You are browsing the archive for 2018 October 09.

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GOP Candidate Says the Solution to Rape on College Campuses Is 'Educating Females'

October 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Denver Riggleman would rather lecture women on how to avoid being raped than tell men not to rape.

Denver Riggleman, the Republican congressional candidate for Virginia's 5th Congressional District, believes that rape is a complicated issue. But most of his solutions seem to put the burden on young women to avoid being raped.

On Monday, Riggleman, a distillery owner and bigfoot porn enthusiast, sparred over the issue of preventing sexual assault with his Democratic opponent, investigative journalist and filmmaker Leslie Cockburn, at a debate at Piedmont Virginia Community College, and his thoughts were revealing.

“I think a lot of it comes to educating females, right, specifically in the fraternities and sororities that they’re a part of,” said Riggleman. He also added that he believes in “making sure that there's support groups to help people report.”

As Emily Crockett of Shareblue Media notes, this answer is problematic for several reasons:

Lecturing women on how to avoid getting raped isn’t just insulting and frustrating; it also doesn’t stop rape from happening. Demanding that women dress more modestly or avoid parties with alcohol is a way to restrict their freedom, but it’s not a way to prevent them from being targeted by a predator. It also doesn’t prevent that predator from targeting some other woman.

It’s not entirely clear what sort of “education” Riggleman has in mind to help America’s young “females” avoid being raped. He makes references to fraternities and sororities, so he probably has drunken parties in mind.

But plenty of women get drunk at parties and meet men without getting raped. The difference isn’t what the women do — it’s whether the guys they meet decide to rape them.

Riggleman only added at the very end of his speech, seemingly as an afterthought, that “I also think that sons need to be educated.”

This answer stands in stark contrast to Cockburn's answer to the question; she focused less on how women can avoid being raped, and more on how to go after rapists.

She replied that she wanted to pass the military sexual assault bill put forward by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and added …read more


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Here's Why Court Packing May Be the Country's Best Hope to Reverse Trump's Corruption of the Supreme Court

October 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

It would be a bold move — but it's no longer unthinkable.

With Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the far right now has a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court—which means that everything from abortion rights and gay rights and to health care reform could be on the chopping block. The High Court already leaned conservative, but while the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy (appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987) was a right-winger with libertarian leanings at times, Kavanaugh is much more of a social conservative in the Clarence Thomas/Antonin Scalia vein. And this new edition of the Court could not only further the theocratic agenda of the Christian Right, but also, overturn the Affordable Care Act of 2010, criminalize affirmative action or attack voting rights—all of which makes an argument in favor of something President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attempted in the 1930s: Court packing.

Presently, the Supreme Court has nine seats, but were the Court to be packed, that number could be increased to 11, 13 or more seats—and it would be easier to make that happen than to impose term limits for justices, which would require altering the U.S. Constitution.

While presidents are limited to two terms and governors, congressmen, senators and city council members can be voted out of office, Supreme Court appointments are permanent—which means that Kavanaugh, a 53-year-old Generation X-er, might still be on the Court in 2050 if he lives as long as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (now 85). Those who believe that Supreme Court justices have way too much power can be found on both the left and the right; in fact, a 2017 Reuters/Ipsos poll found that ten-year terms for Supreme Court justices were favored by 74% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats. And some prominent Republicans, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul, have expressed their support for Supreme Court term limits.

But imposing term limits on Supreme Court justices would require some very heavy lifting, as the U.S. Constitution specifically states that Supreme Court appointments are lifetime appointments. The Constitution allows Supreme Court justices …read more


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How Disaster Capitalism Has Ruined Puerto Rico

October 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Vijay Prashad, Independent Media Institute

And what Cuba can teach the world about going a different route.

Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo was recently in Puerto Rico. During his trip, Naidoo looked carefully at the aftermath of Hurricane Maria—the Category 4 hurricane in 2017 that tore through the Caribbean. No island in its path was spared, with Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit rightly calling the damage “mindboggling.” Puerto Rico, a part of the United States of America, was struck hard, but not much harder than the other islands. Yet, the relief, rehabilitation and recovery on this island have been slow—paralytically slow. Naidoo’s visit to Puerto Rico comes a year after Hurricane Maria and yet, as he wrote, “it is shocking that so many people are forced to live in such a precarious situation; even worse when they are part of one of the richest nations in the world.”

In January 2018, the Canadian journalist Naomi Klein spent a week in Puerto Rico as a guest of Professors Self-Assembled in Solidarity Resistance (PAReS). In 2017, before the hurricane, students at the University of Puerto Rico had gone on strike to defend public education. PAReS was created by some professors as a way to join the student struggle. Puerto Rico, over the course of the past decade, has been locked in a series of impressive battles over the suffocation of its public institutions by its local government and by its imperial overlords in Washington, D.C. (Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States).

During her visit, Naomi Klein visited not only areas hit hard by the storm and by the planned disregard by the state, but also places of imagination that try to create popular relief and reconstruction. These places included Casa Pueblo (Adjuntas), Dalma Cartagena’s Agriculture in Harmony with the Environment project (Orocovis) and the Mutual Aid Project (Mariana). It is here, in these places of experimentation and love, that Naomi Klein finds the antidote to the disaster capitalism that ruins Puerto Rico—ruined it before the hurricane, ruined it just after the hurricane and proceeds to ruin it for the future. …read more


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Court Decision Reveals Clues About Mueller's Russia Investigation — And Shows He Still Has Secret Leads Concealed from the Public

October 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

There's still much we don't know.

While recent reports that two of special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors have left his team after its recent successes led some to suspect that the Russia investigation is winding down, a new court decision reveals that there's still much about the investigation that the public doesn't know.

In response to a petition from several media outlets to obtain the search warrants used to gather evidence against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a D.C. district court decided that many of the documents cannot be released because, in part, they relate to “non-public information concerning the government’s ongoing criminal investigation.”

The decision also says that some of the documents include “private information of non-parties” and “financial information” that should not be publicly disclosed.

In other words, Mueller apparently has leads and other strands of information that are related to ongoing cases — whether directly tied to the Russia investigation itself or to the numerous investigations in his spawned and touched upon.

Since the major domestic charges in Mueller's probe have largely been resolved in the cases of Manafort, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, and Rick Gates, the decision is a reminder that the investigation may have many more avenues to pursue before it wraps up. These may or may not relate to lines of investigation already known to the public.

One possible investigatory avenue that court may be protecting is a potential case against Robert Stone. The long-time right-wing purveyor of dirty tricks is believed to be in Mueller's sights, and Stone himself has said he would not be surprised if he ends up charged in the investigation. The one-time Trump aide left the president's official team early in the campaign, but he is believed to have had persistent ties with the candidate. Stone's own potential contacts with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the reported Russian cut-out Guccifer 2.0 have raised suspicions about his own activities during the campaign as they relate to election interference.

And since Stone had a long personal and business relationship with Manafort, it would not be surprising if search warrants on the former campaign chairman …read more


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Trump and Kushner Lobbied Rupert Murdoch to Hire Hope Hicks After Her Job Prospects Were Limited By the 'Trump Taint': Report

October 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

Hicks was “was looking for a big job in media and investment banks.”

Rich text editor, edit-body-und-0-value, press ALT 0 for help.

Donald Trump and Jared Kushner lobbied Rupert Murdoch to hire former White House communications director Hope Hicks as as the company’s chief communications officer, Vanity Fair reports.

According to Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman, Hicks—like many former Trump aides—had a difficult time landing a post-West Wing gig.

“It’s the Trump taint,” a former staffer told Sherman. Another executive revealed Hicks was “was looking for a big job in media and investment banks.”

She apparently got one; after landing a meeting with Lachlan Murdoch, the future chairman and CEO of Fox, Hicks managed to snag an offer with the company—but only after Trump and Kushner “put in calls” to Murdoch, Sherman reports.

“It’s a big job. Plus she gets to move to L.A.,” a friend told Sherman.

…read more


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The Watergate Scandal: A Timeline

October 9, 2018 in History

By History Staff

We look at the milestones of a scandal that rocked the nation.

January 1969

Richard Nixon is inaugurated as the 37 President of the United States.

February 1971

Richard Nixon orders the installation of a secret taping system that records all conversations in the Oval Office, his Executive Office Building office, and his Camp David office and on selected telephones in these locations.

June 13, 1971

The New York Times begins publishing the Pentagon Papers, the Defense Department’s secret history of the Vietnam War. The Washington Post will begin publishing the papers later in the week.

The Pentagon Papers (TV-PG; 3:50)


Nixon and his staff recruit a team of ex-FBI and CIA operatives, later referred to as “the Plumbers” to investigate the leaked publication of the Pentagon Papers. On September 9, the “plumbers” break into the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, in an unsuccessful attempt to steal psychiatric records to smear Daniel Ellsberg, the defense analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press.

January 1972

One of the “plumbers,” G. Gordon Liddy, is transferred to the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP), where he obtains approval from Attorney General John Mitchell for a wide-ranging plan of espionage against the Democratic Party.

May 28, 1972

Liddy’s team breaks into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. for the first time, bugging the telephones of staffers.

The Watergate Complex is an office-apartment-hotel building in the neighborhood of Foggy Bottom, Washington, DC., overlooking the Potomac River.

June 17, 1972

Five men are arrested after breaking into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters. Among the items found in their possession were bugging devices, thousands of dollars in cash and rolls of film. Days later, the White House denied involvement in the break-in.

June 17, 1972

A young Washington Post crime reporter, Bob Woodward, is sent to the arraignment of the burglars. Another young Post reporter, Carl Bernstein, volunteers to make some phone calls to learn more about the burglary.

June 20, 1972

Bob Woodward has his first of several meetings with the source and informant known as “Deep Throat,” whose identity, W. Mark Felt, the associate director of the FBI, was only revealed three decades later.

August 1, 1972

An article in The Washington Post reports that a check for $25,000 earmarked for Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign was deposited into the bank account of one of the men arrested for the Watergate break-in. Over the course of nearly two years, Bob Woodward and …read more


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When Sexual Assaults Made History

October 9, 2018 in History

By Staff

Incidents of sexual violence have long been a brutal part of the human story. Sometimes they’ve changed the course of history.

Nearly as long as people have been recording history, they have documented sexual assaults. From the writings of ancient Greece to the Bible to the letters of early explorers, sexual violence has long been a brutal part of the human story. Some assaults have even changed the course of history. And, like all history, what we know about sexual assaults of the past is generally what was told by the victors—mostly men.

“Women are erased,” says Sharon Block, professor of history at University of California, Irvine and the author of Colonial Complexions: Race and Bodies in Eighteenth-Century America. “The historic rapes that ‘mattered’ are the only ones where men saw themselves damaged.”

Wars, especially, have been linked to egregious sexual assaults, from mass rape committed by Soviet soldiers as they advanced into Germany during World War II to sexual violence amid the genocides in Rwanda in 1995. In fact, the ubiquity of sexual assault in wars makes those crimes a category unto themselves.

With the understanding that no list could ever be comprehensive, below are sexual assaults that have both influenced history and those that, notably, did not.

1. The rise of Alexander the Great

The assassination of King Philip II.

An act of sexual violence may have contributed to the rise of Alexander the Great, according to Greek historians Diodorus Siculus and Plutarch. Their accounts were written hundreds of years after the event was supposed to have taken place, but the story goes like this: In 336 B.C., Pausanias of Orestis, a member of the bodyguard of King Philip II of Macedonia (and possibly his lover), was invited to a banquet by Philip’s father-in-law, Attalus. There, he was raped by Attalus’s servants. When Philip refused to punish the attackers (he did give Pausanias a promotion), Pausanias murdered the king, paving the way for the ascension of Philip’s son, Alexander the Great.

2. The rape of the Sabine women

The Rape of the Sabine women.

The Roman historian Livy, writing during the first century, traces Rome’s origins to the mid-8th century B.C., when the warrior tribe was facing a shortage of women. “Population growth was the most difficult thing to achieve in antiquity,” says Thomas Martin, author of Ancient Rome: From Romulus …read more


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Republicans Treated Merrick Garland Way Better Than Democrats Treated Brett Kavanaugh

October 9, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

Even though Brett Kavanaugh was ultimately confirmed to the
Supreme Court, while Merrick Garland’s nomination expired alongside
the Obama presidency, there’s no question that the chief judge of
the D.C. Circuit was treated better than the newest justice has

Set aside the debate over whether it was proper for Senate
Republicans to hold open the seat vacated by Justice Antonin
Scalia’s passing, whether norms were broken and institutions
sacrificed on the altar of power politics. Nobody’s mind will
change on that.

Democrats’ anger at Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell’s tactics is understandable, even if they
would’ve done the same thing in his place. But this was a
black swan event. The last time the Senate confirmed a Supreme
Court nominee of a president of the opposite party to a vacancy
arising in a presidential election year was 1888.

Focus instead on how the Senate treated each nominee personally.
McConnell announced his “no hearings, no votes” stance
within hours of Scalia’s death, without waiting for President
Obama to pick a nominee (which didn’t happen for another
month). He argued that, since the country was embroiled in a heated
election campaign and the next justice could shift the balance of
the Supreme Court, the American people should decide who gets to
fill that seat—when they chose a new president less than nine
months later.

Brett Kavanaugh takes his
seat amid debates about the Supreme Court’s ‘legitimacy,’ with
substantial portions of the population thinking he’s a

Senators made clear, both before and after Garland was formally
nominated, that this was about the direction of the Supreme Court,
not about any person. There were no charges that Garland was a
left-wing firebrand or otherwise unqualified. Indeed, such
accusations would’ve been absurd. Nor were there fishing
expeditions into Garland’s past, with media leaks to portray
any juicy morsel in the most negative light possible.

Contrast that with the trial by ordeal that Kavanaugh endured.
While there was gnashing of progressive teeth when Justice Anthony
Kennedy announced his retirement, the opposition machine
didn’t shift into high gear until President Trump selected
his successor.

At that point, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to
oppose Kavanaugh “with everything I have.” Sen. Cory
Booker, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said those who
supported Kavanaugh are “complicit in evil.” Sen. Richard
Blumenthal, who also sits on that committee, called Kavanaugh
your worst nightmare.” Former Virginia
governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe
said Kavanaugh would “threaten the lives of millions for

I could go on, because these aren’t isolated examples.
Senators accused Kavanaugh not just with the “usual”
attacks on Republican judges as …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The 1994 Midterms: When Newt Gingrich Helped Republicans Win Big

October 9, 2018 in History

By Lesley Kennedy

A strategy to give congressional campaigns a unified, national message under the “Contract With America” led to a Republican sweep.

American politician Newt Gingrich, who served as the Republican Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999.

A balanced budget amendment. Tax cuts. Welfare reform. Those were just three of the 10 points of the Contract with America, Newt Gingrich’s conservative plan, signed by 300-plus Republican candidates and presented at a press conference just six weeks before the 1994 midterm elections.

The proposal by Gingrich, then Speaker of the House, has been credited with the “Republican Revolution” that ensued at the polls, with the GOP easily taking control of the U.S. House and Senate, gaining 12 governorships and regaining control in 20 state legislatures.

Republicans had long been in the minority in Congress and the key to the Republican sweep, says Paul Teske, dean of the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Denver, was in making the campaigns national.

“The Democrats controlled the House for 40 straight years prior to 1994, with an interesting coalition of northeast/midwest liberals and southern Democrats, who by today have all become Republicans,” he says, adding that Democrats had held the House for 58 of the prior 62 years and the Senate for 34 of 40 years prior to 1994. “So, Republicans were not used to having congressional power. Their thought was that by nationalizing the election, it could be a way to get power back.”

Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA), holding up a copy of the Republican party’s ‘Contract With America’ during a rally to celebrate the first 50 days of the Republican majority in Congress in February, 1995.

President Clinton and Hillary Clinton were campaign targets.

Teske adds that Republicans had some easy “targets to attack,” from the unpopular, early years of President Bill Clinton, to the Hillary Clinton-led health care proposal to individual corruption cases in Congress.

The overarching goal of the contract involved cutting taxes, reducing the size of government and reducing government regulations, taking aim at Congress, itself, to be more transparent, less corrupt and more open with the public.

“Essentially, it claimed that it would ‘drain the swamp’—though they didn’t use that term, in terms of what Donald Trump would later articulate,” Teske says. “If successful, the contract specified 10 bills they would bring up …read more


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The Saudi Monarchy May Have Killed a Free Man

October 9, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi moved to the United States
after he was pressured to stop criticizing Crown Prince Mohammed
bin Salman’s new authoritarian order. He explained his
decision a year ago in the Washington Post : “I have
left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice. To
do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak
when so many cannot.”

Khashoggi, who once advised members of the royal family, appears
to have paid the ultimate price for living his principles. On
Tuesday he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, seeking
to complete paperwork to facilitate his remarriage. He never
exited. Alive, anyway.

The Saudi authorities insist that he had left and they also are
looking for him. It first appeared likely that he had been
kidnapped, a common tactic used by Riyadh against dissident princes
and other critics. The Turkish police noted the departure of
several diplomatic vehicles from the building, in which he could
have been taken, drugged and/or bound. However, Ankara now
concludes that Khashoggi was murdered by a special hit squad
brought in for that purpose.

Did journalist Jamal
Khashoggi fall prey to the tyrannical regime in Saudi

Stated an anonymous official: “We believe that the murder
was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the
consulate.” If true, Riyadh has dramatically escalated the
war on its critics, many of whom, as Khashoggi related, currently
languish in prison. However, having denied that the journalist is
either at the consulate or in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the
regime could not easily later release him from prison. And death
certainly ends his criticism.

The KSA never has run on liberal principles. However, there long
was some space for measured criticism, with liberals allowed to
advocate reform. Khashoggi called it “a gentleman’s
agreement” which resulted in a balance between what could and
could not be published. However, that tolerance has disappeared
under the reign of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as
MbS, who with his father has turned a brotherly monarchy into a
family dictatorship.

Unfortunately, the crown prince’s long overdue social
liberalization has been more than counterbalanced by imposition of
political tyranny. Explained Khashoggi: “We started seeing
more direct pressure on journalists to only publish pro-government
stories. Some people were asked to sign loyalty pledges. Some
people were banned from writing or had their columns taken down.
Things got worse for the activists, too, or people with critical
opinions. The government was sending a message that if you’re
not with us, you’re against us.”

On his arrival in the United States Khashoggi wrote of
“the fear, intimidation, …read more

Source: OP-EDS