Politics

Trump Threatens to Exterminate 25 Million People on the Floor of UN (VIDEO)

by D. Parvaz – Far from stressing diplomacy, Trump aims to cut peacekeeping missions around the world. In his first appearance before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), President Donald Trump used the podium intended to spread messages of peace and diplomacy to threaten to “destroy North Korea” and quibble about how much the United States pays for the United Nations.  “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said. “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” Trump then went on to threaten Iran and Venezuela.  The speech was an astonishing one for a sitting U.S. president to make before an institution meant to keep international peace — and follows threats the Trump administration has made about cutting funds to the United Nations. Compared to the rest of the U.N....

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FBI Wiretap of Manafort is Big News, but not Because it Vindicates Trump’s Claim

by Aaron Rupar – Trump’s accusation remains as groundless as ever. On Monday night, CNN broke news that federal agents wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort during stretches of time both before and after the 2016 election, including early this year — “a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.” Not only does CNN’s report suggest there could be records of communications Manafort had with Trump, but it indicates investigators had good reason to believe Trump’s former campaign chairman was serving as an “agent of a foreign power.” Manafort reportedly made millions working for an oligarch closely tied to Putin, and presided over the Trump campaign during a time when it first came under FBI scrutiny for its Russia ties. CNN reports that “he FBI interest in Manafort” dates back to when he was working on behalf of pro-Putin interests in Ukraine in 2014. For WikiLeaks founder Julian...

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Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know about the Trump-Republican Tax Plan

by Robert Reich – Have you noticed that there’s no Trump tax plan and no Republican tax plan? All they’ve come up with so far is a bunch of platitudes about how nice it would be to cut taxes, simplify the tax code, and spur economic growth. Who doesn’t support these nice goals? The reason there’s no tax plan is congressional Republicans are hopelessly divided on it. Right-wing Republicans (the “Freedom Caucus” along with what’s left of the Tea Party) are most interested in reducing the size of the government and shrinking the federal deficit and debt. Corporate and Wall Street Republicans – along with Donald Trump – are most interested in cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy. They have the backing the GOP’s big business donors who stand to make a bundle off tax cuts. Here’s the problem. You can’t have a giant tax cut for corporations and the wealthy,...

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The Trump Admin Auctioned Off an Imperiled Bird Habitat to Oil Companies for a Whopping $14,837

by Jen Hayden – The Trump administration has auctioned off acres of habitat for the sage-grouse, which narrowly missed making the endangered species list after an extensive plan to preserve the bird’s habitat took effect during the Obama administration. Which, naturally means Trump is dead set marching back the progress. From Westwise: Sage-grouse, a chicken-sized bird once widespread in the West, have seen their populations drop dramatically in recent years, thanks in part to oil and gas development. In an effort to keep the sage-grouse off the endangered species list — a move that would limit all forms of development throughout the region — ranchers, conservationists, Western governors and the Obama administration spent years working on collaborative plans to help the species rebound. Widely hailed as a success, the plans resulted in former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announcing that the sage-grouse would avoid the endangered species list. Unfortunately, this success story is under assault. Citing...

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Last-ditch Republican Health Care Effort Could Reduce Federal Funding by Nearly $300 Billion

by E.A. Crunden – Graham-Cassidy could be even more damaging than repealing Obamacare without a replacement, a new study says. A bill proposed by Republican Senators Bill Cassidy (LA) and Lindsey Graham (SC) would dramatically reduce federal funding for health care over the course of the next decade, according to a new report. Released Wednesday, the Graham-Cassidy bill is seemingly the last viable option for Republicans hoping to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, this year. The bill faces a steep — and likely doomed — battle in Congress: it has yet to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) or be cleared by the Senate parliamentarian, and several lawmakers have indicated they will push to hold hearings before they vote. But should the bill survive, experts are sounding the alarm about its likely impact — and the picture is a grim one. Under the bill, federal health care funds would decrease by $299...

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The GOP’s on the Verge of Passing a Bill That Will Phase Out Medicaid in its Entirety

by Ian Millhiser – Time to panic. Senate Republicans are on the cusp of passing a bill that will eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars worth of health funding, destabilize insurance markets, and eventually phase out Medicaid in its entirety. Less than two months after three Republican senators stopped an earlier effort to strip away much of America’s health care safety net, millions of Americans’ health care is now in very serious peril. The new Trumpcare legislation — often referred to as “Graham-Cassidy” after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), its leading proponents — contains several provisions undercutting the Affordable Care Act. It eliminates subsidies helping many millions of Americans purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges and Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, replacing this funding with a less generous block grant to states. Then, this block grant abruptly disappears in 2027, leaving many millions of Americans with nothing. Meanwhile, the bill does not simply permit...

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As World Moves Forward with Paris Accord, U.S. Observes From Sidelines

by Julia Conley – Some officials left a climate summit in Montreal this weekend with the impression that Trump could re-enter the Paris agreement—but critics have doubts. Amid reports that the U.S. is reviewing the terms of the Paris climate agreement and examining a potential re-entry, climate advocates expressed doubts this weekend about changes in President Donald Trump’s climate policy and about the White House’s insistence that it will renegotiate the hard-won climate accord in any meaningful way. Emily J Gertz @ejgertz Contrary to Trump bluster, US can’t unilaterally renegotiate the terms of the Paris accord. It can opt for even weaker CO2 targets, though. https://twitter.com/andymccanse/status/909165008906485761 … 5:25 PM – Sep 16, 2017 Some news outlets reported Saturday that a summit in Montreal, attended by representatives from 30 countries that signed the accord—with a U.S. delegation observing from the sidelines—left officials with the impression that Trump could reconsider his decision to withdraw from the agreement. MIguel...

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Will Judge Overturn Arpaio Pardon?

by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis – When Donald Trump plunged a dagger through the hearts of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s victims and all justice-loving people by pardoning the racist serial lawbreaker, many threw up their hands in resignation. The president’s constitutional pardon power is absolute, they thought. Not so, argue lawyers and legal scholars in two proposed amicus briefs filed in US District Court in Arizona. They contend the Arpaio pardon is unconstitutional. Judge Susan Bolton convicted Arpaio of criminal contempt on July 31, 2017, for demonstrating “flagrant disregard” of a 2011 court order that he cease racial profiling. For 18 months following the 2011 order, Arpaio had continued his racist practice of detaining Latinos without reasonable suspicion in violation of the Fourth Amendment. While Arpaio awaited sentencing for his criminal contempt conviction, Trump granted him a pardon on August 25, 2017. After Trump announced the pardon, Arpaio...

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National Security Adviser McMaster Proves Unable to Spin Trump’s Tweet About London Bombing

by Aaron Rupar – He had no answers for why Trump threw Scotland Yard under the bus. During a White House news briefing on Friday, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was asked to clarify what President Trump meant when he tweeted, shortly after a bombing on the London Underground that left more than 20 injured, that “hese are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!” Donald J. Trump   ✔@realDonaldTrump Another attack in London by a loser terrorist.These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive! 6:42 AM – Sep 15, 2017 Since no information about the perpetrator or perpetrators of the bombing had yet been publicly released, Trump’s tweet left people wondering if he was alluding to intelligence information. Trump’s comments were widely condemned by British officials, including Prime Minister Theresa May, who said it...

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Trump Claims He has Done More Against ISIS Than Obama, the Scorecard Says He is Lying

by Stephen D Foster Jr – After a terrorist attack in London, Donald Trump used the occasion to brag about himself and smear President Obama. The United States has been fighting ISIS since 2014. Most of that fighting has been done under the leadership of President Obama. But nine months into his own presidency, Trump is now declaring that he has done more against ISIS than President Obama. Donald J. Trump   ✔@realDonaldTrump We have made more progress in the last nine months against ISIS than the Obama Administration has made in 8 years.Must be proactive & nasty! 7:00 AM – Sep 15, 2017 But, as usual, Trump is completely full of shit. Under Obama’s strategy and leadership, the United States military killed over half of the commanders ISIS had and various military strikes wiped out well over 26,000 ISIS fighters (some reports say over 50,000), all while reducing ISIS’ territory from a...

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Republican Civil War Infecting Tax Cut Efforts

by Joan McCarter – While popular vote loser Donald Trump keeps insisting that the “approval process for the biggest Tax Cut & Tax Reform package in the history of our country will soon begin,” the process is stumbling because of Republican infighting, whether between the White House and Congress or within Congress. Start with conservative Republicans’ suspicions that the two top White House negotiators—Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn—are actually Democrats, or at least enablers of the enemy. Case in point: Virginia Republican Dave Brat, who said Tuesday “there better not be a curveball coming up” when asked about Cohn’s and Mnuchin’s work on tax reform. While he says the two men are currently touting conservative ideas he could rally behind, he warned them against turning to Democrats.“We don’t want our president and his administration moving all over the place away from Republican principles,” Brat added. “Mnuchin did...

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The Trump Administration Plans to End a Refugee Program for Children

by Marcelo Rochabrun – Minors from violence-plagued El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala will no longer be permitted to reunite with their parents in the United States. The Trump administration plans to stop accepting refugee applications from children with U.S.-based parents from three violence-riddled Central American countries — El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — according to the summary of a presentation the State Department made recently to refugee organizations. The decision to end the Central American Minors program, which began in 2014 and is the only refugee program aimed at helping people from that region, could put hundreds of families split between two countries in a delicate situation. The children will no longer be able to come legally to the U.S. Of course, they can still attempt to cross without authorization and then either request asylum or try to navigate the border region without being detained or injured — just the kind...

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New Survey Shows a Disturbing Trend: Most Americans Have No Clue What is in the Constitution

by Jen Hayden – The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania have released the downright disturbing results of a recent survey that shows a majority of Americans don’t know anything about their rights or the rights of others according to our own Constitution. Read it and weep: More than half of Americans (53 percent) incorrectly think it is accurate to say that immigrants who are here illegally do not have any rights under the U.S. Constitution; More than a third of those surveyed (37 percent) can’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment; Only a quarter of Americans (26 percent) can name all three branches of government. The responses to the First Amendment are downright depressing: Nearly half of those surveyed (48 percent) say that freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment. But, unprompted, 37 percent could not name any First Amendment rights....

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House Passes Spending Bill ‘full of giveaways to polluters’ and Big Cuts to EPA and NPS

by Samantha Page – The National Park Service was cut 30 percent — even more than Trump had asked. The House of Representatives voted Thursday in favor of an omnibus spending bill that environmental organizations say will help polluters and reduce the country’s air and water quality. The bill also cuts a number of programs intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or streamline the transition to clean energy. The bill cuts funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by more than $500 million — another blow to an agency that will now have to operate on less than 75 percent of its 2010 funding levels. The National Park Service received a 30 percent cut — a greater cut than even the White House suggested earlier this year in its infamously skeletal budget proposal. Prior to the vote, a group of dozens of environmental groups wrote to representatives, begging them not to...

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Walker and Trump’s Foxconn Deal May Be Worst in American History

by Robert Kraig – Governor Scott Walker and Donald Trump claim their $3 billion subsidy to Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn will create thousands of jobs in Wisconsin. But when you dig into the numbers, the Foxconn deal looks like one of the biggest swindles in American history, a scandal waiting to happen. While it is Governor Walker and not Trump who is really cutting this deal, it sets a dangerous precedent, which could affect every state. To understand how big the threat is, it is important to understand just how bad the Foxconn deal really is, and to look closely at what they’re proposing. The magnitude of the public expenditure is stunning. It is not really a tax break, but a direct public subsidy of $3 billion dollars. Bribing big companies to stay or leave, and therefore allowing profitable corporations to exact public resources while shifting costs onto everyone else,...

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Toledo Abortion Clinic Takes Fight Against State Bullying to the Ohio Supreme Court

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown – The Capital Care Network was ordered to close in 2014. Instead, it took the state to court. A Catch-22 in Ohio abortion law came before the State’s Supreme Court this week. The case addresses the attempted shutdown of Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic and a pair of state regulations that make it legally impossible for some clinics to stay open, even if they have done nothing wrong. Ohio has long required all outpatient surgical centers, including abortion clinics, to have a formal transfer agreement with a local hospital. In general, such regulations are pretty pointless, as surgical center patients with complications can be treated at nearby hospitals regardless of whether such an agreement exists. But they didn’t post much of a problem for reproductive freedom in Ohio until 2013. That year, as part of the state’s budget bill, legislators forbade public hospitals from entering into transfer agreements with...

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Trump Won’t Stop Lying About Susan Rice (VIDEO)

by Aaron Rupar – He wants you to believe in an “unmasking” scandal that simply doesn’t exist. On Thursday, President Donald Trump told pool reporters he still believes former National Security Adviser Susan Rice did something wrong when she unmasked Trump administration officials late last year. “She’s not supposed to be doing that,” said Trump, who in April accused Rice of committing a crime without presenting any evidence she actually did so. “What she did was wrong.” There’s just one problem — now, more than ever before, there’s absolutely no reason to believe Rice did anything improper at all. Even well-informed Republican members of Congress acknowledge as much. Rice detailed the reason she unmasked Trump officials to House investigators in a classified setting. On Wednesday, CNN reported more details about what Rice privately told the House Intelligence Committee about the incident. According to CNN’s report, Rice told House investigators that she unmasked certain Trump officials because wanted...

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A Month After Trump Declared Opioids a ‘national emergency,’ His Team still Has no Plan

by Hunter – As it turns out, a presidential declaration of national emergency doesn’t amount to much. When President Trump announced in early August, following a presidential commission’s recommendations, that the opioid crisis was a “national emergency,” he called it “a serious problem the likes of which we have never had.”A month has now passed, and that urgent talk has yet to translate into urgent action. While the president’s aides say they are pursuing an expedited process, it remains to be seen how and by what mechanism Mr. Trump plans to direct government resources. Just to expand a bit on that point there, it’s not just that Donald Trump somehow surprised his staff with his declaration that the opioid crisis was a “national emergency”—his own presidential commission recommended that he do so. No, he shocked everyone by actually saying it, and then … doing nothing. Nobody was prepared for the obvious question: “So, um, now what?” His...

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Americans are Buying Fewer Guns, and the NRA is Getting Desperate to Change That

by Melanie Schmitz – The organization has conjured up threats from leftist groups to justify its rhetoric. A report by the Guardian on Friday showed a $100 million drop in firearm revenue for one of the country’s biggest gun makers, American Outdoor Brands, previously known as Smith & Wesson. Specifically, the company reported an overall drop of 40 percent in general revenue from the same quarter last year, CFO Jeff Buchanan said in an earnings call. The company also experienced a 57 percent drop in long gun shipments; handgun shipments were down some 35 percent. Given that gun sales tend to drop under Republican administrations, the decline wasn’t entirely unprecedented. Typically, gun manufacturers tend to see higher numbers under Democratic administrations and ahead of elections like 2016, when Hillary Clinton was predicted to win. Gun advocates often believe that Democrats are more likely to come after their Second Amendment rights than their conservative counterparts, which generally...

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NATO Isn’t Too Happy With Russia’s War Games This Week

by E.A. Crunden – A wide-scale military drill targeting a fictional country isn’t going over well with Western powers. Russia kicked off a series of war game exercises on Thursday, much to the concern and alarm of its European neighbors, as well as NATO. In a controversial mock battle, Russia, along with Belarus, a dictatorship serving as one of Russia’s only regional allies, will spend six days fighting against the fictional state of Veishnoriya. According to Russian news agency TASS, the large-scale drills will involve 138 tanks, 231 armored fighting vehicles, 40 aircraft, and 241 artillery and missile systems in total. While NATO members argue the numbers are higher, Russia says around 12,700 troops are expected to take part in the effort, which will take place across six Belarusian training ranges and three in Russia. Known as Zapad-2017, a reference to the West (“zapad”), the exercise traces its roots back to the 1970s...

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