US

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump Abruptly asks Pro-Gun Control Surgeon General to Resign

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

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

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

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100 Days of Deconstruction: Part Two

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

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This Earth Day, Defeating Trump is Job One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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America’s Addiction to War (VIDEO)

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

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In Memoriam: Bill O’Reilly’s Career

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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100 Days of Deconstruction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump’s Five Worst Tax Secrets, Revealed

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

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Reaching Impeachment Critical Mass

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

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

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

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With Few Exceptions, Trump is Mired in Unconscious Incompetency

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

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

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

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The Republican Civil War is the Best Thing Happening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Single-Payer Health Care Is Seeing Record Support in Congress

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

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Amazon Employees Pressure CEO to Kill Breitbart Ads

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

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

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

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Report: To Expand Substance Abuse Treatment, Embrace Obamacare

by Casey Quinlan – A new report on substance abuse treatment recommends building on the successes of the ACA. A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released on Tuesday makes the case for why states and the Trump administration should build on the Affordable Care Act’s’s success, rather than tear it down. The ACA expanded treatment by requiring that both Medicaid and individual marketplace plans cover basic mental health and addiction services. More than 1 million people receive treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, according to a recent estimate from professors at New York University and Harvard Medical School. The share of people with substance use or mental health disorders who were hospitalized but uninsured fell from 20 percent to 5 percent from 2013 to mid-2015, according to Health and Human Services data. Medicaid expansion helped many of the states most affected...

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Ask Yourself: Will Donald Trump EVER Become President?

by BILL MOYERS – As our institutions bend and buckle and approach the breaking point, the president bombs Syria and is hailed by an obeisant media. It’s been a week now since Donald Trump once again became our president. Here’s how it happened. After he unleashed missiles on a Syrian airfield, members of Washington’s national security establishment and elite pundits swooned. Top Democrats and Republicans led the way. Good soldiers all in the military-industrial-political complex, they stood smartly at attention and saluted the commander-in-chief for sending a message to the world, although exactly what the message meant remains far from clear. The headline above Glenn Greenwald’s story at The Intercept summed up the response: “The Spoils of War — Trump Lavished with Media and Bipartisan Praise for Bombing Syria.” The hawkish Hillary Clinton, who long had been critical of Barack Obama for not bringing Bashar Assad to heel, “appeared at an...

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Trump Threatens Cutting Off Payments for Low-income People to get Health Care

by Casey Quinlan – “I don’t want people to get hurt,” said Trump. President Donald Trump is still considering whether to continue payments for cost-sharing subsidies that help low-income people get health care, he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The payments reduce copayments and deductibles for low-income people, and their elimination would mean a lot of Americans would go uninsured. Insurers would still have to provide lower deductible plans, but they wouldn’t be paid for it as they are now, which ultimately means that some insurers would either exit the markets to avoid losses or raise premiums. Premiums would need to rise by 19 percent to compensate for the lack of funding for cost-sharing subsidies. Of the 12.1 million people who selected a 2017 Obamacare marketplace plan, 7.1 million are receiving cost-sharing reductions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). The subsidies reduced annual out-of-pocket maximums by up...

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Trump Just Signed a Bill Allowing States to Cut Off Funding to Planned Parenthood

by Laurel Raymond – The repeal could affect millions of women’s access to preventative services like birth control. President Donald Trump signed a bill into law on Thursday that would allow states to withhold federal money for family planning services, such as birth control, from Planned Parenthood clinics and other women’s health centers. The bill is a repeal of an Obama-era regulation that said states couldn’t withhold Title X funding, which covers family planning and preventative care, from organizations just because those organizations also provide abortion care. This bill would roll back that protection, emboldening states to try to restrict such funding. The Senate passed the bill 51–50 in March, with Vice President Pence casting the tie breaking vote. Four million people with low incomes rely on Title X for preventative health care. Roughly 1.5 million receive their Title X care at Planned Parenthood. In practice, what this bill does is open...

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Anti-Defamation League Offers to Teach Spicer About the Holocaust

by Ned Resnikoff – In an open letter, the group says they can do a training at his convenience. The premier U.S. organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism has offered to clear up any lingering confusion White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer might have over what occurred during the Holocaust. Earlier this week, Spicer said during a White House press briefing that Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons against “his own people.” When stunned reporters pointed out that Hitler’s regime slaughtered Jews en masse using lethal gas, Spicer amended his remarks to acknowledge Nazi Germany’s use of “Holocaust centers” — a strange, apparently novel euphemism for the death camps. In an open letter to Sean Spicer, the Anti-Defamation League offered to conduct a Holocaust education training “at your convenience for you, your staff, and anyone at the White House who may need to learn more about the Holocaust.” Kyle Griffin ✔@kylegriffin1 .@ADL_National has sent...

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Oregon Responds to Sessions’ Threat by Creating a Bill to Protect Marijuana Customers

by Walter Einenkel – With new Attorney General Jeff Sessions trying to strum up the old-timey, racist, and not true idea that violence surrounding marijuana use has risen over the past decades, the states that allow legal recreational marijuana use have begun to make sure their citizens’ privacy is being protected. Alaska and Colorado already have laws that do not allow for marijuana retail stores to maintain a digital “paper trail” of customers’ private and personal information. Oregon state lawmakers who fear heightened marijuana enforcement by federal agents overwhelmingly approved Monday a proposal to protect pot users from having their identities or cannabis-buying habits from being divulged by the shops that make buying pre-rolled joints and “magic” brownies as easy as grabbing a bottle of whiskey from the liquor store. The measure passed easily and now waits for Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s signature. This bill has bipartisan support which is a...

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‘F-ing Horrifying’: Sessions Outlines Immigration Crackdown in ‘Trump Era’

by Deirdre Fulton – Meanwhile, Trump appoints immigration hardliners to key agency posts. In “the Trump era,” as Attorney General Jeff Sessions called it on Tuesday, immigration officials will undertake a harsh crackdown on undocumented migrants—a campaign one veteran federal prosecutor described as “fucking horrifying.” In his speech at a border port of entry in Nogales, Arizona, “he nation’s top law enforcement official outlined a series of changes that he said mark the start of a new push to rid American cities and the border of what he described as ‘filth’ brought on by drug cartels and criminal organizations,” the Associated Press reported. “This is a new era,” the immigration hardliner told Customs and Border Protection personnel. “This is the Trump era. The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws, and the catch-and-release practices of old are over.” Mother Jones reported: In his remarks, Sessions said nonviolent immigrants...

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Update for Trump Voters

by Robert Reich – 1. He said he wouldn’t bomb Syria. You bought it. Then he bombed Syria. 2. He said he’d build a wall along the border with Mexico. You bought it. Now his secretary of homeland security says “It’s unlikely that we will build a wall.” 3. He said he’d clean the Washington swamp. You bought it. Then he brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses. 4. He said he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “wonderful.” You bought it. Then he didn’t. 5. He said he’d use his business experience to whip the White House into shape. You bought it. Then he created the most chaotic, dysfunctional, back-stabbing White House in modern history, in which no one is in charge. 6. He said he’d release his tax returns, eventually....

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Dan Rather Says What Every Person With a Moral Compass is Thinking Regarding Sean Spicer & Trump

by Sarah – It’s gotten to the point where if Donald Trump doesn’t fire Sean Spicer for his egregious remarks about the Holocaust, Assad and Syria, he should be seen as agreeing with Spicer’s sentiment as well as condoning it. It’s disgusting, to say the least, and the legendary Dan Rather just released a statement that should summarize what every person with a decent moral compass is thinking right now. Rather wrote: “It is with sadness that I do not know where to begin. Today in a briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement that is so far beyond the pale, so tone deaf and blind to history and our precarious moment in world affairs, that it is with only a heavy heart that I even bring attention to it. There can be no joy in such incompetence. In trying to make the case for the Administration’s policy...

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The Trump Team’s History of Flirting With Holocaust Deniers (VIDEO)

by Laurel Raymond – This White House has a long history of thinly veiled anti-Semitism. On Tuesday, the first day of Passover, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made a series of statements about Hitler that parallel conspiracy theories common among anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers. It’s hardly the first time that Trump officials have sent veiled signals to neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and white supremacists. Spicer began on Tuesday by comparing Hitler favorably to the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad — alleging that Hitler, who used poisonous gas to kill millions of Jews, “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” When given a chance to clarify, Spicer said that Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing,” and that Assad, unlike Hitler, was dropping chemical weapons “down to innocents in the middle of town.” In a subsequent clarification, Spicer repeated that Assad used chemical weapons on “innocent...

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FBI Obtained FISA Warrant to Monitor Trump Adviser Carter Page Communications with Russia

by First Amendment – This is not going away, folks. No matter how many times the media wants this guy to be President, something about Russia and this administration will drop. Expect more. Ted Lieu pretty much summed up this latest revelation. Ted Lieu ✔@tedlieu Russians tried to recruit Carter Page! Waiting for @POTUS to say this is coincidence number 97 in #TrumpRussia story https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/us/politics/carter-page-trump-russia.html … 4:44 PM – 4 Apr 2017 Russian Spies Tried to Recruit Carter Page Before He Advised Trump www.washingtonpost.com/… The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said. The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page...

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White House Considering ‘Back-Door Way’ to Cut Social Security

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘If Trump proposes this Trojan horse, it would be the newest shot in the ongoing Republican war against Social Security.’ President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise not to cut Social Security, is reportedly considering a plan to eliminate much of the payroll tax that funds the critical safety net program. According to the Associated Press on Monday, the proposal is being floated as the Trump administration goes “back to the drawing board in a search for Republican consensus behind legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax system.” The AP reported that one option “circulating this past week would change the House Republican plan to eliminate much of the payroll tax and cut corporate tax rates. This would require a new dedicated funding source for Social Security.” And that, Zaid Jilani wrote at The Intercept, “would require counting on Trump’s economic team to shepherd a solution through...

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GOP Strategist on Trump: A Gigantic Case of ADHD Who Cannot Focus for 30 Sec on Anything

by Egberto Willies – This GOP strategist was not kind to Donald Trump. He did not mince words as he described how dysfunctional Trump and his administration are. One hopes Trump is not watching lest we get a new litany of tweets. GOP Media Strategist & Political Consultant Rick Wilson had some harsh words in this excerpted video for Trump and his inability to focus on the job of being president. The strategist appeared on All-In with Chris Hayes. Hayes asked Rick Wilson about the decision-making process in the White House. “Chris, this is a president with a stalking gigantic case of ADHD,” Wilson said. “He cannot focus for thirty seconds on anything. Every bright and shiny object distracts him. He doesn’t believe anything in his heart. There is no ideological North Star for this guy. There is nothing he truly cares about except for his own ego. Everything is drawn...

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This Poll Shows Exactly How Much Americans Detest Trump

by Vera – At this point in Trump’s disastrous presidency, it’s pretty clear that the only one that thinks he’s doing a great job is the underserving POTUS himself. Even his own supporters have lost faith in him and are turning away at record speed. Despite his rapidly plummeting approval rating, Trump still thinks he’s the greatest thing to happen to America – or at least, he’ll continue to think that until he sees this: According to MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin, Americans are so turned off by Trump that they don’t even want to get anywhere near a product he touches. Apparently, asking for Trump’s support is so toxic that it is basically suicide for businesses. That’s quite strange for a reality television star who brags about how good of a businessman he is. Already, we saw Trump make endorsements on his Twitter feed. It turns out, those inappropriate “shoutouts” did way more...

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Trump Excels at Exactly Two Things in His First 100 Days: Golfing and Vacationing

by Kerry Eleveld – Donald Trump famously has no major legislative accomplishments to speak of in his 80-some days as president, which has his aides pretty freaked out. But there is one place where he’s really shined: leisure time. The New York Times reports that he’s golfed 17 times thus far, eclipsing all three of his immediate predecessors. In fact, Bill Clinton had hit the links just three times in his first 12 weeks, whereas George W. Bush and Barack Obama hadn’t picked up a club by this time in their tenures. Remember Trump all the way back in August of 2016: “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to play golf.” Uh-huh. And then there was his 2015 claim: “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done  I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not...

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Democratic Momentum in Georgia Race Signals Shifting Electoral Tide

by Lauren McCauley – In Georgia’s special election contest, Jon Ossoff continues to gain ground, putting the GOP on the offensive in other local contests. In the closely-watched race for Georgia’s sixth district, said to be the first test of whether backlash against President Donald Trump will propel Democratic candidates to seize traditionally conservative seats, documentary filmmaker Jon Ossoff continues to gain ground, putting the GOP on the offensive in other pivotal local contests. After 10 days of early voting for Georgia’s special election to fill the House of Representatives seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Democratic voters substantially outpaced Republicans, New York Times‘ Upshot reporter Nate Cohn observed this weekend. Nate Cohn  ✔@Nate_Cohn Day 11 of in-person ev in GA-6 is D 49, R 29. Highest turnout yet on Cobb Cty new site vt Over all, D 51, R 31 with 21111 ballots accepted 9:14 PM...

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This Reporter Just Won the Biggest Prize in Journalism for Exposing Trump’s Lies

by Jameson Parker – The winners of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize have been announced and this year’s theme was all about exposing Trump. Of particular note was the prize for National Reporting going to David A. Fahrenthold of The Washington Post, whose contribution to reporting during the presidential campaign was to unflinchingly go after Trump’s lies, particularly as they related to his contributions to charity. As the Pulitzer committee put it, Fahrenthold deserved the award: For persistent reporting that created a model for transparent journalism in political campaign coverage while casting doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities. During a campaign when many reporters and pundits struggled to keep up with Trump’s lies, or pretended Trump wasn’t lying at all, Fahrenthold decided to hold Trump’s feet to the fire. After Trump repeatedly dodged questions about his donations to charity, Fahrenthold compiled an exhaustive list of charities Trump was said to have given...

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Federal Court to Texas: Yup, Your Voter ID Law is Racist

by Ian Millhiser – Also, water is wet. In a brief order handed down Monday evening, a federal district court held that Texas’ voter ID law was “passed, at least in part, with a discriminatory intent in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.” Voter ID laws are a common method of voter suppression that disproportionately target voters of color. According to data cited by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which will hear any appeal of Monday’s order, in Texas “Blacks were 1.78 times more likely than Whites, and Latinos 2.42 times more likely, to lack” voter ID. The Fifth Circuit previously held that Texas’ law had a greater impact on minority voters than on whites, a fact that in and of itself makes the law illegal under the Voting Rights Act. Nevertheless, the district court’s Monday order is significant for two reasons. First, as voting...

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Alabama Gov. Bentley Expected to Resign this Week to Avoid Felony Charges

by Laura Clawson – The sordid saga of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley appears to be coming to an end … at least the governor part. Sources in Montgomery say his lawyers have been involved in negotiations to step down from the governorship and plead to lesser charges, allowing Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey to step up as governor. Sources believe he will resign the governorship by Wednesday. The Alabama Ethics Commission last week found reason to believe he committed four crimes, all of them felonies. If he agrees to a deal it is thought he will have to plead to at least a misdemeanor. And with details like this coming out, Wednesday probably can’t come soon enough for the state of Alabama: Later that evening, Mason told people in a Washington, D.C. bar that Gov. Bentley had opened the hotel room door to hotel staff while wearing only boxer shorts, expecting Mason to be...

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Maryland Will Protect Planned Parenthood from Congress’ Efforts to Defund it

by Tara Culp-Ressler – It’s the first state to pass a law that will reimburse Planned Parenthood if Congress cuts its federal funding. Maryland has become the first state in the country to enact a law that will protect Planned Parenthood from federal cuts by using state dollars to reimburse the organization’s clinics for its services. The new state law, which was enacted on Thursday, does not have the explicit support of Gov. Larry Hogan (R). It was one of 15 bills that the governor allowed to move forward this week without his signature; they became law because he also did not take action to veto them. The bill reallocates $2 million from the state’s Medicaid budget and $700,000 from its general fund to help cover the cost of providing family planning services at Planned Parenthood’s nine Maryland clinics. Those funds would kick in if the federal government, in an effort to...

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Trump Administration’s War on Science Reaches Justice Department

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘Hard to overstate how backward and misguided this is,’ says one observer. The Trump administration’s anti-science bent has reached the Department of Justice (DOJ), with Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying Monday that the department is ending the National Commission on Forensic Science. The 30-member panel was described by ThinkProgress as “a group of scientists, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and other experts tasked by the Obama administration in 2013 with raising standards for the use of forensic evidence in criminal proceedings.” In its place, a senior forensic advisor will be appointed “to interface with forensic science stakeholders and advise department leadership,” Sessions’ statement said. Members of the commission—experts from major institutions and universities—wrote to Sessions (pdf) just last week, urging that the panel’s charter be renewed. The commission, they wrote, “has made a positive and indelible impact on the criminal justice system” and “has facilitated an important discussion...

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With Gorsuch Sworn In as Supreme Court Justice, a New Conservative Era Begins

by Deirdre Fulton – Neil Gorsuch could immediately make an impact on cases dealing with religious freedom, gun rights, and immigration. After a bruising Senate confirmation battle, former federal judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in Monday as the 113th Supreme Court justice, restoring a 5-4 conservative balance to the nation’s high court. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath at 9:00am in a private ceremony; later Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy—for whom Gorsuch formerly clerked—will ask his new colleague to take a second oath in a public ceremony at the White House. Watch below: Gorsuch “is widely expected to shift the ideological balance of the court to the right,” wrote Lydia Wheeler for The Hill, “with his views seen as mostly in line with the man he is replacing: the late Justice Antonin Scalia.” However, she continued, “some court watchers say Gorsuch may be even more conservative than Scalia, his mentor...

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Trump’s Plan to Convince America He had a Great 100 Days

by Mark Sumner – Donald Trump is not quite stomping his foot like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny, but he can definitely hear a big clock ticking. The symbolic 100-day mark by which modern presidents are judged menaces for an image-obsessed chief executive whose opening sprint has been marred by legislative stumbles, legal setbacks, senior staff kneecapping one another, the resignation of his national security adviser and near-daily headlines and headaches about links to Russia. What was Trump supposed to have accomplished in the first 100 days? That’s not clear, but the things he promised to do in his first one day included repealing Obamacare, starting on the wall, fixing the VA, putting in place a 35 percent tariff on companies that move jobs overseas, and designating China a currency manipulator. Of these, Trump has achieved … well, he did ask for bids on wall bits. There was also a promise that he would...

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Trump’s Syria Strike Displays Arrogance, Not Toughness

by Robert Borosage – The bombing of Syria is the most irresponsible act of Donald Trump’s circus presidency – yet it enjoys the greatest applause from the foreign policy and political establishment. Trump is doing what Obama refused to do – bombing a sovereign nation in response to a humanitarian horror, purportedly committed by the Assad government. Obama’s refused to retaliate after the Assad government was accused of crossing his “red line” and using chemical weapons on his own people. Obama couldn’t understand how a retaliatory strike would produce any result. Instead, his administration joined with Vladimir Putin to negotiate the dismantling of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal. Our foreign policy establishment has condemned him to this day for his alleged “weakness.” Trump’s bellicosity is likely to prove the wisdom of Obama’s restraint. In his campaign, Trump indicted that foreign policy elite for its failures, particularly in the Middle East,...

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Poised to Make History, New York on Cusp of Tuition-Free College

by Andrea Germanos – The plan “shows the difference that government can make,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. New York is on the verge of becoming the first state in the nation to offer tuition-free state and city colleges for low- and middle-income students. The plan is part of the budget the Democrat-controlled New York State Assembly passed on Saturday; and the Republican-controlled state Senate is set to vote on it Sunday evening. It follows a compromise reached Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and lawmakers. Under the plan, the Excelsior Scholarship would kick off this fall with a three-year phase-in. In 2017, it would cover tuition at the state’s community colleges or four-year universities for students from families making up to $100,000 annually; the threshold moves up to $110,000 in 2018, and $125,000 in 2019. A statement from Cuomo’s office says that more than 940,000 families would be...

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The Opioid Overdose Epidemic Hypocrisy of Donald Trump

by Denise Oliver Velez –  As both a former drug researcher, and former user, I am not in denial about the rising number of overdose deaths in the U.S. To sit and watch the Orange Killer in the oval office hold a “listening session” using the families of overdose victims and tearful recovering addicts as a front for his public relations scam made me want to puke. His announcement at the end of March that he is launching “The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis,” flies in the face of his attempts to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in collusion with Republicans in the House and Senate—which would have dropped the addiction treatment mandate covering 1.3 million Americans. Mother Jones has been on his case like white on rice. In “Remember When Trump Said He Cared About the Opioid Crisis? Fast Forward to Now” they point...

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Six States Leading the Charge on Second-Chance Policies

by Eliza Schultz and Rebecca Vallas – Bipartisan criminal justice reform efforts in Congress may be on ice for now, but red, blue, and purple states alike are moving full speed ahead with their own reforms. In particular, state policymakers are leading the way when it comes to second-chance policies. These measures give people with criminal records a fair shot at making a decent living and providing for their families—a recipe for cutting poverty, boosting public safety, and saving taxpayer dollars through reduced recidivism. Following decades of mass incarceration and overcriminalization, as many as 1 in 3 Americans now have some type of criminal record. Having even a minor record—such as a misdemeanor or even an arrest that never led to conviction—can stand in the way of getting a job, securing stable housing, and more. As a result, millions of people with records face bleak prospects for moving on with...

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Court Slams Policy Banning Gay Foster Parents: Indistinguishable From a Sign Reading “Whites Only”

by First Amendment – Strong words from Nebraska’s Supreme Court affirming a Judge’s 2015 ruling striking down discriminatory policy against prospective Gay foster parents. Of course, Nebraska’s Republican Attorney General’s Office was appealing the initial 2015 ruling. Republicans couldn’t explain why they were appealing it, if they weren’t seeking to reinstate the policy. Let me answer that for them, they wanted to reinstate it. They are always seeking to infringe on the rights of Americans. The Judge also upheld that the state has to pay plaintiffs’ legal fees. The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office defending discriminatory policy cost Nebraska taxpayers $174,000. The policy that was akin to a discriminatory “White’s Only” sign. Great victory for equal rights! apnews.com/… OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court says a former state policy banning same-sex couples from serving as foster parents or adopting wards of the state was akin to hanging a “Whites Only” sign on a hiring-office door. The court on Friday ruled that a...

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Former SNL Cast Member Breaks Silence On Trump’s Behavior At Rehearsal (VIDEO)

by Vera – A former Saturday Night Live cast member has just spilled the beans about one of Donald Trump’s secrets. Taran Killam, who left SNL in 2016, completely destroyed Trump in an interview published in Brooklyn magazine, putting to rest the massive amount of speculation about whether or not Trump actually knows how to read. Apparently, Trump cannot. According to Killam, Trump “struggled” to read even the simple jokes the writers had given him. Trump made an appearance on the show in December 2015, right after he announced he was entering the presidential race. Killam said that particular episode was “not fun” and “most of the cast and writers were not excited to have him there.” However, having Trump there taught the cast something interesting about him. During the “table read” prior to the rehearsal, the host of the week is supposed to read through the jokes they’re given. Killam said Trump “struggled...

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Like Father Like Daughter: Ivanka Trump’s Failed Planned Parenthood ‘Outreach’

by Joan McCarter – You can’t run a government like a business. You can’t expect someone with no policy experience to be able to translate “deal-making” to governing. The Trump regime is demonstrating, though, that you can expect inexperienced business people to completely fuck up when they try to venture into policy. Case in point, Ivanka Trump toddling off in secret to make nice with Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, not understanding that PP would then be pissed off when her father betrayed them. Their under-the-radar meeting—a rarity between a well-known Democratic activist and a close adviser to a Republican president—has not been previously reported.“The purpose of the meeting, from Cecile’s point of view, was to make sure that Ivanka fully understood what Planned Parenthood does, how it is funded, and why it would be a terrible idea for Planned Parenthood to be removed from being able to see Medicaid patients,” said...

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The GOP Civil War Is Escalating; Supposedly Both Priebus and Bannon Are Its Next Casualties

by ursulafaw – Backstabbing, internecine squabbling and tales of familial inner strife used to be the purview of soap opera or Shakespeare until the advent of Donald Trump in politics. Here’s a brief flashback to just February: “Don’t believe the main stream (fake news) media. The White House is running VERY WELL. I inherited a MESS and am in the process of fixing it.”  Trump tweeted. Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president in 2008, told reporters this week that the “whole environment is one of dysfunction in the Trump administration”. “Who’s making the decisions in the White House? Is it the 31-year-old? Is it Mr Bannon? Is it the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff? I don’t know.” Neither do we, Senator, and the answer is murkier now more than ever. A few days ago Steve Bannon was removed from the National Security Council and replaced...

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Federal Judge Blocks Indiana Law that Pence Signed Mandating Ultrasounds 18 Hours Before an Abortion

by Meteor Blades – A federal judge has blocked an Indiana law signed by Mike Pence in 2016 when he was still governor to force women to obtain an ultrasound at least 18 hours before getting an abortion. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, the first African American ever appointed to the federal court in Indiana, ruled in the case that the state made no compelling argument that requiring an ultrasound “makes it any more likely that a woman will choose not to have an abortion.” As in many cases where new restrictions are placed on abortion, the defenders of this law claim it protects women’s health. Foes argue that this is bunk and that this law, like others, places an “undue burden” on women seeking to terminate their pregnancies. That’s language from the Supreme Court ruling in (Pennsylvania) Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and elaborated upon in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016). The case was filed by Planned Parenthood...

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Republican, Mike Conaway, now Leading Russia Probe has a History of Making Wild Claims in Defense of Trump

by Ryan Koronowski – The new Devin Nunes is a lot like the old Devin Nunes. On Thursday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) announced he was stepping down from the investigation into Russian meddling in the election. Nunes blamed “accusations” by “several leftwing activist groups” for triggering an actually-very-real investigation into Nunes’ alleged improper handling of intelligence. His chosen replacement? Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), a senior member of the committee, and a strong Trump supporter during the campaign. That support has not waned since Trump was elected and could cause problems for someone taking over an investigation marred by accusations of collusion with the White House. Conaway, who is now charged with investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, compared Russian cyber attacks on Democrats to Mexican entertainers energizing Democratic voters. He told the Dallas Morning News in January: Harry Reid and the Democrats brought in Mexican soap opera stars,...

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Resurrecting Another ‘Big Lie’: The Myth of Social Security as ‘Ponzi Scheme’

by Bernard Weisberger – This especially ugly lie resurfaces periodically like the Loch Ness Monster and the Abominable Snowman and is just as devoid of proof, but at least those fakes are harmless. In these pestilent, perilous times, when the very idea of distinction between truth and falsehood is under siege, it’s more critical than ever to keep a sharp lookout for destructive false analogies. Without an anchor in provable fact it’s dangerously easy to get taken in by them. So I am particularly exasperated by a sample dished up by scaremongers, namely that the Social Security program, our rock of security and stability for an aging population for the last 80 years, is a Ponzi scheme — a swindle designed to cheat Americans out of their money with false promises. This especially ugly lie resurfaces periodically like the Loch Ness Monster and the Abominable Snowman and is just as devoid...

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Majority of Americans Oppose Funding Mexico Border Wall

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – The wall likely won’t stretch ‘sea to shining sea.’ The construction of a wall along the southern U.S. border is President Donald Trump’s most visible campaign promise. But as the astounding $1 billion-per-every-62 miles price tag of Trump’s vision buts up against the reality that the Mexican government will not defray construction costs, it’s increasingly becoming evident that Americans do not want it. A majority of Americans oppose funding Trump’s wall, according to a poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released Thursday. The poll — which drew from a sample of 1,100 adults representative of the U.S. population between March 23 and 27— found that 58 percent oppose new spending on the wall, with nearly half saying that they “strongly oppose funding for the project.” The results were largely partisan, with 86 percent of self-identified Democrats and 57 percent of independents against new spending...

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Texas Rep’s Bill to Fine Men for Masturbatory Emissions has Made its Way up the Legislative Ladder

by Walter Einenkel – Texas’ House Bill 4260, which relates “to the regulation of men’s health and safety; creating civil penalty for unregulated masturbatory emissions,” has moved from being filed to being handled by the Texas State Affairs Committee. Written by Houston Democrat state Rep. Jessica Farrar in response to the slew of anti-women’s rights bills regarding medical choice, the bill is in the perfect place for discussion. The committee is typically the panel that hears abortion-related legislation and it will now address Farrar’s House Bill 4620, which is named the “Men’s Right to Know Act.” The bill was filed about three weeks ago and at the time state Rep. Farrar had this to say: “A lot of people find the bill funny,” Farrar said in a phone interview. “What’s not funny are the obstacles that Texas women face every day, that were placed there by legislatures making it very difficult for them to access...

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Jared Kushner Neglects to List Meetings with Foreign Officials on Security Clearance Forms

by Chitown Kev – Filling out an array of forms comes with the territory of being an adult. Employment applications, various kinds of insurance forms, college applications, tax forms…anyone can increase the list. Near the end of these forms, there is usually a statement prior to affixing my signature. The statement says something like “Under the penalty of perjury, I attest that all of the information here is accurate and complete” or “failure to disclose could result in termination” or something of that nature. I read the fine print on all of the forms that I sign very very carefully. Now I might be getting a little up there in the age department, but if I had met with foreign officials and this information was requested on a security clearance form, I doubt that I would forget to include any meetings that I knew of…which is exactly what The Occupant’s son-in-law, the 36-year...

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