme
Court term in some time. Can Trump do it again? According to recent
reports, he has interviewed seven candidates. All appear to be
originalists and textualists of varying shades, and each could make
an excellent justice. But keep your eye on Judge Amul Thapar,
President Trump’s first judicial nominee after Justice Gorsuch but
someone I haven’t seen much written about beyond simple
name-mentioning.

Thapar had already been on Trump’s longer Supreme Court list as
a federal district judge — he was a semifinalist for the
Gorsuch slot — and was quickly elevated to the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which covers politically critical
states in the middle of the country. That marked his third Senate
confirmation, having also been the U.S. attorney (chief federal
prosecutor) for eastern Kentucky, based across the river from
Cincinnati.

If nominated and confirmed, Thapar would make history as the
first Asian-American on the Supreme Court. His parents emigrated
from India and have lived out the American dream (something that I
personally can relate to). Thapar’s father worked at a Ford factory
and started his own small heating and air conditioning business in
Toledo. His mother owned a successful restaurant but sold it after
9/11 so that she could help troops transition back to civilian
life. To top it off, Thapar was born in Michigan, grew up attending
public schools in Ohio, and lives in Kentucky— a Rust Belt
trifecta.

If Trump decides to
nominate Thapar, the nation will get a young, charismatic,
personable, textualist and originalist who could serve on the court
for three decades or more.

Thapar’s background suggests he shares the values of
ordinary citizens, including a deep appreciation for
America’s opportunity. Thapar was on a plane on 9/11. After
learning of the attacks mid-air, he vowed that if his plane landed
safely, he would dedicate his career to serving the country he
loved. Thapar promptly left his elite law firm and began what has
now been 12 years of his public service.

Perhaps it’s unsurprising given his background, but
Thapar’s jurisprudence suggests he well understands a
fundamental American truth worth repeating this week as we
celebrate Independence Day: In the United States, we the people
govern ourselves. In legal practice, individual liberty and
self-governance require a commitment to textualism and originalism,
such that judges stick to the text of the laws they apply and the
original meaning of the Constitution.

But …read more

Source: OP-EDS