US

EPA Administrator Lied about Private Email use in Senate Testimony

by Bryce Covert – Thousands of emails Scott Pruitt sent to oil and gas companies still haven’t been disclosed. An investigation by Fox 25 in Oklahoma has confirmed that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt used a private email account to conduct official business while he was the state’s attorney general, directly contradicting what he told the Senate during his confirmation hearing. During his hearing, Pruitt was asked by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), “Have you ever conducted business using your personal email accounts, nonofficial Oklahoma Attorney General email accounts, text messages, instant messenger, voicemails, or any other medium?” Pruitt responded, “I use only my official OAG email address and government issued phone to conduct official business.” But the Oklahoma attorney general’s office confirmed to Fox 25 that Pruitt used private email for state business after an Open Records Request revealed documents where certain email addresses...

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Bill Maher Lashes out at the Press: Toughen up, Stop Covering Crap, Take one for the Team

by Egberto Willies – A national press with similarly lousy credibility as Trump is one that is ineffective. Bill Maher uses actual examples of their screw ups to point out what they should do in this excerpted video clip. Now more than ever we need a robust and assertive press. It is the time that the media gets back to the basics but most importantly grow spines to confront our political bully. “Now that polls show that the public finds the news media less trustworthy than Donald Trump,” Bill Maher said. “They have to fight to get their reputation back. And there are encouraging signs that that fight has been joined.” Maher then pointed out that the New York Times called out Trump’s untruths by name, lies. Chuck Todd, Scot Pelley, and George Stephanopoulos slammed Trump spokespersons when they came on the air with their alternative facts. “We are going to need...

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Resistance Recess Puts Congress on Notice for Supporting Trump’s Agenda (VIDEO)

by Libero Della Piana – Rep. Dave Trott’s constituents in the Northeastern suburbs of Detroit gathered at his office to ask him about his stance on health care, refugees and other urgent issues. Instead of scheduling a meeting, Trott’s staff called the police. The delegation was organized by Michigan People’s campaign, an affiliate of People’s Action, a national organization fighting for economic and social justice. Since last weekend dozens of other town hall meetings and constituent forums have been dominated by vocal and angry people wondering where their lawmakers stand on Trump’s agenda, in particular regarding plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Embracing the #ResistanceRecess hashtag, national organizations such as MoveOn.com, Daily Kos, the AFL-CIO and People’s Action are helping mobilize grassroots frustration with the direction of the country after just one month of the Trump presidency. Many Republicans in Congress have concealed or simply refused to hold public town halls and opted to...

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Chickensht Trump Blows Off White House Correspondents Dinner: Paging Alec Baldwin

by News Corpse – Donald Trump has been fighting a bloody “War on the Media” for months now. His recent escalations included calling the “fake news” media the “enemy of the American people.”  Shortly thereafter his press secretary, Sean Spicer, banned several news organizations from a White House briefing. The animosity from Trump gets more intense by the hour. In his latest assault Gen. Trump has just announced that he will not be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 29. The WHCD is an annual affair that is held to raise funds for scholarships. But apparently Trump’s anti-media obsession overrules any interest in helping a charity. The truth is more likely that Trump is afraid of having a close encounter with the “enemy.” He has never been particularly good at laughing at himself. That’s a personality flaw that’s common among narcissists. So rather than fraternize with the media he...

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Indiana is Going Hard Against Abortion This Week

by Maureen Shaw – These measures are extreme, even for Indiana. Indiana is gunning for abortion rights this week. Within a span of two days, Indiana’s House revived its “abortion reversal” bill, and a Senate panel advanced a restrictive bill aimed at curbing minors’ access to abortion care. Even for Indiana, which has a draconian anti-choice record, these measures are extreme in their disregard for women’s health and privacy. On Tuesday, the House Public Policy Committee approved H.B. 1128, which requires, among other things, that “a pregnant woman be informed orally and in writing before an abortion obtained through an abortion inducing drug that the abortion may be possibly reversed.” Last week, the committee approved a similar bill, but was met with resistance by some House Republicans, who cited concerns about a provision requiring abortion providers to perform an ultrasound to determine a fetus’ gestational age. This provision was struck from Tuesday’s...

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Republican Congressman Calls for Independent Prosecutor to Investigate Donald Trump

by Laurel Raymond – Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said on Friday night that an independent special prosecutor should investigate potential ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign. “You’re right that you cannot have somebody — a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions — who was on the campaign and who is an appointee,” Issa said on HBO’s Real Time. “You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office.” He also added that it wouldn’t be enough to hand the job instead to the deputy attorney general, who is also a political appointee. The Priebus/FBI segment begins at approx. 5:30 Issa formerly served as the head of the House Oversight committee, where he conducted repeated investigations of the Obama White House. Issa once called Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” Issa’s high-theater investigations, however, often failed to...

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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...

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Perez Wins Chairmanship of DNC in Close Vote on Second Ballot

by Meteor Blades – On the second ballot Saturday afternoon, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez narrowly won the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee over Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison at the organization’s winter meeting in Atlanta. Perez took the podium to move that Ellison be made deputy chair of the DNC. No “nays” could be heard from delegates during the voice vote. Here was the tally of the 435 delegates who cast ballots: Tom Perez……………………..235 Keith Ellison………………….200 After the vote, a motion to make Perez chairman by acclamation. Peter Daou  ✔@peterdaou Congrats to @TomPerez, new #DNCChair! The Hillary/Obama coalition IS the Democratic Party. It INCLUDES Ellison and millions of progressives. 3:22 PM – 25 Feb 2017 Despite the efforts of the other nine candidates who sought the office, the only ones anybody gave a chance to were Ellison and Perez. On issues related to the DNC’s tasks, the two men’s views were extremely...

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Trump Broke 64 Promises in His First Month in Office

by Ryan Koronowski – He kept 7. On Thursday, Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steven Bannon spoke about their priorities after the first month of the administration at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. Bannon said that Trump is “maniacally focused” on executing the promises he made during the campaign. The facts tell a different story. A ThinkProgress’ analysis of Trump’s statements and policy proposals prior to his swearing-in found that he made at least 663 discrete promises. After his first day in office, Trump failed to keep 34 of 36 “Day One” promises. Since then, he has also broken 30 more promises, yielding a total of 64. Trump did manage to keep five more promises, for a total of seven. Trump made a lot of promises about what he will do as president. We’ve documented 663 of them. The people who elected Trump expect him to...

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McMaster’s Challenge: His Boss Is Already Making America Less Safe

by Vikram Singh and Peter Juul – At a time when the Trump administration continues to spark an immediate and growing national security crises due to mismanagement and reckless policies, the national security community felt great relief at the president’s selection of Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as the next national security advisor. McMaster will be tasked with resolving a number of serious foreign policy blunders already committed by the new administration. President Trump must ensure that McMaster has the authority and tools to deal with the following seven problems. Chaotic and dysfunctional management. Even before former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s forced resignation, President Trump’s National Security Council proved disturbingly dysfunctional. For example, U.S. military officials told Reuters that the president “approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.” The operation in Yemen was launched with no normal process and resulted in the...

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The Manchurian President

by NEAL GABLER – A classic Hollywood political thriller may tell us more about what’s happening in America than any history book. As the Trump presidency unravels, unraveling the country along with it, there is no real political antecedent, no lessons from American history on which to draw and provide guidance. We are in entirely uncharted waters. But there is an antecedent in our popular culture that provides a prism through which to view the contemporary calamity, especially the alleged collusion between Trump’s henchmen and Russian intelligence to deny Hillary Clinton the presidency. I am not the first observer who has noted the relevance of the movie The Manchurian Candidate. But the relevance is more than skin or celluloid deep. It goes to the very heart of this bizarre and frightening political moment. First, the fact that this implausibly plotted Hollywood thriller could now be applied, not altogether implausibly, to a...

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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...

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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...

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Dan Rather: This is an Emergency—and a Moment of Judgement for Everyone Who Remains Silent

by Leslie Salzillo – If you’ve been following news this week, there’s no doubt you’ve read/heard about the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon made a dangerous and odious threat against the media. This was followed by Donald Trump echoing the same message while barring some reputable, truth-seeking news groups including The New York Times from a White House briefing, an unprecedented act against the media, the freedom of the press, and the nation’s First Amendment. The legendary newsman Dan Rather took to social media to share his straight-shooting views, experience and wisdom regarding the latest derelictions from the White House. Here is his Facebook post in full.  The time for normalizing, dissembling, and explaining away Donald Trump has long since passed. The barring of respected journalistic outlets from the White House briefing is so far beyond the norms and traditions that have governed this republic for generations, that they must be seen as a real and present threat to our democracy....

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Top Obama Lawyers Join To Dig Into Trump’s Abuse of Power

by CathyM – I really, really think we need to tell folks about this group! I haven’t seen them mentioned before. Obama lawyers form ‘worst-case scenario’ group to tackle Trump Fearful the new administration will abuse its power, the former president’s lawyers are uniting to fight back. Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months. They’ve incorporated as both a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), allowing...

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State Dept. Memo Warning Employees Against Leaking Is Immediately Leaked

by Jon Queally – So-called “low-life leakers” certainly have a sense of irony. The leaks just keep on coming. While President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed frustration over the unsanctioned release of internal documents and information, the Washington Post reported Friday morning on the existence of a State Department memo specifically warning agency employees against unauthorized leaks. How did the paper know about the memo? Because it was leaked, of course. As the Post‘s Josh Rogin reports: The State Department legal office prepared a four-page memo for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warning of the dangers of leaking by State Department employees. It promptly leaked, to me. That’s only the latest sign that the relationship between the Trump administration political appointees and the State Department professional workforce is still very much a work in progress. The Feb. 20 memo by State Department acting legal adviser Richard Visek to Tillerson is entitled “SBU: Protecting...

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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...

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Law Professors File Misconduct Complaint Against KellyanneConway

by CathyM – As bad as all the crap that’s pouring from the White House is, it is heartening today to see people pushing back: Law professors file misconduct complaint against Kellyanne Conway A group of law professors from around the country has filed a professional misconduct complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, a graduate of George Washington University Law School who was admitted to the D.C. Bar in 1995. The letter, filed with the office that handles misconduct by members of the D.C. Bar, said Conway should be sanctioned for violating government ethics rules and “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation,” the letter says. The 15 professors, who specialize in legal ethics, cite several incidents,including a television interview in which Conway made the “false statement that President Barack Obama had ‘banned’ Iraqi refugees from coming into the United States for six months following the ‘Bowling Green Massacre,’ ”...

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Gabby Giffords Shames GOP Rep. for Using Her Shooting as an Excuse to Hide From Town Halls

by April Hamlin – Republicans across the country have been doing all they can to avoid town hall meetings where angry constituents are waiting. But Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) should win some type of award for his despicable excuse. Earlier this week, Gohmert claimed that he hadn’t scheduled a town hall meeting to discuss important issues with the people he represents because with all the angry protesters around he’s afraid of a shooting like the one that involved Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. But don’t worry. This isn’t because he’s a coward. It’s just that he wants to keep his constituents safe. “Unfortunately, at this time there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety. Threats are nothing new to me and I have gotten my share as a felony judge.” “However, the House...

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Support for 2010 Healthcare Law Reaches New High

by HANNAH FINGERHUT – With congressional Republicans discussing proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act, public support for the 2010 health care law has reached its highest level on record. Currently, 54% approve of the health care law passed seven years ago by Barack Obama and Congress, while 43% disapprove, according to a national Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 7-12 among 1,503 adults. Throughout the law’s history, opinions about the Affordable Care Act have tended to be more negative than positive — or, less frequently, divided. As recently as December, about as many approved (48%) as disapproved (47%) of the law. The new survey finds that when those who disapprove of the law are asked about what should happen to it now, more want GOP congressional leaders to focus their efforts on modifying the law than on getting rid of it. One-in-four adults want Republican leaders to modify the law, while...

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RUSSIA-GATE: Senate Intelligence Committee Investigation – Let’s Meet the Members Shall We

by Doctor Who – This weekend’s 2.5 hour meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee with FBI Director Comey, ended in a bunch of Senate Committee Members walking out stone faced and pale as if they had seen a ghost, and followed the next day by a letter from the Committee asking all individuals and Agencies to preserve any and all records having to do with Russia-Gate.  With these recent developments I though it might be a good time to take a look at the makeup of this Committee that arguably has the fate of the US Democracy in its hands. So here they are: REPUBLICANS: 1. Richard Burr (R-NC), Chairman 2. James Risch (R-ID) 3. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 4. Susan Collins (R-ME) 5. Roy Blunt (R-MO) 6. James Lankford (R-OK) 7. Tom Cotton (R-AR) 8. John Cornyn (R-TX) DEMOCRATS: 1. Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman 2. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 3. Ron...

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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...

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Fed Up with ‘Dysfunction and Deadlock,’ Former FEC Chair Will Resign

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘What we are left with is an agency mandated to ensure transparency and disclosure that is actually working to keep the public in the dark,’ writes Ann M. Ravel. The primary responsibilities of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) are to ensure full disclosure of campaign money and fair enforcement of election law, former chair Ann M. Ravel said Monday, before declaring: “Citizens deserve to know it does neither.” In an op-ed published at the New York Times, Ravel blamed the dysfunction on “a controlling bloc of three Republican commissioners who are ideologically opposed to the FEC’s purpose regularly ignores violations or drastically reduces penalties.” “The resulting paralysis,” she wrote, “has allowed over $800 million in ‘dark money’ to infect our elections since Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums to elect or defeat candidates.” She continued: Last...

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The ‘So-Called’ Trump Presidency is Crumbling Under Pressure From Protests

by News Corpse – Since the day that Donald Trump was inaugurated, the American people have flooded the streets and town halls to express their opposition to his agenda. Unprecedented numbers of citizens turned out for the nationwide Women’s March on January 21. A week later, more protesters showed up spontaneously at airports to oppose Trump’s Muslim ban. Now town halls are being inundated by angry voters who won’t stand for Trump’s efforts to gut ObamaCare. These protests are having a profound effect on the Republican Party. Nervous GOP representatives in Washington, and across the nation, are running scared – literally. Many are avoiding their own constituents meetings for fear of encountering their wrath. And the ones that are going are being greeted by passionate advocates for progressive policies and values. For those who are skeptical that these tactics are effective, set aside your worries. There is abundant evidence that they...

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GOP Senator Wants Mike Flynn to Testify Before Congress about his Russia Connections

by Aaron Rupar – Sen. Susan Collins says she’s also open to subpoenaing Trump’s tax returns. Despite many unanswered questions about connections between President Donald Trump, his inner circle, and Russian officials, Republican members of Congress have so far been reluctant to pursue a robust investigation. But during an interview with Maine Public Radio on Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) expressed confidence that Congress will conduct a thorough, bipartisan investigation. “I am confident that since this is a completely bipartisan investigation with full-time staff, that we’ll get to the bottom of this,” she said, adding that she anticipates the investigation will culminate in a public report. Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she and other members want former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to testify before them. Flynn lost his job last Monday after it was revealed he had lied about discussing Russian sanctions during his pre-inauguration communications with...

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The Constitutional Apocalypse

by Les Leopold – As Trump vilifies the press, the courts, immigrants, Muslims, Democrats, protestors and anyone who disagrees with him, it isn’t hard to imagine a modern day Mussolini… or worse. But, an even greater threat lies in the Republican’s march towards full control of state government. If they get there, they will have the frightening power to amend the Constitution into their own authoritarian image… or Ayn Rand’s. Republicans now control 32 state legislatures and 33 governorships. They have majorities in both state legislative chambers as well as the governorships in 25 states. The Democrats have total control in only six states and legislative control in two more (see here). If Republicans achieve veto-proof control in 38 states, they can do something that has never been done before ― hold a constitutional convention, and then ratify new amendments that are put forth. To date all amendments have been initiated...

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Nine Therapists Share Their Opinions on Trump’s Fitness for Office

by HalBrown – This is an open article. If you are a psychotherapist and willing to have your opinion published in the body of the article, put it on as a comment and include your degree and profession. Living in a world in which I see or hear Donald Trump on at least a daily basis, it would be peculiar of me not to notice or wonder what drives him. The trick is to figure out what the behaviors mean and whether they are a threat to the country. A few of the most disturbing behaviors that I have seen in Donald Trump have been the mocking of people he perceives as weak and the degree to which he denies, lies about or distorts information. In my experience as a therapist, I have worked with people who have been harmed by trauma, including emotional abuse – as children. As a...

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Judge: Texas can’t Kick Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid

by MARISSA EVANS – U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled Tuesday afternoon that Texas clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood can continue to care for patients under the state’s Medicaid program, a phew-worthy victory for reproductive rights advocates and a loss for the state’s GOP leaders. In a 42-page ruling, Sparks wrote that the state’s arguments in the case were “the building blocks of a best-selling novel rather than a case concerning the interplay of federal and state authority through the Medicaid program.” “After reviewing the evidence currently in the record, the Court finds the Inspector General, and thus , likely acted to disenroll qualified health care providers from Medicaid without cause,” the ruling read. “Such action would deprive Medicaid patients of their statutory right to obtain health care from their chosen qualified provider.” The ruling comes more than a year after Planned Parenthood first sued Texas to...

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President Trump Has Cheapened the Dignity of His Office

by Sam Fulwood III – It hasn’t even been a full month yet, but many of us who pay close attention to Washington feel like the Trump administration has aged us a full decade. Every day begins with a fearful peek at President Donald Trump’s latest insomniac posting on Twitter. Who is he attacking today? A fashion retailer? Or the all-knowing purveyors of “fake news?” Perhaps a beloved civil rights leader and member of Congress? In a way, starting the day with Trump’s tweets is like reading the comics before the front-page news. As tempting as it might seem, however, the president’s online hijinks are no laughing matter. It’s serious business when the leader of the free world expresses pique and ire daily in 140 characters or less. As he did during the presidential campaign, Trump has continued to attack any one or any institution that dares to disagree with him....

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Do These 10 Things, And Trump Will Be Toast

by Michael Moore – An easy-to-follow action plan than anyone and can do… and every one must do. Friends, I welcome you to “The Michael Moore Easy-to-Follow 10-Point Plan to Stop Trump.” First, let’s acknowledge what we all know to be true: Trump is in deep, deep trouble — in the pocket of Russians, surrounded by alt.right idiots, alone in his bathrobe in a mostly-empty White House — and caught inside a disgusting “shit-sandwich”, so said his supporter who turned down the NSA job. Only one month into his So-Called Presidency — and yet there is good news, as this is what the American landscape looks like: • Tens of thousands of citizens across the country have stormed Congressional district offices and town hall meetings to express their rage at the Trump agenda (a dejected Republican congressman, after a 3-hour verbal assault from his angry constituents, said on TV last night,...

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President Trump’s Coming War on Science: Environment Edition

by Alison Cassady – On February 17, the U.S. Senate confirmed former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. Observers can now expect the Trump administration—with Congress providing the wind at Administrator Pruitt’s back—to charge ahead with an aggressive agenda to weaken or nullify a decade’s worth of progress on pollution reduction. President Donald Trump and Administrator Pruitt are likely to start off by announcing plans to dismantle the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants, and other components of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan. They may also attack an Obama-era rule to protect the nation’s waterways from pollution. In addition to taking on specific environmental protections, President Trump and Congress are likely to pursue a more pernicious strategy to deny or obscure basic facts and science about climate change and assert new supposed truths...

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Keith Ellison’s Quest for DNC Chair

by Robert Borosage – Rep. Keith Ellison offers a lifeline to a Democratic Party that is struggling to stay afloat. The question is whether party officials realize that they are sinking and accept it. When the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee select a new chairman in Atlanta on Saturday, they will decide whether they want the lift or would prefer to keep floundering. Clearly, Democrats are in dire shape. They are locked out of power in Washington, with Republicans in control of the White House and both houses of Congress. During the Obama administration, they lost nearly 1,000 state legislative seats, and Republicans now control 67 of 98 partisan state legislative chambers nationwide. From Kansas to Wisconsin and North Carolina, the right is driving an agenda that will expose Americans to the pillage of a new robber baron era. Democrats are losing elections in significant part because...

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Schumer: DOJ Rules Require Jeff Sessions to Recuse Himself from Flynn Investigation

by Laura Clawson – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s dealings with Russia. In a Washington Post op-ed, Schumer points to the Justice Department rule barring any member of the department from participating in an investigation “if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution or any person or . . . has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution.” Donald Trump has an interest that would be affected by the investigation—and that’s if he wasn’t substantially involved in the conduct in question, which is far from certain. And Sessions isn’t just a Trump appointee: During the campaign, Sessions was identified by the Trump campaign and by Trump...

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Florida Supreme Court Reminds Politicians That Women Are Capable of Making Their Own Decisions

by Julia Kaye – Every day, people face important medical decisions. When tough choices arise, we consult with our health care providers about the pros and cons of different treatment options. We meditate on our goals and fears. Some of us will turn to family or friends for advice. Some of us will pray. No one goes to the state capitol building to ask a politician their opinion. Yet when it comes to a woman’s decision to end her pregnancy, politicians feel entitled to insert themselves into the equation. We all agree that a woman seeking abortion care, like every other patient, should receive all medically appropriate information. But in dozens of states, legislators demand that a woman who has decided to have an abortion — unlike any other patient seeking any other form of medical care — delay her procedure by a certain amount of time (typically 24 hours...

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Trump’s First Month Travel Expenses Cost Taxpayers Just Less than what Obama Spent in a Year

by Aaron Rupar – Meanwhile, his budget proposal cuts programs for poor people. On Monday, President Trump returned to Washington DC from his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where he’s spent the last three weekends. The Washington Post reports that those three trips “probably cost the federal treasury about $10 million, based on figures used in an October government report analyzing White House travel, including money for Coast Guard units to patrol the exposed shoreline and other military, security and staffing expenses associated with moving the apparatus of the presidency.” So far, the highlight of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago trips has been he and his aides struggling to deal with an international crisis in full view of diners and staff during the evening of February 11. The three Mar-a-Lago getaways, combined with the hundreds of thousands of public dollars spent on Secret Service protection during two international trips Trump’s adult sons have taken to...

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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...

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Abraham Lincoln’s Warning About American Demagogues Like Trump

by Joe Romm – Lincoln argued that only “reason” and “a reverence” for the law could stop them. On Saturday, President Donald Trump compared himself to “Abraham Lincoln and many of our greatest presidents.” On his inauguration, Trump chose to be sworn in on the so-called “Lincoln bible” — the same one Honest Abe was sworn in on — because he was “inspired by Lincoln’s words,” Quartz reported. On Presidents’ Day, though, it’s worth remembering that Trump is the anti-Lincoln (and anti-Washington). Indeed, he is not just the demagogue Founding Fathers like Alexander Hamilton warned us about. He is exactly the demagogue Lincoln himself warned us about. At Gettysburg in 1863, Abraham Lincoln famously asked whether a nation “conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal … can long endure.” But Lincoln’s concern about the fate of the Republic — and the danger of a demagogue just like Trump — dates much earlier. Way back...

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General H.R. McMaster Selected to Replace Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor

by Mark Sumner – Donald Trump found a way to get around the problem of ex-generals and admirals refusing to take his call. After reports that former Vice Admiral Robert Harward turned down an offer of the national security position, and other names were rumored to take themselves out of the running before they could even get an offer, Donald Trump fastened on the one sure way to fill the role: Give it to an active duty officer. President Trump picked Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a widely respected military strategist, as his new national security adviser on Monday, calling him “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.” McMaster genuinely is highly regarded, both as an officer and a historian. Of particular interest is McMaster’s book Dereliction of Duty that covers the early years of the war in Vietnam. The theme of the book is that John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson had little respect for...

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New Study Confirms Just How Racially Discriminatory Voter ID Laws Truly Are

by Stephen Wolf – We’ve always suspected it, but now new academic research confirms it: Strict voter ID laws do indeed disproportionately lower turnout among Latino, black, and Asian voters compared to whites, which of course benefits conservatives and the Republican Party. The authors of this new study found that strict ID laws—where registered voters must show a photo ID to have their vote count, and no exceptions are permitted—depressed Latino turnout rates the most, followed by black and Asian-American turnout, yet white turnout was largely unaffected.  Those findings held true even when researchers accounted for a variety of other factors, and they were even more acute in primaries. That latter point is critical because many states and cities hold elections for important races such as city council seats, judgeships, and even state constitutional amendments at times other than November general elections. It also means voter ID can make even Democratic...

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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...

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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...

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Media Bites Back: Newspaper Threatens Lawsuit for GOP Senator Calling Them “Fake News”

by SemDem – “Fake News” is a very real thing. It is the publication of hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation purporting to be real news with the deliberate intent to mislead. Many fake news websites originate from Russia, Macedonia, and Romania. What it is NOT is an editorial from a respected, established newspaper entitled “Better open records”, which supports a bill to give journalists better access to government records. The Daily Sentinel, which is the local newspaper for Grand Junction, CO, urged moving forward with the bill and called on State Senator Ray Scott to quit delaying the bill and bring it up for a vote.  Their exact words were: “We call on our own Sen. Scott to announce a new committee hearing date and move this bill forward.” This is how Ray Scott responded: On Twitter, he said: We have our own fake news in Grand Junction… On Facebook, he said: The very liberal...

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NYT: AG Sessions Must Appoint Special Prosecutor for Trump-Russia Ties

by Andrea Germanos – ‘The need for an independent actor who can both investigate and prosecute criminal wrongdoing in the executive branch is clear,’ Times editorial board writes. The New York Times has called for a special prosecutor to lead an impartial investigation into possible ties between the Trump administration—”which seems uninterested in telling the truth in matters large and small”—and Russia. The Times editorial board writes the scope of a potential investigation expanded sharply in the last four days, with the firing of Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for lying to the White House about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, and the news that members of the Trump campaign’s inner circle were in repeated contact with Russian intelligence agents last year, at the same time that Russia was actively attempting to swing the election to Mr. Trump. The calls for investigations into the potential links have swelled,...

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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...

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Republicans Hustle to Shield Trump as Demands for Russia Inquiry Grow

by Nadia Prupis – Meanwhile, some experts say there is a case for appointing a special prosecutor. Republicans are dismissing the mounting call to thoroughly investigate the Trump campaign’s connection with Russian intelligence, and party leadership is seemingly pushing for members to fall in line behind the president amid growing outrage. House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Wednesday accused Democrats of “politicizing” the issue and told Politico he would not alter the panel’s ongoing Russian probe. “The Democrats can play their politics all they want; they’re welcome to do that, this is Washington,” Nunes said. “But as far as I’m concerned, we will continue to investigate the Russian activity like we’ve done for many years.” Nunes and ranking committee Democrat Adam Schiff, also of California, announced plans in January to investigate Russia’s alleged influence on the 2016 election—but that was before President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn stepped...

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As the Wheels of the Trump Juggernaut Come Off

by TODD GITLIN – Cracks in Republican Senate servility are beginning to show, while right-wing media hang tough. Say this for Donald Trump: He sets records. It took more than a year of Warren G. Harding’s administration before the Teapot Dome scandal of 1921-22 brought down his Interior secretary for taking a massive oil company bribe. A half-century later, it took two years to expose the immensity of the Watergate crimes and force the conspirators out of their White House holes. It took almost that long for the Reagan administration Iran-Contra revelations to pour forth in the mid-‘80s, though that scandal left the enfeebled incumbent in place. Now, congressional Republicans’ marriage of convenience to the crackpot showman of Fifth Avenue shows signs of post-honeymoon stress. For in just four weeks, Trump has breathlessly caught up with his predecessors in power abuse. Having crashed into a big, beautiful wall, he is, by...

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Hispanic Dems Blast ‘Dictatorial Shenanigans’ at Meeting With ICE (VIDEO)

by Deirdre Fulton – “After attending the ICE meeting it’s hard not to conclude that President Trump has started his mass deportation plan,” says Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas. Two members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.), said they were asked to leave a meeting Thursday between lawmakers and the top U.S. immigration official, while others said they were barred entry in the first place. Gutiérrez and Torres both expressed incredulity after being kicked out of the meeting between lawmakers and acting Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan—one of them by an aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the other by a GOP lawmaker himself. The meeting, requested by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the recent uptick in immigration raids and detentions, was originally scheduled for Tuesday—but ICE canceled at the last minute, saying too many people had expressed interest...

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Senate Confirms “Worst, Most Dangerous Administrator in EPA History”

by Andrea Germanos – With fossil fuel industry ally Scott Pruitt now in charge, now ‘begins the fight of a lifetime to protect public health, our environment, climate stability, and even the simple sanctity of the EPA itself.’ Portending risks to “the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the planet we love,” the U.S. Senate on Friday confirmed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The 52-46 vote comes a day after an Oklahoma judge said Pruitt was in violation of the state’s Open Records Act and ordered the release of thousands of emails between his office and fossil fuel companies. Senate Democrats said that warranted a delay on Pruitt’s confirmation, but Republicans pushed the vote ahead. Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Manchin, (D-W.Va.) joined Republicans to vote in favor of Pruitt; thus, wrote Esquire‘s Charles Pierce, “we must assume that two Democratic...

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Undeterred by Lawmakers in Hiding, the Resistance Prepares for Recess (VIDEO)

by Lauren McCauley – New video and guide from the Indivisible Movement gives practical advice for February town halls. Since the GOP-led Congress took power last month, leaders that have supported President Donald Trump’s controversial cabinet choices or have worked to eliminate affordable healthcare have had to face crowds of angry voters. Now, with February’s congressional recess on the horizon, the resistance is gearing up to confront lawmakers on their home turf to let them know how the American public views Trump’s agenda. While many elected officials are planning to hold town halls next week, reportedly more than 200 Republican legislators are skipping out. According to data compiled by Legistorm and reported by Vice News on Thursday, “or the first two months of the new Congress, the 292 Republicans have scheduled just 88 in-person town hall events—and 35 of those sessions are for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.” In comparison, during...

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Trump Preparing to Open New Front in His Dangerous, Misguided War on Immigrants

by Silva Mathema, Rachel West, and Shawn Fremstad – President Donald Trump is actively considering opening a new front in his war on immigrants through another hastily drafted and vaguely worded executive order. Drafts of this new order have been leaked to various press outlets and offer a worrying look into the administration’s complete disregard for commonsense immigration policy. If issued, the order would expand the focus of the administration’s anti-immigrant campaign beyond unauthorized immigrants, refugees, and Muslims—groups that Trump’s campaign and administration have already targeted extensively—to include green card holders—also known as lawful permanent residents, or LPRs—living in the United States. It would also affect potential immigrants seeking visas to lawfully enter the United States to reunite with family members. Under the draft order, individuals who are otherwise eligible for green cards could be denied admission to the United States if they could conceivably become eligible for any kind of...

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Kurt Eichenwald: European Allies have Intel on Trump, Too

by blue aardvark – Article is here. As part of intelligence operations being conducted against the United States for the last seven months, at least one Western European ally intercepted a series of communications before the inauguration between advisers associated with President Donald Trump and Russian government officials, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation. Our allies are willing to investigate. Our own Congress? Not so much. The foreign agency is also gathering electronic and human source information on Trump’s overseas business partners, at least some of whom the intelligence services now consider to be agents of their respective governments. These operations are being conducted out of concerns that Russia is seeking to manipulate its relationships with Trump administration officials as part of a long-term plan to destabilize the NATO alliance. Our President has business partners who are Russian agents seeking to destabilize NATO. But hey, what about the...

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When an Admiral Describes Taking a Top Gov’t Job as ‘a sh*t sandwich’, We’ve got Trouble

by Meteor Blades – It’s being reported that retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward told a friend that chaos and dysfunction in the White House meant that Donald Trump’s offer to make him national security adviser amounted to “a shit sandwich.” Harward turned Trump down Thursday, adding to the pr*sident’s woes in the wake of Michael Flynn’s forced departure from that post. Fred Kaplan at Slate lays out succinctly where things stand: The rejection is stunning in several ways that go well beyond the scope of Trump’s personal sensitivities. First, it is very unusual—almost unheard of—for a senior military officer, retired or otherwise, to turn down a request from the commander-in-chief. Second, and largely for that reason, by rejecting the offer Harward has provided cover to other officers, and to civilian national-security analysts with a similar sense of patriotic duty, to turn down this president, too. Service, in this case, is not its own reward and...

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Immigrant Communities Battle New Anti-Sanctuary-City Bills in Red States

by Candice Bernd, Truthout | Report – Emboldened by President Trump’s executive order withholding federal funds from “sanctuary” jurisdictions, Republican-dominated state legislatures are seeking to deny their own state funds to counties or cities refusing to comply with federal immigration authorities. Several states, including Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Idaho and Pennsylvania have introduced measures that would require police agencies to hold anyone in custody until US Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) can determine if they should be deported, or potentially lose state funding. Some states are going even farther than that. In Ohio, state lawmakers introduced a bill that would hold local officials accountable for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in the officials’ sanctuary jurisdictions. Legislators in Colorado have introduced legislation that would let victims of particular crimes committed by undocumented immigrants sue the politicians who supported a sanctuary designation. Alaska and Maine are now reportedly considering similar...

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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...

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Trump on Whether His Campaign Team Coordinated with Russia: ‘Nobody that I know of’

by Hunter – Here’s all the times Trump was asked about contact between his staff and Russia during that very, very strange press conference. As you can see, his answers varied from denying the premise of the questions to denying that he himself had anything to do with Russian contacts, without ever vouching for the notion that nobody on his staff did. Answer one: Fake news! TRUMP: And, you know, you can talk all you want about Russia, which was all a, you know, fake news, fabricated deal, to try and make up for the loss of the Democrats and the press plays right into it. In fact, I saw a couple of the people that were supposedly involved with all of this — that they know nothing about it; they weren’t in Russia; they never made a phone call to Russia; they never received a phone call.It’s all fake news....

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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...

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Southern Poverty Law Center Finds Disturbing Growth in Anti-Muslim Hate Groups in 2016

by Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani – “Trump’s election has been absolutely electrifying to the radical right,” says the SPLC. The number of anti-Muslim hate groups increased almost three-fold in 2016, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC’s quarterly census of hate groups found that anti-Muslim hate groups increased from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year. Mark Potok, a Senior Fellow at the SPLC, pointed to Trump’s rhetoric about Muslims and his election victory to explain some of the increase in anti-Muslim hate across the country. “I think the most important factor probably driving the growth of these groups, in the states at least, has been Donald Trump and his campaign: his vilification of Muslims; his description of them as so dangerous that we need to keep them out of the country; his idea that we have to form a registry, Nazi-esque registry, in which we’re going...

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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,...

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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...

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Trump is Reportedly Preparing a New Muslim Ban. It Looks Like More of the Same

by Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani – Families are still left in limbo as the courts battle it out and Trump weighs issuing a new order. The Muslim ban is facing a series of legal challenges, just a little over two weeks since President Donald Trump first signed it. Trump has been confident that he will win Washington v. Trump, one of the most prominent cases thus far, but last week he also said that he may simply rewrite the ban. Still, it’s not guaranteed that even a revised version of the ban will survive judicial scrutiny. “We will win that battle. The unfortunate part is that it takes time statutorily, but we will win that battle,” Trump told reporters on the way to Florida on Friday. “We also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order.” When asked what changes there might be in a new executive order,...

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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...

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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...

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Intel Community to Trump: “Now we go nuclear. He will die in jail.”

by Frank Vyan Walton – In the last two days the Drumpfter Fire that is currently raging in the White House seems to have hit a flashpoint with the sudden resignation of NSA Advisor Michael Flynn and then the revelation by the New York Times that several members of the Trump campaign were in regular contact with Russian Intelligence during the election. WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials. American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign...

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The Worst Case Scenario if Supreme Court Nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is Confirmed

by Ian Millhiser – A child-exploiting, racist, security state hellscape. So how bad could Neil Gorsuch be? As is turns out, when trying to assess President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, this isn’t an especially easy question to answer. We know that Gorsuch placed the rights of religious conservatives ahead of the rights of women seeking birth control coverage. We know that he took highly unusual steps in an attempt to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. We know that he wants to consolidate power in the federal judiciary at the very moment that Republicans are seizing control over that branch of government, and that such a newly empowered judiciary would have the power to slash and burn labor and environmental regulations. We also know that Gorsuch was a great admirer of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon. Indeed, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee says that he...

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In a Brutal Interview, Kellyanne Conway Struggles to Defend Trump and Flynn on Russia Scandal

by Jen Hayden – Speaking with Matt Lauer on The Today Show, master deflector Kellyanne Conway struggled to get through an interview about why Donald Trump didn’t fire Michael Flynn the moment the Justice Department informed the president that Michael Flynn had not been truthful about his comments to the Russian ambassador in December. In fact, that Flynn had been actively undermining President Obama as he levied new sanctions against Russia for their role in the U.S. elections. You know things are bad when Kellyanne Conway struggles to come up with a coherent defense of Trump’s actions. Watch as Conway gets backed into a corner and can’t seem to muster the energy to punch her way out. Video and full transcript are below: LAUER: Yesterday afternoon on MSNBC, you said that Michael Flynn “enjoyed the full confidence of the president.” Sean Spicer later said the president was evaluating the situation. And then Michael Flynn...

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Anthropocene Math in the Age of Trump: Humans Are Running Out of Time to Save the Climate

by Nika Knight – Industrialized societies are changing the climate 170 times faster than natural forces. As the Trump administration and Republicans in power in Congress set to work destroying environmental regulations, scientists have added urgency to the resistance with a simple new equation that shows the staggering effect human activity has had on the climate. Their findings? Humans have altered the climate 170 times faster than natural forces. In fact, the equation revealed that industrial societies pack the same climate punch as an asteroid strike. Professor Will Steffen of the Australian National University and Owen Gaffney of the Stockholm Resilience Centre devised the “Anthropocene equation” and published their findings in The Anthropocene Review Friday. The equation demonstrates that while natural forces dominated the climate for 4.5 billion years, in only the past six decades, humans have become the main drivers of climate change, as the Guardian notes. Perhaps the researchers’ most frightening...

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Is Donald Trump Already Sick Of A Job He Never Really Wanted?

by News Corpse – Three weeks. While it may seem like a year, that’s all that’s gone by since Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States of America. And the chaos that has characterized his short reign is unprecedented. Trump entered the White House with the worst approval rating of any president on record. And it has actually gone down from there. So, reporting from Politico that Trump is “vexed” by the challenges and scale of government doesn’t come as a surprise. He has shown little interest in transitioning from being a private businessman to a national leader. His absence from security briefings, and his fixation on image and polling, reflect a man who isn’t taking his job seriously. However, Politico’s opening paragraph perfectly describes this cognitive disconnect: “Being president is harder than Donald Trump thought, according to aides and allies who say that he’s growing increasingly frustrated...

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What did Trump Know About Flynn’s Talks With Russia, and When did He Know it?

by Mark Sumner – There’s something about the words “full confidence.” In any administration, the fact that someone has to come out and say that a cabinet officer has the full confidence of the president is enough to let you know that there are very good reasons for that position to be in doubt. When the person on the receiving end of that “confidence” is carefully hiding out of public sight, then it’s a pretty good bet there are packing boxes being unfolded. For Michael Flynn, it was Kellyanne Conway who delivered the full confidence speech following his heartfelt apology — pointedly delivered over the phone — to Mike Pence. So what was coming next seems almost obvious. On the surface, Flynn’s apology should have been enough. If the extent of his sins was bobbling his statement to Pence, when he had given some vague response to a question on the topic of sanctions, it would have...

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North Dakota Bills Could Strip Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters of Their Rights

by Carimah Townes – Standing Rock protesters face five new threats. Over the weekend, veterans flocked to Standing Rock to shield Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protesters from law enforcement — the second time they’ve done so in recent months. But North Dakota lawmakers are now planning to radically constrict the right of DAPL opponents, including veterans, to demonstrate against the project. There are currently four bills in the state’s House and Senate that create new criminal penalties for acts of protest or heighten existing penalties. And there is a fifth bill that could put demonstrators in physical danger. HB 1193 turns a misdemeanor offense into a felony if the offense is “done intentionally to cause direct or indirect economic harm in excess of one thousand dollars to the government or to a person.” HB 1203 states that drivers who “negligently” injure or kill people obstructing traffic will not be responsible for the damage caused....

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Michael Flynn Out: From Trump’s “Full Confidence” to Midnight Resignation

by Jon Queally – Having served just 24 days, US national security advisor quits after secret talks with Russian diplomat raise too many questions for him to answer The idea that lawmakers in congress will continue to pursue a probe into the Trump administration’s dealings with Russian officials was confirmed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who last week filed a “resolution of inquiry” to investigate President Trump’s ongoing conflicts of interest, which would include possible business dealings with Moscow and political ties to the Kremlin during last year’s election. In a pair of tweets overnight, Nadler indicated the latest developments, including Flynn’s surprise resignation, only bolster the case for a formal congressional investigation: Less than one month into office, President Donald Trump’s controversial national security advisor, Michael Flynn, abruptly resigned Monday night following revelations he had discussed sanctions with a high-level Russian official and then misinformed White House staff, including Vice President...

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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...

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The Federal Election Commission Just Told Trump They’re Done With His ‘Voter Fraud’ Lies

by Rika Christensen – Trump is still beating his “widespread voter fraud” drum, and it hasn’t escaped the notice of the Federal Election Commission. Now it seems their frustration has overflowed, because one of the commissioners finally demanded that Trump produce his evidence. Ellen Weintraub, the commissioner in question, issued a formal statement on the matter after Trump told the Senate that thousands of people were bussed from Massachusetts to New Hampshire on Election Day. Apparently those people who were bussed to New Hampshire to vote against him are why he and Kelly Ayotte lost. Weintraub didn’t mince words in her statement. She said: “The scheme the President of the United States alleges would constitute thousands of felony criminal offenses under New Hampshire law… …The President has issued an extraordinarily serious and specific charge. Allegations of this magnitude cannot be ignored.”  She’s right – if there really is this kind of...

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A Psychological Portrait of President Trump

by César Chelala – Last October, before he was elected President of the U.S., I, among others, put forward the hypothesis that Mr. Donald Trump was a narcissist. I based my interpretation on the fact that he fulfilled practically all the criteria included in the classification of narcissism established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in many countries all over the world. The symptoms of this syndrome include the following: Grandiosity; fantasies of power and personal attractiveness; self-perception of being unique; needing constant admiration form others; sense of entitlement; exploitation of others for personal gain; intensely envious of others and pompous and arrogant demeanor. His behavior at the time, which became even more evident since becoming President, only confirmed this hypothesis. More recently, however, John D. Garner, a practicing psychotherapist who advised psychiatric residents...

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Oklahoma and Wyoming Republicans Agree Women Aren’t People

by Laura Clawson – Republicans in Wyoming and Oklahoma are starting to drop the pretense that they consider women to be human beings. In Wyoming, the state Senate is considering three bills that would restrict women’s abortion rights. Two of them are being considered by the agriculture committee. said the labor and health committee is busy with a number of bills and the ag group had more time to thoroughly vet them. Allegations that women are being equated to cattle are ridiculous, the Riverton Republican said. Dude, you’re the one who handed the job of limiting what medical care women can get to the agriculture committee. In Oklahoma, Rep. Justin Henry isn’t trying to be even that subtle as he pushes a bill requiring women to get male approval for abortion. He’s ranking women somewhere below cattle: Ultimately, he said, his intent was to let men have a say....

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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...

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