“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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