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Fox News' Juan Williams Tears into Republicans' Hypocritical Defenses of Supreme Court Nominee: 'An Act of Fraud'

September 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“Republicans are involved in an act of fraud when it comes to this guy.”


Fox News' Juan Williams, a co-host of “The Five,” lambasted the Republican Party's hypocritical performance Tuesday during the hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's nominee to be the next Supreme Court justice.

While Democrats have raised a series of objections to the process and substance of the nomination, Republicans have denounced the opposition to Kavanaugh as grandstanding. In debunking this idea, Williams alluded to the fact that the GOP unilaterally blocked any consideration of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's final nominee tot he Supreme Court.

“These Republican senators pretend like, 'Oh gee, you know, it's all grandstanding on the Democratic side. There's no issue with Merrick Garland being blocked for an entire year from legitimately allowing him to have a hearing!'” Williams said.

His point, in other words, was that Republicans are acting as if the nomination were merely a procedural matter, rather than an explicitly partisan process, designed to achieve partisan ends, and tainted by a historical snub to a rightfully nominated and highly qualified judge.

Williams continued: “So they want to pretend somehow — this is the real acting class: 'Oh, this judge is just an umpire, he's not going to — he's just a normal guy, he loves his family, he's a good Catholic. Oh! Abortion rights, gay rights? Oh, he never said a word! So what?' Pretend like nothing's going on. Republicans are involved in an act of fraud when it comes to this guy.”

Watch the clip below:

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Trump Says He Never Spoke to Famed Watergate Reporter — But This 11-Minute Recording Proves He's Lying

September 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Trump heaped praise on Bob Woodward during their interview earlier this year. Now that his highly critical book is out, Trump won't admit their interview even exists


With the release of Bob Woodward's new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” President Donald Trump is not pleased. And he is raging that Woodward did not even bother to consult him.

“It’s just another bad book. He’s had a lot of credibility problems,” Trump said of the former Watergate reporter in an exclusive interview with the right-wing Daily Caller. “It’s just nasty stuff. I never spoke to him. Maybe I wasn’t given messages that he called.”

As a matter of fact, Trump did speak to Woodward, in a lengthy interview in April that was posted to YouTube.

Interestingly enough, Trump did not appear to believe Woodward had any “credibility problems” during their discussion. Indeed, Trump, lavished him with praise, saying that “I think you've always been fair,” and that even though he was expecting it to be a “negative book,” he genially quipped that he was “50 percent used to that.”

In the biggest irony, Trump blasted the Obama White House in 2013 for “attacking” Woodward, during a controversy over an exchange Woodward had with an administration aide.

However, such a change of heart is not out of character for Trump, who notoriously excises people from his good graces at the slightest perception of disloyalty. He is openly longing to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions for failing to quash the Russia investigation, even though Sessions has in every other respect done Trump's bidding to the letter.

Woodward's book alleges, among other things, that Trump privately called Sessions “mentally retarded” and “a dumb Southerner,” and the late Sen. John McCain “a coward,” that he wanted to bomb North Korea and assassinate Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, that his aides stole his papers “to protect the country,” and that he continually frustrated his own lawyers while trying to prep …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump's Lawyer Warned His Lies Could End Up Putting Him in an 'Orange Jump Suit': Watergate Reporter

September 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Bob Woodward's book claims John Dowd told “fucking liar” Trump he would end up in prison if he testified, according to a new CNN report.


Bob Woodward's new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” includes an astonishing alleged quote from John Dowd, a former Justice Department lawyer and ex-attorney to President Donald Trump.

Woodward, who together with Carl Bernstein is most famous for breaking significant pieces of the Watergate story that brought down President Richard Nixon, claims that Dowd simply threw up his hands after trying to hold a mock interview with Trump to prepare him for a one-on-one with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Dowd, who reportedly considered Trump a “fucking liar,” ended up simply telling him “Don't testify. It's either that or an orange jump suit.”

Dowd, for his part, strenuously denies any of this took place.

“There was no so-called ‘practice session’ or ‘re-enactment’ of a mock interview at the Special Counsel’s office,” Dowd told the conservative Washington Examiner in an email. “Further, I did not refer to the president as a 'liar' and did not say that he was likely to end up in an ‘orange jump suit’. It was a great honor and distinct privilege to serve President Trump.”

But the details in Woodward's book are only the latest in a series of exchanges, both proven and alleged, that Trump has had in clashes with his legal team, as they frantically try to prevent the president from engaging in criminal behavior to prevent prosecutors from sniffing at his purported ties to Russia. In particular, his incessant Twitter manifestos attacking the investigation and those carrying it out increasingly look like obstruction of justice, much to the frustration of the lawyers advising him.

Last year, Trump reportedly moved to fire Mueller altogether, relenting only when White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign rather than execute the order. McGahn himself is now leaving the White House, and the nature of his exit suggests he may himself have been fired.

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These 4 Red-Leaning States Have Big Marijuana Decisions to Make This November

September 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Phillip Smith, Independent Media Institute

Two will vote on marijuana legalization; two on medical marijuana.


Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana since 2012, but all of those states have been in the West or the Northeast. This year, with marijuana legalization on the ballot in Michigan as well as North Dakota, legal weed could make a heartland breakthrough.

Similarly, medical marijuana’s rise to acceptance continues, and this year, Missouri and Utah look set to join the ranks.

Two of these states—Missouri and North Dakota—also have incumbent Democratic senators up for reelection in tough campaigns this fall. Whether voters motivated by marijuana could help Claire McCaskill and Heidi Heitkamp retain their seats remains to be seen, but pot at the polls will generate interest among more liberal voters.

We could see New Jersey move quickly and legalize weed via the legislature sometime in the next two months, but barring that, it looks like we'll see at least one, and quite possibly two, new marijuana legalization states come election day and, most likely, two more medical marijuana states.

Here we go:

Michigan

Michigan is poised to become marijuana legalization's Midwest breakout state. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has qualified a marijuana legalization initiative, Proposal 1, for the November ballot.

The measure would legalize the possession up to 2.5 ounces of pot for personal use and up to 10 ounces at home, as well as allowing for the personal cultivation of up to 12 plants and the fruits of that harvest. It also creates a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce, with a 10 percent excise tax at the retail level in addition to the 6 percent sales tax. The measure would give cities and counties the option of allowing pot businesses or not.

The initiative looks well-positioned to win in November. A February poll had support for legalization in Michigan at 57 percent, while a March poll came in at 61 percent. The most recent poll, from May, had support holding steady at 61 percent. Those are the kinds of polling numbers …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here Are 5 of the Strongest Reactions to Bob Woodward’s Explosive New Book About Trump

September 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

The president's circle is right to be worried.


Veteran political journalist/author Bob Woodward, now 75, has written extensively about a variety of U.S. presidents, from Richard Nixon to George H.W. Bush to Barack Obama. Woodward’s impact on political journalism was so great that Robert Redford portrayed him in the 1976 movie “All the President’s Men,” which was also the title of Woodward’s 1974 book on the Watergate scandal—and Donald Trump’s presidency is the subject of his new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” due out on September 11.

It’s safe to say that President Trump is not looking forward to the release of “Fear,” which paints his administration as being in a constant state of crisis and turmoil. In doing research for the book, Woodward interviewed dozens of administration officials and conducted hundreds of hours of interviews. And even though the 448-page book isn’t out yet, it’s already having an impact.

Here are five of the most vehement and noteworthy reactions to “Fear: Trump in the White House.'

1. Literary Agent Keith Urbahn: Trump Should Keep Quiet About Woodward’s Book

Literary agent Keith Urbahn, whose clients have included former FBI Director James Comey, has asserted that Trump would be wise to maintain a no-comment position on Woodward’s book. But that’s unlikely. Urbahn asserted, “By virtue of it being a Bob Woodward book, it will be an instant best-seller. The smartest thing Trump could do is to give Woodward the silent treatment, but we know that’s unlikely. So if I’m Bob Woodward, I’m feeling good about things.”

2. Trump: Book Will Be ‘Very Inaccurate’

Although Woodward did not actually interview Trump for his book, the two of them did have a phone conversation about the book in early August—and Trump, during the conversation, indicated that he would have been willing to be interviewed for the book had he found out about it sooner. But according to Trump, his staffers were “afraid to come and talk” to him about the book. And that lack of an interview with the president, Trump told Woodward on …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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North Korea Denuclearization Isn't Free

September 4, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Last fall Washington and Pyongyang were exchanging insults and
threats, with the two nations sliding toward military
confrontation. A little over two months ago echoes of “Peace
in our Time” rang out in Singapore as President Donald Trump
and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un staged a friendly summit.

Today, to the cheer of neoconservative who prefer war to
compromise and Democrats who care only about discrediting the
president, relations between the two countries appear to be rolling
backward. Military confrontation again is a possibility.

Which demonstrates that the biggest problem with President
Trump’s diplomatic style is not that it is unorthodox. His
willingness to meet with Kim violated conventional wisdom but
offered a chance for a breakthrough. With the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea otherwise guaranteed to create a
growing nuclear arsenal capable of hitting the American
homeland—at least if the United States is unwilling to strike
militarily, which would start a Second Korean War—unorthodox
diplomacy probably offered the only hope for success.

The only realistic
strategy is to exchange advantage for advantage.

The chief challenge facing the president is ignorance. He almost
certainly knows nothing about North Korea’s history, leadership,
objectives, and interests. Even specialists disagree about these
issues. Is Kim following family destiny and unalterably determined
to conquer South Korea? Or is he a pragmatic if brutal ruler,
determined to simultaneously preserve his rule and strengthen his
nation? I lean toward the latter but understand the former claim.
President Trump, probably not.

This appears to have given rise to President Trump’s belief that
after receiving a strong handshake and few verbal assurances, the
DPRK leader was prepared to give up his nuclear weapons. No need to
spell out the specific security guarantees and economic benefits in
return. Kim agreed to toss caution to the wind, abandon weapons
developed at great expense and woven into the country’s political
fabric, sacrifice all his leverage for nothing, and place his trust
in an American administration with a somewhat casual view of living
up to national commitments. Sure.

In fact, few Korea specialists believed the North was prepared
to yield its nukes. They offer prestige, are useful as a tool of
extortion, and cement the military’s support for the regime. They
also ensure that Kim and his cohorts won’t end up like Libyan
leader Muammar Al Gaddafi. After all, Gaddafi gave up his nuclear
and missile programs only to end up starring in a gruesome YouTube
video in which rebels found and executed him. Therefore, while Kim
could reasonably make a deal on the margin—halt missile and
nuclear testing, cap the number of weapons, allow some forms of
safeguards/inspections, adopt other tension-reducing
measures—getting rid of …read more

Source: OP-EDS