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Here's Why Sen. McCain’s Angry Disdain for Trump Probably Won’t Sway the His Followers at All

July 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

The president's hardcore supporters are true believers.


Arizona Sen. John McCain had no kind words for President Donald Trump yesterday when he lambasted him for his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

Accusing Trump of favoring Putin at the expense of the U.S.’ NATO allies, the 81-year-old senator denounced the meeting as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” 

McCain asserted, “President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling, to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.”

Some Democrats are hoping that being denounced by a right-wing Republican war hawk and a Vietnam veteran such as McCain will harm Trump’s popularity with his hardcore supporters, but that probably won’t happen. To Trumpistas and the alt-right, McCain is a “cuckservative” rather than a real conservative (“cuckservative” is the alt-right’s favorite insult for conservatives they believe aren’t right-wing enough). And Trump followers are unlikely to be swayed a bit by any criticism coming from McCain or neocon and Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol—who has also criticized Trump for being more favorable to Putin than NATO.

Trump’s hardcore supporters are true believers. They connect with the president on purely a gut level and love how he says things as much as what he’s actually saying. To the alt-right, Trump is their guy—and Democrats would do well to understand that going into the 2018 midterms because that’s the level of passion they’re up against.

Trump hasn’t had very high approval ratings with the overall U.S. population, but among his hardcore followers, the president’s approval numbers are high—and that includes white evangelicals. A poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in March found Trump’s support among white evangelicals to be 75%. People who have that favorable an opinion of him are likely to be bringing a great deal of passion with them when …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Empty Patriotism': MSNBC Guest Blasts Trump's Hypocritical Defense of the Flag While Coddling Putin

July 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“I find it sickening.”


Professor of African-American studies Eddie Glaude on Tuesday decried President Donald Trump and his supporters' supposed patriotism after the United States' summit with Russia in Helsinki.

At the meeting, Trump cast doubt on the intelligence community's determination that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed efforts to influence the 2016 election. He also declined to find fault with Russia for anything in particular, while calling the United States “foolish” and denouncing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

“It's an empty patriotism that I find sickening,” said Glaude on MSNBC's “Meet the Press.”

“These are the same people who will lose their minds over professional football players taking a knew over police brutality,” he continued. “These are the same people who will proclaim the importance of our national borders and national defense and justify separating babies [and] children because of their so-called commitment.”

He added: “And here you have Donald Trump going right over and sitting next to Vladimir Putin. And he can't muster the courage to defend the men and women who are supposedly defending our country. It's an empty kind of patriotism that reeks of a hypocrisy that I can't stand.”

Watch the clip below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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Trump and Sessions Don’t Realize That Republican Policies Are Behind the Explosive Growth of Violent Prison Gangs

July 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Republicans who are applauding Trump and Sessions for being “tough on crime” need to take a close look at the history of prison gangs in California.


President Donald Trump has not been shy about using the Mara Salvatrucha, a.k.a. MS-13, and Mexican drug cartels to terrify his base and warn them that only Republicans offer genuine protection from all the gang members and drug dealers he insists are coming across the border in droves. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a long-time champion of mass incarceration, the War on Drugs and the Prison/Industrial Complex. In fact, stocks in two privately owned prison companies, CoreCivic and Geo Group, doubled in value after Trump won 2016’s presidential election. 

But Republicans who are applauding Trump and Sessions for being “tough on crime” need to take a close look at the history of prison gangs in California. And if they’re intellectually honest, they will realize that policies of mass incarceration—which were championed by the Reagan administration in the 1980s and continued by Democratic President Bill Clinton in the 1990s—caused violent prison gangs like the Mexican Mafia, a.k.a. la Éme, and the Aryan Brotherhood to increase in size and power.

The Mexican Mafia—which, despite its name, originated in California, not Mexico—and the Aryan Brotherhood were around long before Reagan’s presidency. La Éme was founded in 1957, while the Aryan Brotherhood started in San Quentin State Prison in 1964. But when Reagan greatly expanded the War on Drugs with mass incarceration, militarized policing and draconian prison sentences for drug-related offenses, having a lot more prisoners meant a lot more people for prison gangs to recruit. The Mexican Mafia is believed to have around 350 or 400 official members and around 990 associates, which is a lot more than they had in the 1960s.

In California, prison gangs are divided into two categories: sureños (which means “southerners” in Spanish) and norteños (Spanish for “northern”). The sureños are associated with Southern California, while norteño prison gangs like Nuestra Familia are more associated with Northern California. La Éme are bitter rivals of Nuestra Familia as well as the Black …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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This Bold Plan to Fight Opioid Overdoses Could Save Lives — But Some Conservatives Think It's 'Immoral'

July 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Phillip Smith, Independent Media Institute

That's what the Dutch do, and it's working.


With Ohio beset by a massive public health around opioid use and overdoses—more than 4,000 Ohioans died of opioid overdoses in 2016—the Cleveland Plain Dealer sent travel editor Susan Glaser to Amsterdam in search of innovative approaches to the problem. While there, she rediscovered Holland's long-standing, radical, and highly effective response to heroin addiction and properly asked whether it might be applied to good effect here.

The difference in drug-related death rates between the two countries is staggering. In the U.S., the drug overdose death rate is 245 per million, nearly twice the rate of its nearest competitor, Sweden, which came in second with 124 per million. But in Holland, the number is a vanishingly small 11 per million. In other words, Americans are more than 20 times more likely to die of drug overdoses than the Dutch.

For Plain Dealer readers, the figures that really hit home are the number of state overdose deaths compared to Holland. Ohio, with just under 12 million people, saw 4,050 drug overdose deaths in 2016; the Netherlands, with 17 million people, saw only 235.

What's the difference? The Dutch government provides free heroin to several score hardcore heroin addicts and has been doing so for the past 20 years. Public health experts there say that in addition to lowering crime rates and improving the quality of life for users, the program is one reason overdose death rates there are so low. And the model could be applied here, said Amsterdam heroin clinic operator Ellen van den Hoogen.

“It's been an enormous success. I think it would work elsewhere,” she told Glaser.

It already has. The Dutch program was modeled on a similar effort in Switzerland, which has also proven successful. Germany and Britain have also adopted similar programs.

The Dutch approach is an example of the country's policy of gedogen (pragmatic tolerance), the same principle that led the Dutch to pioneer legal access to marijuana in the 1980s. It is also rooted in the notion that, for some, drug addiction is …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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See It: Photo Reveals Trump Wrote 'THERE WAS NO COLUSION' in Sharpie on Typed Remarks About Russian Meddling Claim

July 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Chris Sosa, AlterNet

He apparently needed the reminder.


As President Donald Trump delivered remarks designed to diffuse the firestorm around his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, eagle-eyed photographers snapped pictures of his notes.

The photos show Trump scrawled a seeming reminder to himself that he (allegedly) didn't collude with Russia:

The words “THERE WAS NO COLUSION” can be seen written in Trump's signature hand-writing style, complete with his reliance on a Sharpie to write the note. Yes, he misspelled the word “collusion.”

The widely-panned conference with Putin left Trump attempting to claim Tuesday that he accidentally said the word “would” instead of “wouldn't” in reference to Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

But even with this supposed correction, the fact remains Trump made repeated statements blatantly dismissing the U.S. intelligence community in front of the Russian president.

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Source: ALTERNET

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The Trump Administration's Family Separation Lies, Laid Bare

July 17, 2018 in Economics

By David Bier

David Bier

District Court Judge Dana Sabraw questioned this weekend whether the Trump
administration is committed to the reunification of children
separated from their parents at the border after it told him that
it would seek to delay the process. While the lawsuit that prompted
the exchange and others like it have so far failed to bring an end
to this government-created crisis, they have exposed the
government’s feeble defenses that officials used for weeks
to back up the practice.

The central claim was that family separation “is the
law,” as White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
put it. Yet in court, the administration
admitted that “these are discretionary
immigration actions” — discretionary, not mandatory.
Nothing in the law required children to be separated from
their families. That was just the administration’s
choice.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen provided another defense. The
agency was “not separating families legitimately
seeking asylum at ports of entry,” only those crossing
illegally. But Sabraw found the opposite, stating that the policy
“has resulted in the casual, if not deliberate, separation of
families that lawfully present at the port of entry, not just those
who cross into the country illegally.”

At this point, it is
apparent that officials simply don’t want to admit what it is now
clear: there was never any good reason to separate them in the
first place.

Nielsen eventually admitted that this occurs, but claimed that it only
happens “if the child is in danger” or “there is
no custodial relationship between ‘family’
members.” Yet Sabraw found that this was untrue as well. The woman
in the case “was separated from her child without a
determination she was unfit or presented a danger to her
child” at a legal port of entry.

In a similar vein, Nielsen tweeted that “there is no reason to break the
law and illegally cross between ports of entry.” But a
separate lawsuit—backed by 900 pages of testimony—documents that the
government has a “practice of turning away asylum seekers,
including families with small children, who present themselves at
Southwestern ports of entry—a practice that encourages
unlawful entry and thus artificially increases such
violations.”

Nielsen even admits this is happening too — going so far
as to label it “metering” (i.e.
capping the number of people admitted each day). This means that
the government is simply ignoring the lawrequires the government process asylum claims.
The practice forced desperate families to live for days or weeks homeless under
bridges in Mexico. “No reason” …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Tory Government Has Fallen for the EU's Nonsensical Demands on Social and Employment Laws

July 17, 2018 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

Amid Brexiteer fury about the government’s Chequers
negotiation proposal, one important aspect seems to be getting
little attention. The UK government has capitulated to an EU demand
on social and employment laws, and the detail of this concession
will need to be scrutinised very closely.

The Conservatives pledged for a decade to reverse the British
adoption of the EU’s “Social Chapter”, largely on
the basis that social and employment regulation has nothing, per
se, to do with liberalising trade.

The 2005 and 2010 election manifestos promised to repatriate
these powers. The Fresh Start project, headed up by the now cabinet
minister Andrea Leadsom, argued in 2012 that David Cameron’s
renegotiation should demand the return of these competences to all
member states, with a second-best outcome of a simple UK
opt-out.

Now, on the cusp of Brexit, the UK government has apparently
ceded to the EU’s call for a “non-regression”
clause in these areas in any future trading agreement. According to
the Chequers statement, this would bind the UK against letting
social and employment standards fall below their current
levels.

As the white paper itself acknowledges, these areas are
unrelated to ensuring open and fair markets.

The UK government has
capitulated to an EU demand on social and employment laws, and the
detail of this concession will need to be scrutinized very
closely.

Many trade agreements include provisions that countries meet
simpler core International Labor Organisation standards. Others,
such as the US-Australia deal, commit very loosely to not watering
down laws, but do so using non-committal language.

However, given that the UK has been harmonised to EU rules for
so long, one worries how tough a “non-regression”
clause the EU would desire — and what enforcement would
entail.

Setting robust restrictions on policy freedoms concerning agency
worker rights, maximum working times, parental leave, and
collective redundancies within a trade agreement would be
unprecedented.

By relating these issues to trade, the UK government has
implicitly endorsed the faulty continental “race to the
bottom” worldview.

French politicians, notably, seem to believe a level playing
field is desirable. In this view, labour market regulatory
harmonisation helps to protect countries with high standards from a
“competitive disadvantage” from those with low
standards, preventing the desire for footloose capital to flee to
low-

regulation regions, and creating competitive pressure for all
countries to lower standards over time.

The fundamental problem with this argument has always been that
it is completely evidence-free.

At a global level, it is clearly not the case that capital flows
to the most deregulated nations. The economist Richard Stern,
summarising the empirical literature, argues that trade patterns
appear little affected by labour standards, while foreign direct
investment is inversely correlated with it.

The reason …read more

Source: OP-EDS