Economy & Business

J&J Pulls Ads From YouTube Over ‘Offensive’ Videos

Johnson & Johnson the latest company to drop ads over fears content may appear alongside ‘terrorism’ and hate videos. US healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnson has become the latest company to suspend all digital advertising on YouTube over concerns its ads may have appeared on channels that broadcast offensive videos. J&J said on Thursday it wanted to ensure that its product advertising did not appear on channels that promote “offensive content”, a day after AT&T, Verizon, and several other major advertisers suspended their digital ads after discovering their brands had been appearing alongside videos promoting violence and hatred. “We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” AT&T said in a statement. “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.” Google, YouTube’s parent company, has come under intense scrutiny for ads appearing alongside videos...

Read More...


Two Months In, Trump Breaking Every Vow to ‘Drain the Swamp’: Report

by Nadia Prupis – President ‘has shown himself to be everything that on the campaign trail he expressed to hate about Washington—a self-dealer more interested in helping his friends and big donors than creating a democracy’ Surprising no one, a new report out Wednesday finds that President Donald Trump has broken his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” at every turn, and has instead turned the government over to corporate interests and enriched his bottom line. The joint report from advocacy groups Public Citizen and Every Voice analyzes the two months since Trump took office and concludes that the new administration is mired in corruption and conflicts, while the president himself has hired the very figures he claimed he would fight—big-money donors, lobbyists, and Wall Street executives. In fact, the administration has failed to live up to even its own “painfully inadequate” ethics standards, the groups said. That includes refusing to...

Read More...


Coal Giant to Receive Award for Bankruptcy Deal that Screwed Over its Workers

by Natasha Geiling – The country’s second-largest coal supplier, fresh off bankruptcy, will receive the “Restructuring Deal of the Year” award. It’s been a wild year for Arch Coal, the country’s second-largest producer of coal. In January, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; less than a year later, they won approval for a restructuring deal that allowed them to cut millions in debt from their books and emerge relatively unscathed. On Thursday night, as part of the 2017 Distressed Investing Event, Arch Coal will receive an award for that deal, despite the fact that the restructuring benefited company executives while leaving workers and the environment worse off. “Arch Coal shed hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in debt by short-changing both their commitments to worker health care and pensions and their environmental cleanup obligations,” Mary Anne Hitt, director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, told ThinkProgress. “Economically their prospects...

Read More...


Memo to FBI: If Team Trump and Putin Colluded, any Money Trail Likely Involves Oil

by Joe Romm – Russia sold off one-fifth of its state-owned oil giant in December, but we still don’t know who bought it all. As the FBI investigates possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, one aspect merits closer examination: the $11 billion post-election sale of 19.5 percent of the Kremlin-controlled oil giant Rosneft. If there was an actual quid pro quo between Trump officials and the Russian government, it may well involve that sale for two reasons. First, prior to the election, “most industry watchers had written off the chances of a foreign investor being found for Rosneft,” as Fortune explained at the time. But electing someone who had vowed to improve relations with Russia appears to have changed the economic landscape. Second, as Reuters has detailed, Russian President Vladimir Putin managed to sell off this “oil jewel without saying who bought it.” In this post, I’ll attempt to connect...

Read More...


Trump’s America: Two Coal Plants Announce Closures in Ohio, Layoffs at Carrier Factories in Indiana

by Jen Hayden – Remember when Donald Trump appeared in Indiana to announce he’d saved 1,100 jobs at that Carrier and United Technologies were planning to send to Mexico? A refresher from early December: “But I will tell you that United Technologies and Carrier stepped it up and now they’re keeping — actually the number’s over 1,100 people, which is so great, which is so great …. I just noticed — I wrote down because I heard it — since about six years ago, 260 new federal regulations have passed, 53 of which affect this plant. Fifty-three new regulations. Massively expensive and probably none of them amount to anything in terms of safety or the things that you’d have regulations for.” His fans cheered and chanted, hailing their king of bankruptcy for saving all those jobs. Except, as the Washington Post later mentioned, those numbers were—the jobs and the regulations— false. This week significant...

Read More...


The Secret Service has Requested an Extra $60 Million for Trump Family Travel and Protection

by Jen Hayden – No money for Meals on Wheels, no money for health care, endless money for the lifestyles of the rich and infamous: The U.S. Secret Service requested $60 million in additional funding for the next year, offering the most precise estimate yet of the escalating costs for travel and protection resulting from the unusually complicated lifestyle of the Trump family, according to internal agency documents reviewed by The Washington Post. Nearly half of the additional money, $26.8 million, would pay to protect President Trump’s family and private home in New York’s Trump Tower, the documents show, while $33 million would be spent on travel costs incurred by “the president, vice president and other visiting heads of state.” Additional funding was already rejected once in the short time Trump has been in office: A person familiar with internal Secret Service budget discussions said the requests for additional funding, prepared in...

Read More...


Eccentric Millionaire Returns Manhattan Building to American Indians

by Amelia Kinney – Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois plans to return his small part of Manhattan to the Lenape Indians by transforming the building into prayer house. Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, 76, plans to transfer the deed of his $4m West Village House to the Lenape American Indian tribe, also known as the first Manhattanites. The house was purchased under the Goldwater Bourgeois family name in 2006 for $2.2m. An architectural historian and activist, Goldwater Bourgeois told the NY Post “I have a romance with the history of the city, and I have been generally appalled that the land that the city is on has been taken by whites.” He went further to say, “This building is the trophy from major theft. It disgusts me.” Goldwater Bourgeois is referring to the Lenape’s original inhabitation of Mannahatta, meaning “land of many hills”. Original correspondences show Dutch traders purchased the land from the Indians...

Read More...


How Slashing the NEA Would Damage the US Economy

by Paul Bonin-Rodriguez and Charlotte Channing, Truthout | Op-Ed – Despite the National Endowment for the Arts’ vital role in the US economy, in February, Trump announced that his proposed 2018 budget would eliminate the agency. While the NEA has been on the target list for the right wing for ages, with so much else at stake, it’s hard to imagine that the left wing will take this on as a priority in its resistance efforts. The final budget proposal is promised to be out within weeks, which leads us to ask, what would life be like without the NEA? Fifty years ago, Congress voted to authorize the National Endowment for the Arts based, in part, on a notion that a great US followed from an enlightened and unfettered citizenry. The authorizing legislation observed that: “Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens. It must therefore foster … access to the...

Read More...


An Orgy of Unnecessary Cruelty

by Robert Reich – The theme that unites all of Trump’s initiatives so far is their unnecessary cruelty. 1. His new budget comes down especially hard on the poor – imposing unprecedented cuts in low-income housing, job training, food assistance, legal services, help to distressed rural communities, nutrition for new mothers and their infants, funds to keep poor families warm, even “meals on wheels.” These cuts come at a time when more American families are in poverty than ever before, including 1 in 5 children. Why is Trump doing this? To pay for the biggest hike in military spending since the 1980s. Yet the U.S. already spends more on its military than the next 7 biggest military budgets put together. 2. His plan to repeal and “replace” the Affordable Care Act will cause 14 million Americans to lose their health insurance next year, and 24 million by 2026. Why is Trump doing...

Read More...


A Lawyer Sues President Trump Over His Financial Disclosure

by Casey Quinlan – A lawyer filed a case in federal court on March 14 which claims that Americans have not received accurate information about President Donald Trump’s debts. Attorney Jeffrey Lovitky, based in Washington, D.C., said Trump’s May 2016 financial disclosure mixes personal liabilities with business liabilities, Politico reported. Lovitky wrote in the complaint: The purpose of these disclosure requirements is to allow members of the public to make informed judgments as to whether candidates for federal office have financial conflicts of interests that may impair their ability to faithfully execute their duties as public servants. In an interview with Politico, Lovitky said, “If you just look at the statement on its face, all those liabilities are assumed to be personal liabilities, but I just do not think that’s the case. I have information that says otherwise.” Lovitky is not seeking damages. He asked the court to declare last year’s...

Read More...


East Chicago’s Pleas for Clean Drinking Water Go Unanswered as Trump Moves to Weaken EPA

by Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report – Environmental justice is on the chopping block at the Environmental Protection Agency, and that doesn’t bode well for communities like East Chicago, Indiana, where the agency recently discovered that drinking water is contaminated with lead. Nearly three weeks ago, a number of East Chicago churches and community groups petitioned the EPA to take emergency action and protect the majority-Black community from lead poisoning, which can cause a long list of health problems, especially in children. As of Tuesday, the local leaders and their environmentalist allies had yet to hear back from the agency. The EPA’s inaction in East Chicago comes as Trump’s administration considers massive budget cuts that could crush the agency’s environmental justice program, which is supposed to ensure the fair treatment of low-income communities, Native communities and people of color under environmental law. The agency’s environmental justice office is slated...

Read More...


Trump Budget: UN Sounds Alarm over Foreign Aid Cuts (VIDEOS)

Spokesman says reduction of US contribution to UN could ‘undermine the impact of longer-term reform efforts’. US President Donald Trump is seeking to reduce his country’s contribution to United Nations programmes, as part of cuts to funding of US diplomacy and foreign aid in his administration’s budget proposal. The spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres reacted fiercely to the plans on Thursday, saying “abrupt funding cuts can force the adoption of ad hoc measures that will undermine the impact of longer-term reform efforts”. In its budget the Trump administration stated its intention to “reduce or end funding for international organisations whose missions do not substantially advance US foreign policy interests”. This includes slashing funding for the State Department and USAID, its foreign aid agency, and shifting money towards the military with a $54bn increase in defence spending “The secretary-general fully subscribes to the necessity to effectively combat terrorism but believes that it...

Read More...


The Failures of the American Health Care Act

by Jeffrey A. Singer – Here are the problems with the House plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. From the time it was enacted, most Americans disliked the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Republicans, promising to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, rode the wave of public dissatisfaction to repeated election victories. The GOP took the House of Representatives in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and the White House in 2016, largely capitalizing on the skyrocketing premiums, rising deductibles, and disappearing choices that characterize Obamacare. Now, as Republicans control both Congress and the White House, they finally have the chance to deliver on their promise. And not a minute too soon. Because the mandates that Obamacare places on health insurance have sent our health insurance system into a death spiral. Premiums continue to soar as insurance companies are pulling out of the market, leaving consumers with fewer and...

Read More...


Why Trump won’t Quit. He can’t

by Otteray Scribe – There has been widespread speculation, complete with polls and betting pools, whether Trump will last six months or a year. There has been speculation whether he might resign, or be removed from office by Congress. I do not have any inside information, and even if I did, I would not reveal it. However, I am not an amateur armchair analyst.  I have been doing what I do for more than four decades, and in that time, I have met some interesting people.  The word “interesting” is used in the broadest sense of the word.  Suffice it to say that in some circles, they don’t care for me at all. During my almost half century of forensic work, I have encountered some of the most dangerous and cunning people you never want to meet. I have learned a lot from them. That leads up to what I am...

Read More...


Budget Will Drive Up Republican Voters’ Energy Bills

by Joe Romm – Two key programs that help the elderly and rural poor reduce their energy bills will be cut. President Trump’s new federal budget continues a remarkable pattern of being gratuitously cruel to his own voters. The just-released budget zeroes out the two major programs designed to help low-income and elderly Americans deal with energy costs: the Department of Energy (DOE)’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). “Families receiving weatherization services see their annual energy bills reduced by an average of about $437, depending on fuel prices,” according to DOE data. In 2010, the program saved low-income families a whopping $2.1 billion. Cutting it will save $121 million. The program, though, is targeted toward low-income Americans, “especially low-income persons who are particularly vulnerable such as the elderly, the disabled, and children.” There is a huge...

Read More...


Donald Trump… Leaker-in-Chief?

by Tim Koechlin – Donald Trump and his associates have spent much of the past year deflecting questions about Trump’s stubborn refusal to release his taxes. What is Trump hiding? Embarrassing business relationships in Russia or elsewhere? Debts that might indicate conflicts of interest? Or maybe this billionaire’s tax payments have been embarrassingly meager. Or maybe Trump’s fortune – like his inaugural crowd and his stubby hands – isn’t nearly as big as he’d like us to believe. So, when MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow announced on Tuesday that “we’ve got Donald Trump’s tax returns,” and that she would share them on Tuesday’s edition of The Rachel Maddow Show, the buzz among eager left-wingers was deafening. Finally, the truth about Trump would be revealed. After an excruciatingly long set up, Ms. Maddow (and her guest, the journalist David Cay Johnston) shared two pages of Donald Trump’s 2005 federal tax return. These two pages,...

Read More...


“Morally Obscene” Trump Budget Proposal Stands to Make America Cruel Again

by Deirdre Fulton – Environment, public education, worker protections, and cultural institutions all stand to lose under Trump’s “cruel” budget blueprint.   Meals on Wheels. Amtrak. Teacher training, after-school, and summer educational programs. The National Endowment for the Arts. The Appalachian Regional Commission. The National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All these initiatives and agencies—plus many more—face cuts or wholesale elimination under President Donald Trump’s proposed “skinny budget,” officially unveiled Thursday. Meanwhile, the blueprint calls for increases in military spending, border and immigration enforcement, and money for charter and private schools. The Washington Post has a comprehensive breakdown, with graphics, here. The document was variously denounced as “an all-out assault on our planet;” “dirty and dangerous;” “cruel;” and “unacceptable.” “President Trump’s budget is morally obscene and bad economic policy,” declared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “It will cause devastating pain to the very people Trump promised to help...

Read More...


Death Spiral, Debunked: Facts Undercut Major Argument for GOP Healthcare Plan

by Deirdre Fulton – Republicans’ major argument to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act appears to be, well, bunk. Republicans have spun a lot of stories in their desperate attempt to sell the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare—and among their favorites is the narrative that the law is “imploding,” in a “death spiral,” or otherwise doomed to fail. There are two problems with that argument. First of all, Obamacare is not, in fact, “collapsing.” And secondly, to the extent the ACA is experiencing problems, much of the blame can be placed directly at the feet of Republicans and the insurance companies to whom they are beholden. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis released this week on the GOP’s replacement plan, the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), further exposes the “death spiral” talking point as a myth: “According to the budget office,” the New York Times wrote Wednesday, “the...

Read More...


5 Things to Watch in President Trump’s Skinny Budget

by Harry Stein and Scott Nathan – President Donald Trump is preparing to release the first budget proposal of his administration. While this budget likely will only provide limited details on President Trump’s plans—thus why it is nicknamed the “skinny budget”—it will still give the American people a clear look at Trump’s policy agenda and the priorities of his new administration. The skinny budget will not address taxes, and it will only address discretionary spending, the programs that Congress funds in annual appropriation bills. Discretionary spending comprises about one-third of federal spending, and it does not include major programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. In fiscal year 2018, after a two-year hiatus as a result of the 2015 budget deal, discretionary programs will once again be threatened by harsh spending caps known as sequestration. In the past, lawmakers have passed temporary bipartisan budget agreements to provide equal increases for...

Read More...


A Timeline: Russia and Trump

by STEVEN HARPER – Investigative reporters have begun to flesh out the Trump/Russia timeline. To keep everything in one location, here’s an updated summary (so far). Trump’s efforts to develop business in Russia date to 1987. In 1996, he applied for his trademark in that country. Discussing ambitions for a Trump hotel in 2007, he declared, “We will be in Moscow at some point.” 2002: Russian-born Felix H. Sater and his company, Bayrock Group — a Trump Tower tenant — began working with Trump on a series of real estate development deals, one of which became the Trump SoHo. Another development partner in Trump SoHo was the Sapir Organization, founded by Tamir Sapir, a Russian immigrant born in the Republic of Georgia who left the Soviet Union in 1973. 2005: In a sworn deposition in 2008, Sater testified that Trump gave Bayrock Group an exclusive deal to develop a...

Read More...


Paul Ryan is an Epic Failure

by Ian Millhiser – Trumpcare was a big test for Ryan, and he failed. Let’s briefly take stock of Speaker Paul Ryan’s career. Elected to Congress in 1998, Ryan spent most of his first decade as a backbencher. His most ambitious proposal in those early years was a plan to privatize Social Security that even the Bush White House labeled as “irresponsible.” Then he became the highest-ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee and, later, a committee chair. In these roles, Ryan revealed his two great talents — convincing his fellow Republicans to vote for laissez-faireproposals that had no chance of becoming law, and convincing Beltway pundits and reporters that he was some kind of policy wonk. By the time Ryan’s reputation as the conservative movement’s Great Wonk convinced presidential candidate Mitt Romney to choose Ryan as his running mate, Ryan was the primary sponsor of just two bills that actually became law. One...

Read More...


On Trump’s 2005 Tax Return, From a Tax Accountant….

by David B – I’ve read that some people would like to believe that Rachel Maddow got played.  I’ve read tonight that some people are comparing it to Al Capone’s vault.  I respectfully disagree. What we have are the first two pages of his 2005 tax returns, and Rachel put a lot of time into covering this, with my hero, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigator, David Cay Johnston, who received these pages in the mail. First, it showed us that he did earn a ridiculous amount of money that year, and that he paid taxes.  His returns from 10 years earlier show no tax paid. Here he earned and paid a lot. It showed us that he had Interest income and dividend income and it would be good to know from where. This just scratches the surface. We need the schedules, particularly Schedule D and Schedule E, pages one and 2. Line 13 shows...

Read More...


A Year of Trump’s Tax Returns Just got Leaked

by Adam Peck – Surprise! He paid a rate far lower than the one he should have. During her primetime show on Tuesday night, Rachel Maddow shared details from one year of Donald Trump’s tax returns. The document, a copy of Trump’s 1040 form from 2005 that Maddow said was obtained and shared with the network by David Cay Johnston of DCReport.org, shows that the president paid $38 million in taxes on income of more than $150 million. But as the Daily Beast reported—they too got a copy of the same tax documents—$31 million of those taxes were paid through the federal “alternative minimum tax,” which Trump has sought to repeal. The Trumps paid just $5.3 million in regular federal income tax in 2005, a rate of less than five percent. In 2005, the highest tax rate for a married couple filing jointly was 35 percent, meaning the Trumps should have been...

Read More...


Trump Decides to Gut United Nations Funding by 50%, Embarrassing and Endangering America on the World Stage

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Donald Trump has decided to go through with his threat to defund the United Nations in retaliation for making a decision he didn’t like. America has been the foremost leader on the international stage ever since World War II. After the war, the United States led the way in creating a more united and cooperative world by founding the United Nations to serve as a peacekeeping and humanitarian organization. The United Nations headquarters in located in New York and America has veto power and a seat on the prestigious United Nations Security Council. But now Donald Trump is preparing to slash funding to the United Nations by 50 percent, a move that would be a major blow against international cooperation and our reputation around the globe. Not only will the United Nations be cut by $5 billion, Trump’s plan also makes a 37 percent cut...

Read More...


Cambodia Outraged as US Demands Repayment of ‘Blood-Stained’ War Debt

by Nika Knight – The US dropped more than 500,000 tons of bombs on Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Cambodians are responding with outrage to the U.S. government’s demand that the country repay a nearly 50-year-old loan to Cambodia’s brutal Lon Nol government, which came to power through a U.S.-backed coup and spent much of its foreign funds purchasing arms to kill its own citizens, according to Cambodia’s current prime minister Hun Sen. While the U.S. was backing the Lon Nol government, it was also strafing the Cambodian countryside with bombs—a carpet-bombing campaign that would eventually see over 500,000 tons of explosives dropped on the small Asian country, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and leaving a legacy of unexploded ordnances. “ dropped bombs on our heads and then they ask us to repay. When we do not repay, they tell the IMF not to lend us...

Read More...


White House in Deep Denial Over Dumpster Fire Healthcare Plan

by April Hamlin – The Congressional Budget Office released their analysis of the GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan today, and their findings were bad. Really bad. According to the CBO’s report, 14 million people are going to lose their healthcare by the end of the year and 24 million will be without coverage by 2026. But somehow, the White House is in complete denial about what a disastrous bill they are pushing. Health Secretary Tom Price said on Monday afternoon that the administration “strenuously” disagrees with the CBO’s report. Despite the numbers presented to him, he still insists that more people will be covered and costs will be lowered under the Republican plan. The Associated Press  ✔@AP White House says it disagrees “strenuously” with finding that 14M would lose health coverage under GOP plan. http://apne.ws/2mFu3Ql  5:27 PM – 13 Mar 2017 The job of the CBO is to analyze proposed legislation and provide Congress...

Read More...


New York AG: SoS Tillerson Used Email Alias for Climate Messages While CEO of ExxonMobil

by Neapolitan – Well, isn’t this special. Bloomberg is reporting that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson allegedly used an email alias account for many years to discuss climate change matters while he was CEO of ExxonMobil in what appears to be an effort to keep sensitive communications out of the eyes of the public, Exxon’s shareholders, and, possibly, investigators. New York says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an email alias to discuss climate change while he was chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp.: Wayne Tracker. Tillerson sent messages from the account to discuss the risks posed by climate change, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a court filing about his office’s fraud investigation of the company. Tillerson, whose middle name is Wayne, used the Wayne Tracker account on the Exxon system from at least 2008 through 2015, Schneiderman said. Schneiderman made the claim in a letter Monday to Justice Barry Ostrager...

Read More...


Jared Kushner’s Chinese Miracle

by Judd Legum – Kushner’s family firm scores a miraculous deal with a secretive Chinese company. President Donald Trump has made his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the administration’s primary point of contact with the Chinese government. Now a Chinese firm with mysterious ownership structure and suspected ties to the Chinese government has made an “unusually favorable” deal with Kushner’s family real estate company. The deal, an investment in a Manhattan office building, includes a $400 million cash payout to Kushner Companies. The exceptional transaction between the Chinese firm, Anbang Insurance Group, and Kushner’s family has the appearance of a serious conflict: an effort to buy favor and influence with the Trump administration. In addition to being his son-in-law, Jared Kushner is one of Donald Trump’s closest and most trusted advisers. On issues of foreign policy, Kushner is widely seen as more influential than the Secretary of State. Kushner’s shell game Like his father-in-law, Jared...

Read More...


If Scotland Leaves, England Will Lose the Brexit Game

by Alastair Sloan – Should Scotland and N Ireland leave the UK after Brexit, the term ‘Little England’ will really come into its own. The union that binds together the four countries within the United Kingdom has never been more at risk. What nobody in the English political and media class seems to have realised is how badly England will fare if Scotland, which is more than likely, and Northern Ireland, which is plausible though by no means certain, split off. It will be the end of England – the dominant power of the UK, when the term “Little England” will really come into its own. Almost exactly two and a half years ago, the Scottish electorate decided against leaving the UK. They were told by pro-union campaigners that if they did vote to leave Britain, they would lose their membership of the European Union. At the time this was probably...

Read More...


CBO: Trumpcare Would Wipe Out Coverage for 24 Million People

by Nadia Prupis – Highly-anticipated report on GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan finds 14 million people would lose coverage in the first two years alone. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Monday released its score of the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, projecting that 14 million people would lose coverage by 2018 if the Republican bill is implemented. That number would rise to 24 million by 2026. Additionally, the plan would lead to higher deductibles and other cost-sharing payments. In short, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Twitter, “The Republican healthcare plan: less healthcare for you, bigger salaries for healthcare CEOs. Republican priorities!” Bernie Sanders  ✔@SenSanders The Republican health care plan: less health care for you, bigger salaries for health care CEOs. Republican priorities! 4:01 PM – 13 Mar 2017 Opponents of the Republican plan, known as the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), were eagerly awaiting...

Read More...


Trump’s China Trademarks Violate the Constitution

by Dave Johnson – During the campaign Donald Trump pledged that “on day one” as president, he would label China a currency manipulator. Then he didn’t. Then China granted Trump’s businesses lucrative trademarks he has been seeking. Coincidence? “On Day One“ On the campaign trail, Trump repeated again and again that if elected president he would label China a currency manipulator “on day one.” For example, in an August, 2016 speech in Tampa, he outlined a seven-point plan that included this promise: I am going to instruct my Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator… Any country that devalues their currency in order to take unfair advantage of the United States will face tariffs to stop the cheating. China’s currency manipulation has often brought the “price” of their currency down, which means things made in China cost less in international markets than things made in the U.S. Of course, the U.S....

Read More...


Highest Canadian Court Confirms Trump Scammed Investors

by Conover Kennard – Donald Trump, the businessman who conservatives thought would be an ideal choice to become president of the most powerful country in the world, has scammed a lot of people along the way. As president-elect, Trump had to fork over $25 million to settle three lawsuits over his now-defunct Trump University and after he was sworn in, lawsuits are still coming in. The newest lawsuit alleges that the former reality show star and a real estate development firm misled investors, and that has now been upheld by Canada’s highest court. The Independent reports: Sarbjit Singh and Se Na Lee alleged they were sold units in Toronto’s, Trump International Hotel, under false pretenses. The pair claimed they were misled to believe their investments would see returns ranging from 7.7 per cent to 20.9 per cent. Instead, they said they lost a combined C$1.2m (£732,810). Instead of the promised returns, the...

Read More...


Another Sign Just Came in That Tar Sands Operations Are on Life Support

by Andrea Germanos – ‘Societal acceptance of the energy system as we have it is just disappearing,’ Shell chief executive said. Royal Dutch Shell announced last Thursday that it is selling off the majority of its tar sands assets, as its chief executive noted dwindling “societal acceptance of the energy system as we have it.” Of the $7.25 billion deal with energy company Canadian Natural, Shell said in a statement that it will “sell all of its in-situ and undeveloped oil sands interests in Canada and reduce its share in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP) from 60 percent to 10 percent.” As InsideClimate News noted, the sale is “one of the biggest in a series of steps by multinational companies to turn away from the tar sands, among the most expensive and carbon-intensive sources of oil.” For Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden, it marks “a significant step in...

Read More...


Unfairness in Class Action: A New Attack on Civil Rights

by Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza – President Donald Trump’s budget proposal may eliminate the single greatest funder of civil legal aid in the United States, the Legal Services Corporation—a long-standing goal of Vice President Mike Pence. At the same time, Congress is working to block Americans from seeking justice on their own with the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017. This bill was drafted to address an imaginary problem; if it passes, it will have very real, devastating consequences. For those who face systemic corporate abuses and failures of government, class action lawsuits are a critical tool for seeking justice. Through a class action, a few people or organizations can represent a larger group that has been harmed in a lawsuit against the perpetrator to seek a remedy, whether a change in practices or monetary damages. Actions that aim to force actors to change their behavior—for example, to follow the law...

Read More...


Trump and Pence were Warned About Michael Flynn’s Lobbying, but now Claim They Never Knew

by Mark Sumner – It’s not immigrants who need “extreme vetting,” it’s members of the Trump regime. Not only do they have numerous ties to Russian oligarchs, mob figures, and shady investment schemes (and that’s just Trump) apparently no one even bothers to check on what they did for a living. On Thursday, Donald Trump claimed he didn’t know that Michael Flynn had formerly worked as an agent of Turkey. President Donald Trump was not aware that his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had worked to further the interests of the government of Turkey before appointing him, the White House said Thursday. That Flynn had worked for multiple interests in Turkey was common knowledge, but common knowledge, like common sense, doesn’t matter with the chaos corps. And now Mike Pence is shocked—shocked—to find out what pretty much anyone who bothered to read an article about Flynn already knew. In an interview with...

Read More...


Meet the Republicans Who Oppose Trumpcare

by Zack Ford – For some it goes too far; for others, it doesn’t go far enough. House Republicans have finally unveiled their plan to undo Obamacare, but not all congressional Republicans are on board with the controversial new plan. For some, the plan is still too liberal. Members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus of 170 House conservatives, prepared an analysis critiquing the plan with “major concerns” that it’s too similar to Obamacare. For example, the RSC memo objects to the fact that the plan extends Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion for three years. This, it argues, “will contribute to the worsening of the federal and state budgets” and will leave “the federal government picking up the majority of the bill.” These members simply do not want the federal government spending money to help the lowest-income Americans afford health coverage. In fact, they chide supporters of the plan for allowing the Medicaid...

Read More...


Drug Industry CEOs are Profiting off Our Opioid Epidemic

by SARAH ANDERSON – A labor leader whose son was a victim of the opioid epidemic has inspired a campaign to crack down on these pain profiteers. Travis Bornstein never told his friends about his son Tyler’s drug problem. He was too embarrassed. Then, on September 28, 2014, Tyler’s body was found in a vacant lot in Akron, Ohio. The 23-year-old had become addicted to opioid pain killers after several sports-related injuries and surgeries. Unable to afford long-term treatment, he ultimately turned to a cheaper drug — the heroin that killed him. “Now I have no choice but to speak out,” the elder Bornstein, president of Teamsters Local 24 in Akron, told a crowd of thousands at the union’s convention in July 2016. As he proceeded to share the unvarnished tale of how a middle class, star athlete had wound up in that vacant lot, Bornstein lit a fire under the 1.4-million-member...

Read More...


This Program has Saved Taxpayers Hundreds of Billions of Dollars. The GOP Wants to Cut it

by Samantha Page – The Energy Star efficiency program costs less than .001 percent of the DoD budget. As the federal government braces for the administration’s so-called “skinny budget,” expected late next week, rumors of what, exactly, will be cut keep circulating. Among the programs reported to be on the Trump administration’s chopping block: the popular, cheap, effective Energy Star consumer labeling program from the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. The United States spends about $57 million a year on the Energy Star efficiency standards program. Under Energy Star, scientists create guidelines and test new consumer goods for efficiency — new washing machines, for instance. The programs most recently launched standard is for electric vehicle chargers, which gives some sense of how far-ranging and modern this program is. It’s also a huge money-saver. Since it was established in the 1990s, the Energy Star program has saved U.S. consumers some $360 billion, mostly...

Read More...


Trump Takes Credit for Exxon Jobs Investment that Began Four Years Ago (VIDEO)

by Bryce Covert – One of the plants is already built. On Tuesday, Exxon announced that it will spend $20 billion over the course of a decade at 11 proposed and existing refining and chemical manufacturing sites. In the process, the company anticipates adding more than 45,000 jobs. President Trump wasted no time in taking credit, even releasing a statement the same hour that copied many of Exxon’s own sentences and an entire paragraph word for word. “President Trump made a promise to bring back jobs to America,” the White House statement said. “The spirit of optimism sweeping the country is already boosting job growth, and it is only the beginning.” In a Facebook video, Trump went further to take credit for the announcement. “This is something that was done to a large extent because of our policies and the policies of this new administration,” he said. “I said we’re bringing back jobs,...

Read More...


Dig Deep: From Russia with Love, Errrrr…. Money (VIDEOS)

by GAIL ABLOW – This week’s installment in our series in which we regularly point you to some of the best investigative reporting you might otherwise miss. What is President Trump’s connection to Russia? Teams of investigative reporters are out in force attempting to reveal the answer. As you know, newly confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who should have been heading up an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election — had to recuse himself after The Washington Post’s revelation that, during sworn testimony, he failed to mention his meetings with the Russian ambassador during the presidential campaign. A number of other Russian connections to various Trump affiliates have surfaced in the past few weeks, but we are still in the dark about what it all means. An independent investigation, or the release of the president’s tax returns would perhaps provide answers, but until then we have journalists following dimly...

Read More...


Climate Scientist: Trump Budget is ‘an All-Out Assault on Earth’

by Joe Romm – Defunding NOAA’s satellites will also hurt weather forecasts, jeopardizing public safety, experts warn. Donald Trump’s “see no evil” approach to climate change became dangerously real this week. A four-page White House budget memo secured by The Washington Post reveals the Trump administration wants a 17 percent cut in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s overall budget — with the deepest cuts coming from earth observation. NOAA studies the atmosphere and oceans — often using satellites — to better understand climate and weather. Under the draft Trump plan, NOAA’s satellite program would be cut by more than a half billion dollars. These cuts would be “devastating” both to NOAA and the United States, extreme-weather expert Dr. Kevin Trenberth told ThinkProgress. “All of the major fronts in advancing weather forecasting and El Nino forecasts come from climate research involving interactions between the atmosphere and the ocean, and land surface and moisture flows. Satellite data are a vital...

Read More...


Jake Tapper Blasts Trump’s ‘Do A Lot More With Less’ Line: Does A Weekly Visit To Palm Beach Qualify? (VIDEO)

by Shannon Barber – Jake Tapper has just about had it with Donald Trump. The feisty host of CNN’s The Lead infamously took Trump’s top liar spin doctor, White House Counsel Kellyanne Conway, through a wood chipper for lying to him on air, and even banned her from his show briefly. He also rails Trump daily. Friday’s subject? How much Trump is costing taxpayers with his weekly trips to his swanky Florida resort, Mar-A-Lago. Tapper first played the line in one of Trump’s speech where he insisted that he and his staff would “do a lot more with less” for the American people. Tapper says after the clip: “Do a lot more with less. Presidents are certainly entitled to take a day off, but any deficit hawk would ask: is a weekly visit to Palm Beach doing a lot more with less? It takes Marine One, Air Force One, and motorcades to...

Read More...


Building “Feminism for the 99 Percent,” Women’s Strike Will Take Many Forms

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘March 8th will be the beginning of a new international feminist movement.’ Whether by walking off the job or boycotting “unseen” labor, women and allies around the world next week will stand up and speak out to say: Women’s rights are human rights. Coinciding with International Women’s Day, the March 8 day of action is being promoted in solidarity by those who organized January’s Women’s March as well as a grassroots movement known as the International Women’s Strike (IWS). While both groups acknowledge that the election of President Donald Trump makes their call more urgent, their overlapping visions look beyond one administration—and reach further back into the past. “March 8th will be the beginning of a new international feminist movement that organizes resistance not just against Trump and his misogynist policies, but also against the conditions that produced Trump, namely the decades long economic inequality, racial, and...

Read More...


School Vouchers Are a ‘False Road,’ and There’s Data to Prove It

by Jeff Bryant – “We’ve not done enough to help kids at the lower end of the socio-economic rungs,” says labor economist and Stanford University professor Martin Carnoy. It’s not an accident these families, particularly in the African American community, are demanding vouchers, charters, and other forms of choice. But it’s a false road, and one that’s more apt to result in proponents of choice, when faced with the negative consequences of their ideas, turning back on these lower-served communities and saying to them, ‘Well, we gave you a choice. It’s your own fault if you chose the wrong one.’ With President Donald Trump’s appointment of billionaire “school choice” champion Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education, there’s strong speculation in the media that some sort of school voucher plan that allows parents to withdraw their children from public schools and send them to private schools at taxpayer expense will be...

Read More...


China Smashes Solar Energy Records, as Coal Use and CO2 Emissions Fall Once Again

by Joe Romm – With millions of jobs up for grabs, China seizes clean tech leadership from U.S. We are witnessing a historic passing of the baton of global leadership on technology and climate from the United States to China. The new U.S. administration has said it will abandon climate action, gut clean energy funding, and embrace coal and oil — the dirty energy sources of the past that experts say can’t create a large number of sustainable new jobs. At the same time, China is slashing coal use and betting heavily on clean energy, which is clearly going to be the biggest new source of permanent high-wage jobs in the coming years. Indeed, Beijing plans to invest a stunning $360 billion by 2020 in renewable generation alone, and China’s energy agency says the resulting “employment will be more than 13 million people.” Renewable energy jobs in select countries (excluding large hydropower). CREDIT: IRENA In...

Read More...


Threatening Clean Water for Millions, Trump Signs Off on Polluter Giveaway

by Lauren McCauley – Environmental organizations say “Trump’s dirty water order is dangerous and illegal, based on corporate greed and unlawful environmental pollution.” Throwing the weight of his office behind the nation’s biggest polluters, President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order directing his administration to dismantle the Obama-era Clean Water Rule. Surrounded by other foes of environmental regulation, including the newly confirmed EPA head Scott Pruitt, the president declared the 2015 law, also known as Waters of the United States, “a horrible, horrible rule. Has sort of a nice name, but everything else is bad.” Passed under former President Barack Obama, the Clean Water Rule extends Clean Water Act protections to streams and wetlands. As The Hill observed Tuesday, Trump’s move is seen as “an opening shot by Trump against the EPA, which was a frequent target of criticism from Republicans for alleged overreach under Obama’s tenure.” Though implementation...

Read More...


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

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

Read More...


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

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

Read More...


Right-Wingers Want Us to Accept Inequality and Move On

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

Read More...


New Deportation Rules Could Cost the Economy Trillions

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

Read More...


The For-Profit Presidency, Month One

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

Read More...


Iowa Bill Would Force Universities to Hire Right-Wing Professors

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

Read More...


Defence Secretary Jim Mattis: Not in Iraq to Seize Oil

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

Read More...


This Isn’t Just Trump. This Is Who the Republicans Are (VIDEO)

by Dave Johnson – So far President Donald Trump has signed very few bills. One lets coal companies dump waste into streams. Another lets oil companies bribe foreign dictators in secret. Now he is moving to block a Labor Department “fiduciary rule” that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients when advising on retirement accounts. Here’s the thing: this isn’t just Trump doing this. The Republican-controlled House and Senate passed those two bills, and the Republicans have been fighting that fiduciary rule tooth and nail. It’s not just Trump, Republicans as a party are using Trump to engage in a general assault on protections from corruption, pollution, corporate fraud and financial scams. This is who they are. “We Just Need A President To Sign This Stuff” This is not just Trump. What we are seeing happening to our government is the end result of a decades-long...

Read More...


Major Outdoor Retailers Boycott Utah over Threats to Sell off Public Lands

by Jenny Rowland and Nicole Gentile – “It is important to our membership, and to our bottom line.” After countless attempts by Utah politicians to sell off or abolish national parks, forests, and national monuments, the world’s largest outdoor gear show has decided to take its business out of the state. “Outdoor Industry Association will continue to support the efforts of Outdoor Retailer to seek a new home for the trade show,” Amy Roberts, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association, said in a statement. “It is important to our membership, and to our bottom line that we partner with states and elected officials who share our views on the truly unique American value of public lands for the people and conserving our outdoor heritage for the next generation.” After 20 years of hosting the bi-annual outdoor retailer show in Salt Lake City, organizers of the show finalized their decision to move...

Read More...


With Mulvaney in Place, Budget Office Preps ‘Hit List’ on Public Programs

by Nadia Prupis – National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Americorps are among targets meant to showcase ‘waste’ of taxpayer funds. With Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) confirmed to lead the White House budget office, the Trump administration is getting ready to follow through on plans to slash major domestic programs, the New York Times reported Friday. Work on President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal has been delayed as Republicans worked to get Mulvaney—known for his unyielding stances on safety net programs—approved as head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Now, his office has targeted nine popular and critical programs to axe, according to an early internal OMB memo obtained by the Times. The so-called “hit list” includes, in part, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the...

Read More...


Saudis Plan $2 Trillion IPO to End Their ‘Dangerous’ Addiction to Oil

by Joe Romm – Saudi Aramco will go public to monetize its oil reserves before demand peaks and price collapses for good. What does a country do when in its entire economy is built around a natural resource that the world is starting to shift away from? In the case of Saudi Arabia, they plan their own shift off oil — financed by the world’s largest initial public offering (IPO) of stock, some 5 percent of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company. Last year, deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the plan to take Aramco, which the Saudis value at some $2 trillion, public. Last month, the Financial Times reported those plans are on track for an IPO next year, noting that Saudi advisers say a successful IPO “is essential to the deputy crown prince’s radical efforts to wean the kingdom off oil through his Vision 2030 programme.” Credit: Financial Times The...

Read More...


$300 Million Dollar Potential Conflict Of Interest Between Trump And Deutsche Bank Emerges

by Whitney Webb – The massive German bank faces huge potential fines from the US government following federal probes into conflicts of interest between them and President Trump. According to Trump biographers Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher – authors of the recent publication “Trump Revealed” – Trump has long relied on a unique bargaining tool as leverage with banks: his personal guarantee. Using his name as leverage, he has repeatedly negotiated better terms worth hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to his Trump Organization, a Trump-owned private real estate development company owning and operating several properties, hotels and casino resorts among other businesses Bloomberg reported. This has been especially true of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank as well as one of the world’s most insolvent banks – largely believed to be on the brink of collapse. As a result of this unique agreement with one of its highest profile clients,...

Read More...


For the Insurance Lobby, Old Habits Are Hard to Break

by Maura Calsyn, Kellan Baker, and Topher Spiro – Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, the health insurance industry was like the Wild West, where anything goes. Health insurance companies could discriminate against the old and the ill, keep the sick quarantined in separate pools, and deny coverage for some of the most essential benefits. If insurers did not deny coverage to the old and sick altogether, they restricted their benefits or charged them exorbitant premiums. During the initial rollout of the ACA, however, the insurance industry partnered with both consumer groups and the Obama administration. Their efforts helped increase enrollment and smoothed a difficult first open enrollment period. Over the next few years, insurers continued to engage with consumer groups and the administration to address issues that arose as implementation continued. But with the future of the ACA uncertain, it turns out that old habits are...

Read More...


Republicans Finally Unmask Their Healthcare Agenda – And it Isn’t Patient-Centered

by Donna Smith – If you have been inclined to trust in any way that the Republicans in Congress or the Trump-Pence-Ryan regime intend to make things better for you and your family in terms of healthcare policy, think again and stop wondering.  The plan is simple.  They will protect and enhance the insurance companies and other profit centers in healthcare.  No matter how many ads they purchase or how much message tweaking they do, patients are not at the center of the Republican plans. From an article in The Hill this morning, “The Trump administration on Wednesday proposed a regulation aimed at ‘stabilizing’ the ObamaCare marketplace by making changes favorable to insurers…” Just a bit lower in the article, we see the glaring, shocking reality of what the Republicans think of those in need of healthcare.  “The regulation requires people enrolling through extra sign-up periods outside of the normal time...

Read More...


New York Attorney General Reviewing Request to Bring Action to Dissolve Trump Organization

by Kira Lerner – An alternate legal route, when impeachment isn’t possible. Non-profit advocacy group Free Speech for People has asked New York’s attorney general to investigate whether to file a lawsuit to revoke the charter of The Trump Organization for violating state business laws. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the group and four attorneys said that the attorney general’s office has the power to revoke the corporate charter from Trump’s organization, which has violated laws that prohibit the president from receiving payments from foreign governments. Schneiderman’s press secretary Amy Spitalnick told ThinkProgress that the attorney general’s office will review the letter. In an FAQ document, Free Speech for People and attorneys Jonathan S. Abady, Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Ben T. Clements, and Fordham University School of Law Professor Jed Shugerman explain how Schneiderman could bring about a lawsuit. “Under Section 1101 of New York’s Business Corporation Law,...

Read More...


Puzder Out: Fast Food CEO Drops Nomination to Head Labor Dept. (VIDEO)

by Andrea Germanos – ‘This is welcome news for working people.’ Fast-food CEO Andy Puzder, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Labor Department, withdrew his nomination Wednesday afternoon. “While I won’t be serving in the administration, I fully support the President and his highly qualified team,” Puzder said in a statement. An unnamed source close to Puzder said to CBS News ahead of his formal statement that it was unlikely he would sit for his Senate confirmation hearing scheduled for Thursday because “I think he’s very tired of the abuse.” RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, welcomed the news on Twitter, writing, “Puzder felt abused? Try working for him!” RoseAnn DeMoro  ✔@RoseAnnDeMoro Andrew Puzder to withdraw his nomination: http://huff.to/2l987uj  U ‘n I did it! Puzder felt abused? Try working for him! #WednesdayWisdom 2:53 PM – 15 Feb 2017 His nomination drew fierce opposition, as fast food workers have said...

Read More...


Apple CEO Wants Schools to Help Fix the World’s Fake News Problem

by Lauren C. Williams – In Telegraph interview, Tim Cook said battling fake news needs to be “ingrained in the schools” because “it’s killing people’s minds.” For Apple CEO Tim Cook, fake news isn’t just a social media phenomenon, it’s a societal problem that needs to be addressed in every corner of our culture, starting with the education system. “It has to be ingrained in the schools, it has to be ingrained in the public,” Cook told the UK’s Telegraph in an exclusive interview. “There has to be a massive campaign.” The rise of fake news is a “short-term thing” that people don’t want, Cook said, emphasizing that a problem which is “killing people’s minds” can only be solved by educating children who will then push their parents to act. “It’s almost as if a new course is required for the modern kid, for the digital kid,” he said. “In some ways...

Read More...


Trump’s Ineptitude Causes Huge Drop In Investment, Future Of Our Nation Is In Peril

by Stephen D Foster Jr – America’s creditors are now thinking twice about investing in our nation because Donald Trump’s policies have turned us into a bigger credit risk. On Election night, as the returns came in favoring Trump for president the stock market took a hit and the dollar dipped in value. It soon bounced back but markets around the world and in the United States are nervous about what will happen as long as Trump continues to push an economic policy that significantly lowers taxes on the rich, slashes regulations, boosts spending like never before, and antagonizes American and foreign businesses. Trump’s escalation of confrontations with Iran and China, along with European fear of an invasion by Russia have also left the future of the world economy in doubt. Trump has been erratic, paranoid, and quick to whine on Twitter and has shown a willingness to attack businesses that...

Read More...


Despite Lying to the Senate, Trump’s Treasury Pick is Confirmed

by Bryce Covert – Mnuchin oversaw a bank that has been accused of breaking a number of laws. Steve Mnuchin, former Goldman Sachs partner and CEO of mortgage lender OneWest, was confirmed to be the next Treasury Secretary on Monday night. The confirmation came despite the fact that Mnuchin appears to have lied to the Senate about practices at OneWest, and despite evidence that the bank broke foreclosure laws and anti-discrimination laws under his leadership. The Senate vote was nearly along party lines, with all Republicans voting in favor plus Democrat Joe Manchin (WV), and all the rest of the Democrats plus two independents voting against. After his Senate hearing, Mnuchin was asked directly about whether OneWest robo-signed foreclosure documents, or had officials rapidly sign off on them without adequately reviewing or verifying them as required by law, thus potentially speeding up the foreclosure process. In his written response, he said, “OneWest...

Read More...


No, Trump Doesn’t Have a Plan to Reduce Cost of his $21 Billion-Plus Border Wall

by Aaron Rupar – U.S. taxpayers are on the hook for Trump’s increasingly expensive vanity project. The projected cost for President Donald Trump’s border wall continues to rise, and Trump has no good plan to contain it. On Thursday, Reuters reported that the border wall will be much more expensive than the $10 billion figure Trump repeatedly cited during his campaign or the $12–$15 billion cited by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) last month. “Trump’s ‘wall’ along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6 billion, and take more than three years to construct,” Reuters reported, citing a U.S. Department of Homeland Security document the outlet obtained. And it could end up costing even more than that. “Bernstein Research, an investment research group that tracks material costs, has said that uncertainties around the project could...

Read More...


Intel’s Job Announcement at the White House was Just a PR Stunt

by Bryce Covert – The plant that Intel says it will now complete was first announced alongside President Obama. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich traveled to the White House on Wednesday to announce his company will spend $7 billion on a semi-conductor chip plant in Chandler, AZ — which will mean hiring 3,000 new people once it’s completed. Later that day, President Trump took to Twitter to take credit for the news. “Thank you Brian Krzanich,” he wrote. “A great investment ($7 BILLION) in American INNOVATION and JOBS!” Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump Thank you Brian Krzanich, CEO of @Intel. A great investment ($7 BILLION) in American INNOVATION and JOBS! #AmericaFirst 2:22 PM – 8 Feb 2017 The White House also sent out an email in which it said “we have already begun bringing OUR jobs back to OUR country,” pointing to the Intel announcement. But as with other recent jobs announcements, there’s not much...

Read More...


Deutsche Bank Remains Trump’s Biggest Conflict of Interest Despite Settlements

by Jesse Eisinger – Deutsche Bank is Trump’s largest lender. While the troubled bank has settled several of the charges against it, it’s still undergoing scrutiny by the Justice Department and other federal regulators, and is being overseen by six independent monitors, making conflicts of interest inescapable. If you measure President Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest by the amount of money at stake, or the variety of dicey interactions with government regulators, one dwarfs any other: his relationship with Deutsche Bank. In recent weeks, Deutsche Bank has scrambled to reach agreements with American regulators over a host of alleged misdeeds. But because the president has not sold his company, the bank remains a central arena for potential conflicts between his family’s business interests and the actions of officials in his administration. “Deutsche poses the biggest conflict that we know about in terms of dollar amounts and the scale of legal exposures,”...

Read More...


NJ Congressman Invokes 1924 Tax Law Giving Congress Power to Examine Trump’s Returns

by Jen Hayden – Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and he wants to use a 1924 tax law that allows Congress to examine tax returns for the purpose of determining whether conflicts of interest exist, even if those tax returns belong to the president. From NorthJersey.com: After privately examining returns — Pascrell is seeking 10 years’ worth — the committee could decide to share them with the full House, which would in effect make them public. The 1924 law gives congressional committees that set tax policy the power to examine tax returns. It was used in 1974 when Congress looked at President Richard Nixon’s returns, and in 2014 when the Ways and Means Committee released confidential tax information as part of its investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of applications for nonprofit status If Sen. Mitch McConnell can invoke the rarely used “Rule 19”, Rep. Pascrell and Congress...

Read More...


A History of Ivanka Trump Using her Dad’s Presidency for Profit

by Jessica Goldstein – How her brand got a boost from the RNC to the White House. Things are looking dark at the Trump White House, and not just because his aides reportedly can’t figure out how to turn on the lights in the cabinet room. Amid growing concerns among ethics experts that President Trump is not doing nearly enough to avoid conflicts of interests with his businesses, the one member of the Trump family who is arguably the most popular with the American people— his older daughter, Ivanka — is seeing her brand face boycotts and backlash since her father’s ascent to the presidency. Though Ivanka’s brand saw sales rise during 2016, its performance has apparently suffered enough in the wake of the election for major department stores, including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, to drop its merchandise entirely. Likely contributing to these falling sales is the Grab Your Wallet campaign, which encourages shoppers...

Read More...


Michael Flynn Lied About Russian Sanctions, Sent ‘Inappropriate and Potentially Illegal Signal’

by Mark Sumner – A month before Trump was inaugurated, National Security Adviser-to-be Michael Flynn held multiple conversations with Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. Asked whether those conversations included US sanctions imposed against Russia, Flynn gave a definitive answer. Flynn on Wednesday denied that he had discussed sanctions with Kislyak. Asked in an interview whether he had ever done so, he twice said, “No.” Flynn wasn’t the only one. Other officials in the Trump regime, including Mike Pence, also denied that there had been any discussion of the sanctions. The problem with that answer—it’s not true. National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said. The discussion of lifting sanctions took place during the transition, but it wasn’t Flynn’s only...

Read More...


Melania Trump Reveals Plan to Leverage Presidency to Ink ‘Multi-Million Dollar’ Endorsement Deals

by Judd Legum – The admission came in a defamation lawsuit the First Lady filed against the Daily Mail. In a lawsuit filed Monday, First Lady Melania Trump revealed her intention to leverage the presidency to ink new “licensing, branding, and endorsement” deals worth many millions of dollars. In the filing, Melania Trump’s lawyer described the position of First Lady as a “once-in-a-lifetime” money making opportunity. She told the court she intended to pursue deals in “apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care, and fragrance.” These kind of endorsement deals would be especially lucrative while Melania Trump is First Lady and thus “one of the most photographed women in the world.” Melania Trump v. Mail Media Inc, Supreme Court of The State of New York. Filed 2/6/17 The First Lady’s lawsuit is against the Daily Mail, which published a story repeating allegations in a Slovenian magazine that Melania Trump once worked...

Read More...


Keeping out Mexican Immigrants won’t Help U.S. Workers

by Bryce Covert – The U.S. once tried to shut out immigrants to increase jobs and wages, but it failed at both goals. President Trump assumed the presidency promising to be “the greatest jobs producer God ever created.” And one way he said he would reach that goal as he campaigned for the White House would be to dramatically reduce immigration. “I will change immigration rules to give unemployed Americans an opportunity to fill good, really good paying jobs,” he said in June. “We don’t have good paying jobs anymore. These will be good paying jobs.” The U.S. tried this approach before. A program that made it easier for agricultural workers from Mexico to work in the United States was ended in the 1960s as an explicit move to increase jobs and pay for U.S.-born workers. But a new paper finds that it didn’t do what leaders at the time wanted: wages...

Read More...


The Economist Editors Take Aim at Trump and Issue Dire Warnings for America and the World

by VTGenie – There is no mincing words: this is a radical cover for a magazine that is not exactly known for its radicalism. The main editorial gets right to the point (my emphasis throughout): WASHINGTON is in the grip of a revolution. The bleak cadence of last month’s inauguration was still in the air when Donald Trump lobbed the first Molotov cocktail of policies and executive orders against the capital’s brilliant-white porticos. He has not stopped. Quitting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, demanding a renegotiation of NAFTA and a wall with Mexico, overhauling immigration, warming to Brexit-bound Britain and Russia, cooling to the European Union, defending torture, attacking the press: onward he and his people charged, leaving the wreckage of received opinion smouldering in their wake.  They also astutely describe the transition of Trump the candidate to Trump the President, particularly his use of outrage to both inflame and inspire his supporters. His...

Read More...


Eric Schneiderman – A Champion Against Trump

by BadBoyScientist – If you want to feel optimistic, I suggest you read the full article in politico — it isn’t very long.    Some highlights follow. Eric Schneiderman is New York’s Attorney General and lead the suit against Trump University and forces Trump to settle that case for $25 million — despite Trump’s pledges not to settle it.  He also launched an investigation into the Trump Foundation — and when Trump won the election and attempted to dissolve the Foundation, Schneiderman ordered him not to. Schneiderman has experience dealing with Trump’s smear tactics: Schneiderman had seen dirty pool in his years as the state’s chief law enforcement officer, but his fight with the Trump Organization was, he says, “on the outer edge of normal.” Trump himself retaliated by filing a complaint against the AG with the New York State board of ethics. He alleged that Schneiderman and his aides several times approached [Trump...

Read More...