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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