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Here's why this line from Mueller's latest court filing should make Trump scared to tweet

December 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

The latest memo strongly hints that Mueller cares about false statements made not only to investigators, but to the public as well.


On Friday, two sentencing memos were filed against President Donald Trump's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen — one by prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, recommending a sentence of around 51 to 63 months for tax evasion, bank fraud, illegal campaign finance, and lying to Congress, and one from special counsel Robert Mueller, who discussed his assistance in the Russia investigation.

Both of these documents are incredibly damning for Trump, with SDNY prosecutors strongly implicating Trump's knowledge and consent to Cohen's crimes. But perhaps one of the sections that should unnerve Trump most came from Mueller's filing:

This is significant because it suggests that not only is Mueller interested in lies told to Congress or to federal investigators, but lies to the public as well. And if Mueller is going after false statements told to the public, this should greatly worry Trump, who has lied in speeches, tweets, and interviews over 6,400 times since taking office.

On one hand, there is no federal statute directly making it a crime to lie to the public, the way there is for lying to Congress or to the FBI. On the other hand, it is entirely possible that Mueller could establish a pattern of false public statements to bolster a case for obstruction of justice — which he has reportedly considered.

Going forward, Trump might want to be careful what he tweets, for his own sake.

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Has Stonehenge Been Damaged By Tunnel Drilling?

December 7, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

Archaeologists have accused a construction crew of drilling into an ancient platform about a mile away from the famous . “We took great care to excavate this platform and the aurochs’ hoofprints. We believe hunters considered this area to be a sacred place even before Stonehenge. These monster cows—double the size of normal cattle—provided food for 300 people, so were revered.

“It may be that there are footprints here which would be the earliest tangible signs of life at Stonehenge,” he continued. “If the remains aren’t preserved we may never be able to understand why Stonehenge was built.”

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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Michael Cohen sentencing document confirms that Trump directed his lawyer to commit a felony

December 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Cohen has already pleaded guilty — the new memo addresses how he should be sentenced.


In a much-anticipated sentencing memo on the crimes of President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, prosecutors from the Southern District of New York confirmed the stunning revelation first made during Cohen's plea: Trump directed him to violate federal campaign finance laws.

Cohen admitted during his plea that his involvement in the hush money payments to two women who say they had affairs with Trump violated the law.

“In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” the memo explained. “Individual-1″ refers to Trump.

“Just to make it crystal clear, New York federal prosecutors concluded that the President of the United States committed a felony,” said former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.

Prosecutors recommended a minor reduction in prison sentence for Cohen in a lengthy sentencing document, despite noting his cooperation with investigators — including Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The memo recommends he serve somewhere on the below the sentencing guidelines for his crimes, which is between 51 and 63 months, Natasha Bertrand reported.

The memo reads:

Cohen, an attorney and businessman, committed four distinct federal crimes over a period of several years. He was motivated to do so by personal greed, and repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends. Now he seeks extraordinary leniency – a sentence of no jail time – based principally on his rose-colored view of the seriousness of the crimes; his claims to a sympathetic personal history; and his provision of certain information to law enforcement. But the crimes committed by Cohen were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life (and was evidently hidden from the friends and family members who wrote on his behalf).

However, Cohen did catch a break with Mueller, who filed a memo as well. Despite that charging Cohen for lying to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow deal, and despite the fact that Cohen initially lied about the deal to the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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This far-right pastor just spewed hate at the Muslims entering Congress — and the backlash was epic

December 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Of course, he's not just a pastor — he's a former GOP Senate candidate.


On December 6, Pastor E.W. Jackson used his radio show to attack and defame Muslims who are entering Congress—and judging from the swift backlash he has received, the far-right evangelist got much more than he bargained for.

Jackson’s anti-Islam tirade was in response to Democrats trying to change a rule banning headwear on the floor in the House of Representatives. The change would accommodate Muslims elected to the House in the 2018 midterms, including Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar (the first Somali-American elected to Congress).

Jackson ranted, “The floor of Congress is now going to look like an Islamic republic. We are a Judeo-Christian country. We are a nation rooted and grounded in Christianity, and that’s that. And anybody that doesn’t like that, go live somewhere else. It’s very simple. Just go live somewhere else. Don’t try to change our country into some sort of Islamic republic or try to base our country on Sharia law.”

Although hawkish on foreign policy, the U.S.’ last two pre-Donald Trump presidents—George W. Bush and Barack Obama—were careful to make a distinction between non-radical Islam and radical Islam. Jackson, however, made no such distinction, telling listeners, “The threat to humanity is not merely radical Islam. The threat to humanity is Islam, period. That’s right: I said it, and I mean it.”

People for the American Way covered Jackson’s rant on its Right Wing Watch website. And Rep.-Elect Omar was quick to respond to Jackson’s comments on Twitter, posting, “Well sir, the floor of Congress is going to look like America… And you’re gonna have to just deal.”   

After the Hill posted a link, via Twitter, to an article on Jackson’s anti-Islam comments, Texas resident Jake Davis tweeted that Congress has “looked like a Southern Baptist congregation for decades with little to no advancement for anyone who is poor, brown, trans, uninsured.”

In the Hill’s comments section, many posters disagreed with Jackson’s claim that Islam has the market cornered on extremism. A reader who went by “President Beavis Corholio” posted, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Populism in the United States: A Timeline

December 7, 2018 in History

By History.com Editors

The style of politics that claims to speak for ordinary people and often stirs up distrust has risen up on both sides of the political spectrum throughout U.S. history.

Populism is a style of politics used to mobilize mass movements against ruling powers. Populists claim to speak for ordinary people, taking an “us versus them” stance. Its leaders have used rhetoric that stirs up anger, floated conspiracy theories, pushed the distrust of experts, promoted nationalism and demonized outsiders. Populism has become a recurring political theme in United States and has inspired political reform, but has also been used to direct the hostilities of angry citizens to straw men. Below is a timeline of notable populist movements through U.S. history.

The Know Nothings

1849-1860

One of the earliest populist political parties in America was the Know Nothings in 1849. Opposed to immigrants and Catholics, the Know Nothings used the beliefs of white Christian supremacy to seize political power over minority populations.

The Know Nothings grew out of a Protestant secret society known as the the Order of the Star Spangled Banner. Members formed urban gangs that harassed immigrants and spread political propaganda against them. These groups then developed into a third political party taking advantage of blind spots of the Whigs and the Democrats.

In 1854 the Know Nothings officially adopted the name the American Party, which took hold of the Massachusetts legislature. Eventually, however, the party lost support mainly when its members refused to craft any policy addressing slavery. By 1860, most party members had jumped ship to join the Republicans.

The Greenback Party

1874-1884

The Greenback Party rose in 1874 as a confluence of farming communities that organized through local Granges. The Greenbacks wanted to initiate inflation to help with debt and supported an eight-hour workday as part of a wider pro-labor platform. The Greenbacks ran candidates for president through 1884 before eventually dissolving.

The Populist Party

1892 -1908

Populism found an official name with the Populist Party, or People’s Party, in 1892, adopting much of the Greenback Party’s platform, supporting a ban on foreign land ownership, state control of the railroads and shortened work days.

Women played a large role in the Populist Party, doing everything from organizing meetings to speaking at rallies and writing articles about the party platform in newspapers.

The Populists were supporters of Temperance and focused on anti-corruption efforts. But as Populist leaders were wary of courting …read more

Source: HISTORY

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'Be best!': Internet unloads on Trump after he calls Rex Tillerson 'dumb as a rock' and 'lazy as hell'

December 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

Donald Trump on Friday reacted to an interview where is former secretary of state described having to stop the president from violating the law.


Donald Trump on Friday responded to a recent interview with Rex Tillerson, during which the former secretary of state described frequently having to stop the president from violating the law

In a Thursday interview with CBS News’ Bob Schieffer, Tillerson said he believes Trump “grew tired” of his secretary of state telling him not to break the law.

“I’d have to say to him, ‘Mr. President, I understand what you wanna do, but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law, it violates treaty.’ He got really frustrated,” Tillerson said. “I think he grew tired of me being the guy who told him, ‘You can’t do that.’”

“What’s challenging for me … is to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things,” he continued. “We are starkly different in our styles, we did not have a common value system.”

Trump’s tweet was in stark contrast with former posts about Tillerson.

The internet on Friday reacted swiftly to Trump’s remark:

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The Most Amazing Historical Discoveries of 2018

December 7, 2018 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

From a 13,000-year-old brewery to a long-lost ancient city supposedly built by Trojan War captives, it was an eventful year for historical discoveries. As the year comes to a close, take a look back at some of the ways history made news this year.

Before this year, the oldest Homo sapiens fossil found outside Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 and 120,000 years old. But in January, a team of researchers revealed their discovery of an upper jawbone fossil at least 50,000 years older than that in a mountain cave in Israel, suggesting modern humans may have migrated out of Africa far earlier than once thought.

View the 15 images of this gallery on the original article

1. A human jawbone becomes the earliest evidence for humans outside Africa.

Before this year, the oldest Homo sapiens fossil found outside Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 and 120,000 years old. But in January, a team of researchers revealed their discovery of an upper jawbone fossil at least 50,000 years older than that in a mountain cave in Israel, suggesting modern humans may have migrated out of Africa far earlier than once thought.


The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City, 2018.

2. “Graffiti stone” found to be part of a Crusader-era altar.

Researchers at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City got a big surprise in February when they examined the reverse side of a previously unremarkable large stone propped against a wall in the corner, where it had been scribbled on by tourists. In fact, the two-ton block was inscribed with intricate circles, and appeared to be part of a high altar created by medieval Crusaders in the early 12th century.


Newly discovered Nazca Lines in southern Peru.

3. A truck drove through Peru’s ancient Nazca Lines—and researchers found 50 more of them.

The Nazca Lines, a set of mysterious ancient symbols carved into the desert in southern Peru by pre-Incan peoples starting some 2,000 years ago, sustained damage early in the year when a truck driver mistakenly plowed his rig into the UNESCO World Heritage site. In April, archaeologists using drones to map the ancient site announced they had discovered 50 previously unknown lines traced in the desert, but too fine to be seen with the naked eye.


Former slave Cudjo Lewis pictured …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Who Invented Candy Canes?

December 7, 2018 in History

By Lesley Kennedy

One theory claims the iconic holiday candy was created in Germany to appease fidgety choirboys.

If anyone had cause to wonder about the allure of the candy cane, look no further than the words of Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf: “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.”

In fact, according to the National Confectioners Association, alwaysatreat.com, candy canes are the No. 1-selling non-chocolate candy during the month of December, with 90 percent of the red and white striped treats sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The biggest single week for candy canes? The second week of December. “Likely because most people decorate their Christmas trees that week,” says Carly Schildhaus, public affairs manager for the NCA.

But just when and how candy canes got their start is a bit more uncertain than their popularity (1.76 billion candy canes are produced in the United States annually).

Candy Canes (TV-PG; 2:11)

Candy Cane Invented to Quiet Choirboys?

“Legend has it that the candy cane dates back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany handed out sugar sticks among his young singers to keep them quiet during the Living Creche ceremony,” Schildhaus says. “In honor of the occasion, he bent the candies into shepherds’ crooks.”

Susan Benjamin, founder of True Treats Historic Candy, truetreatscandy.com, and author of Sweet as Sin: The Unwrapped Story of How Candy Became America’s Pleasure, agrees the candy cane most likely took shape in 17th century Europe when pulled sugars, the parent to today’s sugar sticks, were all the rage. It was at that time, somewhere in Germany, that a hook was added to the stick, she says.

READ MORE: Meet Krampus: The Christmas Devil Who Punishes Naughty Children

Benjamin also cites the theory that a German choirmaster gave candy sticks to still his fidgety choirboys during services. (It was a gentler form of enticement than “whacking them with a switch,” she says.)

“The board complained—sweets were not appropriate at so solemn a place as church,” Benjamin explains. “So, the choirmaster added a hook, making the stick resemble a staff, a religious reference that would calm the board’s concerns.”

She says the story has some credibility, but “it’s just as likely Germans added the hook to hang them from trees, alongside cookies, fruits and other treats.”

Candy Canes Were Once Only White

Most, however, agree the white candy …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Why is This Medieval Skeleton Wearing Thigh-High Boots?

December 7, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

The man wearing them was found face-down in the mud of the River Thames.

These boots were made for walking—and surviving the ravages of time. In London, archaeologists discovered the 500-year-old skeleton of a man lying face down in the mud of the River Thames, wearing thigh-high leather boots that were basically still intact.

The boots date to the late 15th or early 16th century, and would have been ideal for someone who worked or lived along the river, as the man wearing them likely did. This kind of life was grueling: the reinforced boots would’ve been used by a fisherman or mudlark—i.e., a person who scavenges river mud for items—to navigate the Thames’ sticky mud and cold, dangerous waters.

Our man in boots was about 35 when he died. Though that’s young for a Londoner today, he had already lived a long, rough life, and suffered from osteoarthritis.

In London, archaeologists discovered the 500-year-old skeleton of a man lying face down in the mud of the River Thames, wearing thigh-high leather boots that were basically still intact.

View the 6 images of this gallery on the original article

“Possibly the biggest clues about his life are deep grooves found on his teeth,” says a press release from MOLA Headland Infrastructure, the archaeological group examining the skeleton. “They were caused by a repetitive action like passing rope between his teeth as a fisherman might—which may also suggest that he made his living from the river.”

READ MORE: The Most Amazing Artifacts Discovered While Building Rome’s Subway

Archaeologists discovered the boot man on the site where London is building a new sewer system. Discoveries made while building public infrastructure are pretty common in Europe. Rome’s subway construction has unearthed a whole bunch of artifacts, from medieval pots and pans to ancient military barracks. And in August 2018, archaeologists announced they’d identified Germany’s oldest library, which was unearthed during construction for a community center.

MOLA researchers will continue to study the boot man and any other archaeological evidence that turns up during the sewer construction. “Studying a human skeleton provides incredible insights that allow us to create osteo-biographies of a person’s life,” said Niamh Carty, a human osteologist at MOLA, in the press release.

“With the booted man, examining his teeth has given clues about his childhood and marks on his skeleton have allowed us to proffer ideas about the aches and pains …read more

Source: HISTORY

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George H.W. Bush's Persian Gulf War: Victory, with Tragedy

December 7, 2018 in Economics

By Patrick G. Eddington

Patrick G. Eddington

Most tributes on the passing of George H.W. Bush from across the
American political spectrum have used some variation of the word
“honorable” or “decent” to describe the
nation’s 41st president. By all accounts, in his direct
personal relationships, he was both. That he had physical courage
was amply demonstrated in his youth as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot
in World War II, and in his later years during his occasional
parachute jumps on his birthday. My strongest memories of Bush are
from the first post-Cold War crisis America faced—Saddam
Hussein’s August 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent
Persian Gulf War. Bush’s actions during that fateful eight
months have affected the lives of millions in the nearly three
decades since, and mostly for the worse.

I had a unique vantage point to observe Bush’s response to
the crisis, being at the time a CIA military analyst who worked
what became known as Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The
reports we generated at the National Photographic Interpretation
Center (NPIC) on Iraqi military moves were among the stream of
alarming intelligence sent to the White House between July 20 and
Aug. 1, 1990. That was the period when Saddam Hussein ordered the
key armored and mechanized infantry formations of his Republican
Guard Forces Command (RGFC) to head for the border with Kuwait.

NPIC and the National Intelligence Officer for Warning at the
time, Charles Allen, issued reports chronicling the RGFC buildup.
Allen’s office warned the White House that Saddam might try
to slice off the northern portion of Kuwait, whose oil fields the
Iraqi leader coveted. Instead of listening to Allen and his
analysts (or NPIC’s reporting), Bush chose to embrace the
“It will all blow over” advice he was receiving from
then-King Hussein of Jordan and then-Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak. A former CIA-director-turned-president ignored advice from
his own intelligence professionals. Saddam’s tanks rolled
into Kuwait early on the morning of Aug. 2.

The final legacy of
Bush’s diplomatic work during and after the war was to draw the
United States ever closer to the brutal, corrupt regimes that
reside on the Arabian Peninsula.

By the morning of Aug. 5, Saddam’s advance reconnaissance
elements had actually briefly crossed the Kuwait-Saudi border. The
tracks of the Russian-made BMD reconnaissance vehicles were clearly
visible on the imagery I used to help write the high-priority
report NPIC issued that morning. Saddam had forward deployed two
RGFC divisions to within just a few miles of the Kuwait-Saudi
border. If he ordered them across, there was no credible military
force on the ground that could stop them.

This time, Bush listened to NPIC, Allen …read more

Source: OP-EDS