MoveOn.org Files Complaint Against Rep. Nunes for Violation of the Espionage Act

by mlarson59 – Anna Galland, Executive Director of MoveOn.org, submitted a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics on Tuesday, stating: THE UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION BY CHAIRMAN NUNES FOR WHAT APPEAR TO BE BLATANTLY POLITICAL PURPOSES IS NOT MERELY A POLICY MATTER OR A MATTER ABOUT THE CHAIRMAN’S IMPARTIALITY IN CONDUCTING THE BUSINESS OF HIS COMMITTEE. IT IS A MATTER THAT IMPLICATES THE INTEGRITY OF THE HOUSE AND ITS PROCEDURES AND ROLE IN THE PROPER HANDLING OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION THAT IS, OF COURSE, CRITICAL TO ENABLE THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEES TO PERFORM THEIR LEGISLATING AND OVERSIGHT FUNCTIONS IN NATIONAL SECURITY. The essence of the complaint is the following sequence: THE EXISTENCE OF AN APPLICATION FOR FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE UNDER THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT, 50 U.S.C. §§1801 ET SEQ.—WHAT CHAIRMAN NUNES REFERRED TO AS “WARRANTS”—IS, OF COURSE, CLASSIFIED, AND DISCLOSURE OF THE INFORMATION ITSELF CAN BE MADE ONLY...

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Trump Administration Decides Trump isn’t Violating His Government Lease. They’re Wrong

by Laurel Raymond – “It is harmful to the integrity — and thus credibility — of GSA, the Presidency, and federal procurement process.” Trump’s downtown DC hotel has emerged as one of the starkest symbols of his conflicts of interest, a literal landmark to Trump’s kleptocracy and a central property in Trump’s violation of the emoluments clause. And, shortly after the election, government ethics experts pointed out one even more basic way Trump’s ownership of the hotel poses a problem: he appears to be in clear violation of the terms of the lease itself. The Trump organization, which Trump still owns, leased the Old Post Office building from the government in 2012. Included in that lease is a standard provision against corruption that stipulates that no “elected official” can be part of the lease or reap any benefit from it. With his election, Trump became both the owner of the hotel and the highest elected...

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Sanctuary Cities ‘Stand Resolute’ in Face of Threatened Funding Cut-Off

by Nadia Prupis – Officials from country’s largest urban centers strategized on sheltering undocumented immigrants after White House announced plan to withhold federal aid. Sanctuary cities are refusing to back down in the face of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration, which was codified on Monday after Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to cut off funding for states and cities that shelter undocumented residents. Officials from many of those jurisdictions met in New York on Tuesday to discuss how to fight the plan—the second consecutive day of brainstorming from leaders of some of the country’s biggest urban centers, as Reuters noted. The strategy session brought in attendees from California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington state, Wisconsin, and elsewhere. It was preceded by the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a left-leaning advocacy group, releasing a guide and toolkit on protecting undocumented immigrants. The blueprint, published last week, aims to help local-level policymakers “create...

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Makers of Fake Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Video Slapped With 15 Felony Charges

by April Hamlin – Two anti-abortion activists are facing 15 felony charges after they secretly filmed themselves trying to buy aborted fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood. (In case you missed it, these attempts were unsuccessful because, duh. But that didn’t stop them from editing this video footage and then using it to claim that the women’s health provider was selling baby parts. They weren’t.) State Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt on Tuesday. The Associated Press reports: The allegations say the pair filmed 14 people without permission between October 2013 and July 2015 in Los Angeles, San Francisco and El Dorado counties. One felony count was filed for each person. The 15th was for criminal conspiracy to invade privacy. According to Becerra, Daleiden and Merritt created a fictitious biomedical research company, which they then lied about in order to convince representatives of Planned Parenthood to meet with them...

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Gaza: Israel’s War Drums are Getting Louder (VIDEO)

by Tareq Baconi – Israel is entertaining another round of fighting on the besieged strip. On Friday, a senior member of Hamas’s military wing, Mazen Faqha, was assassinated in the Gaza Strip by armed gunmen. It was an assassination tactic not seen in Gaza for at least a decade. Faqha was a leading member of Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades in the West Bank. In 2003, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Israel for his role in planning attacks following Israel’s assassination of Salah Shehadeh, then al-Qassam’s leader. Faqha was set free in the prisoner-exchange deal that released Gilad Shalit in return for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in 2011. He was delivered from prison straight to the Gaza Strip, where he resided until his death. The timing and the tactic of Faqha’s killing raise questions about the possibility of another conflagration between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian factions in Gaza agree...

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On This Day, March 29, 1979 – JFK Assassination Ruled a Conspiracy

1979 – The Committee on Assassinations Report issued by U.S. House of Representatives stated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was the result of a conspiracy. I. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassination in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. Kennedy. The second and third shots he fired struck the President. The third shot he fired killed the President  Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy. Other scientific evidence does not preclude the possibility of two gunmen firing at the President. Scientific evidence negates some specific conspiracy allegations The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee was unable to identify the other gunmen or the extent of...

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Release of Arctic Methane “May Be Apocalyptic,” Study Warns

by Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report – A scientific study published in the prestigious journal Palaeoworld in December issued a dire — and possibly prophetic — warning, though it garnered little attention in the media. “Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic,” reads the study’s abstract. “But the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.” The study, titled “Methane Hydrate: Killer Cause of Earth’s Greatest Mass Extinction,” highlights the fact that the most significant variable in the Permian Mass Extinction event, which occurred 250 million years ago and annihilated 90 percent of all the species on the planet, was methane hydrate. In the wake of that mass extinction event, less than 5 percent of the animal species in the seas lived, and less than one-third of the large land animal species made it. Nearly all the trees died. Methane hydrate, according to...

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Mexican Archdiocese: Companies That Help Build Trump’s Wall Are “Traitors”

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘The wall is a monument of intimidation and silence, of xenophobic hatred’. Denouncing President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall between Mexico and the United States as “an open threat that violates relations and peace,” the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico City said Sunday that companies who profit from its construction are “traitors to the homeland.” The country’s largest archdiocese made the charge in an editorial (Spanish) published in its weekly newsletter, Desde la fe. A spokesman said the editorial represented the views of the diocese. “Joining a project that is a serious affront to dignity, is to shoot yourself in the foot,” the editorial declared. “The wall is a monument of intimidation and silence, of xenophobic hatred.” It continued: “Any company with the intention to invest in the wall of the fanatic Trump would be immoral, but above all, its shareholders and owners should be considered traitors...

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With a Daily Dial, Police Reach Out to Seniors

by Jenni Bergal – Living alone can be tough for seniors. Some don’t have family nearby to check on them, and they worry that if they fall or suffer a medical emergency and can’t get to the phone to seek help, no one will know. That’s why hundreds of police agencies in small towns, suburbs and rural areas across the country are checking in on seniors who live alone by offering them a free automated phone call every day. Police officials say the computerized calling systems, which are fairly inexpensive and easy to use, provide an important service to a growing senior population that is expected to reach 65 million by 2025. Already, nearly half of women age 75 and older live alone. And advocates for older adults say telephone check-in programs can help seniors remain independent in their homes and give them — and their family members — peace of...

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Trump’s Awkward Meeting with Angela Merkel just got More Cringeworthy

by Laurel Raymond – Trump reportedly handed the Chancellor an invoice for what he thinks Germany “owes” NATO and the U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel was always going to be awkward. Trump rode to office on a wave of nationalistic populism and has openly slammed NATO, one of the key alliances binding the U.S. and Germany, while Merkel has been a staunch defender of the global world order. During his campaign, Trump even levied Merkel’s name as an insult, sneering that his opponent Hillary Clinton wanted to be “America’s Angela Merkel.” Nonetheless, Trump took to Twitter the day after the chilly meeting to defend his “GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel” despite “FAKE NEWS” claiming otherwise, before reiterating his claim Germany owes NATO money for its defense — a claim that is profoundly ignorant of how NATO works. Now, the Times of London is reporting that Trump went a...

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13 More Editorials Calling for a Special Prosecutor

by RandomNonviolence – As of March 7, there had been 20 editorial calls for a special prosecutor. Here are 13 more editorials since then: The Fresno Bee: Russia-Trump probe is in chaos, and Rep. Devin Nunes is to blame By our yardstick, Rep. Devin Nunes had a terrible week fulfilling his duties as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In fact, the performance of the Tulare Republican was so inept and bewildering that a fellow Republican, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, told MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday that a bipartisan special select committee should investigate Russia’s meddling into the 2016 presidential campaign. … … Bring on the bipartisan special select committee – as was done with Benghazi – and a special prosecutor. Merced (CA) Sun-Star: Schiff rises, Nunes falters in Russia probe … It’s more proof that to get to the bottom of possible links between Trump associates and...

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Contrary to Spin, Trump Slashing Energy Jobs With New Executive Order

by Nika Knight – “These facts make it clear that Donald Trump is attacking clean energy jobs purely in order to boost the profits of fossil fuel billionaires.” As the Trump administration brags that Tuesday’s executive order to dismantle Obama-era climate regulations will create coal industry jobs, new employment data from the Department of Energy (DoE) demonstrates how misguided that claim is. Clean energy employs many more Americans than the fossil fuel industry, and economic forecasts show that the trend will continue, according to a Sierra Club analysis published Monday of the DoE’s 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (pdf) released earlier this year. “Clean energy jobs, including those from solar, wind, energy efficiency, smart grid technology, and battery storage, vastly outnumber all fossil fuel jobs nationwide from the coal, oil and gas sectors. That includes jobs in power generation, mining, and other forms of fossil fuel extraction,” the Sierra Club...

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Complications of the Border Wall Project Increasingly Apparent

by Abstract668 – As the deadline for initial concept papers for Trump’s wall approaches (Wednesday, March 29, 4 pm without specifying the time zone),  we are finally starting to read about some of the problems that will be encountered if an actual contractor tries to build an actual wall. The Washington Post today listed three obstacles to the wall project: money, geography, and legal challenges. You can read the full story by Alicia Caldwell here. To those of us familiar with federal contracting procedures and federally-funded construction projects, the Post story just scratches the surface of the barriers facing this pipe-dream. Money. As Caldwell points out, Trump promised that Mexico will pay for the wall. We all know that was a five-Pinocchio lie. Let’s assume that Trump himself is not going to pay for it (he doesn’t even pay the carpet companies who outfit his hotels!) In order for federal funds...

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Kansas Lawmakers Just Dared Sam Brownback to Veto Medicaid Expansion

by Alan Pyke – Bill heads to right-wing governor’s desk with wide bipartisan majorities — but not veto-proof ones. A bill to expand Medicaid eligibility under Obamacare passed the Kansas Senate on Tuesday morning, setting up a showdown with arch-conservative Gov. Sam Brownback (R). Brownback is philosophically opposed to the expansion, which in-state analysts estimate would cover 150,000 currently uninsured people. But with the state’s budget in disastrous shape because of his “real, live experiment” with right-wing tax policy over the past several years, Republican allies have already begun to break stride with the governor. Brownback has 10 days to decide what to do. His administration this week reiterated opposition to expanding the state’s Medicaid program, known as KanCare. But the governor himself has stayed mu, Alliance for a Healthy Kansas head David Jordan told ThinkProgress. “His staff put out oppositional statements yesterday, but he wouldn’t answer the question himself as to what...

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On This Day, March 28, 1979 – Three Mile Island Reactor Nears Meltdown

1979 – At 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island fails to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat. After the cooling water began to drain, emergency cooling pumps automatically went into operation. Left alone, these safety devices would have prevented the development of a larger crisis. However, human operators in the control room misread confusing and contradictory readings and shut off the emergency water system. The reactor was also shut down, but residual heat from the fission process was still being released. By early morning, the core had heated to over 4,000 degrees, just 1,000 degrees short of meltdown. As the plant operators struggled to understand what had happened, the...

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TV Coverage of Climate Fell 66 Percent During a Record-Setting Year for Global Warming

by Joe Romm – Trump’s budget targets federal funding of PBS, the one network with the most climate coverage. In 2016, the major networks’ coverage of climate change dropped by two thirds compared to 2015. In fact, climate coverage last year was close to its lowest levels since 2009, according to a new analysis by MediaMatters of the evening and Sunday news programs that air on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. This drop is despite historic wildfires, extreme weather events like Hurricane Matthew, and month after month of record-breaking global temperatures. And, of course, there was a presidential campaign between two people who have diametrically opposed views on the gravest preventable threat to the United States and the world. During the campaign, the major networks spent no time examining the climate policy differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — despite their vast disagreement on domestic action, the Paris climate agreement, and whether...

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Donald Trump Plans to Make Jared Kushner America’s Unelected, Unapproved, Uncontrolled CEO

by Mark Sumner – If you’ve been waiting for the moment when Donald Trump hands over power … good news! But Trump isn’t officially placing his magic marker scrawl on a resignation. It’s just that, after two whole weeks of trying to get a health care bill passed, he’s tired of all this talking to people and trying to make compromises. So it’s time to shake up America. President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions. Because, as the old saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, sell it off. The fact that government is not anything at all like business, has never bothered Republicans. So it’s not unexpected...

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Michael Flynn Discussed Illegal Kidnapping of Exiled Turkish Dissident

by Alan Pyke – Flynn was one of Trump’s key advisers when he talked about “a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away.” President Donald Trump’s messy pile of international relations scandals and conflicts of interest gained a salacious new development straight out of a novel on Friday. Former Trump national security aide Michael Flynn discussed the hypothetical kidnapping of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen from his Pennsylvania home with senior Turkish government officials in September, the Wall Street Journal reports. Word of the conversation comes from former CIA head James Woolsey, who told the Journal he was alarmed by the brainstorming around “a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away,” an operation which would violate U.S. law. Flynn, through a spokesman, denied ever discussing such a plan. The conversation was “open-ended thinking on the subject” rather than a detailed tactical discussion...

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Why Spend $54 Billion More on the Pentagon? To Start a War, Obviously

by JOHN FEFFER – The president wants to put the U.S. on a permanent war footing to sustain his unpopular presidency. So, let me see if I’ve got this right. North Korea has been pushing its ally China to rein in the United States. Pyongyang is worried that Washington is about to launch a preemptive attack, so it has tried to use whatever minimal amount of influence it has to persuade China to use its considerable economic leverage with the United States to get those knuckleheads inside the Beltway to listen to reason. Or maybe I misheard the report on the radio. How about this: As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to stop reckless U.S. military interventions overseas, like the one he so disliked (after it failed) in Iraq. So, as president, he is withdrawing all troops from Syria, reducing U.S. military presence in Asia, and pulling the United States...

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DOJ to Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities by Denying and Clawing Back Federal Grants

by Zack Ford – At Monday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer turned the podium over to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced a plan to cut Office of Justice Programs grants to sanctuary cities — those that choose not to turn over undocumented immigrants to federal officials for deportation. “Today I’m urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws, including 8 U.S. Code § 1373,” Sessions explained. That law states that no government entity can restrict sharing information with the Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding individuals’ citizenship or immigration status. “Moreover, the Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants to certify compliance with 1373 as a condition of receiving those awards.” Not complying with 1373, Sessions warned, could “result in withholding grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants.” He added that the Department of Justice...

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