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'Those Are Stupid People': Trump Reportedly Trashed His Own Administration While Talking to Putin

July 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Trump is preparing for a one-on-one meeting with the Russian president.


Speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin last March, President Donald Trump criticized his own aides who had tried to prevent the phone call from taking place, according to a report from the New York Times.

Putin complained to Trump about the people who tried to stop the two men from talking, reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis found.

“Those are stupid people,” Trump said, according to the report; “you shouldn’t listen to them.”

It was in the same conversation that Trump congratulated Putin on his electoral win, despite that fact that Russian elections are a sham and that, reportedly, his aides had explicitly directed him not to offer congratulations.

The interactions give more color to a bizarre relationship that has transfixed the country and spurred a thousand conspiracy theories. Since the 2016 campaign and before, Trump has repeatedly expressed a perplexing affection for Putin, despite the authoritarian leader's brutal hold on power in his country and his disregard for democratic values. 

As the investigation into ties between Russia and trump continues, Trump's decision to meet one-on-one with Putin at an upcoming summit has drawn particular scrutiny, It seems Trump either does really have troubling ties to the Kremlin, or he doesn't mind acting in ways that make it look that way.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Former Whitewater Federal Prosecutor: 'Desperate' Michael Cohen Is Likely Dealing with Significant 'Criminal Exposure'

July 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Chris Sosa, AlterNet

The president's former fixer appears to be “sending a signal.”


Solomon Wisenberg, former Whitewater deputy independent counsel during the Clinton scandal, believes Michael Cohen is behaving like a person in serious legal trouble.

President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer has been on a media tour that finds him distancing himself from the president and his attacks on the American intelligence community.

Solomon discussed what could be behind Cohen’s new posture during a Monday CNN appearance.

“Well, he seems to be sending a signal that he wants some kind of assurance from the president or the president’s spokespeople that he will be taken care of down the line – will be defended or maybe pardoned or something like that,” Solomon said.

The attorney continued by questioning why he’s behaving in “such an almost desperate way.”

“To me, the only conclusion is that he’s got a lot of exposure – what we in the white collar defense field call criminal exposure,” Solomon concluded.

Watch the clip below.

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Source: ALTERNET

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'I Think You're Running This Presidency': Fox News' Juan Williams Calls Out Sean Hannity's Ties to Trump

July 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“You have a Sean Hannity agenda.”


While Fox News personality Sean Hannity was guest hosting on the panel show “The Five” on Monday, co-host Juan Williams called him out for his close ties to Presiden Donald Trump — ties that have raised ethical questions in the past.

“You have a Sean Hannity agenda,” Williams said of his co-host. “I think you're running this presidency.”

“That is the silliest thing I've ever heard,” Hannity shot back.

“Oh, so ridiculous,” Williams said mockingly. “How could I say such a thing!”

“So ridiculous, yeah. That's what CNN fake news says,” Hannity responded — apparently unable to resist using the president's “fake news” catchphrase while trying to distance himself from Trump.

Though it's widely known that Hannity and Trump are friendly, reporting has shown that the connection goes even deeper than it appears on the surface. Hannity, for instance, is one of three of Michael Cohen's clients — the president's former lawyer who is at the center of a federal investigation — a fact the host neglected to mention until it was revealed in court. And last week, the White House hired Bill Shine, the former co-president of Fox News, who is known to have been a close ally of Hannity.

Vanity Fair reporter Gabriel Sherman even reported on Monday that some in the White House believe Trump's planned announcement of his supreme court pick at 9 p.m. was arranged to give Hannity's show — which airs at 9 p.m. — a ratings boost.

Watch the clip below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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Here Are Six Reasons Why the Poor Are Much Better Off in Europe Than in the U.S.

July 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Poverty can be much more painful in the U.S. than in European social democracies.


The name “Bernie Sanders” can inspire very different reactions in Germany, France or Sweden than it inspires in the U.S. While the Vermont senator and self-described “socialist” is considered hard-left or radical by Republicans and even by some neoliberal Democrats, Europeans tend to view him as simply a New Deal liberal rather than someone with genuinely Marxist ideas. And the Washington Monthly’s Gilad Edelman ponders just how far to the left Sanders and his supporters really are in the publication’s July/August issue and poses the question: are Sanders’ young supporters really just New Deal liberals?

One thing Sanders clearly has in common with many European politicians is the fact that he is extremely uncomfortable with countries having widespread poverty—and while he doesn’t necessarily believe poverty can be eliminated altogether, he favors programs that aggressively combat it. Unfortunately, the U.S. is moving in the opposite direction in the Donald Trump era, and the policies of the Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress are conducive to harming the poor rather than helping them.

Here are six reasons why poverty—although painful all over the developed world—can be much more painful in the U.S. than in the European social democracies that Sanders and his supporters admire.

1. Job Training 

In Europe, there has been a heavy emphasis on education and job training; Germany, for example, is renowned for its apprenticeship programs. And according to Carl Melin of the Swedish think tank Futurion, Sweden’s system of retraining workers is “better than those in most countries.” But in the U.S., education can be cost-prohibitive. The U.S.’ poor simply can’t afford the educational programs they need to acquire new job skills, whereas in Germany or Sweden, the poor have easier access to job-training programs that will make their lives better.

2. Unions

 The labor movement did a lot to expand the American middle class in the 1940s and 1950s, but in the Trump era, unionization rates are at historic lows: only 10.7% of the U.S. workforce is …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Kellyanne Conway's Husband Says He Gives Her a Harder Time Than Protesters for Working Under Trump

July 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

George Conway has publicly criticized the president on multiple occasions.


Kellyanne Conway's relationship with her husband George Conway has become something of a Washington, D.C. curio, not out of any untoward or prurient interest, but because of the stark opposition of their public views on President Donald Trump. 

In a new report from the Washington Post discussing the pushback Trump administration officials have received in public, George Conway revealed a glimpse behind the scenes of his public opposition to the president and his wife's unabashed support for Trump.

“She has been getting a harder time from me about working for this administration than walking down the street,” he said of his wife, a counselor to the president. 

Their public postures bear little resemblance to one another. While Kellyanne fiercely defends the president and is willing to deflect, obfuscate, and even outright lie on his behalf — she once coined the term “alternative facts” in his defense — George's opposition to the president has been firm but studied.

Most notably, he recently wrote an article decisively knocking down an argument, supported by Trump, that the special counsel is unconstitutional

The mystery of their continued relationship, despite vehemently opposed politics and political styles, may be explained by revelations from the hosts of MSNBC's “Morning Joe.” In May 2017, the pair reported that Kellyanne's support for the president was simply a public facade, concealing her disdain for Trump. Once, after the cameras were off, Mika Brzezinski reported that Kellyanne said, “Blech, I need to take a shower.”

If, as Brzezinski implies, Kellyanne's support for the president is largely cynical, she and her husband may have more in common than it appears on the surface. 

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Source: ALTERNET

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A Clash of Generations over American Leadership?

July 9, 2018 in Economics

By Christopher A. Preble

Christopher A. Preble

For some time now, scholars and commentators have been aware of
a worrisome gap between public and elite opinion with respect to
U.S. foreign policy. Elites generally embraced a grand strategy of
primacy (also called global hegemony or deep engagement ) in which U.S. military power
was deployed to underwrite global security, and advance global
prosperity and human rights. The United States, in this sense, is
the main provider of global public goods. The global policeman. Or,
as Michael Mandelbaum put it, Goliath.

In contrast to most foreign-policy elites, clear majorities of
Americans, writ large, believed that the U.S. military existed
chiefly to defend the United States and its economic and security
interests -not those of others. These slightly differing impulses
often worked hand in hand. A large and active U.S. military that
was focused mostly on U.S. security and prosperity typically helped
others.

But if and when Americans sensed that U.S. foreign policy was
harmful to those ends, public support collapsed, as we saw in 1993
after the failed humanitarian mission in Somalia, or in 2004, when
the war in Iraq failed to play out as that war’s advocates
claimed that it would. Writing in 2005, Mandelbaum noted that
Americans “have never been asked to ratify their
country’s status as the principal supplier of international
public goods, and if they were asked explicitly to do so,” he
predicted, “they would undoubtedly ask in turn whether the
United States ought to contribute as much to providing them, and
the other countries as little.”

In short, he concluded, “the American role in the world
may depend in part on Americans not scrutinizing it too
closely.”

Thanks, in part, to Donald Trump, it seems unwise to count on
the American people not scrutinizing U.S. foreign policy too
closely.

Trump exploited the gap between the elites and the public at
large with ruthless efficiency on his path to the GOP nomination,
and then in his general election win over Hillary Clinton. As
president, his rhetoric has continued to shine the light on the
public vs. elite divide, though his actions have largely conformed
with the primacist consensus.

Increasingly, however, we see not merely a disconnect between
the public and elites, but also among different age groups within
the American electorate. And the age cohort most skeptical of
American global leadership, at least as it has been practiced for
the last several decades, is the Millennial Generation, those men
and women born between 1981 and 1996. These individuals did not
arrive at their views because of Donald Trump; a majority of voters
under the age of forty-five voted for …read more

Source: OP-EDS