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Fox News' Tucker Carlson Deflects from Trump's Pandering to Putin with a Racist Attack on Mexican-Americans

July 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The host has frequently made disparaging comments about immigration.


In a rhetorical move demonstrating the pernicious forces that led to President Donald Trump's election, Fox News' Tucker Carlson spouted an out-of-blue racist broadside against Mexican-Americans on Monday while downplaying Russia's election interference.

Carlson was responding to Trump's support for Russian leader Vladimir Putin at a summit earlier in the day, where the American president discounted the intelligence community's assessment that the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 campaign.

“I don't think Russia is our close friend or anything like that,” Carlson said. “I think of course they try to interfere in our affairs. They have for a long time. Many countries do. Some more successfully than Russia, like Mexico, which is routinely interfering in our elections by packing our electorate. So those are all concerns “

A co-host laughed at his remark about “packing the electorate,” but it's not clear if Carlson meant it as a joke. Either way, though, it was a racist attack on Mexican-Americans who are citizens and have as much right to vote in American elections as anyone else.

But the brief remark actually demonstrated something deeper than Carlson's personal racism. It showed why Trump's supporters back him, even with all his baggage — his messy personal life, the accusations of assault and misconduct, the corruption, the sketchy charitable foundation, and the troubling ties to Russia. None of this stuff matters to Trump's supporters, including Carlson, as much as the president's bigotry toward immigrants, which they embrace.

Watch the clip below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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Hillary Clinton Blasts Trump's Treacherous Meeting with Putin in a 4-Word Tweet

July 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The former presidential candidate has used Twitter to troll Trump's presidency.


With just a four-word tweet, Hillary Clinton made clear Monday what she thought of President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Sunday, she had issued a challenge to the man who defeated in the 2016 presidential race, writing in a tweet ”Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?”

After his meeting with Putin on Monday, Trump attacked Clinton and the Democratic National Committee who were victims of Russia's hacking during the 2016 campaign. And when asked what he thought of the intelligence community's assessment that Russia launched an aggressive campaign against the United States by interfering in the election, he bolstered Putin's denials and said Russia would have had no reason to meddle.

Observers across the board acknowledged that Trump's performance was a stunning display of supplication to the authoritarian leader.

So Clinton, responding to her own challenge to Trump about which team he plays for, tweeted the simple rebuke: “Well, now we know.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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Here's How Working Americans Get Scammed As Politicians Try to Run the World

July 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Rajan Menon, TomDispatch

It's time to rethink the American national security state.


So effectively has the Beltway establishment captured the concept of national security that, for most of us, it automatically conjures up images of terrorist groups, cyber warriors, or “rogue states.”  To ward off such foes, the United States maintains a historically unprecedented constellation of military bases abroad and, since 9/11, has waged wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere that have gobbled up nearly $4.8 trillion.  The 2018 Pentagon budget already totals $647 billion – four times what China, second in global military spending, shells out and more than the next 12 countries combined, seven of them American allies.   For good measure, Donald Trump has added an additional $200 billion to projected defense expenditures through 2019. 

Yet to hear the hawks tell it, the United States has never been less secure.  So much for bang for the buck.  

For millions of Americans, however, the greatest threat to their day-to-day security isn’t terrorism or North Korea, Iran, Russia, or China.  It’s internal — and economic.  That’s particularly true for the 12.7% of Americans (43.1 million of them) classified as poor by the government’s criteria: an income below $12,140 for a one-person household, $16,460 for a family of two, and so on… until you get to the princely sum of $42,380 for a family of eight.

Savings aren’t much help either: a third of Americans have no savings at all and another third have less than $1,000 in the bank.  Little wonder that families struggling to cover the cost of food alone increased from 11% (36 million) in 2007 to 14% (48 million) in 2014.

The Working Poor

Unemployment can certainly contribute to being poor, but millions of Americans endure poverty when they have full-time jobs or even hold down more than one job.  The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that there are 8.6 million “working poor,” defined by the government as people who live below the poverty line despite being employed at least 27 weeks a year.  Their economic insecurity doesn’t register in our society, partly because …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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American Exceptionalism Is a Dangerous Myth

July 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Instead of disrespecting the achievements of other countries, the U.S. needs to learn from them.


Yesterday in Moscow, France’s national soccer team won the 2018 World Cup Final, defeating Croatia 4-2 and inspiring huge celebrations in the streets of Paris and other French cities. Soccer fans all over the world are singing “La Marseillaise,” eating croissants and saying, “Oui, vive la France!” Yet in the U.S., hating soccer is a tradition among far-right Republicans like Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter (who, during the 2014 World Cup, equated growing interest in soccer in the U.S. with “the nation’s moral decay”).

Their rabid disdain for the world’s #1 sport stems from an irrational belief in “American exceptionalism”; Beck, Coulter and other reactionaries cannot stand the thought of Europe or Latin America doing something much better than the U.S. Yet soccer is hardly the only area in which the U.S. is taking a back seat to other parts of the world. When it comes to health care, infrastructure, life expectancy, mass transit, green energy or the environment, one can hardly make a case for “American exceptionalism”—and instead of disrespecting the achievements of other countries, the U.S. needs to learn from them.

Heath care is an area in which the U.S. has been failing miserably compared to Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan and now, parts of Latin America. Universal health care has been achieved in a long list of countries, which have the higher life expectancy rates to show for it. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, life expectancy in the U.S. is now 78.7 years. And that’s compared to 83 in Japan and Switzerland, 82 in France, Italy, Spain, Canada, Sweden and Australia or 81 in Norway, Portugal, Belgium, New Zealand, the U.K., Germany, Austria, Malta and the Netherlands. A few countries in Latin America have moved ahead of the U.S. in terms of life expectancy, including Chile with 80 years and Costa Rica with 79.

Americans are dying younger than the rest of the developed world, and health care is …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Constitutionally Incapable': Trump Officials Reportedly Say 'His Brain Can't Process' the Facts of Russian Election Interference

July 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Even the White House's attempt to spin the summit in a positive way makes the president look terrible.


President Donald Trump is facing denunciations across the board after his supplicatory meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and even the spin coming from White House officials puts Trump in a terrible light.

Officials speaking off the record with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan tried to cast Trump's refusal to condemn Russian aggression or stand up to Putin's interference in the 2016 election as incompetence, rather than malicious and treacherous alignment with the foreign authoritarian.

“A number of people who’ve discussed election meddling with Trump, including current senior administration officials, say his brain can’t process that collusion and cyberattacks are two different things,” Swan wrote. “Trump seems constitutionally incapable of taking anything Mueller finds seriously.”

“The White House spin is that there's something constitutionally wrong with the president,” tweeted Vox politics editor Laura McGann of the report.

On this account of events, Trump isn't necessarily covering up for Russia's crimes; rather, he's simply unable to comprehend them. While this is hardly a comforting picture, it's important to remember that even this narrative itself may be a self-serving account given by people who derive power from the Trump administration.

Swan also notes that several of the officials he's spoken to are not “proud” to work for Trump, but they are not prepared to resign.

“If the best defense that the aides closest to Trump can come up with for his open support for Putin as Putin stood their and lied is that he's delusional, they must either be delusional themselves or believe that we are delusional enough to buy it,” McGann wrote.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Three Reasons Why Diplomacy with North Korea Will Remain Difficult

July 16, 2018 in Economics

By John Glaser

John Glaser

One of the few tangible victories the Trump administration could
point to in its diplomacy with North Korea was a pledge from
Pyongyang to help repatriate the remains of U.S. soldiers
killed in the war. It was a kind of easy lay-up, serving as a
confidence-building measure and a signal of good faith as the
administration hammers out the details on the joint communique Trump and Kim Jong-un signed
at their summit meeting in June.

On Thursday, however, North Korean officials stood America up,
failing to even show up for a planned meeting to discuss the logistics of
repatriating the war dead (the meeting eventually happened on Sunday, July 15).
Furthermore, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was caught in an
embarrassing diplomatic gaffe on his latest confidence-building
attempt to negotiate with the Hermit Kingdom, with North Koreans
releasing a statement accusing the White House of pushing
a “unilateral and gangster-like demand for
denuclearization” that Pyongyang called “deeply
regrettable.”

As negotiations stumble
forward, we will likely continue to see embarrassing diplomatic
foul-ups for three key reasons.

This was nothing if not predictable. In fact, experts had warned
from the beginning that the vast, yawning gap in expectations
between the United States and North Korea, and the failure to
clarify terms—for instance, what does North Korea mean by
“denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula?”—would result in
problems down the line. Both parties failed to use the opportunity
of the summit to resolve these issues, opting instead for vague,
aspirational verbiage that clouded more than it clarified.

Pompeo must now awkwardly negotiate while maintaining some
continuity with the president’s naïve and overzealous descriptions
of the summit as a great success that effectively neutralized the North Korean
nuclear threat. As negotiations stumble forward, we will likely
continue to see embarrassing diplomatic foul-ups for three key
reasons.

First, skillful, nuanced statecraft is imperative for such high
stakes diplomacy, but it just isn’t in the Trump White House’s DNA.
Despite its made-for-TV appearance of success, the Trump-Kim summit
displayed competent stagecraft, but incompetent statecraft.

One key illustration of this is the utterly backward process
undertaken when negotiating with North Korea so far. Typically, a
face-to-face meeting between adversarial heads of state would come
at the very end of the process, instead of the beginning. The idea
is to conduct months and maybe even years of lower-level
discussions, mostly in secret to avoid unhelpful showboating that
can derail diplomacy. Once a basic framework is worked out that is
acceptable to both sides, higher level officials meet to hammer out
more of the details. Heads of state direct …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Virginia Considers Making Parents Train for 30 Hours to Help at Their Kids' Preschool

July 16, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

My wife and I are the proud (and exhausted) parents of two young
sons, and we live in Falls Church, Virginia. Our oldest is
“two half” and will be starting a
“cooperative” preschool down the street this September.
That means we volunteer in his classroom and help run the
school—charity auction, field trip transportation,
etc.—and in return we save on tuition. It’s a
win-win.

Currently, co-oping parents in Virginia must undergo four hours
of annual training before they can volunteer in the
classroom—basic things like first aid and certain laws
relevant to child care. As reported by the Washington Post,
however, the Virginia Department of Social Services is considering
regulations that would require co-oping parents instead to undergo
approximately 30 hours of training—just to help in
the classroom a few hours each month, completing daunting tasks
like passing out snacks and sweeping the floors.

My wife, who is planning to be our “participating
parent,” will be devastated if the regulations are adopted.
She’s a full-time lawyer and when she’s not working
she’s making sure that our sons are fed and happy. (I do that
too, but we’ll leave aside the issue of marital negotiations
over child care and other household chores for another time.)

File this one away in the
category of regulatory solutions in search of a problem.

She’s proud that she can balance work and family while
being involved in our son’s preschool—she’s going
to chair the hospitality committee! She willingly underwent a
background check that was in several respects more intense than
that for her top-secret security clearance, all because she wants
our son to feel loved and supported during his first few years of
school. But as a working mom, she simply can’t take
nearly a week off work to complete the training the
Virginia Department of Social Services is contemplating.

She’s not alone. Many parents choose co-oping preschools
because they want to participate directly in their children’s
education. Indeed, parental involvement in education is associated with improved academic
achievement and fewer behavioral problems. Parental involvement can
also be especially comforting for preschoolers, many of whom are as
young as two years old and in an institutional environment for the
first time in their lives. The fact that parents volunteer in
co-oping preschools is an advantage, not something onerous
regulations should discourage.

Co-oping can also make preschool affordable. Tuition for my son
to attend part-time is just a little north of $100 a
month
—and no, I’m not telling you where, because
the preschool is our hidden gem. Because the costs are lower,
co-oping preschools are a great option for lower-income families,
who most need the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Vestager's Misguided Google Crusade

July 16, 2018 in Economics

By Massimiliano Trovato, Alberto Mingardi

Massimiliano Trovato and Alberto Mingardi

MILAN — “Your tax lady, she really hates the
U.S.”

That’s how, with his typical touch, Donald Trump reportedly
voiced his concerns about the harsh treatment of American companies
by the EU to a top European official.

The tax lady is European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager.

While it’s painful to think that the U.S. president is unable to
refer to one of Brussels’ foremost figures by name, or at a minimum
get her job title right, Trump’s attitude toward Vestager is
unlikely to change anytime soon, as she prepares to hit Google with
a fine of up to $11 billion — the largest antitrust penalty
in Europe to date.

Android may be dominant,
but there’s no reason to believe consumers are being
harmed.

But this is one area where Trump gets something right. This
crusade of Vestager’s against Google is misguided at best — and more
likely to harm European consumers than to help them.

The case is part of a three-pronged probe into Google’s
business practices. The first inquiry dealt with Google Shopping, Google’s
price-comparison service. The Commission concluded the company had
abused its market power by discriminating against competing
services and “Big G” was fined €2.4 billion.

The second concerns Adsense, Google’s advertising network, and
is still is underway. The third targets Google’s mobile operating system, Android.

The tech giant is charged with smothering competition in the smartphone industry by
imposing unreasonable restrictions on device manufacturers looking
to license its software, including a requirement to preinstall a
whole set of Google apps and to use Google’s search engine as the
default option.

Vestager inherited the Google Shopping and Adsense proceedings
from her predecessor, but she launched the Android investigation on
her own. From a political perspective, this case is bound to define
her entire legacy as Europe’s antitrust czar. So, it’s unfortunate
for her that the case seems to have been built on shaky
grounds.

While it’s true that Android is used by more than 80 percent of
smartphones worldwide, the history of the tech sector shows us that
such arrangements can change very rapidly. At one point or another,
Yahoo, Nokia and even MySpace were all thought to have conquered
indisputable monopolies. Now we speak about them in the past
tense.

Too often regulators assume that in tech markets the past is a
good indicator of the future. It is not. And so, in assessing
Android’s dominance it’s important to look carefully at
the mobile market and how it affects consumer welfare.

Android is a Google product — but it’s also much
more …read more

Source: OP-EDS