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It is unfortunate that many Americans who are devoted “TOTUS’ supporters can only pick out 1 or two reasons they voted and supported him. Any one of their reasons is enough to terminate that support but the entertainment value appears to hold sway. MA.

Matt Bai 2 hours 5 minutes ago

Before he was treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin was a movie producer, so maybe he’d appreciate that when I think about him showing up at this “Davos in the Desert” confab in Saudi Arabia next week, my mind goes to “Lost in Translation,” the film with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.
I picture Mnuchin and Fox anchor Maria Bartiromo, who as I write this might be the only journalist still planning to attend, wandering aimlessly through a sleek hotel and passing joyless hours with exotic teas at the hotel bar (it’s a dry country), unable to understand what anyone around them is saying, ruminating quietly on lives gone horribly awry.
On the plus side, I guess, there won’t be a line for the treadmills.
Pretty much the rest of the English-speaking world — governments, investors, media celebrities — seems to have concluded, reasonably enough, that celebrating the Saudi kingdom’s cosmopolitan future isn’t the tasteful thing to do right now, with all indications pointing to the savage murder of a Washington Post columnist by an army of Saudi thugs who carted a bone saw to Istanbul.
I mean, when you’ve brutalized a dissenter in a way that shocks the Turkish government, you have to know that you’ve really set the bar high.
But all that’s of little concern to the American president, who so far seems bent on sending Mnuchin to the annual conference anyway, and who continues to hedge and make excuses for his Saudi friends, thus isolating the United States, yet again, from the larger world community.
“They’re investing tremendous amounts of money” in American products, President Trump said of his “great ally” Saudi Arabia, which he claims — dubiously — has signed on to buy $110 billon in American-made weaponry.
Trump’s detractors will say that this is just another example of his being amoral and impulsive, bowing down to murderous autocrats because he aspires to be one of them. But that’s not giving Trump enough credit.
The president is absolutely pursuing a strategy here, which he laid out in his very first day on the job. And it’s not just morally bankrupt. It’s economically reckless, too.

In truth, every modern president has struggled to find the right balance between America’s lofty ideals and our strategic interests. During the Cold War that dominated the second half of the last century, Washington often came to see ruthless right-wing regimes in Asia, Latin America and Africa as necessary bulwarks against communism. It wasn’t a good look.
And since the emergence of Islamic terrorism as an overarching threat, no country has tested this balance as much as Saudi Arabia. The Saudis repress women and dissidents, but they’ve also lent out their land for U.S. military bases, and they’re seen as a crucial counterweight against Iranian influence.
Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama tried to walk that line between values and realpolitik in the region, and they mostly ended up talking about the former while ceding to the latter.
Trump, however, represents a radical departure from his predecessors, Republican and Democrat. He makes no pretense of balancing moral imperatives, or even military objectives, against the economic agenda that is his only real priority.
He made that exceedingly clear in an inauguration speech striking for its total indifference to moral leadership. Expanding on his “America First” philosophy, Trump laid waste to an American century in which he said we’d spent too much energy and money worrying about what happened to people in other countries.
“We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world,” Trump said then, “but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.”
Trump was articulating not so much his governing philosophy — he doesn’t have one — as his business philosophy. When you’re cutting the ribbon for a casino or some towering condo building, you don’t trouble yourself about whether the guy holding a shovel next to you is mob-connected (or, like your son-in-law, a slumlord).
No, if you’re a certain kind of businessman, you ask yourself only one question: Will this deal make money? You’re not in the business of morally policing your partners, as long as they’re not brutalizing you.
And this, to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, is probably why he appears so beholden to foreign bullies. It’s why he shrugs at Turkish goons beating up peaceful protesters near the White House, and betrays only the slightest irritation at the Russians trying to execute a man and his daughter in England, and remains untroubled by the horrific genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar — all while lashing out bitterly at Canadian dairy farmers.
If it doesn’t threaten American factories or farms, Trump isn’t especially interested. Abstract values aren’t something he loses a lot of sleep over, in foreign policy or in life.
Trump’s supporters — both the ones who wave signs at his rallies and the Chamber of Commerce kind — tend to love this about him, and I get why. They’ve had enough nation-building and finger-waving and coalition-leading for one century.
The idea of a president focused only on American jobs and industry, without all the other noise, has strong appeal in communities where Americans have often felt overlooked, and where they can’t really afford to worry about how the Saudis handle their critics.
Except that there’s a problem with this formulation. It assumes that America’s economic interests have nothing to do with its moral imperatives. And in the long term, that’s just wrong.

America’s most vital export isn’t cars or soft drinks or computer chips. It’s our culture. It’s our brand.
American businesses thrived overseas in the 20th century not just because we made a bunch of stuff, but because the stuff we made signified the American creed. In every part of the world, they watched our cowboy movies and smoked our cigarettes because they admired us. They knew Americans aspired to moral courage and the rule of law, even if we often fell short of the goal.
Coke didn’t just taste good; it tasted like America. Fords weren’t the best-driving cars on the road; they were the symbol of an empowered middle class.
Trump is, if nothing else, a brand master. He built his own, after all, with little more than fast talk and big hair. He did it so effectively that foreign investors were willing to plunk down millions on a property just because it carried his gold-plated name.
But he doesn’t seem to understand the risks he’s taking with ours. He can’t seem to grasp that, unlike a casino or a skyscraper, America’s potential for profit is inextricable from its moral standing. Without the enduring legacies of Lincoln and Roosevelt and Kennedy and Reagan, we’re just another country growing soybeans.
The American president should react at least as strongly as our bankers to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, because we ought to stand for the right to dissent, and for the freedom of our press, and for basic humanity. That’s reason enough.
But we ought to do so, too, with the clear understanding that there is no such thing as “America First” without holding firm to American ideals.


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To The Supporters of  “conservative values” and the Republican (Dupublican) party, this is what the “Party of Mitch” has wrought. If you  rely on these so called entitlements then you could be in the line of fire for these cuts. To me the choice is clear change the leadership in Congress. MA

Nicole Goodkind 12 hrs ago

After instituting a $1.5 trillion tax cut and signing off on a $675 billion budget for the Department of Defense, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the only way to lower the record-high federal deficit would be to cut entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
“It’s disappointing but it’s not a Republican problem,” McConnell said of the deficit, which grew 17 percent to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018. McConnell explained to Bloomberg that “it’s a bipartisan problem: Unwillingness to address the real drivers of the debt by doing anything to adjust those programs to the demographics of America in the future.” The deficit has increased 77 percent since McConnell became majority leader in 2015.
New Treasury Department analysis on Monday revealed that corporate tax cuts had a significant impact on the deficit this year. Federal revenue rose by 0.04 percent in 2018, a nearly 100 percent decrease last year’s 1.5 percent. In fiscal year 2018, tax receipts on corporate income fell to $205 billion from $297 billion in 2017.Still, McConnell insisted that the change had nothing to do with a lack of revenue or increased spending and instead was due to entitlement and welfare programs. The debt, he said, was very “disturbing” and driven by “the three big entitlement programs that are very popular, Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid…There’s been a bipartisan reluctance to tackle entitlement changes because of the popularity of those programs. Hopefully, at some point here, we’ll get serious about this.”
President Donald Trump promised to leave Medicare untouched on the campaign trail, but Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Florida Senator Marco Rubio have long indicated their desire to cut entitlement programs to pay for their tax cuts.
“You have got to generate economic growth because growth generates revenue,” Rubio said at a Politico conference late last year. “But you also have to bring spending under control. And not discretionary spending. That isn’t the driver of our debt. The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries.”
“We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Speaker Ryan said on a conservative radio program around the same time.
Democrats, meanwhile, jumped on McConnell’s admission as proof that Republicans had long-planned to cut entitlement spending to fund the tax cuts that largely benefit corporations and wealthy Americans. “The truth comes out! This was their deceptive plan all along,” said Representative Lois Frankel of Florida.
“When Republicans in Congress said their tax cuts to wealthy multinational corporations would pay for themselves, they lied,” wrote Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan on Twitter. “Now, they’re going to try to come for hardworking people to foot the bill by slashing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. We can’t let them.”
A recent Pew poll found that the majority of both Democrats and Republicans thought the rising federal deficit and cost of healthcare were major problems facing the U.S.– something that Democrats are taking note of and will try to package into their midterm campaign platforms over the next three weeks.
“Every Republican Senate candidate is on the hook for Mitch McConnell’s plan to cut Medicare and Social Security. First it was jeopardizing pre-existing conditions coverage, then it was pursuing an age tax that would charge older Americans more for care, and now it’s targeting the benefits Americans have paid into,” wrote Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman David Bergstein in a statement. “This platform is disqualifying, and just like taking away coverage for pre-existing conditions, it’s exactly what GOP candidates don’t want to be talking about weeks before the election.”


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The truth is always there, one needs to turn a page occasionally. MA

03 Oct, 2018 – 00:10 4

Ranga Mataire Senior Writer
China’s adoption of liberal economic policies has led to its renewed drive in strengthening economic ties with Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa. In the aftermath of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), we must resist the slightest extension of what is true and fake. We must resist the temptation to be swept by a social media frenzy fed on ignorance.
A lot of blatant lies have been peddled about China being the new colonial power in Africa.
The taunts have gone into overdrive even coining phrases such as “debt trap diplomacy” to describe China’s relations with Africa. You hear a supposedly learned MDC legislator like Charlton Hwende saying the “Chinese are the new colonisers and must not be embraced, but fought.” Really?
Others have advanced social media monkeyshines that obfuscate the ability to discern reality from bluster.

I think now is the time to resist the temptation of being intellectual zombies and go deeper in unravelling the crux of the Africa-China relations.
We need to unravel why the West, particularly the United States, is piqued by China’s blossoming relations with Africa.
Now is the time to refuse the blurring of memory and dig deeper into the core of China-Africa relations and why America’s foreign policy towards Africa is somewhat maladjusted.
Now is surely the time to counter lies with facts unflaggingly and pronounce the greater truths of Africa’s yearning for equal humanity and decency.

Every valuable ideal should be restated, every observable argument made, because a horrible idea left unchallenged will eventually be accepted as normal.
China is not irreproachable, but much of what people are fed with is nothing, but hoopla. Here is why.
It is a lie that Zambia’s power utility, Zesco as well as the country’s airport were taken over by China because the country defaulted on loans. The truth is in the case of the airport, the construction is ongoing, which makes it improbable for any defaulting so early in the project. And yet stories were written about all this without the slightest verification.
Now is the time to debunk the myth that Africa is colonised by China as if there is a better coloniser out there. This myth also ignores the agency of our own African leaders in negotiating deals that benefit the continent best. We create the impression that Africa is cursed in not having a leadership capable of negotiating in our best interest.
Chinaphobia would have us believe that Chinese loans are dominating Africa. This is a lie. Simple research reveals that China’s $115 billion to Africa between 2000 and 2016 is still less than two percent of the total $6,9 trillion of low and middle income countries’ debt stock. China is thus not the biggest driver of debt grief in Africa.
Now is the time to debunk the myth that Chinese loans are leading us to a labyrinth which will force us to forfeit our mineral resources.

A 2016 report written and researched by Mark Curtis titled “The New Colonialism: Britain’s Scramble for Africa’s Energy and Mineral Resources” reveals the extent to which British companies now control Africa’s key mineral resources, notably gold, platinum, diamonds, copper, oil, gas and coal. It documents how 101 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) — most of them British — have mining operations in 37 sub-Saharan African countries and collectively control over $1 trillion worth of Africa’s most valuable resources.
Britain’s firms hold mineral licences across 37 African countries covering a massive 1,03 million square kilometres. This is four times the size of the UK and nearly one-twentieth of sub-Saharan Africa’s total land area. These are the facts that one cannot get from social media titbits. The criticism about Chinese loans deliberately ignores decades of damage done by IMF and the World Bank loans across Africa and the rest of the developing world.
Now is the time to tell the truth about the allure of Chinese money. United States has about $1,8 trillion of Chinese money. What all this shows is that much of the Sinophobia is driven by ignorance. Ignorance of the fact that IMF and World Bank loans come with austerity obligations which in many instances have left African countries poorer and yet we can’t say the same about Chinese loans.
The truth is that Chinese loans are not inherently good or bad. It all depends on what we choose to make of them. What is clear is that unlike the Americans, Chinese foreign policy towards Africa seeks multi-polarity and not dominance or just conditional aid.
In their book, “International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues,” Robert J. Art and Robert Jervis argue that third world states want both wealth and power and seek to use international for and organisations to advance their interests in ways that are viewed as antagonistic by most industrialised nations. Art and Jervis put in perspective the inherent conflictual nature of relations between the US and Africa, with the former perpetually seeking to entrench its hegemonic influence while the latter is highly suspicious of Washington’s “philanthropic” overtures couched with a myriad obligations.
The truth is that Africa-US relations are marked by clear difference in value system born out of varying historical perspectives and how the two situate themselves in the global scheme of things.
One would have expected that in the post-colonial, post-Cold War and post-communist containment period, relations between Africa and the United States must surely be informed by the need to establish a new international economic order based on mutual respect and the sanctity of sovereignty.
Sadly, US foreign policy towards Africa has failed to evolve from being omniscient to humanistic. It has failed to move away from its fixation on blackmailing and blacklisting “deviant” states through imposition of sanctions and even waging wars. Zimbabwe and Iran are typical examples that have been at the mercy of the “Big Brother”.

It is surprising that even with the full knowledge of its lopsided foreign policy, especially when juxtaposed with China’s multi-polarity and non-interventionist approach, the US continues with its impetuous intrusive and fatally destabilising attitude.
In contrast, China has succeeded in creating a mutually beneficial economic platform far different from America’s conditional aid. Before its emergence as a serious global power, the period succeeding the Cold War was characterised by Britain, France and United States as major powers with significant interest and influence in Africa, south of the Sahara.
It was China’s adoption of liberal economic policies that led to its renewed drive in strengthening economic ties with Africa. China focused on debt cancellation and offered aid without political conditions and consequently gained valuable diplomatic support to defend its international interests. It therefore comes as no surprise that China has today emerged as an influential player on the African continent. It is because of its goodwill.
Most African nations find China’s foreign policy dynamic, constructive and flexible especially as it seeks to intensify its involvement in security issues and multilateral organisations. Majority African nations have welcomed China because its presence provides a mix of political and economic incentives, which creates a win-win situation.
While the West, particularly Britain, is far ahead in terms of its foothold on Africa’s mineral wealth, more and more African nations are finding China a more appealing and better economic partner for trade than the West. Another factor that makes China an amenable partner is the fact that it disavows the legitimacy of outside interference in the domestic affairs of individual states and no political conditions are attached to its development assistance.
The massive Chinese investments in Africa undertaken since 1989, underline its acceptance as an equal partner in development even though its investments are being pushed by a ballooning industrial growth appetite for resources that are abundant in Africa.

Now is the time for the media, on the left and right to play its true role of educating and informing instead of being bamboozled by social media frenzy devoid of any systematic analysis. It is time to be nimble and clear-eyed and be active and not reactive.
What is often missed in the framing of China-Africa relations in comparison with the US is that the latter is stuck in immortalising its self-importance in world affairs. America is stuck in 1782, when writers and poets waxed lyrical about it being the “first nation.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson triumphantly viewed the US as a “last effort of the Divine Providence on behalf of the human race,” while Herman Melville considered his countrymen a “peculiar chosen people, the Israel of our times: we bear the ark of liberties of the world.”
It seems nothing has changed since then.


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Slide 31 of 92: Steve Breen/The San Diego Union-TribuneSlide 40 of 92: Chan Lowe/Tribune Content AgencySlide 37 of 92: Michael Ramirez/The Las Vegas Review-JournalSlide 42 of 92: Steve Breen/The San Diego Union-TribuneSlide 47 of 92: The News in CartoonsSlide 55 of 92: Drew Sheneman/Tribune Content AgencySlide 51 of 92: David Horsey/Tribune Content AgencySlide 57 of 92: The News in CartoonsSlide 70 of 92: Drew Sheneman/Tribune Content AgencySlide 74 of 92: The News in CartoonsSlide 83 of 92: The News in CartoonsSlide 89 of 92: Chan Lowe/Tribune Content Agency


CBSNews 6 hrs ago
The man who brought the first-ever charges against Chinese hackers says the U.S. is not doing enough to combat cyber warfare.

John Carlin, who served as assistant attorney general for national security in the Obama administration, told “CBS This Morning” on Friday that what troubles him most about America’s lack of preparedness is what could happen the next time we get into a military conflict.
“Our very fighter jets with our research and development that spent years in the making could be used against us to kill our servicemen,” Carlin said.

Carlin’s comments come the same week as the arrest and extradition of Chinese intelligence officer Yanjun Xu. He is accused of stealing intellectual property and trade secrets from U.S. aviation and aerospace companies.
“It’s one of the first times ever, if not the first time, that we’ve been able to catch one of the puppet-masters from overseas in China who’s running intelligence operatives inside the United States day in, day out and stealing secrets,” Carlin said.
Carlin is the co-author of “Dawn of the Code War: America’s Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat,” which comes out October 16.
“One of the reasons I wrote the book is that there are so many instances that people think are science fiction that have already happened, including terrorists stealing from retail companies personally identifiable information of customers in order to have plots to kill them, including Chinese espionage that’s driven companies into bankruptcy costing real jobs inside America,” he said.
According to a report from the U.S. trade representative, China’s economic espionage costs the U.S. between $225 and $600 billion a year. Carlin says we’re particularly vulnerable because our entire economy, our military and our electrical grid are dependent on digital technology that never accounted for risk.
“China in particular along with Russia, North Korea, and Iran recognize that vulnerability and they’re hitting us day in, day out. We are in a code war now. And to [FBI] Director Wray’s point, what we’re seeing is, when it comes to next generation technology, artificial intelligence, the way all of our phones connect wirelessly, that China is getting the lead and they’re doing it not by playing fair, not by investing in research and development, but by stealing it and using our own technological know-how against us.”
Carlin says we need to do better right now.
“The technology that we’re basing this on, the internet itself, uses a protocol that was never designed with security in mind…. Devices, our cars, the pacemakers in our hearts are now using that same technology. We can’t make the same mistake that allowed our Social Security numbers to get stolen to cause actual life-and-death consequences. And there are actions that we can take.”

Jason Owens,Yahoo Sports 14 hours ago

Colin Kaepernick talked about why he chose to kneel while accepting one of Harvard’s highest honors on Thursday. (AP)
Colin Kaepernick was one of eight recipients of the W.E.B. Dubois Medal from Harvard on Thursday for his work in social justice.
Comedian Dave Chapelle and artist Kehinde Wiley were among the others awarded “Harvard’s highest honor in the field of African and African-American studies.”
Kapernick improvises acceptance speech
After receiving a rousing ovation, Kaepernick appeared to scrap his prepared remarks for an off-the-cuff speech shared by WHDH Boston’s Eric Kane that addressed his recent Nike deal and the first time he took a knee in protest.

“I had a short speech written, but it just didn’t seem true to what it should’ve been with the authenticity and the passion and the inspiration that’s been in this room,” Kaepernick said to start a speech that he requested not be broadcast.
Why Kaepernick kneels
He went on to talk about the first time he took a knee and the response from Oakland’s Castlemont High football team, whose players took a knee the next week to support him. He visited the team on game day.
“One of the young brothers says ‘We don’t get to eat at home, so we’re going to eat on this field,’” Kaepernick said. “That moment has never left me.
“And I’ve carried that everywhere I went. And I think that’s the reality of what I’ve fought for, what so many of us have fought for. People live with this every single day.”

Kaepernick on Nike and sacrifice
Kaepernick also addressed his Nike campaign and what sacrifice means to him.
“I go to what recently happened with the Nike campaign where, to believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything quote became huge,” Kaepernick said. “As I reflected on that, it made me think of if we all believe something, we won’t have to sacrifice everything.”
Kaepernick made a call to action for people in the room and people of privilege to stand up for those in need.
“I feel like it’s not only my responsibility, but all our responsibilities as people that are in positions of privilege, in positions of power, to continue to fight for them and uplift them, empower them,” Kaepernick said. “Because if we don’t, we become complicit in the problem. It is our duty to fight for them, and we are going to continue to fight for them.”
Kaepernick: Love drives the resistance
He concluded by focusing on love, not divide being the driving force behind his protests.
“I go back to something I said in a speech previously, that love is at the root of our resistance, and it will continue to be, and it will fortify everything we do.”


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Where do we go from here?

Nick Anderson Comic Strip for October 10, 2018


Lee Moran
HuffPost•October 11, 2018

Former first lady Michelle Obama has revealed what former President George W. Bush gave her at Sen. John McCain’s funeral last month: a very old cough drop from his own days in the White House.
“I didn’t realize at the time that anybody noticed what we were doing,” Obama told the “Today” show on Thursday, during an appearance to discuss International Day of the Girl.
The moment did in fact gain a lot of notice in the press and on social media, although critics pointed out in the subsequent days and weeks that just because a guy gives someone a lozenge doesn’t mean he can’t do destructive, divisive things as well.
Obama said Thursday that Bush’s “simple gesture” during the September service came about because the pair are “forever seatmates because of protocol.”
“That’s how we sit at all the official functions, so he is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather,” she said.
She noted that Bush’s cough drop may not have been of the most recent vintage.
“That’s the funny thing, because they were in the little White House box, and I was like, ‘How long have you had these?’” Obama said. “And he said, ‘A long time, we got a lot of these.’”


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One of “The Best people?” is leaving the Trump administration. MA.

Jennifer Calfas
MoneyOctober 10, 2018

Nikki Haley resigns as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

When Nikki Haley announced she would resign as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year, rumors swirled around her potential 2020 ambitions and next move out of President Trump’s administration.
But her decision to resign also put a spotlight on her personal finances — particularly the hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt she has accrued over the years.
Haley’s 2018 financial disclosure form showed various forms of debt, including between $25,000 and $65,000 in credit card debt and both a line of credit and a mortgage worth between $250,000 and $500,000, separately. Nikki Haley’s debt, therefore, could range anywhere from $525,000 to $1.1 million.
On top of that, Haley’s financial disclosure form showed a mortgage worth at least $1 million on an investment property she took on from her parents in 2017. However, she and her husband, Michael Haley, reportedly sold the property for $1.2 million in January 2018, according to The State, a Columbia, S.C.-based newspaper.
In her resignation letter to the president, Hayley wrote that she plans to enter the private sector – which will likely prove more lucrative than the reported $180,000 she makes in her current government role. In a statement to the Post and Courier, Haley’s office said her finances had no role in her decision to resign from her post and insisted the U.S. Ambassador’s debt is less than $500,000. (Representatives for Haley did not respond immediately to a request for comment from MONEY.)
Here’s what we know about Haley’s finances.
Breaking down Haley’s debt and earnings :Haley reported she owes anywhere between $15,000 and $50,000 on a Bank of America card with a 12% annual percentage rate, as well as anywhere between $10,001 and $15,000 on an American Express card with a 12% annual percentage rate. Both of these debts were incurred in 2016, according to the form.
Haley’s initial total monthly payment on those cards could land anywhere between $500 and $1,300, according to Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards. Those ranges will go down each month if no new charges are made, explains Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at And luckily for Haley, her interest rates are lower than the national average of 17.07%, Rossman says.
It’s important to look at Haley’s finances with a bit more context. She has reported far more than the average credit card balance for Americans these days — around $6,354, according to 2017 figures from Experian, a credit reporting company. But, especially for wealthier Americans, card balances “don’t necessarily equal long-term or even short-term debt,” Schulz, of Compare Cards, says. High-income Americans could spend large amounts on their credit cards, and pay them off at the end of the month, to earn rewards, or they can leverage their debt to help them with investment opportunities, Schulz says.
“That interest accrued on a revolved balance can be a big deal for the average American who is living on a budget and paycheck to paycheck,” says Schulz. “For wealthier Americans, it might amount to a rounding error. It’s all about perspective.”
Haley earns around $185,000 as U.S. Ambassador, according to, which uses federal data to share the salaries of government employees. In 2017, she also earned $9,759 in her final days as governor of South Carolina. As governor, she earned $203,316 a year, according to her previous financial disclosure forms, and had made extra cash throughout her years as governor through real estate investments and her 2012 memoir. Her husband, Michael Haley, earned between $50,000 to $100,000 last year, thanks to their investment property, and reported a bank account with between $15,000 to $50,000.


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This is one the best statements of where we are today and what we need to do about it. MA

October 11, 2018

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
With Meghna Chakrabarti
Conservative luminary Max Boot explains why he left the Republican party and is urging people to vote against the modern GOP.

Max Boot, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Columnist for the Washington Post. Analyst for CNN. Author of “The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right.” (@MaxBoot)
From The Reading List
Excerpt from “The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right” by Max Boot
NOVEMBER 8, 2016
November 8, 2016, was one of the most demoralizing days of my life. It was also, in ways that have become impossible to ignore, devastating not just for America in general but for American conservatism in particular.
I had never imagined that Donald Trump could be elected president. If you had suggested to me before 2016 that such a thing was possible I would have replied that it was too far- fetched to contemplate— it sounded like the plot of a dystopian science- fiction movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger would have been a more plausible president— and he wasn’t even born in America. I didn’t think Trump would win a single Republican primary. Sure, he had been polling strongly in 2015, but I figured that when the actual balloting began my fellow Republicans would sober up and realize that the reality TV star and real- estate mogul was not remotely qualified for the nation’s highest office.
Trump had offended my sensibilities from the very first day of the campaign, June 16, 2015, when he had come down the garish escalator at Trump Tower to castigate Mexican immigrants in crudely xenophobic terms. “They’re bringing drugs,” he said. “They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”1 A month later, he launched an odious attack on Senator John McCain, a man whose presidential campaign I had been proud to advise in 2008. This is what Trump, who had gotten five draft deferments, had to say about a war hero who had endured nearly six years of hellish captivity in North Vietnam: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”2 A few months after that, in November 2015, Trump hit another low, mocking a disabled reporter who had the temerity to question his bogus claims to have seen thousands of Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey, cheering as the World Trade Center came down. Trump then lied about what he had done— even though his cruel japery was recorded on videotape.3
There was no possibility, I figured, that the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan would endorse Trump for president. Was there?
When the primaries began and Trump began winning state after state, I thought I had entered The Twilight Zone. The torment worsened when he locked up the nomination and Republican after Republican dutifully lined up to endorse his candidacy after having lambasted him in the harshest terms possible. Former governor Rick Perry had called Trump a “cancer on conservatism” before endorsing said cancer— and being rewarded with a cabinet post. Former governor Bobby Jindal had called Trump a “madman who must be stopped” before endorsing said madman. Senator Rand Paul had called him a “delusional narcissist” before endorsing said narcissist. Most painful of all for me, Senator Marco Rubio, whose presidential campaign I had served as a foreign policy adviser, went from denouncing Trump as a “con artist” to endorsing said con artist. House Speaker Paul Ryan got my hopes up by hesitating to endorse Trump, but in the end, he too bent the knee. This was not the Republican Party I knew. Or thought I knew. How could so many Republicans for whom I had such respect have betrayed everything that they— and I— believed in? What was going on? How could all of these conservatives turn into Trump toadies? I was angry and bewildered. My faith in the Republican Party was shaken and has never recovered.
But at least I comforted myself that in the general election there was no way the American people could possibly elect someone like Trump. I had come to America as a six- year- old from the Soviet Union in 1976 and had grown to revere the country that had offered asylum to my family. I was convinced that America was the greatest and most selfless country in the world. Now I had faith that the voters would in their wisdom choose Hillary Clinton, who was a deeply flawed and seriously uncharismatic candidate, to be sure, but also extremely knowledgeable, resolutely centrist, and amply qualified. I had never voted for a Democrat in my life, but for me it was an easy call. Here I was, a conservative Republican, voting for Clinton; I figured that there would be plenty of others who would do the same. If Trump couldn’t even count on the undivided support of the GOP, there was no way he could win.
Like countless other commentators, I was sure Trump was finished on October 7, 2016, when a videotape emerged in which he could be heard bragging that because he was a “star” he could do anything he wanted to women— even “grab them by the pussy.” Numerous Republicans withdrew their endorsements and urged Trump to drop out. Yet when he refused to withdraw, many of the same Republicans came crawling back to re- endorse him. The race tightened as Election Day approached. Yet I was still certain— foolishly, naïvely, pathetically certain— that Trump could not win. My Pollyannaish faith in America had blinded me to what was to come, and that faith has not survived the debacle to come.
I agreed to spend election night at the Comedy Cellar nightclub in downtown New York, offering commentary on the results along with other pundits and comedians at a forum organized by Foreign Policy magazine. I was nervous in the afternoon but was reassured by rumors that the exit polls showed a Clinton victory. I was on stage, chatting with the other panelists, when around 8 p.m. I saw my partner, Sue, growing increasingly agitated across the room. She kept looking at her phone and getting more upset. I sneaked out my own phone and saw what was disturbing her— the New York Times had just moved Florida into Trump’s column. It now looked as if he had a path to victory. As the night wore on, swing state after swing state went for Trump. Clinton went from the odds- on favorite to an increasing long shot.
By the time Sue and I got home to our apartment on the Upper West Side at 10 p.m. or so, it was obvious that the unthinkable was about to become the inevitable: Donald Trump was going to be elected the 45th president of the United States. A friend came over from the Clinton election- night party at the Javits Center; she was crying and in shock. I swilled a Scotch and took some sleeping pills— something I don’t normally do— and tried to sleep. And, yes, I know you’re not supposed to combine sedatives with alcohol, but you’re also not supposed to elect a bigoted bully as president of the United States. This was a day for disregarding the rules. Even with chemical inducements, however, my sleep was fretful and disturbed because I knew that I would awaken to a nightmare. My America had become Trump’s America. My Republican Party had become Trump’s party. My conservative movement had become Trump’s movement.
The first thing I did the next morning— the dawn of what I felt was a new annus horribilis— was to go online and change my voter registration. I had been a Republican since turning eighteen just before the 1988 presidential election. Now, at the age of forty- seven, I became an independent. Politics is a team sport. Suddenly I was without a team. I was politically homeless. In an instant I felt alienated from some of my oldest friends and fellow travelers— conservatives with whom I had been in one fight after another over the past quarter- century. How was it possible that 90 percent of Republicans had supported a charlatan who had only recently been a Democrat and who had few fixed convictions outside of narcissism and nativism, racism and sexism? My sense of alienation has only deepened as I have watched the Trump presidency in action. No other president has been more hostile to the values of conservatism as I conceived it.
Conservatism, American- style, means different things to different people. There is, after all, an inherent tension in advocating a conservative vision in a liberal society in which social, economic, and technological change is constant. American conservatism is very different from the kind of “blood and soil” conservatism that has long been characteristic of Europe. Continental conservatism is chauvinistic and pessimistic; American conservatism is optimistic and inclusive. For me, conservatism means prudent and incremental policymaking based on empirical study; support for American global leadership and American allies; a strong defense and a willingness to oppose the enemies of freedom; respect for character, community, personal virtue, and family; limited government and fiscal prudence; freedom of opportunity rather than equality of outcome; a social safety net big enough to help the neediest but small enough to avoid stifling individual initiative, enterprise, and social mobility; individual liberty to the greatest extent possible consistent with public safety; freedom of speech and of the press; immigration and assimilation; and colorblindness and racial integration. Looming above them all are two documents that I revere, as should every American. The Declaration of Independence defines the United States as a nation bound together not by shared heritage or blood but rather by a shared belief in the “self- evident” truths “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The “pursuit of Happiness” is a critical concept, putting personal freedom at the center of our political enterprise. While the Declaration lays out the goals of self- government, the Constitution defines how we can achieve them. It protects our liberties, limits the government’s power, and ensures that the rule of law prevails. We honor, defend, and respect the Constitution, and the offices, laws, and norms that derive from it. All Americans, of all political persuasions, are expected to defer to the Constitution, but it should be of particular concern to conservatives who proclaim their desire to conserve what makes America great.
That, to me, is American conservatism. That is what I believe. Those are the ideas I have tried to advance as a writer and commentator. To judge by his words and actions, Trump does not understand or believe in a single one of these principles. Yet he remains wildly popular among Republicans and conservatives. When 2016 began I could hardly find a Republican who had anything positive to say about Trump. By the beginning of 2018 it was hard to find a Republican who had anything negative to say about him— at least in public.
How can this be? Did I not understand all along what American conservatism was all about? Did I miss essential features that Trump had discerned and used to his benefit? Or had conservatism morphed under the magnetic pull of Trump’s outsized personality to become something very different from the movement I had grown up in?
The modern conservative movement was inspired by Barry Goldwater’s canonical text from 1960, The Conscience of a Conservative.4 I believed in that movement, and served it my whole life, but under the pressure of Trumpism, conservatism as I understood it has been corroding— and so has my faith in the movement. Hence this book’s title. I am perceiving ugly truths about America and about conservatism that other people had long seen but I had turned a blind eye to. I no longer like to call myself a conservative, a label that has become virtually synonymous with Trump toady. I now prefer to think of myself as a classical liberal.
I would like to be able to quote Ronald Reagan’s quip when he became a Republican— “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me”— but in truth my beliefs are shifting because of the rise of Trumpism and other contemporary developments such as the failure of the Iraq invasion, the Great Recession of 2008– 2009, the #MeToo movement, and the spread of police videotapes revealing violent racism. My ideology has come into conflict with reality— and reality is winning. I have undertaken a painful and difficult intellectual journey, leaving behind many of the simple verities that I clung to for decades as a “movement” conservative. I am now forced to think for myself, and that is not an easy thing to do. But given the epochal events that have shaken America, this self- reflection is necessary, indeed overdue. I only wish more conservatives were willing to engage in similar self- examination instead of resorting to glib insults of “libtards” and “snowflakes” or reflexive defenses of the man who has usurped their party.
I am no longer a Republican, but I am not a Democrat either. I am a man without a party. This is a record of my ideological journey so far— and of my attempts to come to grips, honestly and unflinchingly, with the phenomenon known as Trumpism. The question that haunts me is: Did I somehow contribute to the rise of this dark force in American life with my advocacy for conservatism?
Whatever the case, I am now convinced that the Republican Party must suffer repeated and devastating defeats. It must pay a heavy price for its embrace of white nationalism and know- nothingism. Only if the GOP as currently constituted is burned to the ground will there be any chance to build a reasonable center- right political party out of the ashes.
How did we get to the point where I— a lifelong Republican— now wish ill fortune upon my erstwhile party? To find the answer, I invite you to turn the page with me, literally as well as figuratively.
What follows is not a full- blown memoir or autobiography. But to make you understand why I— and other #NeverTrump conservatives, all too few in number— feel such a strong sense of betrayal at the hands of Trump and his Republican Party, it is important for you to understand how I became a conservative in the first place and what it felt like to be a conservative in the heyday of the movement. My history, I feel, can help the reader to make sense of late- twentieth- century conservatism— now, in the early twenty- first century, practically unrecognizable. I take the story up to the present day, explaining why I left the Republican Party because of my profound opposition to Trump, how Trump continues to traduce conservative principles, and what the future holds for me and other conservatives who cannot imagine being members of a Trumpista party. Put another way, this is a tale of first love, marriage, growing disenchantment, and, eventually, a heartbreaking divorce. Today we are locked in a bitter custody battle over the future of the Republican Party: Will it return to its previous principles or will it remain forever a populist, white- nationalist movement in the image of Donald Trump?
This book, I strongly suspect, will infuriate many of my old comrades on the right who will conclude that I have gone soft in the head or sold out my beliefs to gain popular acceptance in liberal circles. I, in turn, am convinced that they are the ones who have gone off the rails by embracing a demagogue who seems to equate bigotry with conservatism. There is a gulf between us that cannot be bridged, at least not while Trump is still in office. Likewise, what follows is unlikely to satisfy the hard left. No matter how strongly I come out against Trump and his hateful works, I find it is never enough for the most doctrinaire leftists who seem to think that no step short, perhaps, of ritual suicide will atone for my “war crimes,” which upon closer examination seem to consist of supporting an invasion of Iraq that was backed by bipartisan majorities in both houses.
This book is not addressed to the far left or the far right. It is written with the center- left and the center- right in mind. My hope is that my ideological odyssey will inspire others— that I can be part of a larger, bipartisan movement in America toward greater moderation and civility in our politics. Or, if that doesn’t happen, and if the present trend toward extremism continues, I will at least register my dissent in the strongest terms I know.
I love America. I am devoted to conservative principles. I want to defend what I hold dear when I see it under unprecedented attack from within— with the greatest threat posed by a man at the very pinnacle of power. This is how I became a conservative and why I no longer feel part of a movement whose betrayal of its principles is abhorrent to me.
Excerpted from The CORROSION OF CONSERVATISM by Max Book. Copyright © 2018 by Max Boot. Used with permission of the publisher, Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Washington Post: “Opinion: The dark side of American conservatism has taken over” — “You know how, after you watch a movie with a surprise ending, you sometimes replay the plot in your head to find the clues you missed the first time around? That’s what I’ve been doing lately with the history of conservatism — a movement I had been part of since my teenage days as a conservative columnist at the University of California at Berkeley in the early 1990s. In the decades since, I have written for numerous conservative publications and served as a foreign policy adviser to three Republican presidential candidates. It would be nice to think that Donald Trump is an anomaly who came out of nowhere to take over an otherwise sane and sober movement. But it just isn’t so.
“Upon closer examination, it’s obvious that the history of modern conservative is permeated with racism, extremism, conspiracy-mongering, isolationism and know-nothingism. I disagree with progressives who argue that these disfigurations define the totality of conservatism; conservatives have also espoused high-minded principles that I still believe in, and the bigotry on the right appeared to be ameliorating in recent decades. But there has always been a dark underside to conservatism that I chose for most of my life to ignore. It’s amazing how little you can see when your eyes are closed!
Mother Jones: “‘We Need to Destroy the Republican Party’: A Conservative Luminary Calls for a Clean Start” — “In his new book, ‘The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right,’ Max Boot goes further than the handful of other prominent Republicans who have stood against Donald Trump and reconsiders the conservative movement writ large. He sat down to discuss his epiphany with Washington bureau chief David Corn for the Mother Jones Podcast.”
This program aired on October 11, 2018. Audio will be available soon.


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