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'Donald Trump's Fingerprints Are All Over the Crime Scene': Michael Avenatti Says He Will 'March Forward' in Case Against the President

August 21, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“The President’s in a lot of trouble, Wolf, and we’re coming for him.”


Michael Avenatti was positively gleeful when it was revealed early Tuesday afternoon that Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former attorney, would be pleading guilty to federal charges. But after Cohen revealed in court that he was pleading guilty to campaign finance violations that he carried out under direct orders from Trump, Avenatti was triumphant.

“We feel incredibly vindicated, Wolf,” Avenatti said, speaking of his client Stephanie Clifford (better known as Stormy Daniels) and her case against the president. “We've been proven to be right, which is always a good thing. But more importantly, Wolf, we've got a lot of work to do. We're going to get to the bottom of what this president knew and when he knew it and what he did about it — and the details of this cover-up.”

Clifford has brought a case against Cohen and Trump to release her from a hush money agreement she signed which bars her from speaking about an affair she alleges she had with the president. In court Tuesday, Cohen admitted to a campaign finance violation tied to that payment, as well as another payment related to an alleged affair between Trump and model Karen McDougal. Cohen said he acted in concert with and at the direction of Trump.

“We're going to march forward with our efforts to place the president under oath and get a deposition where I'm going to be able to ask him questions. And he's going to be forced to answer questions under oath about his own conduct. We're also going to get a chance to depose Michael Cohen and get to the details of this,” Avenatti said.

He continued: “Donald Trump's fingerprints are all over the crime scene in connection with this, Wolf. We're going to prove it; it's clear as day. And I'm going to say this again: The president is in trouble.”

Watch the clip below:

 

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‘Lock Her Up Has a New Meaning': Nicolle Wallace Laughs About Manafort's Conviction and the Cohen Guilty Plea

August 21, 2018 in Blogs

By Chris Sosa, AlterNet

The president clearly didn't hire the best and the brightest.


Conservative MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace didn't even hide her joy as news continued to break about President Donald Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen's guilty plea and former campaign chair Paul Manafort's conviction.

“This is huge news. And it’s not a good day for the Trump administration when you put this combined with [Michael] Flynn delaying his sentencing, and then [Paul] Manafort,” former DNC advisor Doug Thornell said.

“It calls into question the best and the brightest claim that this president made that he was going to be bringing in the best and the brightest to the administration. He also ran as a law and order president,” he continued.

Wallace was ready with a zinger.

“‘Lock her up’ has a new meaning,” Wallace said. “They’re locking up the entire former leadership of the Trump orbit from the campaign years.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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Watch These Fox News Hosts Twist Themselves In Knots to Downplay ‘Explosive’ Day in Trumpworld

August 21, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Here's how Trump's favorite network reacted to the news.


President Donald Trump faced an avalanche of bad news Tuesday as his former lawyer Michael Cohen implicated him in campaign finance violations and his former campaign chair Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight charges in federal court.

But if you're a Fox News viewer, you were treated to strained rationalizations that the average American doesn't really care about these kinds of things.

Host Bret Baier, for one, acknowledged that the allegations regarding Cohen are particularly damaging, calling them “exponentially more explosive” for the president. But host Dana Perino, while agreeing the allegations are serious, thought Americans would care more about Mollie Tibbets, an Iowa college student recently found dead.

“One thing that I think the president might do is not comment on these two things at all, given that we just heard from the police in Iowa with the Mollie Tibbetts case,” Perino said. “They are holding — the federal government is holding a man, an illegal immigrant, as a suspect in that case, in that murder. To me, thinking about the fact that the Mueller thing is a little complicated, the Cohen thing is interesting and explosive, no doubt. But if you are out there in America and watching this and you're thinking: 'What do we really care about right now?' I think the president will probably be talking a lot about that.”

Greg Gutfeld made a similar point. Despite the fact that the crime rate of both documented and undocumented immigrants is believed to be lower than that of native-born Americans, he thinks the people will care more about Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric than the proven criminal activity of the president's team.

“I just have to piggyback on what Dana said,” Gutfeld said. “Right now, Trump's main argument has now just been backed up by a very ugly reality. When you stack that up against other tax evasions and guilty pleas for an average American, it resonates. I think it's going to become a bigger deal as we get closer and closer, and when we talk about this stuff, it is a practical, real-world …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Trump's Worst Day, Ever': Conservative Writer Breaks Down How Everything Is Falling Apart for the President

August 21, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

“The notion that no one on the campaign had connections to any Russia-related figures likely will be thoroughly debunked.”


On Tuesday, the political world exploded as President Donald Trump's former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud relating to his covert work for Russian oligarchs, just as his former attorney and fixed Michael Cohen was accepting a plea bargain for campaign finance violations related to his hush payments to help the Trump campaign.

At a rally in West Virginia soon after, Trump tried to downplay the Manafort convictions, which were obtained as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. “Paul Manafort's a good man. It doesn't involve me,” he said, adding, “It has nothing to do with Russia collusion.

By all accounts, it was a disastrous day for Trump, as conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin laid out in an article for the Washington Post:

In the short run, this may not change much. Manafort is scheduled to begin another trial in September on matters hitting rather close to home — the White House — for Trump. Whereas the judge in Virginia essentially barred any mention of Russia or the Trump campaign, Mueller’s attachments and work for Russian-connected Ukranian oligarchs will be front and center in the next trial. The notion that no one on the campaign had connections to any Russia-related figures likely will be thoroughly debunked.

The question that now must vex Trump is whether Manafort will “flip,” and hence if Trump should pardon him before he gets a chance. There are many reasons why pardoning Manafort would be a disaster. For one thing, he could still be subpoenaed to testify and be subject to perjury charges if he lies under oath. (You cannot pardon someone prospectively.) Once pardoned, Manafort would lose the Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify on the grounds it would incriminate him. Moreover, a Manafort pardon would cement in the minds of many Americans — including the prosecutors — that Trump is bent on covering up something …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'It Is a Big Deal': Former Watergate Special Counsel Tells CNN Why Cohen's Guilty Plea Is Bad News for Trump

August 21, 2018 in Blogs

By Chris Sosa, AlterNet

The president's former lawyer knows a whole lot.


Former Watergate special prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste appeared on CNN Tuesday afternoon with host Brooke Baldwin to discuss the implications of Michael Cohen's guilty plea on President Donald Trump.

“Of course, it is a big deal. This is a man who is very, very close to Donald Trump for any number of years,” Ben-Viniste said. “He was the person to whom Trump turned normally when he got into hot water in one way or another.”

The former prosecutor also highlighted Cohen's relationship to NDAs.

“We know with respect to his sexual adventures that Cohen was the guy he turned to toenter into nondisclosure agreements and various other things,” he said. “And perhaps including things Russian. We may look to Michael Cohen to provide information. And there's no question in my mind but that it behooves him to cooperate once he has decided not to contest the charges against him, and to plead guilty.”

Watch the segment below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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School Choice Benefits Teachers Too

August 21, 2018 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

It’s back-to-school season, which unfortunately means
it’s time for the vast majority of public school teachers to
use their own salaries to stock and supply their classrooms. And
because private and charter schools compete with traditional public
schools for students, teachers may be inclined to believe that
school choice programs divert education dollars away from their
classrooms. That could explain why teachers are less likely to support school choice than the general
public
. But that’s only half of the story. Economic
theory and scientific evidence suggest that school choice actually
leads to higher salaries for public school teachers.

Economic theory and
scientific evidence suggest that school choice actually leads to
higher salaries for public school teachers.

Educators currently have limited diversity of options for
teaching jobs. Because the government currently holds around
90 percent of the K-12 market share, educators
do not have much choice regarding where they work. Teachers
essentially have to accept the package of benefits and the work
environment offered by the traditional public school system —
and teachers that don’t like it are pretty much out of
luck.

Economists would argue public school employers have strong
monopsony power” because there is not a lot of
competition in the K-12 teacher labor market. Weak competition in
the labor market means employers can take advantage of their
employees by (1) offering lower wages, and (2) providing poor
working conditions. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that
public school teachers are striking because of low pay. And
maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that teachers are still
working in schools without air conditioning.

School choice could help with this problem.

Of course, school choice provides families with more options,
expanding competition among schooling providers. But school choice
also provides educators with more employment options, leading to
more competition among employers of teachers. More school choice
means that public and private schools must compete with one another
to retain talent. In a competitive system of diverse schooling
options, employers must compete with one another for talent by
offering higher salaries and better working conditions to
teachers.

The scientific evidence also suggests school choice benefits
teachers. According to the five studies that exist on the subject,
competition from private schools and charter schools leads to
higher salaries for teachers in public schools.

Table: Effect of School Choice
Competition on Public School Teacher Salaries

Study Type Location Finding
Hoxby (1994) Private United States

+

Vedder & Hall
(2000)
Private Ohio

+

Hensvik (2012) Private Sweden

+

Jackson (2012) Charter North Carolina<br …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Obedience and Enlightenment

August 21, 2018 in Economics

By Mustafa Akyol

Mustafa Akyol

This week, the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims celebrate Eid
al-Adha, a four-day feast that usually includes communal prayer,
presents for children and visits to family members and cemeteries.
But the key ritual will be what gives the holiday its name:
“Adha” means “sacrifice” in Arabic. Most
families who can afford to do so will slaughter an animal —
perhaps a sheep, goat, cow or camel. The animal will be
blindfolded, gently put down and then slaughtered while the name of
God is praised. The meat is consumed by the family and also
distributed to neighbors and to the needy.

For some non-Muslims, it may seem puzzling that Muslims engage
in such a bloody ritual. But Jews and Christians should be able to
relate to the holiday’s origin: the biblical story of the
sacrifice of Isaac.

This story is in both the Book of Genesis and, with some
interesting variations, the Quran. In the story, Abraham receives a
shocking injunction from God: He must offer his beloved son as a
sacrifice. As a devoted servant of God, he agrees to obey and takes
the child to Mount Moriah to slaughter him. At the last moment,
God, satisfied with Abraham’s devotion, saves the boy by
sending a ram as a substitute sacrifice.

Muslims around the world
are celebrating Eid al-Adha. What are the holiday’s most important
lessons?

There are minor differences between how the story is told in
Islam and how it’s told in Judaism and Christianity —
such as the name of the child, which the Quran doesn’t
mention and Muslims gradually accepted as Ishmael. But the moral
lesson is the same: Abraham’s piety should be celebrated. He
was willing to obey God’s order, even if it meant killing his
son.

In the Christian tradition, though, this view encountered a bold
challenge during the Enlightenment. Immanuel Kant, the 18th-century
German philosopher, criticized Abraham’s blind submission not as an
example to emulate but as a failure to avoid. Abraham should have
been certain about his own moral sense, Kant argued, and suspicious
about an ostensibly divine voice commanding him to do something as
cruel as sacrificing his son. Kant wasn’t advocating defying God,
necessarily, but he was empowering human reason.

The Muslim world at large has not had its own Enlightenment, but
that doesn’t mean Muslims never developed similar ideas. Medieval
Islam had its own rationalists who also took an unorthodox position
on the sacrifice story for the same reason Kant did: They could not
accept that God would have ordered something so cruel.

These were the Mu‘tazilites, members of a theological
school that flourished in Iraq around the 9th century, which …read more

Source: OP-EDS