Trumpism and the Danger of Willful Ignorance

by DarkSyde – A useful example of the willful ignorance spreading among conservatives as exemplified by Trump. Here, conservatives changed their opinion on a simple yes or no question based solely on the party in control of the WH. It is a good bet that many who changed their mind would vehemently deny they ever held any other view on the matter. Humans are all born ignorant. We may mature into the most knowledgeable creatures on Earth, but at the start, we’re about as intellectually helpless as any mammal on the eutherian side of a marsupial. Sadly, many of us stay relatively ignorant our whole lives, mostly not by choice. But for a few, ignorance is willful, intentional, and terminal. Trumpism carries that further: What is key though is to understand that this is not just ignorance. Ignorance is just the first stage of Trump’s fairly advanced problem. He is not only ignorant but clearly unaware...

Read More...


Teens Who Engage in ‘Sexting’ Should Not Be Prosecuted as Sex Offenders

by Amy Roe, Senior Writer, ACLU of Washington – In an early episode of the television series “Girls,” Adam sends Hannah a photo of his penis and then a text message: “SRY that wasn’t for you.” Hannah and her friends debate the intention of Adam’s actions, but one thing is clear: The explicit photo he sent isn’t unusual, and it certainly isn’t criminal. Had he lived in the state of Washington, been under 18 — and, of course, been a real person — Adam might have been branded a sex offender. In Washington, minors who engage in the common teen behavior known as sexting can be prosecuted under the state’s child pornography law. To suggest that a juvenile who sends a sexually explicit selfie is a victim of his own act of child pornography is absurd, but that’s exactly what a trial court in Spokane County has done. When...

Read More...


100 Days of Deconstruction: Part 3

by STEVEN HARPER – Across the federal government, Trump is determining the country’s fate. The first 100 days of deconstruction set the stage for 1,360 that will follow. Trump promised to be a transformational leader. It wasn’t an idle threat. He has assembled an unprecedented governmental wrecking crew. This is the third installment on Trump’s a unique combination of kleptocracy and kakistocracy that is reshaping America in ways that most of voters won’t like. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Don’t let the symbolic American missile strike on a Syrian airfield, dropping the “Mother of All Bombs” on tunnels in Afghanistan or threats directed at North Korea distract from a central fact: Trump is Putin’s President. Former ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson is a player in the resulting saga. After Trump announced his choice for secretary of state, former Russian Energy Minister Vladimir Milov said that Tillerson was a “gift for...

Read More...


Who are Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron? (VIDEOS)

by Shafik Mandhai – The far-right female National Front leader will go head-to-head with the 39-year-old favourite to win the presidency. Who is Emmanuel Macron? Few could have asked for a better start to a political career than the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. The current frontrunner is a graduate of elite National School of Administration, which produces the country’s top civil servants and counts three French presidents among its alumni. Macron will be hoping to make it number four in May. As things stand, he looks best positioned to fend off the far-right candidacy of Marine Le Pen, who he is predicted to easily beat in a second round runoff – if the polls are correct. France election: Voters cast ballots in first round After graduating, Macron worked as a financial inspector at the Ministry of Economy before joining Rothschild & Cie bank as an investment banker. Politically, he was a...

Read More...


Obama From the Rearview Mirror

by Robert Borosage – Barack Obama’s stature will grow ever more impressive in the rearview mirror. We already miss his dignity, his grace, and his intelligence. His presidency was largely a competent, no-drama, scandal-free administration, and it will only gain in esteem as we gag on a presidency rotting, like a fish, from the head down. Donald Trump may be intent on repealing everything Obama accomplished, but he will inevitably ennoble him in the process. Photo credit: Pete Souza / White House Meanwhile, the predictable flood of Obama retrospectives has begun filling magazine racks and libraries. In his last months in office, Obama himself devoted no small amount of time making his case in interviews and in an extended farewell tour. A presidential memoir is in the works. But none of these are likely to celebrate Obama as fiercely as the early entry provided by Jonathan Chait, a columnist...

Read More...


2016 was a Horrible Year for Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes. 2017 is Much Worse

by Jack Jenkins – 2016 was a banner year for anti-Jewish hatred. New data suggests incidents of anti-Semitic hatred have spiked compared to this time last year, an ominous shift that advocates say signals a multi-year increase of vitriol directed at American Jews. According to a report published on Monday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 541 anti-Semitic incidents have occurred so far this year — an 86 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016. This includes 161 highly-publicized bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers and schools beginning in January. The FBI and foreign authorities recently arrested two different men — one in Missouri and one Israel — suspected to be the main culprits behind the various waves of threats that sparked mass evacuations at Jewish institutions across the country. But even excluding the bomb threats, the numbers for 2017 are unsettlingly high. Overall, the report says 380 “harassment incidents” have already occurred this year...

Read More...


Trump’s AP Interview: Unhinged, Bombastic, and “[Unintelligible]”

by Nadia Prupis – President sits down with Associated Press to rail against the media, dismiss his 100-day threshold, and discuss his broken pledges. President Donald Trump spoke with Associated Press journalist Julie Pace on Friday, and the transcript of the interview, released Sunday night, shows the president as bombastic and unstable, alternately dismissing his 100-day threshold and boasting about his accomplishments during that time. The interview comes as public trust in the White House plummets, a grassroots resistance movement to the administration builds, and Trump reverses or pivots his stance on numerous campaign pledges, including the promise to call China a “currency manipulator.” During the interview with Pace, the president displayed many of his trademark sensitivities, particularly his anger at the media, which he described as “fake” multiple times. At one point he referred to CBS‘ “Face the Nation” as “Deface the Nation.” He also refuted the idea that he...

Read More...


EPA Considers Gutting Regulations on Lead Contamination

by Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent out a notice on Wednesday announcing a series of upcoming public meetings in which it will consider gutting rules and regulations meant to protect the public from lead and hazardous chemicals, including training programs designed to prevent children from being exposed to lead paint. The notice went out at 2:30, just as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was meeting with residents of a neighborhood in East Chicago, Indiana, that has been contaminated with lead for decades. Six weeks after beleaguered residents petitioned his agency to take emergency action to protect them from lead contamination in their drinking water, Scott Pruitt was visiting East Chicago as part of the kick-off tour for his term as administrator of the EPA. “That timing is discouraging, obviously,” said Debbie Chizewer, an attorney at an environmental law clinic at Northwestern University who...

Read More...


On This Day, April 24, 1948 – The Berlin Airlift Starts

  1948 – The Berlin airlift began to relieve the surrounded city. When the blockade by the USSR began, the Soviets rejoiced, because they believed the Western powers had only one option, to leave Berlin.  But they underestimated the West airlift supplies.  Gen. Clay called upon General Curtis E. LeMay, commander of USAFE and asked him if he could haul supplies to Berlin.  LeMay responded, “We can haul anything”.  Two days later Gen. LeMay called upon Brig. Gen. Joseph Smith, Commander of the Wiesbaden Military Post, and appointed him Task Force Commander of an airlift operation estimated to last a few weeks.  The only US aircraft initially available were 102 C-47’s and 2 C-54 Skymasters.  On June 26, the first C-47’s landed at Tempelhof Airfield, foreshadowing the great operation that was to come.  Smith dubbed the mission “Operation Vittles”, because he said “We’re haulin‘ grub.”  The British called their...

Read More...


On This Day, April 23, 1778 – Harry Truman Gives Hell to the Soviet Union

1945 – Less than two weeks after taking over as president after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman gives a tongue-lashing to Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. The incident indicated that Truman was determined to take a “tougher” stance with the Soviets than his predecessor had. When Roosevelt died of a massive stroke on April 12, 1945, Harry S. Truman took over as president. Truman was overwhelmed by the responsibilities so suddenly thrust upon him and, particularly in terms of foreign policy, the new president was uncertain about his approach. Roosevelt had kept his vice-president in the dark about most diplomatic decisions, not even informing Truman about the secret program to develop an atomic bomb. Truman had to learn quickly, however. The approaching end of World War II meant that momentous decisions about the postwar world needed to be made quickly. The primary issue Truman faced...

Read More...


House Oversight Committee Calls on Trump’s Business to Prove He’s not Violating the Constitution

by Aaron Rupar – Trump promised to donate profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury, but there’s no proof he’s following through. Days after a lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution’s “emoluments clause” added more plaintiffs, the House Oversight Committee is requesting the Trump Organization turn over documents detailing what processes Trump’s business has implemented, if any, to make sure the president isn’t profiting from foreign governments who want to curry favor with him. On Friday, the Oversight Committee sent a letter to Sheri Dillon — the lawyer who detailed how Trump planned to avoid conflicts of interest during a January 11 news conference — asking her to detail how that plan is being implemented by no later than May 12. The Constitution prohibits presidents from accepting “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” But the Trump International Hotel has taken money...

Read More...


SCOTUS Says States Have No Right to Money Taken Based on Overturned Convictions

by Jacob Sullum – If making people prove their innocence to get their property back violates due process, what about civil forfeiture? This week the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado has no right to keep fines, fees, court costs, and restitution it extracts from criminal defendants whose convictions are later reversed. By forcing people to prove their innocence before they can get back property that is rightly theirs, the Court said, Colorado has been violating the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of due process. The Institute for Justice, which filed a brief in the case emphasizing that the presumption of innocence is an essential aspect of due process, makes a compelling argument that civil asset forfeiture routinely violates that principle. The Court’s decision in Nelson v. Colorado, which was joined by seven justices (Clarence Thomas dissented, and Neil Gorsuch joined the Court too recently to participate), came in response to challenges by Shannon...

Read More...


Polls: People Don’t Know Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Is a Scam

by Dave Johnson – Polls show that the public likes President Trump’s plan to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. That’s because they think he actually plans to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. He doesn’t. Not hardly. Not by a long shot. In fact… Infrastructure Spending Is Popular Polls show the public really likes it when Trump says he plans to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. Gallup: Trump Family Leave, Infrastructure Proposals Widely Popular, Americans are far more likely to agree than disagree with President Donald Trump’s proposals to require companies to provide family leave for parents of a newborn and to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. CNN: CNN/ORC poll: Most back boost in infrastructure spending, oppose growing military budget, Trump’s most popular budget proposals include reducing taxes for middle-class Americans (84% approve) and increasing spending on infrastructure (79% approve). So the public wants our government to spend money fixing up our infrastructure. But we...

Read More...


It’s Time to Legalize Marijuana and Abolish the Drug Czar

by Mike Ludwig, Truthout | News Analysis – With its lengthy name and familiar acronym, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is one of the oldest pro-legalization lobbies on Capitol Hill, and the group is tired of waiting for a good drug czar to come around. So, NORML is asking the White House to abolish the position altogether, just as President Trump is reportedly preparing to appoint Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania to the office. Marijuana legalization proponents have plenty of problems with Marino becoming the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the position informally known as “drug czar,” but that’s not the only reason NORML wants the entire “anti-science” agency closed. The ONDCP has long been a center of command for the war on drugs, a bloody and chaotic conflict that is widely seen as a costly failure. Unfortunately for NORML and...

Read More...


100 Days of Trump—Bans, Bombs, and Chocolate Cake

by Mark Sumner – Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill! 6:50 AM – 21 Apr 2017 The idea of the “first 100 days” as a measure of presidential accomplishment emerged during FDR’s first term. Faced with an economy in collapse, soaring unemployment, and institutions failing on all fronts, Roosevelt began his term with incredible vigor. He gathered his cabinet together on the afternoon following the inauguration and began work that day. In that 100 days that followed, FDR picked up the fallen country, put it on its feet, and aimed it in a new direction. He signed 15 major pieces of legislation. Within a week of the inauguration, the Emergency Banking Act reopened banks. The government then stepped in to help farmers. Then school kids. Then to...

Read More...


Jeff Sessions Decries Nonexistent New York Murder Epidemic

by Alan Pyke – A Justice Department press release denounces “gang murder after gang murder” in a city enjoying an historically low murder rate. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has more power over how American law is enforced than any other single living human being, is concerned about New York City. The nation’s largest population center continues to see “gang murder after gang murder,” Sessions’ office said in a statement Friday, attributing the putative murderpocalypse to the city’s commitment to humane treatment of undocumented immigrants: Brad Heath ✔@bradheath DOJ says New York City is “soft on crime.” 2:32 PM – 21 Apr 2017 Eight and a half million people live in New York City. New York City had 335 murders in 2016. That is down from 352 in 2015. It is the second-lowest murder rate in New York City history, tied with 2013 and just behind 2014’s all-time low of 333. Shootings,...

Read More...


Group of Mental Health Professionals Warn Trump’s State ‘Putting Country in Danger’

by Andrea Germanos – Despite professional rule barring them from doing so, psychological experts have argued that “too much is at stake to be silent any longer” A group of mental health professionals gathered at Yale University Thursday to discuss what they believe is their duty to warn the public of the “danger” posed by President Donald Trump. The “Duty to Warn” event was attended by roughly two dozen people and was organized Dr. Bandy Lee, assistant clinical professor in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, the CTPost writes. Lee called the mental health of the president “the elephant in the room,” and said: “Colleagues are concerned about the repercussions of speaking.” Yale did not sponsor the event, and said that conference-goers were expected to follow the Goldwater Rule. Enacted in 1973, it bars psychiatrists from giving their professional opinion on the mental health of a person they have not met. The American...

Read More...


Trump Abruptly asks Pro-Gun Control Surgeon General to Resign

by Bryce Covert – His views may have clashed with Trump’s extreme gun rhetoric on the campaign trail. The Trump administration asked U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, an Obama administration appointee, to resign his role on Friday and quickly moved his deputy, Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams, into the role. The resignation is somewhat unusual. A White House spokesperson told the New York Times that Murthy was asked to leave “after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump administration.” But employees at the Department of Health and Human Services told the Times they were surprised by the unusually abrupt departure. While it’s not unprecedented, Murthy’s four-year term would have normally ended at the end of this year. The full reasons for the Trump administration’s request that he step down aren’t clear. But one clue may lie in Murthy’s views on gun control. These views were immediately apparent after President Obama...

Read More...


On This Day, April 22, 1970 – US Comes Together to Celebrate First Earth Day

1970 – Earth Day, an event to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems, is celebrated in the United States for the first time. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches, and educational programs. Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a staunch environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement and increase ecological awareness. “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” Senator Nelson said, “and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.” Earth Day indeed increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of that year the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation. Loads of chemicals and hazardous wastes have...

Read More...


The Trump Doctrine

by ROBERT REICH – Though his foreign policy seems arbitrary and inconsistent, a pattern has emerged to explain Donald Trump’s worldview and how the US will carry it out. What’s the “Trump Doctrine” of foreign policy? At first glance, foreign policy under Trump seems inconsistent, arbitrary and devoid of principle. A few weeks ago, even before the airstrike on Syria, Trump communications director Mike Dubke told Trump’s assembled aides that international affairs presented a messaging challenge because the Trump administration lacks a coherent foreign policy. “There is no Trump doctrine,” Dubke declared. I think Dubke is being grossly unfair. Of course there’s a Trump Doctrine. You just have to know where to look for it. The Trump Doctrine began to emerge when Trump issued his travel bans (both the first and second) on predominantly Muslim countries. But he notably excluded predominately Muslim countries where Trump has business interests. So under what might...

Read More...


Cities, States Seek to Protect Immigrants’ Data from Federal Officials

by Jen Fifield – In the face of stepped-up deportation efforts, many unauthorized immigrants worry that state and local programs that are designed to help them could instead be used by federal agents to identify and expel them from the country. About a dozen states have created special driver’s license programs for people who can’t prove U.S. citizenship, and more than a dozen cities have started identification programs so that unauthorized immigrants and others can complete tasks such as opening bank accounts, enrolling their children in school and receiving government services. Under the programs, most of which were created in the last five years, state and local government agencies have reviewed and perhaps retained millions of documents with personal information about the applicants, such as their names, addresses and foreign identification numbers. Although there has always been a risk that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could request the documents, immigration...

Read More...


Kentucky Coal Company Announces Plans to Build the State’s Largest Solar Farm

by Natasha Geiling – The company says the farm will give jobs to displaced coal miners. A Kentucky coal company announced this past Tuesday that it is planning to build a solar farm on a reclaimed mountaintop removal coal mine and that the project would bring both jobs and energy to the area. Berkeley Energy Group, the coal company behind the project, billed it as the first large-scale solar farm in the Appalachian region, which has been hit hard by the decades-long decline in the U.S. coal industry. The company, in partnership with EDF Renewable Energy, is currently conducting feasibility studies for the project on two reclaimed strip mines, both located in the eastern part of the state. Berkeley Energy Group estimates that the solar farm could produce as much as 50 or 100 megawatts of electricity, which would be five to ten times the size of Kentucky’s largest solar farm. Berkeley...

Read More...


100 Days of Deconstruction: Part Two

by STEVEN HARPER – Through key cabinet appointments, Trump is gutting federal agencies that have improved citizens’ daily lives in ways that most Americans will no longer take for granted. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment. — STEVE BANNON TO HISTORIAN RON RADOSH ON NOV. 12, 2013 (ACCORDING TO RADOSH) Beware of the enemy within. With respect to the US government, the ultimate inside job is well underway. Through key cabinet appointments, Trump is gutting federal agencies that have improved citizens’ daily lives in ways that most Americans will no longer take for granted. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos In her confirmation hearing, billionaire Betsy DeVos made the world painfully aware that she isn’t an educator or expert in curriculum. She’s not familiar with the decades-old Individuals with Disabilities Act, or the fraudulent...

Read More...


SPLC Sues Nazi Website ‘The Daily Stormer’ For Terrorizing Jewish Woman By Internet Trolls

by ursulafaw – The Nazi movement in this country, since the election of Donald Trump, has gotten completely out of hand. The Southern Poverty Law Center, along with its Montana co-counsel, filed suit in federal court Tuesday against Andrew Anglin,  founder of a major neo-Nazi website, “The Daily Stormer,” for orchestrating a vicious online  harassment campaign that has relentlessly terrorized a Jewish woman and her family with anti-Semitic threats and messages, via an army of online trolls. The harassment of this family is beyond belief and it is sick. Take a look: Thanks for demonstrating why your race needs to be collectively ovened. You have no idea what you are doing, six million are only the beginning. We are going to keep track of you for the rest of your life. You will be driven to the brink of suicide & We will be there to take pleasure in your pain...

Read More...


This Earth Day, Defeating Trump is Job One

by Libero Della Piana – This Earth Day, we face a climate threat greater than ever before. And he lives in the White House. On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump consistently mocked climate science and promised to gut policies protecting our communities, natural resources and the environment. He called climate change “a hoax” invented by the Chinese government. In and out of office, Trump has been consistently at odds with scientific evidence and consensus on climate change. His is also at odds with public opinion, which increasingly acknowledges and understands the threat of global climate crisis. Despite its failures to advance a legislative agenda, the Trump Administration has successfully used executive orders, rule changes in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies, and the use of the Congressional Review Act to undo crucial protections of air, water and the environment. Trump’s greatest achievement thus far may very well be turning...

Read More...


Trump/RyanCare 3.0: GOP’s Zombie Healthcare Plan Keeps Getting Worse

by Deirdre Fulton – Under reported ‘compromise,’ States could gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions. It’s “red alert” time on healthcare, according to one observer, amid reports that some congressional Republicans think they have a deal—and it’s even worse than the last one (which was itself crueler than its predecessor). The Huffington Post reported Wednesday: The deal, brokered between House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), would allow states to get waivers eliminating the so-called community rating provision—the rule that prohibits insurers from charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. In order to obtain the waiver, states would have to participate in a federal high-risk pool or establish their own, and satisfy some other conditions. In exchange for that conservative concession, the amendment would reinstate the Essential Health Benefits that were already taken out of the bill—though, again, states could waive those...

Read More...


Prosecutors Open Terror Investigation into Paris Attack (VIDEOS)

French decision follows deadly Champs Elysees attack on police, just three days before first round of presidential vote. French prosecutors have opened a terrorism investigation into an attack in the Champs Elysees shopping district in Paris where an armed man killed one policeman and seriously injured two people. President Francois Hollande said he was “convinced” a “terrorism” investigation was the correct approach to the incident before the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack via its Amaq website. Hollande promised “absolute vigilance, particularly with regard to the electoral process” as France braces itself for the first round of a presidential election on Sunday. French television networks reported that the attacker was a 39-year-old French national and was known to anti-terrorism police. Police said the attacker had been convicted in 2005 of three counts of attempted murder – two of them against police officers. Raids...

Read More...


On This Day, April 21, 1918 –German Ace Red Baron Brought Down by Allied Fire

1918 – In the skies over Vauz sur Somme, France, Manfred von Richthofen, the notorious German flying ace known as “The Red Baron,” is killed by Allied fire. Richthofen, the son of a Prussian nobleman, switched from the German army to the Imperial Air Service in 1915. By 1916, he was terrorizing the skies over the western front in an Albatross biplane, downing 15 enemy planes by the end of the year, including one piloted by British flying ace Major Lanoe Hawker. In 1917, Richthofen surpassed all flying ace records on both sides of the western front and began using a Fokker triplane, painted entirely red in tribute to his old cavalry regiment. Although only used during the last eight months of his career, it is this aircraft that Richthofen was most commonly associated with and it led to an enduring English nickname for the German pilot – the...

Read More...


Alex Jones’ Defense

by TODD GITLIN – His lawyer: He’s not a deranged crackpot, he just plays one on the radio. You may have heard of Alex Jones of Austin, Texas — the fellow who markets his own brand of “BRAIN FORCE” and “SUPER MALE VITALITY” pills on the radio. He’s the guy whose Infowars.com website features headlines like “HEAVILY ARMED MUSLIM THREATENS CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE CONFERENCE.” The one who describes himself on the website with a pithy summary of world history that begins as follows: Since the beginning of time there have been constant attempts to enslave and subdue the spirit of humanity. From barbarian hordes streaming down the mountain to the Stasi secret police torturing those who dreamed to be free. That’s the early Trump supporter Alex Jones who, pushing birtherism one giant step further into the inferno where truth is drawn and quartered, let his listeners know the other day that “the...

Read More...


Not Running for Re-Election, Chaffetz Will be Lame(r) Duck Oversight Chair

by Deirdre Fulton – House Oversight chair’s decision not to run in 2018 described as “a big victory for the Trump resistance over one of administration’s chief enablers” U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a polarizing conservative figure and primary target of the resistance, announced Wednesday that he won’t run for re-election in 2018. As chair of the House Oversight Committee, Chaffetz investigated Planned Parenthood as well as former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s role in responding to the 2012 Benghazi attack and use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. His doggedness did not appear to apply to the GOP; earlier this year, as the Associated Press reports, he “drew fire from Democrats after saying he would not investigate Trump’s sprawling business empire, given that he had promised before the 2016 election that he would investigate Clinton ‘for years’ if she was elected.” Indeed, his refusal...

Read More...


New Research Shows Trump’s Border Wall Will be Even More Worthless than We Thought

by Rika Christensen – “Build the wall! Build the wall!” Supposedly nobody builds better walls than Donald Trump, and the government is already hard at work acquiring the land and materials necessary to build a wall that’s likely to do nothing to stop people from crossing the southern border. Now, a new study shows that the border wall may also be more a more unjustified waste of money than ever. Illegal immigration has been falling since 2007, but this latest bit of research out of the University of California, San Diego, says it will continue to fall. It’s partly because of Obama – contrary to what xenophobic conservatives say, Obama did not favor or enable an open border. He made stemming the flow of immigrants a priority of his administration. The right wing is pissed because he also worked to protect people who were already here. However, the biggest causes of...

Read More...


UK’s Snap Elections: The Corbyn Factor

by Richard Seymour – Will the snap elections in the UK be the end of Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn? In the week leading up to France’s elections, Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a snap general election for June 8 in Britain. May is out to neutralise a few problems. First of all, the Crown Prosecution Service is looking at prosecutions affecting two dozen Conservative MPs. That number is greater than her parliamentary majority of 17. Second, May’s administration is hamstrung by its weak majority, as witnessed in a recent U-turn over an attempt to raise taxes for the self-employed. Above all, May is out to finish the left-wing opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn. UK: Theresa May announces plans for June snap election Indeed, the election looks dire for Corbyn, currently at 25 percent in the polls. But why does it seem so much worse than that of France’s radical left presidential candidate,...

Read More...


America’s Addiction to War (VIDEO)

by Andrew Mitrovica – War brings supposedly disparate parts of the US together to rally around the flag, yellow ribbons and even Donald Trump. Eventually, the truth reveals itself. And so it was after President Donald Trump – a still surreal phrase to put to paper – elected to bomb a mostly vacant Syrian airstrip in supposed response to the slow, suffocating murder of children by Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime. The Pentagon-supplied images of Tomahawk cruise missiles bursting into the night sky triggered a near orgasmic reaction among the same band of US cable TV network-approved geopolitical “experts” and journalists-in-name-tag-only who gush with unbridled excitement each time flashy weapons go bang in the night. You’ll recall that not too long ago, this giddy, easily impressed lot, joined by rancorous Democrats on Capitol Hill, were universally repulsed by the same dangerous demagogue they recently applauded on Twitter, TV and elsewhere as a...

Read More...


In Memoriam: Bill O’Reilly’s Career

by Adam Peck – Looking back through a decade’s worth of ThinkProgress coverage of Fox News’ chief bully. Of all the racists, Islamophobes, misogynists, homophobes, and all-around hateful bigots ThinkProgress has chronicled since our inception 11 years ago, none have provided such a steady stream of nonsense as William James O’Reilly Jr. And so it is with mixed emotions that we must report the premature and yet also long-overdue demise of Mr. O’Reilly’s career. It was 42 years old. O’Reilly’s career came into this world on local television, where he quickly earned a reputation as an irritable showman. A job offer from the syndicated television gossip program Inside Edition provided O’Reilly’s career with a bridge from local nuisance to national embarrassment in the early 1990’s. But it was at Fox News Channel, then a fledgling cable news network developing an obsession with Bill Clinton’s libido, that O’Reilly’s star was born. During his...

Read More...


The Other Trump Scandal—the Effort to Justify Trump’s Tweets by Manufacturing Evidence

by Mark Sumner – What caused Devin Nunes to run around in a way that makes chicken sans head seem like a model of control? According to Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker, nothing at all. The congressmen and their aides were shown a binder of two to three dozen pages of highly classified intercepts, mostly transcripts of conversations between foreign government officials that took place during the Presidential transition. These intercepts were not related to the heart of the committee’s Russia investigation. In fact, only one of the documents had anything to do with Russia, according to an official who reviewed them. What the intercepts all had in common is that the people being spied on made references to Donald Trump or to Trump officials. That wasn’t even clear, though, from reading the transcripts. The names of any Americans were concealed, or “masked,” the intelligence community’s term for redacting references...

Read More...


‘Payout Time’: Exxon Seeks Waiver From U.S. Sanctions to Drill in Russia

by Nika Knight – “Exxon applied for waiver from sanctions on Russia. Among departments who must approve: State Department, run by company’s ex-CEO” Exxon is applying for a waiver from the U.S. Treasury Department to bypass U.S. sanctions against Russia and resume offshore drilling in the Black Sea with the Russian oil company Rosneft, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Among those charged with deciding to grant the permit is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon who previously oversaw the company’s Russia operations. Rebecca Ballhaus  ✔@rebeccaballhaus Exxon applied for waiver from sanctions on Russia. Among depts who must approve: State Dept, run by company’s ex-CEO https://www.wsj.com/articles/exxon-seeks-u-s-waiver-to-work-in-russia-despite-sanctions-1492620677 … 1:09 PM – 19 Apr 2017   “Ka-ching! Payout time,” tweeted Rachel Maddow in response to the Wall Street Journal report. Rachel Maddow MSNBC ✔@maddow Ka-ching! Payout time.https://goo.gl/Zv9pT1  1:52 PM – 19 Apr 2017 Exxon Seeks U.S. Waiver to Resume Russia Oil...

Read More...


On This Day, April 20, 1980 – Mass Exodus of Cubans Flee to US as Mariel Boatlift Begins

1980 – The Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day. The boatlift was precipitated by housing and job shortages caused by the ailing Cuban economy, leading to simmering internal tensions on the island. On April 1, Hector Sanyustiz and four others drove a bus through a fence at the Peruvian embassy and were granted political asylum. Cuban guards on the street opened fire. One guard was killed in the crossfire. The Cuban government demanded the five be returned for trial in the dead guard’s death. But when the Peruvian government refused, Castro withdrew his guards from the embassy on Good Friday, April 4. By Easter Sunday, April 6, some 10,000 Cubans crowded into the...

Read More...


Trump’s ‘Buy American’ Executive Order has no Weight Without Congress

by Lauren C. Williams – President Donald Trump signed his 23rd executive order Tuesday, which aims to overhaul one of the most contentious parts of the American immigration system: high-skilled visas. The “Buy American, Hire American” executive order emphasizes enforcement of “Buy American laws” that will encourage government agencies and Americans to buy and hire American. The main thrust of the order calls on cabinet secretaries to implement administrative changes and produce reports that identify potential abuses of the H-1B visa program, which awarded 85,000 work visas this year to foreign knowledge workers through a lottery system, and look for ways the government can only award contracts to American business owners. Regarding immigration, the order doesn’t address the administration’s main criticisms of the H-1B program, such as exploitatively low pay and replacing the lottery system to guarantee recipients are the best candidates for the positions. It also carries little weight on...

Read More...


Wilder Fires and Rising Waters, Climate Impacts Coming to America’s Door

by Lauren McCauley – Pair of new studies show how American climate refugees will ‘reshape’ population landscape of the nation. Americans in many cases have been slow to acknowledge the real threats posed by global warming. But two new studies out Monday found that people living throughout the United States could soon see their communities forever altered by higher seas and raging forest fires. While the United States has lagged in taking dramatic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or transform its power grid to accommodate renewable energy sources, other nations have taken the lead. Further, studies have historically shown (pdf) that Americans are generally reluctant to perceive climate change as anything more than a moderate risk, seeing it as something that impacts people in more vulnerable, developing nations. The idea of a person becoming a climate change refugee seems similarly foreign. However, Mathew Hauer, a demographer at the University of...

Read More...


Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly Proposes Fewer Pot Arrests in Drug War

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – More than 260,000 immigrants were deported for drug offenses in a five-year period. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that marijuana is not a “factor in the drug war” and that the solution is “not arresting a lot of users.” The “War on Drugs”— one that has largely focused on the cross-border import of controlled substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine produced in Latin American countries and transported into the United States — has resulted in the arrests of hundreds of thousands of people for marijuana possession. In turn, these arrests have triggered severe immigration consequences because of the punitive legislation that grew out of this country’s “War on Drugs” policies. During an appearance on Meet The Press with Chuck Todd, Kelly de-emphasized the role marijuana plays in the “drug war,” instead placing the blame on Mexican-produced methamphetamine and heroin, and cocaine...

Read More...


100 Days of Deconstruction

by STEVEN HARPER – At CPAC, Steve Bannon declared that key members of Trump’s Cabinet were “selected for a reason.” In the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency, that reason has become clear. Editor’s Note Donald Trump may be a racist, misogynist, sexual predator, liar and bully, but he is still president of the United States, and we underestimate him at the nation’s peril. Viewed in isolation, his policies seem idiosyncratic and incoherent. Viewed in context, they reveal a strategy to plunder the government of what is profitable to Trump’s family and minions and leave what remains smoldering in the ruins. This series — “100 Days of Deconsruction” — seeks to provide that context. If Trump succeeds, little of what makes America great survives. But knowledge is power, so read these essays and keep fighting in this decisive battle for our country’s heart and soul. Their author, Steven J. Harper, produced...

Read More...


The FBI Takes the Steele Dossier of Trump–Russia Connections Seriously, Which is Serious Trouble for Trump

by Mark Sumner – Testimony that FBI Director James Comey delivered in January, information that Harry Reid wanted to make public before the election, and part of the information that led the FBI to get a FISA warrant on Trump adviser Carter Page, all appear to have the same source. The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump’s campaign as part of the justification to win approval to secretly monitor a Trump associate, according to US officials briefed on the investigation. That source is the “dossier” put together by former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele, who originally assembled the information to assist one of Trump’s Republican opponents. President Obama and Donald Trump were briefed on the contents on the memos in January, but it now appears that the FBI took the information seriously enough to use it as the basis of investigation months earlier. The...

Read More...


Massachusetts: 21,000 Drug Cases Could be Dismissed

Ex-police chemist falsified tests, which could lead to the ‘largest dismissal of criminal convictions in US history’. More than 21,000 convicted drug offenders in Massachusetts may have their cases dismissed because a former police chemist tampered with evidence and falsified tests. If the cases are thrown out, the event would mark the largest dismissal of criminal convictions in US history, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts. The state’s highest court had ordered district attorneys in seven counties to produce lists by Tuesday indicating how many of approximately 24,000 cases involving Annie Dookhan they would be unable or unwilling to prosecute if the defendants were granted new trials. The cases would be formally dismissed by court action, expected Thursday, the ACLU said. “Today is a major victory for justice and fairness, and for thousands of people in the commonwealth who were unfairly convicted of drug offences,” Matthew Segal,...

Read More...


Bill O’Reilly’s Lawyer Blames ‘Brutal Campaign of Character Assassination’ for His Plight

by Aaron Rupar – The scorched-earth statement comes as Fox News reportedly prepares to cut ties. As numerous reports swirl that Fox News is preparing to cut ties with Bill O’Reilly before he returns from his “vacation,” his attorney signaled that cable news’ top-rated host won’t go down before he scorches the earth behind him. In a statement released Tuesday evening, Marc E. Kasowitz wrote that his client “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.” O’Reilly, who has spent months battling a wave of sexual harassment allegations, was hit with a fresh harassment claim on Tuesday — the same day a group of protesters delivered 480,000 petitions calling for O’Reilly’s termination to Fox News headquarters. His attorney’s reference to former U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI), whose name has become synonymous with making unfounded accusations, hearkens back to the words President Donald Trump used last month...

Read More...


5 Questions the Trump Administration Needs to Answer About the Border Wall

by Jenny Rowland and Philip E. Wolgin – In the U.S.-Mexico border region, an area that stretches nearly 2,000 miles, decisions about border security affect the daily lives of roughly 12 million people. The United States already has 653 miles of border fencing, and much of the rest of the border is comprised of the Rio Grande or located in some of the country’s most inhospitable locations, where a wall would be impractical and unnecessary. In addition to fencing, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, uses an array of surveillance and technology to monitor the border in real time. Yet both as a candidate and as president, Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the construction of a “big, fat, beautiful wall” along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. The administration recently concluded a request for proposals from firms to construct the wall, and it has already started to send out notices...

Read More...


On This Day, Apr 19, 1989 – Central Park Jogger Attack Shocks New York City

On this day in 1989, a 28-year-old female investment banker is severely beaten and sexually assaulted while jogging in New York City’s Central Park. Five teenagers from Harlem were convicted of the crime, which shocked New Yorkers for its randomness and viciousness and became emblematic of the perceived lawlessness of the city at the time. The case was also racially divisive, as the teens were black and Hispanic and the victim was white. The “Central Park jogger,” as she became known in the media, was discovered by passerby in a muddy ravine, her skull smashed and near death, hours after she went for a jog in the park around 9 p.m. After being rescued, she spent nearly two weeks in a coma, but surprised doctors by eventually recovering from most of her injuries. However, she remembered nothing about the near-fatal attack or the events leading up to it. Police...

Read More...


Archaeologists Make Major Discovery in Egypt’s Luxor

A 3,500-year-old tomb with several mummies, sarcophagi and statues was found in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis. Egyptian authorities have hailed an “important discovery” after archaeologists unearthed several mummies, 10 colourful wooden sarcophagi and more than 1,000 funerary statues in a 3,500-year-old tomb near the city of Luxor. The 18th Dynasty tomb, discovered in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis near the famed Valley of the Kings, belonged to a nobleman named Userhat who worked as the city judge, Egypt’s antiquities ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. “There are 10 coffins and eight mummies. The excavation is ongoing,” Mostafa Waziri, the head of the archeological mission, told the AFP news agency. The tomb was opened to add more mummies during the 21st Dynasty, about 3,000 years ago, to protect them during a period when tomb-robbing was common, Waziri said at the site. “It was a surprise how much was...

Read More...


Steve Bannon’s Plans for Revenge are Legion. They Include Running Against Trump in 2020

by ursulafaw –    Depending upon which school of thought you subscribe to, either everyone at the White House has kissed and made up and Uncle Steve will continue to rule the roost, or, Bannon is a dead man walking and Trump is just waiting for the First 100 Days milepost to be passed to bring down the Sword of Damocles, exploring the prospect of Bannon being fired is terra incognita, like so much of the Trump phenomenon. Whichever way you look at it, Donald Trump did make the statement last week about Steve Bannon, “I like Steve.” History tells us that Trump saying that he likes somebody is the kiss of death. Vanity Fair cited these examples: “If Trump genuinely likes you, you’re “brilliant” or “a great guy.” By contrast, “like,” in Trump-speak, means “dead to me.” Just ask Newt Gingrich (“I like Newt”), Chris Christie (“I like Chris a...

Read More...


As Push for Trump’s Taxes Gains Steam, Promised GOP Tax Overhaul Falters

by Nika Knight – “If doesn’t release his returns, it is going to make it much more difficult to get tax reform done.” As millions of Americans file their tax returns, and days after tens of thousands of marched to demand that President Donald Trump make his tax returns public, the president is still refusing to release his returns. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated the claim that Trump can’t release his taxes because they are under audit, a statement immediately refuted by tax experts. As Steven Rosenthal, senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, told Salon: “There is no legal impediment to somebody who is under audit releasing taxes and the IRS audits every single president and vice president on their tax returns. If he continues to follow the policy of not releasing his tax returns while under audit, then we’ll...

Read More...


Trump Touted ‘Armada’ He was Sending to North Korea While it was Sailing in Opposite Direction

by Aaron Rupar – The White House is blaming the Defense Department for the mistake. The armada Trump bragged about sending to North Korea last week was actually headed in the opposite direction, according to a new report from the New York Times. In an interview with Fox Business that aired on April 12, President Trump declared that the United States was “sending an armada” to deal with the threat posed by the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s refusal to stop testing weapons. Trump said,  “We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.” Trump’s comments came on the heels of news reports that the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson strike group was headed toward North Korea — news seemingly confirmed by a strike group spokesman. The day before Trump’s Fox Business interview aired, Press Secretary Sean Spicer also seemed to confirm the strike...

Read More...


Energy Secretary Targets Wind, Solar After Overseeing Renewables Explosion as Texas Governor

by Mark Hand – Rick Perry wants answers to baseload generation retirements. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry didn’t mention renewable energy by name. But his request for the Department of Energy (DOE) to investigate how federal subsidies boost one form of energy at the expense of baseload generation was clearly meant as a swipe at wind and solar energy resources. In an April 14 memo to his chief of staff, a copy of which DOE provided to ThinkProgress, Perry directed the agency to look at the extent to which “continued regulatory burdens, as well as mandates and tax and subsidy policies, are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.” Perry previously served as governor of Texas where he led an expansion of renewable energy sources across the state. Texas leads the nation in wind-powered generation capacity with more than 18,500 megawatts, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration....

Read More...


Who Could’ve Known a Muslim Ban Would Devastate U.S. Tourism?

by Kerry Eleveld – Too bad Chinese president Xi Jinping didn’t get 10 minutes to explain the complications of Donald Trump’s Muslim ban to him before he decided to wreck the U.S. tourism industry. Trump’s ban isn’t just depressing travel from the 6-7 majority-Muslim nations his order targeted, it’s also inspired a drop off in travel from Europe and Asia as well as our neighbors, Canada and Mexico. Abha Bhattarai writes: The cancellations came quickly and in rapid succession. Within days of President Trump’s first executive order restricting travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, a number of European travel groups pulled their plans, amounting to a loss of 2,000 overnight stays for Hostelling International USA. The result was a wave of withdrawals. “Getting those cancellations all at once, that was startling,” said Russ Hedge, chief executive of HIU, which oversees 52 hostels across the country. “We’ve never seen something like that.” ...

Read More...


This Court Ruling may have Been More Important than the Federal Halt to the Arkansas Executions

by Christian Dem in NC – By now, you know that a federal judge in Little Rock called a halt to Arkansas’ execution marathon. But that may not have been the most important ruling issued in this affair. A day earlier, a state court judge rapped the state Department of Correction hard for tricking a drug distributor into selling it one of the drugs it used in its lethal injection cocktail. Arkansas uses three drugs to carry out executions. Midazolam is intended to sedate the inmate, vecuronium bromide stops his breathing, and potassium chloride stops his heart. While most of the current furor over lethal injections centers around questions about whether midazolam will really knock someone out, Arkansas is under fire for how it obtained its supply of vecuronium bromide from McKesson. Vecuronium bromide is made by Pfizer. As I noted at Liberal America, that drug is one of several Pfizer now monitors all...

Read More...


Theresa May Calls Snap General Election for June 8

Theresa May will go to parliament on Wednesday and seek early election because of disunity in politics. British Prime Minister Theresa May called for an early general election to be held on June 8, 2017, in a surprise announcement on Tuesday as Britain prepares for delicate negotiations on leaving the European Union. May said she will go to parliament on Wednesday to seek approval for the early election. “We need a general election and we need one now. We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done … before the detailed talks begin,” May said, speaking in front of 10 Downing Street. “I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election,” she said. May added that the UK needed an election because other parties are opposed to the Brexit plans to leave the EU. May had...

Read More...


On This Day, Apr, 18, 1983 – Suicide Bomber Destroys U.S. Embassy in Beirut

The U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, is almost completely destroyed by a car-bomb explosion that kills 63 people, including the suicide bomber and 17 Americans. The terrorist attack was carried out in protest of the U.S. military presence in Lebanon. In 1975, a bloody civil war erupted in Lebanon, with Palestinian and leftist Muslim guerrillas battling militias of the Christian Phalange Party, the Maronite Christian community, and other groups. During the next few years, Syrian, Israeli, and United Nations interventions failed to resolve the factional fighting, and on August 20, 1982, a multinational force featuring U.S. Marines landed in Beirut to oversee the Palestinian withdrawal from Lebanon. The Marines left Lebanese territory on September 10 but returned on September 29, following the massacre of Palestinian refugees by a Christian militia. The next day, the first U.S. Marine to die during the mission was killed while defusing a bomb, and...

Read More...


‘New Step in Long Walk to Freedom’: Palestinian Prisoners Launch Mass Hunger Strike

by Deirdre Fulton – As many as 1,500 political detainees are taking part in the demonstration demanding ‘freedom and dignity’. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails began a hunger strike on Monday, protesting dismal conditions as well as “Israel’s inhumane system of colonial and military occupation.” Some said as many as 1,500 political prisoners in six jails across Israel were participating in the open-ended strike, commemorating Palestinian Prisoners’ Day and coming ahead of June’s 50-year anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War, when the occupation began. Solidarity rallies were also taking place in the occupied cities of Ramallah, Hebron, and Nablus. According to the human rights and prisoner advocacy organization Addameer, which is urging global solidarity with the detainees, “the hunger striking prisoners’ demands include: family visits, proper medical care, end to Israel’s practice of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial in so-called administrative detention, and stopping the use of...

Read More...


Trump’s Five Worst Tax Secrets, Revealed

by Richard Eskow – Thousands of demonstrators marched on Saturday to demand that Donald Trump release his tax returns. But, barring an unexpected surprise – a W2 form issued by Vladimir Putin, or a 1099 from mafia boss Anthony ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno – we already know Trump’s ugliest tax secrets. We will reveal those secrets… … right after this break. Many readers will recognize this reference to Rachel Maddow’s televised release of Trump’s 2005 tax return, The MSNBC host kept her viewers in suspense for a total of 84 minutes before learning that Trump paid an effective federal tax rate of 24 percent that year. That was considered an anticlimax. It even led some observers that Trump might have leaked the return himself, since many people had assumed that Trump hadn’t paid any federal taxes at all for years. That gets us to Trump’s first terrible tax secret: his tax return for that year...

Read More...


French Presidential Elections: What You Need to Know

Candidates must convince voters they are best placed to solve the economic and security issues facing the country. France heads to the polls in two rounds of voting on April 23 and May 7 to elect a new president who will inherit a country looking for change, and a population that is increasingly intolerant of politicians who fail to deliver on their promises. Like his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande’s presidency lasted just one term. The incumbent opted not to stand for re-election amid low approval ratings. A French president can serve for a maximum of two five-year terms. Eleven candidates will compete in the first round of the election. It is widely expected that none of them will win an outright majority of 50 percent in the first round, meaning a runoff vote is almost certain. The two top contenders will go through to a decisive second round on...

Read More...


Reaching Impeachment Critical Mass

by Hank Edson – 1. Regaining Our Common Sense Two things are inhibiting our exercise of common sense as a self-governed people: First, the cancer of our corporate media monopoly has ravaged the culture of the democratic process in our nation.  Among the many symptoms of this lethal disease is its projection of normalizing false narratives that reek of the body public’s corruption and decay. For example, of all places, National Public Radio just ran a lengthy segment examining the numerous instances in which Donald Trump has this week proven himself a liar and a fraud by advancing policies in direct conflict with his campaign platform and campaign promises.  Throughout the piece, the NPR journalists discussed how Trump was “learning on the job,” how these self-contradictions represented a possible shift to the political center, and how during the campaign, “Trump needed to say” one thing, and as President, he “needed to...

Read More...


7,000 Massive Methane Gas Bubbles Under the Russian Permafrost Could Explode

by Joe Romm – Scorching March brings Arctic temperatures up to 20°F warmer than normal. Russian scientists have recently discovered some 7,000 underground methane bubbles in Siberia that could explode anytime. ‘Their appearance at such high latitudes is most likely linked to thawing permafrost,” explained a Russian Academy of Science spokesperson, “which is in turn linked to overall rise of temperature on the north of Eurasia during last several decades.” Video of one of Russia’s methane bubbles, which have been called ‘trembling tundra’ This discovery is especially worrisome for three reasons. First, methane traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period. Thawing permafrost creates both CO2 and methane (CH4), but most models of thawing permafrost assume only CO2 is created. If, as it appears, a lot of methane is being generated, then we’ll see even more extra warming than scientists have projected. Second, a recent study found global...

Read More...


Just WTF is “Retroactive Registration” as a Foreign Agent?

by ProudlyLiberal – There have been at least two recent incidents where foreign agents of Russia (who, by law, are required to register with the Attorney General within 10 days of becoming such an agent) have “retroactively registered”.  It must be noted that these registrations have been filed only because each individual’s dealings with Russia have become public and the individuals are under Federal investigation by the FBI, House Permanent Committee on Intelligence and the Senate. Of course the two who have (or will soon) register retroactively are Michael Flynn, the fired National Security Adviser and Paul Manafort, the apparently peripherally-involved chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.  In Flynn’s case, the actions causing registration occurred in 2015 and 2016, and in Manafort’s the activities we know about today that require registration are for his work on lobbying for Putin on the subject of Ukraine from 2012-2014. Carter Page insists he has never been a foreign...

Read More...


Sanders and Perez to Launch Nationwide ‘Come Together & Fight Back’ Tour

by Nadia Prupis – ‘At a time of massive income and wealth inequality and a shrinking middle class, we need a government which represents all Americans.’ Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez will kick off a multi-state tour in Maine on Monday, where they are expected to outline the progressive plan to strengthen the party, bolster grassroots activism, and resist President Donald Trump. “At a time of massive income and wealth inequality and a shrinking middle class, we need a government which represents all Americans, not just Wall Street, multi-national corporations, and the top 1 percent,” Sanders and Perez said in a joint statement. The circuit is officially named the “Come Together and Fight Back” tour. Sanders won Maine’s presidential caucuses by nearly two-thirds when he ran in the 2016 primaries against Hillary Clinton. The tour is expected to take him and Perez through Maine,...

Read More...


With Few Exceptions, Trump is Mired in Unconscious Incompetency

by alterego55 – With Few Exceptions, Trump is Mired in Unconscious Incompetency: stuck on the bottom rung of the Competency Ladder. Many years ago I worked at the 40th largest company in the world. As a manager, I received the benefit of attending seven week long management training courses in organizational development. They told us the training was equivalent to an MBA education. I have no way of verifying that claim, but I can absolutely say I gained a lot of knowledge that benefitted me greatly throughout the rest of my career. One of the concepts they taught us was the Competency Ladder which qualitatively describes four different levels of competency ranging from totally incompetent to highly competent as a subject or skill is learned. There are a number of different names and representations for the same concept: The Four Stages of Learning, The Competency Matrix Quadrant Analysis as diagrammed above, and others. The four...

Read More...


On This Day, Apr. 17, 1960 – Eddie Cochran Dies, and Gene Vincent is Injured, in a UK Car Accident

Eddie Cochran, the man behind “Summertime Blues” and “C’mon Everybody,” was killed on this day in 1960 when the taxi carrying him from a show in Bristol, England, crashed en route to the airport in London, where he was to catch a flight back home to the United States. A raw and exciting rocker with a cocky, rebellious image, Eddie Cochran was very different from the polished and packaged idols being heavily marketed to American teenagers in the years between the rise of Elvis Presley and the arrival of the Beatles. And while he may have faded from popular memory in the years since his tragic and early death, his biggest hits have not. Cochran was on a triumphant concert tour of Britain in the spring of 1960—a tour that had been extended 10 weeks beyond its scheduled run due to intense demand for tickets. In America, a tamer...

Read More...


Four Conservative Healthcare Analysts on Why Trump/Ryancare Stinks so Bad

by Joan McCarter – Let’s start your holiday weekend off with some fun. And what could be more fun than laughing at conservative health care experts trying to make excuses for why Republicans have totally failed at crafting a decent replacement for Obamacare? From the laughable to the delusional, here we go. Starting with my favoritest of all. Republicans just didn’t give themselves enough time A decade ago, the Democrats also had conflicting health-care ideas, squabbling over single-payer and a public option, but they worked it out in legislation, says Dan Holler, the vice president of communications for Heritage Action for America. “That’s not something that was capable of happening in 17 days” for Republicans, he said. The rush to pass the AHCA “was a misread of where the conference was.” All together now: SEVEN YEARS!!!! They had SEVEN YEARS!!!! But, says American Enterprise Institute guy James Capretta, they just “didn’t give themselves...

Read More...


Will China Intervene in North Korea? (VIDEOS)

by Salvatore Babones – If China intervenes in North Korea, it would not to be to save Kim Jong-un. North Korea is in the headlines – again. For a small, poor country of 25 million people, it sure does make a lot of news. This time it’s the perennial issue of nuclear testing. North Korea has tested five nuclear devices since 2006. Donald Trump is in no mood to allow a sixth. Just days before his Florida summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump vowed that “if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.” Then just after the summit he backed up his pledge by ordered an aircraft carrier strike group to the region. North Korea showcases new missiles at military parade Most people agree that North Korea is a problem. Aside from its nuclear tests, it also stands accused of state-sponsored counterfeiting of foreign currencies, the industrial-scale manufacture and...

Read More...


The Republican Civil War is the Best Thing Happening

by Mark Sumner – Donald Trump may feel that his legislation-free first 100 days were beautiful, wonderful, and the best ever, but he’s the only one. What the rest of the Republican Party is seeing is falling support, ineffective leadership, and internal strife. Some Capitol Hill Republicans have envisioned the nightmare scenario for 2017, and it goes like this: No ­ObamaCare repeal. No tax reform. No trillion-dollar infrastructure package. No border wall. As it turns out, Republicans have their obstructionism refined to razor sharpness, but the time they dedicated to actually thinking through workable alternatives to existing laws is restricted to the length of time it takes to say “It’ll be easy.” While many Republicans hold out hope the ­ObamaCare repeal bill will be revived, skeptics say the GOP infighting during last month’s healthcare collapse may have poisoned the well for future big-ticket legislative deals. It’s not just drafting laws that Republicans...

Read More...


Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Visits are the Ultimate Grift: The More He Vacations, the More He Profits

by Laura Clawson – No reasonable person would say presidents don’t have the right to vacation a little. It’s a stressful job and they’re never fully off the job anyway. But there’s “a little” and there’s “28 percent of the time, in such a way as to profit yourself.” Guess which category Donald Trump is in? (And in fact, he attacked President Obama for vacationing—saying “If you’re in the White House, who wants to take a vacation?”—but that’s covered by the “no reasonable person” clause above). Yes, 28 percent of the time: … since his January inauguration, President Trump has spent seven of 13 weekends at his Palm Beach, Florida estate. According to NBC News’ estimates by Sunday Trump will have spent 28 percent of his term traveling to or staying at Mar-a-Lago. Trump hosted his second world leader at the “winter White House” last weekend, with Chinese President Xi Jinping joining Trump for meetings Thursday and Friday....

Read More...


DHS Secretary John Kelly: A Single DUI Could Lead to Deportation Proceedings

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – During an interview on Sunday’s Meet the Press with host Chuck Todd, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly affirmed that the Trump administration will aggressively convict immigrants as criminals and deport people previously deemed as non-priorities under the Obama administration. Now, even a single conviction for driving under the influence could be considered a serious enough offense that triggers the deportation proceeding, Kelly said in response to Todd’s question to “define a criminal.” SEC. JOHN KELLY: It is fair to say that the definition of criminal has not changed, but where on the spectrum of criminality we operate has changed. CHUCK TODD: So can you give me an example of somebody that wasn’t deported before that you’re deporting now? SEC. JOHN KELLY: Well, someone, as an example, with multiple DUIs. Even a single DUI, depending on other aspects, would get you into the...

Read More...


Israeli Government Is Petrified of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement

by Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview – The following is an interview with Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace and the editor of On Antisemitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice. Mark Karlin: How is the charge of antisemitism used to smear critics of the Israeli government and its ignoble policies toward Palestinians? Rebecca Vilkomerson: As Tony Lerman’s contribution to the On Antisemitism book explores, Israel and its advocates have worked hard to portray criticism of the state of Israel as the “new antisemitism.” However, using the charge of antisemitism to shut down legitimate criticism of Israeli policies diminishes the meaning of the term and makes it harder to combat the real thing. In our advocacy work for Palestinian rights, we must always be vigilant for cases of real antisemitism directed against Jewish people — as opposed to protest against the Israeli state — just as...

Read More...


Dept of Ed Hires Anti-Civil Rights Crusader to Protect Student’s Nonexistent Civil Rights

by Steven Singer – Candice Jackson is a victim of oppression. When she was attending Stanford University in the mid-1990s, a minority calculus tutoring group refused to help her because she was white. Sure she could probably afford to pay for private tutoring, but it was the point of the  thing. She came from a family where both parents ran medical practices. Her dad, Dr. Rick Jackson, even unsuccessfully ran for Congress. You know – just like black families redlined into the ghetto and struggling to find work because of their African-sounding names. Why shouldn’t the limited amount of tutoring spaces serve her as well as people from traditionally less privileged backgrounds? White lives matter, ya’ll. “I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,” she wrote in the Stanford Review. “We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming...

Read More...


Single-Payer Health Care Is Seeing Record Support in Congress

by Michael Corcoran – The primary Medicare for All bill has more support in Congress now than it has ever before. John Conyers’ Medicare for All bill (HR 676), which he has introduced in each Congress since 2003, has seen a recent surge of new cosponsors — 32 since March 8 and nine on April 3 alone. As of this writing there are 93 co-signers (and counting), representing more than 48 percent of the Democratic Caucus. This is the highest number of cosponsors ever, both in terms of members and as a percentage of the House Democratic Caucus. The count is up from just 62 cosigners — 33 percent of Democrats — in the last Congress, and an average of 37 percent since the bill was first introduced in 2003 (see chart). This is an astonishing development for many reasons. Just a year ago the Democratic establishment was recklessly (and disingenuously) maligning the policy to help keep Sen....

Read More...


On This Day, Apr. 16, 2007 – Massacre at Virginia Tech leaves 32 dead

On this day in 2007, in one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history, 32 students and teachers die after being gunned down on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University by Seung Hui Cho, a student at the school who later dies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The violence began around 7:15 a.m., when Cho, a 23-year-old senior and English major at Blacksburg-based Virginia Tech, shot a female freshman and a male resident assistant in a campus dormitory before fleeing the building. Police were soon on the scene; unaware of the gunman’s identity, they initially pursued the female victim’s boyfriend as a suspect in what they believed to be an isolated domestic-violence incident. However, at around 9:40 a.m., Cho, armed with a 9-millimeter handgun, a 22-caliber handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, entered a classroom building, chained and locked several main doors and went from...

Read More...


Amazon Employees Pressure CEO to Kill Breitbart Ads

by Lauren C. Williams – Tech activism in the Trump era is getting its second wind. Amazon employees are pressuring CEO Jeff Bezos and SVP Jeff Blackburn to sever the company’s advertising ties with Breitbart News. Five-hundred and sixty-four employees signed an email petition, complete with an attachment full of comments from 52 of them, called “Amazon Must Stop Advertising on Breitbart News,” Buzzfeed reported. According to the email, an employee brought up Amazon’s relationship with Breitbart at a staff meeting with Blackburn, asking “What is it going to take for us to stop advertising on Breitbart News?” Blackburn responded, “We have our eyes on it.” While companies like Amazon ultimately have control over where their ads land, most ads pass through third party ad technology companies. The resulting ad is typically the result of companies seeking a specific audience found and tracked through cookies rather than a purposefully placed ad on...

Read More...


Drug Makers Join Lawsuit Against Arkansas’ “Conveyor Belt” of Executions

by Nika Knight – “The companies are understandably appalled at the prospect of their medicines being used in America’s largest mass execution since the civil rights era.” As Arkansas moves forward with its brutal plan to execute seven prisoners within 11 days, the makers of the drugs Arkansas plans to use to put the prisoners to death have joined a lawsuit to stop the “conveyor belt of death.” Pharmaceutical manufacturers develop drugs to save and improve lives, and the companies are understandably appalled at the prospect of their medicines being used in America’s largest mass execution since the civil rights era,” said Maya Foa, director of the human rights organization Reprieve, in a statement. In their brief (pdf) filed Thursday, the companies Fresenius Kabi and West-Ward argue that “he use of their medicines for lethal injections violates contractual supply-chain controls that the Manufacturers have implemented” and “he use of their medicines...

Read More...