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Former GOP Congressman David Jolly Explains Why He Just Left the Republican Party

October 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Certain segments of the GOP can no longer recognized their party.


As President Donald Trump took over the Republican Party, he's left many of its members disaffected in his wake.

One of those members, former congressman David Jolly from Florida, has now officially left the party — largely because of what the president has done to the GOP.

Jolly spoke to the Tampa Bay Times about his and wife's decision to leave the Republican Party. The decision, he said, was “spurred in large part by the pending birth of a daughter for whom they wanted to set an example and not be part of of the Trump party.” [sic]

“It's also just a personal rejection of partisanship,” said Jolly, who had been a life-long Republican. “It's a very comfortable place for us to be.”

He and his wife are now registered with no party affiliation.

Jolly has become a prominent critic of Trump and the GOP. In August, he said on MSNBC of the upcoming midterm elections, “I hope the GOP loses in November. Because I think we need a hard reset. Because I think under Donald Trump, we've abandoned who we are as a party.”

He also suggested to the Times that he will run again for office someday, though he doesn't know what office he'll pursue.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Florida Supreme Court Just Thwarted the Republican Governor's Underhanded and Desperate Plot to Grab Power

October 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Rick Scott thought he had a failsafe to preserve GOP power in case Democrats won the governor's mansion. The state supreme court just threw cold water on it.


This year, Florida has very good odds of electing Andrew Gillum, the charismatic, progressive Tallahassee mayor, as their next governor. But outgoing GOP governor Rick Scott thought he had a perfect plan to ensure that even if Gillum won, the state courts would remain in solid Republican control for years to come.

On Monday, however, the Florida Supreme Court put a stop to his scheme.

Scott's idea was that on his last day in office, he would appoint three Republicans to the Florida Supreme Court. The state consitution says that three existing Democratic-appointed justices on the court would hit mandatory retirement on the same date he would exit the governor's mansion: January 8. Scott twisted the meaning of this to interpret it as, the justices would be out of office at midnight on January 8, but he would still be governor until the moment the next governor is sworn in — meaning he would have a window of a few hours to jam his own cronies onto the court instead of the next governor. Last month, in anticipation of this, Scott ordered the judicial nominating commission — whose members he himself appointed — to give him a list of candidates to pick from on January 8.

Had Scott gone through with this scheme, the Florida Supreme Court would have gone from 4-3 Republican appointees to 7-0, all but ensuring the state courts would become a rubber stamp for the GOP regardless of who won the governor's race.

But following a lawsuit by the League of Women Voters, the Florida Supreme Court itself has now weighed in against this plan, in a ruling that blocks Scott from making the appointments.

“The governor who is elected in the November 2018 general election has the sole authority to fill the vacancies,” state the justices, noting that Scott “exceeded his authority by directing the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission … to submit its nominations to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Economists Slam Trump Administration's Tax Cut Lies After New Data Reveal the Ballooning Deficit

October 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Republicans screamed about the deficit for years — but they never really cared.


Under President Donald Trump, the federal deficit is spiking 17 percent in 2018, according to new government data.

The biggest culprit in the rise? The Republicans' tax cuts, which funneled the large majority of the benefits to wealthy people and corporations.

At $666 billion in 2017, the deficit will now climb to $779 billion in the 2018 fiscal year. Though Republicans consistently decried the rise in deficits under President Barack Obama, they've now let the government's shortfall shoot up to the highest level since 2012, when the country was still struggling to climb out of the ditch created by the 2008 financial crisis.

The GOP had promised that their tax bill — which was projected to cause a shortfall of at least $1 trillion over ten years — would actually, contrary to all evidence and history, decrease the deficit by unleashing growth. That, of course, hasn't happened.

“I repeat: Tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations don't pay for themselves,” said economist Robert Reich in response to the news.

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman pointed out that the administration is lying about the source of the deficit growth, attributing it to government spending. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin attributed the rise to “significant investment in America’s military.”

The New York Times observed:

But the numbers released by Mr. Mnuchin’s department suggest falling revenues were a far larger contributor to the rising deficit than higher spending. Federal outlays increased for the fiscal year, but, because the economy grew at a faster pace than outlays did the previous year, they fell as a share of the economy, to 20.3 percent from 20.7 percent.

“Even on the most basic things, you can count on this administration to lie — an everyone treats it as normal,” said Krugman.

“This is bananas for an economy where unemployment is at a forty year low,” said economist Justin Wolfers of the new data. “It's nuts. Plumb loco. As clear of a statement of a commitment to fiscal irresponsibility as you could make.”

 


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Source: ALTERNET

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These Five Stunning Facts About Slain Journalist Jamal Khashoggi Show Why His Murder Will Rock US-Saudi Relations

October 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

The death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is not going to be easily explained.


The disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2 and allegations of foul play have inspired considerable outrage, with everyone from Sen. Bernie Sanders on the left to journalist Max Boot on the right demanding answers. Turkish government officials are alleging that Saudi government officials lured Khashoggi to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul with the intention of harming him—and that there are video and audio recordings proving that after he was beaten, tortured and killed inside the Consulate, the body was dismembered.

The Saudi government has denied the allegations, insisting that Khashoggi left the Consulate unharmed that day. But there are no videos of the journalist exiting the Consulate, only entering it.

Khashoggi, who was 59 at the time of his disappearance, was an accomplished journalist who was fluent in both Arabic (his native language) and English. Here are some interesting facts about Khashoggi’s history.

1. Khashoggi Interviewed Osama bin Laden Several Times

Long before the 9/11 terror attacks, Khashoggi knew Osama bin Laden—and he interviewed the notorious al-Qaeda leader on several different occasions. Khashoggi first met bin Laden back in the 1980s, when bin Laden was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. At that point, bin Laden hadn’t become so obsessively anti-American. Khashoggi, reportedly, tried to persuade bin Laden to renounce terrorism—and Saudi intelligence hoped that Khashoggi could talk bin Laden into making peace with the Saudi royal family. But bin Laden became more and more extreme and bloodthirsty as the 1990s progressed, and his fanaticism reached a horrifying peak on September 11, 2001.

After the al-Qaeda terrorist’s death in May 2011, Khashoggi was interviewed by CNN and explained that the methods bin Laden adopted were a perversion of Islam. Looking back, Khashoggi said that when he knew bin Laden back in 1985, he couldn’t begin to imagine that he would resort to such “ugly” and “horrific” methods in the future.

2. Khashoggi Was Fired from Al Watan for Allowing Criticism of Ibn Taymiyya

After serving as editor in chief of Arab …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here Are 5 Ways a House Victory for Democrats Will Impede Trump’s Far-Right Agenda — Even If Republicans Maintain the Senate

October 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

For one, a Democratic House Could Investigate Trump-Related Scandals


With the 2018 midterms only three weeks away, Democrats are hoping to recapture both houses of Congress—although polls are looking much better for them in the House of Representatives than in the Senate. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Sunday, October 14 showed an 11% advantage over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot. But while Democrats, according to pollster Nate Silver, have a four in five chance (roughly 81.3%) of retaking the House on November 6, their chances of retaking the Senate are only one in five (18.7%). Democrats have many different paths to victory in the House, whereas in the Senate, they are facing a steep uphill climb. 

But even in the absence of a Democratic Senate, a Democrat-controlled House could be a major thorn in Trump’s side and result in the type of gridlock that President Barack Obama faced from January 2011 on. Obama suffered a major setback when Republicans regained the House in the 2010 midterms, and gridlock would be returning to Washington, DC with enough Democratic wins in the House next month.

Here are five ways in which a Democratic House majority—even with Republicans keeping control of the Senate—could do a lot to impede Trump’s far-right agenda in 2019.

1. A Democratic House Majority Would Never Vote to Overturn Obamacare

Republicans haven’t given up the idea of overturning the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare. In 2017, the House voted to overturn the ACA, which just barely survived in the Senate—and if Republicans maintain their House and Senate majorities in the 2018 midterms, there is a strong possibility that they will take another crack at overturning the ACA next year. But with a Democratic House majority/Senate GOP majority scenario in 2019, an ACA-killing bill would never make it to President Trump’s desk to sign. 

2. A Democratic House Would Not Privatize Medicare or Social Security

Republicans don’t give up on terrible ideas when they run into a brick wall; they double down on them. President George W. Bush received a great deal of criticism when he called for the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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7 Surprising Facts about Royal Births

October 15, 2018 in History

By Elizabeth Nix

In honor of the impending arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s child, get the facts on royal babies.

Royal watchers around the world were thrilled with the announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are expecting a child in the spring of 2019.

The news, issued by Kensington Palace, came five months after the royal pair’s wedding at Windsor Castle. The child will be seventh in line to the British throne. Harry’s brother, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton), welcomed their third child, Prince Louis, last April. Prince George, the couple’s eldest child, was born in 2013, and their daughter, Princess Charlotte, was born in 2015.

Here are some facts about royal births through the ages.

Prince William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, pose for photographers with their newborn baby boy Prince Louis of Cambridge outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital on April 23, 2018.

1. William and Kate’s children are in line for the throne based on their birth order, regardless of gender.

Until recently, centuries-old laws of succession gave male heirs priority and required that the crown be passed to a monarch’s sons, in order of birth; a daughter could only inherit the throne if she had no male siblings. However, the rules were revised in the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013 so that a monarch’s male and female offspring have an equal right to the throne, and a younger boy could not jump ahead of his older sister in the line of succession. As a result, Princess Charlotte (born in 2015) has become the first female royal heir to not be pushed down the order of succession by a younger male sibling. She remains fourth in line for the throne after her brother Prince George (born in 2013), her father Prince William, and her grandfather Prince Charles. The royal couple’s second son is fifth in the line of succession, one spot ahead of his uncle, Prince Harry. The child born to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will follow Harry’s succession to the throne.


Prince Charles and Princess Diana leaving the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital with their first son, Prince William.

2. William is the first direct heir to the British throne who was born in a hospital.

The son of Prince Charles (who was born at …read more

Source: HISTORY