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'No, Goodbye!': Newt Gingrich Shamefully Dodges When Asked to Apologize for Debunked and Harmful Seth Rich Conspiracy Theory

July 13, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Fox News pushed the theory, despite the family's objections.


Former Speaker of the House and Fox News pundit Newt Gingrich was among those on the right pushing a wild conspiracy theory that a slain Democratic National Committee staffer was involved in the hacking of the organization's emails during the 2016 campaign.

With the release of a new Justice Department indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers who are now charged with the attack, CNN reporter Oliver Darcy wanted to know if Gingrich to reflect on the new evidence. Observers had long noted that the Seth Rich conspiracy theory was based on wild speculation with little regard for the facts, and Friday's indictment shows decisively that top law enforcement officials and a grand jury believe the Russian government is responsible for the cyberattack.

“In light of the Mueller indictments, I called @newtgingrich to see if he would like to apologize to the Seth Rich family for peddling the conspiracy theory that Rich was killed for supposedly leaking the DNC docs to Wikileaks,” Darcy wrote on Twitter.

All he got in response, he said, was the short reply: “No, goodbye!”

The main goal of pushing the conspiracy, it seemed, was to distance President Donald Trump from allegations about Russian interference in the election.

The Rich family had repeatedly asked those pushing the unfounded innuendo at Fox News — most prominently, Sean Hannity — to stop promoting the baseless conspiracy theory. They said the continued speculation was deeply harmful.

In a defamation lawsuit against Fox News over the story, the family said, “The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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Conservative Writer George Will Scorches the Entire GOP: 'There’s One Republican Leader and the Rest Are Followers'

July 13, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Trump has subsumed the entire party.


The Republican Party once positioned itself as the party that was strong against foreign adversaries — including Russia in particular. But those days, since the rise of President Donald Trump, are over.

Conservative writer George Will made the point succinctly Friday on MSNBC's “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.” On a panel discussion about the recent indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers interfering in the 2016 election and Trump's upcoming one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the group wondered where the usual Russia hawks in the GOP had disappeared to.

“We need American leadership to step up and say, 'Not on our watch. You will feel the blow of the American people if something happens,” said Maria Teresa Kumar, the CEO of Voto Latino.

“This is not in President Trump's DNA, but why aren't more Republicans telling him: 'Get out of this meeting. Just get out,'” Todd said. “The John Bolton we know from five years ago would tell him to get out, right?”

“The John Bolton we knew from five years ago is gone,” Will said, referring to Trump's national security adviser. “Talk about Republican leadership? There's one Republican leader, and the rest are followers. And they're all following the president. Period. There's no independent congressional rivalrous institution.”

Watch the clip below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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This Disgusting Scheme to Enrich Cops by Starving Prisoners May Soon Be Scuttled

July 13, 2018 in Blogs

By Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, Daily Kos

Alabama’s sheriffs have been getting rich off of prisoners for decades thanks to pre-World War II statutory language.


Alabama’s sheriffs have been getting rich off of prisoners for decades thanks to purportedly ambiguous pre-World War II statutory language that lets them keep “excess” food funds. With that distorted incentive to keep expenditures low, sheriffs have been subjecting prisoners to sustenance that ranges from unappetizing to inadequate to unsafe.

Now, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is trying to put a stop to that practice with a memo to the state comptroller. “Public funds should be used for public purposes—it’s that simple,” Ivey said.

Ivey’s memo was likely inspired by the Southern Center for Human Rights’s move to gather information about the sheriffs’ use of funds and develop a legal challenge. They have a strong argument, after all:

“This archaic system is based on a dubious interpretation of state law that has been rejected by two different Attorneys General of Alabama, who concluded that the law merely allows sheriffs to manage the money and use it for official purposes not to line their own pockets,” said Aaron Littman, a staff attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights. “It also raises grave ethical concerns, invites public corruption, and creates a perverse incentive to spend as little as possible on feeding people who are in jail.”

Given context, you’d think Ivey’s move would be celebrated, the practice retired without a fight. Sheriffs have resorted to extreme, facially unacceptable tactics, now well known. On one notable occasion, two sheriffs split an 18-wheeler full of corndogs, purchased at the bargain price of $1,000 total, and one fed prisoners corndogs three times as day for a month. Unsurprisingly, federal courts have taken action against several of these sheriffs.

Yet, Ivey’s success isn’t certain. As Littman notes, Ivey’s isn’t the first attempt by a state official to put an end to sheriffs’ abuse of state funds and attendant mistreatment of prisoners. When exposed, sheriffs have vocally defended their practices.

Consider this statement from former Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin, who misappropriated at least $750,000:

“The law says it's a personal account and that's the way I've always …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'A Moment in American History': Ex-GOP Lawmaker Argues Mueller's Latest Charges Should Make Us 'Fearful' of the President

July 13, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“We should eject Russian diplomats and we should bring our U.S. diplomats home from Russia.”


After the U.S. Justice Department announced an indictment of twelve Russian hackers involved in the Kremlin's attacks on the 2016 election, a former GOP lawmaker warned that the charges represent a landmark moment — and not in a good way.

“What we saw today from [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein is a moment in American history, and we should be unequivocal in our response,” David Jolly, who served as a Florida congressman, said on MSNBC Friday. “And the president of the United States should be unequivocal. The Monday meeting should be canceled — the bilateral meeting with Putin. We should eject Russian diplomats and we should bring our U.S. diplomats home from Russia.”

However, he acknowledged, there's no way Trump will do that.

“The president has known for days about this and he did not pivot in the press conference today to change his message nor is he changing the meeting,” he continued.  “And what Americans should feel today — and I say this carefully — but we should feel fear. The Department of Justice today issued a statement on behalf of the United States government saying that one of our greatest adversaries in the world, Russia, had intelligence agents interfere with our elections. … We should be fearful about the allegation. We should be fearful about the statement of facts. At the end of the day, we should be fearful we have a president who has known about this and did not change his behavior.”

Bret Stephens, a New York Times columnist, agreed — and called out Republicans who ignore these crucial facts.

“If the facts were the same but Barack Obama were president, if we had just indicted 12 Russians for interfering in our election and yet President Barack Obama was going to meet Vladimir Putin and doing so against the advice of his own party, with a suggestion there is a possibility of collusion, what would Republican leaders be saying today?” he asked.

In fact, we know what they would say. Stephens reminded viewers of Republicans' reactions when, in 2012, Obama was caught on a hot mic telling Putin that he'd have more flexibility to work together after the election.

“Republicans went berserk,” Stephens said. “They ran campaign ads about it. To …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Healthy Eating During a Trade War: Here's How Trump's Reckless Foreign Policy Could Squeeze the Poor Even More

July 13, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Eating healthy could become even more cost-prohibitive for America’s poor and lower-middle classes in a trade war.


Eating a healthy diet on a budget is not impossible in the United States, but it’s certainly challenging—especially if one lives in a food desert where fresh produce is hard to come by. Sadly, fresh fruits and vegetables can be more costly than unhealthy processed foods, which is one of the reasons why America’s poor are more likely to become obese or suffer from diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.

And if President Trump gets the U.S. into a series of trade wars—which is looking more and more like a strong possibility—eating healthy could become even more cost-prohibitive for America’s poor and lower-middle classes.

The aggressive hyper-nationalism that Trump has championed as president is alienating some of the U.S.’s closest friends and allies—even Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that new tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum marked a negative turning point in Canadian/U.S. relations. Canada has announced that billions of dollars of retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. will be forthcoming, and Lawrence Herman (a former Canadian diplomat who practices international trade law) has even gone so far as to say that Trump is getting the U.S. into “full scale economic warfare” with Canada. Further, the possibility of trade wars between the U.S. and Latin American countries could also create a great deal of economic pain for Americans—and when one considers how much food comes to the U.S. from Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru and other countries, that is a troubling thought.

In fact, 80 percent of Mexico’s imports go to the U.S.—and that includes a lot of food. If Trump gets the U.S. into a full-fledged trade war with Mexico, the price of all kinds of fruits and vegetables imported into the U.S. from Mexico could soar.

A partial list of foods that are grown in Mexico and frequently imported to the U.S. includes tomatoes, beans, avocados, lemons, limes, chili peppers, corn, mangos, barley, oranges, squash, and bananas.

Then there’s broccoli, a healthy, nutrient-dense food that Mexico grows …read more

Source: ALTERNET