Who is Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Pick Neil Gorsuch?

by Ian Millhiser – What you need to know about Trump’s extraordinarily conservative nominee for the Supreme Court. Judge Neil Gorsuch is Republican nobility — the son of Anne Gorsuch Burford, who spent her brief tenure as President Reagan’s EPA administrator cutting staff and gutting anti-pollution regulations before resigning amidst scandal. More than three decades after his mother’s resignation, Gorsuch now has the opportunity to wage an even more wide-ranging crusade against federal regulation. Gorsuch is President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court seat Senate Republicans held open until Trump could fill it. And his record suggests that he will become big business’ dream justice. In a 2016 lecture at Case Western Reserve law school, Gorsuch spoke of his profound admiration for the conservative jurist Trump tapped him to replace, Justice Antonin Scalia. When Gorsuch learned of Scalia’s death, “I was taking a breather in the middle of a ski run with little on...

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Experts on Authoritarianism say Trump’s Presidency is Getting Even Worse

by Justin Salhani – One scholar described Steve Bannon’s role in the administration as “pretty terrifying.” Donald Trump has been president for just over a week, and experts on authoritarianism are already expressing serious concern about a number of policy decisions and executive orders made by the new administration. After a few eventful days filled with new executive orders, ThinkProgress followed up last week’s survey of academics with some new questions for America’s authoritarianism scorecard. Here’s what they said: President Trump is disturbingly similar to candidate Trump. Robert Paxton, the Mellon Professor Emeritus of Social Science at Columbia University: “It’s hard to say we are on track to establish a fascist dictatorship. Alternative forces are still there. Though there’s not much doubt of the desire of Trump to govern as dictator.” Sheri Berman, a political scientist at Barnard College: “I watched interview. I don’t understand why I’m still stunned,...

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Jeff Sessions Once Praised Sally Yates for the Trait that got her Fired

by Alan Pyke – Donald Trump’s would-be Attorney General complimented his predecessor for saying she wouldn’t comply with illegal demands. When Sally Yates decided the law does not support President Donald Trump’s travel ban for Muslim-majority countries and instructed Department of Justice officials not to defend it in court, Trump was angry enough to fire her. In the White House statement blasting her for it and announcing her replacement, administration officials also urged the Senate to swiftly confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as the next Attorney General. But at Yates’ 2015 confirmation hearing, Sessions himself pressed her to agree that the DOJ has a responsibility to resist White House actions that are unlawful. Watch: “Do you think the Attorney General has a responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something improper?” Sessions asked. “f the views a president wants to execute are unlawful, should the Attorney General or...

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Over 1,700,000 Sign UK Petition Against Trump—then House of Commons Jumps in and Pummels Him

by Leslie Salzillo – The massive protest against Donald Trump’s Muslim and Syrian refugee ban, that exploded across the country Friday night, has made its way across the pond to thousands in the UK who also took to the streets. The predominant protest is against Trump’s Muslim ban itself, but there are also protests against Prime Minister Theresa May and how she handled her visit with Trump last week, some suspecting she was aware of the upcoming ban as she held his tiny hands. And there are protests against Trump’s upcoming trip to the UK for an official state visit. Masses of people simply want no part of him, and especially do not want him to be received by the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Here is a short 2 ½-minute video of some of the UK street protests against Trump: Nicola Slawson with The Guardian reports an online petition calling for Donald Trump to be...

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The GOP Effort to Repeal and Replace Obamacare Isn’t Going Very Well

by Peter Suderman – New polls show the health law’s popularity rising as Republicans struggle to come up with a plan. Republicans have finally figured out how to do something that President Obama never managed: make Obamacare more popular. The trick, it seems, is threatening to repeal it. Throughout Obama’s presidency, the health law struggled in the court of public opinion, with nearly every poll showing that more people opposed the law than supported it. Now several recent polls show the law rising in popularity as Republicans begin the process of unwinding it. Approval ratings for the health law rose from 41 percent at the beginning of the year to 47 percent at the end of January, according to a Morning Consult poll released this morning. That tracks with an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released earlier this month, which found that 45 percent of the public thinks that the law...

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Trump and Bannon’s “America First”

by Robert Reich – Donald Trump has reorganized the National Security Council – elevating his chief political strategist Steve Bannon, and demoting the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Bannon will join the NSC’s principals committee, the top inter-agency group advising the President on national security. Meanwhile, the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will now attend meetings only when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed,” according to the presidential memorandum issued Saturday. Political strategists have never before participated in National Security Council principals meetings because the NSC is supposed to give presidents nonpartisan, factual advice. But forget facts. Forget analysis. This is the Trump administration. And what does Bannon have to bring to the table? In case you forgot, before joining Donald Trump’s inner circle Bannon headed Breitbart News, a far-right...

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Suspect Detained in Deadly Quebec Mosque Shooting (VIDEO)

by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours – Canadian police detain one man as Muslim leaders call for greater protection of their community after shooting attack. Canadian police have said only one of two men initially detained in connection to a Quebec City  mosque shooting – which killed six people – is now considered a suspect. The second man, who was initially reported as a second suspect, was now considered a witness, provincial police said on Monday. Authorities did not provide additional information about the identity of the suspect, or about the possible motive behind the shooting that left six worshippers dead and at least eight wounded at the Islamic Cultural Centre. Another 12 people attending evening prayers sustained minor wounds, according to a local hospital spokesperson. The attack shocked people across Canada and sent ripples through the country’s Muslim community. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, condemned the shooting as a “terrorist attack on Muslims in a...

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Democrats Boycott Hearings of Two Cabinet Nominees (VIDEO)

by Laurel Raymond – Republicans, meanwhile, labelled the action “unprecedented” obstructionism. Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee are boycotting the confirmation vote on President Donald Trump’s nominees Steve Mnuchin, for Treasury Secretary, and Tom Price, for Secretary of Health and Human Services. The boycott means that Democrats have delayed the confirmation vote of these two Trump nominees. Democrats don’t have enough votes to block Trump’s nominees — they can be confirmed with a simple majority alone, which Republicans have the numbers for. But the committee can’t vote without a quorum, and that requires at least some Senate Democrats to attend. Democrats said they were motivated to blocking the vote by reports in recent days that contradict the nominees’ sworn testimony before the committees. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) specifically said that Trump’s nominees had lied to senators in their confirmation hearings. “We’re not going to this committee today because we want the committee to...

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FOX News Quickly Reports on Moroccan Muslim ‘Suspect’ in Mosque Shooting—it was a White Nationalist

by Walter Einenkel – When a suspect or suspects were originally being reported as having been captured by Canadian police, Fox News quickly went to work doing what they do best—lying and being hateful. Fox News  ✔@FoxNews Suspect in Quebec mosque terror attack was of Moroccan origin, reports show http://fxn.ws/2k9is8W  12:31 PM – 30 Jan 2017 This was based on early reports confusing the person who called the police with the person murdering Muslims in was Muslim and from Morocco. This turned into reports that there were two suspects, the Muslim from Morocco, and a white nationalist. Sean Spicer did what Fox News does. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer exploited the attack to justify President Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. “It’s a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the President is taking steps to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to our nation’s safety...

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Monday Night Massacre as Trump Fires Acting AG and Replaces ICE Director

by Jon Queally – Calling refusal to enforce Muslim ban a “betrayal,” Republican president fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and also replaces Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) tweeted: Democratic lawmakers were among those quick to condemn President Trump. With a reference to the Saturday Night Massacre that took place during the Watergate scandal under President Richard Nixon, the hashtag #MondayNightMassacre came alive on Monday night after President Donald Trump fired acting Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and accused her of “betrayal” for refusing to enforce a controversial immigration order targeting Muslims and refugees. At the same time, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) John Kelly, announced in a statement that Daniel Ragsdale, the acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was being replaced  by Thomas D. Homan. Less than an hour after the ACLU congratulated Yates on Monday...

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Keystone XL Opponents Promise Trump a Mass Mobilization ‘On a Scale Never Seen’

by Deirdre Fulton – Trump “declared war on indigenous nations”—and now they’re ready to fight back. With his order to revive the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, President Donald Trump “has declared war on Indigenous nations across the country,” one Cheyenne River Sioux organizer said Monday. But he’ll be met by a fierce native resistance movement that “will not back down,” said the organizer, Joye Braun, on a press call organized by the Indigenous Environmental Movement (IEN). Trump signed executive orders last week advancing the controversial KXL and Dakota Access (DAPL) pipelines, prompting widespread outrage and vows of bold resistance from the Indigenous activists, climate campaigners, and countless others who have fought against both projects. What that opposition will look like came into sharper focus on Monday. “Make no mistake: resistance to the toxic Keystone XL pipeline will only grow stronger,” declared Dallas Goldtooth, IEN’s Keep it in the Ground organizer. “We...

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On This Day, Jan, 31, 1917 – Germany Announces Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

1917 – Germany announced its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. As early as 1915, Admiral von Pohl had wanted neutral shipping in the so-called ‘war zone’ (the English Channel and the rest of the water around the United Kingdom that then included the whole of the Irish coastline) attacked. He believed that the sinking of a few neutral merchant ships at the start of a campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare would be enough to scare off most ships from trading with Britain. However, on this occasion Pohl was not listened to for two reasons. The first was that the U-boat fleet was simply not big enough to execute a successful campaign against the numerous merchant ships that sailed around the British coast as in February 1915, there were only 21 U-boats available in total. At times only 4 U-boats patrolled the British coastline as some were in for repairs...

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How to Cut Infrastructure Costs in Half

by Ellen Brown – Americans could save $1 trillion over 10 years by financing infrastructure through publicly-owned banks like the one that has long been operating in North Dakota. President Donald Trump has promised to rebuild America’s airports, bridges, tunnels, roads and other infrastructure, something both Democrats and Republicans agree should be done. The country needs a full $3 trillion in infrastructure over the next decade. The $1 trillion plan revealed by Trump’s economic advisers relies heavily on public-private partnerships, and private equity firms are lining up for these plumbing investments. In the typical private equity water deal, for example, higher user rates help the firms earn annual returns of anywhere from 8 to 18 percent – more even than a regular for-profit water company might expect. But the price tag can come as a rude surprise for local ratepayers. Private equity investment now generates an average return of about 11.8%...

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Donald Trump’s Demolition Derby

by BILL MOYERS – In just a few days, Donald Trump seems to have set out to wreck government and turn over the remains to his plutocrat friends. We’re a week into the Trump administration and it’s pretty obvious what he’s up to. First, Donald Trump is running a demolition derby: He wants to demolish everything he doesn’t like, and he doesn’t like a lot, especially when it comes to government. Like one of those demolition drivers on a speedway, he keeps ramming his vehicle against all the others, especially government policies and programs and agencies that protect people who don’t have his wealth, power or privilege. Affordable health care for working people? Smash it. Consumer protection against predatory banks and lenders? Run over it. Rules and regulations that rein in rapacious actors in the market? Knock ‘em down. Fair pay for working people? Crush it. And on and on. Trump...

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Drug Distributors Penalized For Turning Blind Eye In Opioid Epidemic

by Charles Ornstein – The middlemen between drug companies and pharmacies have been hit recently with fines for their role in not calling out suspicious transactions. “They’re like the quarterback. They distribute the ball,” a former DEA supervisor said. As the toll of the opioid epidemic grows, scores of doctors have lost their licenses and some have gone to prison. Pharmacies are being sued and shuttered. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are under investigation and face new rules from regulators. But penalties against companies that serve as middlemen between drug companies and pharmacies have been relatively scarce — until recently. In the past month, two major drug distributors, also known as wholesalers, have formally agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle claims that they failed to report suspicious orders for controlled substances to the Drug Enforcement Administration, as required by law. McKesson Corp., the largest such company in the U.S., last week agreed...

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Ex-Breitbart Alt-Nazi Promoter Steve Bannon is Author of Trump’s Executive Orders

by Frank Vyan Walton – Steve Bannon has no previous government experience.  Steve Bannon is not an attorney.  But Steve Bannon is apparently now the author of the fiats from on high  that are tumbling out of the Trump White House like a pile of rocks smashing their way down a hill. Two of Donald Trump’s senior advisors — neither of whom has any previous government or legal experience — have reportedly been writing executive orders without any input from the agencies they would affect. Aides told Politico that Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and Stephen Miller, the senior White House advisor for policy, have made almost no effort to consult with federal agency lawyers or lawmakers as they wrote executive orders. Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart, and Miller, a Republican political operative who’s written most of Trump’s major speeches, are writing many of the orders based on ideas...

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Trump Creates ‘Constitutional Crisis’ as Travel Ban Enforced in Defiance of Court Orders

by Nika Knight – ‘We have a constitutional crisis today’ Chaos reigns in the wake of President Donald Trump’s sweeping executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world. No fewer than five courts have issued emergency stays limiting the order’s power since Saturday. The most far-reaching court decision, issued Sunday morning by Judge Allison Burroughs and Magistrate Judge Judith Dein in Massachusetts, goes so far as to call for a total halt to detentions of anyone targeted by the travel ban. Yet agents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) on Sunday defied the judiciary and continued to enforce Trump’s travel ban, despite immigration lawyers and even members of Congress pleading with them to enforce the federal courts’ decision. “Rogue Customs and Border Patrol agents continue to try to get people on to planes,” International Refugee Assistance Project director...

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Congress Is Opening the Door to ‘Alternative Facts’ in Budget Policy

by Harry Stein – Shortly after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway claimed that false statements coming from the White House were actually “alternative facts.” The new administration’s disregard for the truth is concerning on many levels, but it is particularly problematic for sound budget policy, which requires an honest evaluation of the cost of new legislation and the nation’s overall fiscal health. Data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, is the main bulwark against false budget information. But lawmakers can always choose to use misinformation instead of CBO data. Moreover, if Congress follows through on its apparent plans to pass temporary tax and health measures, the resulting fiscal ambiguity will also make CBO data more nebulous. A lack of clarity in CBO data makes it easier for dishonest politicians to claim their fiscal falsehoods are actually just alternative facts. President Barack Obama took office...

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How the Last “Voter Fraud” Investigation Took Down GOP Atty-Gen Alberto Gonzales. NYT “Must-read.”

by FischFry – A few days ago, I wrote a diary about the announcement of the investigation of so-called “voter fraud.” I was responding to some well-voiced concerns that the ‘investigation’ would lead to unprecedented voter suppression. My thesis was that I thought it was more likely that this would blow up in the GOP’s face — or, at most, end in a dull thud. That diary disappeared quickly with little comment. I won’t steer you there (really I won’t, but the link is here) but I do want you to check out a new piece in The New York Times, that reviews the “U.S. Attorney Firings” scandal, which recalls the last time a GOP President demanded an investigation into what were bogus voting fraud reports. In an Op-Ed piece — Voting Fraud Inquiry? The Investigators Got Burned Last Time — Michael Waldman traces the history of this hunt for voting unicorns. W’s first A-G, John Ashcroft,...

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On This Day, Jan 30, 1798 – First Brawl Breaks Out on House Floor

1798 – The first brawl in the U.S. House of Representatives took place. Congressmen Matthew Lyon and Roger Griswold fought on the House floor. On the morning of February 15, 1798, pandemonium broke out on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Without warning, Federalist Representative Roger Griswold of Connecticut strode across the chambers to where his colleague Matthew Lyon was sitting preoccupied with some correspondence. Cursing him as a “scoundrel,” Griswold pounded the Vermont Republican’s head and shoulders with a thick, hickory walking stick. Federalist Representative George Thacher of Massachusetts witnessed and later recalled the attack: “I was suddenly, and unsuspectedly interrupted by the sound of a violent blow I raised my head, & directly before me stood Mr. Griswald laying on blows with all his mightupon Mr. Lyon, who seemed to be in the act of rising out of his seat Lyon made an...

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Trump Gives Steve Bannon a Seat on the National Security Council

by Natasha Geiling – He also downgraded the roles of the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In an executive order issued Saturday, President Trump added his chief strategist Steve Bannon to the National Security Council, while limiting the role military and intelligence leaders play on the panel. The director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will now only attend meetings of the National Security Council’s principals committee — the meetings of the most senior national security officials — when the business at hand directly their “responsibilities and expertise.” According to the Washington Post, both were regular attendees at all meetings of the principals committee under President Obama and President George W. Bush. Bannon, on the other hand, will be allowed to attend all meetings of the principals committee. That gives Bannon — the former executive chairman of Breitbart, a website that promotes white nationalism — extraordinary...

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On This Day, Jan. 29, 1886 – Karl Benz Patents First Gas-Powered Car

1886 – The first successful petrol-driven motorcar, built by Karl Benz, was patented. Benz’s lifelong hobby brought him to a bicycle repair shop in Mannheim owned by Max Rose and Friedrich Wilhelm Eßlinger. In 1883, the three founded a new company producing industrial machines: Benz & Company Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik, usually referred to as, Benz & Cie. Quickly growing to twenty-five employees, it soon began to produce static gas engines as well. The success of the company gave Benz the opportunity to indulge in his old passion of designing a horseless carriage. Based on his experience with, and fondness for, bicycles, he used similar technology when he created an automobile. It featured wire wheels (unlike carriages’ wooden ones) with a four-stroke engine of his own design between the rear wheels, with a very advanced coil ignition and evaporative cooling rather than a radiator. Power was transmitted by means of two roller...

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World Leaders Condemn Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ (VIDEO)

Politicians, rights groups and activists criticise Trump’s crackdown on refugees from Muslim-majority countries. European leaders, the United Nations and international groups have condemned US President Donald Trump’s measures against refugees and travellers from several Muslim-majority countries. The chorus of criticism came as passport holders from Arab countries were blocked on Saturday from passing through customs at US airports and others were prevented from boarding US-bound planes. Is Donald Trump’s agenda symbolic? Trump on Friday signed an executive order that will curb immigration and the entry of refugees from some Muslim-majority countries. He separately said he wanted the US to give priority to Syrian Christians fleeing the civil war there. The bans, though temporary, took effect immediately, causing havoc and confusion for would-be travelers with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The United Nations refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration called on the Trump...

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Your Turn: Living with Obamacare

by KARIN KAMP – For some the Affordable Care Act is hardly affordable, but for many it’s a lifesaver. Within hours of his inauguration, President Donald Trump made good on his promise to start repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), signing an executive order, his first, that targets the law. Trump’s directive gives federal agencies “authority to grant waivers, exemptions and delays of provisions in the Affordable Care Act,” according to the Associated Press. For now, it’s not clear how it will impact Americans and their health insurance. Trump has promised to make repealing and replacing the ACA a top priority for his first 100 days in office, claiming that “Obamacare has been a catastrophic event.” At least 18 million people who have insurance today would lose their coverage within one year, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, if Republicans move forward with their plan to repeal...

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Opposition Gathers Steam as Trump Readies Conservative Pick for Supreme Court

by Andrea Germanos – Vacancy left by Scalia could have been filled by Obama’s pick had Republicans not blockaded the effort. With Republicans having blocked the nomination of former President Barack Obama’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, President Donald Trump is now ready to offer up his choice for the seat left vacant for nearly a year since the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump said on Twitter Wednesday morning that he’d make his choice on Thursday of next week, Feb. 2. The contenders are three federal appeals court judges: Neil Gorsuch of the Denver-based 10th Circuit; Thomas Hardiman of the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit (where the president’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, serves); and William Pryor of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit. Pryor, the New York Times writes, “is a protégé of Senator Jeff Sessions,” Trump’s contentious pick for attorney general. CNN describes Pryor as “a dream candidate for...

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Orwell’s “1984” Now No. 1 Bestseller After Trump Team Coins Term ‘Alternative Facts’

by: Jack Burns / The Free Thought Project – After Trump’s Senior advisor used the term “alternative facts,” the world responded by buying 1984 books to research ‘newspeak’. When it comes to presidential inaugurations, size matters, particularly to the Trump administration. Obama’s was bigger than Trump’s, at least in the number of attendees who were physically present on Capitol Hill for the festivities. The firestorm of controversy began between the administration’s press secretary Sean Spicer and members of the mainstream media as they clashed over published reports indicating Trump’s inauguration was poorly attended. But it’s how Trump’s advisor and former campaign chair Kellyanne Conway reacted to the controversy that has the news and social media abuzz today with references to George Orwell’s famous work entitled “1984.” In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday, Conway was asked to comment on one of Spicer’s fallacious claims, the most controversial of which was...

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On This Day, Jan. 28, 1521 – Diet Of Worms Opens to Deal with Martin Luther

“The third kind consists of those books which I have written against private individuals, so-called; against those, that is, who have exerted themselves in defense of the Roman tyranny and to the overthrow of that piety which I have taught. I confess that I have been more harsh against them than befits my religious vows and my profession. For I do not make myself out to be any kind of saint, nor am I now contending about my conduct but about Christian doctrine. But it is not in my power to recant them, because that recantation would give that tyranny and blasphemy and occasion to lord it over those whom I defend and to rage against God’s people more violently than ever.” – Martin Luther 1521 – The Diet of Worms began. Diet of Worms opened with a papal brief requesting Charles V to do his duty, arrest Martin...

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A Radical Expansion of Sanctuary: Steps in Defiance of Trump’s Executive Order

by Marisa Franco, Truthout | Op-Ed – A moment of stinging clarity is now upon us. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to set in motion the process of building a wall along the US-Mexico border, stripping federal funding from sanctuary cities, increasing the size of US Border Patrol forces and increasing deportations. In response, we must plunge even more urgently into the hard local work of building sanctuary. A year ago, my team at #Not1More Deportation and I drafted this reflection on the nature of sanctuary: We are from a lineage of our community who made a way when there was no way, who provided political and spiritual cover so the rest of us could come ahead …. When we seek to enter movement, and we converge, these spaces, they are sacred, because they are a form of sanctuary. Sanctuary is a spiritual stance. Sanctuary says: oppression is trying...

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UN Ambassador Haley Lashes Out at US Allies

by Nika Knight – Nikki Haley, confirmed as United Nations ambassador just three days ago, tells U.S. allies that “we’re taking names”. New United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley arrived at U.N. headquarters in New York City for the first time Friday, and wasted no time in lashing out at the international community and U.S. allies. The former South Carolina governor, confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday, declared: “Our goal with the administration is to show value at the U.N., and the way that we’ll show value is to show strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies, and make sure that our allies have our back, as well.” Ominously, Haley added, “For those that don’t have our back, we’re taking names—we will make points to respond to that accordingly.” Haley also appeared to threaten a shake-up of the U.S. relationship to the U.N., in keeping with the Trump administration’s...

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Mikhail Gorbachev: Appears ‘The World Is Preparing for War’

by Andrea Germanos – ‘Wars must be outlawed, because none of the global problems we are facing can be resolved by war,’ writes former Soviet leader. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that it appears “as if the world is preparing for war.” Writing in an op-ed published Thursday at TIME magazine, Gorbachev, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his role in ending the Cold War, writes that the most pressing problem facing the world is “the militarization of politics and the new arms race.” State budgets, he continues, claim austerity to sacrifice social spending, but easily back funding for weapons of war. At the same time, he writes of the buildup on Russia’s borders: “NATO and Russian forces and weapons” are now in close proximity “as if to shoot point-blank.” He continues: Politicians and military leaders sound increasingly belligerent and defense doctrines more dangerous. Commentators and...

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Here’s What’s Psychologically Wrong With Donald Trump

by Karen Wehrstein – With all the talk of Donald Trump’s mental health status, I’ve decided to do something I’ve put off for a while: write a diary that shows he is a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and spell out what that means in terms of what to expect from him and how to deal with it.  Certainly the term “narcissist” is being applied to him a lot, but most people don’t know the entirety of what that means, psychologically. I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, but for personal reasons I have educated myself about NPD.  It generally conceals itself and is little understood—but has a devastating effect on the lives of others close to the narcissist or to organizations he is involved with.  Knowing NPD creates a coherent picture that explains Trump’s behaviors. That will help you not only understand Trump, but enable you to spot...

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Most Trump Voters Didn’t Vote to Make Richest Richer, But GOP Congress Is About To

by Chuck Collins – Donald Trump’s voters have high hopes that he’ll boost the economy and protect jobs for those who’ve been left behind after three decades of flat or shrinking paychecks. They didn’t vote to make the super-wealthy even wealthier. Even Steve Mnuchin, the Goldman Sachs banker Trump picked to be his treasury secretary, seems to understand this. He promised “no absolute tax cuts for the upper class.” Yet one of the first priorities of Republicans in Congress is to give an exclusive tax break to multi-millionaires and billionaires. They plan to abolish the estate tax and allow tax loopholes for billionaires to continue. The estate tax, sometimes derided as a “death tax,” is only paid by households with assets over $11 million. In 2013, 99.8 percent of the population was exempt. But the 0.2 percent who are subject to the tax are well represented in Donald Trump’s cabinet. Our...

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Former Secretary Of Labor Debunks Popular Myth About Illegal Immigrants

by Brianna Acuesta – Robert Reich sets the record straight when it comes to immigrants, jobs, and taxes. There are a number of ‘facts’ spread about illegal immigrants and how they affect the United States, especially in recent years as the border and how to handle undocumented workers has moved into the spotlight. With President Donald Trump’s campaign, building a wall to keep such immigrants out has been a major talking point in major news outlets and in his own speeches. One of these such ‘facts’ that has been spread throughout the nation, as it is one of the main issues opponents of immigration point to, is that illegal immigrants often take the jobs of Americans and live in the U.S. without paying taxes. As Robert Reich, the Secretary of Labor during Bill Clinton’s Administration, clarified, “The labor markets that are taken by low-skilled immigrants have almost no native-born Americans in...

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Dan Rather Launches Gutsy Newsgroup to Counter Fake News & Alternative Facts

by Leslie Salzillo – American journalist and esteemed news anchor Dan Rather announced a new social media page in the midst of January’s flying fake news and alternative facts — which seem to be saturating the nation’s headlines and conversations. The Facebook news page is called  “News and Guts” and if it’s anything like Rather’s posts, it’s going to be hammering down on the new administration. In a recent post, Rather states: Journalism, real journalism, deep-digging reporting without fear or favor, is as important now, if not more so, than any time I can remember.  Over the past year, Dan Rather has built a Facebook following of over a million. It’s a place where he shares his political commentary along with spotlighting news stories from various sources. He says during weeks like in early January when confirmation hearings were coming in fast and furious, there is only so much that he can do on one page and there are far more articles that deserve attention and great reporters he’d like to spotlight. I got into...

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Doomsday Clock Now Two and a Half Minutes to Midnight

by Deirdre Fulton – The nuclear danger of a Trump presidency, combined with his administration’s climate denialism, heighten the risk of a global catastrophe, according to scientists. The symbolic Doomsday Clock inched closer to midnight on Thursday, and we have President Donald Trump largely to thank for the ominous development. At the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists‘ Science and Security Board moved the hands of the iconic clock 30 seconds closer to “midnight,” or the end of the world. For the first time in the 70-year history of the clock, “the board has decided to act, in part, based on the words of a single person: Donald Trump, the new President of the United States,” according to a press statement. The nuclear danger of a Trump presidency, combined with his and his administration’s climate denialism, heighten the risk of a global...

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On This Day, Jan. 27, 1926 – John Baird Demonstrates His New Invention – Television

1926 – John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, demonstrated a pictorial transmission machine called television. Baird is remembered as the inventor of mechanical television, radar and fiber optics. Successfully tested in a laboratory in late 1925 and unveiled with much fanfare in London in early 1926, mechanical television technology was quickly usurped by electronic television, the basis of modern video technology. Nonetheless, Baird’s achievements, including making the first trans-Atlantic television transmission, were singular and critical scientific accomplishments. Lonely, driven, tireless and often poor, the native Scot defined the pioneering spirit of scientific inquiry. During his long career, John Baird created a host of television technologies. Among them, phonovision, a forerunner of the video recorder (which largely still relies on mechanical scanning); noctovision, an infra-red spotting system for “seeing” in the dark; open-air television, a theater-projection system; stereoscopic color TV; and the first high-definition color TV. According to present-day TV...

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Mexico Cancels. Trade War Started. How Trump Shredded US-Mexico Relations in Under 24 Hours (VIDEO)

by Nika Knight – President Donald Trump has bragged throughout his career that he makes “great deals—the best deals,” but it took him less than a week to create a major international rift with one of the nation’s neighbors and chief trading partners. Update 3:50pm EST: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated that Trump plans to pay for the border wall by imposing a 20 percent tariff on all imported goods, provoking fears of a trade war. Update 12pm EST: Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto has canceled a planned meeting with President Donald Trump—which would have been the first between the two leaders—apparently in response to Trump’s hostile comments about Mexico’s refusal to pay for a new U.S.-Mexico border wall. Peña Nieto announced his decision on Twitter. “This morning we have informed the White House that I will not attend the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the @POTUS,” the...

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As End of DACA Looms, Colleges and Organizers Ramp Up Efforts to Protect Undocumented Students

by Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout | Report – Within days of the presidential election, Maria Ferrera, a professor of social work at Chicago’s DePaul University, began hearing stories that worried her. Calls to suicide hotlines were up, she learned, and many of the callers were undocumented students or people with Deferred Action on Childhood Arrival status. Worse, rumors of actual suicides — as yet unconfirmed — were circulating. Fear and anxiety continue to be palpable, she told Truthout. Will US-born children be separated from their undocumented parents? Will DACA recipients be stripped of their legal status and forced to drop out of school? Will the mass deportation of three million people happen, as Trump has promised? “It makes me angry,” says 27-year-old Syndia, a DACA recipient and graduate student at a large Midwestern college. “Thanks to DACA authorization, I’ve been able to work to pay for my living...

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FBI Clears Michael Flynn Of Wrongdoing As Trump Lets Comey Keep His Job

by John Prager – This week, it was announced that Donald Trump has elected to keep James Comey (that nice gentleman who helped swing the election in Trump’s favor by sending Republicans a letter falsely indicating that a new investigation into Hillary Clinton was being opened just before the election) as FBI Director. That’s a move The New York Times notes will “keep Mr. Comey at the center of the F.B.I.’s investigation into several Trump associates and their potential ties with the Russian government.” Comey demonstrated with his attacks on Hillary that he has absolutely no integrity whatsoever, which makes him exactly the sort of guy Trump would want to keep around. Also on Tuesday, purely by coincidence of course, news broke that Trump’s national security advisor was cleared of any wrongdoing in his frantic communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on the same day President Obama announced sanctions against Russia for...

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‘Fueled by Hate’: Trump Signs Order on Border Wall, Sanctuary Cities

by Nadia Prupis – President hits ground running with xenophobic national security measures; also reviewing keeping Guantánamo Bay open, reinstating CIA ‘black sites’ Update: President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order that directs federal agencies to start building a U.S.-Mexico border wall and institute a crackdown on immigration, in the first of a series of measures expected this week. Trump signed the actions during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security, where he said, “A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders.” The order for the wall instructs agencies to erect “a large physical barrier on the southern border.” Others seek to slash immigration and stiffen penalties for undocumented people. The Hill reports: The other order deals with immigration enforcement and ends the “catch and release” policy that quickly returned border crossers back to Mexico...

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The Netherlands to Counter Trump’s “Global Gag Rule” With International Abortion Fund

by Nika Knight – Fearing for women’s health, Dutch government steps forward to ensure reproductive healthcare programs around the world remain funded. The world has responded with fear and outrage to many of President Donald Trump’s repressive actions since taking office, and the Dutch government immediately announced plans to counter one: the reinstatement of the “global gag rule” which cuts off U.S. funding to any NGO around the world that mentions abortions. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen announced the government’s plan for a new international abortion fund on Tuesday. “Banning abortions does not result in fewer abortions,” said Ploumen, according to teleSUR. “It leads to more irresponsible practices in back rooms and more maternal deaths. We must not let this happen.” The Independent adds: told colleagues: “This has far-reaching consequences. First of all, for all those women who have to make, if they want to have...

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Suit Filed as Journalists, Lawyers Face Riot Charges (VIDEOS)

Lawsuit against DC police alleges “indiscriminate” arrests after protests turned violent during Trump’s inauguration. A civil lawsuit has been launched over alleged “indiscriminate” arrests of lawyers, legal observers, journalists and medics amid protests that turned violent in Washington DC during President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony last week. Jeffrey Light, an attorney who filed the lawsuit on Friday – the same day that the inauguration was held – against police officials, told Al Jazeera that about six journalists, more than three lawyers and a number of medics were among more than 230 who are facing rioting charges. Rioting carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $25,000 fine. At least three of the lawyers detained had been marked as legal observers – who are designated to protect the rights of activists at demonstrations, Light said. Light, who has been contacted by many of those arrested, accused officers of using...

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War on Facts Sparks Momentum for Scientists’ March on Washington

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘An American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world’ The Trump-Pence administration’s war on facts may have galvanized the next major demonstration in the nation’s capital—the Scientists’ March on Washington, which is as yet unscheduled but is garnering significant enthusiasm online. Spurred by the new administration’s stance on climate change, muzzling of scientists, and slashing of environmental regulations, the idea grew out of a Reddit thread started in the wake of Saturday’s inspirational Women’s March on Washington and global solidarity events. As the Washington Post reports: omeone wrote, “There needs to be a Scientists’ March on Washington.” “100%,” someone replied. Dozens of others agreed. One participant in the exchange, University of Texas Health Science Center postdoctoral fellow Jonathan Berman, took the conversation to heart. In short order, the march had a Facebook page (whose membership swelled from 200 people on Tuesday night to more than...

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Trump Brought A “Studio Audience” To Cheer Him On At the CIA, CBS News Confirms

by ursulafaw – All the world’s a stage to Donald Trump, and that includes the Central Intelligence Agency, where he actually brought a studio audience to cheer him on last Saturday, according to CBS News.  PoliticusUSA reported: CBS News confirmed reports that President Donald Trump brought a studio audience to his visit with the CIA on Saturday. The news agency reports that an official said the visit left a wake of “unease,” “made relations with the intelligence community worse,” and was “uncomfortable.” Intelligence people were “stunned” and “offended by the president’s tone,” CBS reported U.S. government sources tell CBS News that there is a sense of unease in the intelligence community after President Trump’s visit to CIA headquarters on Saturday.” Also, Trump did bring cheering props, which fits with how he has operated previously in requiring a cheering section – a sort of laugh track of supportive extras like those his...

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Media Blackout at Multiple Federal Agencies

by Lauren McCauley – Moves come amid growing concern that Trump and his appointees will suppress scientific innovation and research to advance their own ideological agenda. Though the majority of President Donald Trump’s controversial cabinet nominations have not yet been confirmed, his so-called “beachhead” teams have arrived at their respective agencies, carrying out orders that make clear that the “War on Science” has begun. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed broke the news that scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are no longer allowed to share information about taxpayer-funded research with the public. In an email sent Monday and obtained by the news outlet, Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for the USDA’s primary in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), told the department: “Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents…This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social...

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The Trump Resistance Plan: Step 2

by STEVEN HARPER – It’s time for the real American majority to demonstrate its unity and mobilize. It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies… — THOMAS PAINE, COMMON SENSE (1776) Americans acting in good faith are destined to disagree on many issues of public concern. Colonists fighting the Revolutionary War couldn’t agree on much either, but they fought side by side for independence from foreign governments and the rejection of official corruption. Those two founding principles formed central pillars of American democracy. They still do. Facts Are Stubborn Things The truth is that on a critical issue, we are more united today than most people may realize, but not in a way Donald Trump likes. His approval ratings have plummeted to dramatic and historic pre-Inauguration lows: ABC News/Washington Post: 40 percent – Compare that to the three most recent presidents-elect immediately prior to their inaugurations: Obama...

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On This Day, Jan. 26, 1961 – John Kennedy Appoints First Woman as President’s Personal Physician

1961 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy appointed Dr. Janet G. Travell as the first woman to be the “personal physician to the President”. t was during her time studying arterial diseases at Beth Israel Hospital in New York as a Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation fellow (1939-1941) that Dr. Travell became absorbed in the problems of skeletal muscle pain. Dr. Travell helped develop new anesthetic techniques for treating painful muscle spasm by employing local procaine injection and vapocoolant sprays such as ethyl chloride (used widely in sports medicine today.) It was this pioneering expertise that changed her life in more ways than one. In 1955 she was called upon by the orthopedic surgeon of then Senator John F. Kennedy, who had failed to recover from major back surgeries related to injuries he suffered in World War II. Dr. Travell was able to locate muscular sources for his chronic pain,...

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Trump Tries To Stick It To Press With Inaugural Photo, Totally Misses One Yuuge Problem

by Rika Christensen – As of Tuesday morning, it seemed that Trump was still obsessed with the size of his inaugural audience. He’s so intent on proving that his crowds were enormous—big enough to serve as evidence of his total, utter and complete awesomeness—that he’s planning to post a panoramic photo of the inauguration in the press halls of the White House, and he tweeted it out with a thank-you to the photographer. Ordinarily, that would just be another facepalm-worthy tweet. However, given his fixation on crowd sizes (penis sizes? Maybe both), we can probably safely assume that he’s putting these photos in the press halls as a giant “told you so” to the press that so shamefully refused to report the truth about his crowds. Based on that, one would also assume he’d want the photo to be as accurate as possible, so as to avoid any potential embarrassment....

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Federal Hiring Freeze will Kneecap Veterans more than Perhaps any Other Group

by Kerry Eleveld – Without bothering to check the numbers, White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed Monday that Donald Trump’s hiring freeze on nonmilitary federal employees would combat the “dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years.” But the only thing it will actually combat is veterans’ services and employment opportunities. Federal hiring has been significantly outpaced “in recent years” by the increase in civilian hiring—rising only about 3 percent from 2014 to 2016, compared to a 4.9 percent jump in civilian workers. Christopher Ingraham writes: As a share of the total civilian workforce, in percentage terms, the federal workforce is smaller than it’s been in nearly 70 years. There’s considerable doubt about the efficacy of hiring freezes as a federal management tool. A 1982 Government Accountability Office report found that “governmentwide hiring freezes, regardless of how well they are managed, are not an effective means of controlling federal employment.” The report...

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Trump Administration Imposes Freeze On EPA Grants and Contracts

by Andrew Revkin and Jesse Eisinger – The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a move that could affect a significant part of the agency’s budget allocations and even threaten to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing, according to records and interviews. In one email exchange obtained by ProPublica on Monday, an EPA contracting officer concluded a note to a storm water management employee this way: “Right now we are in a holding pattern. The new EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Until we receive further clarification, this includes task orders and work assignments.” Asked about any possible freeze and its implications, EPA officials did not provide an answer....

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