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Trump Told Evangelicals They Will Face 'Violent' Left-Wing Oppression If Republicans Lose the Midterms

August 28, 2018 in Blogs

By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

“You're one election away from losing everything that you've got,” he told the group.

At Monday night's first-ever White House dinner honoring Evangelicals President Donald Trump behind closed doors told attendees if Republicans lose the midterms there will be violence.

Democrats, Trump said according to NBC News, “will overturn everything that we've done and they'll do it quickly and violently, and violently. There's violence. When you look at Antifa and you look at some of these groups — these are violent people.”

“You're one election away from losing everything that you've got,” Trump reportedly told the gathering of about 100 Evangelical leaders, including hate group head Tony Perkins and Focus On The Family founder James Dobson.

President Trump “said their opponents were 'violent people' who would overturn these gains 'violently,'” NBC adds.

“The level of hatred, the level of anger is unbelievable,” he said. “Part of it is because of some of the things I've done for you and for me and for my family, but I've done them. … This Nov. 6 election is very much a referendum on not only me, it's a referendum on your religion, it's a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment.”

The New York Times offers a similar report.

“They will end everything immediately,” he said, apparently referring to Democrats. He added, again without being clear whom he was talking about: “They will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently. And violently. There’s violence. When you look at Antifa, and you look at some of these groups, these are violent people.”


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A NYT Column Imagined Trump Actually Shooting Someone on 5th Ave — And It's Terrifyingly Realistic

August 28, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

What if Trump's wild assertion during the campaign came true?

It would have been hard to imagine back in 2016 that things would look so bad for the White House less than two years into President Donald Trump's term. He faces multiple lawsuits, investigations, and potential criminal charges, dozens of his staff have resigned or been fired, two of his Cabinet officials have been forced out by scandal, his ex-campaign chair has been found guilty of eight counts of federal crimes and is on trial for more, and his legacy of policymaking itself is already marred with human rights abuses, neglect, incompetence, and corruption.

Nevertheless, he retains strong approval within his party, and his supporters show no sign of fleeing.

In a New York Times piece published Tuesday, columnist Thomas Friedman challenged this state of affairs with a thought experiment: What if Trump really did just outright shoot and kill someone in cold blood on Fifth Avenue — which he famously claimed he could get away with? How would the country respond?

Friedman imagined how the article describing the events would be written, complete with fabricated quotes from notable figures such as House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and press secretary Sarah Sanders.

He wrote:

Hours later, though, the president tweeted: Actually, some people are saying that a man who looked a lot like Barack Obama did the shooting. I’m not saying that — but some people are. It also could have been somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds who fired that shot. Like Rudy said: Truth is not truth — unless I say so.

Jerry Falwell Jr., a top evangelical leader, announced that his movement would be holding a vigil this evening, praying that the president had not stressed himself too much by having to shoot a man on Fifth Avenue. Falwell added, “This would never have happened if Jeff Sessions were doing his job.”

It's a bit of a light-hearted exercise, but what's frightening about it is how close it comes to reality. Every tentacle of the vast apparatus supporting the Trump presidency goes to work defending his grip …read more


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Ted Cruz's Dark Money Backers Are Spooked as His Senate Campaign Falters: 'The Race Has Tightened'

August 28, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

The closeness of the firebrand Texas senator's race with Rep. Beto O'Rourke has right-wing groups starting to sweat.

Republicans no longer view Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as a safe bet to win re-election in November.

As his Democratic challenger, El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke, continues to tour the state one county at a time and rake in small-donor contributions to a campaign that he proudly states takes no money from corporate PACs, polls have increasingly shown a tight race; although no poll so far has given O'Rourke the lead, several are within the margin of error, with a new Emerson College poll putting the race with 1 point.

And amid growing worry, at least one dark money group is stepping in to help him, Politico reports:

The Club for Growth, a Washington-based anti-tax group, is drawing up plans for a major TV ad campaign boosting Cruz — the first such intervention by a Republican outside group in this race. The move comes as Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, an online fundraising behemoth who has attracted national support, continues to narrow the gap in polling.

David McIntosh, the Club for Growth’s president, said on Tuesday the organization is planning a seven-figure-plus offensive targeting O’Rourke. McIntosh was speaking from Texas, where he is meeting with pro-Cruz donors who could help fund the effort.

“In the last five weeks, it’s become clear that the race has tightened,” said McIntosh.

The Club for Growth's ad buy would be the first major GOP investment in the Texas race. The group had previously spent over $6 million to support his first run in 2012.

Democrats have not won any statewide race in Texas since 1994 the longest dry spell of any state. While the Lone Star State has a huge minority population, it also has one of the poorest voter turnout rates in the country, and the voters who do turn up are consistently older, whiter, and more Republican than the state as a whole.

But Cruz, one of the most partisan and most polarizing figures in the Senate, finds himself uniquely vulnerable. In addition to <a target=_blank …read more


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Judge Delays Start of Second Manafort Trial Following Word That Trump's Campaign Chair Is Seeking a Deal

August 28, 2018 in Blogs

By Mark Sumner, Daily Kos

Manafort is reportedly hoping to reach a plea deal.

Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts last week in a trial on bank fraud and tax evasion. Manafort was supposed to be facing a second trial in a D.C. court starting next week, but that trial has been delayed, with jury selection now scheduled to start on September 17 and the trial on September 24. 

The delay follows on the heels of reports that Manafort had been seeking a plea deal in this second trial. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Manafort’s legal team had approached the prosecution about a potential deal. This would not have been an agreement to cooperate but, like the deal just made by Trump attorney Michael Cohen, would have been a simple agreement to plead guilty in exchange for a recommendation of a reduced sentence.

Indications are that previous attempts at a deal fell through, but the discussion between Manafort’s team and that of special counsel Robert Mueller supposedly took place before a Virginia jury returned with eight guilty counts. It may be that, following that decision, Manafort is in no hurry to stack more years on his current sentence.

And Manafort may feel that at this stage he could still walk away with light punishment. Judge Ellis, who oversaw Manafort’s Virginia case, previously handed down a sentence of only seven months to a man who pleaded guilty to stashing $220 million in foreign accounts and shorting his tax bill by $18 million. Both amounts are greater than those involved in Manafort’s case. That defendant did plead guilty and had previously agreed to a fine, but Manafort may be convinced that, at worst, he’s looking at high single digits when it comes to his sentence. Manafort will not be sentenced in the case until Robert Mueller determines whether or not to retry the Republican insider on 10 counts that were held up by a single juror.

The second trial will focus heavily on Manafort’s activities in Ukraine and the work he did for Russia  both in putting a Russia-supported government in charge and helping to foment discontent against …read more


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Will John McCain Be the Last Republican Leader in the Senate to Address the Reality of Climate Change?

August 28, 2018 in Blogs

By The Conversation

McCain, a Republican, and Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman were the first to bring climate legislation that aimed to reduce emissions.

“He was just doing his job.”

When I asked a longtime staffer to Sen. John McCain why the senator battled to address climate change in the early 2000s, that was his answer.

A simple answer, but one essential to understanding how McCain led those early efforts to combat the challenge when no one else would step forward.

Although others had brought climate change as an issue to the Senate, McCain, a Republican, and Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman were the first to bring climate legislation that aimed to reduce emissions. That attempt was their bipartisan 2003 Climate Stewardship Act. As Lieberman’s counsel for the environment, I helped write this legislation.

Science informed McCain’s policy

In 2000, McCain was the chair of the Senate Committee for Commerce, Science and Transportation, which had jurisdiction over the U.S. Global Climate Research Program. That program, established in 1990, aimed to assist “the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”

McCain wanted to oversee the program’s activities and began a series of hearings on it. He sought out and gained insights from institutions he trusted in the hearings — including the U.S. Navy, McCain’s former professional home and a hub of defining research at the time – to learn more about climate science.

Armed with knowledge of the science, McCain proceeded to “do his job” to take on the challenge posed by climate change.

The hearings he called sparked conversations that led him to develop and co-sponsor, with Lieberman, the first legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by industries across the economy.

The legislation attempted to institute a market-based program to reduce emissions from electricity, manufacturing and transportation sectors of the economy. Those sectors represented 85 percent of U.S. emissions that at that time contributed to climate change.

This legislative step was particularly difficult for McCain as a Republican. Climate change legislation was, and remains, a tough political challenge as it requires regulating the sources of …read more


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Britain's Failed Weapons-Control Laws Show Why the Second Amendment Matters

August 28, 2018 in Economics

By David B. Kopel, Vincent Harinam

David B. Kopel and Vincent Harinam

Despite very severe anti-knife laws, Great Britain has been
suffering from a surge in knife crime. Some Britons propose making
the laws even harsher. Others are offering more constructive
solutions to get to the root causes of the problem.

Britain’s experience demonstrates the importance of the
Second Amendment. Under the logic of the Supreme Court’s
District of Columbia v. Heller decision, knives are certainly among the
“arms” protected by the Second Amendment. Courts in
Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Washington are among those that have
recognized as much, with courts in the first two states finding
that particular knife controls went too far and were

Although England’s 1689 Bill of Rights recognized the
right to possess defensive arms, that right is now a dead letter,
as are many of the others enumerated in that document. So today,
Great Britain has trapped itself in a vicious cycle of rising crime
and intensifying repression.

The slippery slope
doesn’t end with the confiscation of guns, but with the destruction
of the right to self-defense itself.

By the government’s count, knife crime in Britain rose 36 percent between 2013 and 2017. Some of
the statistical increase can be attributed to changes in the recording practices of police
departments, which have long underreported all sorts of crime. But
the Home Office, whose functions include collecting crime
statistics, acknowledges that knife
is up sharply.

National Health Service hospitals reported a 13 percent increase in admissions of victims of
knife-related assaults between 2015 and 2016. The next year,
between 2016 and 2017, there was a further 7 percent increase. London mayor Sadiq Khan
tweeted, “No excuses: there is never a
reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they
will feel the full force of the law.”

The problem certainly isn’t a lack of laws against carrying knives. As Joyce Malcolm details
in her book Guns and Violence: The English Experience,
since the 1950s, the British have banned carrying anything
with the intent to use it for self-defense. This even includes
a hatpin, if a woman were to use it against an attempted rapist. In
the Orwellian language of British law, the willingness to use
something for self-defense makes it an “offensive weapon.”

According to a British police website, it is illegal
to carry any “product which is made or adapted to cause a
person injury.” Britons are allowed, for example, to carry
colored dye spray to mark an attacker, but if they spray the dye …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Space Force: An Unwise Solution to an Overhyped Threat

August 28, 2018 in Economics

By Eric Gomez

Eric Gomez

There’s good news and bad news in the Trump
administration’s plan to establish the Space Force as the sixth branch
of the U.S. military. The good news is that sales of
formerly-ironic “space shuttle door gunner” patches
are probably going to spike. The bad news is that the creation of a
new military branch carries far more risks, costs and complications
than benefits.

The value of the Space Force should be judged against the kinds
of threats that it is intended to counter. A substantial increase
in threat could warrant the drastic step of creating a new military
branch, but space is not as dangerous as Trump and his senior
officials are making it out to be.

Competition with Russia and China is a consistent theme of the administration’s major
national security documents. Senior officials
frequently cite the activities of these countries in outer space,
such as China’s use of a missile to destroy one of its own satellites in 2007.
American officials are especially worried about how much the
military and major civilian economic sectors depend on satellites that are vulnerable to
disruption or destruction.

Creating a Space Force as
a separate branch of the U.S. military is an overreaction to the
threats facing the United States, and its costs outweigh its
dubious benefits.

The Trump administration has hyped the threats while ignoring
factors that would likely restrain Russian and Chinese behavior in
space. The most aggressive option available to Russia and China
would be the destruction of U.S. satellites. The primary risk of
such an attack would be the debris created by it that could inflict collateral
on Russia or Chinese satellites. In fact, China’s
growing military ambitions increase its vulnerability to space
debris because it must place more satellites in orbit to facilitate military
operations farther from its shores. Less destructive actions such
as jamming or temporarily disabling U.S. satellites would carry
lower risks, but it would also be easier for the United States to
recover from such actions.

Another mark against the Trump administration’s plan for
the Space Force is the difficulty of creating a new branch of the
military. The costs of adding a sixth branch would come on two
fronts. First and most obvious to taxpayers is the price tag.

In an early August 2018 speech, Vice President Mike
Pence said that the administration would ask Congress for $8
billion to invest in “space security systems over the next
five years.” Furthermore, establishing a new military branch
carries significant overhead costs. …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Partners or Rivals? the Future of the US – China Economic Relationship

August 28, 2018 in Economics

By Simon Lester

Simon Lester

It seems so long ago now, but towards the end of the Obama
administration, government officials from the United States and
China were working diligently to try to conclude a bilateral investment treaty (BIT). There was
some uncertainty about whether the two governments would reach an
agreement, as well as whether the U.S. Congress would ratify the
treaty, but nevertheless, these two leading economic powers were
working together towards a joint vision in an important area of
global economic governance. If the United States and China could
develop a shared view of international economic law and policy, the
global economy was sure to benefit.

Fast forward to today. Any hope of a joint U.S.-China vision of
economic relations or governance seems lost. The rhetoric has
intensified in the United States; with a clear bipartisan consensus
for a tougher approach on China. President Trump may be leading the
charge, but there are many members of Congress pressing him to go

The U.S.-China trading
relationship will be central to the global economy for years to
come, and it is important for that relationship to be a positive

In the area of foreign investment, the BIT has been shelved
amidst fears that China will acquire critical technologies and
threaten the status of the United States as the leading player in
advanced industries. Several major Chinese investments have been
rejected by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United
States (CFIUS), and Chinese investment in the United States
has dwindled. Recently, Congress passed
legislation expanding the scope of foreign investment transactions
covered by CFIUS review, which also imposes additional restrictions
on the export of technology to China. While the recent decline of
Chinese investment in the United States was attributable to a
number of factors beyond CFIUS, a stricter review of foreign
investment transactions will certainly aggravate the situation.
Worse still, such a move is likely to provoke China to do something
similar in its own market. China is already reported to be drafting rules that would link a national
security review to strategic foreign investments in publicly listed
companies. Whatever trend there may have been towards openness to
foreign investment and an agreed set of bilateral rules on
investment has been reversed.

Economic tension is even more pronounced in the trade policy
world. The United States and China are locked in an escalating
battle over trade restrictions, with both sides now raising
tariffs. Each one claims that the other is undermining the rule of
law, and neither side seems ready to back down.

Watching the deterioration of the relationship, it is easy to
feel helpless. …read more

Source: OP-EDS