You are browsing the archive for 2018 October 12.

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Donald Trump Jr. Jumps on Disgusting Smear Campaign of Missing Saudi Journalist as a Terrorist Sympathizer

October 12, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

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Before the smoke has even cleared on the horrific disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, Donald Trump Jr. is trying to delegitimize him.

The disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and subsequent claims by the Turkish government that he was murdered by government officials in the Saudi consulate, has sickened the world, and prompted business leaders to suspend ties with Saudi Arabia.

But President Donald Trump has been disturbingly distant from the incident, which has horrified journalists who fear the president is sending a message to rogue regimes that the United States does not care about the killing of overseas reporters. Only today did he agree to even talk to King Salman about the issue.

Trump's right-wing defenders, on the other hand, have the most reprehensible response imaginable to justify the president's inaction: demonize Khashoggi as a terrorist sympathizer who didn't really deserve to live anyway. They are seizing on the fact that Khashoggi conducted interviews with al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in the 80s and 90s as proof that he is friendly to al-Qaeda's goals.

And one person who appears to completely agree with this is the president's eldest son.

On Friday, Patrick Poole, terrorism correspondent for the far-right PJ Media, shared images of Khashoggi from the 80s with the Afghanistan freedom fighters who would ultimately become the Taliban, writing that he was “just a democrat reformer journalist holding a RPG with jihadists.”

Sean Davis, co-founder of The …read more


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This Is How Beto O'Rourke's 'Historic' Campaign to Take Down Ted Cruz Continues to Stun Political Pundits

October 12, 2018 in Blogs

By Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams

No one saw this coming in Texas.

Shattering a record for a U.S. Senate race previously set nearly two decades ago, Congressman Beto O'Rourke—the progressive Texas Democrat vying to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz—revealed Friday that he raised $38.1 million in the last quarter, more than three times Cruz's $12 million from the same three-month period.

Unlike his opponent, O'Rourke doesn't take money from political action committees (PACs), special interest groups, or corporations. In a video posted to Twitter on Friday, the candidate noted that his record-setting third-quarter haulcame from more than 800,000 unique contributions.

“It's going to give us the resources we need to finish this campaign as strong as we possibly can,” he said. “We're doing something absolutely historic—not just ensuring that we have the resources to run and to win, but to make sure that our democracy once again is powered by people and only people.”


For context, NBC News noted that while a pair of Democrats in other competitive Senate races raised about $7 million each during the third quarter, O'Rourke raised even more between July and September than former President Barack Obama in the quarter before the 2008 Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary ($23.5 million) and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the third quarter of 2015 (about $30 million).

New York Times reporter Shane Goldmacher pointed out on Twitter that the congressman's final fundraising figure for the quarter is also higher than the amount Republican Jeb Bush raised during his entire 2016 presidential campaign.

“The people of Texas in all 254 counties are proving that when we reject PACs and come together not as Republicans or Democrats but as Texans and Americans, there's no stopping us,” O'Rourke added in a statement. “This is a …read more


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'Jim Crow Would Blush': Al Sharpton Says the GOP's Voter Suppression in Georgia Is 'As Tainted as You Can Get'

October 12, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Republicans are going all in on voter suppression. Sharpton has having none of it.

The Georgia gubernatorial race has been rocked by news that Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor who also happens to be the secretary of state overseeing the election, has suspended the voter registration of 53,000 Georgians — 70 percent of whom are African-American — due to a draconian “exact match” verification policy that Kemp's office had previously been warned was discriminatory. Affected voters will not be completely barred from casting a ballot, but must take extra steps to verify their identity that most voters won't, potentially discouraging turnout of black voters.

Given that Kemp's Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, just happens to be the first black woman nominated by a major party for a governor's race, the news sparked nationwide outrage, calls on Kemp by Abrams to resign as secretary of state, and a lawsuit from civil rights organizations.

On MSNBC's “Deadline: White House,” Republican host Nicolle Wallace discussed the issue with Rev. Al Sharpton.

“It seems like this isn't even voter suppression disguised as something else,” said Wallace.

“No, this is blatant,” said Sharpton. “I mean, first of all, you should never have the secretary of state, who is over the voting process, remain in office in any election that he's in. But on top of that, to have this guy Kemp decide how they're going to put, quote, 'on hold' people's registration, that's the term they're using, and then 70 percent of them are black … on top of that, to have Kemp in charge of the process, I mean, it is tainted as you can get.”

“Why wouldn't he recuse himself?” said Wallace.

“I mean, the only reason you wouldn't recuse yourself is because you want to have this advantage, and you want to be blatantly out there saying, 'I'm gonna do what I want even if we have to change the rules.' Even [GOP Rep. Ron] DeSantis in Florida said, 'I'm gonna leave what I'm doing in Congress and run for governor against Gillum in Florida.' This guy Kemp has not even …read more


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Here's How Trump's Reckless 'America First' Policies Could Be Setting Up US Consumers for a Nasty Shock

October 12, 2018 in Blogs

By Marshall Auerback, Independent Media Institute

The backdrop of Trump’s expanding trade war with China hangs over us.

Glance through the business section of any major media outlet, and there is apparently good news to start the autumn: The Bureau of Labor’s September numbers showed measured unemployment hitting a multi-decade low of 3.7 percent. The U.S. secured a revised trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. And wage growth, while rising, still remains a relatively moderate 2.8 percent at an annualized rate. Inflation remains comparatively muted for now, with an annualized one-month gain of 1.4 percent. It seems like the U.S. is experiencing the proverbial “Goldilocks” economy. What could possibly go wrong?

For one thing, there remains the backdrop of America’s expanding trade war with Beijing. On the face of it, the successful conclusion of the new and improved NAFTA 2.0 (henceforth rechristened as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA for short) appears to have halted the political tide toward protectionism. Yet paradoxically, it might actually do the opposite: USMCA is designed to give greater weight to regional trade relationships at the expense of global ones, especially the colossal supply chain that has emanated from China. As trade becomes increasingly regionalized, as global supply chains are disrupted, that generally raises the cost of everything, for everyone.

Why is that? Because since the fall of the Soviet Union (and the corresponding end of the Cold War), the expansion of globalization has largely imparted a deflationary bias to the global economy via “synthetic immigration.” If that term is foreign to you, here’s what it means: a mispriced dollar/yuan exchange rate made the price of labor in China so low for U.S. corporations that the price of American labor looked like a luxury item, and they moved their manufacturing operations to China. China knowingly undervalued its currency to get this process rolling, and over time, it produced a big economic contraction in the U.S. and world economy, the extent of which is literally papered over or hidden by a huge number of bubbles in the world financial markets. Advances in capital mobility, globalization, …read more


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These World War II Propaganda Posters Rallied the Home Front

October 12, 2018 in History

By Madison Horne

As the U.S. sent troops to the front lines, artists were recruited to encourage those at home to do their part.

“Defend Your Country: Enlist Now in the United States Army” recruitment poster.

View the 18 images of this gallery on the original article

When Britain and France went to war with Germany in 1939, Americans were divided over whether to join the war effort. It wouldn’t be until the surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 that the United States would be thrust into World War II. Once U.S. troops were sent to the front lines, hundreds of artists were put to work to create posters that would rally support on the home front.

Citizens were invited to purchase war bonds and take on factory jobs to support production needs for the military. As men were sent to battlefields, women were asked to branch out and take on jobs as riveters, welders and electricians.

To preserve resources for the war effort, posters championed carpooling to save on gas, warned against wasting food and urged people to collect scrap metal to recycle into military materials. In the spring of 1942, rationing programs were implemented that set limits on everyday purchases.

While many posters touted positive patriotic messages, some tapped fear to rally support for the Allied side and caution against leaking information to spies. “Loose lips sink ships” became a famous saying. Meanwhile, graphic images depicted a blood-thirsty Adolph Hitler and racist imagery of Japanese people with sinister, exaggerated features.

Today, the posters a offer a glimpse into the nation’s climate during World War II and how propaganda was used to link the home front to the front lines.

Want more HISTORY? Read these stories:

Wartime Propaganda Helped Recruit the ‘Hidden Army’ of Women to Defeat Hitler

Uncovering the Secret Identity of Rosie the Riveter

8 Unusual Wartime Conservation Measures

How ‘Tokyo Rose’ Became WWII’s Most Notorious Propagandist

The Pictures that Defined World War II

…read more


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This Desperate GOP Attack Ad Just Backfired Spectacularly by Trying to Smear a Decorated Veteran as Being Against the Troops

October 12, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Republicans crafted an ad blasting Democratic House candidate Dan Feehan for supporting Colin Kaepernick. There's just one problem.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) thought they had a perfect attack ad against Dan Feehan, the Democrat running in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District: attack him as unpatriotic for his support of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's right to take a knee during the national anthem.

“Millions have paid the ultimate price defending the values our flag represents,” says the narrator over a backdrop of soldiers' headstones. “Land of the free. Home of the brave. And they never took a knee. But liberal Dan Feehan celebrated Colin Kaepernick's protests of our national anthem, even said Kaepernick's kneeling 'matches the patriotism of our military'. Tell Dan Feehan: real patriots stand together.”

But there's a rather obvious flaw in the ad: Feehan is in fact a decorated Army captain who did two tours of duty in Iraq, and then served as acting Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon.

And even viewers of the NRCC's ad ought to have a clue about this, because in both tweets the ad displays onscreen, the hashtag “#veteransforKaepernick” can clearly be seen. Oops!

Shortly after posting the ad on Twitter, the NRCC faced a barrage of criticism and mockery for their tone-deafness in saying a veteran is not a “real patriot”:

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The Romanov Family Tree: Real Descendants and Wannabes

October 12, 2018 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

On the night of July 16, 1918, a Bolshevik assassination squad executed Czar Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra, and their five children, putting an end to the Romanov family dynasty that had ruled Russia for more than three centuries.

The murder of , where he was billed as Prince Alexander of Russia.

Prince Michael of Kent at the United Nations, 2018.

Prince Michael of Kent

A minor royal in Britain (he’s a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II), Prince Michael is celebrated in Russia for his connection to the Romanovs, and his resemblance to Czar Nicholas II, who was a first cousin of his grandmother. In July 2018, he joined Olga Andreevna and other Romanov descendants in St. Petersburg to mark the 100th anniversary of the royal family’s execution, and visited the cathedral where the remains of the czar, czarina and three girls are buried. (Two more bodies, uncovered in 2007 and identified through DNA comparison with living Romanov relatives as two of the murdered children, Alexei and Maria, have not been buried, as some within the Russian Orthodox Church have refused to accept the identification.)

Prince Rostislav Romanov, 2017.

Prince Rostislav Romanov

The great-grandson of Grand Duchess Xenia, Rostislav was born in Chicago and grew up in London. Unusually among Romanov descendants, he has also lived and worked extensively in Russia. An accomplished artist, he also works with the Raketa Watch Factory in St. Petersburg, founded by his ancestor Peter the Great. In 2017—the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution—he designed a special watch stained with a drop of his own blood to commemorate the bloodshed and sacrifice of the revolution and the violent end of Romanov rule in Russia.

Former Greek King Constantine II, 2005.

King Constantine II of Greece

The king’s great-grandmother was a Romanov grand duchess, and his grandfather was King Constantine I of Greece, making him a cousin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. In 1967, he fled from a military junta in Greece and lived in exile in London until 2013, when he moved back to Greece with his Danish-born wife, Anne-Marie.

Hugh Grosvenor, 7th Duke of Westminster

A descendant of Czar Michael I, the duke inherited a fortune worth some $12 billion at the age of 25, becoming one of the world’s youngest billionaires when his father died in 2016. The duke …read more


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Ethics Watchdog Accuses Sarah Sanders of Violating the Hatch Act with Kanye West

October 12, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Government officials are not allowed to use their platforms for campaigning.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, alleging that Sarah Huckabee Sanders—White House press secretary under the Trump Administration and daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee—violated the Hatch Act of 1939 by tweeting a photo of herself with rapper Kanye West.

Passed when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president, the Hatch Act of 1939 was named after Sen. Carl Hatch of New Mexico and forbids most employees of the executive branch of the federal government from certain overtly partisan activities or communications (exceptions include the president and the vice-president). And CREW is alleging that Sanders’ tweet violated the Hatch Act because West was wearing a pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” hat in the photo.

Of course, Twitter didn’t exist back in 1939. But it was amended in 2012 and now applies to more modern forms of technology—such as Twitter and other social media outlets.

In an October 12 press release, CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder is quoted as saying, “This administration does not seem to care about what the law says when it comes to ethics issues like using official positions for politics. How many investigations and findings of violations are needed until this administration takes action to stop the misuse of government resources for political activity?”

Hip-hop, over the years, has had its share of outspoken rappers who leaned to the left politically—including Public Enemy, Ice-T, KRS-1, N.W.A and 2 Black 2 Strong. During the Obama years, Peruvian rapper Immortal Technique showed up at Occupy Wall Street events and was a vocal supporter of the Occupy movement. But right-wing rappers have been the exception rather than the rule in hip-hop—and Kanye West has inspired a lot of debate in hip-hop with his unapologetic support of Donald Trump’s presidency.

On Thursday, October 11, West visited the Oval Office for a meeting with Trump. West told the president that wearing his Make America Great Again hat “made me feel like Superman,” and the two of them discussed issues that …read more


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Volcanic Ash at Pompeii Froze This Beautiful, 2,000-Year-Old Shrine in Time

October 12, 2018 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

An archeologist working on a fresco in a house discovered during excavation works in Pompeii, Italy.

Archaeologists have discovered an elaborate, perfectly preserved shrine in the wall of a house in that the residue inside the altar could be from food that also represented fertility, like figs, nuts or more eggs.

The shrine itself, known as a lararium because it was built to honor the household spirits called lares, was a common feature of Roman households. But in addition to the vibrantly decorated shrine, the room also contained a raised pool as well as the garden, suggesting the home’s owners were among Pompeii’s more affluent residents.

As Ingrid Rowland of the University of Notre Dame told the Times, “only the wealthiest people could have afforded a lararium inside a special chamber with a raised pool and sumptuous decorations.”

A view of the house of the Enchanted Garden that re-emerged, showing golden beasts fighting against a black boar like the evils of the world.

Another wall of the room is painted blood red, and features a painted hunting scene, with dogs chasing boar and deer. Another painting depicts a man with a dog’s head, which Rowland said might be a Romanized version of the Egyptian god Anubis.

Though excavations at Pompeii began in the mid-18th century, those early archaeologists were often careless and did not document what they found. Because of this, Osanna told the Times, it can be difficult for archaeologists to know what paintings and artifacts found at Pompeii looked like when they were originally discovered.

But the new discovery, of paintings left untouched since the eruption, offers a rare and tantalizing glimpse into the world frozen in time by that disaster—a world that, for thousands of people, disappeared in the space of an instant.

…read more


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America Must Realize It Has No Say in Syria's Future

October 12, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Damascus is large and busy, as befits Syria’s capital. The city
hosts the nation’s elite and is filled with government buildings
and security forces. President Bashar al-Assad’s image adorns
virtually every street. There is no doubt who is in charge.

But drive just a few minutes, and you enter a neighborhood only
recently recovered after bitter fighting. Wrecked buildings stand
as silent sentinels amid a sea of rubble. The carnage of seven
years of horrid civil war reached even Damascus.

At long last, the conflict is winding down. Assad has won, and
Washington has lost. However, the war’s impact will linger for
years, perhaps decades. I just spent a week in the war-ravaged
state (at my organization’s expense). America’s approach has been a
disastrous failure.

Like Lebanon decades ago, the Syria conflict was an unusually
complicated civil war. The fighting was brutal all around, with
multiple warring forces to blame for an estimated half-million
deaths. Indeed, past casualty breakdowns, admittedly of unknown
accuracy, reported more combat than civilian deaths and more
government than insurgent deaths.

The reality on the ground
is that there is no good reason for a continued U.S. military

Assad survived because he had—and still has—serious,
even fervent support. He receives strong backing from his fellow
Alawites, a minority sect and Shia offshoot. They commonly display
pictures of him and speak of his humanitarian virtues. Other
religious minorities, such as Christians, also tend to support his
government. They saw the U.S.-inspired revolution in Iraq and
didn’t like the ending. After all, even an American occupation
didn’t prevent sectarian cleansing and slaughter, and many of the
survivors fled to Syria.

Moreover, there is some broader acquiescence if not support for
the regime. The military has sustained itself, despite suffering
significant casualties, which required employing conscription
beyond minority communities. Posters picturing dead soldiers adorn
signs and buildings in the communities I visited. Far from hiding
its losses, the regime appears to use them to forge a common
identity. Assad’s backers cannot be wished aside, as Washington
seemed to do. Furthermore, since defeat would have guaranteed their
destruction, they fought ferociously.

The United States is mistakenly fixated on Assad. Of course, he
was no friend of America, but if he lost, someone else would win.
Washington should have focused on the “compared to
what” question. Was American involvement likely to lead to a
better result? The Iraq debacle demonstrated how America could make
the situation far worse.

The Assad government is a dictatorship, but it is authoritarian,
not totalitarian, and secular, not religious. Syrian society is
striking—it looks and feels remarkably modern. There are
religious conservatives, of course, but the Assads, father and …read more

Source: OP-EDS