Jonathan Alter is an award-winning author, reporter, columnist, radio host and television producer and analyst. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers: “The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies”(2013), “The Promise: President Obama, Year One” (2010) and “The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope (2006), also one of the Times’ “Notable Books” of the year. Since 1996, Alter has been an analyst and contributing correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC, appearing on-air two or three times a week.

After 28 years as a columnist and senior editor at Newsweek, where he wrote more than 50 cover stories, Alter is now a twice-monthly columnist for the Daily Beast and the co-host, with his wife, Emily Lazar, and two of his children, Charlotte Alter and Tommy Alter, of “Alter Family Politics,” which airs Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. on RadioAndy on SiriusXM, 102. He has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Esquire, Bloomberg View and other publications.

He is an executive producer of “Alpha House,” a 21-episode half-hour political comedy created by Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman that is available for viewing on Amazon.com. He is at work on a full-length biography of former President Jimmy Carter and is co-directing a HBO documentary about the lives of legendary journalists Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill.

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Today’s Currency

Trump-Russia Isn’t About the Cover-Up. It’s About the Crime.

In Watergate, it was the cover-up, not the crime. But in Russiagate, that stands to be turned on its head. We already know a lot—and we can be sure Mueller knows more.

Source: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-russia-isnt-about-the-cover-up-its-about-the-crime

Recall the Watergate cliché that the cover-up is worse than the crime. That may have been true then. While it was never established that President Nixon knew in advance about the break-in at the Watergate complex, he was forced to resign after proof emerged that he used the CIA to obstruct the FBI investigation.

In the Russia scandal, special counsel Robert Mueller has credible proof of obstruction of justice—i.e., the cover-up. But in a highly politicized climate, where “memos” and insults are weapons of distraction, that won’t likely be enough. Even if Democrats take control of Congress in November, most Republicans—like most juries in run-of-the-mill criminal cases—will demand significant evidence of an underlying crime as a motive for the obstruction before turning on President Trump, much less voting in the Senate to remove him from office.

Read more at the link above… 

The Death of Newsweek

The U.S. is losing something as the publication disintegrates—a magazine with guts and heart.

JONATHAN ALTER   https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/memorializing-newsweek/552647/)

Newsweek is in the news—raided by the police last month as part of a probe into the owners’ shady finances, then subjected to a crude purge on Monday, when the owners sacked the editors and reporters who tried to write about the scandal. This was the cinematic coda to a decade of collapse. Whatever its shortcomings, the country lost something with the demise of classic Newsweek—a magazine with guts and heart.

After years of survivable financial struggles, the magazine—founded in 1933—cratered with the economy in 2008, was sold by the Washington Post Co. for $1 in 2010, and sold again in 2013 by Barry Diller’s IAC to a shadowy company called International Business Times. In the last five years, Newsweek produced some strong journalism and plenty of clickbait before becoming a painful embarrassment to anyone who toiled there in its golden age. Matt Cooper, who also worked at the old Newsweek, resigned from the latest incarnation Monday with a letter saying that in three decades in journalism, “I’ve never seen more reckless leadership.” Ed Kosner, editor in the late 1970s, wrote on Facebook Tuesday, “Time to begin always making the distinction between our Real Newsweek of sainted memory and this shameful Fake Newsweek.”

I went to work at Newsweek 35 years ago last month. Sometime in the early 1990s, when I wasn’t yet 40, the Village Voice joked that I’d have to be carried out prone—and they weren’t far wrong. I stayed for nearly three decades as a national-affairs writer, media critic, and political columnist. Many of my colleagues also worked there for the better part of their lives—unheard of nowadays. We bitched a lot but loved the place. Journalists are sometimes compared to the horses in Black Beauty—all we want is a nice master, a little hay to lie down on, and a sugar cube once in a while. We got that and a lot more from Katharine Graham, now immortalized by Meryl Streep in the film The Post, who until her death in 2001 was the best proprietor imaginable. While more publicly identified with The Washington Post, she would hold monthly editorial lunches at our plush headquarters at 444 Madison Avenue (and later 251 W. 57th) in New York, where travel and expense accounts were generous and even researchers often had their own offices.

Read more at the link above…

 It’s Time to Censure Trump for ‘Conduct Unbecoming’ of a President
There is a way to punish President Trump for his ignorant, racist words without resorting to impeachment. He should be censured by Congress.

Source:  https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-epitomizes-conduct-unbecoming-a-presidentwill-congress-step-up-and-say-so

On Dec. 28, Army Pvt. Emmanuel Mensah rushed twice into a burning building in the Bronxand rescued four people. On his third trip in, he died. Mensah was from Ghana, one of President Trump’s “shithole countries.”

Trump’s comment was racist: He was referring only to countries with dark-skinned people. That makes the Fox News blowhards who endorse it racists, too. 

It was stupid: We need the help of those nations to fight terrorism and pursue other national interests. Trump just did another huge favor for China, which is already moving aggressively in Africa.

And it was un-American: Immigrants from dysfunctional countries, including those like Trump’s grandfather, who came from impoverished Germany in 1886, built the United States. You can look it up.

Another thing to research: Article 133 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. All senior U.S. military personnel—including women— are subject to a court martial for “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.” Such conduct includes dishonest, indecent, cruel and dishonorable acts. Article 133 charges require no proof of law-breaking. They can be brought for merely “indecorous” behavior, which means acting like an asinine ignoramus.

If the commander in chief were down a few rungs in the chain of command, he would have been court-martialed months ago for “conduct unbecoming,” just as President Clinton would have been court-martialed in 1998 for having sex with a White House intern. It goes without saying that if either president were a mere CEO of a publicly traded corporation, he would have been tossed out on his ear.

But just because the president can’t be impeached (at least not yet), court-martialed or fired doesn’t mean he can’t be punished. It’s time to stop wringing our hands. There are remedies that lie between removal from office and doing nothing.

Source: How CPR saved a young woman’s life (it could save yours, too) – TODAY.com
Only 10 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside a hospital survive. Molly Alter became one of them on her last day of high school, thanks to a classmate, and now she’s sharing her story…Read more at the link above…

Alter Books For Sale

The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies


“Jonathan Alter’s “The Center Holds” offers an elegant, intelligent, crisply constructed account of President Obama’s second two years in the White House and his quiet march to a second term. It will be required reading for any serious student of the Obama presidency, present or future.” The Washington Post

The Promise: President Obama, Year One


“Gives us a new perspective on the 44th president by providing a detailed look at his decision-making. . .and a keen sense of what it’s like to work in his White House. Alter uses his considerable access to the president and his aides to give us an informed look at No. 44’s management style.” Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope


“Alter’s account has a refreshing buoyancy, not unlike its protagonist…describing Roosevelt’s missteps as honestly as his triumphs, it succeeds in bringing a remarkable man back to life.” Ted Widmer, The New York Times Book Review

Between the Lines: A View Inside American Politics, People, and Culture


“A journalist, rather than a pundit, Alter made sure he had the best seat in the house for the transformation of the political and media worlds over the past three decades, and he has recorded those changes with his trademark wisdom and humanity.” Jeffrey Toobin