You are browsing the archive for 2018 September 10.

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Trump Was 'Pandering to Racist Yahoos': Conservative Writer Explains Why He Changed His Mind and Now Supports NFL Protests

September 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

This is a big reversal.

Max Boot, a conservative writer and frequent critic of President Donald Trump, revealed Monday that he's changed his mind on one of the president's pet issues: NFL players protesting during the national anthem.

It wasn't Trump's power of persuasion that changed Boot's mind — it was the repulsiveness of the president's attacks, particularly on Colin Kaepernick, one of the most prominent of the protesting players, that made him turn against Trump's view.

In a new Washington Post column on Monday, Boot explained that he originally opposed the protests. 

“I argued that Kaepernick’s protests were disrespectful to all the soldiers who defended American freedom — and they ignored the fact that, although America remained racist and imperfect, 'it has made tremendous progress during its history,'” he wrote.

But as Trump continued his attacks on Kaepernick and his allies, Boot said, “my sympathies swung in their direction.”

“The issue is no longer whether it’s appropriate to protest 'The Star-Spangled Banner,'” he wrote. “The issue now is whether a demagogue will succeed in stifling protests and pandering to racist yahoos.”

Boot pointed out that Trump's opposition to the NFL protests is not his only instance of opposing dissent. He attacks the media and other protesters any chance he gets, and he clearly has an affinity for authoritarian rulers in other countries.

“Protests are the very essence of America!” said Boot. “It is a country founded in protest. (Remember the Boston Tea Party?) Protests, such as those in favor of labor rights, women’s suffrage, civil rights and gay rights, helped to make America as great as it is.”

He added: “That the president doesn’t understand that protest is as American as watching football on fall Sundays is far more disturbing than anything that any NFL player could possibly do during the anthem.”

Those who support Kaepernick's protest in substance and not just in principle would hope that conservatives like Boot could recognize that racism and oppression are as much a part of American history as opposition to these forces is. But the pushback Trump receives from conservatives like Boot, and those who might otherwise be …read more


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'It's A Big Deal': GOP Lawmaker May Have Improperly Raised Money For Primary That Did Not Exist

September 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) is being warned of serious campaign finance violations.

On Monday, CNN's reported that Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) is accused of a potentially serious campaign finance violation.

Specifically, she raised over $1.1 million for a primary challenge that did not actually ever take place. Her campaign's actions have prompted a complaint from the Federal Election Commission (FEC):

CNN's KFile reached out to Love, her campaign, her campaign treasurer and her campaign manager on Thursday about the contributions. They did not respond to CNN's request for comment. After publication, Love's campaign said in a statement they did prepare for a primary challenge by gathering signatures to appear on the primary ballot. Love's campaign said they planned to redesignate about $370,000 and may refund less than $10,000 in donations.

In April, Love secured the nomination to seek a third term for her seat in Utah's 4th congressional district at Utah's nominating convention. In Utah, if a candidate receives such a nomination at a convention, like Love did, then no primary is held. At no point prior to April's convention did Love face a primary challenger or the threat of one.

But Love raised $1,153,624 and designated that money for a primary, according to the letter from the FEC to Love. Even after Love secured the nomination at the convention, she raised an additional $372,468 specifically designated for the primary that her campaign knew would not take place.

As CNN notes, raising money for an election that will not take place is a major violation of federal regulations. Former FEC commissioner Ann Ravel stated, “It's a big deal, it is a big deal … If you're raising primary funds and you have no primary, on its face, it does seem to be inappropriate and it's a lot of money.”

Love's campaign has not commented on the story. They have informed the FEC that they will refund or redesignate some of the money, but not all of it.

It remains to be seen whether this will be sufficient to remedy the violation. While FEC chairman Christian Hilland declined to comment on the Love campaign specifically, …read more


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'This Is Hilarious!': MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace Bursts Out Laughing at Report of Trump Appointee Trashing the President's Personality

September 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

She could barely get through reading the quotes without cracking up.

MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace tried to hold back laughter Monday as she read a full quote from a New York Times report describing President Donald Trump's appointee Mick Mulvaney being critical of a top GOP senator and the president's personality.

The report, which detailed comments Mulvaney at a private Republican Party meeting over the weekend, found that the director of the Office of Management and Budget had warned that Sen. Ted Cruz (TX-R) may lose his upcoming election because he's not very “likable.” Similarly, Mulvaney reportedly said “Republicans would fare better if they could 'subtract' the president’s divisive persona from voters’ minds, and stress instead that the country is in a 'pretty good' condition,” according to the Times.

“This is hilarious!” Wallace said on her show “Deadline: White House” while reading the article aloud. She burst into laughter.

“If Ted Cruz could be charming and Donald Trump could not have a screwed up personality, everything could be fine! Well, I'm with Mick Mulvaney on that,” she said. “It's ridiculous!”

Watch the clip below:

Related Stories

…read more


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Here's What the History of Presidential Impeachments Tells Us About Trump's Chances of Clinging to Power

September 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

A Democratic landslide in the 2018 midterms could turn impeachment from a fear for the White House into a reality.

As Special Counsel Robert Meuller’s Russia-related investigation moves along and President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and Paul Manafort, begins his second criminal trial—this time, for charges that include obstruction of justice and money laundering—the word “impeachment” is being used frequently in connection with the president.

But it’s unlikely that Trump will actually face impeachment as long as Republicans control both houses of Congress.

First: even if Democrats win a majority in the House of Representatives in the November midterms, Republicans might maintain control of the Senate. Second: for all the disdain that Democrats feel for Trump, they don’t necessarily want to see Mike Pence (an extremely anti-gay social conservative) become president. And third: impeachment is a difficult, laborious process—so difficult that only three U.S. presidents in history have faced impeachment, to any degree, in the House of Representatives: Richard Nixon, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Further, not one president in U.S. history has been convicted in an impeachment trial in the Senate.

Here are the lessons to be learned from U.S.’ “Impeachment Big Three” in the Trump era.

Andrew Johnson

The fact that the U.S.’ first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, had a Democratic vice president, Andrew Johnson, is ironic in light of the bitter divide that exists between Democrats and Republicans in 2018. But the Republican Party was a new party in 1864, when Lincoln and Johnson ran on the National Union ticket (the National Union Party was a name the GOP temporarily used during the Civil War). When Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, Johnson became president. And the impeachment of Johnson in the House of Representatives in 1868 marked the first time articles of impeachment, as outlined in the U.S. Constitution, were used against a sitting president.

House members argued that Johnson, by removing Secretary of War Edwin McMasters Stanton from office, had violated the Tenure of Office Act—and after the House approved the articles of impeachment against Johnson, they were forwarded to the Senate for consideration. But in May …read more


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9/11 Lost and Found: The Items Left Behind

September 10, 2018 in History

By Madison Horne

From a bloodied pair of shoes, to IDs to jewelry, here is a look at some of the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s more than 11,000 artifacts—and the heavy stories they carry.

This pair of women’s heels belonged to Fiduciary Trust employee Linda Raisch-Lopez, a survivor of the attacks on the World Trade Center. She began her evacuation from the 97th floor of the South Tower after seeing flames from the North Tower. She removed her shoes and carried them as she headed down the stairs, reaching the 67th floor when the South Tower was stuck by Flight 175.

As she headed uptown to escape, she put her shoes back on, and they became bloody from her cut and blistered feet. She donated her shoes to the museum.

View the 10 images of this gallery on the original article

The attacks of September 11, 2001 killed almost 3,000 people, shocked the world and forever seared 9/11 into memory as a date filled with tragedy, loss and heroism. Artifacts recovered from the attacks, meanwhile, became imbued with solemn significance.

By September 12, anyone who had survived the collapse of the World Trade Center and became trapped in the rubble, had been recovered. Ground Zero workers then began the heartbreaking and dangerous job of searching for remains through massive mounds of debris.

By May 2002, workers had moved more than 108,000 truckloads–1.8 million tons–of rubble to a Staten Island landfill. However, fires burned underground for months, leaving downtown Manhattan in smoke and dust with the intense smell of burning rubber, plastic and steel.

New Yorkers Remember 9/11, Fifteen Years Later. (TV-PG; 7:28)

A few years later, work began at Ground Zero to build what would become the 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. In May of 2014, the 9/11 Memorial Museum opened in New York by the World Trade Center site. The museum honors the many victims of the attacks and all those who risked their lives to rescue and save others.

Over the years, the museum has worked to document the events of 9/11 with oral histories and over 11,000 artifacts collected from Ground Zero, donated from survivors and victims’ loved ones. Here is a look at some of the items in their collection, and the heavy stories they carry.

Preview – 9/11: Escape From the Towers Watch a preview of the special 9/11: Escape From the Towers, premiering …read more


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When an Anonymous Letter Roiled the Nation's Capital…in 1825

September 10, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

The letter accused two politicians of making a corrupt bargain.

As far as U.S. presidential elections go, the 1824 one was unusually crazy. There were four major candidates, none of whom won enough electoral votes, which meant the House of Representatives had to pick someone for president. Then, less than two weeks before the House decided, a newspaper published an anonymous letter alleging two of the candidates had made a “corrupt bargain” with each other.

The three presidential candidates involved in this scandal were Senator Andrew Jackson, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and Speaker of the House Henry Clay, who won too little of the popular vote to be considered in the House election. Shortly after Clay endorsed Adams for president in January 1825, Philadelphia’s Columbian Observer printed an anonymous letter accusing Clay of making a dirty deal with Adams.

According to the letter, Clay was using his influence as speaker of the House to throw the election to Adams in exchange for becoming Adams’ secretary of state. The letter also alleged Clay had made the same offer to Jackson, who refused, making Jackson look like the more honorable candidate. This corrupt bargain was, the letter stated, “one of the most disgraceful transactions that ever covered with infamy the republican ranks.”

This tally sheet, now in the National Archives, documents the last presidential election in which no candidate won a majority of the electoral vote. The 1824 election was thrown to the House of Representatives which lead John Quincy Adams to win the presidency over Andrew Jackson.

Clay disputed the allegations in Washington, D.C.’s Daily National Intelligencer and demanded that the anonymous author identify himself. A representative from Pennsylvania named George Kremer took credit and said he could substantiate his accusation before the House investigatory committee. However, he later refused to testify.

This didn’t end the “corrupt bargain” rumors, because on February 9, the House elected Adams as president; and soon after, Clay accepted a nomination for secretary of state. These events fueled rumors of their collusion in Washington, D.C. and in newspapers around the country. Still, according to Joseph Postell, a political science professor at the University of Colorado, we don’t have conclusive evidence that they made a deal.

“The corrupt bargain, I think, is mostly mythological,” he says. “A lot of the Jacksonian papers at the time tried to claim …read more


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Washington Quietly Increases Lethal Weapons to Ukraine

September 10, 2018 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

For all of the loose (frequently hysterical) talk in Congress,
the foreign policy community, and the news media about President
Donald Trump’s alleged eagerness to appease Vladimir Putin, U.S.
policy remains as confrontational as ever toward Russia.

Among other actions, the Trump administration has involved U.S.
forces in NATO military exercises (war games) in Poland and other
East European countries on Russia’s border, as well as in naval
maneuvers in the Black Sea near Russia’s sensitive naval base at
Sevastopol. Washington has even sent U.S. troops as participants in
joint military exercises with Ukrainian forces—an act that Moscow
considers especially provocative, given its tense relations with

On no issue is the administration’s risky course more evident
than its military policy toward Ukraine. Recent measures are
certain to provoke Moscow further, and entangle the United States
to an unwise extent with an extremely murky, ideologically
troubling Ukrainian regime.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis acknowledges that U.S.
instructors are training Ukrainian military units at a base in
western Ukraine. Washington also has approved two important arms
sales to Kiev’s ground forces in just the past nine months. The
first transaction in December 2017 was limited to small arms that
at least could be portrayed as purely defensive weapons. That
agreement included the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems,
ammunition, and associated parts and accessories, a sale valued at
$41.5 million.

A transaction in April 2018 was more serious. Not only was it
larger ($47 million), it included far more lethal
weaponry, particularly 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles—the kind
of weapons that Barack Obama’s administration had declined to
give Kiev. Needless to say, the Kremlin was not pleased about either sale. Moreover,
Congress soon passed legislation in May that authorized $250
million in military assistance, including lethal weaponry, to
Ukraine in 2019. Congress had twice voted for military support on a
similar scale during the last years of Obama’s
administration, but the White House blocked implementation. The
Trump administration cleared that obstacle out of the way in
December 2017 at the same time that it approved the initial
small-weapons sale. The passage of the May 2018 legislation means
that the path is now open for a dramatic escalation of U.S.
military backing for Kiev.

Both the danger of
stoking tensions with Moscow and becoming too close to a regime in
Kiev that exhibits disturbing features should caution the Trump
administration against boosting military aid to Ukraine.

On September 1, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker
disclosed during an interview with The Guardian
that Washington’s future military aid to Kiev …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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How Arthur Ashe Transformed Tennis—and Athlete Activism

September 10, 2018 in History

By Raymond Arsenault

Having grown up in the segregated South, Ashe became the first black man to win the U.S. Open in 1968. The victory helped him find his voice on a wide array of social-justice issues.

Amidst all the convulsions America experienced in 1968—the shocking assassinations, the violent protests, the atrocities in Vietnam—revolution rumbled even through the genteel world of men’s tennis. The unexpected messenger was a slender, bespectacled 25-year-old Army lieutenant on temporary leave from his post at West Point.

His name? Arthur Ashe.

The revolution Ashe fomented would be felt not only on the court of play, but in broader social and political spheres. He was the Jackie Robinson of men’s tennis, piercing the exclusivity of a lily-white sport and shouldering burdens that tested his character and resolve at every turn. And he emerged at the height of the U.S. civil-rights movement to become the first African-American male to win a Grand Slam. (Ashe, still an amateur in 1968, won the U.S. Open that year, the first-ever year of the tournament.) But he didn’t stop there. He went on to dominate his sport, to help desegregate it—and then to transcend it, becoming a fierce and eloquent activist for an array of causes, including civil rights, economic empowerment, opposition to Apartheid and AIDS awareness.

Ashe’s unexpected triumph at Forest Hills, the venerable site where the U.S. national championships were played until 1977, was only one of the many events that made 1968 a signal year of surprises. Indeed, just as the players were gathering at Forest Hills on August 29 for the opening round of the first U.S. Open, the nation was transfixed by thousands of antiwar activists protesting outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The drama that would soon unfold at Forest Hills, where a black amateur upstart triumphed over the best professional tennis players in the world—though mild in comparison to the jarring effects of political strife—echoed the unsettled spirit of the times.

Arthur Ashe reaching for a return, 1969.

U.S. tennis ‘opens’ up

The 1968 U.S. Open marked a departure that would revolutionize the game of competitive tennis over the next half century. Following the example of England and France earlier in the year, the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) abandoned its 87-year-old amateurs-only tradition, helping to usher in an age of professionalization, commercialization and media exposure that turned touring tennis …read more


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How the Design of the World Trade Center Claimed Lives on 9/11

September 10, 2018 in History

By Glenn Corbett

After the jets hit, stairwells became the sole means of escape for thousands of WTC occupants. But design choices hampered full evacuation—and made the descent even more harrowing.

It’s hard to imagine that the disaster at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 could have been any worse. And yet for one simple fact—the time of day—it would have been far more deadly.

Had the attacks occurred later that morning, when the number of occupants in each tower would have swelled to nearly 20,000, fatalities would have been significantly higher. As many as 14,000 people could have been killed—many not by the plane attacks themselves, but by trying to exit the buildings. They would have died because of intense overcrowding in the tower stairwells where, safety experts estimated, it would have taken four hours to get out, much longer than the buildings stood prior to their collapse.

Most people use stairs every day, never giving them a second thought. When it comes to life safety in the event of a fire, they become one of our most critical lifelines to survival. That was especially true in the World Trade Center that day, since the elevators quickly became a non-option.

As a longtime fire-protection engineer and professor of fire science—and as someone who served on the federal advisory board of the technical investigation of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers—I am deeply familiar with the crucial role stairwells served that day in matters of life and death. Below, some of the most important factors in play on September 11, 2001:

One of two stairwell floor signs from World Trade Center known to survive, from the 102nd floor, recovered from Ground Zero.

There were too few stairwells

The stairs in the twin towers were, to a great extent, a product of their times. In 1968, …read more