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History Professor Destroys GOP Senate Candidate's Racist Myths About Robert E. Lee and the Civil War

August 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Chris McDaniel tried to whitewash the cause of Robert E. Lee. An Iowa professor resoundingly schooled him.


Among the numerous white supremacists running for higher office this year is Chris McDaniel, who is challenging Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in the special election for Thad Cochran's old seat.

McDaniel, an attorney, talk show host, and state senator with longtime support from the Tea Party, has a history of toxic racial views. He has consorted with neo-Confederates, and in his previous run for Senate in 2014, he accused Cochran of “voter fraud” because black people voted for him in the primary  — as if they were synonymous.

On Wednesday, McDaniel took things further by posting a glowing defense of Confederate commander Robert E. Lee to Facebook.

“Here's the irony,” he wrote. “Robert E. Lee was the most decorated soldier in the U.S. Army. He was a man of unimpeachable integrity. Lincoln offered him command in the Union Army, but Lee refused only because his loyalty was to Virginia. Lee opposed both secession and slavery. And yet to the historically illiterate left, a man who opposed both slavery and secession has come to symbolize both slavery and secession.”

This is an odd characterization of a man who both owned slaves and led an army of traitors who opened fire on U.S. troops in the name of slavery and secession.

But McDaniel did not go unchallenged. In fact, Kevin Gannon, a history professor at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA, posted a scathing rebuttal on Twitter to McDaniel's historical revisionism:

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Here's Why a Former US Attorney Thinks Michael Cohen's Sudden Silence Should Terrify Trump

August 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

For a time, Michael Cohen's name was splashed across national headlines. Now he appears to be laying low.


Omarosa Manigault Newman is making a splash with her new book Unhinged, which recounts her time in President Donald Trump's White House and lobs a series of damning allegations against the president. In her promotional tour for the book, the former White House staffer has also made several new claims — including the explosive assertion that Trump knew ahead of time about hacked emails before they were released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

She has not been specific about how she knows this to be the case, however, though she has suggested she is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller. Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney, raised doubts Thursday about whether she is really cooperating with Mueller — though he believes another key witness likely is.

“This does not sound like a cooperator to me,” Rosenberg said on MSNBC's “Deadline: White House” on Thursday. “This sounds like somebody, I'm sorry to say this, who is selling books.”

“Let me just — it makes me think of Michael Cohen,” said host Nicolle Wallace, referring to the president's former attorney who is known to be under federal investigation. “He's suddenly quiet. Is he acting this week right now like a potentially cooperating witness?”

“You bet he is,” Rosenberg replied. “Now, he's situated differently, of course, because he might end up being a defendant rather than just the witness. But right, the silence you hear from him is deafening. The reason you're hearing silence, I think, is because he's cooperating. He was asked the same thing: Tell us the truth and don't talk to anyone else. And guess what? he's not talking to anyone else. I think it's a very good guess.”

Interestingly, while Cohen has been relatively far from the headlines after dominating national news coverage for many weeks, he did take the time to respond to one of Manigault Newman's more bizarre claims in her book. She said that she once saw Trump eat a piece of paper in order to destroy it while Cohen was present — but Cohen denied that this ever took place.

Watch the clip below:

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Here's How Democrats Can Defeat Trump — by Pledging to Fulfill One of His Biggest Broken Promises

August 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Joe Conason, Creators.com

This could be a winning issue in the midterms.


While commentators chastise congressional Democrats for lacking a cogent message for midterm voters, does the opposition really need to say much more than “to hell with Trump”? If so, they can start hammering a theme that will unite the party base, attract wavering supporters and blister the hide off this president for a monumental broken promise.

The killer issue is perfectly obvious: infrastructure.

Everybody knows that the collapsing highway bridge in Genoa, Italy, a typically tragic and costly disaster, could have happened anywhere in the United States — indeed, it has, and it will again. Presumably, that was why candidate Donald Trump promised a massive public works reconstruction program almost as fervently as he vowed to “build the wall.” With his usual lying braggadocio, he said again and again in 2016 that a Trump administration would create “the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American history.”

Like his wall, the public works program is nowhere to be seen. Unlike the wall, however, rebuilding infrastructure is critical to our future. 

Rather than fulfill his pledge to the nation's workers and families, Trump furtively sold them out for a tax cut that benefits him and his family. Congressional Republicans, who have spent their careers gnawing at America's physical heritage like so many termites, never intended to let Trump appropriate adequate funding to repair roads, bridges, airports, seaports and all the other infrastructure that undergirds the national economy.

Without substantial investment soon, our competitive capacity will shrink as other countries grow. Our daily lives will be dominated by traffic jams, airport delays, transit accidents and all the troubles of a disintegrating public sector. Our health and safety will be at risk to increasing air and water pollution, as will our educational and research advantages.

Again, everyone in government knows these basic facts. Yet over the past 25 years, ever since they first gained control of the House of Representatives under Newt Gingrich, they have preferred cutting taxes on their rich donors to creating decent jobs and a livable country for their constituents. They have opposed every serious attempt …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here Are 5 of the Worst Scandals Showing the Cruelty and Corruption of the Trump Era

August 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Each day reveals new stunning behavior from the White House and the president himself.


Republican Charles J. Sykes, author of How the Right Lost Its Mind and one of President Donald Trump’s vocal critics on the right, recently described the Trump era as one of “corruption and cruelty” — summing it up perfectly. There has been no shortage of cruelty under Trump’s presidency, from his immigration policy and the separation of families at the border to efforts to deprive 23 million Americans of health insurance (which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would have happened had the GOP’s American Health Care Act of 2017 not been defeated in the U.S. Senate).

And Trump is turning out to be, hands down, the most scandal-ridden American president since Richard “Watergate” Nixon. But at least Nixon, for all his corruption, had some positive attributes: he favored universal health care, expanded Medicare and was partly responsible for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Here are five of the worst scandals of the Trump era:

1. The Prosecution and Trial of Paul Manafort

Before the shameless opportunist Kellyanne Conway became Trump’s campaign manager during the summer of 2016, his campaign manager was veteran political operative Paul Manafort — who is presently on trial in a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia and is facing multiple counts of bank fraud and tax evasion. Federal prosecutors are alleging that Manafort evaded taxes on $15 million worth of income he earned while promoting former Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

2. Former Trump Campaign Aid Rick Gates Agrees to Plea Bargain in Manafort Case

Manafort isn’t the only person from Trump’s 2016 campaign who has faced criminal charges. The prosecution’s star witness in Manafort’s trial has been Rick Gates, former Trump campaign aid and Manafort’s former business partner. Gates agreed to testify against Manafort in exchange for a more lenient sentence, and during his testimony, Gates admitted to a long list of criminal activities — including money laundering, defrauding the U.S. government and falsifying documents to banks. And Gates, demonstrating that there …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Retired Admiral Scolds Trump in Fiery Op-ed: 'You Have Embarrassed Us in the Eyes of Our Children'

August 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The rebuke came in response to Trump's targeting of former CIA Director John Brennan.


President Donald Trump has demonstrated a noticeable fondness for military leaders, surrounding himself with officers such as Chief of Staff John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and former national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. Many have speculated that this fondness comes from personal insecurity, as Trump himself famously avoided military service during the Vietnam War — supposedly because he had “bone spurs.”

So the latest rebuke from retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, who was commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command and oversaw the raid the killed Osama bin Laden, is sure to get under his skin.

McRaven denounced Trump's recent unprecedented decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, a fierce critic of the president. He said Brennan has “unparalleled integrity.”

“Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency,” McRaven wrote.

He had high hopes for Trump as president, he writes, but he has been let down.

“Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation,” he continued. “If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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Kellyanne Conway Slams Her Husband When She Thinks She's Off the Record: 'A Violation of Basic Decency … If Not Marital Vows'

August 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“I told you everything about his tweets was off the record.”


White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's marriage to George Conway, a prominent critic of President Donald Trump, has elicited bewilderment and curiosity from observers across the political spectrum.

A new article by Ben Terris in the Washington Post profiles their marriage, revealing a relationship not too dissimilar from many others — aside from their extreme wealth and the fact that their major disagreement is about Kellyanne's work for the president of the United States.

In perhaps one of the most revealing parts of the article, Kellyanne disparages George's habit of writing and speaking out on Twitter against the president. However, assuming she has an agreement with the writer that such comments would be off-the-record, Kellyanne says to attribute her quotes to an anonymous source. The exchange is stunning:

Me: You told me you found [George’s tweets] disrespectful.

Kellyanne: It is disrespectful, it’s a violation of basic decency, certainly, if not marital vows . . . as “a person familiar with their relationship.”

Me: No, we’re on the record here. You can’t say after the fact “as someone familiar.”

Kellyanne: I told you everything about his tweets was off the record.

Me: No, that’s not true. That never happened.

Kellyanne: Well, people do see it this way. People do see it that way, I don’t say I do, but people see it that way.

Me: But I’m saying we never discussed everything about his tweets being off the record. There are certain things you said that I put off the record.

Kellyanne: Fine. I’ve never actually said what I think about it and I won’t say what I think about it, which tells you what I think about it.

Here, even when Kellyanne is caught disparaging her own husband, she is still spinning the press. She says that she never “actually said” the remarks about her husband because she wanted them to be attributed to an anonymous source — but that's not actually how interviews or reporting works. 

Overall, the article paints the portrait of a loving marriage with a singular, massively consequential fissure.

“If there’s an issue,” George tells the Washington Post, “it’s because she’s in …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here's How This Cruel GOP Plan to Cut Medicaid Will Hurt the 'Forgotten Men and Women' Trump Promised to Protect

August 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Arkansas' own numbers reveal their Trump-backed Medicaid work requirements are endangering coverage for over 10,000 people — including many who are working.


President Donald Trump loves to say that he was elected by, and is here to serve, the “forgotten men and women” of America.

Whoever Trump has in mind when he uses that phrase, it would be hard to come up with people more forgotten than Medicaid recipients. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 4 in 10 adult Medicaid recipients do not even use email, while 3 in 10 never use a computer at all.

So it is galling to see the new report from Arkansas, detailing how the Medicaid work requirements the state GOP developed, with the Trump administration's encouragement, are jeopardizing the health coverage of these vulnerable members of society.

The rules require able-bodied adults in Arkansas to register their work activity with state health administrators, proving they work at least 80 hours a month. New state data show over 12,700 people who are required to meet this standard have not, and of that group, 12,500 of them simply failed to log onto the state website and report their hours, regardless of whether or not they actually work enough hours.

According to The Hill, this is all despite the fact that “the vast majority said they were already meeting similar work reporting requirements under the state's SNAP, or food stamp, program,” implying that many of these “forgotten men and women” are in fact working, but still in danger of losing their coverage to the work requirements because of the difficulty in reporting their work.

Before he became president, Trump repeatedly stated that there would be no cuts to Medicaid if he was elected.

Medicaid work requirements, which are currently being developed in several Republican-controlled states, are a solution to a problem that does not exist. Kaiser estimates 6 in 10 nondisabled, working-age adults on Medicaid already work, and the vast majority of those who don't are caregivers, homemakers, or students.

Moreover, implementing these requirements may not even save states money, because of the cost of …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Banana Republic Behavior': Ex-Secretary of State John Kerry Says Trump Is Turning the U.S. into the Kind of Country We Warn Americans to Avoid

August 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Trump's latest targeting of former intelligence officials is unprecedented.


Former Secretary of State John Kerry reacted in horror Wednesday to President Donald Trump's decision to strip ex-CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance in an apparent attempt to punish a critic of his administration.

Kerry compared the move to those taken by leaders in unstable countries to retaliate against their opponents.

“This is putting personal petty politics ahead of patriotism and national security, end of story,” Kerry tweeted. “You expect this banana republic behavior in the kind of countries that the State Department warns Americans not to travel to, but not at home in the USA.”

Kerry was not the only one to express shock at the unprecedented action.

“John Brennan was the point person for the Obama White House on the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. He knows a lot more about defending our nation than someone who uses security clearances to punish his political adversaries,” said Ben Rhodes, a former national security aide to President Barack Obama.

Brennan himself also condemned the action: “This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.”

Many observers noted that the date on the order revoking Brennan's security clearance was July 26, 2018. This suggests the White House already made the decision to revoke the clearance but waited until now to make it public — presumably to distract from the release of former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman's new book that just happens to be deeply critical of the president.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Paul Krugman Explains Why Support for Socialism Is Growing in the United States

August 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

A recent poll showed more support for socialism than capitalism in the Democratic Party.


Americans conservatives are frequently lighting their hair on fire to warn the country that growing support for socialism will soon place the United States on the path to ruin like Venezuela.

Meanwhile, political figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who identify as Democratic Socialists have won enthusiasm from voters and nationwide attention, and many suspect that their views are gaining traction within the Democratic Party. And according to a recent poll by Gallup, more Democrats have a positive view of socialism (57 percent) than have a positive view of capitalism (47 percent).

Economist Paul Krugman argued on Twitter Wednesday that despite their dire warnings, conservatives have only themselves to blame for the popularity of socialism.

“It really is important to realize that Republicans have systematically identified the social safety net with socialism,” he wrote.

For example, in 2008 John McCain called Barack Obama's proposals for universal health coverage “socialism.” And again in 2012, Mitt Romney ran against Obama and said the then-president wanted to bring “European socialist policies” to the United States — referring to countries like Denmark.

And when Democratic Socialist Sanders talks about his policy vision, he explicitly says he'd like to make the U.S. more like Denmark.

“So if you think Denmark looks pretty good, Republicans say you're a socialist, and people start to think socialism looks pretty good too. If the GOP then pretends that support for 'socialism' means wanting government control of the means of production, that's bait-and-switch,” Krugman writes. “I mean, I know that Trump and others have problems with geography, time zones, and all that, but Denmark is not the same country as Venezuela.”

One aspect of this dynamic that Krugman doesn't mention is the conservative embrace of “capitalism.” Republicans have often tried to brand themselves as the defenders of capitalism — by which they mean a very limited, unequal, and often vicious form of capitalism. This branding can push people away from capitalism as much as it can push people toward socialism.

But while Republicans have warped the debate …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Reporter Blows Smoke at Sarah Sanders' Bogus Claim Trump Isn't Targeting His Critics by Revoking Security Clearances

August 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Brad Reed, Raw Story

Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn admitted to lying tot he FBI, yet he was not on Donald Trump's blacklist.


Bloomberg reporter Justin Sink on Wednesday blew up the justification being used by the Trump administration to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.

During a press briefing with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders held in the wake of the announcement of revoking Brennan’s clearance due to his “erratic” criticism of President Donald Trump, Sink pointed out that the administration made a list of people in addition to Brennan who could lose their security clearances — and that it didn’t include a former Trump administration official who had already pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents.

“The reason people would say this argument strains credibility is there’s obvious examples, even from this administration,” he said. “Your former national security adviser admitted to lying to the FBI. Why is this only a list of Democrats who have been critical of the administration, and why should Americans have confidence that you are taking this seriously if there’s not a single Republican on that list?”

Sanders responded by completely dodging the question.

“Again, we would certainly look at those if we deemed it necessary, and we’ll keep you posted if that list gets updated,” she said.

Watch the video below.

 

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Source: ALTERNET