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Kellyanne Conway Slams Her Husband When She Thinks She's Off the Record: 'A Violation of Basic Decency … If Not Marital Vows'

August 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“I told you everything about his tweets was off the record.”

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's marriage to George Conway, a prominent critic of President Donald Trump, has elicited bewilderment and curiosity from observers across the political spectrum.

A new article by Ben Terris in the Washington Post profiles their marriage, revealing a relationship not too dissimilar from many others — aside from their extreme wealth and the fact that their major disagreement is about Kellyanne's work for the president of the United States.

In perhaps one of the most revealing parts of the article, Kellyanne disparages George's habit of writing and speaking out on Twitter against the president. However, assuming she has an agreement with the writer that such comments would be off-the-record, Kellyanne says to attribute her quotes to an anonymous source. The exchange is stunning:

Me: You told me you found [George’s tweets] disrespectful.

Kellyanne: It is disrespectful, it’s a violation of basic decency, certainly, if not marital vows . . . as “a person familiar with their relationship.”

Me: No, we’re on the record here. You can’t say after the fact “as someone familiar.”

Kellyanne: I told you everything about his tweets was off the record.

Me: No, that’s not true. That never happened.

Kellyanne: Well, people do see it this way. People do see it that way, I don’t say I do, but people see it that way.

Me: But I’m saying we never discussed everything about his tweets being off the record. There are certain things you said that I put off the record.

Kellyanne: Fine. I’ve never actually said what I think about it and I won’t say what I think about it, which tells you what I think about it.

Here, even when Kellyanne is caught disparaging her own husband, she is still spinning the press. She says that she never “actually said” the remarks about her husband because she wanted them to be attributed to an anonymous source — but that's not actually how interviews or reporting works. 

Overall, the article paints the portrait of a loving marriage with a singular, massively consequential fissure.

“If there’s an issue,” George tells the Washington Post, “it’s because she’s in …read more


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Here's How This Cruel GOP Plan to Cut Medicaid Will Hurt the 'Forgotten Men and Women' Trump Promised to Protect

August 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Arkansas' own numbers reveal their Trump-backed Medicaid work requirements are endangering coverage for over 10,000 people — including many who are working.

President Donald Trump loves to say that he was elected by, and is here to serve, the “forgotten men and women” of America.

Whoever Trump has in mind when he uses that phrase, it would be hard to come up with people more forgotten than Medicaid recipients. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 4 in 10 adult Medicaid recipients do not even use email, while 3 in 10 never use a computer at all.

So it is galling to see the new report from Arkansas, detailing how the Medicaid work requirements the state GOP developed, with the Trump administration's encouragement, are jeopardizing the health coverage of these vulnerable members of society.

The rules require able-bodied adults in Arkansas to register their work activity with state health administrators, proving they work at least 80 hours a month. New state data show over 12,700 people who are required to meet this standard have not, and of that group, 12,500 of them simply failed to log onto the state website and report their hours, regardless of whether or not they actually work enough hours.

According to The Hill, this is all despite the fact that “the vast majority said they were already meeting similar work reporting requirements under the state's SNAP, or food stamp, program,” implying that many of these “forgotten men and women” are in fact working, but still in danger of losing their coverage to the work requirements because of the difficulty in reporting their work.

Before he became president, Trump repeatedly stated that there would be no cuts to Medicaid if he was elected.

Medicaid work requirements, which are currently being developed in several Republican-controlled states, are a solution to a problem that does not exist. Kaiser estimates 6 in 10 nondisabled, working-age adults on Medicaid already work, and the vast majority of those who don't are caregivers, homemakers, or students.

Moreover, implementing these requirements may not even save states money, because of the cost of …read more


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'Banana Republic Behavior': Ex-Secretary of State John Kerry Says Trump Is Turning the U.S. into the Kind of Country We Warn Americans to Avoid

August 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Trump's latest targeting of former intelligence officials is unprecedented.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry reacted in horror Wednesday to President Donald Trump's decision to strip ex-CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance in an apparent attempt to punish a critic of his administration.

Kerry compared the move to those taken by leaders in unstable countries to retaliate against their opponents.

“This is putting personal petty politics ahead of patriotism and national security, end of story,” Kerry tweeted. “You expect this banana republic behavior in the kind of countries that the State Department warns Americans not to travel to, but not at home in the USA.”

Kerry was not the only one to express shock at the unprecedented action.

“John Brennan was the point person for the Obama White House on the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. He knows a lot more about defending our nation than someone who uses security clearances to punish his political adversaries,” said Ben Rhodes, a former national security aide to President Barack Obama.

Brennan himself also condemned the action: “This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.”

Many observers noted that the date on the order revoking Brennan's security clearance was July 26, 2018. This suggests the White House already made the decision to revoke the clearance but waited until now to make it public — presumably to distract from the release of former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman's new book that just happens to be deeply critical of the president.

Related Stories

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Paul Krugman Explains Why Support for Socialism Is Growing in the United States

August 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

A recent poll showed more support for socialism than capitalism in the Democratic Party.

Americans conservatives are frequently lighting their hair on fire to warn the country that growing support for socialism will soon place the United States on the path to ruin like Venezuela.

Meanwhile, political figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who identify as Democratic Socialists have won enthusiasm from voters and nationwide attention, and many suspect that their views are gaining traction within the Democratic Party. And according to a recent poll by Gallup, more Democrats have a positive view of socialism (57 percent) than have a positive view of capitalism (47 percent).

Economist Paul Krugman argued on Twitter Wednesday that despite their dire warnings, conservatives have only themselves to blame for the popularity of socialism.

“It really is important to realize that Republicans have systematically identified the social safety net with socialism,” he wrote.

For example, in 2008 John McCain called Barack Obama's proposals for universal health coverage “socialism.” And again in 2012, Mitt Romney ran against Obama and said the then-president wanted to bring “European socialist policies” to the United States — referring to countries like Denmark.

And when Democratic Socialist Sanders talks about his policy vision, he explicitly says he'd like to make the U.S. more like Denmark.

“So if you think Denmark looks pretty good, Republicans say you're a socialist, and people start to think socialism looks pretty good too. If the GOP then pretends that support for 'socialism' means wanting government control of the means of production, that's bait-and-switch,” Krugman writes. “I mean, I know that Trump and others have problems with geography, time zones, and all that, but Denmark is not the same country as Venezuela.”

One aspect of this dynamic that Krugman doesn't mention is the conservative embrace of “capitalism.” Republicans have often tried to brand themselves as the defenders of capitalism — by which they mean a very limited, unequal, and often vicious form of capitalism. This branding can push people away from capitalism as much as it can push people toward socialism.

But while Republicans have warped the debate …read more


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Reporter Blows Smoke at Sarah Sanders' Bogus Claim Trump Isn't Targeting His Critics by Revoking Security Clearances

August 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Brad Reed, Raw Story

Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn admitted to lying tot he FBI, yet he was not on Donald Trump's blacklist.

Bloomberg reporter Justin Sink on Wednesday blew up the justification being used by the Trump administration to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.

During a press briefing with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders held in the wake of the announcement of revoking Brennan’s clearance due to his “erratic” criticism of President Donald Trump, Sink pointed out that the administration made a list of people in addition to Brennan who could lose their security clearances — and that it didn’t include a former Trump administration official who had already pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents.

“The reason people would say this argument strains credibility is there’s obvious examples, even from this administration,” he said. “Your former national security adviser admitted to lying to the FBI. Why is this only a list of Democrats who have been critical of the administration, and why should Americans have confidence that you are taking this seriously if there’s not a single Republican on that list?”

Sanders responded by completely dodging the question.

“Again, we would certainly look at those if we deemed it necessary, and we’ll keep you posted if that list gets updated,” she said.

Watch the video below.


…read more


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Are Americans Travelling Abroad a Foreign Policy Liability?

August 15, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Sometimes Americans travel abroad. Sometimes bad things happen
to them. There’s Otto Warmbier. Andrew Brunson. And many

The Trump administration, like its predecessors, has attempted
to free Americans held by foreign governments and groups. President
Barack Obama essentially arranged a swap to bring home U.S.
citizens imprisoned in Iran. President Ronald Reagan famously sent
arms to Tehran in an attempt to free Americans kidnapped in

Although President Donald Trump has not articulated his view of
the issue, the Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn
argued: “If America First means anything, surely it means a
recognition that insisting on consequences for anyone who harms an
innocent American abroad isn’t an act of charity.”

That’s an appealing policy for someone who frequently travels
overseas, and not always to garden spots—Afghanistan, Iraq,
Kosovo, Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Kurdistan, Lebanon,
Jordan, North Korea, Sudan, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Egypt, among
others. I’d like the 101st Airborne to come rescue me if necessary.
But that actually would be bad policy for the United States.

Ultimately, Americans
travel the world at their own risk

So far the Trump administration’s only success is with the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The North apparently wanted
to return Warmbier when it became evident that his health was
failing. Three other imprisoned Americans were released as part of
negotiations leading up to the June summit.

In contrast, by killing the nuclear deal, declaring economic war
on Tehran, and aligning with the even more repressive Saudis, the
president has left Americans held in Iran in a much more precarious
situation. Even the Rouhani government, which does not control the
security forces, has no reason to do President Trump any

As for Andrew Brunson, the Trump administration made it much
more difficult for Turkey to release the American pastor
irrespective of its private inclinations. Making a public demand
for his release and applying sanctions against Turkish officials
probably strengthened the president’s support among evangelicals.
However, the U.S. actions forced the Erdogan government to
retaliate to satisfy popular nationalist sentiments.

Yes, we know the claims against him are nonsense and Brunson is
a political hostage. But Ankara says otherwise. In fact, tens of
thousands of Turks have been arrested or lost their jobs for even
less. And enough Turks believe their government to continue to
reelect it. The regime can’t afford to cave to Washington, which
supposedly is in league with Ankara’s enemies. How the issue gets
resolved is anyone’s guess.

Indeed, flip the situation around. No American president could
easily give in to a foreign government demanding that he ignore the
law and evidence and release someone who had been charged with
terrorist offenses. Imagine how …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Dangers of Naïve Faith in Big Government

August 15, 2018 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Last week the New York Times reported that Puerto Rican
authorities had discovered at least ten trailers full of food,
medicine, and baby supplies that were left to rot as a result of
government ineptitude in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. At this
point, news stories about such incompetence are so commonplace that
the Times’s scoop barely elicited a yawn.

Yet it does — or should — raise a question. Given
the ongoing evidence of government’s inability to carry out even
its most basic tasks, why do so many Americans want to expand its
control over our lives?

The democratic socialists who are all the rage in American
politics at the moment have long since run out of foreign examples
of socialist nirvana to point to. Venezuela is busy starving its
children, while the Danish prime minister is scolding American
liberals that “Denmark is far from a socialist planned
economy. Denmark is a market economy.”

Voters are increasingly
placing their trust in government to solve their problems, despite
its endless record of incompetence.

Nor does the record of government in this country provide much
more on which to hang faith in big government. Yet that
doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. Indeed, every
demonstrated government failure seems to lead inevitably to calls
for … more government.

Has Obamacare driven up the cost of health care while driving
down the quality of care? Is Medicare tens of trillions in debt?
Has the VA delivered substandard care to American veterans? Well,
then, the answer must be to put the government in charge of the
entire U.S. health-care system.

Have our government-run schools left millions of poor and
minority students behind, despite massive increases in spending?
Well, then, the answer must be to spend still more, while attacking
private alternatives.

Have more than 100 federal anti-poverty programs and roughly $1
trillion in anti-poverty spending failed to enable the poor to
flourish or become self-sufficient? Well, then, we must immediately
spend more money on ever-more-complicated schemes.

Is Social Security racing toward insolvency? Then we must expand
benefits and impose more restrictions on private retirement
options. Have government jobs programs failed to create meaningful
and productive work? We’ll just have the government guarantee
everyone a job. Have government subsidies and regulations driven up
the cost of everything from college to housing? I guess we’ll
have to regulate and subsidize more.

A naïve faith in big government isn’t strictly a
phenomenon of the Left, of course — especially in the age of
Trump. Conservatives who long decried government as unable to
manage a two-car funeral suddenly argue that it should determine
everything from whom we trade …read more

Source: OP-EDS