“The Press is the Light that Makes the Roaches Scatter”

by teacherken – That is the next to last line of a powerful New York Times column by the inimitable Charles M. Blow, titled Trump, Archenemy of Truth. You need to read it, absorb it, pass it on. That line perfectly encapsulates the truth about the attacks of Bannon and Trump at CPAC against the press that rightfully calls the President to account for his truths. You will read selections from the remarks of both men.  Those I do not need to reproduce. You will read Blow’s analysis of what Bannon is arguing —  that the economic nationalism of Trump is  a threat to the profitability of papers like the one for which Blow writes, a threat so urgent that the American media is willfully damaging the only real asset it has — credibility — by inventing falsehoods designed to damage Trump and insulate its own profitability. And this works because...

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Germany: ’10 attacks a day’ Against Refugees, Shelters in 2016

Hate crimes last year injured more than 500 asylum seekers, including 43 children, interior ministry says. More than 2,500 refugees in Germany were attacked last year, according to a report by the interior ministry, raising fears over the safety of those who have fled war and persecution. In a statement on Sunday, the interior minister citing police figures said that Germany recorded more than 3,500 attacks in total against refugees, migrants and their shelters last year, amounting to nearly 10 acts of anti-migrant violence a day. The attacks left at least 560 people injured, including 43 children. “People who have fled their home country and seek protection in Germany have the right to expect safe shelter,” the interior ministry said, according to the AFP news agency. In one case, a German neo-Nazi was sentenced to eight years in jail in February for burning down a sports hall set to...

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Trump Administration Confirms Plans to Drop Key Claim Against Texas Voter ID

by JIM MALEWITZ – The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed Monday it plans to ditch its longstanding position that Texas lawmakers purposefully discriminated against minority voters by passing the nation’s strictest voter identification law in 2011. The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed Monday it plans to ditch its longstanding position that Texas lawmakers purposefully discriminated against minority voters by passing the nation’s strictest voter identification law in 2011. The move comes one day before a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments on that high-stakes voting rights question, and it highlights yet another instance in which President Donald Trump has dramatically departed from the path of his predecessor. Former President Obama’s Justice Department originally teamed up with civil rights groups against Texas throughout the long-winding legal battle over the ID law, known as Senate Bill 14. But on Monday, lawyers for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told parties that they were...

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The Woman Who Washes the Dead

by Fahrinisa Oswald – The story of two women – a Palestinian Bedouin and a Syrian refugee – as one prepares the other for burial. In the large one-room container in the quiet cemetery of Kato Tritos, a small town several kilometres from the capital of Lesbos, Warda Alkenawy prepares for the ritual body washing. The 35-year-old Palestinian Bedouin from Herat, Israel, is a social worker and accidental washer of the dead who has been on the island since September 2015 – at the height of the mass influx of refugees . Before her lie the bodies of Ghalia Abdi and her two young children, Zanaf and Walat. They were Kurds from Syria, and, like hundreds of thousands of others, were fleeing for their lives. Only their lives ended somewhere in the Aegean, between Turkey and Greece. Now they are here, on Warda’s wooden washing table. Warda learned how to wash bodies...

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House Conservatives say They’d Vote Against Leaked Obamacare ‘Replacement’ Plan

by Josh Israel – They are uncomfortable with the idea of preserving coverage for some of the millions of Americans covered under the ACA. Last week, CNN obtained a draft Congressional Republican bill to replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan that would replace subsidies with smaller tax credits, allow insurance to charge senior citizens more, decimate Medicaid, and cause millions of Americans to lose their coverage altogether. On Monday and Tuesday, however, a trio of prominent House Republicans made it clear that even this bill was not conservative enough for them. While the bill would mean the loss of health insurance for millions of Americans, they object to provisions in the bill that would help some people remain covered. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who chairs the House Freedom Caucus (a group of a few dozen of the most conservative Republicans in Congress), announced on Monday that he could not support that...

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The ACLU’s Next Endeavor: Organizing the People’s Power to Resist

by Faiz Shakir – In the weeks following President Donald Trump’s inauguration, we have seen the harms that his policies cause people around the world and the danger his actions represent for our civil liberties. Trump’s use of executive power has prompted the protest and defiance of millions, echoing the voices of many who know that our basic American values are being tested by our president. The ACLU will continue to defend our basic freedoms and hold this administration accountable for every unlawful or unconstitutional measure they propose. We will use the courts as one avenue to aggressively advance our agenda, but we cannot do it alone. That is why the ACLU is launching a major new grassroots mobilization platform, PeoplePower.org, in response to the growing number of people who believe that Trump’s actions cannot go unchallenged. We’ve hired a group of digital organizers who have worked with activist groups, the White House,...

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Jeff Sessions: Legal Pot Drives Violent Crime, Statistics be Damned

by Alan Pyke – The Attorney General revives debunked pot-crime link. While the Trump administration has yet to take any formal action on marijuana policy, its words continue to signal a crackdown. On Monday, days after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters to expect stricter enforcement of federal pot law, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recycled discredited drug war talking points in remarks of his own. “I believe it’s an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we’re seeing real violence around that,” Sessions said. “Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved.” In reality, violent crime rates tend to decrease where marijuana is legalized. Denver saw a 2.2 percent drop in violent crime rates in the year after the first legal recreational cannabis sales...

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Biologists Warn Half of All Species to Face Extinction by 2100, as GOP Pushes to Destroy Protections

by Nika Knight – Days after Republican lawmakers speechified about dismantling the Endangered Species Act, biologists ring alarm bells about global mass extinction. Today, 20 percent of all species are at risk of being wiped out, scientists at a Vatican conference on biodiversity warn, and that number may rise to nearly 50 percent by the end of the century. “The living fabric of the world is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring,” warned the conference organizers. Biologists, ecologists, and economists traveled to Rome from around the world for the workshop titled “How to Save the Natural World on Which We Depend,” which begins Monday, to strategize together on how to limit the mass extinction event caused by rampant over-development, climate change, overpopulation, and unsustainable agricultural practices. The meeting sharply contrasts with last week’s U.S. Senate hearing on how to “modernize the Endangered Species Act ,”...

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On This Day, Feb. 28, 1993 – The Waco, Texas Siege Begins

1993 – U.S. Federal agents raided the compound of an armed religious cult in Waco, TX. David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, thought he was an angel and an agent of God. The government thought he was in possession of illegal firearms and explosives, as well as a criminal who physically and sexually abused several children he fathered with his followers. On February 28th, 1993, about 70 highly militarized agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) approached Mount Carmel, the compound of a controversial Branch Davidian religious group near Waco. When cult leader David Koresh came to the front door on the 28th of February, shots were fired — to this day, no one is sure who fired first. Koresh was hit in his side, and his father-in-law was mortally wounded. Overhead, helicopters began to spray the compound with return fire...

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Where We are Now: George W. Bush’s Defends the Constitution to Rebuke Trump (VIDEO)

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – During an interview on Today, former President George W. Bush responded to President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and recent criticisms of the media by speaking in support of religious freedom and the free press. “I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” Bush told host Matt Lauer, weighing in on a question about whether the media should be considered “enemies of America,” as Trump said during his speech at CPAC last Friday. “We need an independent media to hold people like me into account,” Bush said. “Power can be addictive and it can be corrosive. It’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.” Bush explained that he spent “a lot of time” trying to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin “to accept the notion of an independent press. And, it’s kind of hard...

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1. Spicer Conducts Random “Phone Checks” to Curb Leaks. 2. News of Phone Checks Leaked to Press

by VTGenie – White House Spokesman Sean Spicer has instituted a new tactic to ferret out potential leakers among the communications staff: subject them to random phone checks. After information from a planning meeting last week with communications staffers ended up in the press, Spicer reconvened the group: Upon entering Spicer’s office for what one person briefed on the gathering described as “an emergency meeting,” staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check,” to prove they had nothing to hide. Spicer, who consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before calling the meeting, was accompanied by White House lawyers in the room, according to multiple sources. Apparently, both government-issued and personal phones were checked— whatever staffers had with them at the meeting. Spicer also warned them about using texting apps (e.g., Confide) that immediately erase the text after sending, saying that such use would violate the Presidential Records...

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Most Republicans Oppose Federal Interference With Marijuana Legalization

by Jacob Sullum – A DOJ crackdown on state-licensed cannabusinesses would be contrary to public opinion, Trump’s promises, and the Constitution. Yesterday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggested that the Justice Department under newly installed Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be more inclined to enforce the federal ban on marijuana in states that have legalized the drug for recreational use. A large majority of Americans, including most Republicans, think that’s a bad idea, according to poll numbers released the same day as Spicer’s comments. Answering a question from an Arkansas reporter wondering how the DOJ will respond to that state’s new medical marijuana law, Spicer said “there’s two distinct issues here: medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.” He reiterated President Trump’s support for laws that allow patients to use marijuana for symptom relief, which 28 states have enacted. Spicer also noted that Congress has repeatedly approved a spending rider that...

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Experts on Authoritarianism say Trump’s Presidency ‘has gotten scarier’

by Justin Salhani – A month of executive experience has not moderated the president’s anti-democratic tendencies. Donald Trump’s presidency began with a flurry of executive orders, many of which left experts on authoritarianism deeply concerned. A little more than one month into the administration, their concerns have only grown. Trump’s relationship with the truth is deeply troubling. Sheri Berman, a political scientist at Barnard College: I think Trump has gotten scarier in the sense he has become more divisive and more ensconced in his bubble and less willing to entertain alternative viewpoints or criticism. This is a problem when you get to high positions of power, it’s very easy to surround yourself with aye-sayers. It’s very, very problematic when the president already has a proclivity for . That is something extremely dangerous. Obama was not open to certain criticism, and that happens at the top...

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The 3 Investigations into Trump and Russia are all Hopelessly Compromised

by Laurel Raymond – The case for an independent investigation just got stronger. The lawmakers in charge of investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives are also helping the Trump campaign counter negative news stories, according to reporting by The Washington Post and Axios. The news — confirmed by the White House and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), one of the lawmakers — is a strong blow to the credibility of the congressional investigation and any appearance that the investigation is being conducted free from political influence. According to the reports, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer asked Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Nunes to speak to reporters and dispute stories alleging frequent contact between Trump campaign members and Russian intelligence operatives. Burr picked up the phone at Spicer’s request and told reporters the story was false, Axios reports, but didn’t provide any evidence to back it up, and wasn’t quoted on the record....

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Father Of Slain SEAL Demands Investigation Into His Botched Yemen Raid

by John Prager – Donald Trump’s botched Yemen raid left 30 civilians — including an 8-year-old American girl and other women and children — dead, as well as a Navy SEAL. Trump has been largely silent about the death of William “Ryan” Owens, and with good reason: it was his negligence that caused it. An 11-year-old child was the first to be struck by a bullet after he heard a commotion outside. Many more children as young as three months old would lose their lives in the bloodbath that was Trump’s first military operation. Trump, in his haste to approve the operation over dinner without adequate “intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations” according to military officials, failed to kill his primary target. All that we have to show from the botched mission are a few training videos the Trump administration touted as evidence of their success. The videos have been...

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Philadelphia Muslims and Jews ‘Unite Against Hatred’ After Cemetery Attack

by Nadia Prupis – Muslim activists rally to donate funds, assist in cleanup after Jewish grave site in Pennsylvania desecrated. Muslim activists rallied again to help repair another Jewish cemetery vandalized over the weekend, this time in Pennsylvania, where at least 100 gravestones were toppled. The president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA visited the Mount Carmel Cemetery in the northeast part of the city on Sunday and expressed solidarity and condolences to local Jewish leaders. “We are deeply troubled by these rising and ongoing attacks on our Jewish sisters and brothers, and members from our Philadelphia chapter are in route to assist in clean up,” said Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah, the group’s national vice president. “We call upon all Americans to stand united against this hatred and extremism.” The incident was reported on Sunday after a man visiting the cemetery found that three of his relatives’ headstones...

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Egyptian-Born, French Holocaust Scholar Detained and Threatened with Deportation

by Carimah Townes – He was “mistakenly detained” for 10 hours. An Egyptian-born French historian was scheduled to speak at a Texas A&M symposium last week, but he nearly missed the event because customs agents “mistakenly detained” him for 10 hours at a Houston airport — and threatened to deport him immediately. Henry Rousso, a World War II scholar and member of the National Center for Scientific Research was grabbed and detained at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Wednesday, following a long flight from Paris. He was reportedly brought to an interrogation room for a “random check” after he was pulled aside by immigration officials without an explanation. According to his own account of what happened, Rousso was questioned about his travel documents and accused of flying to the United States to work on an illegal visa, before he was interrogated about his family, subjected to a body search, and forced to take...

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On This Day, Feb. 27, 1973 – American Indian Movement Occupies Wounded Knee

1973 – The American Indian Movement occupied Wouned Knee in South Dakota. On that winter day in 1973, a large group of armed American Indians reclaimed Wounded Knee in the name of the Lakota Nation. During the preceding months of the Wounded Knee occupation, civil war brewed among the Oglala people. There became a clear-cut between the traditional Lakota people and the more progressive minded government supporters. The traditional people wanted more independence from the Federal Government, as well as honoring of the 1868 Sioux treaty. According to the 1868 treaty, the Black Hills of South Dakota still belonged to the Sioux people, and the traditional people wanted the Federal Government to honor their treaty by returning the sacred Black Hills to the Sioux people. Another severe problem on the Pine Ridge reservation was the strip mining of the land. The chemicals used by the mining operations were poisoning...

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EPA Administrator Lied about Private Email use in Senate Testimony

by Bryce Covert – Thousands of emails Scott Pruitt sent to oil and gas companies still haven’t been disclosed. An investigation by Fox 25 in Oklahoma has confirmed that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt used a private email account to conduct official business while he was the state’s attorney general, directly contradicting what he told the Senate during his confirmation hearing. During his hearing, Pruitt was asked by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), “Have you ever conducted business using your personal email accounts, nonofficial Oklahoma Attorney General email accounts, text messages, instant messenger, voicemails, or any other medium?” Pruitt responded, “I use only my official OAG email address and government issued phone to conduct official business.” But the Oklahoma attorney general’s office confirmed to Fox 25 that Pruitt used private email for state business after an Open Records Request revealed documents where certain email addresses...

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Bill Maher Lashes out at the Press: Toughen up, Stop Covering Crap, Take one for the Team

by Egberto Willies – A national press with similarly lousy credibility as Trump is one that is ineffective. Bill Maher uses actual examples of their screw ups to point out what they should do in this excerpted video clip. Now more than ever we need a robust and assertive press. It is the time that the media gets back to the basics but most importantly grow spines to confront our political bully. “Now that polls show that the public finds the news media less trustworthy than Donald Trump,” Bill Maher said. “They have to fight to get their reputation back. And there are encouraging signs that that fight has been joined.” Maher then pointed out that the New York Times called out Trump’s untruths by name, lies. Chuck Todd, Scot Pelley, and George Stephanopoulos slammed Trump spokespersons when they came on the air with their alternative facts. “We are going to need...

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Resistance Recess Puts Congress on Notice for Supporting Trump’s Agenda (VIDEO)

by Libero Della Piana – Rep. Dave Trott’s constituents in the Northeastern suburbs of Detroit gathered at his office to ask him about his stance on health care, refugees and other urgent issues. Instead of scheduling a meeting, Trott’s staff called the police. The delegation was organized by Michigan People’s campaign, an affiliate of People’s Action, a national organization fighting for economic and social justice. Since last weekend dozens of other town hall meetings and constituent forums have been dominated by vocal and angry people wondering where their lawmakers stand on Trump’s agenda, in particular regarding plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Embracing the #ResistanceRecess hashtag, national organizations such as MoveOn.com, Daily Kos, the AFL-CIO and People’s Action are helping mobilize grassroots frustration with the direction of the country after just one month of the Trump presidency. Many Republicans in Congress have concealed or simply refused to hold public town halls and opted to...

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Milo Yiannopoulos’ Fall From a Hateful Summit

by Sam Fulwood III – Until recently, I’d never heard of Milo Yiannopoulos. How I wish that blissful ignorance had remained intact. Over the past several years, Yiannopoulos has developed a fanatic following among a minority of Americans who’ve embraced his nasty bleating on Breitbart. Had he been confined exclusively to Breitbart, I might not have ever become aware of him. Alas, he crossed my path over the weekend, turning up like a lightening bug smashing into my social media windshield. The bombastic provocateur accepted a headline speaking gig at the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. That didn’t sit too well with some of Yiannopoulos’ critics, of which I’ve learned there are legions. He seems to enjoy attracting controversy as a means to burnish his reputation and line his pocket. Yiannopoulos is an unlikely hero for the conservative political action group; he’s an openly gay man who...

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Chickenshit Trump Blows Off White House Correspondents Dinner: Paging Alec Baldwin

by News Corpse – Donald Trump has been fighting a bloody “War on the Media” for months now. His recent escalations included calling the “fake news” media the “enemy of the American people.”  Shortly thereafter his press secretary, Sean Spicer, banned several news organizations from a White House briefing. The animosity from Trump gets more intense by the hour. In his latest assault Gen. Trump has just announced that he will not be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 29. The WHCD is an annual affair that is held to raise funds for scholarships. But apparently Trump’s anti-media obsession overrules any interest in helping a charity. The truth is more likely that Trump is afraid of having a close encounter with the “enemy.” He has never been particularly good at laughing at himself. That’s a personality flaw that’s common among narcissists. So rather than fraternize with the media he...

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Indiana is Going Hard Against Abortion This Week

by Maureen Shaw – These measures are extreme, even for Indiana. Indiana is gunning for abortion rights this week. Within a span of two days, Indiana’s House revived its “abortion reversal” bill, and a Senate panel advanced a restrictive bill aimed at curbing minors’ access to abortion care. Even for Indiana, which has a draconian anti-choice record, these measures are extreme in their disregard for women’s health and privacy. On Tuesday, the House Public Policy Committee approved H.B. 1128, which requires, among other things, that “a pregnant woman be informed orally and in writing before an abortion obtained through an abortion inducing drug that the abortion may be possibly reversed.” Last week, the committee approved a similar bill, but was met with resistance by some House Republicans, who cited concerns about a provision requiring abortion providers to perform an ultrasound to determine a fetus’ gestational age. This provision was struck from Tuesday’s...

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Republican Congressman Calls for Independent Prosecutor to Investigate Donald Trump

by Laurel Raymond – Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said on Friday night that an independent special prosecutor should investigate potential ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign. “You’re right that you cannot have somebody — a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions — who was on the campaign and who is an appointee,” Issa said on HBO’s Real Time. “You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office.” He also added that it wouldn’t be enough to hand the job instead to the deputy attorney general, who is also a political appointee. The Priebus/FBI segment begins at approx. 5:30 Issa formerly served as the head of the House Oversight committee, where he conducted repeated investigations of the Obama White House. Issa once called Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” Issa’s high-theater investigations, however, often failed to...

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Most Americans Continue to Oppose U.S. Border Wall, Doubt Mexico Would Pay for it

by ROB SULS – As was the case throughout the presidential campaign, more Americans continue to oppose (62%) than favor (35%) building a wall along the entire U.S. border with Mexico. And while President Donald Trump has said the U.S. would make Mexico pay for the wall, the public is broadly skeptical: 70% think the U.S. would ultimately pay for the wall, compared with just 16% who think Mexico would pay for it. The proposal to build the wall was one of several contentious issues that loomed over a meeting between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mexican officials this week to discuss immigration and border issues. The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Feb. 7-12, 2017 among 1,503 adults, finds the public holds mixed views on a border wall’s potential impact on illegal immigration. About three-in-ten (29%) think a wall along the entire border with Mexico would lead to...

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On This Day, Feb. 26, 1993 – 1,000 Injured as Bomb Rocks World Trade Center

1993 – Six people were killed and more than a thousand injured when a van exploded in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center in New York City. The World Trade Center bombing plot began in the months before September 1, 1992, when two of the main conspirators, Ahmad Ajaj and Ramzi Yousef, arrived in the United States from Pakistan. Upon detecting his poorly falsified Swedish passport, customs agents detained Ajaj and confiscated his suitcase, which contained bombing manuals and anti-American propaganda. Yousef, traveling on an Iraqi passport bearing the name Abdel Basit Mahmoud, requested political asylum. He was arrested for entering the United States without a visa but was released on his own recognizance and allowed into the country. While Ajaj waited in jail, Yousef allegedly began to implement a plan that aimed at toppling the twin towers of the World Trade Center. On October 1 he...

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Perez Wins Chairmanship of DNC in Close Vote on Second Ballot

by Meteor Blades – On the second ballot Saturday afternoon, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez narrowly won the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee over Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison at the organization’s winter meeting in Atlanta. Perez took the podium to move that Ellison be made deputy chair of the DNC. No “nays” could be heard from delegates during the voice vote. Here was the tally of the 435 delegates who cast ballots: Tom Perez……………………..235 Keith Ellison………………….200 After the vote, a motion to make Perez chairman by acclamation. Peter Daou  ✔@peterdaou Congrats to @TomPerez, new #DNCChair! The Hillary/Obama coalition IS the Democratic Party. It INCLUDES Ellison and millions of progressives. 3:22 PM – 25 Feb 2017 Despite the efforts of the other nine candidates who sought the office, the only ones anybody gave a chance to were Ellison and Perez. On issues related to the DNC’s tasks, the two men’s views were extremely...

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Trump Broke 64 Promises in His First Month in Office

by Ryan Koronowski – He kept 7. On Thursday, Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steven Bannon spoke about their priorities after the first month of the administration at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. Bannon said that Trump is “maniacally focused” on executing the promises he made during the campaign. The facts tell a different story. A ThinkProgress’ analysis of Trump’s statements and policy proposals prior to his swearing-in found that he made at least 663 discrete promises. After his first day in office, Trump failed to keep 34 of 36 “Day One” promises. Since then, he has also broken 30 more promises, yielding a total of 64. Trump did manage to keep five more promises, for a total of seven. Trump made a lot of promises about what he will do as president. We’ve documented 663 of them. The people who elected Trump expect him to...

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McMaster’s Challenge: His Boss Is Already Making America Less Safe

by Vikram Singh and Peter Juul – At a time when the Trump administration continues to spark an immediate and growing national security crises due to mismanagement and reckless policies, the national security community felt great relief at the president’s selection of Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as the next national security advisor. McMaster will be tasked with resolving a number of serious foreign policy blunders already committed by the new administration. President Trump must ensure that McMaster has the authority and tools to deal with the following seven problems. Chaotic and dysfunctional management. Even before former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s forced resignation, President Trump’s National Security Council proved disturbingly dysfunctional. For example, U.S. military officials told Reuters that the president “approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.” The operation in Yemen was launched with no normal process and resulted in the...

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The Manchurian President

by NEAL GABLER – A classic Hollywood political thriller may tell us more about what’s happening in America than any history book. As the Trump presidency unravels, unraveling the country along with it, there is no real political antecedent, no lessons from American history on which to draw and provide guidance. We are in entirely uncharted waters. But there is an antecedent in our popular culture that provides a prism through which to view the contemporary calamity, especially the alleged collusion between Trump’s henchmen and Russian intelligence to deny Hillary Clinton the presidency. I am not the first observer who has noted the relevance of the movie The Manchurian Candidate. But the relevance is more than skin or celluloid deep. It goes to the very heart of this bizarre and frightening political moment. First, the fact that this implausibly plotted Hollywood thriller could now be applied, not altogether implausibly, to a...

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Why the Emerging Bill to Repeal the Affordable Care Act Will Fail

by Topher Spiro and Harry Stein – Last week, the House majority released an outline for repealing the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. Although the document provides no new details, it does provide enough information to evaluate the adequacy of financing, the likely policies needed to pay for new tax credits for health insurance, the likely effects on tax credit levels, and the political hurdles to such an approach. This analysis is based exclusively on numbers from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, or CBO. Although the congressional majority will claim that the emerging repeal bill represents a simultaneous replacement of the ACA, the math does not add up. Using CBO estimates, the Center for American Progress calculates that the repeal bill will cut the Medicaid expansion by $277 billion over 10 years. To finance new tax credits for health insurance, the repeal bill will likely cut Medicaid—including funding for nursing homes...

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Right-Wingers Want Us to Accept Inequality and Move On

by SAM PIZZIGATI – Cheerleaders for concentrated wealth have a new reason to cheer. They have chanced upon a fresh rationalization for inequality. This new rationalization comes from an unlikely source, a sober and thoughtful just-published book from a distinguished historian and classicist, Stanford’s Walter Scheidel. In The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, Scheidel builds upon his considerable academic expertise on the ancient world and explores how and when societies have actually become less unequal. In the process, he has brought forth a book that could hardly be more profoundly depressing. Scheidel’s basic thesis: Down through history, only “massive and violent disruptions of the established order” have generated “big equalizing moments.” “It is almost universally true,” he advises, “that violence has been necessary to ensure the redistribution of wealth at any point in time.” The violence that Scheidel details has taken various...

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Dan Rather: This is an Emergency—and a Moment of Judgement for Everyone Who Remains Silent

by Leslie Salzillo – If you’ve been following news this week, there’s no doubt you’ve read/heard about the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon made a dangerous and odious threat against the media. This was followed by Donald Trump echoing the same message while barring some reputable, truth-seeking news groups including The New York Times from a White House briefing, an unprecedented act against the media, the freedom of the press, and the nation’s First Amendment. The legendary newsman Dan Rather took to social media to share his straight-shooting views, experience and wisdom regarding the latest derelictions from the White House. Here is his Facebook post in full.  The time for normalizing, dissembling, and explaining away Donald Trump has long since passed. The barring of respected journalistic outlets from the White House briefing is so far beyond the norms and traditions that have governed this republic for generations, that they must be seen as a real and present threat to our democracy....

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Top Obama Lawyers Join To Dig Into Trump’s Abuse of Power

by CathyM – I really, really think we need to tell folks about this group! I haven’t seen them mentioned before. Obama lawyers form ‘worst-case scenario’ group to tackle Trump Fearful the new administration will abuse its power, the former president’s lawyers are uniting to fight back. Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months. They’ve incorporated as both a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), allowing...

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On This Day, Feb. 25, 1836 – Samuel Colt Patents the Revolver

1836 – Connecticut-born gun manufacturer Samuel Colt (1814-62) received a U.S. patent for a revolver mechanism that enabled a gun to be fired multiple times without reloading. Colt’s revolver mechanism is considered by some to be more innovation than invention because it improved upon a revolving flintlock (a firing mechanism used in muskets and rifles) already patented by Boston inventor Elisha Collier (1788-1856). The British patent for Colt’s mechanism was acquired in October 1835, and on February 25, 1836, the American inventor received U.S. Patent No. 138 (later 9430X) for his revolving-cylinder pistol. The enhancements listed in this patent include greater “facility in loading,” changes in “the weight and location of the cylinder, which give steadiness to the hand,” and “the great rapidity in the succession of discharges.” Colt’s Patent Arms Manufacturing Company began making the Paterson pistol in 1836 at its Paterson, New Jersey, factory using funds advanced...

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State Dept. Memo Warning Employees Against Leaking Is Immediately Leaked

by Jon Queally – So-called “low-life leakers” certainly have a sense of irony. The leaks just keep on coming. While President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed frustration over the unsanctioned release of internal documents and information, the Washington Post reported Friday morning on the existence of a State Department memo specifically warning agency employees against unauthorized leaks. How did the paper know about the memo? Because it was leaked, of course. As the Post‘s Josh Rogin reports: The State Department legal office prepared a four-page memo for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warning of the dangers of leaking by State Department employees. It promptly leaked, to me. That’s only the latest sign that the relationship between the Trump administration political appointees and the State Department professional workforce is still very much a work in progress. The Feb. 20 memo by State Department acting legal adviser Richard Visek to Tillerson is entitled “SBU: Protecting...

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New Deportation Rules Could Cost the Economy Trillions

by Bryce Covert – Deporting all undocumented immigrants would have extreme effects on the economy. President Trump pushed forward on his campaign promise to deport all undocumented immigrants on Tuesday by releasing new guidelines to expand and speed up deportations. The memos from the Department of Homeland Security target all undocumented immigrants for deportation, even those who haven’t committed serious crimes, while necessitating the hiring of thousands of new agents and building new detention facilities. These policies are going to wreak havoc on the lives, families, and communities of those who end up deported. And they will also come with a steep cost for everyone in this country. It’s still not clear whether the administration will actually have the resources and ability to deport every undocumented immigrant. But even if it were able to deport just the 7 million undocumented workers in this country, out of the estimated 12 million total, it...

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Law Professors File Misconduct Complaint Against KellyanneConway

by CathyM – As bad as all the crap that’s pouring from the White House is, it is heartening today to see people pushing back: Law professors file misconduct complaint against Kellyanne Conway A group of law professors from around the country has filed a professional misconduct complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, a graduate of George Washington University Law School who was admitted to the D.C. Bar in 1995. The letter, filed with the office that handles misconduct by members of the D.C. Bar, said Conway should be sanctioned for violating government ethics rules and “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation,” the letter says. The 15 professors, who specialize in legal ethics, cite several incidents,including a television interview in which Conway made the “false statement that President Barack Obama had ‘banned’ Iraqi refugees from coming into the United States for six months following the ‘Bowling Green Massacre,’ ”...

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Gabby Giffords Shames GOP Rep. for Using Her Shooting as an Excuse to Hide From Town Halls

by April Hamlin – Republicans across the country have been doing all they can to avoid town hall meetings where angry constituents are waiting. But Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) should win some type of award for his despicable excuse. Earlier this week, Gohmert claimed that he hadn’t scheduled a town hall meeting to discuss important issues with the people he represents because with all the angry protesters around he’s afraid of a shooting like the one that involved Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. But don’t worry. This isn’t because he’s a coward. It’s just that he wants to keep his constituents safe. “Unfortunately, at this time there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety. Threats are nothing new to me and I have gotten my share as a felony judge.” “However, the House...

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Support for 2010 Healthcare Law Reaches New High

by HANNAH FINGERHUT – With congressional Republicans discussing proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act, public support for the 2010 health care law has reached its highest level on record. Currently, 54% approve of the health care law passed seven years ago by Barack Obama and Congress, while 43% disapprove, according to a national Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 7-12 among 1,503 adults. Throughout the law’s history, opinions about the Affordable Care Act have tended to be more negative than positive — or, less frequently, divided. As recently as December, about as many approved (48%) as disapproved (47%) of the law. The new survey finds that when those who disapprove of the law are asked about what should happen to it now, more want GOP congressional leaders to focus their efforts on modifying the law than on getting rid of it. One-in-four adults want Republican leaders to modify the law, while...

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On This Day, Feb. 24, 1868 – House Impeaches President Andrew Johnson

1868 – The U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson due to his attempt to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. The final blow came after the passage of the Tenure of Office Act in 1867. This law made it impossible for the president to dismiss important government officials without the permission of the Senate. In a move than infuriated Congressmen, Johnson defied the act. The president had long wanted to dismiss the Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton. Stanton was the only member of Johnson’s cabinet who supported the Radical Republicans’ program for reconstruction. On August 12, Johnson suspended Stanton. In his place, Johnson appointed the popular General Ulysses S. Grant Secretary of War. By doing so, Johnson hoped to challenge the constitutionality of the Tenure of Office Act. When Congress reconvened, they overruled Stanton’s suspension, and Grant resigned his position. The event heightened Grant’s popularity and depressed...

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White House Asked FBI to Rebut Stories of Campaign-Russia Collusion but the FBI Refused

by Hunter – Is the Trump White House now attempting to use the Federal Bureau of Investigations as their own political prop? Why yes. Yes they are. The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump’s associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. The direct communications between the White House and the FBI were unusual because of decade-old restrictions on such contacts. Such a request from the White House is a violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations. There seems to be some disagreement on who called who first (that is, somebody here is lying) but the contacts were between White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Priebus wanted the FBI to rebut press stories about...

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RUSSIA-GATE: Senate Intelligence Committee Investigation – Let’s Meet the Members Shall We

by Doctor Who – This weekend’s 2.5 hour meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee with FBI Director Comey, ended in a bunch of Senate Committee Members walking out stone faced and pale as if they had seen a ghost, and followed the next day by a letter from the Committee asking all individuals and Agencies to preserve any and all records having to do with Russia-Gate.  With these recent developments I though it might be a good time to take a look at the makeup of this Committee that arguably has the fate of the US Democracy in its hands. So here they are: REPUBLICANS: 1. Richard Burr (R-NC), Chairman 2. James Risch (R-ID) 3. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 4. Susan Collins (R-ME) 5. Roy Blunt (R-MO) 6. James Lankford (R-OK) 7. Tom Cotton (R-AR) 8. John Cornyn (R-TX) DEMOCRATS: 1. Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman 2. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 3. Ron...

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Iraqi Forces Take Control of Mosul Airport (VIDEO)

Iraqi forces storm ISIL-held Mosul International Airport as they continue offensive on western half of the city. US-backed Iraqi security forces closing in on the ISIL-held western half of Mosul have stormed the city’s airport and a nearby military base, state television said. Counterterrorism service (CTS) troops and elite interior ministry units known as Rapid Response forces descended on the airport early on Thursday and the nearby Ghazlani military complex, CTS spokesman Sabah al-Numan told state TV. Iraqi army hits ISIL positions amid Mosul airport push “This is one of the major achievements that the Iraqi forces were hoping to get in the first phase of going towards the Western side of the city,” said Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid, reporting from Erbil. “This area is about 30 kms away from the western edge of the city, and Iraqi forces now say that they are in full control. “They...

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The For-Profit Presidency, Month One

by Robert Weissman – One month into the Trump administration, and it’s clear that there has been a wholesale corporate takeover of the government A day-by-day review of the administration’s first month shows that virtually every day there has been a new, extraordinary grant of power to corporate interests and/or another development in Donald Trump’s get-rich-quick-scheme known as the American presidency. America has never seen anything like this, and it’s only the first month. Poorly attended though it might have been, the inauguration itself was a paean not just to the new president but to his corporate backers. Corporations that have pending business before the president — AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, Chevron, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase and United Parcel Service – were among the top funders of the inauguration and surrounding festivities. We still do not know the full list of donors to the inauguration. New President Trump signaled his intent...

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Fed Up with ‘Dysfunction and Deadlock,’ Former FEC Chair Will Resign

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘What we are left with is an agency mandated to ensure transparency and disclosure that is actually working to keep the public in the dark,’ writes Ann M. Ravel. The primary responsibilities of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) are to ensure full disclosure of campaign money and fair enforcement of election law, former chair Ann M. Ravel said Monday, before declaring: “Citizens deserve to know it does neither.” In an op-ed published at the New York Times, Ravel blamed the dysfunction on “a controlling bloc of three Republican commissioners who are ideologically opposed to the FEC’s purpose regularly ignores violations or drastically reduces penalties.” “The resulting paralysis,” she wrote, “has allowed over $800 million in ‘dark money’ to infect our elections since Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums to elect or defeat candidates.” She continued: Last...

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The ‘So-Called’ Trump Presidency is Crumbling Under Pressure From Protests

by News Corpse – Since the day that Donald Trump was inaugurated, the American people have flooded the streets and town halls to express their opposition to his agenda. Unprecedented numbers of citizens turned out for the nationwide Women’s March on January 21. A week later, more protesters showed up spontaneously at airports to oppose Trump’s Muslim ban. Now town halls are being inundated by angry voters who won’t stand for Trump’s efforts to gut ObamaCare. These protests are having a profound effect on the Republican Party. Nervous GOP representatives in Washington, and across the nation, are running scared – literally. Many are avoiding their own constituents meetings for fear of encountering their wrath. And the ones that are going are being greeted by passionate advocates for progressive policies and values. For those who are skeptical that these tactics are effective, set aside your worries. There is abundant evidence that they...

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GOP Senator Wants Mike Flynn to Testify Before Congress about his Russia Connections

by Aaron Rupar – Sen. Susan Collins says she’s also open to subpoenaing Trump’s tax returns. Despite many unanswered questions about connections between President Donald Trump, his inner circle, and Russian officials, Republican members of Congress have so far been reluctant to pursue a robust investigation. But during an interview with Maine Public Radio on Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) expressed confidence that Congress will conduct a thorough, bipartisan investigation. “I am confident that since this is a completely bipartisan investigation with full-time staff, that we’ll get to the bottom of this,” she said, adding that she anticipates the investigation will culminate in a public report. Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she and other members want former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to testify before them. Flynn lost his job last Monday after it was revealed he had lied about discussing Russian sanctions during his pre-inauguration communications with...

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The Constitutional Apocalypse

by Les Leopold – As Trump vilifies the press, the courts, immigrants, Muslims, Democrats, protestors and anyone who disagrees with him, it isn’t hard to imagine a modern day Mussolini… or worse. But, an even greater threat lies in the Republican’s march towards full control of state government. If they get there, they will have the frightening power to amend the Constitution into their own authoritarian image… or Ayn Rand’s. Republicans now control 32 state legislatures and 33 governorships. They have majorities in both state legislative chambers as well as the governorships in 25 states. The Democrats have total control in only six states and legislative control in two more (see here). If Republicans achieve veto-proof control in 38 states, they can do something that has never been done before ― hold a constitutional convention, and then ratify new amendments that are put forth. To date all amendments have been initiated...

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Appeals Court Upholds Maryland’s Assault-Style Rifle Ban

by Meteor Blades – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit on Tuesday upheld a Maryland ban on assault-style semi-automatic rifles. The 10-4 ruling in the case of Kolbe v. Hogan overturned a decision by a three-judge panel of the same court. The ruling held that the designated firearms are “not protected by the Second Amendment.” The 2013 law was passed in the wake of the massacre of six adults and 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012. The young killer committed the murders with an assault-style rifle, the Bushmaster XM15-E2S, a firearm patterned on the widely available AR-15. Specifically, the law prohibits sales or other transfers of a list of 81 guns and similar models. It includes both pistols, shotguns, and centerfire, semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines and have at least two of three characteristics—grenade launcher, flash suppressor/flare launcher, or folding stock. Also banned are sales or transfers of magazines than can hold more than...

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On This Day, Feb. 23, 1836 – The Battle for the Alamo Begins

1836 – In San Antonio, TX, the siege of the Alamo began. On February 23, 1836, the arrival of General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s army outside San Antonio nearly caught them by surprise. Undaunted, the Texans and Tejanos prepared to defend the Alamo together. The defenders held out for 13 days against Santa Anna’s army. William B. Travis, the commander of the Alamo sent forth couriers carrying pleas for help to communities in Texas. On the eighth day of the siege, a band of 32 volunteers from Gonzales arrived, bringing the number of defenders to nearly two hundred. Legend holds that with the possibility of additional help fading, Colonel Travis drew a line on the ground and asked any man willing to stay and fight to step over — all except one did. As the defenders saw it, the Alamo was the key to the defense of Texas,...

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Nine Therapists Share Their Opinions on Trump’s Fitness for Office

by HalBrown – This is an open article. If you are a psychotherapist and willing to have your opinion published in the body of the article, put it on as a comment and include your degree and profession. Living in a world in which I see or hear Donald Trump on at least a daily basis, it would be peculiar of me not to notice or wonder what drives him. The trick is to figure out what the behaviors mean and whether they are a threat to the country. A few of the most disturbing behaviors that I have seen in Donald Trump have been the mocking of people he perceives as weak and the degree to which he denies, lies about or distorts information. In my experience as a therapist, I have worked with people who have been harmed by trauma, including emotional abuse – as children. As a...

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Judge: Texas can’t Kick Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid

by MARISSA EVANS – U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled Tuesday afternoon that Texas clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood can continue to care for patients under the state’s Medicaid program, a phew-worthy victory for reproductive rights advocates and a loss for the state’s GOP leaders. In a 42-page ruling, Sparks wrote that the state’s arguments in the case were “the building blocks of a best-selling novel rather than a case concerning the interplay of federal and state authority through the Medicaid program.” “After reviewing the evidence currently in the record, the Court finds the Inspector General, and thus , likely acted to disenroll qualified health care providers from Medicaid without cause,” the ruling read. “Such action would deprive Medicaid patients of their statutory right to obtain health care from their chosen qualified provider.” The ruling comes more than a year after Planned Parenthood first sued Texas to...

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President Trump Has Cheapened the Dignity of His Office

by Sam Fulwood III – It hasn’t even been a full month yet, but many of us who pay close attention to Washington feel like the Trump administration has aged us a full decade. Every day begins with a fearful peek at President Donald Trump’s latest insomniac posting on Twitter. Who is he attacking today? A fashion retailer? Or the all-knowing purveyors of “fake news?” Perhaps a beloved civil rights leader and member of Congress? In a way, starting the day with Trump’s tweets is like reading the comics before the front-page news. As tempting as it might seem, however, the president’s online hijinks are no laughing matter. It’s serious business when the leader of the free world expresses pique and ire daily in 140 characters or less. As he did during the presidential campaign, Trump has continued to attack any one or any institution that dares to disagree with him....

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Do These 10 Things, And Trump Will Be Toast

by Michael Moore – An easy-to-follow action plan than anyone and can do… and every one must do. Friends, I welcome you to “The Michael Moore Easy-to-Follow 10-Point Plan to Stop Trump.” First, let’s acknowledge what we all know to be true: Trump is in deep, deep trouble — in the pocket of Russians, surrounded by alt.right idiots, alone in his bathrobe in a mostly-empty White House — and caught inside a disgusting “shit-sandwich”, so said his supporter who turned down the NSA job. Only one month into his So-Called Presidency — and yet there is good news, as this is what the American landscape looks like: • Tens of thousands of citizens across the country have stormed Congressional district offices and town hall meetings to express their rage at the Trump agenda (a dejected Republican congressman, after a 3-hour verbal assault from his angry constituents, said on TV last night,...

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Muslims Raise $55,000 to Fix Vandalized Jewish Cemetery

Muslim activists launch crowdfunding bid to repair Missouri’s Chesed Shel Emeth graves after anti-Semitic desecration. A crowdfunding project launched by Muslim activists has raised more than $55,000 in one day to repair a vandalised Jewish cemetery in St Louis. On Tuesday, Linda Sarsour of the grassroots civil rights MPower Change group and Tarek El-Messidi of the non-profit CelebrateMercy organisation called on people to donate after more than 100 headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in the St Louis suburb of University City were toppled. By early Wednesday, at the time of  publishing, $55,341 had been raised. According to reports, police said they did not yet know who was responsible for the vandalism. “Muslim Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration,” the activists said. They launched the campaign with a goal to raise $20,000, a target that was hit in three...

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Did Jury in Etan Patz Murder Case Receive Improper Information?

by Joaquin Sapien and Joe Sexton – Attorneys for the former bodega clerk convicted last week of murdering 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 are exploring whether the jury was exposed to improper information during the course of the four-month trial and prior to deliberations. After the Manhattan jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict last week, Newsday reported that a juror from the trial — the second brought against 56-year-old Pedro Hernandez — had been told by a court officer that one or more jurors from the first trial were attending the second proceeding, where they sometimes sat with the dead boy’s father, Stan Patz. The first trial involving the disappearance and death of one of the most famous missing children in American history ended in a hung jury in May 2015. But afterward many jurors spoke passionately and publicly of their belief that Hernandez was, in fact, guilty. Several forged relationships...

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President Trump’s Coming War on Science: Environment Edition

by Alison Cassady – On February 17, the U.S. Senate confirmed former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. Observers can now expect the Trump administration—with Congress providing the wind at Administrator Pruitt’s back—to charge ahead with an aggressive agenda to weaken or nullify a decade’s worth of progress on pollution reduction. President Donald Trump and Administrator Pruitt are likely to start off by announcing plans to dismantle the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants, and other components of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan. They may also attack an Obama-era rule to protect the nation’s waterways from pollution. In addition to taking on specific environmental protections, President Trump and Congress are likely to pursue a more pernicious strategy to deny or obscure basic facts and science about climate change and assert new supposed truths...

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French Police Search Marine Le Pen’s Party Headquarters (VIDEOS)

Raid is part of an investigation into allegations that far-right leader used EU funds to pay staff of her FN party. French police have searched the Paris-based headquarters of far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) party in relation to a probe into alleged misuse of EU funds, according to a party statement. The European Parliament (EP) says Le Pen, a member of the European institution since 2004, had paid FN party staff with EP funds. According to EU rules, parliamentary money should be used only to pay assistants working with the institution. Inside Story – Can Marine Le Pen win the French presidential election? The parliament says the breach happened during the 2011-12 legislature, after Le Pen assumed her role as FN leader in January 2011. The EP says 20 assistants presented as parliamentary aides back then continued to work for the FN elsewhere. Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler,...

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On This Day, Feb 22, 2006 – Gang Commits Largest Robbery in British History

In the early morning hours of February 22, 2006, a gang of at least six men, some of them armed, steal £53 million from the Securitas bank depot in Kent, Great Britain. It was the largest such theft in British history. The plot was well planned. On the evening before, two men, dressed as police officers, pulled the depot manager, Colin Dixon, over as he was driving in nearby Stockbury. They convinced him to get out of his car, and forced him into their vehicle. At about the same time, two more men visited Dixon’s home and picked up Dixon’s wife and eight-year-old son; eventually all three Dixons were taken to a farm in West Kent, where the gang threatened their lives if Colin refused to cooperate with the robbery. The Dixons were then forced to go with the gang to the Securitas depot, where Colin helped them evade...

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The Trump Resistance Plan: A Timeline – Russia and President Trump

by STEVEN HARPER – Investigative reporters have begun to flesh out the Trump/Russia timeline. To keep everything in one location, here’s an updated summary (so far). The last installment of the Trump Resistance Plan began with Thomas Paine’s 1776 observation in Common Sense, “Time makes more converts than reason.” Sometimes, it doesn’t take much time at all. Russia interfered with an American presidential election; Congressional Republicans unwilling to convert and seek the truth no longer have anywhere to hide. Putin’s 2016 Ticket Investigative reporters have begun to flesh out the Trump/Russia timeline. To keep everything in one location, here’s an updated summary (so far): — Trump’s efforts to develop business in Russia date to 1987. In 1996, he applied for his trademark in that country. Discussing ambitions for a Trump hotel in 2007, he declared, “We will be in Moscow at some point.” — October 15, 2007, Trump said: “Look at Putin – what...

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Keith Ellison’s Quest for DNC Chair

by Robert Borosage – Rep. Keith Ellison offers a lifeline to a Democratic Party that is struggling to stay afloat. The question is whether party officials realize that they are sinking and accept it. When the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee select a new chairman in Atlanta on Saturday, they will decide whether they want the lift or would prefer to keep floundering. Clearly, Democrats are in dire shape. They are locked out of power in Washington, with Republicans in control of the White House and both houses of Congress. During the Obama administration, they lost nearly 1,000 state legislative seats, and Republicans now control 67 of 98 partisan state legislative chambers nationwide. From Kansas to Wisconsin and North Carolina, the right is driving an agenda that will expose Americans to the pillage of a new robber baron era. Democrats are losing elections in significant part because...

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Schumer: DOJ Rules Require Jeff Sessions to Recuse Himself from Flynn Investigation

by Laura Clawson – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s dealings with Russia. In a Washington Post op-ed, Schumer points to the Justice Department rule barring any member of the department from participating in an investigation “if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution or any person or . . . has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution.” Donald Trump has an interest that would be affected by the investigation—and that’s if he wasn’t substantially involved in the conduct in question, which is far from certain. And Sessions isn’t just a Trump appointee: During the campaign, Sessions was identified by the Trump campaign and by Trump...

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Florida Supreme Court Reminds Politicians That Women Are Capable of Making Their Own Decisions

by Julia Kaye – Every day, people face important medical decisions. When tough choices arise, we consult with our health care providers about the pros and cons of different treatment options. We meditate on our goals and fears. Some of us will turn to family or friends for advice. Some of us will pray. No one goes to the state capitol building to ask a politician their opinion. Yet when it comes to a woman’s decision to end her pregnancy, politicians feel entitled to insert themselves into the equation. We all agree that a woman seeking abortion care, like every other patient, should receive all medically appropriate information. But in dozens of states, legislators demand that a woman who has decided to have an abortion — unlike any other patient seeking any other form of medical care — delay her procedure by a certain amount of time (typically 24 hours...

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Trump’s First Month Travel Expenses Cost Taxpayers Just Less than what Obama Spent in a Year

by Aaron Rupar – Meanwhile, his budget proposal cuts programs for poor people. On Monday, President Trump returned to Washington DC from his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where he’s spent the last three weekends. The Washington Post reports that those three trips “probably cost the federal treasury about $10 million, based on figures used in an October government report analyzing White House travel, including money for Coast Guard units to patrol the exposed shoreline and other military, security and staffing expenses associated with moving the apparatus of the presidency.” So far, the highlight of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago trips has been he and his aides struggling to deal with an international crisis in full view of diners and staff during the evening of February 11. The three Mar-a-Lago getaways, combined with the hundreds of thousands of public dollars spent on Secret Service protection during two international trips Trump’s adult sons have taken to...

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Iowa Bill Would Force Universities to Hire Right-Wing Professors

by Nika Knight – The proposed law ‘could bring about a Soviet-style purge of liberal-leaning college staff in Iowa’. As Republican-dominated state governments push frightening right-wing legislation nationwide, a GOP senator in Iowa joined the fray on Monday with a bill that would force universities to exclusively hire Republican professors and temporarily bar Democrats until “partisan balanced” is reached. The bill, Senate File 288, “could bring about a Soviet-style purge of liberal-leaning college staff in Iowa,” warned Pat Rynard in the local politics blog Iowa Starting Line.  “The obvious impact and purpose of this bill would be to ban Democrats from getting hired anymore at Iowa colleges,” Rynard continued. “If you took a survey right now, it’s highly likely that Iowa professors are registered as Democrats at a much higher rate than Republican. So any new hires would be strictly limited to Republican or o arty voters.” Iowa state senator Mark Chelgren, who...

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On This Day, Feb 21, 1965 – Malcolm X Assassinated

In New York City, Malcolm X, an African American nationalist and religious leader, is assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights. Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, Malcolm was the son of James Earl Little, a Baptist preacher who advocated the black nationalist ideals of Marcus Garvey. Threats from the Ku Klux Klan forced the family to move to Lansing, Michigan, where his father continued to preach his controversial sermons despite continuing threats. In 1931, Malcolm’s father was brutally murdered by the white supremacist Black Legion, and Michigan authorities refused to prosecute those responsible. In 1937, Malcolm was taken from his family by welfare caseworkers. By the time he reached high school age, he had dropped out of school and moved to Boston, where he became increasingly involved in criminal activities. In 1946, at the...

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Abraham Lincoln’s Warning About American Demagogues Like Trump

by Joe Romm – Lincoln argued that only “reason” and “a reverence” for the law could stop them. On Saturday, President Donald Trump compared himself to “Abraham Lincoln and many of our greatest presidents.” On his inauguration, Trump chose to be sworn in on the so-called “Lincoln bible” — the same one Honest Abe was sworn in on — because he was “inspired by Lincoln’s words,” Quartz reported. On Presidents’ Day, though, it’s worth remembering that Trump is the anti-Lincoln (and anti-Washington). Indeed, he is not just the demagogue Founding Fathers like Alexander Hamilton warned us about. He is exactly the demagogue Lincoln himself warned us about. At Gettysburg in 1863, Abraham Lincoln famously asked whether a nation “conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal … can long endure.” But Lincoln’s concern about the fate of the Republic — and the danger of a demagogue just like Trump — dates much earlier. Way back...

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Iraqi Forces Push Into ISIL-Held Southern Mosul

Troops backed by jets battle their way to Mosul airport, as US defence chief arrives in Baghdad on unannounced visit. Iraqi security forces have pushed into the southern outskirts of Mosul on the second day of a new offensive to drive ISIL fighters from the city’s western half, as US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit. Iraqi forces backed by jets and helicopters battled their way to Mosul airport on Monday as they prepared to take on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group’s stronghold in the city’s west bank. “The federal police has resumed its advance … Our cannons are targeting Daesh defence lines with heavy fire,” federal police chief Raed Shaker Jawdat said, using and Arabic acronym for ISIL, also known as ISIS. INSIDE STORY: Will the latest Iraqi offensive mean the end of ISIL in Mosul? (25:10) The main...

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General H.R. McMaster Selected to Replace Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor

by Mark Sumner – Donald Trump found a way to get around the problem of ex-generals and admirals refusing to take his call. After reports that former Vice Admiral Robert Harward turned down an offer of the national security position, and other names were rumored to take themselves out of the running before they could even get an offer, Donald Trump fastened on the one sure way to fill the role: Give it to an active duty officer. President Trump picked Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a widely respected military strategist, as his new national security adviser on Monday, calling him “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.” McMaster genuinely is highly regarded, both as an officer and a historian. Of particular interest is McMaster’s book Dereliction of Duty that covers the early years of the war in Vietnam. The theme of the book is that John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson had little respect for...

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Merkel: ‘Islam is not the Source of Terrorism’ (VIDEOS)

Both Merkel and US Vice President Mike Pence attend key security conference in Munich with Russia high on the agenda. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Islam is not the source of “terrorism” and that cooperating with predominantly Muslim states in the fight against it is vital. Merkel, who has been critical of US President Donald Trump’s attempt to impose a temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, was speaking on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, with US Vice President Mike Pence in the audience. “I think, those countries, first and foremost have to give a contribution. Because only in this way we would be able to convince people that it is not Islam that is the source of terrorism. But a falsely understood Islam,” she said. “I expect from religious authorities of Islam to find strong language in order to delimitate peaceful Islam from terrorism committed...

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Defence Secretary Jim Mattis: Not in Iraq to Seize Oil

Jim Mattis arrives on unannounced visit to Iraq as Pentagon considers acceleration of military campaign against ISIL. US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, on an unannounced visit to Iraq, said the United States does not intend to seize Iraqi oil, shifting away from an idea proposed by President Donald Trump that has rattled Iraq’s leaders. Mattis arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday, as the battle to oust the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group fighters from western Mosul moved into its second day, and as the Pentagon considers ways to accelerate the campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Under the president’s deadline, Mattis has just a week to send Trump a strategy to ramp up the fight and defeat ISIL. And any plan is likely to depend on US and coalition troops working with and through the local forces in both countries. “We’re going to make...

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New Study Confirms Just How Racially Discriminatory Voter ID Laws Truly Are

by Stephen Wolf – We’ve always suspected it, but now new academic research confirms it: Strict voter ID laws do indeed disproportionately lower turnout among Latino, black, and Asian voters compared to whites, which of course benefits conservatives and the Republican Party. The authors of this new study found that strict ID laws—where registered voters must show a photo ID to have their vote count, and no exceptions are permitted—depressed Latino turnout rates the most, followed by black and Asian-American turnout, yet white turnout was largely unaffected.  Those findings held true even when researchers accounted for a variety of other factors, and they were even more acute in primaries. That latter point is critical because many states and cities hold elections for important races such as city council seats, judgeships, and even state constitutional amendments at times other than November general elections. It also means voter ID can make even Democratic...

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Norway Pledges Millions to Growing Anti-Trump Global Abortion Fund

by Nadia Prupis – “At a time when has come under pressure, a joint effort is particularly important” Norway has joined a growing international initiative to counter President Donald Trump’s global anti-abortion measure, signed in January. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced over the weekend that the country would pledge an additional $10 million to support U.S.-backed charities overseas that provide information on abortion—which are now cut off from financial support from the U.S. under Trump’s “global gag rule,” also known as the Mexico City Policy. Trump instituted the funding ban as one of his first moves in office. The Netherlands launched the international fund in response, warning that the ban would cause a shortfall of $600 million over the next four years and put women’s lives at risk around the world. “Norway plays a leading role in the work to promote global health, and is one of the...

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