'Unbelievable': Trump Family Expert Reveals the President's Callous and Cruel Treatment of One of His Sons

4 hours 38 minutes ago
This is the president of the party supposedly representing "family values."

Appearing on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" Monday night, reporter Emily Jane Fox argued that there's something truly "unbelievable" about the way recent reports reveal President Donald Trump has treated his son Eric.

She was discussing the way the president reportedly directed Eric Trump to handle the legal response to the claims and lawsuit brought by Stormy Daniels, who says she had an affair with Donald Trump. Daniels sued to break a hush money contract she had signed, which has since become the center of campaign finance violations that the president's former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to in court. Cohen said he was directed to carry out the crime by the president himself during the 2016 campaign.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Eric Trump's role in legal response to Daniels' claims, which Fox has since confirmed. Eric Trump is currently heading up the Trump Organization along with his brother Donald Trump Jr., supposedly in their father's absence from the business. However, there appears to be much less separation between the business and the White House than had been promised.

Fox, who has written a book on the Trump family, pointed out that the president's involvement of Eric in the Daniels affair was a stunning move — one that shows a callousness and a disregard for his son's wellbeing.

She explained: "If you're the president, and you're a parent, you're going to stick your child in the middle of cleaning up something for the president of the United States that has to do with an affair your father had — allegedly — with a porn star four months after your half-brother was born. So not only are you potentially putting your son in whatever legal implications could come out of this—"

"The payments to Stormy Daniels are now associated with felony counts for which there have now been guilty pleas, and there will be a prison sentence—" Maddow interjected.

"That Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to," Fox said, agreeing. "To put your child in that position is — as someone who spent a lot of time dealing with the Trump family — not terribly surprising for these people, but just an unbelievable fact to get your mind around."

Watch the clip below:

To task your own son with cleaning up your messes and putting him at considerable legal risk while doing so is an unbelievable fact to get your mind around. pic.twitter.com/KHPf9MRIOl

— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) October 16, 2018  Related Stories
Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Trump's Ex-Lawyer Michael Cohen Has Reportedly Had More than 50 Hours of Interviews with Prosecutors: 'He's an Open Book'

5 hours 37 minutes ago
Cohen was deeply involved with the Trump organization.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, has been flying under the radar in recent weeks since pleading guilty to a series of crimes, including campaign finance violations that he said he carried out under the president's direction.

In recent days, some observers speculated that Cohen's newfound silence suggested he was cooperating with government prosecutors.

And according to a new report from Vanity Fair's Emily Jane Fox, that's exactly what he's doing. Fox reports that Cohen has spent 50 hours voluntarily sitting down with prosecutors from multiple investigators — including special counsel Robert Mueller and the Southern District of New York.

Fox wrote:

Behind the scenes, however, Robert Mueller’s special investigation into collusion and obstruction of justice continues apace. So does the Southern District’s probe into campaign-finance violations. Despite having no formal cooperation agreement with the government, Cohen has willingly assisted and provided information critical to several ongoing investigations, according to two sources familiar with the situation, in a string of meetings that have exceeded more than 50 hours in sum.

As a former confidant and fixer for Trump and the Trump organization, Cohen is believed to have extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the business and much of the president's private behavior. 

And according to Fox's reporting, Cohen is eager and willing to turn over everything he knows about the president, even though he doesn't have an official cooperation deal with prosecutors:

Cohen has said to friends that he has regrets about his work on behalf of Trump in his capacity as a Trump Organization employee. “What you see now is a return to who he was before all of this,” one longtime friend of his told me. “He’s an open book, and he’s adamant to make it right.

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Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Trump Embarrasses Himself After Promising to Hold Ted Cruz Rally in Texas' 'Biggest Stadium'

6 hours 4 minutes ago
Trump said he would hold a rally for Ted Cruz in Texas' 'Biggest Stadium'. The venue he booked is not even close.

With Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) facing an ongoing threat from El Paso Rep. Beto O'Rourke, President Donald Trump said in August that he would come to the Lone Star State to hold a rally for the embattled far-right senator.

"I'm picking the biggest stadium in Texas we can find," he tweeted.

And yet the venue he actually picked is decidedly underwhelming.

The largest stadium in Texas is Kyle Field, which serves as the home field for the Texas A&M Aggies and has a seating capacity of roughly 103,000. Trump's rally for Cruz, meanwhile, is scheduled to take place on Monday at NRG Arena in Houston — which seats just 8,000.

The Trump Texas rally is set — next Monday in Houston pic.twitter.com/Vz5Cwp82Jt

— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) October 15, 2018

Smaller building near old Astrodome. It's used for events that can't fill a larger venue.
Def not largest arena in Texas. pic.twitter.com/bQUPomWDLD

— Jennifer W. LaMotte (@Jenwhala) October 15, 2018

Having promised the biggest stadium in Texas for his Ted Cruz rally, Trump is instead delivering the third-largest event space in the NRG Park complex.

— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 16, 2018

The seating capacity of the Cruz venue is dwarfed not only by numerous larger stadiums in Texas, but also by the attendance of O'Rourke's September rally with country music star Willie Nelson in Austin, which had an estimated turnout of 55,000.

Trump and Cruz were bitter rivals in the 2016 primary season, with Trump even going so far as to insult his wife. However, the two have since grown closer, with Cruz voting for nearly all of Trump's agenda and Trump embracing his candidacy in an attempt to save his Senate majority.

O'Rourke recently posted a third-quarter campaign fundraising haul of $38.1 million — the largest single-quarter posting by any Senate candidate in history, and more than triple Cruz's numbers. Recent polls show Cruz leading the race by single digits.

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Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

'Selling Out America': Paul Krugman Explains How Trump and His Cronies 'Are Willing to Endanger Civilization' for Political Gain

6 hours 32 minutes ago
Their reaction to climate change is revealing.

A new report from the United Nations detailing the looming threat of global warming should be all anyone can talk about this month, but instead, it has been largely ignored in the American political debate.

The reason is simple: Almost no one believes there's much chance the United States has the political will to do anything substantial to combat climate change. Because as long as the Republican Party holds any bit of power in Washington, D.C., it will do whatever it can to thwart efforts to wind down greenhouse gas emissions

In a new New York Times op-ed, economist Paul Krugman argued that the shifting responses Republicans — including now President Donald Trump — give in response to questions about climate change reveal that they are not reacting to the issue in good faith. They'll go from denying that climate change is happening, to denying that humans contribute to it, to denying that there's anything to be done about the issue — all without altering their fundamental assumption that there's no reason to impose any costs on the fossil fuel industry.

"Details aside, the very multiplicity of climate-denial arguments — the deniers’ story keeps changing, but the bottom line that we should do nothing remains the same — is a sign that the opponents of climate action are arguing in bad faith," Krugman wrote. "They aren’t seriously trying to engage with the reality of climate change or the economics of reduced emissions; their goal is to keep polluters free to pollute as long as possible, and they’ll grab onto anything serving that goal."

He added: "[We're] now ruled by people who are willing to endanger civilization for the sake of political expediency, not to mention increased profits for their fossil-fuel friends."

The complete vacuity of their position has been clear for literally decades. Krugman continued:

These days, climate deniers seem to have temporarily backed down a bit on claims that nothing is happening. The old dodge of comparing temperatures to an unusually warm year in 1998 to deny that the planet is getting warmer — which is like comparing days in early July with a warm day in May, and denying that there’s such a thing as summer — has been undermined by a string of new temperature records. And massive tropical storms fed by a warming ocean have made the consequences of climate change increasingly visible to the public.

So the new strategy is to downplay what has happened. Climate change models “have not been very successful,” declared Larry Kudlow, the top White House economic adviser. Actually, they have: Global warming to date is well in line with past projections. “Something’s changing and it’ll change back again,” asserted Donald Trump on “60 Minutes,” based upon, well, nothing.

Having grudgingly conceded that maybe the planet is indeed getting a bit warmer, the climate deniers claim to be unconvinced that greenhouse gases are responsible. “I don’t know that it’s man-made,” said Trump. And while he has sort-of-kind-of backed down on his earlier claims that climate change is a hoax concocted by the Chinese, he’s still seeing vast conspiracies on the part of climate scientists, who he says “have a very big political agenda.”

Amazingly, even after the Republican Party has been proven wrong again and again on this issue, it has felt no need to reexamine its fundamental assumptions about the issue or admit error.

And in addition to the corrupt motive of seeking to please their fossil fuel industry donors, Krugman suggests another reason for ignoring the reality of climate change. As the party has continued to devolve and lost any stable values, it clings to the unifying joy of "owning the libs." As long as liberals think combatting climate change is an important issue, Republicans will be happy to ignore it.

But politics is not just a game, despite the cartoonish arguments that have become so common on the right wing. The right's terrible policy choices have real consequences.

"We have good reason to believe that Trump and his associates are selling out America for the sake of personal gain," concluded Krugman. "When it comes to climate, however, they aren’t just selling out America; they’re selling out the whole world."

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Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

GOP Candidate Invents Fake Washington Post Fact Check to Cover Up His Awful Record on Health Care

8 hours 15 minutes ago
GOP Rep. Dave Brat issued a press release that the Washington Post had found his Democratic opponent, Abigail Spanberger, had lied about him. The Washington Post did not say that.

House Republicans are desperate to throw off Democratic attacks alleging they voted to kick poor and sick people off of their health insurance — which is difficult, because they very much did.

On Monday, in the latest sign of desperation, Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) issued a press release claiming that his opponent, former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger, lied about his health care record in a recent attack ad:

For the 2nd time, fact checkers in the media have called out Team Spanberger & the Democrats for lying about Dave's record on health care. #VA07 https://t.co/3jmLWKDJQe

— Dave Brat VA 7th (@DaveBratVA7th) October 15, 2018

The press release noted that Spanberger's ad — which slammed Brat for voting to repeal protections for pre-existing conditions — had been rated "Four Pinocchios," and quoted Brat's spokesoman Katey Price as saying, "This is the second time fact checkers have had to call out Team Spanberger for lying about Rep. Brat's record on healthcare. Spanberger is losing, she's desperate, and she will say anything at this stage of the campaign."

There's only one problem: The Washington Post Fact Checker did not, in fact, give Spanberger's ad Four Pinocchios. In fact, they didn't even have a rating for Spanberger's ad at all!

The link in Brat's press release went to a fact check of an attack ad in an entirely different race, against GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). And the only mention of Brat in the article was to note that Brat "is much more vulnerable on this issue than Fitzpatrick" because "he repeatedly voted to repeal the ACA without any replacement."

Brat's claim that this fact check exonerated him was so completely false that Washington Post Fact Checker columnist Glenn Kessler sharply criticized him:

We don't normally comment on how people quote our fact checks but this, from @DaveBratVA7th, is TOTALLY False. It was a fact check of a different ad. We did NOT rate the Spanberger ad and noted: "Brat, however, is much more vulnerable on this issue than Fitzpatrick" 1/2 pic.twitter.com/7zQz9Ma1Aj

— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) October 15, 2018

The original ad, titled "Jody," shows a woman named Jody Cametas in Goochland County, whose son is struggling with type 1 diabetes. "It's so expensive that so many families are sharing supplies in order to make ends meet," she says. "I feel betrayed by Dave Brat. He voted against protections for pre-existing conditions for families like mine. I voted for Dave Brat once; I will not make that mistake again. I'm voting for Abigail Spanberger."

Virginia's 7th Congressional District, which includes the suburbs west of Richmond, is one of the most competitive races in the region, and the attacks have been growing ugly. House Speaker Paul Ryan's allies in the Congressional Leadership Fund have tried to imply Spanberger is a terrorist sympathizer because she taught at a Saudi school which was also attended by militants — and in the process, obtained her security clearance files improperly through the Post Office.

Polls currently have the race neck and neck.

 Related Stories
Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

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

8 hours 39 minutes ago
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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Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

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

9 hours 41 minutes ago
var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1097093'; Click here for reuse options! 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 fill these vacancies by November 10, 2018."

The justices will further decide the question of when the nominating commission can certify its nominations after oral arguments on November 8, two days after the election is held.

The effect of this decision will be fairly moot if Republican nominee Ron DeSantis manages to win in November. But whatever happens, Floridians can now be confident they will have a say in the composition of their state courts when they head to the polls to elect their governor.

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Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

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

9 hours 52 minutes ago
var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1097092'; Click here for reuse options! 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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Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

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

10 hours 29 minutes ago
var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1097090'; Click here for reuse options! 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 News (a major English-language newspaper in Saudi Arabia) from 1999-2003, Khashoggi became editor-in-chief of the Saudi daily Al Watan. But after only about two months at Al Watan, he was fired for letting a columnist criticize Ibn Taymiyya—a Sunni theologian who lived from 1263-1328, according to historians, and was a controversial figure in Islam. Taymiyya was an influence on the extreme, ultra-fundamentalist Wahhabi sect, and his belief that it is OK to wage jihad against other Muslims influenced the ideology of al-Qaeda and other far-right Islamists.

3. Khashoggi Was a Major Critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salam

Writing for the Washington Post, Khashoggi was a frequent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salam, a.k.a. MBS—and because of that criticism, he feared he would be arrested in Saudi Arabia as part of MBS’ crackdown on human rights. Khashoggi, since 2017, lived in exile in Virginia and was a legal resident of the United States. U.S. intelligence has intercepted communications in which Saudi government officials plotted against him, but they were unable to lure him back to Saudi Arabia—and according to Turkish officials, they lured him to Istanbul instead and murdered him on October 2.

4. Khashoggi’s Uncle Was Arms Dealer Adnan Khashoggi

Born in Medina, Saudi Arabia on October 13, 1958, Khashoggi came from a very wealthy family. His grandfather was Mohammad Khashoggi, a Saudi doctor who served as the personal physician of King Abdulaziz al Saud—the first monarch of the modern-day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And his uncle was the late billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, who was involved in the Iran/Contra scandal in the 1980s.

5. Khashoggi’s Connection to the U.S. Spanned Decades

Khashoggi had a long history of writing in both Arabic and English, and he received his education in both languages as well. As a young adult, he moved to the United States and attended Indiana State University in Terre Haute in the late 1970s and early 1980s. But he didn’t major in journalism, and Khashoggi graduated with a BA in business administration in 1982.
 

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Alex Henderson, AlterNet

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

10 hours 42 minutes ago
var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1097087'; Click here for reuse options! 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 privatization of Social Security, but all that criticism hasn’t prevented House Speaker Paul Ryan from fantasizing about privatizing an equally popular government program: Medicare. Ryan (who isn’t seeking reelection in 2018) would love to see traditional Medicare replaced with the privatized voucher program he fantasizes about in his Ayn Randian world, and he would love to privatize Social Security as well. But no GOP-sponsored bills calling for the privatization of Medicare or Social Security would be passed in a Democrat-controlled House in 2019.

3. A Democrat-Controlled House Would Not Vote to Outlaw Abortion Nationwide

With Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh having been confirmed to the U.S. Senate, there is a very strong possibility that Roe v. Wade will be overturned—which would not be a nationwide ban on abortion, but would allow abortion’s legality or illegality to be determined on a state-by-state basis. Post-Roe, one might see a scenario in which, for example, abortion would be illegal in Texas but legal across the state line in New Mexico—or illegal in Idaho but legal to the west in Washington State. However, the end of Roe would allow Republicans to outlaw abortion nationwide via Congress, and Trump would jump at the chance to make the Christian Right happy by signing a nationwide abortion ban into law. Such a ban, however, would not come about if Democrats regained the House on November 6. Roe v. Wade’s days are probably numbered, but at least half the U.S. would maintain safe and legal abortion with a Democratic House majority.      

4. A Democratic House Could Investigate Trump-Related Scandals

If Republicans lose the House but keep the Senate, the chances of President Trump being removed from office via the impeachment process are slim and none. Even if a Democratic House voted to impeach Trump, the president would most likely be acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial under Sen. Mitch McConnell’s leadership. And a Democratic House majority might be fearful of overplaying its hand. But that doesn’t mean that Democrats wouldn’t be launching some very aggressive Trump-related investigations via the House if they had a majority, especially with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia-related probe continuing to move along at a rapid pace. Trump has turned out to be, hands down, the U.S.’ most scandal-plagued president since Richard “Watergate” Nixon, and with the power of committees, a Democrat-controlled House could do a lot of investigating.     
  
5. A Democrat-Dominated House Could Torpedo Additional GOP Tax Cuts for the 1%

The GOP-sponsored Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017—which gave massive tax breaks to giant corporations while offering precious little tax relief to the U.S.’ embattled poor and middle class—isn’t going to be overturned anytime soon. But if Democrats regain the House on November 6, that would prevent Republicans from expanding it and giving even more tax breaks to the 1%.
 

 

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Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Trump's Racist Worldview and Terrifying Obsession with Eugenics Long Predates His Disgusting Attacks on Elizabeth Warren's Ancestry

10 hours 46 minutes ago
Trump history on this subject is well-documented.

After years of Donald Trump taunting Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with the racist nickname "Pocahontas" and suggesting, falsely, that she used her family's claim to have Native American ancestry for a leg up in her law career, the truth is now out: Warren, as her family has long believed, is partly of Native ancestry. A DNA test, analyzed by a Stanford scientist prominent in the field, confirms not just this fact but the Warren family's timeline, which traced their Native ancestor back to the 1700s.

Now this largely irrelevant question — once again, Warren never used her claim to Native ancestry to influence her career trajectory — should be settled. Maybe the mainstream media can turn its attention to the more important and more interesting story, which is why Trump is so obsessed with this question of Warren's ancestry in the first place. An overwhelming amount of public information suggests that Trump has an unhealthy obsession with questions of bloodlines, ethnic heritage and genetics. Worse yet, his understanding of these issues appears to be filtered through the lens of eugenics, a pseudo-science with an unsavory history that looks even more troubling in light of Trump's overt and well-documented racism.

This isn't even the first time Trump has become fixated on the question of the racial heritage of a major Democratic politician. It was he, after all, who catapulted a fringe conspiracy theory that Barack Obama had somehow faked his birth certificate into the mainstream news cycle, hyping this conspiracy theory not just on Fox News but on NBC and ABC. Obama finally released his long-form birth certificate, settling the issue in the mainstream media — which should have never let Trump play this racist game in the first place — but Trump kept on hyping birtherism, using his Twitter account to repeatedly insinuate that Obama had cheated his way into the White House.

Because of this history, it's clear enough that Trump will continue to troll Warren with racist slurs, and overtly or otherwise will encourage his followers to do the same. It's basically the same accusation that he leveled at Obama, the idea that someone his followers resent has faked their heritage in order to get a leg up. More to the point, this is because Trump is obsessed with the topic of heritage and race, and how he imagines those things impact one's natural talents and abilities.

Last week, Business Insider reported that, according to one attendee at a private speech Trump gave in Britain in July, the president told the crowd that they have "all got such good bloodlines" and they must have "amazing DNA."

Such rhetoric, offered to a roomful of British business leaders, sounds almost like David Duke-style fantasizing about the alleged genetic superiority of Anglo-Saxons. But it does fit into Trump's long history of repeatedly suggesting  that some DNA and some bloodlines are just better than others — and he definitely puts the Trump family, which originated in Germany, in the top tier.

"The [Trump] family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development," Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio told PBS in a 2016 "Frontline" episode that really should have gotten more attention at the time. "They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring."

Huffington Post reacted to this by putting together a compilation of quotes from Trump over the years, demonstrating his lifelong obsession with the idea of genetic superiority, which he clearly believes he possesses.

The video shows Trump denying that all men are created equal, by insisting that some are simply born smart and others aren't. Other quotes show Trump repeatedly and extensively insisting that he was born with superior intellect, which he attributes to having "a certain gene" and his "great genes" and "the winning gene." He also attributes other people's failings to what he assumes is genetic inferiority.

"When you connect two racehorses, you usually end up with a fast horse," he says in one clip.

"You know, I'm proud to have that German blood. There's no question about it," he says in another clip. "Great stuff."

Being proud of your ancestry isn't a bad thing in and of itself, but Trump's rhetoric goes well beyond that, embraces a view that ties his German ancestry to a sense of his own superiority over other people. Coupled with his infamous remark about immigrants from "shithole countries," referring to Haiti and various African nations, and his insistence that the U.S. should favor immigrants from places like Norway, a real picture of Trump's view of genetic superiority comes into focus.

These views about his family and heritage look even more troubling in light of some ugly facts about Trump and his father. In 1927, as American fascism was on the rise, Trump's father, Fred Trump, was arrested at a riot that began when sympathizers of Italian fascism and members of the Ku Klux Klan tangled with anti-fascist protesters. Trump has denied that the arrest ever happened, but the records are clear that his father was detained after refusing to leave when the police tried to disperse the rioting crowd.

In 1950, Woody Guthrie wrote a song denouncing Fred Trump as a racist, accusing him of discriminating against black tenants. This issue came up again in the 1970s, when the Justice Department sued the Trumps for racial discrimination, a charge that caused Donald Trump to complain that the government was trying to force him to rent to welfare recipients.

In 1990, Marie Brenner reported in Vanity Fair that Ivana Trump described her husband as having a book of Hitler's speeches, which Brenner asked him about. Their exchange is noteworthy.

“Did your cousin John give you the Hitler speeches?” I asked Trump.

Trump hesitated. “Who told you that?”

“I don’t remember,” I said.

“Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew.” (“I did give him a book about Hitler,” Marty Davis said. “But it was My New Order, Hitler’s speeches, not Mein Kampf. I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”)

Later, Trump returned to this subject. “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

Warren's family story about Native American heritage isn't all that important. It now appears that her mother and earlier generations were correct about that connection, but Warren has never used it to gain any kind of advantage and it hasn't impacted her political views or her academic and legal work in any obvious way.

The same cannot be said for Trump's obsession with bloodlines, genetics and race, and his evident belief that some people — including his own family — simply have have better blood than other people. His administration continues to demagogue about the evils of immigration, and to explore every possible legal avenue to prevent people of color from immigrating here and to kick out those who already have. Groups of Trump-loving white men like the Proud Boys seek out violent confrontation, picking street fights in the name of "Western chauvinism" (their term). Trump is trying to turn his obsession with blood and genetic superiority into a national obsession. That's what his derisive "Pocahontas" comments are really about — and that's the story the mainstream media has largely missed so far.

 Related Stories
Amanda Marcotte, Salon

New York Republicans Defend Decision to Invite 'Proud Boys' Leader to Speak — Despite Violent Aftermath

11 hours 12 minutes ago
"We’re the victims here,” said the club’s president.

The Metropolitan Republican Club of Manhattan brought in a hate group leader to give a speech and is now insisting that that was a great decision and the club is in no way responsible for the hate group’s members attacking and beating anti-racist protesters while leaving the event. Gavin McInnes, the leader of the “Proud Boys,” was invited to the Republican venue to “reenact the samurai sword assassination of Japanese socialist leader Inejiro Asanuma,” because of course.

The Proud Boys are “western chauvinists” (read: white supremacists) whose initiation ceremony includes being punched by current members and who showed up at the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville in 2017. As a group of their members (and a few skinheads) left the McInnes speech, they were apparently hassled by protesters and responded with a vicious attack carried out while screaming homophobic and other slurs. Three anti-racist protesters were arrested while the violent white supremacists were let go, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill De Blasio say that police hate crimes investigators are looking into the attack.

Through it all, the Metropolitan Republican Club wishes for—nay, demands, for we are talking about entitled white people—your pity. “We’re the victims here,” said the club’s president. And:

“We do invite speakers to the Club with differing political points of view — some we agree with and some which we do not. But we are staunch supporters of the 1st Amendment,” club officials said in a statement on Sunday night. “We want to foster civil discussion, but never endorse violence. Gavin’s talk on Friday night, while at times was politically incorrect and a bit edgy, was certainly not inciting violence.”

He is the leader of a violent hate group. His First Amendment rights did not demand that you invite him to speak at your club, and once you do so, you assume some responsibility for the outcome.

Even your Upper East Side establishment Republicans are cuddling up to racist hate groups these days, as a measure of how far gone the Republican Party is.

Laura Clawson, Daily Kos

Fox News Host Admits There's No Distinction Between His Network and the Trump White House: 'They're Joined at the Hip'

11 hours 13 minutes ago
var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1097085'; Click here for reuse options! It's nice to hear one of them admit it.

In a new interview with Hill.TV, Fox News host Juan Williams admitted what should be obvious to any casual observer of politics: President Donald Trump and Fox News are completely in sync, so much so that some argue the network has become a form of "state news."

"The lines between Fox News and this White House are blurry at best," said host Krystal Ball to Williams.

"Blurry?" asked the co-host of Fox News' "The Five." "I think they're joined at the..."

"They don't exist! They are joined at the hip," Ball agreed.

"Right," said Williams.

Williams is one of Fox News' left-leaning commentators who often spars with his conservative co-hosts on "The Five." So it's not surprising that, of all the Fox News employees, he would be one of the few to acknowledge the troubling alliance between a purported objective news outlet and the executive branch of the U.S. government.

The host defended his role on the network, arguing that he is able to provide a different perspective to the audience that they might not otherwise be exposed to. But in acknowledging the network's role as a mouthpiece for the administration, he would do well to recognize that he only plays the role that the executives at Fox think best suits their mission.

From their perspective, Williams' presence lends the network a veneer of credibility and balance that would be lacking without at least some left-leaning talking heads. But since they call all the shots, the executives can guarantee that Williams' perspective will always be diminished, downplayed and distorted, even while pretending to respect his views.

In other words, the network is using Williams — even if he thinks it's the other way around.

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Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Breitbart Is Actually Trying to Blame Bad Economic Data on 'Leftwing Anger Directed at Donald Trump'

12 hours 17 minutes ago
var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1097084'; Click here for reuse options! Your periodic reminder that the far-right outlet is a not a real news agency.

When you live in the Trump bubble, everything positive that happens in the world must be attributed to the great leader, while everything negative must be due to his evil opponents.

In a new article published Monday, Breitbart displayed this delusional thinking in a particularly transparent and pitiful "analysis" of recent economic data.

Writer John Carney pointed to a weak retail sales this month, a trend that has actually been evident for well over a year. If you live with the assumption that President Donald Trump has single-handedly revitalized the American economy an saved the country from the brink of financial collapse (he hasn't), then this sign of economic weakness needs some sort of explanation.

What could possibly be the cause? According to Carney, the most likely culprit is "leftwing anger directed at Donald Trump and his supporters."

Seriously.

He thinks that so many Trump fans are staying home because of fear of liberals harassing them that it's having a macroeconomic impact on retail sales.

Hilariously, to find evidence for this phenomenon, Carney cites interviews with "more than a dozen Trump supporters." Yet in the entire article, he quoted one "Trump supporting New Yorker" and two Breitbart commenters.

"There are no official statistics that would reveal whether this unprecedented level of political harassment is keeping Trump supporters at home," he concluded, giving the whole game away. "But it would explain some of the surprising weakness in the retail sales and conversations with many Trump supporters indicate a hesitancy to go out in this atmosphere."

Of course, there's no evidence that there's any kind of "unprecedented level of political harassment" of Trump supporters, notwithstanding a couple of viral news stories Carney links to.

Absent from his "analysis" is any consideration of the fact that Trump's own rhetoric appears to inspire hate crimes against Muslims and other groups. Nor is there any consideration that the high-profile discussions of the pervasiveness of sexual assault — including accusations against figuring including Trump new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — might have made women more fearful to participate in the economy at their usual rates.

There's no reason to think those factors explain the recent retail slump, either. To make that assertion would be as spurious as Carney's dubious claim, which is not even close to actual economic analysis.

If you want, you can always point to some negative economic data and propose there's a link to some other political issue you want to talk about — but don't expect anyone to actually take you seriously.

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Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Fox News Host Deletes Tweet After Getting Mocked for Complaining Interviewer ‘Peppered’ Trump ‘Endlessly’ with Questions

14 hours 5 minutes ago
...That's kind of Lesley Stahl's job...

Fox News Monday morning did its usual propaganda pitch for President Trump, defending the lying leader's responses during his rare "60 Minutes" interview which aired Sunday night.

"Fox & Friends" host Ainsley Earhardt told viewers, "people — many Republicans thought it was disrespectful and obnoxious," referring to "60 Minutes" veteran journalist Leslie Stahl asking actually questions of the President of the United States, and expecting actual answers.

"Many people thought it made him look better because he did answer everything correctly," she claimed, albeit falsely. "But she gave a tough interview, and when you’re a journalist, you want to ask tough, fair questions. Many people had a problem, though, with the fact that she was interrupting him a good bit."

Stahl interrupted Trump when he lied. Good journalists are supposed to do that (cc: Chuck Todd, who should take notes.)

"Hats off to President Trump, who will go up against any journalist, even the ones who aren't in favor of him, and answer all the questions," Earhardt said, falsely.

Fox's Varney praises Trump responding to Lesley Stahl Qs as "a remarkable contrast between this president and any president in my lifetime."

Ainsley Earhardt adds, "Hats off to President Trump, who will go up against any journalist, even the ones who aren't in favor of him." pic.twitter.com/r7RPp421kX

— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) October 15, 2018

Trump, since he admitted to NBC News' Lester Holt that he fired Comey to end the Russia investigation, has all but never given an interview to any outlet that is not pro-Trump.

"It’s been a while since we’ve seen Trump’s rhetoric challenged in any significant way in a television interview," The Washington Post's Philip Bump said in an analysis of some of the questions asked and answers Trump gave during the interview.

Earhardt doubled down on Twitter, where there are actual people with reality-based opinion, unlike her fellow Fox News sycophants.

She tweeted that Trump was "peppered endlessly" with questions from Lesley Stahl during the "60 Minutes" interview.

Earhardt apparently was surprised – and dismayed – when the internet did not fall in line with her spin.

She deleted the tweet after being mocked – take a look at some of the responses:

What kind of monsters ask QUESTIONS in an INTERVIEW??? pic.twitter.com/2BxekirLxU

— Lincoln Michel (@TheLincoln) October 15, 2018

PEPPERED ENDLESSLY WITH QUESTIONS https://t.co/NsuQyxigvB

— darth™ (@darth) October 15, 2018

Questions? In an interview! Outrageous! https://t.co/1Ql2LDuE8B

— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) October 15, 2018

Not to mention they were INCREDIBLY hard hitting like asking who is the "they" when he says "they say"?https://t.co/XtDM5G1LnU

— Jim (@staxringold) October 15, 2018

Wide receiver peppered endlessly with footballs. pic.twitter.com/yw2cHJX8WZ

— Miles Kahn (@mileskahn) October 15, 2018
David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

GOP Strategists Worry Party Will Get Crushed in Midterms: ‘This Is Going to be Devastating’

14 hours 39 minutes ago
“The GOP is now facing a green wave,” Congressional Leadership Fund leader Corry Bliss explained.

Republican strategists across the country say they’re seeing a “green wave” of money boosting Democratic congressional candidates — and they’re preparing for what could be a brutal election night in November.

Talking with the Associated Press, GOP strategist Terry Sullivan said that conservative donors have been holding back cash because they already believe saving the House is a lost cause.

“This is going to be a devastating election for Republicans across the ballot,” he said. “Republican donors are smart folks. They’re not going to give money to a losing cause.”

The AP also notes that the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC associated with retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, has been sending out panicky memos to supporters in recent days warning of a tsunami of money flooding into key races.

“The GOP is now facing a green wave,” Congressional Leadership Fund leader Corry Bliss explained recently. “Democratic candidates are outspending Republican candidates in key races by $50 million.”

According to FiveThirtyEight, Democrats currently have a better than 80 percent chance to retake the House in the 2018 midterm elections.

Brad Reed, Raw Story

Here's the Real Reason Conservatives Are 'Terrified' of the So-Called Left-Wing 'Mob'

15 hours 24 minutes ago
Trump voting right-wingers are not actually afraid. They're playing the victim to own the libs.

I hear that the angry mob is on the march getting ready to take to the streets and destroy everything that God-fearing Real Americans care about. Again. This latest iteration of the perennial right-wing fear-mongering began when survivors and women's rights activists came to Washington to protest the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. These frightening revolutionaries scared the bejesus out of Republicans and they haven't been able to get a good night's sleep ever since.

President Trump has taken the lead in bravely defending the good people of our nation against these vicious street fighters, telling rally-goers in each of his many such events in the past week:

You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry, left-wing mob. And that’s what the Democrats have become.

That was a scripted line, obviously. Trump could never come up with such a literary phrase. His own words are a bit more pungent: “The Dims have gone wacko!”

He pulls out the "law and order" card frequently, claiming the loyalty of all police, casting them in opposition to Democrats. To a cheering group of law enforcement officers at the White House back in August, the president of the United States said, "[W]e have a little opposition called, the Democrats. I guess they just don't mind crime. They don't mind crime. It's pretty sad. ... The Democrat Party is held hostage by the so-called resistance, left-wing haters and angry mobs." Then he called himself their proud commander in chief, showing that he believes he commands the police as well as the military, which isn't true.

From the moment Trump was inaugurated and the Women's March was held in numerous cities the following day, the propaganda arm of the GOP has been pushing the idea that people protesting Trump's presidency are violent. The NRA was first out of the gate with a series it called "the clenched fist of truth," warning their members that the left-wing mob was coming for them:

The only way to save our country is to fight the leftist #MSM's violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth. via @DLoesch #NRA. pic.twitter.com/5xMsdpE9Cc

— NRATV (@NRATV) April 7, 2017

Today, Trump's loyal soldiers have lined up behind him to wring their hands and clutch their pearls over the nasty women who stormed the halls of the Senate to yell at men in elevators. They've never been more frightened in their lives. David French of National Review has written that "it's time to stop excusing, rationalizing, and minimizing behavior that is dangerous, menacing, and threatening," by which he apparently means people being rude to Republicans in restaurants.

None of them seemed to have been concerned about the storming of town halls back in 2010, which came with written instructions from Tea Party organizers to "Artificially Inflate Your Numbers," "Be Disruptive Early and Often" and "Try to 'Rattle Him,' Not Have an Intelligent Debate."

The conservative protest model was very dignified and respectful:

As for descending on the capitol to take the protest to the elected officials, here's how it's handled by respectable people.

The Tea Party protests against the Affordable Care Act were certainly aggressive, sometimes dangerous and always inexplicable. (Why people were so overwrought that the government was trying to make health care available to more people is something for future psychiatrists to figure out.)

Anyone who has observed the Donald Trump phenomenon knows that he has a history of inciting his followers to potential violence. Recall that during the campaign at various times he responded to protesters with remarks like, “I’d like to punch him in the face," "maybe he should have been roughed up," "part of the problem is no one wants to hurt each other anymore" and "if you do (hurt him), I’ll defend you in court, don’t worry about it.” His reference to the Charlottesville white supremacists as "very fine people" will go down as one of the more disturbing comments made by any president in American history.

Trump's rally-goers still commonly launch into chants of "lock her up" at the mere mention of Hillary Clinton and, more recently, Dianne Feinstein. Perhaps some people think that crowds calling for the jailing of political opponents is all in good fun. But it's chilling for the president of the United States to stand smiling and nodding above them as they do it.

This current chest-beating about "the angry left-wing mob" may morph into something more threatening as we move into the presidential campaign next year and Trump and his followers start to feel the heat of possible defeat. The NRA certainly seems prepared to take it to the next level. Sure, the Republicans hope to keep their base riled up by pretending that the "angry mob" of women in pink hats and protesters embarrassing Republican officials in public presents a threat to the nation. But Trump voting right-wingers are not actually afraid. They're playing the victim to own the libs.

Republican officials are using this "angry mob" rhetoric for a specific purpose: They're trying to get Democratic lawmakers to feel uncomfortable and distance themselves from their most passionate supporters, in hopes that that will suppress the midterm vote. Handwringing conservative pundits are trying to make liberals in the media condemn the protesters and put them on the defensive. They want to make the Democrats condemn their own voters. So far, it's not working.

Protests, even violent ones, are nothing new in America. Trump copped his "I am the candidate of law and order" from Richard Nixon, who basically stole it from George Wallace during an era of political assassinations, urban riots and massive civil rights and anti-war protests. There are plenty of examples of similar political and social upheavals in our past, including a bloody civil war. The "polarization" we are experiencing in our politics is hardly unprecedented.

Considering how outrageous the president of the United States has become and how supine and accommodating the Republicans in Congress have been, these first two years of the Trump administration have been remarkably serene. That's because the supposedly dangerous "Resistance" has actually been feverishly organizing on the ground all over the country to recruit candidates and run campaigns to send Republicans packing. The "angry left-wing mob" isn't running wild in the streets -- it's running for office. That's what's got Republicans shaking in their boots.

Heather Digby Parton, Salon

Ex-US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Warns Against Trump's 'Wide-Eyed Acceptance' of King's Denial: He Told Me 9/11 Was 'An Israeli Plot'

15 hours 42 minutes ago
var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1097079'; Click here for reuse options! "The king firmly denied any knowledge of it,” Trump said Monday.

Robert Jordan, the former United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia under President George W. Bush, cautioned Donald Trump against “wide-eyed acceptance” of Saudi Arabia’s claim it had nothing to do with the disappearance and alleged murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump on Monday said he spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, who denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s disappearance.

"The king firmly denied any knowledge of it,” Trump said. “He didn't really know, maybe, I don't want to get into his mind but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers, who knows?”

CNN’s Jim Scuitto asked Jordan about Trump appearing to accept King Salman’s denial at “face value.” Jordan related the denial to Saudi Arabia’s posture following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“This is the same King Salman who told me after 9/11 that the 9/11 attacks were an Israeli plot,” Jordan said. “And he said that firmly. Did I believe that? Of course not. I don't think you can go in with wide-eyed acceptance of anything some of these world leaders say.”

Jordan went on to suggest it’s “quite possible” King Salman didn’t know of Khashoggi’s attack. And that “it was in the hands of his son, the Crown Prince [Mohammad bin Salman].”

“Nonetheless, I think we've got to have a thorough investigation,” Jordan continued. “The Saudi delay of 13 days has made it all the harder to find forensic evidence, I suspect. Cleaning crews have made it harder. You have to look at the pattern and the circumstances of the 15 hitmen coming, the two private airplanes and be able to draw some conclusions with what we can find.”

Watch the video:
 

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Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

Read the Moving Letter the Descendant of a Racist Confederate Leader Wrote in Support of Anti-Racist Activists

16 hours 2 minutes ago
A UNC-Chapel Hill student faces criminal charges for protesting a Confederate statue on campus.

Meg Yarnell, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Julian Carr, is calling for academic and criminal charges to be dropped against Maya Little and other anti-racist activists who have been arrested for protests related to the Confederate monument known as Silent Sam. In an open letter to University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill administrators, including Chancellor Carol Folt, Yarnell notes that she is “grateful for what Maya did to contextualize this statue and advance the cause for its removal.”

In the weeks and months following the toppling of Silent Sam on August 20, Carr’s speech at the statue’s 1913 dedication ceremony has been widely recirculated. It offers unvarnished proof of the motivations behind the statue’s placement on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus and Silent Sam’s connection to historic and ongoing campaigns of anti-black racism and terror. Carr bragged in his oration that he had once “horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds” near the site of the statue, and tacitly thanked the Ku Klux Klan for committing racist violence against blacks during Reconstruction in the name of the “the Anglo Saxon race in the South.”

On Monday morning, Little’s case again heads to court. The UNC graduate student and anti-racist activist faces up to 60 days in jail for protesting Silent Sam by dousing the statue in a mixture of red paint and her own blood. Additionally, more than two dozen anti-racist activists have been arrested while protesting against neo-Confederates on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus since Silent Sam came down.

The text of Yarnell’s letter, in its entirety, is below:

An Open Letter to the UNC Administration

I write to you, as the great, great, great granddaughter of Julian S. Carr, to advocate that UNC drop the Honor Court and criminal charges against Maya Little and the antiracist activists arrested protesting the Confederate monument known as Silent Sam. Considering the legacy of my great, great, great grandfather, who was instrumental in erecting Silent Sam and infamously dedicated the statue by celebrating the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race and the time that he “whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds,” I am grateful for what Maya did to contextualize this statue and advance the cause for its removal.

My family can trace our lineage in the United States back to early America and the shameful time when our ancestors owned slaves, a time when it was perfectly acceptable, even enviable, for one man and his kin to become rich off the unpaid labor, industry, and suffering of hundreds of men, women and children.

My great, great, great grandfather Julian Carr fought in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy, which explicitly dedicated itself to keeping this system of slavery alive. Yes, he loved his family and parts of the community in which he lived, but we must recognize that Julian was a white supremacist whose vitriolic speech and actions resulted in the pain and suffering of many.

As a white person, and descendant of Julian Carr, I cannot remain silent. Our silence as white people is complicity with white supremacy and has created a very painful world. It is a horrifying necessity to confront the reality that my ancestors participated in such shameful things, and I want to express my sorrow and deepest apologies for the profound suffering, trauma and inequality caused by the actions of my ancestors, including Julian Carr. However, apologies are not enough. Action is needed to help right these historic wrongs.

As Frederick Douglass said during an 1881 speech, “Slavery is indeed gone, but its long, black shadow yet falls broad and large over the face of the whole country.” This continues to be true today.

The founding of our country is circumscribed by multiple traumas of oppression and violence—slavery of Black people and genocide of First Nations peoples among them. As a nation we have failed to truly understand, acknowledge, mourn, and make reparations for our country’s violent origins.

This untreated wound is why it is so difficult to talk about race and culture in America. It is one of the reasons we do not make meaningful headway on so many of society’s problems such as poverty, institutional racism, police brutality, the prison industrial complex, and health inequality. It is why we continue to hold onto racist and damaging memorials such as the one torn down at UNC.

By our “founding fathers’” design, white people have benefitted and continue to benefit from slavery and its contemporary semblances. As white people, we need to confront our past and take responsibility for creating real socioeconomic and racial equity and justice today. For one, we need to use the privilege history has afforded us to speak the truth and remove Confederate monuments like Silent Sam, which only serve to celebrate our nation’s ugly past and present. We should applaud the actions of Maya Little and other antiracist activists, many of whom are people of color, for putting themselves at risk to improve our communities.

Maya’s action in April 2018 was a courageous act of civil disobedience and an attempt to ameliorate the harm that white people have done. She generated thoughtful discussion around issues of white supremacy at her own expense. Those that participated in the actions against the statue in August and early September also sought to turn the tides on campus to discussions of racial inclusion and social justice. I stand proudly with them.

UNC is in a unique position at this moment in time. Silent Sam has been removed. In its absence, the university can reimagine the commemorative landscape to represent the community’s highest values. UNC can create a campus that is welcoming for all and in the spirit of its mission to serve as a center for research, scholarship, and creativity for a diverse community of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students to become the next generation of leaders.

Maya Little, as well as those involved in removing and protesting the statue, are some of these leaders. It would be another wound to silence or make invisible (or worse, violently eradicate) their actions, which have put UNC’s community and our nation in a greater place to collectively heal.

Sincerely,

Meg Yarnell

This article was produced by Make It Right, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

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Kali Holloway, Independent Media Institute

West Virginia Courts in Chaos After GOP Impeachment of Chief Justice Is Ruled Illegal

16 hours 15 minutes ago
var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1097077'; Click here for reuse options! West Virginia has plunged headlong into a constitutional crisis.

Earlier this year, Republicans in the West Virginia legislature took the extraordinary action of impeaching every single member of the state Supreme Court.

But the entire process has blown up in Republicans' face. The state courts are now in a full-blown constitutional crisis, because the impeachment of Democratic Chief Justice Margaret Workman has been ruled unconstitutional and there is no judge willing to preside over her trial.

The impeachments stemmed from reports last year detailing the justices' alleged lavish use of state money to decorate their offices. While some of the justices clearly did engage in misconduct — GOP Justice Allen Loughry is separately indicted on federal charges of fraud, witness tampering, and false statements — the office renovations themselves were probably entirely legal, and the impeachment reeked of a political power grab. Republicans sat on the allegations for months until it was legally impossible to hold an election to replace them, thus ensuring GOP Gov. Jim Justice could appoint a full bench of new Republicans in place of the original 3-2 split Democratic court.

The problem for the GOP started when Workman sued, alleging her impeachment was illegal because the legislature did not actually specify any misconduct and violated her due process.

There was no valid state supreme court that could hear the case — all the justices were either suspended or had been replaced with acting justices who then recused themselves. So on Workman's request, retired justice Thomas McHugh picked Harrison County Circuit Judge James Matish to serve as acting chief justice, who then appointed four acting associate justices, who in turn unanimously ruled in Workman's favor, invalidating the impeachment.

It was at this point that everything exploded. The GOP state senate, enraged that a makeshift court appointed at the request of Workman had overruled them, planned to simply ignore the ruling and hold an impeachment trial anyway. But Justice Paul T. Ferrell, who was in charge of presiding over the trial, honored the court ruling and refused to move forward, forcing the senate to back down. Then Republicans in the state house said they would still present the articles of impeachment to the senate even though the senate was no longer planning to hear them.

What is happening in West Virginia, whole extreme, is far from unique. Republican state legislators have frequently sought to undermine state courts that rule against them.

In Pennsylvania earlier this year, the GOP pushed to impeach most of the Democratic state supreme court after the justices threw out their congressional gerrymander. In 2015, Republicans in Kansas tried to outright shut down all funding for state courts after the state justices ruled against their scheme to cut funding to public schools, eventually caving amid the potential disaster of being unable to adjudicate any laws. And in North Carolina, Republicans have passed a series of laws designed to prevent Democrats from challenging an incumbent justice on their supreme court, which has backfired horribly as she is now polling in third place.

West Virginia's crisis threatens to blow up the independent judiciary and undermine the basic legitimacy of their court system. And Republicans have only themselves to blame.

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Matthew Chapman, AlterNet
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