State-Sanctioned Torture in the Age of Trump

by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis – During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump declared he would “immediately” resume waterboarding and would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding” because the United States is facing a “barbaric” enemy. He labeled waterboarding a “minor form” of interrogation. Waterboarding, which involves pouring water into the nose and mouth to make victims feel like they’re drowning, has long been considered torture, which is a war crime under US and international law. Indeed, the United States hung Japanese military leaders for waterboarding as a war crime after World War II. In late November 2016, Vice President Mike Pence refused to rule out torture in the Trump administration. Torture Is Always Illegal What does torture have in common with genocide, slavery and wars of aggression? They are all “jus cogens.” That’s Latin for “higher law” or “compelling law.” This means that...

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SEC Launches Yahoo Investigation Over Improper Handling of Cyberattacks

by Lauren C. Williams – The agency is looking into whether the tech company waited too long to tell investors of the breaches. After unveiling a newer, smaller corporate identity following the sale of most of its holdings to Verizon, Yahoo is facing a federal probe for how it handled its massive data breaches, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating Yahoo to determine whether the company kept investors in the dark regarding its two mega-breaches that exposed more than a billion consumers’ data in two major breaches since 2013. Yahoo previously mentioned it was cooperating with international, state, and federal agencies regarding the 2014 breach, including the Federal Trade Commission and SEC, the Journal reported. The investigation will likely focus on the 2014 hack, which wasn’t publicly disclosed for two years. Even in the face of mounting criticism, Yahoo hasn’t given any reason for...

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Here Is the ACLU’s 7-Point Plan of Action to Take on the Trump Administration

by Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director – After it became clear that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president, the ACLU got to work digging into his policy statements. In July, we released “The Trump Memos,” which was the first comprehensive constitutional analysis of his public statements and policy proposals regarding immigration enforcement, Muslim rights, torture, and freedom of the press. Our conclusions were alarming. According to our analysis, then-candidate Trump articulated policies that would flagrantly violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. That man is now on the verge of swearing a solemn oath  to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” While it’s true that all presidents swear this oath and inevitably go on to abuse their powers, we believe the Trump administration poses the single greatest threat to civil liberties, civil rights, and the...

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Trump Uses Executive Order to Revive Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines

by Samantha Page – The biggest victories of the environmental movement under Obama are now in jeopardy. President Donald Trump signed executive orders Tuesday allowing two controversial oil pipelines — Keystone XL and Dakota Access — to move forward. Delaying and stopping the development of those pipelines were among the environmental movement’s biggest victories over the past few years. Both projects attracted years of protest and civil disobedience, and Tuesday’s move is expected to be seen as a slap in the face to the broad coalition of Americans who oppose increased fossil fuel infrastructure. “More people sent comments against Dakota Access and Keystone XL to the government than any project in history,” 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben said in a statement. “The world’s climate scientists and its Nobel laureates explained over and over why it was unwise and immoral. In one of his first actions as president, Donald Trump ignores all that in his eagerness to...

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In Meeting with Congressional Leaders, Trump AGAIN Claims he Won the Popular Vote After All

by Hunter – Amazing. The man just cannot let this lunacy go. In his first meeting with congressional leaders of both parties since taking office, President Donald Trump on Monday reiterated a debunked claim that he only lost the national popular vote because of widespread voter fraud. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) confirmed that Trump made the voter fraud claim, but added, “I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it. I was ready to move onto some policy issues. I didn’t anticipate that discussion.” It’s further evidence of Trump’s fixation with his narrow victory, in which he captured an Electoral College handily despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes. The Washington Post is more specific: Trump told our nation’s top legislators that “between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote.” The premise Trump went with immediately after...

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Dan Rather Goes Viral: The Media Must End GOP Interviews—Unless Republican Lawmakers can Answer THIS

by Leslie Salzillo – Facts and the truth are not partisan. They are the bedrock of our democracy. And you are either with them, with us, with our Constitution, our history, and the future of our nation, or you are against it. –Dan Rather, January 22, 2017 Continuing to be incredibly outspoken while garnering a combined social media following of millions, legendary journalist Dan Rather challenges the “Orwellian” phrase “alternative facts,” as defined by Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway this past weekend — as if Trump’s administration gets to make its own facts. In a Facebook post that now has gone viral with close to half a million likes, Rather encourages every reporter to ask one question whenever speaking to or interviewing GOP lawmakers, and then not let up without a satisfactory answer — or simply end the interview. These are not normal times. These are extraordinary times. And extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.  When you have a spokesperson...

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Sustaining the Momentum of the Women’s March: Where We Go From Here

by Andrea Cristina Mercado, Truthout | Op-Ed – This weekend I marched in Washington, DC, with my younger sister, in a contingent with hundreds of immigrant women, women of color, domestic workers, Native American women, and grassroots environmental activists. Like so many who attended the Women’s March, I was awestruck to see the sheer size of the march, the number of women who mobilized — many of whom had never before attended a march — to proclaim their commitment to fight back against attacks on our bodies, our families, our communities and the planet. It was an outpouring of bold opposition. I witnessed a powerful appetite for action: the desire to not just talk about it, but to put ourselves — our bodies — on the front lines of opposition. More than 700 women gathered immediately after the march for a Women’s Town Hall. Exhausted from hours of walking...

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On This Day, Jan 24, 1956 – Emmett Till Murderers Make Magazine Confession

On January 24, 1956, Look magazine publishes the confessions of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, two white men from Mississippi who were acquitted in the 1955 kidnapping and murder of Emmett Louis Till, an African-American teenager from Chicago. In the Look article, titled “The Shocking Story of Approved Killing in Mississippi,” the men detailed how they beat Till with a gun, shot him and threw his body in the Tallahatchie River with a heavy cotton-gin fan attached with barbed wire to his neck to weigh him down. The two killers were paid a reported $4,000 for their participation in the article. In August 1955, 14-year-old Till, whose nickname was Bobo, traveled to Mississippi to visit relatives and stay at the home of his great-uncle, Moses Wright. On August 24, Till went into Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market in Money, Mississippi, to buy candy. At some point, he allegedly whistled at...

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Border Chief Just Gave Trump A Brutal Reality Check About His Border Wall (VIDEO)

by Vera – During his presidential campaign, former reality television star Donald Trump received a lot of criticism for his highly controversial (and completely wasteful and illogical) U.S.-Mexican border wall — a concept his supporters latched onto despite the fact that it was shot down by several experts. Just days after officially becoming the 45th President of the United States, Trump is getting another brutal reality check about why this stupid wall won’t work. Now, the outgoing chief of the Customs and Border Protection agency is speaking out against the idea, crushing every racist’s hopes and dreams. In an interview with ABC News’ Brian Ross, border chief Gil Kerlikowske basically said that Trump’s border wall was a massive waste of both time and money, and not a viable solution to tackling illegal immigration. Completely humiliating Trump for being an ill-advised moron, Kerlikowske said: “I think that anyone who’s been familiar with the...

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‘Real America’ Helped Make Saturday’s Protests the Biggest in U.S. History

by Adam Peck – Middle America protested Donald Trump’s inauguration just as bigly as coastal elites. A common refrain among Republicans is that the people who live in big coastal cities like New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco are out of touch with “real Americans.” On Saturday, photos from hundreds of protests and marches across the country in opposition to Donald Trump’s day-old presidency countered that notion. In Washington, D.C., an estimated 500,000 people descended upon the national mall to protest Trump’s presidency, a crowd estimated at three times the size of Trump’s own sparsely attended inauguration the day before. But millions more people also partook in sister marches and rallies across the country — including in the very same “real America” that Republicans claim to represent. Here are a few front pages from such liberal bastions as Arizona, Texas, Tennessee, and Montana: Front pages from newspapers around the country. CREDIT: Newseum A pair...

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UpFront Special: Welcome to the Trump Era (VIDEO)

We debate what a Trump presidency means for the world, and Katrina vanden Heuvel reflects on Obama’s global impact.  Donald Trump is the new president of the United States. What will that mean for the US and for the rest of the world? In this UpFront special, we looked at what the US and the world can expect from President Trump. And in an interview with The Nation editor and publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel, we examine the foreign policy legacy President Barack Obama will leave for Trump. President Trump: What now for the world? Donald Trump’s win left some concerned about the future of the US, and the world. But what can we expect from a Trump presidency? In a special recorded in November 2016, Robert Hormats, David Cay Johnston, Naomi Wolf and Hamid Dabashi debated the future of Trump’s administration. “The real question before us now is: Does...

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‘Hostile Takeover’: Oil & Gas Industry Now In Charge of US Foreign Policy

by Jon Queally – Confirming Rex Tillerson, Republicans on Senate Foreign Relations Committee “just knowingly handed our international climate diplomacy over to a rogue oil mogul” In a vote strictly along party lines, Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to confirm former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State on Monday. Despite unified opposition from Democrats on the committee and a campaign by climate action and corporate accountability groups, Tillerson’s confirmation now passes to the full Senate where the Republican majority is nearly certain to finalize his appointment. Those who opposed Tillerson most aggressively responded to Monday’s vote by calling Republicans “spineless” and promised that the confirmation would only serve to further unify climate activists and the broader anti-Trump movement. “The Senators voting to confirm Rex Tillerson have clearly left their spines at home. Instead of standing up to a historically unpopular President, they’re letting Trump hand...

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Trump Faces Lawsuit for Violating Constitution Two Days After Taking Oath

by Ian Millhiser – Turns out, he’s not supposed to use his office to enrich himself. An all-star team of lawyers, including two leading experts on presidential ethics and two of the most prominent constitutional scholars in the nation, have filed a lawsuit this week challenging President Trump’s ongoing violation of an anti-corruption provision in the Constitution. The suit alleges that Trump is in violation of the Emoluments Clause, which prohibits federal office holders from receiving “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, does regular business with foreign governments, presenting them with an opportunity to launder unconstitutional gifts to the president. A bank controlled by the Chinese government, for example, rents office space in Trump Tower. And the Embassy of Kuwait reportedly moved an event from the Four Seasons hotel to a hotel owned by Trump “after members of the...

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Reinstating ‘Global Gag Rule,’ Trump Attacks Women Worldwide

by Andrea Germanos – “To be clear, this policy is an attack on women’s bodily autonomy and freedom, and we will see an increase in unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions as a result.” President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order reinstating a policy critics call the Global Gag Rule, further cementing reproductive rights advocates’ warning that 2017 would entail an uphill battle for women’s healthcare. Officially known as the Mexico City Policy, the rule, as Nonprofit Quarterly explained, “specifically prohibits international charities from promoting abortion as a method of family planning even if that ‘promotion’ simply entails a physician engaging in a conversation about the option of abortion with a patient.” As such, Kiersten Gillette-Pierce and Jamila Taylor write at Center for American Progress, it “infringes upon women’s fundamental right to make informed decisions about their bodies and their health.” Since it was first signed by President Ronald Reagan...

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Researchers: Obamacare Repeal Could Kill More than 43,000 People Annually

by Joan McCarter – David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandleris, both professors of public health at the City University of New York at Hunter College, Lecturers in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and founders of Physicians for a National Health Program, have a sobering message for the nation: repealing Obamacare will be lethal for tens of thousands of Americans every year. The story is in the data: The biggest and most definitive study of what happens to death rates when Medicaid coverage is expanded, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that for every 455 people who gained coverage across several states, one life was saved per year. Applying that figure to even a conservative estimate of 20 million losing coverage in the event of an ACA repeal yields an estimate of 43,956 deaths annually. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who is Trump’s nominee to head the...

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On This Day, Jan 23, 1941 – Lindbergh to Congress: Negotiate with Hitler

On this day in 1941, Charles A. Lindbergh, a national hero since his nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Lend-Lease policy-and suggests that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Hitler. Lindbergh was born in 1902 in Detroit. His father was a member of the House of Representatives. Lindbergh’s interest in aviation led him to flying school in Lincoln, Nebraska, and later brought him work running stunt-flying tours and as an airmail pilot. While regularly flying a route from St. Louis to Chicago, he decided to try to become the first pilot to fly alone nonstop from New York to Paris. He obtained the necessary financial backing from a group of businessmen, and on May 21, 1927, after a flight that lasted slightly over 33 hours, Lindbergh landed his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, in Paris. He won worldwide...

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Welcome to the New American Kleptocracy

by Frank Vyan Walton –   During a Q&A with Oprah Winfrey, Van Jones, and Ava DuVernay, director of the new Netflix documentary 13th which documents the links between the clear flaws in the abolition of slavery and the ongoing criminalization of African-American men, Jones spoke in very stark terms about America’s future under Trump. Asked by Winfrey what he expected of the new administration, Jones said, “I think mostly bad things. Both parties have a challenge. I think the president will prove to be authoritarian … You will see a horrendous abuse of power by this government. I think it’s good to hope for the best but we need to expect and prepare for the very worst.” He added: “I think Trump is much worse than people understand … I think we’re on the verge of a kleptocracy.” Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a flaw in that logic. Jones is absolutely...

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What We Saw at Women’s March on Washington (VIDEO)

by Todd Krainin & Joshua Swain – 500,000 people turned out because they see Donald Trump as a threat to social progress. On January 21, an estimated 500,000 people attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. as a protest against incoming President Donald Trump. Reason TV spoke with protesters to find out what they fear the most about a Trump presidency and what they hope their rally will accomplish. We also talked with members of the Ladies of Liberty Alliance (LOLA), a feminist group that approaches gender issues from a libertarian perspective. Produced by Todd Krainin and Joshua Swain. Camera by Mark McDaniel, Swain, and Krainin, who also edited.   Reprinted with permission from Reason.com

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Israel Approves Permits for 566 Settler Homes

Building plan in East Jerusalem approved by local council after being held up until Donald Trump took office in the US. Israeli authorities have approved building permits for 566 settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local officials, a move that has drawn condemnation from Palestinian leaders. The approval of the building plan on Sunday came two days after the inauguration of Donald Trump in the United States, with Israeli official saying the permits had been held up until the end of Barack Obama’s administration, which had been critical of Israeli settlement activity. “The rules of the game have changed with Donald Trump’s arrival as president,” Meir Turgeman, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor, told AFP news agency. “We no longer have our hands tied as in the time of Barack Obama. Now we can finally build.” Turgeman said that city officials approved the plans that had been previously postponed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s...

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In First of Many, ACLU FOIA Request Seeks Information About Trump’s Conflicts of Interests

by Brett Max Kaufman, Staff Attorney, ACLU Center for Democracy – During the Trump administration, our country faces an unprecedented constellation of threats to the regular oversight processes that keep the powers that be in check. Faced with attacks on journalists critical of the president as perpetrators of “fake news,” an era of one-party rule threatening healthy competition between the branches of government, the constant subversion of democratic and ethical norms, and more, the ACLU and the citizenry will unfortunately have many opportunities to provide a public check to keep our government honest. Well, we just couldn’t wait: on Thursday, we filed our first Freedom of Information Act request of the Trump Era, seeking documents relating President Trump’s actual or potential conflicts of interest relating to his business and family connections. Since the election, it has become clear that during the Trump administration the public’s relentless focus on government transparency...

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Trump Press Secretary Declares War on the Press and Reality Itself

by Aaron Rupar – Sean Spicer simply refuses to accept that Trump’s inauguration wasn’t the best attended event of all time. During his first appearance before the press as President Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer attacked the media for accurately reporting that Trump’s inauguration was attended by a relatively small crowd. Spicer also went after a Time magazine journalist for a mistake he made in a tweet about a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. that sits in the Oval Office. In the latest sign that the Trump administration plans to wage war on reality, Spicer refused to accept that attendance for Trump’s inauguration was smaller than for President Obama’s in 2009. “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period,” Spicer said. “Both in person and around the globe.” He blamed “floor coverings were used to protect the grass on the mall” for making it look like there...

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Progressives Are the New Silent Majority

by THEO ANDERSON – Most Americans actually prefer progressive policies — so how did we get here? Something remarkable has happened over the past few years: A new silent majority has emerged, decades after Richard Nixon made that phrase famous. Nixon meant the people whose values were, he said, dominant in American culture, but underrepresented in American politics. Calling them the silent majority was a way of channeling the white backlash against the civil rights movement. The new silent majority is defined by the broad consensus that has emerged in the United States around progressive policies. This consensus isn’t widely reported. In fact, it’s obscured by the oft-repeated idea that the nation is deeply polarized, as if Americans are torn between support for conservative and progressive policies. They aren’t. On the battlefield of ideology, conservatives have been routed. The progressive consensus cuts across economic and social issues and includes even traditional...

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Anti-Choice Republicans Likely to Ignore Key Reason for Abortion Rate Decline

by Deirdre Fulton – Experts credit improved contraceptive use with historic decline in abortion rate—so why do Republicans want to gut access to birth control? Improved contraceptive use was a major factor in the just-revealed U.S. abortion rate decline, but Republican attempts to gut critical healthcare programs could reverse those gains, experts warned Tuesday. The Guttmacher Institute, which works to advance reproductive health and rights through research and policy initiatives, announced Tuesday that in 2014, the U.S. abortion rate reached the lowest level ever recorded. In addition, the number of abortions in the U.S. dropped under one million for the first time since 1975. In an analysis published alongside the report, Guttmacher’s Joerg Dreweke argues that while anti-choice organizations are sure to claim that increased abortion restrictions led to the decline, improved birth control use and access “likely played a larger role.” “Several data points support this hypothesis,” he wrote: Births...

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On This Day, Jan 22, 1973 – Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court decriminalizes abortion by handing down their decision in the case of Roe v. Wade. Despite opponents’ characterization of the decision, it was not the first time that abortion became a legal procedure in the United States. In fact, for most of the country’s first 100 years, abortion as we know it today was not only not a criminal offense, it was also not considered immoral. In the 1700s and early 1800s, the word “abortion” referred only to the termination of a pregnancy after “quickening,” the time when the fetus first began to make noticeable movements. The induced ending of a pregnancy before this point did not even have a name–but not because it was uncommon. Women in the 1700s often took drugs to end their unwanted pregnancies. In 1827, though, Illinois passed a law that made the use of abortion drugs punishable by up to three years’...

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Donald Trump Will Throw A Hissy Fit After Reading George Will’s Review Of His Inaugural Address

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Donald Trump thinks his inaugural address was the best ever. George Will emphatically disagrees. As it became clear that Trump would be the Republican nominee last year, the longtime conservative columnist left the Republican Party in disgust. Trump, of course, lashed out by calling Will “overrated.” But Will fired back by nailing Trump’s lack of intelligence. And after Will’s review of Trump’s speech, it looks like it’s only a matter of time before Trump lashes out again. Trump delivered his inaugural address on Friday as a pathetic crowd watched and cheered after every word he uttered. Trump lied repeatedly and made promises he won’t keep while portraying America as an apocalyptic wasteland where poverty and crime reign and the military is crippled. It was a divisive and negative speech that ignores all the progress America made over the last eight years after a devastating recession...

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The Simple, Sinister Reason for the GOP’s Never-Ending War on Obamacare

by Jon Perr – The GOP has never been afraid that Obamacare would fail, but that it would succeed House and Senate Republicans this week took the first step this week toward the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But without a replacement program in place, the GOP is nevertheless prepared to withdraw health insurance from up to 30 million Americans and jeopardize coverage for over 20 million more. While millions will face the prospect of financial ruin, Republicans will condemn tens of thousands of the newly uninsured to needless deaths—every year. Meanwhile, many hospitals, physicians and insurers will be trapped in a market “death spiral” Republicans alone will be responsible for creating. If President Trump, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan succeed, theirs will be the greatest act of political spite in American history. The question is why. This isn’t about a “better way” to enable health...

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Lest We Forget (VIDEO)

by Bill Moyers – Historians on the Big Lie Behind the Rise of Trump. In this web exclusive, Bill Moyers and four historians dissect the big lie Trump rode to power: the Birther lie. Nell Painter, historian and Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University; Khalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of history, race and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School; Christopher Lebron, assistant professor of African-American studies and philosophy at Yale University; and Philip Klinkner, James S. Sherman Professor of Government, Hamilton College discuss the fertile ground on which the birther lie was sown: our nation’s history of white supremacy. Credits: Gail Ablow, Producer; Sikay Tang, Editor  TRANSCRIPT BILL MOYERS: I’m Bill Moyers. The most important thing to remember about Donald Trump is that he was the same man at 12:01 p.m. Friday after he took the oath of office as he was at 11:59 a.m. before his swearing in. His character:...

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Women’s March On Washington (and Everywhere Else) Much, MUCH Larger than Expected

by Mark Sumner – 300,000 in New York City. 125,000 in Boston. 50,000 in Austin, Texas. 15,000 in St. Louis. 10,000 in Portland, ME. Across the country, the numbers for the Women’s March have turned out to be not just high, but higher than anyone would have predicted. Cities that had expected two thousand got ten. Areas that had planned on ten thousand got a hundred. The overflow crowds are also happening in Washington, D.C. where so many have turned up that it’s proving difficult to actually march. A massive turnout at the Women’s March on Washington has forced a change of plans. With the entire planned route filled with hundreds of thousands of protesters, organizers can’t lead a formal march toward the White House. Something similar happened in Chicago, where 150,000 protesters showed up. While the rally will go on, the march portion of the Women’s March on Chicago has been canceled...

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Trump Claims ‘a Million and a Half’ at his Inauguration, Delivers Yuuge Lie in Front of CIA

by  Mark Sumner – Donald Trump appeared at the CIA on Saturday, supposedly to reassure the intelligence community that he supported their work. But instead, Trump had other issues to discuss. Standing in front of the CIA’s memorial wall of agents who died in the line of service to the nation, Trump let fly, telling the CIA know who America’s real enemy is. “I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth. They made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. … exactly the opposite.” Apparently Trump’s Twitter account is part of the dishonest media. But after telling the story of how the rain miraculously stopped when he was delivering his speech on Friday, he had an example of the media’s dishonesty—the size of his inauguration crowd. “We had something like a million and a half people....

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The New York Times had the Trump-Russia Story in Early Fall and were too Timid to Publish

by kat68 – As a former Washington-based journalist, I have always had it in…just a bit…for the New York Times. They are lordly and pompous with the anachronistic adherence to style and titles (Mr. and Mrs,), their longtime and ridiculous refusal to go to color and revamp their old-fashioned design, and, most of all, their awful Iraq War coverage, and subsequent lame attempts to cover their well-heeled Ivy League-educated, access-obsessed asses. I will admit the NYT is often capable of amazing journalism. But they are a proud—overly proud—and tend not to advance stories they don’t break themselves.  So when Mother Jones’  David Corn broke the story of the former MI6 officer with a thick dossier on Trump’s nefarious dealings with Russia in late October,  I was dismayed, but not surprised that the NYT immediately stifled him with an Oct. 31 story entitled “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Trump.” Here is the lede from...

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Pot Protesters Welcome President Trump With 4,200 Joints (VIDEO)

by Todd Krainin & Joshua Swain – “We’ve legalized here and we don’t want our rights taken away.” The only place in town Trump supporters and Trump protesters could be found doing something together on inauguration day is “waiting in line for marijuana,” says Adam Eidinger, co-founder of DCMJ, the pro-cannabis advocacy group that was key in making pot legal in the nation’s capital. Eidinger and his colleagues spent the day handing out thousands of free joints to anyone in D.C. who wanted one. It’s a way of “welcoming Donald Trump to Washington,” he says, “and letting him know we’ve legalized here and we don’t want our rights taken away.” Produced by Todd Krainin and Josh Swain. Camera by Swain, Mark McDaniel, and Todd Krainin, who also edited.   Reprinted with permission from Reason.com

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On This Day, Jan 21, 1924 – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Dies

In Moscow, on the evening of January 21, 1924, shock and near-hysterical grief greets the news that Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, leader of the radical socialist Bolshevik movement that toppled the czarist regime in 1917 and head of the first government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), had died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Influenced early on by Karl Marx s seminal text Das Kapital, Lenin was radicalized further by the execution of his older brother, Alexander, for conspiring to kill Czar Alexander III in 1887. The brooding, fiercely intellectual Lenin married the principles of Marxist thought to his own theory of organization and the reality of Russian demographics, envisioning a group of elite professional revolutionaries, or a “vanguard of the proletariat,” who would first lead the agrarian masses of Russia to victory over the tyrannical czarist regime and eventually incite a worldwide revolution. He laid out this...

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‘Dark Day’: President Donald Trump Delivers Grim Speech as Protests Swell

by Nadia Prupis – Pledge to end ‘American carnage’ stirs fears among opponents who recall campaign built on xenophobia, racism, Islamophobia. President Donald J. Trump has taken the oath of office, delivering a blunt speech rife with his signature autocratic declarations, promising to “make America great again” as tense protests swelled around Capitol Hill. “Today’s inauguration is an incredibly dark day for our country,” Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive PAC Democracy for America, said in response to Trump’s speech Friday. “The only thing more empty than the National Mall today during his poorly attended inaugural address were the platitudes Donald Trump made about bringing the country together.” “In fact, after putting forward a cabinet filled to the brim with self-dealing billionaires, bigots, and bullies, it’s clear that Donald Trump is establishing the most corrupt, corporate, and bigoted administration in generations,” Chamberlain said. Protests were well underway by the time...

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Ignorance and Arrogance – the Defining Characteristics of the Betsy DeVos Hearing

by Steven Singer – Betsy DeVos wouldn’t commit to protecting students with special needs. She wouldn’t commit to keeping guns out of school campuses. She wouldn’t commit to holding charter and voucher schools to the same standards as traditional public schools. She didn’t know the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was a federal law. And she couldn’t explain the difference between proficiency and growth. That’s your nominee for Secretary of Education, America! During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) tonight, DeVos showed herself to be hopelessly out of her depth. She tried to cover her ignorance by being noncommittal. But it was obvious that she had no idea what she was talking about more than half the time. And far from being a fair arbiter, Senator Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairperson of the committee, did everything he could to shield her from further...

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Texas Panel on Wrongful Convictions Calls for Ending Use of Unverified Drug Field Tests

by Ryan Gabrielson – A commission established by lawmakers to help end the conviction of the innocent says field tests are too unreliable to be trusted without lab confirmation. Drug field tests are too unreliable to trust in criminal cases, according to a Texas courts panel, which has called on crime laboratories across the state to confirm drug evidence actually contains illegal drugs for every prosecution. State lawmakers created the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission in 2015 to research wrongful convictions in Texas and suggest ways to prevent future injustices. The commission named field tests as a significant concern in its final report, released last month, due to their “questionable reliability.” In Houston over the past decade, the crime lab found that the alleged drugs in more than 300 convictions were not drugs at all. Police had used inexpensive test kits to identify the substances as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, MDMA, or...

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The Trump Resistance Plan: Step One

by STEVEN HARPER – The first step to resisting President-elect Trump is understanding how he and Kellyanne Conway deploy their “Three Ds” strategy: deflect, divert and distract. The king and his worthless adherents are got at their old game of dividing the continent, and there are not wanting among us, printers, who will be busy in spreading specious falsehoods…  THOMAS PAINE, COMMON SENSE (1776) When the victors write history, the resulting narrative often focuses on why things happened. Far more important to the contemporaneous participants is the question of how. Mounting an effective resistance requires understanding an adversary’s strategies. Donald Trump’s most effective delivery system is a duet: himself and Kellyanne Conway. Tracking a single example reveals their techniques. Strategy #1: Lie In the tradition of notorious “strongmen,” Trump promulgates Big Lies. These outrageous fictions are easier to sell because listeners can’t imagine the speaker would make them up. Since the election, one...

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Freshman Congressman with Guts is Ready to File Articles of Impeachment Against Trump

by Christian Dem in NC – If Congressman Jamie Raskin hadn’t already established himself as a freshman to watch, he definitely did when word got out about one bill that he thinks he will introduce very soon—articles of impeachment against soon-to-be President Trump. Last weekend, Raskin spoke at an Obamacare rally at Bowie State University. However, he drew the biggest cheers when he said that he may be voting to impeach the Donald very soon. Watch here, via The Young Turks: Raskin says that he already has grounds for impeachment—the fact that Trump hasn’t even begun to unwind “tens or hundreds of millions of dollars” worth of foreign business interests. He has come to the same conclusion as a number of ethics experts and constitutional law experts from both parties—it would be a flagrant violation of the Emoluments Clause, which bars federal officials from taking gifts from foreign governments. As we...

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Eerie Echo of Nixon as Trump Camp Declares President ‘Has No Conflicts By Law’

by Lauren McCauley – However, Zephyr Teachout argues that by keeping his extensive business ties, the president-elect will be in violation of the U.S. Constitution “on day one”. Following Spicer’s press conference, Eisen also took to Twitter to chide the soon-to-be-press secretary for his glowing endorsement of Trump’s D.C. hotel. Seemingly adhering to the Nixonian adage that “if the president does it, that means it is not illegal,” the Trump team continues to stand by the legitimacy of the incoming president keeping his business ties. When asked by MSNBC‘s Katy Turr during his first official news conference on Thursday if President-elect Donald Trump would release, if not his tax returns, at least a list of those people or institutions to whom he is indebted, incoming press secretary Sean Spicer made clear that information would not be forthcoming. “I think that question has been asked and answered a hundred times,” Spicer said....

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President Barack Obama Publishes his Final Letter to Americans

by Walter Einenkel – Here is President Barack Obama’s final letter to Americans:   My fellow Americans, It’s a long-standing tradition for the sitting president of the United States to leave a parting letter in the Oval Office for the American elected to take his or her place. It’s a letter meant to share what we know, what we’ve learned, and what small wisdom may help our successor bear the great responsibility that comes with the highest office in our land, and the leadership of the free world. But before I leave my note for our 45th president, I wanted to say one final thank you for the honor of serving as your 44th. Because all that I’ve learned in my time in office, I’ve learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man. Throughout these eight years, you have been the source of...

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Spicer Turns Press Conference into Infomercial for Trump’s Hotel

by Aaron Rupar – Profiting off the presidency before he’s sworn in. During a pre-inauguration news conference on Thursday, Sean Spicer, President-elect Donald Trump’s soon-to-be press secretary, dismissed concerns his boss is using the power of the presidency to promote his Washington, D.C. hotel and thereby line his pockets. With regard to Trump’s decision to dine at the hotel’s restaurant on Wednesday night — Trump also reportedly plans to eat there Thursday — Spicer said, “I think that’s pretty smart.” “I think the idea that he’s going to his own hotel shouldn’t be a shocker,” Spicer continued. “It’s a beautiful place, it’s somewhere that he’s very proud of and I think it’s symbolic of the kind of government that he’s going to run.” Spicer went on to encourage people to check out the place for themselves. “It’s an absolutely stunning hotel. I encourage you to go there if you haven’t been by,” he said. But even...

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Mnuchin’s Bank Foreclosed on Thousands of Homeowners, but: ‘I’m Proud of our Results’

by Bryce Covert – Steven Mnuchin came under fire during his confirmation hearing for numerous complaints against OneWest. At Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin’s Senate hearing on Thursday, Democratic lawmakers repeatedly brought up the foreclosure practices of the bank Mnuchin previously ran, OneWest. During one particularly heated exchange, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) aired a laundry list of complaints that were made about OneWest’s practices while Mnuchin was CEO. Brown cited the assertion by the community group California Reinvestment Coalition that the bank foreclosed on 60,000 homes across the country and denied three-quarters of borrowers’ applications for loan modifications so that they could avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. He brought up a consent order that OneWest entered into with the Office of the Comptroller for the Currency (OCC) over “errors that resulted in financial harm.” This included 10,781 loans the OCC determined needed to be remedied, including 23 foreclosures on borrowers...

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Eight Survivors Located in Avalanche-Hit Italian Hotel (VIDEO)

Rescuers search for survivors after massive snow slide buries tourist hotel in Italy. Rescuers have located eight survivors, including two children, in a ski hotel two days after it was buried by an avalanche near an earthquake-hit city of Penne in central Italy. Speaking on Friday,Titti Postiglione, head of the Civil Protection’s emergency department, said two of the survivors had already been pulled clear of the snow and debris which destroyed the isolated Hotel Rigopiano on the Gran Sasso mountain in the province of Pescara on Wednesday. Rescuers were digging to free the remaining six people. 4 dead, 30 missing in Italy’s avalanche disaster “Finding these people gives us further hope there are other survivors,” Postiglione said. Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from Penne, said there was a lot of activity at the emergency base in the central Italian town. “Rescue workers say they managed to speak to them....

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On This Day, Jan 20, 1981 – Iran Hostage Crisis Ends –

Minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as the 40th president of the United States, the 52 U.S. captives held at the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran, are released, ending the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis. On November 4, 1979, the crisis began when militant Iranian students, outraged that the U.S. government had allowed the ousted shah of Iran to travel to New York City for medical treatment, seized the U.S. embassy in Teheran. The Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s political and religious leader, took over the hostage situation, refusing all appeals to release the hostages, even after the U.N. Security Council demanded an end to the crisis in a unanimous vote. However, two weeks after the storming of the embassy, the Ayatollah began to release all non-U.S. captives, and all female and minority Americans, citing these groups as among the people oppressed by the government of the United States. The remaining 52 captives...

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Guess Who’s Been Advising Trump?

by Th0rn – Guess who’s been advising Donald Trump on his picks for the people who will control foreign policy in a Trump administration? Well, here’s a hint: who’s the most murderous, toxic, partisan psychopath you can think of? One who gained so much infamy for his services to the Bush administration that he had to flee the country to avoid the law? If you guessed Erik Prince, notorious mercenary and founder of Blackwater, you win the dubious prize: Erik Prince, America’s most notorious mercenary, is lurking in the shadows of the incoming Trump administration. A former senior U.S. official who has advised the Trump transition told The Intercept that Prince has been advising the team on matters related to intelligence and defense, including weighing in on candidates for the defense and state departments…. On election night, Prince’s latest wife, Stacy DeLuke, posted pictures from inside Trump’s campaign headquarters as Donald...

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Trump Prepares to Lock Press out of the White House

by Mark Sumner – The White House may be the “people’s house,” but as of January 20, one group of people will be excluded. Following his shout-fest with a CNN reporter rude enough to ask a question at his first-in-six-month press conference, Donald Trump is preparing to cap his war with the news by eliminating the White House press room. According to three senior officials on the transition team, a plan to evict the press corps from the White House is under serious consideration by the incoming Trump Administration. If the plan goes through, one of the officials said, the media will be removed from the cozy confines of the White House press room, where it has worked for several decades. Members of the press will be relocated to the White House Conference Center—near Lafayette Square—or to a space in the Old Executive Office Building, next door to the White House. And why...

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Oklahoma Considers Extreme Pro-Discrimination ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill

by Zack Ford – The conservative state fell behind on anti-LGBT legislation in 2016 and is trying to catch up. In 2016, Oklahoma set a record for the most anti-LGBT bills introduced in one session, worsting Texas from the year before. Fortunately, legislative deadlines kept them from advancing, but now one lawmaker is back with what appears to be one of the most extreme “religious liberty” proposals any state has considered. Behind the measure is Sen. Joseph Silk (R), who has an extensive record of particularly anti-LGBT legislation and statements. He calls his new bill, SB 197, the “Oklahoma Right of Conscience Act,” but it explicitly enables discrimination against LGBT people — and possibly just about anyone else! SB 197 ensures that no one ever has to provide any services used in or to promote “a marriage ceremony or celebration of a specific lifestyle or behavior.” Additionally, such denials will be immune to any...

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Why Obama Nostalgia Matters

by NEAL GABLER – President Obama, for all his faults and our disagreements with him, challenged us to rise to our better natures. As Donald Trump’s inauguration approaches, a lot of you may be feeling what I am: premature Obama nostalgia. This isn’t to say we didn’t have disagreements with him — serious ones. After the initial euphoria of having a young, intelligent and black commander-in-chief wore off, I thought of him as a passionless president, too cool for his and our own good. I would have preferred that he be a brawler who not only came out swinging but who also did so bare-knuckled. Instead, Obama sat on the stool and squandered far too much of his presidency trying to make nice with people who were determined to destroy him and the welfare state he should have been protecting. From the outset, he played to history, to the legacy he...

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Trump Nominee Admits Personally Directing Suspicious Stock Purchases (VIDEOS)

by Laurel Raymond – “That was a decision I made, yes,” Price said regarding bio industry purchases, though he denied wrongdoing. Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, is under fire for allegations of potential insider trading. Several recent reports suggest Price traded medical stock while making decisions about legislation in Congress that directly impacted the medical industry. And at his hearing before the Senate HELP committee on Wednesday, questions about whether Price made unethical and possibly illegal stock trades got even murkier. Price told Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) that he is personally involved in making some decisions about his stocks in the biotech field, and said he made a decision about purchasing stock in a company after talking to another member of Congress who sits on that company’s board. His comments seem to contradict a defense the Trump transition team has offered to brush aside...

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Report: 6 Federal Agencies Investigating Possible Kremlin Financial Support of Trump

by Aaron Rupar – But with Trump about to be sworn in, how long will they stay on the case? On Wednesday, the McClatchy Washington Bureau, citing multiple unnamed sources, broke news that “the FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump.” According to McClatchy, the involved agencies are the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, Justice Department, Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and representatives of the Director of National Intelligence. The news is not altogether unexpected. During a hearing before a Senate panel last week, FBI director James Comey refused to answer questions about whether the bureau has investigated links between the Trump campaign and Russia. A day later, Trump himself dodged a reporter’s question about whether he or his campaign had any contact...

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‘Ominous’: Trump Hotel in DC Bans Journalists During Inauguration Week

by Andrea Germanos – Politico reports that the hotel, which sits on fedeal property, has banned press. The Trump International Hotel in Washington has banned the press from its premises for inauguration week, Politico reports Wednesday. Politico reporter Daniel Lippman was prevented from entering the property on Wednesday after being stopped and identifying himself as a journalist. Lippman writes that hotel’s director of sales and marketing Patricia Tang sent an email stating: “Media is not allowed in this week in respect of the privacy of our guests.” The hotel is on federal property—it’s owned by the General Services Administration. Trump and his three adult children, Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr., hold a 60-year lease on it, a link to which Lippman includes in his story. It states that barring “a risk to public safety,” the tenant cannot close access, and that time restrictions would need approval of the landlord. In addition,...

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2014 Was Hottest Year Ever Recorded. Then It Was 2015. Now It’s 2016.

by Andrea Germanos – (Credit: NOAA)For the third year in a row, the world experienced its warmest year on the books, global scientists have determined The new assessments come from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the UK’s Met Office, as well as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which relies in part on data from those agencies. The findings also back up the declaration made earlier this month by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. “2016 is remarkably the third record year in a row in this series,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). “We don’t expect record years every year, but the ongoing long-term warming trend is clear.” NOAA’s calculations put the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces at 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th century average, while NASA puts the globally-averaged temperatures for...

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On This Day, Jan. 19, 1966: Indira Gandhi Elected

Indira Gandhi became the first female head of government after the death of Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.  She was a controversial figure in Indian politics.  She was the second longest serving Prime Minister in India’s history. Indira Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917.  She was the daughter of Jawawarharlal  and Kamala Nehru, who had also served as Prime Minister.  She served as the Chief of staff of her father’s administration and was later offered the premiership to succeed her father to which she refused.  Choosing instead to become a cabinet minister in the government. She finally consented to become Prime Minister in 1966. Gandhi served from 1966  to 1977 and was elected again in 1980, she served until she was assassinated in 1984 reportedly by a Sikh member of her bodyguard. There have been recent claims that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain may have helped...

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U.S. Press Corps Breaks Silence, Drops Major Bombshell In Scathing Open Letter To Trump

by Vera – The way President-elect Donald Trump has treated the press during his presidential campaign, only to get far worse after winning the election, is nothing but terrifying. Trump has not only ditched press pools and created distrust for the media, but he has issued threats to punish or silence reporters for doing their jobs and holding him accountable. Trump has never sounded more like a dictator, and quite frankly we should all be very worried about what he’s going to do once he gets into the White House. Fortunately, the press is fighting back. Editor in chief and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review Kyle Pope has just written an open letter to Trump on behalf of the U.S. Press Corps, and it’s a strong message to Trump that things aren’t going to go the way he wants them to go. Pope wrote: “In these final days before your...

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Fewer Americans Plan to Watch Inauguration this Year than in 2009

by ABIGAIL GEIGER – About half of Americans (46%) say they plan to watch as Donald Trump takes the presidential oath of office on Friday, while 51% say they do not intend to watch the inauguration. Interest in Trump’s inaugural is lower than for Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, when two-thirds of Americans (67%) said they were planning to watch. It is also lower than for Bill Clinton’s first inaugural in 1993, when 57% said they intended to watch. (The question was not asked when George W. Bush took office in 2001.) There is a wide partisan gap over plans to watch the inauguration, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, conducted Jan. 4-9 among 1,502 adults. About seven-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (69%) say they will watch the event, compared with just 30% of Democrats and Democratic leaners. Despite their overall support for the president-elect and his plans, Republicans are...

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Congressional Budget Office says Obamacare Repeal Would be a Catastrophe

by Ian Millhiser – On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its estimate of how many people will become uninsured if Republicans move forward with their likely plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and the numbers are brutal. Thirty-two million people would lose their health insurance by 2026, and premiums would double in the same time frame. Americans would also see a sharp and immediate drop in insurance rates. According to the CBO, “the number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first new plan year following enactment of the bill.” The CBO examined a bill pushed by Republicans in the previous Congress, the “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015,” which would phase out provisions of the Affordable Care Act that help make health insurance affordable — including subsidies for plans purchased on Obamacare exchanges and the law’s Medicaid expansion. It would also immediately...

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Former Intelligence Official: Trump Conflict With Spy Agencies Creates ‘Dangerous Moment’

by Sebastian Rotella – Matthew Olsen, a senior national security official in both Democratic and Republican administrations, says the ongoing conflict between President-elect Trump and the U.S. intelligence community poses grave risks. The conflict between President-elect Donald Trump and the U.S. intelligence community could have profound repercussions. We spoke recently about the issue to Matthew Olsen, who spent two decades working in senior posts in intelligence and national security for Democrat and Republican administrations. Olsen, 54, served most recently (from 2011 to 2014) as director of the intelligence community’s National Counterterrorism Center. Before that, he was the general counsel of the National Security Agency. In 2009, he was executive director of the Guantanamo Review Task Force for the Justice Department. A longtime federal prosecutor, Olsen has been an associate deputy attorney general overseeing national security and criminal cases; acting assistant attorney general for national security; chief of the national security division...

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Trump’s Minimum Wage Hating Nominee for Labor Secretary is in Search of an Exit

by Mark Sumner – Andy Puzder has no problem fighting against overtime pay and increases in the minimum wage, but he’s less interested in being challenged by people not wearing a Hardee’s uniform who want to see his financial information. President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to be labor secretary has voiced second thoughts in recent days, because of a relentless barrage of criticism from Democrats, labor unions and other liberal groups, a business ally and GOP sources tell CNN. … “He may be bailing,” said a Republican source plugged into the Trump transition effort. “He is not into the pounding he is taking, and the paperwork.” Oh, man. Paperwork. That is hard. You can’t expect someone making just $5 million a year (down from as much as $30 million in past years) to do paperwork. No. That’s something better suited for people making $24,000 a year who work 60 hour weeks without extra...

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We Cannot Wait for History to Judge. We Need the Truth About Trump and Russia Now.

by BILL MOYERS AND MICHAEL WINSHIP – For the sake of democracy, an independent commission or special prosecutor must be appointed to investigate Russian influence. Over the holidays, John Farrell, author of an upcoming biography of Richard Nixon, wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times confirming what many of us have known for nearly 50 years: In the fall of 1968, Nixon, the Republican candidate for president, deliberately torpedoed President Lyndon Johnson’s efforts to cease the bombing of North Vietnam and begin peace talks to end the Vietnam war. Johnson was not running for re-election, but his vice president, Hubert Humphrey, was the Democratic candidate for the White House — and Nixon was determined to keep Humphrey from reaping the benefits of good news from Southeast Asia.  In the course of researching his Nixon book, Farrell found a cache of notes from Nixon aide H.R. Haldeman showing “that Nixon...

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Obama Sends $500 Million to Green Climate Fund, Signaling End to Era

by Nadia Prupis – The contribution is one of President Barack Obama’s final moves before climate denial cabinet takes over. The Obama administration on Tuesday sent another $500 million to the Green Climate Fund, which was established as part of the Paris climate agreement to collect aid from wealthy countries to help frontline nations adapt to the impacts of global warming. The contribution marks one of President Barack Obama’s last moves before leaving office and handing the presidency to an administration staffed largely by climate deniers. It’s the second $500 million check the U.S. State Department gave to the fund, culled from the fiscal year 2016 Economic Support Fund appropriation. The fund aims to attain $100 billion by 2020, with the U.S. pledging $3 billion alone. Green groups had long pressured Obama to contribute the remainder of the U.S. pledge before Trump takes office. The landmark Paris treaty is one of...

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Bipartisan EPA Alumni Urge Senate to Reject Pruitt’s “Troubling” Nomination

by Nadia Prupis – Pruitt’s track record shows he would “set science aside when the outcome is at odds with his predetermined political point of view”. On Monday, 13 former heads of state environmental bureaus sent a letter to senate leaders, urging them to reject Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief. The letter (pdf), organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), implores members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to vote against Pruitt over his track record of opposing EPA rules—a history that calls into question whether he “appropriately respects science-based decision making” or would cooperate with states to protect Americans’ health and safety from climate threats. “While we have worked under both Republican and Democratic Governors, reflect a range of political views, and come from diverse states, we share a common concern about Mr. Pruitt’s nomination,” the letter reads. In one...

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Chinese State Media Is Literally Laughing At American Embarrassment Trump

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Donald Trump has turned America into an international laughingstock and he hasn’t even taken office yet. For weeks, Trump has been antagonizing China by speaking with the leader of Taiwan, which goes against decades of precedent, and has questioned the One-China policy. Both actions have put a strain on America’s relationship with the most populous nation on Earth. Clearly, Donald Trump intends to keep taking aim at our largest trading partner, imperiling both our foreign policy and the world economy at a time when Americans are prospering under the economic successes of President Obama. Well, China is now laughing at Trump for being a national embarrassment. CNN’s John Berman pointed out that an editorial by state-run Global Times of China mocked Trump. “Trump’s thinking about China is becoming increasingly clear: He wants China to make huge economic and trade concessions to the U.S. To achieve that,...

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Trump Nominee, Tom Price, Faces Multiple Allegations of Insider Trading

by Zack Ford – Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) bought stock, then introduced legislation that boosted its value. This week, the Senate will hold confirmation hearings for Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Monday evening, CNN reported that Price may have used his position in Congress for profit in what appears to be insider trading, a new allegation among many that are now clouding his nomination. Last March, Price bought as much as $15,000 in stock in a company called Zimmer Biomet, one the world’s largest manufacturers of knee and hip implants. Within a week of that transaction, he introduced the HIP Act, a bill that would have saved Zimmer Biomet a significant amount of money by delaying implementation of a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) payment model for hip and knee replacements. After Price introduced the bill, Zimmer Biomet’s political action committee...

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Report Warns Trump Against Scrapping Iran Nuclear Deal (VIDEO)

by Megan O’Toole – Ending the agreement would lead to ‘unfathomable consequences’ throughout the region, International Crisis Group says. Should the Iran nuclear deal fall apart, the consequences for the Middle East region would be “unfathomable”, according to a new report from the International Crisis Group. The report, coming on the eve on Donald Trump’s inauguration, urges the US president-elect to preserve and strengthen the landmark agreement, rather than tear it up as he has threatened to do. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which took effect one year ago, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment programme in return for sanctions relief – a pact derided by Trump as the “worst deal ever negotiated”. “Any attempt by the Trump administration to undercut the deal in the hope of ‘fixing’ it is likely to backfire … Moreover, by destabilising the JCPOA, the new administration could usher in what it...

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Congress and Ethics

by Christopher Brauchli – When Socrates and his two great disciples composed a system of rational ethics, they were hardly proposing practical legislation for mankind…They were merely writing an eloquent epitaph for their country. —George Santayana, The Life of Reason It all happened within hours after the 115th Congress convened in January 2017. There was considerable anticipation that the first thing members of the House would do was introduce legislation to rid themselves and the country of the Affordable Care Act. To everyone’s surprise, however, that was not the first item on the agenda. The first item of business was to draw the public’s attention to the existence of a non-partisan ethics board that many of the 20 million people who had gotten insurance under Obamacare (and millions of others) did not even know existed — the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). OCE is an independent board which is charged with...

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Trump: Cut Sanctions on Russia for Nuclear Arms Deal

Incoming US president says weapons should be reduced, weeks after joining Putin in call for nuclear expansion. Donald Trump, the US president-elect, has told a British newspaper that he will offer to end sanctions against Russia in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with the Kremlin. In an interview with The Times of London published late on Monday, Trump said he wanted nuclear weapons arsenals of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers – the United States and Russia – to be “reduced very substantially”. “They have sanctions on Russia – let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it,” Trump was quoted by the newspaper as saying. However, on December 22 Trump tweeted that the US must “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until the world...

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President Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence, Along with Sentences of 273 Others

by Joan McCarter – President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Army intelligence analyst who leaked American military and diplomatic activities in 2010. The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to commit suicide last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the male military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction. Now, under the terms of Mr. Obama’s commutation announced by the White House on Tuesday, Ms. Manning is set to be freed in five months, on May 17 of this year, rather than in 2045. In addition to Manning’s commutation, Obama gave another 273 individuals a shot at new lives today. Today, 273 individuals learned that the President has given them a second chance. With today’s...

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Updated: More than 40 Congressional Democrats are Boycotting Trump’s Inauguration

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – Trump picked a fight with the wrong Democrat. As of Monday evening, 38 House Democrats have announced they intend to boycott President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, following his public rant against civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). Five other Democrats said they were not attending for unspecified reasons, according to Fusion reporter Wilfred Chan. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected, and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” Lewis said in a NBC interview on Friday, explaining why he would not attend Trump’s inauguration. After Trump criticized Lewis as “all talk, no action” on Saturday, a handful of congressional members rushed to defend the congressman. Lewis, the remaining survivor of the Big Six leaders of the civil rights movement, helped to organize the March on Washington in 1963. He was later beaten by the police during the civil rights...

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Istanbul Reina Club Suspect ‘Confesses’: fficial

Governor of Istanbul says Abdulgadir Masharipov, who was captured on Monday, admitted to killing 39 on New Year’s Eve. Istanbul’s governor has said a New Year’s Eve nightclub attack that killed 39 people was carried out on behalf of ISIL and that the suspect, an Uzbekistan national, has confessed. Vasip Sahin told a new conference on Tuesday it was “clear that this was carried out in the name of Daesh,” using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, also known as ISIS. Sahin said that Abdulgadir Masharipov, who was arrested on Monday, was believed to have entered Turkey in January 2016, and that he had trained in Afghanistan. The governor said Masharipov’s fingerprints matched those of the attacker. Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters in Ankara that Masharipov was being questioned by police and expressed hope that the interrogation...

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Huge Scientific Study Refutes the Federal Government’s Stance on Marijuana

by Laurel Raymond – It just reinforces what our policy makers should already know.” In the federal drug classification scheme, marijuana is classed at the very top. It is considered to be a Schedule I substance — a category reserved for drugs with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. For years, however, scientists have done study after study showing that this classification is misguided. On Thursday, the National Academy of Sciences put one more nail in the coffin with one of the most thorough reviews of the research to date: a massive, 396-page report on 10,000 research studies on marijuana, assessing therapeutic benefits and risk factors. The review, conducted by a panel of experts led by Harvard public health researcher Marie McCormack, is broken out into 100 different conclusions — many of which are just assessments of the current state of the research. It is particularly significant, however, that the review states...

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Former CIA Agent for Moscow Supports Steele Dossier: “This is Exactly how the Russians Operate”

by Frank Vyan Walton – Speaking to CNN’s Michael Smerconish, former CIA officer John Sipher who spent some of his time in service in Moscow during the 90’s stated that the kinds of methods for compromising a target described by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele in his 35 page dossier on Donald Trump’s ties to the Kremlin are exactly the type employed by Russian intelligence. “Those of us who have lived and worked in Russia, and been under the thumb of Russian services — this isn’t just gossip, this information sounds very real to people who have been there. This is exactly how the Russians operate.” “Where that salacious stuff about Mr. Trump is true or not — I doubt it, there is no way knowing without knowing who those sources are — but the feel of this is real. This is how the Russians operate… They are the best in the world at...

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Netanyahu’s Media Scandal: Who Bribed Whom? (VIDEOS)

by Jonathan Cook – The smell of scandal has swirled around the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for years. But only now is the smell starting to turn to a stench, say analysts. Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, have long been known for cultivating close relations with Israel’s leading business families. Those ties, many Israelis assumed, explained why the famously parsimonious couple managed to indulge such expensive tastes. Past investigations have looked into first-class transatlantic flights and stays at top hotels, but foundered on a lack of evidence that the Netanyahus had traded the high life for favours. Until recently, most of the Israeli public had been amused, rather than outraged, by stories of astronomical bills at the prime minister’s residence for wine, ice-cream and hairstyling. But the latest revelations have the potential to be far more damaging. This week one Israeli commentator suggested Netanyahu’s conduct risked being compared to the...

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Trump Declares NATO ‘Obsolete,’ Wants European Union Disbanded in Frightening Interview

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Donald Trump is paving the way for Russian aggression against Europe and admitted it during an interview with European newspapers. Trump has had a cozy relationship with Putin ever since Russia helped him win the election in November. In fact, that was the consummation of a relationship that began months earlier when Trump started attacking NATO and made it clear that he intends to eliminate sanctions that were slapped against Russia after Putin seized the Crimea from Ukraine. Now Trump is practically inviting Russia to be more aggressive in Putin’s pursuit of tyrannical rule. “I said a long time ago that NATO had problems,” Trump told the Times of London on Sunday. “Number one it was obsolete because it was designed many, many years ago. Number two the countries weren’t paying what they’re supposed to be paying.” Trump then went on to praise Putin and...

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Israeli Spies Reveal Trump’s Pee Party Is Just The Tip Of A Fast-Melting Iceberg

by John Prager – Donald Trump may be decrying the documents dumped by Buzzfeed as “fake news,” but it seems to be “fake news” everyone can believe in. Ever since the memos compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele were released to the public, The Donald has not exactly had an easy time of things, with every press conference and attempt to tweet quickly devolving into a screaming mess in which Trump throws himself into a panic screaming of all-caps typing the words “FAKE NEWS.” But while Trump is taking the “nothing to see here” approach with the reports, at least four sources now back the information according to a report from BBC’s Paul Wood earlier this week: “The former MI6 agent is not the only source for the claim about Russian kompromat on the president-elect. Back in August, a retired spy told me he had been informed of its existence by “the head...

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Former Mayor of ”Nazi City USA” Pushes Legislation to Defund Sanctuary Cities

by Shane Ralston, Truthout | News Analysis – Donald Trump offered Congressman Lou Barletta the post of secretary of labor in his new administration. Surprisingly, Barletta declined. The reason is now clear: Barletta will champion the cause of slashing funding to sanctuary cities in his next term, a cause that is near and dear to Trump’s heart. From 2000 to 2011, Barletta was the divisive mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, who championed the “Illegal Immigration Relief Act” (IIRA), an ordinance that would have penalized landlords and business owners for transacting with undocumented immigrants, if it had not been struck down by federal courts as unconstitutional. Barletta rose to national prominence as a hardline “law-and-order” mayor, a so-called “small town defender,” Tea Party Republican and virulent critic of the Obama administration’s immigration policy. After two failed attempts at securing a congressional seat, he finally achieved success during his third campaign in...

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Bracing for Trump, Protests Commence in Nation’s Capital and Beyond

by Deirdre Fulton – Saturday saw a national day of action for immigrant rights, as well as a civil rights march and rally in Washington, D.C. With less than a week until President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, the resistance has officially begun. People around the country rallied on Saturday to tell the nation: Even in the face of the threats posed by the incoming Trump administration, immigrants and their families are here to stay. “The Trump team has already announced that some of their first acts of brutality will be to lash out against immigrants and Muslims,” organizers wrote in a call to action. “Their aim is to deport millions of immigrants, rip millions of families apart, and drive tens of millions of immigrants, refugees, and their families and friends into silence out of fear.” “We are committed to standing up for an America which values all people,” they continued. “Just one...

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