Op-Eds

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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Milo Yiannopoulos’ Fall From a Hateful Summit

by Sam Fulwood III – Until recently, I’d never heard of Milo Yiannopoulos. How I wish that blissful ignorance had remained intact. Over the past several years, Yiannopoulos has developed a fanatic following among a minority of Americans who’ve embraced his nasty bleating on Breitbart. Had he been confined exclusively to Breitbart, I might not have ever become aware of him. Alas, he crossed my path over the weekend, turning up like a lightening bug smashing into my social media windshield. The bombastic provocateur accepted a headline speaking gig at the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. That didn’t sit too well with some of Yiannopoulos’ critics, of which I’ve learned there are legions. He seems to enjoy attracting controversy as a means to burnish his reputation and line his pocket. Yiannopoulos is an unlikely hero for the conservative political action group; he’s an openly gay man who...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Appeals Court Upholds Maryland’s Assault-Style Rifle Ban

by Meteor Blades – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit on Tuesday upheld a Maryland ban on assault-style semi-automatic rifles. The 10-4 ruling in the case of Kolbe v. Hogan overturned a decision by a three-judge panel of the same court. The ruling held that the designated firearms are “not protected by the Second Amendment.” The 2013 law was passed in the wake of the massacre of six adults and 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012. The young killer committed the murders with an assault-style rifle, the Bushmaster XM15-E2S, a firearm patterned on the widely available AR-15. Specifically, the law prohibits sales or other transfers of a list of 81 guns and similar models. It includes both pistols, shotguns, and centerfire, semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines and have at least two of three characteristics—grenade launcher, flash suppressor/flare launcher, or folding stock. Also banned are sales or transfers of magazines than can hold more than...

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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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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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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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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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Merkel: ‘Islam is not the Source of Terrorism’ (VIDEOS)

Both Merkel and US Vice President Mike Pence attend key security conference in Munich with Russia high on the agenda. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Islam is not the source of “terrorism” and that cooperating with predominantly Muslim states in the fight against it is vital. Merkel, who has been critical of US President Donald Trump’s attempt to impose a temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, was speaking on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, with US Vice President Mike Pence in the audience. “I think, those countries, first and foremost have to give a contribution. Because only in this way we would be able to convince people that it is not Islam that is the source of terrorism. But a falsely understood Islam,” she said. “I expect from religious authorities of Islam to find strong language in order to delimitate peaceful Islam from terrorism committed...

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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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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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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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Keystone XL Developer Files Pipeline Application in Nebraska

by Samantha Page – TransCanada is expected to try to use eminent domain for parts of the route. TransCanada just took another step toward getting its beleaguered Keystone XL pipeline back on track: the oil company filed an application Thursday with a Nebraska agency for route approval. The move is the first state-level application for the company since President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum in January directing the State Department to review the pipeline’s federal application within 60 days. TransCanada submitted its new application to the State Department on January 26. “This application has been shaped by direct, on-the-ground input from Nebraskans,” Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “The thousands of Nebraskans we have met over the last eight years understand the value of this project and what it means to the state. As we have said consistently, safety and a respect for the environment remain our...

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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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McCain Delivers Brutal, Thinly-Veiled Rebuke of Donald Trump (VIDEO)

by Aaron Rupar – Speaking in Germany, McCain criticized Trump’s “turn away from universal values” and “hardening resentment” toward Muslims. During his speech to the Munich Security Conference on Friday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) delivered a stinging rebuke of President Trump — without ever mentioning his name. McCain began with a veiled critique of Trump’s “America first” approach. Referring back to the Germans who founded the conference in the wake of World War II, McCain said they “did not assume the West would survive, because they had seen its near annihilation. They saw open markets give way to beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism, and the poverty that imposed. They saw a world order fracture into clashing ethnic and nationalist passions, and the misery that wrought.” “From the ashes of the most awful calamity in human history was born what we call the West — a new, and different, and better kind of world order … one based not on blood-and-soil...

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Immigrants are Fleeing the United States to Seek Refuge in Canada (VIDEO)

by Tara Culp-Ressler – Some of them are crossing the border on foot in freezing conditions. A growing number of immigrants who initially sought refuge in the United States are now fleeing to Canada — and, in many cases, are risking frostbite to make it across the northern border on foot. Immigrant advocates say desperate people are being driven away from the U.S. thanks to the fear and uncertainty sparked by President Donald Trump’s policies — including, recently, an executive order that temporarily halts refugee resettlement from Syria and bars people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Nine asylum-seekers from Sudan, including four children, barely made it across the Canadian border on Friday in an exchange that was captured by a photographer from Reuters. After a cab dropped off the group near the border line in Champlain, New York, they dodged a U.S. border patrol officer trying to examine their passports, climbed...

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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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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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Trump Walks Back Years of U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East (VIDEO)

by E.A. Crunden – The president says he “could live with either” a one-state or two-state solution. The two-state solution as we know it may be over. Speaking during a press conference Wednesday alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump failed to commit his support for a future Palestinian state, saying that he “could live with either” a one-state or two-state solution and that he would defer to whatever solution might be preferred by both parties. “I’m looking at a two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said. “I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I could live with either one.” Trump’s comments are an ominous sign that a shift is coming, and a dramatic shift away from decades of U.S. foreign policy. Broad bipartisan support exists for the two-state solution and few U.S. presidents have seen fit to rock...

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‘It is in Trump’s Interest to Keep the Iran Deal Alive’

by Omid Khazani – Trump’s presidency offers both threats and opportunities to Iran, says former senior Iranian diplomat. The fate of the diplomatic channel between Iran and the United States, established for the first time in four decades during the nuclear deal negations in 2015, is fraught with uncertainty, according to a former senior Iranian diplomat. “The fate of the direct diplomatic channel absolutely depends on the new US government, the rhetoric they will use and actions they will take,” said Sadegh Kharazi, who served twice as Iran’s deputy foreign minister and the head of its UN mission from 1989 to 1995. “Should such belligerent, anti-Iran rhetoric continue, the channel will be history,” Kharazi, who is known to be a foreign policy heavyweight in Tehran, told Al Jazeera. Iran and the United States have engaged in tit-for-tat exchanges since US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on January 27 banning nationals temporarily from seven Muslim-majority...

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Carter Page, at Center of Trump Russian Investigation, Writes Letter to DOJ Blaming Hillary

by PlinytheWelder – This just keeps getting weirder… From a story in The Intercept CARTER PAGE, briefly a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, sent a peculiar, rambling letter this week to the Department of Justice, asking it to review “the severe election fraud in the form of disinformation, suppression of dissent, hate crimes and other extensive abuses led by members of Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s campaign and their political allies last year.” Page is reportedly one of several targets of a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI into possible links between Trump associates and Russian officials. This is looking like panic mode. They must know that more is coming out and will try to drown it in a flood of BS (alternative facts). To begin with, it is addressed to the voting section of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, which is charged exclusively with enforcing federal laws that protect the right to vote. It then...

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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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#FreeDaniel: Community United in Outrage After ICE Detains ‘Dreamer’ With No Criminal Record

by Nika Knight – ‘Seattle stands with Daniel and we will not back down until he is free.’ U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested and detained a ‘Dreamer,’ or an undocumented immigrant brought to the U.S. as a young child and given permission to live and work legally in the country, stunning civil rights defenders nationwide and provoking fierce local opposition. While President Donald Trump has issued a draconian anti-immigrant executive order that appears to have set in motion a sharp increase in ICE raids nationwide, the arrest of Daniel Ramirez Medina in Seattle last week marks the first detention of an immigrant allowed to live and work legally in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program since Trump took office. “Arresting a young DACA recipient with deep roots in our country is not only cruel and outrageous but an affront to our core principles...

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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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Trump Advisers were in Contact with Russia Throughout the Campaign

by Mark Sumner – It shouldn’t be shocking news at this point. After all, Russian officials were bragging about it just two days after the election. Russia said it was in contact with President-elect Donald Trump’s team during the U.S. election campaign, despite repeated denials by the Republican candidate’s advisers that any links existed.  Trump’s team not only denied it at the time, they’ve been denying it ever since. We’re not just talking about Michael Flynn chatting up the Russian ambassador, but what was described as “quite a few” people in nearly continuous contact. Now that connection has been confirmed from the other end. 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. Not only are there are records of the Trump team...

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We Must Know the Truth

by BILL MOYERS AND MICHAEL WINSHIP – This is the worst scandal involving the White House and a foreign power since Iran-Contra. Demand the facts. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there MUST be an investigation by an independent, bipartisan commission of Russia’s ties to Donald Trump and his associates and that nation’s interference in our elections. Emphasize independent and bipartisan. That commission must have full subpoena power to call witnesses and make them testify under oath or risk prosecution. Hearings must be held out in the open, and televised live for the nation and the world to see. That’s what a democracy is all about. The resignation of national security advisor Michael Flynn makes such an inquiry even more imperative. On Friday, winging his way to Mar-a-Lago on Air Force One, Trump told the press he knew nothing about the previous night’s Washington Post report that Flynn had...

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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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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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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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For America’s Sake, We Need Answers about Russia. Now.

by MICHAEL WINSHIP – Donald Trump’s embrace of Russia and Vladimir Putin and that country’s interference with our election could drag democracy to an early grave. These first weeks of the Trump White House have felt like one of those tennis ball machines run amok, volley after volley shooting at us in such rapid fire that often the only reaction is to grimace and duck. Outrage after outrage, imperial pronouncement after pronouncement, lie after lie; it’s just one damned, fast and furious, flawed thing after another. All of this is confusing and distracting and of course, that’s precisely what they want. As the old saying goes, if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit. It easily distracts us from the real issues, diverting our eyes from those important things that have to be closely examined and resolved if we’re to continue trying, at least, to behave like a...

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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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Chaffetz says Paid Protesters are Hounding Him. Reporters Can’t Find a Single One

by Aaron Rupar – The Republican from Utah won’t accept that his constituents are fed up. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) says paid protesters were among the thousand-plus people who gave him a raucous, negative reception at a town hall in Salt Lake City on Thursday. The crowd chanted “shame!” and “do your job.” It was “more of a paid attempt to bully and intimidate” than a reflection of the feelings of his constituents, Chaffetz told the Deseret News. “Chaffetz said he will continue to make himself available to voters but may now avoid providing a venue ‘for these radicals to further intimidate,’” the paper adds. But reporters who were at the event and interviewed attendees say they found no evidence anybody was paid to be there. Eric Bradner  ✔@ericbradner I was there and interviewed many members of the audience. None I spoke with were paid, and all I met were from Utah....

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The Unique Legal Problem Presented by a Know-Nothing President

by Ian Millhiser – The law is not built for Donald Trump. Eight of the most powerful words in American national security law are “the President of the United States has determined.” The Trump administration’s motion to a federal appeals court asking to restore Trump’s Muslim ban starts with these eight words. In that case, Washington v. Trump, the President of the United States has determined that “deteriorating conditions” in seven majority-Muslim nations “increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States.” And so the administration asked the court to defer to that presidential determination. For now, Trump has not fared well in Washington. On Thursday evening, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit announced that it would leave a temporary order suspending Trump’s travel ban in place. Their opinion, however, still leaves many open questions. And the legality of Trump’s travel ban...

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

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

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Sheriffs Still Looking for Clarity on Deportation

by Tim Henderson – Despite tough talk on sanctuary cities from the Trump administration, many sheriffs still fear that they lack the legal right to hold prisoners for possible deportation, even at the request of federal authorities. Sheriffs, who operate 85 percent of local jails, are still waiting for courts to clarify the legality of “detainers,” or federal requests to hold prisoners for possible deportation. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Jan. 25 promising to punish any “sanctuary jurisdictions” that “attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.” The order threatened cuts to federal funding and public shaming of “any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers.” But the new administration in Washington hasn’t altered the legal landscape — at least not yet. Court rulings over the past several years have dissuaded even red-state sheriffs from honoring detainers, fearing that doing so would make them...

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Abortion Rights Advocates Working to Turn the Tide

by Gloria Totten – Many of us have been fixed to our screens, watching in horror as President Trump and his colossally unqualified administration roll back progress at an unprecedented pace. But, let’s remember this political moment came, in part, because of relentless attacks by conservatives in the states on the full range of issues: encouraging discrimination against immigrants and LGBTQ individuals, limiting collective bargaining and the right to sue corporations for wrongdoing, encouraging the carrying and use of guns, tearing down environmental and health-care protections, and using voter ID and gerrymandering to tilt elections. This moment was built on a foundation of divisiveness that was sown in the states. The right wing’s broadest attacks, of course, have targeted reproductive rights. Over the past six years, state lawmakers have passed more than 300 restrictions on abortion. Their tactics have been designed to do more than just change state policy. They have...

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Is this Really How Fascism Takes Hold in the US? (VIDEOS)

by Rachel Shabi – When dealing with current politics, we don’t want to belittle history, but can’t underplay reality either. There has, lately, been a rush of interest in cultural offerings premised on the return of fascism. The Man in the High Castle, loosely based on the Philip K Dick novel, is back for a second series. In it, the Nazi regime lives in fictional Technicolor suburbia, occupying the half of the US not occupied by co-victors of World War II, Japan. A revival of the 1935 play, It Can’t Happen Here, was staged in Berkeley late last year. The original novel by Sinclair Lewis charts the populist rise in the 1930s of a US fascist promising a return to American greatness. It reportedly sold out on Amazon.com the week after the election of Donald Trump. Many have revisited Philip Roth’s 2004 novel, The Plot Against America, in response to which its...

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Americans Like the Resistance a Lot More Than They Like Trump

by Richard Eskow – For Donald Trump, this has got to hurt: Less than two weeks after his inauguration, the people who took to the streets to protest his policies have outstripped him in popularity. And, given his rich history of “locker room banter” and other sexist comments, it must be especially humiliating for Trump to know that the biggest mobilizations of protesters who bested him were led by women. A Popular Front The numbers are irrefutable. Trump’s approval rating has sunk to a historically low 42 percent, according to Gallup, yet 60 percent of the public approved of the women’s marches, a Washington Post poll found. Only 29 percent of those polled disapproved of the anti-Trump marchers yet 54 percent disapproved of Trump’s performance as president. In an even more startling finding, Public Policy Polling found in late January that 40 percent of voters thought Trump ought to be impeached. They don’t like...

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House GOP Quietly Moves to Kill Commission Charged With Securing Elections

by Lauren McCauley – House Committee also voted to abolish public financing for presidential elections. Amid national outrage over possible foreign interference in the 2016 election and President Donald Trump’s own lies about so-called voter fraud, House Republicans on Tuesday quietly advanced two bills that “could profoundly impact the way we administer and finance national elections,” watchdogs are warning. The GOP-dominated Committee on House Administration voted along party lines to approve the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Termination Act (HR 634), which would abolish the only “federal agency charged with upgrading our voting systems” and “helping to protect our elections from hacking,” as Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, put it. During the same session, the committee also reportedly voted to abolish public financing for presidential elections, passing the Eliminating the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act (HR 133). According to USA Today...

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

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

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When the Government Really Did Fear a Bowling Green Massacre — From a White Supremacist

by A.C. Thompson – Assault rifles, body armor, a possible kill list, but not much attention when feds arrested a white man they said was bent on “race war.” The year was 2012. The place was Bowling Green, Ohio. A federal raid had uncovered what the authorities feared were the makings of a massacre. There were 18 firearms, among them two AR–15 assault rifles, an AR–10 assault rifle and a Remington Model 700 sniper rifle. There was body armor, too, and the authorities counted some 40,000 rounds of ammunition. An extremist had been arrested, and prosecutors suspected that he had been aiming to carry out a wide assortment of killings. “This defendant, quite simply, was a well-funded, well-armed and focused one-man army of racial and religious hate,” prosecutors said in a court filing. The man arrested and charged was Richard Schmidt, a middle-aged owner of a sports-memorabilia business at a mall...

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With Tom Price Confirmed, Clock is Ticking for Critical Safety-Net Programs

by Deirdre Fulton – Price’s confirmation decried as ‘a body blow to the health and welfare of all Americans’. Putting the nation’s safety net programs at risk, the U.S. Senate confirmed Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary early Friday morning. Price, who had represented Georgia in the House of Representatives since 2005, is known as an ardent opponent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. During his confirmation hearing in January, Price refused to say whether he would honor President Donald Trump’s campaign trail promises not to cut Medicare and Medicaid spending. He has also led efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and faced questions about his stock trading during a contentious confirmation process. Friday’s post-2:00am vote was 52-47 along party lines (roll call here), with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) not voting because her husband was having heart surgery. Physicians for a National Health Program (PHNP) called Price’s confirmation...

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Trump: “SEE YOU IN COURT” Us: “That Was Court, You Doofus.” Trump’s Choices in a Nutshell

by Frank DiPrima – In the wake of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, leaving in place the temporary restraining order staying his Muslim travel ban, Mr. Trump has three main procedural choices.  First, he can go to the United States Supreme Court and seek to have the stay lifted there.  Second, he can skip the SCOTUS appeal from the stay and simply instruct the Department of Justice to prepare and seek to expedite the underlying action on the merits in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.  Third, he can moot both proceedings by issuing an executive order revoking the first executive order and announcing that is will be rewritten. There is opportunity and danger for Mr. Trump in the SCOTUS appeal of the stay.  If he goes through with that, there are three possible outcomes, but only two are in the realm of likelihood.  First, he...

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Judge Gorsuch Criticized Trump. The President isn’t Handling it Very Well

by Aaron Rupar – Trump’s SCOTUS pick called Trump’s attacks on the judiciary “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” On Wednesday, news broke that Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s choice to fill an open U.S. Supreme Court seat, criticized the president during a meeting with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Gorsuch told Blumenthal that he finds Trump’s attacks on the judiciary“demoralizing” and “disheartening.” In the wake of federal judge James Robart ordering a temporary halt to Trump’s Muslim ban last Friday, Trump called Robart a “so-called judge” and said that if a terrorist attack happens in the U.S., Robart “and the court system” is to blame. Blumenthal told the press about Gorsuch’s criticism of Trump. The senator’s account of the conversation was later confirmed by a spokesperson for the judge. Josh Dawsey  ✔@jdawsey1 Spokesman for Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court nominee, confirms he called Trump’s comments on federal judge “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” 4:56 PM – 8...

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Totally Detached from Reality, White House Spokesman says Protesters are ‘Paid Professionals’

by Jen Hayden – In an all-out rejection of Donald Trump and the Republican agenda of xenophobia, racism, misogyny and generally screwing over the with financial and environmental regulatory rollbacks, millions of people nationwide are protesting. Organic protests are erupting daily at the offices of our elected representatives, airports, anywhere and everywhere. Senator Cory Gardner (CO-R) casually mentioned he believed the people turning up at his office and Colorado-area protests were “paid protesters.” So did a Tennessee state senator who provided evidence that was easily debunked and became an internet joke. Now the White House itself is latching on to the laughable and insulting notion that these massive protests are the result of “professional paid protesters.” This must be the largest top secret jobs program in the history of the world. Watch Sean Spicer effortlessly spew this lie: Bradd Jaffy ✔@BraddJaffy Spicer says nationwide protests of Trump are not like Tea Party was: This is...

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